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© Copyright 2004, From The Wilderness Publications, All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.

Cynthia McKinney, Mike Ruppert
Open Doors in LA

Cracking the “L.A. Nut” Demonstrates
Continuing Shift in Progressive Attitudes
About Israel, Peak Oil and Infinite War

While former five-term Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is one of the most sought-after speakers in the world, invited to speak in Northern California's Bay area at least a dozen times, before March 13th she had never been invited to speak in Los Angeles. And though FTW's Mike Ruppert has given more than 35 lectures on "9/11" and "Peak Oil" in eight countries, for more than three years he had not been asked to speak in Los Angeles, his home town.

Cynthia gets an enthusiastic welcome

McKinney shows her backbone

Now, as Cynthia McKinney prepares to recapture a congressional seat taken from her by illegal campaign practices, well funded by an Israeli lobbying group; and as FTW becomes recognized as an international leader in investigative journalism, the LA ice has been broken as KPFK and its new station manager Eva Georgia – herself a courageous veteran of South African anti-apartheid activism – put the weight of L.A.'s influential radio station behind a major event featuring both controversial figures. McKinney's return to congress without a loss of seniority (according to House rules), is viewed as critically important by Progressive activists who rightly believe that she will become the conscience of the Democratic Party should John Kerry succeed in his bid to oust George W. Bush. Should Bush secure a second term, McKinney is widely perceived as one of a few fearless voices in Congress who would charge into the “dragon's teeth” in defense of human rights, real American values and international law.

For everyone it proved to be a risk well taken.

Most LA Progressives know well the Immanuel Presbyterian Church, LA's spectacular Gothic-style cathedral on Wilshire Blvd. On Saturday March 13th, in an event titled “What's wrong with Election 2004”, McKinney, Michael Ruppert, Ed Begley, Jr., and KPFK radio host Michael Slate took to the Church's stage to deliver fresh analyses and perspectives to what is generally regarded as a tough-to-penetrate Southern California political mix. The crowd of 500 people, eager to hear the perspectives offered by McKinney and Ruppert listened intently, occasionally rose from their seats for standing ovations, sometimes shouted in support, and more than once sat in stunned silence in response to facts, documents, maps and charts included in McKinney's talk and Ruppert's hour-long slide-presentation.

Recording artist Vessy Mink gets a standing "O"

Ruppert, McKinney, Begley warming up

Following a solo musical performance by local recording artist/activist/photographer Vessy Mink, Ed Begley, Jr., actor/activist and environmentalist bad-boy, introduced McKinney to a standing ovation. It was something of a hero's welcome for the five-term Congresswoman, who gained international notoriety when she was defeated in her 2002 Georgia primary by an unprecedented campaign of “crossover voting,” targeted at her staunchly Democratic district. Her supporters (the overwhelming majority of voters in her 4th US Congressional District of Georgia) woke to find themselves with a new “Democratic” Congresswoman, Denise Majette – a Republican who ran as a Democrat and was elected to this traditionally Democrat safe seat by votes from numerous other Republicans who had also crossed over and registered as Democrats.

A suit currently underway claims: [The] “De Kalb County Republican Party promoted the crossover and expended funds in support” -- and that Majette “openly promoted the Republican crossover… regularly sought counsel from Republican party operatives before and during her candidacy… voted for extreme right wing Republican Alan Keyes in the 2000 Republican presidential primary… [and] supported Michael Bowers in the 1998 Republican gubernatorial primary.”

The Baltimore Sun (8/25/02) had proclaimed McKinney a "loose cannon" and "flamethrower" with a "sharp tongue," for suggesting President George Bush may have ignored warnings about September 11, and added that McKinney was at the "far extremes of American politics.“

In a friendlier article, The Washington Times ( 8/22/02 ) reported: “Jewish money both national and local flowed into the campaign to McKinney's opponent.” Significantly, the paper then quoted a key Jewish McKinney supporter, Joshua Ruebner, Executive Director of Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel: "This is a dangerous dynamic… doing irreparable harm to [Jewish] relations with African-Americans.”

In fact it was the Zionist lobby group AIPAC [The American Israel Public Affairs Committee] that had poured money into Majette's campaign. The AIPAC opposition to McKinney came after McKinney proved herself to be a resolute defender of human rights for Palestinians in the occupied territories, in direct opposition to both the Clinton and Bush administration policies.

As Begley explained in his introduction of McKinney: “During her 16 years in Congress, Cynthia served on several important committees and was an influential advocate for economic justice in Africa, social justice, and.... During her final year in office, McKinney's was a rare voice on the House floor, speaking out against the US invasion of Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, and of course, a call for an open investigation into events surrounding 9-11. The backlash was inevitable."

McKinney, a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley in Political Science, gave her audience a taste of the passion and articulate rhetoric she fearlessly brought to the floor of Congress for 10 years, becoming a symbolic lightening rod for all progressives, and the nagging conscience of the Democratic Party. She is a reminder of what Congress is supposed to be -- placing herself firmly in the ranks of other outspoken Administration critics like Representatives Barbara Lee, Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and the late Paul Wellstone.

After thanking KPFK and Pacifica, McKinney spoke her mind:

•  “The Bush Campaign has already gotten into a little trouble for using images of the September 11th tragedy in their campaign ads… [after] suggesting to then-Majority Leader Tom Daschle that he not investigate September 11th because it would take too many resources away from the War on Terror.”

•  ”The 9-11 families… even NY City firefighters were compelled by conscience to speak out against this kind of ‘pain profiteering.'”

•  ”We can't let them back door us into a draft of any kind.”

•  “I demanded an accounting from the Pentagon for the 2.3 trillion dollars it said it couldn't find.“

•  ”Colombia, Haiti, and Venezuela … Interestingly, Cuba sent Haiti hundreds of doctors; the U.S. sent in the Marines.”

•  “Jean Bertrand Aristide had abolished the Haitian military and was instead spending scarce resources on literacy, health, sanitation, and children.”

•  ”George Bush smirks at us and our Vice President sneers. The smirk is for what they still have up their sleeves and the sneer is because they know we'll let them get away with it…. After all, we let them get away with it in 1963 (that's when John Kennedy's life was taken), and again in 1965 (when Malcolm X was murdered), then twice again in 1968 (when snipers' bullets stole Martin and Bobby from us).” 

•  "They've lied to us, sent our children into war, and are trying to introduce a draft so they can get their hands on even more of our children."

•  “In 2001 I held a hearing entitled ‘Covert Action in Africa: Smoking Gun in Washington , DC.' … A former FBI investigator testified that the United Nations ordered his team to stop investigating the murder of two sitting Presidents in a missile attack on a Presidential plane.”

•  “One million dead Rwandans, three million dead Congolese, two million dead Sudanese… 70,000 maimed Angolans… and the list goes on of covert action in Africa and elsewhere around the world…”

•  “I passed legislation to give medical benefits to our veterans still suffering from Agent Orange and I authored legislation to stop the use of depleted uranium weapons. “

•  “Just before my departure from Congress I challenged the Administration on its corporate insider Pentagon contracts, including for the Carlyle Group.  And I challenged the Administration to tell us what it knew and when it knew it about the tragic events of September 11th.”

•  And, just as I was able to do all that, while standing on the shoulders of that first group of voters who sent me to Washington, DC to represent them, I was sent home from Washington by Georgia and national Republicans, who for some reason were mightily afraid of the truth. So don't underestimate the power of your vote.”

•  “And by the way, getting a paper trail on electronic voting is a significant victory but we need it now, not in 2005.”

In introducing Mike Ruppert, Ed Begley ran through a lengthy and impressive list of journalistic firsts from FTW's six-year history. Many in the audience had not known how many original stories FTW had broken, that had either found their way into the mainstream media or been as much as two years (in the case of former CIA agent Edwin Wilson) ahead of actual developments. Begley echoed McKinney's praise for FTW as a thoroughly documented research tool that could be relied on from the floor of the congress or in any public debate.

This was an ironic “homecoming” for Ruppert, who, though an L A resident and a favorite of many local progressives, had found KPFK appearances either blocked or hampered until the station's new management, new on-air hosts, and new General Manager Eva Georgia, not only welcomed him on air, but agreed to sponsor the March 13th event and promote it as a station fundraiser.

Ruppert took the audience through a range of responses as he launched into a 60-minute PowerPoint tutorial that moved from “Peak Oil” to “global conflict” to the inevitable revival of “The Draft” (Selective Service System) which he predicted would occur sometime in 2005.

Ruppert produces the goods on peak oil

He pulled out a stack of about 100 reports from established sources -- The Economist, Fortune, Foreign Affairs, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and dozens of others –- on “Peak Oil” and “natural gas shortages” and one by one threw them on the floor challenging his critics to question his sources.

He showed a map of Eurasia with a circle drawn around the area predicted to be next in line for global conflict -- the Middle East. When he explained that this graphic was part of a "blueprint" excerpted from a book written in 1997 by former National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski , "THE GRAND CHESSBOARD: American Primacy And It's Geostrategic Imperatives," his audience listened intently.

They laughed when he joked that in his former career as an LAPD narcotics detective, “This is what we used to call a ‘clue'.”

When he showed and read from a passage written by Dick Cheney ending with the quote: “The American way of life is not negotiable,” Ruppert took an extended pause. Then the audience sat in stunned icy silence when he resumed and reminded them that Cheney's “endless war” is actually an endless war for the diminishing reserves of readily available oil as we enter the era of "Peak Oil.".

Hidden in Cheney's Energy Task Force

The audience groaned and growled the moment he mentioned "Haiti," and showed a map of the Caribbean. He then echoed Cynthia McKinney's warning, that Haiti is the logical staging area for a US invasion of Colombia and oil rich Venezuela.

When he showed a March, 2004 article from The Christian Science Monitor, titled “America's new Coal Rush,” and read the quote: “ At least 94 new coal fired electric power plants … are now planned across 36 states,” the audience got angry. They then applauded in solidarity when Ruppert warned, “We're rushing headlong into suicide as they fry the planet in greenhouse gasses.”

The afternoon ended with a Q&A and comment period as some 30-40 audience members lined up at a microphone to ask questions, add information, offer support and suggest remedies.

In introducing McKinney and Ruppert before audience participation, KPFK host Michael Slate first professed a lifelong "healthy distrust of politicians and cops," and then went on to praise both McKinney and Ruppert for their extraordinary integrity. He then spoke about the opposition he'd received from some of his liberal colleagues at the station, both before and after he hosted Ruppert on air last year -- explaining that the content and source of that opposition were confirmation that Ruppert was the right guest at the right time. Said Slate, “I was intrigued that the criticisms being hurled at Mike were backward and reactionary … I'm proud to be here … In times like these I sincerely hope that the truth will inspire us all to act like the future of the planet depends on what we do, because it very likely does.”

The panel (Ruppert, Slate, McKinney) reacts to crowd enthusiasm

Waiting in line to ask questions

During the question and answer period, Ruppert suggested a major shift in America's unilateral endorsement of Israel as the Neocon Bush administration continues to fall out of favor around the world. The audience then broke into applause when he exclaimed, “Israel is a country: Judaism is a religion. Ariel Sharon no more represents the totality of Hebraic thought than George W. Bush represents the totality of American thought. It is time that Americans recognized the protests of Not in Our Name, Women in Black, and many other Israeli organizations, and the fact that more than 500 Israeli non-coms and officers have refused to serve in the occupied territories – or that Benjamin Netanyahu's nephew has refused to be drafted, calling his government criminal.”

Though the audience's backgrounds, agendas and opinions appeared varied, everyone, especially McKinney and Ruppert, seemed to agree on the need to mobilize a simultaneous effort to demand a paper trail to make sure votes are ethically and verifiably counted in the 2004 election year.

For Cynthia McKinney, KPFK and it's GM Eva Georgia, and Mike Ruppert, the watershed event was a mark set by three pioneers, ahead of the curve in breaking new ground in voicing the concerns of the people, and pressing issues outside of established comfort zones. It was also a fulfillment of Pacifica's mission to give voice to the most critical and pressing issues of our time.

- Written by the From The Wilderness staff

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Truth And Lies About 9-11