Speech by the Honorable Cynthia McKinney
Is Under Attack -
Take it Back"
Delivered at the Abyssinian
Harlem, USA - July 31, 2003
© Copyright 2003, From The Wilderness Publications, www.copvcia.com.
All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed
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the credibility of the US government
unravels across the board, former Georgia Congresswoman
Cynthia McKinney, now completely vindicated in
her open questions
about the government's account of 9/11, is making
her presence felt throughout America.
Currently in the midst of a lawsuit that may well
see her returned
to Congress with full seniority, she
has become a living reminder for politicians around
the country that there are questions to be answered
and that undefeated and dedicated voices with growing
strength on the political battlefield are not afraid
to demand full accountability.
The truth never disappears.
In a recent speech in Harlem,
McKinney offered some sobering and very direct observations
about race relations
in America, 9/11, civil liberties, independent
media, From The Wilderness and our national ad campaign
which is encountering stiff, unethical, and unconstitutional
resistance from major publications which seem to be
continually resetting the height of the bar we must
clear in order to get the ads run. To clarify one point:
While papers like The Boston Globe and The Atlanta
Journal Constitution have refused to
run the ad after checks were written to the brokerage
firm and AFTER the papers had approved
it, no check has yet been written for The New York
Times. The Times has simply reneged on a prior approval
and agreement to run the ad. Each time FTW passes a
new test, another one mysteriously appears. The powers
that be are afraid of these ads. Yet they have seen
nothing compared to the price they will pay when the
stench of censorship becomes so blatant and obvious
that the people realize that the most precious right
of every American has been taken away.
Such censorship is not going
unnoticed. The right of free speech and equal access
is not one that can
be violated without a reaction. – MCR, August 5, 2003]
How proud I am
to stand at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem USA!
Thank you Reverend Butts, Bob,
Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Sonia Sanchez, Ralph Carter,
Hakim, the Coalition of
Artists and Activists, and all who worked hard to put
this rally together. And thank you for inviting me.
How appropriate that we gather here at this Church,
with all its rich history of proud resistance and indignant
defiance of a social order that relegated the giants
of their day to second class citizenship.
And what an honor for me, to stand
among the giants of our day, if only for a moment,
and see America's
landscape from their gaze.
What this rally means, is that America's
vista has now become as ravaged in its pristine hillside
villas as it has always been for those of us who muddle
behind the cities' shadows.
Our people are dying.
On the streets of America our
people are dying.
Gathered tonight in this room are people from all walks
of life; and for that reason, this is a very dangerous
meeting for the powers that be.
They would like to see us divided.
I'm not just saying that. They wrote that in their
COINTELPRO papers; about how they would keep blacks separated
from each other, and separated from Africans, and separated
from other people of color, and most importantly, separated
from progressive activist whites. They wrote that they
would discredit black activists so they would lose favor
within their community and within our American community. They
also wrote that they would replace authentic black leaders
with what they called "clean Negroes" whom
they had groomed to be more loyal to them than to us. Those
aren't my words, they're their words.
Well, they were silly enough to
write it down, and we were smart enough to read it. So we're
But the Coalition of Artists and
Activists has come together to show us that now is
the time for us to get
busy. And take our country back.
I, for one, can say that I am tired of burying innocent
black and Latino people who die at the hands of this
New Yorkers have buried too many loved ones and shed
too many tears.
But sadly, every major city in America can
probably call a roll: Ousmane Zongo,
Alberta Spruill, Patrick Dorismond, Amadou Diallo; and
those are just the names I know.
Not too far from here, the streets
of Benton Harbor, Michigan exploded because they got
tired of adding names
to their roll. It wasn't enough that Terrance Shurn
and Arthur Patterson, young adults, were on the list,
but those names only topped off 16-year old Eric McGinnis
and 7-year old Trent Patterson, who had also made the
I read that the NAACP called for calm and dialogue.
I'm sorry, but I can't be calm
if my baby is going to be shot or hurt by out-of-control
I can't be calm when I drive through
sections of Atlanta that look more like Kinshasa, Democratic
Congo than America.
I cannot be calm.
Dialogue must be followed by swift
and deliberate action to root out racism at its very
core. From a California
gas station to a Mississippi Lockheed plant; from Cincinnati,
Ohio to Benton Harbor, Michigan; to New York City, New
York. And in Belle Glade, Florida where a young black
man was found hanging from a tree, with his hands tied
behind his back and the authorities call it suicide. In
the 21st Century, America's
trees still bear Strange Fruit.
How much injustice can any community absorb before an
eruption of extraordinary proportions occurs?
And yes, we have our list in Georgia,
And so, placing troops in Cincinnati
Ohio or in Benton Harbor to restore calm and "protect property" is
about as helpful for the resolution of the problems of
Ohio, or Michigan, or for that matter Black America as
it is to place US troops in Liberia to
resolve the problems on West Africa's oil-rich shore.
Or, for that matter, in the hot, oil-rich
desert sands of Iraq.
And while the South Bend Tribune blared on its editorial
page that Benton Harbor rioters must be held accountable,
who will blare, if not us, that America must be held
accountable for the sick and depraved conditions under
which millions of our people now live.
Moreover, since that newspaper
called for "accountability," I wonder, have
I ever seen that word in the corporate press when describing
the Bush Administration?
Now it is a fact that it was the Ashcroft Justice Department
that gave law enforcement officials authority to use
the no-knock warrant, like the one that resulted in the
death of Mrs. Spruill.
But, I'm wondering where are the
no-knock warrants for the Carlyle Group, Enron, DynCorp,
HealthSouth, all the
off-shore companies that fled our country to avoid paying
taxes yet continue to get billions in federal contracts?
Where are their no-knock warrants?
And further, on this matter of accountability.
George Tenet recently "fell on the sword" as
they say and took responsibility for the 16 untrue words
that happened to find their way into George Bush's State
of the Union Address.
But who among this Administration will
take responsibility for the tragic events of September
11th and the tremendous
"intelligence failures" that cost the lives of thousands
of people who live and work in New York City?
Interestingly, I was the one who
called for an investigation of September 11th asking
the fully appropriate question,
What did the Bush Administration know and when did it
know it, about the tragic events of September 11th?
Both President Bush and Vice President
Cheney asked Tom Daschle not to investigate what went
wrong on September
11th. An Australian newspaper ran the headline, "Bosses
so lax, agents felt they were spies." They were
describing our FBI.
"Bosses so lax, agents felt
they were spies."
To this day that I know of no
one in any decision-making position in the whole of
this Administration has accepted
responsibility for failing the American people. Instead,
from this Administration we have obstruction, obfuscation,
dissembling, and deception.
And yet, the one who did her homework, and told the
truth to the American people, that our investment of
trillions of dollars in the defense and intelligence
infrastructures of our country should not have all failed
simultaneously four times on a single day and since they
did, we deserve to know why they did. . .
Well, that's the person who got
Meanwhile, George Bush and Dick Cheney, who remain in
office, have the nerve to launch two simultaneous wars,
at least one that is against international law; award
no bid contracts to their friends in the defense industry;
erode our Constitution and our Bill of Rights; put Paul
Wolfowitz in charge of military tribunals (that same
travesty of justice that we have excoriated other countries
for in the past); put a felon, convicted of lying to
Congress, in charge of our privacy; and lie about the
rescue of Jessica Lynch, as well as the landing of America's
top gun—George W.--on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln,
which supposedly was out at sea, but that was really
in San Diego harbor.
And this all comes after they stole the Presidency on
the uncounted chads of black and Latino voters in a scheme
that was orchestrated at the top.
Republicans rewarded Katherine Harris with a Congressional
48,000 Republicans crossed over and voted in the Democratic
Primary for the black woman Republican that they had
drafted to run in my Democratic Primary. Georgia and
national Democrats failed to protect the integrity of
their own primary. Terry McAuliffe crows today about
protecting Gray Davis from any Democratic challenge in
a primary, but where was he when he could have protected
this black loyal Democratic woman from a known Republican
shill acting for the Bush Administration?
And it's not enough for this Administration to accept
responsibility for failing the American people. So too
must the corporate media. Including the New York Times.
As you may know, I'm involved with Mike Ruppert of From
the Wilderness in a national campaign that is placing
anti-Bush ads in newspapers all across the country. Sadly,
many newspapers are saying no to the paid ad or are giving
us a hard time after they've accepted the money. The
New York Times is no exception.
At the top of the ad is a cartoon. It features the
big corporate media being "played" from behind
the curtain by the great big, huge, Wizard. Like
in the Wizard of Oz. But there, ever so small,
at the bottom of the cartoon, is Toto, the little dog,
pulling open the curtain and exposing the truth about
the big, corporate media—kinda like BAI does here. And the alternative media do all
over our country. Well, in the cartoon, Toto is the
alternative media--getting the truth out to the people.
The text mentions oil, missing
money from DoD and HUD accounts, the impeachment clause
of the Constitution, the lawsuit that has been
filed against the crossover voting in my election, and
a special message from me.
My special message in the ad is this:
"Beware the Land of Oz. For
it is only in the land of
Oz that a handful of vainglorious men could send hundreds
of thousands of young soldiers off to fight in an illegal
war. And only in the Land of Oz can The Grand Wizard
erode basic civil rights and call it enhanced security. And
where but in Oz could a felon, convicted of lying in
public, be put in charge of Total Information Awareness? 75
million Americans had no health insurance in 2001 or
2002. Unemployment is at an 8-year high. Meanwhile,
at the Wizard's court, men of dubious reputation gorge
themselves at the people's expense. Expose the Grand
Wizard; this is our America,
Now, just a few days ago, I received
a message through the ad agency placing the ad that
before The New York
Times will run it, I need to prove that what I say
about Oz is true. Can you believe. . . The
New York Times is fact-checking cartoons now?
Or is it just this cartoon?
They didn't bother to fact-check their story about me
that's recounted in Greg Palast's book, "The Best
Democracy Money Can Buy." They just printed lies
about me in an effort to make sure that a black Republican
woman from New York City who is anti-affirmative action
and anti-reparations would sit at the table of the Congressional
Black Caucus and represent you in Washington, DC.
In 1776, it was King George III
who drove the titans of the American colony to write
our Declaration of Independence. They
wrote that there are certain unalienable rights and that
it is the responsibility of government to protect, preserve,
and promote these rights. However, in the words of its
"when a long train of
abuses and usurpations, . . . evinces a design to
reduce [a people to life] under absolute Despotism,
it is their
right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government,
and to provide new Guards for their future security."
And with that, a rebellion became a revolution.
My mother didn't want me to give this speech tonight. I'm
sure it's hard for her to read the terrible things the
corporate press and right-wing activists write about
In today's America,
she's right. I will probably get in trouble for what
I've said to you tonight. But it won't be the first
time I get in trouble for telling the truth. And I'll
continue to tell the truth. As I have said before, I
won't sit down and I won't shut up.
I agree with Dead Prez: We need
And it needs to start with us.
Thank you so much for inviting me to
be with you tonight.
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