The Scott Helmer Show • ORIGINAL AIR DATE: Monday, June 19, 2017
GUEST: Cynthia McKinney
Cynthia McKinney has become an internationally renowned human rights activist because of her readiness to step into the line of fire in order to achieve her goals. Cynthia has been stranded in international waters and rescued by the Lebanese Navy as she attempted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the besieged people of Gaza during Israel’s 22-day military attack on Gaza, Palestine–Operation Cast Lead. Also as a result of her activism around Israel/Palestine issues, she served 7 days in an Israeli prison for attempting to deliver school supplies to Gaza’s children in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead.
Cynthia had traveled to Libya just days before U.S./NATO operations against that country. After the outbreak of actual bombing of that country, Cynthia assembled a team of journalists and took them to Libya to report the truth as opposed to the war propaganda that the world’s people–especially inside the United States–were being fed. Cynthia reported on many war crimes from the U.S./NATO operation against Libya and noted that she could taste the grit of the bunker busters as they pounded that African country’s soil. Cynthia’s book, “Illegal War On Libya” is a report on Libya before, during, and after the bombing from people who were familiar with or traveled to that country with Cynthia.
Cynthia recently completed a fact-finding mission to Syria to understand the complexities of the push for U.S. war against that country. Her report on Syria will be forthcoming.
Cynthia was recently invited to speak at a Conference sponsored by IBON International, a human rights organization headquartered in the Philippines. Many heroes of the Philippine Independence Movement were there as well as international leaders of the Kurdish and Tamil human rights movements.
Cynthia McKinney served twelve years as a Member of the United States Congress House of Representatives. She was elected six times by the people of the State of Georgia.
Cynthia exposed corruption in Washington, D.C. and did not hesitate to hold responsible position holders accountable. Her questioning of Donald Rumsfeld on fiscal responsibility and the tragic events of September 11th has become legendary. Video of Cynthia can be found here. As a Member of Congress, Cynthia challenged then-Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff to tell the truth about his failures as an important leader in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She challenged the Africa Policies of both George W. Bush’s Secretary of State Colin Powell as well as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Cynthia thinks the public has a right to know what its government does in its name using its tax dollars. Therefore, she has consistently sought to release records pertaining to the surveillance and murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as Tupac Shakur. Cynthia has studied the U.S. government’s organized efforts to quash dissent during the 1960s and 1970s in its CounterIntelligence Program (known as COINTELPRO) and in the findings of assassination attempts against foreign leaders (among other things) contained in the Church Committee Reports. Cynthia continues to contribute to the scholarship on these important issues in her work researching COINTELPRO against the American Indian Movement, the Black Panther Party, and the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. Cynthia believes that while COINTELPRO might have ended, U.S. government surveillance on its own people did not. Her thoughts have been vindicated by recent revelations by Eric Snowden of National Security Agency wiretapping practices.
As a Member of Congress, Cynthia tackled tough domestic and international issues. At home, Cynthia became the tireless defender of her constituents in Georgia as well as the poor, the middle class, farmers, students, and veterans. And she produced results.
While regularly feeding the homeless families on Atlanta’s streets, Cynthia discovered the sad fact that a sizable proportion of U.S. homeless are veterans. This caused her to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that her veteran constituents were receiving their fair share of benefits. Cynthia is also responsible for the 25-year extension of Agent Orange benefits to Vietnam War era veterans.
Cynthia authored the legislation that authorized the disparity study that found that Black farmers in the United States had suffered intentional and willful discrimination for generations. Cynthia continues to work with the farmers as they seek delayed justice.
She brought back to her constituents over $300 million for senior citizen housing, transportation, MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), GRTA (the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority) HOV lane construction through DeKalb and Rockdale Counties, sound barrier construction along I-20 interstate highway, community recreation and arts facilities, and a national heritage designation for Arabia Mountain.
Cynthia tackled unethical mining operations in her State and was able to recover increased revenues for landowners affected by the international corporations that operated kaolin mines in Georgia. She worked until her constituents in Augusta, Georgia received much-needed medical attention when she learned that they were dying from exposure to arsenic and other toxins. She successfully got transplants for people about to die. She worked with the Clinton Administration to get entire neighborhoods in Savannah, Georgia moved away from toxic exposure and continual flooding. And, in a district with active Ku Klux Klan membership, Cynthia worked unceasingly to bring people together. One small-town mayor whispered in Cynthia’s ear in surprise that she had even “brought the Klan in” to her UNITY Receptions that Cynthia regularly held throughout her District.
Cynthia served four years in the Georgia General Assembly as a Member of the Georgia House of Representatives. While there, she became known nationally as a forceful opponent of war and injustice and a persuasive proponent of peace, human and earth dignity, and civil rights.
Cynthia has the distinction of having served as a juror on the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Palestine and of working with: Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s Perdana Global Peace Foundation, the Brussels Tribunal on Iraq, and a successful effort in Spain to indict and hold accountable soldiers of the Rwandan Patriotic Army who committed genocide against Congolese citizens inside Democratic Republic of Congo.
Cynthia has won many awards and continues her human rights activism around the world.
Cynthia is a bicycle enthusiast who wants to find more riding opportunities while looking forward to another cross-country ride with Bike4Peace.
Cynthia is currently working on her dissertation in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change.
In 2015, Cynthia completed her Dissertation on the transformational leadership of Hugo Chavez and was awarded a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change. Her dissertation can be downloaded from Antioch University’s Ph.D. in Leadership and Change Dissertation Repository here.