Atlanta Journal Constitution Smears McKinney
Atlanta Journal Constitution Smears McKinney Over Vague Terrorist Donations - Ignores Established Republican Case - A Republic in Peril
In what is has become a down-to-the-wire race to determine the fate of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, has resurrected innuendo-like charges implying that somehow McKinney is a supporter of terrorism. These implied connections are reminiscent of the vigorous effort by the FBI and ruling elites to portray Martin Luther King as a Communist protégé when, in fact, years later U.S. Congressional investigations disclosed that all of those supposed Communist connections had originated from within the FBI and had no basis in fact.
McKinney did receive campaign donations from people who have been connected to terrorist support groups. So have the Republicans in a much harder case. [See Guardian story below]. That is not the point. No politician has ever been asked, or expected to run a background check on every campaign donor. That's nonsense. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has shown its stripes by glossing over the case of the Safa Trust, a significant donor to the Republican Party and supporter of the Bush Administration that was targeted earlier this year by the FBI and described as being a money laundering operation for terrorist groups that actually shared office space with Republican Party operatives.
That such tactics are being resorted to, less than three weeks before a primary election which will determine McKinney's fate, is an indicator of the desperation and deception that vested interests will go to make McKinney an object lesson. Her fearless and vindicated questioning about the events of 9/11, her unpartisan support of human rights issues, her refusal to worship the sacred cows and pork of Washington, and her symbolic position on Capitol Hill make her Political Enemy Number One for the corporate, financial and political interests that are trying so hard to silence nascent dissent over 9/11.
As a dark night of repression tries to settle down on what remains of a great nation - where the administration threatens lawmakers with polygraph examinations and a CIA official has said that SWAT teams should be sent into the homes of journalists - Cynthia McKinney's survival on August 20th would lend broad hope and courage to all who are asking deep questions about economic, political, and moral corruption. Her defeat would likely suck the air from the lungs of a movement that is just beginning to learn how to walk. It would almost certainly suck the life out of a dying republic.
Michael C. Ruppert
Publisher/Editor "From The Wilderness" http://www.fromthewilderness.com
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 8/3/02 ]
Some McKinney donors probed for terror ties DeKalb Democrat said unaware any donors might support terror
By BILL TORPY Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
Rep. Cynthia McKinney is backed by many Islamic individuals and groups.
Rep. Cynthia McKinney's re-election campaign has accepted contributions from several people who have come under federal investigation for suspected links to Middle Eastern terrorists or have voiced support for extremist groups.
The outspoken DeKalb County Democrat, a frequent critic of U.S. Middle East policy, has long drawn Arab and Muslim financial support. Most of McKinney's individual donors listed on disclosure reports in 2001 and this year have Arabic names and live out of state.
According to a review of federal campaign disclosure records, they include:
Abdurahman Alamoudi, leader of a Muslim organization, who during a 2000 rally outside the White House expressed support for the violent Palestinian group Hamas and for Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite party linked to bombings. The controversy surrounding his comments caused Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and George W. Bush's presidential campaign to return his contributions.
A professor who was jailed in 1998 on contempt charges for refusing to answer a grand jury's questions about alleged money-laundering links to Hamas.
Five businessmen whose homes or businesses were searched in March during an FBI raid investigating financial links to terrorism. Another was an officer in one of the groups under investigation, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
Bill Banks, manager of McKinney's re-election campaign, said this week that the congresswoman was not aware that any of her donors might support terrorist activities, or have ties to organizations involved with terrorism.
The McKinney campaign reported most of those contributions as having come Sept. 11, the date of the terror attacks in New York and Washington. But Banks said the campaign had organized a fund-raiser a few days before Sept. 11 and the donations collected were coincidentally recorded on that date.
FEC spokeswoman Kelly Huff said the date listed on disclosure reports is supposed to be, by law, the date the campaign received the money. But FEC officials said it was up to the campaign to document the proper date.
McKinney campaign coordinator Wendell Muhamad downplayed the FBI investigations of the donors, saying the agency historically has hounded minorities and is now targeting Muslims and people with Arab names.
"They're doing stuff like they did in the '60s to Dr. [Martin Luther] King," said Muhamad. "These are American citizens learning to use their money like the very small population which sways a lot of opinion with their money -- the Jewish community. That's the American way."
Banks said the campaign accepted contributors' money believing "in good faith that they are law-abiding citizens. If you did an investigation of everyone who gave money, people would stop giving."
McKinney is locked in what a poll released this week shows to be a virtual dead heat against former DeKalb County State Court Judge Denise Majette in the Aug. 20 Democratic primary. Majette declined to comment Friday on McKinney's fund-raising.
McKinney caused a tempest earlier this year by suggesting President Bush knew the Sept. 11 attacks were coming but did nothing so his associates could make money in the ensuing war. And last October, she also caused controversy for apologizing to a Saudi prince whose $10 million donation for terror victims was rejected by New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The prince had laid part of the blame for the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. policy. The following week, McKinney collected $32,150 in a fund-raiser, her best fund-raising day in 2001.
McKinney's support for Arab causes is well known. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an Islamic advocacy group whose director was named on the Sept. 11 listing as giving McKinney $500, recently asked members to support her. "She is our strategic choice. Pro-Muslim candidate. Supporter of Palestinian state for over seven years. Against secret evidence. Against aid to Israel."
Steven Emerson, who runs a private counterterrorist institute in Washington, called McKinney's contributors "the A list of militant Islamic front groups." Two years ago, Emerson warned a Senate committee about increasing terrorist activity in America, sometimes in the name of charity.
Alamoudi, the president of the American Muslim Foundation who expressed support for Hamas and Hezbollah, gave the maximum allowable contribution of $2,000.
Clinton, then a Democratic Senate candidate in New York, returned the $1,000 Alamoudi gave her after her opponent called the donation "blood money." Her spokesman, explaining the decision to return the money, said, "Hillary is a strong supporter of peace and security for Israel." Reps. James Moran (D-Va.) and David Bonior (D-Mich.), Republican Senate candidate John Sununu of New Hampshire and the Bush presidential campaign all have returned Alamoudi's contributions since last fall.
Alamoudi did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Another donor, Abdelhaleem Ashqar, now a Howard University professor, who gave $250, was jailed for six months in 1998 after refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating money laundering in the United States by Hamas. Ashqar told the grand jury that he would not testify because the information would be "used against my friends, family and colleagues in the Palestinian liberation movement." He was never charged with a crime and did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Six of McKinney's donors were officers with companies and organizations that are under investigation.
On March 20 and 21, Treasury agents served warrants on the Herndon Va.-based Saar Foundation, Safa Trust, the International Institute of Islamic Thought and 13 other locations. The groups are part of a Saudi-based financial empire that U.S. investigators say has handled $1.7 billion since the mid-1990s, allegedly sending some of it to groups that authorities have linked to terrorists, The Washington Post reported. No charges have been filed in that investigation.
Listed as McKinney donors on Sept. 11 are M. Yaqub Mirza, Mohamed Omeish and Ahmad Totonji.
Federal agents in March searched the offices of Mirza, who contributed $500. The former president of Saar, Mirza was the central figure in the interlocking multinational corporations being investigated. He is the president of Mar-Jac, which includes investment firms and a North Georgia poultry plant, which also was searched in March. He did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Omeish is president of Success Foundation, a refugee relief organization whose office was searched in March. He is listed as having given $500. Omeish said investigators returned computers taken from his office.
Totonji, founder of Saar and the IIIT, gave $1,000. Federal agents carted away numerous computers from his offices in the March raid.
Two weeks later, on Sept. 26, Jamal Barzinji, Taha Alalwani of Herndon, Va., and Hisham Al Talib of California all gave $500 to McKinney's campaign, according to FEC records.
Barzinji, a business associate of Mirza's, is also president of Mar-Jac Poultry in Gainesville.
Alalwani is a founder of the IIIT and Al Talib, was the treasurer for Safa and the IIIT vice president.
[NOW, THE GUARDIAN STORY]
FBI raids pro-Republicans
Duncan Campbell in Los Angeles Monday March 25, 2002
The target of an anti-terrorist raid in the United States last week provided funds for an Islamic group with close ties to the Republican party and the White House.
The Safa trust, a Saudi-backed charity, has provided funds for a political group called the Islamic Institute, which was set up to mobilise support for the Republican party. It shares an office in Washington with the Republican activist Grover Norquist.
The institute, founded in 1999 to win influence in the Republican party, has helped to arrange meetings between senior Bush officials and Islamic leaders, according to the report in Newsweek magazine. Its s chairman, Khaled Saffuri, and Mr Norquist cooperated to arrange the meetings.
The trust gave $20,000 (£14,000) to the institute, which also received $20,000 from a board member of the Success Foundation, according to the report. The institute has also received money from abroad, including$200,000 from Qatar and $55,000 from Kuwait. The institute says that none of the money came with strings attached.
Mr Norquist, who is a member of the institute's board, said that it existed "to promote democracy and free markets. Any effort to imply guilt by association is incompetent McCarthyism".
It is understood that a series of raids last week were prompted by the transfer of funds from the Safa trust and other groups to accounts based in the Isle of Man. They have not led to any charges.
Islamic groups have complained that many of the raids being carried out on Islamic organisations are speculative and violate their civil liberties.
In another development, the possibility that one of the September 11 hijackers had been exposed to anthrax has been explored by the FBI.
A Florida doctor who treated Ahmed Ibrahim al-Haznawi for a leg wound last summer concluded that the likeliest cause of the injury was cutaneous anthrax. But the FBI said yesterday that it had found no evidence of a link between the hijackers and anthrax.
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