Cynthia McKinney may be on her way back to Congress: The fringe ideologue ousted from the House of Representatives by Democratic primary voters back in 2002 is now one of the leaders in the race for her old seat.
Denise Majette, the woman who beat McKinney in that race in Georgia's Fourth District, has chosen to run for U.S. Senate rather than seek reelection to the House, and the latest polls show McKinney, who held the seat from 1992-2002, in a virtual dead heat with state Sen. Liane Levetan for the Democratic nomination.
And 70 percent of the district's voters are Democrats, so the July 20 primary (plus any runoff election) is the real fight.
McKinney won a national reputation of sorts with her incendiary statements on everything from 9/11 (suggesting that the Bush administration knew of the attacks in advance) to the American Jewish lobby (which she blamed for her 2002 loss to Majette).
Plus, McKinney has long associated with militant Islamic groups whose members have openly supported terrorism. She has also taken donations from individuals suspected of terrorist ties.
* In 2000-'01, she got $3,000 from Abdurrahman Alamoudi, founder of the Washington-based American Muslim Council.
In October 2003, Alamoudi was arrested and charged with engaging in illegal financial transactions with the Libyan government. Court documents allege he's given financial backing to Hamas and al Qaeda. He is also cooperating with the FBI regarding his role in a conspiracy, allegedly headed by Libya's Col. Moammar Khadafy, to murder Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.
* In 2000, she got $1,000 from Sami Al-Arian and $1,000 more from his wife. Al-Arian is the former University of South Florida professor who was indicted last year on charges that he served as North American leader of the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
* McKinney has also accepted substantial donations from individuals linked to the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the Benevolence International Foundation and the Global Relief Foundation — three Muslim "charitable" organizations now labeled Specially Designated Global Terrorist entities by the U.S. Treasury Department.
But McKinney hasn't just taken money from radical Islamists — she has taken to the floor of the House to defend them:
In a 2001 speech, McKinney called Rabih Haddad "a prominent community leader and religious cleric."
Haddad was deported to Lebanon from the United States in 2003. He's a co-founder of the aforementioned Global Relief Foundation, which the Treasury Department has said provided financial support to al Qaeda.
Treasury has also noted that Haddad worked for Makhtab al-Khidamat (MAK) in Pakistan in the early 1990s. MAK was a precursor organization to al Qaeda that was co-founded by Osama bin Laden.
McKinney's defense of Haddad comes as no surprise, given her 2001 vote against the Iran-Libyan Sanctions Act — which passed by a 409-6 margin and was designed to punish Iran and Libya for supporting terrorism — and her past pandering to Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
In a much-publicized 2001 incident, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani turned down a $10 million gift to the city from bin Talal after the prince implied that U.S. policy in the Middle East was to blame for the 9/11 attacks. Shortly thereafter, McKinney wrote a letter to bin Talal apologizing for Giuliani's actions and saying that she was "disappointed" that Giuliani had declined bin Talal's "generous offer."
When it comes to blaming America first, McKinney has few equals. In September 2001, she refused to join the U.S. delegation in walking out of the rabidly anti-American and anti-Semitic "World Conference Against Racism" in Durban, South Africa. Instead, she issued a press release calling her country's behavior at the conference "obnoxious."
McKinney has complained that "thousands of Muslims and Arab Americans . . . have been detained on secret evidence, no evidence, no charges," as a result of the War on Terror. She's also blamed American sanctions for causing "the death of over one million innocent Iraqis."
Extremism runs in her family. Following her August 2002 defeat, her father, Billy McKinney, attributed the loss to the fact that "Jews have bought everybody. J-E-W-S."
The elder McKinney's hostile attitude towards Jews may help explain his daughter's support of the Palestinian intifada, which she has deemed "a great struggle."
With the United States in the midst of a war for its very survival, Georgians — and all Americans — can ill afford the return to office of someone so sympathetic to our terrorist enemies.