Cindy Sheehan: Corrupt Elections R US(a) – Interview With Cynthia McKinney


What follows is my edited (for length) interview with former Congressional Representative and Green Party Candidate for President in 2012, Cynthia McKinney.
I interviewed Cynthia in a warm studio in Atlanta, Georgia in the summer of 2009—but the interview below is still relevant and fascinating. Cynthia and I are very comfortable with each other and I hope her humanity can shine up from the page to your eyes and into your heart.
Cynthia has been in Libya on a fact-finding mission to discover, then reveal to us what is really behind the US-NATO bombardment of Libya—I encourage all to go here to read her reports.
I supported Cynthia when she ran for president in 2008—and voting for her was the 2nd proudest vote I ever cast (voting for myself for Congress edged Cynthia out a wee bit), and every day that she is dodging bombs, or demonization campaigns, working for peace and justice makes me even more proud of her and relieved that I voted for such a courageous, compassionate and intelligent person—not the dog and pony show we currently have “running” this nation. Obama, like the one before him, plays fast and loose with facts, and the children of others.
In case you couldn’t figure it out:
Cs=me, Cindy Sheehan
Cm=Cynthia McKinney
The Interview
Cs: Cynthia, thank you so much for agreeing to be a part of our documentary (now, book).
Cm: Cindy, you are my friend, you are my inspiration, and you are my leader.
Cs: Likewise. So, when we started getting into Venezuela electoral fraud, we wanted to talk to somebody about US electoral fraud and you were our first choice. We’re really happy that you were available to do this.
One of the things that the ruling class of the world, not just the US, will say about Pres Chavez is that he is illegitimate because there is election fraud in Venezuela and that they fix the elections. We know that elections have been fixed since the beginning of time, no matter how hard you try to make them legitimate, there’s always some way to mess around with them. But people like yourself, and Robert Kennedy Jr., Bev Harris, Bob Fitrakis in Ohio, Greg Palast, you’ve brought to light the overt electoral fraud here in the United States, especially in 2000 and 2004, and not only is there election fraud but there’s just millions of instances I think of disfranchisement of people of color voting. Could you detail some of the abuses of not only electoral fraud in the United States but disenfranchisement?
CM: I think we really have to start with the founding fathers, who felt that the people who look like me were only 3/5 of a person to be counted.
Cs: I wasn’t even in the Constitution.
Cm: That’s exactly right.
Cs: People that look like me weren’t even in the Constitution
Cm: So, we begin with an imperfect democracy, and we have to understand that, and the challenge of various movements in our country has been to perfect our union and so of course we have had women who fought for probably 75 or 80 years for the right to be able to cast a vote. And we have black people whose struggle for the right to vote is legendary, and most recently we have our more recent immigrants who have come to this country who are language minorities, and they too have had to struggle to be included in our representative government.
So, with an imperfect foundation, what are some of the manifestations we have seen recently that would give us pause as we say we are going out into the world to bring democracy to the rest of the world? Well of course we can’t take democracy anywhere if we don’t have it at home. You have to have it to share it. And we don’t have it. Why do I say that?
Not only because of those people who were never included in the idea of enfranchisement, of the founding fathers, but the whole struggle to include people from every shape and language and color and hue and ethnicity so that they could have a place in our republic.
Now, in 2000 I guess you can say that was almost the pinnacle of disfranchisement, because you had a group of people to sit in a room and decide whose vote was going to be counted and whose vote was not going to be counted. Who was going to be allowed to vote and who was not going to be allowed to vote, and who was going to win the election, and who was going to be prevented from winning an election. All that came about in the 2000 election for president and there, on the backs, really of black people’s hopes and aspirations and frustrations, where black people almost had a 100% turn out in Florida.
They (black voters) were angry, because Jeb Bush was the governor and he had designed a program to do away, to get rid of affirmative action, so black people were angry and said “We’re going to show George W. Bush,” and so you had the kind of participation rates that you’ve never had. You had them in Florida. And it just so happened that it was in Florida that the massive disfranchisement of the black voter took place
Cs: How did that happen? How did they do that?
Cm: Well basically somebody somewhere decided they would use the convicted felon’s lack of voting rights to their advantage, to the Republican Party’s advantage. We know that we’ve got social injustice, criminal injustice that’s administered by the justice department in our country, so therefore blacks bare the brunt of this problem of convicted felons.
And because the majority of those people who in certain states convicted felons cannot vote, and therefore Florida happened to be one of those states, so what happened was the states where there were republican governors sent their lists of convicted felons to Florida, which had Jeb Bush, George W Bush’s brother as its governor, so you had Christy Todd Whitman from New Jersey send down her list of convicted felons. You had George W. Bush who was the governor of Texas send over his list. You had the Ohio list come down to Florida. All these Republicans are sending over these names of convicted felons. But guess what? That was against the law, but they did it anyway—and got completely away with it.
Cs: I understand that even people with similar names, got their name crossed off the Florida voting roles
Cm: That’s right, so James Smith, who was a convicted felon in Ohio, became a convicted felon in Florida. So when James Smith, in Florida, who is not the convicted felon in Ohio, decides that he wants to go and vote because he wants to show George W. Bush a thing or two, when he arrives at the voting place Mr. Smith is told, “You’re a convicted felon, and you can’t vote.”
This is Election Day, there’s nothing that Mr. Smith can do about it. Well, there should have been something that he could do, and that’s what we saw in 2004. There’s something called a provisional ballot, so then if Mr. Smith goes to the polling place and they tell him, “well you’re a convicted felon,” but Mr. Smith says, “I am not a convicted felon, I want to vote,” then he’s supposed to be given a provisional ballot on which to vote.
The only problem is, the provisional ballot didn’t count.
Cs: Was that in the Help America Vote Act?
Cm: Yes, which is what funded the electronic voting machines, which is another layer in the way in which voters in the United States were disfranchised. Now it starts out that you’re targeting the black vote for disfranchisement, those people in 2000 were going to make sure they have machines that don’t work, were going to make sure that they don’t have enough machines, were going to make sure they had confusing looking ballots, anything that could confuse the voter, that was done in 2000. In fact, including dispatching police to the precincts so they would establish roadblocks and check points.
Now if you happen to have an outstanding warrant, or some reason that you would not want to pass by the police, then you can’t go to vote, because that’s where the police are. All of this was done in 2000. But it wasn’t just done in Florida; it was done all over the country. But, people paid attention to Florida because of the Electoral College, which is another way voters in the United States, are disfranchised; it all came down to Florida and the electoral votes in Florida.
Cs: Tell us why the 2000 vote in Florida was so important to black people.
Cm: I don’t want to say black people were agitated; they were motivated, they were motivated for various reasons; first of all, you also had the upcoming, in 2001, Durbin World Conference Against Racism. So you had various organizations all over the United States that were connecting with each other.
You had the black community connecting with the Latinos and the Native Americans and the Asians and the progressive whites, we were all working together, building towards the 2001 Durbin World Conference, and then they were also able to feel empowered because they were working with the African continent, they were working with Europeans who were very supportive at a certain level, not at the governmental level but at a certain level, the grass roots level, they were very supportive.
People in Asia were supportive, and the indigenous people, they were supportive throughout Latin America. So there was this synergism and that was very, very real all over the United States. That was one thing. Then, there was also the fervor that had been particularly directed toward the people in Florida, because George W. Bush’s brother was the governor of Florida.
So you’ve got the governor of Texas, and his brother is the governor of Florida, now Texas is like number two or three most populace state in the country, and you’ve got Florida which like number three or four most populace state in the country, so you’ve got one family controlling at least two of the top five states in the entire United States. Jeb Bush had done the race politics and was trying to erase affirmative action and the black community was very motivated to show George W. Bush that not only are we going to show you a thing or two, but we’re going to get rid of your brother come next election.
Cs: A lot of people, even so-called progressives, especially Democrats, want to blame Ralph Nader for Gore’s loss in Florida. Can you dispel that myth for this documentary?
Cm: Well, you know, the Democrats have a vested interest in blaming someone else, because the voters that are most loyal to the democratic party are black voters, and it was black voters who were completely disfranchised in Florida, and it was on the black vote and the denial of the black vote that George Bush schemed his way along with those around him in the Republican party, to the White House.
Then the Democratic Party had something to say about a stolen election. But guess what? They didn’t say anything. You had the person who lost the election, (who actually won the election), Gore. Gore told people, don’t protest, and when Gore had the opportunity to say let’s recount the entire state of Florida, and then they would have found the tens of thousands of black votes that were never even counted, Gore just said, “let’s pick this precinct and this precinct and this precinct”, so it was a token effort.
The people, who were really left holding the bag, were the black voters who supported Al Gore. So, black voters were stabbed in the back by the Democratic Party.
Now the Democratic Party can’t say: “we’re sorry, we didn’t do what we should have done,” they can’t say that, because they rely on the black vote exclusively.
You see this at the time of the redistricting, when the Democratic Party in particular wants to have enough blacks in a district so they can win, but not enough blacks so they can have self-determination in that district. (This is the game that will be played out in the next few years as we go through the census and reapportionment and redistricting.) And the Democratic Party didn’t do that. The Democratic Party allowed the theft by the failure to count black votes to stand.

So they (Democrats) look for someone else to blame. And of course, there’s the third party candidacy of Ralph Nader, so they like to blame Ralph Nader. The fact of the matter is, if all of the votes in Florida alone had been counted, if they had just demanded that the black votes be counted, Al Gore would have won Florida, and he would have won the election. It’s on the Democrats that they let down their most loyal voters, and they let down the country, and as a result of George W. Bush’s policies: the Democrats let the world down.

Cs: Absolutely, like you said, in 2000 all of these things occurred all over the country, but the focus was on Florida, and some of them, like the provisional ballot, were in place by 2004, but by then, the damage had been done.
Cm: The damage had been done.
And, if you look at, this is one of the things that I like to say is that in the 2004 election we had the introduction of the electronic voting machines.
Well, of course my home state of Georgia was the very first state to roll out these electronic voting machines from Diebold. The interesting thing is that approximately 80% of votes that are cast in the United States are cast on either Diebold or ES&S machines: these are electronic voting machines.
Interestingly, though, Diebold is founded by one Urosevich brother, and ES&S is founded by the other Urosevich brother. So basically you’ve got in the hands of one family 80% of vote counting in the United States. Isn’t that amazing?
Now in my 2006 election, I, well, the electronic voting machines broke down in the middle of the night, and of course I never regained the lead. But more than that, we were able to obtain affidavits from voters all over the state of Georgia who voted in my election. The interesting thing about that though is I only run in a district, a very compact, at that time, a very compact district.
Cs: But people from all over the state voted in your election, against you?
Cm: Well we don’t know because when we went to court to get the election data to see how those votes were counted, how they were treated, the court ruled that Diebold owned the election data.
Diebold is the electronic voting machine company and they, even though it’s a public contract paid for by taxpayers, they owned the election data. So there’s no way to find out why the Fourth Congressional district race showed up on a screen in Atlanta, which is not in the fourth congressional district.
Cs: Did you, were other races, were people able to vote in other districts, like were people in the fourth district able to vote in the third district races?
Cm: We have no way of knowing exactly what happened because Diebold has the election data.
Cs: Just the affidavits from the people from other districts that say they voted in yours?
Cm: That’s exactly right, and we have people who voted for me, and we have people who voted against me, and they contacted us and said well you know, we don’t think it’s right.
Cs: You’re damn right it wasn’t right.
Cm: And when they called us and said I was in the run-off, they said well we voted for you in the primary but now you’re not on the ballot for the run-off. We called those phantom votes, because they appeared one way but they disappeared in the runoff. And you know what the expert witnesses for the state said in court? That we have to “trust” them.
Cs: So, what you’re saying is that the Secretary of State or the county Election Office does not own that data? The voting data–Diebold owns it?
Cm: That’s exactly what I’m saying. If you ask for the election data, then the county and the Secretary of State’s office kicks the request over to Diebold and Diebold has the, since they own it, they have the discretion as to whether or not to turn that information over, and of course they say they can’t turn it over because it’s proprietary.
Cs: Wow, wow, no, it sounds like it’s public information!
Cm: It should be public information, and then on top of all of that, what we have are poor election administrators. They don’t know when a machine is malfunctioning during the voting process or not, so you could have a machine that is not even calibrated at zero at the beginning of the day, you have these machines that are vulnerable to hacking. You could walk in with a Blackberry and do a little this and that and you can change the vote tabulation literally right there.
At the end of the day the machines are all hooked up to telephone lines. Now guess what, telephone lines allow the hacking to occur as well. I’ve participated with Bev Harris in several experiments where literally before our eyes we saw the election data change the tabulation because of outside interference.
Now, if we add to that a very real situation that happened in 2004, and that is that in the presidential election, the vote counting and tabulation took place on Republican owned machines. So, if you privatize your democracy, then you’ve basically placed the right of representation and the right of self-determination in the hands of private corporations. That is what the people of the United States have done.
Cs: It sounds not like a democracy but fascism.
Cm: And the Democratic Party is part and parcel of the problem because even though they have a majority and have had a majority since 2007 they have done nothing to insure election integrity.
Cs: Right, and also, in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 the Secretaries of State were both chairmen of the Republican parties in their separate states.
Cm: That’s exactly right, so in Ohio you had the man, Blackwell, and in Florida you had Catherine Harris, and I served with her in the House, and she was rewarded for stealing the election with a Congressional seat. Because I did an investigation to expose, you know we brought Choice Points Vice president in and made him swear, then that’s how we found out just exactly the mechanism they use, and in fact, as I recall, what the VP told us was that the State of Florida asked for an inaccurate list—they asked Choice Point to give them a list that wasn’t accurate so they could have the discretion to deny rightfully registered people the right to vote. It’s all a plan.
Cs: Yeah, for sure, and you know, they’re just playing these games with people’s lives.
Cm: Yes, they are. Choice Point was also involved in the election theft in Mexico, so that the correct choice of the Mexican people was denied the opportunity to serve as the head of state. And instead they put Calderon in there who was supposed to deliver the electricity grid and Pemex, the oil, Pemex an oil company over to US corporations. But when they’re election was stolen, Mexico city was shut down for six months and they formed a shadow government and that shadow government held elections and did everything
Cs: Yes, they called it the “legitimate government,” but when our elections are stolen we just go, “oh well. That’s the way things go.” I really admire the people of Mexico; I think they’re really radical.
Well, speaking of Mexico, Venezuela also votes on voting machines. However, when they vote the person gets a receipt. The person checks the receipt and makes sure everything that he or she voted for is correct, and then it goes into a ballot box to be audited if there’s a need for that. You know, even if it’s not the ideal system, it’s better than the system in place in many places in the United States.
Cm: Well, we could have had that.
There was a gentleman by the name of Athan Gibbs, he was from Tennessee, black man by the way, an accountant, so he understood that you had to have first, second, third ways in which to verify the numbers you were getting were accurate.
He (Gibbs) came up with a system, that I believe was open source as well, so there was none of this proprietary this and proprietary that. Basically he was able to provide a receipt, and that receipt was auditable, but of course your vote was still anonymous, and the interesting thing about Athan Gibbs, was he came to Georgia, I had him here, I was fascinated, he was trying to get the contract really for Georgia, which was the first one to introduce these Diebold voting machines in the country, and he didn’t get the contract. I had introduced him to the appropriate people at the Secretary of State’s office and he didn’t get the contract, but of course Diebold had lobbying muscle and they had actually hired the previous Secretary of State, so, of course, they had that kind of muscle and Athan Gibbs just had an interesting machine.
Interesting thing happens, I’m out in California, and I get a phone call, Athan Gibbs is dead. How in the world, what happened, because I had asked Athan to come to California with me to demonstrate his machines? The very next week he was to go to Ohio to testify that it is possible to have electronic voting machines that are accurate and that are reliable and accountable to the voter.
Cs: And he died?
Cm: Before he was able to make that testimony.
It appears that a 16-wheeler truck had been idling for quite a while, and just as Athan comes down the expressway, the road, the truck pulls out and Athan dies in a car crash. He’s not the first person though who has died in a mysterious kind of way who had information about election fraud in the United States. There was another man, who was a Republican insider, and he had information too, and he died in a plane crash.
Cs: I just got chills about that, that’s horrible.
In 2000 and 2004, voter fraud is well documented, it’s not a conspiracy theory, in Ohio there were things that happened that were statistically impossible, but of course we don’t believe in statistics or science in the US, we believe in myths, we believe in fairy tales, but what happened in 2008? Was that election stolen, you know, are our elections only stolen if a Republican wins? Or because we know most of these people who do election protection or integrity are progressives, or Democrats? So in 2008, I believe Obama got 52% and I believe McCain got around 47%, so what happened? And in this answer I want you to include what you found out in that COINTELPRO document about what was promulgated in 1965.
Cm: In 2000, we saw election fraud that was by means other than electronic voting machines. In 2004, we saw election fraud by means of electronic voting machines and other means as well. And nothing happened to change the platform on which elections are administered in our country, for the 2008 election; in fact, the insidious proprietary voting machinery was used even more widely, so therefore, if nothing was done to improve the situation, everything remains the same.
So, honestly, for the 2008 election, we can say the black vote was probably severely undercounted, as it always is, we could say that there were other votes, white votes as well, that were not counted, and therefore we still do not have an accurate count, which is the will of the people
Cs: In that year in Ohio, we heard that they’d bring in two machines…
Cm: …And you’d have 1500 people voting in that precinct
Cs: And long lines, and in white communities there’d be like 8 or 10 machines you know, no lines, so you know, besides them controlling the machines they still do stuff like that, but in 08 we don’t hear about that, not one thing.
Cm: Well we had a situation that arose in Georgia where one of our constitutional officers was on the verge of really stopping the election because of the vote flipping that was going with the voting machines in Georgia. Now can you imagine deploying a machine that can’t function in the heat, and in Georgia you’ve got 70% humidity and 90 degrees and the machines break down because of the heat. But then that particular constitutional officer was pulled off the election, so if you get the desired result, you really don’t complain.
But really the desired result ought to be an accurate reflection of the will of the people, that’s why we go to vote, and that’s called self-determination, anything that diminishes what we know the will of the people is a diminishment of our right to self-determination, and that’s a human right, and our rights are being diminished literally right before our eyes and the people who we entrust with the responsibility to look out for our interest, they really are shirking their responsibility and the only people who suffer in the end are the ones that really count.
Cs: And we know in 2000 Al Gore didn’t fight for the people, we know yourself and the black caucus were just so upset about that and tried really hard to see that all votes were counted, not just black votes, but Al Gore…
Cm: …Al Gore told Barbara Boxer who was inclined to provide the additional two hours so we could have the debate about what had happened in Florida, he told her, you know, just let it slide
Cs: Right, and there’s the famous footage in Fahrenheit 911 of you guys begging Al Gore and…
Cm: …And he’s presiding and ruling us out of order as we’re trying to fight for him.
Cs: Right, and you weren’t fighting for him…
Cm: …Right, we were fighting for the people
Cs: And in 04 Kerry just like totally caved in, he left the campaign…
Cm: …he lost before he even began the campaign, that was one of the most ludicrous examples of someone running, he said, “sure just put my name on the ballot,” that was a disservice to the people. You see, n the South, we have a little bit different view of things because down here we are accustomed to fighting the Democratic Party, because at the time of my birth the Democratic Party was a white-only party, that was their law, and if a white person wanted to participate in politics, they had to be a Republican, so we see things differently.
When the Democratic Party became the party of hope for black people then we gave all of our hope over to that party, and that was during the Civil Rights struggle. It had begun before that, with the Franklin Roosevelt Administration, with the issuance of jobs and that sort of thing, but really it was during the Civil Rights movement, and there were real victories that, well we were actually fighting the Democrats, because the Democrats in the south were Dixiecrats, they were boll weevils, they were the solid South, and the solid South at that time was a South against the idea of black voting, so really this idea of black people being so wedded to the abusive spousal relationship to the Democrats, who are still sending their children off to die in war, who are still giving money to bankers who really don’t need it, who are investing their hopes in a Social Security system and a Medicare system, but black people don’t even live long enough to take advantage of these programs.

For us, to invest all of our hope in a political party that has a multitude of interests and ours come last on the totem pole is really quite politically dysfunctional, and then we have the rise of a black candidate that talks about hope.

Cs: Well let me stop you there, because that’s kind of my question. In 2000 Gore caves, in 2004 Kerry caves with 17 million in his war chest, but here we are all over the country sending our $25, our $40 our $50 our $10s our $5s to the Green Party, to the Libertarian Party, because they’re fighting for election integrity in Ohio, Kerry’s not, the Democratic Party is not. But there are people in the party, and there are progressive people who are fighting, they’re screaming “stolen election,” were fighting for election protection, election integrity. The elite certainly are not, the oligarchy certainly is not, so this goes back to the document in 1965, and in 2008 where was the, in 2008 the Republican didn’t win, why weren’t the Republicans screaming election fraud? And why weren’t they screaming “stolen elections?”
Cm: Well the Republicans were complicit in all of this and that’s what we really have to get down to is that at a certain level there is no difference between Democrat and Republican because my experience, when I ran for Congress, of course people laughed because in Georgia it had never been done before, and it certainly wasn’t supposed to have been done by someone like me, because I’m quote “too black,” and so but the interesting lesson is that when I said “yeah” and I said “yeah, I’m gonna run,” I got treated just like the other candidates, and guess what that was?
I was given the list of Fortune 500 CEOs in Florida and I was told I had to call them and I had to make an appointment with them and I had to ask for financial support. Well, that’s very interesting, because Democrats do that, and Republicans do that, at a certain level if everyone goes to the same people and they’re asking for money from the same people, and they get the money from those people, then, hmmm?
Cs: Right, then who really controls the government and the decision making and the policy making?
Cm: Right, and we’ve seen in the policies that were supposed to have stopped in 2007 in January when Democrats gained control of the Congress, well you know, people began to say, “well, that’s George Bush’s war.” But now that we’ve done what they asked us to do, they told us to make the Congress a Democratic majority, and we did that, now we’re going to get a “peace dividend.” How long have we been waiting for the peace dividend? Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, we’ve been waiting for the peace dividend, and there’re certain people who are always able to find another enemy to suck up the taxpayer’s money, someone else to hate.
The politics of hate, the politics of war, triumph over the politics of common sense, the politics of peace, every time. So, when the Democrats got in and I was summarily kicked out, I was the only democratic incumbent to lose an election in 2006, you know that Cindy because you were with me, the only one. I did not know that I had been deemed by Rahm Emmanuel to not be a “team player.”
I didn’t know that, I did know that my Democrat primary opponent came to me and said, “it’s nothing personal Cynthia, it’s just a business deal.” I did know that, then my replacement, my Democratic replacement, was sworn in on January 20th, the first vote to fund the war came up and guess what? He voted to fund the war. But the importance of that election is this: the war-funding vote passed exactly with the number of votes required, 218. So if I had been there, somebody in the Democratic Party was counting their votes, they were counting the war votes, and they knew that I was a sure no-vote, and they had to get rid of the “no-vote” and replace it with a “yes vote,” and that’s what happened, and that’s why here today, in 2010, we’re still talking about war.
Cs: And that’s why I left the party, I left the party after that vote. So, it’s the oligarchy it’s the corporations that run our country, and we know for 8 years from 2000-2008 we had an absolute horror. Its not like George Bush or Dick Cheney invented anything that they did, they were just very arrogant about it, they were easy to hate, you know by the time their administration was over, when it first started, and when I first started, I was vilified for criticizing that administration, but by the end, it was cool to be anti-bush, anti-Cheney, anti-war, now it’s not so much any more. Now the wars are still going on, but it’s not so cool to be anti-war, we have a new president, he’s a Democrat, he’s a person of color, but I don’t think he’s a person from the people, especially his people.
Cm: I think it’s very clear that the race card was played on the people of the world, and the powers that be, and the oligarchs, when I talk about the oligarchs, I mean those are people with names, those are real people, the current economic team of President Obama is the same group of people that created the ten oligarchs in Russia that stole all of the patrimony of the Russian people…
Cs: They might as well just call it the board of Goldman Sachs.
Cm: President Obama’s economic team is the same people that created the ten oligarchs in Russia who stole the patrimony from the Russian people. Now, what do you think they’re doing to the American people? I think it’s very clear what’s being done to the American people right now. And, so, some people would say now how all of a sudden out of no where do we get a black man as the president of the United States?
Cs: 5 years from state senator to president of the United States?
Cm: Well we can even look at how many times has a person, a black person, walked into the United States senate with only nominal opposition—not that Alan Keyes isn’t a great orator—but in the grand scheme of things it’s nominal.
Cs: Well yeah, they flew him (Keyes) into Illinois to run against him (Obama).
Cm: Well now there are some of us, though, that understand what happened to say “women.” There was a time when we would vote for a woman because she was a woman. And we know a woman is going to take care of the community’s needs, and we know that the woman is going to have the family first and foremost in her heart, and she’s going to take that heart into public policy making, whether it’s the school board, the city council, or the United States Congress, or for that matter the Supreme Court of the United States, or for that matter the Secretary of State’s office. But then, those oligarchs, that financial elite, figured something out: that people were voting for women with one idea in mind, but if they could co-opt the woman, then the people could get something else in reality.
There’s a woman, June Terpstra, who wrote a piece called “Beware, the Women of the Hegemon,” and what she says is what we thought about women is really not the case, and now we’ve got a Madeleine Albright, who says it’s “ok” to murder 500,000 innocent children, it’s “ok” for US policy to do that, because the price is “worth it.” Whatever the price is they’re trying to get, it’s “worth it,” So we have these women now, who look to us as if it’s progress, it’s a special mark that now we’re going to have people who are sympathetic, we’re not going to have warmongerers in these offices, and yet they betray us,
Cs: Condileeza Rice, Hillary Clinton, my nemesis Nancy Pelosi,
Cm: That’s right, Beware the Women of the Hegemon.
Well guess what? Women aren’t unique about this, black people have known all along that there were those collaborators who would betray the community, in fact Dr. King had to confront this when he chose to expand beyond Civil Rights to opposition to the war in Vietnam. He said there are those who say, “stick to Civil Rights,” but he said he had been fighting segregation too long to segregate his moral concerns, and that, “injustice anywhere was a threat to justice everywhere.”
With that, he (King) made a point of opposing war wherever it was, of opposing injustice wherever it was, and so now there are not very many people like Dr. King.
There are some people who say, “well, now, I am going to go along to get along, I don’t mind being called a collaborator, I don’t mind being called an Uncle Tom.”
Because, you know, black people know about Uncle Tom and Aunt Jemima! They were always there to take care of the master’s business, not the people’s business. And so, out of this whole phenomenon, we can trace it back, through the government’s own documents, we can look at the writings of J. Edgar Hoover in the COINTELPRO documents.
Even before there was an FBI, J. Edgar Hoover wrote about Marcus Garvey, “he excites the negroes.” He wrote this back in 1918, he wrote a document saying it’s too bad that Marcus Garvey had not committed a crime so they could deport him, because he “excites the negroes.” That’s a direct quote: “he excites the Negroes.” So guess what J. Edgar Hoover did? He went and found a black person who could get close to Marcus Garvey, who could set him up who could win his trust, set him up on fake charges, and get him out. So that’s what happened.
So, this elaborate program was constructed to thwart dissent in our country, and it tracked and targeted every black person who “excited the Negroes.”
It tracked Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the Black Panther Party members, you name it, they were tracked and targeted. And the founding document of the counterintelligence paper says that there will “not be a black messiah.” They will not allow another black messiah to rise.
Then, when I was in Congress, I worked very closely with, well I worked on the King assassination, of course, being from Atlanta, and being supported by members of the King family.
Martin King III was a part of my support group, and his mother Coretta was also a supporter, and I basically just as a mother was trying to understand why it was so difficult for my son to have black male role models that thought like me, and why it was my followers in politics and why it was so difficult for him, but those people who always seem to sell out the black community never had opposition, always had money in their campaign coffers, what was going on? And that’s how I stumbled on the COINTELPRO papers. The book was by Ward Churchill…
Cs: …who has also been thoroughly demonized by the elite?
Cm: That’s exactly right, and all of those original United States government documents are there. So I began to get the full view of what our government was actually capable of. It was capable of doing remarkable things like rendering a Supreme Court decision…well it could do remarkable things in the opposite direction like Plessy Vs. Ferguson, or it could do remarkable things in the right direction like Brown Vs. Board of Education.
We had a government that could deliver the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act, that could respond to the push that the people were giving it, that the people were demanding, it could respond to the people’s demands, and even with the Vietnam War there was a real push even from inside the US military to stop this war.
The counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) showed the other side of that. That there were people inside the government contemplating ways they could disrupt people’s marriages, they could break into people’s homes to see what kind of projects they were working on. They could set people up with false accusations and imprison them for life. They could even orchestrate the murder of people. This is what my government with my parents’ tax dollars was doing, so I worked very closely with people in the Freedom of Information Act community and they would file these FOIA requests and get these documents. So I learned even more than what was revealed in the COINTELPRO papers.
One of the documents that was given to me by one of these researchers was a CIA document that had a stamp on it that said somewhere at the top there “must a Negro who is clean,” who can step into the vacuum of chaos once Dr. King is exposed or assassinated.
Basically this May 11. 1965 document, three years before the murder of Dr. King, was spelling out regime change in black America.
Now we know regime change is something that happened with Patrice Lumumba, and that our own president of the US said it was “ok” to murder an African head of state. We know these things about targeted assassinations, we even know they exist now even more commonly then back then and there has been this prohibition by the United States government to actually assassinate people.
There was this document, and this document basically spelled out to me, regime change. They were serious when they said there would never be another messiah for black people, unless that messiah was preselected by them. That’s the importance of the May 11, 1965 document.
So, then there’s a community of people who have been studying this, these COINTELPRO documents for a long time in the black community, and they’ve been trying to figure out because of course the names are blacked out, who these agents of repression of their own people were. There’s a lot of discussion in the black community of who these people are. But, what I think is important for us to understand is they were preparing themselves to play the race card when they needed it.
Cs: to get more people reinvested into the system. So, without me knowing any of this before this interview, that was my impression. My impression was by the end of the Bush administration, he had about a 23% approval rating. Many people were waking up to the fact that this government, except in the rare cases that you mentioned, most of the time works against us, for itself, for the oligarchy, I think. And there’s still a lot of progressives today like, 16 months (29 months, today) after Barack Obama was elected, who still support him with the wars continuing, with the hostilities you know increasing in South America, which is the focus of this book (Revolution, A Love Story), Africa, to Iran, with the increasing dysfunction of US foreign policy. Earlier, you said Barack Obama’s race card was played on the people of the world, which is true. 99% of the people of the world were against the US Empire, when Barack Obama came in their hearts softened, but they of course are figuring out things a lot quicker than us here in the United States. But a lot of progressive people, progressive white people, tell me, “but he’s black, we can’t criticize him,” even though he’s doing all of these things that we detest, that we detested when George Bush was president, that we have been detesting.
Most of them realize that Clinton was just in a long line of good Republican presidents, not even seeing that Barack Obama is just the continuation of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Reagan? You know, they see that, but they say we can’t criticize him because he’s a black person. And not even knowing what you just told me that was my suspicion all along that he had been groomed to be put in this place, at the right time, so the policies of the Empire, or what you call the hegemon, can continue.
Cm: Some people have suggested that what we now have is fresh face on fascism. I’ve been warned not to use that word by people in Europe who really understand what fascism is, but I say that to say we do have a fresh face, and the black community of the United States is known around the world as being the conscience of this country.
It is the black community that has always been against the Imperial designs on the rest of the world’s resources. It is the black community that has been so oppressed in this country that the world knows about our oppression and so therefore a black person springing from that tradition, generally speaking, would be the kind of change that would generate hope, the kind of hope that would say that “yes, it is possible for the United States to turn a page, it is possible for the United States that is sort of typified by the ideal of the “gleaming city on a hill” to welcome everyone into that city so everyone can be a part of it.”
Finally those descendents of those Africans who were brought over here in the most violent kind of way, against their will, were able to struggle and survive, that they too have become citizens of the “gleaming city on the hill.” Well, that’s not exactly the case. And the fact of the matter is if we look at some of the indices from income to family wealth, to infant mortality, to maternal mortality, to life expectancy, to social justice, to education, what we see is on some of these indices the black, the disparity between black life and white life in the United States is worse today that at the time of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. People don’t expect that.
Cs: Right, and not only the difference between black life and white life, but also the difference between the elite and rest of us is widening.
Cm: That’s right. And if you put all of these little pieces together, what you quickly pay attention to, I think it’s important that Henry Kissinger said that he was amazed at the amount of good will that the people of the world had for Barack Obama.
Cs: Well, let’s wrap this up because we’ve been going on for a long time, but this is super interesting.
You said we can’t export something we don’t have–we don’t have democracy. We’ve seen phony elections in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US just overthrew the democratically elected government in Honduras, and in 2002 we tried to overthrow President Chavez, and what happened? His people said “no.”
Chavez was within hours of being assassinated, and his people came out and said “no.” From the time they threw off their oligarchs to today, the people of Venezuela are an example of something they (the oligarchs) don’t want to happen in the United States. Our oligarchs don’t want us to realize our power. But the people in Venezuela know it. And even if Chavez did a flip-flop, the people are still in power, and that’s when Chavez would lose his popular support. But he won’t do that because he literally owes the people of Venezuela his life.
So, what do you say to the people in this country about our power? You know, it seems like with the elections so compromised I don’t think we could get a fair election in this country. You know, you and I have tried from the inside, we’ve tried from the outside, what would you say to your community, what would you say to my community who even realizes our power less than your community? What would you say to the people of the United States, our community, about power? And about what we could do with our power if we realize it?
Because that’s ultimately what this book (Revolution, A Love Story) is about. It’s about overthrowing the oligarchs of the United States by peaceful means, and the people of the United States taking back our power?
Cm: Well, I just happened to have participated in a musical concert in the Bay Area by Michael Franti called “Power to the Peaceful.”
Just imagine the power we would have if people who really wanted peace were able to throw off the shackle of conformity and commitment to a political party that is not for peace. If we could decide if we were going to vote independently, and think analytically, we will behave ourselves, comport ourselves, in a way that furthers our values.
I think then that that is the ultimate of self-determination, and then the people will really exercise the power that they already have. That’s why Fox and CNN and the rest of them work so hard to shield us from the truth, because once we have possession of the facts, I still have confidence that people will do the right thing.
I know that I have met too many people across this country who are good people, they want a better America, they do not want the United States to be a warmongering, always trying to hate someone else, whether it’s hating people on the inside or hating people outside our country, they want our county to be a part of the community of mankind, but we have to actually do something more than just want it. If we do, they don’t say “power to the people” for nothing, because the people do have the power, and all we have to do is vote our values, all we have to do is act on our values, and understand that every time we cast a vote for someone who has voted to finance war, then we’re not going to get peace. And if they deal with people who want their vote, who proselytize hatred, then we’re not going to have dignity. We’ve got to have dignity, we must protect the dignity we have, we have to protect truth, and we’ve got to protect peace.
The power is ours, and it’s up to us to flex our muscles!

I’d like to acknowledge and thank my daughter, Carly, for do a wonderful job in transcribing the interview!

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan is an American anti-war activist whose son, Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed during his service in the Iraq War by the Mehdi Army on April 4, 2004. She attracted national and international media attention in August 2005 for her extended anti-war protest at a makeshift camp outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch — a stand which drew both passionate support and angry criticism. More of her writings can be found at Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox: Writing from the Emprire.

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