What's wrong with this picture? While Mummar Qaddafi was shelling unarmed protesters in the Tajoura neighborhood of Tripoli, Progressive Democrats of America was giving his chief American supporter, Cynthia McKinney, an award in the Santa Monica mountains.
This Saturday, August 20, 2011, the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains held their 6th Annual PDA Birthday Party and Fundraiser. The event was organized by Dorothy Reik and was billed as "an afternoon and evening of politics, food and music atop beautiful Topanga Canyon." The requested donation was $50, which is one of the reasons I did not attend.
The centerpiece of the event was the Teddi Winograd Courage Award recipients for Activism in the Pursuit of Peace and Justice. This was given to Ron Kovic and Cynthia McKinney.
Ron Kovic, who fought in Vietnam and wrote "Born on the 4th of July" certainly deserved the award. Ron is a good friend and also honorary co-chair, together with Martin Sheen, of the fundraising committee for my current film project, Vietnam: People's Victory. Ron, like me, was an early supporter of the Arab Spring and an avid viewer of Al Jazzeera/English.
Cynthia McKinney, on the other hand, is a different matter. While she has certainly supported progressive causes in the past, and I strongly supported her, even joining her group Dignity, what she has been doing lately is shilling for Mummar Qaddafi. She had taken a Dignity delegation to Tripoli to support Qaddafi, had just completed a nationwide ANSWER Coalition sponsored speaking tour "Eyewitness Libya" and was in the middle of another 21 city Libya tour sponsored by International Action Committee.
She had just flown into L.A. for the award on Saturday after speaking on behalf of the one she calls "Brother Qaddafi" on Friday in St. Louis and had to fly right back out again to speak in support of Qaddafi again on Sunday in Pittsburgh. If she was running true to form, on Friday she was spouting Qaddafi propaganda such as:
Libya's Revolution brought free health care and education to the people and subsidized housing. In fact, students in Libya can study there or abroad and the government gives them a monthly stipend while they are in school and they pay no tuition.and
Libyans govern themselves by The Green Book, a form of direct democracy based on the African Constitution concept that the people are the first and final source of all power.None of the above is true BTW and I would be very curious as to what she had to say on Sunday with Qaddafi on the run and two of his sons under arrest.
As it turned out, about the same time PDA was starting their event in Topanga Canyon, the Libyan opposition was beginning their final push to take Tripoli which they called Operation Mermaid Dawn. All across Tripoli people came out into the streets in spontaneous demonstrations. Although these protesters were mostly un-armed, Qaddafi responded with a vengeance. In the Tajoura neighborhood of Tripoli, he used tanks to slaughter the people. It is likely hundreds were killed. On this audio recoding you can hear the shells exploding and the people screaming.
It must gave been about the same time PDA was giving it's award to Cynthia McKinney.
[ ]In a related development we have this:
Breaking Story: Libya, Intelligence Officer Defects, Records of Payments to Journalists/Activists by GaddafiAs some of the people implicated are still in Libya, no names are being released until all are out of harms way. I can't wait. Soon we may find that Cynthia McKinney abd others have been motivated by more than ideology. Were those appearances on Libya State TV paid endorsements?
Just In: Payment Records to Media/Bloggers/Activists by Gaddafi in Rebel Hands
Reliable sources in Libya, both with rebel forces and in Tripoli have verified that records of payments made to activists, journalists, bloggers and other media personnel by Gaddafi have been turned over to rebel forces.
Included is a list of names, some very well known, some less well known, including records of payments, email correspondence and lists of specific articles.
Some named are still in Tripoli while others have are in the US, Britain and Western Europe. Received from representatives of the National Transitional Council, the recognized government of Libya:
Weve received a number of documents detailing rates for articles published and blogposts posted, with the highest rates being paid for articles that make it into the mainstream media (2,000 USD per article) and the lowest (500 USD per item) for blogposts of more than 700 words. Those who XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX are paid 15,000 USD per day spent there, plus 3,000 USD per article datelined Tripoli or another Gaddafi-held area.
It sound like some journalists and activists should be prepared to be embarrassed and possible a great deal more were they found to be unregistered foreign agents.