Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Realities of MOVE

MOVE: The Reality
by Tony Allen
"The MOVE Organization has clearly detailed the law of life, an we know what to do about those who go against life."
-John Africa, MOVE’s Guidelines

"I was told that my attitude towards my wife was going to cause a situation that would involve my death,"
-John Gilbride, who was murdered on Sept 27th, 2002 after being engaged in a bitter custody dispute with MOVE leader Alberta Africa

I have written plenty about my time with the MOVE Organization and have also, in a previous article "A Radical Fraud" dealt with the issue of the MOVE Organization attempting to pass itself off to the left-bank of the body politic as a viable and respectable force. What I did not include in any of my polemics was an examination of why people feel the need, even after it has been made clear that MOVE is a dangerous sect, to support the group. It is a topic to be explored and I am remiss for not initiating the discussion before now.

I have noticed that since my very public split with MOVE that there are fewer and fewer people who bother with making excuses for MOVE members’ actions, and fewer still who would actively propagate the group’s ideology. And while I do find this encouraging and a vindication of the forcefulness of my cause, I, by no means, am deluded enough to think that MOVE is beaten. They are still out there, but since my appearance on the scene, they have had to tone down the rhetoric a bit. To be sure, they are not as quick to spew hateful and vicious propaganda as they once were because they know that the minute they do, someone will be there to confront them.
With that said, the question could be posed, Why not just leave MOVE alone? Why not live and let live? The fact is that I am not allowed to ignore them, they are too busy, they are on a mission from "god" to destroy anybody or anything that gets in their way.

MOVE members and their supporters have threatened my family, been implicated in two murders, and were convicted for the murder of Police Officer James Ramp and have cowardly used their own children as human shields. I am in no position to let the people that committed these crimes off the hook.

MOVE members and their close supporters represent a cult of death and they are wedded to destruction. It never ceases to amaze me how many people refuse to accept this notion. They insist that MOVE’s actions are a protest against something, or a justified reaction to some injustice that MOVE members have been dealt. They are right to an extent: as long as there are people who do not accept MOVE’s ideology, or who question the divinity of John Africa, the grievances of MOVE can never be satisfied.

Interestingly enough, it was not Frank Rizzo or some other reactionary entity that was the first to stand up to MOVE. It was elements of the far left, who had observed and had been on the receiving end of MOVE’s authoritarian tendencies. One writer made the astute observation that MOVE was dedicated to the destruction of all man-made ideas in order to replace them with the "teachings of John Africa" and made the deduction that this was little more than a thinly disguised brand of fascism.

Of course, some fascists are more successful than others. Hitler built a nation and even Mussolini made the "trains run on time" before they nearly destroyed the world. MOVE’s brand of authoritarianism has been a resounding failure and they have primarily managed to rain chaos upon only themselves, a fact that we should not allow ourselves to take too much comfort in. You see, MOVE likes its martyrs not to be grown adults who can chose to die for their stupid cause, but rather little kids. A grotesque example of this was when in May of 1985, John Africa surrounded himself in his barricaded home with children and dared the police to attack. These children were not his, they were, for the most part, not even the children of other MOVE adults in the house. Rather, they were the children of imprisoned MOVE members who could do nothing to prevent John Africa from carrying out his "suicide by cop" action, even if they still had the mental capacity to do so.

So why is it that people would find it necessary to take up for a group like MOVE? For me, it began with the belief that MOVE had been victimized by the authorities. I did not believe that MOVE was a cult and I saw the "MOVE 9" (MOVE members in jail for the killing of a police officer) as political prisoners. I was largely innocent to the arguments against these claims and against MOVE and wrote off anyone who dared to challenge this view of peaceful and righteous MOVE members as "racist" or worse.

So now, armed with the fortune of hindsight I think that I am in a good position to try and educate people about what it is that MOVE is really about, what they really stand for, and to help people decide if this is a group worthy of support or contempt.
A fair place to start is to explore some of the arguments that people have given to me as to why they support MOVE and what my response has been.

"The MOVE 9 are ‘political prisoners’ who were framed by the police after a botched police assault that left one officer dead, a victim of ‘friendly fire.’ Even if MOVE members did have guns in the basement of the house it would have been ‘physically impossible’ for them to have shot James Ramp. How can 9 people be convicted of murder when there was one bullet that killed one person?"

Essentially, a political prisoner is anyone held in prison, /wiki/Prisonor otherwise detained, because their ideas or image either challenge or pose a real or potential threat to the state. In many cases, a facade of legality is used to disguise the fact that someone is a political prisoner. Trumped-up criminal charges may have been used to imprison the political prisoner, or he or she may have been denied bail unfairly, denied parole when it would reasonably have been given to another prisoner, or special powers may be invoked by the judiciary.

Based upon this definition, the surviving eight members of the so-called MOVE 9 should not be considered political prisoners, as it is quite clear that they were guilty of the killing of James Ramp. As well, their prosecution and subsequent convictions were not motivated by politics, but by a desire to do justice.

The MOVE 9 were convicted and sentenced to 30 to100 year jail sentences in 1981 for the murder of police officer James Ramp and for the attempted murder of seven other police officers and firefighters during a MOVE instigated 1978 shoot-out in Powelton Village in West Philadelphia. Roughly a dozen police and firemen suffered bullet wounds, an unlikely scenario for "friendly fire," as well as being more then merely one bullet in question.

The trial of the nine MOVE members lasted 19 weeks and cost the taxpayers of Philadelphia in excess of $400,000, reportedly the longest and costliest in Philadelphia history.
At sentencing, Judge Malmed said that he found the notion of rehabilitation for MOVE members to be " absurd" and that each must share equally the guilt for the killing and attempted murders.

Despite MOVE members and their supporters claims to the contrary, the case against the MOVE 9 could not have been clearer.

MOVE started the confrontation that ended with the death of Ramp and the maiming of other officers and firefighters when they denied entrance to a city health inspection and threw an eight-foot barricade around the house, covered its windows with slats and equipped its walls with floodlights and bullhorns. A half-dozen members also staged a show of force there, brandishing rifles and handguns one spring day in 1977.

In 1978, the City of Philadelphia finally surrounded the place with 675 police and erected a blockade in an effort to force MOVE to leave their home without bloodshed. The police officers were met with threats of violence.

"You better call home and make sure your insurance policy is paid up," one MOVE member chillingly said over their battery powered loudspeaker.

Prosecutors, citing eyewitness testimony and videos, contended during the trial that MOVE members fired first at officers who had surrounded the MOVE house and were attempting to tear down the barricades that MOVE had erected . The defense presented a smaller number of rebuttal witnesses, including a handful of journalists, who said the first shots seemed to come from outside the compound, although the witnesses disagreed about precisely where.

Probably the most damaging prosecution testimony came from a police ballistics expert, civilian Anthony L. Paul, who said that tests showed that a semiautomatic, clip-loading rifle found inside the MOVE house was the weapon used to shoot Ramp and two other officers. That weapon, a .223 Ruger, had been observed in the possession of at least one MOVE member in the basement that day. Police and firefighters also testified that they saw all five male defendants with guns shortly before the shooting.

Prosecutors also said a "palm print" on a federal firearms purchase form demonstrated that the rifle, as well as two others, had been bought by MOVE member William Phillips, known to members and supporters of the group as Phil Africa, before the shoot-out with police. In all, police seized 11 rifles and handguns from the compound and 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
For its part, MOVE claimed it had fired no shots at all that day. And if shots were fired, the defense lawyers pointed to the testimony suggesting that police had fired first - and said MOVE had only shot back in self-defense. Now it is claimed by MOVE that neither the police nor MOVE shot first, they claim rather that the first shot came from the upstairs window of a house half a block away on Bering Street. This claim is countered by the statements of MOVE’s own children who, at the time, told authorities that MOVE had fired the first shots because, in their words, the "cops wouldn’t."

MOVE has also long contended that James Ramp was killed not by a member of MOVE, but was instead killed by "friendly fire." To support this contention, they cite a very preliminary ballistics report that Ramp was shot in the "base of the neck, with the bullet traveling downward." According to MOVE, it would have been physically impossible for MOVE members in the basement of their home in Powelton Village to have shot Ramp.

In reality Ramp was felled by a bullet from MOVE after he had ran to aid another officer who had, himself, just been hit by gunfire from MOVE members firing from the basement. It was proven, quite conclusively, in court that the bullets trajectory that killed Ramp could have only come from one location...the basement where MOVE members were shooting.

MOVE members made the claim that the destruction of the house immediately after the confrontation violated their right to a fair trial and was nothing but an attempt to destroy the evidence that would exonerate them. Prosecutors countered that the plan to bulldoze the house was in fact in place before the shootout and was done to keep MOVE members not involved in the confrontation from entering the still fortified home to continue the assault against the police. According to Judge Malmed, the city "understandably had no wish to permit the site to re-emerge in the fashion of the Hydra or the Phoenix" and ruled against MOVE’s motion for dismissal on these grounds, as has every appellate court since. Unless MOVE members win in their appeals, none will be available for parole until 2008

"There is nothing wrong with female MOVE members as young as twelve being married off and impregnated. This happens frequently in society and in the past such couplings were the norm."

You might call the above statement, the "shit happens" argument, because it essentially strips guilty parties of responsibility and makes what is criminal seem natural. Of course there is a nugget of truth in it, there are plenty of children having children in this world. And, yes, back when our life expectancy didn’t reach too far beyond thirty, it was customary for the very young to wed and bear children. What is, however, disturbing about the above statement is the fact that it is being floated by people who ought to know better.

One person recently posted the following on an Independent Media Center website: "When I exposed the lame cult architecture of the Move organization, you should have seen how quickly the anarcho-feminist males at this site defended the slavery imposed upon Move's female members." Unfortunately, it appears that a certain segment of the "left" has deemed the forced rape of children an acceptable cause and worthy of a defense.

What these advocates of forced penetration of illiterate children fail to realize is that nothing in MOVE happens by accident. The impregnation of these children is, in fact, a matter of policy and not of chance. It is a violent mechanism of control designed to keep these young girls completely dependant upon the group and ostracized from society. For these unfortunate victims, there is no notion of "choice," or family planning, or a chance to deviate from their expected role of baby maker. For them, they can only do as they are told. There is no possibility of a career, of college, of a life outside of the group, nothing. Few, if any, are allowed to learn to read and write above a first or second grade level, which they have only begun to even receive in the most recent years.
The only education they are allowed to have is in the ways of John Africa. Their children are treated as if they are the property of MOVE’s leaders. It is, in fact, a state of slavery. One that is being practiced in modern day America and is being defended by people who make claim to be "progressive" including, a living deity of the modern fringe, left, Mumia Abu-Jamal

Long-time MOVE supporter and John Africa adherent, Mumia Abu-Jamal recently penned an article from death row decrying the abuse of women at the hands of religious fundamentalists. As mind-numbingly stunning as Jamal’s hypocrisy is, I cannot be surprised by it. As Orwell was fond of saying "that which is right in front of your nose is often the most difficult to see."

A bit of advice to Mr.Jamal: In general, its highly unwise to critique the crimes of religious crackpots when you are way out of your league on issues of moral equivalence. It could also be considered detrimental to your cause to remind people of the rights of women when you claim allegiance to a group which deprives its young girls of the most fundamental of rights, and visits upon them a form of patriarchical violence far more vulgar than MOVE members frequent uses of profanity.

To be sure, chief Jamal advocate, cheerleader, and fundraiser Pam Africa not only endorses this MOVE practice of child-rape, but she has quite willingly given over her two young daughters to serve as examples. One of her daughters gave birth at 12, the other was not much older. I find it hard to believe that Jamal is ignorant of these facts, given the close relationship he has with Pam Africa and other MOVE members.

For those who would doubt my assertions, I have only to ask that you query MOVE directly about the nature of my claims. You can reach Ramona Africa via e-mail at You can also reach MOVE "headquarters" at 215.387.4107. I challenge people to ask MOVE’s leaders directly about why MOVE forces its young, semi-literate children, to become impregnated by grown men.

"The MOVE Organization is a revolutionary group, one that is at constant war with "the system."

MOVE would go further than even that. According to MOVE’s "Guidelines," the group is "the most powerful organization in the world." MOVE’s teachings are riddled with such bellicose pronouncements and delusions of extreme grandeur. Everywhere throughout John Africa’s teachings, there is talk of MOVE being the "vanguard of the revolution," MOVE being the "example" for all others to follow. John Africa is declared to be the solver of all the world’s "problems". The sum total of the "Guidelines" is that John Africa is God, that MOVE members are the chosen ones and that they have a divine mandate to carry out whatever terrible tasks that they feel need be done.

Again, according to Menken "any fool, once he is admitted to holy orders, becomes infallible. Any half-wit, by the simple device of ascribing his delusions to revelation, takes on an authority that is denied to the rest of us."

It is this belief that they are god’s chosen ones that makes MOVE dangerous. For when an extreme sense of exceptionalism is wedded to a violently anti-human ideology, the only result can be what we have already seen of MOVE throughout its history. MOVE, an Organization allegedly born of a desire to preserve life, has been surrounded by death and misery.
And is MOVE at war with the "system?" To answer that, you would first have to adequately describe MOVE’s concept of what the system is. For MOVE, if you are reading this you are a part of the "system". In the eyes of John Africa and his heirs, the ideas of Bakunin and Marx are as vile and worthless as are those of George Bush. According to MOVE, anything that is not of MOVE, is of the system and is in fact evil.
f MOVE ever had their way (and thankfully they never will), mankind would be forced by the barrel of a gun into a forced state of devolution. Much in the way that Pol-Pot forcibly evacuated cities in order to fulfill his dream of an a agrarian utopia, MOVE would take things a step further by forcing mankind back in time to a time before agriculture, before language, before history. It is of course an unrealizable and silly vision of the world that MOVE members espouse, but that does not make it any less genocidal and does not make MOVE members any less responsible for their authoritarian agenda.

"MOVE keeps changing its story regarding John Gilbride because the known facts keep changing. John Gilbride was a provocateur and if he was killed it was at the hands of the government."

For those of you who don’t know, John Gilbride was, at one time, married to Alberta Africa, the leader of MOVE and the widow of MOVE founder John Africa. On Sept 27th, 2002, John was found dead in his car, the victim of a shooting. This murder happened only seventeen days after John recounted in court how his life had been threatened by MOVE, and just hours before he was to have an unsupervised visit with his son. Alberta Africa swore that this visit would never happen. In her own words she would say "John knows that my belief would never allow me to just hand him over my son like that."

John’s murder was the last act in a vicious and merciless war waged against him by MOVE members and close supporters. It was alleged by MOVE that John was a deadbeat and an abuser. They alleged that if left alone with his son, the child would be in great peril. Those of us who were close to MOVE, unfortunately, believed this lie and acted accordingly.
MOVE had us MOVE supporters (myself included) dress up with fake press passes to try and interrogate John’s family. A demonstration was set up against the Gilbrides accusing them of being child molesters. And MOVE even attempted to get John fired from his job by telling his supervisors at US Airways that John was part of a terrorist group.

It was a campaign of a hatred and viciousness that could have been ripped from a COINTELPRO, how-to manual, but it failed. John wouldn’t give into MOVE’s demands that he not see his son. And in Sept of 2002, John paid the ultimate price for standing up to MOVE. It is a murder that remains unsolved, although media reports have indicated that Alberta Africa is a person that is considered a suspect.

MOVE, for its part, has floated a number of theories as to what happened to John. The most recent allegation involved sending out a letter attacking John’s father and accusing him of murdering his own son.

The theory that has garnered MOVE the most attention, however, is their assertion that John was killed by the government. To believe this, you must first believe that John must have presented a clear and present danger to the well being of the republic. You would have to believe that in the government’s zeal to persecute MOVE that they would kill someone who is no longer with the group, who is in a bitter custody dispute with the leader of the said group, and who clearly had contempt and scorn for the stated mission of the group.
Of course, this makes no sense, but it gets worse. In explaining this theory to the media and to

MOVE supporters, Alberta Africa alleges that John was killed to "hurt" her. As if this assertion was not mind-numbingly narccisisitc enough, she goes onto say that she and John were on the verge of reconciliation. Keep in mind, as these words were coming from her mouth, she was sitting in a house that was boarded up for battle and there was no evidence that John wanted anything to do with her or MOVE.

On the contrary, it was made quite clear by John Gilbride that he wanted only to be able to see his son. This reconciliation concept was as contrived as were her tears that were shed for the sake of the media.

The other half of the "government hit" theory is that John was killed so that MOVE members could be framed for murder, that a set of events would be put into place that would lead to another May 13th.

Yet, what I have gleamed from eight years of experience with MOVE, is that the only entity on earth capable of creating another May 13th is, in fact, MOVE. It is MOVE who chose to handle a custody dispute by boarding up its house and preparing themselves for war. It is MOVE, who turned a situation between two parties into an international affair because they did not want to restrict their vanity or egos. Furthermore, if the government wanted to create another May 13th by killing John, they are a little slow in getting around to it. If history provides any precedent, the only way that another confrontation will start is if MOVE wants to start one.
I vividly recall as a MOVE supporter, tearing up boards that were being placed as slats over windows at MOVE headquarters, thinking to myself how MOVE said that my activism on their behalf was structured to prevent another May 13th; yet, here I was assisting them in paving the way for another disaster, a disaster that was to be born from the womb of insidious cynicism, arrogance, and a complete disconnection from reality. I no longer wanted to be a part of it, the same as John no longer wanted to be a part of it.

No, John was not killed by government "special forces" as a means to get at MOVE. John was murdered for the crime of wanting to see his son and not backing down from his justified position. He was killed because MOVE had painted themselves into a corner through their rhetoric and actions. They said that they would not allow for John to see his son, and quite obviously, they meant it.

Now, of course, MOVE has presented other conspiracy theories as to what happened to John, the only common thread between all of which is that they deflect blame from MOVE onto something else. Whether it be a "mystery woman" or a MOVE invented gambling problem, it is all fiction. It is a deceitful enterprise that is designed to obstruct justice and muddy the waters of reality enough so that people will lose sight of the fact that the only people who had anything substantive to gain from John’s death were MOVE members and their closest supporters.

"Government persecution led to the May 13th, 1985, bombing of MOVE headquarters. The attack was part of a COINTELPRO type operation waged against MOVE members, who were a threat to the power structure."

In examining the MOVE confrontation one discovers that , there is slim evidence of a plan - a realistic one - at all on the part of the Police and other authorities to deal with the confrontational, armed MOVE members. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"The elements: an army of police spraying 8,500 rounds into a heavily fortified rowhouse; a police commander, Commissioner Gregore J. Sambor, who has accused city officials of "sitting on their posteriors" during the building storm; a decision to drop a powerful bomb - neither the weight nor contents of which police officials say they knew. Those explosive elements combined - and were compounded by the bombing - to settle a problem that Philadelphia had tangled with, and that had claimed the life of Police Officer James Ramp, in 1978.
Experience provided little guidance this time around. What began as an effort to uphold the law was, by the end of the day, an exercise in frustration, a police operation run amok.

There is an unsettling scenario emerging as the MOVE post-mortem unfolds. It is a portrait of a city administration that tried desperately - and for crucial months - to keep its political distance from a no-win MOVE confrontation. Then, forced to act, it dumped the task in the once-burned lap of the Police Department. That set the stage for a mission that unraveled into chaos, improvisation and a raging unchallenged conflagration."

As one might expect, the historical revisionism as offered by the professional fabricators of MOVE does not mesh well with reality.

To hear MOVE members and their close supporters tell the tale of May 13th 1985, one might believe that the only choice MOVE had was to re-enact the Alamo in a Philadelphia neighborhood.

The fact remains, however, that it was MOVE who initiated the confrontation with authorities. It was MOVE members who, under the orders of John Africa, fortified their row-home and begin a relentless campaign of harassment of neighbors (which included physical violence) and threats against government officials.

It was MOVE members who brought in the children of imprisoned MOVE members to use as human shields as the crisis progressed. It was Ramona Africa who sent a letter to the mayor’s office threatening his life in a flagrant attempt to incite the government to act. It was MOVE members who created the conditions for violence and destruction and than who complained when they were successful at bringing death to their own doorstep.

Former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell summarized the MOVE confrontation perfectly when he said "adult MOVE members effectively murdered their children and than killed themselves."
MOVE members could have released the children before the confrontation began, they had plenty of chances to do so before they began shooting at police officers. MOVE members acted with unparalleled recklessness and a cruel disregard for the lives of innocent children, but they did not act out of character. MOVE’s ideology is fundamentally anti-life and their history is one of needless suffering and death.

Strip MOVE’s revisionist retelling of history bare and one finds a naked and indefensible parade of lies. Unshrowd it’s ideology and one observes a contemptible and confusing orthodoxy that instead of celebrating human life, cheapens it. Confront MOVE’s leaders and you will find yourself at the recieving end of crudely constructed, but no less believable, threats of violence. Demand that MOVE acknowledge your right to be a parent to your son, like John Gilbride did and you will find out that those threats were not empty words.
For more on my involvement with MOVE and the fate of John Gilbride please see the following articles. If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact me at

Friday, February 25, 2005

I will be on the Michael Smerconish show

For those of you in the Philadelphia area I will be on the Michael Smerconish show on Tuesday morning around 8:30 am to discuss MOVE, Mumia, the murder of John Gilbride among other things.

For more about the Michael Smerconish show click here

Interestingly enough, this is the same radio show that had to call the police to remove Pam Africa after she pulled one of her notorious temper tantrums last week.

Police Called to MOVE Pam Africa

(From the Philadelphia Inquirer)

MOVE member Pam Africa and two associates were escorted Thursday out of the Bala Cynwyd studios of the Big Talker 1210-AM by Lower Merion police.
Africa had been a guest on Michael Smerconish's morning show where the two debated the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Africa says she was upset that Smerconish continued to speak about Abu-Jamal after she left.
"He went into a rage with a whole lot of bulls---," said Africa.
She says she came back into the building hoping to speak with station management about not being able to respond to Smerconish's angry callers.
Africa says she was told to wait outside in the cold, while a receptionist tried to reach Smerconish producer TC Scornavacchi.
Scornavacci says that Africa was treated very well on the show and that security advised against her going down to the lobby, and called police instead.
When police arrived, Africa was given the contact info of a station manager to whom she still plans to complain, and left without incident.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Now FOX News Wants To Kill MOVE!

If anyone has any residual doubts about MOVE being completely irrational and basically out of their minds I would send them to the website of International Concerned Family And Friends (a MOVE front group) to read the latest in MOVE's sad and desperate attempts to fool people into believing that they had nothing to do with the murder of John Gilbride.

Kevin Price, a MOVE devotee, prefaces his article about MOVE not killing someone with a quote from another MOVE devotee who killed someone. A bad way to make a plea for innocence if you ask me, but what do I know.

Anyways, in a few paragraphs, Kevin manages to link the events of Sept, 11th 2001, FOX's rightward agenda, Lynne Stewart, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with a news report about the murder of former MOVE supporter John Gilbride. Can anyone say non-sequitor?

I think MOVE members are getting a little nervous....and I think that they should be.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

New Information on Gilbride Murder

According to a local Philadelphia T.V. station there are new developments in the investigation of the murder of former MOVE supporter, John Gilbride.

Apparently the Burlington County Prosecuters have teamed up with the Philadelphia Police Department in order to further the investigation.

The BCP also announced that they do not find any proof that John was murdered because of "gambling debts" as MOVE members have insinuated.

What does all of this mean for MOVE? I can tell you that the MOVE camp cannot be happy about these latest developments...I think justice will be done for John Gilbride and I think that it will be sooner rather than later.

Confronting Pam and Ramona on the Radio Today

Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with my dear old friends, Pam and Ramona Africa. The two were pleading MOVE's case on a Philadelphia Radio Show, when I (without invitation, I might add) attempted to "debate" some of the issues with them. And it went exactly as I expected.

Everytime I attempted to speak, or make a point, or give a response they attempted to talk over me. They made the whole thing a mostly unintelligible jumble of cross-talk. This is, after all, what MOVE means when they say "debate."

This is yet another reason why I would not waste my time debating them in "person." I am not interested in having a yelling match with known killers and people who would threaten myself and my family. I am, however, interested in calling MOVE out on their mass of contradictions and deciet.

Today, MOVE once again proved that they want no debate, no discussion, no review of facts. All they want to hear is the sound of their own voices.

A couple of the points that I attempted to make were and a couple of questions that I attempted to ask (as I was being shouted down) were:

What happened to John Gilbride?
Why has MOVE changed it's story so many times about what happened to John?

Monday, February 21, 2005

MOVE's (Sort of) Response To My Challenge

Today, Ramona Africa had this to say about my challenge to an internet debate:

The MOVE Organization recently issued a resolution to the lies and disgruntled ramblings of Tony and Lori Allen. We asked them to meet us in a public forum for a face-to-face debate to let the public decide who's right and who's wrong, who's the liar and who's honest. The Allens responded over the internet that they have given us the opportunity to respond to them, numerous times, over the internet and that we have refused. Tony and Lori Allen don't dictate to MOVE how we respond to their lies, or anybody else's lies. We do things according to MOVE's strategy, period. Now, we invited them to a public debate, and either they're gonna debate us or be exposed to everybody for the cowardly liars they are.

The MOVE Organization

For more information about MOVE's repeated refusals to "debate" the issues that I have raised about the group, check out the "MOVE Wants To Debate" article and than tell me who the "cowards" are.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Posts From Marc Cooper's Website

Author Marc Cooper profiled my blog at his own website and his comments have generated some very interesting responses by his readers. I thought I would share some of the more interesting ones here. Although I may not agree with everything all of these people have to say, I did find their comments good food for thought. Enjoy

"Fascinating link, Marc, thanks. Two things stand out most to me in Allen's blog:
1) MOVE is not a left wing group in any meaningful sense, by our understanding of the political spectrum. In fact, if anything, its ideology and methods of enforcing that ideology are more right wing in character (see below).
2) MOVE still exists *because* of Jamal's elevated status in the American and international left. Because he's been their recurring cause celebre for 20 years, a steady trickle of donations from around the world keep coming in that primarily benefit MOVE's leadership.
For MOVE, homosexuality is a disturbing and immoral violation of God’s Law. Reproductive choice is a symbol of societies degradation and devaluation of life. The mixing of races is frowned upon (even though the current leader of MOVE, herself black, has twice married white men and used invitro-fertilization in order to have a Caucasian child). Drug and alcohol use is frowned upon with a puritan’s zeal. Decision making in the group is done by its leaders and is not to be questioned. MOVE’s mostly white supporters are expected to cough up money and other "donations" for the group. Those in the group who do express dissent are subject to interventions that are as cruel as they are necessary for the control of this authoritarian sect. "

"The problem with Death Penalty Reform, specifically preventing factually innocent people from being executed, is that the perfect becomes the enemy of the good; particularly with folks who are frankly loathesome and factually GUILTY ... Mumia, "Tookie" aka "Monster" Williams, Richard Ramirez (the Nightstalker) etc. People want these monsters dead.
The ordinary person hears uninformed and holier than thou Hollywood idiots like Mike Farrell, Sean Penn (that great humanitarian), Susan Sarandon, etc. going on about folks like Mumia or Williams and they think ... "gee they're weeping over monsters," and tune out when other, more focused people want to talk about procedural reform.
The Death Penalty as currently situated is a total mess; horrible monsters who should have exited the planet years ago will probably die of old age before they get executed, and the survivors of their victims are cheated of Justice. Meanwhile, there's a very good certainty that factually innocent people are on death row and may be executed. Barry Scheck's Innocence Project IMHO deserves federal support; and an ongoing grant from the Justice Department. This is a solid reform that IMHO is doable if people get off the "free Mumia" crack.
No. Don't free Mumia. Fry Mumia. Let him face the punishment for murdering a police officer in cold blood.
People think about Mumia the same way people think about Norman "stabbin" Mailer getting Jack Henry Abbott freed. THAT monster spent only a few weeks out of prison before stabbing a young bartender to death in an argument over using the employee bathroom."

"In his anti move blog, Tony Allen briefly mentioned Dave Lindorff who has writenn passionately about about the political implications of the struggle to get Mumia a new trial, all the while being extrememly critical of the rapidly dwindling "Mumia movement" run and conducted mostly by the sect left. His arguments are refreshing and rational; he traces the increasingly marginality of Mumia's support to the political tactics those at the helm have made. Stratetically the movement have made choices which has isolated Mumia and been counterposed to building broad support for his case. Here's Lindorff
Why has there been so little public pressure for a new trial? Why weren't masses of people outside the NAACP demanding that the organization support Abu-Jamal? Because there's almost no one left to do it.
The throngs of people who used to come out to demand a new trial for Abu-Jamal have faded away as his case, over the past several years, was taken over by ideological lawyers and others who managed to convince Abu-Jamal to make his case a political attack on the entire legal system, instead of dealing with the key issues in his trial that offered the best chance to get him a new hearing."

"Taking repugnant attitudes shared by the extremes on both sides and labeling them 'rightist' is absurd, as is taking virtuous bipartisan attitudes and calling them 'leftist.' (And vice-versa, when conseravatives do it). Sorry, but no amount of finger-pointing at racists on the right is going to change the fact that MOVE and Mumia, in all their ugly racist glory, are the left's babies. "

"Well, to me murder is murder whether of a single police officer or a bunch of innocent people in a building - the quantity of people killed is irrelevant.
The point is that the legal issues are too easily discounted and ignored by the opponents when the proponents discount them to begin with by putting the targeted individual first.
Maybe I am mixing up the person with the issue - I am opposed to the death penalty - but how is that my fault when the anti-death penalty folks in this case scream "FREE MUMIA"?
The death penaly is, in my view, wrong on simple moral grounds and regardless of whether its target is Mumia, Bundy, McVeigh, or someone more sympathetic like the mentally handicapped individual that Texas (I think) wanted to execute.
Putting a face on the movement to abolish the death penalty doesn't advance the argument or the cause."

Saturday, February 19, 2005

What A Difference a Murder Makes

Before ex-MOVE supporter John Gilbride was savagely gunned down in his car after returning home from work, his ex-wife (current MOVE leader and opponent in John's battle for custody of his son) had this to say in a letter to the judge in charge of Philadelphia Family Court Judge Myrna Field during their custody dispute:

"John is a traitor to me, to his son, and to MOVE, and he is an enemy, not a friend."

Not long after John's savage assassination, MOVE member and spokesperson Ramona Africa was in damage control mode. In an interview with a Philadelphia City Paper reporter, she had this to say:

"We never hated John Gilbride. He was not our enemy."

What a difference a murder makes.

Does anyone besides me view MOVE's turnabout as being anything other than extremely suspicious?

For more information on John's death, keep reading this blog, or go to and look up the MOVE Organization.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Give Props to Mayor Street!

Finally a black politician in Philadelphia has grown the balls to stand up to Pam Africa and her band of ragged disciples! This week, Philadelphia Mayor John Street, much to Pam's dismay admitted what everyone in Philadelphia already knows, that Mumia murdered Daniel Faulkner.

This is actually a great moment because for years Pam and her minions have been guilt tripping, intimidating, and basically "shaking down" black leaders in Philadelphia. Let's hope that Street's courage is infectious and that other African American's will realize that Pam and her cause is one not worthy of their time.

The following is from the "Philadelphia Inquirer" about the incident

"What started as a private meeting in City Hall for a delegation of French politicians is evolving into a political mess for Mayor Street.
The mayor called the widow of slain Philadelphia Police Office Daniel Faulkner Monday to apologize for any pain caused by a meeting city officials held with two French politicians last Friday. That meeting ended with an impromptu rally inside City Hall by a group of demonstrators protesting on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the man convicted of killing Faulkner.
During the private phone conversation Monday, Street told Maureen Faulkner that he believed Abu-Jamal murdered her husband, and that Abu-Jamal is in prison "and that is where he belongs," Faulkner said in an interview yesterday.
But that brought a swift - and angry - reaction yesterday from the woman leading the movement to free Abu-Jamal.
Pam Africa, who heads the International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal, said that Street "better be prepared to back up that statement," and that it contradicts comments he had made to her in the past about Abu-Jamal.
Africa said that when Street was president of City Council, he met with her and told her that he believed Abu-Jamal had not received a fair trial. Also present at that meeting, Africa said, were A. Bruce Crawley, then a close confidante of Street's, and Minister Rodney Muhammad of the Nation of Islam.
"Stand up and be a man," Africa said angrily of Street, whom she said she would hound about the matter.
Contacted yesterday, Crawley said of the meeting in question: "I think the gist of the conversation was that he [Street] would be in favor of ensuring that Mumia got a fair trial, that he believed that Mumia was entitled to a fair trial.
"He said he thought that if there was any question that he did not get a fair trial, there should be efforts to ensure that it happens."

-From this Weeks Philadelphia Inquirer

A Radical Fraud

by Tony Allen for

"Where the questions of religion are concerned, people are guilty of every possible sort of dishonesty and intellectual misdemeanor."
-Sigmund Freud

"The success of one imposter gave encouragement to another, and the quieting salvo of doing some good by keeping up a pious fraud, protected them from remorse"
Tom Paine, The Age of Reason

Many a reactionary political cult has tried to endear itself to the so-called "far-left" wing of the body politic over the years. There are the LaRoucheians, the oh-so-Amish Bruhderhoff; the Nader rejected Independence Party, just to name a few. Most of these groups are identified for the hucksters that they are, and exposed as such. There is, however, one group that has, for the most part, ducked under the critical eye of most "leftists" and that is the Philadelphia based personality/religious/political cult known as the MOVE Organization. MOVE is a group that I have come to know a lot about, having been a supporter of the group for some eight years, some of that time spent in a MOVE house. This proximity to the group has given me a front row seat for the political scam that they are running on the progressive community, both in Philadelphia as well as throughout the world. It is a scam that I knowingly participated in, ultimately rejected, and now speak out on.
I don’t think that it would be too much of an assumption for me to say that most people don’t know the first thing about what MOVE believes. MOVE’s notoriety stems not from its "profound" religious doctrines, but rather from the 1985 confrontation between the group and police that left six MOVE members and five children of MOVE members dead. It is this confrontation with police and its aftermath that has allowed MOVE to inject its toxin of failed fascism into the radical body politic.
What is it exactly that MOVE believes in? Is it the marinade of socialism, black power, and Noam Chomsky quotes offered up by long-time MOVE supporter and death row "journalist" Mumia Abu-Jamal? Not a chance.
In a nutshell, MOVE believes that a semi-retarded, occasionally employed, black man who called himself JOHN AFRICA was and is God. They would have mankind dragged kicking and screaming back to the age of Fred Flinstone. No tools, no fire, of course no cities, or even language. That is the solution to all of the world’s problems according to MOVE and their now deceased deity/Korean war veteran JOHN AFRICA.
In pursuit of this regressive course, MOVE keeps its children in an enforced state of ignorance and fear. Illiterate pre-teen girls are married off and are impregnated in the name of the "revolution." Education for MOVE exists only if it coincides with the rambling lunacy of JOHN AFRICA’s so-called "wisdom." These children are taught to see the world as a terrifying place with police assassins hiding around every corner. Your children are not your own, they are the property of MOVE. This is a lesson everyone who is close to MOVE learns quickly.
For MOVE, homosexuality is a disturbing and immoral violation of God’s Law. Reproductive choice is a symbol of societies degradation and devaluation of life. The mixing of races is frowned upon (even though the current leader of MOVE, herself black, has twice married white men and used invitro-fertilization in order to have a Caucasian child). Drug and alcohol use is frowned upon with a puritan’s zeal. Decision making in the group is done by its leaders and is not to be questioned. MOVE’s mostly white supporters are expected to cough up money and other "donations" for the group. Those in the group who do express dissent are subject to interventions that are as cruel as they are necessary for the control of this authoritarian sect. Anyone who speaks out publicly against the sect is subject to harassment, threats, and Internet based character assassinations carried out by the group and its small, but dedicated cadre of fanatical supporters. This is the real MOVE as opposed to the carefully crafted image fed to leftists and progressives through the "alternative media," as well as by front organizations as International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and AWOL.
While there are those on the "left" who know full well what it is that MOVE stands for, very few will come out in opposition to the group, or for that matter even offer any type of critique, no matter how small. There exists a double consciousness for people who know about MOVE. On the one hand many progressives who have knowledge of MOVE and its history put forth the idea that what happened in 1985 was a criminal act committed by the state, while at the same time rejecting MOVE’s cultish ideals. This rejection, however, must remain silent according to MOVE’s defenders as it could only help the authorities in their quest to destroy the group. While this type of argument may hold within it a short-term truth, the long-term reality is fraught with danger. For in giving oppressive and obviously violent groups such as MOVE a "pass," we invite them to spread their narcissistic brand of nihilism much to our own detriment.
As for me, I can say that MOVE has sparked a fire that will not soon extinguish, but it is not in the way that MOVE’s leaders would have hoped. I am now and forever will be in opposition to their deceit and fear mongering. I helped them in their endeavors to vilify people who were undeserving. I made excuses for the intellectual deprivation of their children. Moreover, I advocated the release of murderers while turning a blind eye to people who are actually innocent of crimes and who are actually victims of a system that far too often is unjust. Perhaps worst of all, I led other people to MOVE, to drink of its poisonous blend of failed fascism and reactionary regression. It is a mistake that I hope to keep others from making.
MOVE and groups like it prey upon the progressive spirit of many well meaning individuals, but under their banner of freedom beats the heart of despotism. MOVE believes that they are doing "Gods Work." They proceed from conclusion to evidence never once bothering to look around or even bother with taking responsibility for their Neolithic conception of how things ought to be. Arrogant, solipsistic, and far more illogical than even Al-Queda, MOVE has somehow managed to nose its way into progressive circles.
Archconservative ideologue Leo Strauss made the point that religion might be nonsensical, but was after all great for keeping order. I doubt any MOVE member has ever read Strauss, but I am sure they know this axiom quite well as they have fused religion, a few left-leaning political ideas, and a ceaseless oratory of victim hood into a tapestry of bullshit that has endeared them to thousands of people, including I am sorry to say this writer.

Mumia Reconsidered

Mumia Reconsidered
by Tony Allen

"Man’s real treasure is the treasure of his mistakes, piled up stone by stone through thousands of years"
-Jose Ortega Y Gasset

Early in the morning of December 9, 1981, Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner pulled over a car going the wrong way on a one way street in the "red light" district of Philadelphia. The Volkswagen belonged to a man named Billy Cook. A few minutes later, gunshots would ring out and Officer Faulkner would be shot numerous times. Billy Cook’s brother, a man who called himself Mumia Abu-Jamal would be arrested for the murder and would be later sentenced to death for the crime.

Now there is little doubt in my mind that Mumia slaughtered Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Yet, to many people far from Philadelphia, ignorant to the realities and facts of the case, Mumia is a hero, a cause-celebre of the far left, and a published and celebrated author. To them, he is not a killer, he is a martyr-to-be, and the living embodiment of all that is wrong with America’s criminal justice system. And, for a time, this is what I believed, as well.
I discovered Mumia’s case through my voracious appetite for reading. When I was in my late teens, I had decided to turn my back on the world of partying and fun, and instead committed myself to "self-discovery." I did my time as an aspiring Eastern spiritualist and suffering existentialist. When these journeys ended in disappointment, (as they tend to do) I turned to politics. I listened to Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy, but aside from Liddy’s opposition to animal testing, I found the voices of the right to not be my cup of tea.
Eventually, I was turned on to Chomsky, Micheal Parenti, the works of Marx, Howard Zinn, and began down the path of far-leftist politics. It was than that I ran across Jamal’s book "Live From Death Row." I felt it impossible that this man who seemed so articulate, so seemingly sensitive to the plight of others, could be guilty of anything and was compelled to do something to address what I saw to be an obvious case of injustice.

What finally pushed me into full-throttle on Mumia activism was not a full scale investigation into the facts of the case, but rather a viewing of the HBO documentary on Jamal’s case "A Case for Reasonable Doubt," which first aired in 1996. I now see just how terribly flawed and biased the documentary was, but, at the time, I believed it to be an unbiased look at how the justice system had got it all wrong and had allowed for an innocent man to be on death row. I was hooked.

When I came into the "Mumia movement" during the mid-nineties, the cause was at the height of its popularity. Mumia had a host of celebrities and politicos to count on as defenders, as well as thousands of other activists who hung on his every word, gobbled up his books, and shelled out in excess of a million dollars to feed the giant legal and organizing machine that sought to "brick by brick, wall by wall, free Mumia Abu-Jamal."

And there I was in the middle of it. I believed that the dread locked, self-proclaimed "voice of the voiceless" was a victim of a political frame up enacted by racist Philadelphia authorities. So, I attended all the rallies, raised funds, organized locally in my hometown of Virginia Beach, and befriended cult-member, and chief Mumia advocate, Pam Africa. My tireless dedication to the cause quickly propelled me up the ranks and I soon found myself dining and hanging out with the likes of Zack De-Rocha of Rage Against the Machine, Mos Def, Ed Asner, delegations of French politicians and dozens of other high profile, and deep-pocketed "Mumia-maniacs" while attending pro-Mumia events.

The first time I crossed the line from being an activist to being an attack dog on behalf of Pam. Africa was back in 1997 when I phoned Jane Henderson who was then the head of a group called Equal Justice. Equal Justice was an organization which organized and raised huge amounts of funds on Mumia’s behalf. Pam and Jane had locked horns over the root of most conflicts, money. To put it simply, Equal Justice was successful in raising it and Pam’s group International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia was successful in financial mismanagement.
This led inevitably to conflict and I loyally joined the fray on Pam’s behalf and at her behest. I called up Jane Henderson on the phone and berated her for her disloyalty to the cause and her audaciousness. From that day forth, I was consumed with putting Jamal’s detractors in their proper place. I loved the rush of rhetorical combat and always spoiled for a fight with those who had not "seen the light."

I began to write articles that were more ad-hominem attacks than fact based analysis pieces, which were more an exercise in ego than integrity. I called Pulitzer prize winning journalist Steve Lopez a hack, labeled Philadelphia Radio Host Michael Smerconish a racist, and even made crude remarks about the physical appearance of Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham.

I was cruel for cruelties sake; yet, my "literary" bombast did not bring reproach from my fellow travelers of the far left, it brought praise. My articles were printed in dozens of leftist periodicals and, while trolling around the Internet, I had found that someone had even taken the time to translate some of my pieces into Japanese and French. I was on a roll, a big fish in a very tiny and unimportant pond, but for me it was something important, something I thought I needed.
Eventually my zealousness caught up with me when I wrote a scathing review of Dave Lindorff’s book Killing Time. Lindorff’s book was decidedly pro-Mumia, but it did make rather harsh criticisms of Jamal’s lawyers Marlene Kamish and Eliot Grossman and the defense they were attempting to use at that time. Lindorff also offered a somewhat oblique critique of the Jamal movement, which was than, and is certainly now, in a state of decline.

In conversations with Pam Africa, I was left with the impression that this book was a threat to Jamal’s defense and that Lindorff was likely an agent of the government seeking to discredit the movement. That was all that I needed to hear. I then set out to destroy Lindorff’s reputation and make sure he didn’t sell any books.

As it turns out, I almost succeeded. Speaking to Lindorff about the effects of my handiwork a few months ago he indicated to me that he believed my leveling review cut harshly into the book sales and caused many within the movement to question his own motivations in writing the book. But unlike all of my previous victims, Lindorff fought back and through some heated and public exchanges over the Internet forced me, for once, to defend my actions. It was the beginning of the end of my blind faith in the utterances of Pam Africa.
I soon realized that I had allowed my self to be transformed from a wide-eyed, well-intentioned, teen activist into a cynical peddler of lies who de-constructed people for kicks. I didn’t care about the truthful recording of facts or emotional sincerity, or integrity. I cared about the "movement" and my precious ego. It took me a while to realize that in producing prose that was flagrantly artificial and mean spirited that I had become the monster that I had claimed to be in opposition to.

After some time, I started to get the impression that I was not alone in my looseness of facts within the movement. It began to become evident that for most of the people who supported Mumia, the facts were not relevant. All that mattered to most of Jamal’s menagerie of kooky friends was that he embraced a leftist ideology that made Michael Moore seem like Karl Rove.

The facts of Jamal’s case create a troubling dilemma for the movement dedicated to freeing him. The evidence could not be more clear. Mumia shot Faulkner in the back and than shot the twenty-five-year-old, newly married police officer between the eyes. No less than five witnesses implicated Mumia in the shooting. Other witnesses would come forward and make the claim that Jamal had even boasted of killing Officer Faulkner.

Abu-Jamal was found at the crime scene slumped against a light pole, himself suffering from a gun-shot wound...the one shot that Officer Faulkner was able to get off before he was killed by Jamal. Mumia’s .38 caliber revolver was found at the scene of the crime with five empty shell casings. The bullet retrieved from Faulkner’s brain matched up to Mumia’s gun.

As far as Jamal’s defense goes, you might need a scorecard to keep up. Jamal’s original attorney during his 1982 trial, Anthony Jackson, failed to produce or even insinuate that their were any witnesses that could counter the claims of the prosecutions eyewitnesses. He did not so much offer a rebuttal to the prosecutions case, but rather focused upon relatively unimportant discrepancies in the prosecution witnesses testimonies. Years later, Anthony Jackson would be unfairly maligned by Jamal’s supporters as an actual participant in the conspiracy to "railroad" Jamal.

A careful reading of trial transcripts paints another picture all together, though. It was not Jackson that sabotaged Jamal’s case, it was Mumia. At every opportunity, Jamal sought to undermine the authority of the court and generally create a terrible nuisance of himself through obscene outbursts and repeated demands that the leader of the MOVE cult serve as his attorney. Unfortunately for Jamal, his crude attempt at political theater didn’t work well for him and he was convicted by a jury of first degree murder and was subsequently sentenced to death.
Through most of the 1980's Jamal’s case was all but forgotten. Than in 1990, a new team of lawyers came together to defend Mumia after the Trotskyist, Socialist Workers Party started doing activist work around Jamal’s case. The team was led by Leonard Weinglass of "Chicago 7" fame and it was through Weinglass’s relentless ability to lie, and lie well, that Mumia would become the cause celebre of the 1990's.

Qualitatively, the legal strategy pursued by Weinglass was not altogether that different from that which was presented by Anthony Jackson. Weinglass did, however, offer his own version of what happened the fateful night that Faulkner was killed.

According to Weinglass, Jamal was shot as he approached the scene by Faulkner, whom was in the midst of beating Billy Cook. At that point, the passenger in Billy Cook’s car exited the vehicle, shot Officer Faulkner, and proceeded to run east on Locust Street away from the scene.
To back up this version of events, Weinglass presented three witnesses. The first was a career criminal and known pimp. The second was a man named William Singletary, whom Weinglass even had to admit "was not entirely accurate" about his recollection of events. And the third witness was a man named Harkins who ended up testifying that the man who shot Faulkner "sat down and sat on the curb." This was devastating to Weinglass’s case as it corroborated what the prosecution witnesses had said in the original trial. Needless to say, Jamal’s crucial Post Conviction Relief Appeal (PCRA) was turned down.

While he was not so successful in getting his client off of death row, Weinglass fared much better in the court of public opinion (outside of Philadelphia, anyway). He circled the globe and raised thousands of dollars for himself and for the defense of Jamal. He published a book "Race for Justice" and was treated as a hero at pro-Mumia events.

Yet, despite his out of court success in raising Jamal’s profile, Weinglass and his co-counsel Dan Williams were fired by Jamal in 2001. The "free Mumia" movement was shocked at the sudden and unexpected move on the part of Jamal. Mumia justified firing his legal team by citing a conflict of interest due to the fact that Dan Williams was about to publish a book about Jamal’s case. Williams would allege that Jamal not only knew about the book and approved of its publication, but had also read it in manuscript form, something that Jamal does not deny.
Nevertheless, two relatively unknown attorneys were tapped to replace Weinglass, Marlene Kamish and Eliot Grossman. In addition to savagely attacking Weinglass’s performance as counsel, Grossman and Kamish would introduce a new element to the Jamal case...a confession from someone other than Jamal to the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner.

It would be argued by Grossman and Kamish that a man named Arnold Beverly, not Jamal, shot Faulkner. And what did they produce as evidence? A grainy and certainly suspect videotape of what appears to be a homeless person confessing to killing Faulkner.

His reason for this brutal murder? According to Beverly, he and another man (who remains unnamed, but is often implied to be Kenneth Freeman-a long time friend and business partner of Billy Cook ) were hired to kill Daniel Faulkner because of Faulkner’s interference in mob-run, prostitution and drug-dealing. Beverly went even further to say that it was not only the mob that wanted a rookie, low ranking officer rubbed out, it was corrupt cops as well.

There are, of course, a few problems with the course of events as presented by Kamish and Grossman in regards to the Beverly confession. The first and most obvious being the Beverly confession, itself. Aside from it sounding completely ridiculous, the fact is that nobody can place Beverly at the scene of the crime.

Secondly, the chain of events, as presented by Arnold Beverly, directly contradict nearly all of the defense claims made prior to the alleged "confession." For example, nearly anyone who is familiar with the case has heard Jamal’s defense claim that the gun that killed Faulkner was a .44 while Jamal’s gun was a .38. Yet, in his confession, Beverly claims that he used either a .22 or .38 to kill Faulkner. Arnold Beverly also makes the wild assertion that two police officers were near the scene when the shooting started, a claim that no other witness has corroborated.
Beverly claims that after he shot Faulkner he ran west down Locust Street and on down into the subway. However, since 1995, the defense had been making the claim that Faulkner’s killer had ran east and into an alleyway.

In one of the most patently revealing, manipulative tactics employed by Kamish and Grossman, the primary support of Arnold Beverly’s confession was buttressed by an affidavit from Billy Cook. In this affidavit, Cook’s testimony reads like spackle on a wall.

Where the defense had holes and gaps in their narration of an alternative scenario, Cook pasted in what, quite obviously, he thought the case needed. He added yet another .38 caliber pistol in the hands of Kenneth Freeman, the passenger of his car. He added a confession from Freeman that he was involved in a plot to assassinate Officer Faulkner with another guy.
What he left out was why his friend would make him the get away driver without first consulting him. He left out any eye-witness account of the actual shooting. And he left out any guilt that would have rightfully be his own in his role as driver of a murder plot. Basically, he wanted readers to believe that he innocently drove to the site of a conspiracy, unaware, confused, and unable to have seen anything implicating against his brother and his best friend.

Another, and perhaps more daunting problem for Jamal’s supporters is the fact that Beverly had approached Jamal attorneys as far back as 1999 in regards to his confession and the two lead attorneys on the case found his story to be wholly incredible. Dan Williams, one of Jamal’s attorneys at the time Beverly came forward, had this to say about the Beverly confession in his 2001 book "Executing Justice."

"I wasn’t about to embarrass myself by running with such a patently outrageous story on the most visible death-penalty case in the world."

I recall vividly when the Beverly confession story broke in the media, how electrified the Jamal movement was. At a celebratory dinner held that night in downtown Philadelphia, my fellow Jamal supporters were abuzz with excitement and the question of the night was how long before the disgraced District Attorney’s office would release Jamal in the face of a confession from the "real killer."

I, for one, did not share in their excitement, nor their optimism, that Jamal would soon be released. As it turns out, pretty much the only people who bought into the Beverly theory were the throng of Jamal supporters gorging themselves on sub-par Indian food that night.
As for me, I had another reason that I could not share in my comrades’ enthusiasm. The reason for my pessimism was a conversation that I had with Eliot Grossman just prior to him taking over the case from Leonard Weinglass, a conversation that yielded a confession far more compelling than the one offered up by Beverly.

I had met Grossman out in Los Angeles back in the summer of 2000 when I traveled there with MOVE member and Mumia movement leader Pam Africa to participate in the huge Mumia demonstration that was to be held the weekend before the Democratic National Convention was to begin.

Grossman, along with Marlene Kamish, had filed an "amicus" (friend of the court) brief on behalf of Jamal that had been held up within elements of the movement as a piece of superb legal work. Before flying out to LA, Pam had been running around for weeks telling anyone within earshot just how brilliant Grossman and Kamish’s work had been, all the while voicing her frustrations with Williams and Weinglass (frustrations that seemed to be rooted in financial arrangements, as opposed to disputes over legal strategy).

We ended up staying at Grossman’s hilltop home outside of LA. And while I can say I quickly came to like Grossman, it became quickly clear that he had an agenda, one of Weinglass’s destruction. As it turned out, Weinglass and Grossman had, at one time, been friends. The two apparently had some kind of falling out over the handling of a death penalty case in Chicago they two had worked on. Now Grossman was on a mission and Pam Africa, already perturbed at Weinglass, was all ears.

For two days, Pam and I were subjected to an almost continuous tirade against Weinglass and the decisions that had been made by the current legal team. It quickly became clear to me that Weinglass was soon going to be out and Grossman and company would be in. What also became apparent was that Grossman did not care that his soon to be client was likely guilty. In fact, in a moment of alcohol induced candidness, Grossman looked at Pam and me and told us that everything that he had looked at in regards to the case pointed to the fact that Jamal murdered Faulkner.

Needless to say, I was floored. Here was a man that, for two days, had been aggressively lobbying to take over Mumia’s case, saying that he believed that Jamal was guilty! A few awkward moments passed and I looked over to Pam Africa and waited for her to respond to Grossman’s clear violation of "movement etiquette," but the rebuke didn’t come. She simply nodded affirmatively. Was she agreeing with Grossman’s summation? I, to this day, don’t know, but I certainly have my suspicion.

Now you can imagine my shock upon hearing, just a few months after that meeting with Grossman, that he was presenting a theory of events that completely exonerated Jamal from any involvement in Faulkner’s shooting. I was starting to come to the realization that often my "fellow-travelers" on the far left were not interested in truth or justice or any of the things that are paid lip-service to, but were interested in furthering an ideology. Jamal was a hero of the "radicals." Grossman was an old-school Marxist who was simply doing his part for the "cause" (not to speak of elevating himself to iconic status amongst his fellow crackpots). Whether Jamal shot and killed Faulkner or not, really didn’t seem to matter to Grossman, but it did to me.

It seems that Jamal eventually tired of Grossman and Kamish and has now let them go. Philadelphia attorney Robert Bryan has taken over the daunting task of freeing Jamal. As the case stands now Jamal could still be executed, but this is not likely. As Jamal’s prosecutor told the jurors in the case, Jamal would get "years of appeals."
As it turns, out he was right. Jamal’s attorney is now filing appeals on Jamal’s behalf claiming that the original trial judge, Judge Albert Sabo was biased against Jamal.

Mumia, through his writings, has presented himself as a proto-typical-far-leftist, sprucing his articles with quotes from Chomsky, Zinn, Paine, and even occasionally quotes from fellow African- Americans. Yet, the fact is that while it is generally accepted that Mumia is a "leftist revolutionary" working to overthrow the capitalist oppressors, he is wedded to the religious sect MOVE and, for a time, so was I.

MOVE was started in the early 1970's by a man named Vincent Lephart who would later change his name to John Africa, along with a college professor named Donald Glassey. At its base, MOVE is a group that’s stated goal is the destruction of not only western civilization, but, in fact, all of civilization. MOVE teaches its members that mankind strayed from the natural order of things millions of years ago and has been reaping the "wages of sin" ever since. They believe that for things to be "right again," all man-made constructs from enlightenment notions of justice to the SUV need to be done away with.

They believe that John Africa is God and they believe everyone not in MOVE are "perverts" and a raper of "mother earth." They keep the young members of the cult largely illiterate and force girls as young as twelve to become pregnant and "marry" grown men and other teenaged boys.

MOVE has been in two major confrontations with authorities in Philadelphia, one in 1978, which resulted in the death of Police Officer James Ramp after he was shot by MOVE members (eight of whom remain in prison for his murder).

The other was in 1985. This time the Police actually dropped a "bomb" from a State Police Helicopter onto a bunker MOVE members had built atop their West Philadelphia row home igniting a fire. This fire was allowed to burn by authorities and the resulting conflagration left a neighborhood in ruins and six adults and five children of MOVE dead, amongst them was MOVE founder John Africa.

Ramona Africa was the only adult MOVE member inside the house to survive. She served seven years in prison for her role in the confrontation. When she was released, she advanced her role as one of MOVE’s leaders, sued the city, won millions, and now lives in Chester, PA, outside of Philadelphia.

In 2000, I moved in with Ramona Africa and became a full fledged "supporter" of MOVE (the group no longer accepts members, adherents are considered supporters) of MOVE. How a middle class, white kid who supported Mumia ended up in a cult comprised of mostly African-Americans who preach sermons of destruction is not nearly a complicated story as one might expect.

What began as the political for me, quickly became the personal. I trusted MOVE in the context of the movement to "Free Mumia" and this trust became manifest in other aspects of my life. I not only began to query MOVE members in relation to matter of politics, but also personal matters, affairs of the heart. I slowly started to cede control of my life to people that I thought had my best interest at heart, people that I thought were touched by the divine inspiration of John Africa. It goes without saying, that I was wrong, terribly wrong.

I was, however, more fortunate than many people who had been caught up in MOVE’s grasp. I kept a steady job, which allowed me more independence than many MOVE adherents and I always had a bit of a contrary streak within me that kept me from completely surrendering my cerebral and ironic faculties. For, you see, in MOVE, being an emotional cripple is the key to success within the group. The less that you can do on your own and the more dependant you are on the group, the more you are held up as the example to be followed. The less you think, the stronger you are in MOVE’s eyes.

I stayed close with MOVE until 2002, when one event would forever alter the course of my life. On September 27th, of that year I received a call at my job telling me that John Gilbride had been killed. Now I didn’t know John, but I did know that he was MOVE’s number one enemy and they hated him. As I slumped into the chair at my Office one thought raced through my mind "MOVE killed John."

John was found dead at 12:08 that morning in the parking lot of his apartment complex. The motor still running, the music still blaring, his head and body blown apart from multiple gunshot wounds. Two years have gone by since that day and prosecutors have yet to make an arrest, although media reports have indicated that MOVE matriarch Alberta Africa may be the prime suspect in the case.

Alberta, an ex-con, a woman twice John’s age, and the ex-wife of MOVE founder John Africa, had married John back in the early nineties. John was much like myself, a white, middle class MOVE supporter.

The two had a child together through in-vitro fertilization and the difficulties began soon after. It seems that after some time as a father, John was coming to the conclusion that life in MOVE was not what would be best for his son. He was growing weary of MOVE members staged "interventions" every time he and Alberta would get into an argument. He was tiring of the cult’s overbearing control over his life and the life of his young son.

In the fall of 1998, John had decided he had enough and left Alberta. He reportedly left her with $500 and immediately had a lawyer notify Alberta that he was filing for divorce and, more importantly, he was going to fight for his young son.
It took until 2000 for the divorce to be settled, but the bitter custody dispute would rage on until John’s death.

As a MOVE supporter, I do not recall the first time that I heard about John, but I do recall that as the years wore on, the Organization spent more of its time and energy in fighting John than doing anything else. Activism on behalf of Mumia became an issue on the back burner.
We were told that John was a "government puppet" who was not interested in getting custody of his son, but rather was attempting to force the Organization into another confrontation with police that would end in more jail time for MOVE members, or worse. We were told that he had to be stopped and that Alberta Africa would never allow her son to be taken by John, no matter what.

We were asked to carry out a number of "activities" against John that were literally designed to ruin the man’s life and take away his livelihood. Senior MOVE members instructed us to call his job at the airlines to tell his bosses that John was a terrorist. MOVE supporters were sent to John’s parent’s home outside of Washington DC to spread flyers accusing the family of being "child molesters." MOVE members staged a confrontation with John in an attempt to paint him as a domestic abuser. All of these attacks on John failed and, in fact, only seemed to strengthen his resolve to fight for his young son.

In August of 2002, a judge finally granted John the unsupervised visitation rights that he had been pursuing. By all appearances, it seemed that MOVE was ready for a showdown with John and the authorities.

I was terrified. Nearly every day, my wife and infant daughter would be stationed outside of the now fortified MOVE house staring down the hordes of media who had now descended on the area. After hearing years of anti-police rhetoric from our MOVE idols, we were all certain that the authorities had every intention of storming the MOVE house, especially after MOVE members made it clear that John would not be allowed the court ordered visitation with his son.
Through stall tactics MOVE managed to block John from seeing his son until finally, towards the end of September, MOVE had run out of time and options. The day John was murdered was the day that he was going to have his first unsupervised visit with his son. It was also the day that I decided that, like John, I had enough of MOVE.

It would take me nearly two years to extricate myself and my family from MOVE. For me the choice was simple, but, like John, I had a wife and young child who were firmly in MOVE’s grasp and there was no way that I was going to leave without them.
So, I stayed in MOVE, at least in the physical sense. I went to their functions, gave them my money, helped with their website, and, worst of all, pretended like I didn’t know they were murderers. It was a living hell, one only endurable because of the hope I had that my wife, who had joined MOVE when I did, would eventually see the group for what it was.

Eventually, she did. In March of this year we officially left MOVE and the Mumia movement for good. The tale of our extrication from the group made the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer back in September in an article titled "Life In MOVE."

Needless to say, our former MOVE "friends" were not overly happy with our choice to depart MOVE. Upon hearing the news that I was leaving, one MOVE member said that I was "worse than John Gilbride." Other MOVE supporters responded with e-mailed threats indicating that I would "go down" and that I had better watch my back because you never knew who was going to "get it next." They also accused me of being a racist, a government agent, a provocateur, and a schizophrenic etc...

Insults against me I could handle, but threats against my family and I were another story. We had no choice but to leave the Philadelphia area, conceal our new whereabouts, and hope that MOVE will never find us.

Upon leaving MOVE I made a vow to myself that I would work in whatever capacity that I could to educate people about MOVE in order to help them not make the same mistake I did.

However, until now, I have stayed relatively silent about my feelings towards Jamal. I partially did so because, as someone opposed to the death penalty, I was afraid that comments I make against the "Mumia movement" might be used against the larger death penalty cause.
Secondly I really don’t think that Mumia is ever going to leave prison, so what would be the point in further discrediting an already doomed man? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that no one has benefitted from Jamal’s imprisonment more than the MOVE Organization. I came to the conclusion that one of the best ways to illustrate MOVE’s contemptible nature is by discussing MOVE’s role within the Jamal movement.

In my view, Jamal was the best thing that ever happened to MOVE. It has provided them with a ready made cause and a somewhat steady supply of funds and members. I would wager that nearly all of the people who have came to the group in the last 15 years found out about MOVE through Mumia’s case.

Pam Africa and other MOVE members get trips around the world to meet world-leaders preaching watered down versions of their "MOVE belief" while advocating for the release of Jamal. Mumia’s case has allowed MOVE members unprecedented access to influential and famous people that would, as a matter of principle, normally reject MOVE members and their arcane ideology out of hand.

What I found when I did the investigation into the Jamal case, that I really should have done nearly a decade ago, was that while the prosecution’s case could be seen from certain perspectives as being flawed, the totality of evidence points to Jamal as being the only possible killer of Danny Faulkner.

This came to me as not at all a shock, but I must confess it was a bitter pill to swallow that I had made a mistake that took up nearly a decade of my life. Not only had I spent my time supporting an unrepentant killer, but I had also attacked the credibility and reputations of those who would dare question the validity of Jamal’s cause, or even heretics from within the movement, who had dared cross Pam Africa or her MOVE compatriots.

So how where does this leave me? Opponents and supporters of what I am doing in relation to the MOVE Organization have often queried me as to what my political outlook is now. Certainly, I reject MOVE’s violent cultism and Mumia’s contradictory marinade of MOVE belief, black-power politics, and Chomskyite platitudes. I find unacceptable the moral blindness of people like Ramsey Clark and Micheal Moore and am increasingly uncomfortable with far-left’s support of Islamo-fascists and dictators.

Writer Christopher Hitchens made the point that at one time for the left, "fascism meant war." Now, for most of my "fellow travelers," it seems that fascism is something to support and to make exceptions for. For me, having seen the results of this endorsement of evil first hand, I cannot count myself amongst the ranks of the "radical left" any longer.

That said, I still hate bigotry and racialism for all of the calamities that it has wrought upon the world. I don’t trust, nor have time for the overly religious or the "transcendent" who offer us fantasy instead of reality. I still believe that most politicians don’t have our best interest at hand and that the power they wield is often out of proportion with the brains in their heads, and often deserve the distrust that people have for them. So politically I don’t know exactly where I am, but I do know where I am not. And I certainly know that Mumia is where he belongs and that, in time, MOVE will be relegated to the dustbin history.

MOVE Wants To Debate!

MOVE Wants to Debate: That’s News to Me!
By Tony Allen
"...its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened. Then again, every major change in policy demands a corresponding change of doctrine and a revelation of prominent historical figures. This kind of thing happens everywhere, but is clearly likelier to lead to outright falsification in societies where only one opinion is permissible at any given moment. Totalitarianism demands, in fact, the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run probably demands a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth"
-George Orwell "The Prevention of Literature"

Recently, I was in receipt of an email from a long-time MOVE hack indicating to me that Sue Africa and Ramona Africa wanted to debate my wife and myself at a MOVE fund-raiser in March in Philadelphia regarding "allegations" that I have made against MOVE.
Now, I don’t believe this to be a sincere overture on their part and I think it worth a minute of my time to explain to people why I think this way.
During my time in MOVE and since my departure, I have watched the members and supporters of the group develop and circulate the most vulgar and dishonest conspiracy theories, most of them directed at innocent people who had dared to wander into MOVE’s orbit and challenge the group’s notion of reality. I observed the incubation of sheer paranoia and rumor-mongering orchestrated by MOVE’s leadership in order to manipulate their flock into believing the unbelievable.
I have also been on the receiving end of some pretty crude attempts at censorship on MOVE’s part. It is this censorious nature that betrays MOVE’s authoritarian tendencies and solipistic desire to be insulated from reality.
Truth be told, MOVE has had dozens of chances to address the issues that I have raised against them and it has been MOVE that has tried, at every juncture, to squash the debate and silence those who would raise the issues.
When I first began to be the specter that would haunt MOVE members, they responded in typical thug-like fashion and sent, via-email, stupid and barbaric threats of violence against my wife and I. When this failed to generate the desired result of silence, they switched to the tried and true tactic of vicious ad-hominem attacks and labeled me an infiltrator and a closeted racist. MOVE was attempting to use the old Stalin-esque approach of replacing the merit of an argument, or a position, with a question about motivation.
When this approach also failed, MOVE began to pretend that I, and my arguments, simply did not exist. This policy of avoidance has been their modus operandi up until now, when they have concocted this little charade of wanting to "debate" the issues. I use the word charade deliberately because I know for certain that MOVE doesn’t want to dispute my charges anymore now than when I first raised them so many months ago.
What MOVE’s leaders are attempting to do is project a facade of willingness after so long living a policy of shameful avoidance, threats, and other attempts of intimidation. It is perverse and they know it and their faithful must know it as well.
For everyone who knows of my situation should also know that I have left Philadelphia without telling anyone where I have gone, precisely so I can avoid MOVE’s violence and, thus, would never knowingly put myself within the reach of people who I know have killed before.
They have done their best to silence me and they have done their best to avoid directly taking on the issues that I have raised. I would be foolish to think that they would have anything planned for their little debate other than more calculated deception and obfuscation.
Furthermore, MOVE has had plenty of chances to "debate" me and they have chosen the cowards route. When I posted my charges regularly on a pro-MOVE message board at MOVE members and their closest supporters were nowhere to be found. In fact after a short time of me posting on the board the entire message board was taken down without explanation from the sites owners.
MOVE had yet another opportunity to answer some of my charges when the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story about my extrication from the group earlier this year. What did MOVE have to say about me and my charges then? According to Ramona Africa who now claims she wants "to debate" me, she would not "discuss" me or answer the allegations that I had leveled against the group for whom she is the spokesperson for.
MOVE, again, recently had the ability to "debate" some of the charges against them when a supporter of theirs advertised a new message board where people could discuss the issues of MOVE and Mumia Abu-Jamal. . I posted on this forum and my posts were deleted as quickly as I posted them, as were posts of others who had challenged the notion of MOVE’s and Mumia’s innocence.
Most recently an apparent MOVE supporter posted the following at the Philly IMC website demanding the censorship of my work while at the same time attempting to libel me as some kind of police apologist.:
"Philly IMC activists, do you edit your website for racism? Can you see anything wrong with the firebombing of MOVE??? I don’t blame anyone for not reading this boring racist compilation of police lies, but you don’t need to smell dogshit to move it off your front lawn. I highly recommend editing "Realities of MOVE," and any subsequent postings by "Tony Allen." If activists don’t educate themselves about COINTELPRO, and don’t protect one another from it , especially our comrades in prison, we will all become victims of the vampires that run the US system."
None of this adds up to MOVE wanting to debate anything other than the best way to try and shut me up. And the fact is that I am not, and never have been, on the "system’s" payroll and have no hidden agenda.
In fact, I have a very open one. I believe that the MOVE Organization is a violent and authoritarian sect whose ideals are neither progressive, revolutionary, or novel, but rather stupid, nihilistic, and deeply hypocritical. This conviction stems from my own personal experience with MOVE, a knowledge of the group’s history, and a deep sense of antipathy towards the kind of fascism that MOVE is attempting to inject into the progressive political scene. This is a group deserving of scorn and reproach not adulation and hero worship and I will quickly tell anyone this without the promise of a paycheck.
But what accounts for the "change of heart" so to speak that MOVE has had towards a disputation of my polemics. Actually nothing. This is just a change in tactics in order to appease their supporters who must be, by now, feeling a growing sense of frustration at their own inability to rebuke my claims and halt my keystrokes.
The question as to why does MOVE not take me on must have started to irritate MOVE’s leaders to the point that thy felt the need to attempt some kind of face saving game. The result is a transparently disingenuous attempt to further negate discourse while at the same time trying to turn the tables against me and make it look like I am one the one afraid of discussion....yet, another example of a MOVE spectacle of cowardice sloppily disguised as unimpeachable bravery. It is as typical for this group as it is sickening.
So if MOVE wants to debate me, I say bring it on. For I have tried to coax MOVE members and their close supporters into defending their backwards ideology for some time now and they have refused to do so in multiple forums and on dozens of occasions.
I say, let them come forth and defend the virtual enslavement of their own children. Let them explain why a group that is allegedly committed to the preservation of life is awash in blood. Let them explain the fraud that they have attempted to perpetuate on the public. Let them explain what happened to John Gilbride and why they continue to try and intimidate his family into not speaking out about his death. Let’s do it up. The sooner the better.
Does this mean that I will I go to Philadelphia and get yelled and screamed at and have no chance to retort and plead my case? I know a set-up when I see one and besides that, call me sensitive but, I take it personally when someone wants to threaten my life, that of my family, and than has the audacity to demand that I come to their town, and go in front of their crowd, and look them in the eye, and have a civil discussion.
I don’t know any rational person who would fault me for not wanting to enter into that kind of situation, but than again when you are talking about MOVE members and their close supporters, you are not talking about people who can be reasoned with.
Rather, I say meet me at a discussion board of MOVE’s choice. Somewhere where a passionate discourse can thrive and be free of MOVE’s poor attempts at censorship. A place where posters can raise issues and ask questions of anyone and where there can be candid debates free of intimidation and threats. A place where anyone is welcome regardless of their position.
Why not bring back the MOVE discussion board at There is already a website up there. Or we can go to the site which is dedicated to informing the public about cults. It really doesn’t matter to me where, just so long as people are free to say what they want. So how about it Ramona, Sue, how about you Alberta? You wanna debate? I am all for it, but something tells me that you aren’t.

Hit Counter
Online Schools