Sunday, January 15, 2006

Philly IMC Gets It Wrong On Mumia...Again


(The following is a response to a "feature" at the Philly IMC website.)

The Philadelphia IMC Blows It Again When It Comes to Mumia

When will the good folks down at the Philly IMC come to grips with the reality that the whole Mumia movement is little more than a grand and deliberate facade?

( picture of Maureen Faulkner)

The latest feature on the website doesn’t offer much hope. According to the author of the article “Mr. Abu Jamal's defense isn't based on the details of the night, but rather on the unfairness of the trial that he received”
Really.

According to the actual transcripts of the 20/20 piece, then Mumia attorney, Leonard Weinglass makes the claim that Jamal

“...didn't shoot Officer Faulkner, and I think a reading of the evidence indicates that to be so.”

Attorney Weinglass would go further reiterate this point and went into further detail when he makes the claim that:

“Mumia ran to a scene where his brother was being beaten. That is true. As he got there, gunfire erupted. That is also true. But it was Mumia who was shot. Then the officer was shot, it is our contention, and the person who shot the officer fled the scene, as reported to the police that night.”

The author of the IMC piece also is either willfully ignorant or was misled by the pro-Jamal propaganda when the assertion is made that:

“While the 20/20 piece claims that only 3 witnesses were featured in Mumia's trial, the film describes the defense and its five witnesses, including one, William Singletary, who was repeatedly harassed when he tried to offer evidence in defense of Mr. Abu Jamal's claims of innocence.”

In actuality, there was a slew of witnesses who would testify against Jamal. The “three witnesses” in question were three eyewitnesses. According to prosecutor Joseph McGill:

“ What you have is eyewitness testimony, not one but three. You have a weapon, clear. And later at a hospital, he (Mumia) blurts out what he did in an arrogant way”

With regards to William Singletary, it appears that even Jamal’s own attorney had issues with the story as presented by Singletary. Again, according to the 20/20 transcripts:

“But his number-one witness, William Singletary (ph), waited more than a decade before testifying to a story so bizarre even Weinglass has trouble defending it.
He said the shooter emerged from the Volkswagen, yelling and screaming, shot Officer Faulkner in the head and ran away. Whereupon, according to Singletary, Abu-Jamal approached the scene and said, "Oh, my God, we don't need this," bent over Faulkner, who'd been shot between the eyes, and asked, "Is there anything I can do to help you?"

Whereupon, according to Singletary, Faulkner's gun, which was in Faulkner's lap, miraculously discharged, hitting Jamal in the chest. Now, that's incredible."

Singletary’s credibility was apparently so suspect, even to Weinglass and company, that when Singletary was asked to relay what he saw the night of December 9, 1981 by the prosecutors in 1995, Weinglass actually objected. He did not want Singletary’s story heard. And why not? Because he knew that Singletary would be proven on the stand to either be a compulsive liar or a man suffering from a severe mental disorder.

And Weinglass could not have been more correct.

Singletary's 1995 PCRA testimony recounted a series of events that could not have taken place.

For instance, Singletary, insists that Officer Faulkner, already dead from multiple gunshot wounds spoke and called for children (Faulkner had no kids), and even though dead, fired his weapon. Singletary described a shooting in which Faulkner was not shot in the back, even though he was. Singletary also claims to have seen an helicopter at the scene. Not only was he the only person to see this helicopter, but the police did not even posses a helicopter in 1981. Singletary was also the only witness who claimed that Mumia was dressed as an “Arab”.

The author of the IMC piece makes the point that Jamal’s case is based upon the “unfairness of the trial that he received” as opposed to a defense based upon the actual facts of the case. This is simply not true. When he was Jamal’s attorney, Weinglass always maintained that Mumia was “actually” innocent and that the physical evidence positively concluded that Jamal could not possibly be guilty.

Once this defense began to fall apart and Weinglass was fired, a new attorney stepped forward to postulate yet another theory that points towards Jamal as being “actually” innocent. Attorney Eliot Grossman would contend that Faulkner’s murder was, in actuality a mob hit and that Jamal was basically an innocent bystander who got caught up in the crossfire.

The issue of Jamal having a “fair trial” was always put on the back burner.

Why?

Because if Jamal had a screwed up trial in 1981 he had only himself to blame.

Mumia, in holding with his belief in the “teachings of John Africa” showed no respect to the judge, the court, or the process, to which he himself had initiated when he gunned down Officer Faulkner.

According to one reporter who was covering the trial:

"For four angry weeks, Abu-Jamal disrupted the courtroom, humiliated his own chosen attorney, insulted the jury and threatened the judge with violence."

With regard to Cynthia White, the IMC reporter, not surprisingly, either is choosing to deceive readers or his or herself been misled. Either way, bullshit is bullshit. According to the pro-Jamal piece.

“For example, the police, in acquiring prosecution witnesses, offered major deals to the people they committed to testify against Mumia. According to the film, one witness, Cynthia White, had 38 prior arrests including 3 pending cases at the time she served as a witness. Those 3 pending cases were never prosecuted. In 1987, White was arrested, released on bail, and never tried for another offense. White provides the only testimony that places Mumia at the scene for the entire length of the incident.”

The fodder for the “major deal” accusations come directly from Veronica Jones, who, along with Cynthia White (now deceased) was a prostitute on the night of December 9, 1981. Jones, in her 1996 testimony, makes the claim that White's alleged "deal" was made with police officers whose names Jones couldn't remember. Veronica also cannot remember when such a deal was made or to what specific benefits Cynthia White was supposed to get from such a deal. And if there was such a “deal” struck, it wasn’t a very good one. You see, Cynthia White was arrested twice within a week of testifying against Mumia.

The statement that “White provides the only testimony that places Mumia at the scene for the entire length of the incident”, while being rhetorically clever, is disingenuous in the sense that it is an attempt to evade the damning testimony of the other eyewitnesses. Eyewitnesses such as Robert Chobert who in 1982 testified that:

“ Well, I let my fare out and I'm marking down on my pad how much it was, and then I heard a shot. I looked up, I saw the cop fall to the ground, and then I saw Jamal standing over him and firing some more shots into him.”

Chobert would stand by his statement in 1995 and made it clear that he had been offered no deal in exchange for his originial testimony and in fact relayed his years of legal and professional woes after testifying against Jamal.

In yet another error, the writer of the IMC piece places the blame for the Anti-Terrorism Effective Death Penalty Act that was passed on April 24th 1996 on Governor Ed Rendell. In actuality the bill was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. And for the record, Tom Ridge was governor back in 1996, not Ed Rendell.

Now, I am all for Independent Media, but what about “responsible” Independent media? I understand that the newswire is open to anyone to post anything, but why feature an article that is so clearly written from a position of what seems to be willful ignorance. The author of the article obviously did not bother to investigate any of the “facts” that they heard, and was content only to parrot the shameless and so-often discredited diatribes of Ms. Pam Africa.

If we are truly to have an “Independant” media it must be one that is not only free from the pressures of the market, or the obsessions of a celebrity culture. It must also be one that is compelled to be intellectually curious and not simply content to repeat the exhortations of members of a discredited movement that seeks to free an obviously guilty man.

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