Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What A Surprise! MOVE Lies Again


(picture of MOVE's slaves/children hopefully protesting the fact that they cannot read the signs that the are holding up)

On February 13th on the official website of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia there was posted, an advertisement, if you will, for a protest to be held at the new location of Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

As anyone who follows the Mumia/MOVE “situation” knows, Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham has been a long time target of the movement, so the fact that her office is being targeted for a street demonstration should surprise nobody.

Now, as a matter of a disclaimer, I must confess that I am no fan of DA Lynne Abraham and not necessarily for the same reasons as my former comrades in MOVE.

She, and her office has served as a kind of enabler when it comes to members of MOVE breaking the law and breaking it flagrantly and frequently. They do this under the nose of Abraham and the police and they do it without any sense of shame, or even the pretense of concealment.

If Abraham is guilty of anything, she and her office should be held accountable for not investigating and prosecuting the Organization for issues that I am sure her office is aware of.

Furthermore, Abraham is notorious for championing the use of the death penalty, despite the fact that since the death penalty was reinstated in Pennsylvania in 1976, that only three executions have actually been carried out. I urge you to read the previous sentence again if only to drive home the point that this breaks down to one execution per decade. And while I realize that for death penalty opponents this is three too many, I think it also amounts to a kind of false advertisement on the part of Abraham. She knows that most of the capital cases her office prosecutes will not end in death for the guilty, but instead a nearly endless string of appeals, yet her office continues onward as if this is not the case.

Not only is this unfair for the guilty, I also believe it unfair to the families of victims, whose heads are filled with notions of “closure” while the appellate process slowly worms it’s way through the judiciary, usually ending with the defendant getting life in prison. The promise of “closure”via the death penalty from the DA’s office is nothing more than a political construct, designed to get and keep someone in office, and so it is with Lynne Abraham.

My disdain for Abraham aside, I am not of the view that she should be unfairly maligned and that is what has been done (not surprisingly) with this new statement from MOVE/ICFFMAJ. The missive states the following:

“As a judge she signed warrants to initiate both police attacks on the MOVE Organization.”

The above statement from MOVE, like so many others is just not true.

What is true is that Lynne Abraham, back in 1985 was a Common Pleas Court Judge and did sign search and arrest warrants that had been given to her by the District Attorneys Office on May 12th of 1985. At that time the District Attorney in Philadelphia Ed Rendell, who would eventually rise to the office of Governor.

But before everyone heaps a mountain of scorn upon Abraham for her role in the catastrophe, we should remind ourselves that it was a minor one and that given the evidence presented before her, she had little choice but to sign the warrants as they were presented to her.

We should keep in mind that at this point, MOVE had threatened to kill the mayor, blow up the neighborhood, kill police officers as well as themselves, and had fortified the house that they inhabited, the owner of which had been kicked out by MOVE. In essence, when Abraham signed the warrants, MOVE had already effectively taken their neighborhood hostage as well as the children that were in their care. Moreover they were refusing to negotiate in any meaningful or rational way. MOVE members had committed themselves to death and no piece of paper signed by Abraham could have affected what MOVE had decided would be a blood drenched outcome.

But while Abraham did have a minor role in the events of May 13th 1985, as best as I can tell she had none in 1978 as alleged by the latest MOVE statement.

Revisiting the events of 1978 I discovered that there had been a ten-point agreement between the city and MOVE. It was an agreement that stated in essence that if MOVE vacated their barricaded compound in Powelton Village, eighteen MOVE members charged with a series of misdemeanors and felonies would be freed from jail on their own recognizance and the charges dropped. MOVE had until August 1, 1978 to vacate the premise. Needless to say, they did not do so, and a confrontation became inevitable.

After the deadline passed it was Judge G. Fred Dibona who signed arrest warrants for twenty one MOVE members and ordered the city to ensure the arrests occurred within ten days. Just how the arrests would be made was not up to the court, it was up to the Police working in concert elements of the city government.

MOVE reacted to the warrants in the same fashion as they usually did with news they were not happy with, they screamed and hollered into their bullhorns, excoriating everybody from the President on down. They dared the police to come in and made it clear to anyone within ear or bullhorn shot that they planned on fighting the police to the death rather than surrender or honor the agreement that they had previously made.

Around 4:30am on Tuesday, August 8, 1978, police began the operation to forcibly evict and arrest MOVE members. It was an operation that would end with the murder of one police officer and the wounding of dozens of other police and firemen. And it was the last day that nine MOVE members would breath the free air.

MOVE has lied again and nobody should be surprised

(For More Information on August 8, 1978 and May 13th 1985 please visit my website about MOVE)

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