Friday, December 01, 2006

When "Journalism" Isn't: Hans Benett, Mumia, and John Gilbride


(Picture by "Journalist" Hans Bennett)

Perhaps the self-proclaimed "journalist", Hans Bennett should lay off the ganja before he heads into interviews in which he is completely overmatched.

On November 29th and again on December 1st, Hans posted an interview at the Philly IMC as well as I am sure a dozen or so other websites that he did with Peter J. Wirs. In case you didn’t know, Wirs (allegedly) filed criminal charges against the French cities of Paris and Saint Denis for their naming of a street after Mumia.. A street in which intrepid French activists re-named for Daniel Faulkner.

Now, it is claimed by the French that perhaps this charge was never filed. I could really care less one way or another

Not because I think naming a street after an unrepentant killer isn’t vulgar and in bad taste, it is more so that I don’t think it should be illegal to do so. I am more given to the idea that we have solid knowledge as to where stupid people congregate so that we can avoid such places. For instance, if I happened to be in France I would know to avoid Mumia street and instead try my luck with Patton Blvd on my way to find a bottle of Evian.

Anyways, Wirs and his politicos are trying to argue that the French honors are in violation of a French Penal code which prohibits the "the glorified perpetration of a crime [whose elements include] the voluntary trespass to another person's life or physical integrity ..."

One would think that a city official of Philadelphia, a bleeding metropolis, with 300 plus murders this year alone, would have better thing to do than pursue this little endeavor, but who am I to deprive someone of a cause?

Wirs and his band of political crusaders argue in their press release that:

"Wirs, a twice-elected state constable who specialized in civil rights investigations, said that his exhaustive examination of court records confirms what U.S. District Court Judge William Yohn also found; that Abu-Jamal received a fair trial despite his own ‘obstreperous conduct’ that hogtied his defense counsel’s representation, and that alleged post-mortem eyewitness recantations and inadvertent forensic deficiencies cannot overcome the sheer weight of circumstantial evidence, that only a Charter Arms .38 caliber revolver killed Officer Faulkner, being one of two firearms found at the crime scene, purchased by and registered to Abu-Jamal; the other being the fallen police officer’s service weapon; coupled with Abu-Jamal’s knowingly self-avowed confession that ‘I shot the motherfucker, and I hope the motherfucker dies’ heard twice by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital security personnel where Abu-Jamal was being treated after his arrest."



Fair enough.



Now enter "journalist" Hans Bennett to interview Wirs. From my vantage point the interview doesn’t go well for Bennett or the Jamal cause in general, but Bennett, perhaps clinging to some vestige of journalistic integrity or sheer egoism, posted the interview anyways allowing us a glimpse into just how bad off the "Free Mumia" cause is.

The interview pretty much speaks for itself and unless Bennett comes to his senses and realizes what a fool he sounds like, one can get the whole of it at http://www.insubordination.blogspot.com/

There are a couple of times where Bennett slips one by Wirs in the questioning phase and here is where I come in.

I hate to beat a dead horse as it rots in the gutter, but until Bennett stops lying I will continue to point out the fact that he is doing so.

In the interview Hans pretends that he is some kind of "journalist" instead of the MOVE/Mumia supporter that he is, which to me at least is kind of funny.

Here goes Hans with my reply afterwords.



Hans: One thing they talked about was Mumia's [alleged] hospital confession. I was wondering what you what you thought about the witnesses reporting the confession two months later. Does that in any way challenge their credibility?

Now, Hans knows better than this. He is not some recent Mumia convert, or college student writing a paper, he is a hardcore activist who knows the facts of the case. He knows that Mrs. Durham reported the confession the next day. It was the police who neglected to mention the confession for two months, not Mrs. Durham.

Hans: Mumia's supporters have argued that Mumia didn't start his combative behavior (interrupting Sabo and such) until Sabo actually denied him the right to defend himself.

Again, Hans probably knows better. Not only was Jamal "combative" during his trial, he was "combative" during pre-trial hearings with Judge Ribner. If anyone bothers with the transcripts of the case you will clearly see that Jamal was disruptive and "combative" at every moment of the trial. From the beginning to the end.

Mumia was following the same strategy that his comrades in MOVE had done the year before during their trial. At his trial Jamal had MOVE members coaching him along the way

Hans: Regarding the Charter Arms revolver, did you want to make any more points about the contradiction in the police report. Like I've been saying, they never tied the bullet to the Charter Arms revolver until court. And it was a direct contradiction to the previous report that said those characteristics were "indeterminable".

It is not 100% possible to link Jamal’s gun to the killing, but given the circumstances in addition to the fact that Jamal was pretty much laying there with his smoking gun beside him, the evidence is pretty overwhelming that a bullet from Mumia’s gun wound up in Daniel Faulkner’s head.

In his book about the case, former Jamal attorney Dan Williams conceded that the fatal bullet was indeed a .38 caliber slug

Moreover, the defendant’s own ballistics expert also concurred that the slug removed from the victim's brain was "consistent" with having ben fired by a 38 caliber handgun.

Perhaps of equal importance to the ballistic evidence is the fact that the prosecution theory matches that of the witnesses. When Jamal’s gun was taken at the crime scene, all five bullets had been fired. Also, witnesses Scanlan, Chobert, and White describe how Abu Jamal, standing over the wounded cop, fired downward in the direction of Faulkner’s body.

But perhaps we are missing the point. It is time that Jamal Attorney Robert Bryan and "journalist" Hans Bennet start answering some questions here.



After all, Jamal had his day in court where the burden was on the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of Jamal’s peers that he murdered Officer Faulkner. This has been done whether you like the outcome or not.



What has to happen now is the defendant must prove his side of the story is worthy of being heard again in court after he turned the court into a circus, after threatening the Judge and berating his own attorney, and after he refused to take the stand in his own defense during his original trial. Jamal had rights. That he would choose to piss them away to impress his buddies in MOVE is not the fault of the state.

So these questions I pose to not just Hans or Robert Bryan but any of Jamal’s supporters.



If as claimed Mumia was running/jogging across Locust Street to protect his troubled sibling from a police beat down, than how does one explain Jamal’s gun ending up on the ground with all five cartridges fired. A fact that the defense does not contest. What was he planning to do?
Surely he didn’t' race across the street to protect his brother with a five shot weapon with no live bullets in the chamber.

Jamal’s pistol did not magically remove itself from it’s hidden shoulder holster. How did it end up on the ground if Jamal had not removed it?

He sure as hell didn't throw the empty revolver at the cop to prevent him from "brutalizing" his younger brother.

Both Jamal and his brother have offered affidavits about the events of that evening. Neither of which address the issue of Jamal’s gun. Jamal’s brother only indicates that he didn’t see anything in Jamal’s hand. Mumia doesn't say a word about his gun in his affadavidt.

Could it be...no it couldn’t...it can’t be...that Mumia shot Officer Faulkner? No that couldn’t be, Jamal is a talented writer, a journalist, articulate, and a lover of the police, who has said that he would never say that he hoped one would die. He would never do such a thing. Anyone who would say otherwise must be an agent, a cop, a COINTELPRO rat.



Give me a break.

Now, with the 25th anniversary of the murder of Daniel Faulkner I feel the general sense of nausea as I observe Jamal’s defenders churning out their latest attempts at exploitation. I have a sense of weariness at the audaciousness of cynical individuals who know full well the truth, but whose egos or pocketbooks have not been sufficiently lined for them to cease squeezing the blood from this terrible tragedy. It is a story that has been distorted, remade, re-packaged, re-sold, by affectless manipulators for the past quarter of a century and it appears to have no end in sight.

In conclusion, and as a means of full disclosure, I know Hans Bennett. I wrote some articles for his "Insubordination" paper back in the day. After my departure from MOVE, he had nothing more to say to me. Although he claims he considered me a "friend". This "friend" sat idly by while people hurled the most ludicrous accusations at me, physically threatened me for the crime of writing, asserted that I was a bigot, cop, you name it. Hans never had a word to say about it. Such courage displayed from a "friend". I can easily say that friends like that, I don’t need.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t add that Hans has done more work on behalf of MOVE than this latest spasm of activism on behalf of Mumia.

Mr. Bennett was a full on participant in the defamation and general assault upon John Gilbride prior to Gilbrides’ death. Bennett casually gobbled up whatever propaganda MOVE offered him and churned it to the "alternative media" out like the faux journalist he is. He did so without question and without the slightest bit of a nod to the ethics of true journalism. I have said before, and will say again that the brutal and ultimately unfounded attacks on John Gilbride’s character helped to pave the way for his murder.

In fact, I took Bennett to task about the issue of John Gilbride in a recent email. I wrote, in part the following:

"And what of John Gilbride? You and I helped MOVE to destroy that man's credibility behind a bunch of lies, because that is what they were. I have "investigated" and found out that all of that crap that we were peddling about John was bullshit.

One day and I hope it is soon you will wake up to realize that the adulation and false friendship that MOVE offers is a mirage that exists because they think you can do something for them.

Does the truth matter to you? Do you not care that you put out lies now, that you put out lies about John back than?"

Not surprisingly I did not receive a response from my old friend Hans.

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