Mumia's Million Little Pieces
There isn’t much left of the “movement” that once numbered in the “millions” to “Free Mumia”.
What does remain scattered across cyberspace are remnants of the lies that once fed the Mumia machine and fueled the fire of those who acted on his behalf.
As someone who you could say has been on both sides of what passes for the “Jamal” debate (I will not now, nor will I ever call for his execution), I have learned that the forces gathered to tear down the prison walls to set Mumia free were gathered there upon faith and not fact.
Faith. Arguably the most powerful non-naturally occurring force on earth is what gave the Jamal movement it’s breath, but facts are what will finally bring down faltering, waste of energy, that is the “Free Mumia” charade.
For if there was ever a case that called for the death penalty it would be Mumia’s. For these are what the facts tell us.
But for those of us who filled the ranks of Mumia’s army, we never really bothered to find out what actually happened the night of December 9, 1981.
If Leonard Weinglass said Mumia was innocent, he was. If Rage Against the Machine said Mumia deserved a new trial, than he did. If Mayor Willie Brown proclaimed a Mumia Abu-Jamal day, than it must be safe to say that Mumia was a good guy. And so it went.
Pam Africa and her loyal minions called for all good people on the left to sign a petition or show up for a rally every now and again. Never mind, our “leaders” like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn were selling us out intellectually and literally to a two-bit cultist and an unapologetic cop-killer. These men and women of the left who were so brave to “speak truth to power” bullied by a con-woman who talked a hustler game and walked the road of intimidation and cheaply peddled bullshit were straight up conned. And something tells me that it is something they don’t lose much sleep over it.
Recently, Author James Frey was skewered on national TV by Oprah for falsifying pieces of his memoir “A Million Little Pieces”. And rightly so.
When are we going to take to task the whose who of the left who helped peddle the Mumia charade for so long? Pretty much anyone who was involved with the left in the middle to late nineties bought into the Mumia game. Finally, Marc Cooper stepped up and made it ok to admit that maybe there were more than a few holes in Mumia’s story.
I mean, how many years did it take Mumia to come out and actually say that he did not shoot Officer Faulkner? And boy did Mumia’s story sound an awful lot like Black Panther founder Huey Newton’s account of when he was accused of murdering a police officer (Newton got off, as he did some years later after being accused of shooting a prostitute in the face.) Newton was not so lucky when a crack deal went bad and his life was ended.
I guess you could say that the begging of the end of the Mumia movement came when the trial transcripts became available online. And you should notice that not one pro-Mumia website will direct you to those transcripts...The reason for this attempt to keep people from the actual facts of the trial is obvious. The trial transcripts damn Mumia. The carefully polished and articulate portrait of restraint and intellect that has been portrayed to Jamal’s supporters was quickly dispatched by even a cursory reading of the transcripts.
The myth that Mumia was sentenced to death by Judge Sabo was discovered to be a lie. Mumia’s sentence was handed down by a jury that he helped to choose. Sabo merely affirmed the sentence.
The myth about Mumia not being allowed a competent attorney was also shattered.. Read the transcripts and you will find that Mumia didn’t even want an attorney, he wanted MOVE founder John Africa at his side. He repeated this demand over and over again.
The transcripts show Mumia for what he was, and in many ways still is, a man, an intelligent man at that, under the control of a cult that was using him to further there own agenda at his expense.
Jamal would say things in court like, “ your court means nothing to me, your honor” a clear homage to his MOVE comrades. Mumia liked to remind the court that "I’m fighting for my life here," which prompted Judge Albert Sabo to respond at one point, "I don’t think you’re fighting for your life. If you were you wouldn’t be using such tactics."
In Sabo’s courtroom it was not Prosecutor McGill or the Judge who was Jamal’s worst enemy, it was Mumia himself, who was being manipulated by his MOVE companions to act a fool and disrupt proceedings whenever the mood struck him
There are some exchanges from Jamal’s trial that just cannot be missed in order to understand the bedlam and chaos that Mumia attempted to impose upon the court
In this instance Judge Sabo had asked Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGill to begin the next part of his case, when Mumia forcefully interjected, repeatedly refusing to accept Sabo’s ruling that Pennsylvania law forbade John Africa (or any other lay person) to represent him in court:
[DISTRICT ATTORNEY] MR. McGILL: Your Honor, if it please the Court —
THE DEFENDANT (Mumia): I’m not finished.
MR. McGILL: Your Honor —
THE DEFENDANT: I’m not finished speaking, Judge.
MR. McGILL: Your Honor, we’ve just had about a half hour, 20 minutes, anyway, of side bar conference and I believe Your Honor has ruled.
THE COURT: Yes, I have.
THE DEFENDANT: He has not ruled to my satisfaction. This is my trial. This is my trial and it isn’t your trial. I need counsel of my choice, Judge.
THE COURT: Are you going to allow the District Attorney to address the jury?
THE DEFENDANT: Are you refusing to allow me counsel of my choice?
THE COURT: I did rule on that before, yes.
THE DEFENDANT: I need counsel that I can have faith in, that I trust, that I respect —
THE COURT: This is —
THE DEFENDANT: — that is not a member of this court, that is not an officer of this court —
THE COURT: Mr. Jamal, are you refusing to allow the District Attorney to proceed?
THE DEFENDANT: Are you refusing to give me counsel of my choice?
MR. McGILL: Your Honor, as I understand it Your Honor has said that —
THE COURT: Take the jury out.
THE DEFENDANT: This man has gone to law school, right, but he cannot guarantee me my freedom; he cannot guarantee me victory.
THE COURT: Nobody can do that.
THE DEFENDANT: Well, how do you know?
THE COURT: Well, how do you know?
THE DEFENDANT: I do know. I do know. John Africa can do that.
THE COURT: No, nobody can.
THE DEFENDANT: Well, you don’t know that. I do know.
THE COURT: Neither do you.
THE DEFENDANT: Well, do you know John Africa?
THE COURT: I don’t have to know him.
THE DEFENDANT: Well, I do.
THE COURT: I don’t have to know him.
Can any sane person really blame Judge Sabo from having Attorney Jackson take over? And what of Attorney Jackson, whose client made clear his contempt for him, and whom Jamal’s latter attorneys would include in the “conspiracy” to execute Jamal. You have to feel sorry for the guy. Here he was, underfunded, hated by his client, hated by MOVE, all the while attempting to put up a defense for a man who was plainly guilty.
But back to John Africa. First of all, there was no indication that John Africa would even serve as Jamal’s attorney if granted permission to do so. Secondly, it was known that John Africa was sub-literate at best and when John Africa had his own trial back in 1981 he let his co-defendant do much of the work in the case and spoke infrequently and briefly. How was he going to come in and take over a trial where a man was on trial for capital murder. Had Judge Sabo allowed John Africa to take over, he should have been fired for allowing someone in his courtroom to commit judicial suicide.
Mumia, who was being advised daily by MOVE members was following the strategy as given to him the group’s members. Just as now, MOVE was obsessed with getting press coverage and here they had a dead cop and his brainwashed murderer to lead them onto the front page every day. With the name of John Africa interspersed through every few paragraphs, MOVE members could not have been more pleased. Mumia’s, MOVE advisors, were leading him straight to hell and he was following right along, a smile on his face as Faulkner’s bloody shirt is shown to the jury.
They led him straight to hell and he gleefully and faithfully followed. It is the path that Jamal still treads albeit a little lighter than usual.
Although he hasn’t officially renounced MOVE, Jamal seems to speak for the group less and less. You see “Long Live John Africa” appearing less frequently at the end of his articles. Perhaps it has finally sunk into Mumia that his buddies in MOVE sold him down the publicity river and the truth is that he is more valuable to them on death row than anywhere else has
Mumia has been MOVE’s meal ticket for so long, that they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if he were to be set free...Hell, Pam Africa might even have to get a job.
There are no more secrets left in the Jamal vault. His seemingly suicidal behavior at his trial was orchestrated by his MOVE cohorts. And they didn’t give a damn if he ended up on death row, in fact, I am sure that is what they were hoping for. Death Row martyrs are great press.
As for the mystery of how a convicted cop-killer from Philadelphia became the cause celebre for everyone from Whoopie Goldberg to the widow of French President Mitterrand is no secret either. It became just a matter of politics and a collage of well crafted lies peddled to people all to willing to believe them.
As for Mumia, he has appeals pending. Statistically speaking, his chances of winning are slim and chances are that he will end up spending the rest of his life in prison, all the while avoiding the death penalty.
But for the rest of us, we know about Mumia and all of his million little lies and there are fewer and fewer of us who are going to fall for them.