Monday, January 29, 2007

Who And What Is Behind The " NYC Mumia Street" Petition

(Febuary 2, Update
In just over a week we have reached nearly 16,000 signatures. In the last 24 hours alone we have had 4,000 signatures alone. Keep it up!)

The idea to name a street in Harlem after Mumia was apparently spawned out of the New York Coalition To Free Mumia. The group, one of the largest of all of the "Free Mumia" groups believes "that Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent and should be released immediately." This according to their website.

But who are the people behind the petition?

Most certainly, one of them is a Clinical Psychologist named Dr. Suzanne Ross. Ross, who holds a PHD in her field, is a long-time Jamal supporter as well as a member of the "Friends of MOVE" group, which acts as a support network for the child-raping Philadelphia cult known as MOVE.

She serves as the "New York Free Mumia Coalition’s" primary spokesperson for the media and is very closely linked to the leader of the "Free Mumia" cause and MOVE member, Pam Africa. She is listed as the "co-chair" of the Free Mumia group.

Ross is also what one could certainly consider a "professional activist" who will sign onto any cause so long as it is anti-American. She also is a supporter of convicted criminals from Mumia to Leonard Peltier to the "MOVE 9". She is also a fixture of the extremist wing of the "anti-war" movement.

The actual author of the "Name a Street after Mumia" is another career activist named Jeremy Syrop. Syrop is the coalition’s youth coordinator and whose name the group’s website is registered to. He is the proto-typical "white revolutionary" hailing from the hard streets of Chappaqua NY.

In high school he signed a petition to free convicted Earth Liberation Front terrorist Jeff Luers. It was there that the now 20 year old also began his activities to "Free Mumia".

Syrop now attends the "New School" in NYC where he has continued his "radical" activities including setting up a speaking engagement at the school for the disgraced terrorist supporter, Ward Churchill, who will go down in history for equating the victims of 9/11 to Nazis. He will also be remembered for faking a Native American ancestry and plagiarizing his scholarly papers while he was a tenured professor at a University in Colorado.

In addition to his activities as a city planner for the city of New York, Syrop was also apparently the founder of a new incarnation of the extremist 60's group "Students For A Democratic Society". The rather benign sounding group graduated from protests to bomb making and aligning itself with groups like the Black Liberation Army (BLA), a group which just saw eight of it’s former members arrested for the murder of a police officer. Whether Syrop’s group escalates it’s activities in order to replicate the violence of it’s 60's predecessor remains to be seen.

What is clear is that Syrop and the NYC Coalition To Free Mumia’s petition to name a Harlem street after Jamal has stoked the ire of people all over the world which has garnered only 400 signatures since September. In contrast, as of this writing nearly a thousand people a day are signing my petition to keep the streets of New York free of Jamal’s name.

I have received dozens of emails wondering who is behind the Jamal petition.

So now you all know.

Now feel free to drop Dr. Ross and Mr. Syrop a message and let them know how you feel about their deification of a convicted cop-killer and their attempt to defile one of New York’s streets with his name.

Contact Dr. Ross at (917) 584-2135
Contact Mr. Syrop at (212)-330-8029

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Street Named Mumia


by Daniel Rubin

There's a movement afoot to rename a street in Harlem to honor Mumia Abu-Jamal, the jailed former Philadelphia freelance radio reporter convicted of the 1981 murder of officer Daniel Faulkner.

A petition went online back in September, and has been slowly attracting support - 340 signatures so far. The author is named Jeremy Syrop, and his web site is, where one can download posters that trumpet the cause:

"Now is the time for Harlem to name a street after Mumia," they read. "His life is in great danger and a "Mumia Street" could help create a momentum to prevent an execution and even win a new trial."

A second, identical petition at another online service has garnered 37 signatures.

But if online petitions ruled the day, no one would be living on Mumia Street any time soon.
A third petition is proving to be much more popular - that would be the anti-Mumia drive. It went up last week, and within 48 hours had nearly 700 signatures. By last count it had 2,709.

Tony Allen wrote about it in his anti-Move blog: (A link directly to the anti-Jamal street petition is here)

Having profaned a street in a suburb of France the pro-Jamal zealots have now decided to repeat their "success" here in the United States by having a street in Harlem, New York City, named after the convicted cop-killer.

Pursuant to this goal, the Mumia devotees have started a petition and have even gone so far as to raise money for T.V. commercial spots as a means of bringing attention to their cause.
To name a street after a confirmed killer, cult apologist, and virulent anti-American fanatic like Jamal would be a vile testament to the power of propaganda and an ugly reminder that ignorance has again triumphed over common sense and human decency.

There's precedent for naming a street after a "living revolutionary," according to the posters created by the pro-Mumia group. A street outside Paris, in Saint Denis, has been renamed in Abu Jamal's honor. And Nelson Mandela and Joe Dohery of the Irish Republican Army have been so honored in New York City.

The petition reads like this:

We, the undersigned, support the campaign to rename a street in Harlem in honor of internationally renowned political prisoner and death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal:-because of Mumia’s lifelong dedication to his people and to justice, and for never allowing himself to be silenced, even while on death row, and-because of Mumia’s incredible accomplishments, including during the almost 25 years he has spent on death row: five published books and weekly brilliant commentaries exposing the lies that imperialist USA fosters, that are read and listened to by millions around the world, and-because given the many honors he has received around the world – including honorary citizenship of Palermo, Venice, the Central District of Copenhagen, and Paris, and a street naming in Saint-Denis, and dozens of university, community, and literary awards, it is befitting that Harlem, too, honor our Brother, and-because Mumia’s case is in its last stages in the court system and, while there is an opportunity for a new and fair trial, the State of Pennsylvania, the Fraternal Order of Police and their allies are opposing that tooth and nail and are demanding, instead, that Mumia be executed, and naming a street in honor of Mumia in Harlem would offer a serious challenge to railroading him to death.

Abu-Jamal was arrested for Faulkner's murder early on Dec. 9, 1981. The 25-year-old officer stopped a Volkswagen on Locust Street driven by Abu-Jamal's brother, William Cook. There was a scuffle. Moments later, the policeman was shot in the back and then between the eyes. Abu-Jamal, 27 at the time, was found sitting on the curb, four feet from the body. He'd been shot in the chest. Ballistics testimony at the trail indicated that the bullets fired into officer Faulkner were "consistent" with having been fired from the .38-caliber gun registered Charter Arms revolver found at the scene. It was registered to Abu Jamal.

He was convicted and sentenced to death a year later by Common Pleas Court Judge Albert F. Sabo, who had presided over more death-penalty convictions than any other judge in America. During his long stay on death row, Abu-Jamal became a cause celebre. He wrote a book, "Live From Death Row." National Public Radio aired his commentaries, before canceling the deal. He attracted famous supporters world wide. Not everyone on the left believe he's the best poster child for the anti-death penalty cause. In 2001 the death sentence was overturned in federal court.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Review of "MOVE Film"

(MOVE member Mike Africa protesting outside MOVE compound John Gilbride's right to see his son)

Recently, through back-channels, I was able to finally obtain a copy of the "MOVE Film" documentary that was produced by Cohort Media back in 2004. I had been wanting to view this propaganda film for some time as I thought it important to see what latest work of fiction that MOVE is peddling as fact.

To say that the film is riddled with errors would be a gross understatement. To say that it is essentially an infomercial for the MOVE brand of victimization would be, perhaps the best way to describe this work of pure propaganda.

The documentary essentially works off of the premise that MOVE as an Organization has been a consistent victim of police terror for the past three decades.

That the group’s only crime has been that it violates convention of society and is a thorn in the sides of Philadelphia authorities.

It would be an ordeal of tremendous undertaking to highlight every mistake, distortion, and outright deceptions offered by this film.

Such to the point that I hardly think it necessary to do so.

Between this blog and my website I think I have adequately covered the MOVE revisionist history ad-nauseam. To go at it again would be a test of endurance and tedious. That said, if there is anyone out there who has seen the film and has questions as to the content raised therein, I would be happy to offer my view on the subject.

What is of more interest to me than the factually deficiency in the film is the context that it was made in. And also, just how it serves as the perfect instrument for MOVE’s campaign of perpetual victimization that is, after all is said and done, the group’s bread and butter.

One can see clearly behind a number of the MOVE members interviewed, slatted up windows. There are also pictures of MOVE supporters and members demonstrating and carrying signs that say nothing of demands for freedom of the "MOVE 9". The obvious question is the one that is never asked by those doing the documentary, and that of course is "what is all of that about?".
The reason of course being that all of "that" had to do with John Gilbride and the fact that MOVE was, at the time, waging a vicious campaign against the man and was preparing to violate court orders in pursuance of this conflict.

That the film-makers did not address this issue in the film clearly shows not only their bias, but a serious lack of intellectual curiosity and or laziness.

Or more likely they were told emphatically by MOVE not to raise the issue. No sense in having a record of what they were doing at that time giving the cruel audaciousness of it and the likelihood that the plan to do away with John should he not relent in his efforts was already in the works.

I was still technically with MOVE at the time the film was being put together and it was no secret in the Organization that while in Philadelphia, the film makers were to be shadowed as much as possible by MOVE supporters and or members as they went around to do their interviews with and research. What effect this had on the final product I am not sure of, but to the extent the film akers had any sense of independence, the fact that MOVE’s cronies were constantly looking over their shoulders could not exactly do much to foster the spirit of free inquiry.

In the sense of propaganda, the film is near perfect. It strikes an emotional core and since it abandons any pretense of fairness, the questions that should be asked of MOVE members are not, and in it’s place are pictures of charred corpses. This is especially true of the film’s treatment of the 1985 conflagration in which anyone with a brain can determine was a catastrophe that was MOVE instigated, but botched to the point of criminality by an inept and sadistic bureaucracy.

Nobody sees fit to ask MOVE members why they had children in a home that was barricaded for war and that was the scene of confrontations with neighbors already. Nobody asks anyone in MOVE why these same children were not allowed to leave prior to the confrontation when the Police implored the MOVE leaders to surrender themselves and the children. Nobody asks why, with the exception of one of the six children inside were they all children of imprisoned MOVE members.

Instead the weight of the calamity is pressed firmly upon the shoulders of the authorities. As for MOVE members, they shoulder no responsibility, or at least that is what the film akers want one to believe. The MOVE members are not even given soft-ball questions, they are simply allowed to spew their faux history unchallenged.

For comic relief the film features "journalist" Linn Washington who offers his seethingly biased observations and speculations. And for someone who claims to not "like" MOVE he is rather adept at spouting their party line without pause. He fits in perfectly with the rest of the film with his glib assessments and omissions of pertinent facts that do not conform to his well worn notion of MOVE’s perpetual victim-hood. And while he feigns some criticism of the group, it seems as if he is doing so out of sheer obligation to some long lost idea of objectivity, something that he may have at one time strived for, but has long since abandoned for the cheap adulation of camera crews and the Mumia supporters who fawn over him.

So, at long last I have seen the "MOVE Film", whose website long since went blank. I tried to research any new projects by Cohort Media which produced the MOVE infomercial and came up with nothing.

I would be remiss not to mention that on the now defunct "MOVE Film" site there was a message board. It was the first place online where I posted anything about my leaving MOVE, and after a few weeks of heated debate on the board, it was shut down without explanation.
During one of the exchanges on that board someone posed the question to the film akers as to whether they would interview me if they ever did a follow up film on MOVE and they were emphatic that they wouldn’t. Now I don’t take such rebukes personally, but as someone who is not only MOVE’s most vocal critic, but also one of the most knowledgeable individuals about MOVE who is willing to speak out, I see their repudiation as further proof that they were more interested in selling an idea than documenting the truth.

Incidentally enough the film can be viewed online here. Something I discovered just after recieving my copy of the film on DVD.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Help Stop The Naming of A NYC Street After Mumia

(Update on Petition

As of today we have nearly 700 signatures on the petition. This after only 48 hours of it being online. Compare that to the almost 350 signatures that the Mumia devotees have managed to get since Sept. I think it safe to say that NYC will not have it's streets stained by the name of Mumia.
Still, let us continue to spread the word and get the word out. Let nobody doubt our resolve to halt this injustice in it's tracks)
Having profaned a street in a suburb of France the pro-Jamal zealots have now decided to repeat their "success" here in the United States by having a street in Harlem, New York City, named after the convicted cop-killer.

Pursuant to this goal, the Mumia devotees have started a petition and have even gone so far as to raise money for T.V. commercial spots as a means of bringing attention to their cause.

To name a street after a confirmed killer, cult apologist, and virulent anti-American fanatic like Jamal would be a vile testament to the power of propaganda and an ugly reminder that ignorance has again triumphed over common sense and human decency.

In order to counter the Jamal supporters efforts I have put together a petition of my own that I encourage everyone to sign and circulate amongst your family and friends.
The text of which is as follows:

*There is currently a campaign underway to honor a convicted cop-killer from Philadelphia named Mumia Abu-Jamal.

*Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted for the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia Police Officer.

*It does a disservice to the citizens of New York City to name a street after an un-repentant murderer.

*The facts of the case are available at


We, the undersigned, call upon the New York City Council to not name any street within the city of New York after Mumia Abu-Jamal. As the convicted murderer of a Philadelphia Police Officer in 1981, Mumia Abu-Jamal is not deserving of such an honor. To name a street after an imprisoned killer of a civil servant is not only a slap in the face to the law enforcement community, but also the public at large.

Go to to sign the petition and let us show that the citizens of this country have no interest in honoring murderers.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A True Political Prisoner

It is a fact that the "Free Mumia" crowd has long abused the term "political prisoner" in their propaganda.

The tendency has been to label anyone in jail who is perceived to have an allegiance to the far left as a "political prisoner", without regard to the definition of the term.

In my view this kind of intentional imprecision denigrates the term "political prisoner" and acts to de-legitimize those people who are in fact imprisoned for their beliefs.

It is particularly vexing to see online, literally hundreds of sites calling Jamal and the "MOVE 9" political prisoners, as if there was any evidence at all that lends to the idea that these people are in jail for some kind of crime of thought.

Not even Amnesty International, who published an extremely slanted and factually challenged report on Mumia’s case dared to argue that Jamal is a political prisoner.

Yet, for many a radical, it is considered axiomatic that Jamal and the MOVE 9 are political prisoners, victims of a racist system, and who should be granted freedom immediately.

I argue that this view is not supported by the facts and I go on to make the claim that those who continue the fallacy of the innocence of Mumia and his MOVE comrades do so either out of ignorance or a cynical adherence to a political ideology that is equal to religious extremism in it’s lack of critical thought.

That is not to say that America does not now or has never had political prisoners. But what I do say is that MOVE and Mumia cannot be considered as such given the facts of the crimes that they committed.

It is extremely rare in the western world that people are imprisoned for holding a particular political view or espousing an extreme ideology, but it does happen. The case of holocaust denier David Irving is one example of someone being persecuted and imprisoned for thought crime. And even as a repellant and grotesque a figure he is, I will never support the imprisonment of people for holding an idea, no matter how vile that idea is. That is the price we must pay for freedom.

In other parts of the world however, people are routinely jailed, threatened, beaten, and otherwise intimidated by the state for their criticisms of either the prevailing political climate or the religion which dominates their culture.

Take for example the case of Egyptian blogger, Abdel Kareem Nabil. He is on trial for his denouncement of Islam and criticism of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He has been held in isolation since November and prior to his arrest he was thrown out of his University for his blogging.

For his online critiques, he could end up in prison for nine years if convicted. And his case is just one of many in the Muslim world where there have been a string of arrests of pro-democracy bloggers.

Yet, if one were to go to the websites of the American far left you would never know that such incidents were occurring. Instead one is subjected to exhortations to send money and support and "love" to faux political prisoners like Jamal. The solipsism of these groups is grotesquely obvious, yet they still manage to sucker enough people into their fraudulent enterprise to keep it going.

Let us support political prisoners, but let us make sure that our support and good will is not being exploited by the likes of those within the "Free Mumia" cabal.

For more information about Abdel Kareem Nabil I encourage everyone to visit the English website that has been set up in order to rally support for him and to shine a spotlight upon the despotism that keeps him jailed and silenced.

John Africa and Jim Jones

There are really only a few differences between John Africa and Jim Jones.

Both committed suicide. (John Africa via the method of "suicide by cop")

Both cultivated a personality cult around themselves that grew increasingly paranoid and delusional.

Both were convinced of their utopian visions, but were seemingly immune to the reality that their ideas had dangerous consequences.

Both worked to isolate their followers from society and families thru tried and true authoritarian methodologies.

Both claimed to be fighting injustice, for the poor, and against racism.

Both were sociopaths whose schemes went terribly awry and ended in tragedy.

The reason that Jim Jones is by far the more well known is that unlike John Africa, he was able to attract a huge following. And it was by way of the deaths of his multitude of followers that the name of Jim Jones is synonymous with dangerous cults, while John Africa remains an obscurity, even in his hometown of Philadelphia.

A recent documentary titled "Jonestown Paradise Lost" that aired on the History Channel offered new insights into the horrible events that transpired at Jonestown including interview footage of the son of Jim Jones, one of the few survivors of the carnage in Guyana.

The film documents Jones, who branded himself a "christian socialist" leading his congregation out San Francisco into the jungles of Guyana where he claimed an agrarian utopia could be created.

Unlike John Africa, Jones had connections with and the support of, the Northern Democratic Party and he was compared by then state assemblymen and eventual Mayor Willie Brown to Martin Luther King. An interesting footnote to Brown’s lack of judgement of charachter was his allowance of "Mumia Day" to be officially declared in San Francisco while he was mayor of the city.

The documentary splices actual footage with re-enactments of events that allow for an emotional re-telling of the Jonestown story that does not sacrifice facts in pursuance of asthetics.

The film methodically traces the last days of Jonestown which began as a delegation of reporters, and family members of People’s Temple cultists that was led by Representative Leo Ryan of California’s 11th District. An increasingly paranoid and delusional Jones saw the delegation, which had come to investigate the conditions of Jonestown and follow up on reports of violent repression as a sign that the end of his experiment in the jungle was soon to end.
Just as the delegation with some cult members who wanted to leave in tow, was about to leave they were attacked by Jones’s gunmen. Later that day the remaining cult members were called upon by Jones to kill themselves. Some did willingly, others were murdered. Just like with John Africa, children were not spared the savagery.

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the film is the interview with the son of Jim Jones who escaped the mass suicide because he, and the cult’s basketball team were out of town when the end came.

Stephan Jones, now a middle aged family man says he never greived for his father. He says that "I knew, I had known for a long time, that my father was nuts".

In another poigniant moment he claims that "every hour of the day, Jim Jones knew he was a fraud."

In the end the fraud that was Jim Jones led to 900 deaths.

John Africa’s manical actions led to the death of 11 including himself.

The disparity in magnitude is clear, however the tragedy and pointlessness of both incidents are the same.

But while there is nothing left of the Peoples Temple but a terrible legacy, MOVE continues on it’s bloody path, indoctrinating yet another generation with it’s nihilistic system of backwardness.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Panther Murder

(Pic Of Mumia in the Panther Days)

Mother's slaying drives daughter's search for killer

Victim was bookkeeper for Black Panther radical group;

'Cold case' remains unsolved after 32 years

By Kristin Bender, STAFF WRITER Inside Bay Area

Tamara Baltar stood on a cemetery hillside looking down at her mother's grave. She paced, too tense to kneel or sit on the moist grass next to the simple marker. It was a fall Sunday morning and the graveyard was cool and quiet.

Baltar remembered the day in January 1975 when she buried her mother, Betty Louise Van Patter, who had been murdered by a blow to the head and tossed into San Francisco Bay. The 45-year-old woman's water-logged body floated at least 17 days before it was spotted by a boater.

This week marks the 32nd anniversary of the discovery of Van Patter's body; her "cold case" remains unsolved.

Her funeral drew throngs of well-wishers, friends and others in Van Patter's radical left community.

Baltar, just 24 at the time, also remembered the police lookouts standing sentry on the hill above Sunset Cemetery in El Cerrito, scanning the crowd of mournersfor members of the Black Panther Party, who she later discovered police suspected of murdering her mother.

Van Patter was the Black Panthers' bookkeeper and believed she had discovered that the party doctored its books and had major tax problems, which she threatened to expose.

On that Sunday in the cemetery, Baltar visited her mother's grave to build up courage for what she had to do later that day — confront a former Panther bodyguard-turned-author, Flores Forbes, who she believes may know something about the slaying. Forbes is the author of "Will You Die With Me: My life and the Black Panther Party."

Formed in 1966, the Black Panther Party became one of the most famous radical groups in 20th century.

The party's founders were Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, whose fiery rhetoric molded the party's image. The young men accused the government of brutalizing poor black communities and claimed the right to arm themselves in self-defense.

The party has a complex legacy of violent confrontations with police and militancy, but for almost 20 years it also ran a long list of groundbreaking community programs — free health clinics, schools, free breakfast programs and senior programs.

It was in mid-1974 when Van Patter became bookkeeper for the party's Educational Opportunities Corporation, the Oakland Community School and the Lamp Post, an Oakland bar and restaurant that served as a Panther gathering place. She also was an aide to then-party leader Elaine Brown.

But Van Patter soon discovered financial improprieties and threatened to expose the party and Newton.

Then she disappeared. But before she did, Van Patter told her daughter, a boyfriend and an accountant friend, Lillian Weil, what she knew. And just before her disappearance, Van Patter had picked up a cash-flow chart from the late Weil that was supposed to help Van Patter straighten out the books at the Lamp Post, Baltar said.

"My mother had mentioned to me that she was having problems," Baltar said. "But other than the cash out of the register problem at the Lamp Post, she would not be specific with me — she was protecting the Panthers."

It took Baltar 10 years to realize it, but she says she believes her mother was killed to silence her. And she has spent much of her life methodically and quietly trying to find the killer, consumed by the hunt.

She has undergone hundreds of hours of therapy and still attends a support group for families of murder victims. She lives a short distance from her mother's grave so she can be close to her.
She has had the support of both her children, friends and her brother Greg, but still hasn't experienced anything remotely close to closure about the slaying.

"I want to know where she was killed, how she was killed. ... I want to know what happened to her — my mother," Baltar said. "When it comes down to the bottom line, I just want to know. ... It has driven my life."

"I believe my mother was killed by the Black Panther Party. The truth is, I believe they killed her. I know they killed her."

Authorities don't disagree with Baltar about who killed Van Patter.

"It all boiled down to her affiliation with the Panthers and then her falling out of grace with the Panthers and then her threatening to expose them," said Russell Lopes, a retired Berkeley police homicide investigator, who reopened the case three years ago. Police, however, never had enough physical or circumstantial evidence to build a case against any one person in the party.
Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff said there have only been theories and speculation about who killed Van Patter.

"All the speculation is that it involves the Panthers," he said. "That she found some hanky-panky in their bookkeeping. I feel sorry for Tamara; what she needs to do is put it behind her and she can't do it."

The night of Dec. 13 Van Patter went to work for the party on the suggestion of David Horowitz, an editor at Ramparts, an up-and-coming journal of political thought where she had kept the books. Horowitz didn't know Van Patter, a woman who had radical beliefs about political and social change, but he knew she could clean up the Panthers' bookkeeping practices.

Meticulous and scrupulous, she soon realized that the Panthers had tax problems and other financial inconsistencies she neither fully understood nor liked.

On Friday, Dec. 13, 1974, Van Patter had been drinking white wine alone in her Haste Street apartment to gear up for a night on the town. Sometime before 7 p.m., she headed out the door to her car. The bar wasn't far, but she didn't like to walk alone at night.

The petite, green-eyed, divorced mother drove to Berkeley Square, a neighborhood bar on University Avenue where she was known.

There were no indications that she didn't intend to return to her apartment. She left her credit cards and birth control pills home, according to police reports. And she had a date with her daughter the following week to show off the downtown Oakland office where she did her bookkeeping in solitude, Baltar recalled.

According to police and published reports, she was greeted at Berkeley Square by some friends and bar regulars before she had a drink alone. A short time later, a tall black man dressed in black came up to Van Patter and gave her a note. No one knows what the note said, but Van Patter quietly grabbed her coat and purse, and left.

She was never seen alive again. Baltar says now that Van Patter may have been "summoned" to the Lamp Post bar on Telegraph Avenue, but no one is certain.

When a boyfriend tried to reach Van Patter at the Lamp Post by phone after not finding her at the Berkeley Square, the person who answered said "that party has left," according to reports.
Her car was later found at her apartment.

Five weeks later, on Jan. 17, 1975, Van Patter's body was plucked from the Bay near the San Mateo Bridge in Foster City. It took three days to identify her through dental records.
The investigation focused on the Panthers' "security cadre," who were bodyguards for Newton, but nothing ever came of the probe. Police also questioned party leader Brown, but she denied knowing anything about Van Patter's disappearance or death, according to reports.
In her 1993 book, "A Taste of Power," Brown wrote that Van Patter was becoming too nosy about Panther business and that she wasn't a benefit to the party. Brown fired her.

"While it was true that I had come to dislike Betty Van Patter, I had fired her, not killed her," Brown wrote in the book.

Years went by and the case remained open and unsolved.

Chronicling murder

When a decade passed and Baltar finally started suspecting the Panthers had killed her mother, she became nearly obsessed with finding the killer.

Since then, Baltar has documented every face-to-face conversation and phone call with police, private investigators, journalists and friends related to her mother's death. Her files on the case include 32 thick, three-ring binders along with hundreds of newspaper stories on the Black Panther Party and its members. Baltar has been an armchair detective, collecting information through leftist journalists and friends following some Panther-related death, anniversary or book publication.

Chronicling information about her mother has been cathartic and she has healed, but in many ways at a price, she admits.

Baltar was married to a doctor for 10 years and had a daughter with him. But the relationship soured and he ultimately left her.

"I definitely blame my mother's murder on my divorce because that trauma was the first big impediment to living in the present, even though I was getting better over the years. I see that now," she said.

Baltar's oldest daughter, Leah Berkowitz, 26, has a healthy and loving relationship with her mother, but only after years of problems because, Berkowitz says, the slaying colored her mother's entire life.

"She was really emotionally overtaken by grief, sadness, loss and anger, and was unable to respond to me and my needs," Berkowitz said.

Berkowitz said her mother was overprotective and had to know where she was at "all times." She even wrote a list of rules that included contacting her mother before doing anything.
Denial about who killed her mother didn't help Baltar in the early years. "I didn't think my mother was murdered by the Black Panthers for nearly 10 years," she said. "For me, this was a crime committed within my own community — the sub-community of the left," said Baltar, now 56.

"While I did not know a single Panther, everyone on the left in the Bay Area was part of a huge family back in the 1960s and'70s. I guess it's tantamount to a family member committing murder, in a way," she said.

Looking back, it was Horowitz, a one-time Panther insider and former leftist writer turned conservative, who tried to tell her otherwise.

"On the way to Betty's funeral, I said, 'I think the Panthers killed your mother' and Tamara said, 'They're good people.' When you are in the left, you don't see it," said Horowitz, who introduced Van Patter to the Panthers and adds he has spent the last 32 years regretting it.
Confronting a Black Panther

While Baltar has chronicled the death, she had never confronted anyone who was a member of the Black Panther Party about the slaying.

But on that fall Sunday morning in the graveyard, as she stood above her mother's simple rose quartz marker, her hands shook as she held a piece of paper with the questions she was prepared to ask former Black Panther Forbes.

Then she got into her car and drove to Oakland, where she met a friend who drove her to the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Jack London Square and stayed with her for moral support. The two women arrived an hour earlier than Forbes was scheduled for a book signing — during the 40th anniversary celebration of the Black Panther Party — because Baltar needed the time to acclimate to her surroundings.

Baltar walked around. She debated where to sit, ran into a friend and chatted.
Then she spotted Forbes, who she said she recognized because of his picture in the book jacket.
Forbes' book is about his life with the party, but he also admits in it that he tried to murder a witness prepared to testify against party leader Newton for the slaying of a 17-year-old prostitute three years earlier. The attempt was botched. Forbes served nearly five years in prison for his role.

Finally, Baltar got the chance to ask the questions she waited three decades to ask:
"You wrote a lot about the Lamp Post bar in your book and my mother was Betty Van Patter," she said, according to a tape of the event.

"She was a bookkeeper and she worked for the Black Panther Party. She was last seen in December 1974, and she was found murdered after that. Given your role as you described in your book, would you please comment on that?"

Witnesses said Forbes' eyes were on Baltar as he adjusted himself in his chair.

"OK, well, I did not know who Betty Van Patter was," he said.

While the mission did not uncover anything new, Baltar called that Sunday one of the "biggest days in (my) life and one of the most tremendous experiences I've ever had."

"I stood up for my mom, that's how I felt. I stood up for my mother. I did something aggressive, " she said. "I did the right thing."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Why Choose Freedom From MOVE?

(pic of convicted murderer Janet Africa)

"The secret of happiness is freedom. And the secret of freedom is courage"

-(Pericles as quoted by Thucydides)

I find it cautiously amusing, the attention that I have received since the renaming of this blog over a month ago. It is reminiscent of the kind of spastic and hopelessly pathetic invective hurled in my direction after I "went public" about my views on MOVE and to a much lesser extent, Mumia.

Having been a part of the vicious and terrible campaign of words, that turned into acts, and that to my horror, turned into murder, against John Gilbride, In that kind of climate of terror I was hardly surprised that my former MOVE "family" would come at me with the most vile and at times, silly charges. Than of course, were the threats, which literally began the moment that MOVE new I was out of their control. The same goes for those on the outer orbit of MOVE. Their attacks, while being less vociferous, were of equal incoherence.

But while plenty of those who claim opposition to my views on Mumia have questioned my turnabout, a much smaller number of people have come forth questioning why I left MOVE. It is as if it is a question that they do not feel the need to ask. For they know why they aren’t in MOVE and despite their silence on the issue, I am aware that such a quietness screams volumes.

While few say it. Nearly everyone knows it, that MOVE is at the very least somewhat "out there", in their views, to the extent that people know of them, they know that MOVE’s ideas are somewhat retrograde and reactionary, but yet MOVE is given a pass.

There is, of course, a multitude of reasons for this acceptance of a violent personality cult by both the caviar left and the Marxist ideologues. The racial component is one. Nobody wants to be labeled a "racist" by being critical of an organization that is perceived as predominantly black. Similarly, there is a taboo amongst the politically immature of criticism in general, the thought being that any critique or act of simple truth telling will enable the "enemy". Of course this train of logic can be demonstrably true in the short term, the long term effects of turning a blind eye to the oppression in your midst can be irreparable, but nobody is trying to hear that. After all, Mumia has court coming up.

Than, there is MOVE’s well cultivated victimization routine that is their bread and butter. It is a revisionist history that causes them to grow fat off the ignorance of their wide-eyed college audiences, but it is a well rehearsed routine and one that has served the cult well. Ramona Africa, the hug-giver, ever the demure, the one with the calm demeanor, whose rhetorical theatrics are more likely to be rife with quotations of Jefferson than John Africa, whose costume includes the 1985 burn scars is the perfect character for this sad drama. This play for money off of dead children. It brings cynicism to a new and rotten low. And while I am relatively certain that there is no hell, at least in the biblical sense, I hope that if there is, that there is a special place reserved for Ramona and her ilk. A place where the consequences of their actions are replayed, a nightmare for which there is no waking up.

But enough about the nightmare of MOVE.

What of freedom? What is life like outside of the "house that John Africa built", the one that Alberta Africa tore down and re-built and re-arranged in her image, like the pig king from Orwell’s Animal Farm?

It is something to die for. For me, it is everything. To be able to speak and know the words are mine, for better or worse. To not have to knowingly mouth lies in order to attain the acceptance and attention of those around me. To have to plead unquestioned devotion in exchange for "love". A generic, bullshit, "love" that is a tool of control, not a genuine human emotion. It is all plagiarized. From the emotions to the language. The upper-middle class white boy who takes on the identity of an undereducated, slang talking, MOVE junkie. A fucking fraud from start to finish. Yes, to be free of that is everything.

To not have to live up to some expectations. To not have my words, my face examined for signs of stress or frustrations, so those things can be used against me, to make my own mistakes and learn from them and make my own apologies. You who have not sacrificed your soul and self to another human being and lived for their sake and not your own, know nothing of what I speak of. It is just more rhetoric of an "angry ex-MOVE guy".

But for those of you who were of the MOVE family and now departed, you know full well of what I say. The words I choose may not be the ones that you would, but you do understand.

There is also sacrifice in leaving MOVE. I walked away from people I cared about. People I still care about. People who don’t deserve to be there, people who deserve better. The children whose lives are pre-ordained and pre-determined to be in a state of forced ignorance. For the girls, a state of sexual servitude that begins at puberty. For these kids, whose own names they themselves can often barely spell, there is little hope of them tasting freedom. To know what it is like to not be under constant scrutiny and control. Even their own children are not theirs. They do not even have that. Their kids are "MOVE’s kids", read that as MOVE’s leaders kids. I shudder to think that my child could have shared their fate and am contented with the fact that she will grow up to have the privilege of having a chance and a choice. Things that the children of MOVE members do not likely have.

Never allow yourself to consider these youngsters to be "MOVE kids", they are not. They have made no conscious choice to dedicate themselves to this monstrous ideology, this death cult.
You do not have a choice if you are not informed. You are not informed if you are disallowed the ability of critical thought.

Someone, a MOVE supporter a while back tried to argue that what the children of MOVE members lacked in education they made up for in wisdom. But, why can they not be allowed both? Does one preclude the other? Is this deliberate destruction of the life of the mind not a crime? At least it should be. To deny a child the right to literacy is to play slave master, for what other purpose could such a state of intellectual denial serve, if not servitude itself?

So, to those of you who still live under the shackles of MOVE, who believe that John Africa or one of his cynical proxy is tending the light at the end of the tunnel, I implore you for the sake of yourselves, or if your view of yourself is so degraded, for the sake of your children, to awaken the spirit of freedom within you and walk away. It is truly as simple as that. Just walk away. It is time for you to begin to live again. Be your own hero and your own master. Those who are your true family will forgive your trespasses against them and you can reclaim what has been lost. It is not an easy road to be sure, but it is the correct one.

Ask yourself if twenty years from now if you want to be parroting MOVE lies and living a live still for others, while your own life and soul withers under the rot of despotism.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Desperate Measures...

(On various websites and message boards the following article has been floated as if it is something new and exciting by pro-Mumia devotees. The article is not new. It was written by disgraced attorney Eliot Grossman two years ago. At the time I responded to it and am compelled to respond again. Grossman's article is followed by my response)


by Eliot Lee Grossman, Attorney-at-Law

I was appalled by Tony Allen's recent e-mail diatribe, "Mumia Reconsidered" which a Mumia supporter forwarded to me. Allen's 180-degree transformation from MOVE supporter to home boy in the "Fry Mumia" gang's disinformation campaign, while shocking, is not altogether surprising given that Allen always appeared to be rather flaky in his vaguely leftish political views and a somewhat unstable, albeit idealistic, young man with a pronounced tendency to the fanatical. But more of that later.

The purpose of this article is to deny categorically Allen's fabrication of a conversation he claims I had with him and Pam Africa, but which never took place outside of the apparently suggestible imagination of Tony Allen. Allen claims I told them, the first time I met them, when they stayed with me during the demonstrations outside the Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles a couple of years ago, that I thought all of the "evidence" pointed to Mumia's being guilty. That is a damned lie. I never made such a statement. The preposterousness of Allen's tale should be apparent from the obvious fact that, had I ever made such a statement to Pam Africa (which I did not), she would have wasted no time in reporting it directly to Mumia and it is inconceivable that he would have, thereafter, asked me and my colleagues, Marlene Kamish, Nick Brown, and J. Michael Farrell, to take over his representation.

Moreover, there is no credible evidence which points to Mumia's being guilty, so why would I have made the statement which Allen falsely attributes to me? The only so-called "evidence" which the prosecution itself can point to are the obvious lies and fabrications which passed for evidence at Mumia's trial. Allen knows very well that this so-called "evidence" is worthless. Allen claims that five witnesses saw Mumia shoot Officer Faulkner when the trial transcript makes it very clear that only two witnesses (later shown to have perjured themselves) gave such testimony. These two witnesses, taxi driver and convicted arsonist Robert Chobert and prostitute Cynthia White, were exposed as perjurers by the declarations of private investigator Mike Newman and witness Yvette Williams, which we filed in state and federal court and are available on a number of "Free Mumia" websites.

Newman stated under penalty of perjury that Chobert had recanted his trial testimony to Newman and admitted that he did not even see the shooting. At the time of Mumia's trial, Chobert was on felony probation for having fire-bombed a school and was highly vulnerable to manipulation by the police and/or prosecutors because he was in daily violation of the conditions of his probation by unlawfully driving his taxi on a suspended driver's license. Were his probation to be revoked for that offense he faced over 20 years in state prison. Yvette Williams declared under penalty of perjury that she was in jail with Cynthia White after the Faulkner shooting where White told Williams that she (White) did not see the shooting, although she was in the area "high on drugs" and was picked up by police and bribed and intimidated into falsely identifying Mumia as the shooter. Williams observed White returning from meetings with police detectives bearing various items of contraband, including "white powder" and syringes. Even before we obtained the declarations from Newman and Williams it was apparent that Chobert's and White's trial testimony was unworthy of belief. Both of them were highly vulnerable to police pressure.

Each time Chobert and White were questioned by the police they changed their stories to more closely fit the prosecution's case against Mumia. White's testimony at Mumia's trial directly contradicted her earlier testimony at Billy Cook's trial. At Mumia's trial White testified that the only persons present at the crime scene were Officer Faulkner, Mumia and Cook. But at Cook's trial White testified that there was a passenger in Cook's car who got out of the car after it was stopped by Officer Faulkner. The prosecution deftly and cynically used this lie-by-omission at Mumia's trial to argue that only Mumia could have shot Faulkner because no one else was present who could have. We now know that Freeman not only was present, but, according to the two declarations of Cook, later admitted to Cook that he (Freeman) was involved in a plot to kill Faulkner and had participated in the shooting. The other alleged witnesses to the shooting who testified at trial, Albert Magilton and Michael Scanlon, did not identify Mumia as the person who shot Faulkner (trial transcript, 6/25/82). Allen cites the ballistics evidence to support his newly-found position that Mumia is guilty, but Allen himself knows that this so-called evidence is equally suspect. This is certainly not the first, nor is it likely to be the last case in which the police have tampered with or fabricated ballistics evidence to get a conviction.

No defense expert has ever examined the ballistics evidence in Mumia's case. The pre-trial judge refused to authorize sufficient funds for the defense to retain a ballistics expert to testify at trial. Weinglass' expert refused to examine the ballistics evidence when given an opportunity to do so. Our ballistics experts, although stating in their declarations that the ballistics evidence should be subjected to independent laboratory testing with present-day technology, were never permitted by the courts to have such testing conducted.

The Philadelphia police had more than one opportunity to tamper with the ballistics evidence. Judge Sabo ordered it taken out of the control of the Court Clerk and handed over to a police detective during the 1999 post-conviction proceedings. And it should be remembered that, when the shooting occurred, the envelope into which the medical examiner placed a bullet and bullet fragment removed from Faulkner's head wound arrived at the police ballistics lab without the bullet fragment. It is entirely possible that whoever discarded the bullet fragment also switched the bullet with another. Unless and until defense experts and an independent laboratory are permitted to examine the ballistics evidence with contemporary state-of-the-art technology, none of the prosecution's alleged ballistics evidence can be trusted.

My review of the prosecution's alleged "evidence" in the trial record when I first became involved in Mumia's case as co-author of an amicus brief submitted on behalf of noted scholar-activist Dr. Rodolfo Acuas "For Chicana/Chicano Studies Foundation" convinced me that Mumia was framed-up for a crime he did not commit. It was apparent to me, despite Anthony Jackson's deplorable travesty of a defense at Mumia's trial, that Mumia was innocent. During the pretrial proceedings Mumia repeatedly demanded a line-up. He was convinced that the prosecution's alleged witnesses, despite their vulnerability to police pressure, would have too much human decency to falsely identify him as Faulkner's killer. Who would repeatedly demand to be placed in a line-up, particularly in a capital case, if he or she were guilty? No one. But Mumia demanded a line-up. He did that because he was innocent. That's what I thought the first time I read through the trial transcript and it's what I still think today.

The prosecutor defeated Mumia's line-up motion by telling the judge that he had no witnesses who could identify Mumia as the shooter, but would instead attempt to prove his case by process of elimination, showing that no one else was present who could have done the shooting other than Mumia. After the line-up was denied, the prosecutor put Cynthia White on the witness stand at the preliminary hearing to falsely testify she saw Mumia shoot Faulkner.

Tony Allen also falsely charges me with having subjected him and Pam Africa to a "tirade" against Leonard Weinglass. Typical of his many factual errors is Allen's claim that I was a friend of Weinglass. Weinglass would be the first to deny my ever having any friendship with him. Marlene Kamish and I knew Weinglass because we hired and later fired him as Lead Trial Counsel for the retrial of Manuel Salazar after our legal team, including an attorney from the state appellant defender's office, overturned Manuel's conviction and death sentence in the Illinois Supreme Court on appeal from denial of post-conviction relief. Although Marlene and I had some serious doubts about the manner in which Weinglass was handling Mumia's case when we were still amicus counsel, it was not until after we became Mumia's attorneys and reviewed Weinglass' files that we learned of the suppression of the Beverly confession, Billy Cook's declaration, and Chobert's recantation to Mike Newman, and numerous other matters with which we then had to contend, that we and our co-counsel came to the harsher evaluation which we presented in various of our legal filings. It is neither the purpose of this article nor the responsibility of its author to respond point-by-point to every issue raised by Allen.

Anyone who might be interested in our detailed analysis of the evidence corroborating the Beverly confession will find it in a number of the documents my colleagues and I filed in state and federal court when we were Mumia's attorneys and which are posted on various "Free Mumia" websites, particularly our PCRA petition, our Pennsylvania Supreme Court appeal briefs, and our motion to certify additional issues for appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Anyone who might be interested in our analysis of Mumia's courtroom conduct, before Judge Sabo stopped Mumia from representing himself because he was doing too good a job for the "hanging judge" to permit him to continue, may review our amicus brief for the "For Chicana/Chicano Studies Foundation," also available on various Mumia websites.

There we superimpose on the transcript of Mumia's interchanges with Judge Sabo the transcript from the trial of William Penn, the founder of the State of Pennsylvania, when Penn defended himself on charges of preaching in the street after the government closed down his church. We demonstrate that, far from being disruptive, Mumia, like William Penn, was acting in a principled and proper manner in standing up for his legal rights. Author Terry Bisson was so moved by this portion of the amicus brief that he carried it over verbatim into his book about Mumia, "Ona Move."

And now, back to Mr. Allen. When I first met him in L.A. I had to intervene physically to save Allen from a sound thrashing by a beleaguered rally organizer during the first day of demonstrations outside the Democratic Party Convention. The organizer was providing security for the rally by keeping unauthorized people out of a restricted area near the speakers' platform. Allen was out of control and his increasingly provocative stream of insults directed at the organizer for barring him from the restricted area were on the verge of transforming what was already a physical confrontation into an actual fistfight. I stepped between the two of them and managed to cool the situation down by invoking my authority as attorney and explaining that Allen was Pam Africa's assistant and security person and was supposed to join her in the speaker's area.

After I successfully extracted Allen from his self-produced confrontation with one of the rally organizers (an event which could easily have precipitated nearby police officers into arresting both of them and which, in turn, could have provoked a police riot that would have disrupted the rally at which Jesse Jackson was one of the featured speakers (as did occur the next day when the LAPD raked peaceful demonstrators and legal observers with "less-than-lethal" rubber bullets that barely missed putting out a legal observer's eye) Allen persisted in throwing departing taunts at the organizer, calling him a "cop" and accusing him of "doing the cop's work for them" as I did my best to hustle Allen away.

It is interesting that Allen can come up with no better explanation for his 180-degree turn on the issue of Mumia's innocence than to trot out the same old lies that the "Justice for Faulkner" crowd continue to post on their website and his laundry list of complaints about what he allegedly went through back in the days when he was, despite his present protestations to the contrary, a loyal and sincere MOVE member. That is apparently why Allen, and/or his handlers, have invented the new lies which he attempts to put into my mouth. While it is a quite sophisticated disinformation technique for Allen to use my position as an attorney to attack Mumia (and me) by falsely attributing to me statements I never made, the technique is, frankly, too sophisticated for Allen to have come up with on his own, as are various of the decidedly un-Allen-like turns of phrase in his article and his shameful and insulting red-baiting of myself and others.

However, such tactics and turns of phrase are very much in the style of Allen's new friends, right-wing talk show host and FOP toadie Mike Smerconish who is a frequent public spokesman for the "Fry Mumia" forces, and pseudo-leftist pseudo-journalist Dave Lindorff, who, while posing as a Mumia supporter concerned with the unfairness of Mumia's trial, has produced a book whose central thesis is that Mumia is guilty of killing Officer Faulkner. Allen's brazen regurgitation of long-discredited misrepresentations of the evidence in Mumia's case suggests that, perhaps, in a moment of conscience-induced candor he is signaling that even he does not believe the lies whose circulation appears to be the price of admission into his new circle of friends. While his lending of himself to the latest disinformation campaign against Mumia is a depressing turn of events, Tony Allen should be the subject of nothing more than our pity for having succumbed to the pressures of this rightward-moving historical period and the instability and weakness in his own character. I am quite sure that Mumia is too noble to bear Mr. Allen any ill will and has only pity and compassion for him. We should have the same pity and compassion for Allen.

A Response to Eliot Grossman
by Tony Allen sept27th2002 [at]

“They were careless people..they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back to their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and than let other people clean up the mess they had made...” F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I guess, at one time, it might have meant something to be attacked at such lengths by the “Mumia Movement.” I am afraid for the pro-Jamal partisans, that their time has come and gone, that the movement, suffering from the inevitable diminishing returns of a faux cause is on the road to nowhere.

I must, however, clear up a couple of issues before I can move forward onto more pressing and important business. To make it clear for everyone, I must point out that I subscribe to the following statements without reservation:

* The death penalty is, itself, a crime and, in essence, makes the bureaucracy of the state a mechanism of death. This so-called instrument of “justice” is rather a moral and very real blight on any nation that claims to be either democratic or a force for human rights. I oppose its use and implementation against any person, no matter the gravity of their crimes.

* I care very little for most of the voices and ideologues who are on the right bank of the American political scene. I am not friends with, nor have I ever met the likes of Michael Smerconish (after writing this article I was on Smerconish's show) and, although I do know Dave Lindorff, neither one of us consider ourselves to be friends. Our correspondence generally amounts to him attempting to convince me of Jamal’s innocence and me rejecting his arguments.

* I am beholden to no police or governmental agency, do not receive payment from anyone for my work, and challenge anyone to produce proof aside from my obvious disdain for murderers and their corrupt and cynical defenders, that I am under anyone’s oppressive thumb.

So now onto the fun stuff... It is funny to me that the movement to “free Mumia” sends out Grossman to be the one to rebuke my charges. Funny because Grossman, along with his cohort Marlene Kamish, managed to cause more damage to Jamal’s cause, caused more dissension within the ranks, managed to further tarnish Jamal’s already tainted image, and otherwise rain more ruin upon Jamal’s prospects for freedom than I or anyone else ever could (or would even want to for that matter).

You see, Grossman is a fraud and not just a small time con-artist, but a fraud of epic proportions, as well as a relentless and practiced liar so addicted to deceit that he can’t even tame his demons even when he has to know that his parade of nonsense is about to be rained on. Grossman would tell people that he played a central role in the case of a man named Manuel Salazar (he didn’t). He would tell people of his experience with death penalty litigation (he has none, aside from Jamal’s case, unless, of course, you count an un-used amicus brief he authored).

Grossman would tell people what a terrible attorney Leonard Weinglass was and that if only Jamal would go with him and Kamish that freedom was just a few steps away (Weinglass who was Jamal’s most successful advocate is gone, Mumia is still on death row, and the scheme-team of Grossman/Kamish is off the case, need I say more?)

And of course Grossman will deny his statement about Jamal’s guilt, but what can one expect from a man that has never met a lie (or liar in the case of Arnold Beverly) that he did not like or shamelessly wouldn’t put to use?

What should be understood is that after nearly a decade around the Jamal movement, I am in no need of fictional anecdotes in order to make my point. Grossman knows what he said, just as well as he knows that Mumia shot Faulkner, and that, after all, is my point.

I suppose that nearly everyone involved with radical politics has heard the phrase “speaking truth to power.” Noam Chomsky, back when he still made sense and had something to offer, once made the lucid observation that those in power “already know the truth.” This axiom holds true within the Jamal movement, as well.

Those “high-up” within the Jamal movement know quite well that the evidence against Jamal is solid. They know that everything points to Jamal being the only possible shooter of Faulkner. Yet, in a grotesque display of cynicism, they pretend otherwise. This gets to the point of why I think Grossman said what he did about Jamal. He wanted Pam Africa to know that he knew enough of the evidence to know that Jamal was very likely guilty and that he didn’t give a damn.

He wanted Africa, the leader of the movement to know that he was willing to do his solemn duty as a man of “the far-left” to fight to free his dread locked hero. Here was an aging Marxist attempting to do his part to turnabout the failures in Jamal’s case; this was coupled with a manipulative and deeply cynical cult member who was more than willing to exploit Grossman’s enthusiasm for ideologically driven deception.

It was a match made in the bowels of hell and one that would eventually fracture the Jamal movement. In Grossman’s statement, a defense of his use of Arnold Beverly as a witness is conspicuously absent. In its place, Grossman sends readers off to various “free mumia” websites so that they can read his various amicus briefs and other appeals. So why doesn’t Grossman bother defending his actions in regards to Beverly?

Because he cannot.

The Beverly confession has been thoroughly exposed as fraudulent and Grossman knows it, as would anyone else who would bother to independently investigate the case. Grossman does, however, bring up investigator Mike Newman who makes the claim that Robert Chobert admitted that he did not even see the shooting. Yet, during the PCRA hearings, which occurred after the Newman/Chobert conversation allegedly had happened, Chobert had this to say under oath about his 1981 testimony:

Prosecutor- Was that testimony based on your observations of what you saw on the morning of December 9th, 1981?

Chobert- Yes, it was.

Prosecutor- And was that without influence from any source, your testimony?

Chobert-. No.

Prosecutor- It was without influence or it was influenced?

Chobert-No, I told the truth that day.

And what was it that Chobert said during Jamal’s 1981 trial, what was the “truth” that he was speaking of?

The following exchange occurred as Jamal was questioning Chobert:

Mumia-...And you saw me in the back of the wagon, didn’t you?

Chobert- Yes, I did.

Mumia-What made you certain it was the same man?

Chobert-Because I saw you buddy. I saw you shoot him. (the “him” in this case is referring to Officer Faulkner).

It appears the only perjurer here is Grossman. Eliot than proceeds to further malign the deceased Cynthia White, who had testified in court back in 1981 that she had “no doubt” that Jamal was the shooter. In order to support his claim that White is a “perjurer,” Grossman offers yet another affidavit from Investigator Newman, this time from Yvette Williams, a former cell-mate of Cynthia White. Williams claims in her affidavit that White admitted to her that she had been threatened and was to be paid off by the police for her testimony. Of course, White is dead so it is impossible to say whether her testimony was in fact coerced by the police, but what is a fact is that even without White’s testimony the case against Jamal stands firm.

Grossman than, almost as an afterthought, skirts right over the testimony of Albert Magilton and Michael Scanlan dismissing them for not being able to, in his words “identify” Jamal as the shooter. So what did Magilton and Scanlan have to say about the case? Scanlan did testify in 1981 that he was not able to identify the shooter of Faulkner, but what he did say was nearly as damning for Jamal. According to Scanlan, he observed a “ guy come running across the street towards the Officer and the guy he was hitting. Then the guy running across the street pulled out a pistol and started shooting at the Officer. He had the gun pointed at the Officer. He fired while he was running at the Officer once, and the Officer fell down. Then he stood over the Officer and fired three or four more shots point blank at the Officer on the ground.” He would go on to say that “I could see that one hit (Faulkner) in the face...because his body jerked. Scanlan testified that the shooter was about 5ft 10inches tall and weighed between 160-170 pounds and wore a black hat, dark pants, and a bright colored sweater.

The only person that Scanlan could have described was Mumia Abu-Jamal. Perhaps this is why Grossman quickly dodges Scanlan’s testimony. Albert Magilton also observed Jamal running across the street towards the scene of the crime just moments before Faulkner was shot, which corroborates the testimony of the other prosecution witnesses. None of whom, by the way, ever reported seeing the man Grossman claims shot Faulkner, Arnold Beverly, as did none of the defense witnesses.

When discussing the ballistics evidence against Jamal, Grossman scurries down the proverbial rabbit hole of make believe and conspiracy theory in order to make the case for Jamal’s innocence. It is a matter of record that Jamal was found slumped on the ground, his .38 caliber revolver sitting close to his body and out of its holster, with five spent casings housed within the weapon. It is also a matter of record that Faulkner’s killer fired five bullets. And with Jamal’s own ballistics expert testifying during the PCRA appeals that the bullet that killed Faulkner was a .38 and not a .44 as the defense had contended, there is little room for doubt as to what the ballistics evidence proves.

With regard to Jamal’s courtroom conduct, Grossman quite patronizingly would send people to “various Mumia websites” in order for them to read his “analysis” of Jamal’s courtroom antics. I would argue that it would be more instructive for people to actually go back and review the trial transcripts that are available at and judge for themselves whether Jamal was within his rights to act in the manner that he did.

One does not need to be spoon-fed, pseudo-legal, dribble about William Penn to know whether or not Jamal got a fair shake in Sabo’s courtroom. In leaving out any and all facts that might pose a problem to his thesis and, by clinging desperately to an obvious fantasy, Grossman and those who support his “absolute innocence” theory concerning Jamal not only are toying with reality, they have also managed to all but squeeze the life out of the movement to “free Mumia.”

People like David Lindorff, whose writings are in actuality quite supportive of Jamal, are pushed aside and castigated as if they were some kind of mediaeval heretic for not properly touting the party line. Michael Moore, who wrote kind words about Jamal, but also admitted what everyone else pretty much already knows, that Mumia shot Faulkner, is hunted down by Jamal supporters and repeatedly castigated until he “apologizes” for making a factual statement.

How this helps Jamal’s cause I will never know, but to the fanatically faithful, any deviation or dissension from the party platform is cause for alarm and a special kind of hatred.

There is one aspect of Eliot’s critique of my article that he did get right. I did say in my piece that he and Weinglass were at one time “friends,” this was a mis-statement on my part and an assumption that should have never made its way into print.

That said, given the level of toxicity spewed Weinglass’s way by Grossman, I was left with the thought that such rabidity of feelings could only be spurned by a relationship gone bad. I was wrong and admit it. I wonder if Grossman is able to admit his mistakes, I doubt it.

I like how Eliot boils down my 180 degree turn on the issue of Jamal and my leaving MOVE to just being a mere issue of complaints. In actuality, I left MOVE because they murdered a man and I left the Mumia movement because it aims to free a man who also is a murderer. Like I said before about Grossman, these kind of things don’t matter to him, but they do to me.

Finally, and most assiduously, Grossman questions my motives and asserts that I have a “weakness in character.” Yet, Eliot is a shady individual and a proven fraud who does not have the ability to acknowledge integrity in others principally because he lacks courage to summon it within himself. For Grossman, an easy applause and pandering email posts filled with half-truths are good enough to sustain his withered soul. Pity indeed.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Non-Journalist Hans Bennett Wrong Again On Mumia

(Pic of bloated non-journalist Hans Bennett)

If one were to be keeping track of the litany of errors and general imprecision of Hans Bennett since he has taken his cause of freeing Jamal to the blogosphere, the idea that he has come from the FBI special delivery might jump to the paranoid mind.

And while I personally don’t hold this view, I do think that he is either incompetent or is deliberately deceitful. It is hard to be sure, but what is clear is that he has been shown to be demonstrably wrong in many of the things that he writes and his latest article claiming that the NAACP has declared Jamal’s trial racist is no exception.

For some reason Bennett thought it necessary to bring up the fact that a "friend of the court brief" was filed on behalf of Jamal back in June of this past year.

What that has to do with anything presently, I have no idea.

There is nothing new or novel in this "amicus" brief filed on behalf of Jamal and neither is the fact that many an organization has lined up to file them throughout the years, but in this instance Bennett is claiming that the brief was submitted by the NAACP. It is a claim he makes a number of times throughout the article, but it is simply not true.

The June legal brief was supplied by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The NLDF is not affiliated with the NAACP, the largest civil rights organization in the United States. The NLDF has not been a part of the NAACP since 1957 and has remained independent of it.

Now, it is true that a few years back that the NAACP did pass a resolution that in part did call for a new trial for Mumia, but it did not state the Jamal's trial was racist.

How this came about was chronicled by pro-Mumia "journalist" Dave Lindorff. Now, I and others have contended that Mumia’s devotees are bullies, but here is evidence from a source sympathetic to Jamal that helps to explain how these thug like tactics play out. Proving that the "Free Mumia" movement is not one of moral fortitude, but of annoyance and audacious bully tactics.

Lindorff writes back in 2004 that:

"Only when MOVE activist Pam Africa and some other MOVE supporters threatened to picket the convention and even attempt to crash the delegates assembly, holding a white flag, did the organization-the nation's oldest civil rights group--relent."

He goes on further by stating that:

"this episode is also evidence of how weakened Abu-Jamal's support organization has become. Only Pam Africa's tactical skill at holding NAACP leaders' feet to the fire by threatening them with an embarrassing incident on the day Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was speaking to the gathering managed to win the day and get the resolution to the floor."

And this all from a guy who supports Mumia! Finally, after all of the threats and temper tantrums the pro-Jamal forces got their watered down, nearly pointless resolution, but at what cost?

So, here we have another example of Hans Bennett’s lack of skill of a journalist or a reminder that he is a cynical propagandist. Again, I haven’t figured out which it is, but I can assure you that as long as he continues to lie or get things "wrong" that I will not let him off the hook. Not for what he does for un-repentant killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and not for what he did for MOVE in their campaign of personal and than physical destruction of John Gilbride

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mumia and The "Execution" Of Saddam

"It is curious, but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide. This man was not dying, he was alive just as we were alive. All the organs of his body were working – bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming – all toiling away in solemn foolery. His nails would still be growing when he stood on the drop, when he was falling through the air with a tenth of a second to live. His eyes saw the yellow gravel and the grey walls, and his brain still remembered, foresaw, reasoned – reasoned even about puddles. He and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world; and in two minutes, with a sudden snap, one of us would be gone – one mind less, one world less."

-George Orwell, A Hanging

I did not have any interest in watching what was essentially a "snuff" film of the execution of Saddam Hussein, but after days of avoiding the video, curiosity overwhelmed my revulsion to the man and the "punishment" that the Iraqi judiciary had decided was just.
For the record, in case anyone cares, I have no particular affinity for the "Butcher of Baghdad" and although I am against capital punishment, I understand the desire of the Iraqi people to want to put an end to the former regime’s most obvious and apparent figure.
But, when I watched the grainy, low tech killing of another human being, I was struck in the same emotional place that I was when I watched the killing of Nick Berg and read about the butchering of Theo Van Gogh. Another person is dead. The memories remain. The killing will continue. The violence continues with no visible end in sight and no apparent plan to end it.
So there it was, Saddam the Sunni at the gallows, with some semblance of dignity I might add, offering an Islamic prayer as he was being taunted by Shiites loyal to warlord Muqtada Al-Sadar. And to add grotesque injury to the human sacrifice was the timing of it all.
For Sunni Muslims the time of Saddam’s execution was during the Eid ul-Adha holiday, an act that was clearly carried out by the Shiites to make a point to the Sunni minority that they were no longer running the show (the Shiites began their celebration of Eid the day after Saddam’s execution.)
Now, anyone who knows me is quite aware of my rather low opinion of organized religion, however, this kind of naked insult and explicit act of humiliation should offend anyone, regardless of their theological disposition.
Just the same as it should when a children in a Mosque are blown to bits as they come to pray during Friday worship, or when the Taliban blew apart the ancient statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. Such examples are limitless...
These kinds of acts do nothing but exacerbate the precarious state of humanity in the Islamic world and is something that we as American’s should be ashamed that our elected officials and self-appointed bureaucrats would give their nod of acceptance to. But these are the times we are living in.
And, so there it was in my inbox, an "advertisement" if you will of an audio recording of Mumia’s take on the execution. I listened to it, but really didn’t have to. I knew what he would say, I knew what facts he would omit, I knew that he would place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the United States for "arming" Saddam in the first place.
But, as we who bother with things like facts have figured out, there is the real world and than there is "Mumia-world". Periodically this two worlds collide, but usually not. Mumia, with his myopic and distorted vision of the world, tempered by his unabashed hatred of America make his creed-screeds as predictable as they are boring.
I could go into a long rebuttal of much of Jamal’s "facts", but am of the view that those who bother with things like the truth have already discarded his pitiable defense of Hussein and that those who worship at the feet of Jamal already have their heads down and eyes closed in a kind of smug obeisance to their "leader".
Oblivious to facts, reason, or the sense of irony of a man who shot another man in the back and than in the head having the audacity to criticize the killing of a dictator who oversaw the destruction of thousands of civilians and soldiers alike, the "free Mumia" soldiers march blindly and proudly along.
What is also striking to me is also Jamal’s looseness with the facts. Which western nation was truly responsible for the arming of Hussein? Look it up folks, it is France. The same nation which now honors cop-killer, Jamal with honorary citizenship, and street names, was the primary western state supplier of weapons to Iraq. Of course Jamal left that inconvenient part out of his venomous tirade.
No reason to shit where you sleep I suppose, or rather shit on the country whose citizens send obscene amounts of money to aid in your defense. It is far easier for Jamal to blame America for all that is wrong in Iraq and everywhere else in the world, than for him to offer a more balanced and truthful accounting of the disaster in the middle east.
Easy for him, because there is almost no chance that like Hussein, Jamal will ever see an executioner. Since the 1970's when the death penalty was reinstated only three executions have been carried out. And they were done after the men had abandoned their appeals.
So, unless Jamal gives up his legal blitzkrieg, one can expect more commentaries to be made available on the public airwaves produced by a man who murdered a public servant.
This is truly sadism as offered by a masochist. When will it stop and more importantly who can stop it?
I am very much for freedom of speech. I think Mumia should be free to talk in his little cell all he wants, but when it comes to him going on the public airwaves to preach his gospel of factually deficient excoriations of the nation that feeds, clothes him, allows him some semblance of a life after he stole the life of another. A nation that gives him a seemingly endless amount of reviews of his case in which he is clearly guilty, I think a line ought to be drawn.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Another "Angry" Ex-Mumia Supporter Speaks Out

(pic of my favorite Mumia supporter)


Mon Jan 01, 2007 at 09:07:05 PM PST

A diary that was on the rec list opened with:
I'm not kidding about the Free Mumia thing: many liberals cite that very phrase as one of those "fringe" topics on the left that make them CRINGE in embarrassment on behalf of similiarly minded liberals.

I didn't get that diary, but I have strong feelings about this subject. I became involved in Mumia's cause when I read that the bullet that killed the officer did not match Mumia's gun, and devoted countless hours to this cause (details below). I CRINGED in anger when I read this exchange involving Mumia's then-new lawyer:

SAM DONALDSON: But if it's a .38, then your contention that it was a .44 is wrong.

LEONARD WEINGLASS: Well, I think that issue is very much something that should be played out in front of a jury.

Part of what makes me a liberal is that I form my opinions based on evidence. I hate bullshit and deceit, staples of the Republican diet. I don't support the death penalty and I agree that it appears that Mr. Cook/Abu-Jamal didn't get a fair trial, but in a fair trial, he would be found guilty. I see nothing wrong with liberals cringing in this case.

One day, I walked up to an ATM in Oberlin, OH, where I lived and worked. I saw a flier about Mumia, and I was horrified to read that this man had been convicted and sentenced to death for killing a police officer even though the bullet(s) that killed the officer didn't match Mumia's gun. I couldn't believe that someone could be sent to his or her death when something so flagrant about the case was wrong. Young, idealistic, energetic me, I joined that cause.

The flier announced a meeting in Cleveland, which I decided to attend without hesitating. It was the first of many. The headquarters for these meetings were a "fringe" bookstore (revolution, communism, Che, Mao, socialism, etc.). Drives were planned to raised funds and awareness. I volunteered to drive others around dangerous neighborhoods in downtown Cleveland where I would never have gone otherwise. We had a four-way speaker on the roof of my car and my co-pilot would do the preaching. I had photocopied the fliers at work that we distributed. We'd just stop when we saw enough people in one place and start accosting them.

The fliers had a picture of Mumia, tons of stuff about his case, and an invitation to join us for a rally in Philadelphia. Among the people I approached, the teenagers were predominantly apathetic, but otherwise, people often asked, "why do you care?", because they were pleasantly surprised that this white guy would get so worked up about this cause. I was just proud to be involved in a fight against injustice.

Then there was this huge rally in Philly, which was timed to coincide with something about the case that I can't remember (appeal? review?). Others drove and I pitched in for gas. There were activists, students, people involved in the socialist cause, two young punk runaways who promised to protest in exchange for a free ride. I shouted my share of obsenities about Judge Sabo, waved signs and marched.

A few years later, a friend of mine called to tell me that he had seen a segment on ABC's 20/20 about the case, and he knew I'd be interested because the evidence seemed to point toward guilt. I found the transcript on ABC's web site at the time. It's no longer available there, but that's where I read it. Let's take a look

(VO = voiceover).

SAM DONALDSON (VO) (...)First, ballistics. Jamal’s supporters say the bullet that killed Officer Faulkner was .44-caliber, not a .38, like the gun found at the scene. (...) SAM DONALDSON (VO) But ballistics tests were done and proved the bullet was fired by a .38-caliber revolver. The claim that the bullet was a .44 rests solely on a hasty note scribbled by a pathologist at the autopsy. However, the pathologist later testified that he had no expertise in ballistics, that he had only been guessing. But Weinglass refuses to believe that. (on camera) You don’t think it was a guess?

LEONARD WEINGLASS I don’t think he would guess.

SAM DONALDSON The police say that that slug has the lands and grooves consistent with being a .38 slug.


SAM DONALDSON But if it’s a .38, then your contention that it was a .44 is wrong.

LEONARD WEINGLASS Well, I think that issue is very much something that should be played out in front of a jury.

SAM DONALDSON (VO) But it had already been played out in front of a judge, when, three years ago, Weinglass’s own ballistics expert testified the fatal bullet was a .38.

The central fact that was used by Abu-Jamal to mount his P.R. campaign is a lie. Let me assure you that I was incredibly angry at all the time I had wasted on his behalf, because there's no way in hell I would have gotten involved if not for the purported mismatch between the bullets and the gun. Here's a bit more from Wikipedia:

Official ballistics tests done on the fatal bullet verify that Officer Faulkner was killed by a .38 caliber bullet. The fatal .38 slug was a Federal brand Special +P bullet with a hollow base (the hollow base in a +P bullet was distinctive to Federal ammunition at that time), the exact type (+P with a hollow base), brand (Federal), and caliber (.38) of bullet found in Jamal's gun. These experts also testified that the bullet taken from Abu-Jamal had been fired from Officer Faulkner's service weapon.

The defense' ballistics expert, George Fassnacht, did not dispute the prosecution's findings.

Criticisms of the interview either avoid the subject of the bullets entirely or repeat the lie that the bullet(s) that killed the officer was/were .44 caliber:

We're adults, and we know when Bush, Rice and Snow (and Scotty before him) are dissembling (Cheney's just too good, and Rumsfeld, like Jacques Chirac, was so entertaining that we gave him a pass). Does the lawyer's reply to the question about the bullets make you think "his client is so innocent" or "hm, that's not what he would say if his client was innocent"?

Here's more doublespeak from the same lawyer:

Leonard Weinglass: That's very much of an open question and I told Donaldson that. The problem with that issue is this: They were able to put before the jury their expert who said this bullet was a 38-caliber bullet. Mumia's gun is a 38-caliber gun. But they couldn't match that bullet to his gun. It's just that the caliber was the same. But even that question was open and suspicious because the Doctor (M.D.) who removed the bullet from the officer's brain wrote down that it was a .44-caliber bullet. And the point I was making with Donaldson is the jury never heard that fact because Mumia's attorney never read the autopsy report and didn't know about that. This is something that a jury should hear. And the question of whether or not this bullet is .38 or .44 is actually beside the point because the jury never heard the countervailing evidence or testimony that it was a .44. But beyond that, and I went to great lengths to...

So the jury didn't hear the mistaken initial guess by the pathologist and that's important but the bullets matching is not important?

Obviously, there's more to the case (witnesses, the trial, a bloodthirsty judge, etc.), but to me, this point about the bullets is fundamental. We can protest against the death penalty and unfair trials, but let's not criticize liberals for thinking that it's nonsense to fight for the freedom of a man who appears, from the evidence available, to have killed a police officer.

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