Monday, October 29, 2007

Make Your Voice Heard: Say No To “Sexy” Fund-Raiser For Mumia At NYC Episcopal Church

(Update 11/5/2007 According to a "Free Mumia" website, this event has been "postponed" due to a scheduling conflict. I guess the Westboro Baptist Church already had a break-dancing contest planned the same night)

"In 1963, the Convention condemned extremists "both of the Right and of the Left who often resort to false witness, slander, distortion and over-simplification" and whose activities have "often aroused suspicion, mistrust, and confusion within the Church,; reminding Church people to "examine carefully charges of disloyalty and subversion brought by extremist groups, and the over-simplified appraisal of our situation which they promote."

-Episcopal Church position on "Extremists"

On November 9th, the New York branch of the "great un-washed", will be having, and I quote "A Dance Party With A Purpose, For The Grown And Sexy", the money raised is to be used specifically to bus Jamal supporters from New York City to Philadelphia the day after the 3rd Circuit Court rules on Jamal’s latest appeal. This, so they can tie up traffic and scream at empty buildings and find cops to call "pigs" as they pollute the streets of Philadelphia with their hatred and ignorance.

Prior to writing this, I contacted the NYC diocese asking why this event was being allowed, and to date I have received no response.

And while I understand the Episcopal Church likes to present itself as a champion of the "progressive" ideal, there is nothing "progressive" in allowing for the raising of money for the cause an un-repentant murderer.

It is no secret that in the city of Philadelphia there exists only a handful of Mumia supporters and that his most ardent devotees on the east coast live in New York City, an hour and a half away from the scene of the crime, but apparently a million miles away from reality.

It is also no secret that the last major event set in NYC did not go so well after a groundswell of public outrage forced the Mumia groupies from the swanky nightclub they had booked for the event to their stinky communist club-house where they ended up having to have it.

That they have chosen to hide their cop-killer party in the basement of an Episcopal Church is certainly typical Mumia tactics. To try and hide the profane behind the sacred in the hopes of mitigating any kind of public display of indignation shows both their cynical nature and the frailty of their cause. To be sure, it wasn’t too many years ago that a pro-Mumia event would be held not in the dank basement of a church, but instead at Madison Square Garden with hundreds, if not thousands in attendance.

Those days are thankfully, for the most part over. The "free mumia" fraud certainly reached it’s high water mark in the mid-nineties and crashed down as the millennium dawned, crushed under the weight of it’s own contradictions. But the downfall of the Mumia cause was not all self-immolation, it was also due to the consistent, sometimes quiet, but no less determined people, who knew the truth about Mumia and who wouldn’t be intimidated into shutting up about it. People like Daniel Faulkner’s widow, Maureen, who has a book coming out soon and who apparently didn’t buy into the notion that silence is the only answer to the vulgar protestations of the Mumiaphiles.

As someone who wakes up in the morning and devotes at least a couple of thoughts towards figuring ways to make the lives of those who lie about Mumia and his crime that much more difficult, I cannot let them hide what they are doing in a Church and let the Episcopal Diocese off the hook for this.

In all likelihood, the Church bureaucracy knows nothing about this little "dance with a purpose", nonsense, nor is it likely that those who attend the Church know either. But, I argue that they should be made aware, that those who are allowing this event to be held accountable, and also made to understand the crime that Jamal committed. And they should also be know that the Mumia devotees are comprised of violent, child-abusive cults like MOVE, certified hate-groups such as the New Black Panther Party, and a whole host of other explicitly anti-American, pro-authoritarian entities, dedicated not to social justice, but to chaos and destruction.

Let those who are truly concerned with justice and freedom have their voices heard.

Contact the NYC Episcopal Diocese at

Episcopal Diocese of New York

1047 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10025

212-316-7400 Fax: 212-316-7405

Also, contact the Church where the pro-Jamal event is being held and express your concerns

St Mary’s Episcopal Church

521 W. 126th St.New York,

NY 10027-2496

212- 864-4013

Below is the Mumia flyer

The Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition Presents*A Dance Party with a Purpose, For the Grown and Sexy *

What: ***A Party With A Purpose *** Where: St Mary's Episcopal Church (in the basement)521 West 126th Street (btw. Old Broadway & Amsterdam Ave.)1 train to 125When: Friday November 9, 2007 – 7-12pm

Any day now, we expect to get a ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals regarding Mumia's Abu-Jamal legal rights to a new and fair trial. As we all know, his original 1981 trial was completely biased and racially tarnished by the prosecutor's incorrect summary remarks and Judge Sabo's infamous statement during the trial.

Mumia Abu-Jamal was and continues to be a very vocal critic of the United States governmental terrorism within and beyond our borders. Since his former membership in the Black Panther Party, our government has kept a close watch on him, and now that they have him in their clutches – the courts have bent over backwards to keep him, where he remains – on death row. It's up to us to force their hand.

Be in the streets the Day After the ruling is made public. Check out our website regularly for updates or call 212 330-8029

Come to our party in order to raise money, so we have a nest egg to pay for transportation costs to Philadelphia, at a moments notice. They actually believe they have won the battle – we must show them how we intend to win the war, at home for our own self determination.
Suggested donation $10, food, beverages, and Mumia gear on sale

DJ Mellow G will be spinning Old School R&B, House Music, Salsa Meringue, Blue Eyed Soul, Classic Hip Hop and Reggae with video streaming for your visual pleasure. Special guest performance by:

*Nana Soul* of Black Wax productions
If you can't make it and would like to make a donation send it to:

Free Mumia Coalition NYC
P.O. Box 16 College Station New York, NY 10030
Make it out to Free Mumia Coalition/IFCO
(212) 864-4013

Episcopal Diocese of New York1047 Amsterdam AvenueNew York, NY 10025 212-316-7400Fax:

*A Dance Party with a Purpose, For the Grown and Sexy *

Where: St Mary's Episcopal Church (in the basement)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

MOVE: Where Thought Becomes Optional

I have already written about MOVE's inconsequential campaign against the Guinness Book Of World Records, not out of fear that they will succeed, but more so out of a desire to point out that it is yet another example of the cult's absurdity. Their cause, to have the Guinness Book Of World Records remove the reference of MOVE as a cult that committed mass suicide is as just the latest in MOVE antics.

And while I am not one to go out of my way to quote myself, I can't get away from a piece I wrote some time ago questioning the sincerity of MOVE's leadership with regards to their so-called desire to "Free The MOVE 9".
I wrote that:

"No authoritarian cult can exist without it’s "true believers" being deeply involved in a "cause". The likely futility of said cause is largely irrelevant. For the ultimate goal is not the success of the cause, but rather a means to an ends. That end being the continued psychological enslavement of the cult member or adherent."

MOVE's rather silly "campaign" against Guinness, which has a few hundred signatures, a number of them questionable as to their authenticity, do more to make the point that MOVE is a cult than it does to convince one that it isn't.
The comments left by signers of the petition initially makes one wonder if their first enemy is the English language and the Guinness Book Of World Records second. And if it were possible, they make me that much more certain that my choice to abandon MOVE's world of tragic deception, could not have been more correct.

An intelligent comment on the petition is rare, one that comes close to being accurate that much more so. and all of the esoteric blathering evoking images of creepy losers with too much time on their hands, attaching their name and time to whatever anti-American cause that crosses their path. In that context, it is somewhat surprising that the MOVE petition has not garnered thousands instead of hundreds of signatures.

But in the end, it is what it is. A distraction, an arrogant, and if I were still around MOVE, insulting one.

The petition against Guinness is futile, but it does have a point. It gives people in and close to MOVE something to be upset about, to get worked up over, and to "work" on. Never mind the fact that it is aimed at causing an already printed book, already in bookstores and selling, to remove a rather inconsequential note from it's pages, because a couple of hundred mis-guided people want them to.

There is no question outside of a few individuals that MOVE is a violent cult, with a violent history, whose members actions directly led to the deaths of 11 people, including children. Even a cursory examination of the facts of that day make it clear that the only possible result of MOVE's actions on that day would have been death. After all, what could be more suicidal than to open fire on hundreds of heavily armed police officers when you had no chance of defeating them?

But more than just suicide, it was murder. The children, who were no more members of MOVE than they were members of the Republican Party were brought to that house by MOVE, to die. There is no amount of rationalization and revisionist history that can alter that fact.

The coward, cult leader, John Africa, could not fulfill his ego by bringing death down only upon himself. Much like Jim Jones before him, he needed to bring down those around him in order to bring himself satisfaction. It is a tired and tragic story that has been repeated again and again and MOVE has yet to explain it in any kind of way without employing tactics of deceit.

But again, to quote myself, it is not that MOVE lies, but MOVE is a lie. And for lies to work on a consistent basis, there needs to be distractions from those lies which may become cause for thoughts to intrude upon.

And more than any words on a page from a book of World Records, that is the biggest danger to an entity like MOVE.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Last Book On Earth Mumia Supporters Want You To Read

After over a quarter a century comes the voice of pained reason through the awful torrent of shameful political opportunism and ignorance the surrounds the "Mumia debate".

Now, it is Maureen Faulkner's turn to tell her story, and with a host of new conspiracy theories swirling around the case, it comes not a moment too soon.

For me, the name Maureen Faulkner conjures up a great deal of shame. But also hope, and the realization that while I can feel guilt about the things I said and did as a Mumia supporter, that there is evidence of an about face in my way of thinking, in that I eagerly anticipate her response to the Mumia nonsense, with more than a tinge of sadness that she even felt the need to write this in the first place.

Unlike myself, Maureen Faulkner did not ask to be involved in this. She was dragged into it through the murder of her husband and the subsequent deification of his killer by MOVE cultists, political ideologues, and mis-informed activists of all stripes. I would venture to say that it is a good story, but like many good stories, it is a tragedy.

When I was with MOVE, she was a target of vicious derision and cruel jokes. I laughed because that is what was expected. I laughed because at the time I was sick.

MOVE had claimed many things about Maureen Faulkner over the years. That she celebrated her husband's murder due to the fact that he was abusive. That her involvement in speaking truth to nonsense was for monetary gain. She was spat upon and unfairly cast as a bigoted liar. And that is not even the half of it

With the publication of her book, these attacks will become more frequent and sophisticated. In the past, Mumia supporters have shown that there is no lie too contemptible for them to employ, no crass attempt at demonetization too crude to hurl upon a truly innocent person. And it will no doubt be happening again.

Her book, co-written with Michael Smerconish, is as of yet un-published, but is set to hit shelves in December. From my perspective, as a former Jamal devotee and as someone who has come to understand the truly vile nature of the faux cause of the un-repentant cop-killer, I consider Maureen's story to be one of the best weapons in this awful war against the relentless lies of the Mumia machine.
Update 10/27
Dear Friends: We're just about 45-days away from the release of Murdered by Mumia, the first person account of Maureen Faulkner's 26-year struggle against the man who murdered her police officer husband, and the so-called intelligencia who have supported the cop killer. I am the co-author of the book which Maureen will launch on the NBC Today Show on December 6.
Advance orders for the book at Amazon and elsewhere are said to be brisk, which is terrific. Lyons Press has done a terrific job is putting this project together, and I am proud that 100% of the author proceeds will go to Justice for Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, the 501c3 established by Maureen to benefit the children of murder victims in Philadelphia.
Today I want to give you advance notice of our kick-off luncheon and invite you to attend. That event is Monday, Decemeber 10th at Noon, at the Union League of Philadelphia. Maureen Faulkner, members of the Faulkner family and many dignitaries will be in attendance. This coming Monday, I will announce the availability of 450 luncheon tickets to my radio audience. I know they will not last. I would love to have you there as we roll out the book.
This is your advance notice of ticket availability. If interested, you must click on this link and buy your tickets: The cost of he luncheon is $40, which includes a copy of the book (which has a sales price of $24.99). That is a terrific offering due to the fact that three of my radio advertisers (Yocum Custom Shutters and Blinds, Givnish Family Funeral Homes and Reedman-Toll Autoworld) are graciously underwriting a significant portion of the affair. I hope to see you there. mas

Pre-order a copy today at

"Murdered by Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain, and Injustice"

By Maureen Faulkner and Michael Smerconish

Release Date: December 2007


Finally, the widow’s side of the highest-profile death penalty case in America. Maureen Faulkner de-mystifies Mumia Abu-Jamal, the man who murdered her husband. Maureen Faulkner’s husband, Philadelphia police office Danny Faulkner, was shot between the eyes on a cold December night in 1981. Mumia Abu-Jamal was unanimously convicted of the crime by a racially mixed jury based on: the testimony of several eyewitnesses, his ownership of the murder weapon, matching ballistics, and Abu-Jamal’s own confession.

After his conviction, however, a national, anti-death penalty movement was started to "Free Mumia;" Mike Farrell, Ed Asner, Alec Baldwin, and Susan Sarandon rallied on his behalf, and led the charge. For his part, while on death row, Abu-Jamal published several books, delivered radio commentaries, was a college commencement speaker, found himself named an Honorary Citizen of France, and had his defense coffers enhanced by ticket sales from a sold out (20,000 person) concert featuring Rage Against the Machine.

Standing virtually alone, and against seemingly insurmountable odds, Maureen Faulkner has confronted a well-funded, expertly orchestrated defense of the shooter at every turn. Now, Maureen will explain her efforts to honor her police officer husband’s memory over a quarter century of standing up to the Hollywood left while it seeks to martyr the man who killed her husband.

She’s found the perfect person to put her story in print Philadelphia author, columnist, and talk show host Michael Smerconish. Smerconish, a lawyer, has provided pro bono legal counsel to Faulkner for more than a decade and knows both the legal intricacies and personal subtleties of the case like no other person. He’s personally acquainted himself with the more than five thousand pages of trial transcript. "My reading starkly revealed that Abu-Jamal murdered Danny Faulkner in cold blood and that the case tried in Philadelphia in 1982 bore no resemblance to the one being home-cooked by the Abu-Jamal defense team."

Together, Faulkner and Smerconish weave a compelling, never-before-told account of one fateful night and the 25-years of rewriting history. Their timing is perfect. The book comes just as Abu-Jamal’s appellate rights will finally be exhausted, perhaps with the overturning of his death sentence.

Early Reviews

"This is a harrowing book, told with uncommon grace and dignity. Maureen Faulkner is an incredible woman. The story she tells, of being denied for more than a quarter century the dignity of burying her police officer husband in peace, is even more incredible."

Buzz Bissinger - Author of "Friday Night Lights", contributor "Vanity Fair" Magazine

"The Bible teaches that the truth will set us free, but Michael Smerconish and Maureen Faulkner teach us that even a powerful truth needs courage as its ally."

Chris Matthews - Host of Hardball and the Chris Matthews Show

"Maureen Faulkner is a genuine American heroine. While influential people garner cheap headlines with stories of false injustice, Maureen Faulkner fights behind the scenes and in public to preserve the good name of her husband. This is a real justice story!"

John Timoney, Miami Chief of Police, former Philadelphia Chief of Police

Product Details
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: The Lyons Press (December 7, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599213761
ISBN-13: 978-1599213767

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Update On Anti-MOVE Petition "Keep Them In Jail!"

Keep MOVE In Jail!

Back in mid-July, I started a petition in order for people to have their voices heard concerning the up-coming parole hearing for the "MOVE 9".

The eight MOVE members will be up for parole after reaching the thirty year mark of their thirty to one hundred year prison sentence for crimes committed during the MOVE instigated shoot-out in August 8, 1978. However, the choice about whether they shall remain in prison will have long since been decided. You can be a part of that choice.

MOVE’s violence that day resulted with Police Officer dead, and MOVE members facing an array of charges that would result in their conviction. And not just for the murder of James Ramp as MOVE has repeatedly claimed, but also for the attempted murder of seven other police officers and firefighters.

The cult’s various legal strategies over the past three decades have met with complete failure, but their public campaign, un-restrained. un-burdened with facts, has been able to con a small, but vocal group of people from around the world that into believing that they are victims of an injustice.

Some of these MOVE supporters are simply mis-guided people whose good intentions are being cynically manipulated. Others are hardened ideologues whose hatred for law enforcement or any representative of authority enables them to equate pointless killing with the pursuance of a greater political agenda.

It is this convergence of ignorance and un-mitigated disdain for human life, that is the fuel for MOVE’s contemptible agenda and allows them to travel through the world preaching their gospel of martyrdom as heros, as victims of a racist "system".

This while they themselves victimize the children in their midst, their critics, as they cruelly make their victims out to be the perpetrators. MOVE represents not a religion, but organized crime hidden behind a political agenda and the most bogus of all fraudulent faiths.

To date, over 1500 hundred people have signed the petition to keep MOVE in prison. And while I think this is respectable, it is nothing compared with the 35,000 signatures that the "No To Mumia Street Petition" that I also started. To be honest, I don’t know what avenues were used to get this many people to sign the "Mumia street petition".

I would assume that it was bloggers and individual people who took it upon themselves to spread the word and demand that no street in this country be named for a convicted murderer, especially a killer who murdered a Police Officer in the line of duty.

However, I would be remiss to if I did not point out that the idea of eight cop-killers, people as equally as guilty as Jamal, could possibly be released out on parole is as equal . Don’t think it can happen? It already has. One of the MOVE members who was in the MOVE house the day that Police Officer James Ramp was shot down, was released on parole, did her time on parole, and is now "free" to do what she wants.

Unlike the "MOVE 9", Consuella Africa, had asked for and received a trial separate from the other members of the cult, and her attorney was able to get her a lighter sentence. When she went up for parole she was granted it. She not only walks the streets today, but helps to perpetuate MOVE’s mythology and was a host to the recent MOVE protest on behalf of the still imprisoned MOVE members. It was there where she again held down the MOVE party line that alleges that Police had shot James Ramp and that MOVE had done nothing wrong that day.

The point to be gained from this is that not only is it possible for parole boards to free MOVE members despite knowing full well who they are, but that these members when free, continue recruiting new devotees for the sect. They also have no apparent moral qualms with making it public knowledge that they do not take responsibility for the crimes that they committed or respect for their victims.

Nobody should doubt for one second that MOVE’s time in prison has done anything but stiffen their resolve. There has been no evidence put forth to make anyone believe that MOVE has ever taken responsibility for their crimes. Publicly at least, the group continues to perpetuate the myth of MOVE’s complete and total innocence, while occasionally taking it a step further in saying that even if one were to believe MOVE guilty, that the police deserved what they got for harassing MOVE and attempting to come out to "their house and kill them".

Being that the MOVE mentality remains unchanged and generally unchecked, it remains the responsibility of people who are aware of the truth about this group to take a stand against it. By signing the petition to keep the people who killed James Ramp in jail you are attesting to his value as a person and are reminding MOVE and their support network that he has not been forgotten. By taking the time to spread this petition and working to get others to sign it, you are making the point that MOVE is a group that still represents a danger to society and is continuing to prey upon people.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mumia 101: The Gun

(This is the second in a series of articles published here that are authored by Chrisitan Peheim which delve into the core issues of the case. This article has to do with the ballistics evidence, the prosecution theory, the defense theory, and the conspiracy theories. In order to appreciate this article fully, readers should visit Christian's website, which contain diagrams and pictures in more detail than I can provide here.)

Was Abu-Jamal's Weapon the Murder Weapon?

by Christian Peheim

Supporters of Abu-Jamal do not like to address this question. Opponents claim that the amount of evidence is very convincing. What does the evidence really show?

The only thing undisputed is the fact that it was not possible to link the deadly bullet to a specific gun because the bullet was distorted and mutilated.

In June 1982, Mumia's attorney, Anthony Jackson was not able to overcome the ballistics evidence. He tried to attack that evidence on many occasions, but he obviously was not successful. Jamal's third attorney,Leonard Weinglass and his team, used the media to attack the evidence, but in court they were not successful. However, outside of court they were able to raise some doubts. In order to find out whether Abu-Jamal’s weapon was the murder weapon we have to examine the evidence presented at the trial and the PCRA hearings.
Abu-Jamal's Gun

The gun found beside Mumia Abu-Jamal was a Charter Arms Undercover Revolver made of blue steel with brown wooden grips, 38. calibre, five chambers and a 2 inch long barrel. Due to the short barrel of this undercover model such weapons are called "snub nosed". The barrel had 8 lands and grooves with a right-hand direction of twist. A bullet will be pressed into these lands and grooves to start rotating, which stabilizes its trajectory. The chambers contained one fired casing from the manufacturer Smith & Wesson and four from Federal. All casings had caliber 38 and were lead stamped with the +P designation. The +P designation indicates that the ammunition has been loaded with more gunpowder than standard ammunition.

According to Anthony Paul, the ballistics expert working for the Philadelphia Police Department, the pressure created by +P ammunition is 21,000 pounds compared to 16,000 pounds for standard ammunition. However, due to the shorter barrel the gunpowder did not have time to burn completely.

The gun belonged to Abu-Jamal. He bought it on 27 June 1979 at Pearson’s Sporting Goods and signed the required forms with his name. At the time of the trial the salesman still could remember Abu-Jamal because Jamal was well-dressed. The gun has been found at the crime scene only inches away from him. At the time of his arrest he was wearing an empty shoulder holster for a small gun. Police officers Shoemaker and Forbes have written in their initial reports that they have found the weapon on the sidewalk close to Abu-Jamal. James Forbes took it together with Daniel Faulkner’s gun. Afterwards, police officers Sobolosky, Chin, and McGurk handcuffed Abu-Jamal and carried him to a wagon while Forbes kept the weapons in his left hand. He had the weapons in his hand until after Abu-Jamal has been transported to the hospital.

He can be seen holding the weapons in Pedro Polakoff’s photos. The photos that Jamal supporters are now claiming prove Jamal's innocence. Some conspiracy theories are based on the assertion that someone else had taken Abu-Jamal’s gun out of it's holster. At the time when only Shoemaker and Forbes were at the crime scene, they did not have any opportunity to frisk Abu-Jamal. This would have been possible after reinforcements arrived at the scene.

In order to pull out Abu-Jamal’s gun and pretend that it has been found at the sidewalk these officers would have to have worked together. That means they drafted a plan for a frame-up within the first 5 or 10 very busy minutes. At the same time, this would have to have been carried out under the eyes of curious onlookers. This conspiracy theory is pure nonsense. No one who is serious could consider such a theory. The fact that Mumia had a gun raises questions.

In order to explain it his lawyers said that he had been robbed twice while driving a taxicab and he required the gun for protection. During an interview in 1998 Leonard Weinglass explained it as follows: “... Mumia did have a gun. He had a legal weapon that night. He was a cab driver. He had been robbed. He took out a permit. He had a gun. ...” This explanation is confusing, probably intentionally so.

According to police reports immediately after the murder, the gun was registered to Abu-Jamal, but he had no permission to carry it. Certainly, he did not have the permission to have it with him in the taxicab, or to have it on his person, in a holster, concealed from public view. It is clear that Jamal, by statements that he and his attorneys have made about his possession of the gun that the gun was carried because he had been robbed twice during his time as a Taxi driver.

However, all reports available today show that he started driving a taxicab in 1981, which was 2 years after he bought that gun.

Projectiles And Fragments

One bullet with round head and one hollow point bullet In total, two bullets and a few fragments have been found (not counting the bullet from Faulkner’s weapon). The projectile extracted from Daniel Faulkner’s head was an un-coated lead hollow base bullet caliber 38 (or 357, because according to Anthony Paul both calibers are the same at the beginning.

The manufacturer was the company Federal because at that time hollow base bullets were unique to this company. The bullet was distorted and mutilated and, therefore, it was not possible to have a 100% match of the bullet to a specific firearm.

During direct examination Anthony Paul explained that he could determine the right-hand direction of twist only. He was not even able to determine the total general rifling characteristics of the barrel. However, during cross-examination he was more precise and said that a sufficiently big area of the bullet’s surface was visible to find out that the barrel had eight lands and grooves.

Some people have doubts about the more precise testimony regarding the number of lands and grooves, and Paul never gave a clear definition of “total general rifling characteristics”. Even if the number of lands and groves seems to be questionable to some observers, the caliber and right-hand direction of twist have been determined beyond any doubt.

In addition to the bullet, medical examiner Dr. Hoyer removed an independent piece of lead with the maximum dimensions 10×3×2 millimeters from Daniel Faulkner’s head. That piece of lead has not been sent to the ballistics department. It’s not known what happened to it. During the PCRA hearing Dr. Hoyer could not remember what he did with that piece. On the other hand, Anthony Paul didn’t say anything about difficulties when measuring the caliber.

Obviously, the missing piece of lead did not have any influence on the diameter of the bullet. In front of the entrance door of 1234 Locust a copper jacket was also found. On the surface was a portion of a knurled cannelure and the weight was 14.6 grains (0.94 grams). A copper jacket is a cup that contains a lead projectile. Especially as part of hollow point bullets a copper jacket restricts the expansion of the lead projectile after hitting a target. In front of the entrance door of 1234 Locust a copper jacket has been found . West of the entrance door seven lead fragments with a total weight of 1.18 grams were also found.

In the vicinity of these fragments at a height of 17 inches was a lead stain was on the wall. In the vestibule of 1234 Locust an un-coated lead fragment, irregular in shape was located. All of the bullet fragments and evidence of gunfire are clearly connected to the murder of Daniel Faulkner. Otherwise, foot traffic would have moved the copper jacket and the very light fragments to a lower location like a chink between concrete panels. More importantly, no other recent shooting in that area has been reported.
Direction of Shots

The locations of gunshot traces show the directions of shots. Since the two holes in the area of the entrance of 1234 Locust are the result of missing shots fired at Daniel Faulkner who was somewhere between the police car and Volkswagen, the shooter has to have been on the street. In contrast to these shots, the deadly shot has been fired at close range. The muzzle of the weapon was at a distance of 23 inches from the head of Officer Faulkner. Together with eyewitness testimony, the projectiles, and fragments, there is evidence of at least four shots (without the shot from Faulkner’s gun). Eyewitnesses testified about more than one shot fired at Daniel Faulkner after he fell to the ground. Therefore, at least one projectile got lost, because it’s rather unlikely that the fragments belong to that missing shot. The fragments could have come from one or more projectiles. The fragment found inside of 1234 Locust has been described as “un-coated” but due to its small weight it could have been part of the tip of a coated bullet and, as a result, it could have belonged to the copper bullet jacket.

Based on the documents available, a more precise determination cannot be made. Together with the two almost complete projectiles we have four or more shots. Two of these shots were un-coated hollow base bullets from the manufacturer Federal. At least one projectile was a different type because it contained a copper jacket.

Variations of a Fairy Tale: Caliber 44 And Caliber 44, Light

For many years, Abu-Jamal’s supporters claimed that Daniel Faulkner was killed by a .44 caliber bullet. The basis of this falsehood was a note written by the Medical Examiner Dr. Hoyer on the first page of his report. The note read “Shot 44 cal”. In 1995, the meaning of this note has been clarified. During the PCRA hearing Dr. Hoyer said that this piece of paper has been an intermediate work product and that it should not have been part of the final report.

Additionally, he was not a ballistics expert. During Jamal's 1982 trial, Dr. Hoyer stated the appearance of the entrance wound was in accordance with +P ammunition. It’s difficult to tell whether such a conclusion can be determined with any degree of scientific certainty. Under certain circumstances, even ammunition with a relatively high velocity can create rather small entrance wounds. However, in this case, the injuries described by Dr. Hoyer, (the skull had multiple fractures above the eyes) were so severe, that they very well could have been in accordance with his experience with +P ammunition. These severe injuries could have been the reason for Dr. Hoyer’s error regarding the bullet’s caliber. Afterwards, the Medical Examiner measured the dimensions of the bullet with a ruler. The diameter at the base was 10 millimeter and the length was 12 millimeter. George Fassnacht, the ballistics expert of the defense, testified that this rough measurement is consistent with caliber 40 but not with caliber 44. He made this determination on the witness stand without pocket calculator.
This statement supported the testimony by the ballistics expert Anthony Paul. Paul for sure used better tools and identified the bullet as caliber 38. Not even the piece of lead not forwarded by the Medical Examiner could change that result. When Weinglass examined Fassnacht during the PCRA hearing, he obviously tried to get the answer that the caliber of a bullet can be determined by weighing it. However, that projectile was not complete and therefore the diameter could not have been determined by weighing, but only by measuring directly.

During the hearing in 1995, George Fassnacht was asked by prosecutor Grant whether he would be willing to carry out a reexamination of the ballistics evidence. He refused to do so for ethical reasons. Whether his refusal to do the examination was justified, or makes sense, is not relevant, particularly in light of the response or rather lack of a response, by Jamal, who was present at the hearing, and his team of attorneys.

Even if Fassnacht would not have carried out that examination they easily would have located another expert. In reality, they did not even try to find out how far the prosecution was willing to go insofar as pressuring the ballistics expert to testify. During the following re-direct examination, Weinglass did not even mention the proposal by prosecutor Grant. In my opinion, to pass up a chance like this, deliberately and knowingly, demonstrates that they did not want to get results that they knew would have further their already damaged case.

An innocent man would have jumped up to claim this chance immediately. In reality, it took six more years until another expert named Ronald Singer asked for the firearms evidence to be reexamined.
This should have been the end of the 44-fairy tale, but Leonard Weinglass’ team of lawyers stubbornly continued to treat it as fact. Other supporters of Abu-Jamal to this day, cling to the myth that the bullet that killed Officer Faulkner was killed by a bullet other than a .38 caliber.

For more serious papers and discussion where statements can only be but so absurd, a more ambiguous version of the fairy tale can be found. Weinglass defended the .44 caliber fairy tale with the arguement that a jury should decide the issue in a new trial. This, in spite of the fact that he knows that without a doubt, the bullet was a .38 caliber.

What is arguably more pernicious than Weinglass and his cynical attempts at perpetuating a myth he knows to be false, is is the report "A Life In The Balance", authored by the human rights's group, Amnesty International. While the author claims that the report is based on the trial transcript, some serious mistakes make this assertion seem less than credible.

The most serious mistake concerns the work of the Medical Examiner. After the 44-fairy tale has been created, supporters of Abu-Jamal claimed that the Medical Examiner has been accepted as a ballistics expert by the court. That claim was indented to lend more weight to his wrong estimation. In reality in 1982 the District Attorney asked him whether the entrance wound was consistent with +P ammunition. After an objection by the defense attorney he was qualified as an expert who can judge the results of that type of ammunition. By no means, however, has he been accepted as a ballistics expert. He only had expertise regarding the wounds created by +P ammunition.

However, Amnesty International would take things one step further. The report inaccurately claims that “the Medical Examiner testified that the bullet was consistent with those fired by Abu-Jamal’s gun but that tests were inconclusive as to whether it actually came from his firearm.” In reality, this statement did not come from the medical examiner, Dr. Hoyer ,but was part of the testimony by the ballistics expert Anthony Paul.

Obviously, the author of "A Life In The Balance" only got the (false) information that the Medical Examiner has been accepted as ballistics expert and afterwards he mixed up the testimony by these two persons. If he really had read the trial transcript as he claims within the report, such a mistake surely would not have occurred. The sad thing is that Amnesty International never apologized for it's mendacious and biased report. Today the 44-fairy tale leads a hidden existence. It’s too absurd to be used as evidence for actual innocence during a serious discussion. It’s not even sufficient an argument to demand a new trial. Why the wrong estimation of a medical doctor should be brought before a jury if it cannot have a real influence on their decision?

The value of this ongoing life can be seen in Michael Schiffmann’s pro-Mumia book, "Race Against Death". He writes in a footnote that the actual diameter never has been determined and he mentions the Medical Examiner’s report. Than he writes, based on the 1981 ballistics report of the police, that defense expert George Fassnacht determined that the caliber of the bullet removed from Faulkner’s head was .40 caliber, which is closer to a .38 than to .44. In reality that estimation was not based on the police report but on the report by the Medical Examiner. Additionally, he ignores testimony by ballistics expert Anthony Paul who clearly said that the bullet was a .38 caliber.

If the true caliber really would be unknown, that fact would be too important for a short description within a footnote. However, the statement about the unknown caliber is completely wrong and, therefore, it was necessary to put it in a footnote. It can raise doubts if readers are not familiar with the case, and at the same time it’s possible that critics will overlook that assertion.

In this shady and manipulative form, the fairy tale of the .44 bullet most likely will stay with us for a long time. Authors like Paul Mulshine and Thomas Clough wrote the deadly bullet was a hollow point bullet. Also Schiffmann, who accurately published the findings of the ballistics report and deals extensively with ballistics, writes in the German version of his book the deadly bullet was a hollow point bullet and such bullets increase the size after hitting a target (mushrooming). Hollow point bullets really act in this way but the deadly bullet was a hollow base bullet with different properties.

Tests Not Carried Out

Two tests could have contributed to answer the question whether Abu-Jamal’s gun was the murder weapon. By simply smelling on the barrel it could have been determined whether the gun had been fired recently (within the last hours). The Neutron Activation Test would have shown whether Abu-Jamal did fire a gun within a few hours. Both tests were not been carried out by Police. The smell test issue was introduced in 1995 by the ballistics expert George Fassnacht. Back in 1982, Fassnacht worked than as an advisor for Jamal attorney, Anthony Jackson.

During the trial Anthony Jackson raised the ballistics test repeatedly with the prosecution experts. George Fassnacht, who later submitted a bill in excess of $750 dollars, surely gave him extensive advice on these tests. Additionally, Jackson worked as evidence technician for the Philadelphia Police Department for a number of years. Moreover, he had his own experience on how to deal with the presentation of evidence through his extensive experience as an attorney. Despite these facts in 1982, none of them mentioned the smell test which raises the issue of how common the practice would have been in 1981.

Additionally, it can’t be explained why such a doubtful test which cannot be reproduced should be part of standard investigation procedures. For police officers at the crime scene it made much more sense to concern themselves with irrefutable evidence obtained from ballistics analysis.

Not only that, but if there was a "conspiracy by police" to frame Mumia, why did they not just claim that they did do such a test and that it was positive? Certainly, there would have been no realistic way to say that they were lying about it. Therefore, it arguably wasn't even a mistake by police officers to not bother with smelling the barrel.

The Neutron Activation Test on the other hand, was standard police practice in 1981. Even Arnold Howard said in his less than credible testimony in 1995 that his hands had been tested in the main police building several hours after the murder. Nevertheless, Abu-Jamal’s hands were not tested. Leonard Weinglass claimed in his typical shady fashion that police may have deliberately omitted this test because it would have shown that Jamal had not fired a gun. This arguement, in light of the facts, simply is not credible

In 1995 the District Attorney worked to prove that the Neutron Activation Test would not have made any sense. Statements from the police bear this out. The murder happened around 3:52 in the morning and police arrived on the scene just moments later. Police officers took Abu-Jamal in custody and brought him to a police van. It was not their duty to test his hands on the spot and would have been absurd considering their suspect was himself shot and wounded.

Arguably, the test should have been carried out in the police building. Perhaps, Roy Land from the Mobile Crime Detection Unit could have done the test, but he arrived at the crime scence around 4:15 a.m, well after Abu-Jamal already has been taken from the crime scene.

Originally, Abu-Jamal was on the way to the police building where his hands could have been tested. However, before he arrived there, the police van was been redirected to Jefferson Hospital. Gary Wakshul wrote this in his report of 9 December 1981.
According to Wakshul's report, "As per orders from Inspector Giordano, we were to proceed, with the male, to the Homicide Unit, but enroute, these orders were amended via police radio and we were informed to go to Jefferson Hospital and to have the male treated for any injuries". After Officers got Jamal to the hospital, it was practically impossible to carry out the Neutron Activation Test.

Before he has been treated for his injuries his clothes would have likely been removed as he was somewhat cleaned up. Obviously, during the time Dr. Coletta treated Abu-Jamal’s injuries it was not possible to carry out the test and afterwards the the test would not have made any sense .

Actually, no one tried to conduct that test. Neither Roy Land at the crime scene nor police officers at the Homicide Unit got a chance to do the test. It’s likely that within the first few hours after the murder no one realized that this test has not been carried out. Afterwards it was too late. It’s simply nonsense to call it part of a conspiracy.

First of all, conspiracies require time for preparation and that mistake happened within a very short period of time after the murder. Additionally, each detective who would have tried to obtain evidence against Abu-Jamal would have insisted on this test. Abu-Jamal and his weapon were found beside a dead police officer. By 4:35 a.m. 4 witnesses had given statements to the police which clearly implicated Abu-Jamal and 2 of theses witnesses identified him at the crime scene.

In light of the evidence obtained by police in the early morning hours. the fact that they did not carry out the test does not indicate a conspiracy against Abu-Jamal. All that remains is the fact that these tests have not been carried out and, as a consequence, cannot be utilized.
Which Facts Were Known in 1982?

In order to answer this question I would like to summarize the items of information available to the jury in 1982. These are the same items of information that were known to the public after the PCRA hearings. The entire story about caliber 44 is not information but a fairy tale and the independent piece of lead, which has not been handed over to the ballistics department, does not change anything, as well.

Mumia was on the crime scene when the murder happened. Only 30 to 45 seconds after the last shot Abu-Jamal’s gun has been found at the crime scene. Until this day no witness was able to provide credible testimony that a person left the scene together with the murder weapon. For people believing in the running man myth this assertion may sound biased but the best account of a running man still comes from Dessie Hightower and his testimony, even by admission of Jamal's former legal team is less than credible. On the other hand, even the fairy tale told by Singletary asserts that the weapon stayed at the crime scene.
When the shooting began the murder weapon has been fired from the street towards the building. Scanlan, White, and Magilton observed Mumia Abu-Jamal leaving the parking lot and crossing the street. No witness testified that another person had been at this location when they heard the first shots.
The murder weapon was outside its holster when the murder happened. Only 30 to 45 seconds after the last shot Abu-Jamal’s gun has been found at the sidewalk outside the shoulder holster. There is no reason to believe that someone else took Abu-Jamal’s revolver and placed it on the sidewalk or that Abu-Jamal has drawn his gun after the shooting. An unused weapon should have been in the shoulder holster.

Weird conspiracy theories involving a policemen taking out the gun from Abu-Jamal’s shoulder holster are simply that: weird conspiracy theories and they don’t have any basis.
The murder weapon has been fired at least four times. Abu-Jamal’s weapon contained 5 spent casings. Therefore, the gun had been fired at some point. Theoretically, he could have carried an empty weapon but there are three main reasons why this is very unlikely.
An empty weapon could have a deterrent effect but that’s unlikely and dangerous, not to speak of the danger or carrying a concealed weapon illegally.

It’s even more unlikely for this specific weapon because it was an undercover model hidden in a shoulder holster. A person attacking Abu-Jamal would not have known that he was armed.

Without live ammunition that gun would have been useless.
The gun was not just empty but it contained spent casings. If they have not been spent in the night of the murder, than Abu-Jamal would have placed a used weapon in his shoulder holster without cleaning and without removing the spent casings. This is even more unlikely than placing a completely empty gun in his holster. Something like this does not just happen accidentally. If the weapon has been emptied before the night of the murder, Abu-Jamal would have known that fact.
The gun was found on the sidewalk beside Abu-Jamal. There would have been no reason to pull out an empty gun. Of course, according to Robert Shoemaker Mumia also reached for the empty gun when police arrived, but that was a different situation. It’s much more believable that Abu-Jamal, who had just shot somebody and himself been shot, did not count the shots fired from his weapon and therefore was not aware of the fact that the gun was empty when police arrived on the scene.

The murder weapon was a .38 caliber and the barrel had 8 lands and grooves with a right-hand direction of twist. Abu-Jamal’s weapon was caliber 38 and the barrel had 8 lands and grooves with a right-hand direction of twist.
The murder weapon contained two different types of ammunition. Two or more bullets were from the manufacturer Federal and at least one bullet was a different type (projectile with copper jacket). Abu-Jamal’s weapon contained four casings from Federal and one casing from Smith & Wesson.
The entrance wound in Daniel Faulkner’s head was very severe and was consistent with +P ammunition. The wound was so severe that Dr. Hoyer estimated a bigger caliber. The casings in Abu-Jamal’s weapon were marked as +P ammunition. The PCRA hearing showed one additional result.
In 1995, the defense got a chance to have the ballistics evidence reexamined by a defense expert and they simply ignored that chance. No innocent man would do that. Supporters of Abu-Jamal always insist that it was not possible to compare the bullet to a specific firearm. It’s true that theoretically multiple millions of weapons could have fired that bullet but these millions of weapons weren't found at the crime scene just seconds after the murder containing five spent casings. It is true that the murder weapon cannot be determined with 100% scientifically certainty to be the one carried by Jamal.

However, the evidence available is sufficient to determine the murder weapon beyond a reasonable doubt. Abu-Jamal’s Charter Arms revolver was the murder weapon!
Abu-Jamal’s Sworn Declaration

On 3 May 2001 Mumia Abu-Jamal signed a sworn declaration. Since that day, commentators have criticized the declaration and have pointed out many holes. Even some supporters of Abu-Jamal question it's believablity. Dave Lindorff and Michael Schiffmann, two authors of books in favor of Abu-Jamal, are among those critics. Lindorff explicitly contradicts the declaration while Schiffmann ignores it when he describes how the murder could have happened.

The reality is that Abu-Jamal’s declaration was part of a conspiracy. Former Mumia attorney Eliot Grossman, and his colleagues clearly initiated this conspiracy in order to get the confession of Arnold Beverly admitted into evidence. In spite of the many holes in Jamal's declaration, it does raise some interesting issues regarding the gun that was found at his side and has been the subject of so much controversy.

Mumia does not mention his weapon in his afadavit, not a single word. Did he carry the gun or not? It has been found at the crime scene with 5 spent casings and he wore an empty shoulder holster. If he carried the gun he has to explain at what time he did fire it. Did he really carry an empty gun or did he fire into the air? If he did not carry his gun he has to explain where it was or who carried his gun. In this case it would be interesting to know why he wore an empty shoulder holster. He claims that he was unconscious after he was shot in the chest, but with that claim he cannot explain why he did not give any information regarding his gun in his declaration.

The crucial facts about his gun are based on the situation before the shooting. He still knows the facts no matter whether he really was unconscious or not. Additionally, Abu-Jamal is smart enough to know how important these things are. In reality, the purpose of his declaration was not to explain, but to hide. Abu-Jamal’s refusal to provide useful information had a negative effect on the question whether his gun was the murder weapon. Before that declaration there was no reasonable doubt. Only some very weak doubts without credibility could have been made up. The idea that he carried an empty gun could be a doubt but for sure no reasonable doubt. The idea that another person pulled out the gun from his shoulder holster is even less credible.

However, all these theoretical doubts do not exist any longer. Since he deliberately has refused to provide any explanation regarding his gun, there are no doubts at all, no matter whether they are reasonable or not. Only mathematical certainty cannot be achieved.

Friday, October 12, 2007

MOVE Versus Guinness Book of World Records

"When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group of people you've ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring, compassionate and understanding person you've ever met, and then you learn the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true-it probably is too good to be true! Don't give up your education, your hopes and ambitions to follow a rainbow."

-Jeannie MillsEx - member of "The People's Temple", later found murdered.
(Update: Today, while at a bookstore, I ran across the 2008 Guinness Book Of World Records and got yet another reminder that MOVE is run by a bunch of increasingly senile, ignorant, fascists. The tiny blurb about MOVE mislabels the group as "The MOVE" and than lists the date and the death toll. That is it. There are no pictures or explanation about what MOVE is, nothing. The tiny section that mentions MOVE was so easy to miss, that I had to really study the page to find it. This leads me to believe that the protest may actually be about the fact that The Branch Davidians got more ink than MOVE did.)

According to Ramona Africa, the 2008 edition of the nerd guide-book, Guinness Book World Of World Records has MOVE listed under "Mass Suicides", based on the May 13th 1985, MOVE instigated catastrophe that ended with the deaths of eleven people and a devastated community.

Not surprisingly, the good people at Guinness also saw fit to put MOVE in a list of cults
MOVE’s chief spokesperson, Ramona is livid, and is currently in the midst of attempting to gather the faithful in an effort to punish any and everyone that she thinks may have had a role in what she claims is a an ongoing conspiracy to "defame" the cult (I mean Organization, sorry MOVE.)

Ramona goes so far, which for a MOVE member isn’t really a stretch, to claim that the listing in the Guinness Book is just another way for un-named "officials" to mistreat the cult (oops I did it again) and ultimately "murder" members of the cult.

The statement from Ramona is of the same paranoid, self-important, rambling, didn’t-even-run-it-through-spell check, rubbish, style that anyone familiar with the group is used to.
At first I was going to give this one a pass, but a couple of things about MOVE’s latest "revolutionary activity" just screamed for me offer my take on the whole stupid spectacle.

The first is that MOVE’s statement literally could be offered up as prove that the group is not just an Organization, but a cult in the most pejorative sense. According to Ramona, the British "Cult Information Centre", whose website is not-surprisingly omitted from her info about the group, is listed as the source for Guinness. Interestingly, a quick search of the site turned up no mention of MOVE, and the sect is not listed in the Centre’s index of cults that are listed on the site.

However, the Centre does have a quick guide to identifying a cult.

According to the Centre, cults usually share the following characteristics:

"It uses psychological coercion to recruit, indoctrinate and retain its members

It forms an elitist totalitarian society.

Its founder leader is self-appointed, dogmatic, messianic, not accountable and has charisma.

It believes 'the end justifies the means' in order to solicit funds recruit people.

Its wealth does not benefit its members or society."

I personally challenge anyone to make the case that MOVE does not fit this criteria down to the letter.

Another indication that you may be dealing with a cult is that they do not often bother with facts or reasoned argument and instead rely on the psychological bonds of adherents, and in MOVE’s case, a political affinity, to act as a substitute for arguementation. This is how Ramona has the audacity to claim MOVE is not a cult without providing any kind of evidence to support her claim. Nor does she employ the use of some kind of false analogy, which incidentally a current member of a cult (not MOVE) tried to use on me in an arguement just this afternoon.

Ramona simply assumes what should have to be proven and relies on the faith of the fools that still follow MOVE’s exhortations to do her bidding. The group-think dynamic replaces the personal critical faculties that would cause someone not under MOVE’s spell to toss her diatribe against Guinness into the recycling bin and wonder in amazement at just how intelligent people can so readily fall for such nonsense.

She also claims, again without offering proof that MOVE "did not commit suicide" on May 13th 1985. Which, if she were speaking strictly of the children who died that day, would have a nugget of truth. These children, who instead of being treated as the hostages that they were by Philadelphia officials, were quite clearly treated as expendable "collateral damage", if they were considered at all. But, for all of the missteps of the city that day, the reality is that MOVE killed those kids.

But, Ramona is not taking responsibility for her role in the May 13th confrontation, and she never has. She and the other MOVE adults would have been better to have just put a bullet in the back of those kid’s heads than to cause them to suffer the living hell of smoke, heat, fire, and bullets. The terror that John Africa wrought was as merciless as it was suicidal. That house was stocked with children, guns, two fortified and reinforced bunkers complete with gun-ports, and most terrifying, the delusional mind of a man who exerted complete control over the lives around him, and who had clearly had that mind set upon death.

John Africa and his tool Ramona, along with the other MOVE adults brought the children into that house they knew was to be used in a confrontation with authorities. They did not allow the children to leave when they could have. They fired on the police to instigate the shoot-out and than waited till all hell had broken loose before trying to get the children out.

On that day, like days before, and since, MOVE members were the bringers of death, not the defenders of life that they claim to be.

The actions of John Africa on May 13th were qualitatively the same as that of Jim Jones a few years prior. The adults committed suicide and the children were murdered. Ramona being alive to spread MOVE’s toxic brand of martyrdom and manipulation is proof only that the tiny spark of humanity left in her temporarily overwhelmed her allegiance to John Africa’s psychotic, mind-fuck and she fled from what was to be her destiny. Fact is, that if the police were out to kill "everyone in that house" as she has stated countless times, she wouldn’t be still hammering out missives for the group and guilt tripping naive college students for a living.

I wouldn’t ask anyone to just take my word for it. Read the books about the "confrontation", the findings of the MOVE commission. Most importantly look to the words of MOVE from that day and the days leading up to it.

In MOVE’s current statement are possible plans for "direct action" aimed at bookstores.

Perhaps the example of Muslims protesting bookstores over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad seems to MOVE like a good idea. Which it may well be, given the invertebrate response to these protests, or even the possibility of such a protest by bookstore chains and news-outlets. Interestingly, The Philadelphia Inquirer was the first paper in the States to run the now infamous cartoons on their pages, and they were picketed for doing so.

From my view, the idea of a pro-MOVE rabble, throwing one of their babyish-profane tantrums in front of Borders Books actually seems to me to actually be strangely appropriate.

That MOVE, who is against the very idea of ideas, would target a business that traffics in them would hardly be out of character for the group. Furthermore, the bitter irony of an "Organization" that deprives from it’s young the written word protesting a book store is just madness personified and makes The Guinness Book’s inclusion of MOVE in it’s list of cults that much more satisfying. Just another front on in the battle MOVE wages against the life of the mind.

And if MOVE does decide to sue publishers over the issue, I will offer my humble services to in the defense of the publisher’s right to publish things that are offensive and more importantly true.

I also know of a certain book that will go on my Christmas list and I am sure "The Guinness Book Of World Records" will appreciate the free publicity, tiny as it is, from MOVE and it’s minions with all of their impotent pissing and moaning about which they have no factual, not to speak of moral, ground to stand on.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mumia 101: The Attorneys

(picture of the early morning crime scene December 9, 1981)

(What follows is the first in what I hope will be a series of articles by author Christian Peheim about Jamal's case. The first of which deals with Mumia's long history with attorneys in a clear-cut and precise way. Christian also lays out Jamal's bleak future as a result of legal missteps. To fully appreciate Peheim's work is to read this article on his own site. Due to technical constraints on mine, I cannot do the type of pictorial and graphic layouts that he uses so well on his own site to illustrate his points.)

Mumia Abu-Jamal's Lawyers
by Christian Peheim

It’s tough to work as Abu-Jamal’s lawyer. It’s even tougher to be his former lawyer. There is a high probability to be called ineffective or incompetent. It’s even possible to be treated like a criminal who deliberately acted against Abu-Jamal’s interests. Grossman an Kamish are the only former lawyers of Abu-Jamal who never have been called ineffective. At the same time they are the only lawyers who really hurt the case of their client when they started a conspiracy to support Beverly's confession.

Anthony Jackson

Anthony Jackson’s fate was the worst of all. During the trial of 1982 he has been called a shyster and a baboon and his client accused him of being a conspirator who helped judge and prosecutor. Among today’s mumiacs it is a fact that he was incompetent and constitutionally ineffective. Abu-Jamal’s lawyers - from Weinglass to Bryan - often used this argument, as well. In reality he was not that bad. His cross examination of prosecution witnesses was detailed, careful, and sometimes successful (see Gary Bell). He was not as good as O.J.’s Dream Team but he was not bad, either. He made mistakes like the missing character witnesses during the penalty phase and Gary Wakshul, and he was not well prepared. However, there are some important points to consider. Contrary to his own testimony he did not run the show. His statements on the record of the 1982 trial show that Abu-Jamal and not Jackson choose the character witnesses.

Additionally, his client sabotaged the case by not returning witness statements and Jackson simply could not remember everything. Most important for Jackson’s performance was the fact that he had nothing to go on. Lindorff blamed him for not presenting an alternative to the prosecution scenario but forgets to explain how that alternative scenario should have looked like. Not even his client gave him support. In the end the prosecution had a strong case and there was no alternative scenario. Usually, the accusations against Jackson are based on his sworn declaration prepared for the PCRA hearing.

Even the completely fact challenged report by Amnesty International mentions that declaration but not the record of the cross examination by Hugh Burns. ("A Live in the Balance" supposedly is based on the trial transcripts but some very disturbing mistakes show that this statement at the beginning of the report is an outright lie. Amnesty International never did apologize for that biased report.) Despite all the problems Jackson described 1995, it’s difficult to find out how he could have done better and which advantage he could have gained. Weinglass and Williams had sufficient resources, years for preparation, Abu-Jamal’s support, and they still were not able to win the case. Judge Yohn described the situation pretty well when he wrote about some of the claims regarding Jackson’s performance “I specifically have found each of petitioner’s substantive claims regarding these issues to be without merit.”

Marilyn Gelb

Compared with Jamal's other attorneys, Marilyn Gelb has not been criticized that much. She was Abu-Jamal’s appellate counsel until 1991. Her performance can be compared to Jackson’s.

She was neither great nor bad and she had the same basic disadvantage as Jackson: she had nothing to work with. There where no good arguments available. Weinglass tried to put her on the witness stand, as well, but due to medical reasons she could not testify. As a result, she could not take over all the blame and, therefore, she has not been abused as a prime example of ineffectiveness. Only within petitions the claim of ineffectiveness has been raised.

Leonard Weinglass and Daniel Williams

One should think two successful lawyers like Leonard Weinglass and Daniel Williams would be safe. They successfully challenged two execution warrants (1995 and 1999) and the petition prepared by them resulted in judge Yohn overturning the death sentence. Additionally, they sacrificed their reputation in order to help their client. Otherwise it can’t be explained why they put William Singletary and William Harmon on the witness stand. Both told mutually contradictory fairy tales. Singletary’s account was so unbelievable that DA Arlene Fisk offered police men and police cars to bring him in. Most likely her intention was to embarrass the defense with this witness. Harmon’s account was not better and attorney Williams called them a "disaster".

At the end the lawyers got nicknamed “scheme team” by the Philadelphia press. However, even Weinglass and Williams had their limits. After the 1997 testimony of Pamela Jenkins become a first class disaster, they had to be more careful. Finally, the complete nonsense of Arnold Beverly’s confession was too much for them. In the dream world of Rachel Wolkenstein and the Partisan Defense Committee, Beverly was a witness, in the reality of Williams and Weinglass it was sheer lunacy to use him in court. Williams wrote, he didn’t want to "embarrass himself" by putting Beverly on the stand. At that time he still could count on his client and Abu-Jamal made the decision to ignore Beverly. Two years later Williams published "Executing Justice" and he and Weinglass got fired, and than savaged by the movement that once looked to them as saviors. To me it’s still a mystery why Abu-Jamal did not only fire Williams but Weinglass, as well. Maybe he was desperate.

The judicial maneuvers during the nineties where fruitless. On the other hand, Beverly looked like the promise of a new trial. However, Beverly’s confession was already old and the claim of ineffective counsel was not sufficient to circumvent the timeliness requirement. In order to get the confession accepted by the court, Grossman required something stronger than that. He launched some vicious attacks against Weinglass and accused him of deliberately sabotaging the case. Therefore, Grossman claimed, the former lawyers acted like government agents and, as a result, Beverly’s confession should not be barred. The courts did not buy into this. According to Judge Dembe, it was a thinly veiled ineffectiveness claim and she refused to decide on the merits. In the end Leonard Weinglass was as professional as Anthony Jackson before him. He did not fight back and still speaks well of his former client.

Eliot Grossman and Marlene Kamish

The strategy of Eliot Grossman and Marlene Kamish has been criticized from the beginning and, as shown by court decisions and by waning public support, the critics were right. After Daniel Williams and David Lindorff explained in their pro-Jamal books that Beverly’s confession is not believable, most supporters realized that they could no longer use it in their propaganda. Only some extreme left-wing groups like the Partisan Defense Committee still use it in their campaigns. Meanwhile, many Jamal supporters complain that such seemingly important testimony has been dismissed on procedural grounds only. However, this argument ignores the fact that the unreliable nature of that confession was the reason for the lawyers to not present it on time. Grossman’s claims and actions had a few lasting effects. First of all, Daniel Williams has been called a traitor.

Otherwise his book Executing Justice would have had a devastating effect on Beverly, but the defense team could not do without his confession. Additionally, Weinglass has been accused of sabotaging the case of his client. That treatment of Abu-Jamal’s former lawyers resulted in a financial disaster. Many supporters simply turned their backs on the case. In the end, Grossman failed completely. His own habeas petition has been rejected by judge Yohn and his so-called “evidence” of actual innocence hasn’t been heard. But that’s not all. In view of the evidence presented in public, in my view, he became the first lawyer who really hurt Abu-Jamal’s case.

The Conspiracy to Support Beverly's Confession

In May 2001 Grossman presented 5 declarations. They were supposed to bolster Arnold Beverly’s confession. First of all, Beverly’s confession says that he and another unknown perpetrator have shot Daniel Faulkner. He was hired by the mob and corrupt policemen. Abu-Jamal arrived at the crime scene after the murder took place and he got shot by another officer. Donald Hersing’s declaration provided a motive for the murder. He was an FBI informant and his declaration described his contacts with corrupt policemen.

William Cook provided some clues regarding Kenneth Freeman being the second hit man. If the affidavits are to be believed, Cook did not see anything because at the time of the murder he was inside his Volkswagen and looked backwards. For his part, Mumia stated he was in his taxicab and did not see anything, either. After he heard something like shots he saw his brother, run towards the scene and got shot by a police officer. He claims that he cannot remember anything else.

The fifth declaration came from journalist and a long-time friend of Mumia, Linn Washington. He gave some amazing statements. Washington attacked the police for things they have done in the 1970s and he described how other people have told him on the morning after the shooting that Abu-Jamal was beaten by the police. Of course, he does not give any names. His entire declaration would have been pretty useless except for one small portion. When he arrived at 13th and Locust around 8:30 he found the crime scene without any police officers and he was able to inspect the unlocked Volkswagen. Inside he saw a few drops of blood on the floor in the back behind the driver's seat.

That statement should have corroborated William Cook’s declaration who said he was inside the Volkswagen after he has been beaten by Daniel Faulkner. Cook claimed that he was bleeding profusely when he went inside the car and searched for some papers on the back seat. The entire story was a fabrication and it wasn’t even a good one. Abu-Jamal’s account contradicts virtually all witnesses, he claimed to have seen things through his rear view mirror which where not visible through that mirror and he completely forgets to mention his own weapon. Why he has drawn his weapon and when did he fire all five rounds? Cooks declaration was worse.

Despite his guilty plea for aggravated assault on Daniel Faulkner he now claims that he never has done anything. He says he went inside the car after he has been beaten. Only a suicidal officer would have allowed him to do so because in such a situation he could not see Cook’s hands. Cook claimed that everything happened in front of the Volkswagen but this claim contradicts witness statements, and crime scene photos show a clear trail of blood coming from the front of Faulkner’s car. Additionally, the entire car stop happened within some thirty seconds. William Cook did not have enough time to go back into his car.

Finally, Washington’s declaration is a lie, as well. His recollection is that he saw blood on the floor. However, since Cook did not go back into his car he also did not bleed there. Additionally, a police officer searched the Volkswagen and did not see any blood drops. How is it that Washington remembered this 20 years after the crime, coincidentally when a number of other people just happened to be making statements? In reality things where not like he describes them. When did Linn Washington search the VW? If he made a mistake with his time estimation and he was there before the Volkswagen has been removed, his account still cannot be the truth because police is present at the scene (one car on the left side and another one in the background with the lights on, this picture can be located on Pehiem's website). Linn Washington told lies in order to support Cook’s lies. But the worst is the fact that Washington and Cook somehow must have worked together to create their lies, or had them scripted for them.

Addendum (September 2007) I just realized that A Case For Reasonable Doubt brought a short sequence which showed the crime scene at the early morning before sunrise. On the left side a police car can be seen and in the background most likely another police car is parked with the headlights on. A look at the scene confirms that all cars (Faulkner’s police car, Volkswagen and Ford Galaxy) have been removed already. Therefore, Linn Washington’s declaration is even more suspicious. At which location did he find the Volkswagen? How Does This Hurt Abu-Jamal?

Meanwhile many years have passed and Arnold Beverly is in the trash bin of history. All those declarations have been exposed as nonsense. The entire strategy never had a chance because the timeliness requirement was too big an obstacle. Even if Grossman would have been successful in getting a new PCRA hearing, the judge would have immediately dismissed his claims on the merits. Grossman had a completely unrealistic objective.

However, the situation after Grossman is not the same as before. He allowed Abu-Jamal and his brother to present sworn declarations. Both declarations did not help him with the timeliness requirements. They could have been helpful after Beverly would have been accepted by the Court of Common Pleas but not before. Right from the beginning both declarations have been useless. But now the brothers have made their statements and they have no real chance to change their stories. Why this is important? Legal proceedings in Abu-Jamal’s case can lead to a few different situations where it could be an advantage for him to testify on his own behalf. When doing so it is very important to be believable.

No matter whether it’s a new trial, a new sentencing hearing or simply a clemency petition to the governor, it would be better for Abu-Jamal if the persons who decide his fate can believe him. If he changes his story he will look like a liar who says anything that sounds favorable. If he sticks to his story it would be a simple task for the prosecutor to discredit him. If he says nothing he cannot contest the evidence. Let us assume for a moment Abu-Jamal gets a new trial. His chances to get acquitted are small but it seems to be possible to get convicted of a lesser charge. If he succeeds in convincing the jury that he saw Daniel Faulkner beating his brother and due to this violent act committed by a white police officer he lost self control, he has a small chance of obtaining a manslaughter conviction.

If that fails or if he gets a new sentencing hearing his task is to establish mitigating factors. The same story could be used to explain a state of mental turmoil which constitutes a mitigating factor. Additionally, I am sure there will be some character witnesses who will do there best to prove his good character, which would be a third mitigating factor. The first mitigating factor is the fact that he does not have a criminal record, which has been accepted by the original jury in 1982. Such mitigating evidence was the reason why Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin’s life got spared after he killed a police officer in Atlanta and wounded a second one. Abu-Jamal’s lawyers could try to do the same for their client and a sympathetic jury could be swayed to spare his life, too.

In the worst case where the only thing left is a petition for clemency, Abu-Jamal could try to convince the governor that there are mitigating factors which have not been heard by a jury. Legal proceedings still can drag on for years and a future governor may be somehow sympathetic.

In reality Abu-Jamal doesn’t have these options. He already lied and he was part of a conspiracy to obtain his freedom. Grossman and Kamish are responsible for that conspiracy and Abu-Jamal, Cook, and Washington played their own part. In the long run that conspiracy really will hurt Abu-Jamal’s case. Maybe one day he will realize that and try to lay blame his former lawyers for their ineffective work. This tactic however, did not help Jamal in the past, is certain to fail in the future.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A True Fight For Freedom

"The Western mind-set—that if we respect them, they’re going to respect us, that if we indulge and appease and condone and so on, the problem will go away—is delusional. The problem is not going to go away. Confront it, or it’s only going to get bigger"

-former Muslim ,Ayaan Hirsi Ali, from "Reason Magazine", speaking about her former faith

The week of October 16th-22nd is slated to be "Islamo-Fasciscm Awarness Week". I fully support this action and will be participating if possible. I encourage anyone who reads this, regardless of you political tendencies to do likewise

There is one beautiful thing of not aligning yourself with any specific political agenda, and that is the kind of company you get to keep.

I have friends and acquaintances of people of all stripes, none of whom share all of my particular points of view on everything, nor would I aspire to find myself in the midst of people who all believed the same thing, spoke the same way, thought in the same fashion. I have a man whom I consider a mentor of sorts, who is a strong Catholic, a literary inspiration who is devout atheist, and the person whom I speak to the most happens to be a devout protestant with tendencies towards things of the supernatural. I have an Uncle who, with all of his libertarian ideals, likes to chat with me for hours as we figure out the problems of the world and solve them in the span of an evening.
Until recently, I worked with a Muslim woman who shared my sarcastic sense of humor and enjoyed her company even when she was catching me off guard with her quick New York City wit, that usually got the best of me. We shared the fact that neither one of us drinks alcohol, and when I offered to go get her a BLT she smiled and rolled her eyes. She knew it was a joke and could give just as good as she got.

It is all good and a refreshing change from the generic, rehearsed, plagiarized, thoughts and emotion that substituted for relationships in MOVE.
I respect them and they respect me, not for my views on what happens or doesn’t happen after we die, but for who they are to me, and likewise
It also comes in handy when you find a particular cause for which to lend your name and whatever tiny bit of influence you may have. Most conservatives would throw up their hands in indignation at the thought of keeping company with an anti-death penalty, anti-religious, pro-gay, pro-choice, non Bushite, such as myself (although I hear the last one is now fashionable even amongst conservatives).
However, when it comes to fighting authoritarianism, a struggle which I take a personal stake in, I have declared myself on the side of those who are in the struggle against those who would attempt, and I say attempt, because I think their failure is hard-wired into their backwards ideology, to drag the world back to the fourth century. MOVE was a cult that claimed it wanted to drag the world back to a mythical time before there was such a thing as time. A utopia of naturalism, devoid of thought, ideas. It was, and is rubbish together from various philosphical fads of the late 1960's.
Islam, far more capable, organized, and demonstrably ruthless, places my occasional rants against MOVE in their proper context of complete and almost total pointlessness. The faith originated by a man with a hunger for young girls, blood, power, and complete domination, has proven that all faiths are not created equal and that some have within them, the blue-prints for near limitless violence.
And like MOVE, the first and primary victims are those within Islam’s immediate orbit. It is not you and I who are immediately victimized by young boys whose education goes only as far as being able to recite the Koran and fire a Kalashnikov. From my experience with MOVE, I learned that hatred is not innate. It must be taught. The natural curiosity that makes children so wonderful must be stifled if extremism is to thrive. Like MOVE, in Islam, logic is an enemy and truth is a menace.
Consider an excerpt from a recent report by Middle East Media Research Initiative (MEMRI)

"The 60th issue of Al-Fateh features a story about Sa'id Hassan Hutari from Qalqilya, who carried out the June 2001 suicide bombing at a disco near the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv, killing 21 people, mostly teens. The magazine presents Hutari's last message, in which he says: "I shall turn my body into pieces and bombs that will pursue the sons of Zion, blow them up, and burn the remains [of their bodies]." He then addresses his parents, telling them not to weep over his death, saying, "There is nothing greater than to give one's soul for the sake of Allah on Palestinian soil. Mother, utter cries of joy; Father and brothers, hand out sweets. Your son is awaiting his betrothal to the Virgins of Paradise."

Al-Fateh, like the much publicized Jew-hating Mickey Mouse look-alike of a Paliestinian TV show is directed towards children.
What struck me as compelling about this week of education about the issue of "Islamic Fascism" is not the name, as I am not even so much fond of the term, as I would argue it an inaccurate description of what is being faced. But what moved me was the focus of the event being that of the "first" victims of Islamic extremism, Muslims themselves, particularly the most vulnerable and weak amongst them, women and children.
I personally find it disgraceful that many of my comrades on the left, instead of finding the value within this call to end senseless religiously inspired brutality, are doing what they can to silence those who are acting in a capacity of speaking up for those who cannot.
This is not the "jingoistic", "racist", exhortation to war, as it’s critics have contended. Far from "Islamamophobic", the originators of this week of activism are asking people to be more educated, to not presume things about your brown skinned neighbor who may be a Sikh or a Hindu, both of whom have long been victims of Islamic terror. This week is not to instill terror or hatred, but seeks to educate. Those veiled women you see are victims of centuries of tyranny that is as contemptible as it is obsolete.
It is a fact that jihadists can be blue eyed and blonde haired and that there are people like my friend from Lebanon who is the antithesis of anything related to terror whose complexion is a bit darker than that of Bin-Laden.
I learned in MOVE the veritable power of the stereotype. The name MOVE conjures up images of dread-locked blacks, stinking of garlic, with a bullhorn massacring the English language while planning to massacre some cops. But in actuality, the typical MOVE adherent today is white, of a middle class or upper middle class background. Many keep respectable employment and wear casual clothes. They could be a co-worker of yours and you would never know it. I worked for years in and around Philadelphia, and nobody had a clue. Prejudice is your enemy. Knowledge is your weapon.
The week against Islamo-Fascism is just as much a week against bigotry, if it were otherwise, I would have no part in it. Once you realize that the world of Islam is far more complex than the west perceives it to be. Many of our best allies are living in the Muslim world. Like Soviet dissidents, they quietly, but persistently, are leading small revolts against the world that surrounds them. Their heroism in the face of pure terror is motivating and nearly unbelievable considering the torment they and their families face if caught. We don’t know their names. If we did, they wouldn’t be alive. But they are there and they are on the front lines against Islamic extremism, and they are dying for it, and my leftist friends could care less.

It is much easier to throw a pie at Anne Coulter than it is to support the women sentenced to death by stoning in Iran for some offense against the Theocracy whose representative was recently met with applause by students at Columbia University.

The crass rhetorical jabs that may come my way by embracing this week of activism is a small price to pay to call attention to the fact that Iran does not have homosexuals (he left out the part about Iran's policy designed to "liquidate" them", that in Islam the idea of "equal" rights for women is treated as apostasy and may cost you much just for discussing it, not to speak of espousing it.
It is hard for many of us to conceptualize what it is like to live in authoritarian system. I got a very tiny taste of what such a society is like. And it was enough for me to be forever in opposition to it and all of it that it brings along with it.
I suffer under no illusion that America is a perfect, wonderful, place, but it is the place that gives me the right to say that, and it, for all of it’s flaws is worth fighting for.
Take a moment during the week of October 16th-22th and educate yourself and friends and family about an issue that so many of us don’t know enough about. Go get a Koran from the library, show up at a Mosque on a Friday and see what your local believers in the "religion of peace" are being taught.
I implore you to do something. Anything. As the enemy may be much closer than you think.

As for me, as I have people close to me whom I care deeply about who live a life of freedom, so to is there someone whom I care deeply that is trapped under the spell of Islam. It is a tragedy compounded by the reality that this person ought to know better.

The week of Oct 16th-22nd I will be thinking of this person and hoping and praying in my own secular way that they will wake up and embrace freedom. The freedom that so many in Islamic terror states have no chance to embrace.

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