Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Take On Mumia

Sickened by this sloppy article, I wrote a response to the Philadelphia Inquirer, that not surprisingly went un-published. I also wanted to contact the reporter directly, but discovered through a friend at the Inquirer that the guy was a "freelance" reporter. What a shock. Wasn't Mumia a "freelance" writer too?

Dear Inquirer Editor,

I read, with disgust, the article concerning the latest in a long string of pro-Mumia documentaries. I write this as I am reminded of the aesthetically beautiful, but nevertheless pro-Nazi work of Hitler's film-maker, Leni Riefenstahl. Like the movement to free Mumia itself, we have yet another slickly produced, factually deficient, symbol over substance, propaganda piece that plays upon the emotions of the audience while it delivers a product that is explicitly designed to obscure the obvious fact that Mumia Abu-Jamal murdered Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

William Cook, Muima’s brother, is interviewed in the film and claims that he will not tell what happened until his is in "court". What is not mentioned is that he had two chances to tell his side of the story in "court". During the trial in 1982 and during the PCRA hearings in 1995. Nor is it mentioned that William Cook did provide an affidavit several years back, but interestingly enough, it contradicted that of his own brother, Mumia. By all accounts, William Cook would have been the closest witness to the murder of Officer Faulkner. The fact that his first words to arriving Officers was "I ain't got nothing to do with it", speak much louder than all of the pro-Jamal propaganda as put forth in the film. He could have exonerated Jamal at that very moment. He did not. The only rational explanation is that he knew then and knows now that Jamal shot and killed Officer Faulkner.

Another fact not discussed in the article is the fact that Amnesty International's report on the case, has proven itself to be decidedly pro-Mumia, and grotesquely inaccurate as to the details of the case. These factual deficiencies have been noted at

Amnesty International tarnished it's reputation by authoring a political screed that elevated a murderer and negated the sacrifice of a man who gave his life in the pursuit of justice. This, so that Amnesty International could pander to a band of radicals and pusue the human right's group's own anti-death penalty position.It is rather telling that the film so heavily concentrates upon this nations obviously complicated history. I would argue that if William Francome, the "star" of the film or those who are ultimately responsible for it, believed that the facts supported their agenda that they would have placed a much stronger emphasis upon chronicling their facts.

That they would choose to put Snoop Dog, a known advocate for criminals and Noam Chomsky, who is a prolific writer, and a political ideologue, but has never wrote anything of significance regarding Jamal's case, shows that the film makers only wanted those who would tow the party line for Mumia, while barely acknowledging that there is another side to this issue.

On a personal note, I contacted Francome some time ago regarding the issue of how those who oppose the Jamal movement were portrayed. He claimed to have known of my work as an anti-Mumia blooger, who spent an unfortunate decade as a Mumia devotee, but didn't think to ask me to speak on his film. I don't write this out of some kind of arrogance or of a bruised ego, but rather to show that his claims of attempting to get someone who is not a fan of Mumia to speak is very likely disingenuous. Perhaps, if he spent some time in Philadelphia speaking with people other than the MOVE cult, he would have very easy found that a vast majority of Philadelphians are not part of the cop-killer fan club that William Francome might very well be the president of.

Tony Allen

(Officer Faulkner victimized yet again)
Sundance screens a film by one obsessed with Abu-Jamal.

By Sam Adams

PARK CITY, Utah - When the lights come up after a film's premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, the stage usually fills with directors and producers, actors and crew, all basking in the audience's applause.

But after Sunday's screening of In Prison My Whole Life, director Marc Evans apologized for the absence of the movie's "star": Mumia Abu-Jamal, on Pennsylvania's death row for the 1981 killing of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

Abu-Jamal is unquestionably the subject of the documentary, but as far as on-screen time goes, he plays a supporting role to 26-year-old William Francome, the "my" of the movie's title.
Francome said he was born on Dec. 9, 1981, the day that Abu-Jamal was arrested for Faulkner's murder. In Prison uses that coincidence to underscore the length of time Abu-Jamal has spent behind bars, most of it on death row - a circumstance the movie condemns as inhumane and unjust.

Francome appears as a cross between a crusading journalist, tracking down evidence to contradict the prosecution's case, and a wide-eyed student avidly pursuing the history of American racism.

The result is largely a recap of arguments for Abu-Jamal's retrial or exoneration and a broad overview of the history of American dissent.

Held together by Francome's narration, the movie oscillates between arguing the injustice of Jamal's case and charting Francome's education in the ugly side of American history.
Through interviews with the likes of Angela Davis and Noam Chomsky, In Prison attempts to place Abu-Jamal's case within a larger social context. The 1985 MOVE bombing and the 1987 videotape in which a Philadelphia prosecutor instructs young colleagues on how to keep African Americans off juries are part of the film's background. So are the FBI's Cointelpro program and Hurricane Katrina.

"I think it's part of a narrative," Francome says. "We could have made a film that was just purely about the case and looked into every single detail, but we've got 90 minutes to tell a story, and at the same time we're trying to make an entertaining film. I think we're making valid connections between certain issues."

Although the Sundance screening was not met with the rapturous whoops and standing ovations that greet the festival's instant hits, it was clear that at least some in the audience had no difficulty connecting Jamal's case and larger issues of racism, the death penalty and government corruption.

Sundance's audiences are well-known for their liberal bent, and its documentary programming tends to favor issue-oriented films. During the post-screening Q and A, one questioner asked if Abu-Jamal's bid for a new trial, currently awaiting a ruling from the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, would be rejected because "the consequences might be too huge to allow that to happen."

The British-born Francome, son of a British father and an American mother, describes his mother as a product of the '60s counterculture, and says she reminded him that each birthday he celebrated meant Abu-Jamal had spent another year in jail. But it wasn't until he was a teenager and heard Rage Against the Machine take up Abu-Jamal's cause that Francome connected the dots. "It was like, 'Hey, that's that Mumia guy mum's always talking about,' " he recalls in the film.

In his 20s, Francome began writing treatments for a film about the case. Through his girlfriend's godmother, he met Livia Firth, wife of actor Colin Firth, and Colin offered to produce the film and introduced him to Evans, an established feature and documentary director.
Firth also got in touch with Amnesty International's Piers Bannister, who had written a 35-page report condemning Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial as failing to meet "minimum international standards." Bannister, who appeared at the Sundance screening, shared his research with the filmmakers, and Amnesty vetted the film after it was completed.

"When we finished, we came back and said, 'This is the film. Tell us if we did a good job,' " Firth says. "They tore the film to pieces. They analyzed every single word." In addition to fact-checking the film, Amnesty suggested changes in the wording of Francome's narration to better represent its stance on the case and related issues such as the death penalty. The result, Firth proudly says, is the first film endorsed by Amnesty's secretariat.

In Prison opens with Amnesty's logo, which is followed immediately by the logo for Myspace, which helped finance the film. "Those two badges kind of reflect who the film is for," Evans says.
The question of the film's potential audience, Evans says, greatly influenced its form. Rather than evaluate every claim pro and con, In Prison is pitched at an introductory level.

"The bit of filmmaking I dislike the most is you have to say, 'Here's the film, now who's the audience?' " Evans says. "Is it for a very well-versed insider? Perhaps this isn't the film for them at the end of the day. I don't think the audience the film really appeals to are people who are necessarily politically clued in and have read a lot about their civil rights history. It's a series of inquiries and conversations by a 25-year-old, starting with a teenage obsession."

Crisscrossing the country, Francome pounds the streets looking for the truth of what happened on the night he was born. He talks to the authors of several books critical of Abu-Jamal's trial. He meets with photographer Pedro Polakoff, whose photos of the crime scene seem to show a police officer handling Faulkner's and Abu-Jamal's guns with his bare hands. And he interviews William Cook, Abu-Jamal's brother, who says that Faulkner addressed him with a racial slur and began beating him, unprovoked, in the moments before the shooting. Cook does not, however, discuss what happened next, and says he will do so only in a court of law.

Conspicuous by their absence are Faulkner's supporters, or any evidence that might weaken the movie's claims, like the fact that Cook was convicted of assaulting Faulkner. The sole argument in favor of Abu-Jamal's conviction is made by prosecutor Joseph McGill, who appears in excerpts from the 1996 documentary Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Case for Reasonable Doubt? (When citing the film, In Prison omits the question mark.) Francome says attempts were made to contact McGill, representatives from the Fraternal Order of Police, and, through the FOP, Faulkner's widow, Maureen, and no responses were received. But Evans also says that they pursued advocates for Abu-Jamal's incarceration and execution only "up to a point."
"We're making a film that starts from a particular point of view, with a particular interest," Evans says. "To me, the proper way to proceed is to invite people to the table, and respond when people come to the table. Not to go, 'The film I'm making is so responsible for the truth.' It's not a journalistic film in that sense."

The film contains a handful of factual errors which, while evidently below the radar of Amnesty's fact-checkers, could damage its credibility with Philadelphia audiences. City Council president Anna Verna is referred to as "Ann," and the neighborhood of Powelton Village is referred to as "a suburb of Philadelphia."

Evans knows that Abu-Jamal's case raises heated emotions in the city, and that the battle between "Free Mumia" and "Fry Mumia" factions leads many to tune out the case altogether. That, he says, only heightened his curiosity.

"For us, coming in from the outside, the fact that people are so fed up with hearing about it, the fact that it gets people so riled up, that in itself is interesting. The fact that this guy can raise so much hatred or so much empathy . . . I find that absolutely fascinating."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ruling Near On Abu-Jamal Jury

A U.S. court is weighing race and other issues in death sentence.

By Emilie Lounsberry

In the nearly 26 years since his conviction for the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner, the international tempest over Mumia Abu-Jamal has fixed primarily on this question: Did he do it, or was he framed by Philadelphia police?

Yet inside the chambers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Abu-Jamal's innocence or guilt is not the issue. Since May, three judges have been weighing whether to reinstate his death sentence, overturned in 2001. If they do, his last hope will be the U.S. Supreme Court, which hears fewer than 2 percent of all petitions filed each year.

The Third Circuit's decision, expected soon, will be based on knotty constitutional questions relating to the fairness of his 1982 trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and subsequent state appeals:

Were the jury instructions confusing?

Was the trial judge biased in a later hearing?

In addressing the jury, did the prosecutor downplay the likelihood of a capital sentence's ever being carried out?

And - a key contention in Abu-Jamal's appeals - were African Americans purposely excluded from the jury?

He was convicted by 10 white and two black jurors on July 2, 1982. They sentenced him to death the next day.

The subject of racial discrimination in jury selection dominated the spirited oral argument in May between Abu-Jamal's legal team and the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office before the Third Circuit panel.

Defense lawyers contended that, particularly through the mid-1980s, Philadelphia prosecutors routinely excluded black jurors, long viewed as less likely than whites to convict. Prosecutors countered that Joseph McGill, the assistant district attorney who tried the case, had no such bias.

A third black juror had been impaneled, but was replaced by a white juror after she left the hotel where the jury was sequestered. While discussing her, according to the trial transcript, McGill told Common Pleas Court Judge Albert Sabo, "I wanted to get as much black representation as I

could that I felt was in some way fair-minded."

Until 1986, proving racial discrimination in jury selection was almost impossible. But in Batson v. Kentucky, the U.S. Supreme Court said that if a defendant could show the likelihood that black jurors had been excluded for race, prosecutors could be questioned about their reasons. If the prosecution failed to offer race-neutral reasons, the remedy should be a new trial.

State and federal judges have awarded new trials on that basis to 10 convicted murderers from Philadelphia. Abu-Jamal is one of more than a dozen others hoping for the same outcome.
Death-row inmate Donald Hardcastle, for example, was awarded a new trial - three times - by state and federal courts. A panel of 11 white jurors and one African American had condemned him in 1982 on charges that he hacked to death a couple in their North Philadelphia home. His case is now before the Third Circuit, where the District Attorney's Office is continuing its opposition to relief for Hardcastle.

Batson "was an important decision symbolically as well as practically," said JoAnne Epps, a Temple University law professor and former assistant U.S. attorney. Prosecutors' "sensitivities are much more finely attuned these days."

The same year as the Batson ruling, Abu-Jamal's attorneys brought up discrimination in jury selection during an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The court, which already had upheld the conviction, rejected their claim.

In its argument to the Third Circuit, the District Attorney's Office said that Abu-Jamal should have challenged the jury selection at the time of his trial, and that because of the passage of time he was not entitled to even a hearing on the matter.

If the Third Circuit orders a hearing, it will be a victory for Abu-Jamal, possibly adding years to his appeals.

His future is in the hands of the chief judge of the federal appeals court, Anthony J. Scirica, appointed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan, Robert E. Cowen, also appointed in 1987 by

Reagan and Thomas L. Ambro, a 1999 Clinton appointee.

In previous murder cases from Philadelphia courts, each has voted to grant relief to defendants who argued that black jurors had been excluded because of race.

During his appeal, Abu-Jamal remains one of 228 inmates on Pennsylvania's death row, the nation's fourth-largest, behind California, Florida and Texas. The last person executed in the state was Gary Heidnik, a convicted murderer from Philadelphia who gave up his appeals and died by lethal injection in 1999.

A former radio journalist, Abu-Jamal was working as a cab driver in Center City early on Dec. 9, 1981. At his trial, the prosecution contended that Faulkner had just pulled over a car driven by Abu-Jamal's brother when Abu-Jamal ran toward them from a parking lot across the street and shot the officer. Faulkner, in turn, shot Abu-Jamal.

The defense said another man in the car had killed Faulkner and fled.

Since the trial, Abu-Jamal has generated one appeal after another in state and federal courts. He still has a petition pending in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, but in his three previous forays there, he lost.

The decision under review by the Third Circuit was made in 2001 by U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr., who upheld Abu-Jamal's conviction but overturned his death sentence. Although he rejected 28 of 29 defense arguments, Yohn said a new sentencing hearing was necessary because the jury might have mistakenly believed it had to agree unanimously on "mitigating" circumstances.

If the Third Circuit decides in Abu-Jamal's favor and does not reinstate his death sentence, he could get a chance to persuade a new jury to give him a life term, and perhaps a hearing on whether black jurors were intentionally excluded.

He also could be awarded a new trial, though most do not expect that. Any ruling in Abu-Jamal's favor would likely prompt the District Attorney's Office to ask the Supreme Court to intervene.
Whatever the judges' conclusion, the international network of Abu-Jamal supporters is planning to turn out en masse when it is announced, to celebrate or to protest. Rallies are slated for Philadelphia, New York and San Francisco for the day after the pivotal ruling.

Maureen Faulkner, the slain policeman's widow, said she, too, was feeling the anticipation. "Waiting for the phone to ring can be a very stressful thing," she said Friday.

"The fact that we're still waiting for a decision indicates that it's not an easy case," said former Third Circuit Judge John J. Gibbons, a lawyer in North Jersey who became an opponent of capital punishment after he left the court and worked to abolish the death penalty in New Jersey.

Former Third Circuit Judge Arlin M. Adams called eight months "a little on the long side" to wait for a ruling. But no doubt, he added, the judges are being cautious, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court could review whatever they do.

"This case has gotten a lot of attention - internationally and nationally," said Adams, a lawyer in Center City. "They want to get it right."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"In Prison My Whole Life" At Sundance

("Actorvist Robert Redford at Sundance Film Festival)

At first glance it is hard to understand why such an esteemed and revered institution like the Sundance Film Festival would play host a "documentary" dedicated to Mumia Abu-Jamal and the cult of personality that surrounds him.

Mumia was convicted or murdering a white Philadelphia Police Officer in 1982 by a racially mixed who subsequently would also sentence him to death. His appeals have largely failed, however his death sentence was overturned in 2001, which led to both sides to appeal the verdict. As I write this, the appeals process creeks on ever so slowly.

However, after a mere five minutes of research, I have found that it would be somewhat of a surprise if a pro-Jamal film was not featured at the most well-known film festival in the world

For the far left, Jamal is a hero whose political essays are disseminated the world over, for the majority of the people of Philadelphia, he is a vicious murderer whose supporters have been duped by a sophisticated campaign of misinformation that exploits race and the naivete of young people who are suffering under the misapprehension that their hero is innocent.

In December, the widow of the Police Officer Mumia killed, Maureen Faulkner, released a book "Murdered By Mumia", which chronicled her twenty five year ordeal. Her book tells, in excruciating detail, of her treatment at the hands of leftist activists, who quite literally spat upon her and sought to defame and abuse her at every turn.

So why would a film festival of any type offer such a one-sided, propaganda film, for a man whose guilt has been affirmed by a jury of his peers, as well as numerous appellate courts?
Sundance is the kind of place and event where people like George Soros and Paris Hilton can rub shoulders as days and nights of film screenings are interspersed with booze drenched parties, filled with celebrities, all levels of the film-making industry, and various hangers on,
mixing together in an atavistic orgy of sheer egoism.

In such a world, Mumia fits in just fine.

Like Leni Riefenstahl, those responsible for "In Prison My Whole Life", are forced to rely on a good sense of aesthetics in order to make up for the fact that there hero hides a very ugly past and a present full of deceit and contempt for the truth, and a simmering hatred of the victims of his crime.

It is rather easy to explain how such a film about a murderer from Philadelphia, is featured in a film put together by Colin Firth, a British movie star, to be shown at the most prestigious of film festivals in the mountains of Utah. It’s the politics.

Tempting as it might be to just relegate Sundance to being the jumping off point for all sorts of agit-prop films, it is more than that. Many fine films that would have never really been seen by anyone got their chance at Sundance. The same with a number of now world-famous directors
However, there is a plain-as-day political bias to many films presented at Sundance, especially the documentaries. It is a political climate fostered and maintained by "actorvist" Robert Redford, who founded the Sundance Institute in 1981 in an effort to aid independent films and their makers get their work out into the public arena. From the Institute came the Festival and from there came the Sundance Channel on cable.

From it’s humble origins, Sundance has evolved into a media spectacle where the rich and famous attendees, party and get their picture taken, and often outshine the films themselves.
And while reporters who cover this event have taken notice of the fact this years event isn’t as rife with political films as much as in the past, and while festival director Geoffrey Gilmore acknowledges that the 121 upcoming films being showcased are "not as political or social-issue-oriented as last year". The fact remains that there are a dozen political docs and narrative entries which could win major festival prizes and show up in theaters next year.

Sundance’s dramatic competition sees such films offered as "American Son," about a Marine on leave who returns home before being deployed for active duty; "Frozen River," about a woman drawn into the world of smuggling illegal immigrants; "Sunshine Cleaning," about a family becoming involved with biohazard removal; and "Sleep Dealer," set in a futuristic world of closed borders and virtual labor. Features gunning for awards in the documentary competition include "An American Soldier," exploring Army recruitment; "Fields of Fuel," in which Big Oil, Big Government and Big Soy meet in the form of a "veggie van" running on natural fuel; "I.O.U.S.A.," focusing on America’s fiscal health; "Nerakhoon" ("The Betrayal), the story of Laotian refugees; "Secrecy," about government cover-ups; and "Traces of the Trade: A Story From the Deep North," profiling America’s largest slave-trading family.

The clear left-leaning agendas of so many of the films featured at Sundance reflect an institutionalized agenda that represent the core values of it’s founder, Robert Redford. And as it is his right to hold whatever political opinion he chooses and show the films that he wants, others have that same freedom to criticize him and be aware of his agenda.

And while he is not officially in charge of the festival, it is clear that his political ideals are reflected in the choices of what films are to be shown. He wears his political convictions on his sleeves as he opened the film festival in 2007 by tearing into President Bush and the war. However, his politics are more pronounced than just than just an occasional jab at the President.

Robert Redford and another film-maker Michael Apted made a very political "documentary", "Incident at Oglala" back in 1991, . Redford produced and narrated the film. Apted has also directed a feature film, Thunderheart, inspired by the same "story". Both films center around Leonard Peltier, whom like Mumia is in prison for murder. In Peltier’s case, for the murder of two FBI Agents. Like Mumia, Peltier maintains his innocence with regards to the execution style murder of the two agents, but he did admit firing at the FBI agents who were found at the scene of the crime, having been ruthlessly executed at close range.

Peltier’s appeals have been rejected by courts on nearly every level and hope for a last minute appeal for clemency was turned down. This, after hundreds, if not thousands of citizens signed t petitions, marched, and waged a public relations campaign to demand that clemency be not granted for the man they believe participated in the brutal execution of two law enforcement officers.

Redford, who exerts a good deal of control over his cable channel has used it as a vehicle to further his agenda, for example by repeatedly airing a film very favorable to former attorney, and extreme left icon, Lynne Stewart. Stewart, as you may recall was convicted for her role in assisting the terrorists who led the first attack on the World Trade Center. Like Jamal and Peltier, both of whom she also supports, has become a near martyr for those who dislike the current president more than Osama Bin Laden.

Redford was also the producer of "The Motorcycle Diaries" a film about Ernesto "Che" Guevara. The National Review called the film "One of the most nauseating recent celebrations of Guevara and executive producer Robert Redford "one of the most dedicated Castro apologists in Hollywood, which is saying something. While the film showed a young Guevara toling around on a bike like a Central American Jack Kerouac, the fact that he would later turn into a savage executioner for the Cuban state would have been lost on viewers.

So in this context of the adoration and celebration of murderers, who commit their crimes in he name of politics it is no wonder why a pro-Jamal film has made it to the Sundance Film Festival. Especially considering that instead of legal experts or people who may know what they are talking about, the film features people like Snoop Dogg.

For a political ideologue like Robert Redford, "In Prison My Whole Life" has everything. Cool graphics, a story of a downtrodden minority who is being tormented hy the police, tales of the Black Panthers, a compelling story line, a hip-hop soundtrack, and than there is the man himself, Mumia, tall with long dread locks and a knack for writing. Powerfully articulate and exceptionally bright with his deep, but friendly sounding voice. The Mumia "brand" sells quite well.

It is unfortunate that people have been taken in by the Jamal, victimization racket and may come away from a deeply biased and therefore flawed film suffering from the delusion that the facts of the case point straight to Jamal as the shooter.

Hopefully, people can see past the hype and glow of the celebrities who make up the cast of this film and look beyond the propaganda of "In Prison My Whole Life". Hopefully they will realize that Mumia should be in prison for his whole life and that the profits are being derived from the death of a truly innocent man.

What is unfortunate for Robert Redford, Sundance, and those who made "In Prison My Whole Life", is the fact that Mumia may well be appealing to those taken in by the victimization racket of a cold-blooded killer. All of the clever lawyering and cinematic propaganda cannot alter the one overarching fact that Mumia shot a man to death, not while he was acting in the capacity as the "voice of the voiceless", but rather a taxi driver whose professional and personal life was in a tailspin as a result of his increasing devotion to the MOVE cult. He has never acknowledged his crime and has continued to help his revolving door of attorneys to spin conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory that are altered almost on a seasonal basis, or after the inevitable diminishing returns of a faux cause invariably set in.

It is also unfortunate that people continue to profit from the death of a Philadelphia Police Officer. What is also sad is that there are still those out there who are so cynical that they will ignore are all the facts, attempt to spin reality into something that fits their political agenda. That there are people, such as the ones are behind "In Prison My Whole Life" who can be so shamelessly oblivious to the pain they inflict on the Faulkner family and so many others who have come to identify with the Faulkners and what they have had to endure throughout the last quarter of a century.

Keep that in mind before you pay money to see "In Prison My Whole Life" or mistake an obvious homage to a murderer and his devotees for art.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Letter To The Parole Board Regarding The MOVE 9

(there is me on the top left, the female members of the "MOVE 9", and Gary Wonderlin on the right, who would marry Alberta Africa just a couple months after her ex, John Gilbride was murdered)
What follows is the letter I will be soon sending to the members of the Pennsylvania Parole Board concerning the eight surviving members of the "MOVE 9".

They are eligible for parole in August of this year and considering that other MOVE members have, on a number of occasions, been paroled.. This, despite the fact that they never admit their culpability in any of their criminal entities, despite the fact that MOVE is a known, violent, cult.

I cannot make it more clear how important it is that these so-called "political prisoners"need to remain behind bars. The reasons for which are partially listed in this following letter and one can find many more on this blog and my website.

If anyone at all wants more information about the "MOVE 9", please let me know via email at

Also, please take the time, if you haven’t already, to sign the petition to make clear that many people do not want any more MOVE members, especially convicted, murderous, of Police Officers out on the streets.

You can also call and send letters to the parole board expressing your concern to the following:

Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole
1101 South Front Street,
Suite 5100
Harrisburg, PA 17104-2517(717) 787-5699

Dear PA Parole Board Members,

My name is Tony Allen and I spent nearly a decade of my life working in support of the eight surviving members of the so-called "MOVE 9", who were convicted of amongst other things, the third degree murder of a Philadelphia Police Officer named James Ramp.

Delbert Orr, William Phillips, Janine Phillips, Edward Goodman, Charles Sims, Michael Davis, Debbie Sims and Janet Holloway all will be eligible for parole this August.

As one who once was a part of the MOVE cult and who idolized these criminals, who has since learned the truth about them and their crimes, I must respectfully request that these un-repentant murderers not be granted parole.

There are numerous reasons while I must emphatically oppose these prisoner’s release, the crimes for which they were convicted for just being one of many.

Given your status, I think it not necessary for me to delve into the facts of this case, as I am sure you have them readily available for you. My concerns reflect my former relationship with these prisoners and the impact upon society that they have had during their time in prison.
My understanding is that prison is as much for punishment as it is an attempt to reform the behavior and outlook of those sent to them. As someone who was not directly impacted by the actual crimes committed by the inmates in question, I do not know if it is fair for me to write to you regarding the justness of the sentence that was imposed upon them by Judge Malmed in 1981.

What I can attest to, with great certainty, is the "MOVE 9"’s actions on behalf of the cult to which the continue to maintain allegiance to and how their actions have helped to maintain and fuel the fire of what amounts to be a very destructive entity.

The history of MOVE is well documented as is their proclivity for spreading their message. While incarcerated, the murderers of Police Officer James Ramp have steadily worked to proliferate their gospel of hatred, while simultaneously working to recruit new adherents to their cult, both inside and outside of prison.

The imprisoned MOVE members have consistently been provided forums from which to spread their message. The MOVE Organization, for a number of years maintained a periodical titled "First Day". The prisoners in question were featured writers for this paper. It was a publication littered with exhortations for world-wide "revolution", the destruction of the established social order, and pleas for people to work along with the MOVE cult.

I personally first ran across MOVE and it’s now defunct publication back in 1996 when I was working to free another murderer who I believed at the time was innocent, whose name is Wesley Cook, but who is better known as Mumia Abu-Jamal. Jamal, is one of MOVE’s chief proponent and he has attempted to funnel support for himself for his imprisoned comrades. His case, as I am sure you know is one that is known world-wide. Like with the MOVE members, I eventually came to the conclusion that he too was imprisoned justly and deserves to be in jail.
The MOVE newspaper, "First Day", had the addresses of their members who were in jail and contended that they were in fact "political prisoners". It was the position of MOVE then and now that the MOVE members in jail were innocent of the charges of which they were convicted of. This is a position that the MOVE members in jail hold too as well. In none of their articles from "First Day", or in any of the correspondences I had started to amass between myself and the prisoners, did any of them admit to any wrong doing and continued to assert their innocence and that they were victims of a "conspiracy" by the "system" to silence them.

As I grew closer to the MOVE Organization I also grew close to the "MOVE 9". Evidence of which is in the hundreds of letters that I still have in my possession from the MOVE prisoners. I also frequently visited the prisons where they were incarcerated and on the outside I took their cause as my own and raised money and support on their behalf. What started out as a political position on my part was rapidly evolving into a devotion to a very dangerous cult.

The MOVE newspaper was not the only forum for the "MOVE 9" to spread their extremist vision. The group also maintained a website that featured their writings and numerous other sites have them listed as "political prisoners" and inaccurate information concerning their crime is spread throughout the world wide web. As support for MOVE supporter Mumia Abu-Jamal grew, so too did that for the "MOVE 9". People from around the world are convinced that these murderers are the victims and treat them accordingly with the myth of their innocence has been translated into numerous languages. As I write this there are people suffering under the false idea that they are working to free innocent people.

As demand for information about MOVE grew, I helped start a new periodical called "Network Magazine", that like "First Day" was dedicated to spreading information friendly to MOVE and especially it’s imprisoned members, the latter providing numerous articles for the magazine. In case you are interested I have several copies of both periodicals as well as the hundreds of letters I received from MOVE.

In addition to their public writings extolling the virtues of the cult of which they are a part of, they also continue to play a leadership role in the sect. The fact is that the imprisoned MOVE members constitute elders of the group as many of those in the group joined the sect did so after 1978 when these particular inmates were in jail.

This is important for a couple of reasons. The first of which has to do with indoctrinating new adherents into the sect. The second, which is in my view, is far more nefarious is their support of MOVE’s practice of child abuse, sexual, emotional, and spiritual.

For instance, most of the children of MOVE members do not attend school, nor were they home schooled according to state laws, at least this was the case from 1996-2004 when I was involved with the group. The children of the cult can barely read or write and know nothing outside of what the leaders of the cult want them to know. The intellectual curiosity that is the beauty of children is brutally stifled as the children are ruthlessly indoctrinated with the cult mind-set.

Worse than that is the sexual abuse of the female children of the sect. MOVE does not deny that girls as young as 11 or 12 years old are compelled to become impregnated by older MOVE members as a means of controlling them by sexual domination and busying their lives by forcing to endure the difficulties of a child having a child. Something which is bad enough in regular society and is even more so in a cult situation. It is a world where children have no say, where even the parents do not have the final say over the plight of their children. At the whim of MOVE’s leaders, these girls who are functionally illiterate and who abide in a state of enforced ignorance are "married" off to older MOVE members. For them, there is no hope of college or career or hope. It is a bleak existence that revolves around their ability to churn out children for the cult. The MOVE members in prison are all familiar and supportive of these practices.

If these MOVE members who are currently incarcerated are to be released, those who are most likely to suffer as a result are the most vulnerable, children whose parents have abdicated their responsibilities or have been harassed or are to fearful to asset themselves. If you allow these MOVE members to be released from prison, you are not only putting more killers on the streets of Philadelphia, but you are also damning more children of MOVE members to a life of depravation, abuse, and cruelty. I write this because as someone who was so long a part of MOVE, I suffer under no delusions as to how they operate. The more MOVE members there are on the streets, the more the children in the cult will suffer. I cannot be more emphatic about this point.

Another issue with regards to MOVE and it’s imprisoned members is the 2002 murder of a former MOVE adherent, John Gilbride. His murder remains un-solved, but there are plenty of things that we know for a fact that MOVE did to this man prior to his death. These are things I know about because I was with MOVE at the time they occurred.

John Gilbride was gunned down by unknown assailants after returning home from work and at the tail end of what could only be described as one of the most contentious custody disputes in recent history. John had been married to the leader of MOVE, Alberta Africa and they had one child together. When John decided to leave MOVE, he ended up having to leave his son and fight for the ability to see his child. The ensuing custody battle entailed MOVE boarding up it’s main property in Philadelphia, evoking images of the bloody events of May 13th 1985.

But MOVE did not merely take a "defensive" stand against John Gilbride. With the knowledge and blessing of imprisoned MOVE members, the cult waged a war against Mr. Gilbride in an attempt to drive him away from his legal attempts to be able to be a father for his child and extricate his little boy from the cult that he was shackled to.

MOVE members and supporters such as myself set upon a course of vicious and cruel tactics that were aimed at getting him fired from his job, defaming him as a child-abuser, a wife-beater, and an agent provocateur for the much maligned "system". Not only was John targeted for this abuse and slander, but so too were his parents. Their neighborhood was picketed and flyers were sent out with allegations that the Gilbride family had been involved with sexual abuse. Despite the adversity and the fact that he had a cult working to make his life miserable, after a number of years, his tenacity and bravery began to pay off.

A Judge granted Mr. Gilbride unsupervised visitation with his son. MOVE members had vowed that he would never see his son in this context and their were more public protest and the harassment of John was ramped up, again to no avail. The night before John Gilbride was to have an un-supervised visit with this son, which would have been his third attempt to do so, he was killed.

MOVE, of course denied any role in the murder and would eventually concoct a number of conspiracy theories about John’s murder, all of which obviously point away from the group having any responsibility for the crime. For me, this murder marked the end of my belief in MOVE, but in order to avoid a similar custody dispute over my own daughter whose mother was completely wrapped up in the sect I stayed and worked against the cult from the inside out.

Thankfully, we were all able to get out of MOVE, but not before we heard much more about John’s murder. In letters from the imprisoned MOVE members was a thinly disguised celebratory tone. A couple of quotations from letters that I received from jailed MOVE members make my point.

Debbie Sims wrote:

"The situation concerning our sister, Alberta and Zack is resolved. We want to thank any and all of you who helped in the situation with Alberta and Zack....Y'all are the greatest."

Charles Sims went even further with his candor regarding John's demise:

"Well, anyways it all worked out (the custody case). The folks out there really didn't believe the city would attack. Later I saw the psychology behind what happened & how it was handled. The city just couldn't afford to be aggressive becuz of May 13th and people were too aware of what was going on then? Do you understand what I am saying? It was really unlikely that things would turn out like they did. But, I was so relieved that things worked out. I don't need no more of my family killed, hurt, or imprisoned, as well as my friends and supporters."

The above statements reflect that kind of brutal mind-set that still is at the core of the currently imprisoned MOVE members. Those who do not acknowledge their crimes or their victims and who portray themselves as oppressed "freedom fighters" deserve neither mercy nor sympathy. They certainly do not need to be placed back on the streets of Philadelphia.

I fully support the idea of parole for those who have truly changed their lives, took responsibility for their actions, and who contribute to society something more than railing against the "system", while helping to perpetuate a system that abuses children and teaches hatred.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions and I also encourage you to visit my websites about MOVE at and

Finally, in an effort to allow people to have their voices heard with regard to this matter I have started a petition that calls for the members of the parole board to refuse to grant any of these eight murderers parole under any circumstance. So far, nearly 2,000 people have signed and we expect at least 10,000 by the end of July.

I do hope that you take all of the information I have provided you with and treat this matter with the seriousness that it so greatly deserves.

Thank you for your time,
Tony Allen

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Scientology, MOVE, And Making A Messiah

Scientology is arguably the most well-known cult in the world.

There are plenty of reasons for this, it’s success, controversial belief system, and perhaps most importantly, it’s stable of celebrity members.

If you study cults at all, you cannot avoid studying Scientology as it is all over the place in the world of cultic studies, much for the same reasons that it is so intriguing to the public at large.
Recently, in a new biography about Tom Cruise, a long-time Scientologist, is an allegation that his daughter conceived using the frozen baby making juice of Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard. The author himself shoots down the idea, but makes the point that it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility in the strange and creepy world of Scientology. But, it will no doubt garner a lot of publicity and will spark debate about Scientology, the kind that will likely end with the group being able to spin the whole thing for it’s own benefit.

It is Scientology’s success that is what makes the fact that they are building a church in Philadelphia much more newsworthy than say the fact that MOVE abuses children in the very same city, as evidenced by the slew of media coverage of the arrival of the alien obsessed, psychiatry loathing, Scientology.

Unlike groups like MOVE, Scientology does not demand asceticism and rather than eschewing the "system", seeks to impact it, and benefit the rewards of living in it. For the celebrities, it is a perfect fit as it "closely mirrors the world that they already inhabit: paranoid, litigious and tightly controlled by lawyers and publicists.

"The fact they believe in aliens, e-meters and all the rest is merely incidental." as one writer recently noted. Again, we have cults filling psychological voids, and it is a common thread that binds groups like MOVE and Scientology together.

And while the very likely false assertion that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes child is some kind of "Rosemary’s Baby", as the media is calling it, I know with certitude that MOVE’s leader did indeed use the best science money could buy to ensure she had a child, and a white child at that.

First, let me say, that my own personal beliefs tend towards not caring about how, when, and where somebody has a child. However, when your whole existence is predicated upon the aversion to the use of scientific means and methods and you lead a group ostensibly dedicated to destroying such things, you are obliged to call a hypocrite a hypocrite and a liar a liar.

Alberta Africa and her MOVE cronies vehemently deny that she had a child as Ramona Africa did to a City Paper reporter some years back during the confrontation with John Gilbride, the boy’s father, before his death.

MOVE’s denials are clearly self-serving as it wouldn’t do well for them to have to explain why they used science to ensure the birth of a child, and to ensure the race of the child was white to boot. It is not something MOVE can afford to cop too, even if there is a mountain of evidence that the child was conceived via in-vitro fertilization, even if the boy’s skin is paler than mine is.

But why go through all of that and risk so much and pay so much money? Why did Alberta go through all that she did to make sure she had a very specific kind of child?

In my years around MOVE, the story and rationale for the exercise in eugenics became clear as the truth about the situation leaked out.

According to Alberta, it would be whites that lead "John Africa’s Revolution" into the 21st century. Her child would be white in order to identify with others of the same "race". Unlike other children born into MOVE, he would be given a solid education and be raised in a why that would be largely foreign to the black children in MOVE, who are kept illiterate and in a state of enforced ignorance.

One former MOVE supporter re-counted to me the story of a conversation with white MOVE member Sue Africa, who also stands as second in command of the cult, when she pointed out a window where some of the African-American, children of MOVE members, and asked "do you think they could run this Organization"? She clearly meant that they were intended to be the work-horses of the cult, while those of the group who looked more like her were being groomed to run things. If that is not racism I don’t know what is.

MOVE is on a mission. They are grooming the son of John Gilbride to go off to Europe and college campuses in America to secure the cult’s future. He is their own home-grown Messiah figure and his father was clearly expendable with regards to the plan and disposed of when his efforts to obtain freedom for his son got in the way of the cult’s grand scheme.

John Gilbride was killed not just for offending the sensibilities of MOVE’s leader, but for putting into jeopardy the plan for the future of the cult. That much I have no doubt of.

The question that always persists with regards to MOVE is just who will step up and speak out and who will do the reportage necessary to expose MOVE’s abuse of children, it’s plan for the child of the murdered John Gilbride, and an honest investigation into his death.

I fully realize that in this celebrity obsessed culture that the plight of a few children in a city plagued with problems is hardly will not soon, or maybe never will, amount to much of anything. But for the sake of those kids that I knew and for the ones that have come since my departure, I will continue to agitate and persist in my efforts.

For John and for those kids, this blog continues to be necessary.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Regarding "In Prison My Whole Life"

I just wanted to thank everyone for the kind comments, calls, and emails expressing concern for my family's situation. It is ongoing and will be for a long time, but the support of people who appreciate what I do is heartwarming

(editor's note: Readers of this blog will notice a distinct shift this year from the way things were last year.

To put it bluntly, I spent too much time writing about Mumia and the circus that surrounds him and in doing so I think I got distracted from pursuing the more important goal of chronicling the past and present crimes of MOVE.

Also, with the arrival of Maureen Faulkner’s book, I think just about all that needs to be said has been said about this case.

There will always be those who want to find a hero in Mumia, just like people want to find their heroes in other murderers and tyrants and despots. I have never deluded myself into thinking otherwise, but the lies of Jamal’s groupies have been laid bare, examined, and debunked.

Moreover, there are people who are far better equipped to write about Jamal’s case than me and I hope to continue to provide this site as a forum for them to do so, but my time writing about Mumia is going to be severly cut back. For whatever you think about Mumia, I think it is pretty safe to say that he isn’t going anywhere and fewer people every year fall for the scam that calls itself a "movement" to "free" him.

The murderer of Daniel Faulkner sits where he belongs. Those who killed and who are responsible for the murder of John Gilbride walk free. This is something that is not acceptable. Nor is the continued abuse of the children in the hands of MOVE members and supporters.

So, what I have are some articles I have previously written that I will post as I continue to deal with family and personal issues. Some deal with Mumia and some with MOVE, but as time goes on the new articles will reflect the new vision of what this is about.)

Regarding "In Prison My Whole Life

Some months ago I requested to interview William Francome, who was the "star" of the pro-Mumia documentary, "In Prison My Whole Life" that was recently featured at Sundance Film Festival. He first turned me down claiming that "producers" would not allow him to do interviews. Than, I saw an interview he did with a pro-Mumia "journalist" and contacted him again.

He agreed to do an interview via email. Somewhat skeptical, before I spent the time on writing up the questions I asked him if he was certain he would answer at least some of the questions. He wrote that he would and I sent off the questions a while later. Time went by and no response from Francome. Finally, I wrote him to ask what was going on and he said that he did not have "time" to respond to my questions.

So, in the spirit of fairness, I am making the questions public and invite anyone from the "Free Mumia" side or who anyone involved with the film to take a crack at answering the questions. Let us see what happens.

Here is what I sent Francome

Having not actually seen the film I am interviewing you about puts me at a distinct disadvantage.

So, that being the case, my questions will be based solely what I have read about the film and saw in the preview of the film. I will try to be concise, and if you feel something needs to be mentioned that I don’t ask about, please feel free to include it.

1. There have been literally a dozen or so films and books dedicated to chronicling Mumia’s life and his case. With perhaps one or two exceptions these films are one-sided hagiographies that are lacking in facts. Why, with some 3,500 people on death row in the United States, all with a story to tell would you choose Jamal as the subject for yet another film?

2. The Faulkner family, and those who believe that Mumia is guilty are consisently denounced as bigots as members of "fry Mumia" type of modern day lynch mob. As someone who is against the death penalty and who has misgivings about the justice system, I feel the stereotype of those who support the Faulkner family is offensive and disingenuous. In your film, how are opponents of Jamal regarded and who in your film speaks on behalf of the victim in this case (and I don’t mean Mumia)?

3. Arguably, there are numerous legal scholars have looked at this case and have come to a wide array of conclusions. Are these people represented in your film? And why do celebrities seemingly play such a large roll in the film?

4. In the article about the film in which you were interviewed, the preface of the piece mentions that the crime scene photos of Pedro Polakoff play a prominent role in the film. Are you aware that his recounting of events does not corroborate either the defense nor the prosecution’s take on the film. Through my own research, I have discovered that the pictures don’t really offer anything new with regards to the case, certainly nothing that can offer the defense excalputory evidence. What do you find so compelling with the photos? And have you read the trial transcripts in their entirety?

5. You obviously spent some time interviewing MOVE members. I spent nearly a decade supporting the group. I argue that amongst other things, the sect abuses children in so many different ways, amongst many other comtemptible things. that I have been writing about on my website for the last couple of years. After spending time with them, I am interested to know your view of the group and what kind of influence you think the the sect had on Mumia.

6. It has been said that Mumia was a high-profile critic of the Philadelphia Police Department, who was known and "hated" by the PPD. There is also footage of the post 1978 press conference in which it is claimed by Jamal supporters that he was singled out by Mayor Rizzo for his coverage of police brutality. First of all, do you really think that arriving officers knew who Mumia was? Secondly, the incident with Rizzo is one of many mis-represented by Mumia supporters as the Mayor was yelling at reporters for the Philadelphia Inquirer, whose reporters had been dogging the Mayor about police brutality since before he was even the Mayor. What do you make of the numerous, and demonstrably false bits of information spread by Jamal supporters? Secondly, how do you reconcile Jamal’s revolving door of attorneys, and the ever-changing set of "facts" about the case as presented by his ardent supporters?

7. Based upon my many years of studying this case it seems to me to boil down to two separate and distinct discussions concerning Officer Faulkner’s death and Jamal’s punishment. The first of which has to do with the "fairness" of the trial. That is something that I think is not above discussion, although I certainly have my opinion on it and it is one that was shared by the jurors. The second arguement has to do wtih who was the actual murderer of Officer Faulkner. To date, the defense has never offered a viable scenario of the events of that night that would come close to exonerating Mumia. The alleged "hitman" scenario won’t even be discussed by Jamal’s current attorney as it is so patently outrageous. In your film I am sure you cover the issue of "fairness" in the trial. But what of the actual crime itself? Who do you think shot Officer Faulkner?

8. As someone who has had the chance to interview so many people involved with the pro-Mumia cause, has anyone offered to explain how Jamal is "actually innocent" of the crime that he has been convicted of? During your interview with Jamal, did you ask him about the shooting or to even explain how his gun came out of it’s holster and was found laying next to him, with all of the rounds fired?

9. Do you believe that there was an onging "conspiracy" to frame Mumia that culminated in the events on December 9, 1981 or do you believe that, like in the O.J. Simpson case, that the police, confident that they had the killer, but not so confident in their case against him, manufactured evidence in order to support their case?

Monday, January 07, 2008

2007 Anti-MOVE Blog Report

(Pic of MOVE's everyday victims)

I contemplated doing a report on the state of the Mumia movement, but at this point I am thinking there isn’t much a point.

Everyone is waiting on the ruling by the 3rd Circuit Appellate Court that will decide whether Jamal will

Be granted a new jury trial; or be granted a hearing before a Judge on his 1995 petition for a new trial; or be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole: or be sentenced to death; be given a new penalty trial before a jury.

Nobody knows when the three court panel will rule, however it statistics and precedent are any indicator of what will happen, Jamal will remain in prison and will never face the death sentence given to him by his jury over a quarter century ago. The best case for Jamal would be a "new trial, but given the absence of exculpatory evidence in this appeal, this is a virtual impossibility.
The other major "development", (if you can call it that) with regards to Mumia are the not-so-new, crime scene photographs, taken by Pedro Polakoff. If ever there was something that produced more light than heat in the whole Jamal debacle, it is these photos and the spin given to them by Jamal supporters.

In my view, as long time watcher of this trial, this "development" rates about 9 steps below the whole Arnold Beverly debacle in terms of meaning within a courtroom. And I have explained why on previous occasions.

What is a little more complicated and more worthy of explanation is what has and has not occurred with MOVE over the past year.

In a brief summary, I will say that MOVE’s external activities have continued to decline, and to the extent that they do continue, they do so in the context of the Mumia movement, of which MOVE members continue to play a role, although it is a role that also continues to diminish.
However, while MOVE’s external and apparent actions have decreased, there is evidence that the group has continued it’s internal activities un-abated. All existing evidence points to the fact that the intellectual and physical abuse of children within MOVE continues, as does the group’s general authoritarian regimen of psychological manipulation and the desire to exert complete control over the lives of adherents.

While the group’s public visibility is something to be celebrated, the fact that the cult remains fundamentally intact and still is able to retain their current crop of supporters, while public institutions continue to ignore the obvious and ongoing criminality of the cult is an on-going issue that must be continually confronted in the up-coming year.

Another goal that is essential to any efforts with regard to MOVE have to do with allowing the public to voice their view that the remaining 8 members of the "MOVE 9" remain in jail as they come up upon the thirty year mark on their thirty to one hundred year sentence for the murder of Police Officer James Ramp and the attempted murder of several other police officers and firefighters. Although, it seems beyond the scope of reality that these murderers be released, one MOVE member who was tried separately has already been returned to the streets, completed parole, and now participates in the cult’s culture of lawlessness with no apparent fear of authorities. While MOVE may attempt to use the efforts of this website and those who support it’s efforts in their propaganda campaign with regards to the "MOVE 9", I maintain the view that it is essential that these MOVE members remain in jail. This despite evidence that MOVE leaders may derive some benefit from the MOVE members continued incarceration. Efforts to keep the "MOVE 9" in prison are on-going and at the very least, I am confident that this website and those who support it will have their voices heard and that all that can be done will have been done.

Ultimately, the choice rests with the parole board. In the coming months, we expect to be in closer contact and focus efforts upon this issue as well as that of the un-solved murder of John Gilbride.

Unfortunately, there is little I can say about this situation other than there is progress on a number of fronts, however the obvious and nagging fact remains that those responsible for John’s death remain "free". A key focus of the work on this site will remain dedicated to John, his life, his death, and the telling of his story. Over the next several months more articles will be coming out about his case and it remains my belief that MOVE is responsible for his death and those individuals who were directly involved and those who aided in the cover-up will be brought to justice.


Since last December when I started keeping count, this website has received nearly 33,000 "hits". The MOVE Organization website which I started receives roughly 1,400 hits a month. I realize in the world of websites, these numbers are tiny, but considering these are sites that people are going out of their way to find and deal with a rather esoteric subject, I find these numbers respectable. Especially considering that pro-Mumia and the few pro-MOVE websites there are do not mention these sites and where comments are allowed, any mention of these sites are removed. In previous years, articles taken from this site were allowed to be posted on various Independent Media Center Websites with mixed results. However, thanks to the censorious nature of Mumia and MOVE supporters, practically the only site which allows articles from this site to be re-posted is interestingly enough, the Philly IMC. A fact that become all that much more important considering Jamal supporters like Hans Bennett have effectively co-opted the Philly IMC and other IMC sites for pro-Mumia propaganda.

January 2007

-I was able to review the "MOVE Film", by Cohort Media. The films producers had previously refused me access to the film and it was only through back-channels that I was able to obtain a copy. Prior to this, the film had a website which had a message board that was shut down after I posted anti-MOVE comments and eventually the whole site was shut down. It can now be viewed online and has been criticized by a the makers of an earlier pro-MOVE film who complained that "MOVE Film" borrowed very heavily from the original film. A criticism that I concur with. It is a decidedly pro-MOVE film, that casts the cult as victims...well you know the rest. What was interesting to me with regards to the film was the fact that as the film was in production, the campaign against John Gilbride was fully underway. Something not mentioned in the film.

Also, in January, I further explained why I thought it important for me to get out of MOVE in a very political context.

I wrote that:

"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."

What of freedom?

February 2007

-We were very busy as the petition to keep any street in NYC from being named after Mumia. It was demonstrated that it was the most fanatical elements in the Mumia cause that were behind the effort to name a Harlem street for Mumia and even pro-Mumia people were writing me expressing their disdain for the idea. A few hundred signatures led to a few thousand, which led to 25,000 in over a month. A spokesperson from the NYC City Council, in acknowledgment of the public pressure, makes it clear that no street will be named in that city any time soon.

March 2007

-The Anti-MOVE blog reports Pam Africa’s online panhandling. The head of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia, who oversaw the raising of hundreds of thousands of dollars, only some of which was reported to have made it’s way to Jamal’s lawyers, is begging for money to go to Europe. In previous years, numerous media reports has pointed out ICFFMAJ’s many shady fund-raising activities, to the point that the Organization essentially only exists in a symbolic form.

-In March, I again raise the issue of child abuse within MOVE. To date, these issues have never been substantively responded to and to my knowledge the abuse continues

"As I have reported before, girls as young as 11 years old are forced into sexual relationships with the goal of conceiving more "MOVE children". These girls are not educated in any real sense and are essentially valued only as incubators for new cult members. They are stripped of any sense of dignity, self-worth, intellect, essentially their most fundamental human rights. And all for what? This crime, which is not one that is hidden or denied is carried out under the auspices of "freedom of religion". When exactly the forced rape of little girls became a tolerated religious practice is unknown to me. But what equals this crime in it’s horror is the non-response to it by Philadelphia authorities. The District Attorney’s Office know what is going on and do nothing. The city’s Health and Human Services Department know and do nothing.The Police know about this and do nothing.Moreover, the media, including the so-called "Independent media" knows about this and refuse to write about it. I have lost track of all of the people in the media and in places of influence in Philadelphia regarding this matter and none of them will speak out publicly about it, not to speak of actually take any action to stop it.

-After 18 years, the 24/7 police presence on Osage Avenue ends. After the MOVE inspired conflict, city authorities were no nervous about the cult, that they felt a need to guard the property so that MOVE does not decide to re-take the property and commit some other kind of violent act.

April 2007

-Both Michael Smerconish and than FOP President have kind words for your humble author in an article printed in the Philadelphia Inquirer about my continued blogging about MOVE and Mumia

-The Anti-MOVE Blog reports on how, at Mumia’s birthday party, Ramona Africa again affirms MOVE’s position that in true cult fashion, it is not willing to "compromise". I wrote than that:

"When I hear one of the architects of the destruction of Osage Avenue opine that "compromise don't benefit nobody" I can only think of how that way of thinking most certainly led to the destruction of life in 1978, again in 1985, and I believe also in John (Gilbride’s) case in 2002.It is a fact that MOVE did not "compromise" when it came to the fatal custody dispute. MOVE vowed that John would never have a unsupervised visitation with his son and he didn't. The very night before he was to have the first of his court ordered visitation with his son he was brutally gunned down, by parties still "unknown".I can imagine the relief that John may have felt as he drove home that night from his job at the airport, full of hope that he may finally, after so many years of struggle and hardship be able to have the contact with his son that so many of us who are parents take for granted. I try to think of the anticipation and no doubt apprehension as he knew full well the threats that had been leveled against him by MOVE. He knew full well that his ex-wife, MOVE's leader had told anyone who would listen that he would never be with his son."

-I remind people again of the murder, as of yet un-solved, of John Gilbride. Sickened by MOVE’s attempt to make people forget, I wrote again about the absurd theories the cult spun after his death.

"Strip MOVE’s revisionist retelling of history bare and one finds a naked and indefensible parade of lies. Unshrowd it’s ideology and one observes a contemptible and confusing orthodoxy that instead of celebrating human life, cheapens it. Confront MOVE’s leaders and you will find yourself at the receiving end of crudely constructed, but no less believable, threats of violence. Demand that MOVE acknowledge your right to be a parent to your son, like John Gilbride did and you will find out that those threats were not empty words."

-Concerning the possibility of impending parole for the "MOVE 9", I had to wonder, given members of the cult’s statements, if they even wanted the surviving eight members out of jail.
To put it simply, they are worth more to MOVE in prison than out of prison."While in jail, the "MOVE 9", while not as alluring or financially attractive as Mumia, contribute to the mythology of the sect as one that is perpetually persecuted. The cause of attaining freedom for these MOVE members provides a convenient conduit of energy that is both pointless and fulfilling.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.For MOVE, this control is the goal and achievement which trumps all others. After all, with thirty years in prison the "MOVE 9" has stayed loyal to the cause, why ruin a good thing?"

-I come across the myspace website of a current MOVE supporter who actually had posted pictures from one of the MOVE "child-bride" wedding. This caused me again to raise the issue of child abuse within the sect and in typical MOVE fashion, the supporter, instead of defending the practice, took down the photos.

I wrote the following:

"What is particularly sad about this is that it is by no means an isolated incident in MOVE. This is pretty much par-for-the-course for any girls who are raised by MOVE members. But you don’t just have to take my word for it. Last year Ramona Africa, in an email she never has denied sending, had this to say about what I consider to be MOVE’s practice of child-rape." Women in MOVE do marry and have babies at what this american society might now consider to be a young age but we follow the coordination of Mother Nature who coordinates it such that she determines when a woman is ready for marriage and babies, which is when a woman has her monthly period, then she is ready to have babies and be married. It's just that simple."If there was ever more a self-incriminating statement of child abuse I have not seen it.

May 2007

-What would the month of May be without a MOVE pity party honoring their "martyrs"? I wrote on the matter that:

"The ostensible goal of John Africa’s assault on the "system" was to gain the freedom of the "MOVE 9". Thankfully, they are still comfortable guests of the Pennsylvania DOC, where if there is any justice they will reside until their deaths. So one can argue that the lives of the children on Osage Avenue were wasted on a hopeless, pointless, and indefensible cause.This fact speaks volumes to the nihilism of MOVE itself, the reality being that it’s very existence currently revolves around a kind of self-preservation and aggrandizement that is purposeless and impotent with regards to the problems that currently face our world.For if MOVE ever had anything to offer, we would have gotten something from it by know. But while they have preached peace, they have wrought violence, while they claim reverence for life, their history is written in the blood of innocents, they claim a monopoly on truth, yet upon close examination one un-covers a group that is built upon one lie after another. The myth of MOVE’s innocence on Osage Avenue just being one of many."

-Post Cult Life

In May, I also wrote about the difficult realities of post-cult life. Never would I want it said that leaving any such group was a walk in the park, but it is worth it, no matter the adversity. If not for your freedom, for the freedom and sanity of those around you. Unfortunately, there are those who bounce from one cult to another, unaware or un-concerned with the damage that is left in the wake of their "spiritual search".

"I have seen a variety of post-MOVE lives lived. Some bounce right into another cult with the enthusiasm of a deranged fool, while still others in rejection of MOVE’s "ethics" take the counter life-style to excess and meander close to the self-destruction that led them to MOVE in the first place.

But at the end of the day, difficulties aside, most people end up on the proper course of action"

June 2007

-Protest Ramona

I wrote about one of the few domestic appearances by Ramona Africa this year. She spoke at a Quaker "Friends" Meeting Place in Harrisburg, despite protests that this proponent of cop-killing and child-abuse need not be provided a pulpit to preach her hate. All of ten people heard her standard MOVE as victim speech and were the dumber for it.

-MOVE Child Abuse

Again, I raised the issue of MOVE child abuse and re-counted the years of missed opportunities by people in authority to do something about the matter. It has not only been the police and city institutions who have dropped the ball, but the multitude of media types who have been around MOVE throughout the years and not asked the questions in need of asking.

-MOVE Goes To England

Ramona Africa and MOVE supporter were set to go to the UK, and that being the case, I intended the Anti-MOVE blog to follow them, at least in print anyways.
Again, in typical MOVE fashion, supporters of a group that claims the necessity of absolute free speech, banned me from writing on the "open news wire" of the British Independent Media Centers. Still, some curious Brits searched me out for more info about MOVE and some people were able to learn the truth about the group.

Organizers of Ramona’s tour complained of a lack of a media response to her arrival. I just have to wonder what somebody like Ramona is doing getting a passport to go off and peddle anti-Americanism in another country. This very fact negates much of her own propaganda.

July 2007

-Keep MOVE In Jail Petition

In an effort to allow people to have their voices heard, I started a petition urging the parole board to not grant the eight surviving members of the "MOVE 9" parole in 2008. As of this writing, some 1900 people have signed on. We are hoping to get 10,000 by the summer of 2008

-MOVE’s Pollution Parade

I received note that the celebration of the murder of Police Officer James Ramp would be a car-ride through Philadelphia. The irony of the "back to nature" cult, so supposedly dedicated to health and fitness driving around Philadelphia in protest was way to much for me not to take note of it. Later on, Ramona Africa would offer a limp-wristed explanation as to the "pollution parade", but the event would go on as planned.

-Audio of Ramona’s UK Tour

I had the "benefit" of hearing excerpts from Ramona Africa and MOVE supporter, Fred Reiley and reflected upon the fact that to succeed in MOVE is to abandon your critical, ironic, and intellectual faculties.

I wrote at the time that:

"But if you stick around long enough and you open your eyes you find that the "love" given to you by your MOVE family is dependant upon your laying prostrate at the feet of the group’s leaders.It is hard to tell if Fred realizes that fact yet. One thing you learn in MOVE is to be a good actor. To the outside world you are expected to mouth the lies of those around you with a smile and re-count the multitude of ways that MOVE has enriched your life. But what goes on inside the member of an authoritarian sect is often quite different from the false edifice that is projected on the outside.

August 2007

-Mumia makes my point

When the controversy of the now convicted animal abuser Michael Vick was at it’s height, Jamal referenced MOVE’s past in his comment on the subject. He noted that MOVE members would challenge dog fighters to physical confrontations as evidence of the group’s benevolence. Somehow the convicted murderer failed to realize that what he was waxing nostalgic about was something that would spread violence, not stop it. But what can one expect from a man who shot another man in the back?

Mumia wrote about Frank Africa, who was one of the highest ranking members in the group when he died alongside his leader and Uncle, John Africa in May of 1985. I wrote about Frank’s violent history within MOVE.

Ever the respecter of life, Frank "allegedly" beat his own mother. "She reportedly told authorities that during one of MOVE’s corrective "meetings" that John Africa had her own son beat her to the point that she vomited and than he covered her face with a pillow. According to Louise, Frank asked John Africa if he wanted his mother "cycled" (MOVE-speak for killed). "No, not now," was the response. In yet another violent incident with his mother, Frank was seen chasing his mom down the street with a hatchet."

-Report Back From "MOVE’s Pollution Parade"

One of NYC’s MOVE supporters wrote a borderline insane report from the MOVE demonstration on behalf of the "MOVE 9". He wrote that "Having now spent 29 years in prison, despite being innocent, the MOVE 9 will be eligible for parole on August 8, 2008 when their minimum sentence will be met." Syntax aside, this statement has some immediate and self-evident flaws.

I would later find out that during the "motherfucker motorcade", cult members even got "lost" at one point and ended up driving up and down alleyways hollering at empty buildings and bewildered pedestrians.

-A "Kinder Gentler MOVE"

I am not sure what prompted me to write it, but a recurring theme with regards to covering MOVE is the idea that the group has somehow "mellowed" over the years. There is some truth to that. They have gotten rounder, older, lazier, more manipulative and appearance conscious, but the essentially violent and authoritarian core still remains.

Regarding the "MOVE 9" I wrote that:

It is MOVE members in prison now who still hold true to their death drenched ideology and who refuse to take any responsibility for their actions back in 1978.

During my time in the cult I got to know the "MOVE 9" fairly well and will readily attest to the fact that they have no sympathy for the death of James Ramp. They simply don’t care that their actions ended the life of another human being and wrecked the careers of a number of others. Accountability is just not something that is on the radar screen of anyone in MOVE. And these are the people who were are supposed to want out on the streets?

-All Apologies

I felt it time to offer an apology, that I think speaks for itself.

"I am apologizing to the victims of MOVE, both past and present. I am apologizing to the family members of the people I helped recruit into the cult. I am also apologizing to my own family for my emotional abandonment while I was immersed in the fools paradise that is known as the MOVE Organization. I could not be more sorry.

So, I go forward and attempt to thoughtfully take on the myths that MOVE exists off of. Sometimes I am successful and other times I do not do as well as I think I should.
I suffer under no illusions that I can about-face people’s way of thinking. I knew when I started this that there would be a segment of the populace who are to involved and invested into MOVE or a similar extremist ideology to hear what I have to say or write."

-The Return of "Mario Africa"

The man named Mario, depending on the circumstance is a MOVE member. That is him speaking not me. I continue to try and monitor his actions because I believe he played a role in the death of John Gilbride, a fact that I don’t mind sharing. I also know that he frequently cashes in on his MOVE and Mumia activism when the time arises and shelves it when it doesn’t. For me, he personifies cynicism and proves that leaving MOVE does not mean leaving a vicious way of thinking.

I wrote about Mario and laid bare my feelings about the man in the following post:

"Now, it has been reported that MOVE members have not cooperated with the investigation of John’s murder and that certainly includes "Mario Africa". That he has yet to come clean with what he knows about John’s death, coupled with the fact that he has left the fate of his two innocent children to a cult that he knows is going to, at the very least, deprive them of any semblance of an education, convinces me that he is a man with no sense of self, true compassion for others, or any semblance of a conscience.

But than again, he is a busy man. There are hip-hop records to be reviewed, political rallies to attend, t-shirts to sell, poetry dedicated to his new girlfriend to be written, weed to be smoked, and a massive ego to be stroked.

How could anyone expect a man like this to have time to save his children or do his part to solve a murder? There are, after all, priorities."

September 2007

-Five years ago today, John Gilbride’s body was torn apart by bullets.

He did not live through that barrage of gunfire, aimed at him by parties still "unknown" to the police, who likely stalked him and waited for him to arrive home so that they could murder him in cold blood.

John was killed for the "crime" of wanting to be a father to his little boy. He was killed for his un-willingness to bow to the wishes of the death-cult of which he was formerly a part of.But, what did not die that evening was his spirit and dedication to his son. His struggle for justice
Nor did his courage in the face of evil.

Here was a man who had taken everything that MOVE and it’s misguided supporters, myself included, could throw at him and he could stand tall. He had endured threats that he had to know deep in his heart were not hollow rhetoric. He had been able to break through the psychological manipulation and terror inflicted upon him while he was in MOVE that only worsened as he left the cult and began the painfully slow process of working through the bureaucracy of the court system to be able to see his only child.

October 2007

-MOVE was listed in this years list of groups that committed "mass suicide". Apparently, subsequent issues of the book will remove MOVE from it’s listing. I wrote that this had much more to do with the cult’s internal cohesion than anything else. My point than is as it was than 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.

- I sought out the head of Philadelphia’s Civil Affairs to explain his comments about the murder of John Gilbride. He has yet to explain himself to me or anyone else.

The question was begging to be asked

Why was a high-ranking member of the Philadelphia Police Department commenting on a killing that was not in his jurisdiction, to the media, thereby spreading innuendo, about a murder investigation that was in it’s infancy?

Captain Fisher gave an "official" voice to MOVE’s conspiracy theories about John’s murder, something that I believe was if anything, self-serving for Fisher, and a hindrance to the investigation into John’s death.

November 2007

-I wrote about MOVE supporter Kevin Price and his recruitment into the cult and my role in that whole process.

It is a known fact that cults, especially authoritarian ones, feed off of youthful naivete and the willingness of the young to subordinate their sense of self in order to please figures of authority at any cost. It is also a characteristic of such groups as MOVE to have no shame in their recruitment of young people as they encourage them to "drop out" of the "system" and abandon hopes for college and the relative uncertainty that plagues young people and replace it with an immediate sense of belonging, of family, and direction. And while time may reveal this kind of Faustian bargain for what it is, in the meantime the devotee gets more and more ensnared into the cult.

-MOVE and the Westboro Baptist Church have plenty in common. They both peddle in hate and have no problem with targeting individuals for vicious personal attacks.

A recent lawsuit against the latter set a new precedent in combating such groups, one that I hope eventually catches up with MOVE.

A federal jury found that the Church and three of its main members had in fact invaded a dead soldier’s family and had indeed inflicted emotional distress. The jury ruled that the cult must pay the family over 10 million dollars, which if the verdict sticks, should mean the end of the cult.

This, after Westboro Baptist Church members "protested" the funeral of a deceased American soldier.

December 2007

-The release of Maureen Faulkner’s book "Murdered By Mumia" was not just a blow against the cult of Jamal, but also MOVE.

As a devotee of MOVE’s founder, he, by definition, holds fast to a set of beliefs that run quite counter to his "progressive" writings and the persona that he and his enablers market. While he mouths the words of women’s rights, choice, gay rights, and solidarity, he is an adherent of an ideology that runs counter to each of those core values of modern radicalism.
Were he to put aside his pragmatism and well honed persona and honestly stand for the things that MOVE stands for, many of those who idolize him would be appalled.

-I am back in Philly.

In an effort to support what would become a NYT Bestseller, I am off to Philly to be on the Michael Smerconish show as well as to attend the "official" release of the book.
A flood of emotions as I am back in Philly. The highlight was undoubtably meeting up with Maureen Faulkner.

-James Ramp is remembered.

He died while attempting to aid a fellow officer who MOVE members had gunned down just moments earlier. That he is a hero, a member of the "greatest generation", is of no doubt. That those who stole his life deserve neither mercy nor support is also doubtless.James Ramp was killed by people who have never once acknowledged the crime to which they have committed, never apologized to the family they left devastated, never once told the truth about the situation. And to add insult to injury, they defile his memory by claiming that the bullet that ended his life was one fired from a fellow officer.

MOVE is an entity to be fought against on all levels. To that end we go onward into 2008.

Onward to 2008

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Violence Reaches Everyone

I write often about the subject of violence and it's effects upon people.

This week, criminal violence, cruel, pointless, and vile struck my own family.

Having "covered" this issue with regards to other people for so long does not armor me against my own humanity and emotions.

Consequently, I cannot effectively write this blog at this moment, but I will return with even more determination in due time.

Towards Justice,

Hit Counter
Online Schools