(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.
-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?
-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.
-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.
-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.
-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"
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.
-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.
-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?
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."
-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.
-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.
-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.
-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