Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Convicted Cop-Killer's Attorney Tried To Blame MOVE

(The subject of this story was just re-convicted for the murder of a Philadelphia Police Officer. Earlier this month, this article ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer. For the record, and for a host of reasons, I do not believe that anyone in MOVE played a role in the death of this Police Officer.

What I do believe, and what the courts have now apparently affirmed, is that Santiago's legal team took the timing of his crime and attempted to attach it to MOVE. Thankfully, the jury did not fall for this attempted con-job and went with the evidence. That is not to say that MOVE members sit un-punished for killings, however I don't believe that this was one of them.)
-Tony Allen

From Philly.com

The defense team for Wilfredo Santiago suggested to a jury yesterday that a sympathizer of the radical group MOVE killed Police Officer Thomas Trench in 1985 in retaliation for a police bombing on its compound two weeks earlier that killed 11 people.

Thomas McGill, one of Santiago's three lawyers, yesterday read into evidence four anonymous calls made to the police radio room just hours after Trench was killed on May 28, 1985.

The first caller, at 6:32 a.m., told the operator: "The MOVE is going to kill all you policemen."

The second, at 7:31 a.m., said: "Yeah, y'all just had a cop killed, right? ... For the 11 members you've killed, there is going to be more."

The third, about two hours later, told the operator: "I just want to tell you. Y'all killed 11 of our people. We got one of yours."

And the last caller, at 10:03 a.m., said: "Yeah, that's one gone. You got 10 more to go."

McGill also told the jury that on that day, authorities discovered graffiti in a sixth-floor City Hall men's bathroom stall, which said: "For every MOVEr who was murdered, one cop will be executed."

In rebuttal, Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega called to the stand former Philadelphia Police Capt. Eugene Dooley, who headed the Homicide Division in 1985.

Dooley, now police chief of East Whiteland Township, Chester County, said that after an investigation, his unit determined "that the MOVE members were not involved in the shooting of Officer Trench."

The bombing of the MOVE house on Osage Avenue near 62nd Street, West Philadelphia, followed tensions between police and MOVE. In the weeks afterward, police and city officials received various anonymous threats of violence from callers who claimed to be linked to MOVE.

Prosecutors contend that Trench's murder had nothing to do with the bombing, and instead was a case of mistaken identity.

After 2 1/2 weeks of testimony in Santiago's murder retrial, closing arguments are slated for 9 a.m. Monday before Common Pleas Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes. The jury is expected to get the case around noon.

During the retrial, which began April 30, Santiago, 44, entered the courtroom in a tie, slacks and button-down shirt with an armful of papers and files. He frequently took notes on a yellow legal pad as he listened to witness testimony.

Santiago was convicted by a jury in 1986 of first-degree murder, but the state Superior Court in 1991 ordered a new trial based on trial-judge and police errors.

The retrial did not take place until now - 23 years after Trench's murder - because of various twists and turns in legal proceedings.

Trench, 43, was shot in the face and neck about 2:30 a.m. as he sat in patrol car No. 912 on 17th Street near Spring Garden.

Prosecutors contend that Santiago intended to kill another officer, Ismael Cruz, who had driven car 912 the evening before. That day, Cruz had chased Santiago, who was involved in a street fight and reportedly had a gun.

Authorities allege that Santiago harbored anger toward Cruz because of the chase. *

Another Jamal Delay


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit yesterday granted a two-week extension for lawyers for death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal to file a petition for a rehearing on his effort to get a new trial.

Abu-Jamal was convicted in 1982 of the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner and sentenced to death. In late March, a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit affirmed Abu-Jamal's conviction but vacated the death sentence. The court said Abu-Jamal should be sentenced to life in prison or get a chance to persuade a new Philadelphia jury that he deserves a life sentence rather than death.

Defense lawyer Robert R. Bryan of San Francisco intends to seek a rehearing before the court on his contention that Abu-Jamal deserves a new trial, or at least a hearing on his argument that some blacks were intentionally excluded from his jury.

The court said the new filing deadline is June 10. Inquirer Staff

Saturday, May 24, 2008

MOVE Mythology And The Police

(Philadelphia Police beating suspects on video May 5th)

“There is a huge body of evidence to support the notion that me and the police were put on this earth to do extremely different things and never to mingle professionally with each other, except at official functions, when we all wear ties and drink heavily and whoop it up like the natural, good-humored wild boys that we know in our hearts that we are..These occasions are rare, but they happen — despite the forked tongue of fate that has put us forever on different paths”

-Hunter S. Thompson

I could never have been a cop. The pay sucks, the people you protect spit on you as often as they are grateful to you, there are laws that you may think are absurd that you must enforce anyways, and you hear more lies in a day than those of us “civilians” hear or tell in a lifetime.

It takes a certain type of person to become a Police Officer and I am not that person

When I worked in Philly, as a part of my job, I had to confront shoplifters. It was a dangerous thing to do and more than once I came home bruised and battered for my efforts. Although I tried my best to avoid physical contact with people who were obviously desperate addicts caught in the nightmare of stealing to support their habit, things did happen. The worst was when a crack-head came after one of my co-workers, screaming he had a knife, as he made jabbing motions towards us. Turning and running seemed to be a scarier prospect than standing and fighting, so we did the latter. A broken bottle over his head and my fist smashing into his face provided the distraction for my co-worker, an ex-Marine to come around the guy and a do a brilliant takedown of the guy and the fight was over.

Cops arrived moments later and as the adrenaline wore off and I noticed the throbbing in my finger and then the pain hit me. That was one of those things I won’t forget and neither will I forget how the people in the neighborhood were rooting for the crack-head. Our attacker was black and so was my co-worker, so I was puzzled and remained puzzled to this day why people were supporting someone who undoubtably was a blight upon their own community. Certainly, if he was stealing from our store, he would have no qualms about stealing from the neighbors who were cheering him on and cursed us when he went down. As it turned out, the thing he was jabbing towards us with wasn’t a knife, but a glass crack pipe, in the fracas however, it was impossible to tell, it really felt as if it were him or us. It is a situation that the Police in any city face on a daily basis and had we been cops and had been armed and shot the man who we thought was wielding a knife, we would have no doubt been considered “murderers” by many.

On that day, my respect for the difficulties the Police had to endure was raised considerably.

Another incident I can recall which brought the realities of a Police Officer’s job was yet another shoplifting incident gone violent. Confronted at the door, the guy made the choice not to run or give the merchandise back, but to throw a blow that thankfully missed. He was quickly wrestled to the ground and held there for what could have only been a few minutes, but seemed like an eternity. The Police arrived and I remember backing off and away from the scene of the incident when I heard a Sergeant, whom I sort of knew as he was dating one of my co-workers was screaming at the handcuffed man. In a crowded parking lot, and in a crowded area of the city, full of pedestrians, the irate cop very loudly something to the effect of “If my man gets sick because of you, I hunt you down and kill you in your mother’s kitchen”. This went on for a while and I am certain that to most people watching it was just another incidence of a white cop abusing another black suspect. What people did not know for the most part is that prior to being searched by a rookie cop, the man was asked if he had anything that “would poke or hurt” anyone who went through his pockets. The man was emphatic that he had nothing and as the young Officer stuck his hand in the pocket of the man’s pants, he was stuck by a needle that caused him to bleed. The man being arrested had apparently found his little trick amusing and laughed at the Police which led to the Sergeant to loose his cool.

Some months later, I ran into the rookie cop as he was coming out of our bathroom at work. I recognized him and quietly asked him how he was. A look of gloom took over his face as he went on to tell me that he had to be regularly tested for a host of diseases, the most scary of which was HIV. He finished by telling me that his new wife would “not touch” him since the incident, but was quick to tell me that so far all of the tests came back negative, but that he would have to be tested regularly for some time to come.

It was yet another reminder to me of the difficulties that cops face on a regular day.

I bring this up as the concept of brutal, Philadelphia Police, figures heavily into the pro-MOVE and pro-Mumia mythology. In MOVE’s case, it was the alleged killing of a six week old baby in 1976 which the cult claims was the catalyst for the August 8th 1978 confrontation (an incident that at least one former MOVE member denies was the cause of the child’s death). And as I am sure everybody knows now about the persistent falsehood of how Officer Faulkner was “brutally beating” Mumia’s brother when he was shot from behind by Jamal. And how corrupt officers were than instrumental in the “frame-up” of Mumia, which means the Police, the friends and co-workers of Officer Faulkner had sacrificed one of their own, knowingly allowing the real murderer to walk the streets in order to frame a perfectly innocent, un-employable journalist, turned cab-driver.

Any blank spots within the narrative are filled with tales of corrupt or murderous Police Officers. The theory currently in fashion with the Jamal supporters has a man named Kenneth Freeman as Faulkner’s murderer. He was apparently found dead of a drug overdose on May 13th 1985 and Jamal’s supporters claim, without one bit of proof, that it was the Police who did him in. This particular conspiracy theory has great value in that it provides the bridge between Jamal’s case and the purported “execution” of MOVE members.

I can recall yet another blank spot being filled in with yet another tale of brutal cops during an interview with Pam Africa. When asked about MOVE’s use of the bullhorn on Christmas on Osage Avenue, she mustered her bogus emotion and explained in her typical, manic, tone of how Mo Africa had been beaten by the Police and the bullhorn was the only means left to MOVE to air their grievances. She did not explain what MOVE’s neighbors had to do with this alleged beating. For MOVE, things like “proof” or coherence are often adversaries to their often overblown anecdotes.

Recently, Philadelphia Police were caught up in a maelstrom of controversy over the televised beating of suspects. The media reported on and showed the grim footage, but as far as I saw, omitted the fact that only days before yet another Philadelphia Police Officer had been killed in the line of duty. Arguably, the two events have nothing at all to do with one another. Maybe that is the case and maybe not.

But, one thing I know is that if I am in a situation I am not going to call MOVE to help. Are you?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ramona Africa Called Out On MOVE's Homophobia

(Ramona Africa Homophobe)

(Earlier, I posted an article discussing my efforts to get my message about MOVE out at the Portland IMC. One of the issues I raised was MOVE's homophobia and I was censored for it. Although, I view it as probably one of the group's more benign contradictions, for many people it is an issue of great importance. Perhaps, if I knew less of MOVE, it would be to me also. Today, I was surprised to see an article that was critical of Ramona Africa's dodgy response to MOVE's position of homophobia and the admission of the author of the article that they probably won't again be giving MOVE money. Although nobody will credit me for pushing this issue amongst others so persistently, I think it obvious that it is something that I have raised ever since starting this site.

This article, which many people will find fault with, I think represents a growing awareness of what MOVE is. In all of my years of attending MOVE speeches, I cannot recall any instance of someone from MOVE being confronted in such a persistent and articulate manner. I find it a promising indicator of things to come as this article was not written from the point of view of a former MOVE supporter, or a Philadelphian, or a Police Officer, but from the very kind of person that MOVE depends on for money and support. Read and rejoice and have no doubt that the
efforts of this website are not done in vain.)

Good And Bad At Ramona Africa Lecture
by A.

Just got back from the Ramona Africa and Craig Rosebraugh lecture. It was really quite powerful in a lot of ways, but disappointing in others.

I went to the event hoping to hear more about the MOVE organization, their repression, and what they had learned from their experience. I was also interested in Craig's take on the Green Scare and diversity of tactics, though I've heard him speak before. When Craig spoke, he had a lot to say regarding the government reprisals and toward acceptance of a diversity of tactics. I agreed with a lot of what he said, not everything, though I felt it was very strongly preaching to the choir. He didn't need to spend so long defending the ALF/ELF when most everyone in the room (I think) supports the ALF/ELF. I also disagreed when he said if you're not being persecuted for what you're doing it's not effective. Education can be a great tool that can be very effective that often slips below the radar of the system. Likewise, Craig himself was persecuted quite strongly though not preforming an ALF/ELF action himself.

Then Ramona spoke. She gave a very powerful speech as well... relied a little heavily on truisms and maxims of empowerment... but overall was good. She spoke only briefly on the events surrounding her imprisonment and the bombing of her house.

Then it was question time. Question time didn't go so well. Someone heckled with their question from the back, implying that the MOVE house had brought upon themselves the bombing that killed the children of their house. He seemed to claim they brought it on themselves by having loudspeakers at their house.

The question after that I asked. I needed to get confirmation one way or the other about MOVE's ideological connection to homophobia. People mention it whenever MOVE is mentioned, but then those people get called COINTELPRO, much to my chagrin. I asked it not to heckle like the person before me, but to get an answer. The answer didn't surprise me. A lot of hemming and hawing and excuse-making all failed to cover up the cold bare truth. MOVE is anti-gay. They don't think it's natural, they don't think it's right, they simply "don't believe in it" (whatever that means). A lot of the people on or near the stage (not craig... I'm curious where he stands).

So I thought here would be a good place to cut through that fucking bullshit and talk about the facts of homophobia and the mental imperialism a lot of so-called radicals still walk around with.

She said that she couldn't be called homophobic, because she works with gay people, and even once stayed with a gay person when travelling:

This hardly has to be debunked, but to be safe let's do it anyway. Just because you work with someone, know someone, talk to someone doesn't mean you don't bear prejudice against that people. It rings sadly familiar of family-friends from my childhood who would make racist jokes and comments but try to avoid accountability by saying "I have plenty of black friends" or talking about a time they had polite conversation or even dinner with a black person. Ramona in the same way was trying to obscure the issue.

She called homosexuality a choice, even likening it to members of Islam choosing not to eat pork:

On this I take strong offense, first that the argument is even raised, and second that a person who isn't queer wants to tell queer people where their desires came from.

See, I'm making an exception here, but generally I don't even like to get into this debate whatsoever, because of the subtle undertones. The unstated assumption is that if you can prove that homosexuality is a choice, then it's OK to persecute them. Well, it's not. Under the harm principle, you have no excuse for persecuting someone for a choice that doesn't affect you. Choice hardly plays into it. It's a choice to blow your nose, for instance, but would I have any ethical credence in considering them lesser or unnatural? Absolutely not. It's an absurd thought but it's the same in terms of impact on the judging 'other'. It has nothing to do with her, and shouldn't be any of her concern. It's just a result of religious conditioning... brainwashing even, that people have a hard time getting past in order to accept queer people into their community. It just really disappoints me to think that there are these people who have gotten past so much internalized racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism and so on but still hold on to that last one.

She said she isn't homophobic because she doesn't believe in queer-bashing, and if people are flyering and see a gay person, they would flyer him/her as with any other:

And that's just ridiculous. Not every form of patriarchy looks like a battered wife and not every form of homophobia looks like a queer-bashing. When we queer-bash with our words, we put a small mark on the map that becomes our entire culture. A culture which ultimately doesn't do enough to stop the violent queer-bashing. A culture that accepts it passively and ultimately finds it funny, or cool, or masculine, or whatever.

Anyway, I thought I should put that out there. I don't think I would give money to MOVE again. While I absolutely support prison abolition, I know there are prisoners, particularly political prisoners who would support my right to exist... but ultimately it's your call to make and I'm not going to hate on anyone who does.

Also, will someone please tell me Mumia (who is an honorary 9th member of MOVE) isn't homophobic? I think I remember reading something of his that was rad and pro-gay, but this worries me.

Against Capitalism, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Ageism, Ableism, Sizeism, Transphobia, and others.

Ultimately... against pathetic excuses.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

2 More MOVE Members Denied Parole

(Editor's Note: It appears there was a "Free The MOVE 9" on Saturday. From what I heard it was attended by about 10 people, all of whom were the usual crack-pots. They got no bit of media attention and you can see how effective they are after three decades of protests, their "heroes" are being denied parole. Losers supporting murderers)

By Emilie Lounsberry

Inquirer Staff Writer

Two more MOVE members who have been behind bars since the 1978 shoot-out that killed Philadelphia Police Officer James Ramp have been denied parole, a spokesman for the state parole board said yesterday.

The two - Michael Davis Africa and Edward Goodman Africa - were among nine MOVE members convicted in 1980 of third-degree murder in the shooting death of Ramp and the attempted murders of seven others in the Aug. 8, 1978, confrontation.

The shoot-out occurred as police tried to evict MOVE members from their headquarters at 33d and Pearl Streets in Powelton Village.

All nine had been sentenced to 30 to 100 years in prison, and state parole officials began considering the possibility of parole as defendants neared the 30-year point of the sentence. But prosecutors, police and others registered wide opposition to the prospect of freedom.

Last month, the parole board rejected parole for three MOVE women - Debbie Sims Africa, Janet Hollaway Africa and Jeanene Phillips Africa. Decisions are still pending for Delbert Orr Africa and William Phillips Africa. An eighth defendant, Charles Sims Africa, will be eligible for parole next year; a ninth died in prison.

The 1978 confrontation presaged another disastrous showdown with MOVE - the May 1985 fire that killed 11 MOVE members, including five children, and destroyed 61 houses in West Philadelphia. The 11 were killed after police dropped a bomb on the MOVE headquarters on Osage Avenue and decided to let it burn.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Book Review - "The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal"

"The Framing Of Mumia-Jamal" by J. Patrick Connor
Lawrence Hill Books 256 pages

Review by John Hayden

Americans in general, and Philadelphians in particular are fortunate indeed.

Author J.Patrick O'Connor has just published a book that solves the mystery that's been haunting us for the past 27 years:

Who killed Officer Danny Faulkner at 3:51AM, December 9, 1981?

O'Connor, the editor and publisher of Crime Magazine, after conducting a two decade investigation only rivaled in its brilliance by Chief Inspector Clouseau, has discovered that it wasn't the radio journalist/cab driver arrested at the crime scene sitting near his five shot 38 - with five spent cartridges in the cylinder.The "real killer" was Kenneth Freeman, a passenger in the VW driven by Mumia Abu Jamal's brother.

Wow! The editorial board of the anti-death penalty Philadelphia Inquirer now has the moral obligation to immediately urge DA Abraham to call off her homicidal hound dogs, stop persecuting Abu Jamal, and either unilateraly vacate the 1982 racially mixed jury's guilty verdict, or at least buy the book, ship a copy to the Manhattan based "Innocence Project," and urge them to spring the framed-up and railroaded political prisoner.

"The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal" is a good read. It's only 259 pages. You can breeze through it in less time than it takes to recite "Free Mumia! Free All Political Prisoners! "a 1,000 times.

Plus, if you're fortunate enough to know nothing about the overwhelming evidence of the remorseless cop killer's guilt, or, if your UFO just arrived here from another galaxy, you might become convinced that the gun owning ex Panther really was framed by "the Philadelphia Police Dept. and District Attorney's Office" and that they railroaded Abu Jamal "by knowingly using perjured, coerced, and bribed testimony at his trial." (p.xiii).

Unfortunately the book starts off with a minor factual error that doesn't inspire confidence.

It's 1st sentence gives "July 2, 1982" as the date the jury voted for the death penalty. (p.x). That was the date of the guilty verdict. The sentencing trial took place July 3, 1982. The book, published on May 1, 2008, ends with this 100% confident prediction about the Abu Jamal's appeal to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals:

"One way or another, a new trial is an almost certain outcome for Abu Jamal." (p.255)

Of course, that federal appeals court had already denied the convicted cop killer's new trial request several weeks before that Quixotic sentiment was published.

The quaint, major, premise of this latest pro-Mumia screed is that the passenger in the VW owned by Abu Jamal's brother, and Robert Harkins, "an eyewitness the prosecution did not call to testify are the keys to everything in this case." (p. 11).

The Framing quotes a 12/9/81 and a 12/18/81 statement from the cabbie-eyewitness (pp.13-14). It cleverly infers from some of its language that Robert Harkin's "description of the shooter...points directly to the burly Freeman" and "it also excludes both Abu Jamal and his brother, Billy Cook, from being the shooter." (p.14)

Of course, Inspector Clouseau's rival in solving mystery-murders never spoke to Robert Harkins. Author O'Connor never heard Harkin's August 2, 1995 testimony as Abu Jamal's own witness at the disastrous new trial hearing. He certainly never read - or just plain forgot - the transcript. The latter unambiguously indicates to any sane person that the person Harkins saw shoot the cop couldn't possibly be the passenger in William Cook's car.

Harkins responded to a question from the convicted cop killer's own lawyer, Daniel Williams, as to what happened after he saw the cop on the ground:

"A. Well, he (the shooter) leaned over and two, two to three flashes from his gun. But then he (the shooter) sat down on the curb.

Q.The guy that done the shooting walked and sat down on the curb!?!

A. On the pavement. (Transcript-8/2/95-p.210)"

Abu Jamal's flabbergasted lawyer immediately moved to strike the testimony he didn't want the hearing court - or the public - to consider. The Judge refused. This 1995 testimony corroborated the 1982 trial testimony of two eyewitnesses (pedestrian Cynthia White and cabbie Robert Chobert). White testified (without contradiction from Abu Jamal or his brother) that after she'd seen Mumia Abu Jamal shoot the cop in the back and the victim fell:

"Then he (the shooter) came on top of the officer and shot some more times. After that he (the shooter) went over and sloughed and he sat on the curb."(Transcript - 6/21/82, p.95)

Chobert testified -without contradiction - that after the shooter fired downward at the prone cop:

"Then I saw him walk about 10 feet he just fell by the curb."(Transcript 6/19/82, p.3.212)

That curb is the place where Officers Shoemaker and Forbes arrived about 15 seconds later and observed Abu Jamal sitting next to his 38 with five spent cartridges in its chamber.

Author O'Connor obviously picked the wrong person to establish The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal.

Nevertheless for 259 pages he valiantly tries to force the round peg of Mumia's innocence into the square hole of Harkins description of the murder to prove that Abu Jamal was "framed."

With breathtaking verbal legerdemain he claims that "the first shot was fired by Faulkner himself at the oncoming Abu-Jamal"; that "Abu Jamal went down" and was "replaced by Freeman who...wrestled Faulkner to the ground and then shot the officer in the back and then in the face, just as witness Harkins had told the police in his two statements." (p.115)

The highly imaginative fiction book complains that the cops never tested the gun owning radio journalist's hands to prove that he'd just fired his weapon. But it dishonestly fails to give the reader any explanation whatsoever for the presence of five spent cartridges in Abu Jamal's handgun.

William Cook & Kenneth Freeman

The reality-challenged author never spoke to Abu Jamal's brother. He never had the oportunity to assess, much less test, his credibility. But he did take the time to read William Cook's 45 paragraph "Mumia's innocent!" affidavit of 4/29/01. From that strenuous investigative effort he concluded that the passenger in Cook's VW had shot Officer faulkner outside his VW while he was inside looking for his driver's license.

It never occuured to the investigative journalist to inquire why, if that's true, Abu Jamal's brother didn't testify to that scenario at the June-July 1982 murder trial, or to the Judge at the July-August 1995 new trial hearing based on "newly discovered evidence of innocence."

"The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal" fails to tell the public why Cook waited 19 years to reveal that a dead man named Kenneth Freeman is "real killer."

J. Patrick O'Connor's new look at at an absurdly old murder case is highly recommended. It makes a valuable contribution to the ever expanding "Mumia's Innocent!" mythology. "The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal" may be found in the Fiction Section of Barnes & Noble right next to Grimms Fairy Tales and a sensational, 100% true, unauthorized biography on Pope Benedict entitled Confessions of a Life-Long Athiest.

John Hayden is the author of "Mumia Abu Jamal-The Patron Saint of American Cop Killers" and is a contributor to the Anti-MOVE/Mumia Blog

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Perils Of Writing Against MOVE/Censorship At Portland IMC

(Craig Rosebraugh who will be speaking along with Ramona Africa 5/14)

I remain anchored to the belief that in life we make progress by conflict, disputation, and argument. And while driving an idea forward, one that may be especially loathed in certain quarters, can be an ugly affair, it is still a necessity.

As an extension of my aforementioned belief, I posted what I viewed as a rather tame article at the Portland Independent Media Center concerning an upcoming fund-raiser for “The MOVE 9", where Ramona Africa is scheduled to speak along with former Earth Liberation Front spokesperson, Craig Rosebraugh. The focus of my article was not a call for silencing Ramona, stopping the event, or even to disrupt the event, rather it was a call for people to ask the questions that “progressives” ought to have concerns about with regards to MOVE.

Aside from the obvious fascistic qualities of MOVE, there is the clear-cut authoritarian nature of a sect whose values are neither “revolutionary” or “progressive”, but utterly reactionary in every sense of the word.

My article essentially re-stated MOVE’s positions on homosexuality, women’s rights, the treatment of children, their faux envioronmentalism, and than I asked people to juxtapose MOVE’s stance on such issues with the speech to be given by Ramona Africa and than to query MOVE’s “Minister of Communication” about these issues. My post was not an incitement to violence, nor was it a personal attack, or a call for censorship even. It was a call for people to ask questions.

The response brought by the post is hardly surprising and an indicator that there is still plenty of work to be done as far as educating people about MOVE. Yet the difficulties of doing so are shown in the absolute refusal of anyone supportive of MOVE to debate or discuss the issue.

What happened was that my post was put into a “compost bin”, essentially a storage place for articles that the members of the Portland IMC don’t want their readers to see. How ironic it is that people who would likely pride themselves on fighting for the right for convicted murderers to speak are the same people who will censor someone for advocating the asking of questions.

After seeing my post removed after being online for just a few hours, I made the obligatory complaint I have made before at other IMC websites where my writings have been similarly removed from view and received an unusually rare response actually a response from two different people, which did create something of a dialogue, albeit brief. Both responses help to further make my point that when the issue of MOVE is raised in certain political circles, the critical and ironic faculties are abandoned at the alter of political correctness to a cult of martyrdom.

The first to respond to my complaint had not even read my article and therefore speculated as to why she believed my post had been removed. It was the kind of response that I have seen and answered numerous times before, having been around the block with this kind of thing more than a few times. The Portland IMC volunteer wrote that:

“I believe that volunteers would be especially diligent about removing posts that appear to be incorrect, misleading, or disinformation concerning a group that is already under attack by the state. I know that I would. Since the police state has literally executed members of MOVE, and is still trying to execute another, I do not believe there would be a lot of tolerance among volunteers for any effort to further smear members of MOVE without some serious, serious evidence to back up such allegations. I can only speak for myself, and not for other IMC volunteers, but this is certainly how I feel about it.”

The above paragraph is indicative of what I have heard and seen before from those who would stifle debate concerning MOVE. What is especially troubling to me is the idea that a group perceived to be “oppressed” be allowed to exist on a level that transcends criticism. I find this particularly troubling as MOVE is not only a religious cult, but a political cult of sorts as well. I do not believe anybody be above reproach and that to place any group or individual on a pedestal above the critical eye is a dangerous concept.

The misinformed Portland IMC member also parrots the idea that MOVE is “under attack” by the state. No proof is offered as if none is needed. This is exactly the problem of the cessation of thought in the face of propaganda by an allegedly aggrieved minority. What the group claims must, because of it’s status be accepted at face value, lest you come to the point of daring to be critical and thereby aiding the “enemy”, which in this case is the state.

Worth exploring is the idea of MOVE as a perpetually under “attack”. As someone who spent as much time with MOVE as I did, I find the idea of the group being under “attack” to be beyond absurd. A group under “attack” would not be able to flaunt it’s blatant disregard for the laws of the state in so many obvious ways, the most obvious being the group’s treatment of children. Certainly, Ramona Africa would not be free to travel as she does around the world spreading MOVE’s message of hatred and MOVE members in jail would be split apart and they would be disallowed the opportunity to play the active role that they do in the group, including the recruitment of new adherents. These are but a couple of examples, as if anything, the “state” has an unspoken, but nevertheless obvious plan to ignore MOVE as much as possible. Both confrontations with MOVE were precipitated by protracted, illegal acts by the group until the “state” in the form of the City government were forced to act by judicial decree. The blathering about MOVE members being “literally” executed is complete rubbish as the deaths of May 13th can be boiled down to adults killing the children in their “care” and then themselves. As for Mumia, he is not a MOVE member and the “state” is following the wishes of the jury, ergo the “people” who ordered Jamal be put to death.

I have been told to always “look to the language” when reading what people write. The IMC volunteer says much when she asserts their would not be “tolerance” for someone “smear(ing)” MOVE members without “serious” evidence. Keep in mind, this person had not even read what I wrote and the assumption was already present in her mind, which was obviously already made up without seeing a word of what I had written. As my attorney once told me, “the truth is an absolute defense”. And that is why I have been able to devote hundreds of posts to debunking MOVE’s myths without them challenging my claims or hauling me into court for libel. As to the “evidence” of my allegations, my post was taken down without anyone asking me to cite references and sources of evidence, which obviously makes the point that the issue of “evidence” is irrelevant and the real issue is content. I also had pointed out in my banned post that my information came from years with MOVE. My request in the article was that that people challenge Ramona on the issues I raised would seem to lend itself to credibility, but again I don’t think that was the issue either. I argue that if my article was transparently false than it would have probably left up on the site and used for propaganda purposes.

In another email from the same person is an emotional appeal for my silence as I have my own website dedicated to this “smear” campaign and as fuel for the white guilt trip I am supposed to be on, was the reminder, as if I of all people needed it, that “they (MOVE) were, after all, firebombed....”. This again reflects the sentiment of perceived victimization as a supposed defense. This small minded thinking I find actually helping to preserve the status quo of the true victims with regards to MOVE, and that is the children. If everyone followed the non-logic of this IMC volunteer than the repressive situation that the children of MOVE members live in, could continue, un-challenged, un-changed, to become an attack on the intellect that transports itself from one generation to the next.

Yet, I did see some changes with MOVE and they came about as a direct result of the criticism the group faced during the cult’s war on John Gilbride. Because of John’s persistence, his son will have a chance at an education, was able to be socialized, and has more of a chance than the other children to see his way to freedom.

Moreover, I don’t believe that speaking the truth needs any justification. The facts of a situation such as this need to be disseminated for their own sake and do not need the acceptance of self-appointed censors to be validated. But, I did offer to the Portland IMC to share the sources of my information and the response was “I really don't have time to interact anymore on this”.

Than today, the person responsible for the censorship wrote me and in a fine display of someone granted a tiny amount of power and going mad over it insinuated I was a “cop or a snitch/infiltrator or a PR firm or or a Private Investigator or some such other "might-as-well-be"). And than proceeded to accuse me of making “phony claims of credibility...empty allegations...wild exaggerations of contradictions”. These are generic allegations made by someone who knows nothing of me and probably less about MOVE. He did not cite one thing that I wrote that was wrong, not one thing that I wrote that was a lie and carries out the character assassination that he claims I did. The difference of course, is that I cited precise facts concerning MOVE that were not born of assumptions or prejudice, but built upon a foundation of over a decade of studying the group and for a time living with Ramona Africa herself.

The ad-hominem attack is a rhetorical device, that in this instance is being used to justify censorship by a representative of a media center that audaciously claims to be “Independent media”, but shows itself to be neither. If these are the kind of people who are running the show, and in my experience, for the most part this is the case, than I am dubious as to the future of an endeavor that I still believe is worthwhile.

A media source that is neither corporate or beholden to any particular group is inherently valuable. But when it is hijacked by ideologues who use it to squash debate and discussion simply because they can, the whole concept is compromised and that is something that I find lamentable.

Another aspect of this whole Portland IMC affair was the harshness of the vitriolic directed at me. Anytime you place yourself and your views into the marketplace of ideas, you open yourself to ridicule, but when writing about MOVE you are made a target of the most salacious of personal attacks imagined. In my years of doing this, there isn’t much that hasn’t been said about me and of course they never get around to challenging my grasp of the fact s, it is all about my supposed motivations and name calling. The point is obviously to get me to stop what I am doing and while I could possibly say that “I will stop telling the truth about MOVE when they and their supporters stop lying about me”, I am morally obliged to continue to speak out, and not for myself, because I am free of MOVE. I continue to speak out for those who cannot, in particular the children in MOVE, who are deprived of any semblance of freedom of thought, of life, of any semblance of choice. And also on behalf of my posthumous friend, John Gilbride. His un-avenged spirit rests heavily on my mind as I hope that some of his amazing physical and emotional courage will serve as an example for me to follow.

Indeed, it is probably fitting than that what was once said about John is similar to what is being said about me. John was called a “cop” like I am, he was supposedly on the payroll of the government and the same is said about me now. On the comment portion of my site an enraged and possibly unbalanced individual wrote that I am “nothing but a stupid PIG narc, (my) picture has been posted online so everyone knows what a dirty PIG” I am. The same writer let it be known what should be done with people like me when they wrote that “all pigs should die”. It is a similar sentiment expressed by Mumia during his Black Panther days when he wrote “lets write epitaphs for pigs”.

The most foul comments however, seem to be taken from MOVE’s own play book as a commentary at the Portland IMC site goes off the rails and deserve to be quoted at length if only to again make it clear to some of my new readers the kind of personal attacks people who speak out against MOVE do endure. This was a response to my article prior to it being censored.

“While on some sites he claims to have been an activist at some point to give himself some sort of street cred, I highly doubt this. Reminds me far too much of COINTELPRO tactics. Like all the letters and articles written by white FBI agents claiming to be concerned black activists pointing out personal hypocrisies(like infidelity) in order to create an illusion of criticism of Martin Luther King Jr. This guy is just waaay too pro cop to be authentic. Also the incredible amount of time he spends trolling and updating multiple websites about alleged cop killers suggests he's on the payroll of somebody. Perhaps a personal hire or fuck-buddy of Maureen Faulkner(widow of Daniel Faulkner)? He seems to have a great interest in protecting her public image. Who knows. But this guy is way sketchy at best.”

The first couple of sentences are actually funny to me as not even MOVE has claimed that I wasn’t an “activist”. I was involved with politics and activism before MOVE and still am, the difference now is that I have a very clear view of the scary and evil nature of authoritarian cults like MOVE. I came to MOVE as a teenager, certainly not a cop, did not leave as a cop, and am certainly not a cop now. I didn’t MOVE out, they sold me out and everyone else who they deceived into believing that they are a group committed to “preserving life”, when in reality the cult’s members hands are soaked in blood.. The claim of my being “waay” too cop is certainly pushing the threshold of reality as my criticisms of the Police’s handling of MOVE is hardly a secret. There are certainly a good portion of cops who will never accept anything I do as being genuine or good because of my time with MOVE.

Also, my anti-death penalty stance doesn’t sit well with many in law enforcement, but even if I was a covert cop, the author of the comment who did all of this research about me failed to point out one thing wrong with my post or any of my other writings. And than there is the “on-the-take” libel. If I am to be getting a check for this work, somebody is several years behind. The money isn’t in doing what I do. But there is still plenty of money to be made off of Mumia as books, clothes, and documentaries about the murderer are still making a brisk profit off of the ill-informed, the pro-cop killer crowd, and the New Black Panther Party types.. And what kind of attack would it be if I wasn’t obliquely dumped on being a racist. As far as I am concerned, the racists are the ones who make apologies and ignore the fact that black children are being used as breeding machines for a cult whose leadership is comprised of whites and a black woman who used the best money science could buy to obtain herself a white child.

I see these near hysterical attacks on me as proof positive that I am making progress. I certainly remember the frustration I felt as a Mumia/MOVE supporter when confronted with someone who knew the facts and I couldn’t bullshit my way through them. It always descended into personal attacks, to the point where we were actually embarrassed by the spectacle of being bested on message boards by people who were picking thru our propaganda. We even had meetings on how to combat it, but eventually we had to shut down the whole message board on the old MOVE website.

Now, I have a clear conscience and don’t need to make things up about MOVE members or anyone else to make my point. I prefer to let them make my points for me, just as those people who left comments after going all over cyberspace to find out what message boards I supposedly post on, but couldn’t make any kind of argument against what I wrote. This is a very telling sign of the fragility of the myths they cling to and will attack for, but can do nothing substantive to defend the lies they have been told and now seek to tell others. So, I have to thank the Portland IMC for showing their true censorious colors and for making it clear that the best they have with regards to MOVE is a display of shameless vulgarity, ignorance, and a fascistic tendency of attempting to silence those who disagree with them.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ramona Africa To Speak In Portland

Portland Oregon may as well be a million miles away from Philadelphia as the myth that MOVE is a bastion of revolutionary resistance and even an example of radical environmentalism runs strong in a city known for it’s tolerance.

This tolerance will translate into acceptance of lies if Ramona Africa spreads her prepared myths about the child-raping cult that she is the public face of and does so un-challenged as she is set to speak at Portland State University and at a fundraiser the next day.

Indeed, Ramona does have the freedom to speak in the nation that she despises and that if it was a quarter of the repressive regime she claims it is, would have her locked away in a dungeon, or at least on a “no fly list” as a member of a group that has at times been considered a terrorist group.

Her audience will likely get the typical Ramona Africa speech extolling the right of the people to rebel, perhaps she will invoke the words of Thomas Jefferson as she compares MOVE to other revolutionaries throughout history.

She will certainly talk up the “animal rights” aspect of MOVE, which I could personally not find any more stinking of rank hypocrisy. MOVE members are not vegetarian. They do not practice a "cruelty free" lifestyle. They take their excess animals out to the middle of the woods and drops them off. The diet they feed the animals leads to sickness and litter after litter of cats and dogs die after suffering through diseases that could be easily cured if taken to a Vet. A place that MOVE members do not generally go. They would rather "their" animals suffer the fate of "nature" than intervene. A group supposedly dedicated to protecting life is a friend of death.

She certainly won’t talk about how MOVE’s founder vulgarly referred to homosexuals as “faggots” and deplored them as “perverts spreading sickness”. She won’t share MOVE’s position on reproductive freedom, not to speak of intellectual freedom of the children of the cult.

She will not willingly address her own admission that girls in MOVE start their life of baby-making machines at the onset of puberty. Nor will she concede the fact that these same girls can barely read or write, have no choice but to bow to the whims of the cult’s leaders, yet it is the truth, but a truth that MOVE’s marketing of itself as a victim of state oppression might just get in the way of.

It is not enough for Ramona to convince people that the events that left her burned and in jail on May 13th 1985 were terrible. But she has to take it further, deny any responsibility in the catastrophe and similarly omit the fact that the whole “confrontation” was conceived by the cult’s founder as a blood soaked last stand. John Africa, whose minions were expected to display complete loyalty, followed their leader into hell that day and it was Ramona and a child who survived. Not because of John Africa, but in spite of John Africa and his convoluted teachings.

So let Ramona Africa speak. But people should know that they are being sold a false bill of goods and that the money they give her will go to perpetuate a sect that abuses children in every sense of the word, has murderers in it’s midst, and seeks to make mental cripples out of those in it’s orbit while it seeks to crush those who criticize it.

I must implore people who might attend this event to do their research. Challenge Ramona to defend her true position on the issues. Make her qualify her assertion that MOVE is anything more than a personality cult that cannot stand up to the facts of what the group is.

Furthermore, the Clinton Street Theater, where Ramona will be “performing” should be informed that they are playing host to a cultist who is as twisted as Reverend Fred Phelps, but who is pragmatic and cynical enough to know how to play to a crowd, pander for cheap applause, and steer fully clear of her reactionary views and the cult that she serves..

Contact the Clinton Street Theater

The Clinton Street Theater2522 SE Clinton St.
Portland, OR 97202

Events Phone: 503.238.8899
Message/Contact Phone: 503.238.5588

Email greg@clintonstheatre.com

Monday, May 05, 2008

Yet Another Reason Why MOVE Members Not Be Granted Parole

(Police are searching for Eric Floyd, 33, last of Clearfield Street, in connection with the shooting death of police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski. There is a $123,000 reward)

Sign The Petition To Keep MOVE Members In Jail. No To Parole For Cop-Killers!

By all indications, it looks as if all eight of the MOVE members in jail for killing Officer James Ramp and the attempted murder of other Police Officers and Firefighters will not be granted parole.

This does fly in the face of statistics as the majority of defendants who do come before the board are granted parole and in Philadelphia at least, the majority of parolees commit crimes and end up back in jail.

It looks like Philadelphia is again reaping a harvest of death as a result of the State of Pennsylvania’s unwillingness to keep violent people behind bars as yet another Philadelphia Police Officer has “allegedly” been gunned down by a man granted parole after meeting his minimum sentence requirements.

Philadelphia Police Sergeant Stephen Liczbinski died from multiple gunshot wounds after being struck by bullets fired from a high-powered rifle, allegedly by Howard Cain, who along with two others, one of whom is still on the loose, were confronted by Police after robbing a bank.

Cain, himself was killed by pursuing Officers who had tracked him down in another part of the City. His “alleged” accomplice Lavon Warner was arrested and the third suspect, Eric Floyd is on the run and is considered by authorities to be armed and dangerous.

Aside from the obvious issues of rampant violent crime, an antipathy towards law enforcement by segments of society, there is the issue of parole that I came across while researching the possibility of MOVE members being granted parole.

The statistics, which are more than just disconcerting numbers for the grieving family of yet another murdered Police Officer, tell a tale of shocking indifference and a bureacracy that is failing the people it is bound and sworn to protect. And in this instance has contributed to Philadelphia’s body count by two, so far...

The Parole Board’s numbers reflect an increase in the percentage of people granted parole, starting from the mid-nineties when only around 30% of criminals who came before the board being paroled. Over a decade later, that percentage has doubled. If you combine that with the high recidivism rate in Philadelphia, the precipitous increase in violent crime in the City has at least one clear-cut cause. If you look at it another way, Philadelphia has a population of 1.5 million people, of which nearly 40, 000 will go thru the Philadelphia Prison System and return home. It has been reported that two thirds, or almost 23,000 will be arrested again, half of those going back to jail. It is a nightmare of a City of nightmares, gripped in fear, as the revolving doors of the Justice system, consumed with the real problems of over-crowding, budget constraints, etc...are releasing violent criminals onto the streets at an alarming rate, with tragic consequences.

Before “allegedly” murdering Officer Liczbinsk, Howard Cain had amassed quite a record, one that in a more sane and more just place would have had him safely behind bars right where he belonged. But instead he was free to roam and pillage the streets and he did just that.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer he went to jail in 1997 and walked out not even a decade later after being convicted of participating in armed robberies. These incidents however, were not his first. He apparently had already stolen a car and physically assaulted a Police Officer and these are the crimes that we know about.

So, while non-violent drug offenders and other less dangerous criminals rot away, men like Cain, who have a displayed a penchant for violence and disregard for human life get a pass from the parole board.

I cannot help but be nervous as I know full well that MOVE members, who despite the propaganda of their supporters, are unrepentant murdreres, with a violent past, and are beholden to an ideology that promises violence in the future, stand a fair chance of being relased in the coming years.

And while I hope that the death of Officer Liczbinsk was not in vain, that his senseless murder will have in it a silver lining of moral outrage towards the tolerance of violent criminals in society, I am also a realist and know that change often comes in measures of inches and not miles. I must, however, cling to the hope that the Parole Board re-examine itself and it’s responsibility towards the people of Pennsylvania.

They can start by explaining how over a decade ago only 30% percent of those coming up for parole were granted it, but now over 60% are. Are these kinder, gentler, felons? Was Howard Cain? Perhaps, if the Parole Board had treated a violent criminal with something other than kid gloves, both he and Officer Liczbinsk might still be alive and two families might not have been destroyed.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Down The Barrel Of Mortality

(My Grandfather wins circa early 1960's)

Some months ago I found myself at my Doctor’s office, sitting on the cold examination table with that rather unflattering hospital gown wrapped around me, the knots in the back tied and re-tied as I tried to fight back the annoyance of the wait for my doctor.

The thin walls of his office allowed me to here him firmly chiding another patient for his lack of exercise and poor eating habits. I could hear in the patient’s response a respectful, but firm kind of defiance mixed in with a hint of sarcasm. I nervously chuckled to myself as I knew it was my turn next and that invariably I would be in for a lecture of my own soon enough. I than thought of the irony of how my Doctor had grown up in India, probably seeing and perhaps even suffering the diseases of want to now be here in America where the diseases are largely ones of over-consumption. I thought of how if I were in his shoes, that my career would have been ended the first time some obese American came in and glibly told me that their weight problem was the result of some glandular issue. I wouldn’t be able to take it.

Unfortunately, I am cursed with a set of bad genes. The exception being my Grandfather who I swear has found in his Florida backyard the famed fountain of youth and is quietly holding out on the rest of us. As long as I can remember, he has been old. But aside from the fact that he quit dying his hair some time ago and he is slightly slimmer than he was when I was a kid, he looks mostly the same. A race-car driver till they forced him from the track due to his age, he endured the death of my grandmother from diabetes and is presently watching his current wife descend into the horrific nightmare of Alzheimer’s disease. Yet, he is composed enough to not complain about things in front of us grandchildren, despite the fact that the oldest of us are in our thirties. If I have a quarter of the mental toughness he has when I am his age than it will be sure sign that miracles do indeed occur.

So there I was, after submitting to the weeks of harassment from my Doctor’s staff, waiting for my yearly exam, complete with testicular fondling amongst other fun activities. I already knew what he was going to say. I had to be careful of blood pressure etc...due to family history and was ready with a whole host of excuses to give him when he chided me for bailing on several past appointments. There was however, something I wasn’t expecting to talk about.

Cancer. The dreaded “C-word”. A few minutes into the lecture and not so gentle poking and prodding, my Doctor grew very quiet and seemed fixated upon something on my back. He then started asking about the outdoors, as in how much time I spent out in it. I did spend many a summer day on Virginia Beach, either in the water, or enjoying the scenery. And still now, when I can, I am at the beach. I have always loved the water and the warm sunshine that caused me to tan deeply, but rarely burn. My somewhat darker complexion kept me from sunburns, but apparently not from the long-term effects of years outside sans sun-screen. Just last summer I recall making sure that every inch of my daughter was covered with the best suntan lotion one can buy and tossing the container in the trunk when it should have been my turn. “What was the point ?” I thought. I don’t burn anyways.

The point was skin cancer can get you whether you burn or not. I learned this little fact the hard way as my Doctor sent me off to a dermatologist to check out a “suspicious” mole on my back. I was circumspect. I wasn’t in pain. The little mole on my back looked fine to me and my thoughts turned to what a damn racket the insurance industry is as I would have to pay some other Doctor to tell me that my own general practitioner was being overly cautious and there was nothing wrong. But if you haven’t figured it out yet, there was something wrong.

The Dermatologist ordered the mole removed for testing. Several days later I called to get the results and was not at all nervous until the people at the Dermatologist passed me along from staff member to Doctor and back like a hot potato, until my frustration got the best of me and I demanded somebody talk to me. At which time I was told the “sample” was indeed in the midst of changing from normality to cancer. I got that queasy feeling in my stomach that only subsided as it was explained to me that it was caught at the perfect time, the earliest stage, and the treatment was quite simple. The pain involved would be an inconvenience, but nothing that some Tylenol couldn’t handle.

Today, it is done and over with. I go back in six months for a check-up. I have no cancer in my body or on it.

What does this have to do with a blog about MOVE? That answer is easier than you might expect. Had I stayed in MOVE I would not be a doctor’s office for a yearly physical. In keeping with my devotion to the cult, I would have eschewed health-care and instead relied on John Africa’s magical powers to keep me safe. Powers, which if you think about it, have a pretty low rate of success. I would have most likely developed skin cancer and perhaps something worse, as the area in question was directly over the middle of my spine. And the later you catch and try and treat cancer, the harder it is to beat.

I would have possibly met the same kind of untimely demise that Merle Africa did in 1998. While MOVE clings to their official position that her death was “suspicious”, they know that she died of cancer. Cancer that may have been caught, treated, and dealt with had she not been so ensnared in a cult which robs you of the primary instinct of self-preservation. And she is not the only MOVE member to die young from cancer. Beverly Africa, whose husband Raymond Africa died on May 13th 1985 similarly died from cancer, leaving her three sons to be reared in the sect, one of whom would abandon the group a few years after her death.

This little health scare of mine offered me time for introspection and an excuse to catch up on some reading, while providing me with yet another example of why it was the right thing to do in leaving MOVE.

Speaking of reading, here are some of the books on my reading list:

“The Ayn Rand Lexicon” edited by Harry Binswanger
“Liberal Fascism” by Jonah Goldberg
“Parenting Beyond Belief” by Dale McGowan (a fine writer whom I had the privilege to meet and who offered me more of his time than I deserve)
“Dune” by Frank Herbert
“Red Mutiny” by Neal Bascomb

Friday, May 02, 2008

"Political Prisoner" Hypocrisy

(Castro with Pam Africa writes a message to Mumia in Cuba)

"The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving,"
“Che” Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries

It has been long said that Americans are notoriously ignorant of the history, politics, and cultures of nations other than our own. Follow that argument to it’s logical conclusion and it also means that those with an extremist agenda may suffer the same mental malaise.

While many on the far-left consider themselves more “worldly” than the rest of society, this belief, largely based on an emotional attachment to the perceived “oppressed”, and perhaps the ability to quote Noam Chomsky, is for the most part, not the case. And when it is the case, the outrage at injustice ends where one’s political ideology begins.

There is a problem throughout the body politic of selective moral outrage and it does not affect only those on the left. Case in point, the “yelling media’s” coverage of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Night after night, talking heads from news outlet after news outlet denounce and decry the Reverend and it is not my point to pour fuel on the fire, either you agree with the Reverend or you don’t. But what I find so infuriating is the rank hypocrisy of so many of Wright’s detractors.

While the naked anti-Semitism of the Reverend Billy Graham is ignored, the war on common sense by the Vatican is glossed over, and Pat Robertson with the late Reverend Fallwell get a pass for blaming homosexuals and secularists for 9/11, Wright is nightly target practice for anyone with a bully pulpit and a sense of self-righteousness. When all religious bigots are given the treatment they deserve than I will gladly join them in their denunciations, but until that time, I find their rank hypocrisy just as odious as I do Wright’s blathering idiocy.

I take the same kind of issue with those who champion supposed “political prisoners” such as Mumia, Leonard Peltier, The MOVE 9, etc...These are not prisoners of “thought crime”, but perpetrators of violent crime, supported by people who have not the vaguest idea of what true oppression is.

Take for instance, the left’s obsession with romanticizing Cuba and her “revolutionary” butchers like Fidel and Che. When I was still a Jamal supporter, Pam Africa traveled to Cuba as the dictators guest and did her best to denounce the country of her origin and decry the abuses of supposed “political prisoners” in the United States. The alleged anti-death penalty Pam Africa would return to the States and to me defended the use of state murder in Cuba because the nation was “under attack” by America. A typical moral relativist stance by a woman whose lack of morals allowed her to give her daughters over to child-rapists and support unrepentant murderers.

It probably never crossed her foul little mind that while she was being photographed and shaking the blood soaked hands of Castro, that the longest held, black, true political prisoner, was likely just a few hours away from where she was fawning over her hero, the despot.

You probably have never heard of Eusebio Penalver. He doesn’t get the HBO treatment, or French politicians to take up his cause, or “Rage Against The Machine” to play shows to pay for his legal bills. But he suffered in Castro’s torture chambers longer than did Nelson Mandela and was the longest serving black political prisoner of the 20th century.

He died at 71 years old, exiled from the nation of his birth, largely unknown, after spending decades of his life under horrific conditions in a Cuban jail for the crime of thinking and speaking the language of freedom. He suffered this as delegation after delegation of Americans, the above mentioned Jeremiah Wright amongst them, toasted his torturers and made excuses for one of the most repressive regimes on the planet.

He could have submitted. He could have accepted the “rehabilitation” of the communist dictatorship and denounced his allegiance to freedom and committed spiritual suicide, but he stood his ground, refused to wear the uniform of a criminal, and lived life as if he were free and his captors were the ones imprisoned.

All of this was occurring as so-called black revolutionaries such as Mumia and numerous others bowed their heads in reverence to the dictatorship and torturers of Eusebio Penalver and other true prisoners of conscience. This black man who stood up to naked brutality and daily assaults on the life of the mind is and was a nobody to those who still cling to the tragic farce of a free Cuba, with their Che Guevara t-shirts, and heads full of “revolutionary” platitudes that flow with a cadence and resound with the tempo of freedom, but which spelled death to those deemed “reactionaries”.

Because he stood for true freedom, was a true prisoner of politics, who fought for the freedom of his people and lived in a place which makes American prisons seem like a Hilton, he deserves to be celebrated and remembered. Because he dared to live “as if” he was a man free to choose and who rejected the cruel ideology imposed upon his people, he is a hero.

The next time you see someone with a “Free Mumia” sign or t-shirt, challenge them to name Eusebio Penalver or any of the other Cuban dissidents, exiles, or political prisoners, who were tortured and imprisoned because they yearned to be free. When they offer in response a puzzled look or an angry denunciation of you as a “racist”, you can remind them that the longest serving, black, political prisoner, was not kept in the apartheid regime of South Africa, or the “dungeons of American prisons”, but was indeed a Cuban, ignored, left to suffer under the choking tyranny of Castro’s regime.

See what, if anything, they have to say then.

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