Tuesday, October 27, 2009

MOVE Child Abuse Revisited

(Ramona Africa)

The recent controversy over Roman Polanski’s arrest in Sweden based on a crime he admitted to committing several decades ago brought me back to thinking about MOVE’s crimes against children. For those of you who have steered well clear of the Polanski debacle, he is the famous film director who gave a thirteen year old girl booze and a qualude, and than proceeded to rape and sodomize her. After things went south for Polanski in a court of law, he decided the best thing to do was to leave the country to live in a kind self-imposed exile where he could be revered for both his artistry and for thumbing his nose at American jurisprudence. Polanski is facing deportation back to this country, something that the revered film-maker wants desperately to avoid.

Polanski is not without his defenders. Immediately after his arrest, his Hollywood friends jumped to his defense, appearing on television and signing petitions demanding that Polanski be allowed to go free. Soon after, however, a backlash against this kind of Hollywood exceptionalism arose from people who were not so comfortable with the rape of a child by someone who happened to be able to make a decent film or two. Those who would defend Polanski cling tenaciously to the idea that the girl he victimized and who is now a woman has offered him forgiveness and wants the matter go away, however as columnist Christopher Hitchens pointed out in a recent column “strictly speaking it's of no more relevance than if she had said the same thing at the time. The law prosecutes those who violate children, and it does so partly on behalf of children who haven't been violated yet. We take an individual instance, whoever the individuals happen to be, and we use it for precedent. And we do not know how lucky we are to be able to do so.”

We are certainly lucky, but children in MOVE are not so lucky. This is because they have the misfortune of not only being born in a cruel and authoritarian sect that has girls as young as 11-12 years old being raped with the intention of them being impregnated, but also to have this victimization compounded by the fact that the city of Philadelphia will do nothing about it. Philadelphia’s unspoken, but well understood “hands off” policy towards the cult that was started after the 1985 “incident” with MOVE has the unintended consequence of enabling the abuse of children.

However, before I get too far ahead of myself I want to make it clear that my allegations of MOVE’s abuse of children stems not only from my own experience, but also stems by MOVE’s own admission of the crime. Back in 2006, Ramona Africa made the mistake of spelling out MOVE’s policy regarding the impregnation of young girls in an email, where she admits without hesitation that "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."

One should read the above statement carefully in order to understand the full implications of what is being said. Notice that Ramona uses the phrase “when a woman has her monthly period” Say what? Little girls are not “women” when their periods start; they are still little girls, who are on the path to becoming women. The distinction should be clear to anyone with an ounce of decency and who remains off of the sex offender registry. That Ramona Africa and company find acceptable the idea that little girls are under the “coordination” of some kind of mythical force that decides that it is ok for them to be raped is indicative of a savage backwardness. From my view, MOVE is no better than the child-rapist who stalks playgrounds for victims or the creep in his mom’s basement plodding through the internet trying to hook up with barely teenage girls. In fact, MOVE is worse for the simple fact that they have institutionalized this barbarism and have attempted to use their crude theology as a means of justifying it. They are worse because not only do they force young girls to become pregnant and “married”, but because they also deprive these same girls of any semblance of a meaningful education. This enforced intellectual deprivation allows for the sexual domination of children, which gives rise to a “Stockholm” type syndrome where the girls in this situation will defend to death their position in MOVE. And more than that, they will more than willingly subject their own children to this very same level of abuse. What began as the abuse of individuals turns into a crime that transcends generations with an ever expanding circle of victimization.

Cultural relativists have a point in that different cultures maintain different values and should therefore be afforded a degree of latitude, however when it comes to children, we are supposed to live in a society that does not tolerate sexual abuse. Yet, in MOVE’s case it is allowed. And let it not be said that I have not done my part in spreading the word against this. I write this blog, but I also went to the authorities with the information that I have obtained and was brushed aside. I went to the mainstream media and was similarly ignored. And don’t get me started on the so-called “alternative” media outlets. None of them dare offer any criticism of MOVE on any level, lest they be labeled as “reactionaries”.

It is good for people to not want a man who raped a young girl thirty years ago to avoid punishment. Is it also not a good thing to stop the institutional rape of children that goes on today?

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Different Way" Of Looking At Mumia

(Pic of Tigre Hill)
(From Philadelphia Metro

Tigre Hill’s has been working on his Mumia Abu-Jamal documentary, “Barrel of a Gun,” for more than two years. He hopes to release his take on the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9, the 28th anniversary of his death.

Why will people still care enough about Mumia to want to see the film?

I made the film because the films I saw before I didn’t think they did a great job of telling the story. The “Barrel of a Gun is a very comprehensive look at what happened that night. It also goes into why he’s become an international celebrity.

Why has this story kept our attention and interest 28 years later?

Any time that you have a talent for writing and for speaking and you’re able to get your voice out there and people pick up that voice, that’s a great advantage over your average person. He’s been able to get his voice out there and people have taken up his cause. That is a great advantage to him. Also, outside of the United States there is a perception of justice in this country that he’s a symbol for people to tag on to.

What do you think the reaction will be?

I’m sure it will be very passionate on both sides. I think it’s a different way of looking at the story in Europe — and we plan to go there — as far as the way they’ve seen the case. The story tells a different side ... because you see more of the victims, you see more of Maureen Faulkner in this film, you see more of what she’s had to go through, whereas in other films you haven’t seen that.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Mumia Narrative

(Pic Of Billy Cook's car)
The release of the trailer for Tigre Hill’s upcoming film about the murder of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner by Mumia Abu-Jamal has elicited fearful reactions by Jamal supporters. Two pro-Mumia articles have recently been released that attack the soon-to-be released documentary, this despite the fact that nobody has seen the final product.

One article, written by Anton Mestin, is so poorly constructed and argued that it is its own best argument against itself and the Mumia cause Mestin hopes to defend. It also contains the kind of allegation that is typical of the Jamal cause in that it assumes what should have to be proven when Mestin asserts that “Now Smerconish paid a filmmaker, Tigre Hill to produce a new vicious attack on reality. They will publish a film about Mumia Abu-Jamal and Daniel Faulkner in December 2009." Mestin offers no clues as to where he heard this allegation and makes the declarative statement as if no evidence is needed for it. For their part, the people behind the creation of “The Barrel of a Gun” stated on the film’s Facebook page that Smerconish “has at no time contributed any money to any aspect of this film or its marketing”. I would only add that if Mestin had any proof that Tigre Hill’s film was being funded by Smerconish that he owes it to everyone to explain where he received his information from and back his claims up with facts.

The other article attacking Hill’s film was written, or to be more precise, mostly cut and pasted by long-time Jamal apologist and conspiracy theorist Michael Schiffman. I have dealt with Schiffman on previous occasions and have exhaustively debunked his pro-Mumia propaganda on my blog. There is no need for me to re-visit and re-debunk Schiffman’s completely absurd and frankly laughable ideas about the murder that his friend Mumia committed. What I find interesting is just how frankly insulting to the intellect Schiffman can be. For example, he spends an extraordinary amount of time informing his readers that the man who prosecuted Jamal’s case is simply making things up and putting forth a generally impossible narrative of events concerning Officer Faulkner’s murder.

The fact remains that the prosecution case has withstood perhaps more scrutiny than perhaps 90% of all contested court cases in this country and it has stood up. Are there pockets of unanswered questions in the prosecutions case? Clearly the answer is yes. I don’t think that there is anyone who would deny that. However, the burden placed upon the prosecution is to prove “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” and not necessarily to have a picture perfect reconstruction of the crime committed. It is their job to try and I think Jamal’s prosecutors did a good job in explaining what happened to Officer Faulkner (clearly the jurors agreed as well). Where the prosecution has remained consistent and impervious to serious scrutiny, Jamal’s defense, in it’s multitude of incarnations has shown itself to be lacking in not only scruples, but also in any kind of factual coherence. What Jamal’s varied defense teams have been short of in the truth department they have more than made up for in the realm of fanatical delusions. The defense team has concocted and contrived some of the most inane and absurd ideas ever that have ever been heard inside a courtroom. From phantom helicopters that do not exist, to dead men talking, to dead prostitutes rising from the grave to be seen in a Camden crack hose, the defense teams have had no shortage of clearly deranged theories to put forward in the service of Mumia. It goes without saying that the need for the defense to contrive so many scurriulous theories is because Jamal himself has never offered any explanation that comes close to being a coherent counter to that of the prosecution. That being the case, I find it particularly humorous that Schiffman would so shamelessly and without even a second thought, so aggressively go after Jamal’s prosecution. Especially considering the fact that Schiffman’s own ideas are so backwards, so clearly false, so ridiculous, and useless that Jamal’s current crop of lawyers won’t even embrace them, which says a lot.

It should be said however, that at the end of the day, Schiffman and company have no interest in the facts of the case, they simply want to “free Mumia” because he is first of all a political comrade, secondly Jamal still has some value as a marketing device, and finally because Schiffman’s world view demands a narrative that fits into the parameters that he is comfortable with. For Jamal’s few remaining supporters, it is this final factor that is most compelling and is the driving force. There was a time when there were large groups of people who very sincerely believed in Jamal’s actual innocence, but those days are over. This turn of events came about thanks to the availability of trial transcripts and the diligence of people who took the time examine just what it was that Jamal’s supporters were saying and directly challenging them with facts. There is little chance that someone devoid of a political agenda could look at both sides of the debate and conclude that Mumia is anything but a guilty man. Something that is more likely is that someone with far-left views will choose to ignore facts not favorable to their agenda and make ill-conceived assumptions based not on cold, hard, facts, but by a slavish devotion to ideological considerations. This is why Mumia still has any support at all. If Mumia had been an underemployed man of any color, with no history with MOVE or especially the Black Panthers and the same kind of evidence was presented against him, nobody would dare take up his cause. For the current crop of Jamal supporters it is about politics, while for those of us who advocate justice for Daniel Faulkner it is about justice.

In an article discussing the Jamal phenomena, Christian Peheim, (who also very effectively debunked Schiffman’s pro-Jamal drivel) drives home the point that politics is the driving factor in the Jamal cause with frank elegance:

“Courts in the United States do not care about political pressure by supporters of Abu-Jamal. Demonstrations in the streets will never change a decision based on the merits of an argument. French delegations visiting the mayor of Philadelphia will never achieve anything. By the way, if they want to achieve anything they would have to meet District Attorney Lynne Abraham and convince her. (They wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell.)

Political pressure could influence politicians only. Before the death sentence has been vacated, Abu-Jamal’s chances to receive clemency would have been increased by showing remorse. By putting the head in the sand and supporting his unbelievable claims of innocence his supporter have helped to forever destroy his chances to receive clemency. They did not help Abu-Jamal but abused him for their own purposes. No reasonable politician would ever grant clemency to a remorseless cop killer. If the death sentence will ever be re-instated and executed these supporters will partially be responsible for his death.

Actually, I think this scenario doesn’t seem to be very likely. After the decision of the Third Circuit Court Abu-Jamal’s fate seems to be rather clear. Most likely he will stay behind bars for the rest of his life, where he belongs.

Also in future his supporters will use him. He still can be useful as a shared topic for various left-wing groups and as a basis to collect donations. Who knows where all the money went which has been collected in his name?”

So, for the Jamal supporters it all rests on politics and the desperate need to create a narrative that conforms not to facts, but the political sensibilities of people that the narrative needs to be marketed to. This is why in Schiffman’s article; he goes far out of his way to mention the 1968 murder of Fred Hampton as a mechanism and as an aid to show a conspiracy to kill Mumia. In doing this, Schiffman is setting up a straw man argument. There is no correlation between the two cases to be found. Fred Hampton was a high ranking member of the Black Panther Party when he was gunned down. Through his charisma and adept leadership the Party was making inroads and had the potential to if not be a threat to Chicago’s political leadership, at least a threat to the Police that gunned him down. Mumia, on the other hand, had been out of the Panthers for several years, was no longer viable as a journalist, was on a downward trajectory in her personal life, and was absolutely no threat to any political order. Perhaps it was the recognition of his own failures and impotence that Jamal made the choice to put into action his now infamous quote from Chairman Mao that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”. The murder of Officer Faulkner and the incarceration of Mumia rising not out of a fear of Jamal being a “threat” to the “system”, but rising out of Jamal’s own searing failures, professional, political, and personal. Jamal was the arbiter of his own demise, nobody needed to help him.

For Jamal supporters, the myth of his innocence necessitates new and even more elaborate theories as old ones are subsequently and completely discredited in the face of facts. There is a kind of infinite regress going on since Jamal’s first trial when the lies of that time failed obtain result, those lies turned into others, and still other lies arose as time and court dates came and went as did the amount of support. There is no reason for us to expect that pattern to change anytime soon.

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