Friday, February 18, 2005

Mumia Reconsidered

Mumia Reconsidered
by Tony Allen

"Man’s real treasure is the treasure of his mistakes, piled up stone by stone through thousands of years"
-Jose Ortega Y Gasset

Early in the morning of December 9, 1981, Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner pulled over a car going the wrong way on a one way street in the "red light" district of Philadelphia. The Volkswagen belonged to a man named Billy Cook. A few minutes later, gunshots would ring out and Officer Faulkner would be shot numerous times. Billy Cook’s brother, a man who called himself Mumia Abu-Jamal would be arrested for the murder and would be later sentenced to death for the crime.

Now there is little doubt in my mind that Mumia slaughtered Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Yet, to many people far from Philadelphia, ignorant to the realities and facts of the case, Mumia is a hero, a cause-celebre of the far left, and a published and celebrated author. To them, he is not a killer, he is a martyr-to-be, and the living embodiment of all that is wrong with America’s criminal justice system. And, for a time, this is what I believed, as well.
I discovered Mumia’s case through my voracious appetite for reading. When I was in my late teens, I had decided to turn my back on the world of partying and fun, and instead committed myself to "self-discovery." I did my time as an aspiring Eastern spiritualist and suffering existentialist. When these journeys ended in disappointment, (as they tend to do) I turned to politics. I listened to Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy, but aside from Liddy’s opposition to animal testing, I found the voices of the right to not be my cup of tea.
Eventually, I was turned on to Chomsky, Micheal Parenti, the works of Marx, Howard Zinn, and began down the path of far-leftist politics. It was than that I ran across Jamal’s book "Live From Death Row." I felt it impossible that this man who seemed so articulate, so seemingly sensitive to the plight of others, could be guilty of anything and was compelled to do something to address what I saw to be an obvious case of injustice.

What finally pushed me into full-throttle on Mumia activism was not a full scale investigation into the facts of the case, but rather a viewing of the HBO documentary on Jamal’s case "A Case for Reasonable Doubt," which first aired in 1996. I now see just how terribly flawed and biased the documentary was, but, at the time, I believed it to be an unbiased look at how the justice system had got it all wrong and had allowed for an innocent man to be on death row. I was hooked.

When I came into the "Mumia movement" during the mid-nineties, the cause was at the height of its popularity. Mumia had a host of celebrities and politicos to count on as defenders, as well as thousands of other activists who hung on his every word, gobbled up his books, and shelled out in excess of a million dollars to feed the giant legal and organizing machine that sought to "brick by brick, wall by wall, free Mumia Abu-Jamal."

And there I was in the middle of it. I believed that the dread locked, self-proclaimed "voice of the voiceless" was a victim of a political frame up enacted by racist Philadelphia authorities. So, I attended all the rallies, raised funds, organized locally in my hometown of Virginia Beach, and befriended cult-member, and chief Mumia advocate, Pam Africa. My tireless dedication to the cause quickly propelled me up the ranks and I soon found myself dining and hanging out with the likes of Zack De-Rocha of Rage Against the Machine, Mos Def, Ed Asner, delegations of French politicians and dozens of other high profile, and deep-pocketed "Mumia-maniacs" while attending pro-Mumia events.

The first time I crossed the line from being an activist to being an attack dog on behalf of Pam. Africa was back in 1997 when I phoned Jane Henderson who was then the head of a group called Equal Justice. Equal Justice was an organization which organized and raised huge amounts of funds on Mumia’s behalf. Pam and Jane had locked horns over the root of most conflicts, money. To put it simply, Equal Justice was successful in raising it and Pam’s group International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia was successful in financial mismanagement.
This led inevitably to conflict and I loyally joined the fray on Pam’s behalf and at her behest. I called up Jane Henderson on the phone and berated her for her disloyalty to the cause and her audaciousness. From that day forth, I was consumed with putting Jamal’s detractors in their proper place. I loved the rush of rhetorical combat and always spoiled for a fight with those who had not "seen the light."

I began to write articles that were more ad-hominem attacks than fact based analysis pieces, which were more an exercise in ego than integrity. I called Pulitzer prize winning journalist Steve Lopez a hack, labeled Philadelphia Radio Host Michael Smerconish a racist, and even made crude remarks about the physical appearance of Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham.

I was cruel for cruelties sake; yet, my "literary" bombast did not bring reproach from my fellow travelers of the far left, it brought praise. My articles were printed in dozens of leftist periodicals and, while trolling around the Internet, I had found that someone had even taken the time to translate some of my pieces into Japanese and French. I was on a roll, a big fish in a very tiny and unimportant pond, but for me it was something important, something I thought I needed.
Eventually my zealousness caught up with me when I wrote a scathing review of Dave Lindorff’s book Killing Time. Lindorff’s book was decidedly pro-Mumia, but it did make rather harsh criticisms of Jamal’s lawyers Marlene Kamish and Eliot Grossman and the defense they were attempting to use at that time. Lindorff also offered a somewhat oblique critique of the Jamal movement, which was than, and is certainly now, in a state of decline.

In conversations with Pam Africa, I was left with the impression that this book was a threat to Jamal’s defense and that Lindorff was likely an agent of the government seeking to discredit the movement. That was all that I needed to hear. I then set out to destroy Lindorff’s reputation and make sure he didn’t sell any books.

As it turns out, I almost succeeded. Speaking to Lindorff about the effects of my handiwork a few months ago he indicated to me that he believed my leveling review cut harshly into the book sales and caused many within the movement to question his own motivations in writing the book. But unlike all of my previous victims, Lindorff fought back and through some heated and public exchanges over the Internet forced me, for once, to defend my actions. It was the beginning of the end of my blind faith in the utterances of Pam Africa.
I soon realized that I had allowed my self to be transformed from a wide-eyed, well-intentioned, teen activist into a cynical peddler of lies who de-constructed people for kicks. I didn’t care about the truthful recording of facts or emotional sincerity, or integrity. I cared about the "movement" and my precious ego. It took me a while to realize that in producing prose that was flagrantly artificial and mean spirited that I had become the monster that I had claimed to be in opposition to.

After some time, I started to get the impression that I was not alone in my looseness of facts within the movement. It began to become evident that for most of the people who supported Mumia, the facts were not relevant. All that mattered to most of Jamal’s menagerie of kooky friends was that he embraced a leftist ideology that made Michael Moore seem like Karl Rove.

The facts of Jamal’s case create a troubling dilemma for the movement dedicated to freeing him. The evidence could not be more clear. Mumia shot Faulkner in the back and than shot the twenty-five-year-old, newly married police officer between the eyes. No less than five witnesses implicated Mumia in the shooting. Other witnesses would come forward and make the claim that Jamal had even boasted of killing Officer Faulkner.

Abu-Jamal was found at the crime scene slumped against a light pole, himself suffering from a gun-shot wound...the one shot that Officer Faulkner was able to get off before he was killed by Jamal. Mumia’s .38 caliber revolver was found at the scene of the crime with five empty shell casings. The bullet retrieved from Faulkner’s brain matched up to Mumia’s gun.

As far as Jamal’s defense goes, you might need a scorecard to keep up. Jamal’s original attorney during his 1982 trial, Anthony Jackson, failed to produce or even insinuate that their were any witnesses that could counter the claims of the prosecutions eyewitnesses. He did not so much offer a rebuttal to the prosecutions case, but rather focused upon relatively unimportant discrepancies in the prosecution witnesses testimonies. Years later, Anthony Jackson would be unfairly maligned by Jamal’s supporters as an actual participant in the conspiracy to "railroad" Jamal.

A careful reading of trial transcripts paints another picture all together, though. It was not Jackson that sabotaged Jamal’s case, it was Mumia. At every opportunity, Jamal sought to undermine the authority of the court and generally create a terrible nuisance of himself through obscene outbursts and repeated demands that the leader of the MOVE cult serve as his attorney. Unfortunately for Jamal, his crude attempt at political theater didn’t work well for him and he was convicted by a jury of first degree murder and was subsequently sentenced to death.
Through most of the 1980's Jamal’s case was all but forgotten. Than in 1990, a new team of lawyers came together to defend Mumia after the Trotskyist, Socialist Workers Party started doing activist work around Jamal’s case. The team was led by Leonard Weinglass of "Chicago 7" fame and it was through Weinglass’s relentless ability to lie, and lie well, that Mumia would become the cause celebre of the 1990's.

Qualitatively, the legal strategy pursued by Weinglass was not altogether that different from that which was presented by Anthony Jackson. Weinglass did, however, offer his own version of what happened the fateful night that Faulkner was killed.

According to Weinglass, Jamal was shot as he approached the scene by Faulkner, whom was in the midst of beating Billy Cook. At that point, the passenger in Billy Cook’s car exited the vehicle, shot Officer Faulkner, and proceeded to run east on Locust Street away from the scene.
To back up this version of events, Weinglass presented three witnesses. The first was a career criminal and known pimp. The second was a man named William Singletary, whom Weinglass even had to admit "was not entirely accurate" about his recollection of events. And the third witness was a man named Harkins who ended up testifying that the man who shot Faulkner "sat down and sat on the curb." This was devastating to Weinglass’s case as it corroborated what the prosecution witnesses had said in the original trial. Needless to say, Jamal’s crucial Post Conviction Relief Appeal (PCRA) was turned down.

While he was not so successful in getting his client off of death row, Weinglass fared much better in the court of public opinion (outside of Philadelphia, anyway). He circled the globe and raised thousands of dollars for himself and for the defense of Jamal. He published a book "Race for Justice" and was treated as a hero at pro-Mumia events.

Yet, despite his out of court success in raising Jamal’s profile, Weinglass and his co-counsel Dan Williams were fired by Jamal in 2001. The "free Mumia" movement was shocked at the sudden and unexpected move on the part of Jamal. Mumia justified firing his legal team by citing a conflict of interest due to the fact that Dan Williams was about to publish a book about Jamal’s case. Williams would allege that Jamal not only knew about the book and approved of its publication, but had also read it in manuscript form, something that Jamal does not deny.
Nevertheless, two relatively unknown attorneys were tapped to replace Weinglass, Marlene Kamish and Eliot Grossman. In addition to savagely attacking Weinglass’s performance as counsel, Grossman and Kamish would introduce a new element to the Jamal case...a confession from someone other than Jamal to the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner.

It would be argued by Grossman and Kamish that a man named Arnold Beverly, not Jamal, shot Faulkner. And what did they produce as evidence? A grainy and certainly suspect videotape of what appears to be a homeless person confessing to killing Faulkner.

His reason for this brutal murder? According to Beverly, he and another man (who remains unnamed, but is often implied to be Kenneth Freeman-a long time friend and business partner of Billy Cook ) were hired to kill Daniel Faulkner because of Faulkner’s interference in mob-run, prostitution and drug-dealing. Beverly went even further to say that it was not only the mob that wanted a rookie, low ranking officer rubbed out, it was corrupt cops as well.

There are, of course, a few problems with the course of events as presented by Kamish and Grossman in regards to the Beverly confession. The first and most obvious being the Beverly confession, itself. Aside from it sounding completely ridiculous, the fact is that nobody can place Beverly at the scene of the crime.

Secondly, the chain of events, as presented by Arnold Beverly, directly contradict nearly all of the defense claims made prior to the alleged "confession." For example, nearly anyone who is familiar with the case has heard Jamal’s defense claim that the gun that killed Faulkner was a .44 while Jamal’s gun was a .38. Yet, in his confession, Beverly claims that he used either a .22 or .38 to kill Faulkner. Arnold Beverly also makes the wild assertion that two police officers were near the scene when the shooting started, a claim that no other witness has corroborated.
Beverly claims that after he shot Faulkner he ran west down Locust Street and on down into the subway. However, since 1995, the defense had been making the claim that Faulkner’s killer had ran east and into an alleyway.

In one of the most patently revealing, manipulative tactics employed by Kamish and Grossman, the primary support of Arnold Beverly’s confession was buttressed by an affidavit from Billy Cook. In this affidavit, Cook’s testimony reads like spackle on a wall.

Where the defense had holes and gaps in their narration of an alternative scenario, Cook pasted in what, quite obviously, he thought the case needed. He added yet another .38 caliber pistol in the hands of Kenneth Freeman, the passenger of his car. He added a confession from Freeman that he was involved in a plot to assassinate Officer Faulkner with another guy.
What he left out was why his friend would make him the get away driver without first consulting him. He left out any eye-witness account of the actual shooting. And he left out any guilt that would have rightfully be his own in his role as driver of a murder plot. Basically, he wanted readers to believe that he innocently drove to the site of a conspiracy, unaware, confused, and unable to have seen anything implicating against his brother and his best friend.

Another, and perhaps more daunting problem for Jamal’s supporters is the fact that Beverly had approached Jamal attorneys as far back as 1999 in regards to his confession and the two lead attorneys on the case found his story to be wholly incredible. Dan Williams, one of Jamal’s attorneys at the time Beverly came forward, had this to say about the Beverly confession in his 2001 book "Executing Justice."

"I wasn’t about to embarrass myself by running with such a patently outrageous story on the most visible death-penalty case in the world."

I recall vividly when the Beverly confession story broke in the media, how electrified the Jamal movement was. At a celebratory dinner held that night in downtown Philadelphia, my fellow Jamal supporters were abuzz with excitement and the question of the night was how long before the disgraced District Attorney’s office would release Jamal in the face of a confession from the "real killer."

I, for one, did not share in their excitement, nor their optimism, that Jamal would soon be released. As it turns out, pretty much the only people who bought into the Beverly theory were the throng of Jamal supporters gorging themselves on sub-par Indian food that night.
As for me, I had another reason that I could not share in my comrades’ enthusiasm. The reason for my pessimism was a conversation that I had with Eliot Grossman just prior to him taking over the case from Leonard Weinglass, a conversation that yielded a confession far more compelling than the one offered up by Beverly.

I had met Grossman out in Los Angeles back in the summer of 2000 when I traveled there with MOVE member and Mumia movement leader Pam Africa to participate in the huge Mumia demonstration that was to be held the weekend before the Democratic National Convention was to begin.

Grossman, along with Marlene Kamish, had filed an "amicus" (friend of the court) brief on behalf of Jamal that had been held up within elements of the movement as a piece of superb legal work. Before flying out to LA, Pam had been running around for weeks telling anyone within earshot just how brilliant Grossman and Kamish’s work had been, all the while voicing her frustrations with Williams and Weinglass (frustrations that seemed to be rooted in financial arrangements, as opposed to disputes over legal strategy).

We ended up staying at Grossman’s hilltop home outside of LA. And while I can say I quickly came to like Grossman, it became quickly clear that he had an agenda, one of Weinglass’s destruction. As it turned out, Weinglass and Grossman had, at one time, been friends. The two apparently had some kind of falling out over the handling of a death penalty case in Chicago they two had worked on. Now Grossman was on a mission and Pam Africa, already perturbed at Weinglass, was all ears.

For two days, Pam and I were subjected to an almost continuous tirade against Weinglass and the decisions that had been made by the current legal team. It quickly became clear to me that Weinglass was soon going to be out and Grossman and company would be in. What also became apparent was that Grossman did not care that his soon to be client was likely guilty. In fact, in a moment of alcohol induced candidness, Grossman looked at Pam and me and told us that everything that he had looked at in regards to the case pointed to the fact that Jamal murdered Faulkner.

Needless to say, I was floored. Here was a man that, for two days, had been aggressively lobbying to take over Mumia’s case, saying that he believed that Jamal was guilty! A few awkward moments passed and I looked over to Pam Africa and waited for her to respond to Grossman’s clear violation of "movement etiquette," but the rebuke didn’t come. She simply nodded affirmatively. Was she agreeing with Grossman’s summation? I, to this day, don’t know, but I certainly have my suspicion.

Now you can imagine my shock upon hearing, just a few months after that meeting with Grossman, that he was presenting a theory of events that completely exonerated Jamal from any involvement in Faulkner’s shooting. I was starting to come to the realization that often my "fellow-travelers" on the far left were not interested in truth or justice or any of the things that are paid lip-service to, but were interested in furthering an ideology. Jamal was a hero of the "radicals." Grossman was an old-school Marxist who was simply doing his part for the "cause" (not to speak of elevating himself to iconic status amongst his fellow crackpots). Whether Jamal shot and killed Faulkner or not, really didn’t seem to matter to Grossman, but it did to me.

It seems that Jamal eventually tired of Grossman and Kamish and has now let them go. Philadelphia attorney Robert Bryan has taken over the daunting task of freeing Jamal. As the case stands now Jamal could still be executed, but this is not likely. As Jamal’s prosecutor told the jurors in the case, Jamal would get "years of appeals."
As it turns, out he was right. Jamal’s attorney is now filing appeals on Jamal’s behalf claiming that the original trial judge, Judge Albert Sabo was biased against Jamal.

Mumia, through his writings, has presented himself as a proto-typical-far-leftist, sprucing his articles with quotes from Chomsky, Zinn, Paine, and even occasionally quotes from fellow African- Americans. Yet, the fact is that while it is generally accepted that Mumia is a "leftist revolutionary" working to overthrow the capitalist oppressors, he is wedded to the religious sect MOVE and, for a time, so was I.

MOVE was started in the early 1970's by a man named Vincent Lephart who would later change his name to John Africa, along with a college professor named Donald Glassey. At its base, MOVE is a group that’s stated goal is the destruction of not only western civilization, but, in fact, all of civilization. MOVE teaches its members that mankind strayed from the natural order of things millions of years ago and has been reaping the "wages of sin" ever since. They believe that for things to be "right again," all man-made constructs from enlightenment notions of justice to the SUV need to be done away with.

They believe that John Africa is God and they believe everyone not in MOVE are "perverts" and a raper of "mother earth." They keep the young members of the cult largely illiterate and force girls as young as twelve to become pregnant and "marry" grown men and other teenaged boys.

MOVE has been in two major confrontations with authorities in Philadelphia, one in 1978, which resulted in the death of Police Officer James Ramp after he was shot by MOVE members (eight of whom remain in prison for his murder).

The other was in 1985. This time the Police actually dropped a "bomb" from a State Police Helicopter onto a bunker MOVE members had built atop their West Philadelphia row home igniting a fire. This fire was allowed to burn by authorities and the resulting conflagration left a neighborhood in ruins and six adults and five children of MOVE dead, amongst them was MOVE founder John Africa.

Ramona Africa was the only adult MOVE member inside the house to survive. She served seven years in prison for her role in the confrontation. When she was released, she advanced her role as one of MOVE’s leaders, sued the city, won millions, and now lives in Chester, PA, outside of Philadelphia.

In 2000, I moved in with Ramona Africa and became a full fledged "supporter" of MOVE (the group no longer accepts members, adherents are considered supporters) of MOVE. How a middle class, white kid who supported Mumia ended up in a cult comprised of mostly African-Americans who preach sermons of destruction is not nearly a complicated story as one might expect.

What began as the political for me, quickly became the personal. I trusted MOVE in the context of the movement to "Free Mumia" and this trust became manifest in other aspects of my life. I not only began to query MOVE members in relation to matter of politics, but also personal matters, affairs of the heart. I slowly started to cede control of my life to people that I thought had my best interest at heart, people that I thought were touched by the divine inspiration of John Africa. It goes without saying, that I was wrong, terribly wrong.

I was, however, more fortunate than many people who had been caught up in MOVE’s grasp. I kept a steady job, which allowed me more independence than many MOVE adherents and I always had a bit of a contrary streak within me that kept me from completely surrendering my cerebral and ironic faculties. For, you see, in MOVE, being an emotional cripple is the key to success within the group. The less that you can do on your own and the more dependant you are on the group, the more you are held up as the example to be followed. The less you think, the stronger you are in MOVE’s eyes.

I stayed close with MOVE until 2002, when one event would forever alter the course of my life. On September 27th, of that year I received a call at my job telling me that John Gilbride had been killed. Now I didn’t know John, but I did know that he was MOVE’s number one enemy and they hated him. As I slumped into the chair at my Office one thought raced through my mind "MOVE killed John."

John was found dead at 12:08 that morning in the parking lot of his apartment complex. The motor still running, the music still blaring, his head and body blown apart from multiple gunshot wounds. Two years have gone by since that day and prosecutors have yet to make an arrest, although media reports have indicated that MOVE matriarch Alberta Africa may be the prime suspect in the case.

Alberta, an ex-con, a woman twice John’s age, and the ex-wife of MOVE founder John Africa, had married John back in the early nineties. John was much like myself, a white, middle class MOVE supporter.

The two had a child together through in-vitro fertilization and the difficulties began soon after. It seems that after some time as a father, John was coming to the conclusion that life in MOVE was not what would be best for his son. He was growing weary of MOVE members staged "interventions" every time he and Alberta would get into an argument. He was tiring of the cult’s overbearing control over his life and the life of his young son.

In the fall of 1998, John had decided he had enough and left Alberta. He reportedly left her with $500 and immediately had a lawyer notify Alberta that he was filing for divorce and, more importantly, he was going to fight for his young son.
It took until 2000 for the divorce to be settled, but the bitter custody dispute would rage on until John’s death.

As a MOVE supporter, I do not recall the first time that I heard about John, but I do recall that as the years wore on, the Organization spent more of its time and energy in fighting John than doing anything else. Activism on behalf of Mumia became an issue on the back burner.
We were told that John was a "government puppet" who was not interested in getting custody of his son, but rather was attempting to force the Organization into another confrontation with police that would end in more jail time for MOVE members, or worse. We were told that he had to be stopped and that Alberta Africa would never allow her son to be taken by John, no matter what.

We were asked to carry out a number of "activities" against John that were literally designed to ruin the man’s life and take away his livelihood. Senior MOVE members instructed us to call his job at the airlines to tell his bosses that John was a terrorist. MOVE supporters were sent to John’s parent’s home outside of Washington DC to spread flyers accusing the family of being "child molesters." MOVE members staged a confrontation with John in an attempt to paint him as a domestic abuser. All of these attacks on John failed and, in fact, only seemed to strengthen his resolve to fight for his young son.

In August of 2002, a judge finally granted John the unsupervised visitation rights that he had been pursuing. By all appearances, it seemed that MOVE was ready for a showdown with John and the authorities.

I was terrified. Nearly every day, my wife and infant daughter would be stationed outside of the now fortified MOVE house staring down the hordes of media who had now descended on the area. After hearing years of anti-police rhetoric from our MOVE idols, we were all certain that the authorities had every intention of storming the MOVE house, especially after MOVE members made it clear that John would not be allowed the court ordered visitation with his son.
Through stall tactics MOVE managed to block John from seeing his son until finally, towards the end of September, MOVE had run out of time and options. The day John was murdered was the day that he was going to have his first unsupervised visit with his son. It was also the day that I decided that, like John, I had enough of MOVE.

It would take me nearly two years to extricate myself and my family from MOVE. For me the choice was simple, but, like John, I had a wife and young child who were firmly in MOVE’s grasp and there was no way that I was going to leave without them.
So, I stayed in MOVE, at least in the physical sense. I went to their functions, gave them my money, helped with their website, and, worst of all, pretended like I didn’t know they were murderers. It was a living hell, one only endurable because of the hope I had that my wife, who had joined MOVE when I did, would eventually see the group for what it was.

Eventually, she did. In March of this year we officially left MOVE and the Mumia movement for good. The tale of our extrication from the group made the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer back in September in an article titled "Life In MOVE."

Needless to say, our former MOVE "friends" were not overly happy with our choice to depart MOVE. Upon hearing the news that I was leaving, one MOVE member said that I was "worse than John Gilbride." Other MOVE supporters responded with e-mailed threats indicating that I would "go down" and that I had better watch my back because you never knew who was going to "get it next." They also accused me of being a racist, a government agent, a provocateur, and a schizophrenic etc...

Insults against me I could handle, but threats against my family and I were another story. We had no choice but to leave the Philadelphia area, conceal our new whereabouts, and hope that MOVE will never find us.

Upon leaving MOVE I made a vow to myself that I would work in whatever capacity that I could to educate people about MOVE in order to help them not make the same mistake I did.

However, until now, I have stayed relatively silent about my feelings towards Jamal. I partially did so because, as someone opposed to the death penalty, I was afraid that comments I make against the "Mumia movement" might be used against the larger death penalty cause.
Secondly I really don’t think that Mumia is ever going to leave prison, so what would be the point in further discrediting an already doomed man? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that no one has benefitted from Jamal’s imprisonment more than the MOVE Organization. I came to the conclusion that one of the best ways to illustrate MOVE’s contemptible nature is by discussing MOVE’s role within the Jamal movement.

In my view, Jamal was the best thing that ever happened to MOVE. It has provided them with a ready made cause and a somewhat steady supply of funds and members. I would wager that nearly all of the people who have came to the group in the last 15 years found out about MOVE through Mumia’s case.

Pam Africa and other MOVE members get trips around the world to meet world-leaders preaching watered down versions of their "MOVE belief" while advocating for the release of Jamal. Mumia’s case has allowed MOVE members unprecedented access to influential and famous people that would, as a matter of principle, normally reject MOVE members and their arcane ideology out of hand.

What I found when I did the investigation into the Jamal case, that I really should have done nearly a decade ago, was that while the prosecution’s case could be seen from certain perspectives as being flawed, the totality of evidence points to Jamal as being the only possible killer of Danny Faulkner.

This came to me as not at all a shock, but I must confess it was a bitter pill to swallow that I had made a mistake that took up nearly a decade of my life. Not only had I spent my time supporting an unrepentant killer, but I had also attacked the credibility and reputations of those who would dare question the validity of Jamal’s cause, or even heretics from within the movement, who had dared cross Pam Africa or her MOVE compatriots.

So how where does this leave me? Opponents and supporters of what I am doing in relation to the MOVE Organization have often queried me as to what my political outlook is now. Certainly, I reject MOVE’s violent cultism and Mumia’s contradictory marinade of MOVE belief, black-power politics, and Chomskyite platitudes. I find unacceptable the moral blindness of people like Ramsey Clark and Micheal Moore and am increasingly uncomfortable with far-left’s support of Islamo-fascists and dictators.

Writer Christopher Hitchens made the point that at one time for the left, "fascism meant war." Now, for most of my "fellow travelers," it seems that fascism is something to support and to make exceptions for. For me, having seen the results of this endorsement of evil first hand, I cannot count myself amongst the ranks of the "radical left" any longer.

That said, I still hate bigotry and racialism for all of the calamities that it has wrought upon the world. I don’t trust, nor have time for the overly religious or the "transcendent" who offer us fantasy instead of reality. I still believe that most politicians don’t have our best interest at hand and that the power they wield is often out of proportion with the brains in their heads, and often deserve the distrust that people have for them. So politically I don’t know exactly where I am, but I do know where I am not. And I certainly know that Mumia is where he belongs and that, in time, MOVE will be relegated to the dustbin history.


At 10:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I discovered this blog via Marc Cooper. I was involved with the Free Mumia movement ten years ago but only hung around, so to speak, for a couple of years. I met Pam Africa and was in the International Friends & Family of Mumia. I never joined MOVE (I saw no reason to) and never studied their ideology closely. I didn't think it mattered, really; what mattered was that Mumia got railroaded. I'm sure that the majority of people in the movement felt the same way.

I don't know if Mumia is guilty or not. I do know that Albert Sabo was a racist bastard and prosecutor in robes and NO ONE could have recieved a fair trial from him, regardless of their politics.

I'm sorry you've gone through such shitty experiences with MOVE et al. I do think you're painting the radical left with a very broad brush -- most of the movement is not even paying attention to Mumia anymore. And it would be hard to find people who are soft on Islamist fascism within, say, Democratic Socialists of America. I really hope you haven't gone from cultish "leftism" to support for the Iraq war (the Hitchens quote is rather ominous). It is still right to be an anti-capitalist radical regardless of whether or not Mumia shot Daniel Faulkner.

At 7:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you think Mumia belongs on death row? How would you respond to Cecil Adams?


The death sentence is a different matter. Remember that Abu- Jamal initially was trying to help his brother. The prosecution said he didn't fire the fatal shot until he'd been wounded himself. The whole thing was over in seconds. Was this a premeditated crime? The jury evidently was unsure, since it requested clarification on the definition of third-degree murder and manslaughter after deliberations began.

Abu-Jamal was found guilty of murder one but still might have avoided execution had it not been for the highly irregular penalty hearing. As was his right, the defendant made a contentious statement to the court. This ticked off the judge, who ruled that Abu-Jamal, who had not testified during the trial, could be cross- examined. The prosecution took the opportunity to introduce Maoist rhetoric the defendant had spouted 12 years before at age 16. These irrelevant remarks apparently convinced the mostly-white jury that Abu-Jamal was a dangerous revolutionary, and though he had no prior criminal record they sentenced him to death. Amnesty International has rightly protested that he is being killed for his political views. The guy maybe deserves prison but probably not the fatal dose.


At 5:29 PM , Blogger Tony Allen said...

I don't believe that Mumia belongs on death row I believe he should be in jail. If my poor writing led you to a different conclusion than I apologize

At 11:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think there can ever be an apology worthy for all allen's bad writing and outright lies..fueled by a desire to be accepted along with some jealousy about other MOVE supporters being treated better than him.

At 11:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I began to write articles that were more ad-hominem attacks than fact based analysis pieces, which were more an exercise in ego than integrity."

Not much has changed huh Tony?

At 6:43 AM , Blogger Voolfie said...

Fry Mumia!

At 9:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope jamal enjoys taking the barbed prick of satan up his ass. Then he be's chillin' wit tookie.

At 11:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent article.


"Remember that Abu- Jamal initially was trying to help his brother. The prosecution said he didn't fire the fatal shot until he'd been wounded himself."

Poppycock. You don't fire a gun at someone unless your intent is to kill. It is irrelevant whether the first or second shot proved to be the "fatal shot."


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