Thursday, March 31, 2005

What is the Truth about What Happened to “Life Africa”?

There are a few things that every MOVE adherent just “knows.” They “know” that MOVE founder John Africa’s words are not to be questioned. They “know” that the “system” is evil and that they alone are the “vanguard” of the revolution to overthrow this malevolent force. They “know” that anyone who leaves MOVE must do so under threats from the government.

They also “know” that on a March night nearly 30 years ago, the Philadelphia Police Department killed three week old “Life Africa” during a police inspired melee at MOVE headquarters.

The story of “Life’s” death, much like that of the May 13th, 1985, “bombing” of MOVE, and the 1978 police assault on MOVE headquarters, has been become an integral part of MOVE’s marketing strategy of victimization.

The cult of death is also, out of necessity, a cult of martyrdom.

The bottom line is that without constant stories of abuse, coercion, and government sponsored death, there is nothing that remains of MOVE. That is except a backwards ideology, an ideology that most MOVE members don’t even bother to adhere to.

The tale of what happened to “Life” is terrible no matter how you cut it. The death of a child, particularly one so young to an act of violence, is, well... almost beyond words.

Perhaps the only thing that could possibly compound the tragedy would be to exploit it, to lie about it, and to use it as cheap boilerplate propaganda for political gain.

But who would be so cynical and depraved to use the death of a tiny baby to further its agenda?

It seems that MOVE would.

The official MOVE version of what happened on March 28, 1976, from its publication “25 Years on the MOVE” is as follows:

"On March 28, 1976, seven jailed MOVE members were released late in the evening and arrived home after midnight. Officers in at least ten police cars and wagons pulled up in front of the 33rd Street house and said MOVE was creating a disturbance. When Chuck Africa told police to leave MOVE alone, officer Daniel Palermo grabbed him and began to beat him as other cops pulled out night sticks and set upon MOVE members. Six MOVE men were arrested and beaten so viciously they suffered fractured skulls, concussions and chipped bones. Robert Africa was struck over the head with a nightstick that broke in two from the force of the blow. Janine Africa was trying to protect her husband Phil Africa, when she was grabbed by a cop, thrown to the ground with 3-week-old Life Africa in arms, and stomped until she was nearly unconscious. The baby's skull was crushed.

The next morning, MOVE notified the media that the police had brutally attacked them and that a baby had been murdered. An officer's hat and the broken nightstick were displayed outside MOVE headquarters. Police denied that any beatings took place or that a baby was killed and claimed that the baby probably never existed because there was no birth certificate. They then arrested the member who had shown the hat and nightstick to the press, on charges of receiving stolen property. To prove the death to a skeptical media, MOVE invited the press and local politicians to dinner at their headquarters. Those accepting the invitation included city councilmen Joseph Coleman and Lucien Blackwell, and Blackwell's wife, Jannie. After the meal, the guests were shown the baby's body.”

One could find plenty of problems within the above narrative. The problem that I have is the one that came about when I took the time to actually investigate it.

According to a former MOVE member, the child did not die at the hands of cruel cops on a mission to kill MOVE babies. The child’s skull was not crushed by jack booted thugs. According to a former MOVE member, the child died of natural causes.

Former MOVE member, Valerie Brown, speaking through her attorney, had this to say about the incident:

“The child died of natural causes that might not have occurred had MOVE believed in modern medicine, and they used it for political purposes against the police. Propaganda."

Brown made the comments about the death of Life Africa just after the May 13th catastrophe on Osage Avenue. That is not all that she had to say. She also claimed that John Africa had threatened to kill all of the children in MOVE headquarters if the police had stormed the house back in 1976.

So much for John Africa’s dedication to protecting life.

Brown also remarked about the “meetings” that MOVE members would have on one another as a mechanism of control. Echoing the sentiments of numerous other former MOVE adherents (myself included), Brown summarized that the MOVE interventions were:

"good at demoralizing you and they stripped your defenses, then they hugged you and tried to build you back up."

In early 1981, Brown decided that the life of MOVE was not the life that she wanted for herself and her two young daughters. So early one morning, she slipped away from the MOVE house on Osage Avenue, never to return.

She spoke out after the May 13th tragedy because she wanted people to know that she had moved on from the group that had sparked the chaos on Osage Avenue and because she wanted people to know the truth about the group that she had so long been a part of. It is clear that she wanted to purge her conscience of the deception surrounding the death of “Life Africa,” to let people know how ruthless and indifferent to the lives of their own children that MOVE could be.

Now I am guessing that someone reading this might question my motives in dredging up the death of an infant that occurred nearly three decades ago. To them, I would point out that the death of this child was the catalyst for MOVE’s more militant stance against authorities. This position that MOVE took led directly to the 1978 incident, which led directly to the 1985 confrontation, which leads us to the MOVE Organization of today. To understand any hermetic and dangerous cult, you must understand the lies that drive them and the mythology that propels their divorce from reality.

There needs to be a balance of information readily available to people whose interest is peeked by MOVE. When I came around the group, the most updated details about the history and mythology of MOVE from authors independent of police sources was scarce, if not non-existent. Had such relevant information been available, my decision to get involved with such a group would, quite possibly have been averted.

The sad, but true, fact about those who are interested in MOVE is that they do not research further their causes and interest much more then what is a free mouse click away. Now, they can have this access that has come at an expense of time, finances, and security to me, without having to pay this price themselves. It is my gift to the unknowing.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

A Bloody Precedent

On November 5, 1979, former MOVE member William Whitney Smith left his wife and three young children to go to work. It was the last time that his family would see him alive.

Nearly a month later, his decaying body was found in the Schylkill River, not far from where he worked in Philadelphia. The death of William Smith was officially ruled a suicide, but authorities considered the man's death to be suspicious.

Smith was more than just a former member of a cult. He was a former member of a cult that had, plead guilty to weapons and conspiracy charges. He was a former MOVE member whom, only a year earlier, "turned traitor" and testified against his former MOVE comrades. This testimony helped to convict two MOVE members, Samuel Sanders and Gregory Howard of weapons charges, landing them in jail with three year sentences (Sanders and Howard would eventually leave MOVE.)

More importantly, however, is the factor that Smith was supposed to testify against MOVE founder John Africa in the trial that MOVE billed "JOHN AFRICA vs. The System."

Had Smith survived to tell the tale, he would have told the federal jury that John Africa and his co-defendant Alphonso Robbins had ordered him to relocate an illegal cache of weapons and bombs.

This weapons cache was part of a larger terrorist plot allegedly orchestrated by John Africa to plant bombs in foreign cities throughout the world in order to pressure than Mayor Frank Rizzo to "leave MOVE alone." Integral to the case against Africa would be Smith's testimony, but it would be testimony that the jury would never hear.

Although transcripts were available from the previous trial where Smith had testified against other MOVE members, the presiding Judge would not allow them to be read to the jury in the case against John Africa. According to Judge Green, "the interests of justice would not be served" by the reading of the transcripts to the jury.

The absence of Smith's testimony dealt a serious blow to the prosecution’s case. Without it, prosecutors would have that much harder of a time corroborating the testimony of their prime witness, MOVE co-founder Donald Glassey (There will be more details about Glassey's role in this investigation, as well as his partnership with John Africa, at a later date.)

It is rather important to note here that MOVE has long used the fact that they never went after Donald Glassey as proof positive that they are a peaceful Organization that would never seek to physically punish those they consider "traitors" or their "enemies." The fact is Glassey went into the witness protection program. William Whitney Smith, for one reason or another, opted not to do the same and ended up dead. The result of this man’s death was that the men that he was to testify against, John Africa and Alphonso Robbins walked out of court as free men. The jury found them innocent on all counts.

When asked by reporters from the Philadelphia Inquirer why they had acquitted the MOVE members, the jurors indicated that the prosecution simply did not have enough corroborating evidence. This kind of evidence would have been presented by Smith, had he been alive to testify at the trial
For MOVE, the death of Smith was a vindication, or a total victory. His “suicide” gave credence to their proclamations that anyone who left MOVE was subject to terrible suffering as payment for their traitorous ways. It also severely damaged the already precarious case against John Africa.

It is what MOVE told the public and their supporters about the death of Smith that is most interesting, and curious, about this whole scenario.

Upon hearing of Smith's death, MOVE told people that the police had killed him because he was considering reconciling his differences with the sect and coming back to MOVE. Louise James, a former MOVE member and the sister of John Africa, allegedly contradicted this “police assassination” theory in 1984 when she allegedly told authorities that MOVE was “responsible” for the death of Smith. It is unclear whether they took her admission seriously or whether the matter was pursued further.

If this line of a “government hit” sounds familiar coming from MOVE, it is because it is the same one used by Alberta Africa at a press conference the day that her ex-husband John Gilbride was killed. According to Alberta, "I've experienced a lot of pain at the hands of this government, and I believe this government is behind this." She would go on to say that her and John were on the verge of reconciliation and his return to MOVE was imminent. Something contradicted by court records as well as by the family of Gilbride

Perhaps, it is the government behind all of this. But before one falls for MOVE’s conspiracy theories of g-men out whacking people to hurt MOVE’s leader’s feelings, as Alberta has alleged, one might want to consider the words of former MOVE member, Jeanne Africa.

Testifying at John Africa’s federal trial in 1981, Jeanne claimed that John Africa told her that her husband Ishongo, whom she alleged had been abusive to her, was to be killed. According to Jeanne, her husband would placed in the front line of an upcoming confrontation between MOVE and the police. During the MOVE inspired chaos, John Africa allegedly told her that Ishongo would “hopefully get a bullet.” He went on to assure her that in case the police did not do the job (i.e. shoot her husband), that MOVE members “would do it and make it look like the cops did.”

At some point, Jeanne had a change of heart towards her allegedly abusive mate and got word to Ishongo that his life was in danger and he left the Organization and surrendered to police before the “confrontation” began. It was a brave act on her part, one that may have saved her husband’s life.

There is a tremendous amount of difficulty to be able to conclude that the words of Jeanne, the death of William Smith, and the murder of John Gilbride were merely coincidental. The more one diggs into the history of this group, the more a trend of violence and death emerges.

For if one is to accept the testimony of Jeanne Africa, the conclusion becomes an acceptance that the founder of MOVE ordered the death of one his disciples. If one takes the statement of Louise James to be true, than it is likely that a witness in a high-profile federal case against MOVE’s leader was killed to prevent his testimony from being heard.

Twenty-five years later, there is yet another disturbing event. MOVE has already provoked two “confrontations” with authorities and have suffered disastrous consequences for so doing. Eight MOVE members are still incarcerated as a result of the 1978 conflict with the Philadelphia Police department, which a ninth member died in prison. Six adult MOVE members and five children died in the 1985 confrontation with authorities. And what does MOVE have to show for all of these lives lost and logged years in prison cells? Not much.

The leadership that has guided the reigns of the organization for the past two decades all had lost close loved ones in the 1985 conflict with police. It is hard to accept that they would steer the sect into another violent clash with the city of Philadelphia, but in the summer of 2002, it certainly seemed like this would be the case.

MOVE, it seemed, was preparing for war. MOVE members and supporters were out on Kingsessing Avenue boarding up their West Philadelphia headquarters. Ominous statements were flowing forth from the group on a daily basis that promised that John Gilbride would never, under any circumstances, have custody of his young son, court orders be damned.

All seemed to be spiraling again into a scene of chaotic hopelessness. MOVE was on the brink of another unwinnable and potentially bloody conflict with the police. For those of who were close to MOVE, there was a sense that the doors were closing and that there were no options left. All seemed lost.

That is until Sept 22, 2002, when John Gilbride’s bullet ridden body was discovered in front of his Maple Shade, New Jersey, apartment only hours before he was to have his first unsupervised visit with his son. Remember, MOVE members vowed that such a visitation would never take place.

John Gilbride was dead and a cloud of suspicion hung over the MOVE Organization and those within the groups orbit, but the immediate danger of a war between MOVE and the police was at least, temporarily avoided. MOVE quickly switched from a group that was preparing to go the distance with the civilized world to a group that wanted nothing more than to fade into quiet anonymity.

The wooden slats that were placed over the windows at MOVE Headquarters were unceremoniously removed. The crude signs protesting the “oppression” of the sect disappeared almost over night. MOVE supporters were told not to speak or write about John’s death because the “system” wanted to frame a MOVE supporter for the crime. Everyone was told that the cops had done the deed in order to hurt Alberta.

William Whitney Smith and John Gilbride have a lot more in common than just being involved with MOVE. They were both people that MOVE would like the public to know little or nothing about. Neither one is listed upon any roster of MOVE martyrs, a peculiar factor when one considers that MOVE is a group whose whole post-1985 existence is predicated upon people believing that they are victims of a heartless and vicious “system.” They were both allegedly killed by the police according to MOVE, despite the fact that the police would have absolutely nothing to gain from killing these relatively young men.

Both William Whitney Smith and John Gilbride were fathers, both of whom had come to reject MOVE’s authoritarian cultism and were attempting to reclaim their lives and reconnect with their true and respective families. Perhaps the most important tie that binds John Gilbride and William Smith is the fact that those who stood to benefit the most from their deaths were the leaders of the MOVE Organization.

MOVE’s defense to these allegations against them, even the convictions that they are serving lifetime sentences for, is that people need only to look at their thirty-something year history to show their innocence and reverence for life.

Well, that is a good idea. The truth is that an honest study of the history of MOVE is exhausting and elusive. It is shrouded under a haze of deliberately confusing rhetoric. The law enforcement community and city government has a very hands-off, ‘let them do what they want’ disposition in an effort to avoid repeating the failures that created the 1985 confrontation. And then there is the undeniable discomfort of most people in openly discussing MOVE, due to the intimidations of its membership upon any one with a disagreeable posture towards the group.

Even without the ability to delve as deeply into the proper research of the MOVE cult, it is not difficult to see that it is blanketed by disaster, violence, and a level of narcicissim that can only lead to catastrophe. MOVE does not tread the path of revolution, of moving forward and making changes, such that it boasts. Rather it is a loathsome bastion of self-destruction that is at its best, a failed religion of a tiny number of zealots, and at its worst a murderous, manipulative, and degraded sect that primarily causes its own adherents tragedy.

Which ever way one tethers with MOVE, the rope always tightens back and collides with the foundation that it bases itself with. The question is, with a group that is bound to the fate of fading out of existence under the weight of its own contradictions, how many victims will be dragged down with it in the end?

Researching MOVE

Finding accurate information about MOVE can be a tedious process. Type in "MOVE Organization" in your search engine and you are likely to find page after page of MOVE's brand of revisionist history and boilerplate propaganda.

There are, however, places on the web where you can find more critical information about the group. The website of cult-researcher Rick Ross has a few articles about MOVE and a huge data base of information regarding mind control, the effects of cult involvement, problems stemming from leaving cults, etc...

Another place to find articles about MOVE is the archives at This website covers both the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News. It's database is huge, but, in order to access the full text of articles, you need to pay a fee.

Two free sources of information where you can find information about Mumia and MOVE are the websites of the Philadelphia City Paper and the Philadelphia Weekly.

Over the years, there have been a number of books published dealing with MOVE, although anyone purchasing them should know that none of them deal with anything post-1985. You will probably have no chance at all to purchase these books at your local bookstore, as they have long been out of print. However, I was searching at and was able to find every book ever written about MOVE to date available for purchase.

They are the following:

"The MOVE Crisis in Philadelphia"

"Let the Bunker Burn"

"Burning Down the House"

"Discourse and Destruction"

(For the Marxist perspective on the MOVE bombing see) "Attention MOVE this is America"

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Ramona The Liar

Back in Febuary, MOVE's lead propagandist Ramona Africa recorded an interview for Prison Radio in which she sought to update listeners on the latest information concerning the "MOVE 9" (whose latest appeals were recently denied.)

Not surprisingly, Ramona lied, lied, and than lied some more about the case of her MOVE comrades, who are in prison for among other things, the murder of a Philadelphia Police Officer back in August of 1978.

For instance, Ramona made the claim that the police were in a "frenzy" to kill MOVE members during the confrontation. And while there is plenty to criticize the police about in relation to the events of that day, the only ones on a quest for bloodshed were MOVE members.

Police, mediators, and even members of the clergy begged and pleaded for MOVE members to leave the basement where they had barricaded themselves and their children. MOVE's response was to issue threats of violence and grim vows to fight the police to the death. Finally, MOVE opened fire on police and in the ensuing gunfight, Philadelphia Police Officer James Ramp was killed and numerous other police and firefighters were wounded.

Ramona also makes the false statement that the bullet that killed Police Officer Ramp could not have been fired from MOVE members in the basement. She makes the dubious claim that the bullet that killed Ramp entered the base of Ramp's neck and travelled in a downward trajectory. What she does not tell listeners is that her information comes from a very preliminary forensic report. The final and undisputable ballistics evidence concerning Ramp shows that the trajectory of the bullet is consistent with the position of his body in relation to the MOVE members firing from the basement. Ramona also convienently leaves out the fact that when killed, Ramp was assisting another officer who just moments before had been seriously wounded by gunfire coming from MOVE members.

Perhaps the biggest lie of this paticular MOVE interview is when Ramona actually goes so far as to claim that Ramp was killed by a man who was firing from a window of a house "a half a block away." It is true that a man was arrested and taken from a house on Bering Street for allegedly brandishing a weapon. But there is no way that this man could have killed James Ramp, even if he had the proper trajectory, even if he had cause to do so, even if he was involved in some grand conspiracy.

You see, no one has ever disputed the fact that the bullet that killed Ramp was a .223 caliber bullet that came from a Ruger Rifle. The gun that the man allegedly waved out of his window was a revolver. Furthermore, the bullet that killed Ramp was linked conclusively to a 223. Ruger that was found in the MOVE basement. A weapon that was proven to have been purchased by a MOVE member, Phil Africa.

Another oft repeated lie that Ramona never manages to not spew when speaking about the MOVE 9 is the one about "9 MOVE members being in prison for killing 1 cop with 1 bullet." This is not the case and Ramona knows it.

The nine MOVE members were sentenced to 10 to 20 for the murder of James Ramp, 2 1/2 to 10 years for each conviction of attempting to murder seven other officers and firefighters and 2 1/2 to 10 years for conspiracy. The sentences were to run consecutively, which baring any successful appeals, leaves the surviving eight MOVE members elligible for parole in 2008. Interestingly enough, this was not the maximum sentence that the MOVE members could have recieved. The DA had asked that the sentences be 50-100 years which would have no doubt been the equivalent of a death sentence.

There are those in prison for the death of Ramp who are directly responsible for this man's death and there are those who were caught up in a very bad situation who were brainwashed victims of a cult-leader's vicious manipulations and who were not directly responsible, but who instead were simply trying to avoid getting shot themselves.

We cannot forget that the most frequent victims of cults are the cult members themselves. The children who died in 1985 were all children of then imprisoned MOVE members. The power over cult members exerted by leaders of authoritarian sects cannot be underestimated. While we must criticize the MOVE parents for ceding their parental responsibilities, we must, at the same time, recognize the situation that they were in and are still in today.

For these imprisoned MOVE members, the cult is all they have left in the way of hope, or at least that is how they see it. They don't want to die in prison, but they cannot see their way free of the mental and emotional shackles placed upon them by John Africa, so long ago.

At least one of the MOVE members who was involved in the 1978 incident and was released from prison Consuella Africa, has reportedly left MOVE to return to her true family. Sadly, her two daughters died in the fire in 1985 while she was in prison. I wish her luck as I am sure she has a hard road of recovery ahead of her.

I can only hope that the other MOVE members who have given up their freedom for John Africa's all but forgotten "revolution," have the courage and resolve to make the same choice as Consuella and other members who have left over the years.

MOVE And Animals (Part 2)

Readers of this blog might come away thinking that I reject, without a moments consideration, anything spoken or written by a MOVE supporter or member. This, however, would be an incorrect assumption. Take for instance these nuggets of wisdom taken from a recent "MOVE Statement on the Murder of Chimpanzees in California":

"the real story is that...innocent animals are imprisoned, exploited, tortured,...the real story is that the madmen who are the imprisoners, the exploiters, and the torturers are the true savage(s). They are the ones that are truly dangerous...Historically you have serial killers in this country comitting heinous crimes...all of these murderers were animal abusers before progressing to humans."

Interesting stuff, no doubt some of it is true, but you cannot divorce the message from the messenger, for MOVE is in no position to lecture anybody about the treatment of animals.

This is a group that allows whole litters of puppies and kittens to die because it does not "believe" in immunizations for the animals in its care.

MOVE would rather their animals be run over and killed than "impose" on them the burden of a leash.

They would rather feed their animals a "natural" diet of raw meat (which could not be further from natural)than provide a proper and healthy diet.

This is a group that will keep their diesase ridden, immobile, and dying animals alive rather than put them to sleep because it "ain't natural." This, despite the fact that in nature, animals in such a forlorn state would be quickly and far more mercifully dispatched than they are at the hands of MOVE's self-annointed revolutionaries.

MOVE is a collection of individuals so in love with "life" that they would take domesticated animals and summarily dump them off in the middle of nowhere. This is MOVE's oh-so-profound solution to their animals overpopulating (which occurs, because MOVE does not spay or neuter their beloved pets).

It goes without saying that when I came to MOVE that I did not know that this was the reality of how they treat the creatures within their care. I thought that MOVE was a group that would help me and help others become more aware of the plight of animals and the periless situation of our environment.

I couldn't have been more wrong. MOVE encourages the consumption of meat and dairy products. They do not bother with attempting to be conscientous consumers because, in their minds, "it is all the system." They horribly neglect their animals, all the while projecting a facade of "concern" for life. They claim that they "support" groups like the Animal and Earth Liberation Front, but like everything else with MOVE, this support amounts to nothing, but self promoting rhetoric.

The writer of MOVE's missive wants people to look at the "endless cycles of violence," and you know what? So do I.

Look at MOVE's cruelty to animals. Look at how they have consistently placed their own children directly in the line of fire in their pointless and stupid confrontations. Look at how a man's life was snuffed out because he wanted to be able to see his son. Look at how critics of the group are met with threats on their lives. This is MOVE's legacy, a cycle of death and violence, that interestingly enough, begins with their animals.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I'm Back in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran an article by Monica Yant Kinney about this blog and my efforts to educate people about the MOVE cult. The article can be read in it's entirety at

Here is a small sample.

"It isn't every day I get a great tip from MOVE.

But there it was, on my voice mail over the weekend: a breathless message suggesting I take a look at a new Web log attacking the radical West Philadelphia sect.

You'd think from the blog's name,, that MOVE would be disinclined to promote it.

To the contrary. My tipster thinks it's hilarious. "A real laugh," he said.

Then again, he thinks the blogger, and a certain newspaper columnist, are secret FBI agents.

MOVE also suspects the blog is the work of a government think tank."

Some "anonymous" person commented recently on this blog that the only thing I can accomplish by doing this website is to attempt to make MOVE supporters look "retarded". It is hard to do that when they are doing such a good job on their own. More on this later...

Sunday, March 13, 2005

In Court With MOVE and John Gilbride

Only 17 days before he was gunned down in front of his apartment, John Gilbride was in court testifying that a long-time MOVE Supporter threatened his life. It just so happens that I was in court that day with other MOVE supporters and members. We were there to support MOVE leader Alberta Africa, in her bid to frame John for assault.

I had never been more embarrassed to be in the company of MOVE people as the "frame up" of John was as obvious as it was disgusting.

To understand the signifigance of that day in court you have to understand what was going on in the custody case at that time.

You see, Alberta was starting to lose her case and she and the Organization were quite unhappy and were, in my view, becoming quite desperate.

Something had to be done. And it just so happens that in New Jersey (where this case was presided over) if one of the parties in a custody dispute is able to have a restraining order put in place against the other party, the ability of the offending party to win a custody case is greatly diminished. So if it were proven in court that John had violently attacked Alberta in her own home, John's fight for the custody of his son (not to speak of visitation rights) would be crushed. John would likely not see his son for a very long time.

Based upon what I saw that day in court, as well as things I had seen and heard prior to the incident, I came to the belief that John was set-up that day, in an effort to paint him as an abuser (which, coincidentally enough, Alberta had just started asserting he was during their marriage).

Oh before I forget. The day before Alberta went to court I saw her with no wrist brace, the next day at court she has a large wrist brace. You all do the math.

But I digress. Anyways to make a long story short, we MOVE supporters were sent to fill the tiny courtroom. Me, because I was one of MOVE’s “writers” was sent in as well as all the women with small babies. The judge gets annoyed with the latter’s presence and sends them on their way and in their place other MOVE members and supporters come in.

Mercifully, the case was the first on the docket. Alberta takes the stand looking very annoyed and scowled at John throughout her testimony. If my memory serves me properly, she recounts some kind of argument with John and then claims that he hurts her wrist. O.k., I was thinking that sounded plausible. As evidence of her terrible injury she offers her wrist brace and an emergency room document that says that she suffered a “contusion” or in plain English a bruise. Keep in mind I am watching her present this evidence a few weeks after the incident with her brace on, looking totally serious while I trying hard not to laugh. A couple of people sitting in front of me, not as restrained as I, chuckle quietly to themselves. Things are starting to look fishy.

Next are Alberta’s witnesses. The usual suspects, Mario, Sue Africa, Carlos Africa, and a couple of other MOVE members all testify that John had brutally grabbed Alberta and hurt her arm. Unfortunately for Alberta, none of her witnesses tell the same story. They all end up contradicting themselves repeatedly while being questioned by the judge. My face is starting to burn red with embarrassment as I realize that some of the people testifying for Alberta probably weren’t even there when the incident occurred. They probably weren’t even in the same damn state!

Note to MOVE. Next time you want to go to court and lie on someone, get your bullshit straight before coming before a Camden County Judge who has probably seen and heard it all.

After Alberta’s crew of liars exits the stage, it was now John’s turn. No one is there to support him except for his father who sits across the room by himself away from the MOVE supporters and other spectators.

John tells of how he came to the house to see his son and how MOVE was waiting for him. At some point there is a verbal dispute. John says he goes to leave and Alberta blocks his path and locks the door. He again tries to leave and Mario pins him against the wall and issues the alleged threat. John either bravely or stupidly pulls out his cell-phone or calls the police.

Now lets see which makes more sense. Alberta plots with her most loyal minions to place John in a situation where he was alone and surrounded by MOVE members. They then, in typical MOVE fashion, set up a “confrontation” with Gilbride in an effort to make him look like an abuser.

Or that John came to a MOVE house full of MOVE’s most dedicated members, roughed up the group’s matriarch, and than calls the police on himself and ruins any chances of seeing his son. Oh, and by the way, John was starting to win the custody case by this time and had no reason at all to provoke a situation with Alberta.

Keep in mind that MOVE had already tried to get John fired from his job, tried to intimidate him into dropping his case, tried to slander him in demonstrations, tried to libel him through email missives, accused his parents of being child molesters and picketed their neighborhood. Nothing had stopped John in his quest to see his son.

Thankfully the judge got it right and ruled against Alberta.

I recall Alberta storming out of the courtroom without a word as court officials chase after her attempting to get her to sign paperwork.

John leaves with his father and a detachment of police who walk with him. A few muted “motherfuckers” are thrown towards them by our dejected crew of MOVE cronies. It was the last time that I saw John.

To read more about the threats against John Gilbride, check out this blog or the following article at the Rick Ross website

Friday, March 11, 2005

Problems Posting/Reprinting Articles

Hi Everyone,

Apparently, there are still some issues with making comments. Please be patient as I am doing what I can. I also must respectfully request that instead of posting whole articles, especially copyrighted articles, that you instead use a link to the website where the article is contained. I think that this is a more than reasonable request and I think it a bit ridiculous to have to keep making an issue about this.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

MOVE's Words of Hate

"At the heart of every totalitarian enterprise, one sees outlandish dogmas, poorly arranged, but working ineluctably like gears in some ludicrous instrument of death."
-Sam Harris, The End of Faith

It wasn't enough for MOVE members and supporters to try and ruin John's life and the lives of his family.

It wasn't enough for them that he was savagely murdered by cowardly thugs as he sat in his car.

It wasn't enough for them to create and propagate cruel and hateful lies about him after his death.

MOVE had to go further. They had to torment the man's family with hateful and vile words designed to illicit fear, silence, and even more pain.

What follows is a letter to John Gilbride's father from the MOVE Organization. It is a letter to a man who had to endure the murder of his only son and then, not long after, the untimely loss of his wife to cancer.

It is a letter that illustrates the extreme lengths that MOVE will go to in order to inflict suffering upon those that they consider their enemies. It is a letter that MOVE would rather people did not see, which is of course why I am reprinting it here.

I have also included my, as of now still unanswered, "Open Letter" to Alberta Africa, MOVE's current leader and ex-wife of John Gilbride.

I think that MOVE's own words do more to make my point that this is a group wedded to a destructive and vile ideology. Rather then being the example of revering and protecting life, as they claim. MOVE is a source of misery and hatred.

Letter from MOVE

Jack Gilbride Don't you ever try to label our sister, Alberta Africa, as a murderer. Her Belief, MOVE Law, don't teach murder, her Belief is Life! If anybody is guilty of murder you are, not our sister. All she ever did was love John, and take care of him. She encouraged him to be right, strong. You, on the other hand, abused him mentally and physically. You never loved him, all you ever did was resent him, out of jealousy because he was better looking than you, taller than you, he was young and you were old. Everything John ever had in his life that was good you tore it down and took it away from him. You're a jealous, hateful old man, and its you, if its anybody, who's responsible for John's death. Just like you're responsible for Francis death. You drove that woman to her death with your hate, spite and vindictiveness. She wanted to be a grandmother to the son John and Alberta had, and they both wanted her to be that too, so did MOVE, but it's you who stood in the way of all the love and family we all could have had, steadily pushing your hate, bigotry, racism and goddaming pride and ego, all rooted in your own personal self-hatred and jealousy. Just look at what you've done. You've messed everything up for everybody. John loved you and trusted you, he believed in you, but you weren't really a father or a friend to him, and you manipulated his love and trust for your own maniacal schemes. You took John away from his family, his wife, his son, his home, and you took away his happiness. You took John away from his son, leaving his little child without a father, you took Alberta's husband away from her, you took our MOVE brother away from us, and you took Francis' first grandchild, her grandson who she loved, away from her. You are truly a demon straight out of hell Jack, and The MOVE Org. hopes you live a long time so that you can feel some of the hurt, pain you've caused life to suffer, but don't you ever call Alberta Africa, or no MOVE member, a damn murderer, because it's you who's the one that believes in murder, not MOVE.
The MOVE Organization

An Open Letter To Alberta Gilbride a.k.a Alberta Africa


I read with great interest and disgust the vile and obscenely cruel letter that your Organization wrote to Jack Gilbride. The heartlessness and audacity displayed in this letter once again reaffirms to me that the choice I made to abandon MOVE and its causes was not only proper, but long overdue. I do not have the words to express the contempt for you and your cynical manipulations, but am comforted by the fact that I know that justice is coming for you.
You have said that all you ever did was love John. That is a falsity worthy of only you, Alberta. Was it love that caused you and yours to attempt to have John fired from his job? Was it your affection for him that was the impetus for you to attempt to frame him in court as being a wife-beater? When you were calling him a "fag", a "government agent", a "racist", a child-abuser, were you thinking heartfelt thoughts? Was it love, Alberta, that caused you to send your followers down to John's parents house with poisonous tongues filled with lies of sexual abuse?
After John's death I saw little evidence that you or anyone else in MOVE was seriously disturbed about his untimely passing. The only time I saw you shed a tear was during the press conference you gave a few days after the murder and that, I must say, was hardly an award winning performance. Far from being locked into a time of grief, I saw and heard you quite happy with yourself and how the situation had turned out. I received probably a half-dozen letters from the MOVE 9 talking about how wonderfully things had "worked out" with the "custody case." And a mere month and a half after John's murder I saw you in your white wedding dress marry another man. You seemed anything but broken up about John's death. In fact, your demeanor was quite the opposite, you were quite happy and not because you had married a man that you, on number of occasions, expressed contempt for..
Since in the letter, the issue of your belief "MOVE Law" was mentioned, I wonder if you would be so kind to tell me where in John Africa's teachings is it mentioned that you should, as a black woman use the best science that money can buy, in the form of in vitro-fertilization to ensure that you have a white child? Were you not denounced by other exiled MOVE members for this transgression against your so-called belief? Where is it in your belief that you should globe-trot around Europe drinking Champagne and eating caviar while many of your MOVE compatriots live in desperate economic circumstances? Wasn't it John Africa who said that "crime lives in the den of excess?" How can you explain your indulgences while at the same time holding yourself up as the most "clear" and best example of what a MOVE member should be?
Now I could personally care less what you did to have a child, or how you manipulated the natural order to give yourself a white child, or where you chose to vacation or what you do with your large amounts of money. I mention your hypocrisy only to make the point that, like many corrupt and deviant leaders of the past and present, you are merely using religion to further your own indulgences and vanity, while cynically manipulating your misguided supporters to do your bidding. For you, "John Africa's revolution" is just a means to a bourgeois end.
In the letter, Jack Gilbride (John's father) is characterized as a literal monster, a foul beast of boundless cruelty, but need I remind you that John left you and left MOVE to return to his family. It was you, not his father, that John labeled as an abuser in court records. It was you and your wicked ideology that was abandoned, not Jack Gilbride. It was you who physically attacked John not long before his death, it was you who attempted (unsuccessfully) to frame him as a wife-beater, and it was a MOVE member who threatened John's life only weeks before he was found shot dead in his car.
So when you add up the facts, Alberta, it looks like the demon in this situation is you.
It is sickly ironic that in MOVE's letter, Francis Gilbride is spoken of in an almost empathetic fashion, given the cruelty that you have visited upon her family. Remember, Alberta, it was you who dragged her son through a living hell, simply because he wanted to see his son. It was you who falsely labeled Francis as a child-molester in your sick and deluded efforts to emotionally torture the Gilbride family. It is you who continues to subvert and obstruct justice in regards to the murder of her son John.
Alberta, you may bristle at the notion of being branded a "murderer," but MOVE is not exactly a stranger to violence and untimely death. You know that it was MOVE members in Powelton Village in August of 1978 who shot James Ramp, as well as numerous other police officers and firefighters. You know that the bullet that killed Ramp came from a gun purchased by Phil Africa and you know that the ballistic trajectory matches a shot from the basement, despite your years of contending otherwise.
I believe that you also know exactly what happened to William Whitney Smith, a former MOVE member who ended up dead in the Schulkyll River before he could testify against John Africa in 1981. You know that former MOVE member Louise James has indicated that it was MOVE who was "responsible" for the death of this man that you all had branded a traitor much in the same way that you smeared John Gilbride before his murder. And you also know that MOVE attempted to blame the government for William's death, much in the same way that you tried to do with John.
Alberta, you know quite well that your former husband John Africa created the "confrontation" on Osage Avenue. You know that the children in that house on that day were almost without exception the children of imprisoned MOVE members, children who could not be defended or spoken for, children that could be used for wicked ends. You know that those kids did not have to be in that house and that if John Africa was half the saint that you make him out to be that he would have made sure that they were safe and out of harm's way. You also know that MOVE is as much, if not more responsible for the deaths of those children, than the cops you claim to have so much disdain for.
For an Organization so committed to the preservation of life, MOVE certainly has a great deal of blood on its hands, including the blood of their own children. What exactly has MOVE done to justify its terrible existence?
In case you missed it, some months ago the "Philadelphia Inquirer" ran an article on their front page titled "Life in MOVE." In that article, I was quoted as saying that MOVE transitioned "from a religious cult to a cult of personality. It's all about self-absorbed narcissism now. It's not just that MOVE lies. It's that MOVE itself is a lie." In MOVE's unsigned letter to the Gilbrides my point has been made more clear than ever.
You see, Alberta, MOVE will not fall under the weight of police attacks or even prosecution for the murders of their former comrades, MOVE is faltering under the weight of its own momentous contradictions. Contradictions that you, in all your deceit, exemplify.
In your letter to the Gilbrides, you said that you hoped that Jack would live a long time so that he would feel some of the pain that he has caused. The Gilbride family is in pain and is hurting, but it is through the actions of you and your well meaning, but misinformed, supporters that they suffer. But I believe that one day soon, justice will be served and I hope that you will be shown the same degree of mercy that you have shown your enemies.
I hope, Alberta, that you live long enough to fully reap the harvest of falsity and hatred that you have sown in the hearts of those who still believe in you. I know that eventually most of those around you will rise up and reclaim their lives, their dignity and, through an examination of conscience, reject you and MOVE.
Yes, Alberta, gone are the days when you could spew lies without repudiation. Gone are the days where you could pretend that MOVE stood for anything other than its own material comforts. Remember, before you fix your mouth to condemn me through clumsily constructed falsehoods that I know who and what you are and most importantly what you have done. Remember that my complete opposition to you is not merely due to my reading of newspaper articles about MOVE or through conversations with cops, it is due to my direct knowledge from what I physically saw, heard, and know from my eight years around MOVE.
-Tony Allen
Fiat justitia-ruat caelum

Monday, March 07, 2005

Mumia Declares "Churchill is Right"

In a new article posted at his website, Mumia Abu-Jamal declares that disgraced, discredited, pseudo-historian, and wannabee native American, Ward Churchill "is right".

But what exactly is Churchill "right" about in Jamal's eyes? Apparently Jamal agrees with Churchills view that the 2000+ Americans killed in the Sept 11th attacks were nothing more than Nazis. Consider Churchill's words:

"Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to "ignorance" a derivative, after all, of the word "ignore" counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in and in many cases excelling at it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it. "

I am left speechless.

Thankfully people far more articulate than I have already eviscerated the above argument and the charlatan that espoused it. As far as Churchill's alleged "Native heritage" is concerned, it appears he has none. According to Colorado University Law Professor Paul Campos:

"Consider: Churchill has constructed his entire academic career around the claim that he is a Native American, yet it turns out there is no evidence, other than his own statements, that this is the case.
Churchill has said at various times that he is either one-sixteenth or three-sixteenths Cherokee, yet genealogical reporting by the Rocky Mountain News and others has failed to turn up any Cherokee ancestors - or any other Native Americans - in Churchill's family tree.
Why should we care one way or another? We should care because Churchill has used his supposed Indian heritage to bully his way into academia. Indeed Churchill lacks what are normally considered the minimum requirements for a tenure-track job at a research university: he never earned a doctorate, and his only degrees are a bachelor's and a master's from a then-obscure Illinois college.
Churchill's lack of conventional academic credentials was apparently compensated for, at least in part in the eyes of those who hired him at the University of Colorado, by the "fact" that he contributed to the ethnic diversity of the school's tenure-track faculty. "

But what about Churchill's actual argument, that those in the Twin Towers were some kind of bureaucratic enablers of genocide? Swarthmore professor Timothy Burke answers Churchill and at the same time places Churchill's revisionism in it's proper context:

"Churchill, like others, constructs the hegemony of global capitalism and Western domination as being near-total. The unmitigated and simplistic totalizing that suffuses Churchill's writing makes it impossible to explain his own existence and professional success or anyone like him. He is incarnated impossibility of his own analysis. The only contradiction Western domination faces is produced, according to his oeuvre, by the dedicated and militant resistance of its subjects. But how is it possible that a totalizing system of domination permits such an uncompromising practicioner of resistance to publish over 11 books and occupy a tenured position at a university? (I know, I know: doubtless from a Churchillian perspective, the recent controversy is the system finally getting around to slapping him down. Quite a delayed reaction if so.)
Churchill's scholarly oeuvre is practically a guided tour of every trope of identity politics: polemical extensions of the concept of genocide into every possible institutional or social interaction between the colonized and colonizer, erasures of any historical or programmatic distinctions between colonizers in different eras or systems, reduction of all history and contemporary society into a sociologically and morally simple binary schema of colonizer and colonized (hence the remark that the people in the Twin Towers were "little Eichmanns" while Iraqis are literally infantilized into starving babies and nothing more), pervasive indictments of systems of representation, and aggressive assertions of exclusive cultural, moral, political and economic ownership of anything and everything connected with a particular identity group (Native Americans in this case)."

How funny it is that a fake journalist and real murderer would take up for a fake intellectual who defends real murderers. On second thought, it's not funny, not funny at all.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

MOVE's True Thoughts About the Death of John Gilbride

On Sept 27th 2002, the day that John Gilbride was murdered, MOVE issued the following statement to the press feigning sadness at John's demise:


Yet, to the supporters of MOVE, the tone was quite different. Far from being caught in the grip of misery and loss, this was a group that breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Just a month and a half after John's death, the "grieving widow" Alberta Africa, whom spoke of hopes of reconciliation with John, celebrated at her wedding to another MOVE supporter named Gary Wonderlin (a.k.a Sean O'neil).

In letters from MOVE members in prison, the attitude towards John's murder was one of muted, albeit obvious, happiness. Debbie Africa had this to say about John's death in a letter from December of 2oo2, just a couple of months after the murder:

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

In April of last year, Chuck Africa went even further with his candor regarding John's demise:

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

Now if MOVE members really believed their own propaganda about John's death, they would never speak of the situation as being one that "worked out." They would be talking about how their "innocent brother John" was stolen from them by "the system." They would treat John as if he was some kind of martyr, like they do other MOVE members who have died in confrontations.

Instead, they speak as if John did not exist, as if he never existed. They treated this man as if he was some kind of failed experiment that must be expunged from their collective memories.

When John was alive, they did everything they could to defame and discredit him. Now, when he is dead, they will do whatever it takes to make people forget him and what happened to him.

Perhaps they do this out of fear. Or maybe they do it to ease the pangs of conscience that rise up in the night and grab at them.

Either way, I, for one, am not ever going to forget what happened to John and how MOVE members really felt about his death.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

MOVE and Animals

(Editors Note: Although Lori wrote this article some time ago I think it is important for people to understand just how deep MOVE members callousness towards "life" goes. MOVE, an organization that purportes to be the "example" for people to follow has shown not only a disregard for the safety of their neighbors, themselves, their children, and as Lori explains, even for the animals in their care.)

MOVE and Animals

The MOVE Organization has led a very successful public campaign in projecting themselves as the bastions of good animal welfare. They have a reputation as advocates for animal protection amongst the political left. Even their adversaries shy away from accusations of animal abuse and endangerment on the part of MOVE.
The organization’s version of history shows them as a revolutionary group that protested against puppy mills, the zoo, and other forms of industry using animals. They have also boasted the breaking up of dog fighting rings. They claim to have been some of the first to do so, even before the fad of vegetarianism and animal rights groups, although they have rarely been seen doing such demonstrations in recent years.
Their true history of how they actually maintain the animals in their care and their record of consumerism does not support this declaration, however. A behind the scenes look at the condition of the dogs and cats they care for reveals a side to MOVE that has not been made available for public scrutiny.
The consumerism that is practiced by MOVE is to shop without real conscience of the companies that they support with the might of their dollars. They unabashedly are patrons of the industry that tortures and slaughters animals, namely companies that employ the use of factory farms like Perdue, Tyson, and, basically, every meat industry out there from pork, beef, poultry, and seafood. They literally buy hundreds of pounds of meat every month, possibly week, to feed to their pets or to consume themselves.
This subject is important to clarify because it shows a callous idea that, although they do not take part in the wholesale slaughter of these animals in tormenting conditions, they readily sustain these corporations with their sponsorship. One of their youth members, in explaining why they shop at certain stores and buy products from specific companies that have been cited as being either destructive in their behaviors towards the environment, child labor exploitations, sweatshops, and/or animal cruelty, stated that all industry is bad; so there is no difference in whom you buy things from.
The most problematic matter in regards to the health and well being of the dogs and cats is the diet that these animals are fed. MOVE gives animals in their care and stray animals in their neighborhood a "raw food" diet that consists of raw beef, pork, lamb, poultry, horsemeat, and bones. They do have a tendency to temporarily ban certain meats from time to time, but not because of the properties of the meats themselves, rather because of mad cow disease threats and such. Their concerns do not seem to stem from the quandaries posed by use of growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides in the production of these meats. They do not ban the use of these products for those grounds.
Obesity is typical around MOVE houses for animals. These weight problems have lead to horrendous leg, hip, and joint pain to the point that these dogs could no longer walk without problems, eventually leading to their inability to even get up without being literally carried. The result of being burdened with excessive pounds is that all of the dogs that have these weight issues wind up suffering from arthritis.
The weight problems are directly linked to the poor diet that is fed to these animals. After a lengthy discussion with a veterinarian about the raw food diet fed to the animals, it was explained that the myth that dogs do not need vegetables and grains is factually wrong. When a dog eats an animal such as a rabbit, it also eats the intestines, which contain the diet that the prey had eaten. It is said that this portion of the diet is essential to keep the balance of vitamins and minerals that are required to keep all the bones, muscles, and joints working properly. To feed a dog or a cat just raw meat would be as detrimental as a person eating tons of nuts and nothing else.
MOVE, as a religious sect, does not believe in the use of modern medicines as a rule. They do, however, abandon this statute as commonly as they abandon most of their practices when they prove to be impossible to follow this day and age. It is more so something they espouse rather then observe. Yet, their general habit is to wait until a problem has stretched its limits beyond anything they can control before they will use medical interventions.
This is especially the case when it comes to their animals. There is no preventative care for their pets. They do not vaccinate their cats and dogs. They do not adhere to spay and neutering of animals (stating that it is cruel to take away their ability to procreate). They do not have regular health check ups or give preventative medications for common and sometimes deadly illnesses such as heartworm.
Generally, their attitude towards care for animals is to wait until there is a problem, wait until it becomes severe, and then seek treatment from professionals to aid them. They do use ointments, creams, oils, and other virtually ineffectual products to attempt to treat these various conditions (to be fair as to their record), but it falls short of a solution.
MOVE’s mind-set in how to deal with cats differs from that of dogs. They see dogs as being hopelessly domesticated at this point, not being able to utilize their instinctual sense of survival. They believe cats, however, to still have these skills and so have adopted a system of dealing with them.
There has been a cat colony beside MOVE’s headquarters for years. Whenever the population of that colony gets out of hand, or when a litter of cats from one of their domesticated felines grows to the age of ‘teenagers,’ they capture them and "take them to the wild." What this translates into is that they take these cats to rural areas and let them go with only their instincts and a stash of food that they put out as they are abandoned.
The cats that reside with MOVE are riddled with medical problems. Many of them suffer from a condition called Feline Hip Displacia. This condition literally cripples the cats to the point that they cannot walk, jump, or engage in any active life. Eventually, it becomes so debilitating that there is nothing to do, but put them to sleep. This illness does not have to cripple the cat, however, as research shows that a simple surgery can literally allow these cats to live long, healthy, active lives.
The cats that develop this condition do so because they inherit it from both parents. The reason MOVE still has this dilemma is because their domestic cats that carry this trait (many, of whom, came from this colony) keep mating with the stray cats in the neighborhood. The largest reason, again, comes from the fact that they do not give their animals preventative medical care.
The guardianship of their dogs is not opposite to the treatment of the cats, but it does differ substantially. MOVE does go to great lengths to provide comfort, clean water, and fresh food to their dogs (and cats). They regularly exercise their dogs with up to six walks a day, decent sized, fenced in yards to roam around at leisure, and lots of attention. They do also provide heating pads for the arthritic dogs.
The problem mainly comes from their diet and obesity, but it goes even further then that. The dogs are not afforded the same dignity as the cats once they have reached a state where they are incapacitated. Instead, they have dogs that suffer terribly day in and day out without any real relief or medications.
One dog named Benjamin or ‘Benny’ endures sometimes multiple seizures a day. He is not provided with any medications. If there are fireworks, thunderstorms, a dog goes into heat (and remember, they do not spay their females), or any other excitement or loud noise stirs him, he goes into a seizure. Some of his seizures are so severe it takes hours for his leg muscles to relax.
Another dog named Butchie literally resembled a bear. He was enormous and could often not be able to bare the weight on his legs. As was described previously, he became arthritic. He eventually suffered a stroke that left him unable to get up without being carried, and he would bite people who touched his hips or legs.
One of the common grounds between tending for the dogs and the cats is MOVE’s lack of precautions when it comes to the animals’ safety in the streets of a very bustling city. Unless warned by police to face fines and confiscation of the dogs, MOVE does not put the dogs on leashes to take them to the park. One of their puppies was killed when a car outside of their headquarters struck him.
MOVE even permits the cats to roam the streets. This is foolish considering that these cats are not spayed or neutered and end up mating with very sick and disease ridden strays, which are not vaccinated from the contagious disorders they carry. They are also subject to grave fights with wild cats that leave them with wounds where their ears are bitten, their fur is ripped out, and they have gashes in every body part that can be cut. One cat even came home with a dart in its side. MOVE’s solution to this was to "take it to the wild."
Many of these cats are never to be seen or heard from again once they are let out. The threat of the cars, trucks, trolleys, and buses that race up and down the streets near their West Philadelphia home should be enough to not allow anything in their care to wander about aimlessly.
There is also the issue that they see no problem with over crowding people, dogs, and cats into buildings. During the siege on their headquarters in 1978, over 50 dogs were removed from the city duplex. Their current headquarters is also a duplex and the left half of the house once housed at least 40 cats, by MOVE’s account. Animals living in overcrowded conditions are more prone to diseases and fighting. This issue has been cited numerous times in complaints against MOVE in the two neighborhoods where MOVE has had violent confrontations with the police.
Animal advocacy is all encompassing. It takes more then demonstrations and tough words. It is more then affording comfort for pets. It is a community wide responsibility to not help the epidemic of homeless animals to grow. It means aiding in the struggle to stop the spread of disease. It is the conscientiousness of purchasing products from responsible companies that do not exploit animals or resort to cruel practices for testing product safety. People need to use caution when branding organizations or cults as animal advocates.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Glass House that John Africa Built

I think that it would be safe to say that most people who would read MOVE's crude and hateful missives do not take these tracts all together that seriously. I think that would even go for many of those who would consider themselves sympathetic to the group's alleged aims. I have to believe that most people, even hardcore Mumiaics, still have some semblance of a bullshit detector and realize that MOVE's rants go way off the chart.

That said, it is sometimes worth it to examine what MOVE is actually saying and really deconstruct some of their rhetoric, if for no other reason than to prove how absolutely wrong about so many things they are. Take for instance some of the invective hurled in my direction recently via MOVE's email lists and website. Consider the following:

"This morning Tony Allen, a man who at one time appeared to support MOVE and Mumia and now campaigns to imprison and kill MOVE people and Mumia, was on the Michael Smerconish radio show on 1210 am. This man has been hijacking people's email lists, spreading lies on the radio and on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer, pressuring venues to not allow Mumia or MOVE supporters to hold events and admittedly working with the Burlington County Prosecutors stooping to the lowest of levels to get attention and cause destruction."

I remember reading somewhere that the "truth told with bad intent beats all the lies in the world," a reasoned statement to be sure, but one I would have to disagree with. I would argue that far more dangerous than flat out lies or abused truths would be a marinade of the two. And this is usually what one gets when dealing with MOVE.

Now, I have been on the receiving end of some very harsh accusations, as well as some threats against my physical well being. I have come to accept that these are things that come with the territory of confronting authoritarian sects. My feelings are not easily hurt, and having dealt more than a few unjustifiable rhetorical blows myself, I can't really complain all that much when the proverbial chickens occasionally make their way home to roost in my inbox.

That said, I have never, before now, been accused of wanting death upon anyone. To say that I am offended by this grotesque allegation would be an understatement. As someone who opposes the death penalty and other gross abuses of state power, I deeply resent the insinuation that I would be one of death's cheerleaders, but am not surprised that MOVE would say such a thing.

For MOVE is desperate and they are willing to say anything to convince people that I am on some kind of ego driven crusade of death and "destruction" in order to discredit me and reduce my arguments against MOVE to be based soley on motive and not substance.

I have said before that I have an agenda and it is one that is not hidden. Yes, I believe Mumia belongs in prison. Yes, I believe that those responsible for the death of John Gilbride belong in prison.

With the risk of sounding somewhat idealistic, I don't want those in MOVE and around MOVE who are innocent of any wrong doing to suffer one bit. I want them to have the freedom that I have. I want the children of MOVE to have the same opportunities that my child has: the choice to control their own destiny, the freedom to make their own path. I want these children to be able to read and write, to live without the terror of the outside world that MOVE instills in them as a mechanism of control.

Have I worked hard to get my message out? You bet. Have I emailed people who had not asked me to email them? I have done that and maybe I was wrong in doing so. I have made mistakes in all of this and don't pretend for one second that I haven't.

But let's be real here. MOVE members killed James Ramp in 1978 in order to get the attention and affection of their leader John Africa. These same MOVE members turned their children over to this same leader so he could use them in his stupid confrontation with police in 1985.

Before MOVE talks about me "stooping to the lowest of levels to get attention," they should really check their own sordid history. MOVE's story is one that is riddled with one violent attempt at getting attention after another. No amount of slander directed my way can wipe away this sect's disreputable true nature.

Hard Times for MOVE Members and Supporters

To be a MOVE supporter right now must feel something like sitting quietly on a sinking trash barge without a life vest. Just take a minute to review some of the increasingly paranoid and delusional tracts they have posted at their "Free Mumia" website. Anyone, who still holds any residual reservations about MOVE not being a creepy, Manson-esque haven of mania need only spend a few minutes reviewing these scary screeds of doom to be utterly convinced that these authors need some serious therapy.

The MOVE controlled Jamal movement, once able to draw the attention and cash of activists the world over, now dies a slow and painful death. The pro-Jamal cause could, at its height, bring thousands of protesters to Philadelphia to demand Jamal's freedom. Now, organizers struggle to get a pitiful 150-200 people to come out to their "mass rallies." It is a movement in decline, a victim of its own deceit and authoritarian tendencies from its self-appointed leader Pam Africa.

As if the diminishing returns of the Jamal movement was not bad enough, the pro-Jamal cause has been getting a justified schlacking in the press. The icing on the cake came from Philly's African American mayor making positively clear he believes that Jamal belongs in jail.

As for MOVE itself, they received the bad news that yet another appeal on behalf of the MOVE 9 was denied. To top it off, MOVE is once again being linked to the murder of John Gilbride.

This all must be paticularly difficult for MOVE's closest supporters, whom must endure this steady barrage of defeats from the vantage point of being pseudo-cultists. They must live the life of a MOVE person and, of course, mouth the tired lies of MOVE. But, at the end of the day, they must resign themselves to the fact that in the eyes of MOVE, they are viewed with a mix of suspicion and thinly veiled contempt.

A true MOVE supporter must claim allegiance to MOVE, and its long dead founder, without even having the chance to read the vast majority of his teachings. These "guidelines" are guarded like the Crown Jewels of London by MOVE's decaying "elite" and are rationed out in a way that would make you think that their revelations would cause the reader to spontaneously combust.

Just imagine, for instance, if a Christian was told by church authorities that they could only view the first five pages of the Book of Genesis. Then you will get a sense of just how hermetic, secretive, and stupid the world of MOVE truly is.

Arguably the worst part about being a MOVE supporter is knowing that at least part of what you are expected to say and write and advocate is false. You know it but you do it anyway. Because dissent is not allowed and dissolution of the intellect is the most cherished aspiration.

No one should ever be surprised when a group that desires to disengage the cerebral cortex of it's own members and supporters, has it's walls perpetually falling in around it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Appearance on the Michael Smerconish Show

I had a great time on the Smerconish show on Tuesday. Although my appearance was relatively short, I think that I was able to hit on a couple of key points and was able to raise the issue of the still "unsolved" murder of John Gilbride.

One stumbling point for me was when Michael was inquiring about MOVE's belief. I started down the road of MOVE's purported anti-technology stance and how they eat raw foods, etc...when I realized that I was confusing the issue.

Michael wanted to know what MOVE believed in and not what they claimed to believe in. The gulf of difference between the two could not possibly be wider. Like the pigs in the book "Animal Farm" MOVE's leaders change their belief and practices to fit their whim. The reality of MOVE is that they don't really "believe" in anything, other than themselves and their shrinking ability to manipulate and deceive those in their immediate orbit. They are nihilists in disguise as the vanguard of a fascistic revolution that thankfully will never emerge.

On a funny note, I received the following email from one of the staff members of the Smerconish show, telling me about how MOVE's resident psychotic Sue Africa, called the show, he said that:

" (she)...called in today to rebut what you said and was so out of control that we had to cut her can imagine how unhappy that made her - she kept yelling for equal time....but she couldn't have a dialogue with Michael....all she did was yell...."

Whats wrong Sue? Is the pressure starting to get to you?

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