Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Next Chapter In The Mumia Racket

There is a new website out profaning the internet with more pro-Jamal blather. The two responsible parties for this cyber-excrement are a bloated, dope-smoking, wanna-be anarchist, and an overly confident and factually deficient German who apparently has internalized, but not mastered the art of Nazi propaganda. In a Orwellian twist, the duo have constructed a site called the "Abu-Jamal News" and it is cliched as it is funny.

These two consider themselves "journalists", but I find them more comedic than journalistic. There are too few moments when I can do this kind of work and push out a laugh, but these two clowns have provided me with more than a few over the last couple of years.

Michael Schiffman, wrote a book on Mumia that has apparently blitzkrieged it’s way across the fatherland. And now Schiffman wants to inflict his brand of macabre humor/revisonist histrionics on the rest of us.

I truly wished I had the ability to get Schiffman’s screed published over here, so that people who have access to the transcripts of the case, and are not fed cherry-picked excerpts, can eviscerate this trash that one too many trees died to help create. Than we can send Schiffman back to his own screwed up country and he can goose-step around Munich with his little Mumia sign and carry his cup to collect Deutsche marks for his murdering hero.
The other "journalist" in this dynamic duo, is Hans Bennet. Bennett is a gross apologist for all things MOVE and Mumia, and was up to his round tummy in the hideous campaign to malign John Gilbride. I have pointed out his overt lies on this blog on a number of occasions before and will enjoy doing so again.

Now, on their website, these two journalists of the Mumiac beat are claiming to have "explosive new evidence" that show through pictures from the crime scene, evidence, proof that Mumia was framed. A pretty heady boast to be sure and one that should not be taken easily, but in the world of Mumia, facts are as loose and fast as the sex workers of 13th and Locust.

To take it point by point:

It is argued that the Officer holding the weapon is doing so in a way that would have destroyed finger-print evidence and that this same Officer perjured himself during the 1982 trial when he claimed that he never touched the metal pieces in order not to destroy fingerprint evidence. But what are the facts?

What jumps out at me first is that the Officer is holding the gun by the grip, which being 1981 was very likely made out of wood. And more than just likely, it was testified to at court that Jamal’s weapon had a wooden handgrip.

The Officer in question, Officer Forbes was holding both Jamal’s gun and Faulkner’s by the handgrips in his left hand which would be consistent with his training. For if you are to hold a weapon with a wooden grip, the only plausible place to hold it is the grip as it is the only non-metal place on the weapon.

Jamal’s gun was not able to provide fingerprint evidence as they had been smudged. Something that was known to Jamal’s 1982 jury.

Next, in a stretch that is even incredible even for Jamal supporters, Schiff and Hans make a statement as fact that the testimony of Cynthia White, Michael Scanlan, and Chobert were coerced and that the events they described never happened. Quite a statement of hubris given the fact that court after court has decided that the events did happen and did so as described by the witnesses that Schiff and Bennet want to disparage. For what these witnesses had to say I would encourage everyone to read their testimony at Do that, and than weigh them against the arrogant declaration of fact made by the factually challenged "Jamal journalists". You will see that Schiff/Bennett are assuming what they should have to proof and are doing a bad job at it considering the availability of the transcripts.

It is also alleged that the police "manipulated evidence" by "moving" Officer Faulkner’s hat around the crime scene and the photos they present seem to back this point up. The problem with this however is that Faulkner’s hat is brought up in the trial transcripts, but not in the context of it’s location on the scene, but in Maureen Faulkner’s testimony. She held the hat as she explained that it was her husbands.

Now if it can be proven that police "planted" the hat in order to prop up their case or for emotional effect for the trial, than I would be very quick to cite this as evidence as malfeasance on their part, but I haven’t seen evidence of this to this point.

The most obscene aspect of the Schiff/Bennet propaganda is their assertion that "several" shots were allegedly fired by Jamal at Faulkner while Faulkner was on the ground. They than go onto say that this couldn’t have happened because no "traces" of the bullet strikes are visible on the sidewalk.

There are some serious problems with this line of reasoning. The first of which being that it was not possible for Jamal to have fired "several" shots at anyone. His weapon, that he bought, and had a license for, but not to carry concealed, was a 5 shot revolver. This makes the notion of him firing "several times" impossible and laughable.

According to witness testimony, Jamal shot twice at Faulkner’s back, striking the Officer once. Leaving him with three bullets. After being shot by Jamal, Faulkner swung around and apparently was able to get off one shot that struck Jamal. Faulkner goes down and his weapon slides away from him and he is now at the mercy of Jamal (the bullet removed from Jamal was conclusively linked to Faulkner’s gun). Jamal shows none. Despite Jamal’s purported disdain for the death penalty, he must have put his moral convictions on hold when he stood over Faulkner and shot downward towards Faulkner who was, according to witnesses, was writhing on the ground in an attempt to avoid being shot. One of those bullets struck the Officer between the eyes causing Faulkner’s whole body to jerk, killing him instantly. Jamal than stumbled a few feet, dropped his weapon, and slumped down. He is out of ammo, but this does not stop him from reaching for his gun at the approach of police Officers just a few seconds later.

Now, there are no close up shots of the cement on the Schiff/Bennett website that could show any damage done by the bullets fired. That Jamal’s acolytes now want to contrive an issue by arguing that the lack of damage done by the three remaining bullets (one of which remained in Faulkner’s body) to the cement is nothing more than sadism as offered by masochists.

Unfortunately for the Schiff/Bennet scam, at trial the police investigator did a fair job accounting for the bullets fired that night. We know that Faulkner got off one round that struck Jamal. And we also know that one of the five rounds fired from Jamal’s gun was removed from Faulkner’s skull. According to testimony another bullet was taken from the front door leading into 1234 Locust Street. And there was some conjecture in court over what appeared to be bullet holes in the door on 1234 Locust accounted for more than one bullet. The police investigator could not give a definitive answer due to the amount of bullet fragmentation and the jury knew all of this.
Moreover, there was testimony to the effect that there was damage to the concrete that was noted by the police investigators, that none is visible on the photos as offered by Schiff and Bennet means nothing in the whole scheme of things.

It does, however, demonstrate just how desperate Jamal supporters are to conjure up "new, explosive" evidence in a pathetic attempt to mitigate the tremendous amount of physical evidence that points to Jamal’s guilt.

In another example of unjustified arrogance, the dynamic duo claim that "none" of the witnesses saw Cynthia White at the scene. Well, nobody saw Arnold Beverly at the scene either, and we, to this day are told that he shot Officer Faulkner.

But is the claim about Cynthia White by Schiffman the truth?

First of all, it is of the utmost importance for Jamal supporters to assault White’s testimony as she provided some of the best of all the eyewitness testimony and an immediate identification of Jamal as the shooter, but even if nobody had noticed the prostitute it really made no difference.
She really wasn’t in anybody’s field of view and was behind Chobert. One person, interestingly enough did claim to see Mrs. White in the area that evening, William Singletary, one of Jamal’s more "interesting" witnesses.

It is curious to note that Singletary is the only one to have brought up White’s not being able to see the shooting from where he says he she was located. It is also interesting because all witnesses, both defense and prosecution can agree that Arnold Beverly was nowhere to be seen.
So let us assume that White was not at the scene of the crime. You still have the other three eyewitnesses, Jamal’s confession, the damning ballistics evidence, and on and on ad-nauseam.

Remove White and I argue that Jamal’s guilt is still as clear as day.

Now the most fantastic of all claims on this new site is that witness Chobert was not actually there on the night of the killing. The support for this claim being that his car is not visible on the photos presented on their site. This is not only absurdity in it’s most extreme form, but just shows further the intellectual bankruptcy of the pro-Mumia fanatics.

But let us indulge Schiffman/Bennett’s deranged fantasy for a moment and assume that Chobert was not at the scene, despite the fact that he spoke to people at the scene and most convincingly, that Jamal himself seemed to know exactly who Chobert was back in 1982 as this exchange makes clear

"Mumia-...And you saw me in the back of the wagon, didn’t you?

Chobert- Yes, I did.

Mumia-What made you certain it was the same man?

Chobert-Because I saw you buddy. I saw you shoot him. (the "him" in this case is referring to Officer Faulkner)."

Now, none of Jamal’s witnesses have ever attempted to refute the fact that Chobert’s was at the scene, nor does Jamal or his attorneys. In actuality, he was a very prominent witness at the scene as he identified Jamal and gave his statement. To believe that he was a non-entity on the scene that night is to believe in a conspiracy that not only involved the police, prosecutors, but also Jamal and his own witnesses and attorney who have never challenged Chobert’s presence at the scene. To believe Schiffman and Bennet’s outlandish and cynical, conspiratorial propaganda is to embrace madness.

In order to "prove" that Chobert was not on the scene the Schiffman/Bennett duo contend that the photos on their site show that Chobert’s cab was not on the scene when the pictures were taken. They fail however to mention the fact that just after the police arrived at the scene they had Chobert move his car, as demonstrated by the following testimony:

"Q. By the time that the Police arrived and told you to move back to your car, was there any other civilians on the sidewalk other than the man you said who ran ten feet and Mr. Jamal who you said ran ten feet? Where there any other civilians, I mean non-police people, on that sidewalk?

A. I didn't see none."

The police arrived at the scene roughly a minute after the shooting. The photographer that came on the scene arrived 10-15 minutes after the police and after Chobert would have already moved his cab.

Only two attention mongering, wannabe "journalists," have such a deprivation in character that they would try and muddy these waters even more with their half-baked conspiracy theories with no real evidence to back them up.


At 2:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony if you look at the testimony from the first day of the trial, 6-18-82 Off. Roy Land explained where he found Off. Faulkner's hat. On the sidewalk next to the VW right door.

At 7:42 PM , Blogger Tony Allen said...

Re-reading the testimony I see that you are correct.

Thanks for being so attentive.

At 7:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

By Tony Allen

Part One

"If it bleeds it leads" -saying amongst journalists

Many people make the contention that there is a crisis in the American media. With a relatively small number of multinational corporations owning the mainstream media outlets, there is the fear that these corporate entities will have a dangerous amount of control over not only what stories are covered, but how they are covered. With newspaper readership dropping and increasing competition amongst TV news shows and networks, the pressure is on editors and writers to deliver "the goods" quickly, often in a sensationalistic fashion that usually works at the expense of the integrity of the story, not to speak of the well being of the people or events that were being covered.

Having reviewed literally hundreds of mainstream media news articles, as well as documentary footage of newscasts regarding MOVE, I quickly noticed a distinct pattern that ran throughout the entirety of the media coverage. A mold of MOVE was cast in the media that was riddled with an undercurrent of racism and willful ignorance of the facts. The media sought to portray MOVE as bloodthirsty, filthy, hate-mongers, whose information was little more than unintelligible, obscenity laden, rhetoric. There was little or no concern or space given as to explain why MOVE was taking the stands that it did, the brutality that they routinely faced at the hands of police, or the unfairness dealt to MOVE at the hands of the court system. The readers of the Philadelphia Daily News or Inquirer were not ever given an accurate portrayal of MOVE, rather they were force fed the bigoted opinions and sensationalistic verbiage of a media that was openly contemptuous of the brash, young men and women of MOVE.

Consequently, when then Mayor Frank Rizzo unleashed his police force in a full-scale assault on MOVE headquarters on August 8, 1978, there was little in the way of public discontent outside of the Powelton Village neighborhood in which it took place. The public, which had consumed years of anti-MOVE propaganda from the news media, was all too complacent when police, armed with very little in the way of judicial justification, attacked MOVE members, women and children included. The end result was one police officer killed and nine MOVE members sentenced to life in prison. Media coverage was focused far more on the behavior of MOVE members who were protesting the obvious railroading than the very clear violations of law and due process that were being perpetrated by the courts.

When MOVE exploded onto the headlines seven years later in 1985, the public was led to believe by the media that the organization had virtually been a non-entity and now was once again, without provocation, berating and causing a disturbance in their new neighborhood in West Philadelphia.

This could not be further from the truth. After the 1978 confrontation and ensuing trials, MOVE with a few exceptions, had left the headlines. However, the harassment and brutality of MOVE people both in prison and out on the streets, continued. Unjust arrests were still ongoing, as were vicious attacks on MOVE men and women who were in jail on various charges. The war against MOVE, which had been ongoing for years, was now going on under wraps. From their end, MOVE was constantly petitioning politicians and other people of influence to help end the ongoing persecution of MOVE and investigate what MOVE saw as the unjust imprisonment of their members. The cries fell on deaf ears.

The new crisis rapidly devolved and ended with a police raid that culminated in police dropping a bomb on MOVE's row house, killing 11 MOVE members and burning down the neighborhood. The city's first black mayor, who was in the crisis up to his ears, empaneled his own inquisitors, who were impotent in terms of imposing punishment and, in due order, offered up a morally ambivalent synopsis of the events. The media for their part offered a few stern words for officials while supporting prosecutors in their attempts to imprison the sole adult survivor Ramona Africa. In part, due to media complicity, their would not be justice for the dead of Osage Avenue and Ramona Africa would serve seven years in jail, punished for the crime of survival.

At 3:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,

It's good to see that you're addressing these latest "photos," particularly when so few others are bringing attention to this new "evidence". I just wanted to remind you, though, that while nobody's doubting your dedication, attacking the immutable characteristics of Jamal's supporters themselves, such as Schiffman's national origin or Bennett's weight, kind of weakens your argument and nearly brings you to the level of those who would launch personal attacks against John Gilbride. Making fun of someone's national origin or weight is using an entire subgroup of the population as an insult -- similar to making denigrating comments about a person's disability or religion, both things that I know you would never do. Rather than stoop to that level, I think your idea of trying to publicize Schiffman's book in the US is a great idea -- let the readers see for themselves just how long this "evidence" can stand up.

At 8:38 AM , Blogger Tony Allen said...

Thanks for your comment, but I must take issue with some of your assertions.

First of all, I am of the belief that only a bad argument can make a bad arguement. If people are turned of by my abrasivness than that is there loss and problem, not mine.

Moreover, I was making fun of Schiffman and Bennett, I wasn't trying to ruin their lives or unfairly malign them with innacuracies as MOVE did with John Gilbride. And if you think you can compare what I said about those two and what MOVE did to John, than I urge you to go back and look at the campaign of terror waged by the cult against John and his family.

Finally, I would say lighten up.

If I wasn't at least a quarter German and a little soft around the midsection myself I probably wouldn't have been so quick to poke fun at Schiffman and Bennett. As serious as these issues often are, it is sometimes worth it for my own mental well-being to make fun of things and I wouldn't do so if I couldn't make fun of myself as well.

I do thank you though for raising the issue and hope that you will continue to thoughtfully comment on things whether you agree with me or not.

At 3:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the hat was, per testimony found next to the VW, then why do the first photographs taken at the scene show it on the roof of the VW, and in the hand of an officer, long before it 'appeared' on the ground next to the door of the VW where it was then photographed by the police?

At 4:38 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

by Tony Allen

There is a disturbing trend in this country.

It is a trend that has been greatly exacerbated by the Sept 11th attack on America and the ensuing malestorm of media propagandising and nationalistic ferver. It is a trend that leaves Mumia Abu-Jamal in perhaps an even more precarious position than before the September tragedy.
The possibility is very real that those government and judicial officials who are attempting to hold Mumia's life in their hands will try to capitalize on the current reactionary, jingostic, racist climate. In one quick motion, they could deny Mumia's appeals and set his date for death. It, unfortunately, may not be a hard sale for many in this nation....a black man with long deadlocks, a revolutionary belief, and an arabic sounding name could be seen as just another enemy casualty in Bush's "crusade" on terror. While the truth, and all that is right, screams out for Mumia to be spared the punishment imposed upon him by his racially stacked jury, we know it as an axiom that in war, the first casualty is the truth.
Those who are aware of Jamal's case must be more vigilant than ever and not allow themselves to be distracted or discouraged by the flag waving, shallow, trendy patriotism that envelopes this nation. It should be stated that America is no longer a country, but an idea marketed and commodified through increasingly intricate methods. So, too, is this new found patriotism. From actors and actresses getting face time in Red Cross commercials, to musicians hawking their new songs during hastily thrown together "benefits," to the flag drenched 24-7 media trauma that passes for news, the message is the same. Those who fail to chant the mantra of Americanism are tossed aside, disparaged, physically attacked, or, in the case of some dissident newspaper columnists and college professors, removed from their jobs. Yet, from amidst this tumult, there is a resistance that is brewing from within the various social justice and anti-globalism movements. If there is one thing that the fight to free Mumia should have shown everyone, it is that so long as there is the resolve to struggle, their is hope.
Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal have endured one of the most well funded and carefully orchestrated campaigns of disinformation in modern times. Yet, despite the wholesale repression that has permeated Jamal's case, the facts of the case come bubbling to the surface in only the way that truth can. The latest in a series of explosive revelations is a confession by a man named Arnold Beverly that he, not Jamal, was the killer of Danny Faulkner that ill fated night nearly twenty years ago. In a nation even peripherally concerned with justice, these revelations would, at the very least, ensure Jamal a new trial. Yet in a world lurching rapidly towards an Orwellian nightmare, justice takes a back seat to the machinations of a justice system beholden not to the people, but to the system.
Supporters of Mumia have not only an obligation to fight harder for freedom, we also have a new found obligation to fight against the vicious war that is being waged against all of us by Bush and those who are willing to surrender their rights in the interest of national security. I once read somewhere that "every bomb ever made falls on all of us." While some may chose to dismiss this as idealistic hyperbole, here is a truth that rings deep and true. Perhaps we should add that when we execute someone, we execute a little bit of ourselves. Perhaps the sooner we see the interconnectedness between the struggles against war and the struggle for freedom for those innocently imprisoned such as Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, The West Memphis Three, and the MOVE 9, the more empowered we will become. The resonance of our voices will ring that much truer, and will be that much more a threat because it will be that much more real. Get involved. We cant afford to wait.

by Tony Allen


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