Thursday, July 05, 2007

Another Mumia Supporter...Another Lie

(Herr Furher Abu-Jamal)
For the past couple of years, Michael Schiffman of Germany, and a self-professed reporter, has been goose-stepping his way to the top of the "Free Mumia" food-chain.

He has written a book on Jamal’s case and has traveled extensively throughout Europe stumping for Mumia and was in Philadelphia back in May for Jamal’s recent court hearing.

I have written some on this blog about Schiffman’s distortions of the truth in his fallacious assertions in the past and more recently on his self-serving and generally inaccurate interpretations of the crime scene photos taken by Pedro Polakoff, whom I recently interviewed for this website.

To be blunt, I have found Schiffman to be intentionally misleading with regards to his advocacy on behalf of Jamal, his motivations clearly tainted by his political allegiances and personal gain.
His "stunning new evidence" that was neither, was ignored by the media, which has apparently finally grown weary of the long train of pro-Mumia stunts that his supporters have been pulling for the better part of 25 years.

Recently, it occurred to me that I had yet more evidence of Schiffman’s lack of respect for the truth.

I have found that inveterate liars who grow accustomed to mouthing the big lies acquire some kind of sick addiction to the act and find themselves lying about just about everything, even when there is no apparent point in doing so (on a personal note, I once had a personal relationship with someone who had this problem and can attest to it’s infuriating nature.)

Take for instance, the finding of the Polakoff photos by Schiffman.

During a 2006 "interview" with fellow "journalist" Hans Bennett, Schiffman claimed the following about the discovery of the pictures:

"Guess where I found the pictures – it was on the website of former 100% MOVE adherent turned 100% MOVE hater Anthony Allen who posted them in the context of one of his endless rants against the "unrepentant cop killer" Mumia Abu-Jamal."

It is safe to say that Schiffman is not a fan of mine.

So, with that statement from Schiffman concerning the photos, I was surprised to hear from Pedro Polakoff something completely different. In an email from Polakoff, I was told that

"Actually Michael found the photos in the archives of the Philadelphia Daily News & Inquirer where they had been published originally and also found them on my photo site where I had published them".

I have no reason to believe that Polakoff would lie about such a thing, and given Schiffman’s shady nature and pattern of deception, I have every reason to believe that he purposely misled Polakoff. As it was, Schiffman kept his extremist political ideology a secret from Polakoff until he was finished obtaining the information and photos that he wanted from Pedro. This according to Mr. Polakoff. Had Schiffman been straight with Polakoff about where he first saw the photos, he ran the risk that Polakoff could have ran across my earlier writings concerning Schiffman’s pro-Jamal slant. This would have alerted Polakoff that Schiffman had a clear agenda and it certainly wasn’t getting to the bottom of the Jamal case.

Taken by itself, this clear example of Schiffman’s duplicitous nature doesn’t mean a whole lot. But as someone who is attempting to obtain a book deal here in the United States that has as a subject, what is arguably the most controversial death-penalty case in the world, Schiffman should be held to a standard of high-mindedness and intellectual honesty.

If he displays a clear bias, a looseness with the facts, a penchant for deception, and a proven disregard for truth, than I think it can easily be argued that he is not one that should be taken with any degree of seriousness.


At 5:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good take Tony. BTW, I still can't get back on the int' page for MAJ. Did they change web addresses? Thanks.

At 1:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,

Longtime Admirer, first-time "comment writer". I've always enjoyed your well-balanced and thoughtful website. I have always been stunned by your commitment to presenting the facts as they are, and not letting your opinions get in the way.

After reading this piece, I went to Schiffmann's site and read the interview that you quote. While I am certain that you would never deliberately misrepresent anything having to do with Mumia, I do believe that your post may accidentally misrepresent what Schiffmann says.

It appears to me that after reading the interview:

Schiffmann says he first saw the photo on your website, and then AFTER that he tracked down Polakoff and as the interview states:

"In May 2006, I found two of the photos that were published at the time on the internet [at Tony's site] – and the name of the photographer was clearly visible: Pedro Polakoff III, a name that narrowed down search options much more than had it been Jim Miller or something like that."

So it would appear that after seeing a photo on your fine website, he then looked further and found Polakoff's site as well as the Daily News and Inquirer archives.

Please keep up the inspiring human rights activism!!

I know that I never would have known of these interesting crime scene photos, if it wasn't for your dedication. Hopefully many others will learn about them through your site, because as you note in the article, no body else besides the Pro-Mumia press has covered them.

Earlier you wrote about how you wanted to promote Schiffmann's book in the US. Anything new from this angle? Is there any way your readers can assist you in the efforts to find a publisher for Schiffmann's book?

At 2:22 PM , Blogger Tony Allen said...

I think you kind of missed the point of the post.

It was the fact that in public Schiffmann had one story about the photos and than to Polakoff he had another story.

It was his duplicity that I was pointing out.

At 8:15 PM , Blogger Tony Allen said...

Alot of people have been asking about the "Mumia" website being down. I really don't know what is going on...Ask the Mumia folks and they may tell you it is some kind of COINTELPRO thing. The reality is probably something completely different.

Mumia's garbage articles are now being posted at the Philly IMC site which unlike the Mumia site allows for comments

At 12:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Post to antimoveblog.blogspot

In general, Schiffmann’s book is an American bashing piece of propaganda. Only a part of that book deals with Mumia Abu-Jamal. Schiffmann’s most important argument regarding Abu-Jamal is a sketch which allegedly shows that he could not have fired the first shot. In that sketch Abu-Jamal approaches the crime scene coming from his cab and crossing the parking lot. According to Schiffmann, he runs diagonally towards the scene. The second part of the sketch shows the approximate trajectory of a fragment inside of Locust 1234. Schiffmann says the fragment was part of a bullet which ricocheted from the pole of the no-parking sign - the only obvious obstacle at the crime scene. According to Schiffmann’s sketch the fragment would have to have changed its way by 103° after hitting the pole. Since that big an angle is very unlikely he concludes Abu-Jamal could not have fired the first shots.

In Schiffmann’s sketch the direction of Abu-Jamal running towards the scene looks logical (the shortest line), it crosses the parking lot (3 witnesses saw him coming from the parking lot), and the angle to Locust Street is very small (required for Schiffmann’s argument). At first, this looks almost good. However, the sketch is a little bit distorted. What are the mistakes?

- Schiffmann places Abu-Jamal’s cab 8 metres to far north. According to Detective William Thomas it was just north of Locust.
- Abu-Jamal starts running from the passenger door. (Most likely, Abu-Jamal was not even inside of his cab. In his affidavit he describes how he scanned the area twice through his back mirror but the things he saw were not in the field of vision of his back mirror.)
- He crosses the corner of the parking lot. However, police photos show cars at this corner. Even a photo by Pedro Polakoff shows a car at this corner.
- He does not run directly towards the scene but somewhere to the middle of the street. Ironically, at that location he would have been placed perfectly to shoot at Locust 1234 and leave the bullet and fragments.
- The Volkswagen and the police car are 4 metres to far to the east side.

The second part of the sketch is faulty, as well.

- The location of the fragment is completely wrong. It should have been placed roughly at the same distance from the walls at the western and northern side but its location is clearly different.
- The entrance hole indicated by a cross has been placed to far outside the centre of the entrance door.
- The pole is not at the correct location.
- In total, the alleged trajectory doesn’t even come close to the pole outside, which should be the place of origin.
- Schiffmann’s way of proving the trajectory is complete nonsense. Since the fragment could have hit something inside the building, the place where it has been found does not necessarily mark its trajectory coming from the door. The line from the pole to the hole in the glass could show that trajectory. However, the result would not be in favour of Abu-Jamal. Therefore, Schiffmann could not do it in that way.

You can look for yourself. On my own website I compare Schiffmann’s sketch with my version. Schiffmann’s sketch is in green, mine in red (; 2 sketches; the text is in German but the sketches should be pretty clear; the next page named “...23.html” compares the second part of Schiffmann’s sketch). Or you can try it by yourself. All you need is Google Earth and something like PhotoPaint. If it is available to you a CAD-program would be helpful, as well.

One may think these are just a few small inaccuracies within a rough sketch but that is not true. Schiffmann uses the sketch as supporting evidence to prove Abu-Jamal’s innocence by obtaining a certain angle from that sketch. His entire argument is based on the correct location of cars, things and persons. However, a correct sketch would not help him in any way, because the angle shown in his sketch - more than a right angle - would change to range between 0 and 60°, which would not exonerate Abu-Jamal. In my opinion this is lying and cheating.

But that’s not the worst. Schiffmann also wrote, if Abu-Jamal really fired the deadly shot (despite all his fabricated evidence) the murder charges should be dropped. Since Faulkner fired the first shot without reason (according to Schiffmann), Abu-Jamal acted in self-defence. Killing an unarmed police officer is self-defence??? That is sick.

At 2:36 PM , Blogger Tony Allen said...

A very thoughtful comment, and one that further diminishes the Schiffman, Mumia-mythology.

It is proof that there is an ever-growing resistance to the Mumia fraud, even across the Atlantic.



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