Friday, November 30, 2007

Help Defend A True "Voice of The Voiceless"

"But this is simply a fact of life in a world where freedom of speech and conscience falls ever more under the shadow of Muslim fanaticism. In my opinion, there is no one making a more heroic effort to change this fact than Ayaan Hirsi Ali."

-author, Sam Harris

I know a thing or two about the hatred of fanatics.
But, what I have had to endure is nothing compared to author, activist, and a true "voice of the voiceless" Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
She is a woman whose intellectual and physical courage is an inspiration who has come to be a stalwart representative of the struggle against the forces of Islamification and for the rights of oppressed Muslim girls and women throughout the world. As someone who has similarly seen the face of literal evil and who speaks out about it, I cannot help but to feel a kind of kinship to Ayaan. And in a world increasingly devoid of heroes, she remains one of mine and she is in need of help.
Her life is clearly in danger from attacks by extremists and she now needs assistance in order to provide for her own self-defense.

The former Muslim, whose memoir "Infidel" and other works, has shed a light into the horrific world that is that of the "religion of peace". And her life is in constant danger for doing so.
People first heard of Ali in 2004 when her friend Theo van Gogh was ambushed by a Muslim and brutally murdered for the crime of making a short film that displeased a good deal of Islamists. Van Gogh, a descendant of the artist was extremely controversial and he did seemingly relish his contrarian role and relentlessly needled Islam’s fanatics without going into excruciating detail, Van Gogh was killed in the same way that many who find themselves in the clutches of terrorists are. But killing the man was not enough for Mohammed Bouyeri.
He had to make a further gory point and that point was directed squarely at Ali by way of a letter that was stabbed into Gogh’s chest as he lay dying. According to Ali: "The letter was addressed to me." It said that Van Gogh had been "executed" for making a film with her that exposed the widespread abuse of Muslim women. Now, she would be "executed" too – for being an apostate
It is a murder that haunts Ayann. She says that, even now, "every time I close my eyes, I see the murder, and I hear Theo pleading for his life. 'Can't we talk about this?' he asked his killer. It was so Dutch, so sweet and innocent At the trial, Bouyeri spat at Van Gogh's mother: "I don't feel your pain. I don't have any sympathy for you. I can't feel for you because I think you're a non-believerAyann’s journey from a Muslim women in Somalia, to the Dutch Parliament, to The United States, and now back to Europe as one of the most genuine and outspoken advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves is well worth exploring and I encourage everyone to do so through her books and writings. In doing so, you will find out the reasons why Muslims across the world want her dead.It is not that she embraces some kind of jingoist position in the place of being a jihadist that makes her so important and dangerous, it is the fact that those people she loves and speaks for, are in fact Muslims. This despite the fact that she has abandoned the "faith" itself.But, Ayaan does not merely point out the symptomatic, she, in the truest form of what a "radical" is, "lays axe to root", and with her incisive grasp of the reality of Islam, she acknowledges the clash of civilizations and makes it clear what side she is on.In discussing Islam’s Prophet Mohamed, she claims that "All Muslims believe in following his example, but many of the things he did are crimes. When he was in his fifties, he had sex with a nine-year-old girl. By our standards, he was a pervert. He ordered the killing of Jews and homosexuals and apostates, and the beating of women." That is why she concludes that "the war on terror is a war on Islam, and "Islam is the new fascism.
It is comments such as those above that have stoked the ire of her former co-religionists and to a lesser extent, those who subscribe to the idea that all faiths are created equal, that Islam is a "religion of peace", or that it has been "hijacked" by extremists. It is her view that those who have bought into "a few bad apples" argument are in fact enabling extremism and are helping to perpetuate the oppression of Muslims throughout the world.She also takes aim at what is arguably the most visible symbol of what it means to be a Muslim and that is the veiling of girls and women in the faith. She concludes that it is "a political statement, it's not just a religious statement. It says: I'm different from you and I reject what you stand for."
However, she does not want the hijab banned. What she does say is that:
"The message of liberals is so much better, so much stronger, that you don't have to resort to banning. You can wear whatever it is that you want, you can give out whatever message that you want to give out – but you have to understand that if that message is rejected, then you can't call people Islamophobic and expect to be taken seriously. If you choose to wear a veil, people might ridicule and oppose you. That's their right, too."
Another point of interest for me with regards to Ayaan is the fact that although she is an ardent defender of freedom of religion and from it, feminism and gay rights, that she is often targeted by the political left as being a right-wing demagogue or worse yet, a manipulated tool for un-warranted fear of one of the worlds largest religions.
This is something I have also become familiar with. Despite the fact that I take similar positions with Ayann concerning fundamental human rights, I too have been targeted by elements of the far-left as they have made the conscious choice to defend the most reactionary of groups in that of MOVE. A sect which is rabidly anti-intellectual, anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-education, exploits race, and destroys life while it preaches the gospel of protecting life. Much in the same way that Islamists claim that their oppression of women is actually done in the name of protecting and revering women.
So, in a sense I can somewhat comprehend her ordeal, hence this article and plea for help for her.
In November, the Dutch government decided not to pay for her protection, saying she should pay for it herself. This despite the fact that countless threats remain for her. And while she is a successful author, she cannot pay for the round-the-clock security that she needs. According to Ayaan ,"Only 11 members out of the 150 MPs voted to keep my security detail she says. "So it's an overwhelming decision, and when I saw that I did feel betrayed. It's not only a betrayal of me, it's a betrayal of the idea of free expression."I think they believe that supposedly provoking Muslims will only make them more angry and hostile. The four large cities in Holland have now got very large Muslim populations, and that number is increasing – the estimate is that they're about 40 per cent. With that kind of electoral power [they think] it's best not to provoke them." Even if that means sacrificing basic Dutch values? "Yes."?"
Ayaan cannot return to her homeland, if she were to step upon Somali soil she would likely be as good as dead. So, she chooses to stay in her adopted homeland in the Netherlands while facing the very kind of extremists who murdered her friend and have on countless occasions promised to kill her.
That being the case, a fund has been set-up in order to assist her with her security. And while I understand it an odd request for such a public figure to need to go online with requests for security, I find this issue to be about much more than one woman and her fight against fundamentalism. I see it as an instance of a true "freedom-fighter" who has consistently placed herself in harms way in order to ensure that those who cannot speak have someone to speak for them.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


from Michael Smerconish

Neither Maureen Faulkner nor I are accepting any of the proceeds from the sale of the book "Murdered By Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain, and Injustice." Instead, any income from our three year investment in the writing of the book will be a charitable donation.

All author proceeds from the book will go toward Justice for Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, the 501c(3) non-profit originally organized by Maureen in 1998 to honor Danny's memory and to combat the propaganda of those apologizing for the man convicted of killing her husband.

Since then, she has expanded the mission of that entity, and now makes scholarship grants to the children of murder victims in the City of Philadelphia. Lord knows, there are plenty of potential recipients of her generosity which is itself a silver lining to the execution of her husband 26-years ago.

Because of advance sales, on December 10, 2007, I will donate $170,000 to her non-profit. This money will then be directed to the educational needs of Philadelphia youth who have lost a parent to violence. Young adults like Erma Aponte.

The story of Erma Aponte is representative of those the educational fund has sought to help. In 2000, less than two weeks before Christmas, Erma's father Jamie was killed while driving his taxi – shot just minutes after he finished eating dinner at the Aponte's North Philadelphia home.

Just minutes after he had told Erma he'd try to earn the $50 she needed to submit an application to computer school.

At the time, police suspected that whoever killed Jamie intended to rob him. He became the third cabbie shot in the city that month, and his murder left six children without a father.

Not long after Jamie Aponte was killed, Jerry Watkins, who was then one of the stable of volunteers who make Justice for Police Officer Danny Faulkner work, called Erma to tell her Maureen Faulkner wanted to give her $5,000 to put towards college. Erma told Jerry Watkins: "It shows my dad is still watching over me." (Watkins, himself a gem of a man, has since left this earth.)

I often wonder what else Jamie Aponte sees as he watches over Philadelphia. No doubt he's watching a city still buckling under the weight of the violence that claimed his life – and left his daughter to earn her keep before she even applied to do so.

These are days in which nobody is safe. Philadelphia's drug market continues to fog our streets, many of our city�s families are scattered and broken, and those sworn to protect us are enduring an unparalleled tension. Six police officers have been shot over the last two months.

This makes Maureen Faulkner's work – done today in Police Officer Danny Faulkner's name – even more significant. Just ask these students, each the recipient of a $5,000.00 grant:

Aking Beverly Cabrini College
Justin Frisby Cabrini College
Erma Aponte CHI Institute
Dana Dutch Community College of Philadelphia
Charles Ritterson Wesley College
Zilika Meade Art Institute of Philadelphia
William Billy Kite Kutztown State University
Michael Selby Frankford School of Nursing
Edward Fields University of Pittsburgh
Nicole Ballard Pierce College
Kaitlin Eichhorn Philadelphia University
Angela Ahmarov Gwynedd Mercy Academy
Anthony Bruno To be determined (Graduates 2008)
Gina Capriotti Jean Madeline Institute
David Capriotti To be determined (Graduates 2009)
Nora R. Rafferty LaSalle University
Tyzahvon McCloud Penn State University- Schuylkill Campus

"We wanted to actually help them in some way and we determined that the best thing we could do was to assist the children in furthering their education," Maureen told me. "That's why we began providing educational grants for the children of murder victims and those who have had a parent severely disabled in an attempted murder."

"So many people needlessly lose their lives in my home town and after the initial news buzz their families are left alone to pick up the pieces. We founded the educational fund to help the survivors and to let them know that as survivors of murder they are part of an extended family."

Those wishing to apply for education grants can write to Maureen Faulkner at PO Box 39270, Philadelphia, PA 19136.

"Murdered by Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain and Injustice" is on sale everywhere.

Michael A. Smerconish
December 1, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Sad Anniversary And "The Great Unwashed"

Usually, the sad anniversary of the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner is overshadowed by the celebration and protestations on behalf of the man who murdered him.

This year however, it appears to be an altogether different situation.

With the release of Maureen Faulkner’s book and the media coverage of it, the increasingly irrelevant Jamal supporters are relegated to what appears to be a half-hearted, mini-event, starring "author" Michael Schiffman.

Long story short, it looks like a this years Mumia celebration will be little more than an attempt by Schiffman and those duped by his conspiracy theories to push his book.

More interesting to me is the promise of a "response" to Faulkner’s book, of which nobody in the Jamal movement could even have read yet.

What are they going to do? Further try and slander Maureen Faulkner? Assert that she is doing the book for personal enrichment?

They cannot do that as the proceeds from the book are slated to go to charity.

Perhaps Pam Africa will scurry out of her hole, scream a few versions of the word "motherfucker" while she paints Officer Faulkner as a whore mongering bigot, who pretty much had it coming, as she did at a Jamal fundraiser at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Or maybe they will attempt to take the slightly higher road and trot out the old critiques of the several year old "20/20" report that was done on Jamal and was one of many serious blows to the cause.

What one can be sure of is that no matter what kind of corny or vulgar tactics they seek to employ will undoubtably backfire.

If they further besmirch the name of a dead police officer in a city awash in violent crime, they will only anger citizens who are more fed up with the blood soaked streets than they are apprehensive of the police.

If they again target Maureen Faulkner they will help to publicize her book as they make the point for her that the "movement" is one of no shame, integrity, lacking in humanity, and in the case of "bloody shirt" incident, prone to just making things up.

What they also cannot do is offer a viable version of the events of December 9, 1981, corroborated by the facts, that points to anyone other than Jamal as the shooter. This is something that no amount of "teach-ins" and propaganda as offered by an anti-American, German "hacktivist", can alter with their mental gymnastics.

They only possible route they can conceivably go is the tried and true attacks on the Fraternal Order of Police and perhaps Michael Smerconish. However, no amount of hatred of a police union or the man who is responsible for debunking so many of the Mumia myths can change the fact that Mumia is a murderer and that those who continue to support efforts to release him, are either duped, cynical opportunists, or morally blind political ideologues.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Seeking To Silence Maureen Faulkner

After writing this blog for the last couple of years, there is one thing that I have learned to count on, and that is that those who consistently look for the lowest common denominator can usually find it.

As if one needed one more example of this (I certainly don't and find it a testament to my own intestinal fortitude that I can continue to write about such things), the Mumia movement can always be counted on to provide it.

Such is the case with the latest attempt by the morally bereft, oblivious to facts, entity that now constitutes the Mumia cult, to counter the impending media coverage of the release of the book that tells the story of Maureen Faulkner "Murdered By Mumia".

With an obvious air of contempt, the Jamal supporters acquiesce the fact that Officer Faulkner's widow has a "story to tell", but that is where the concessions end. To the friends of Mumia, the widow of a dead cop is an enemy to be feared and loathed. That she continues to speak out on behalf of her murdered husband makes her a target. One that has been literally spat upon, rhetorically disparaged and called a liar on more occasions than one can count. The last charge of which, for the record, has been thoroughly repudiated.

The ongoing "media campaign" by the Mumiaphiles will surely meet with the failure that it deserves, and not just for the more obvious reasons. Certainly, one can read the letter at the Mumia website and catalog on their own, the fallacies and absurdities contained therein, but what struck me was the glaring logical fallacy that lay at the root of their supposed "argument".

The complaint for "equal time" by Jamal's supporters pre-supposes that the book is about Mumia's case. In the letter on the primary Jamal site, it is said that "The ethical interests in balance and fairness in presenting "news" regarding the Abu-Jamal case, arguably requires providing Today Show viewers with information evidencing Mr. Abu-Jamal's innocence and unfair trial."

Now, I have not read Maureen Faulkner's book, but in the interest of full disclosure I have offered to it's authors, information I had as a former supporter of Mumia, and have offered to do what I can to publicize the book, for reasons that I hope are obvious.

But, I do not believe the book's intent is to dispel all of the myths to which the Jamal supporters subscribe to. After all, there are so few of them, supporters that is, left that you could hardly even consider there to be a "movement" to speak of. What does exist is a few opportunists like Hans Bennett, and "author" Micheal Schiffman who are still intent on obtainings what few Euros there are left to be squeezed out of their vile little enterprise. Pam Africa, the reigning Queen of the Mumia cult is increasingly marginalized and reclusive, her Organization not even able to manage to maintain a website of it's own.

More damaging than yet another refutation of already debunked Jamal mythology is the testament of one of it's most morally potent victims. The story of Maureen Faulkner's ordeal, the vile attacks waged against her, and her tenacity in the face of it all will be perhaps the most crippling assault on the "movement" to date. This, because it exposes the fact that there simply is no depth to which they will sink to in their endeavors.

The most cynical of Jamal devotees will of course not be moved by Faulkner's words, no more than they are by the increasingly obvious reality that there simply is no plausible story that would explain Jamal's innocence. However, for those people whose mind is somewhat open and not blocked off by ideological blinders, the brutish reality that the Mumia movement's origins are in a violent cult, immune to logic, of which Jamal himself was and continues to be a part of, will be further laid bare.

It will be clear that for all of the blathering about the "protection of life", that MOVE and it's most known proponent and adherent is wedded to death and obsessed with destroying it's enemies, truth be damned. As the saying goes, "the truth will set you free". In Mumia's case, it will keep him where he belongs, and this same truth will continue to ensure that his devotees will continue on their path towards irrelevance, alienation from the "radical" community that they continue to attempt to defraud, and ultimately their disappearance from the political scene.

I would be remiss not to address one more issue that has been grating at me since first reading of the impotent whining about "balance and fairness" with regards to this situation.

I have to wonder just how concerned Mumia was with such lofty ideals when he ran up and shot a stranger in the back and than in the head. I have to wonder how fair it is for Jamal to continue to withhold the truth about his role in the killing from a still grieving family or how fair it is that the people who loved Officer Faulkner still must contend with being defamed and vilified for pointing out the obvious and apparent.

The authors of "Murdered By Mumia" will be on the "Today Show" on December 6th to discuss their book. For up-to-date information, continue to visit this website.

Sunday, November 18, 2007



(Pic from Officer Faulkner's Funeral)

From Maureen Faulkner

We were both excited about the weekend, even though it would be the first in roughly a year of marriage that we would not be together. Danny was happy about his long-planned annual hunting trip; I was anxious to entertain my mother in our home. Every year, Danny would travel about two hundred miles north of Philadelphia via the Pennsylvania Turnpike to reach Sullivan County. He loved to hunt and to spend time with friends, mostly fellow cops like Hugh Gallagher. Hugh's father had a small cabin where he loved to go for a few days at a time. They'd track the deer, probably have a beer or two, and, knowing Danny, I'm sure they'd spend lots of time swapping stories while trekking in the cold mountain air. Danny loved to tell stories. Stories about his work as a cop. Stories about growing up in Philadelphia. Stories about his family. And stories about life in general. I knew I'd miss his company for two nights, but I was also looking forward to my mother's company. My mother was going to make the forty-five-minute drive from where my parents were living in the historic Valley Forge area into the city and, although she had visited our home before, this time she was going to spend the night. I was hoping it would be time spent together doing the things that moms and daughters don't often get to do when a husband enters the picture.

I was content with my life at that time and wanted very much for my mother to see and experience my surroundings. She was a consummate worrier and I was anxious for her to see that, at age twenty-five and married, I was getting along just fine in the world. I was very proud of the modest, comfortable little house Danny and I called home and I spent time before her arrival making sure everything looked just right. My mother was disappointed that Danny was leaving on his trip before she would arrive. They had a terrific relationship. At first, Mom had been wary of him as my choice of a spouse, not because of who Danny was but, rather, what he did for a living. Police work was dangerous, she often warned, as if telling me something new. But her concerns about his profession soon succumbed to her fondness for the tall, personable, handsome young man with the shy smile I had fallen in love with. Both my parents loved Danny like another son.

It was the early 1980s. Stamps were 20 cents; Luke had finally married Laura on General Hospital; Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" was atop the charts. President Reagan was nearing the end of his first year in office. CDs, pagers, fax machines, laptop computers, and cell phones did not exist yet. MTV was in its infancy and rap music almost unheard-of. Danny spent his Sunday afternoons watching another Dan--Dan Fouts--throw touchdowns for the team in San Diego. And I, contentedly nestled in my small house in southwest Philadelphia, was confident that bloody shoot-'em-ups and tragedy were merely the stuff of TV dramas like Magnum, P.I. as I vacuumed the living room and excitedly prepared to entertain my mom that December day.

My mom said good-bye to my father out in the suburbs and drove down the treacherous Schuylkill Expressway to our home. We had a terrific time together doing things that would seem inconsequential to an outsider. I remember we sewed curtains for my windows. The small house was cozy, nothing extravagant about it, but it was the kind of place where both Danny's and my families and all our friends always felt welcome.

Saturday and Saturday night were all that I had hoped they would be. The conversations with my mother were nothing short of hilarious; we joked and reminisced, had fun, and stayed up late. But things changed on Sunday morning. When Mom woke up, there was a marked change in her demeanor that she refused to discuss. As we had coffee in the kitchen, I could sense her uneasiness. But despite my prodding, she just wouldn't share what was troubling her.

By Sunday afternoon, she was ready to spill. She told me she had not slept well the night before. When I asked why, she finally said that she'd had a horrible nightmare that frightened and depressed her. Her peaceful slumber was disturbed by a vision of one of her boys on the pavement, bleeding. "One of my boys" is how she put it, meaning to me, and to her, one of my four brothers: Jim, Mike, Lawrence, or Francis.

The nightmare continued to gnaw at my mother's sense of ease as the cheerful tenor of the weekend was transformed by her looming anxiety. She was uncomfortable until the time she left for home. I remember that when a neighbor's dog started howling late that afternoon, she was frightened enough to say, "Maureen, I don't like this feeling of doom--I'm sure something terrible is going to happen to one of the boys." My mom was so concerned about my brothers that she called each one of them from my house and told them to be very careful because of what she had dreamt.

Mom's premonition was half-right. My brothers remained healthy and fine, but her dread and anxiety were founded. One week after her nightmare, I experienced my own when my husband, Danny, was found dead, murdered in the line of duty. Mom's divination of doom was transformed into a sad still frame of reality when, on the night of December 9, 1981, the innocent blood of the man I loved soaked the cold pavement of a frozen Philadelphia street

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Questions and Observations Worthy Of A Response

(Pic of former Court Stenographer Terri Carter)

Since starting this site, I have received many questions about MOVE and Mumia via email.
Some of these questions are clearly sent by people whose agenda is, shall we say, less than friendly to my situation. Others are clearly beyond my realm of knowledge and I have no problem admitting as much.

However, some questions and observations sent to me reflect a sincere interest in the issue, and those are the correspondences that I relish. Even when they disagree with me, I can appreciate someone who has taken the time to look at both sides of an issue and come to an informed conclusion, even if it may differ than mine

This was the case when I was contacted by David York who hails from Sydney Australia.
I found that he had some really interesting questions that had prompted me to cover some ground that I had not previously covered before. He also had some compelling observations concerning Mumia’s case and MOVE. As I was responding to him I thought it might be good to reprint a portion of our emailed exchange as a blog post.

Thankfully, he agreed to allow me to do so.

His comments and questions are italicized. My responses follow.

Judge Sabo’s Alleged Racist Statement

1. A stenographer went on the record putting the 'nigger' comment into the mouth of the judge. While the judge responded to the effect 'I never said that and I never said anything like that', Pennsylvania didn't actually put on an affidavit from him in response to hers while he was still alive and the issue had formally been brought before a federal judge. Now he's dead, of course. For your blog would you be interested in interviewing her and asking about the supposed other witnesses to this remark? Like were they male or female? Young or old? Black or white? Blond or brunette? Dressed how? His wife, maybe, or his judicial associate. And what did they say immediately before it and after it that puts the alleged remark in its context? If there's anyone who knows who was visited the judge in the period before the trial it's the associate, and that person can potentially be tracked down. The answers to these questions have never been spelled out and I think they deserve to be for the sake of thoroughness. It doesn't help from either perspective with this thing coming out 20 years after, either. You'd be aware that there was a period of 10 or 11 months between the jury verdict and the judge's confirmation of it in May '83. Wouldn't that have been the time for this stenographer to have had a word to the Chief Judge, even quietly, to say 'I heard this and I just think I should let you know before a death sentence becomes final'? For a woman who's been to all those anti-death penalty rallies over the years, just consider that for 300 days when she could have simply taken a walk down the hall to do something practical and immediate for her own conscience and for a man whose life was actually in the balance and instead she did .. well, precisely nothing.

I might try and interview Terri Carter about the statement she claims to have heard, but if MOVE has gotten to her, there is no way she will ever speak to me. Also, I don’t think she would say anything more than she said in her affidavit.

She had the ability - and the responsibility - to report the alleged blatantly racist incident to someone - anyone - from the time she claims she heard it, until jury selection, with Judge Sabo presiding, began in the second week in June of 1982.

During that period, and during the six (6) days of jury selection the stenographer never reported the alleged racist incident to the Judge she was assigned to work for, to his law clerk, or to the accused murderer's lawyer, Anthony Jackson, (whose law office was minutes away from where she worked in the courthouse, and who was present in the courthouse, her daily workplace, for the six (6) days of jury selection in Room #253).

The stenographer never reported the alleged racist comment to any member of the defendant's supportive family -his mother, his sister, or his two (2) brothers, who like Abu Jamal, were present in Room #253 for all or part of the jury selection process.

From Thursday, June 17, 1982 (when testimony was scheduled to begin) through the last day of the guilt phase of the trial, Friday, June 3, 1982, the court stenographer never reported the alleged incident to anyone, including, but not limited to journalists from two (2) mainstream daily newspapers, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Daily News, which covered the trial extensively, as did the Philadelphia Tribune, the city’s preeminent African-American newspaper. All of these papers were anti-death penalty in their editorial pages and the Inquirer in particular was known at that time for it’s courageous reportage concerning police misconduct and would have likely jumped all over the story.

She had to have known that she had moral, not to speak of professional responsibility to report the statement as it would have been a flagrant violation of the Judge's oath of office and the Code of Judicial Ethics which demands lack of bias, objectivity, impartiality, and integrity, from trial Judges. She also knew that a man’s life was potentially at stake.

The afternoon or evening of the verdict, or at the very latest on the day of the penalty trial, Saturday, July 3, 1982, the Philadelphia stenographer knew that another person was in jeopardy of being sentenced to death in the electric chair and

She knew that the Judge who would preside over the penalty trial was none other that the jurist whom she now claims was a vicious racist who was going to, in her words:

Help them (i.e., the prosecutor and the police) fry the nigger.

Yet, she never told anyone about the alleged racially biased incident during the entire month of June of 1982 or on Friday July 2nd, or on Saturday July 3rd.

The only reasonable conclusion that one can come to is that she never did hear the comment.
Given what I know about the circumstantial evidence with regards to her and my own knowledge of her long-term involvement with far-left politics in the Philadelphia area, I am of the view that she has jumped out there with a falsified statement in an effort to keep Jamal from being executed. That said, I don’t know that we will ever know the truth. And if she did hear him say that ugly comment, it wouldn’t take away from all of the other facts that demonstrates Jamal’s guilt.

John Africa As Jamal Attorney

2. The concept of being allowed a 'McKenzie friend' to give you quiet advice in court is uncontroversial in this country. In fact, the original McKenzie friend was an Australian barrister in London. Now Mumia Abu-Jamal was disallowed this, leading to unrelenting protests, which led to him being removed from representing himself and even from the courtroom itself on numerous occasions.

In the circumstances I take the view that he should have been allowed to try John Africa as his advocate as long as there was a court-appointed attorney (which there was) as his backup for legal advice. After all, the Bill of Rights provides that a man may have 'counsel of their own choosing', not 'counsel of their own choosing among persons who have been previously licensed for that purpose by the State'. John Africa knew enough about effective advocacy to win his own trial acting for himself, and it would have been at least been very interesting to see the defendant's issues indulged in that regard. To my knowledge, John Africa was never thrown out of court for antics or disruption.

Am I correct?

As a "Mckenzie friend", John Africa would have been liable for any misleading advice given to Mumia, could not be considered an expert in the law, nor was it ever argued by Jamal that he wanted John Africa in this capacity, but instead wanted Africa to represent him as his "attorney".

Moreover, John Africa made no attempt to contact the court on his own to state his willingness to fulfill this role, nor did he attend any of Jamal’s court proceedings, pre-trial, trial, or sentencing. And if you read Jamal’s testimony, it is clear that he wanted his attorney to be completely removed from the case in order that he be solely represented by John Africa.

Jamal’s behavior was so contrary to his own interests that at least one journalist wondered publicly if Jamal’s actions were part of a suicidal scheme. In fact, a psychiatrist who observed Jamal after sentencing, aired the same concerns.

Other MOVE members did however attend the trial and Jamal routinely consulted them out of earshot of the prosecutors and the judge. The PA supreme court correctly ruled against Mumia’s request, however Judge Sabo offered a compromise that the ADA did not object to that would have allowed John Africa to provide assistance to Mumia from seats directly behind the defense table. An offer Mumia refused. This refusal, left out of all of the pro-Jamal propaganda is further evidence that the issue was not so much about Jamal’s desire to have John Africa’s assistance, and was likely more about his attempt to disrupt the judicial process and follow in the footsteps of his MOVE idols.

Also, you have to understand the time-frame of Jamal’s trial in relation to MOVE. The trial of the MOVE 9 had finally concluded in 1981, some three years after their arrest. Their trial, was one of the longest and reportedly costliest in Philadelphia’s history. This, in great part due to the antics of MOVE members which amounted to violent outbursts, punctuated by long sermonizing in lieu of actual testimony, as the courts attempted to allow the defendants to exercise their right of self-representation. It was an attempt at a profane defilement of the justice system on the part of the MOVE members, and eventually, like Jamal, they were stripped of their right of representation.

Everyone in the judicial community had to have known MOVE’s tactics and it is understandable that Judge Sabo did not want a repeat in his courtroom.

John Africa, himself was tried on a host of federal weapons charges, along with another MOVE member, however instead of disrupting the trial, he slept thru portions of it, allowing his fellow defendant to due just about all of the case, save for a closing argument.

In that case, the prosecutions case collapsed and John Africa was found innocent as one of the key prosecution witnesses was found dead in a river, before the trial, a death that was ruled "suspicious", but that was ultimately determined to be a suicide. He had refused to go into the witness protection program and had continued to live and work in Philadelphia until the time of his death. As for MOVE, they blamed his death on the police.
MOVE and Mumia

3. Did you ever meet anyone in MOVE who ever asked the question 'how come Mumia hasn't told us anything about the gun in all this time?'. I also think that the odds are pretty low that this brit chap who made this latest documentary about him and who spoke to him in jail came out with any thing like 'so you were found shot by the dead cop wearing an empty shoulder holster and with your gun containing only empty shell casings on the ground. What's with that??'. For me, I think that would be the second question out of my lips after 'Hello. How are you?'. And the woman who did the Guardian interview didn't get that far either. Funny, eh? Maybe they just forgot or couldn't think how it was newsworthy

During my many years with MOVE, I never heard anyone from the sect or anyone close to it, voice any concerns about Jamal’s lack of candor with regards to the case. In case you don’t know, John Africa dispatched MOVE members to the hospital the day of the shooting and almost as quickly assigned certain MOVE members to form a support network for the cult’s most beloved journalist.

The lack of intellectual curiosity with regards to Mumia’s actual story, or rather lack of one, for MOVE is rather simple to explain. MOVE is a group that does not value dissent, questioning of it’s leaders authority, or criticism of the man who has brought to the group many a supporter and many dollars.

Furthermore, in MOVE’s "theology", any MOVE member or close supporter can do no wrong and can never be guilty of anything so long as their actions are consistent with the group’s "war" against the "system". For MOVE, if they say that one of their members are innocent, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they believe that they are of the view that the person committed no crime. What it does mean is that MOVE does not subscribe to "systematic" viewpoints, language, etc...For example, in MOVE, it is not a lie in their eyes to say that no MOVE member ever attacked anyone, even if they know otherwise. John Africa taught that "what is right is necessary and what is necessary is right". And so therefore, if a MOVE member is doing "right" in the view of the cult, no matter what they do, they are innocent.

The reason that nobody asks Jamal hard questions about the case is also simple. In order to be granted an interview you must agree not to bring up those kinds of questions. Also, I would argue that many of the people who interview Mumia don’t care what happened on December 9, 1981. For too many people, ideology is more important than truth.

4. I have a couple of questions about MOVE. First, are you aware of any video or recording of John Africa that's available as an mp3 or mpeg or on the worldwide web. I'd like to be able to see/hear him to find out what all the fuss was about. How did he seem to you?

There are hardly any tapes or videos of John Africa in existence. He did not attend demonstrations or speak publicly, although he would preside over internal meetings, he was kept away from all but the most devout members of the group and would disappear for long stretches of time on "activities". Oftentimes, due to his inability to read or write well, he would dictate his teachings to a follower and did not allow video or audio recordings of his speeches in keeping with his "anti-technology" views. I have only seen one brief interview with him in which a reporter asked him about how he felt after his acquittal in which he responded "nothing I was asleep", and than got into a cab and drove off. This was on the PBS show Frontline which aired in 1987 and dealt with the 1985 confrontation.

I never met John Africa. He died in 1985 when I was 9 years old and living far from Philadelphia. I did not get involved with MOVE until 1996. What I do have from him are some of the "Guidelines" that he dictated. These "Guidelines" could be equated to a MOVE Bible, except for the fact that not available in their entirety. And even members and close supporters of the sect are allowed portions of them. The reason for this is twofold. The first of which is that the way MOVE members live today is far from the way that John Africa implored them to live. This allows for MOVE leaders to dictate their own policies and are not able to be challenged. What the younger MOVE members and supporters know of John Africa’s teachings are what they are told and not what they are allowed to see of them.

The second reason for the un-availability of the full set of "Guidelines" is that they are so far beyond being not politically correct, that they would insult just about everyone, especially the far-left which MOVE counts on for support. I discovered this while living at a "MOVE" house that I shared with Ramona Africa and another MOVE supporter. One day, while alone at the house I went digging through the filing cabinet in Ramona’s office and came across perhaps 300-500 pages of "Guidelines". Many of them were riddled with the kind of profanity that we are used to with MOVE, but others went much further.

It appears that John Africa was horribly homophobic as he repeatedly referred to gays as "faggots", and spoke of them in the worst way, went on about people with AIDS and repeatedly used the word "nigger" and other racial epithets . He railed against abortion, non-MOVE members, and even MOVE members to whom he did not see sufficient submission from, not to speak of an expressed hatred of anything that existed outside of his way of thinking. That is how I learned that John Africa sought to destroy all that he could not understand and the lack of affection he had for humanity as a whole. This is why MOVE will never release to the public, the full written record of John Africa’s teachings.

At the time, it was a very disheartening experience to say the least

5. Second, how many of them (MOVE members) are there. Given that nine have been in jail since 1978 and all the remaining adults except for one were killed in the bombing in 1985, there can't be many still around on the outside can there?

If I had to guesstimate how many MOVE members and close supporters there are, I would say that there are perhaps 15-20 active in the Philadelphia area. I do not include the children in this number for the reason that I don’t believe that a child can be a "MOVE member" any more than a child can be a Republican or a Democrat. And although this number seems small, there are perhaps hundreds of people throughout the world who sympathize with the group and it’s agenda without completely subordinating themselves to the group, who send money, organize pro-MOVE events, and set up speaking engagements for MOVE members.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Rejoinder To The Mumia "Movement"

"...with Tony Allen. He is one of the certifiable whack-jobs who posts around the internet... What makes Tony Allen a little different from the other "internet wackos" is his fanatical racism and religious intolerance. ..So far example, he loves referring to John Africa as a "retarded black man," and has also used extremely offensive language referring to Pam Africa as a "filthy animal." ... Lately, he seems restless and in need of more targets for his rage, so has now been joining other racists in his condemnation of Muslims... One one hand, TA's comments are inarguably biggoted and offensive, as is clear to ANYONE reading this. So readers should seriously question whether or not he is an appropriate contributor to a community forum like the IMC (most other IMC sites completely banned Tony Allen a long time ago)... However, in the meantime, Allen's racist and VERY HATEFUL diatribes serve to seriously discredit the FRY MUMIA / anti-MOVE folks. So, in many ways Allen may actually be helping Mumia and MOVE... Who knows? One thing is for sure: Tony Allen has some VERY SERIOUS mental problems...In my opinion, you have far too much tolerance for an obviously hateful bigot who has a long history of trashing and abusing this valuable community forum we have in the IMC... there are many people quite disgusted by overt racism (the subtle, covert racism is bad enough), myself included."

-comments from the Philly IMC by someone named "Down With Racist Scum"

The campaign to disclose the truth about Mumia and MOVE, waged by your humble author and others has been strongly, albeit crudely, and repeatedly been the target of reckless ad hominem.attacks of the most vile nature. It is a fact that comes as no surprise to me.
It is, after all, evidence that there is not much left in their arsenal. More proof, that there really never was to begin with.

With the arguments for Jamal’s freedom being refuted virtually as soon as they appear, the once high and mighty movement that had so much money and support, has been on a slow, crippling descent downwards, working it’s way towards oblivion.

These spastic, rhetorical attacks against me, represent the true face of the Jamal movement, ugly, immune to truth, intolerant of opinions other than there own, a proclivity for out and out lying, and the abandonment of even the pretense of a dedication to truth.

There is no point in me attempting to prove that I am not a racist. Those who are naive enough to just take someone who makes allegations and hides behind anonymity, who cites nothing in the way of serious proof, and attributes statements to me that I never said or wrote, are beyond my reach, and probably a waste of my time.

Much like the white supremacists, who share more than a few common threads with the Mumia machine, the "movement" exists primarily online, where the lack of real support can attempt to be mitigated by high-tech, web-based, sophistry. For it is a movement that in reality has always been about symbol over substance, so the transformation from a real movement to faux movement, to one that exists primarily on the cathode screens of a few ardent devotees, is only a natural progression.

The Mumia movement, even at it’s peak was something of a political Ponzi scheme, where Jamal zealots would trade time and space with even more odious zealots of the most foul and retrograde political persuasions in order to present a united front. To go to a Mumia demo back in the day was akin to stepping into a kind of time machine that shot you backwards into a veritable junk-bin of bad ideas. There were tables of pamphlets, books, and videos from a whole menagerie of Marxist groups, none of whom actually like each other, all vying for your attention and your ill-gotten capitalist money. They peddled the kind of political theatrics that cause one’s eyes to glaze over as these arm-chair "revolutionaries" battled over whose interpretation of Marx was superior. This to the point, that I saw one of these "revolutionaries" shrink away from such a debate in tears as if somebody had tried to sell her the icepick that Stalin’s goons killed Trotsky with.

But now, as the Mumia fad no longer sells the papers to the "proletariat" that it once did, there are new heros and martyrs to be latched onto. The stock of the Mumia brand has plummeted downward to the point that aside from Jamal’s attorney, you can’t pay somebody to argue for his innocence, and can barely find people who will even make a case that he did not receive a "fair trial". Those who still do this can be counted on two hands, perhaps one, and they represent those who are clearly still dry-humping the remains of the "movement" in order to squeeze those last few cents from the "dead-enders". The same crowd who, a decade from now will still be pulling out their faded "Free Mumia" t-shirts, hitting the streets of Philadelphia, as people drive by trying to figure out just what the hell those three white guys with a faded picture of a black man with dread-locks were screaming out "motherfucker" for.

The writing is all over the wall already with all of this "Tony Allen is a racist" rubbish. After two and a half decades of wailing for Mumia and piling lie on top of lie, the frustration over their apparent failure is bubbling over into this frenzy of pointless name-calling. It is yet another example of the devotion to the idea that if you lie about something enough times, perhaps it will come true. It is an example of the notion that the repetition of the same behavior over and over again, with the expectation of different results is madness, has never fully sunk into the minds of the Mumia "dead-enders".

Now, with the Mumia "movement" being nearly completely outsourced to New York City, one can see that the people of Philadelphia have unequivocally turned a cold shoulder to the cause, as the idea of deifying a murderer in a city awash in the blood of murder victims, has finally run it’s course.

As for New York, they can’t even get it together enough to throw a "dance party" for Mumia without it getting "postponed" and their petition to name a Harlem Street for Mumia hasn’t broken a thousand signatures in over a year of being up, while the one to counter it is at 35,000 and still going strong.

So, while some people may take offense at the misspelled, hysterical, demonstrably false, invertebrate calls for my censorship, as offered by "anonymous" people on a website, I see such absurdity as a sign of the times for the Mumia cause and a good thing

The "Free Mumia movement" is a "cause" in the last days of it’s existence, convulsing, attempting to strike out at anyone and anything as it careens into nothingness. It’s devotees clinging desperately to any kind of "new evidence", the fact that it is neither new or evidence, is found in the fact that Jamal’s own attorney has not even bothered to attempt to force it down the judiciaries throat. That is something that truly does speak volumes

So the Mumia supporters can call me a "racist" all that they want and it will not make me into one, just as they have been attempting to call Mumia "innocent" despite his guilt.

The problem for them now is that they have something to sell, it is just that they can’t get anybody on this continent to buy it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Manufacturing An Angry Young Man

Without me, one of MOVE’s most ardent supporters, Kevin Price, who recently wrote a fantasy piece on behalf of his cult for the Philly IMC, would likely have never joined up with the sect.

Long before this tragic figure became the epitome of manufactured dissent, addled by self-delusion, and a liar for MOVE, he was a promising young man.

In Virginia, where I met Kevin when he was a young teenager, he was already an activist of sorts and had already embraced a radical vision. However, after myself and others exposed him to MOVE and Mumia, what likely would have ended in just a phase of pubescent rebellion, has instead mutated into the horrific spectacle of another angry, young, white man, who may have just as well gotten caught up in the Aryan Nation as he did MOVE.

Even when I was in my most devoted phase of my involvement with MOVE, I had concerns that his young mind would be ripped to shreds by MOVE’s psychological barrages and that his critical faculties would be silenced before they had a chance to grow. And it appears that I was correct in my assessment. Yet another instance where I would rather be proved wrong than right.

It was several years ago that I remarked to another former MOVE supporter that if Kevin was told to go protest on behalf of Jeffery Dahmer or Timothy McVeigh that he would spring out without an ounce of doubt and do so with the same fervor that he does for Mumia and MOVE now. There are just some people who are just like that. And if they are caught up at a young enough age, the likelihood of their escape from the group becomes that much more of a question.

It is a known fact that cults, especially authoritarian ones, feed off of youthful naivete and the willingness of the young to subordinate their sense of self in order to please figures of authority at any cost. It is also a characteristic of such groups as MOVE to have no shame in their recruitment of young people as they encourage them to "drop out" of the "system" and abandon hopes for college and the relative uncertainty that plagues young people and replace it with an immediate sense of belonging, of family, and direction. And while time may reveal this kind of Faustian bargain for what it is, in the meantime the devotee gets more and more ensnared into the cult.

What began as devotion to fighting injustice turns into something far more malevolent.
But you do not see it at first, and some never see it, as the change is gradual. Today you are making regular trips to Philadelphia, than you go to live up there, you get into a relationship, and soon your life becomes routine. It matters not that your existence is rooted in a generic reality full of plagiarized emotions, supplications to an illiterate and likely insane, dead deity, and a world-view that simultaneously allows you a false sense of superiority, while in reality you are slowly sinking into the world of the worst of the worst. And the most sickening part of it all is that you don’t see it, and if you do, what can you do? Leave your family? Abandon what you think is everything and go back to being just another pebble on the beach? For those who have never been in that kind of situation, and be thankful you haven’t, it may seem like a no-brainer. But the reality is that it presents you with a situation that you know for a fact, will at least for a time, lead to immense difficulties.

That is why MOVE’s emotional brutalization visa vi their "meetings" are such an integral part of the sect’s existence. It is the consistent breaking down and building up of the self that leads to the death of self and a re-birth into a "hate the world" emotional cripple that Kevin Price has become. That is why they want cult members to live together, work at the same jobs, speak in the same way, and mouth the same lies.

Kevin can hardly string together a coherent sentence and he is full of false analogies and advances premises without anything in the way of proof to buttress his claims. But that is not really my point.

The first error he makes is the one that matters the most. For his argument is fully predicated upon the idea that MOVE members are, and were ,victims of an ongoing conspiracy to destroy the sect, kill their babies, nauseam. That being the case, anything that follows his false premise is little more than a collection of fatuous non-sequiturs that are as empty and as devoid of meaning unintelligible rants that go on at a MOVE rally.

From my vantage point, this kind of article, no doubt written by Kevin at the behest of one of MOVE’s leaders is little more than evidence of the destruction of the life of a mind. As George Orwell pointed out, "the hardest thing to see is that which is right in front of your nose", Kevin could easily recite from memory a litany of charges made by MOVE against "the system".
However, if you were to query him as to what kind of negative role MOVE may have played in the cult’s many public relations disasters and confrontations, you will be lucky to receive a blank, dull, stare, as he has not been "programmed" by the cult for something like intellectual honesty.

For it is only a true cultist or a blinded ideologue, who could completely overlook the rape of girls as young as 11 or 12 and the many other criminal activities of the sect in order to sit straight faced at a computer to hammer out some kind of completely pointless screed so dreadfully crafted that it alone could be used as evidence that MOVE is exactly what the good folks down at the Guinness Book of World Records say it is.

As for Kevin and the other MOVE supporters that I left behind, I am hopeful. Statistically speaking, most of those around the sect will eventually abandon it. But I am reminded of the fact that long before martyrs go to their deaths in flames, they have already martyred their own power of reason and self-preservation as a form of supplication to the cult of death that is MOVE.

And so if Kevin and those who claim that May 13th 1985 was not a mass-suicide I would like them to explain what one should call you if you start shooting at what amounts to an army of heavily armed Police Officers after refusing to peaceably surrender. MOVE members did not have to act in a homicidal or suicidal manner, they chose to, and in doing so, they essentially murdered the children in their care as they caused their own deaths.

And no amount of mental gymnastics and false analogies can ever wash the blood that will forever stain the memory of what MOVE is, and will likely continue to be.

Kevin and the other MOVE supporters may have sacrificed their mental and critical faculties as they pledged support for, and paid obeisance too, MOVE’s leadership, but they are going to be hard pressed to convince too many more people to follow in their footsteps.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The City Paper, Another Murdered Cop, And Bad Humor

(Funeral Procession For Police Officer Cassidy)

The latest edition of the Philadelphia City Paper published a letter I wrote to the editor that was critical of the "Bell Curve" section of the paper, which I thought took a cheap shot at the soon-to-be-released book by Maureen Faulkner about her book "Murdered By Mumia".

For those of you who don’t know, "The Bell Curve" is the purported "quality of life meter" for the City of Philadelphia with a pretty clever twist in that offers a kind of sarcastic take on the news of the week and than rates it as either a plus or negative.

A few issues ago, the "Bell Curve" placed as a negative, Maureen Faulkner and Michael Smerconish’s book about Daniel Faulkner’s 1981 murder and the ensuing Mumia mania that has followed.

The exact text of the "Bell Curve" swipe at Maureen Faulkner is as follows

"Maureen Faulkner and Michael Smerconish’s book, Murdered by Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain and Injustice, available for pre-order on And Minus 1"

Of course, there is no "" and the "Curve" was supposed to be a snarky comment, meant to be funny, however many people, myself included, did not get the joke. And I realize from reading numerous articles from City Paper editor, Brian Hickey, has a real distaste for Michael Smerconish and that the "Curve" comment was much more likely directed at Smerconish than it was at Maureen Faulkner. This and the fact that there are plenty of bigots who do attach themselves to the "Fry Mumia" cause, just as much as there are bigots who attach themselves to the "Free Mumia" cause.

I get the idea that it was intended to be funny, but it wasn’t. And if a joke isn’t funny it isn’t much of a joke. I would further add that if the talent pool at the City Paper is so deficient that it needs to take aim at the widows of murdered Police Officers for laughs, even if it was obliquely, than I think that a sad testament to the "alternative media" in Philadelphia.

So with that in mind, I quickly wrote a letter and sent it off to the paper.

Now, flash forward a week and a Philadelphia Police Officer named Chuck Cassidy was brutally gunned down as he attempted to stop an armed robbery at a Dunkin Donuts. His alleged murderer, John Lewis was caught after an extensive manhunt while hiding in Miami and has reportedly confessed to the murder.

There was no snide remarks about the possibility that Officer Cassidy was on his way into Dunkin Donuts to stock up on a couple of dozen glazed in the "Bell Curve" this week as much of Philadelphia was mourning another cop who gave it all so that some in the city may know peace.

Instead, Brian Hickey himself took the very Michael Smerconish sounding position that the killer of Officer Cassidy was an "urban terrorist" and a "fat boy scumbag", who deserved nothing more than death. He concludes his polemic with the very un-liberal statement that he is "...done worrying about civil rights and people whining about inequities in death-penalty convictions. If you kill a cop, you should lose your life. Anybody who says otherwise is an enabler, with the blood of two beloved police officers on their hands."

I disagree, and as someone who spends a good amount of time working to dismantle the apparatus that facilitates the deification of cop-killer, Mumia Abu-Jama and the explicitly cop-killing cult known as MOVE, I hardly consider myself as an "enabler"of cop-killers. But I do understand that many Philadelphians are simply fed up with the bloodshed that seems to flow un-checked, to the point that violent criminals seemingly have no fear of taking on armed and trained police officers and killing them in cold blood. It is a situation that should cause a change of heart and mind and it apparently is. The death of Officer Cassidy has brought with it an outpouring of emotion that is transcending the usual race and class paradigms that are often the impediments to a unified revolt against senseless criminality.

It appears that the media has taken notice and responded accordingly. And so I don’t fault Hickey for his somewhat hyperbolic and what I believe to be a heart-felt expression of anger towards pointless violence. This, even though I might disagree with some of his conclusions.
Let us hope that this righteous indignation continue and spread to the point that it is the violent criminals who live in a perpetual state of fear and that those they have victimized for so long are the ones to lead the revolt.

My letter is as follows

As a reader of the City Paper for a number of years, I have frequently made my way to the Bell Curve for at least a momentary laugh. However, the cheap shot taken at Maureen Faulkner was not only unfunny, but displayed a kind of calculated cynicism.

I am not one for sacred cows; I hold fast to the idea that anyone who enters the public arena makes themselves fair game for ridicule, condemnation and even some politically incorrect humor from time to time. However, if Faulkner happened to be an African-American mother of one of the 300-plus people murdered in Philadelphia this year, I don't have to wonder if there would be jokes made at her expense. That she is white and a widow of a police officer who is outspoken in her pro-death-penalty views ought not place her at the top of a list of mockery. Nor should the fact that she has teamed up with Michael Smerconish diminish her moral credibility.

Although the only political position that Smerconish and I would probably agree on would be that Mumia is guilty and that MOVE is a violent cult, he has done more to demythologize the whole Mumia phenomena than just about anyone else. His work to put trial transcripts online while working for Faulkner pro-bono demonstrate to me that he is more than a low-rent version of Bill O'Reilly.

I noticed that one of those [readers] who wrote in defense of the Bell Curve's snide comment alluded to some kind of monetary motivation for Faulkner and Smerconish's book, this while essentially defending murder as a punch line. But the fact is that the proceeds from the book are going to a charity that benefits children of murdered Philadelphians. If there is a calculated effort to bring relief to these suffering people, then I hardly think it ought to be criticized.

This, while the real "cult," the personality one that exists around Mumia, continues to be a swirling vortex of wasted time, money and good intentions. When was the last time the Mumia cult did anything for anyone? I expect this kind of crude and shallow cruelty from the Mumia crew, but not from a respectable institution such as the City Paper. At the very least, I think an apology is in order.

Tony Allen

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The British Love Affair With Mumia

First the French. Now the British.

With the recent publicity surrounding the new "documentary" about Mumia in Europe, it is not a surprise to see that the subject of the film is again back in the spotlight where he so loves to be.

Over a week ago, a very slanted, one-sided, veritable love letter to Mumia was published in the British newspaper, The Guardian. It is a paper that has always catered to the left, but this article about Mumia abandons even the pretense of objectivity.

And while I don’t pretend to know the motivations of the reporter or the Guardian with regards to Mumia, I do know the reportage was awful and at the very least deserved a response.

I also know that if Europeans are receiving their information about Jamal’s case from media outlets as biased as the Guardian, than I find it no surprise at all that many Europeans are convinced that Mumia was a victim of American racism and injustice.

For what it is worth, and apparently to the Guardian, it is not worth much, I sent a letter to the editor regarding the pro-Mumia article. Being that several days have gone by without a response I think it safe to say that they will not be running my letter and so therefore I will publish it here.

Dear Guardian Editor,

As a someone who spent nearly a decade in the "movement" to "Free Mumia", I was thoroughly disappointed by the hagiography presented in the place of honest and intellectually curious reportage.

Although I can understand being enamored by the Jamal mystique and the desire of those with a nascent, anti-American agenda, to place the murderer upon a pedestal, the disingenuous presentation of the "facts" of the case is in-excusable.

Having taken the time to undertake an investigation of the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal that began with the premise of his innocence, but concluded in the awful realization that he is without a doubt guilty, I would be remiss not to point out the clear mistakes in your article.

It is disingenuous to claim that the scene of the crime was "unsecured". This is an idea conjured up by pro-Jamal fanatics scrounging for another conspiracy theory to hang their hat upon. This, because their quarter century quest to free their hero has met with failure after failure, mitigated only be the removal of the death sentence in 2001, due to faulty instructions to the jury by the original trial judge.

It is clear today as it was to Jamal's jurors in 1982 that his weapon had been fired. Your article failed to mention that the weapon found next to him, a weapon he owned, and was wearing a shoulder holster for, had all of it's rounds fired.

Theoretically, millions of weapons of that variety could have fired that particular bullet, but as the jurors and subsequent judges who have reviewed the case have clearly noted, only one such weapon was at the scene of the crime.

Furthermore, it would have made no sense to "test" Jamal's hand to ascertain whether or not he had recently fired a weapon. This, because Jamal was discovered at the scene next to the weapon and was himself wounded from a gunshot that could have ended his life. One could hear the outrage now if instead of bringing Jamal to the hospital for treatment, police waited for crime scene investigators to get to the scene as he lay bleeding on the ground. It is an absurd argument made for the benefit of those not fully familiar with the case or police investigations.

The comments pertaining to "the witnesses in Jamal's case may as well be cut and pasted from the worst of the pro-Jamal propaganda sources as they are not reflective of the trial transcripts available at, nor are they backed up by anything more than speculation and heresy.

As for the "confession", numerous people claimed to have heard it. Police Officers as well as civilians and a reporter heard Jamal's horrid confession. The idea that he could not have "shouted" the purported confession is again something that is incorrect given the fact that Jamal reportedly confessed on more than one occasion and even prior to his arrival at the hospital. He spoke to the attending physician as well as to family members at the time of their arrival. Are we to believe that all of these people, police officers and non-police officers alike, would all conspire to concoct a confession, and to what end?

These are just some of the many errors, whether purposeful or accidental, in your article about Jamal.

And while I am myself critical of the American system of justice and the death penalty, the facts are that Jamal is not, or rather should not, be the poster boy for it's reform. If anything, by placing a clearly guilty man upon this ideological pedestal, there is much more to be lost if the goal is progress, than to be gained.

-Tony Allen
United States

Thursday, November 01, 2007

It Is Time To Give MOVE The Westboro Baptist Church Treatment

The Reverend Fred Phelps, who leads the Topeka based cult known as the "Westboro Baptist Church" has placed his flock into the public eye through their hate-filled protests at funerals of American Servicemen who have been killed in the line of duty. At these protests, Phelps and his flock, including small children wave placards saying such things as saying "You're going to hell" and "God hates you".

It is a group whose theology seems to revolve around the premise that America, through the death of it’s soldiers, is reaping God’s wrath for the tolerance of homosexuals. In reality however, it is much more likely that the sect has grown addicted to the media attention it has received and it’s escalation of outrageous stunts is reflective of extreme narcissism, than any kind of reverence for the Bible.

Now it appears that the Church has gone too far and has angered the wrong family.
Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder was killed in Iraq in March of 2006, and true to form, members of Phelp’s cult showed up to the funeral in Maryland with their signs and children in tow.

However, instead of just ignoring Phelps and his band of hate-addicts, Snyder’s father took the group to court arguing that the sect had violated the privacy of the dead man’s family and purposely inflicted emotional distress. The Church, for it’s part, cited their First Amendment Rights by asserting that their speech, offensive as it may be, was constitutionally protected.
In a precedent setting ruling, the federal jury found that the Church and three of its main members had in fact invaded the dead soldier’s family and had indeed inflicted emotional distress. The jury ruled that the cult must pay the family over 10 million dollars, which if the verdict sticks, should mean the end of the cult.

The point being made is that you are free to say what you want, but that speech that goes beyond the pale you may have to deal with the consequences of the things you say.
This case has attracted world-wide attention as it raised questions about just how far expression can go in one of the first nations in the world to truly enshrine the right to do so.

And while the case has been compared to a previous one against a white supremacist group which similarly ended in a huge monetary settlement, it is not an apt comparison due to the fact that the racist group had been found to instigate violence and even murder. The Westboro Baptist Church, for all of it’s venom and seething hatred has not been accused of inciting actual violence. This fact only makes the case that much more compelling.

In my view, speech and the expression of views, especially political or social views, have been paid for by the blood of patriots. And the repression of speech, even speech as horrid and repugnant, and aimed at the patriots who are giving life and limb so that we and people in other countries can say what we wish.

Certainly, we have many rights in this country, but I don’t think the right not to be offended is one of them. I find it troubling that we live in a time where the utterance of one wrong word can mean the end of one’s livelihood. So too, is it disturbing that there are places in Europe, the "free world", where having the improper view of the holocaust can land you in jail.

It seems that protecting people’s feelings may be starting to get in the way of protecting people’s rights.

However, with all of that said, I think the jury was correct in their ruling. And while this case will wind it’s way through years of appeals that may very well end up with it being overturned, I very much hope that it sticks and that the cult that spawned this painful situation be relegated permanently to the dustbin of history.

I say this as someone who traffics in ideas and who himself has been censored by those who find my views objectionable, so I do not take this position lightly

Had the Westboro Baptist Church spewed their hatred from their own pulpit, or from street corners, or through the internet and not sought out to verbally desecrate funerals and torture grieving families, my view may well be different.

But with any "right", there are responsibilities and if these cult members want to cause suffering upon grieving family members with what amounts to pointless and nihilistic barbarism, than I think it that families responsibility to hold such groups accountable for their actions.

For me, the similarities between MOVE and the Westboro Baptist Church are too stark to ignore. Both groups are virulently homophobic, however MOVE, because it courts the political left keeps their hatred deep down. Both groups are made up mostly of a few extended families whose hatred for this country is un-imaginable for those who have not experienced it first hand.
Another trait that both groups share, in addition to being clear-cut, authoritarian cults, is their use of children in spreading their "message"

Recently, while on a road-trip I was listening to a Philadelphia talk-show host discussing this case and espousing his view that some kind of governmental entity need to look into the welfare of these children, and if necessary remove these children from the care of their parents.
As someone who had a child "in MOVE", and who observed up-close how these children are treated in the group, I must strenuously argue that if the Westboro Baptist Church needs to have their parenting skills put under a microscope, than MOVE needs to also be in that line, if not at the front of it.

For MOVE, bringing small children, including babies, to profanity laden protests is just the tip of the iceberg. What is truly horrendous with regards to MOVE and the children in their "care" is not so much what happens on the outside, in plain view, but what happens behind closed doors.
I have already chronicled Ramona Africa’s admission that sex and pregnancy for girls in the cult begins at puberty. Which the last time I checked, even in this politically correct world still constitutes rape. I have also written extensively as to the psychological terrorism that is inflicted upon the life of the minds of these children from the age that they are able to concave of a thought.

Than there is the terrible lie about the children in MOVE being "home-schooled". Now it is possible that since I left the group in 2004 that they have began to educate their children. However, I have heard no evidence of this and after seeing a video of the "MOVE children" speaking or rather stumbling through their homage to John Africa back in May, I am thinking the educational situation in MOVE is as non-existent as it was when I was with the group.
Picture the scene of girls, as young as 12, sitting around, with their own children playing about huddled around a Dr. Suess book, unable to read it all the way through. That was the MOVE that I left.

I also left the group that waged a war against the family of John Gilbride. Instead of just one protest and one day of "infliction of emotional distress", MOVE stretched their campaign of terror against the Gilbrides for years, and did not end with the death of John Gilbride. It was the most vicious and cruel rhetorical attack that one could possibly imagine.
One can hope that with this precedent setting case ending with the defeat of the Westboro Baptist Church that MOVE could be next.

MOVE needs to be sued into oblivion.

Their children need to be in a safe place, properly educated, free from sexual abuse, and allowed to flourish in an intellectually nurturing environment, that respects their needs and wants as individuals. A place where they are not regarded as property by the cult’s leadership.

Does MOVE have $10 million?

Perhaps it is time to find out how much they have and how to get those funds to the victims of the cult and to make sure the children born to the cult are free and safe.

If you are an attorney and can provide insight into this issue or are interested in seriously pursuing action against this group email me at

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