Monday, December 03, 2007

Linn Washington Gets "Creative" For Mumia

(Pic of "journalist" Linn Washington)

Linn Washington is consistent if nothing else. He continuously presents himself as an un-biased journalist, merely covering the "story" of Mumia and all of the tumultuous events surrounding it.

A "journalist" he may well be. But, as a long-time friend of Mumia as well as a willing participant in the failed "Arnold Beverly" debacle, the line between his reportage of the news and his participation in it, is yet another blight upon the facade of integrity that is presented by Jamal’s supporters.

As I have written before, his grasp of the facts of Jamal’s case is either woefully deficient or he is purposely being disingenuous. My contention, based upon the fact that he is admittedly a long-time friend of Mumia, as well as an accessory for the defense, is that his mis-statements are indeed purposeful.

In addition to my own writings with regard to Linn Washington, Christian Peheim has also examined some of Washington’s "Mumia work" and has come to some interesting, albeit not surprising results.

It appears that like many a good Jamal supporter, Washington has attained the power of ESP and can now read hearts and minds.

In 2006, former Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGill (who prosecuted Jamal) reportedly said that that Mumia "never had a "true defense".

According to Peheim:

"Linn Washington claims - without reasonable explanation - that McGill referred to the ineffectiveness of Abu-Jamal’s trial lawyer Jackson. McGill never claimed that his remark referred to Jackson’s performance. Dave Lindorff (at counterpunch) gave a much more reasonable statement: "Now I know McGill claims that this is because Abu-Jamal himself screwed up by insisting on being able to defend himself ..." I would like to add that Abu-Jamal screwed up his defense by being arrogant and by insulting judge, jury, and his own lawyer. During the trial he requested that Anthony Jackson doesn’t do anything. Now he complains that Jackson did too less."

In a number of his articles, Linn Washington likes to make the case that there have been other cases, notably in Philadelphia where innocent people have been victims of injustices as proof that Jamal is similarly a victim.

This kind of backwards reasoning serves as reminder that emotional attachments, coupled with a lacking in empirical evidence, can lead the tender hearted towards the abyss of logical fallacies, this in spite of an education that should lead one away from such mistakes.

Again, however, I take the position that Washington knows precisely what he is doing with his cynical pandering. He is fully aware that there are those who will always give the benefit of the doubt to people of a certain ethnic, political, or social persuasion, especially in the context of some kind of "conflict" with the system, whether it be real or contrived.

Peheim again takes apart Washington’s missteps in the following paragraph:

"Washington cites other cases where fairness obviously has not been applied and innocent people suffered great injustice. But he fails to show that the same thing happened to Abu-Jamal. He tries to show that evidence has been withheld by the prosecution, thus creating an unfair situation. Suddenly all the nonsense regarding a running man reappears. He claims that "both of the prosecution’s star witnesses reversed their initial statements to later claim Abu-Jamal shot the officer." (Chobert and White accused Abu-Jamal from the beginning and gave their written statements within 30 minutes after the crime.) And according to Washington the page bearing the "44 cal" notation has not been forwarded to the defense. Since years Abu-Jamal's lawyers claimed that Jackson overlooked that notation and, therefore, he was an ineffective counsel. Suddenly he did not even see that page."

Clearly, like just about every other city in the United States, the City Of Philadelphia has it’s share of misdeeds, mistakes, and ineptitude on the part of prosecutors and police. However, to take the leap of faith and argue that these marks against the justice system is proof of Jamal’s innocence or that he is due a new trial is a step or two towards the kind of desperate madness that has come to represent the Mumia movement.

Back to Pehiem:

"Obviously, police work in Philadelphia was not always correct but this does not diminish the weight of the evidence against Abu-Jamal..., this is no evidence that the Abu-Jamal case has been mishandled.... Abu-Jamal’s conviction is not based on manipulated eyewitnesses but on strong evidence against him. That evidence never has been refuted. The 44-fairy tale does not count as evidence. Singletary’s fairy tale does not count as evidence. Harmon’s fairy tale does not count as evidence. Beverly’s fairy tale does not count as evidence and, by the way, not even the defense talks about Beverly anymore."

As I pointed out earlier, Washington has jumped over the line from reporting on the story to being a part of it. This point becomes more germain considering the fact that in their attempts to hustle "equal time" in the face of the Faulkner media "blitz", Washington is being portrayed as just a journalist who has covered the case for the past quarter century. The fact that he is now a part of the case is conveniently opted out of the media packets directed at various news outlets.

And what of his direct involvement in Jamal’s case?

Peheim explains further:

" Linn Washington is so careless about facts, I would like to know from him what he thinks about his own sworn statement from 2001. Why he waited 20 years? Why he did not contact Abu-Jamal’s lawyers in the years before? Weinglass was so desperate that he even tried to put Ward Churchill as expert witness on the stand. He would not have rejected Washington as "eyewitness" at the scene. Washington was a journalist long before 2001 but he never wrote an article about the things he has described within his sworn declaration. He wrote comments about the Abu-Jamal case (see his infamous and insulting letter to Maureen Faulkner) but he never mentioned what he described in 2001. Beside the fact that his declaration was based on hearsay and that he slandered the Philadelphia Police Department for things which happened in the 1970s and had nothing to do with Abu-Jamal, he gave a few unique items of information. He wrote that he has reached the crime scene in the morning hours after the shooting and he did not see any police guarding the scene. He was able to search Billy Cook’s VW and he saw blood in front of the back seat. However, news reports at television tell a different story. At the very early morning before sunrise Billy Cook’s VW has been removed already (see a short sequence in A Case For Reasonable Doubt during the interview with Singletary). Where did he find the VW? Another news report shows the crime scene after sunrise around the time of Washington’s alleged visit (From Death Row, Mumia Abu Jamal by the PDC) and - surprise - there are two police cars and wooden barriers protecting the scene but still no VW. Screen shots of these two videos can be found in a comment about Abu-Jamal’s lawyers. Additionally, police searched the VW and they did not see any blood. These drops of blood were important to support William Cook’s stupid declaration. Ironically, nowadays Cook’s claim that he has been in the car during the shooting seems to be forgotten. Without Cook being in the car it cannot be explained why there should have been blood inside. As a result, Washington did not see the police that were there, searched a car which was not there, and found blood which has not been found by the police because Cook did not bleed inside the car. I would love to hear an explanation."

Indeed, Washington’s statement demands further explanation. Being that it can be demonstrated that his affidavit does not coincide with available evidence, his reputation as a "journalist" possessing integrity and passion for the truth is certainly in question. Certainly, the idea that he is someone independent of the "Mumia movement" is laughable. His bias is abundantly clear and in a larger sense I don’t have so much a problem with that.

As a former Mumia and MOVE supporter, I have biases of my own. The difference between Washington and I is that I find it wholly improper for me to pretend that I am something other than what I am in the presentation of my writings.

Now, Washington again interjects himself into the Jamal fracas with an article that details some of what he considers to be "creative projects". In his article, what I find interesting is the subdued tone and his "creative" attempts at manipulation. That and the fact that the bias is not the usual over the top, boiler-plate propaganda, that has come to embody what is standard fare for the Mumia devotees, but it is nevertheless equally insidious.

Washington mentions the film "In Prison My Whole Life" as containing "startling evidence" of Jamal’s innocence. This is simply not true. Yes there is a film, but there is nothing at all in the film that could be considered exculpatory evidence.. And while the film has met with some critical acclaim from reviewers across the Atlantic, it is hard to say if anyone with a high degree of familiarity with the case has yet to see it and review it. Furthermore, even reviewers who write favorably of the film do make note of it’s lack of balance.

And while I haven’t been able to confirm whether or not it is the first film publicly backed by Amnesty International, it is a claim that on the face of it, sounds a little absurd. This given the global reach of the group and the decades of it’s existence, I find it hard to believe that this film would be the first to be backed.

If it was, this would only be a continuance of Amnesty International’s misguided support of Mumia. The group’s official report on Mumia is so riddled with errors that if one were to use it as a primary source for any kind of debate that they would be run out on a rail.

In addressing the new book written by both Maureen Faulkner and Michael Smerconish, Washington very slyly tries to revise reality in what can only be an attempt to mitigate what will certainly be a damning expose of the Mumia cause by focusing on the politics of one of it’s authors.

Washington "mistakenly" writes that Michael Smerconish wrote the book about Maureen Faulkner, and in doing so negates her role as a co-author. He further employs the use of a "red herring", by bringing up the irrelevant fact that Maureen Faulkner is "backed by prominent police organizations". I believe this is an oblique way of trying to paint Maureen as some kind of opportunist or tool for "police organizations", while ignoring, or attempting to cause his readers to ignore the reality and pain of loss suffered by a murder victim.

It is certainly in Washington’s interest to attempt to shift the discussion of the book away from it’s contents to the politics of one of it’s authors. And not just for the obvious reason that it is much more socially acceptable for a political figure to be slandered than a widow of a police officer whose profits from her book is set to go to charity.

Linn Washington has a personal stake in the issue. This is because he has not only assisted in the failed "Beverly" debacle that led to his questionable affidavit, but he also was one of the perpetrators of the "bloody shirt" myth and was the author of a crude letter to Maureen Faulkner in 1999 in response to one that had been written by Maureen Faulkner, Washington lectures the widow on the art of journalism and than calls her a liar.

So not only has Washington used his journalistic pedestal to craft propaganda on behalf of Jamal, he directly participated in a discredited attempt to defraud the court, and he has also been a part of the campaign to malign Maureen Faulkner.

Now, it is Maureen Faulkner’s turn to tell her side of the story and time for people like Linn Washington to reap what they have sown.


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