Thursday, January 10, 2008

Regarding "In Prison My Whole Life"

I just wanted to thank everyone for the kind comments, calls, and emails expressing concern for my family's situation. It is ongoing and will be for a long time, but the support of people who appreciate what I do is heartwarming

(editor's note: Readers of this blog will notice a distinct shift this year from the way things were last year.

To put it bluntly, I spent too much time writing about Mumia and the circus that surrounds him and in doing so I think I got distracted from pursuing the more important goal of chronicling the past and present crimes of MOVE.

Also, with the arrival of Maureen Faulkner’s book, I think just about all that needs to be said has been said about this case.

There will always be those who want to find a hero in Mumia, just like people want to find their heroes in other murderers and tyrants and despots. I have never deluded myself into thinking otherwise, but the lies of Jamal’s groupies have been laid bare, examined, and debunked.

Moreover, there are people who are far better equipped to write about Jamal’s case than me and I hope to continue to provide this site as a forum for them to do so, but my time writing about Mumia is going to be severly cut back. For whatever you think about Mumia, I think it is pretty safe to say that he isn’t going anywhere and fewer people every year fall for the scam that calls itself a "movement" to "free" him.

The murderer of Daniel Faulkner sits where he belongs. Those who killed and who are responsible for the murder of John Gilbride walk free. This is something that is not acceptable. Nor is the continued abuse of the children in the hands of MOVE members and supporters.

So, what I have are some articles I have previously written that I will post as I continue to deal with family and personal issues. Some deal with Mumia and some with MOVE, but as time goes on the new articles will reflect the new vision of what this is about.)

Regarding "In Prison My Whole Life

Some months ago I requested to interview William Francome, who was the "star" of the pro-Mumia documentary, "In Prison My Whole Life" that was recently featured at Sundance Film Festival. He first turned me down claiming that "producers" would not allow him to do interviews. Than, I saw an interview he did with a pro-Mumia "journalist" and contacted him again.

He agreed to do an interview via email. Somewhat skeptical, before I spent the time on writing up the questions I asked him if he was certain he would answer at least some of the questions. He wrote that he would and I sent off the questions a while later. Time went by and no response from Francome. Finally, I wrote him to ask what was going on and he said that he did not have "time" to respond to my questions.

So, in the spirit of fairness, I am making the questions public and invite anyone from the "Free Mumia" side or who anyone involved with the film to take a crack at answering the questions. Let us see what happens.

Here is what I sent Francome

Having not actually seen the film I am interviewing you about puts me at a distinct disadvantage.

So, that being the case, my questions will be based solely what I have read about the film and saw in the preview of the film. I will try to be concise, and if you feel something needs to be mentioned that I don’t ask about, please feel free to include it.

1. There have been literally a dozen or so films and books dedicated to chronicling Mumia’s life and his case. With perhaps one or two exceptions these films are one-sided hagiographies that are lacking in facts. Why, with some 3,500 people on death row in the United States, all with a story to tell would you choose Jamal as the subject for yet another film?

2. The Faulkner family, and those who believe that Mumia is guilty are consisently denounced as bigots as members of "fry Mumia" type of modern day lynch mob. As someone who is against the death penalty and who has misgivings about the justice system, I feel the stereotype of those who support the Faulkner family is offensive and disingenuous. In your film, how are opponents of Jamal regarded and who in your film speaks on behalf of the victim in this case (and I don’t mean Mumia)?

3. Arguably, there are numerous legal scholars have looked at this case and have come to a wide array of conclusions. Are these people represented in your film? And why do celebrities seemingly play such a large roll in the film?

4. In the article about the film in which you were interviewed, the preface of the piece mentions that the crime scene photos of Pedro Polakoff play a prominent role in the film. Are you aware that his recounting of events does not corroborate either the defense nor the prosecution’s take on the film. Through my own research, I have discovered that the pictures don’t really offer anything new with regards to the case, certainly nothing that can offer the defense excalputory evidence. What do you find so compelling with the photos? And have you read the trial transcripts in their entirety?

5. You obviously spent some time interviewing MOVE members. I spent nearly a decade supporting the group. I argue that amongst other things, the sect abuses children in so many different ways, amongst many other comtemptible things. that I have been writing about on my website for the last couple of years. After spending time with them, I am interested to know your view of the group and what kind of influence you think the the sect had on Mumia.

6. It has been said that Mumia was a high-profile critic of the Philadelphia Police Department, who was known and "hated" by the PPD. There is also footage of the post 1978 press conference in which it is claimed by Jamal supporters that he was singled out by Mayor Rizzo for his coverage of police brutality. First of all, do you really think that arriving officers knew who Mumia was? Secondly, the incident with Rizzo is one of many mis-represented by Mumia supporters as the Mayor was yelling at reporters for the Philadelphia Inquirer, whose reporters had been dogging the Mayor about police brutality since before he was even the Mayor. What do you make of the numerous, and demonstrably false bits of information spread by Jamal supporters? Secondly, how do you reconcile Jamal’s revolving door of attorneys, and the ever-changing set of "facts" about the case as presented by his ardent supporters?

7. Based upon my many years of studying this case it seems to me to boil down to two separate and distinct discussions concerning Officer Faulkner’s death and Jamal’s punishment. The first of which has to do with the "fairness" of the trial. That is something that I think is not above discussion, although I certainly have my opinion on it and it is one that was shared by the jurors. The second arguement has to do wtih who was the actual murderer of Officer Faulkner. To date, the defense has never offered a viable scenario of the events of that night that would come close to exonerating Mumia. The alleged "hitman" scenario won’t even be discussed by Jamal’s current attorney as it is so patently outrageous. In your film I am sure you cover the issue of "fairness" in the trial. But what of the actual crime itself? Who do you think shot Officer Faulkner?

8. As someone who has had the chance to interview so many people involved with the pro-Mumia cause, has anyone offered to explain how Jamal is "actually innocent" of the crime that he has been convicted of? During your interview with Jamal, did you ask him about the shooting or to even explain how his gun came out of it’s holster and was found laying next to him, with all of the rounds fired?

9. Do you believe that there was an onging "conspiracy" to frame Mumia that culminated in the events on December 9, 1981 or do you believe that, like in the O.J. Simpson case, that the police, confident that they had the killer, but not so confident in their case against him, manufactured evidence in order to support their case?


At 4:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhh..I can't wait to read a response to your posting. Should I hold my breath?

jon pisano

At 11:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt that Stephen Colbert could find some "truthiness" in this... :-)

At 10:53 AM , Blogger Blacksun Apex said...

First of all- there is a written confession of Beverly Arnold, who was the man who shot and killed the cop... Second- does Mumia own a gun? Yes, but the ballistics came back negative, the caliber rounds found in your dead cop were grossly different than the caliber handgun Mumia owned. Oh yea, Mumia's gun was not on him at the time of the crime.
Furthermore the judge presiding over Mumia's case was cited by several state employees just prior to the beginning of the case stating that he was "gonna help hang that nigger." If anyone on a jury would have ever said something like this they would have been removed, why was this judge who was notorious for sentences black men to death and life not removed from the case?

Need I go on about the facts?

At 11:13 PM , Anonymous Mitchell Levine said...

Your facts are completely unfactual:

1 Arnold Beverly was considered so incredible by the defense that Mumia refused to allow him to testify on his behalf. Beverly was not seen by any witness on the scene.

2. The ballistics did not come back negative but rather identified Mumia's gun - which was registered with the police - as the gun which killed Officer Faulkner.

3. The idea that Mumia's gun fired a different caliber round than the one which killed Faulkner has been debunked many times.

Faulkner was killed by a .38 hollowpoint slug; Mumia's gun fired the same.

4. Terri Maurier-Carter is the only state employee who has ever claimed to have heard Judge Sabo make the asserted racist comments.

She waited twenty years to come forward, and in the interim, she became a professional anti-death penalty advocate. Judge Sabo vigorously denied making any such comments, and no evidence other than Carter's affidavit exists.

In other words, it's just he-said/she said claimed by a professional advocate with a reason to lie.

Get your facts straight.


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