Wednesday, December 24, 2008

MOVE's Great Supporters

(It is rare that I get any pro-MOVE emails these days. However, when I do, they come in the form of somethink like the following email I recieved this week. I don't think I need to comment further, but thought I would offer this for everyone's enjoyment)-TA

I'm sorry Mr. Tony Allen
segla-astrid joseph-abujahlil africa shashamani

take courage to give me answer,

you see before knowing john africa we got many convictions that Move defends and using the john africa quotations, we have been able to coordinate and save many people life, to solve many problem, you don't know Move. If Move was wrong, it could never be possible to solve even one problem, and yes. the teachings of john africa are very closed with jesus teaching for freedom, it is the same fight and i don't know why you find it so dangerous, is jesus wrong too? JOHN AFRICA MADE A MOVEMENT THAT INSISTS ONE SELF COMITTEMENT TO RIGHTEOUS AND MOVE IS AN EXAMPLE OF THAT. think of that , why Move and its supporters are so able to empeach the first miliray US. state power to kill mumia, and to break the move9 faith,

I never lived with the move group but I can certify to you that this example is the greatest one for all movement nowadays, stop writing by inspiration of hate or corruption, you are not loyal with truth, you just have a bad plan against Move . i'm abujahlil a new and very devoted move supporter; whatever you can write, this system is to be abolished . and jesus gave many teachings about that and slowly or fast, things happen, you are ridiculous and mesquin, just that mesquin. MOVE STILL GOES AGAIN PEOPLE LIKE U - I WILL OPEN SPECIALLY A SPEAKER BOARD AGAINST YOU - TO SHOW YOU FOLLOWERS HOW WRONG YOU ARE YES TRUST IN MY APTITUDES. I M SORRY TONNY ALLEN.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Was There Even A Mumia Rally?

(Photo from alleged Mumia rally)

There supposedly was a “mass rally” with “several hundred” people in Philadelphia last week, but apparently hardly anyone saw them.

There was no media coverage of the event to speak of and supporters of the man Mumia murdered, Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, could not locate the Jamal supporters to counter-protest them.

Although there is scant evidence of the purported Mumia demo, I am inclined to believe that there was one, however, I also know the Mumia supporters penchant for over-inflating the amount of their devotees, so the mass rally was probably at the most a hundred or so people. The majority of them bussed in from New York City.

To me though, the issue of Mumia rally or no rally is a moot point.

What is the issue is whether Jamal is a worthy benefactor of one protestor or a million.

I would argue that he isn’t and I have over a decade of research into the matter under my belt and know both sides of the issue backwards and forwards. The fruits of my labors have been explored and articulated on this website and others and I think I have done a fair job of debunking the generally absurd Mumia mythology.

I would stand firm in my convictions whether or not there was in fact “Millions for Mumia” or half a dozen. I know the case. I have not, as many of my former comrades have, simply embraced Mumia as part and parcel of my political identity and ego and replaced the critical faculties with a mind built around conformance in the guise of rebellion.

Certainly, there are many causes and people to be helped out in this world. People suffering horribly, imprisoned unjustly, beaten and abused for their expression of a political or religious opinion. Honor them. Support them. Send your money to them. Not Mumia. He is a convicted murderer who is unrepentant and apparently gets a savage kick out of manipulating the hearts of kind people and embraces cold cynics at the same time.

He is not a murderer or a crass exploiter because I say so, but because the facts say so. Look to the facts that transcend the political slogans and understand just how it is that the Mumia movement has shrunk to the point that people even question whether or not they even had a rally in the first place.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Philly Daily News On "In Prison My Whole Life"

By Ellen Gray
Philadelphia Daily News

Daily News TV Critic

IN PRISON MY WHOLE LIFE. 9 tonight, Sundance.
IF YOU Google the phrase "Police Officer Daniel Faulkner," you'll get more than 32,000 hits, all of which, presumably, identify him as a man who was shot to death in Center City Philadelphia on the night of Dec. 9, 1981.

Killed less than two weeks before his 26th birthday, he was destined to become famous as the victim of the crime for which cabdriver and freelance journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal was arrested, tried and sentenced to death.

Not famous enough, though, for the Sundance Channel, which in recent weeks has e-mailed frequent reminders of its airing tonight of the 2007 pro-Mumia documentary "In Prison My Whole Life," naming some of the luminaries interviewed in connection with the case - writer Alice Walker, linguist Noam Chomsky, rappers Mos Def and Snoop Dogg, among them - as well as executive producer Colin Firth, but omitting any mention of Faulkner.

Who, admittedly, is unavailable for interviews.

But then, how much of a role could Faulkner be expected to play in a documentary in which a guy who happens to have been born on the day Faulkner died sets out to investigate what he believes to be the unjust conviction of the man said to have killed him?

Because that's what the "Life" in "In Prison My Whole Life" refers to - that of London-born William Francome, who'll turn 27 tomorrow and who grew up being reminded by his American mother on every birthday of the continued incarceration of Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose conviction was upheld but death sentence thrown out in a 2001 court decision that both he and the state have continued to appeal.

At some point, Francome set out for his mother's homeland, hoping to get to the bottom of a messy case that's only gotten messier with the years.

Directed by Marc Evans, who co-wrote the script with Francome, "In Prison My Whole Life" attempts to link what its makers clearly believe to be a miscarriage of justice to everything and everyone from Frank Rizzo - who, um, wasn't actually mayor in 1981 - to Hurricane Katrina.

There are also ties, in Francome's mind, at least, to the atrocities at Abu Ghraib, Paul Robeson and the executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, whose younger son is interviewed.

In his exploration of the various ways Mumia might be innocent, Francome obtains an interview with the journalist's brother, William Cook, who was there that night but continues to be less than forthcoming about what he knows.

Francome himself can't seem to decide if the companion Cook refuses to name (but who's since died) shot Faulkner or if Mumia did the shooting, but in self-defense. He obtains a meeting with his subject that he's not allowed to record, but it's not clear if he even raises this seemingly central issue.

"In Prison" instead appears to rely heavily on an earlier documentary, "Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Case for Reasonable Doubt?"

Given this scattershot approach, as well as the way "In Prison" manages to gloss over less-sympathetic aspects of Mumia's case, including his own behavior at trial, I'm not inclined to argue with the Variety reviewer at the Rome Film Festival who called it "unfocused" and "oddly naive."

And yet, for those Philadelphians who've wondered for decades how this particular case came to be an international cause, the film represents an opportunity to see ourselves as others still may see us.

It's not a pretty picture, and certainly anyone encountering the footage of the 1977 and 1985 MOVE assaults for the first time might wonder about a city where such things could occur.

I still wonder myself.

I can't pretend to be less biased than Francome, having been alive and working at the Daily News on the night Faulkner was killed. I used to walk home after my overnight shift, skirting the crime scene, near 13th and Locust streets, on my route.

The sight of fresh blood on a sidewalk on a cold morning is not something you forget.

I can't say that allows me to know any more than Francome does about what actually happened in this city on the day he was born.

Legitimate questions remain, and it would be good to have answers.

What that memory does do, however, is make it impossible to forget that someone actually died.

And that he's been dead for every single day of Francome's nearly 27 years. *

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"Murdered By Mumia" One Year On

This upcoming week marks the anniversary of the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner. It also marks the one year anniversary of the release of Maureen Faulkner's book, "Murdered By Mumia". I can't say enough about this book. Whatever side of the Mumia debate you are on you are missing a large part of the story by not reading this book. For more info on it go to this website

What follows is an excerpt from "Murdered By Mumia"

Chapter 18 Hollywood and the New York Times

Abu-Jamal's celebrity supporters were not content to allow the legal process to run its course unfettered by their onerous influence. Their ranks were growing and they demanded attention. On August 9, 1995, just as the Post-Conviction Relief Act hearing was in full stride in Philadelphia's City Hall, a full-page advertisement appeared on Abu-Jamal's behalf - not in the Philadelphia Inquirer, mind you, but in the New York Times. It prominently featured the A-list of Abu-Jamal Hollywood supporters: Alec Baldwin, Mike Farrell, Spike Lee, Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone. It was a veritable Who's Who of left-wingers and all were willing to lend their names to a man whom a jury concluded had murdered a law enforcement officer.

One month prior to the New York Times ad, on July 14, 1995, E.L. Doctorow, a longtime Abu-Jamal supporter, had penned a column of support that also ran in the New York Times. Doctorow's Op-Ed read like the Team Mumia Mission Statement. He put forth the usual hackneyed arguments discrediting Abu-Jamal's conviction and disparaging the eyewitnesses. To the well-informed, the piece was easily dismissed, but to the uninitiated I suppose it presented a rather compelling portrayal of an innocent man on death row. Doctorow ended the piece by questioning: "Will the pain of Officer Faulkner's widow, who supports Mr. Jamal's execution, be resolved if it turns out that the wrong man has been executed and her husband's killer still walks the streets?"

Doctorow's article was clearly a clever ruse to try to sway the court and manipulate public opinion. Adding salt to my wounds, at this time I had to sit and listen to the Abu-Jamal witnesses tell endless lies in the PCRA hearings and hear so-called character witnesses say what a wonderful man Abu-Jamal was - without any regard for Danny.

The Internet was taking hold about that time and also fueling my fury (at this point we still called it the "World Wide Web"). I remember a reporter once telling me Abu-Jamal was a hero in "cyberspace." I had never even heard the word, and needless to say, I had not yet taken advantage of the Internet as a resource for Danny's cause; however, the Abu-Jamal defenders wasted no time in establishing sites in several languages. As if international celebrity was not enough for the convicted cop killer, he was now also quickly becoming the downtrodden darling of cyberspace, too. . . .

And, just when I thought it could not get any worse, there came a full-page ad in the New York Times, with these words gracing the top of page A-13 on August 9, 1995: "MUMIA ABU-JAMAL MUST HAVE A NEW TRIAL."

The copy continued with an opening sentence that many such writings on Abu-Jamal have replicated. Take a look at the text of the ad:

Award winning journalist, talk show host, former Black Panther and MOVE supporter Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted in 1982 of killing a Philadelphia police officer and sentenced to death. As E.L. Doctorow details below, Abu-Jamal's trial was full of gross procedural errors and judicial misconduct. There is strong reason to believe that, as an outspoken critic of the Philadelphia police and the judicial and prison systems, Mumia Abu-Jamal has been sentenced to death because of his political beliefs. Human Rights Watch gave him one of its 1995 awards for authors under political persecution, and Amnesty International stated that the government: "appears to have overtly used Mumia Abu-Jamal's past political beliefs and affiliations . . . to impose the death penalty." Seven days after his death warrant was signed and two months before his scheduled execution, Abu-Jamal's access to family, legal counsel, and reading and writing materials was restricted in punishment for publication of his book, Live From Death Row. As Abu-Jamal, known as the "voice of the voiceless," put it, "They don't just want my death, they want my silence."

There you have it. Not one iota of factual information. The ad is awash with speculation and cites a fraudulent tome written by one of their own (Doctorow) as the factual support for its case. I concede that it might sound somewhat compelling to some, especially with the ad's reference to the Human Rights Watch Award and Amnesty International's opinion of his case. Nevertheless, I'm equally sure that none of those who then affixed their names to the above message have ever spent the time to read the five thousand pages of transcript from Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial. I think it is important that I name names. I want there to be a book record of every single person who allowed their name to be set in newsprint on behalf of the man who murdered my husband.

Thus, I hereby present you with the official wall of shame:

Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, Shana Alexander, Laurie Anderson, Maya Angelou, Paul Auster, Alec Baldwin, Russell Banks, John Perry Barlow, Richard J. Barnet, Derrick Bell, Dennis Brutus, David Byrne, Naomi Campbell, Robbie Conal, Denise Caruso, Noam Chomsky, Richard A. Cloward, Ben Cohen , Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, Ron Daniels, U.S. Rep. Ronald V. Dellums, Dominique de Menil, Jacques Derrida, David Dinkins, E. L. Doctorow , Roger Ebert, Jason Epstein, Susan Faludi, Mike Farrell, Timothy Ferris, Eileen Fisher, Henry Louis Gates, Terry Gilliam, Danny Glover, Leon Golub, Nadine Gordimer, Stephen Jay Gould, Günter Grass, Herbert Chao Gunther, Jack Healey, Edward S. Herman, Jim Hightower, James Hillman, bell hooks, Molly Ivins, Bill T. Jones, June Jordan, Mitchell Kapor, Casey Kasem, C. Clark Kissinger, Herbert Kohl, Jonathan Kozol, Tony Kushner, John Landis, Spike Lee, Edward Lewis, Maya Lin, Norman Mailer, Frederick Marx, Nion McEvoy, Bobby McFerrin, Susan Meiselas, Nancy Meyer, Pedro Meyer, Jessica Mitford, Michael Moore, Frank Moretti, James Parks Morton, Paul Newman, Peter Norton, Joyce Carol Oates, Dean Ornish, MD, Grace Paley, Alan Patricof, Martin D. Payson, Frances Fox Piven, Katha Pollit, Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, Charles B. Rangel, Adrienne Rich, Tim Robbins, David A. Ross, Salman Rushdie, Susan Sarandon, Charles C. Savitt, André Schiffrin, Peter Sellers, Nancy Spero, Art Spiegelman, Bob Stein, Gloria Steinem, Sting, Michael Stipe, Oliver Stone, Brian Stonehill, Nadine Strossen, Trudie Styler, William Styron, Edith Tiger, Edward R. Tufte, Eric Utne, Bill Viola, Alice Walker, Cornel West, Marc Weiss, John Edgar Wideman, Garry Wills, Joanne Woodward, and Peter Yarrow.

I bitterly remember and resent each and every celebrity who has proclaimed support for Abu-Jamal. When, in 1996, Bill Clinton invited Whoopi to host his fiftieth birthday party, I was appalled. I fired off a telegram to the White House saying so. I wrote: "My husband, Officer Daniel Faulkner, was killed in the line of duty. His convicted murderer is Mumia Abu-Jamal. Whoopi Goldberg is on the Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Do you want someone who supports a convicted cop killer to host your 50th birthday? I know the law enforcement across this country will be appalled." I signed it: "Widow of Officer." Leon Panetta, the President's Chief of Staff, responded this way: "Let me assure you that Ms. Goldberg's participation in the President's birthday does not imply that he endorses her view on this particular matter. . . ." I am just glad that there were no memoirs read at the gala.

When a public figure chooses to support a murderer . . . it is a serious political position that threatens undue meddling in the affairs of other people's lives. Given the importance of this stance, it is therefore shocking to realize how willing people have been to overlook celebrities' support for my husband's murderer and celebrate their stardom without any consideration for their publicly proclaimed principles.

With notable exceptions, this has been the case even in Philadelphia. The most glaring manifestation of this tendency was in 2005 when Philadelphia's elite gathered at the newly minted Kimmel Center to fete Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee with the Marian Anderson Award. It was during this ceremony that Mayor John Street, the very face of Philadelphia, exalted Ossie and Ruby, proclaiming that "they exemplify the power of the artist to change the world. They were among the most vocal Americans in support of the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. They used the power of their roles as critically acclaimed artists to effect change in society in areas where change was most needed."

Shame on you, Mr. Street. Ossie and Ruby were indeed vocal Americans, I do concede.

However, short of changing the world for effecting positive change, I only remember Ossie's loud bark as he protested alongside Jesse Jackson in support of Abu-Jamal. I remember his booming assertions as he spoke on Abu-Jamal's behalf at Madison Square Garden. I will never forget Ossie Davis' public pilgrimage to visit Abu-Jamal behind bars. And I will also never forget that it was Ossie who, in 1995, after Governor Ridge signed the death warrant, issued a statement under the letterhead of "Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal" in which he called the fulfillment of the jury sentence "an outrage." I have not forgotten this, Mr. Street. I never will. Why have you?

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