[Marxism] FOX Finds a New Black Boogeyman/More Buses for 11/12
lefrak at gmail.com
Mon Nov 9 12:01:41 MST 2009
I submit this mostly for comrades on the east coast of the U.S. who can
possibly make it to D.C. on Nov. 12 for a protest at the U.S. Department of
Justice demanding a civil rights investigation for Mumia Abu-Jamal. And for
everyone: If you're not familiar with Mumia's case--he is currently on
death row in Pennsylvania, victim of a racist frame-up for his political
beliefs--you need to familiarize yourself with his case. See the website
This is an example of something that can be done NOW, more productive than
deciding which label to apply to the BPP forty years later.
Apropos of that, Mumia Abu-Jamal was the founder of the Philadelphia chapter
of the Panthers when he was 16. He has been on death row the majority of
his life. Nonetheless, he continues to write weekly columns on various
political topics which are distributed worldwide and come from a solid
revolutionary anti-capitalist perspective. They can be found at the
www.freemumia.com website as well.
We can attach whatever label we want to the Panthers but they recruited the
finest of their generation. They were not a monolith so facile labels are
really not appropriate. Sure they made mistakes, but someone like Mumia
Abu-Jamal is a product of that organization and he needs our defense RIGHT
As a side note, I highly recommend Sis. Marpessa's email list (write her at
the address below) which always has important info about U.S. political
prisoner issues, police brutality, and Black power politics and lists key
events related to these struggles within the U.S.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sis. Marpessa <nattyreb at gmail.com>
Subject: !*FOX Finds a New Black Boogeyman/More Buses for 11/12
To: nattyreb <nattyreb at gmail.com>
DEMAND A CIVIL RIGHTS INVESTIGATION FOR MUMIA 11/12 IN D.C. AT THE D.O.J.
FOR MORE INFO (http://www.freemumia.com) AND TRANSPORTATION:
NYC 212-330-8029, Philly 215-476-8812, Washington DC 301-762-9162
From: Sis. Kiilu / Freedom Archives
THIS IS REALLY SCARY!!!* * BUT PLEASE READ!*
**I met Linn Washington in Phila. in 1995 when I managed to cover (for Black
August '95 on KPFA) the last August hearing with Mumia present in court. He
is a fine journalist and has been there for Mumia from the gitgo. During
that last August hearing, Judge Sabo was demonstrating his overt racism
blatantly (moreso than any other white racist judge I'd ever seen, and I'd
seen several by then). Then Gov. Tom Ridge (who became the National
Security Advisor post 9/11) had signed a death warrant and Mumia was
scheduled for execution August 17. We raised hell with MOVE in the lead and
the death penalty was rescinded. But here we are again, almost 20 years
later, with Mumia still on death row, our movement in the doldrums, and
right-wing mass media crucifying him as we speak. But can we blame it all
on Fox? I think not. I think we have to blame our collective selves for
the present-day passivity and non-movement. We -- especially Black and
Brown folks -- have dropped the ball big time. Oh, we can find all kinds of
excuses -- but *excuses are like assholes, everyone's got one. And dammit,
we've got to TCB and step up the pressure on this system to abolish the
death penalty and free our political prisoners * Mumia, as Linn details,
is the victim of the Phila. reactionary, racist power structure that could
not tolerate such a politically charged voice, truly *the voice of the
**The oldest civil rights organization in the country is celebrating its 100
anniversary this year. Where have these -- johnny come lately -- NAACP
folks been all this time?? They have chapters all across this country, yet
they've left the organizing around Mumia's case to left-wing white folks
whose denied racism has successfully run folks of color, esp. Blacks, right
out of the campaigns.
Are we gonna step back and let our stand-up brother who has dedicated his
entire life (co-founded the Philly BPP chapter when he was about 16 years
old, becoming its Minister of Information) be murdered by the State?
Without a real fight??? KN
November 9, 2009
*Glen Beck's Mumia Obsession
**Fox Finds a New Black Boogeyman*By LINN WASHINGTON, Jr.
R elax Rev Jeremiah Wright.
The Fox News cable channel crew has discovered a new all-purpose black
boogey-man to rile latent racial animosity in America: Mumia Abu-Jamal, the
internationally acclaimed death row journalist.
Abu-Jamal is now a regular reference in the weapons of mass deception
arsenal employed by Fox and its friends to demonize their enemies de jour.
A few weeks ago, the campaign mounted by two Fox ideological allies that
successfully sacked Fox liberal commentator Dr. Marc Lamont Hill highlighted
Hill’s backing of a fair trial for Abu-Jamal as an objectionable offense.
Far-right agitators David Horowitz and Cliff Kincaid saw sinful scandal in
FOX simply employing Columbia University Professor Hill for what the scholar
was: a liberal hired by Fox to question postures conservatives proclaim
Kincaid, in an October 19th posting on his Accuracy in Media site, scored
Hill for calling Abu-Jamal a “freedom fighter and political prisoner.”
Earlier this summer Fox’s onslaught against now former White House ‘Green
Jobs Czar’ Van Jones frequently cited Jones’ support for Abu-Jamal who is on
Pennsylvania’s death row due to a controversy mired conviction for killing a
For weeks, Fox’s popular Glenn Beck bashed Jones for supporting efforts to
free “a communist cop killer” – irrespective of the fact that Abu-Jamal is
not a communist and card carrying communists never reference Abu-Jamal as a
member of their movement.
Frequent emphasis by advocates of Abu-Jamal’s execution, including Fox
hosts, that courts have repeatedly held-up Abu-Jamal’s conviction ignore an
improbability embedded in that accurate statement about this case.
The same Philadelphia and Pennsylvania courts that have found major flaws in
86 Philadelphia death penalty convictions between Abu-Jamal’s December 1981
arrest and October 2009 declare that not a single error exists in America’s
most publicly contentious murder case.
Pa courts, for example, find no foul in prosecutors improperly excluding
blacks from Abu-Jamal’s trial jury, manipulating evidence and making secret
deals with alleged eyewitnesses – all fundamental fair trial violations
producing favorable actions by those courts for defendants in numerous
Another example is Pa State and federal courts voiding 22 death penalties
because of failures by defense lawyers to present any mitigating evidence
for their clients during death penalty phase hearings following guilty
However, those same courts found no fault in the failure of Abu-Jamal’s
trial counsel to present any mitigating evidence during the penalty phase
A problem more troubling than the penchant of Fox and friends to fudge facts
is the fact that too much of the mainstream media uncritically embraces
rhetoric oozing from the far right, rarely subjecting that rhetoric to full
and fair reporting that is supposed to be the cornerstone of journalism.
This lack of full and fair reportage polluted coverage of the onslaught
against Van Jones and has long corrupted coverage of the controversial
A September 6, 2009 *New York Times* article on the resignation of Van Jones
from his White House post listed Jones’ public support of Abu-Jamal as one
of Jones’ alleged liabilities.
However, that *Times *article lacked any reference to the fact that Jones,
as an Ivy League trained lawyer involved with social justice issues, could
legitimately have concerns about the disturbing evidence of fair trial
rights violations enmeshed in Abu-Jamal’s conviction.
“Human rights organizations have pointed to egregious procedural mistakes in
Abu-Jamal’s original trial, which were obviously rooted in a background of
prevalent racism,” stated a resolution approved on October 28th by the City
Council of Munich, Germany. Elected leaders in over twenty-five cities from
San Francisco to Copenhagen have approved resolutions demanding a new trial
The seminal February 2000 Amnesty International report on the Abu-Jamal case
concluded that “numerous aspects of this case clearly failed to meet minimum
international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings.”
Yet, the *New York Times* and other major American newspapers deemed Amnesty
International’s Abu-Jamal report not worthy of coverage despite major papers
carrying nearly thirty articles referencing other AI actions during a
ten-day time period surrounding release of that Abu-Jamal report.
Philadelphia’s largest newspaper, *The Philadelphia Inquirer*, ran a 53-word
News Brief on page 2 of its B-section on that thirty-five page AI report.
Although the AI report was the first from a major organization to thoroughly
document egregious shenanigans by the Pa Supreme Court in the Abu-Jamal
case, – the *Inquirer* did not consider that report significant enough for
full article coverage despite having published 67 articles mentioning
Abu-Jamal in 1999 alone
The mainstream news media’s mile-wide-but-inch-thick coverage of Abu-Jamal
aids the ability of Fox, its friends and others to exploit public
misunderstandings about this case.
Fair trial proceedings are a fundamental tenant of American democracy.
Yet, the judge presiding during Abu-Jamal’s trial displayed unfair bias by
proclaiming before jury selection that he was going to help prosecutors “fry
While such an overtly racist remark generally constitutes a judicial error
requiring reversal of a conviction, a Philadelphia judge ruled no error
existed because the jury not the judge convicted Abu-Jamal.
That ruling contradicts the reality that judges control what evidence a jury
That Amnesty International report noted that “the jury was left unaware of
much of the crucial information regarding” the policeman’s death due in part
to “the overt hostility of the trial judge.”
Surprisingly, a mainstream media usually quick to prick racially
inflammatory remarks exhibits little interest in numerous instances of
racism infecting the Abu-Jamal case.
Evidence of outrageous errors underlying Abu-Jamal’s conviction literally
hides in plain sight.
One glaring example is photos of the December 1981 crime scene taken by
police investigators that do not show a critical element of the
prosecution’s case against Abu-Jamal.
The eyewitness testimony of cab driver Robert Chobert was a central pillar
of the prosecution’s case against Abu-Jamal but police crime scene photos do
not show Chobert’s cab behind the slain officer’s patrol car where
prosecutors claimed it was parked when Abu-Jamal killed Officer Daniel
Four police photos capturing different angles of the crime scene contained
in the trailer for a forthcoming film about Abu-Jamal’s case do not show
There are only two possible scenarios for the missing cab in those crime
scene photos: either police tampered with the crime scene by removing the
cab or the cab was never there. Either scenario is a major legal violation
warranting a new trial.
Curiously, inconsistencies in crime scene evidence and irregularities in
court rulings rarely elicit attention in mainstream media coverage of the
Abu-Jamal case that takes a guilty-as-charged tact.
Yet these inconsistencies and irregularities are what fuel the vast
international movement supporting a new trial for Abu-Jamal.
On Thursday, November 12th, Abu-Jamal supporters have scheduled a rally at
the US Justice Department headquarters in Washington, DC urging Attorney
General Eric Holder to launch a civil rights investigation into violations
rampant in this contentious case.
One major civil rights violation often overlooked by Abu-Jamal supporters
and ignored by his opponents occurred during a critical 1995 appeal hearing.
Pa’s then Governor Tom Ridge sabotaged that proceeding by improperly issuing
a death warrant based on confidential information Ridge’s aides obtained
from state prison personnel who were illegally intercepting mail sent to
Abu-Jamal by his defense lawyers.
Ridge’s warrant enabled biased trial Judge Albert Sabo to rush that appeal
hearing where Sabo denied defense lawyers standard opportunities to
adequately gather and present evidence.
While a federal appeals court faulted prison personnel for illegally opening
Abu-Jamal’s legal mail neither federal nor state courts have found any fault
in the damage to fair trial proceedings done by Ridge’s malicious action.
One problem with mainstream media coverage of the Abu-Jamal case and other
instances of racial related injustices from the criminal justice system to
other sectors of society like education or employment is that coverage
presents racial inequities as isolated instead of endemic.
Failure to present inequities in context deprives the public of proper
understanding. The 1968 Kerner Commission Report on race relations in
America faulted the news media for this failure.
As noted in the Kerner Report, “If what the white American reads in the
newspapers or sees on television conditions his expectation of what is
ordinary and normal in the larger society, he will neither understand nor
accept the black American.”
*Linn Washington Jr.* is an Associate Professor of Journalism at Temple
University in Philadelphia, Pa. He writes regularly on the Abu-Jamal case,
inequities in the justice system and racism in the news media.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Questions and comments may be sent to claude at freedomarchives.org
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