All Things Censored, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Re: All Things Censored, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:35 am



A YEAR AGO, OCTOBER 1991 featured two very different stories, from two vastly different black Georgians. One was Clarence Thomas, the conservative jurist who, in striving to attain his coveted seat on the Supreme Court, opined he had no philosophical difference with capital punishment; the other was Warren McCleskey, the well-known death row prisoner who boldly challenged the Georgia capital punishment scheme as inherently biased.

In October 1991, one went to a position of supreme judicial power; the other went to an ignoble death in Georgia's electric chair; one ascended the Seat of Power; the other expired upon the Seat of Penalty.

Both made their own marks upon that mystery called history. Thomas -- the second African American nominated to the United States Supreme Court, on a platform that seemed inimical to black social and economic interests, ascended the bench over an outcry of black opinion, as inflamed as it was unprecedented. McCleskey -- whose challenges to Georgia's death penalty practices proved clearly biased infliction of death sentences based upon race of victim -- lost his court fight, and ultimately his life, in one of the most controversial Supreme Coun opinions of recent history. [xxiii]

Thomas's mark was subservience; McCleskey's mark was resistance. Thomas did the bidding of his powerful white, conservative benefactors and was rewarded with appointments of increasing prominence; McCleskey, against enormous odds, battled the historically biased practices of the government in Fulton County, Georgia, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and his reward was a tortured death by the state.

McCleskey's 1987 case, which presented undeniable data of the discriminatory nature of the American death penalty process, has become a historic case as much as Dred Scott. The famous Baldus study, which supported McCleskey's claims, was rejected by the Court as a sociological study that revealed "differences" that weren't necessarily "discriminatory."

Retired Justice Brennan denounced the conservative Court's opinion as a "fear of too much justice." One wonders if Thomas, an unabashedly unorthodox born-again conservative, would've seen the facts arising like the red dust of his native Georgia, and condemned the process as de facto unconstitutionally discriminatory, or a mere "difference" unworthy of correction or condemnation?

It would be "cute," perhaps, to add that old standby of indecision -- "time will tell" -- but for Warren McCleskey, time tells nothing, for time ran out.

There are battles ahead over the most fundamental issues, i.e., life and death, simmering and percolating at the "Court of Last Resort" this term.

How Thomas decides them will determine lives or deaths well into the next century, and whether McCleskey's "high-tech legal lynching" constituted an opportunity or an omen.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


"I HAVE A RIGHT TO NOTHING which another has a right to take away." So said Thomas Jefferson, America's third president, who as a slaveowner knew a great deal about "rights taken away," and the nation he helped found knows a great deal about it too. Americans are taught, and the world is told, of the First Amendment to the Constitution, which supposedly "guarantees" fundamental rights to free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of association. So state history books numbering into the millions. In truth, such rights are illusory. The recent controversy involving this writer is an excellent case in point.

Hired by the prestigious All Things Considered program aired on the NPR network to produce brief commentaries, this writer, who reported for NPR prior to his imprisonment, remarked to one supporter that he felt like he was returning home. NPR, stung by an FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) campaign -- in which the FOP branded the writer a "monster" and heaped abuse on the network -- mumbled something about "misgivings" and, without informing the writer, canceled the airing of the commentaries.

It is perhaps poetic justice that the FOP campaign began on May 13, 1994, several days before the scheduled air date, for it marked nine years to the day after the Mother's Day MOVE massacre of at least eleven MOVE babies, women and men in West Philadelphia by the aerial bombing of MOVE's home in 1985. Philadelphia police shot and killed fleeing MOVE women and children, forced others back into a burning building, and stood by while several blocks of West Philadelphia homes were consumed by flames.

Who are the real monsters?

The same FOP that incinerated, decapitated, and dismembered people with judicial impunity call me a "monster"! Are they then angels?

What rights of "free speech" exist when it can be denied because the state objects to the speaker?

The same system that denied me the alleged "right" to self-representation, that intentionally denied me my "right" to an impartial jury of my peers, that steered me to "trial" before a judge who was a life member of the FOP and known as a "prosecutor's dream"; that denied me the right to examine and/or cross-examine witnesses; and that went back over a decade to introduce evidence of my Black Panther Party membership and statements (said to be "protected" under the First Amendment's "guarantee" of "free" association and "free" speech) and used these to argue for a death sentence -- these are the selfsame forces that successfully censored me from the genteel listeners of NPR's All Things [that the police will allow] Considered.

They have demonstrated how the media is mastered by police power and how the First Amendment once again is but a dead letter.

They have made my point -- and I hope yours.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


THE FEDERAL TRIAL of four Los Angeles cops, forced by the public orgy of rebellion and rage that rocked the city a year before in response to acquittals stemming from the brutal Rodney King beating, ended in a jury compromise -- two guilty, two acquitted. While observers may be dispirited by the fact that two cops who brutalized, traumatized, and pummeled King were acquitted, the trial itself raises some serious and disturbing questions. While no one would call the writer a cop lover, it is my firm opinion that the federal retrial of the four L.A. cops involved in King's legalized brutality constituted a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which forbids double jeopardy. The Fifth Amendment provides, in part, "nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."

Like millions of Africans in America, Chicanos, and a host of Americans, the acquittals of the L.A.-cop four in the Simi Valley state assault trial was an outrage that solidified the conviction that there can be no justice in the courts of this system for black people. Although not a reason for the L.A. rebellion, it certainly was a psychic straw that broke the camel's back.

The Simi Valley "trial," like the King beating itself, was both obscene and commonplace, for neither all-white pro-police juries nor state-sanctioned brutality are rarities to those who live in U.S. tombs as opposed to reading about them. The point is, the federal LAPD/King civil rights trial was a political prosecution, spurred by international embarrassment stemming from the raging flames of L.A., without which no prosecution would have occurred.

It also reveals how the system, under the pressure of an outraged people, will betray the trusts of their own agents, so one need not ask how they would treat, and do treat, one not their own, especially under public pressure.

The same system that denied the four L.A. cops their alleged constitutional rights denies the rights of the poor and politically powerless daily with impunity, and will further utilize the Stacey Koon case to continue to do so. To be silent while the state violates its own alleged constitutional law to prosecute someone we hate is but to invite silence when the state violates its own laws to prosecute the state's enemies and opponents.

This we cannot do.

We must deny the state that power. The national ACLU is also of the opinion that the second, federal prosecution violated the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe it is upon that basis that the convictions will later be reversed by an appellate court.

It is ironic that many of those who did not oppose the federal civil prosecutions feel it inappropriate for the federal system to review state convictions under habeas corpus statutes. The only thing this second, federal civil rights violation case has done is provide the system with camouflage, to give the appearance of justice.

The illusion is never the real.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


AMERICAN MASS MEDIA is a marvel of technology. It is whiz-bang, sparkle, glitter, and satellite wizardry. It is a master plan of methods to communicate, and a pauper's worth of substance. With such technology, how are people so woefully misinformed? The average American neither knows nor cares about the vast world beyond the nation's border. The average American student knows little math, no history, and very little geography, and nor does he or she want to know. Americans have computers in school, dozens of TV stations, and the most aggressive news media on earth. Does that mean they're better informed?


On November 2, 1995, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly -- 117 to -- -to condemn the United States for its continuing blockade of Cuba. [xxiv] The international community called the United States blockade "a flagrant act of aggression" and "a blatant violation of international law." That the UN vote was reported at all in American media is amazing, for such news is more often than not passed over entirely by the American press; but where was information about the blockade itself, the effects suffered by the Cuban people, in-depth comments from United Nations delegates and leaders around the world? For a more substantive report, one had to listen to the BBC World News Service, for the rest of the world takes note of events the U.S. prefers to ignore.

American media is a business, and it has a mission; not to inform Americans, but to entertain them. Every media enterprise in America reports the drivel that Marcia Clarke and Chris Darden are "secret" love birds, but the vote of a global assembly condemning U.S. actions received only scant coverage at best.


The media is a source of titillation more than information. The mission of the media is to please, to comfort, and primarily to sell. When TV was developed, it was promised that every American would learn about the world in his living room. When computers were developed, wasn't it said that they would be invaluable learning tools and that children would learn more, faster? National scholastic tests show otherwise, as kids master computers as toys, and learn splendid hand to eye coordination, but little else.

The media paints false pictures of the nation and the world, pictures designed to serve corporate masters and to make America look good. This feel-good media approach serves the American delusion of white supremacy but it does not inform. When the New .York Times echoes Star magazine, what can the word media mean?

How could millions be surprised at Minister Farrakhan's enormous influence among blacks unless the media wasn't doing its job? How could they look at a million and count less than half that number?

The major media, like its racist projections, is to be rejected, not consumed. For your very patronage gives it life.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


A LIFETIME MAY PASS without an individual having been personally addressed by government. For millions, government is a remote venture, conducted by quasi representatives in their name, with their silence ofttimes taken as acquiescence.

Never is an individual as personally involved with government as when faced by the power of a court, when his or her freedom and very life is at stake, at the tender mercies of the state. And rarely has a case been clearer than when a black man actually sued a United States court for his freedom from slavery. The case? Dred Scott v. Sanftrd, 1857. Perhaps you've heard of the case, but have you ever read it? It is an eye opening piece of African and American history, running over a hundred pages. In his opinion, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney -- a bony, stooped slave owner from Maryland -- wrote:

The question is simply this, can a Negro, whose ancestors were imported to this country and sold as slaves, become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to all the rights and privileges and immunities guaranteed by that instrument to the citizen. The plea applies to that class of persons only whose ancestors were Negroes of the African race, and imported into this country and sold and held as slaves. We think they are not, and that they are not included and were not intended to be included under the word "citizens" in the Constitution and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for, and secures to, citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and whether emancipated or nor, yet remained subject to their authority and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power in the government might choose to grant them. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.

In these words, uttered by one of America's most brilliant jurists, the face of U.S. racist oppression was made plain. The plaintiff, the slave Dred Scott, who sued for his freedom, and that of his wife Harriet and his daughters Eliza and Lizzy, fourteen and seven respectively, in U.S. courts, found a court of law but not of justice, which rejected his claim, saying since he wasn't a citizen, the rights guaranteed in the Constitution, including the right to sue, didn't apply. One hundred and thirty six years after Scott, and still we find courts of law but not of justice.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


IN A CASE KNOWN AS Strickland v. Washington, the U.S. Supreme Court drastically narrowed the range of challenges to the effectiveness and competence of counsel at criminal trials. The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a right in all criminal cases to "assistance of counsel." The Sixth Amendment notwithstanding, are people facing imprisonment and severe punishment actually receiving effective and competent assistance of counsel?

You decide.

If your lawyer actually went to sleep during your trial, would you think he or she was effective? This is what an appeals court ruled in a case called People v. Tippins, 1991. "Although Defense Counsel slept during portions of the trial," the opinion read, "counsel provided defendant meaningful representations."

What about if your lawyer was high on drugs during the trial? When an appellate court was faced with just such an instance, in the case known as People v. Bedilla, 1990, this was their learned analysis: "Proof of a defense counsel's use of narcotics during a trial does not amount to a per se violation of the Constitutional right to effective counsel." Note that in this case, counsel admitted using heroin and cocaine throughout the trial.

And in the case Commonwealth v. Africa, specifically involving MOVE political prisoner Mike Africa, the trial lawyer later admitted to daily cocaine and marijuana use, but that issue wasn't raised on appeal. It would seem that a fairly competent lawyer, having researched the evidence, would pay some attention to how his client was dressed at trial. Not so, said a court of appeals in a case known as People v. Murphy, 1983: "Counsel's seeming indifference to defendant's attire, though defendant was wearing the same sweatshirt and footwear in court that he wore on the day of the crime, did not constitute ineffective assistance."

In all of these real cases, the attorneys involved were deemed competent in their representations, and their clients' convictions were upheld. Under these cases counsel means little more than presence by a lawyer at trial, for even if he is asleep, even if he or she is a drug addict, indeed high at the trial itself, it ain't no thing: counsel, under 5tricklands tortured logic, is presumed effective. These are just a few of the many cases from across the United States that show the poverty of the Sixth Amendment. For more information you can read "Effective Assistance Isn't Much," an article by Robert Darlough in the January/February issue of the American Lawyer. Increasingly the amendments to the U.S. Constitution are merely filler for dusty history books, which have no application in real life -- as the courts have shown repeatedly.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


"THAT'S WHAT CAPITAL punishment really means. Those that ain't got the capital gets the punishment," is the old saying. Once again we see the inherent truths that lie in the proverbs of the poor. That old saying echoed when it was announced that the district attorney of Delaware County, Patrick Meehan, would not seek the death penalty in the case of John E. DuPont, the wealthy corporate heir charged with the shooting death of Olympic champion David Schultz. The Delaware County DA's office said, "No aggravated circumstances justifying the death sentence existed." Could it be that DuPont's personal wealth, estimated at over $400 million, was a factor? In one fell swoop, the state ensured that while millionaires may be murderers, they are not eligible for that preserve of the poor, America's death row.

As the case of O.J. Simpson showed us, the state is very selective in who it chooses to include in its macabre club of death. O.J., a bona fide celebrity, corporate pitchman, sports legend, and millionaire, was deemed, even though a suspect in a double murder, not fit for a death sentence. So whether or not one is of the opinion that Mr. Simpson was either innocent or guilty, the point remains that before the trial actually began, the DA of Los Angeles decided, No death penalty for O.J. -- millionaires need not apply. As it was for Mr. Simpson, so it was for Mr. DuPont. Simpson's wealth compared to DuPont's makes him look like a pauper. As for DuPont, consider if you will the incredible spectacle of the DA, with all the identical facts, announcing he or she would not be seeking the death penalty if DuPont was the victim. I'm sure we can all agree that would be impossible.

Any poor man who slays a wealthy man will have the weight of the system fall on him like a ton of bricks. For a wealthy man, however, who finds himself charged with killing a poor man, the system becomes user-friendly. Why should this be so?

It's because the system serves the interests of the wealthy. It is their system. In essence, when a poor person comes before the court, he or she faces two things: the offense, and being poor. I am not suggesting that Mr. DuPont, or anyone else for that matter, should be sentenced to death, I am just noting how and why the death sentence is reserved for some and off limits to others. The death sentence remains a prerogative of the poor.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


PHILADELPHIA, New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles. In city after city, we find case after case of not only police corruption but vicious police violence. Young people are beaten, women are assaulted, people who are taught to believe police are their friends find out they are often deadly enemies, armed with the power of the state.

In city after city, police corruption scandals blare across the front pages, telling us of cops who moonlight as drug dealers, sowing the seeds of social poison from their squad cars. The media react with manufactured outrage, and the cycles of corruption reoccur, again, again, and again.

The recent Mollen Commission [xxv] hearings held in New York City were but viler, more corrupt echoes of the Knapp Commission hearing into cop corruption a generation before. Cops caught stealing, thieving, and/or robbing excite the public mind, but what of cops who brutalize, beat, or kill?

How many cops, of the hundreds who beat, brutalize, or kill people all across the land, are ever prosecuted for their acts? How many are convicted? The numbers are minuscule.

The widely reported Rodney King beating case showed us how judges bend over backward to assure criminal cops that things will "be taken care of," and they won't be hurt badly if sentenced.

The white majority media treat cop stealings as worse offenses than cop killings and by so doing seek to minimize those acts in the public mind. Thus, it is the contention of many cops charged with such offenses that they "were only doing their job." Put quite another way, their "jobs" are to kill, to beat, to brutalize the poor and the powerless, to defend the interests of the rich.

That's what they are telling you!

When the human rights group Amnesty International recently released a report denouncing New York police brutality, that city's police hierarchy downplayed it, as if the Nobel Prize-winning group was "interfering." [xxvi]

The status quo in America is white supremacy and oppression of peoples of color. And to protect that status quo is necessary to look the other way when cops beat, lie on the stand, brutalize the poor and the powerless, or even kill.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


THE MOST REPRESSIVE REGIME in America just got more repressive: The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections introduced administrative directives 801 and 802. These new regulations severely restrict information, communication, and visitation from very little to virtually nil. Generally, visits are pared down to one per month, with planned restrictions barring all but personal and legal mail, and a ban on all books, save a Bible or Qu'ran. It is a broad-based attack on the life of the mind. Newspapers are to be exchanged one for one, ostensibly to discourage hoarding but in reality to stem the flow of shared information between prisoners-a vital source of up-to-date information, especially in light of the fact that few have access to TV and radio. [xxvii]

Provisions of the rules are so extreme that they can be interpreted to deny a man a piece of paper or an ink pen. Smokers are particularly hard hit: two packs a month are allowed. But most insidious are the provisions governing legal material. They suggest the other regulations are mere smokescreens designed to divert attention from the state's principal objective: the stripping of jailhouse lawyers. For the legal material sections of the Pennsylvania regulations govern all prisoners in the hole, whether for disciplinary or administrative reasons.

There is solid support from scholars, and statistical analysis, for the notion that jailhouse lawyers are the targets of the new rules. In 1991 one of the most exhaustive studies to date on the targets of the prison disciplinary system was released. That report, titled The Myth of Humane Imprisonment, found that there is a statistical hierarchy of who receives the harshest disciplinary sanctions from prison officials. Authored by criminologist Mark S. Hamm, Dr. Corey Weinstein, Therese Copez, and Frances Freidman, it presents tables reflecting the most frequently disciplined groups of prisoners. Here's an example:

Jailhouse lawyers constitute 60.8 percent of the sample; blacks, 48.5 percent. Prisoners with mental handicaps constitute 37.9 percent; gang members, 31 percent; political prisoners, 29.8 percent; Hispanics, 27 percent; homosexuals, 26.6 percent; whites, 22.2 percent; AIDS patients, 19.9 percent; prisoners with physical handicaps, 18.7 percent; and Asians, 5.1 percent.

In accounts supporting this statistical data, the authors wrote, "Respondents observed that guards and administrators had a standard practice of singling out jailhouse lawyers for discipline and retaliation for challenging the status quo." While the data supports the widely held notion that blacks are often targets of severe sanctions, that jailhouse lawyers are the most sanctioned is striking. For jailhouse lawyers, men and women self-trained in law and legal procedure, are among the most studious, in law at least, in the prison; and therein lies the rub.

The evidence suggests, and the new regulations clearly support, the notion that prison administrators don't want studious, well-read prisoners. Rather, they prefer inmates who are obedient, quiet, and dumb. Why else would a prison expressly forbid a person from expanding their learning through correspondence courses or educational programs? It would seem that any institution daring to use the term "corrections" would require all of its charges to participate in educational programs. For how else is one corrected? Yet disciplinary prisoners are forbidden from the one resource designed to moderate behavior and enhance self-esteem: education. For them, many of whom are illiterate, books are deemed contraband, and educational courses are proscribed.

In that regard, more than any other, lies the solution to the often bewildering conundrum mislabeled as "corrections." The state raises its narrow institutional concern, to control by keeping people stupid, over a concern that is intensely human: the right of all beings to grow in wisdom, insight, and knowledge, for their own sakes as well as their unique contribution to the fund of human knowledge. This intentional degradation of the soul by the state, which allows a being to degenerate, or vegetate, yet forbids one from mental expansion, is the most sure indictment available of a system that creates rather than corrects the most fundamental evil in existence, that of ignorance.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


THANKS TO THE EFFORTS of premier filmmaker Spike Lee, the name Malcolm X is once again on millions of lips. Based largely on the Autobiography of Malcolm X; penned by the late Alex Haley, the film tells the epic tale of a man who was indeed larger than life.

This commentary is not, and cannot be, a film review, for I have never seen the film, for reasons that should be obvious. Rather, it is a musing on the life that gave both Haley and Spike grist for their mills.

There are few black men who lived a life as full of glory and tragedy as did Malcolm X; Martin Luther King Jr. was one; and to a lesser extent so was Marcus Garvey, as well as the late Black Panther cofounder Dr. Huey P. Newton. As were King and Newton, Malcolm X was assassinated, but perhaps there the similarity ends. For as America lionized, lauded, and elevated King (more for his nonviolent philosophy than for his person), it ignored and vilified Malcolm (as it did similarly with Dr. Newton, a Malcolmite, as were most Panthers), whose obituaries dwelt on the dark side, ignoring the brilliance of his life, a force that still smolders in black hearts thirty years after his assassination in New York City.

The system used the main nonviolent themes of Martin Luther King's life to present a strategy designed to protect its own interests -- imagine the most violent nation on earth, the heir of Indian and African genocide, the only nation ever to drop an atomic bomb on a civilian population, the world's biggest arms dealer, the country that napalmed over ten million people in Vietnam to "save" it from communism, the world's biggest jailer, waving the corpse of King, calling for nonviolence!

The Black Panther Party considered itself the Sons of Malcolm (at least many male Panthers did) for the sons he never had (Malcolm and his wife, Dr. Betty Shabazz, had a passel of stunning daughters), and inherited one of their central tenets, black self-defense, from his teachings.

While the eloquent, soaring oratory of Dr. King touched, moved, and motivated the southern black church, middle and upper classes, and white liberal predominantly Jewish intelligentsia, his message did not find root in the black working class and urban north, a fact noted by his brilliant, devoted aide-de-camp, the Reverend Ralph Abernathy, who noted in his autobiography how King, coming to Chicago Illinois, met glacial white hatred, black indifference, and near disaster.

Northern-bred blacks preferred a more defiant, confrontational, and militant message than turn the other cheek, and Malcolm X provided it in clear, uncompromising terms. And his message of black self-defense and African-American self determination struck both Muslim and non-Muslim alike as logical and reasonable, given the decidedly un-Christian behavior displayed by America to the black, brown, red, and yellow world.

The media, as Malcolm predicted, would attempt to homogenize, whiten, and distort his message. How many have read of him, in a recent newspaper, described as a "civil rights" leader -- a term he loathed! Stories tell of his "softening" toward whites after his sojourn to Mecca, conveniently ignoring that Malcolm continued to revile white Americans, still in the grips of a racist system that crushes black life -- still! Post-Mecca Malik found among white-skinned Arabs and European converts to Islam a oneness that he found lacking in Americans. So deeply entrenched was racism in American whites that Malcolm/ Malik sensed the intrinsic difference in how the two peoples saw and described themselves. Arabs, calling themselves white, referred simply to skin tone; Americans meant something altogether different: "You know what he means when he says, 'I'm white,' he means he's boss!' Malcolm thundered.

Malcolm, and the man who returned from Mecca, Hajji Malik Shabazz, both were scourges of American racism who saw it as an evil against humanity and the God that formed them. He stood for -- and died for -- human rights of self-defense and a people's self-determination, not for "civil rights," which, as the Supreme Court has indeed shown, changes from day to day, case to case, administration to administration.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


AS THE NIGHT SKY over Mogadishu explodes into blazing light, UN/U.S. armed forces clash with Somali irregulars in the Horn of Africa.

The East African nation, already ravaged by famine and the disintegration of the fallen Barre regime, is now the setting for war. So-called peacekeeping forces of the United Nations shoot live rounds into crowds of demonstrating Somalis, killing and wounding scores of them and further defaming the dead by calling them "shields" for Somali gunmen. Curiously, only the "shields" -- Somalian women and children for the most part -- are hit by gunfire, not gunmen. Curious too, how troops kill unarmed demonstrators, mostly women, as part of a "peacekeeping" mission.

The United States, although not yet involved in ground activity, has unleashed repeated air attacks on the capital city, making President Clinton's first use of arms as commander in chief (if one excludes the Waco massacre) in East Africa, against a small Somali militiaman commanding a minute squad of what appears to be armed (with small arms) children.

In a world where small wars and silent holocausts approach normalcy, where Serb/Muslim intergroup hatred has spawned concentration camps, mass rape, and "ethnic cleansing" of beleaguered Muslims, the United Nations can only drop leaflets and MRE food packages. But that is Europe -- where we are told centuries of old hatreds make military intervention ill-advised. Where U.S. air forces dropped food relief to Bosnia-Herzegovina, they drop bombs in Mogadishu, East Africa. To "send a message" to a Somali general, his home, offices, and supporters were bombarded by U.S. air fire. Bosnian and Serb "cleansers," we can assume, do not need any "message."

In truth, however, every act, even nonaction, has a message.

The so-called international community, actually a minority of the world's people, have used force in an attempt to humble an African militia leader who has sought to control his own homeland. That same UN/U.S. force has refused to raise a finger where European militias have virtually razed cities and scattered countless numbers of Muslim families to "ethnically cleanse" Bosnia-Herzegovina.

To my mind, that's quite a message.

It is also illustrative of the way the UN has become the henchman for imperialist power. It doesn't matter if the generals are black, white, straight or gay, male or female: they serve the interests of the system.

Nor does it matter if the president is Democratic or Republican -- he fights to preserve the system.

Is it coincidence that Clinton's first military strike -- into the Horn of Africa -- came days after his lowest poll readings? The American people, if they have shown anything in the last two centuries of existence, have shown a passion for war.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


MANY AMERICANS have a skewed perception of Japan, as skewed, perhaps, as foreigners have of America, many of whom seem to expect cowboys and Indians. Of Japan, the image arises of the feudal Samurai, the ritual Hari- Kari, visions of what Westerners like to call "the inscrutable Orient." From such a martial, warlike history, one wonders what kind of justice system has evolved. Rates of homicide, rape, robbery, and theft are far, far lower than in other industrial societies such as the United States, England, and Germany.

Why are these rates so low in Japan?

If America's conventional wisdom holds true, Japan must be building plenty of prisons, levying increasingly harsh sentences, and subjecting prisoners to Draconian conditions -- right? Wrong.

University of Washington law and Eastern Asian studies professor John O. Haley, author of Mediation and Criminal Justice, opines that the Japanese veer away from retribution and revenge and toward restoration and social reconciliation.

According to statistics published by the Supreme Court of Japan, the following median prison terms were returned for the following offenses:





The median term for all criminal offenses combined was one to two years. Persons sentenced to prison rarely serve over one term in Japan. For example, in 1984, 64,990 persons were sentenced to prison. Of that total, 56 percent received suspended sentences, with less than 13 percent being subjected to prison terms exceeding one year. More surprisingly, 25 percent of those with suspended sentences were convicted of homicide or robbery, and of those convicted of arson or rape, 35 percent of the sentences are suspended. Only about 45 percent of all imprisoned persons serve full terms.

American critics view the Japanese penal practice with incredulity, if not outright amazement, and hasten to note the sharp distinctions in culture between the United States and Japan. Curiously, American industrialists and economists raise few "cultural" barriers when attempting to incorporate Japanese business and managerial wisdom to the U.S. workplace.

Seemingly, what works in a factory environment becomes unmanageable in the prison context.

But, truth be told, U.S. prisons are themselves in a state nearing physical, social, and ideological collapse, as over a million persons serve sentences, many set to expire, if at all, far into the next century. U.S. prisons, far from being a place of restoration, are social sinkholes of despair, of degradation, of spiritual death.

We could learn much from the Japanese -- more than how to build a better mousetrap.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


SINCE 1886 the mammoth monument has stood, its fabled torch and patinaed visage beckoning to the dregs of Europe, the starving many from Ireland blighted by the potato famine, the bearded and babushkaed Jews fleeing the pogroms of an Eastern European pale, the human excess of empires that now wane.

Upon a massive pedestal on which this statue stands, a tablet bears the chiseled words of the poet Emma Lazarus, saying:

... Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door!

Lazarus gave voice to the massive Statue of Liberty, and carved human warmth into her stern copper face, through this Golden Doorway to America. How hollow these words sound, when measured against the slam of a door, shutting out Haitians fleeing repression in the bloody ghost towns of Port-au-Prince and Cite Soleil.

The United States-armed army of Haiti, seemingly but a uniformed division of the Ton-Ton Macoutes, has stained the Haitian dust crimson with the blood of its people, especially those who dared support the candidacy of the rebel priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide -- the nation's first democratically elected president. Pere Aristide, a favorite by an overwhelming majority of Haitians, found his candidacy and his presidency annulled by the army, acting as hit men for the elite class, and was considered by most observers lucky to have escaped alive. Meanwhile, thousands of other Haitians, numbered among Aristide's vast throng of supporters, have attempted to flee the flood of bloody repression, by dinghy, by makeshift craft, by stowaway, and by stealth -- only to run into a United States wall of iron, denying entry.

The Bush administration, playing to his party's right wing, has gone one step further -- Haitians cannot even set foot on United States soil. They are detained at Guantanamo military base, on Cuba's coast. That for some, return means clumsy attempts at torture, or a sudden death, merits little. The U.S. government has spoken, and its word is: "Haitians! Go back to your own country!"

Rarely has an entire people been so publicly maligned. Rarely has Emma Lazarus's poem seemed so misleading. Rarely has the racism underlying the decision been so naked.

Haiti-the legendary land of rebel general Toussaint L'Ouverture -- gained its independence from France in 1804. After a period of United States intervention, the United States occupied the country from 1915 to 1934. Ever since, it has supported a series of satraps who've held state power to keep Haiti a sedate source of cheap labor for foreign capital investment. With multinationals fleeing the United States for a bigger profit margin abroad, with a deepening national depression, the government wants labor abroad compliant, and hopefully nonpolitical.

Haitians, radicalized by the astounding demonstrations of people's power that put Pere Aristide into the office of president, ate being told to go back -- back to choking oppression and dead-end factory jobs, if any, for they were too "political," too "radical," too "lumpen," too black to pierce the veil of immigration.

Blacks here could only shake their heads at this dual moment of shame. Shame that stemmed from being both black and "American"; at an entity said to be "our" government.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Site Admin
Posts: 28612
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: All Things Censored, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:36 am



IT'S BEEN A YEAR since the racist outrages of Hoyerswerda, the little East German town where rednecks and racists and skinheads torched refugee shelters while police stood by, and neighbors applauded.

A year later, and the whole of Germany, East and West, is gripped in a growing age of Auslanderfeindlichkeit. political exploitation of hostility against foreigners, called Auslanders in German. The images from the harbor town of Rostock, of crowds of neofascist youths torching the homes of Vietnamese families again, while cops stand by and neighbors clap approval, proves that Hoyerswerda was nothing but an ugly beginning to a national campaign of nakedly racist and anti refugee repression.

Politicians, eager to expand their constituencies, have almost totally refused to condemn the carnage, terrorism, and arson, opting instead to echo anti refugee concerns, thereby fueling a fireball of antiforeigner hatred. Their only concerns have been for Germany's image abroad, not the human concerns of safety, of personal integrity, of families terrorized by fires in the night. One district politician justified the problem by demeaning the refugees as too loud, too dirty, and too lazy. Others have campaigned for the repeal of section 16 of the German constitution, the guarantee-of-asylum clause.

In some respects, the burning of Rostock is a psychic descendant of Bitburg, where the U.5. commander in chief, then-president Reagan, saluted the Nazi/55 dead, and in so doing, gave imperial legitimacy to the neo-Nazi movement in Germany. His visit was a precursor to the celebrations of the Waffen-55 at the War Cemetery in Halbe, south of Berlin, in November 1991. The official government said they were going to prevent the gathering, but in the end did nothing, just as in Hoyerswerda, and in Rostock.

In Rostock, not only did the cops stand idly by while fascistic mobs firebombed a Vietnamese shelter, but firefighters did little better, unable to quell the flames of destruction. The state's inability, or unwillingness, to act, however, did not carryover to German antifascists, who days later, as they staged a counterdemo in Rostock, were met by 4,000 cops, who held up over 5,000 antifascist demonstrators for seven hours at police checkpoints on the highways. The delay, however, seemed to work in their favor, as over 20,000 people -- from antifascist and autonomous groups, trade unionists, the Democratic Socialist Party, the Greens, immigrant groups, and other organizations -- staged a demo on August 29 to denounce the Rostock outrages.

This, despite the slanted press coverage that painted the anti's as violent leftist mobs, the police intimidation and attempted obstruction, the political denunciations that fell only on those who dared stand against the terrorism, not the terrorists themselves.

As the "antifa" movement grows, so too does the reign of state-supported hatred that struck in the village of Kretzin, Brandenburg State, where another shelter was Molotoved and burned down.

In the streets and alleys of reunited Germany, the future of Europe and much of the world is being forged.

Time will tell whether it will be a future of promise, or of pogroms.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


MUCH HAS BEEN SAID and written on NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. AI; the economy lurches into recession after recession, some are selling NAFTA as the be all, end all, the solution to the increasing cycles of bad economic times.

Economics, an intimidating, confounding science if ever there was one, does follow certain principles, among them that capital follows the profit margin, always. Always. The NAFTA backers claim the pact will provide many new jobs because of new business opportunities in Mexico and elsewhere. There may be jobs, but they will pay a bare pittance, and the businesses that remain behind will bludgeon their workers with the threat of relocation to the low-paying vistas south of the border. Indeed, it is already happening. Capital's trek to below the Rio Grande has created an ocean of maquiladoras hugging the U.S. border, where goods are produced by Mexican workers paid the barest peso, only to be shipped north for sale to Norteamericanos at regular prices, meaning ultimately a bigger margin of profit for the manufacturer, with less for laborers. NAFTA means an intensification of this trend. NAFTA means lower wages for workers. NAFTA is a political creation of U.s. and multinational capital, and thus designed to provide corporate interests with a larger pool for production, which Mexico obviously offers, with lower wages, ditto, and also with dramatically lessened environmental regulations.

Think of it this way: if you were a business producing widgets, and had an opportunity to produce them by nonunion, bargain basement, low-paid workers with no social security, no worker's comp, no OSHA (such as it is), and no EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) (such as it is), and still could sell your widgets at the same or even higher prices, would you do it? That's the question pondered by many a manager, board member, and director of U.S. business today; and in the harsh world of the economy, it is a force greater to capital than gravity itself.

NAFTA pulls the plug out of the tub, and quickens the economic whoosh down the drain for U.S. labor. To be sure, maquiladoras represent substantial investments and job opportunities for Mexican workers who are quite willing to work for meager, by U.S. standards, wages provided by U.S. business, but Mexico's gain will mean U.S. losses. Even given the farfetched possibility that the U.S. Congress will reject NAFTA, [xxviii] the inexorable southern flow will not end, for no Congress, nor any other purely political entity, can or will block the drive of capital for its highest return, a better "bottom line."

Consider any politician's stand on NAFTA, and you will know whether he supports the rights of those who labor, or those who boss and profit from labor.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


IN THE LATEST ASSAULT against Peruvian civil society, President Fujimori has outlawed the country's Colegio de Abogados (the Peruvian equivalent of the Bar Association) in early December 1992, a slap at the Colegio's adoption of an eleven-point declaration condemning the Fujimori dictatorship's numerous violations of human rights. The Colegio, like most bar associations, is the main lawyers' organization, the one most lawyers must join in order to practice law. The banning of the Colegio was sparked by the group's condemnation of the "torture and humiliation" of Peruvian political prisoner Marta Huatay, and their opposition to state plans to reintroduce the death penalty (officially).

Marta Huatay, founding member of the Association of Democratic Lawyers of Lima, was charged with "terrorism" and summarily convicted by a military tribunal to life imprisonment. At the "trial," Huatay was unable to speak and seemed unaware of her surroundings. An examination by the International Red Cross revealed the presence of brain lesions and a fractured skull -- telltale signs of government torture.

Peru's "courts" are administered by military officers who are "judges" in name only. There are three hooded soldiers, who are neither lawyers nor trained in the law, and just such a tribunal "tried" and sentenced Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) founder Dr. Abimael Guzman to life imprisonment in San Lorenzo Island military prison.

Most recently security police in Chiclayo, northern Peru, arrested and detained five defense lawyers for political prisoners and charged them with being "apologists for terrorism," a "crime" that can cost twelve years in prison. The five -- Miguel Olazabal Ancanino, Victor Siguenas Campos, Ruben Bustamente Banda, Ernesto Cuba Montes, and Gilver Alarcon Requejoare also members of the Association of Democratic Lawyers of Peru, a special state target, as it is headed by Dr. Alfredo Crespo, Dr. Guzman's lawyer.

The rampant government torture, intimidation of lawyers, banning of the Bar Association, and clandestine "trials" by hooded nonjudges are happening today in Peru, but you wouldn't know it from the silence of the U.S. news reporters and journalists. After portraying the election of President Alberto Fujimori as the best thing since sushi, the U.S. media has been remarkably silent on the remarkable events happening in Peru, many at the express direction of the U.S. military and intelligence services.

In London, an International Emergency Committee has been formed, to defend the life of Abimael Guzman, and also to break the media blockade of the West on the torture, repression, and state terrorism of the Fujimori dictatorship. The committee, which issues periodic bulletins on the situation in Peru, can be reached at: International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Abimael Guzman, BCM-IEC, 27 Old Gloucester St., London, WC1N 3XX, England. Fax/phone: (44) (71) 482-0853.

The latest bulletin includes a chilling quote from Peruvian dictator Fujimori made on December 8, 1992, during a speech to the military on an Armed Forces Day celebration, on the worsening health of Dr. Guzman: "I will not assume under my government any 'personal' guarantees for the security of Mr. Abimael Guzman in the treatment of his illness."

The implicit threat to Guzman should be obvious.

Letters of protest are urged.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


SOUTH AFRICA, the beautiful yet haunted land of racist repression most vile, has marched past its western neighbor, the United States, as its highest court, the eleven-member constitutional court, found the death penalty as applied in South Africa was unconstitutional. Court president, Arthur Chaskalson ruled there was no proof of the death penalty's deterrent value, and held it violated the interim constitution, which guarantees in section 9 the right to life. The ruling was unanimous.

The case stemmed from a challenge lodged by lawyers for two men sentenced to death after being convicted of murder, Themba Makwanyane and Mvuso Mchunu. Lawyers for the two men also argued that state executions violate the fundamental principle of equality, again because all people are supposed to be equal before the law, but in reality are not. A similar challenge, made in the infamous American case McCleskey v. Kemp, [xxix] raised similar issues of racial disparity, but what was found unconstitutional in South Africa was found perfectly fine in the United States.

South Africa continues to fascinate us in the United States, for it is in a sense a dark mirror through which we see ourselves as both lands are driven by racial conflict. Both nations are settler nations, created by European invasions of non-European territories. Both nations utilized the legal process to steal native lands, disinherit native peoples, and dislocate native populations. Indeed, the hated Bantustan system by which Africans were restricted to tribal homelands has its intellectual and legal genesis in the American reservation system, where so-called Indians were sent-both native peoples corralled in their own national birthlands, to the poorest, most worthless bits of earth imaginable. For the better part of a century, weren't U.S. blacks relegated to ghettos because of restrictive covenants and housing laws?

After such a wretched history, only South Africa appears to be moving, incrementally, in the right direction, at least on this issue. South Africa, still one of the most violent nations on Earth, turned away from 350 years of capital punishment in one opinion issued by the constitutional court. Is the right to life more constitutional in South Africa than in the United States of America? It would seem so. Seen from this light, South Africa, once so roundly condemned by the world community, walks in step with the world majority who have damned the practice of capital punishment. Not so the U.S.A., where words on an age-stained document hold little meaning at all.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


We believe these actions to have been taken in error.... The actions taken can scarcely be reconciled with the principles and purposes of the United Nations to which we have all subscribed. And beyond this, we are forced to doubt if even resort to war will for long serve the permanent interests of the attacking nations .... There can be no peace -- without law. And there can be no law -- if we were to invoke one code of international conduct for those who oppose us and another for our friends.

-- U.S. PRESIDENT DWIGHT DAVID EISENHOWER, from a speech on the British-French invasion of Egypt and Soviet invasion of Hungary, October 30, 1956

AS OF THIS WRITING, sabers are rattling in Washington. This time, a bare pittance of states have joined the fledgling number sworn to attack Iraq, a far cry from that of Iraq I -- "Operation Desert Storm." As in the first engagement, this latest military option has less to do with "violating UN resolutions" than with securing future access to oceans of petroleum. What was somewhat obscured in the first wave of aerial assaults in 1991 has been clearly demonstrated in the second: that the UN is but a thin fig leaf for what are U.S. (and multinational corporate) interests.

Where was this high and mighty concern for the "sanctity" of neighbors and borders when the apartheid regime ruled in South Africa and raided, strafed, or bombed the frontline states of Angola and Mozambique? Where was the global umbrage about "weapons of mass destruction" when news emerged about the apartheid state in possession of nuclear arms? As an outlaw state South Africa tortured and killed thousands of her African "citizens," and shot down her own children in 1976 in Soweto. South Africa treated UN antiapartheid resolutions with a long train of contempt. It is interesting to note that her best friends in the international arena were the United States and Israel. During the long years of racist state terrorism, the United States never once hinted it was considering military action to liberate the oppressed black majority or to relieve the frontline neighboring states. Indeed it is remarkable that South Africa's beleaguered neighbors did receive military assistance -- not from the U.S.A. but from the tiny island of Cuba, whose forces bested South Africa in battle in Angola's Cuito Carnivale.

What makes Iraq's neighbors so worthy of "help," and South Africa's so unworthy? In a word, oil. Iraq and her neighbors house over 65 percent of the world's oil reserves.

Once again, we are in the maw of war, where thousands (if not tens of thousands) face death -- the deaths of Iraqi men, women, and children to protect the corporate interests of Western industry. Is there something obscene here? American politicians and their PR specialists in the media and the academy are revving up for death, and the voices of peace are silent. Americans talk of "collateral damage" on TV, as if they are talking about washing dishes, not the tortured, horrific death of babies.

The United States meanwhile, talks about upholding the dignity of the United Nations; while it refuses to pay millions of dollars in UN fees.

Once more, into the breach-for oil!

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! Had I the ability, and could I reach the nations ear, I would, today, pour out a stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. we need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled,' the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed: And its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all the other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. 10 him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brassfronted impudence. To the slave your shouts of liberty and equality are hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.


July 4, 1993, saw African National Congress president Nelson Mandela in Philadelphia quoting this Honorable Frederick Douglass speech as he accepted the Liberty Medal, along with South African state president F.W de Klerk. If the joint presence of Mandela and de Klerk were not enough to stir controversy, then the award presenters, Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell and U.S. president Clinton, certainly stoked controversy among radicals. Hundreds of black Philadelphians, while certainly admirers of Mandela, took umbrage at de Klerk's presence.

Although the awarders are known as "We the People -- Philadelphia," the actual everyday people of Philadelphia had little say in choosing the Liberty Medal awardees, and less say in rejecting the widely unpopular honoree de Klerk. The choice of Liberty Medalists was made not by the people but by corporate Philadelphia -- big business.

Why? Why were the people, many of whom had worked for more than twenty years against apartheid and for Mandela's release, frozen out, their protests against de Klerk all but ignored? When the African majority takes power in South Africa, U.S. big business wants friends there. If one reads the names of corporate sponsors of the Liberty Medal, it sounds like roll call of the Chamber of Commerce: Unisys Corp., Pennsylvania Bell, and the like.

Mandela, who has not voted in a government election in seventy-four years, [xxx] and de Klerk, president by way of an election counting only minority, nonblack votes, have only the hope of liberty, no more.

The white minority in South Africa has done its level best to stifle African liberty for three hundred years.

The African majority, even after the awards, still isn't free.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


THE NAMES Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were known to most Black Panthers of the late 1960s and early '70s. And as lieutenant of information of the Black Panther Party's Philadelphia chapter in my teens, I made it my business to know.

We had heard about the notorious "Red scare" of the Smith Act, and the fate of the Rosenbergs, executed by the U.S. government on charges of being spies for the now-defunct Soviet Union. What we did not fully understand, however, was the nefarious lengths to which the state had gone to ensure not just their convictions, but their deaths. Even so, Black rebels who understood state repression firsthand still had no idea how cruelly elastic the "law" had been in bringing about Ethel and Julius's legalized murder.

Boston University historian Howard Zinn documents in his widely acclaimed A People's History of the United States,

FBI documents subpoenaed in the 1970s showed that Judge Kaufman [xxxi] had conferred with the prosecutors secretly about the sentences he would give in the [Rosenbergs'] case. Another document shows that after three years of appeal, a meeting took place between Attorney General Herbert Brownell and Chief Justice Fred Vinson of the Supreme Court, and the Chief Justice assured the Attorney General that if any Supreme Court Justice gave a stay of execution, he would immediately call a full court session and override it. [xxxii]

That the highest magistrate of the United States could pull off such a dark maneuver shows both the limits of the "law" and how people could be demonized just for being "Communists" in the Cold War 1950s.

Fast forward to the 1980s, and the same demonization is afoot when the label "Black Panther" is affixed to any defendant. It is a mark that assures the state that the "law" can be safely twisted, flexed, and if need be discarded, when its application might help someone.

I know, for I am an ex-Panther, and I write from death's abode.

Judge and prosecutor met to discuss ways of assuring my quick dispatch with my "lawyer" present! One police officer, who wrote in his report that "the negro male made no comments" (in contrast to cops, who claimed a confession was given) was "unavailable" for trial. The prosecutor, after asking about Black Panther slogans uttered over a decade before the trial like "Power to the People," assured the jury that if death was the sentence, no worry, for there "would be appeal after appeal after appeal." [xxxiii]

I know the Rosenbergs in a way many will never know. I know the feeling of being pinpointed for one's political beliefs and associations. I know the profoundest loss that results from being separated from loved ones and sentenced to the gallows.

If the state has its way, I will join them in death. Your important assistance may thwart their aims.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


IN 1987 A TWENTY-EIGHT-YEAR-OLD West Virginia cemetery worker, Glen Dale Woodall, was convicted of the vicious, brutal kidnapping and rape of two women. His life almost ended when a judge sentenced him to two life terms, with an additional 325-year sentence for the crimes.

The evidence was convincing: the state's medical examiner testified that Woodall's semen was found in both victims. Medical examiners, like all expert witnesses, are accorded high respect in American courts, for they are thought to be totally impartial, allies only to science. In Woodall's case, the testimony of medical examiner Fred Zain was the key that locked him away in a dim prison cell for the rest of his natural life. There was only one problem: Zain, forensic expert for the West Virginia State Police for over a decade, was wrong.

After Woodall spent almost five years in prison, his lawyer, Lonnie Simmons, took a long shot by having remnants of the semen found in the victims tested by the new DNA method. The tests proved conclusively that Woodall's semen did not match the samples. Woodall, sentenced to two life terms plus 325 years, was innocent. The West Virginia Supreme Court ordered an examination of the forensic expert's testing in other cases and came up with the startling conclusion that Zain's work was systematically deficient, entering the following ruling: 'MY testimony or documentary evidence offered by Zain, at any time, in any criminal Prosecution, should be deemed invalid, unreliable and inadmissable."

For thirteen years Zain had testified in hundreds of rape and murder trials in West Virginia, and later performed similarly in San Antonio, Texas, affecting, according to one attorney's estimate, more than forty-five hundred criminal cases in two states.

In 1990 a handyman, Jack Davis, was sentenced to life in prison for the 1989 murder and mutilation of a central Texas woman. Zain testified at Davis's trial that blood found under the victim's body placed the defendant at the scene. Davis's lawyer, Stanley Schneider, proved that in fact no test was done. Zain, according to forensic specialists in both states, wrote reports on tests that were never done, reported positive matches where negatives would have cleared suspects, and listed as "conclusive" test results that were inconclusive. His efforts to please cops and prosecutors sent thousands of possibly innocent men to serve centuries in prisons across two states, some on death row.

As of this writing, the ex-medical examiner hasn't been charged with a single offense in either state. [xxxiv] His lawyer, Larry Souza, laments that Zain's life has been "ruined. He can't find a job in his profession. He's been reduced to working as a common laborer. He has nowhere to go." I'm sure several thousand prisoners in West Virginia and Texas have some idea about where to send him.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


OVER 500 YEARS AFTER European conquest of the Americas, the native, indigenous peoples (that is, their few surviving descendants) still live on the margins of society -- the poorest of the poor, the sickest of the sick, the most dispossessed people of so-called New World populations. Many of us forget that so-called Indians, not Africans, were the first slaves of the Americas, pressed into service by Admiral Cristobal Colon (known to the Americans as Christopher Columbus) and crew to dig for gold, and if they were felt to be unproductive, their hands were chopped off. This Columbian injustice was the opening that brought genocide to untold millions of natives, and transformed an ancient, "Indian" world into a "New" white one. Thus every country in this hemisphere -- Canada, United States, Mexico -- rests upon the shattered bones of native genocide, and may be seen as New Europe (Canada=New Britain and New France; United States=New England, New France; Mexico=New Spain) for the mass importation of Europeans, the decimation of natives, and the forced captivity and enslavement of Africans.

In the southernmost "kneecap" of Mexico, in the state of Chiapas, an indigenous revolutionary movement is growing, energized by the Mayan and "Indian" poor, who are injecting a remarkable vitality into the revolutionary tradition. In July-August 1996 the Zapatistas convened the First International Meeting for Humanity and against Neolibertarianism (called the Encuentro, or "the Encounter") in Chiapas. In their opening remarks one finds the emergence of something deeply moving in its vision and poignant in its poetic power. Please share it with us:

Let us introduce ourselves.

We are the Zapatista National Liberation Army. For ten years we lived in these mountains, preparing to fight a war. In these mountains we built an army. Below, in the cities and plantations, we did not exist. Our lives were worth less than those of machines or animals. We were like stones, like weeds in the road. We were silenced. We were faceless. We were nameless. We had no future. We did not exist. To the powers that be, known internationally by the term "Neoliberalism," we did not count, we did not produce, we did not buy, we did not sell. We were a cipher in the accounts of big capital. Then we went to the mountains [of southeastern Mexico] to find ourselves and see if we could ease the pain of being forgotten stones and weeds. Here, in the mountains of southeastern Mexico, our dead live on. Our dead, who live in the mountains, know may things. They speak to us of their death, and we hear them. Coffins speak and tell us another story that comes from yesterday and points toward tomorrow. The mountains spoke to us, the Macehualob, the common and ordinary people.

We are simple people, as the powerful tell us. Every day and the next night, the powerful want us to dance the X-tol [a "conquest dance" reenacting the struggle between the Christian and Moor, with the latter representing the conquered indigenous folk] and repeat their brutal conquest. The Kaz-Dzul [half-foreigner, or Mestizo, Ladino], the false man, rules our lands and has giant war machines, like the Boob [forest demon], half-puma and half-horse, that spread pain and death among us. The trickster government sends us the Aluxob [a small forest spirit, a trickster], the liars who fool our people and make them forgetful.

This is why we became soldiers. This is why we remain soldiers: Because we want no more death and trickery for our people, because we want no more forgetting. The mountains told us to take up arms so we would have a voice. It told us to cover our faces so we would have a face. It told us to forget our names so we could be named. It told us to protect our past so we would have a future.

This is who we are. The Zapatista National Liberation Army. The voice that arms itself to be heard, the face that hides itself to be seen, the name that hides itself to be named, the red star that calls out to humanity around the world to be heard, to be seen, to be named. The tomorrow that is harvested in the past. [xxxv]

Named after the "Indian" Revolutionary Emiliano Zapata (1879-1919), whose forces fought against the Spanish dictator Porfirio Diaz under the slogan, "Libertad Y Tierra" (Liberty and Land), the Zapatistas draw their strength, their imagery, and their vision from the most oppressed segments of Mexican life, the indigenous, the conquered ones who have sustained themselves in the face of over 500 years of conquest.

That they exist is something of a miracle, and they bring something to life's table that is wonderful.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.


Brothers and Sisters, Why? How many more? Until when?


The brutal, premeditated massacre of at least forty-five indigenous poor men, women, and children several days before Christmas 1997 by armed paramilitaries of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of Mexico sent shock waves through the international community.

In a slaughter of the innocent that took over four hours, the so-called PRIistas revealed their malevolent intent, to attack and disable the indigenous (Indian) support network for the Zapatista army. Thus, the ruthless killing of forty-five civilians had a clear political objective, one verbalized by the "Red Mask" paramilitaries as, "We are going to put an end to the Zapatista seed" (Nuevo Amanecer Press, December 26, 1997). Seen in this light, the forty-five men, women, and children of San Pedro de Chenalh6 were but a means to a dastardly end.

How, one wonders, can such a thing happen? Until we address this question, how can we begin to answer those posed above? For over fifty years, especially after the Nazi period in Europe, psychologists have studied this destructive phenomenon. The famous Milgram Studies (1963) taught us the limits of "destructive obedience," where so-called normal people shocked innocent others up to 450 volts, up to levels reading "DANGER: SEVERE SHOCK," only because authority figures told them to do so, with 65 percent obeying to the end (other Milgram studies found over 90 percent compliance).

Scholars H. C. Kelman and V. L. Hamilton have advanced the notion of "sanctioned massacres," no stranger to American or world history: "Within American history, My Lai had its precursors in the Philippine war around the turn of the century ... and in the massacres of American Indians ... one recalls the Nazi's 'final solution' for European Jews, the massacres and deportations of Armenians by Turks, the liquidation of the Kulaks and the great purges in the Soviet Union, and more recently the massacre in Indonesia and Bangladesh, in Biafra and Burundi, in South Africa and Mozambique, in Cambodia and Afghanistan, in Syria and Lebanon." [xxxvi] In many of those cases, we find the "sanctioning" of heinous massacres by authorization, routinization and dehumanization.

Authorization is when persons in power order or allow atrocities to occur in furtherance of political ends. Routinization is the internal process by which those authorized make it "okay" to do what is an obvious evil, like slaughtering babies. Dehumanization is the social and ideological process by which a people are projected, perceived, and then treated as somehow less than human. In each of the historical instances noted above, we have seen these diabolical features at work.

It happened in America, where the Declaration of Independence describes "merciless Indian savages"; and where children learned the phrase "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" at an early age. Such a mindset made Wounded Knee an historic inevitability. These same features were found in the Chiapas area, where minions of the state attacked the most powerless and the most maligned segment of Mexican society: Indians, the indigenous peoples. For centuries they, as well as Africans, have been subjected to dehumanization. In Chiapas they were seem not as full human beings, with inherent rights, bur as tools used in the "dirty war" of the government against the Zapatistas.

"How many more?" Marcos asked.

"Until when?" he wonders.

The true shame is that we cannot say.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.



i. See Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1999), 86-88 ; Paul G. Legasse, ed., The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 3rd ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 217, 718-719; Gary B. Nash, Red, White and Black: The Peoples of Early North America (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1974), 35-39; among others.

ii. Dred Scott v. Sanford, 19 U.S. (How.) 393, 407, 15 L.Ed 691 (1857).

iii. McCleskey vs. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279 (1987).

iv. Martial law was invoked in San Francisco and Los Angeles during the rebellion resulting from the Rodney King verdict.

v. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections death row unit at Huntingdon State Prison, described here by Jamal in the 1980s. On January 13, 1995, Jamal was transferred to the State Correctional Institute at Greene, a new supermaximum security control unit that now houses the vast majority of Pennsylvania's death row inmates, and has significantly worse conditions.

vi. Dred Scott v. Sanford, 19 U.S. (How.) 393,407, 15 L.Ed 691 (1857).

vii. As of September 1, 1999, there are 3,625 men and women on death row in thirty-nine states and jurisdictions; 43 percent are black. In Pennsylvania, of the 223 men and women on death row, 62.7 percent are black. Source: Death Penalty Information Center and NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

viii. Census Profile Race and Hispanic Origin, Profile No.2, June 1991, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.

ix. David Kairys, Legal Reasoning in Politics of Law, (1982) 24: 16-17. Citing M. A. Foley, "Critical Legal Studies," Dickinson Law Review 91 (Winter 1986): 473.

x. Hance v. Zant, 114 S.Ct. 1392 (1994).

xi. Callins v. Collins, 114 S.Ct. 1127 (1994); quotes verbatim.

xii. Gregg v. Georgia, 96 S.Ct. 128, 428 U.S. 153,49 L.Ed.2d 859 (1976).

xiii. Herrera v. Collins, 113 S.Ct. 853 (1993).

xiv. Sawyer v. Whitley, 112 S.Ct. 2514 (1994).

xv. As of September 1, 1999, there are 3,625 men and women on death row in thirty-nine states and jurisdictions; 43 percent are black. In Pennsylvania, of the 223 men and women on death row, 62.7 percent are black. Source: Death Penalty Information Center and NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

xvi. McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279 (1987); quoted verbatim.

xvii. McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279 (1987).

xviii. Lockhart v. McCree, U.S. Ark., 106 S.Ct. 1758,90 L.Ed. 137.

xix. Definition of death-qualified jury: in order to be seated a jury must be able to impose penalties prescribed by the law, such as the death penalty, therefore any person not able to vote for the death penalty cannot sit on a jury in a capital case. Hence, these juries are proprosecution, proconviction, and pro-death penalty.

xx. Robert A. Burt, "Disorder in the COutt: The Dearh Penalty and the Constitution," Michigan Law Review 85 (August 1987):1798. A Yale law scholar examined the implications of McCleskey in light of the 1986 case Lockhart v. McCree.

xxi. Dred Scott V. Sanford, 19 U.S. (How.) 393, 407, 15 L.Ed. 691 (1857); quoted verbatim.

xxii. COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) of the F.B.I. was designed to destroy the black liberation movement by illegal and violent means. After the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, this program focused virtually entirely on the Black Panther Party.

William O'Neal the informant who worked for the COINTELPRO agent Roy Mitchell (FBI) got a floor plan which showed where Fred Hampton slept. The information on Hampton being drugged prior to the raid derives from a thin-layer chromatography examination performed on a sample of Fred Hampton's blood by Cook County Chief toxicologist Eleanor Berman.

xxiii. McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279 (1987).

xxiv. United Nations General Assembly Plenary, la-19, Press Release GAl8983, 48th Meeting (AM), November 2, 1995.

xxv. In July 1994, after an investigation that lasted almost two years, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and the Anti-Corruption Procedures of the Police Department, also known as the Mollen Commission, issued its final report. The Mollen Commission had been formed in response to several widely publicized incidents of corruption involving New York City police officers. While the commission found that relatively few police officers have been found to engage in serious criminal activities, it also concluded that the Police Department's anticorruption systems had been allowed to deteriorate to the point where they "minimized, ignored and at times concealed corruption, rather than root it out."

xxvi. Amnesty International news release, "Police Brutality Widespread Problem in New York City," AMR 51/50/96, June 27, 1996.

xxvii. Ironically the visiting room at SCI Greene had this mission statement prominently displayed: "We believe that every inmate should have an opportunity co be constructively engaged and involved in a program of self improvement. Authority exercised over inmates will be fair and professionally responsible. We recognize our responsibility co be open and co provide access to inmate families, religious groups, and community volunteers."

xxviii. NAFTA was indeed ratified by Congress; and it went into effect on January 1, 1994.

xxix. McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279 (1987).

xxx. In 1994, after the first elections during which blacks could vote, Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa.

xxxi. Trial Judge Irving Kaufman, later elevated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

xxxii. Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States (New York: Harper Perennial, 1980), 426.

xxxiii. See trial transcript for Commonwealth v. Abu-Jamal.

xxxiv. On November 5, 1999, the West Virginia Supreme Court reinstated charges against former serologist Fred Zain for defrauding the state and Kanawha County for providing fabricated evidence while he was in their employment. Newspapers noted the unanimous decision, but said nothing about the crimes of Zain, or about the many victims who remain to this day falsely incarcerated.

xxxv. Opening remarks at the First Intercontinental Meeting For Humanity and Against Neoliberalism, the Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee-General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army. Reprinted from "Dark Night" field notes, no. 8, p. 34. For reprints of Zapatista documents, write to P.O. Box 3629, Chicago, IL 60690-3629.

xxxvi. Neil J. Kressel, ed., Political Psychology: Classic and Contemporary Readings (New York: Paragon House, 1993), 223.
Site Admin
Posts: 28612
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: All Things Censored, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:36 am


MUMIA ABU-JAMAL: This is just a fight from another front, you know. Don't panic folks.

NOELLE HANRAHAN: My God, the guy signed a warrant for political reasons! He knew you were filing an appeal the next day.

MAJ: They just allowed me to sign my Petition for Post Conviction Release (PCRA). And it was no secret that we were going to file Monday. Every lawyer in Philadelphia knew we were filing. To sign a death warrant Friday was clearly politically motivated!

NH: It was printed in the Harrisburg Patriot News.

MAJ: Judge Sabo, you know, ups the ante. The fact is that we are dealing with a certifiable maniac, someone who is called a "prosecutor in robes" by ex- prosecutors. It is very clear the Department of Corrections and the General Assembly and the politicians have been angling to sign more death warrants, sign more death warrants, sign more death warrants. What they have said publicly is the reason they are doing this is not to kill people, but to force inmates to file papers and force this process along. To force inmates to file their appeals.

NH: What's the advantage for Ridge to sign the warrant today? What does he get out of this?

MAJ: He says, "I've done it!" He has heeded the call of the people who have been calling for my blood since he became governor.

NH: The recusal motion is a very powerful document. (referring to the motion to recuse Judge Albert Sabo)

MAJ: It causes me to cringe. What you have in the recusal motion are very clearly documented cases of a jurist who doesn't know whether he wants to be a prosecutor or a thirteenth juror! You have a list of five or six of the most distinguished lawyers in Philadelphia, in contemporary history, who are excellent defense lawyers, but more importantly, were themselves prosecutors. They say, in sworn papers, that Sabo is a "prosecutor in robes." They say, in sworn papers, that when they came into the courtroom they had to restrain the judge from leaning over too far to help the prosecutor. They say that no defendant can get a fair trial or a fair hearing in front of him. It's not what Jamal says. It's not what Jamal's lawyers say. It's not what Jamal's supporters say. It's what fifteen years' history on the bench have shown and revealed is a biased jurist -- someone who doesn't know the meaning of the word impartiality.

NH: The recusal is a great document. We were really glad to see it.

MAJ: Very good. Well, I think that anyone outside the sworn, paid membership of the FOP, if they look at the record of this [Judge Sabo's] handling of cases .... I mean I just found out this morning from my Phase II mate next door that another guy on death row just filed a petition, PCRA, in front of Sabo and had it thrown out.

NH: Mumia, is Sabo hearing his PCRAs?

MAJ: To my knowledge, yes. The power that they accord a judge is extraordinary. Judge Albert Sabo is hearing PCRAs. Ernie Porter was in front of him -- the guy I was talking about. He was on trial before him. Sentenced before him. Files a PCRA a few weeks ago, a few days ago, and has it denied by Sabo. I mean anybody who's watched the o. J. trial and so forth, or any trial in California, knows that any defendant has an automatic right of recusal in front of any judge. If he gets in front of any judge he has an automatic right to say no. Not this guy. Such a right does not exist in Philadelphia. They are not rules that govern the conduct of the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District in Philadelphia or any district. The fact is that a recusal motion, no matter how damning, has to go before that judge and he has the word. He decides. So that's where we're going. The exhibits and the documents in the PCRA really tell the story. The statements made by the lawyers and supporting other peoples' recusal motions are extraordinary. I mean they're extraordinary. I mean, Norris Gelman, Richard Sprague. Those are some of the lawyers that are named. They are excellent defense lawyers. But they were also good prosecutors. And for them to come forward and say what they say should mean something. Well, the point I'm making is, the papers that were filed in that Melman case were filed in front of His Honor Judge Sabo as part of a petition for recusation and recusal and he refused them. [Laugh.] You know.

NH: How quickly do you think Sabo could move? Within days?

MAJ: Well, it's hard to say. I mean, he could deny it in a day if he wishes. And he may. Who knows.

NH: You said all your materials are in the hands of the state.

MAJ: I have nothing but a handful of materials right now with me. When they came and told me that I was going to Phase II about 8:45 this morning I was in the law library. I wasn't in my cell. All of my legal mail, my trial transcripts, personal mail, you know, everything, is in my cell. I had nothing. And I had to leave what I had in the law library and proceed to Phase II. There they strip-searched me, changed my clothes, and then took some photographs for the department's records.

NH: SO, Mumia, you're saying that they signed your death warrant yesterday and then they effectively took away all your opportunities to work on your appeal?!

MAJ: Absolutely. I mean, well, let me read to you what it says here. They have to by law give the person on Phase II a photocopy of the actual death warrant that comes from the governor's office. It reads on this last page, and I quote, "Given under my hand and Great Seal of the state and city of Harrisburg, this first day of June in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and ninety-five, and of the Commonwealth in two hundred and nineteenth, by the governor Thomas J. Ridge, with his signature and attested by the Secretary of the Commonwealth." So you know, we're learning from the Patriot that they knew days ahead they were going to sign the warrant, that they signed it a day ahead. They served it about 8:45 this morning while I was outside my cell doing legal work, you know. Working. I was working on one of the civil cases that the capital case prisoners are filing against the Department of Corrections precisely for access to their legal material. They have a situation right now where I cannot go now -- I cannot go back into the law library, and no one in Phase II can go into that law library, even though, according to the administrative directive that provides legal access for all capital cases, a memo of June 2, 1989, signed by the commissioner of corrections, all capital cases, whether on Phase I or Phase II, must have direct access to the law library. I cannot go back into that law library as long as I have an active death warrant over me. This is the practice that the Department of Corrections has concerning and governing people on death row.

NH: My God! You know -- that's worse than "Kafka"!

MAJ: Well, check this out. A few days ago I got a, well, it might have been Monday last, a guard came by and says, "Jamal, you have law library." I said, "Okay." He said, "You have signed up for Atkins?" This is, you know, one of the brothers on Phase II. I said, "Okay, good. I'll be able to see him, talk to him, and help him, you know, put his paperwork together." I came into the law library that morning, and there were four men in there, and not one of them was on Phase II, and I said, "What's going on? What's happening? Where's so-and-so?" And everybody said, well apparently we're here for them. I found out after I got to the law library that I was a proxy for the man that was on Phase II because he couldn't come to the law library. Now he was allowed to send me a note. He wanted me to write up a motion for him. I did the best I could, based on a very unclear handwritten note of what he wanted done. I can't read a law book for another man. I can't reason for another man. I mean, I'm not really a lawyer, you'all. But here's a man, the other man, who had a death date within thirty days or thirty-five days. He could not walk into the law library in a cage -- where there are two cages -- read a book or write a brief in his own hand. You know. That's the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

NH: It's just like the high-tech version of taking away people's pencils, you know.

MAJ: Well, I don't have a pencil. I don't have a pencil. I have to stop a guard if I want a pencil. And if he, you know, wants to give me a pencil, he gives me a pencil. I write what I need and I must give it back to him as soon as I finish writing. Well, I haven't been able to stop a guard yet. That's the reality of Phase II right now.

But you know, when you look at the conditions that the Commonwealth has people on Phase II under, I mean, it goes beyond bizarre, it goes beyond Kafka, you know. I mean it is illegal for me now in Phase II to go into a law library that's about a hundred feet away and read a book.

NH: Right, and you can't when you have an execution warrant signed.

MAJ: When you don't have one, you can get in there maybe every three or four days, [laughter], you know. What the Commonwealth has really designed at bottom is a system where everyone is under the most pressure that the government can bear on any human, and is denied most access to legal material. The persons who need legal research and material most are able to get access to it least. And that's the reality. And if that doesn't show a biased system, what does?

NH: Hey, what are they doing, building something in there?

MAJ: They're probably building new Phase lIs. This block has I think about eight Phase lIs, and I'm sure there are more to come.

NH: Who can visit you in Phase II?

MAJ: Only personal family and lawyers, right. Anybody else needs a court order. Incidentally, I'm glad we talked because last night or yesterday I was in the law library and a guy comes up and says, "I want to see you in the Counselor's Office." I'm like -- Oh wow, I've never seen this before. This is new, you know, I'm being counseled. All right. So I go to the Counselor's Office. I get handcuffed and I go there and the guy says, "Look, I got a direct order from the Security Captain that you must remove everyone from your visiting list who has a prison record." Ahhh, you know, I haven't done anything and, because I was contemplating some legal action against these people .... Here I am in a noncontact visiting situation. I could be visited by Satan, and he couldn't do anything. You know what I'm saying?

NH: Yes.

MAJ: I think it was a premeditated planned attempt to block and bar my support from members of the MOVE organization. As everybody knows, many MOVE people have been in prison and in jail. I am prohibited from having anyone who has been in jail visit me. But now, because I am on Phase II, I am prevented from having anybody visiting me, except people who have a court order.

NH: Mumia, talk for just a brief second about who they have prevented from seeing you. Also, put it in the context of where Waynesburg is.

MAJ: Waynesburg is at the farthest southwest corner of the state. It is as far as one can go in the state of Pennsylvania and still be in the state of Pennsylvania. We are bordering Ohio to the west, and West Virginia to the South and, ah, about I guess about fifty miles away from Pittsburg. It is, well, conservative would be an understatement, a nicety. For the last few months now, what we have found out is that no reporter, agency, newspaper, broadcast employees can come and interview me. I have been under what is an investigation status, said to have been around as to whether I had been operating a business connected with the writing and publishing of Live from Death Row.

NH: So you are saying that, and if you could repeat this for me, that the Wall Street Journal, People magazine, 20/20, the Washington Post, the New York Times have all been denied access?

MAJ: I am saying that every news agency on the planet earth from the welcomemat in Philadelphia, People, 20/20, NBC Evening News, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, ah, the Philadelphia-whatever, whatever news agency you can name, has been denied access to this institution based upon a continuing investigation into whether I have been conducting a business in the writing of Live from Death Row.

NH: What have they done about your paralegals?

MAJ: They have denied all paralegals based upon the fact that they have said that they have not graduated from recognized and certified legal teaching institutions and don't have degrees in paralegal science. They have used that as a pretext to further isolate and restrict people. Understand that this is the most isolated prison in the Commonwealth. People have told me, and I don't remember, but I don't remember seeing it though, that when they drive by if they don't look to the left quickly when they are driving down Roy Furman Highway, they will miss a small sign that announces the existence of this place. If they don't look above the hills and see the razor and concertina wire, then they will not know that the prison sits on the hill to the left. This place is for all intents and purposes buried in the boondocks of Pennsylvania, as far as possible from most of the people's [homes] who are situated here. Of course, most of the people on death row are from Philadelphia County -- if you drew a line diagonally from Waynesburg to Philadelphia it would be literally be slicing the state in a parallel line from one corner to the next.

NH: So they have attacked your paralegals, who are your lawyers' agents, your lawyers are forced to come hundreds, hundreds, and hundreds, of miles. They have shut down all journalists' access to you, and now they are attacking your visiting list in various ways.

MAJ: Yeah. So the goal is obviously isolation, restriction. Not only that. What we have been finding out is that what I said months ago is absolutely true. They have rifled through legal mail from my paid criminal capital case lawyer and from my legal staff. They have read my legal mail before I have read it. And not only that, they have sent it throughout the Commonwealth.

NH: How do you know that?

MAJ: We know that for a fact. It will come out more on Monday.

NH: So literally you are having guards there opening and copying your legal mail, which is completely unconstitutional.

MAJ: Absolutely.

NH: And sending it around to what you presume are the prosecutors.

MAJ: Well, maybe the FOP wants a file, what can I tell you.

NH: Talk just a second about my denial for taking an unauthorized picture.

MAJ: Well, it seems to me that for you to be excluded took them watching you through a telescope. You reportedly took a photograph of SCI Greene from a certain distance, and you credited yourself as photographer, and this was published in the Jamal Journal. Several weeks ago I received from the warden a notice that was copied and sent to all staff members throughout the department. It said that one Noelle Hanrahan would not be allowed in until further notice for violating the security of SCI G, by taking a photograph, a photograph that appears to have been taken off of the grounds of State Correctional Institute at Greene, and it was published in the Jamal Journal.

NH: When people see the photo, they see it is pretty muddy and it is really only of the concertina razor wire. It just seems like [the prison authorities] don't want any representation of the prison anywhere at all.

MAJ: No.

NH: Then certainly it is also another attack on your visiting list.

MAJ: Absolutely. I mean from day one we knew, if you look at Attack on the Lift o/the Mind, which was written years ago, the central theme in Attack on the Lift o/the Mind is isolation of one man from another. Isolation of prisoners for bullshit reasons, you know, that is essentially the guiding theme of this jail. To isolate people further, and further, and further away from those they love, from those they need. And to thereby make it easy [to kill people], and for some people, like Keith Zettlemoyer, to make them have a desire to leave this life. I am told I am out of time. Give my love to everyone.

NH: Stay strong, Mumia.

MAJ: I have no choice. Tell them that this is just one other front to fight from.

NH: Alright.

MAJ: Thank you all. You're doing a hell of a job. On a MOVE.

NH: You, too.

MAJ: Love.
Site Admin
Posts: 28612
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: All Things Censored, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:37 am



"From an Echo in Darkness, a Step into Light," first section, was written on September 20, 1992, and recorded on April 15, 1994, at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and has never been aired. The recording of this essay remains censored and locked in NPR's vault. A version of this section was included in Live from Death Row with the same title.

"From an Echo in Darkness, a Step into Light," second section, was written on September 6, 1992, and recorded on April 15, 1994, at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, as "Requiem for Norman," and has never been aired. The recording of this essay remains censored and locked in NPR's vault. It is previously unpublished.

"From an Echo in Darkness, a Step into Light," third section, was written in fall 1990, and was recorded on April 15, 1994, at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, as "Yard In," and has never been aired. The recording of this essay remains censored and locked in NPR's vault. Portions of this section were published in the Yale Law Journal in January 1991, and in Live from Death Row.

"From an Echo in Darkness, a Step into Light," fourth section, was written on June 17, 1989, and recorded on April 15, 1994, at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, as '''On Tilt' by State Design," and has never been aired. The recording of this essay remains censored and locked in NPR's vault. Portions of this section were published in the Yale Law Journal in January 1991, and in Live from Death Row.

"From an Echo in Darkness, a Step into Light," fifth section, was written in fall 1990, and was recorded on April 15, 1994, at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, as "Control," and has never been aired. The recording of this essay remains censored and locked in NPR's vault. Portions of this section were published in the Yale Law Journal in January 1991, and in Live from Death Row.

"From an Echo in Darkness, a Step into Light," sixth section, was written on March 30, 1994, and recorded on April 15, 1994, at Hundingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, as 'Already Out of the Game," and has never been aired. The recording of this essay remains censored and locked in NPR's vault. It is previously unpublished.

"From an Echo in Darkness, a Step into Light," seventh section, was written on March 31, 1994, and was recorded on April 15, 1994, at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, as "Acting Like Life's a Ballgame." It was included in Live from Death Row. It is included on the compact disc, All Things Censored, as read by William Kunstler, recorded on May 21, 1995, for broadcast on Democracy Now! The recording of this essay remains censored and locked in NPR's vault.

"From an Echo in Darkness, a Step into Light," eighth section, date of composition unknown, was recorded on Aptil 15, 1994, at Hundingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, as "Pennsylvania Takes a Giant Step-Backward," and has never been aired. The recording of this essay remains censored and locked in NPR's vault. It is previously unpublished.

"The Sense of Censory, " written on March 4, 1997, was recorded in August 1998 by Martin Espada for broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! It is previously unpublished.

"Another Write-Up ... for Rapping!" was written on August 14, 1999. It has not yet been recorded and is not previously published.

''A Bright, Shining Hell," date of composition unknown, was recorded by Mumia on October 31, 1996, on death row at State Correctional Institute at Greene, in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It was included on the 1997 CD released as Mumia Abu-Jamal Spoken Word, with Music by Man Is the Bastard.

"No Law, No Rights" was written on February 14, 1993, and recorded by Mumia on October 31, 1996, on death row at State Correctional Institute at Greene, in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It was included in Live from Death Row and on the 1999 CD release All Things Censored.

''A Letter from Prison," written in March 1998, was recorded by Ossie Davis in April 1998 for broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! It is previously unpublished.

"The Visit" was written on November 1, 1994, and recorded by Judi Bari on June 25, 1995 for broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! It appeared in Live from Death Row.

"Black August," written in August 1993, was recorded on August 16, 1993, by Mumia on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It was included on the 1997 CD released as Mumia Abu-Jamal Spoken Word, with Music by Man Is the Bastard.

''A Single Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire," written on October 25, 1989, was recorded by Mumia on October 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Meeting with a Killer," was written on July 18, 1995, and was recorded by Peter Coyote in June 1998 for broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! A version of it appears in Death Blossoms.

"Manny's Attempted Murder," written in April 1989, was recorded on July 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It was included in Live from Death Row.

"Days of Pain, Night of Death," written in November 1989, was recorded on May 21, 1995. A version of it appears in Live from Death Row by Ramona Africa for broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now!

"An Uncivil Action" was written by Mumia in September and October 1999. It is previously unpublished.


"Mother Loss and Father Hunger," first section, was written on July 1, 1995, and was recorded on August 16, 1993, by Mumia at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, as "Mother Loss." A version of it was previously published under that title in Death Blossoms.

"Mother Loss and Father Hunger," second section, was written on May 13, 1996, and recorded by Mumia on October 31, 1996, at State Correctional Institute at Greene, in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, as "Father Hunger." A version of it was previously published in Death Blossoms.

"Musings on 'Mo' and Marshall," written on January 25, 1993, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on Death Row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Philly Daze," written in part in 1994 and updated fall of 1996, was recorded by Terry Bisson on May 21, 1995, for broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! A version of it was published in Live from Death Row.

"Essays from an Outcast from the Fourth Estate" was written on October 13,1999. It is previously unpublished.

"Deadly Drug Raid," written April 6, 1994, was originally intended for National Public Radio, but was censored before the recording session. It has not been recorded or previously published.

"First Amendment Rites," first section, was written on June 4, 1995. It has not yet been recorded or previously published.

"First Amendment Rites," second section, written on June 10, 1995, was originally titled "First Amendment Rites." It has not yet been recorded or previously published.

"A Rap Thing," written on December 17, 1995, was recorded on October 31, 1996, on death row at SCI Greene, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It was included on the 1999 CD release All Things Censored.

PEN Award acceptance speech was written and recorded by Mumia in June 1999 via phone from death row at SCI Greene, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.

"Legalized Crime," date of composition unknown, was recorded by Mumia on October 31, 1996, on death row at SCI Greene, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It was included on the 1997 CD released as Mumia Abu-Jamal Spoken Word, with Music by Man Is the Bastard.

"Absence of Power," written in April 1993, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

''A Crisis in Black Leadership," written on June 11, 1989, was recorded by Mumia on October 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Liberry Denied in Its Cradle," written on June 16, 1989, was recorded by Mumia on July 15, 1992 on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"SlaveryDaze II," written in July 1989, was recorded on July 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It was included in Live from Death Row.

"Memories of Huey," written on August 27, 1989, was recorded on July 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"To War! For Empire!" written on February 1, 1991, was recorded on July 15,1992 on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Capture Him, Beat Him, and Treat Him Like Dirt," written on July 12, 1991, was recorded on July 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"The Lost Generation?" written in June 1992, was recorded on July 15, 1992 on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"May 13 Remembered," section one, written in 1993, was recorded on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It was included on the 1997 CD released as Mumia Abu-Jamal Spoken Word, with Music by Man Is the Bastard.

"May 13 Remembered," section two, was written in 1993, and was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"And They Call MOVE 'Terrorists!'" written on November 21, 1989, was recorded by Mumia on July 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Justice Denied," section one, written on January 31, 1992, was recorded by Mumia on July 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Justice Denied," section two, written on April 1, 1992, was recorded by Mumia on July 15, 1992, as "The Ramona Africa Suit," on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Justice for Geronimo Stolen by Star Chamber," written on July 24, 1989, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Eddie Hatcher Fights for His Life!" written on June 10, 1991, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Seeds of Wisdom," date of composition unknown, was recorded on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, by Mumia. It is previously unpublished.

"Sweet Roxanne," date of composition unknown, was recorded by Mumia on October 31, 1996, at SCI Greene in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"A House is Not a Home," written in April 1992, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, and April 15, 1994, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It previously appeared in Live from Death Row.

"Prisons vs. Preschools," written on July 26, 1992, was recorded by Mumia on October 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Raised Hope, Fallen Disappointment," written on November 8, 1992, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"With Malice toward Many," written on November 29, 1992, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Legalized Cop Violence," written on February 10, 1999, was recorded by Bear Lincoln in April 1999 for broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! It appears in Live from Death Row.

"Men of Cloth," written in August 1996, was recorded by Mumia in June 1999 via phone from death row at SCI Greene in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It previously appeared in Death Blossoms.

"A Drug That Ain't a Drug," written on March 9, 1996, was recorded by Mumia on October 31, 1996, on death row at the State Correctional Institution at Greene in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"How Now Mad Cow?" written on April 9, 1999, was recorded by Mumia on October 31, 1996, on death row at the State Correctional Institution at Greene in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.


"De Profundis," date of composition unknown, was recorded by Mumia on October 31, 1996, at the State Correctional Institute at Greene in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Five Hundred Years: Celebrations or Demonstrations?" written on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1991, was recorded on July 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"The Illusion of 'Democracy,''' written on June 12, 1992, was recorded on July 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"A Nation in Chains," written on June 13, 1992, was recorded on July 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Live from Death Row," written in April 1989 and updated December 1994, was recorded on July 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It was published in Live from Death Row.

"War on the Poor," written on March 24, 1994, was recorded on April 15, 1994, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison. It was included on the 1999 CD release All Things Censored.

"Why a War on the Poor?," written on February 18, 1998, was recorded by Ruby Dee in April 1998 for broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! It is previously unpublished.

"The Death Game," first section, was written in April 1994 for National Public Radio, but censored by NPR before recording session. Originally titled "Jury of Peers?," a version of it was published in Live from Death Row.

"The Death Game," second section, was written in 1994 for National Public Radio, but censored before recording session. Originally titled "Blackmun Bows Out of the Death Game," a version of it, recorded on April 15, 1994, was published in Live from Death Row. It was included on the 1999 CD release ALl Things Censored.

"Black March to Death Row," written in 1991, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It was included in Live from Death Row.

"On Death Row, Fade to Black," written in April 1990, was recorded by Mumia on October 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It was included in Live from Death Row.

"Fred Hampton Remembered," written on September 11, 1990, was recorded by Mumia on October 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"'Law' that Switches from Case to Case," written on January 20, 1992, was recorded by Mumia on October 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Two Blacks, Two Georgians," written on October 16, 1992, was recorded by Mumia on October 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Cancellation of the Constitution," written on May 17, 1994, has not yet been recorded or previously published.

"L.A. Outlaw," written in April 1993, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Media Is the Mirage," date of composition unknown, was recorded on October 31, 1996, at SCI Greene in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It was included on the 1999 CD release All Things Censored.

"True African-American History," date of composition unknown, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It was included on the 1999 CD release All Things Censored.

"When Ineffective Means Effective," date of composition unknown, was recorded on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It was included on the 1999 CD release All Things Censored.

"Death: The Poor's Prerogative?" date of composition unknown, was recorded on October 31, 1996, on death row in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It was included on the 1999 CD release All Things Censored.

"Campaign of Repression: Attack on the Life of the Mind," date of composition unknown, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Musings on Malcolm," written in December 1992, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It was included in Live from Death Row.

"In Defense of Empire," written on June 13, 1993, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Build a Better Mousetrap," written in 1991, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Haitians Need Not Apply," written on April 9, 1999, was recorded by Mumia on October 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"Rostock, Germany, and Anti-Immigrant Violence," date of composition unknown, was recorded by Mumia on October 15, 1992, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"NAFTA: A Pact Made in Hell" was written in October 1992, and was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It was included on the 1999 CD release All Things Censored.

"Fujimori Bans the Bar in Peru," written in January 1993, was recorded by Mumia on August 16, 1993, on death row at Huntingdon State Prison, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. It is previously unpublished.

"South Africa," written on June 9, 1995, was recorded by Mumia on October 31, 1996, on death row at the State Correctional Institute at Greene, in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It was included on the 1999 CD release All Things Censored.

"Warlust -- Again! (Iraq II)," written on February 17,1998, was recorded by Adrienne Rich in December 1998 for broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! It is previously unpublished.

"What, to a Prisoner, Is the Fourth of July?" written in July 1993, was recorded by Bernadette Devlin McAliskey in May 1998 for broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now!It appears in Live from Death Row.

''A Death Row Remembrance of the Rosenbergs -- Never Again?" written in 1993, was recorded by Martin Sobell in March of 1999 for broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! It is previously unpublished.

"Expert Witness from Hell," date of composition unknown, was recorded by Juan Gonzalez on May 21, 1995, for broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! It appears in Live from Death Row.

"Zapatista Dreams" was written on May 19,1997. It has not yet been recorded or previously published.

"What Made the Acteal Massacre Possible?" was written on January 10, 1998. It has not yet been recorded or previously published.

"Conversation between Mumia and Noelle Minutes after the 1995 Death Warrant Was Read to Mumia in His Cell" took place on June 2, 1995, at 11:00 A.M., by phone, between Mumia Abu-Jamal in his Phase II strip cell, just after he was told of his death warrant, and Noelle, in Hyattsville, Maryland. It aired that day on Pacifica Radio's National News.
Site Admin
Posts: 28612
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: All Things Censored, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:38 am

by C. Clark Kissinger

THE CASE OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL has become a showdown on the death penalty in the United States. His threatened execution has been condemned by political and cultural figures throughout the world, and the international movement to grant him a new and fair trial is raising questions about the arbitrariness of the death penalty in the minds of millions. Mumia Abu-Jamal is the only political prisoner in the United States facing execution.

As a radio journalist in Philadelphia, Jamal became known as "the voice of the voiceless" during the years of the infamous mayor Frank Rizzo. He had attended Goddard College, was a recipient of the Major Armstrong Award for radio journalism, and was named one of Philadelphia's "people to watch" in 1981 by Philadelphia magazine. He was president of the Association of Black Journalists in Philadelphia, and he had no prior criminal record.

Jamal was shot by a police officer when he intervened in a street incident involving Jamal's brother, another man, and the officer. He survived the shooting, and was charged with the murder of the officer who was killed in the incident. No one else was charged with the shooting, and the trial at which Jamal was condemned has been termed a travesty of justice by every impartial observer.

The targeting of Jamal was overtly political. The FBI began amassing a 600-page file on him when he was a fifteen-year-old high school activist. He subsequently worked on the national staff of the Black Panther newspaper. Later as a radio journalist he regularly exposed incidents of police brutality. In the sentencing phase of his trial, the prosecutor used political quotes from an interview with Jamal from ten years earlier as an argument to the jury for his execution.

2000 is a critical year for Jamal's case. He has filed his application for a federal writ of habeas corpus, but under the onerous provisions of the Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, federal courts are now required to give a presumption of correctness to state court findings of fact. This throws Jamal's appeal back into the era of "state's rights," as if the civil rights movement never happened. The public must demand a full federal evidentiary hearing on this case.

Jamal's case is where we must draw the line on "no questions asked" executions used to suppress dissent. It is critical that people and organizations of conscience take up this case, as its outcome will affect the lives of thousands for years to come.


Mumia was brought to trial in June 1982 and sentenced to death on July 3, 1982. The judge, Albert Sabo, had sentenced more people to death than any other sitting judge in the United States. In an unrelated case, six Philadelphia lawyers, some former prosecutors, offered to testify that no accused could receive a fair trial in his court.

The jury was empaneled only after eleven qualified African Americans were removed by peremptory challenges from the prosecution, an illegal practice that was recently revealed as having been taught to Philadelphia prosecutors in a special training videotape.

The defense attorney testified that he didn't interview a single witness in preparation for the 1982 trial, and he informed the court in advance that he was not prepared. Jamal was also denied the right to act as his own attorney. When Jamal protested, he was removed from the courtroom for much of his trial, with no provisions to allow him to follow the proceedings.

The defense investigator quit before the trial began because the meager court-allocated funds were exhausted. Neither a ballistics expert nor a pathologist were hired because of insufficient funds.

The use of statements made years earlier by Jamal as a member of the Black Panther Party, as an argument for imposing the death penalty, is a practice that was later condemned as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in another case.

Philadelphia has been so notorious for racial bias in the application of the death penalty that it is the subject of a recent academic study on the issue.


The prosecution claimed that Jamal loudly confessed at the hospital where he was taken after being shot by the slain officer and beaten by police. But the jury never heard from police officer Gary Wakshul, who was guarding Jamal at the hospital and who wrote in his report, "The Negro male made no comments." [i] When Wakshul was called as a defense witness, the prosecution contended that he was on vacation and unavailable. The judge refused a continuance so he could be brought in, when in fact he was home and available.

Today we know that none of the police officers or hospital guards who now claim to have heard this "confession" reported it to investigators until two months after it allegedly occurred, and after Jamal had filed police brutality charges. [ii] The attending physician also denies that Jamal said anything.

The prosecution claimed that ballistics evidence proved that Jamal was the shooter. But the jury never saw the written findings of the medical examiner, which contradicted other prosecution testimony by writing "shot w/ 44 cal" in his report (Jamal's gun was .38 caliber). Jamal's court-appointed attorney said he didn't see that portion of the report, so he never raised it to the jury.

Today we know that the police never tested Jamal's gun to see if it had been recently fired, never tested Jamal's hands to see ifhe had fired a gun, have no proof that Jamal's gun was the fatal weapon, and have lost a bullet fragment removed by the medical examiner. Jamal was carrying a legally purchased gun on his job as a late-night cabdriver because he had been robbed several times.

The prosecution claimed that eyewitnesses identified Jamal as the shooter. But the jury never heard from a key eyewitness, William Singletary, who saw the whole incident and has testified that Jamal was not the shooter. Singletary, a local businessman, was intimidated by police when he reported this, and he subsequently fled the city. [iii]

Today we know why the key witnesses Veronica Jones, Cynthia White, and Robert Chobert testified as they did in 1982. Jones, who now testifies in support of Jamal, was threatened with the loss of her children if she did not support the police story. [iv] Chobert, a white cab driver, first told the arriving police that the shooter ran away. [v] White backed the whole police story, but none of the other witnesses can remember seeing her at the immediate scene. [vi] Both Chobert and White received very special treatment, including exemptions from criminal prosecutions. [vii] By contrast, when Veronica Jones testified in Jamal's support, she was arrested in the courtroom on an old out-of-state warrant.


Mumia Abu-Jamal was born on April 24, 1954. At the age of fourteen, Jamal was beaten and arrested for protesting at a rally for segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace. At the age of fifteen he took part in the campaign to change the name of his high school to Malcolm X High School. That same year the Federal Bureau of Investigation began keeping a file on him. In 1969 he was a cofounder and minister of information of the Philadelphia chapter of the Black Panther Party, and later worked in Oakland, California, on the staff of the party's newspaper. In 1970 he was featured in a front-page article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The FBI added his name to the National Security Index and the ADEX index of those persons to be rounded up and interned in a national emergency.

After attending Goddard College, Jamal became an active critic of the Philadelphia police department as a radio news reporter. In addition to local FM stations, Jamal was broadcast on the National Black Network, the Mutual Black Network, National Public Radio, and the Radio Information Center for the Blind. He interviewed such public figures as Julius Erving, Bob Marley, Alex Haley, and Puerto Rican independence fighters.

Jamal's style of journalism allowed the voices of ordinary people to be broadcast, including members of the MOVE organization, which angered public officials. In 1978 Jamal reported on the siege of the headquarters of MOVE, where scenes of police beating MOVE members were telecast. On August 8, Jamal attended an angry press conference in city hall. In response to a question asked by Jamal, Mayor Frank Rizzo responded, "They believe what you write, what you say. And it's got to stop. And one day, and I hope it's in my career, you're going to have to be held responsible and accountable for what you do."

During the summer 1981, Jamal covered the federal trial of John Africa, founder of the MOVE organization. John Africa was charged with a number of conspiracy and weapons charges, typical of those brought against black dissidents during this period. He successfully defended himself and was acquitted on all charges. Jamal was deeply impressed by John Africa during this trial and drew closer to the MOVE organization.

After Jamal's shooting and arrest in December of 1981, the Philadelphia Inquirer headlined: "The Suspect -- Jamal: An Eloquent Activist Not Afraid to Raise His Voice." The story described him as a "gadfly among journalists and easily recognizable because of his dreadlock hairstyle, revolutionary politics and deep baritone voice."

Since his conviction and death sentence in 1982, Jamal has been held twenty-two hours a day in a solitary cell. He is denied contact visits with his family, and he has grandchildren he has never been allowed to touch. Journalists are no longer allowed to record or photograph him. The last entry in the sections of his FBI file that have been released shows the federal government monitoring his prison visitors as late as 1991.


In 1994 National Public Radio hired Jamal to do a series of commentaries on prison life. NPR was immediately warned by the Fraternal Order of Police, the New York Times, and Senate majority leader Robert Dole about allowing "a convicted cop killer" on the air. NPR canceled the series on the day it was to begin.

In 1995 Jamal's book Live from Death Row was published by Addison- Wesley. The Fraternal Order of Police attempted to have the book banned, and members of the state legislature called for seizing any proceeds from the book. (When Sgt. Stacy Koons, in prison for beating Rodney King, published his book, the FOP did not complain.) Jamal was denied visitors and phone calls as punishment for writing Live from Death Row. This sort of practice by other countries is usually condemned by the United States as a human rights violation.

The federal district court in Pittsburgh ruled that Pennsylvania had illegally singled out Jamal, when they barred the press from interviewing him in retaliation for his book. Shortly after this 1996 ruling, the prison system instituted a new rule banning the media from recording or photographing any prisoner in the state system.

In 1997 Pacifica Radio's program Democracy Now! broadcast a series of Jamal's recordings. These were to be carried in Philadelphia on WRTI, the radio station of Temple University. The FOP again protested. WRTI canceled the show the day it was to air.

In January 1999 Rage against the Machine and three other bands rented the Continental Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to hold a benefit concert for Jamal. Governor Christine Whitman expressed public regrets that the program could not be legally banned, and called on people to boycott the performance. (The concert was a sellout success anyway.) Since then the FOP has called for a boycott of any performers or businesses that express support for a new trial for Jamal. As Jamal has commented, "They don't just want my death, they want my silence."


Jamal was sentenced to death on July 3, 1982. On March 6, 1989, his conviction and sentence were upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Oddly, only four of the seven justices participated in the decision. The chief justice, who was the only black justice on the court, recused himself without giving an explanation.

On October 1, 1990, Jamal's petition for a writ of certiorari was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. In petitioning for a rehearing, Jamal cited the fact that the Supreme Court had accepted a similar case from Delaware, where political association had been used as an argument for imposing the death penalty (Dawson v. Delaware, 1992). In the Dawson case, prosecutors used Dawson's membership in a white supremacist prison gang as an argument for imposing the death sentence, and had even cited the Jamal case in Pennsylvania as precedent. Inexplicably, the Court refused to hear Jamal's claim, while reversing the death sentence of Dawson.

In 1992 Leonard Weinglass became Jamal's lead attorney and began preparing a motion for a new trial under Pennsylvania's Post Conviction Relief Act. This petition was filed on June 5, 1995. Weinglass notified the governor's office of the impending filing. The governor then rushed to sign a death warrant at the end of the last working day before the filing. (Only after these events did the defense learn that prison officials had opened and illegally copied Jamal's privileged legal mail, and sent copies to the governor's office.) The trial judge then refused to grant a stay of execution, claiming that Jamal's attorneys had "waited years" until a warrant was signed before filing. While the hearing on the petition was taking place in July and August of 1995, Jamal came within ten days of execution. A stay was finally granted only as the result of an unprecedented international outcry.

Under Pennsylvania law, the trial judge hears all postconviction motions. Thus it fell to Judge Albert Sabo, the same judge who had conducted the original trial, to rule on whether the original trial was fair. Sabo was able to preside, even though he was well past the constitutionally mandated retirement age. He was permitted to remain on the bench to rule on the Jamal appeal because the chief justice of the state Supreme Court allowed him to stay on under emergency provisions of the state constitution.

Not surprisingly, in the course of the hearings Sabo quashed defense subpoenas, denied discovery motions, threatened witnesses, and even had one of Jamal's attorneys taken out in handcuffs. After the 1995 hearing, followed by two remand hearings in 1996 and 1997, Sabo ruled that the original trial had been flawless and denied the petition for a new trial.

This denial was appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and on October 29, 1998, that court unanimously upheld Sabo's ruling. In fact, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was unable to find any errors in the seventeen years of trial, direct appeal, and collateral appeals. A motion for a rehearing was denied on November 25, 1998. Court papers revealed that five of seven justices had been endorsed for election to the court by the Fraternal Order of Police.

Then Jamal's attorneys petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari on the denial of Mumia's Sixth Amendment rights (denial of pro se status, denial of attorney of choice, and removal from the courtroom with no provision for being informed of developments while on trial for his life). On October 4, 1999, the Supreme Court denied cert, and on October 13 Governor Tom Ridge signed a new death warrant for Jamal. The warrant set an execution date of December 2, 1999, the 140th anniversary of the execution of John Brown.

On October 15, 1999, Jamal's lawyers filed for a writ of habeas corpus in the Federal District Court for eastern Pennsylvania. The case was assigned to Judge William H. Yohn, who stayed the December 2 execution. A major issue before Yohn is whether to grant an evidentiary hearing to allow presentation of the evidence that was denied by the Pennsylvania courts, or whether the whole federal process will be based on the court record developed by Judge Sabo.


Mumia Abu-Jamal is both the exception and the rule. As "the exception," he was singled out by authorities because of his political journalism. His brother was not charged with the shooting and was released with a suspended sentence for a misdemeanor. It is unheard of for two black men to be involved in an altercation that results in the death of a white police officer, and then one of them to just be released. But it was Jamal that the police wanted, and his political statements were used as an argument for imposing the death sentence.

Since Jamal's conviction, the government has tried in every way to censor his voice. The Fraternal Order of Police has managed a national campaign calling for his execution, using right-wing talk shows and a full-page ad in the New York Times. The widow of the slain police officer has been show- cased in Washington, on stage with President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno.

As an example of "the rule," Jamal has faced what most young men of color face in the criminal justice system every day. If the new Effective Death Penalty Act had been in force at the time of his arrest, Jamal would be dead today. Nobody without financial means can assemble the case needed to overturn a murder conviction in the 12 months allotted by the new law for all federal habeas appeals.

The manner in which Black jurors were purged from Jamal's jury pool is in violation of international law as established by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which the United States is a signatory. During the period 1983-1993, one study found that blacks were 5.2 times more likely to be challenged than whites in the jury selection process in Philadelphia. In Jamal's jury selection process, Blacks were 16.2 times more likely to be challenged. The result of such disparities is that over 60 percent of all prisoners on death row in Pennsylvania are African Americans, in a state that is only 10 percent Black.

Jamal's case has come to symbolize the societywide criminalization of black males and the bipartisan program for quicker executions with fewer appeals. If he is executed, he will be the first black revolutionary to be legally executed in the United Sates since the days of slavery.


Numerous statements and full-page ads have appeared on the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Among those who have questioned his conviction or publicly opposed his execution are:

African National Congress
Amnesty International
Maya Angelou
Ed Asner
Julian Bond
Reverend Dr. Joan Campbell
Rep. John Conyers, Jr.
Angela Davis
Ossie Davis
Rep. Ron Dellums
Jacques Derrida
E. L. Doctorow
The European Parliament
Rep. Chaka Fatah
Mike Farrell
Henry Louis Gates
Stephen Jay Gould
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
State Rep. Vincent Hughes
Int'l. Parliament of Writers
Rev. Jesse Jackson
Coretta Scott King
Barbara Kingsolver
Jonathan Kozol
Rep. Cynthia McKinney
Danielle Mitterrand
Toni Morrison
National Black Police Association
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
National Lawyers Guild
Helen Prejean, C.S.J.
Rep. Charles Rangel
Salman Rushdie
Susan Sarandon
Rev. Al Sharpton
Gloria Steinem
Wole Soyinka
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Alice Walker
John Edgar Wideman
Elie Wiesel
Howard Zinn


Mumia Abu-Jamal, #AM 8335
SCI Greene, 175 Progress Drive, Waynesburg, PA 15370-8090

International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143


Race for Justice by Leonard Weinglass (Common Courage Press, 1995). Complete text of Jamal's motion for a new trial, together with exhibits and supporting documents.

Resource Book on the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal (Refuse & Resist! 1998). Collection of articles on the case, including an analysis of Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision denying Jamal a new trial.

"Racial Discrimination and the Death Penalty in the Post-Furman Era: An Empirical and Legal Overview, with Recent Findings from Philadelphia" by David C. Baldus et al. (Cornell Law Review 83: 1638)

Legal Lynching by Rev. Jesse Jackson (Marlowe & Company, 1996). This book against the death penalty uses Jamal's case as one example.

Live from Death Row by Mumia Abu-Jamal (Addison-Wesley, 1995)

Death Blossoms by Mumia Abu-Jamal (Plough Publishing, 1997)

All Things Censored (CD by the Prison Radio Project, 1998). Recordings of Jamal reading his columns made before Pennsylvania banned all recording of Jamal.

Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Case for Reasonable Doubt? (Documentary video, HBO.)

25 Years on the MOVE (MOVE, 1996). History with photographs of MOVE organization and the government's war on them. Includes section on Jamal.

"Guilty and Framed" by Stuart Taylor Jr. (American Lawyer, December 1995). Concludes that Jamal probably fired one shot, but he was framed in a totally unfair trial.

Jamal's weekly columns are available on, and information about his case and the international movement in his support are available on and

C. CLARK KISSINGER is a journalist and activist whose experience stretches back to the early 1960s. He is a member of Refuse & Resist! and has written extensively on the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.



i. Hearing transcript, August 1, 1995, 38.

ii. Hearing transcript, August 1, 1995,78-79.

iii. William Singletary's testimony began on August 11, 1995, at page 204 of the manuscript. He describes how police tore up his written statement and forced him to sign a different statement, which they dictated.

iv. Hearing transcript, October 1, 1996, 20.

v. Trial transcript, June 1, 1982, 70.

vi. White was a prostitute with thirty-eight arrests and had two pending cases.

vii. For example, when Cynthia White was arrested in 1987 (five years after the trial) on armed robbery charges, Philadelphia homicide detective Douglas Culbreth appeared in court and asked that White be released without posting bail because she was "a Commonwealth witness in a very high profile case." White subsequently failed to show up for her court date and has since disappeared. See hearing transcript, June 30,1997, 99-100.
Site Admin
Posts: 28612
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: All Things Censored, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Postby admin » Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:39 am


MUMIA ABU-JAMAL was born April 24, 1954, in Philadelphia. At the time of his arrest there on December 9, 1981, on charges of the murder of a police officer, he was a leading broadcast journalist and president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Association of Black Journalists. Widely acclaimed for his award-winning work with NPR, the Mutual Black Network, the National Black Network, WUHY (now WHYY), and other stations, he was known in the city as Philly's "voice of the voiceless."

At the age of fourteen, Jamal was beaten and arrested for protesting at a presidential rally for George Wallace. In the fall of 1968 he became a founding member and lieutenant minister of information of the Philadelphia chapter of the Black Panther Party. During the summer of 1970, he worked for the party newspaper in Oakland, California, returning to Philadelphia shortly before the city police raided all three offices of the Panther Party there.

Throughout the following decade, Jamal's hard-hitting criticism of the Philadelphia Police Department and the Rizzo administration marked him as a journalist "to watch." His unyielding rejection of Mayor Rizzo's version of the city's 1978 siege of the MOVE organization, in the Powelton Village neighborhood of West Philadelphia, in particular incensed the establishment, and eventually his advocacy cost him his broadcast job. In order to support his growing family, Jamal began to work night shifts as a cabdriver.

In the early morning hours of December 9, 1981, Jamal was critically shot and beaten by police and charged with the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner. Put on trial before Philadelphia's notorious "hanging judge," Albert Sabo, he was convicted and sentenced to death on July 3, 1982.

Jamal's appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was denied in March 1989, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused review of his case. Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge signed Jamal's death warrant, scheduling his execution for December 2, 1999. The death warrant was stayed on October 26, pending a federal hearing. Although Jamal's petition was denied by Judge Sabo, new evidence of prosecutorial misconduct and of the defendant's innocence has been presented to the appeals court. His appeals process continues as of this date.

Despite eighteen years on death row, Jamal continues to speak out. His commentaries on racism, politics, and the American judicial system have been printed in hundreds of newspapers throughout the United States and Europe. He has also been published in the Yale Law journal and the Nation.

In 1994, a series of commentaries scheduled for broadcast on NPR's All Things Considered, which described life behind bars, caused such controversy that the broadcast was abruptly canceled, sparking intense debates about censorship and the death penalty. A year later, despite considerable pressure to stifle their publication, Addison Wesley released the commentaries in print under the title Live from Death Row. The book has since been translated into French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian; an interactive CD-ROM version is also available.

While in prison Mumia has received his GED (July 1992); a BA from Goddard College, January 1996; an honorary doctorate of Law from the New College of California, May 1996; a Blackstone School of Law paralegal degree; an Emerson College of Canada herbalism degree; and has completed course work and thesis for an M.A. with a major in humanities history and a minor in African-American Literature at California State University, Dominguez Hills, California, Fall 1999.

Mumia resides on death row at the State Correctional Institute at Greene a supermaximum security "control unit" in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.

Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

NOELLE HANRAHAN is an investigative journalist and the director of Prison Radio, a project of the Redwood Justice Fund. Since 1992 she has been producing Mumia Abu-Jamal's radio commentaries. In 1994 she recorded and placed the commentaries of Mumia Abu-Jamal with National Public Radio's premier newsmagazine All Things Considered. The essays were censored at the behest of Senator Bob Dole and the Fraternal Order of Police. These unique and rare recorded essays remain locked in NPR's vaults.

Hanrahan initiated the books Live From Death Row by Mumia Abu- Jamal (Addison Wesley/Avon) and Race for Justice by Leonard Weinglass (Common Courage Press). She has produced Jamal's radio essays on two compact discs: Mumia Abu-Jamal Spoken Word with music by Man is the Bastard, and All Things Censored Vol. 1, both on Alternative Tentacles Records. She is the winner of two National Federation of Community Radio Broadcasters Golden Reel Awards, one for local radio news coverage for her story "The Death Penalty and the Execution of Robert Alton Harris" (1993), and the other, in the National Radio Documentary category, for the radio adaptation of the film Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Case for Reasonable Doubt (1998).

She is a graduate of Stanford University, where she designed her own major in Gender, Race, and Class Studies, and received the Lloyd W Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding service to undergraduate education.

Hanrahan is currently working on the Redwood Summer Justice Project's civil rights lawsuit resulting from FBI and Oakland Police Department misconduct surrounding the May 1990 car-bomb assassination attempt against Earth First! leaders Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney. She lives in northern California with her three-year-old daughter, Miranda.

ALICE WALKER was born in Eatonton, Georgia, and now lives in Northern California. Her novel The Color Purple won an American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.


The following portions of this book were originally published in book form in Live From Death Row, by Mumia Abu-Jamal, ©1995 by Mumia Abu-Jamal. They are reprinted here by permission of Perseus Books Publishers, a member of Perseus Books, L.L.C.: "Acting like life's a ballgame," '''On tilt' by state design," "From an echo of darkness, a step into light," "Jury of peers?" "Blackmun steps out of the death game," "A house is not a home," "What to a prisoner is the fourth of July?" "No Law, no rights," "Manny's attempted murder," "Days of pain, night of death," "Absence of power," "Black march to death row," "The visit," "Philly daze: An impressionistic memoir," "Expert witness from hell," "Musings on Malcolm" and "On death row fade to black" and "Slavery daze II."

"On Death Row, Fade to Black" was originally published in the report A Saga of Shame: Racial Discrimination and the Death Penalty from Equal Justice USA 1992, and is used with permission.

"Teerering on the brink between life and death" appeared originally in the Yale Law Journal, January 1991 and was first published in book form in Live From Death Row, by Mumia Abu-Jamal, ©1995 by Mumia Abu-Jamal. It is reprinted by permission of the Yale Law Journal Company and Fred B. Rothman & Company from the Yale Law Journal, Vol. 100, pages 993-1003, and of Perseus Books Publishers, a member of Perseus books, L.L.C.

The following portions of this book were originally published in book form in Death Blossoms: Reflections from a Prisoner of Conscience. Farmington, PA: The Plough Publishing House, 1997. Used with permission. "Meeting with a Killer" "Mother Loss" "Father Hunger" "Men of Cloth."

The following portions of this book were originally published in Plough Magazine: A Publication of the Bruderhof Communities. Used with permission. "Meeting with a Killer" 45, Summer 1995; "Mother Loss" 44, July/August 1995; "Father Hunger" The Plough 49 Fall 1996; "De Profundis" 44 July/August 1995; "Warlust -- Again! (Iraq II)," 55 Spring 1998.

Illustrations and photos used by permission.


Producer: Noelle Hanrahan/Prison Radio/Redwood Justice Fund

Audio Engineer: David Kaplowitz, Noelle Hanrahan

Field & Production Engineers: Mike Alcalay, Blangton, Ray Grott, Janice Leber & David Rubin/ Chopped Liver Productions, Walter Turner, Noelle Hanrahan

Design: David Kaplowitz

2000 Prison Radio. All Rights Reserved.

©Mumia Abu-Jamal. All Rights Reserved.

All radio commentaries recorded, produced, and published/aired by Noelle Hanrahan/ Prison Radio and are used with permission.

"PEN Oakland Award Acceptance Speech" and "Men of the Cloth" by Bruderhof Radio, 1999. Used with permission.
Site Admin
Posts: 28612
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Mumia Abu-Jamal

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest