THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Counterpunch: Mumia, Fox News, and the Truth.

Fuck Fox. Support the cause. 
Free Mumia.

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Glenn Beck's Mumia Obsession
November 9, 2009
Counterpunch.org

Fox Finds a New Black Boogeyman

By LINN WASHINGTON, Jr. 

Relax Rev Jeremiah Wright.

The Fox News cable channel crew has discovered a new all-purpose black boogey-man to rile latent racial animosity in America: Mumia Abu-Jamal, the internationally acclaimed death row journalist.

Abu-Jamal is now a regular reference in the weapons of mass deception arsenal employed by Fox and its friends to demonize their enemies de jour.

A few weeks ago, the campaign mounted by two Fox ideological allies that successfully sacked Fox liberal commentator Dr. Marc Lamont Hill highlighted Hill’s backing of a fair trial for Abu-Jamal as an objectionable offense.

Far-right agitators David Horowitz and Cliff Kincaid saw sinful scandal in FOX simply employing Columbia University Professor Hill for what the scholar was: a liberal hired by Fox to question postures conservatives proclaim sacrosanct.

Kincaid, in an October 19th posting on his Accuracy in Media site, scored Hill for calling Abu-Jamal a “freedom fighter and political prisoner.”

Earlier this summer Fox’s onslaught against now former White House ‘Green Jobs Czar’ Van Jones frequently cited Jones’ support for Abu-Jamal who is on Pennsylvania’s death row due to a controversy mired conviction for killing a Philadelphia policeman.

For weeks, Fox’s popular Glenn Beck bashed Jones for supporting efforts to free “a communist cop killer” – irrespective of the fact that Abu-Jamal is not a communist and card carrying communists never reference Abu-Jamal as a member of their movement.

Frequent emphasis by advocates of Abu-Jamal’s execution, including Fox hosts, that courts have repeatedly held-up Abu-Jamal’s conviction ignore an improbability embedded in that accurate statement about this case.

The same Philadelphia and Pennsylvania courts that have found major flaws in 86 Philadelphia death penalty convictions between Abu-Jamal’s December 1981 arrest and October 2009 declare that not a single error exists in America’s most publicly contentious murder case.

Pa courts, for example, find no foul in prosecutors improperly excluding blacks from Abu-Jamal’s trial jury, manipulating evidence and making secret deals with alleged eyewitnesses – all fundamental fair trial violations producing favorable actions by those courts for defendants in numerous cases.

Another example is Pa State and federal courts voiding 22 death penalties because of failures by defense lawyers to present any mitigating evidence for their clients during death penalty phase hearings following guilty verdicts.

However, those same courts found no fault in the failure of Abu-Jamal’s trial counsel to present any mitigating evidence during the penalty phase hearing.

A problem more troubling than the penchant of Fox and friends to fudge facts is the fact that too much of the mainstream media uncritically embraces rhetoric oozing from the far right, rarely subjecting that rhetoric to full and fair reporting that is supposed to be the cornerstone of journalism.

This lack of full and fair reportage polluted coverage of the onslaught against Van Jones and has long corrupted coverage of the controversial Abu-Jamal conviction.

A September 6, 2009 New York Times article on the resignation of Van Jones from his White House post listed Jones’ public support of Abu-Jamal as one of Jones’ alleged liabilities.

However, that Times article lacked any reference to the fact that Jones, as an Ivy League trained lawyer involved with social justice issues, could legitimately have concerns about the disturbing evidence of fair trial rights violations enmeshed in Abu-Jamal’s conviction.


“Human rights organizations have pointed to egregious procedural mistakes in Abu-Jamal’s original trial, which were obviously rooted in a background of prevalent racism,” stated a resolution approved on October 28th by the City Council of Munich, Germany. Elected leaders in over twenty-five cities from San Francisco to Copenhagen have approved resolutions demanding a new trial for Abu-Jamal.

The seminal February 2000 Amnesty International report on the Abu-Jamal case concluded that “numerous aspects of this case clearly failed to meet minimum international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings.”

(Go to Counterpunch for the rest - it's worth the read, and they need some support)

...One problem with mainstream media coverage of the Abu-Jamal case and other instances of racial related injustices from the criminal justice system to other sectors of society like education or employment is that coverage presents racial inequities as isolated instead of endemic.

Failure to present inequities in context deprives the public of proper understanding. The 1968 Kerner Commission Report on race relations in America faulted the news media for this failure.

As noted in the Kerner Report, “If what the white American reads in the newspapers or sees on television conditions his expectation of what is ordinary and normal in the larger society, he will neither understand nor accept the black American.”

Linn Washington Jr. is an Associate Professor of Journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. He writes regularly on the Abu-Jamal case, inequities in the justice system and racism in the news media.

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