By Mumia Abu-Jamal, Prison Radio, Written 7/15/09, Recorded 7/22/09
click here to listen to audio column
It's been 2 1/2 years since the San Francisco 8 -- eight former members of the Black Panther Party -- were cast into California jails and threatened with life sentences stemming from the 1971 shooting of a cop.
Perhaps the State figured the post - 9//11 paranoia and mania would make this an easy case. Perhaps the government thought that because many of the accused were men of advancing age, decades away from their prime organizing and activist days, it would be a cake walk.
The 8 men fought with dignity, principle and unity -- and several days ago -- charges for 4 of them were dismissed altogether: Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Hank Jones and Harold Taylor.
New York's Jalil Muntaqim pled no contest to conspiracy -- and got time served in San Francisco County Jail -- almost 2 1/2 years -- with 3 years probation.
Herman Bell -- another New York former Panther -- took a similar deal earlier in July.
One ex-Panther, Francisco Torres, faces a hearing next month, where most observers expect all charges to be dropped. Another, John bowman, died before trial. The last, Richard O'Neal, was cleared pre-trial.
From the very beginning, back in the '70's -- several of the men were brutally tortured by police in Louisiana to elicit false confessions (thus we see that Abu Ghraib really was nothing new).
The cases were dismissed decades ago -- on that basis alone.
That the prosecutions were reinstated at all is due more to the politicized Justice Department under John Ashcroft and George Bush -- where torture was a tool of state --than anything else. Also implicated? The political ambitions of California Attorney General Jerry Brown, seeking the governorship.
No charges should've been brought in the first place -- or if contemplated, dismissed under double jeopardy principles.
As it is -- even the state admits -- dismissal is valid due to insufficient evidence.
These results are due, in large part, to the solidarity of the men themselves, and some excellent, aggressive lawyering by assorted defense counsel, among them J. Soffiyah Elijah of Harvard Law School.
Several years ago, in a statement calling for support for the San Francisco 8, I implored supporters to fight for them now -- before they fell into the clutches of the state containment system -- instead of after.
Many took up that fight -- leading to many of the most recent results.
-- (c) '09 maj
The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!
URGENT Need for Petition Signatures at: http://www.iacenter.org/mumiapetition/
Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at: http://www.prisonradio.org
Mumia's got a podcast! Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays - Subscribe at the website or on iTunes and get Mumia's radio commentaries online.
Mumia Abu-Jamal's new book -- JAILHOUSE LAWYERS: PRISONERS DEFENDING PRISONERS V. THE USA, featuring an introduction by Angela Y. Davis -- has been released! It is available from City Lights Books: http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100448090
If you are planning to organize an event or would like to order in bulk, you can also receive a 45% discount on any bulk orders of 20 copies or more. The book retails for $16.95, for orders of 20 copies or more the discounted price would be $9.32 per book, plus shipping and handling. Prepayment would be required and books are nonreturnable. If you or your organization would like to place a bulk order, please contact Stacey Lewis at 415.362.1901 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's use the opportunity of the publication of this brilliant, moving, vintage Mumia book to build the momentum for his case, to raise the money we desperately need in these challenging economic times, to get the word out – to produce literature, flyers, posters, videos, DVD's; to send organizers out to help build new chapters and strengthen old ones, TO GET THE PEOPLE OUT IN THE STREETS … all the work that we must do in order to FREE MUMIA as he faces LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE OR EXECUTION!
Please make a contribution to help free Mumia. Donations to the grassroots work will go to both INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL and the FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL COALITION (NYC).
Please mail donations/ checks to:
FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL COALITION
PO BOX 16, NEW YORK,
(CHECKS FOR BOTH ORGANIZATIONS PAYABLE TO: FMAJC/IFCO)
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370
WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!
Subscribe ICFFMAJ email updates list by e-mailing