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by Tony Allen
Monday, Jan. 10, 2005 at 7:12 PM
A response to Grossman's gross distortions
(The following article is a response to Eliot Grossman's response to Tony Allen's article about the Mumia Movement. You can read Grossman's article at mumia.org)
A Response to Eliot Grossman
by Tony Allen
“They were careless people..they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back to their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and than let other people clean up the mess they had made...”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
I guess, at one time, it might have meant something to be attacked at such lengths by the “Mumia Movement.” I am afraid for the pro-Jamal partisans, that their time has come and gone, that the movement, suffering from the inevitable diminishing returns of a faux cause is on the road to nowhere. I must, however, clear up a couple of issues before I can move forward onto more pressing and important business. To make it clear for everyone, I must point out that I subscribe to the following statements without reservation:
* The death penalty is, itself, a crime and, in essence, makes the bureaucracy of the state a mechanism of death. This so-called instrument of “justice” is rather a moral and very real blight on any nation that claims to be either democratic or a force for human rights. I oppose its use and implementation against any person, no matter the gravity of their crimes.
* I care very little for most of the voices and ideologues who are on the right bank of the American political scene. I am not friends with, nor have I ever met the likes of Michael Smerconish and, although I do know Dave Lindorff, neither one of us consider ourselves to be friends. Our correspondence generally amounts to him attempting to convince me of Jamal’s innocence and me rejecting his arguments.
* I am beholden to no police or governmental agency, do not receive payment from anyone for my work, and challenge anyone to produce proof aside from my obvious disdain for murderers and their corrupt and cynical defenders, that I am under anyone’s oppressive thumb.
So now onto the fun stuff...
It is funny to me that the movement to “free Mumia” sends out Grossman to be the one to rebuke my charges. Funny because Grossman, along with his cohort Marlene Kamish, managed to cause more damage to Jamal’s cause, caused more dissension within the ranks, managed to further tarnish Jamal’s already tainted image, and otherwise rain more ruin upon Jamal’s prospects for freedom than I or anyone else ever could (or would even want to for that matter).
You see, Grossman is a fraud and not just a small time con-artist, but a fraud of epic proportions, as well as a relentless and practiced liar so addicted to deceit that he can’t even tame his demons even when he has to know that his parade of nonsense is about to be rained on.
Grossman would tell people that he played a central role in the case of a man named Manuel Salazar (he didn’t). He would tell people of his experience with death penalty litigation (he has none, aside from Jamal’s case, unless, of course, you count an un-used amicus brief he authored). Grossman would tell people what a terrible attorney Leonard Weinglass was and that if only Jamal would go with him and Kamish that freedom was just a few steps away (Weinglass who was Jamal’s most successful advocate is gone, Mumia is still on death row, and the scheme-team of Grossman/Kamish is off the case, need I say more?)
And of course Grossman will deny his statement about Jamal’s guilt, but what can one expect from a man that has never met a lie (or liar in the case of Arnold Beverly) that he did not like or shamelessly wouldn’t put to use?
What should be understood is that after nearly a decade around the Jamal movement, I am in no need of fictional anecdotes in order to make my point. Grossman knows what he said, just as well as he knows that Mumia shot Faulkner, and that, after all, is my point.
I suppose that nearly everyone involved with radical politics has heard the phrase “speaking truth to power.” Noam Chomsky, back when he still made sense and had something to offer, once made the lucid observation that those in power “already know the truth.” This axiom holds true within the Jamal movement, as well. Those “high-up” within the Jamal movement know quite well that the evidence against Jamal is solid. They know that everything points to Jamal being the only possible shooter of Faulkner. Yet, in a grotesque display of cynicism, they pretend otherwise.
This gets to the point of why I think Grossman said what he did about Jamal. He wanted Pam Africa to know that he knew enough of the evidence to know that Jamal was very likely guilty and that he didn’t give a damn. He wanted Africa, the leader of the movement to know that he was willing to do his solemn duty as a man of “the far-left” to fight to free his dread locked hero. Here was an aging Marxist attempting to do his part to turnabout the failures in Jamal’s case; this was coupled with a manipulative and deeply cynical cult member who was more than willing to exploit Grossman’s enthusiasm for ideologically driven deception. It was a match made in the bowels of hell and one that would eventually fracture the Jamal movement.
In Grossman’s statement, a defense of his use of Arnold Beverly as a witness is conspicuously absent. In its place, Grossman sends readers off to various “free mumia” websites so that they can read his various amicus briefs and other appeals. So why doesn’t Grossman bother defending his actions in regards to Beverly? Because he cannot. The Beverly confession has been thoroughly exposed as fraudulent and Grossman knows it, as would anyone else who would bother to independently investigate the case.
Grossman does, however, bring up investigator Mike Newman who makes the claim that Robert Chobert admitted that he did not even see the shooting. Yet, during the PCRA hearings, which occurred after the Newman/Chobert conversation allegedly had happened, Chobert had this to say under oath about his 1981 testimony:
Prosecutor- Was that testimony based on your observations of what you saw on the morning of December 9th, 1981?
Chobert- Yes, it was.
Prosecutor- And was that without influence from any source, your testimony?
Prosecutor- It was without influence or it was influenced?
Chobert-No, I told the truth that day.
And what was it that Chobert said during Jamal’s 1981 trial, what was the “truth” that he was speaking of? The following exchange occurred as Jamal was questioning Chobert:
Mumia-...And you saw me in the back of the wagon, didn’t you?
Chobert- Yes, I did.
Mumia-What made you certain it was the same man?
Chobert-Because I saw you buddy. I saw you shoot him. (the “him” in this case is referring to Officer Faulkner).
It appears the only perjurer here is Grossman.
Eliot than proceeds to further malign the deceased Cynthia White, who had testified in court back in 1981 that she had “no doubt” that Jamal was the shooter. In order to support his claim that White is a “perjurer,” Grossman offers yet another affidavit from Investigator Newman, this time from Yvette Williams, a former cell-mate of Cynthia White. Williams claims in her affidavit that White admitted to her that she had been threatened and was to be paid off by the police for her testimony. Of course, White is dead so it is impossible to say whether her testimony was in fact coerced by the police, but what is a fact is that even without White’s testimony the case against Jamal stands firm.
Grossman than, almost as an afterthought, skirts right over the testimony of Albert Magilton and Michael Scanlan dismissing them for not being able to, in his words “identify” Jamal as the shooter. So what did Magilton and Scanlan have to say about the case? Scanlan did testify in 1981 that he was not able to identify the shooter of Faulkner, but what he did say was nearly as damning for Jamal.
According to Scanlan, he observed a “...black guy come running across the street towards the Officer and the guy he was hitting. Then the guy running across the street pulled out a pistol and started shooting at the Officer. He had the gun pointed at the Officer. He fired while he was running at the Officer once, and the Officer fell down. Then he stood over the Officer and fired three or four more shots point blank at the Officer on the ground.” He would go on to say that “I could see that one hit (Faulkner) in the face...because his body jerked. Scanlan testified that the shooter was about 5ft 10inches tall and weighed between 160-170 pounds and wore a black hat, dark pants, and a bright colored sweater. The only person that Scanlan could have described was Mumia Abu-Jamal. Perhaps this is why Grossman quickly dodges Scanlan’s testimony.
Albert Magilton also observed Jamal running across the street towards the scene of the crime just moments before Faulkner was shot, which corroborates the testimony of the other prosecution witnesses. None of whom, by the way, ever reported seeing the man Grossman claims shot Faulkner, Arnold Beverly, as did none of the defense witnesses.
When discussing the ballistics evidence against Jamal, Grossman scurries down the proverbial rabbit hole of make believe and conspiracy theory in order to make the case for Jamal’s innocence.
It is a matter of record that Jamal was found slumped on the ground, his .38 caliber revolver sitting close to his body and out of its holster, with five spent casings housed within the weapon. It is also a matter of record that Faulkner’s killer fired five bullets. And with Jamal’s own ballistics expert testifying during the PCRA appeals that the bullet that killed Faulkner was a .38 and not a .44 as the defense had contended, there is little room for doubt as to what the ballistics evidence proves.
With regard to Jamal’s courtroom conduct, Grossman quite patronizingly would send people to “various Mumia websites” in order for them to read his “analysis” of Jamal’s courtroom antics. I would argue that it would be more instructive for people to actually go back and review the trial transcripts that are available at danielfaulkner.com and judge for themselves whether Jamal was within his rights to act in the manner that he did. One does not need to be spoon-fed, pseudo-legal, dribble about William Penn to know whether or not Jamal got a fair shake in Sabo’s courtroom.
In leaving out any and all facts that might pose a problem to his thesis and, by clinging desperately to an obvious fantasy, Grossman and those who support his “absolute innocence” theory concerning Jamal not only are toying with reality, they have also managed to all but squeeze the life out of the movement to “free Mumia.” People like David Lindorff, whose writings are in actuality quite supportive of Jamal, are pushed aside and castigated as if they were some kind of mediaeval heretic for not properly touting the party line. Michael Moore, who wrote kind words about Jamal, but also admitted what everyone else pretty much already knows, that Mumia shot Faulkner, is hunted down by Jamal supporters and repeatedly castigated until he “apologizes” for making a factual statement. How this helps Jamal’s cause I will never know, but to the fanatically faithful, any deviation or dissension from the party platform is cause for alarm and a special kind of hatred.
There is one aspect of Eliot’s critique of my article that he did get right. I did say in my piece that he and Weinglass were at one time “friends,” this was a mis-statement on my part and an assumption that should have never made its way into print. That said, given the level of toxicity spewed Weinglass’s way by Grossman, I was left with the thought that such rabidity of feelings could only be spurned by a relationship gone bad. I was wrong and admit it. I wonder if Grossman is able to admit his mistakes, I doubt it.
I like how Eliot boils down my 180 degree turn on the issue of Jamal and my leaving MOVE to just being a mere issue of complaints. In actuality, I left MOVE because they murdered a man and I left the Mumia movement because it aims to free a man who also is a murderer. Like I said before about Grossman, these kind of things don’t matter to him, but they do to me.
Finally, and most assiduously, Grossman questions my motives and asserts that I have a “weakness in character.” Yet, Eliot is a shady individual and a proven fraud who does not have the ability to acknowledge integrity in others principally because he lacks courage to summon it within himself. For Grossman, an easy applause and pandering email posts filled with half-truths are good enough to sustain his withered soul. Pity indeed.
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