Partisan Defense Committee Press Release

4 December 2007

Partisan Defense Committee P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013


Contact: Kevin Gilroy (212) 406-4252

Court Decision Looms—Mobilize to Free Mumia!

Media Blitz Targets Mumia Abu-Jamal

On Thursday, December 6, NBC’s Today show will be a forum to promote the legal lynching of Mumia Abu-Jamal, an innocent man on death row. Maureen Faulkner, wife of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, of whose killing Mumia was falsely convicted, will appear on the show to promote her book, Murdered by Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain, and Injustice, which is set for release the same day (see “Sinister Book Recycles Frame-Up Lies: Mumia Abu-Jamal Is Innocent! Free Him Now!” Workers Vanguard No. 903, 23 November). Faulkner will be joined by her co-author, right-wing radio broadcaster Michael Smerconish, a former political adviser to Philadelphia’s notoriously racist police chief and mayor, Frank Rizzo. Their caravan of lies will continue later that day on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, and the following day on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. Meanwhile, an Associated Press article about the book has already been picked up by a number of newspapers, including the International Herald Tribune.

With a decision in Mumia’s case by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals anticipated any day, it is clear that the purpose of the Faulkner/Smerconish book and the media blitzkrieg behind it is to kill Mumia, a former Black Panther Party spokesman, MOVE supporter and renowned journalist known as the “voice of the voiceless.” Faulkner stated in an excerpt of the book published in the Philadelphia Inquirer (2 December): “I need to see Abu-Jamal executed.” Mumia’s case represents what the racist death penalty is all about—a barbaric legacy of chattel slavery. It is no accident that with support for capital punishment waning and an effective moratorium in place, supporters of the racist death penalty are seizing upon Faulkner’s book to promote state-sanctioned murder.

The International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Journalists for Mumia and Educators for Mumia have initiated a “media-activist” letter-writing campaign calling on the Today show to allow Mumia’s supporters to counter the lies of Faulkner and Smerconish—a request that has to date been rejected. The Partisan Defense Committee and Spartacist League will be joining a protest called by the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition on December 6 outside the Today show at 7:15 a.m., at 48th St. and Rockefeller Plaza. We urge Mumia’s supporters, fighters for black freedom and opponents of the racist death penalty to be there to demand: Mumia Is Innocent! Free Him Now!

 A mountain of evidence proves Mumia’s innocence, including the confession of Arnold Beverly that he, not Mumia, killed Faulkner. This means nothing to the bourgeois press corps feting Smerconish and Faulkner in order to rehash lies that were demolished over a decade ago. The book’s Web site falsely claims that Mumia was convicted by a “racially mixed jury based on: the testimony of several eyewitnesses, his ownership of the murder weapon, matching ballistics, and Abu-Jamal’s own confession.” In fact, black jurors were unlawfully excluded, Mumia’s “confession” was concocted two months after the shooting at a roundtable meeting of the cops and prosecutors who feared that their frame-up prosecution, based on the false testimony of a prostitute who was not even present at the time of the shooting, was falling apart.

A 2001 affidavit submitted to state and federal courts by PDC counsel Rachel Wolkenstein, who served on Mumia’s legal defense team from 1995 to 1999, exposed, among other things, the phony ballistics evidence. There was no evidence Mumia’s gun was fired that night; the absence of divots in the sidewalk contradicts the cops’ tale that Mumia fired repeatedly as he stood over Faulkner; bullet trajectories point to more than one shooter (see PDC pamphlet, The Fight to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal--Mumia Is Innocent!). Photographs recently unearthed by Michael Schiffmann confirm police tampering with guns and other evidence in order to prosecute Mumia.

While Smerconish has made a name for himself by dismissing the evidence of torture at Abu Ghraib as nothing but “naked pyramid pictures” and calling for mass arrests of undocumented immigrants who protest for their rights, Maureen Faulkner has long peddled the lie that Mumia leeringly smiled at her when Officer Faulkner’s bloody shirt was shown to the jury—a smear intended to portray Mumia as a coldhearted killer. Mumia was not even in the courtroom that day, one of the numerous days he was excluded from his own trial. An inkling of their book’s mendacity can be seen in the Associated Press article, which dutifully reports that “neither Abu-Jamal nor his brother have ever spoken about what happened that night,” adding, “the book emphasizes that point.”

In fact, declarations sworn in 2001 by Mumia and his brother William Cook, and presented to both state and federal courts, gave detailed accounts of what they saw the night of Faulkner’s shooting, including Mumia’s statement: “I did not shoot Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. I had nothing to do with the killing of Officer Faulkner. I am innocent.” As with Beverly’s confession, not one court has considered these declarations. As we stated in “Sinister Book Recycles Frame-Up Lies”: “The cops and prosecutors, Democratic and Republican politicians and press hacks tell any lie to bury this unbroken fighter for the oppressed. The biggest lie of all is that Mumia shot and killed Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.” Labor, black people and opponents of racist oppression must mobilize now to free Mumia!

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The PDC is a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization which champions cases and causes in the interest of the whole of the working people.  This purpose is in accordance with the political views of the Spartacist League.