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COLUMN FIFTY-EIGHT, APRIL 1, 2001
(Copyright 2001 Al Aronowitz)

FROM THE SONS OF AFRIKA (SOA)
MAILING LIST

MUMIA FIRES LAWYER

Subject: [soa] !*"Mumia Fires Counsel" Sally O'Brien/WBAI News Report
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 22:35:58 -0500
From: "Marpessa Kupendua" <nattyreb1@home.com>
To: <Undisclosed-Recipient:;>  

MAJ fires counsel

In a move to send shock waves throughout progressive circles, Death Row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal has filed a petition in the US District Court for Pennsylvania's Eastern District to remove his attorneys, Leonard Weinglass and Dan Williams as counsels for his case.

At issue, says Jamal is the fact that Attorney Dan Williams has written a book about this internationally recognized case without his permission or review.

Charging this is a "conflict of interest" Mumia Abu- Jamal has petitioned the court to grant him Pro Se status - that is to serve as his own attorney.

 In papers sent to the US District Court last Friday,

Abu-Jamal, who has been on Pennsylvania's death row since 1982, asks the Court to grant his motions for counsel withdrawal, pro se appointment and for an extension of "sufficient time to acquire and hire counsel."

 The papers further state that "on Saturday, February 24th, 2001, via Federal Express, the Petitioner (Jamal) learned definitively that Mr. Williams was in the late processes of publishing a book on the case - purported to be "an inside account."

Supporting his argument, Abu -Jamal cites "rule 1.8 d of the rules of Professional Conduct" which, in part, speaks about "prohibited transactions" among which, the papers state, is a "prohibition against making or negotiating a literary agreement based substantially on information acquired by way of a lawyers' representation."  

In 1982, Mumia Abu Jamal was convicted in shooting death of a Philadelphia police officer after a trial that by many standards was rife with prosecutorial misconduct.  During that trial, Mumia Abu Jamal was denied the right to self-representation and was, instead, given a court appointed lawyer, who, by his own admission, was unprepared and unable to handle such a complicated case.  In addition, during his 1995 Post Conviction Relief Appeal hearing, witnesses came forward testifying they were coerced and intimidated to alter their testimony.  At present, Abu-Jamal has a Petition for habeas corpus before Federal District Court Judge William Yohn - which if approved could grant him a new trial. 

Reached late this afternoon, Attorney Leonard Weinglass told WBAI News he had no comment except to say "the important thing is that Mumia must be free and this injustice must be corrected." "I remain available," said Weinglass "to do whatever I can."

In his supporting brief, Abu-Jamal argued "it is a long-standing principle of law that where a conflict of interest exists between a client and counsel, the right to effective assistance of counsel is seriously impaired."

In the meantime, as his supporters await Mumia's official statement, Mumia Abu-Jamal awaits word from the US District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

For WBAI News, I'm Sally O'Brien.(5 March 2001)

* * *

 WBAI (1)

Subject: [soa] Reason for media problem at WBAI radio-NYC
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 17:45:35 -0500
From: Arlene Johnson <ajohnsonpresnsi@truedemocracy.net>
To: <soa@egroups.com>

Allow me to share with people the reality of the community supported radio station WBAI in New York City. WBAI receives no advertising revenue instead relying on donations from listeners who have pledged upwards of $800,000 in pledge drives the main one of which is conducted once per year with lesser amounts received in other subsidiary pledge drives at other times during the course of a year. As a resident of New York, I have personally pledged hundreds of dollars to keep this radio station solvent and able to provide accurate unbiased news.

Amy Goodman, the acclaimed reporter who hosts Democracy Now each weekday morning at 9 am for one hour provides incredible information and interviews people who are knowledgeable throughout the world on situations ranging from the war in Kosovo to East Timor genocide and events in the US and many other worthy pieces of information to listeners who are eager to pay so they will learn the reality. Many stations around the US tap in to this program, a very popular program which garners many, many pledges when the drives are held. 

There is another host who is on Saturday afternoons who is Grandpa Al Lewis. You may remember him as Grandpa on the Munsters because it is the same person. He is extremely well informed, an insatiable reader of history and prison conditions and I personally  respect him immensely. One day one listener said to Grandpa, "If only we could get more listeners; what can we do to get more listeners?"

Immediately, I said to myself, give them a free ad in True Democracy. It's a perfect fit because they have taught me, so since I have learned details of events which I wouldn't have learned if not for this station, I want to reward them and keep them alive.

In January, 2000 I offered the advertisment to the program developer who was visibly pleased because I could hear it in his voice on the phone, but he never gave me the ad. I tried everything I could think of to obtain the ad.

Finally, since my lawyer said don't do the ad because the then manager, Valerie Van Isler told me when I spoke with her that they would have to approve any ad I composed, my lawyer said to not do the ad. To make a long story short, I contacted a friend of mine who works in New York City and asked her to call the current station manager on my behalf because I thought that since that station manager is a person in whom I have had respect, she would do the ad and Email it to me but she never did. Therefore, I wrote up a commentary, not an ad, because I reason that I have freedom of speech and freedom of the press guaranteed by the Bill of Rights to our Constitution and sent it to my art director to include in True Democracy to help this station for which I have tremendous respect.  

About two days after I sent the snail mail to my art director, my friend sent me an Email which stated, "My sister [she works at WBAI] asked Utrice Leid if she wanted the ad and Utrice said, no thank you."

I have been invited to two birthday parties by Utrice Leid in as many years. I have a snapshot of Utrice, my husband, and myself because she has always been generous to me. She requested that I speak on the air one afternoon to share with the listening audience the facts about the Trilateral Commission.

I did. So, it is bewildering to me why she is conducting herself in the manner in which she is now except to say that she is a person of color and must be scarred to be fired as several people have been terminated including Valerie Van Isler who was the station manager prior to December 26, 2000. I haven't heard her side of the story but the reason why the lockouts and firings occur is the powers that be want to eventually close down WBAI and turn it into a music station to attract more listeners than it does as a news and commentary station.

This is because of the stranglehold of the media by the Trilateral Commission which doesn't want folks like us to know the truth. Bill Clinton appointed Mary Frances Berry who has tried to censor Amy Goodman because the powers that be don't want Amy to disseminate the accurate information; she has filed a grievance and for now is able to conduct her program in an "embattled WBAI."

In the US we are supposed to have freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Do we? You be the judge because you can be. The fourth edition of True Democracy will be devoted to people like Amy Goodman whom I have met twice and respect immensely. Anyone who tries to impinge on freedom of speech or freedom of the press is treading on thin ice because this is a Constitutional right so we will take care of this betrayal in that edition of my unique magazine. It should prove interesting reading because I have quite a bit of documentation on the problems that the entire Pacifica stations have endured because of Mary Frances Berry due to the fact that she was beholding to Bill Clinton because he was beholding to the Trilateral Commission.

Thank you so much for reading this scenario of events at my favorite radio station.

In peace and solidarity,

Arlene Johnson
Publisher of forthcoming True Democracy
Password: freedom (first four editions)
News Source, Inc.
The Company That Cares About People
ajohnsonpresnsi@truedemocracy.net
Please visit my Web site at http://truedemocracy.net and become a donor if you can.

  Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin With Me!

 * * *

WBAI (2)

Subject: [soa] Fwd: [Open-Your-Third-Eye] Arrests at WBAI - Struggle Escalates
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 00:43:25 EST
From: charrisceada@aol.com
To: soa@yahoogroups.com

Continue the resistance of repression and the promotion of free speech. They are on the offensive here in Los Angeles as well, KPFK and other stations that air the progressive thought of the people. This is just a residual of GW's false electoral victory and the new Bush administration, to clamp down on freedom of thought/speech and our Afro-Centric perspective and agenda. No wonder, his daddy was the head of the CIA.

Welcome to afazi.com, an electronic village square primarily for black women of a certain can-do disposition, even exuberance. Afazi is a community for those who value cool intelligence over fumes, women who crave information that is original, useful, and fun; who appreciate the advantages of sisterhood and community; who are focused on personal achievement but also have time to help pull others up; who seek understanding of life's complexities, are unafraid of contrary views, are interested in reading a piece from Atlanta as from Timbuktu, and are willing to vacation in the Olduvai Gorge as much as in the Caribbean.    ----  http://www.afazi.com  ##

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