[sixties-l] Cointelpro by any other name--*Break-In at Mumia office in Philly/Stop Attacks on Activists!

From: Ron Jacobs (rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu)
Date: Thu Jun 15 2000 - 11:32:14 CUT

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    >From: "Marpessa Kupendua" <nattyreb@ix.netcom.com>
    >To: <Undisclosed-Recipient:;@mindspring.com;;;>
    >Subject: !*Break-In at Mumia office in Philly/Stop Attacks on Activists!
    >Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 18:53:23 -0400
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    >From: C. Clark Kissinger <cck1@earthlink.net>
    >ICFFMAJ Office Suffers Political Break-In
    > The headquarters of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia
    > Abu-Jamal in Philadelphia experienced a COINTELPRO-style burglary on the
    > night of June 8, when an unknown person or persons made off with important
    > files containing financial records and lists of high-profile contacts. The
    > stolen documents are vital to the work of ICFFMAJ and could be mis-used in
    > the wrong hands.
    > Other items in the office, including valuable office equipment appeared to
    > be untouched. The offices one entrance is kept locked; the burglars either
    > used a governmental lock pick or obtained a key to the office. The ICFFMAJ
    > regards the incident as clearly politically motivated: a thievery of
    > information, not items of monetary value.
    > "I believe that this was a government plan to disrupt our work," says
    > ICFFMAJ Coordinator Pam Africa, who said the incident closely resembled the
    >FBI and police COINTELPRO break-ins of "leftist" organizations epidemic in
    >1960s and 70s.
    > With the Federal District Courts current attempts to restrict the work of
    >Mitchell Cohen, C. Clark Kissinger and other activists arrested at the
    >Liberty Bell protests for Mumia last summer, the recent office break-in is
    >doubly suspicious to the ICFFMAJ. This is a time when organizers nation-wide
    >are preparing for Mumias upcoming federal court hearing and the Republican
    >National Convention in Philadelphia.
    >The burglary is the latest in a small string of suspicious thieveries and
    >destruction of information belonging to ICFFMAJ and the MOVE organization. A
    >ICFFMAJ car was broken into in 1999, leaving the cars radio intact but
    >important and sensitive documents missing. And in 1995 Philadelphia fire
    >fighters thoroughly soaked large numbers of files containing papers
    >important to MOVE and the ICFFMAJ. A blaze had moved from an abandoned
    >house next door to the upstairs floor of a MOVE house, but a hose was left
    >running into the basement, far from where any fire ever caught. Pam Africa
    >and another man found firefighters standing by and talking while a hose ran
    >full-blast into their basement.
    > The ICFFMAJ is cautioning other groups working on Mumias case to be wary
    >the event that other offices are targeted for similar burglaries.
    > International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal HYPERLINK
    > mailto:ICFFMAJ@aol.com ICFFMAJ@aol.com P.O. Box 19709 Philadelphia Pa
    > 19143 Phone: 215-476-8812 Fax: 215-476-6180
    >Village Voice
    > Published June 14 - 20, 2000
    >BY C. CARR
    >Feds Throw the book at Mumia Protesters
    >(Check out this article at
    >They were found guilty of petty offenses, charges way too minor to warrant
    >a jury trial. And now, as punishment for the equivalent of a parking
    >ticket, a couple of leading activists in the fight to save Mumia Abu-Jamal
    >face a supervised probation so restrictive they won't be able to do their
    >political work. They think that that was the whole point.
    >C. Clark Kissinger and Frances Goldin were among 95 demonstrators arrested
    >at the Liberty Bell pavilion in Philadelphia last July 3, the 17th
    >anniversary of Abu-Jamal's sentencing. He faces execution in Pennsylvania
    >for the murder of a police officer, and his supporters have long maintained
    >that he did not get a fair trial. During the July 3 action, protesters
    >blocked several doors to the Liberty Bell, and park rangers closed the
    >pavilion for three hours. Some climbed onto the roof to hang banners. Some
    >sat outside against the bumper of a police van.
    >Kissinger and Goldin say they did none of those things. They were out on
    >the plaza with the third member of their affinity group, Mark Taylor, head
    >of Academics for Mumia Abu-Jamal. "We sat down in an area where a truck was
    >coming, filled with already arrested prisoners," recalls Goldin, "and
    >before we could move, we were whisked away by the park rangers. And cuffed.
    >They never said 'Move.' They never said anything."
    >Charged with "failure to obey a lawful order," Goldin, Kissinger, and six
    >other activists decided to plead not guilty, and that's where their
    >troubles began. They are now convinced their real crime was to ask for a
    >During the course of their three days in court, the park ranger who
    >arrested Goldin could not identify her, and none of the videotapes entered
    >into evidence showed the two defendants blocking anything or even sitting
    >down. While the activists were not exactly surprised when the judge found
    >them guilty anyway, fining them $250, they find the supervised probation
    >draconian and sinister.
    >"This was a fait accompli, that they were going to get probation," says
    >Jordan Yeager, Goldin's attorney. "In fact, the representative from the
    >probation department was there in the courtroom waiting to handle the
    >processing. That was before the case had been closed, before all the
    >evidence on whether they were guilty or not guilty had been received."
    >Under the terms of the probation, they cannot travel outside their home
    >federal court district (the five boroughs), cannot associate with convicted
    >felons (Abu-Jamal), have to surrender their passports, must turn in forms
    >every month listing all sources of income and how it was spent (for
    >themselves and everyone in their households), all organizations to which
    >they belong, and everyone they've been in contact with who has a criminal
    >record. They are also subject to surprise visits from their probation
    >officers. Goldin's dropped in a couple of weeks ago at 7:30 in the morning
    >"to make sure I don't have an opium factory on my premises."
    >Goldin, who turns 76 next week, is Abu-Jamal's literary agent, has his
    >power of attorney, and handles all his finances. (She also represents the
    >Voice's Wayne Barrett.) Kissinger, 59, is a full-time organizer who has
    >traveled the country to rally support for Abu-Jamal. Both visit him
    >repeatedly on death row.
    >Ron Kuby, the longtime civil rights lawyer who is representing Kissinger,
    >calls their punishment "unprecedented. These are the most restrictive
    >conditions I've ever seen in a case that didn't involve a felony. Clearly
    >the restrictions are designed to impede lawful, constitutionally protected
    >political activity."
    >Andrew Erba, a Philadelphia lawyer who has filed appeals on behalf of
    >several of the defendants, says that he has never before seen probation
    >attached to a civil-disobedience arrest. Indeed, the movement foot soldiers
    >who climbed the pavilion and blocked its doors simply entered their guilty
    >pleas by mail and paid a $250 fine.
    >"I think the federal government is sending out a message," says Erba. "Mix
    >civil disobedience, Mumia, the potential protest in July [at the Republican
    >convention], and I think you come out with the message 'Don't demonstrate
    >on federal property.' "
    >However, Richard Goldberg, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the
    >cases, says it isn't so. "What I argued to the judge in court was that
    >these people, when they came up for sentencing, denied their guilt even
    >though they had been convicted," says Goldberg. "They indicated that they
    >would do the same in the future, and because they did not indicate any
    >intent to stop illegal conduct, the decision was made to request probation,
    >and the judge imposed it. So the argument for probation was based on the
    >positions taken by these defendants. Not as a result of some alleged
    >Goldberg says the terms of the probation are not harsh, but "standard."
    >Last week, Kissinger was scheduled to turn in his required forms at the
    >U.S. probation office in Brooklyn, but he had decided to "draw the line."
    >Shortly after his sentencing, federal agents served two subpoenas on
    >Kissinger's wife, Judy, ordering her to turn over all her financial records
    >for the past 10 yearseverything from cashed checks to credit-card
    >statements. A grand jury is investigating a former employer of hers for
    >Medicaid fraud, but Judy Kissinger is a medical technician who worked in
    >the lab and doesn't even know what people were charged for tests. All of
    >her financial records are also his. Clark Kissinger thinks this could be
    >part of a whole new level of harassment aimed at Abu-Jamal's supporters
    >just as the movement is picking up steam.
    >So, in an informal rally on June 6, out on the street, Kissinger announced
    >that he had paid his fine and surrendered his passport, but he was not
    >going to turn in all the forms they wanted. Nor would he stop his
    >association with Abu-Jamal.
    >Twenty-five supporters, including Goldin, followed him into the elevators
    >and up to the fifth floor, waving Mumia placards and chanting, "Brick by
    >brick, wall by wall, we're going to free Mumia Abu-Jamal!"
    >It may have been the first protest staged in the federal probation office.
    >Workers behind the glass reception window looked alarmed, and one man
    >popped into the waiting room long enough to announce: "Folks, you are
    >currently trespassing here. If you do not leave, 911 will be called and you
    >will be arrested."
    >The group responded with another chant: "Mumia is fearless. So are we. We
    >won't stop until he's free."
    >Police began drifting in, and things looked tense for a few minutes. But
    >Kissinger went in to his appointment and nothing happened. Back outside, he
    >announced that the officials upstairs were greatly annoyed but had not
    >demanded his forms. They told him to come back July 11, and that "if I
    >bring people again, they will report me because I disobeyed the order of a
    >probation officer. So I want you to know that you're all invited to come
    >From: Pan-African News Wire
    >Sent: Monday, June 12, 2000 9:50 PM
    >Protest The Executioners' Ball!
    >July 30 -- August 4
    >The R&R! Executive Committee and the Mumia Working Group has endorsed the
    >following call for protests at the Republican National Convention in
    >Philadelphia, July 30 - August 4th.
    >As more organizations sign this call, up dates will be sent out to the
    >chapters. Please call the office so that we can discuss this further.
    >Proposal for Taking Mumia into the RNC
    >It is important that the movement for justice for Mumia seize the political
    >moment that is concentrated in the Republican National Convention. This
    >convention, to be held in Philadelphia July 31 to August 3, brings together
    >some very sharp contradictions and exciting opportunities.
    >First, the central purpose of the convention is the coronation of George W.
    >Bush. When you ask anyone "what is George W. really known for?" the only
    >thing that comes to mind is executions. Of the 632 executions since the
    >death penalty was resumed in the U.S., 214 (over a third) have taken place
    >in Texas, and Bush has executed more people than any living governor. Yet
    >the death penalty is not even up for debate in the coming elections, with
    >the Democrats from Al to Hillary equally committed to executions. Similarly,
    >none of the major protests currently slated for the RNC focus on the death
    >penalty, much less on Mumia.
    >Second, this convention is taking place in Philadelphia, in the very time
    >frame when Mumia's legal battle is coming to a head in the federal district
    >court. Gov. Ridge, who has signed two death warrants for Mumia is hosting
    >the convention. Pennsylvania has the fourth largest death row in the United
    >States (63% Black in a state that is 10% Black). Philadelphia is the home of
    >DA Lynn Abraham, whom the NY Times Magazine featured in a story as "the
    >Queen of Death." And the Philadelphia police have been repeatedly exposed
    >for systematically framing up people.
    >This is a concentration of issues and a golden opportunity that we cannot
    >let slip away. What we need to do is turn the whole thing around in the
    >public's perception -- flip the script on their coronation and brand it for
    >what it is: "The Executioners' Ball"!
    >To the greatest extent possible, we have to push to the front the issue of
    >the death penalty in general -- and Mumia's case in particular. These have
    >to be made major issues around the RNC, and this is certainly possible with
    >the burgeoning debate on the death penalty that is going on. This is also a
    >chance to get out the real "Philadelphia story" and the real story of Mumia
    >at a time when the whole world is watching. We want to swell the numbers of
    >people who think that Mumia's execution should not happen, we want to expand
    >the ranks of those who think this execution MUST NOT happen, and we want to
    >develop with both groupings the actions and activities that are commensurate
    >with their sentiments in this highlighted moment.
    >The heart of making this really have an impact will be the promotion of
    >three main political themes:
    >First, we want to tag the whole RNC as "The Executioners' Ball." This would
    >provide a unifying theme that really brings out the essence of what's going
    >on here, and in an appropriately disrespectful way.
    >Second, we want to bring out the real Philadelphia story through all kinds
    >of actions, media, and written material. Is Philadelphia the cradle of
    >liberty, or is it more like Mississippi in the 1950s?
    >Third, we want to juxtapose what Mumia stands for with what George W. stands
    >for. Who stands for what YOU stand for? Or as Alice Walker put it, "who do
    >you want to walk into the 21st century with?"
    >As it stands now, none of the activities planned for the RNC will do this.
    >We should, however, participate in a number of these protests. But simply
    >bringing Mumia into a lot of other actions as yet another issue is not going
    >to cut it. Thus we are proposing that, while we tag the RNC as the
    >Executioners' Ball from beginning to end, we call a special day of protest
    >during the convention that would focus on the death penalty and Mumia. While
    >a date has to be discussed by those taking it up, it is looking like Tuesday
    >August 1 has a lot going for it.
    >This would be a day of many different actions and activities, with both
    >joint activities and different things being done by different forces, but
    >with the common themes of opposition to the death penalty and stopping the
    >execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal. What would characterize the day (and the work
    >leading up to it would be 1) the three political themes outlined above, 2)
    >creative ways to involve lots of different people (not just things done by
    >hard-core organizers), and 3) some actions that will tap the daring of the
    >youth as well as people of all ages who think Mumia's execution must not
    >[posted 6/11/00/R&R]

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