Mumia Abu-Jamal:
20 Years of Resistance From Death Row

Revolutionary Worker #1130, December 9, 2001, posted at

Twenty years ago, on December 9, 1981, Mumia Abu-Jamal was arrested and framed for the murder of a Philadelphia cop. In a trial that Amnesty International called a "travesty of justice," Mumia was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death.

The police and FBI began targeting Mumia from the time he was a 15-year-old revolutionary. He became known as the "voice of the voiceless" in the streets of Philadelphia for his fearless stand for justice and against racism and police brutality. For 20 years, as the system has tried to silence his voice, Mumia has continued his fight from death row against injustice and oppression. His firm stand has inspired many here and around the world. His voice is even more crucial for the people today, when the government is moving to silence political dissent and intensify all-around repression.

The government is moving to take the life of this revolutionary brother. And the people must respond with a broad and determined movement to stop the execution, overturn the conviction, and free Mumia.

The following are excerpts from some recent articles by Mumia.

When an airliner in the far-off South China Sea area develops engine trouble and plummets into the ocean depths, reporters always rush to inform us, "Flight 502 of a PanAm to Hong Kong went down over the South China Sea today: 15 Americans were onboard." In such a common report, it is implicitly assumed that those of other nationalities are of lesser importance. They don't really matter.

It is indeed possible to look at the events of 11 September in a somewhat similar light. For, if it is indeed found that the acts of that day may be traced to terrorists, working out of Middle Eastern organizations, what most will ignore is another kind of terrorism. It is waged against the poor and powerless of many nations. It kills, maims, tortures, and destroys many thousands of people every year.

It is the specter of State Terrorism... Consider the views of John Stockwell, a former CIA station chief (Angola), who considers the work that he was doing overseas, on behalf of the U.S. government, to be supporting terrorism. He looks at the time when a man named Bush headed the CIA:

CIA Director George Bush allegedly worked to convince the former OPMONGOOSE operators to reorganize outside the United States. In June 1976, they went to the Dominican Republic and founded CORU, a counter-revolutionary group. On October 26, 1976, they blew up an airplane that was taking off from Barbados, killing 73 passengers on board in a raw act of terrorism. Luis Posada Carrilles and Orlando Bosch were jailed in Venezuela for that bombing. There is evidence that members of this same CIA/Cuban exile community participated in the killing of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. We also know that the CIA's 1980 contra program later managed to get Luis Posada Carrilles out of prison in Venezuela. They put him to work for Felix Rodriguez, who was reporting directly to then Vice-President Bush's Office. As Felix Rodriguez told the press, "We needed him." He was referring to Carrilles, the terrorist airplane bomber. (See The Praetorian Guard: The U.S. Role in the New World Order. Boston: South End Press, 1991).

These are the words of a man who spent over a decade in the CIA, and even served briefly on a subcommittee of the National Security Council, during the Kissinger era. Even though his work had to be cleared by CIA censors to be published, his view of how the United States government has functioned, through its CIA, is telling:

To summarize, the CIA has overthrown functioning constitutional democracies in over 20 countries. It has manipulated elections in dozens of countries. It has created standing armies and directed them to fight. It has organized ethnic minorities and encouraged them to revolt in numerous volatile areas. (p. 73)

Looking at CIA activities abroad, in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, this former station chief offers a conservative estimate of how many people, all over the world, "...would not have died if U.S. tax dollars had not been spent by the CIA to inflame tensions, finance covert political and military activity, and destabilize societies," and comes up with a figure of: 6,000,000. Six million people, he says, "and this is a minimum figure."

From "The Forgotten Terrorists" (9/24/01)

Muhammad Zahir Shah, an octogenarian who was overthrown from the Afghani throne back in 1973, is now living in Rome and is being groomed to be reinstalled in Kabul by the U.S. government.

Gone from his homeland for almost 30 years now (28, to be precise) why does the U.S. want to seat him, when the Afghani people have expressed no significant interest in his return for almost three decades?

It is hard for one to resist the temptation that the U.S. wants to put in a puppet that it can manipulate, control and rule through.

What seems clear is that the U.S. is doing, this time through military means, what it has done before in the region through spycraft.

In the 1950s, the CIA brought about the removal of Iranian premier, Muhammad Mossadegh, to return the Shah to power, which in turn led the nation down the road that turned Iran into a repressive state, to keep oil under Western control.

From "The New Colonialism" (10/10/01)

After the [December 7, 1941] Pearl Harbor attack, the U.S. declared war by the next day--December 8th.

It also embarked on an internal war of sorts, against Americans of Japanese descent. Within days of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the media agitated against Japanese-Americans. The Los Angeles Times wrote:

"A viper is nonetheless a viper wherever the egg is hatched--so a Japanese American, born of Japanese parents--grows up to be a Japanese, not an American."

Racist editorials such as this paved the way for U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 9066, which removed tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans from the West Coast, placing over 120,000 Japanese men, women, and children in concentration camps, over 60% of whom were American citizens.

While there are far more Arab-Americans in the U.S. than there were Japanese-Americans in the U.S. in the 1940s, over 1,000 Arab-Americans are being held in secret, unlimited detention, with no meaningful access to lawyers. The U.S. Justice Dept. recently announced that it will monitor telephone conversations between detainees and lawyers...

Can what happened in the 1940s happen now?

No? Why not?

From "Been Here Before" (11/11/01)

For news on Mumia and background on his case, see Revolutionary Worker online at

For more information on the struggle to free Mumia, contact: International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, 215-476-8812,; Refuse & Resist!, 212-713-5657,

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