Look at footage or photos from just about any protest gathering of left-wing radicals – from the anti-Iraq War rallies to the Occupy movement – and chances are you’ll see it: a T-shirt or a sign scrawled with “Free Mumia.”
Since his 1982 conviction for the murder o Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner made him a cause célèbre, Mumia Abu-Jamal has basked in the adulation of the left. Mumia’s politics – he was a radical ex-Black Panther “journalist” and rabid supporter of the cultish black liberation group MOVE – caused many liberals to believe he’d been set up.
Friday’s New York Times obituary by Bruce Weber of radical lawyer Leonard Weinglass, described in the Times headline as a “Courtroom Defender Of Radicals and Renegades,” glossed over the radicalism of Weinglass’s notorious clients. The text box gushed: “A man one colleague called ‘our era’s Clarence Darrow.’”
Leonard I. Weinglass, perhaps the nation’s pre-eminent progressive defense lawyer, who represented political renegades, government opponents and notorious criminal defendants in a half century of controversial cases, including the Chicago Seven, the Pentagon Papers and the Hearst kidnapping, died on Wednesday. He was 77 and lived in Manhattan.
Weber applied the usual Times gloss to Weinglass's radical clients, referring to Angela Davis, a prominent Communist Party member who twice ran on the party’s presidential ticket, only as an “activist and educator.” Davis also received the Lenin “Peace Prize” from East Germany in 1979, when that country was a Communist police state.
Over the past 40 years, he represented many other prominent clients, including Angela Davis, the activist and educator who was acquitted of murder, conspiracy and kidnapping charges in the 1970 killing of a California judge, and Amy Carter, the daughter of President Carter, who along with others, including Abbie Hoffman, was arrested during a 1986 protest against the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency at the University of Massachusetts. She was acquitted of trespassing and disorderly conduct charges.
The Tribune notes that the door or William Ayers is decorated with pictures of celebrated cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and murderous Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. These pictures alone contradict the narrative that William Ayers is somehow a repentant former radical:
Agence France-Presse, in a report on Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on Pennsylvania's death row for over twenty-five years for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, referred to the cop killer as a "human rights campaigner." Abu-Jamal, whose birth name is Wesley Cook, had his murder conviction upheld by a panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, but the court also decided that either he must receive a life sentence, or receive a new sentencing hearing.
AFP’s headline for their report read, "US court overturns rights campaigner’s death penalty," and its opening sentence referred to "the death sentence passed against human rights campaigner Mumia Abu-Jamal." In its closing sentence, AFP referenced how Abu-Jamal "became a leading campaigner against the death penalty" while on death row.
When the widow of the slain police officer killed by Mumia Abu-Jamal appeared on the Thursday "Today" show to promote her new book, NBC's Matt Lauer seemed to take up the cause of the convicted cop killer as he asked Maureen Faulkner mostly skeptical questions like: "Do you ever allow yourself to consider the fact that perhaps he didn't do this?"
Appearing on the December 6, "Today" show, Faulkner, along with her co-author, conservative radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, were subjected to questions about the legitimacy of Abu-Jamal's guilt by the "Today" show host. Lauer repeatedly aired claims from the Abu-Jamal defense team as he displayed new photos meant to prove Abu-Jamal's innocence, repeated charges that Smerconish was helping Faulkner for "personal gain" and even took time out to show pro-Mumia supporters in the "Today" show crowd: