Ramona Africa Interview on Loud & Clear Radio

Social Justice Activists Still Behind Bars After Decades

Ramona Africa, for the MOVE 9

Noelle Hanrahan, for Mumia Abu-Jamal

Eddie Conway, recently-freed political prisoner;

Cynthia Dunne, for Leonard Peltier

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Loud & Clear radio interview with Ramona Africa
*** Host Brian Becker, Loud & Clear Radio, Sputnik News, July 5, 2016

Janet, Janine & Debbie Africa Denied Parole: Take Action On Tues., June 7, 2016

Janet, Janine and Debbie Africa 2015 First Action From 9:00am to 12:00 Noon

Call, Fax, Email, or Tweet Pa Governor Tom Wolf at:

(P) (717) 787-2500
(F) (717) 772-8284
(Email) pa.gov (contact page)

Twitter  @GovernorTomWolf  OR  Click here to auto-tweet: @GovernorTomWolf Parole Janet and Janine Africa. Parole ALL of the MOVE 9. The F.O.P./police should not decide. Their families need them.

Reach out to Governor and inquire into why Janet (Holloway) Africa #006308, Janine (Phillips ) Africa #006309 and Debbie (Sims) Africa  #006307 were denied parole and why has he allowed these continued illegal denials to continue when he oversees and has responsibility over the same parole board in which he himself has called for reform over?

2-inside-red-circle From 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Call or tweet the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane

(P) (717) 787-3391

Twitter @PaAttorneyGeneral

Reach out to her office and inquire why from a period of 2008 thru 2016 have former police officers and former law enforcement officials been allowed to review a case that revolves around the murder of a police officer and how can an outside organization like the Fraternal Order of Police legally influence the parole review of Move Political Prisoners?

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

We are demanding a complete criminal investigation into the illegal parole denials of the Move 9 Janet (Holloway) Africa 006308; Janine (Phillips) Africa 006309;Debbie (Sims) Africa  #006307; William (Phillips) Africa am4984 (now deceased); Delbert (Orr) Africa am4985; Edward (Goodman) Africa am4974; and, Michael (Davis) Africa am4973.

Eddie Africa Denied Parole by Pennsylvania Parole Board Against Community Wishes

February 23, 2016

Ona Move

Eddie Africa

Eddie Africa

When The Move 9 became eligible for parole in 2008 The Pennsylvania Parole Board took on the responsibility of officials of this system in keeping innocent Move Members in prison for the rest of their lives. From 2008 up until as recent as this past week, all of The Move 9 have been denied parole . We received a call last night from our brother Eddie Africa who was calling to let us know he was denied yet again by The Pennsylvania Parole Board and was given a two year hit where he would not go before the board again until 2018.

The Parole Board has cited the issue of Eddie being a risk to the safety of the community. At Eddie’s parole hearing the Parole Board was presented with a petition of 300 signatures of members of the community who would welcome him on parole into the community and who in fact felt no threat to their safety with Eddie in the community. It’s obvious that this community that the Parole Board is talking about is none other than the law enforcement community across the country who have mobilized against parole for Move Members .

This clearly shows that the Parole Board has no regards to the community of Philadelphia and their input on anything as they only value the input of law enforcement officials who they are obviously working in conjunction with to keep our family in prison. Eddie sounded strong as always and he has not been deterred by this and neither are we. The fight continues to win parole for our family as we prepare for our sisters May 2016 parole hearings.

Ona Move,
The Justice And Accountability Campaign

In the meantime we urge people to Sign the Petition we aimed at U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch as we demand that the Justice Department investigate the wrongful and ongoing imprisonment of The Move 9.  Please sign on at:  https://www.causes.com/campaigns/92454-free-the-move-9.

Bombing Black People: The Philadelphia Police’s War on Move

Global Research News Hour Episode 129
By Michael Welch and Linn Washington
January 31, 2016

Click to hear audio:   audio-iconhttp://www.radio4all.net/files/scottprice666@hotmail.com/4319-1-GRNH_Jan_29_2016_episode_129_session_mixdown.mp3

“May 13, 1985 is a day that shall live in infamy, but for far more reasons than the obvious. It was the death knell of a system committing suicide. It proved that a man called John Africa spoke powerful truths when he spoke about the nature of the system as corrupt, as flawed, as poisoned. Every day past that date has only proved it even more. ” -Mumia Abu-Jamal, from a May 9 2010 radio essay

The only aerial bombing by police ever carried out on US soil was on May 13, 1985, when a Philadelphia police helicopter dropped military grade explosives on the house run by a group of self-styled revolutionaries known as Move. This group, which claims to adhere to principles of non-violence was founded by John Africa in 1972, and was composed mostly, but not exclusively, of African-Americans. They rejected the norms of 20th century American society in their dress, grooming, diet and lifestyles, and had come in conflict with authorities on several occasions.[1]

The 1985 bombing claimed the lives of five children and six adults including founder John Africa. Another adult named Ramona Africa, and a child named Birdie Africa were the only survivors of the assault. More than 250 people in the predominantly black middle class neighbourhood were left homeless after more than 60 other homes were destroyed as a result of the aerial bombing, and the fires that followed.[2]

This attack followed a previous assault on August 8, 1978. A police raid on the Move house, then located in the Philadelphia neighbourhood of Powelton village, resulted in the death of police officer James Ramp. The Courts held nine Move members responsible for the death and sentenced them to 30 to 100 years behind bars. [3]

Thirty-seven years later, two of the nine have died in prison under suspicious circumstances. Supporters of the Move 9, as they are called, are appealing to the Philadelphia Parole Board to set the remaining seven members free, now that they have all served their minimum sentences. [4][5]

In this installment of the Global Research News Hour we examine the attacks on Move in the context of a history of police and state repression of the black minority population of the US.

Ramona Africa showing burns from police bomb on her homeRamona Africa is the spokesperson for Move. She served seven years in prison on riot charges following the bombing by Philadelphia police. She and other plaintiffs eventually received a $1.5 million settlement from the city in connection with the incident. In this interview Ramona provides some background on the group and the police stand-offs in 1978 and 1985, and speaks at length about the unjust incarceration of nine Move members who she explains could not possibly have been responsible for the murder of police officer Ramp.

Linn WashingtonLinn Washington is a journalist and currently serves as an Associate Professor of Journalism at Temple University. He has covered Move almost from the group’s beginnings and was present on the scene as a reporter during the 1985 police action against the group. He will put the 1985 Bombing and the events that led up to it in their proper context and establish the failures, as he sees it, of the media to hold those in authority to account.

Mumia Abu-JamalMumia Abu-Jamal is a renowned journalist from Philadelphia who has been in prison since 1981 and is known as the “Voice of the Voiceless” for his award- winning reporting on police brutality and other social and racial epidemics that plague communities of color in Philadelphia and throughout the world.  Much of his journalism called attention to the blatant injustice and brutality he watched happen on a daily basis to MOVE, a revolutionary organization that works to protect all forms of life–human, animal, plant–and the Earth as a whole.

Incredibly, it’s been almost 30 years – 30 years! – since 9 MOVE men and women were unjustly consigned to prisons across Pennsylvania. Although known as the MOVE 9, there really are seven survivors of the August 8th, 1978 police assault on MOVE’s West Philadelphia home and headquarters. They are: Janine Africa, Mike Africa, Debbie Africa, Janet Africa, Eddie Africa, Chuck Africa and Delbert Africa. The late Merle Africa died at the women’s prison in Muncy, PA (near Williamsport, PA) under quite mysterious circumstances. Phil Africa passed away under suspicious circumstances at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, PA.

All 9 MOVE men and women were convicted in one of the longest (and most contentious) trials in city history, on dubious charges of 3rd degree murder of a city cop engaged in the raid on their home, and related charges. Even if all the charges were true (and they most certainly are not), the sentence 30 to 100 years can only be termed grossly excessive. At the time of trial, 3rd degree carried a sentence of 71/2 to 15 years –so essentially the MOVE people got more than double, and indeed, quadruple the maximum of what the statute provided. Indeed, the woman got the same sentences as the men, even though none of them faced weapons charges! There’s little real doubt that they’re in prison today because they’re MOVE members. Today, 30 years later, they should be entitled to their freedom–and they would be, but for the concerted campaign of cops and local media to keep them imprisoned for a century.

MOVE members continue to fight for their imprisoned brothers and sisters, and they ask that you join that struggle by supporting their parole demands. On the web, contact: onamovellja@aol.com for more information or see http://onamove.com. Or write the MOVE Organization, P.O. Box 19709, Philadelphia, PA, 19143. As many of you know, I covered the press conference of August 8th, 1978.

Every reporter present knows that within hours of that press conference, the police department issued a written press release giving a completely revised statement of how the cop met his death. That makes sense when you consider that the cop was most likely the victim of friendly fire, for the MOVE house had become a shooting gallery, with police expending literally hundreds of rounds during the raid. Moreover, when’s the last time you’ve seen a crime scene destroyed before nightfall, within hours of the shooting? It happened here. I also covered the trial, a parade of legalized injustice if ever there was one. Indeed, days after the trial, Judge Edwin S. Malmed took to the airwaves to defend his unjust rulings. On a radio talk show on WWDB-FM, I phoned him and asked him if he knew who killed the cop. He replied, live on air, “I haven’t the faintest idea.” Yet, this guy sent 9 people to prison for 30-to-100 years!
– by Mumia Abu-Jamal from a May 9 2010 radio essay

For more resources on Move, and how to help the Move 9, please visit the following sites:

http://onamove.com

http://move9parole.blogspot.ca

Support Parole for Eddie Africa

In November 2015 our Brother Eddie Africa is set to make another appearance before the Pennsylvania State Parole Board. Your letters of support is urgently needed. All of the information is below as follows:

We are asking for your support at this critical stage to secure the freedom Eddie deserves.  Feel free to use parts of the sample letter below. Please write in your own words and with your own experiences of/with Eddie.

NOTE: Please send all letters of support to Orie Ross, P.O. Box 575, Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108-0575 so they can be reviewed and sent to the Parole Board. 

Sample Letter:

Board of Probation and Parole
Attn: Inmate Inquiry
1001 South Front Street, Suite 5300
Harrisburg, PA 17104

September 3, 2015

Regarding October 2015 Parole Hearing for: Edward Goodman #AM-4974

Dear Honorable Members of the Parole Board:

As a concerned citizen interested in helping Mr. Goodman successfully transition into life outside prison, I am writing to ask that you please grant him parole.  He has served now  37 years of a 30-100 year sentence, even though the average sentence for his charges is 10-15 years.  He is still in prison years after his minimum sentence despite having no major disciplinary problems in the last three decades.  The notice provided to Mr. Goodman for his last parole denial lists the reasons for the denial as: “Your minimization/denial of the nature and circumstances of the offense(s) committed,” “Your refusal to accept responsibility for the offense(s) committed” and “The negative recommendation made by the prosecuting attorney.”

I understand the severe nature of the crime of which Mr. Goodman was convicted, however, I am concerned that Mr. Goodman maintaining his innocence is seen as an attempt to minimize or deny the nature and circumstances of the offense(s) or refuse to take responsibility, even while there is evidence that corroborates that the shot was fired from a location where it is well known he was nowhere near.  This phenomenon is referred to as “the innocent prisoner’s dilemma” implying that it is unfair and unethical to require someone who may have been wrongly convicted to provide false admission of guilt or remorse.  Please take this dilemma into consideration.

I also understand that Mr. Goodman has not been recommended for parole by the institution where he is held despite having a clear disciplinary record for many years.  In fact, the only time he received a disciplinary infraction in the last fifteen years was for not cutting his hair.  He has completed all of the institutional programs he was asked to complete and has volunteered for others. Please take into consideration his good conduct as well as him having housing and employment secured upon his release. These factors, along with strong family and community support, make it very unlikely that Mr. Goodman will recidivate and I firmly believe that he is an excellent candidate for parole.  I will personally help him acclimate in any way I can upon his release.

Mr. Goodman has now spent most of his life in prison, and the recidivism rate for people released at his age is very low. Please grant parole and allow him to be a part of, and contribute to, society as free citizen, a loving father and grandfather.

Sincerely,

[Name and signature]

Protest Delbert Africa’s Denial of Parole

In June 2015 Our Brother Delbert Africa appeared before The Pennsylvania Parole Board. This was Delbert’s first appearance since being denied in June of 2013. Delbert like other MOVE members were denied Parole by the board based upon the reason:

Delbert Africa is a threat to the community of Philadelphia.

The Parole Board never consulted the community of Philadelphia to find out if we feel Delbert Africa, or any of the MOVE 9, are a danger to us. We resent the Parole Board speaking for us. We emphatically state that the MOVE 9 would be a tremendous asset to the community and specifically Delbert Africa. Delbert has obtained an education and values volunteering his skills to uplift others and is the model of a family-oriented, stable, loving man. This system and it’s officials know our family is innocent.

The Superintendent of SCI Dallas where Delbert is imprisoned AND Delbert’s Counselor recommended Delbert For Parole so the Parole Board is not only lying about the community, but clearly out of touch with their colleagues who know Delbert much better than they do. Many people in the community who The Parole Board are saying are “at risk” all wrote letters of support for Delbert’s Parole.

We know that the police who murder members of our community daily are the real threat to our community, not MOVE. MOVE members were never charge, much less convicted, with being a threat to anybody, so it should not be an issue 37 years later. We resent Parole Board officials presuming to speak for us, especially without ever consulting us, and we demand immediate parole for all of the MOVE 9. We speak for our self and say: “Stop lying on us and parole the MOVE 9 immediately.”

Download this petition and get it filled out by other community members. Mail to us and we will bring them to the Parole Board (or come with us).

Also, please sign this online petition that we have aimed at The United States Justice Department to demand they investigate the unjust imprisonment of The Move 9 as a whole.

MOVE Children Led Thousand on Spirited March Through Philadelphia

Shortly after noon on Weds. May 13, 2015, a crowd of about over 500 activists where gathered at 62nd Street and Osage Avenue to remember the date 30 years ago when the Philadelphia police and FBI dropped a bomb on the main MOVE home, killing 11 and destroying blocks of home. MOVE children (children and grandchildren of imprisoned MOVE members) led a march of activists that steadily grew to @ 1,000 as it walked through Philadelphia.

Watch video of march: http://www.ustream.tv/search?q=mumia-abu-jamal — and check out the love from neighbors and passersby.  Also see the live feed for the concert and cultural performances from 4 – 9pm. Or stop by and see it live at First District Place at 3801 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA. There is a great line up planned including Cornel West, Rebel Diaz, original neighbors from Osage Ave. telling what really happenned, Impact Theater, call-ins from Mumia Abu-Jamal, Delbert and Janine Africa among others.

SEE ONAMOVE.ORG FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT MAY 13, 2015.

Thirty Years After MOVE Bombing: What Has Law Enforcement Learned?

Linn Washington Jr.
May 13, 2015 , The Root

Today many Philadelphia residents, particularly those under 30 years old, are unaware of that history-staining 1985 police attack on members of MOVE, an anti-establishment group founded in 1972. Authorities deemed MOVE a radical organization. The 11 people incinerated were MOVE members, including the organization’s founder, John Africa.

On May 13, 1985, a fire started after Philadelphia police dropped an explosive on a building where members of the MOVE organization where hiding.

On May 13, 1985, a fire started after Philadelphia police dropped an explosive on a building where members of the MOVE organization where hiding. (movie still, Let The Fire Burn)

On May 13, 1985, police in Philadelphia—Pennsylvania’s largest city—dropped a powerful bomb containing military C4 explosives on a house occupied by six children and seven adults.

That aerial assault 30 years ago is one of the worst incidents of police brutality in modern America.

The bomb, dropped from a state police helicopter, sparked a fire.

Philadelphia’s then-Police Commissioner Gregore Sambor, along with then-Fire Commissioner William Richmond, barred firefighters from battling that blaze, pursuing a bizarre strategy to use the fire as a tactical weapon to drive the occupants from their barricaded house. Police had sought to arrest four adults inside the building on seven charges ranging from disorderly conduct to possession of explosives.

That decision to “let the fire burn” allowed the blaze to roar into a firestorm.

The inferno incinerated 11 inside the bombed building, including five children ages 7 to 13. That inferno also destroyed 60 other homes in the West Philadelphia neighborhood, leaving 250 people homeless. All of those killed in that inferno ignited by police were black, as were those left homeless by the inferno’s destruction.

Today many Philadelphia residents, particularly those under 30 years old, are unaware of that history-staining 1985 police attack on members of MOVE, an anti-establishment group founded in 1972. Authorities deemed MOVE a radical organization. The 11 people incinerated were MOVE members, including the organization’s founder, John Africa.

An Overlooked Atrocity

Incredibly, an aerial bombing in an American city by police rarely makes the lists of worst police-abuse incidents, despite its gruesome death toll and extensive destruction.

Many “worst lists” include the 1991 shooting of Amadou Diallo, who died during a 41-bullet fusillade from New York City police officers. Yet during the assault on May 13 that began at 5:50 a.m., Philadelphia police fired thousands of bullets into the MOVE house using a range of firearms, including machine guns. The confrontation went on until police dropped the bomb at 5:27 p.m.

The infamous 1985 bombing is far from an isolated incident in a dim past. The failure to hold Philadelphia authorities accountable for that deadly, destructive episode contributed to the impunity that drives the persistence of police brutality—brutality that has triggered massive protests across America since last year, after prosecutors in St. Louis and New York City manipulated grand juries away from indictments against the police officers responsible for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

In America, prosecutors control the grand jury process without input from judges and other lawyers. Legal experts repeatedly criticize the failure of local prosecutors to charge police even when evidence documents indictable offenses. A 1991 article in the American Bar Association Journal criticized the “unwritten code” that prosecutors will not bring charges against police.

After that fatal 1985 raid, Philadelphia prosecutors manipulated a grand jury away from indictments against police. Prosecutors even refused to file perjury charges against police officers caught lying to the grand jury. Not a single Philadelphia police officer or city official faced prosecution for the death and destruction on May 13, 1985.

Philadelphia prosecutors saw no police wrongdoing in the deaths of those children. Their stance contradicted findings of a special investigating commission appointed by Philadelphia’s then-Mayor Wilson Goode (the first African American to hold the position) that described the deaths of the five MOVE children as “unjustified homicides.”

The city’s prosecutors claimed that bombing children was not illegal because the force from the police bomb “was applied only against” the adults, according to a May 1988 Philadelphia grand jury report. That convoluted reasoning rested on the pretense that the blast from the bomb affected only the adults inside the bombed building and not the children.

Although prosecutors refused to charge police and city officials, they did vigorously charge the lone surviving adult MOVE member, Ramona Africa. She served her entire seven-year sentence for conspiracy and riot because she refused state parole-board demands to renounce her MOVE membership as a condition for early release.

Ramona Africa, along with a MOVE child, escaped the fire. Both sustained serious burns.

The special commission concluded that police gunfire drove other fleeing MOVE members back into the inferno. However, prosecutors—again employing convoluted reasoning—claimed that some MOVE members returned to the blazing building either because they wrongly believed that the police were shooting or because they intended to commit suicide.

An Incendiary History of Conflict

In many ugly ways, the series of conflicts between MOVE and Philadelphia authorities constitute a case study in the failures of police, prosecutors and judges.

Those conflicts with the MOVE organization began in 1972 when Philadelphia experienced epidemic-level police abuses under then-Mayor Frank Rizzo, an ex-cop. Police under Rizzo targeted the often-disruptive MOVE for harsh enforcement of minor infractions. Yet prosecutors and judges ignored that brutal enforcement.

An Aug. 8, 1978, clash between Philadelphia police and MOVE in which a police officer died led to 30- to 100-year sentences for nine MOVE members. Those nine included four MOVE women who police testified were unarmed, holding only small children during that clash.

The judge who convicted the MOVE 9 admitted that he could not determine from trial evidence which male MOVE member had killed the police officer, but the judge declared that all nine deserved the same sentence, whether they were armed or unarmed.

MOVE’s campaign to win release of the nine imprisoned members set the stage for May 13, 1985. MOVE’s campaign strangely included intimidating and harassing its neighbors on the 6200 block of Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia. The May 13 police raid on MOVE’s fortified 6221 Osage Ave. house was a belated effort to stop MOVE harassment of its neighbors, who had complained about the group for more than a year.

Afterward, Philadelphia prosecutors used a legally flawed premise to clear all police and civilian officials for their May 13 actions: No one possessed a clear intent to harm MOVE members. Although a legal prerequisite for crimes like arson or murder is intent, crimes like reckless endangerment and risking a catastrophe are based on results, not intent.

Prosecutors proclaimed that dropping a bomb on children was not reckless, and allowing the fire to burn did not cause a catastrophe. Like the Philadelphia prosecutors who had failed to see obvious crimes, federal prosecutors found no civil rights violations in the fiery deaths of those five children.

When Ramona Africa sued city officials for the bombing and firestorm nearly 10 years after May 13, 1985, a federal judge ruled the bombing legal but allowed a jury to determine the legality of the fatal fire. When the federal jury ruled against Sambor and Richmond and imposed modest $600 fines for allowing the fire to burn, the federal judge voided the jury’s action by ruling that the two officials had “official immunity” from any liability. But the judge did not eliminate the jury’s verdict that ordered the city of Philadelphia to pay Ramona Africa and relatives of two of the MOVE members who perished in that inferno a total of $1.5 million.

Today the 6200 block of Osage Avenue has a macabre feel. More than half of the rebuilt homes are abandoned.

The black residents of Osage Avenue in 1985, whose life possessions were destroyed in the inferno, received insult and inactions from city officials and federal judges.

The persistence of police brutality proves that authorities across America did not learn an important lesson from that deadly May 1985 incident: Lawless law enforcement harms society.

Linn Washington Jr. is a Philadelphia-based journalist who covered the May 13, 1985, clash. He has reported on police brutality since 1975. Washington is a journalism professor at Temple University.

Thurs. April 30th Update- By Mumia’s Lawyer, Bret Grote

I had a legal phone call with Mumia today. On that call I informed him of the medical opinion of the doctor that Mumia has chosen to assist in his diagnosis and treatment. He authorized me to share the following:
The doctor we are working with is recommending that Mumia be seen by an oncologist and given an occult malignancy workup, including a skin biopsy, in order to detect the potential presence of a hidden cancer. This workup should search for a Lymphoma, including the Exfoliative/Eczematous form of Cutaneous T Cell Lymphoma. This is especially so given that medical records obtained this week indicate that a CT scan from April 15, 2015 showed abnormal lymph nodes in the groin and around the aorta. It is imperative that Mumia obtain a diagnosis of the underlying condition, whatever it may be, that has been responsible for the severe skin rash that has lasted several months so that a treatment plan can be developed and implemented immediately.
Mumia told me today that prison medical staff came to see him around 2:00pm yesterday to check his lymph nodes and tell him they may do a biopsy. This occurred approximately two hours after I sent the DOC the recommendations of Mumia’s doctor that he be seen by an oncologist, given an occult malignancy workup, including a biopsy, and searching for the presence of a Lymphoma.
I will be visiting Mumia tomorrow.
Mumia is still in the infirmary. He is no longer being given cyclosporine. His lower extremities are still swollen but not as severely as they were a few days ago he reports. His skin condition is the same as it has been, with a rash over much of his body, extremely itchy, dry, and flaking. His blood sugar levels have been stable, he is no longer on insulin but is taking glucophage twice per day.
Mumia sends his love to everybody.
In solidarity,
Bret

 

“Mumia Is Dying In Prison/He Needs Us Now” Video — Watch!!

Steve Vittoria’s new video “Mumia Is Dying In Prison/He Needs Us Now” with journalist Sonali Kolhatkar. Circulate far and wide in social media et al.  Watch it now!