Finding justice for both Maureen Faulkner and Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal, a Black American political activist and journalist, has been incarcerated since he was convicted in 1982 and sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of Daniel Faulkner, a Philadelphia police officer.

When a federal judge overturned the 1982 death sentence in 2001 due to sentencing improprieties, Maureen Faulkner (Daniel Faulkner’s widow) and the Fraternal Order of Police were bitterly disappointed.

But Mumia Abu-Jamal and his supporters were disappointed that the federal judge rejected Abu-Jamal’s challenge to his conviction and ordered that he should stay in prison and was not entitled to a new trial — despite evidence that his defense counsel was ineffective, that the prosecution engaged in racial discrimination during jury selection, that the trial judge made racist comments, and that prosecutors engaged in racist tactics.

More than 40 years after Daniel Faulkner was murdered, Maureen Faulkner and Mumia Abu-Jamal continue to hold starkly conflicting views about what justice means.

— source | Wendell Griffen | Nov 2, 2022

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A Life Fighting for Justice

After 41 years in prison, most of it on death row, this Friday, the journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal faces what could be his last chance for a new trial to consider newly discovered evidence that casts doubt on his 1982 conviction for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner. And this judge has weighed on this case.

Mumia Abu-Jamal’s lawyers say evidence in boxes discovered in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office by DA Larry Krasner in 2019 show his trial was tainted by judicial bias and police and prosecutorial misconduct, like withholding of evidence, bribing or coercing witnesses to lie, and more.

Yes, a prominent voice calling for a new trial and for the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal is Judge Wendell Griffen, a judge of the 6th Judicial Circuit of Arkansas, 5th Division. He spent more than 10 years as a judge on the Arkansas state Court of Appeals. He’ll retire this month after 24 years on the bench and a career that’s included speaking out against

— source | Dec 14, 2022

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The Gruesome Methods of Proving Guilt or Innocence in the Middle Ages

Curiously trial by jury was voluntary in medieval England. However, if you did refuse to stand trial, the authorities would crush you between two heavy stones until you either acquiesced or died. In despotic feudal kingdoms “voluntary” was often about as voluntary as Janice from work’s wedding invitation, whom ironically you also wish you could crush between two heavy stones. More serious crimes such as murder, assault and treason were dealt with in the king’s court. If you ended up here and were found guilty, you could be sure of severe punishment. Murderers were hanged or beheaded. Those convicted of treason were hung, drawn and quartered.

So you don’t lose sleep over it, I should explain that being ‘hanged’ stipulated until dead, whereas to be “hung” meant you would be let down before death. As in “I hanged my cat; now it’s dead” compared to “I hung my cat on the wall, then fed it dinner.” However, being hung was usually far worse than a quick hanging, because the executioner would have a delightful basket of torture lined up for you. Starting with the next step, being “drawn.”

Drawn, unfortunately for the accused, did not mean “like one of your French girls”; it was a ghastlier affair, to put it gently. Although it was at least as comparable to naked

— source | Arran Lomas | Aug 12, 2022

Excerpted from Stick a Flag in It: 1,000 Years of Bizarre History from Britain and Beyond

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Justice for Julian Assange is justice for all

Following the final High Court hearing to decide whether or not Julian Assange is to be extradited to the United States – for the ‘crime’ of revealing a landscape of government crimes and lies — John Pilger looks back on the decade Assange has been fighting for his freedom, and the implications for independent journalists and the very notion of justice.

When I first saw Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison, in 2019, shortly after he had been dragged from his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy, he said, “I think I am losing my mind.”

He was gaunt and emaciated, his eyes hollow and the thinness of his arms was emphasised by a yellow identifying cloth tied around his left arm, an evocative symbol of institutional control.

For all but the two hours of my visit, he was confined to a solitary cell in a wing known as “healthcare”, an Orwellian name. In the cell next to him a deeply disturbed man screamed through the night. Another occupant suffered from terminal cancer. Another was seriously disabled.

— source | john pilger | 1 Nov 2021

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Free Julian Assange Now

In 1791, in an attempt to stop the publication of the first part of Thomas Paine’s seminal work, The Rights of Man, the British government tried to buy up the copyright.

The publisher refused to sell.

The following year, after the second part of the work was published, the government tried a more direct tactic, charging Paine with seditious libel and treason.

Outraged, Paine listed the things his book had done—exposing fraud, ending war and promoting universal peace—stating “if these things be libellous … let the name of libeller be engraved on my tomb.”

More than 200 years on, governments around the world still endeavour to suppress damning information, violating the right to freedom of expression and targeting those responsible for exposing it.

Today, the US government is attempting to overturn an earlier ruling blocking Julian Assange’s extradition. The appeal of the extradition hearing, scheduled to last two days, is

— source | Stefan Simanowitz |

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Attack on this lawyer will not fruitful

So, Michael opposed war with every fiber of his being in every medium he had access to: the courtroom, the classroom, in the media. And he knew that legal challenges to protect humans from authoritarian abuses and violence and torture were necessary — that was his project in Guantánamo — and he also knew about the horrors of war, and could manage both at the same time. So, September 23rd, 2001, he gave a talk in which he said, “This is not a lawful basis for the U.S. to engage in war. This is a crime under international law,” citing the Nuremberg precedent, and argued that we should not pursue war but pursue war crimes and crimes against humanity against the perpetrators. And over and over again, he was opposed to war. And the irony of sort of lumping Michael with people who try to make war humane, among many other pieces of evidence, Michael’s project, throughout the 2000s and before, from his experience in challenging war waged by the Clinton administration in Kosovo, is to say, very specifically, the idea of humanitarian war is impossible, because it is just a mask for U.S. forms of hegemony.

So, Professor Moyn has somewhat walked back his critique, suggested that the title was chosen by the editor and not him, but I think the content of his article, as you excerpted, stands and is profoundly misguided. Michael understood that lawyering has a particular role in society. It’s not where the war is won, but it’s where the battle has to be fought, alongside all other sorts of means to leverage, the power of movements to challenge repression. That’s what Michael stood for, and in no way did he ever sanitize war.

— source | Oct 01, 2021

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Don’t Pursue War, Pursue War Crimes

Today we’re in the midst of a pitched battle, a pitched battle to put this country back, at least ostensibly, on the page of fundamental rights and moral decency. The battle is difficult, and the road is long and hard. On occasion, I get pessimistic. Sometimes I and my colleagues feel like Sisyphus. Twice — not just once, twice — we pushed the rock up the hill and won rights for Guantánamo detainees in the Supreme Court, and twice the rock was rolled back down by Congress over those rights. So we pushed it back up again. Five days ago, we were in the Supreme Court for the third time. It was difficult, more difficult than before, because the justices have changed. Four are antediluvians, lost forever to humanity.

But before I get us all depressed, we’ve had our victories. We’ve gotten lawyers to Guantánamo, stopped the most overt torture and freed half of the Guantánamo detainees — over 300. We have

— source | Oct 01, 2021

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A day in the death of British justice

The pursuit of Julian Assange for revealing secrets and lies of governments, especially the crimes of America, has entered its final stage as the British judiciary – upholders of ‘British justice’ – merge their deliberations with the undeterred power of Washington.

I sat in Court 4 in the Royal Courts of Justice in London with Stella Morris, Julian Assange’s partner. I have known Stella for as long as I have known Julian. She, too, is a voice of freedom, coming from a family that fought the fascism of Apartheid. Today, her name was uttered in court by a barrister and a judge, forgettable people were it not for the power of their endowed privilege.

The barrister, Clair Dobbin, is in the pay of the regime in Washington, first Trump’s then Biden’s. She is America’s hired gun, or “silk”, as she would prefer. Her target is Julian Assange, who has committed no crime and has performed a historic public service by exposing the criminal actions and secrets on which governments, especially those

— source | john pilger | 16 Aug 2021

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