The Cop-Murdering Extremist Who Inspires Pro-Palestinian Campus Radicals

Who is on the side of the pro-Palestinian college protestors?

A convicted murderer named Mumia Abu-Jamal. The mainstream media were enthusiastic in endorsing his “powerful and rousing live address” to those who were recently disrupting campus affairs at the City University of New York. And the admiration was reciprocated: “The students erupted into chants of “brick by brick, wall by wall, free Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

Free Abu-Jamal? Yes. You see, he could not, alas, come to address the students on site, as he is in prison.

The media sources who celebrated his endorsement of the student radicals gave a story about why he is imprisoned, but it is little more than a partisan lie. An examination of the truth behind this mutual admiration society is illuminating.

Wesley Cook started calling himself “Mumia Abu-Jamal” as a teenager after he joined the criminal gang known as the Black Panther Party. Though he is often described by his fans as a “political prisoner,” this is not true in any reasonable sense. A  true political prisoner is incarcerated because a government has decided to repress his political expression. Abu-Jamal is a criminal murderer—the idea that he is a political prisoner has as much in common with the truth as do claims made by Holocaust deniers or former Soviet authorities about the nonexistence of the gulag system.

Here are the facts about Wesley Cook: In 1981, he shot and killed a Philadelphia police officer named Daniel Faulkner during a traffic stop. Cook’s brother, William Cook, physically attacked Faulkner during the stop and Wesley Cook, who was driving nearby, pulled over, ran up to the struggling pair, and shot Faulkner. Faulkner returned fire and wounded Wesley Cook before dying.

A police officer and a hospital security guard testified at Cook’s trial that he had announced “I shot the mother****** and I hope the mother****** dies” while being admitted to the hospital. The officer at the scene who arrested Cook testified that Cook had previously tried to shoot him with the same gun, but that officer was able to kick the gun away before Cook could fire. Three eyewitnesses testified that Cook was indeed the person who had shot Faulkner.

The ballistics evidence showed indisputably that the gun retrieved from Cook’s side at the scene, which had been kicked away from him by the arresting officer and which was registered to Cook, was the weapon that had fired the fatal bullet retrieved from Faulkner’s body.

None of this evidence has been disproven by Cook’s supporters. Typically they do not even bother to talk about the evidence in the case because it so overwhelmingly demonstrates Cook’s guilt. Instead, they persist in describing him as a political prisoner and depend on most of their audience to be completely ignorant of the details.

There has already been a thorough debunking of the various lies Cook’s advocates continually spread to audiences of gullible idealist students, like many of those involved in the pro-Palestinian activism, who cannot be bothered to inform themselves of the facts.

Nevertheless, Cook’s advocates attempt to turn him into some kind of serious political thinker—they have helped him publish a number of rants in the form of books over the years. In fact, he is no thinker and his writings consist of the most boilerplate simpleminded radicalism. He is nothing more than a convicted murderer who has found a good con that he can use from his cell on credulous radical journalists and academics.

The anti-Israel radicals on campus have Cook as an ally, then. Let’s extend the circle of mutual radical admiration a bit and see who else can be recognized in the relevant ideological spheres.

Before committing the murder that led to his prison sentence, Cook was a political ally and fellow traveler of the bizarre, murderous MOVE group in Philadelphia, which is infamous in local history there. The members of the MOVE cult believed modern industrialized society was intrinsically anti-black and the only effective response was to escape its bonds altogether and to return to a more primitive, hunter-gatherer form of social life. Members of the group lived communally in a house in which they left all their garbage in their yard as compost, tossed human waste out of the windows of the house, and took in a large number of stray dogs that became a roaming pack of dangerous animals. Their children were not sent to school and they were malnourished and abused in multiple ways. Adult individuals who spent time in the group as children have denounced it as a totalitarian cult.

MOVE deliberately engaged in anti-police provocation and courted violent confrontations with them. City inspectors came to investigate the chaos at their house and the state of their children, but they were turned away at gunpoint. Eventually, in 1977 the city moved to evict them for their many offenses, but MOVE responded by firing on officers, killing one and wounding others, and barricaded themselves into the house. The police teargassed them into submission and nine members of MOVE were convicted of the murder of the slain officer and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences.

A few years later, some remaining members of MOVE occupied a house in another Philadelphia neighborhood and engaged in the same kind of anarchist disruption that characterized their activity at their previous location. They violently threatened others in the neighborhood and kept neighbors awake all night by screaming into megaphones and broadcasting the crackpot political speeches of their leader through speakers outside the house. The disturbed pattern of unschooled and abused children, garbage strewn all over the property, and provocation of law enforcement continued.

Finally, in 1985 the city acted to remove them again, but again MOVE refused to stand down under the orders of the police and instead opened fire on authorities. The response by Philadelphia police was overwhelming and, in hindsight, massively ill-conceived, as it resulted in the burning down of the entire city block of houses in which the MOVE house was situated. MOVE members prevented their children from leaving the burning house in which they were barricaded, and six adult cultists (including its leader) and five children in the house died.

Later, distorted mythologies about this final interaction, completely separated from the provoking and criminal actions of MOVE and their long history of disruption of social order and violent refusal to obey law, began circulating in radical circles. By now, there are people with academic pedigrees who have been intellectually nourished solely on these myths and lies.

Second only to his conviction as a cop-killer, Cook’s connection to MOVE is the single most telling aspect of his history. He is of precisely the same caliber of person as are the members of that insane, homicidal, suicidal cult. This is the man cheering on the anti-Israel student radicals as they call for his release from prison.

Connecting the dots is an essential element of discerning just what we are looking at when we see the mess created this spring on so many campuses around the country.

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