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Thursday, May 17, 2007


Audio Post of the Day: Framed

Today, a hearing is being held in Philadelphia which will determine whether one of the most prominent frame-up victims* in the U.S., Mumia Abu-Jamal, will get a new trial. Demonstrations are being held in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

For today's musical interlude, I could have posted Bob Dylan's powerful song "Hurricane," which tells the tale of another prominent frame-up victim, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. Instead I've chosen a much lesser-known song by the late great Ritchie Valens - "Framed." Valens, the first prominent Chicano rock and roll star, is best known for "Donna" and "La Bamba," and for dying in a plane crash with Buddy Holly (and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson), but his eponymous album (cover at right) is filled with solid songs, all recorded in 1959 while he was just 17 years old, and most written by himself as well. "Framed" was one of the few he didn't write, but was contributed by the greatest rock and roll songwriting team ever - Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. Click here to listen.

The film about Valens' life, produced and directed by Luis Valdez, is well worth seeing.

Now I'm going to write something which will anger some of the supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal - not only was double-murderer O.J. Simpson not framed, his (and Johnnie Cochran's) successful use of the frame-up defense did a tremendous disservice to those, like Mumia, who really were framed up by the cops. Some people claim that Cochran made it acceptable for juries to realize that cops do frame up black suspects. Nonsense. All Cochran "proved," as if it needed proving, is that the rich and the famous experience different "justice" than the rest of the population. The cops (and "justice" system in general) absolutely do frame up defendants, most especially political activists like Mumia and "uppity" blacks like Hurricane Carter, along with drug dealers and such who they "know" are guilty but can't actually prove without "helping" the case along. But when Cochran succeeded in getting Simpson off with the same defense, in the case of a man who was obviously guilty (and later proven so in civil court), it only discredited the use of this defense in the case of people like Mumia who really were framed.

That's my take on it, anyway. In any case, enjoy this oldie but goodie.

*Update: I should clarify. I believe, based on what I have read, that Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent. I know, with certainty, based again on what I have read, that he was framed up. Being framed does not necessarily correlate with being innocent, although quite often the two go together.


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