quote:Charges, Conspiracy, COINTELPRO and Malachi York
A conversation with Malik Zulu Shabazz
Recently, Dr. Malachi Z. York, founder of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors and a federal prisoner, serving a 135 year sentence handed down in 2004 for child molestation and racketeering charges, was moved to the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado. The detention center is also known as "Supermax" or the "Alcatraz of the Rockies." - housing what are described as the "most dangerous prisoners in need of the tightest control."
York supporters maintain his innocence and that the allegations, trial and imprisonment were part of a governmental conspiracy in which an innocent man was framed. Malik Zulu Shabazz (MZS), head of the New Black Panther Party and an attorney and advocate for a number of political prisoners, had to postpone a visit to the Florence facility last week due to the "red tape and bureaucracy" he says he and even York's legal team encounter in attempts to see the detained religious leader. He spoke with Adeebafolami.com (AFC) about the importance of keeping York's case in the public eye as well as the plight of other political prisoners.
(AFC) - What was the reason for Dr. York's transfer?
(MZS) - In my opinion, it's continuing harassment and an effort to prevent his legal counsel from having adequate access to him as well as those who love him.
(AFC) - What is the status of the appeal that has been filed?
(MZS) - Robert Bryan from San Francisco, California, he is the attorney that got Mumia Abu Jamal an appeal - he is working on [York's] appeal to the Supreme Court.
(AFC) - Your response to those who have thrown Dr. York in the trash, saying he's guilty, he got what he deserved, etc. What is the importance of keeping this case in the forefront?
(MZS) - It's important because Malachi York has made great contributions to our people and he has been a dedicated teacher and organizer and helped turn around many lives in his lifetime. I don't believe our enemy has the moral authority to cast judgment, incarcerate and imprison [him]. If [he] is to be judged at all, it can only be by the Black Nation and not by our unrighteous enemy.
We must understand that this case involves conspiracy, the continuation of the Counter Intelligence Program [COINTELPRO] by outside forces manipulating divisions in the Nuwaubian Nation and many of those who testified against York, their credibility is highly questionable. Many were outright coerced and others were part of the system of vindictiveness because of organizational strife.... You can't just look at the surface and say [he] must be guilty until you understand all the circumstances surrounding the case. How the government, FBI and sheriffs in that [Georgia] county were absolutely out to get him, agents were in his organization, some turned on him in his organization. In the beginning, his legal defense was not handled adequately.
The White man is not after York because of some alleged acts of tax evasion and child molestation, they're after him because he has been a consistent organizer and teacher of our people and he has influence.
(AFC) - Once anyone is charged with sexual abuse, it is almost impossible to wipe clean because, even if a person is innocent there will always be a question of doubt to some. Is Dr. York maintaining his innocence on all charges that were brought against him?
(MZS) - Yes. The bottom line is, [he] deserves a new trial and if he gets one the whole world can see and gauge the allegations for themselves. His trial was infected by racism as well as ineffective legal defense, prosecutorial misconduct, coercion. Many of the witnesses who testified at first, have recanted, said they did it out of anger, they were angry at him for some reason.
(AFC) - They were coerced into reversing their position?
(MZS) - No, they voluntarily reversed their positions. They participated with the government at an initial level but much of it may have had to do with personal reasons other than what actually happened. Hell knows no fury like a woman scorned - know what I mean?
Also, York is seeking to be extradited or repatriated to Liberia. He obtained Liberian citizenship in 1999 and currently there is some talk/negotiation on repatriating him to Liberia. That's another aspect to think about it. It's being worked on.
(AFC) - Any other little known things that should be put out?
(MZS) - Must free all political prisoners. York is a political prisoner. Jamil Al Amin, Assata Shakur in exile, Mumia Abu Jamal, Russell Schultz, Sundiata Acoli.... Leonard Peltier. What's happening to Muslims all over the world has long been happening to us, we've always had Guantanamo Bays and been affected by an attack on our politics and being made political prisoners so this is a problem that should be of top concern to Black people, Black leadership and anybody who believes in human rights.
(AFC) - Was there a lot of momentum that came out of the Millions More Movement, since the plight of political prisoners was one of the items on the agenda?
(MZS) - I'm continuing to work that post, it's part of my work with York. I also work with Brother Eddie Conway, a Black Panther who got life in prison since 1970 for allegedly killing a police officer. He's a serious worker for and lover of our people, and I'm helping him and others right now. What we're trying to do is unify the political prisoner movement - unify it, nationalize, and internationalize it.
(AFC) - Do you maintain any contact with Assata Shakur in Cuba?
(MZS) - I should have some very good info on that very soon. That's all I can say. I'm scheduled to travel abroad with Minister Louis Farrakhan [this week].
(AFC) - Thank you.
- Adeeba Folami -