Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Taylor Prosecutor: War Crimes Court in Liberia ‘Not A Decision For U.S.’ to Make

Taylor Prosecutor: War Crimes Court in Liberia 'Not A Decision For U.S.' to Make

Look to Sierra Leone: "This is not a decision for the United States; not a decision for Steven Rapp who used to be a prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone; It's a decision for the people of Liberia. What happened in Sierra Leone let's not forget is that after the end of the war, their President wrote with strong public support for a special court to be established to be a partnership with Sierra Leone and the United Nations. - Steven Rapp, Head of the Office of Global Criminal Justice in the U.S. Department of State
Monrovia[/B] – The head of the Office of Global Criminal Justice in the U.S. Department of State, Ambassador Steven Rapp says the decision over whether or not a war crimes court should be established  in Liberia is not a decision for the United States of America to make but one the Liberian government  will have to initiate in order for such court to become a reality.

Addressing heads of select media institutions in Monrovia Tuesday, Ambassador Rapp drew contrast between Liberia and Sierra Leone, who said initiated the discussions for a War Crimes court with the United Nations and the international community.

Said Rapp: "This is not a decision for the United States; not a decision for Steven Rapp who used to be a prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone; It's a decision for the people of Liberia."

"What happened in Sierra Leone let's not forget is that after the end of the war, their President wrote with strong public support for a special court to be established to be a partnership with Sierra Leone and the United Nations."

"And the initiative came from the Sierra Leone side and if there is an initiative from the Liberian side the rest of the world would respond to that and people in Liberia process the consultations on this issue."

The War Crimes Court in Sierra Leone originated from a June 12, 2000 letter written by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to then United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan asking the international community to try those responsible for crimes during the conflict.

The UN in turn adopted on August 10 2000,  a resolution requesting the Secretary-General to start negotiations with the Sierra Leonean government to create a Special Court. On 16 January 2002, the UN and the government of Sierra Leone signed an agreement establishing the court.

Ambassador Rapp said the question of what's going to happen in the future is in the hands of the Liberian people and the democratic system but the U.S. as a partner of Liberia and strong supporter of its people, will support realistic approaches to achieving accountability and reconciliation in the post-war nation but it is not for the U.S. to decide what those approaches should be.

The U.S. envoy declined to delve into the resignation Monday of Nobel Laureat Leymah Gbowee, who stepped down from the Reconciliation Commission citing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's failure to curb corruption.

Said Ambassador Rapp: "I'm not familiar with this particular commission. This is not something I am going to comment on. This is a sovereign nation. There are people appointed to positions, there are people who resign them and do it for a variety of reasons and what we want is that good people  be appointed and serve and work for reconciliation. There are many people that are in interested in that and we're hoping that the commission can move forward with people that are prepared to work with it."

The Ambassador recommended for Liberia a process that establishes the truth and recognizes the suffering of the victims which there are hundreds of thousands – dead and alive, experienced during the civil war and one that is focused on allowing people to live together in peace in the future and sends a message that these kinds of crimes, the murder and mutilation of children, the sexual violence and use of child soldiers and all of these acts, people understand is wrong and this is not the way in which you can gain or keep power and in future those kinds of things will not happen again.

Ambassador Rapp said the question of what's going to happen in the future is in the hands of the Liberian people and the democratic system but the U.S. as a partner of Liberia and strong supporter of its people, will support realistic approaches to achieving accountability and reconciliation in the post-war nation but it is not for the U.S. to decide what those approaches should be.
[/B]The U.S. envoy cautioned that in most parts of the world the establishment of such systems is not done over night.

"These things don't happen overnight. There are countries in South America where they are happening more than 30 years after the events occurred."

"And those process are the ones in which the people in those countries took it upon themselves and seek out advice and participation from people in other countries, not necessarily South America but other countries have gone through the same kinds of things."

"As far as the specific measures I think Liberians should look at what's worked elsewhere and what would work for them and it is not for me to come up and say it has to be this model or that model."

Pressed on what time period of the war such a court should stipulate, Ambassador Rapp said Liberians should have to decide.

"These are decisions that you will have to make. In Sierra Leone, the international community made it November 30, 1996 which actually knocked out some of the crimes that happened during the war."

"As prosecutor I like to have it broader so I can have the whole picture in there. On the other hand, you have to have multiple processes. Bad things have happened in all of our countries and if you did established some kind of specialized courts there has to be a timeframe. I know in the case of the TRC, the timeframe began in '79 when the violence began and 1980 when Doe came to power. That was the sort of time period but these are the decisions for the people in this country."

Ambassador Rapp prevailed on Civil Society organizations to work with Liberians to find the best approach on the War Crimes issue. "I've met with civil society organizations and my advice to them is to consult with their fellow Liberians to use the democratic process to press those ideas forward and the ones that make sense, and have those ideas factor in decisions in terms of the way forward."

"This country has already had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and another step could be taken but we do support a process of the establishment of the truth and that would contribute to future peace and reconciliation."

Ambassador Rapp was appointed by President Obama, confirmed by the Senate, and assumed his duties on September 8, 2009. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Rapp served as Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone beginning in January 2007, responsible for leading the prosecutions of former Liberian President Charles Taylor and other persons alleged to bear the greatest responsibility for the atrocities committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone.

During his tenure in Sierra Leone, his office won the first convictions in history for recruitment and use of child soldiers and for sexual slavery and forced marriage as crimes under international humanitarian law.

From 2001 to 2007, Mr. Rapp served as Senior Trial Attorney and Chief of Prosecutions at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, personally heading the trial team that achieved convictions of the principals of RTLM radio and Kangura newspaper—the first in history for leaders of the mass media for the crime of direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

Mr. Rapp was United States Attorney in the Northern District of Iowa from 1993 to 2001, where his office won historic convictions under the firearms provision of the Violence Against Women Act and the serious violent offender provision of the 1994 Crime Act. Prior to his tenure as U.S. Attorney, he worked as an attorney in private practice and served as Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency and as an elected member of the Iowa Legislature.

He received his BA degree from Harvard College in 1971. He attended Columbia and Drake Law Schools and received his JD degree from Drake in 1974.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee disowns fellow winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee disowns fellow winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Leymah Gbowee, the social worker who won last year's Nobel Peace Prize with Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has publicly disowned her co-laureate for failing to fight graft and nepotism in her country.

Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee disowns fellow winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Nobel laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, left, and fellow winner Leymah Gbowee Photo: AFP/GETTY
3:33PM BST 08 Oct 2012
Speaking on a visit to Paris for the launch of the French edition of her book 'Mighty Be Our Powers', Ms Gboweee said: "People are very disappointed. We have a deficit when it comes to having a moral voice in the country."
Ms Gbowee, who said she felt guilty for not speaking out earlier, also revealed that she was stepping down as the head of Liberia'sreconciliation commission in frustration at its lack of progress.
"We worked hard for peace," she said, adding that Ms Sirleaf herself was critical of the regime of William Richard Tolbert, who was Liberia's president from 1971 to 1980.
Mr Tolbert like Ms Sirleaf belonged to Liberia's elite Congo Liberian social class whose members descended from freed American slaves dominated the country's political landscape. They are accused of ignoring the masses.
Mr Tolbert had placed cronies and family members in top jobs before being toppled in a violent coup.
"What has changed?" said Ms Gbowee. "Her sons are on the board of oil companies and one is the deputy governor of the central bank. The gap between the rich and poor is growing. You are either rich or dirt poor, there's no middle class."
The feisty Ms Gbowee, who says her mission in life is to fight injustice and bring peace, said she was resigning as head of the National Peace and Reconciliation Initiative as "not enough is being done for national healing."
She added: "I feel I have been a disappointment to myself and Liberia. Not speaking is as bad as being part of the system. Some may say I am a coward but the opportunity to speak out has come here.
"I will also speak about it when I get home."
Ms Gbowee, Ms Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman, a Yemeni journalist and a leading figure in anti-government protests, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work".
Liberia reeled under two back-to-back civil conflicts that lasted 14 years. Marked by extreme brutality they claimed the lives of 250,000 people.
When first elected, Ms Sirleaf declared war on corruption, but failed to make serious inroads despite dismissing several ministers.
She won a second term in 2011 elections and tackling graft is still one of the most pressing issues in the country a decade after the end of war.
Ms Gbowee added Monday: "In her first term she developed infrastructure. But what good is infrastructure if people don't have enough to eat?"
"Development in a land of hungry, angry people is nothing. When they get angry, they will burn it down because it is not connected to a large section of the population."
In June the International Crisis Group released a report warning that corruption, along with nepotism, impunity and unemployment, could "jeopardise Liberia's democracy."
Ms Gbowee, who staged peace protests to bring a halt to Liberia's war with a quirky mix of prayer and a sex strike – urging women to shun sex with their partners – said she was "under a lot of pressure to say more and do more" to correct the state of affairs in Liberia.
"Every day I get telephone calls. They say 'do something, do something.'"

Only Liberians themselves know best the pains they suffered.

Liberians had full knowledge of the people who sought to lead their country. The Backgrounds and past activities of those who ran for public offices have been no secret.

The most nonsensical part of the story is, while allegations of War Crimes remain unaddressed, and those suspected of committing them were vying for public positions, Liberians at home and abroad rallied around these very individuals; legitimizing an electoral process for which this nation was clearly ill prepared.

Bernard Gbayee Goah
President, Operation We Care for Liberia

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mali: Algerian 'State Terrorism' and Atrocities in Northern Mali

Tagged: AlgeriaConflictMaliNorth AfricaSustainable DevelopmentWest Africa
What began ostensibly in January 2012 as just another rebellion by the Sahara desert's Tuareg tribesmen has evolved into what media commentators are calling 'Africa's Afghanistan'.
The Tuareg are Berbers, not Arabs, and are the indigenous population of much of the Central Sahara and Sahel. Their population is estimated at 2-3 millions. Their largest numbers, some 800,000, live in Mali, followed by Niger, with smaller concentrations in Algeria, Burkina Faso and Libya. In addition, a diaspora extends to Europe, North America, other parts of North and West Africa, the Sahel and beyond.
Since Independence in 1960, the Tuareg of Mali and Niger have rebelled against their central governments on several occasions. In 1962-4, a rebellion by Mali's Tuareg was crushed ruthlessly. Major rebellions in both countries in the 1990s were forcibly repressed, with government forces specifically targeting civilians. Since then, Niger experienced a small rebellion in 2004 and a much greater one from 2007 to 2009. In Mali, a brief rebellion in May 2006 was followed by a two-year uprising from 2007 until 2009 when it dissipated into an inconclusive and transient peace. While the Niger and Mali governments have both been guilty of provoking Tuareg into taking up arms, all Tuareg rebellions have been driven by a sense of political marginalisation.
However, the rebellion that began in Mali in January 2012 was different. The Tuareg had more and better equipped fighters than in previous rebellions. This was because many had returned from Libya after Gaddafi's overthrow, bringing with them extensive supplies of modern and even heavy armaments. For the first time in the long history of Tuareg rebellions, there was a real likelihood that the Tuareg might drive Malian government forces out of northern Mali, or Azawad, as it is known to Tuareg.
In October 2011, the Malian Tuareg who had returned from Libya joined up with fighters belonging to Ibrahim ag Bahanga's rebel Mouvement Touareg du Nord Mali (MTNM) to form the Mouvement National de Libération de l'Azawad (MNLA). Even though Bahanga had died under mysterious circumstances in August, his men were still intent on continuing their fight against the central government. They were also joined by several hundred Tuareg who had deserted from the Malian army.
The first shots in the new rebellion were fired on January 17 when the MNLA attacked the town of Ménaka. The following week, the MNLA attacked both Tessalit and Aguelhok. Tessalit was besieged for several weeks before falling to the MNLA in March. At Aguelhok, some 82 Malian troops, who had run out of ammunition, were massacred in cold blood on January 24. This 'war crime' has been referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Such a humiliating demise of Mali's poorly equipped forces led to an army mutiny on March 22 and a junta of low-ranking officers taking power in Bamako. Within a week, the three provincial capitals of Azawad - Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu - all fell to the rebels without resistance, leaving the whole of Azawad in rebel hands. On April 5 the MNLA declared Azawad an independent state.
The declaration of Azawad's independence received no international support, nor was it ever likely to do so. One reason for this was because of the alliance between the MNLA and the Islamist group called Ansar al-Din, a jihadist movement led by a local Tuareg notable, Iyad ag Ghaly. Ansar al-Din was in alliance with another jihadist group, Jamat Tawhid Wal Jihad Fi Garbi Afriqqiya (Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa - MUJAO), with both being supported by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
At the start of the rebellion in January, the MNLA claimed to number several thousand, while Ansar al-Din numbered scarcely a hundred. However, by April, and for reasons that have remained a mystery to the media, it was the Islamists rather than the MNLA who were calling the shots in Azawad. Indeed, on June 25, fighting between the Islamists and MNLA led to the latter being displaced from Gao, leaving Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu being ruled respectively by Ansar al-Din, MUJAO and AQIM.
With the MNLA marginalized, the Islamists quickly began imposing shari'a law in Azawad. In Gao, a young man died after having his hand amputated for alleged theft; in Aguelhok, a couple were stoned to death for alleged adultery; in Timbuktu, ancient Sufi tombs, UNESCO world heritage sites, were destroyed. Throughout the region, music, smoking, alcohol, TV, football, traditional forms of dress and lifestyle were all banned as Islamists dished out beatings, amputations and executions with a vengeance. By August, nearly half a million people had fled or been displaced.
In spite of concern being expressed at the apparent emergence of 'Africa's Afghanistan' in the heart of the Sahara, no one has been prepared to address the key issue behind what is really going on in northern Mali. This is that the Islamist 'terrorist' groups that have taken over control of the region are not only the creations of Algeria's secret police, the Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité (DRS), but they are being supplied, supported and orchestrated by the DRS.
In my two volumes on terrorism and the global war on terror (GWOT) in the Sahara-Sahel, The Dark Sahara (Pluto, 2009) and The Dying Sahara (Pluto 2012, in press), I describe and give detailed evidence of how Algeria's DRS has colluded with western military intelligence in fabricating 'false-flag' terrorism to justify the West's GWOT in Africa. The two volumes detail how AQIM was created by the DRS; how the DRS has been behind almost all of the more than 60 kidnaps of western hostages in the region since 2003 and how it has worked with the US, UK and French intelligence services in promoting the GWOT, state terrorism and co-called counter-terrorism policies.
What we have seen unfold in Mali during 2012 is merely the latest manifestation of the way in which the DRS has used the 'terrorists' that it has created to further the interests of Algeria's 'mafiosi' state.
Corroboration of my long-standing analysis of the Algerian regime's use of terrorism ('state terrorism') in helping to further and justify the west's GWOT in North Africa and beyond was provided by John Schindler on July 10 (2012). In an article in The National Interest entitled 'The Ugly truth about Algeria', Schindler, a former high-ranking US intelligence officer and long-standing member of the US National Security Council (NSC) and currently Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College, 'blew the whistle' on Algeria when he described how:
'the GIA (Armed Islamic Group) [of the 1990s] was the creation of the DRS; using proven Soviet methods of penetration and provocation, the agency assembled it to discredit the extremists. Much of GIA's leadership consisted of DRS agents, who drove the group into the dead end of mass murder, a ruthless tactic that thoroughly discredited GIA Islamists among nearly all Algerians. Most of its major operations were the handiwork of the DRS, including the 1995 wave of bombings in France. Some of the most notorious massacres of civilians were perpetrated by military special units masquerading as mujahidin, or by GIA squads under DRS control.'
The DRS's 'state terrorism' of the 1990s has changed little during this millennium. In the same way as Schindler describes how the DRS assembled the GIA in the 1990s, so, in this century, the DRS, in collusion with US, British, French and other NATO intelligence agencies, as well as the EU Commission (as documented in my two volumes: 'The Dark Sahara' and 'The Dying Sahara'), has created AQIM, or what I have referred to as 'Al Qaeda in the West for the West'.
This diabolical strategy, straight from the tradecraft manual of the KGB (who, incidentally trained Mohamed Mediène, the current DRS boss, and other top DRS Generals), was reactivated in 2003, when a DRS agent, Saifi Lamari (known as El Para), supported by DRS agent Abdelhamid Abou Zaïd, at the head of some 60 genuine members of the Groupe Salafiste pour le Predication et le Combat (GSPC), the successor to the GIA, in collusion with US military intelligence, took 32 European tourists hostage in the Algerian Sahara. This operation, which received world headlines and was the subject of my book 'The Dark Sahara', was used by the US and other western countries to justify the launch of a new or 'second front' in the GWOT into the Sahara and Africa.
In September 2006, the nondescript GSPC, with the help of the DRS and US intelligence agencies, internationalised itself by adopting the Al Qaeda brand and renaming itself as AQIM. AQIM's three emirs (leaders) in the Sahara, Abdelhamid Abou Zaïd, Yahia Djouadi and Mokhtar ben Mokhtar (they have many aliases), were and still are DRS agents. They have now been responsible for the kidnapping of over 60 western hostages (two have been killed and two have died) and most of the other acts of terrorism perpetrated in the Sahara-Sahel region over the last few years. This is known to most western intelligence agencies.
The creation of the MNLA in October 2011 was not only a potentially serious threat to Algeria, but one which appears to have taken the Algerian regime by surprise. Algeria has always been a little fearful of the Tuareg, both in Algeria and in the neighbouring Sahel States. The distinct possibility of a militarily successful Tuareg nationalist movement in northern Mali, which Algeria has always regarded as its own backyard (the Kidal region is sometimes referred to as Algeria's 49th wilaya), could not be countenanced.
The DRS's strategy to remove this threat was to use its control of AQIM to weaken and then destroy the credibility and political effectiveness of the MNLA. Although denied by the Algerian government, it sent some 200 Special Forces into Azawad on December 20, stationing them at Tessalit, Aguelhok and Kidal (and possibly elsewhere). Their purpose appears to have been to:
(1) protect AQIM which had moved from its training base(s) in southern Algeria into the Tigharghar mountains of northern Mali around 2008. Most of AQIM's subsequent terrorism, especially hostage-taking, had been conducted from bases in northern Mali. The MNLA, however, was threatening to attack AQIM and drive its estimated 300 members out of the country;
(2) assess the strengths and intentions of the MNLA;
(3) help establish two 'new' salafist-jihadist terrorist groups Ansar al-Din and MUJAO, alleged 'offshoots' of AQIM, in the region.
Ansar al-Din and MUJAO, which had not been heard of before, first appeared on local websites on December 10 and 15 respectively. The leaders of both groups were closely associated with the DRS. Iyad ag Ghaly first became acquainted with the DRS when he worked for an Algerian enterprise in Tamanrasset (Algeria) in the 1980s. He had subsequently been used and paid by the DRS to help manage their resolution of EL Para's 2003 hostage-taking. He had been used again by the Algerians and the US in 2006 to engineer the short-lived May 23 Kidal rebellion and to then undertake two fabricated terrorist actions in northern Mali in September and October 2006. These were used to draw attention to seemingly renewed 'terrorism' in the Sahara and to advertise the name change of the GSPC to AQIM. After 2008, he became heavily involved, with his cousin Hamada ag Hama (alias Taleb Abdoulkrim), in AQIM's hostage-taking operations.
MUJAO's leadership is less clear. Its initial leaders are believed to have included both Mohamed Ould Lamine Ould Kheirou, a Mauritanian, and Sultan Ould Badi (alias Abu Ali). Ould Badi is a Malian, said to be half Tuareg and half Arab, from north of Gao with good connections with the Polisario movement of the Western Sahara. It seems to have been through this later connection that he established himself as a major drugs (cocaine) trafficker in the region, working under the direct protection of General Rachid Laalali, head of the DRS's external security branch. One reason for the DRS's interest in northern Mali is that the region is the focal point on the cocaine trafficking route from South America to Europe. The UN estimates that some 60 per cent of Europe's cocaine, with a street value of some $11 billion, crosses through this region. It is a trade which, until the MNLA threatened to take over the region, has been controlled in large part by elements within Algeria's DRS.
These two Islamist groups, Ansar al-Din and MUJAO, although starting out as few in number, were immediately supported with manpower from AQIM in the form of seasoned, well-trained killers, and by the DRS with fuel, cash and other logistical necessities. This explains why the Islamists were able to expand so quickly and dominate the MNLA both politically and militarily.
The DRS's strategy has been brilliantly effective, at least so far, in achieving its object of completely discrediting the MNLA (and Tuareg nationalism) and minimising its threat as both a political and military force.
The DRS's strategy has, however, been extremely dangerous. Apart from turning the region into a human catastrophe, there has been, and still is, a major risk of military intervention and the possibility of a conflagration that could embrace much of the wider region. From the outset, various parties, notably the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), backed in varying degree by the African Union, France and other parties, has threatened to intervene militarily. There are also a considerable number of internal Malian forces, including a range of largely ethnic-based militia, straining on the leash to revenge themselves against both the MNLA and more especially the Islamists.
A potential bloodbath has not yet been averted. However, having said that, the likelihood of such military intervention is progressively diminishing. One reason for this is because neither the African Union (whose Peace and Security Commission is headed by an Algerian) or the UN Security Council (UNSC) have given the green light for such intervention. The reason for the UNSC's position is, I believe, quite simply because all five of its permanent members - the US, UK, France, Russia and China - are aware of Algeria's strategy and therefore do not see the situation as being 'Africa's Afghanistan', as described in the media and by those self-proclaimed 'security analysts' who are unaware of the true nature of Al Qaeda in this part of the world.
This is not to imply that Algeria will be able to call off its dogs easily. However, signs are that Algeria and other powers in the region are trying to move towards a negotiated solution. But that will not be easy. With so many armed militias in the wings and so much anger, suffering and desire for revenge in the air, the likelihood of individual agency coming to the fore is very high. While the DRS leadership of the Islamist groups is obviously managed easily, the question of the genuine Islamists, the foot soldiers, may not be resolved so easily. Already, there are signs that Algeria is pushing towards a solution centering around the creation of some sort of shari'a based political party, amongst others, in the region. Such a party is unlikely to be endorsed wholeheartedly by the bulk of the population, and if introduced coercively is more than likely to lead to further conflict.
Whatever sort of dispensation is found for the region, it will almost certainly be tied to Algeria's hegemonic designs on the region and drugs trafficking, both of which are recipes for future regional instability.
Finally, there is the matter of the ICC's investigation. If the ICC does progress from its current preliminary investigation to a full-blown investigation of war crimes and associated atrocities in the region, it could conceivably pave the way for justice and a more stable future. However, I believe that there will be huge pressure on the ICC from western powers not to proceed with the investigation. A full ICC investigation is likely to expose the involvement of US, British and French intelligence services in their support for the DRS and therefore, it could be argued, their complicity in the atrocities that have been committed.
Jeremy H. Keenan is Professorial Research Associate, Department of Social Anthropology and Sociology, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London University.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why Lewis Brown Must Not Speak To The Forum

I am very disappointed to learn that Liberia's Information Minister, Lewis Brown, will address the Independent Intellectual Forum this weekend in Philadelphia. Mr. Brown, the highly-acclaimed propaganda chief  and intellectual mastermind of the brutal NPFL and its offshoot, the tyrannical NPP regime, is ill-qualify to address a community that bore the brunt of years of torture, destruction and deaths at the hands of Mr. Brown's criminal outfits. 

I admire the works of the energetic leaders of the Forum. I believe that the Forum represents one of the best venues for the expression and cross-fertilization of views and new ideas. However, I do not believe the Forum should set itself up for unneeded controversies by inviting individuals who either have the blood of the innocents on their hands or individuals who have justified or continue to justify the Liberian genocide no matter how long ago their sins occur. For Mr. Brown, he has never repented and does not anticipate going in that direction.

Let's keep in mind that Mr. Brown was no small fish or a mere, helpless Spokesman trapped in Gbarnga and later Monrovia against his will. He was no pawn, not by any measure. Mr. Brown was an important Spokesman and senior official of the NPFL and subsequently the makeshift NPRAG government headquartered in Gbarnga. He participated in meetings and strategy sessions in which life and death decisions were made. He made important inputs on who and which group of people will live and which group will die. Throughout this time period, Mr. Brown justified or at least had to ignore the massive killings in Butuo, Bahn, Karnplay, Sanniquellie, Barkedu, Bong Mines, Dupo Road among others. If he were not complacent and felt repugnant, Mr. Brown had the honorable option of resigning from the NPFL or the NPRAG or the NPP. He did neither. As we write at this very moment, Mr. Brown is a card-carrying member of the NPP, a Party whose boss unleashed murder and mayhem throughout the Liberian nation-state. 

How soon have we forgotten that it was policies orchestrated by the likes of Mr. Brown that led to the destruction of Mosques, Churches and other religious sanctuaries? How soon have we forgotten that it was policies contrived and justified by Mr. Brown that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of our people? The International Community and the U.S. government was right for placing Mr. Brown and many of his affiliates on travel ban several years ago. By the same token, they were wrong for taking Mr. Brown and his cohorts off that list. The community must not only talk the talk. We must also walk the walk. We owe it to the numerous victims of the unspeakable horrors of our uncivil war to reject one of the leaders of the Liberian terror and genocide. I therefore call on the Independent Intellectual Forum to withdraw its invitation and deny Mr. Brown the glamorous platform. To do otherwise will be rewarding Mr. Brown for ably destroying our country and people. Might does not make Right.

Mohamed Sherif



 By Elijah K. Gbarweay
This is the symbolic big, deep and bottomless well owned and operated by the government of Liberia under the leadership of Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. It continues to consume virtually all the resources and funds meant to fast track our recovery programme. Safe for the existence of this very well which can only be accessed by a tiny kleptomaniac class, Liberia would have by far , far gone beyond its present predicament.

This post is not only about condemning the devilish SIRLEAFONOMIC policy of this government to perpetually hold down the country's progress, but also a wake up call to all citizens SAN blind partisan loyalty and seek to explore all positive means available to destroy this well once and for all in the interest of our country and its future.

If we were all along the line being deceiving ourselves that Liberia's recovery can not be done over night, then, please let us now begin to ask wise questions why a minute portion in our midst are getting rich and richer overnight milking out the resources and funds meant for our recovery. If crooks and thieves can be physically and materially transformed overnight, then why not a bleeding nation that needs to be salvaged.

Right in broad day, our legislooters, sorry, legislators took long and sharp knives to mutilate the 2012/13 national budget and carved away lion share of the budget. They are taking $30,000 each to buy new vehicles in the country of unmotorable roads; what becomes of the ones they are using presently? Will they return same to the government for usage by other users? Can they ever afford in their private life to change cars of that amount annually from their own pockets? Wow, $500 for daily allowance in a country where the majority of the population live below $ 1 per day.

Where is the country's $16 bn that makes her one of the "10 fastest growing economy in the world"? Where are the proceeds after selling 25% of our forest to foreign interests? Are they aware of the imminent desertification of our country? Or do we need a cheering squad of an odd 49 troops for a speech of less than 30 minutes from the EMPRESS at the UN with about half million united states dollars going down the drain? 

Come on folks, let us strive to destroy this well once and for all...Have your say....


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