New cyber frontlines for war criminals

By James Kokulo Fasuekoi in Minnesota 
boiyeadu1@hotmail.com | March 21, 2014  

Cyberspace: New frontlines for Liberian “war criminals”
Part III

By James Kokulo Fasuekoi
boiyeadu1@hotmail.com

Continue from last edition at Nordic Africa News FPA & The Voice of Liberia:

The facts about bizarre claims by Dolleh, Others
Alleged ‘connection’ to Lofa Defense Force: Mr. Dolleh and Bility claimed that I, Fasuekoi “was a die-hard war monger who was in the forefront leading to the formation of the Lofa Defense Force,” although perhaps, due to political expediency, the same Dolleh at some point during the war repeatedly told the public that indeed, the LDF didn’t exist anywhere in Lofa except in Monrovia. Normally, I would not bother to respond to such unfounded claims plus many more spewed against me by Dolleh and his associates because my works prior to and during the bloody war and after, are clearly public records. In Lorma culture people don’t praise themselves and the Book of Life warns against such and says, praises for one must come from another’s lips. The Somalis too believe “He who praises himself is like a she-goat which suckles herself. However and as much as I want to scorn the idea of engaging Kromah fans in their “Merry-go-round style” of unmerited accusations embedded in manufactured falsehood I ask readers to allow me make a few comments. I do this only because most Liberians, regardless of age remain gullible and would take the wrong answer to be the right one. Common example, Tony Kona Fele, in an argument with me last year confessed his only reason for opposing Poro (Polor) and Sande cultural practices in Liberia was based on his own “belief” that the two institutions were “involved” in “heart man” or “Gboyo” activities. Isn’t this quite disturbing for an older folk like Fele who hails from Nimba where these cultural practices are active and well respected among the Manos? Fele isn’t alone-this is the typical Liberian attitude whereby people will hold onto their own perceptions about things and people, based on personal dislike. So in order to break this cycle loose, one has to spoon-feed them with the needed information not by condemnation but through simple education just as I am doing here.

A never before published photograph shot in Tubmanburg of ex-guerrilla
leader, Alhaji Kromah (center with arms crossed) surrounded by mostly Mandingoe fighters from ULIMO shortly before the front's intertribal war that led to a split. Photo copyrighted by photographer, James Fasuekoi.  

In any case, the allegation by former rebel faction associates to link my good name with LDF warring faction is purely baseless, uncivilized and with no iota of truth. Again, as readers can see, this false claim by my “attackers” is no doubt part of a wider devilish conspiracy undertaken by them with the sole purpose to “discredit” me, or in Dolleh’s own word, “demoralize” me. But they will not succeed God’s willing, in their cruel motives because, the Almighty sees my heart that I do this purely as part of my duties to society for informational, educational and documentation purposes and not because of malice against anyone nor group of people. That is why I have and continue to provide only the facts (i.e., citing of sources, witnesses, dates, places, credible newspapers etc., etc.) can defend same in a court of law. Unlike my “challengers,” being a trained journalist, I understand and respect the law thus, I continue to take all precautionary measures, applying journalistic techniques by giving attributes where needed to avoid jeopardizing my chances in any legal suit. For instance, the Eye Newspaper I referenced in Part Two was never published by me; those who published the paper including its chief editor Mr. Suah Deddeh, now a pastor in Silver Spring MD, can confirm these information; just as there are also scores of journalist-witnesses presently living across the U.S. who were present and/or part of the Zorzor, Lofa massacred probe team in 1994 when Dolleh himself put me down from the plane. Despite these facts, Dolleh and his followers chose to run a campaign of falsehood and character defamation based on hate which in itself constitutes libel privacy rights violations. If only they knew the gravity of the penalties that go with perjury and defamation in the U.S. they would stop playing the fool and refrain from such slanderous campaign and come up with counter-points instead.

Nevertheless, in the case with the vigilante Lofa Defense Force, which Lormas in Lofa “marvelously” called “Resistant Force,”  I will emphatically state that having travelled to Lofa County several times after the end of the wars during which I was fortunate to gather enormous information through series of interviews with citizens about the ULIMO-K-LDF war as cited in my rejoinder to Dolleh’s Armed Resistance as Last Resort: Mandingoe Factor in the Liberian Civil War, it is only fair that I agree in total with my fellow Lorma people that the “consequences” of Kromah’s ethnic cleansing of Lorma could have been far more worse then what happened had the Lorma-refugees not moved quickly and pick up machetes to defend their people. Most people would normally not give their sincere opinion in this type of situation when they hold strong political ambitions. But so far I personally have no such ambition and therefore have no reason to provide any false testimony regarding my personal feeling, or appease any group. The Somalis proverb says: “Your previous lie damages your present truth.” This is true and that’s why people from my background in Gizema don’t take truth-telling lightly. I don’t pretend nor compromised my beliefs. My position on the Sande and Polor (Poro) traditional practices in Liberia should serve as a common example. Because of the level of my advocacy for Liberian traditional values, some friends have given me a new name calling me “the Sande-Poro man” whenever we meet at community functions here in Minnesota. Adversaries that are castigating me for exposing the ULIMO-K war activities hold factional loyalty hence, their reason for providing misleading information about me, and others who confront them. I have written before about other ex-rebel factions believed to have carried out extrajudicial killings of civilians and ULIMO-K isn’t the only rebel group under my radar. The last time elder Bia M. Gbala boasted of ULIMO-LPC “Liberation war,” I responded appropriately and cited overwhelming evidences as well. Whoever doubts this should read: The Sande Bush: Advocate for Amendment Not Abolition: http://www.frontpageafricaonline.com/old/op-ed-editorial/feature-articles/5402-the-sande-bush-advocate-for-amendment-not-abolition-partii.html.
 
In the first place there was no reason for me to form alliance with any warring group in Liberia as others did during the war in that I was fortunate to work fulltime as stringer for The Associated Press in New Yorkfor most part of the conflicts before leaving Liberia. Besides, I also stringed for the AFP and BBC’s Focus on Africa as well as other Nigerian magazines like Newswatch and The Tell.  With this level of job load, I barely had time for my own family, let alone a warring faction and I feel grateful for such opportunities amidst the endless poverty that swirled the innocent human population that had no dealings in guns during the conflicts. Colleagues like former TRC official, Massa Washington and Mr. Sam Togba Slewion both of whom served as news editors for The Inquirer respect me for my work ethics and what I believe in. I never pretend over my likes and dislikes nor do I take yes for no, even under the muzzle of the gun! During my first wedding in Pennsylvania 2008, which was attended by a dozen Liberian journalists/writers, among them, Jay Nagbe Sloh, Sidiki Trawally, Moses Sandy, Mark Johnson, Jackson Seton, Jackson Kanneh and authors Nvasekie Konneh and Robert Saysay, Mr. Slewion portrayed a vivid picture of me more than anyone has ever done. “Fasuekoi pays careful attention to work and he will go extra miles to put out his best,” he told the audience as he gave remarks on behalf of the Press Corps. He continued: “Fasuekoi respects his work and knows what he’s doing when it comes to the job…All you need is tell him what you want.” Mr. Slewion maintained: “But one thing about him is when he says no…his no is no and it doesn’t matter whether you are his boss.” I was very surprised that Mr. Slewion knew this much about me in that most journalists barely recognize anything peculiar about another’s life amid the daily hassles we go through and I felt happy for this flower.

Honesty, had I been like someone whose life was driven by greed for power and ill-gotten wealth, I would have joined the NPFL bandwagon even prior to the faction’s arrival to Monrovia to join the IGNU’s government of national unity; long before the formation of the Lofa Defense Force. In fact, as early as 1992, I was part of a handful “Monrovia-based journalists” who risked their lives to cover news events in what was “Greater Liberia.” When the NPFL hierarchy finally reached Monrovia September 1995, to begin working toward the “Taylor’s presidency,” operatives of the front tried frantically to recruit some “journalists,” mainly correspondents to help create positive image for Taylor’s empire. Correspondents who worked for U.S. news agencies at the time were targeted because, the “American educated” Taylor needed to win the favors of the West, knowing he would badly need their financial backing at the end of the day once he achieve his goal. I love and cherish my career and I knew that in order to be seen as credible writer-one that would form part of historians credited with the writing of the annals of our war-history, I needed to distinguish myself by always maintaining objectivity, thereby resisting those things that could jeopardize my career. If critics want to see the evenhandedness of my job, they should turn to my first book: Rape, Loot & Murder: LIBERIAN CIVIL WAR, A Journalist’s Photo Diary for verification which is on Amazon.com and in major U.S. book stores. Example, a photo caption below the picture of Lofa Defense Force child-guerrillas in Kakata also cites the front as enlisting child soldiers.

Apart from The New Dawn, FrontPage Africa, Nordic Africa (in Sweden) and The Voice of Liberia (in the U.S.), there are scores of foreign news outlets, bloggers, and other news sources around the world that use my stories and news features for their own audiences. I’m not talking about News Company like the AllAfrica.com which is an affiliate of The New Dawn and FPA; I am referencing news magazine like The Nigeria Sun I have never heard of in my life till after I recently Google my Brooklyn Park stories, among them, “I Don’t Want to Be President,” on Liberia Finance Minister Amara Konneh’s visit here last July. Even my tribute to the memory of journalist Musue Haddad was widely used by bloggers worldwide and for that to happen, the source of the news materials had to be credible. Otherwise, how could I have first passed through the selection process (out of a thousand) before working for The Associated Press, BBC and the AFP? Could this have happened through miracle or by sheer luck? Well, that’s a question for the adversaries.      

Baseless Claim of Hatred against Mandingoes: My Mandingoe adversaries have never gotten tired in their portrayal of me as “anti-Mandingoe crusader,” a deliberate attempt to discredit me as an international journalist. As a result, every Liberian including Mandinoges who don’t know this Fasuekoi well may think Mandingoes in general are my sworn “enemies” despite my own family ties with the ethnic group. However, the realities of this matter remain freshly recorded to the contrary. Of the Mandinoge issue, technically speaking, I’ve gone beyond objectivity, and accorded something more of a special treatment via our casual social media interaction. If there’s any none Liberian Mandingoe-journalist that is more sensitive and sympathetic to the plights of Mandingoes, it should be me. Perhaps, more than Mandingoes themselves, I continue to cite the “mistreatments” and various “stereotypes” this group endured at the hands of immigration officers in the past. Even the public flogging of an Imam, reportedly by a group of immigration men few years ago in Karnplay, Nimba, didn’t escape the glare of my eyes and it was eventually cited in my tribute to late Peter Balleh February 2013. See the following below passages taken from that tribute. The entire article is listed with other articles/news stories at the end of this series for your reading.  

In whatever activities he found himself engaged in with people, the late Ballah always gave his best! He was always ready to explore new frontier with no limit in sight! In the process, he and his dramatic group took on hot topics that some of their counterparts won’t dare pick on be it cheating in school, or just pure discrimination against Mandingoes as practiced by Liberian immigration officers at checkpoints along the highways.
Though Flomo Theater’s radio and TV dramas may not have succeed in eradicating such vices altogether from the Liberian society as evident by last years’ public flogging of an Imam in Karnplay, Nimba by immigration officers, however, the group’s timely move to voice out such mistreatment and negative perception held by some against a group of Liberians, at least added a Band-Aid to a gaping wound at least for some time.

Besides my advocacy for equal opportunity, protection, fair treatment and justice for Mandingoes plus fellow Liberians at the national level, I have also joined moderate Mandingoes to push their causes on social media. On the Organization of Liberians in Minnesota (OLM) listserv, the following observation was posted by me last year: “Liberian Mandingoes are bona fide citizens just as other ethnic groupings in the country,” I maintained during an argument over Mandingoes’ citizenship which remains a contending issue for some scholars even though Mandingoes were among natives that welcomed the settlers known also as “pioneers.” In another comment, I again pointed out that “Liberian Mandingoes’ fight for rights and equality was long overdue; that they were right to go to war in the 1990s.” However, I personally objected the targeted senseless ethnic killings of Lormas by Mr. Kromah’s ULIMO-K in Lofa County. In the minds of Mandingoes who oppose me, it is wrong for me to criticize Kromah’s rebels for killing my own brothers and sisters on the basis of tribe. In order to be seeing as being on their side I suppose to clap for the heinous crimes their fighters people carried out against my people.

It is not my style to do a favor and speak about it because; such is prohibited by the Holy Bible. But again, I have to do this to prove the adversaries wrong over their false claims against me and apologize later. For the past years, I have done volunteered work for several Mandingoe-owned media businesses in the U.S. and it is part of my declaration made at the end of the war to encourage cultural diversity and work with Liberians from all spectrums of society irrespective of political, ethnic, cultural or religious creed. When Mr. Nvasekie Konneh asked me 2010 to help do stories and articles for his Uptown Review launched in Liberia, I offered my services without condition and stood by him till he decided to freeze operation and return to the U.S. due to some constrains. In the past, I also served as “Culture columnist” for the Quardu Gboni Mandingoe web magazine. Before then, I had joined a colleague, Mr. Rober Saysay, a prolific writer turned businessman-filmmaker, to do movies production at his request. Also in the same spirit, last year, I started contributing to the Bamba1 News.com, another online web owned and operated by a Mandingoe. The above are just some examples to show I have been actively networking with friends and brothers within the Mandingoe community.

There is a Liberian saying that a “Liar would say my witness is faraway” to avoid transparency. Fortunately, this isn’t the case in my journalistic work because, I never run out of live independent witnesses that live not far away. In 2009, I mailed author Konneh some wartime news magazine clippings on LDF-ULIMO-K Lofa war so he could read and form his own opinion about my fair treatment of every party. This was prompted by the bold question Konneh asked as to whether I, Fasuekoi hated Mandingoes and if so, why? It was an interview and I was glad he brought up the issue. On the other hand however, can my “attackers” (Varfley Dolleh, Faliku Konneh, Mohamed Sherif or Manyou Bility) equally show a proof of networking or associating with members of other ethnic groups such as the Lorma/Kpelleh groups I belong, other than their own race? I think that is farfetched in that the extremists calling themselves the “defenders of Mandingoes,” are not people who look beyond their race and I challenge them to similarly show examples of their networking and personal participation in business ventures with other Liberians just as I have done. They can never show such proof because; they are self-centered and full of prejudice.

A man of God said something during a radio program recently and it made lots of sense. He said, “Our attitudes and utterances [writings] can serve as proof of who we are inside and outside.” This is certainly true and for us who write, people can clearly know us better (inside and outside) through our thoughts, and need no further introduction. Just as it is impossible for one to love and hate a person, group or thing at the same time, so is it to fake one’s thoughts. That’s why I am very meticulous about what to write be it news stories, articles or commentaries on social media as there are huge chances that one’s good intention, ideas could be misrepresented or misconstrued  for something else. In this business, therefore, what I am left with is God and my conscience when I write. My biggest appreciation in this entire endeavor is that it is not be only Mandingoes who will be reading this series for example; a bigger audience from diverse background may also read and form their individual and group opinions about whether or not the writer can fairly pass the honest test which is my primary concern. But I will leave adversaries with this food for thought on their allegation of “anti-Mandingoe” sentiment allegedly on my part. In the Book of Luke, two of Jesus’ disciples complained to the Messiah that they saw a man casting out demons in his (Jesus’s) name and tried to stop him. See the exchanges: Luke 9:49-50:“Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him, Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Late Journalist Musue Haddad Issue: Mr. Dolleh being a former rebel liaison officer, I know that he can be very arrogant and ruthless at times, but I least expected he could be so heartless to draw the name of such decent person as Musue he now claims was “my [his] friend and former class mate” in an issue that has nothing whatsoever to do with the late award-winning photojournalist. And the fact that Musue Haddad too had a Mandingoe bloodline (Mother purely Mandingoe) just as he Dolleh, I didn’t ever think Dolleh would be brave to misuse Musue’s good name all but for his own political war exploitation. Again, a Somali proverb says: “A man caught by a flood clings to the foam.” It’s understandable though that Dolleh would create distraction to avoid giving account of his own war stories which is the issue at bay but chose to draw in Musue who was adored by all those who encountered her on earth. Though painful for me, knowing how Musue’s loss remains fresh on my mind, I will offer few words for the purpose of clearing my name of Dolleh’s baseless allegations. This is certainly hard for me being a man from a cultural background where no one speaks “evil” of the dead. And just as his unmerited accusation concerning “LDF connection,” I won’t take up time next time to respond to every “trash” brought up by a figure that appears morally corrupt with no regard for his professed “cultural” and “religious values.”

The deceased photojournalist was my fiancée and we both had wonderful times together for which I will always cherish her memory. Please read my tribute to her memory: http://allafrica.com/stories/201312120838.html. Prior and during the period we traveled to Liberia in 2011, till my return to the U.S. in early 2012, I personally didn’t see her to be romantically involved with another person, contrary to Dolleh’s gross misrepresentation that she “decided to abort” a so-called “unethical relationship” with me and “moved on with her husband in Monrovia.” The dignity that goes with womanhood is something Musue regarded seriously in life plus she wasn’t one that would engage in secret love affair and some of Musue’s own family members can attest to that. If she dated someone, it didn’t take long for her siblings to know as that’s how I first got to know Mrs. Munah Haddad of Texas, before we even left for Liberia. Later, I was introduced to two of her sisters: Mrs. Ruth Haddad, (a professional nurse) and Mrs. Seinah Haddad, her junior sister who resided in Gbarnga. We visited them periodically till I left Liberia. Regrettably, Seinah later passed away. And there are also professional friends of ours we met almost regularly at the luxurious Hotel Boulevard’s Bash Restaurant in Sinkor, Monrovia. Counselor Tiawon Gongolo, former Solicitor General; LINA’s Manager, Jay Nagbe Sloh and Dr. Abdulye Dukuly (a freelance international journalist), are among the friends and I’m sure they can give attestation to the bound that existed between us. The Bash Restaurant is an idyllic spot where the “Big Boys” of Liberia gather after work hours to chill-off and it’s where we both often set appointments to meet and interact with not only friends alone but also foreign journalists and relief aid workers. Read this heart-touching consolation note sent me by Mr. Jay Nagbe Sloh, two days after Musue’s death: “My Lord, I am so sorry, Bobotuo,[Fasuekoi] for Musue's passing. I wish you were by her bedside when she took her last breadth so that she went happier. I am a witness that Musue loved you profusely.” I am providing readers with these intimate details in order to prove adversary like Dolleh wrong beyond every reasonable doubts in his witch-hunting campaign.

After I returned to the U.S. we maintained open line of communication and our last chat took place in September, two months before her passing. She sounded lively as she had always been and there wasn’t any indication of stress in her life. That’s why I still find it hard to accept the “unofficial” cause of death which was attributed to “Breast Cancer” based on “family sources” as quoted by the papers. I say this because, throughout we lived together here and in Liberia she didn’t one day complain of a single headache. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes have become some of the most common diseases in most African men and women now living in the U.S. but Musue didn’t experience any of these. How do I know all this? Because, in the U.S., before getting involved with partner, most people prefer to sit together and discuss individual’s “medical statues” and some go as far to do Aids Test together in order to keep safe. Musue being the smart woman she was she made sure we talk about whatever needed to be cleared before entering an affair. But as I was saying earlier, on the day of our last chat, I sought her permission so to share her email and Liberia phone number with Cllr. Fredrick Jayweh, a Liberian-US based lawyer who had wanted to offer legal aid on behalf of the jailed FPA editor, Rodney Sieh. Musue Haddad, among many other things is remembered for the press-awareness campaign she undertook in the U.S. years ago to free the editorial staff of The News jailed by former dictator Charles Taylor and I am sure it’s based on that Cllr. Jayweh chose to contact her regarding the FPA case. Because I was busy winding up things for my wedding just a month away in October and the fact that she seemed to be in the classroom teaching, we didn’t talk too long. Whatever the case, it is to me extremely illogical to me that a “Dolleh” would think I am capable to “harm” or “bewitch” Musue having had great time together.

Before we ever set foot to Liberia, I had taken both Musue and little son Michael on leisure journeys, aware that they had barely stepped outside of Washington D.C. since Michael was born. Apart from Dr. Zumo’s home in Baltimore, where we visited often, we made weekend trips to Pennsylvania, Delaware, Newark, New Jersey and New York City for fun. During one of our trips, we stopped over in New Castle, Delaware at the home of former Reuters Television cameraman, Mark Johnson and were also treated to a dinner at the residence of former LBS editor in chief, Moses Sandy. Before that we had visited the home of author Nvasekie Konneh near Upper Darby in Philadelphia. In Liberia, Musue and I even ran into the same Varfley Dolleh at the CDC Headquarters in the aftermath of the 2011 violent elections and asked him to help us find an apartment for us to rent. He promised to check around and at the same time assured he had some to rent but never contacted us again. During this conversation Varfley Dolleh and his friends stared as we held each other’s hands till they decided to pose for photograph and that’s when she left my hand to snap a picture of them-their picture is still posted with many photos of Michael and me on the deceased’s BlogSpot: Eye On Society: http://musue-haddad.blogspot.com/2011_10_01_archive.html. If the relationship was “unethical” as “Mamadee” said, how come did she not take down mine long before her passing?  The truth of this matter is that the deceased (as I was informed) already had someone in her life because of my long absence from the Liberia which is understandable. But having been away from the country almost two years before her untimely death in November 2013, where in Dolleh’s mind do I fit in the picture again?

I don’t know about Dolleh’s religion but my religion as Christian condemns every form of “bewitchment” or any type of voodoo cult. Throughout the Bible, the words Love and forgiveness are repeated a hundred times with every Book touching the topic in different way and one such example is 1 Peter 3:9 which reads thus: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessings…” I take these teachings very seriously because it is only by living according to the teachings one gets his anointing from God which is important. I’m definitely not like the Pharisees or a hypocrite like Dolleh. Nothing is hypocritical about one extending an olive branch to people who were responsible for the murdered of one’s relatives in a bitter tribal warfare. For me as Christian, I am mindful of what I say and what I do. If I should speak Diversity-let me act the act. And if I speak about Peace and Respect for all without a boundary, I must also walk the walk. However, let people not mistake them to mean that I will not discuss the bloody war issue or resort to needed legal remedies whenever someone needlessly humiliate me in their quest to protect a rebel emperor like Alhaji G.V. Kromah. All this so-called “fight” by Dolleh and others that never finishes even long after the bloodbath is about one thing-to protect one “empire” within Liberia. Serious is it that Dolleh and his collaborators are ready to “strike” anyone including their own Mandingoes relatives who treat national political issue with independent minds and the Kesselly and Duwana experience where he Dolleh referred described the two as “traitors” in a recent post over war related matters as old as 22 years should tell it all. Using pseudo names, Dolleh’s raging fury has come in the form of written slanderous articles against Mandingoe like author Konneh who partly differs with them on the ULIMO-K war policy and what shocks me most is the publication of such malicious attacks by Mandingoe own news outlets.    

But being a journalist and student sociologist something tells me for a group of adult men to engage in “hateful behaviors” such as lying and using derogatory remarks not only against their own tribal people but also women in general, the antagonists had to have come from homes that denied them love in the early teen years which is key to human growth. From all indications, the seemingly lack of parental love may have transformed into self-hate as people now see which also derives from low self-esteem. Pastor Fatai Jubril would refer to this as PROBLEMATIC ROOT and people affected by this condition, accordingly to him, are people with issue of Mistrust, Anger (resentment) and self-withdrawn for no apparent reasonas exhibited in Varfley Dolleh, Faliku Konneh and Mohamed Sherif particularly. But make no mistake; it is not Dolleh whose hatred toward late Musue in this case has begun to unravel. Another African wired me a hateful note about Musue (May her soul rest in peace) weeks ago about the time Dolleh and his followers started their attacks. I still can’t believe that another could keep this level of “hatred” against someone even in death? This is the sort of thing that happens to people who stand out and want to tour new frontiers for the benefit of society as Musue did. And this isn’t about necessarily doing wrong but criminals attack you only for doing the right things and for being who you are. But let me offer the following Bible verses for the benefit of Musue’s foes: Ecclesiastes 9:3, The same destiny [death] overtakes all. The heart of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead; 9:5, For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.    

How my privacy rights were violated & character defamed by Dolleh, Bility, others
During my numerous trainings in the prints and broadcast media beginning from the Liberia Ministry of Information in the 80s, to the United States Information Service (USIS Liberia brunch), and from in-service trainings at the Daily Star Newspaper to the University of Liberia, and finally, the United States of America, three crucial things that kept coming up are: plagiarism, libel (which is defamation) and fabrication.  Plagiarism which is among the initial courses introduced to students upon entering college is simply defined as cheating, stealing or the copying of another’s work. Defamation, according to “The Words We Live ByYour Annotated Guide To The [US] Constitution,” published 2003 by lawyer Linda R. Monk, is “hurting a person’s reputation by spreading falsehoods.” “Defamation using spoken words is slander; defamation using written words is libel[LRM].” “A person cannot prove defamation if the statements at issue are true [Page 144, LRM]” Fabrication on the other hand is almost the same as defamation, the “faking” and spreading of falsehoods. All three, plagiarism, defamation and fabrication are intertwined. News editors and their reporters fear them because, they can land a reporter or editor into prison, in addition to huge “libel fines.” Although the recent “Chris Toe vs. Rodney Sieh FPA” landmark case in Liberia that caught international attention may not qualify as an excellent example of a “Libelous act” per se apparently due to the partiality that characterized the entire trial, it is no doubt what a libel case entails. Besides those who are engaged in active journalism, freelance writers, and people involved with the work of arts such as music and movie-films productions have to do their best to avoid violating any of these rules.

In May 2003, The New York Times, for example, fired one of its journalists, Jayson Blair for reportedly engaging in what the paper called “plagiarism” and “fabrication” of “fake stories and quotes” Blair reportedly collected from other newspapers and used in his articles. The Times didn’t stop there; it reported Blair to U.S. fraud investigating agencies in order that they could investigate his alleged “crimes” and Jayson Blair was publically disgraced in the process. Please see the following link: http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/Northeast/05/13/ny.times.investigation/. The episode also created credibility issue for the New York Times.

This incident about “NYT’s Jayson Blair & Plagiarism” is has been published in Modern Journalism textbooks in the United States and now taught in journalism classes at colleges here in the U.S. so that promising student journalists can avoid the “Blair experience.” Of the three, slander and plagiarism particularly comprise grave constitutional violations with no “gray area” for manipulation. Even the re-printing or electronic publication of slanderous materials like those offensive languages previously used by Bility and Jacob againstMassa Washingtonconstitutes Libel violation. That’s why I first sought Massa’s permission before using them [for only informational and educational purposes] in order to avoid any possible penalty from her, or a third party who may be offended by such lewd comments. In addition, news channels and outlets such as the Organization of Liberians in Minnesota, (OLM) listserv, or the FELMAUSA, usually used as conduits to disseminate these “hateful” slanderous messages can be equally held liable on defamation violation and charged accordingly just as those who initiate these crimes. In other words, it will be a grave error if the owners and operators of these mediums think they can continually abet in the commission of a cybercrime(s) advertently or inadvertently and still go free at all times when there are rules and regulations governing the usage of these mediums in the U.S.        

Duke University School of Law on Defamation: According to the Law Journal of Duke University School of Law on Defamation, Privacy and The First Amendment, Vol. 1976:1016 under Compensable Injuries and Damages (Common Law); “A communication was [is] defamatory at common law ‘if it tend[ed] so to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him.” The Duke Law Journal continues: “When the publicity includes inaccurate statements of facts, the tort is known as “False light” invasion of privacy, that is, publicity which displays the individual other than as he actually is.” From reading through this piece from the beginning to this point, one will agree that Mr. Dolleh, together with his followers have done just that plus many more not only to me, but also Miss Massa Washington and Dr. Lawrence Zumo. Whether one goes through dozens of book publications, the U.S. Constitution, and/or university law journals, one will find that they all have the same definition when it comes to Defamation and Privacy Invasion Rights violations.   

U.S. Constitution & the “Freedom of Speech and the Press
In part two of this series, under subtitle: “Invasion of privacy rights, character defamation-the case of Kromah’s fanatics,” I had promised readers that I would later go into details on the referenced subject matters. I drew a comparison between the constitution of the Republic of Liberia (where the aggressors originated) and that of the Great United States of America (where they now live) and also emphasized that both constitutions share almost the same principles in every chapter. For example, Article 15 (a) of the constitution of Liberia states, “Every person shall have the right to freedom of expression, being fully responsible for the abuse thereof.” This is no different from what the U.S. Constitution provides for in “The Bill of Rights” under “Freedom of Speech and the Press.” In lawyer Ellen M. Kozak’s “The Everything U.S. Constitution Book,” published 2011, this is what she wrote in part regarding Freedom of Speech and the Press: “Disseminating your thoughts to people around the world has never been easier. [She’s making reference to the fast use of blog, e-book or self-published book] With that ease, however, must come a certain amount of self-restraint, because as always with constitutional rights, these, too, are not absolute. Like everything in the Constitution, freedom of expression is part of a balancing act [Page 148].” Notice the two are saying the same thing but only in different fashions.      

Cybercrimes: It is also important that readers understand what a Cyber-crime constitutes since it is that which the aforementioned “aggressors” used to commit “wrong doings.” According to Dr. Debarati Halder and Dr. K. Jaishankar (2011), “Cybercrimes are offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim(s) or cause physical or mental harm to the victim(s) directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as internet (chat rooms, emails, mobile phones and [listservs]).” Research says, “Cybercrime in the United States is estimated to cost $100 billion annually,” not to mention the suicidal deaths it causes each year worldwide, mainly in the U.S. The case of Missouri native, Megan Taylor Meier and a Virginia college student, all of which could have otherwise been prevented are stark reminder of what cybercrimes like bullying and harassment can result to. Thanks to the States, Federal Government and the U.S. Congress for putting in place Cyber Communications Laws plus the necessary penalties as a “proactive approach” to stop this epidemic in the U.S. In the foregoing, there is also no denial that Dolleh and his associates engaged, or committed cyber-crimes against people they attacked in their current campaign of falsehood and defamation; that a court of competent jurisdiction has power to therefore press them to provide reason for violating U.S. Cyber Laws.     

Invasion of Fasuekoi’s Privacy & the Commission of Crime: It is altogether baffling how most Liberians (like the main actors mentioned repeatedly in this series) boast so much of their “education” but only for one to realize they are not even familiar with “Common Laws” that govern our everyday behaviors.  An example is the man called Faliku Konneh who has been paraded on Liberian listservs as “working on his Master’s” perhaps, to defaming others’ character?  In these arguments, they are yet to recognize that being a private person (meaning, one who has never served as government official as is the case with me); my privacy rights therefore must be respected by all irrespective of whether there are disagreement. Until my name is changed to “Director,” “Minister,” or “President” James Kokulo Fasuekoi, such rights can’t be breached by any party for doing otherwise, especially in the U.S. where the laws work effectively for all, irrespective of race, sex, religion, cultural or political affiliation, is tantamount to legal suit against the violator(s). On the other hand, can the same be said of Varfley Dolleh or Alhaji G.V. Kromah? The answer is unquestionably no. The two cannot enjoy this immunity (privacy rights) that ordinary people such as “Fasuekoi” is entitled.  This is clearly the case and it is not borne out of discrimination against the two as individuals but it is because, they held governmental position(s) in the past in Liberia. In the same manner, that can’t give one the right to engage in “falsehood” and/or “defamation” against them; if that happen and they are able to prove the “doer” acted with “malicious intent” to tarnish their individual character, they are entitled to resort to legal remedy as well. So the law is a two way street and that’s why I don’t ever hesitate to seek legal remedy whether in Liberia or in the U.S. It is equally important readers understand that the right for journalists and members of the public to investigate and expose wrong doings of former government official isn’t only limited to their performances related to their work in past governments. It can be argued that this extends also to wars where heinous crimes were committed. That means one like Dolleh and Kromah can’t fairly claim “privacy rights” regarding crimes they and their rebels committed in past, in a court of law.    

Concluding comments
Author Nvasekie N. Konneh on February 26, 2014, posted a note on the OLM listserv and expressed surprise that I was writing this series on a matter he thought had been “laid to rest.” “My friend, [Fasuekoi] I thought this whole issue was been laid to rest. Now this article may bring back the same hot temper back and forward argument that we all were tired of in recent time. Like I have always said, in the Liberian civil war, one man's liberator is another man's killerator [killer],” he wrote. The next day, this one followed from Mr. Sekou Kanneh: “But it seems as though Mr. Fassuekoi [Fasuekoi] will keep this buried in him until the day God calls him. He tells people of the existance [existence] of a Lofa Defense Fore but failed to mention the atrocities the [they] committed in Malamia near Voinjama.” As much as I agree with my friend Konneh that “one man's liberator is another man's killer,” in Liberia’s theater of war, under no condition can one erase the fact that Kromah’s rebels, just as those of Charles Taylor’s NPFL carried out separate ethnic massacres in Lofa County and other parts of Liberia during their so-called “Liberation” wars. And I feel strongly that it is only by discussing the bloody war and asking for forgiveness that true healing, peace and reconciliation will be achieved. For those who think avoiding the war issues will bring automatic peace and reconciliation, they are grossly mistaking because, it is important for both victims and their former oppressors to vent out their emotions so that people know what they (former fighters) are think rather than shut up. Turning away in cowardice can only give wrong signals to the “old killers.” They shattered our lives and intimidated us throughout the wars so why let the criminals have it both ways even after those bitter wars?

Everyone is aware that for the past years, Mandingoes have been permitted to hold annual memorials for the Barkedu massacre in the U.S., Liberia and other places without interruption. Also no one has anyone or group has so far dictated to them as to how they should honor their dead. If this is the case, why would people not be allowed to re-post or politely discuss the loss of their loved ones murdered by some of the very ex-rebel groups Kromah’s fanatics support? Can people see how self-centered and narrow-minded the adversaries are? Again, this is bound to take place when you have people like the “Kromah clique” still trapped in “tribal yoke” in the year 2014 as pointed out multiple times in this series. And maybe some may think “Fasuekoi” just want to make noises or pick on “Mandingoes” or “ULIMO-K.” I would never ever plane to pick on someone let alone a whole tribe because, just sitting for hours fighting to inform and educate our lost “brothers” takes much more time from my daily activities. Who say I want to be doing this type of writing? No, I don’t because I too have good Mandingoe friends apart from my Mandingoe relatives and I can’t afford to betray or lose their trust in me as family member and friend. Plus, as much as Mr. Dolleh and his loose group are not my worry, I am fully aware that there are capable Mandingoes/journalists within that community who can equally respond to anything deemed “unfavorable” to that community. Some like Dolleh whose life is devoted to “conflicts” and “fight” see this endeavor as another “battle.”  This is what he wrote in a recent post on OLM: “Fasuekoi can never win a fight with me.” Ecclesiastes 9:11, “The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong.”

 He and others got it all wrong in that this current effort is geared toward educating the “aggressors” as well as help unearth what people don’t know about Liberia’s past wars and being a former war-correspondent who witnessed it all, I see it as a duty to set the records straight when need be. So Dolleh, Faliku and Sherif can go on to refer to me as “monkey,” “bastard,” “demon,” and “thug” as they continue to do, still, I won’t give into any distraction. I too, could similarly name the three as “Jackal” or “raccoon” which is what they are but I will not do so because, first, religious principles bar me from doing so; second, this effort isn’t about condemning anyone or group but to help people change from their ugly ways; third, the true intent of this series will have lost if I lose focus and engage in the very ad hominem that I tried to discourage. Moreover, if one wants to help civilize a bunch of bush people, he or she has to set the example and cannot succeed by engaging in the same negative practices.
              
It is very unfortunate that even long after the bloody wars hypocrisy and tribal prejudice remain at their highest among Liberians both at home and abroad. One would think that those among them that have seen little light would be the ones to advise the young ones going astray or first ask why is it this writer has never mentioned anything negative about the LURD-MODEL rebels and their leaders such as Sekou Damate Konneh and Kabineh Janneh whose Mandingoe-dominated LURD forces similarly occupied the Lofa region and used it as launching pad for their war?  They are narrow-minded and full of prejudice and therefore they can never look at issue from a two way standpoint. Or do they believe the LURD rebels brought “paradise” to the citizens of the county? Well, it will be foolhardy if my critics think so as the LURD fighters didn’t fight a “perfect war” either and let no one cause me to start counting my family’s human loses from the LURD-Taylor war in Lofa. But let me hasten to say that in as much the LURD battle with the Taylor groups (just like any war between two rebel groups) was characterized by catastrophe, no investigation so far has linked the LURD forces to any “systematic” purging of people of Lorma descent. That doesn’t mean I am ruling out any thought of possible malpractices such as extrajudicial killings of civilians by their forces which is unavoidable in such tribal engagements. But one thing that is sure, I believe the LURD leaders appeared determined to avoid human tragedies such as those caused by Mr. Kromah’s ULIMO-K rebels which eventually undermined their so-called “struggle.” Furthermore, before critics and adversaries crucify me they should do one thing-put all tribal biases aside and put themselves in my shoes. In this case, they may ask themselves what if Mr. Fasuekoi had been an “official” of a “Lorma-dominated rebel force” occupying Zorzor (the scene of a massacre) and eventually prevent Varfley Dolleh, a Mandingoe from further traveling with a team to the massacred area where his tribal Mandingoes had reportedly been slaughtered how would they have treated this matter?

When I see Mr. Sekou Kanneh write that “he [Fasuekoi] failed to mention the atrocities the [LDF] committed in Malamia near Voinjama,” to make things look as if I am the founder of that force or a sympathizer, it pains my heart. While it is not my style to ignore alleged “extrajudicial killings” of civilians irrespective of who/which rebel groups staged such heinous acts, I want to again emphasize that the primary goal for this series is not to repeat the excellent works of the TRC; rather, this effort as stated before is basically devoted among other things, to exposing the ULIMO-K warfare and those who continue to openly boast on social media that they “fought a just war.” In the same manner, I am left to wonder how possible is it that a rebel group that didn’t exist, as Varfley Dolleh has argued, could be the one to be blamed for carrying out a “atrocities” and why this information hasn’t been released all these years? Let my critics know there isn’t anything about the Lofa tragedies that I have made up nor did I previously provide any inaccurate information regarding the mass murdered of people in the Zorzor District area in my reaction to Dolleh’s 2002 series. The story are true and if one doubts any part on the Lofa human tragedies, they should take a visit to the Gizema area of Lofa and talk to people including offspring of Mandingoe-Lorma intermarriages. Nearly more than half of the kids that grew up in my hands in the Fasuekoi household and other young Lorma men in the various Yeala Quarters were whipped out by ULIMO-K extremists during the war. The victims were all civilians and had no connection to any militia groups and their crime was only because they bore Lorma blood and names and apart from my own family members, sources and citizens from Yeala, Zorzor, Fissebu, Borkeza and also Kiluwu, where former Lofa County superintendent, Earnest Sumo Jones hails, can corroborate this information.   

The agonies of the Kromah-ULIMO-K war weren’t restricted to Lormas alone. Gbandis and Kissis, and even Mandingoes themselves became victimized by this Mandingoe “creation” to the extent the viciousness of the Dolleh-Kromah war has found its way into new books written by Mandingoes themselves. Having read Helene Cooper’s book, The House at Sugar Beach and James Youboty’s A Nation In Terror, among many others, I think Liberians should be very grateful to have such an honest writer as author Nvasekie N. Konneh. Except for the Lofa ULIMO-K war stories, Mr. Konneh did a brilliant job in the production of his latest book titled: The Land of My Father’s Birth (Please this isn’t a review of the book-that may come in the future). In recounting part of the Kromah’s ULIMO-K war tragedy, the author writes: “Those who opposed him [Alhaji Kromah] in any shape or form were ridiculed and ostracized by the [Mandingoe] community. They were labeled as ‘enemies of Mandingo progress.’ Relatives and friends, who were bonded by family, religious and cultural ties over the years, saw themselves on the opposite sides of the divide…,” (Page 144).            

Just like his brothers now parading social media and attacking critics over the Kromah-ULIMO-K war, Konneh was onetime a Kromah “fanatic” something he’s bold to write about in the book. Heconfesses: “Just like thousands of Mandingoes, my love and support for Alhaji Kromah were very extreme. I was his fanatic and would have taken the bullets for him,” (Page 138). And even when Konneh’s mentor, late Clifford Flemister grumbles him for supporting warlord Kromah during a visit to Flemister’s family home in Monrovia, Konneh quickly replies: “whether somebody likes it or not, Alhaji is our leader,” the exact slogan people on social media have heard a hundred times from Kromha’s fans. But soon Konneh himself feels disappointment in warlord Kromah after a “petition letter” written and signed by ULIMO-K frontlines commanders (including Konneh’s own relative) “Gen. Pepper & Salt,” complaining the lack of “supplies,” is quickly twisted as an alleged “coup plot” against the rebel leader, which leads to mass arrests of the “konapers,” [coup plotters] (Pages 145-146). However, “Gen. Pepper & Salt” along with some commanders are lucky to make it to Monrovia, unharmed although they are not yet save there. As serious as it is, Mr. Konneh continued: “Those in Monrovia including Ousman Konneh, known as ‘Gen. Pepper & Salt’, were constantly harassed. Not only were these accused ‘dissidents’ harassed, their parents were also harassed for the ‘actions’ of their children. The harassment of these ‘dissidents and their relatives were carried out both in and out of Liberia” (Page 146). The Konapu’ days,” [so-called dissident era] as Konneh described in his book, appeared to have provided opportunity for Mr. Kromah and loyalists to carry out reprisal against Mandingoes including the highly respected Sheik Kafumba Konneh who refused to join their struggle, according to the book. “Sheik Kafumba Konneh,” Konneh writes, “suffered persecution…attempt were made to kill him by some overzealous supporters of Alhaji Kromah. On one occasion, some of these loyalists attempted to burn his [Kafumba’s] house. On another occasion, some attempt to burn his [Kafumba’s] car. They poured gasoline on the car while Sheik Konneh was sitting it,” (Page 146).

Those were just some side tracks but what actually scared the heck out of Mr. Konneh was when the unforgiving Alhaji Kromah declared “he [Kromah] would consider him [Pepper & salt] and his family as ‘military targets,” on the day some of the alleged “dissidents’ and their parents ‘lied down on their bellies’ and held Mr. Kromah’s feet in apology for their ‘wrongs,” (Page147).  Konneh also explains, he had gone to Mr. Kromah’s“compound that day hopping to hear something about reconciliation…What he said caused me and my senior brother, Bangalie Konneh, to flee the compound.” Now, if these observations by author Konneh aren’t enough to ring a bell or prove the severity of these matters caused by the vindictiveness of the leaders of ULIMO-K (just as I have continually cited), then there is nothing else I can do to prove my points in this discussion. The fact is Mr. Dolleh and Kromah possess an “unforgiving spirit” which Bible teaching tells me is very dangerous in anyone’s life. And Konneh even goes further and provides readers with deep insight into the agonies of scores of other relatives, as well as Mandingoes across Liberia who later withdrew their support from Kromah’s war. But one chilling aspect of author Konneh’s family story in the book that sticks to readers’ minds is how “Gen. Pepper & Salt,” in an attempt to avoid being murdered in Monrovia by Kromah’s loyalists ends up into the hands of his foes in Taylor’s Gbarnga where he eventually “died under mysterious circumstances.” 

So, the question here is, if Kromah’s Mandingoes rebels were this heartless and unwilling to spare the lives of their own Mandingoe people in their reign of terror, can anybody sincerely argue that they had conscience to spare the innocent men, women and children from a rival ethnic group like Lorma they blamed for organizing the vigilante Lofa Defense Force? I don’t think so. But again, these are the very criminals within our midst that people including my good friend, Nvasekie Konneh want us to ignore in the name of “peace and reconciliation.” It would certainly amount to pure travesty on our part, knowing the cruel manner they killed our relatives in Gizema, Lofa County to disengage these types of deliberations. Even if Mr. Konneh can’t feel my pains, can he not feel his own pains as well? Can Mr. Konneh not tell where the fault actually lies and who the aggressors are? Perhaps, what my Konneh is yet to learn about the Dolleh’s group is there isn’t anything like a middle ground to walk on with them; you are either for them or you are an enemy once you criticize their warlordand this is where their prejudice against independent journalist like me comes in because in their world, one can only become the “best journalist” so long he/she continues to write positive stories on Mandingoes and no criticism. How awkward! For those who think by ignoring the foolishness of the antagonists will bring change or ease tension and usher in tranquility are making grave mistake for they need to read the following from Faliku K. Konneh, Feb. 27, 2014, as he described me as “demon.”

“Fasuekoi is on a mission. He is writing a "history"--a history in which the villains are the Mandingos. I do not believe that he is doing this all by himself. This is a very calculated move on the part of James Fasuekoii and whoever his financiers are. They are paying for those spaces in those magazines in which his articles are being published…It's time that we compiled articles written by Brother Sekou Kanneh, Brother Manyou Bility, and the evidentiary account of how Fasuekoi is an accomplice in the death of his girlfriend, Musue Haddad, and any other facts on Fasuekoi and the Lofa/Lorma Defense force so that it can be published in some of the widely read online magazines--like The Perspective, FrontPage Agrica, TLC, etc. Remember, it has to be paid for. The sooner we can do this, the better.” Notice the strategic rebel phrase: “Fasuekoi is on a mission,” is a familiar phrase we all got used to hearing while seeking refuge in the various rebel territories during the war. Long after the war, their past has begun to gradually unravel, trapping them through their use of those “rebel slangs” that may never go away. People reading this series who were once trapped in Liberian rebel territories can attest there is no denial that Faliku’s declaration could have resulted to my instant death execution style if this encounter had taken place behind their ULIMO-K “rebel lines” those war days and that’s how many innocent lives got lost.

Unless Faliku Konneh can prove that I, “Fasuekoi” was on a mission at the time I wrote the numerous positive stories/articles about Liberian Mandingoes, why would he even entertain the notion that a soul will pay me to do a simple duty like this series to aimed at exposing those societal ills that undermined national progress and broke the country apart? Again, this outburst should give readers clue about the mindset and faulty judgment of some of these “former fighters” whose faulty judgments perhaps, led to the killing of many innocent people in the war. But few things they could possibly learn from this entire series are: First, Kromah’s fans should understand that the internet is meant for research, entertainment and the exchange of ideas and not place where war criminals and their supporters the belatedly go to beat war drum. Second, in the aftermath of any brutal war, people are left with one important tool to work with and that’s to use your brains or intelligence. One can simply do this through persuasion by advancing points to win an argument and not resort to ad hominem as we all have witnessed in recent times. The sooner Kromah’s fans understand these facts; the more harmony there will be between Liberian Mandingoes and other ethnic groupings in the country. Good luck!

Below are news stories/articles written by James Fasuekoi on the Mandingoe Community

US City Mayor Appoints African journalist to city commission:

http://bamba1news.com/us-city-mayor-appoints-african-journalist-to-city-commission/

Controversy surrounding Amara’s visit to the US: What Independent, Pro & ‘Anti-Amara’ activists are saying: http://bamba1news.com/controversy-surrounding-amaras-visit-to-the-us-what-independent-pro-anti-amara-activists-are-saying/

Al Jerome Chede, others to support Min. Konneh:http://bamba1news.com/al-jerome-chede-others-to-support-min-konneh/ Minnesota, USA: Liberia's 166th Independence Celebrated Amid Protests:

http://old.nanews.net/MAIN.asp?ID=5996&PageID=3;

http://www.frontpageafricaonline.com/old/news/general-news/6699-minnesota-liberias-166th-independence-celebrated-amid-protests.html

‘I Don't Want to Be President' - Liberia's Finance Minister Konneh Declares in U.S:

http://www.nigeriasun.com/index.php/sid/216117508/scat/0c2a4f9c423160d2

Peter Ballah’s Death: GOL Misses Another opportunity:

http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7776:peter-ballahs-death-gol-misses-another-opportunity&catid=50:special-feature&Itemid=85

Jallah K.K Kamara: A patriot, educator and people's person: http://old.nanews.net/Archive.asp?ID=5302&PageID=93


Got back to part II