"You Pull Rope, Rope Pull Bush": Woewiyou Writes From Prison

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
July 28, 2014


Thomas Jucontee Woewiyu

“Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was one of the distinguished victims of the onslaught of the Doe regime, is now the President of the country and has been laboring to reconcile the nation while at the same time looking in the faces of the men who tortured and abused her during the heinous Doe regime. Can the American government understand how much anguish that is and the psychological steadfastness needed on the part of the Liberian Leader to bring peace to our nation?” – Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu

The family of Mr. Tom Woewiyu submitted the following letter he reportedly wrote from prison to Liberia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Jeremiah Sulunteh

Letter To The Liberian Ambassador
July 10, 2014
Amb. Jeremiah C. Sulunteh
Embassy of the Republic of Liberia
5201 16th Street, NW
Washington DC 20011
Hon. Ambassador:

I have the honor to present you my compliments and to request an urgent meeting with you at your earliest convenience. As you may be aware, I was indicted, arrested and imprisoned by the United States Government on the 12th of May, 2014 supposedly for: "Fraudulently attempting to obtain citizenship, fraud in Immigration Documents, false Statement in relation to Naturalization and perjury." These four charges constitute violation of specific laws or statutes of the United States Criminal Codes. However, in the details of the indictment the prosecutor has extrapolated the four violations to include thirteen counts, including but not limited to "war crime, crime against humanity, rape, exploitation of Khran and Mandingo people, etc, etc.

On the 21st of May, the Judge presiding over the case set the 7th of July as the date of "Speedy Trial' by Jury as required by United State laws. However, on the 12th of June 2014, approximately, 20 days after the speedy trial date was set, the same Judge, without any consultation with me or to the best of my knowledge, my lawyer who represented me at the time, issued another Order suspending the speedy trial for the following reasons:

Paragraph 2 of the Order states: "This Court has determined that the case is unusual and complex for the following reasons:"
"(a) On January 30, 2014, a federal grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania returned an indictment charging defendant with two counts of fraudulently attempting to obtain citizenship in violation of 18USC/1425; four counts of fraud in immigration documents in violation of 18USC/1546(a); three counts of false statements in relation to naturalization in violation of 18USC/1015(a) and seven count of perjury in violation of 18USC/1621. This trial is currently scheduled to commence on July 7, 2014."
Paragraph 3 of the Order also reads: "The government has advised the Court:"

"(a) The indictment's factual underpinnings encompass, among other things wartime events that took place in Liberia as far back as 25 years ago. In that matters relating to the events that transpired during a decades old civil war that took place on another continent in issue in this case, to a certain degree, this is a novel prosecution. The investigation leading to the indictment was multi-faceted. the evidence that the government intends to introduce at trial includes, among other things both ancient documents and documentary evidence from foreign sources. The documentary evidence that is part of this case, as well as the documents generated as a result of the multi-year investigation in this case, are relatively complicated. The defendant has not yet sought discovery in this case or has it been produced to him. Because of the nature of the allegations in the indictment and the novel issues in this case the government anticipates that both it and the defendant will have to painstakingly prepare for the trial." 

As contained in this paragraph of the Judge's Order, this trial is no longer about the violation of United States immigration laws as indicated on the face of the indictment. It is now about war crime and crime against humanity which happened in another sovereign country and continent more than 25 years ago.


Paragraph 3 of the indictment reads: “Doe was an authoritarian ruler, first as Liberia's "defacto leader" and later as Liberia's President. He banned political activities and used the military to suppress dissent. He cultivated patronage system that benefited his fellow Krahn and elevated members of the Mandingo tribe, previously considered outsiders in Liberia, to favored economic and political status. At the same time, Doe sidelined former allies, in particular member of the Gio and Mano tribes who helped to bring him to power, largely if not completely excluding them from political society."

This paragraph implicitly states, that the Krahn and the Mandingo tribes were so intertwined with the Doe Regime that they share responsibilities for the atrocities and heinous acts committed by the regime.

Paragraph 4 of the indictment states: The Doe administration's corruption, repressive rule and favoritism fueled resentment among many in Liberia. Consequently, in 1985, one of doe's former brigadier general returned to Liberia from exile *(Baltimore Maryland U.S.A.) and rallied Gio and Mano supporters from Liberia's army to take over the government by force. After the coup failed, Liberian soldiers loyal to Doe executed hundreds of Gio and Mano soldiers and carried out reprisal attacks that killed hundreds, if not thousands of Gio and mano civilians."

This paragraph also confirms that Doe and his hinge men killed thousands of Liberians not just Gio and Mano. The document neglected to mention among other things, the grotesque assassination of President William R. Tolbert and the show-case firing-squat execution of 13 government ministers a few weeks later. The document did not mention the following genocidal deeds of the Doe regime either:

1. The invasion of the University of Liberia by Doe Soldiers and the killing of over 75 students.
2. The work of the Doe "death squat" which killed his perceived enemies and lines the heads of the victims on the sidewalks of Monrovia.

3. The bus load of orphans that allegedly left Nimba and never to be seen again.
4. The invasion of the Lutheran Church Compound by himself and his death squat wherein all 600 refuge seekers were murder. 

Paragraph 11 of the indictment states: "During defendant WOEWIYU's tenure as NPFL Minister of Defense, the NPFL conducted a particularly heinous military campaign. It was characterized by the torture of perceived adversaries, the execution of civilians, ECOMOG peacekeepers, the forced sexual slavery and rape of girls and women, conscription of child soldiers, and the murder of humanitarian aid workers. In particular, the NPFL targeted civilians of the Krahn and Mandingo tribes whom the NPFL perceived were loyal to the former Doe government."

This paragraph of the indictment neglects to mention that during the Doe regime and from the very beginning of the Liberian conflict in 1989 to 2003 the Krahn and Mandingo had constituted themselves into several vicious armed factions that fought to sustain the regime or maintain their dominance of the society and succeeded in the overthrow of the Government of Liberia led by Charles Taylor through the use of force of arms.

Here are some of the notable and internationally recorded Krahn and Mandingo warring factions:
(1). 1990-1990 LUDF (could be off on the name but the information is factual) Comprising Krahn soldiers who constituted themselves in Free Town, Sierra Lone (under leadership of AFL generals Nimley and Bropleh) but were unable to sustain their sporadic attack on the NPFL due to leadership problems. "Who was more Krahn than the other, in order to inherit the Doe throne, was their undoing."

(2). 1990-1994 ULIMO: A Krahns military group assembled in Sierra Leone and the Mandingo military group assembled in Guinea to form this joint military force. The group later split up into two distinct armed forces as follows:

(3). 1990-1996 ULIMO "K": The Mandingo (Controlled Lofa, Parts of Bong and sporadic attacks in parts of Nimba Counties)

(4). 1990-1996 ULIMO "J": The Krahn (Controlled Cape Mount, Bomi, Parts of Margibi Counties)
(5). 1990-1996 AFL: Krahn faction Under General Bowen (Controlled, Montserrado, Parts of Margibi, parts of Grand Bassa County) and (Committed the Carter Camp Massacre according to the Amos Waco Commission Report of the United Nation).

(6). 1991-1996 LPC: Krahn Faction (Controlled, the entire South Eastern Region of Liberia, Maryland, River Gee, Grand Gedeh Sinoe and Grand Bassa Counties. At one time capture and controlled Gbarnga, Bong County, the NPFL Headquarters.

(7). 1997-2003 LURD: Mandingo Faction which succeeded overthrowing the Charles Taylor government. Originated from the Republic of Guinea. (Controlled, Lofa, Cape Mount, Bomi, Margibi, Bong, Nimba and Montserado Counties. (See International Crises Group Report, April, 2000 for the funding source of the LURD wars).

8. 1997-2003 MODEL: The Krahn faction of LURD which succeeded in the overthrow of the Charles Taylor Government. 

During this period, they controlled (the entire South Eastern Region of the Country including, but not limited to, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Sinoe, Maryland Grand Kru, River Cess and Grand Kru Counties.
I have asked to see you because first, I am a citizen, a former senior government official of the Republic of Liberia, second the content of this indictment and the declared intention of the prosecutor to try me for "war crime and crime against humanity" through a selective justice and surreptitious procedure presents a national security concern for the Republic of Liberia. 

Mr. Ambassador, you know our traditional parable that says, "you pull rope, rope pull bush." It seems to me that the American Government wants to re-open all the wounds caused by our 15 year-fratricidal war which killed almost 300,000 persons. For your information, in 1993 or so, the Geneva-Cotonu-Abuja accorded regarding the Liberian conflict granted all former combatants amnesty from prosecution. The Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord, negotiated under the supervision of the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of West Africa States also mandated a Truth and Reconciliation process as the most amicable method of resolving the Liberian Conflict. I was a prominent party to all of these processes. In 2013, the Liberian people celebrated 10 years of uninterrupted peace.

This indictment for war crime and crime against humanity relating to occurrences in the Republic of Liberia, a sovereign nation on a sovereign continent as indicated by the Judge, should be a "wake-up" call for Liberia and the African continent. The indictment by the United States Government for war crime and crime against humanity in Liberia is not intended to bring justice, peace and closure to the Liberian People. Instead, it is intended to put us back into a quandary. In the opening remarks of the indictment, it says, the Krahn and the Mandingo tribes were key component part and beneficiary of the Doe regime of terror. At the same time the indictment accuses the NPFL supposedly under my leadership of crimes against the Krahn and Mandingo tribes. That is, "LIGHTING THE FUSE ON BOTH ENDS".

For the United States to single out these two warring tribes as victims of the Liberian war disregarding the pain and suffering of the other 14 tribes of the nation in addition to other inhabitants that endured the tragedy of the 15 year war in Liberia is disingenuous and cynical to say the least.

As I have indicated in the timeline and events above, and according to the narrative of the indictment itself, the Khran and the Mandingo tribes constituted more than seven different warring factions that were responsible for some of the most hideous crimes against humanity during the Doe regime and the war. In fact, from 1997 to 2003 (6 years) they (LURD) were battled the government of Liberia during Charles Taylor's tenure as President until the government fell. Their generals and fighters victimized the entire Liberian society, including some of their own tribesmen and county mates. Remember, Nimba Mandingo vs. Lofa Mandingo; Gborbo Krahn vs Kunengbo Krahn; Nimba Krahn (Teremisine) vs Grand Gedeh Krahn.
Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was one of the distinguished victims of the onslaught of the Doe regime, is now the President of the country and has been laboring to reconcile the nation while at the same time looking in the faces of the men who tortured and abused her during the heinous Doe regime. Can the American government understand how much anguish that is and the psychological steadfastness needed on the part of the Liberian Leader to bring peace to our nation?

Enough said, Mr. Ambassador. I look forward to our meeting at which time I will share with you and the government of Liberia my own vision of the best way forward for peace and tranquility in our country.

Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu
Former President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate
cc: H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
President of the Republic of Liberia

Well said Mr. Woewiyu. Hope we can find a lasting solution to our problem with JUSTICE BEEN THE FOCUS POINT.
Sahara at 05:47AM, 2014/08/06.

War is ugly, love is lovely. Let's pray for lasting peace. Let's stop the war posturing, & silly talks about future conflicts. Can you imaging another 300k more deaths? Now, does this arrest contribute to the healing process in Liberia? or does it open up wounds that are trying to heal? who does this arrest best serve? Liberia's interest or US interest?

In this case, I think the US should simply tell this guy that he is not fit to become a citizen based on US standards or dislike or distaste for people who commit the kinds of crimes he's suspected of. Then, send him back to his country & let them deal with him. Do not even grant him any kind of refuge or harbor. However, upon this kind of lightening rod landing in his own country can spark concerns and possibly a conflict.
DAK at 09:51AM, 2014/08/16.

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