Hassan Bility is not a Terrorist
By Nvasekie N. Konneh
July 2, 2002
When situation becomes desperate for tyrants and their lackeys, they use any means to hang on to power. They will lie, deceive, cheat, intimidate, or threaten and sometimes kill as a way of beating the population into total submission. Those that show any sign of resistance are chased into exile or falsely charged and thrown into jail and if they are not lucky they are killed. It is our prayer and hope that this will not be the fate of Hassan Bility and the others arrested with him.
Deception and outright lies are the ones Taylor and his forces have used constantly in the face of massive opposition to their criminal misrule. Now Hassan Bility is one of the well-known victims of recent time. Not too long ago it was Tiawan Gongloe who was one of Bility’s lawyers last year when he was arrested for the same bogus charges.
Thanks to September 11, Mr. Taylor and company have discovered a new term to describe their critics and all those opposed to their criminal misrule. He calls them “terrorists” and their opposition to him as “terrorism.” Now they want us to believe that emails are the weapons the critics intend to use to “assassinate” Taylor. How bogus could that be? I guess they could have come out with something credible enough. Or may be there is nothing credible in their bag of tricks.
Sometime last year, Hassan Bility was arrested and “held for questioning by the NSA. At the time, Mr. Bility's computer equipment were confiscated for some time, but later cleared and released because of the lack of evidence to substantiate suspicion for which he was nabbed and his equipment seized.” Given this fact, one can conclude that the current “charges” brought up against Mr. Bility is the repackaging of the previous one that was thrown out of the court for lack of evidence. Since this was long before the September 11 terrorist attack on America, Hassan was not charge with “terrorism.” His only crime at the time was that “he was communicating” with Alhaji Kromah. As a free citizen, Hassan Bility has the right to communicate with anyone, including Alhaji since to “communicate” is not a crime specified in the laws of Liberia.
“Unlawful combatant” is another phrase Mr. Taylor and his forces have borrowed from America’s war on terrorism and are using it to describe Bility and the others arrested. This is the phrase used to describe the Afghans detainees at the Guantanamo Base, Cuba, in connection with the war on terrorism. They are called “unlawful combatants” to avoid being identified as POW which will grant them more rights under the Geneva Convention. Now this phrase is carelessly used to describe Hassan Bility, Ansumana Kamara, and Mohammed Kamara. How can you call a person a combatant when he was not caught on the battlefield with any weapon? That goes to show how confused Taylor has become and will do anything stupid to hang on when the sign everywhere is telling him something else. How come we haven’t seen the real combatants they have captured from the war front? Do they really believe that the rest of the world is so simple-minded and devoid of reasoning like they are?
I am one of those who was in constant communication with Hassan Bility and I can tell you that the email address, Info_hb_Monrovia@yahoo.com does not belong to him. It is so easy to set up an email address and send any message to it in the name of someone else. Given Mr. Taylor’s track records, it is very easy to conclude that all the email addresses mentioned are their own creation. The Information Minister said “government has been tailing Mr. Bility over the past years since government suspected him of being a collaborator with the LURD terrorists, as well as with Alhaji Kromah.” From this statement, it is easy to understand that since they could not substantiate their claims last year, they are trying so hard this time around to come out with any “concrete evidence.” Look at what the Minister has to say again, “government employed the services of experts to break the code with which Mr. Kromah communicated with Mr. Bility,” adding “the code that we broke was a very difficult one. We employed the services of experts, and apparently they have successfully communicated in this code for the better part of two years." All these bogus evidences may be the work of these “experts” the government has employed to carry out its campaign of lies and deception. What Goodridge does not know is that we are living in an information age where people are better informed and can instantly tell the difference between the truth and lies. They have to be good at lying to convince everybody that they are saying the truth.
From all my communications with Mr. Bility, he has not shown any support for LURD and what it is doing. He’s critical of what the government is doing. That’s true and many of us are, I mean most Liberians are not only critical but are also opposed to the tyrannical rule of Mr. Taylor. Similarly, most Liberians are opposed to war but understand very well that there is every justification why some Liberians have taken up arms to fight against the Taylor government. Taylor himself set the example by introducing war into the Liberian political culture. Didn’t he take up arm against the oppressive regime of Samuel Doe? It was right then but wrong now to rebel against oppression? That is what Mr. Taylor is saying and many sensible persons will object to this.
Mr. Bility, like many Liberians, does not support war. He, like many Liberians, is apprehensive about another rebel group taking over and repeating the same thing all over again. That does not mean he must shut up and go with the flow.
If they government believes it has a case, let it take the matter to the court so that the accused can defend themselves. This is exactly what the Press Union of Liberia, Reporters Without Border and several human rights organizations in the country are demanding. I hope the government will comply with the laws because it cannot be the law enforcer and lawbreaker at the same time.