Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Former Warlord George S. Boley Arrested in the USA

Source: http://www.frontpageafrica.com/newsmanager/anmviewer.asp?a=10596&z=3

FAMILY MYSTERY: "It is a mystery to me how can a man, George Boley, travel for over 20 years in and out of the United States of America undocumented with out a valid green card and passport, especially with the new security changes set up by the U.S. Homeland Security after September 11, 2001".

Kathryn Boley, Wife of George Boley, in a statement obtained by FrontPageAfrica Monday.

George Boley, who once headed a Liberian rebel movement, the Liberian Peace Council(LPC) — a group accused by some human rights activists of atrocities against civilians — is still lingering in jail in a federal detention center in Batavia, New York in the United States of America, since his arrest last month.

The arrest was the second time in three years that Boley was picked up from his home on federal immigration-related criminal charges.

Immigration and border officials detained George Boley on Jan. 15 on allegations that he is in the country unlawfully and that he committed killings in another country, according to Pat Riley, a spokeswoman for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Boley fires back but Lawsuit still pending..
Estimated to have 4,650 combatants, the LPC emerged in the wake of the 1993 Cotonou Accord, partly as a proxy force for the AFL. A predominantly Krahn organization, the group drew supporters from ULIMO and the AFL, but also from other ethnic groups who have suffered under NPFL occupation.

Despite the federal charges, Boley's family contends that U.S. authorities have relentlessly pursued the former rebel leader because of baseless allegations that he committed war crimes.

A copy of the statement served FrontPageAfrica reads:

First and foremost we would like to express our appreciation and thank all of you for your prayers and support during these trying times. Secondly, it is true my Husband is being held at the Batavia Federal Detention Facility since January 15, 2010. What we know today is he is being held on charges of “being an undocumented person in the US”.

We the family do not understand this charge. The whole world is aware in July 2006 my Husband was arrested (his Green Card and Passport confiscated) and charged with visa fraud, in October 2006 the US Government dismissed these charges and returned his valid Green Card and Passport to him. Misinformation is deadly poison. To take the truth add to it and twist it in your favor is a deliberate act to destroy the reputation of Dr George Boley, a man who has sacrificed his life and relationship with his Family in order to secure peace for all Liberians.

It is a mystery to me how can a man George Boley travel for over twenty years in and out of the United States of America undocumented with out a valid Green Card and Passport; especially with the new security changes set up by the U.S. Homeland Security after September 11, 2001. As for human rights violations this allegation is faceless and without merit. To mentally judge and convict my husband with out a fair hearing is to put to death any valid information and destroy an innocent man. Therefore we ask you to allow truth to prevail.

Thank you

Kathryn Boley

Federal authorities arrested Boley in 2006 on criminal immigration charges, alleging that he fraudulently used visas and other immigration documents to travel between Liberia and the United States. Three months after his arrest, prosecutors had the charges dismissed after they failed to take the allegations to a grand jury in a mandated time. Last year Boley sued federal officials, alleging he was wrongly arrested. That lawsuit is still pending.

Boley has also unsuccessfully sought a lawsuit against the Advocates for Human Rights.

James O'Neal of Faegre & Benson and an Attorney for Advocates for Human Rights and Member, Pro Bono Management Team for Liberian Diaspora Project told FrontPageAfrica recently that Boley’s suit against the group was unmerited. Said O’Neal: Mr. Boley brought what we believe was a wholly unmerited defamation lawsuit against Advocates for Human Rights in 2008, at a time when the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was seeking his testimony. Mr. Boley used the vehicle of the lawsuit to criticize the Advocates, and through them the TRC. Now his lawsuit has been thrown out by the court. Lies lost and truth won.”

O’Neal hinted that some of the evidence the group dug up on Boley may be in play by U.S. federal authorities. Said O’Neal: “While what is apparently now happening with Mr. Boley is an entirely separate proceeding brought by the U.S. government, we understand that some of the evidence we documented concerning Mr. Boley's role in the conflict, is now being used as part of the case against him.”

‘Don’t know what will happen, lawyer says

Continued O’Neal: “We don't know what will happen to Mr. Boley or whether criminal charges will be pursued against him. If his lawsuit was intended to intimidate the Advocates or the TRC, it failed. The cause of human rights in Liberia will not be stopped, and the process of ensuring a measure of accountability, at least among high level perpetrators, is just beginning.”

O’Neal however said that no matter how much some may squirm, deny or nitpick, the TRC's report has made the truth about Liberia's troubled history a matter of historical record. It is now up to the people of Liberia, supported by their international partners of good will, to decide what to do about it.

Boley, 60, has long been trailed by charges that he committed atrocities when he served as president of the Liberia Peace Council, a political party he formed during Liberia's bloody civil war in the 1990s.

A former City School District administrator and temporary service employee, Boley claims publicity about the allegations has prevented him from finding work.

Last year the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia, tasked with detailing possible human rights violations committed during the civil war, named Boley as one of eight people who should be prosecuted for their actions.

Boley testified at length before the commission, and the report did not detail allegations of specific crimes he committed. The commission also identified the Liberia Peace Council, or LPC, as a "significant violator group" that committed numerous war crimes. One witness claimed that the LPC roasted alive captives from opposing factions.

LPC was peaceful, Boley says
But Boley told FrontPageAfrica in a 2009 interview that his organization was peacefully focused on trying to rebuild Liberia. Other groups also used the name Liberia Peace Council, he maintained. Immigration officials would not release details about the charges against Boley, who is now being held at a federal detention center in Batavia.

He is scheduled to have a hearing later this month before an immigration judge to determine whether he should be deported to his home country. The allegations of killings are not based on the findings of the reconciliation commission, which has no prosecutorial power, Riley said. Instead, she said, immigration officials here conducted their own investigation. But even that investigation is clouded in as much mystery as the questions of what Boley did as head of the LPC.

Late last year, after returning from his father's funeral in Liberia, immigration officials told Boley they had questions about his ability to legally travel between the countries, according to Boley's son, George Boley Jr. They ordered him to a Jan. 15 administrative hearing at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility at the Peace Bridge in Buffalo.

At the hearing, he was detained on charges both that he was in the country illegally and that he committed "extrajudicial killings" — or killings outside the United States.

Immigration officials acknowledge that they did not levy those charges against Boley in November.

Immigration officials Not releasing details

Boley’s hometown newspaper, the Rochester Chronicle in Upstate New York reported Monday that Boley’s son, George Boley Jr., stated last week that there was no prosecution of his father active in Liberia, as evidenced by his father's ability to leave the country just months ago. Immigration spokeswoman Riley would not say whether there was any prosecution in Liberia planned for Boley.

"We've been talking about a war criminal a week these days, people who have allegedly done things in another country," she said. "Sometimes they are wanted in another country; sometimes they're not." Immigration officials have a unit that works with international partners to investigate alleged human rights violations. Immigration officials would not release details about the charges against Boley, who is now being held at a federal detention center in Batavia.
He is scheduled to have a hearing later this month before an immigration judge to determine whether he should be deported to his home country.

The allegations of killings are not based on the findings of the reconciliation commission, which has no prosecutorial power, Riley said.

Instead, she said, immigration officials here conducted their own investigation.

But even that investigation is clouded in as much mystery as the questions of what Boley did as head of the LPC.

Late last year, after returning from his father's funeral in Liberia, immigration officials told Boley they had questions about his ability to legally travel between the countries, according to Boley's son, George Boley Jr. They ordered him to a Jan. 15 administrative hearing at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility at the Peace Bridge in Buffalo.

At the hearing, he was detained on charges both that he was in the country illegally and that he committed "extrajudicial killings" — or killings outside the United States.

George Boley Jr., said last week that there was no prosecution of his father active in Liberia, as evidenced by his father's ability to leave the country just months ago. Immigration spokeswoman Riley would not say whether there was any prosecution in Liberia planned for Boley. Boley finally relented and did so after authorities were insistent, the younger Boley said. When he returned, immigration officials detained him for entering the country illegally without proper documentation, Boley's son said. The immigration officials already were holding Boley's documents pending the hearing, he said.

Boley’s wife: Faceless without merit

In a written statement, Boley's wife, Kathryn Boley, wrote that her husband is clearly in the United States legally. "It is a mystery to me how can a man, George Boley, travel for over 20 years in and out of the United States of America undocumented with out a valid green card and passport, especially with the new security changes set up by the U.S. Homeland Security after September 11, 2001," she wrote. "As for human rights violations this allegation is faceless and without merit."

Both claims — that Boley can't be in the country legally and that he is a war criminal — will be the foundation of the immigration case against Boley. "We have to convince an immigration court that these things happened," Riley said.

Boley's immigration lawyer, Allen Farabee, declined to comment on the arrest of her client. Boley had previously maintained that he welcomes any opportunity to prove he did not commit atrocities in Liberia. "I want to be vindicated," he said. "A serious wrong was done to my name."

Boley, a graduate of the State University College at Brockport, was a central figure during Liberia’s tempestuous civil war in the 1990s. In 1993 he formed the Liberian Peace Council, or LPC, to counter the reign of terror by Charles Taylor, whose tenure as leader of the west African nation was so brutal that he now faces trial on international war crimes.

But the LPC, despite its name, also targeted civilians who did not share the party’s politics, according to Human Rights Watch. In 1994, Human Rights Watch reported that both the LPC and its adversarial political party were “responsible for widespread looting, arbitrary arrests, beatings and extrajudicial executions.” “There were credible reports that George Boley … authorized the summary execution of seven of his fighters November 14 for harassment of civilians,” stated a 1996 U.S. Department of State report on human rights in Liberia. Boley unsuccessfully ran for Liberian president in 1997.

Estimated to have 4,650 combatants, the LPC emerged in the wake of the 1993 Cotonou Accord, partly as a proxy force for the AFL. A predominantly Krahn organization, the group drew supporters from ULIMO and the AFL, but also from other ethnic groups who have suffered under NPFL occupation.

The LPC’S strength was estimated to be some 800 fighters, organized into mobile combat units. Boley has previously stated that the LPC was formed because of “continued acts of atrocities by the NPFL in southeastern Liberia” since the Cotonou agreement. He also claimed that most of his fighters were refugees from the Ivory Coast who had been forced to flee from the NPFL. Boley has previously described the LPC as “a broad-based national entity which advocates the protection of the rights of exiled and displaced citizens and residents of Liberia as well as the restoration of constitutional democratic leadership in Liberia.”

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Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah



Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah

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