“I Refused to Testify against Taylor”

12
3264
Former Taylor bodyguard, Charles Cooper: "I was deported for other reason than human rights violations..."

Former Charles Taylor bodyguard says this is probably why he was deported.

Charles D. Cooper, a former agent of the Special Security Service (SSS) now known as the Executive Protective Service (EPS) to former President Charles G. Taylor, said he was wrongly deported from the United States of America (USA). Cooper also rejected being directly involved in the persecution of civilians and burning down of villages in Liberia.

On Friday, June 29, at a press conference in Monrovia, Mr. Cooper told journalists that he has never been enlisted in any military or faction group, neither did he ever go on the front-line to fight a war as well as ever participating in any human rights abuse activities.

The 45-year old said he was an agent of the SSS from 1994 –2006; wherein he was merely part of Special Unit of the SSS assigned specifically with former President Charles Taylor as well as the Chief of Protective Service under Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, from October 2003, to January 2016.

Cooper said throughout the testimonies during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), his name was never mentioned, and there is no report about him being involved any rights abuses.

The TRC was a court-like transitional justice body assembled after the crisis intended to address past human rights abuses. During the process, individuals (witnesses) who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences. Some of them were also selected for public or in-camera hearings.

“I want to throw this out to the TRC, the Ministry of Justice and the Civil Society Organizations, including the public to investigate if my name was ever in any human rights violations.”

“I have been lied upon, and possibly, I was deported because I refused to testify against former President Charles G. Taylor,” Cooper said.

“I was approached by one Mohammed David, popularly known as Visah, and because I refused to testify, he falsely told the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers that I am a human rights violator – which is a campaign of lies against me.”

Mr. Cooper: “I have been lied upon, and possibly I was deported because I refused to testify against former President Charles G. Taylor.”

Cooper also said he was also probably deported, because of guilt of association for being in the employed of the SSS to protect former President Charles G. Taylor.

A former elite SSS officer, who begged for anonymity told the Daily Observer yesterday that Cooper, whose nickname is ‘Charlie Charlie’ was a common SSS officer, an agent and employee trained only to protect the Presidency, while there was others, who were elite SSS officers.

“If you read the transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor,  at 9:31 a.m., Aug. 31, 2009, you will get to know some of the elite SSS officers whose names Taylor mentioned but not Cooper,” the source said.

“Some of the names the former President called were Patrick S. Korquoi, Stephen Kollie,Henry S Tolon, Davis S Wleh, Ben A. Whyte and Isaac Nyana. Others were Johnson Matthew, Emmanuel Bracewell, Charles Wright, William Taylor, Victor Raynes, David Rouhlac, Abraham T Kiadii, Samuel D. Askie, Joe Crawford and Albert Harris, not Cooper.”

“Of course the names of Benjamin Yeaten, Zwannah Johnson as well as George F. Kermee, Mary L. Daniels, Alvin T. Sumo and Jean D. Harmon, Andrew Koinah, Paul S. Wehyee, Peter Askie and Abraham Dennis were also mentioned by Taylor and some of his special (trusted) body guards,” the officer said.

Mr. Cooper is married with five children. Prior to his deportation, he was a public health officer.

It can be recalled that Cooper was deported to Liberia on June 19 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers.

The reports said ICE investigation revealed that prior to coming to the US, Cooper, while a member of the SSS and the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, was directly involved in the persecution of civilians in Liberia.

This case was litigated by ICE’s Baltimore Office of Chief Counsel with the support of the Human Rights Law Section and the Immigration Law and Practice Division and was supported by ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC).

Established in 2009, the HRVWCC furthers ICE’s efforts to identify, locate and prosecute human rights abusers in the United States, including those who are known or suspected to have participated in persecution, war crimes, genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, female genital mutilation and the use or recruitment of child soldiers.

12 COMMENTS

  1. This guy is truly embarrassing. Are you looking for sympathy from Weah or Jewel so that you can be reincorporated in the Secret Service? Your reason of being deported from the US to Liberia is simple. You overstayed your visa and again, you were caught driving while impaired (DWI). You’re the first person who’s being deported and want to challenge. Mr. Cooper, you may never be allowed in the US again and like you said, you family separation is tough, but accept the reality of of your action.

  2. GUILT BY ASSOCIATION
    Guilty by association ? Yes, if you worked in very close proximity for a security apparatus directly protecting a dictator, you are guilty by association and highly likely (especially in Liberia where Taylor’s SSS agents were or felt like they were “above the law” –> courtesy of their actions ) guilty by your actions in the “line of duty”? Probably, you could have requested reassignment or fled the country. At the time many SSS agents were made to commit crimes willingly and against their will. Again, I am not implying that all SSS agents committed crimes/ violated the people’s rights. You might have witnessed atrocities you remain silent on —> Conspiracy to conceal crime.

    Yes, you knew Taylor was a dictator and use his agents which “everones” in the commission of crimes again his enemies or the population at large. I do not know the specifics of your case, but for Heavens sake, the modus operandi at the time is too clear to everyone living here in Liberia at the time. I am not implying you are directly guilty as asserted, but til otherwise is proven, and given the gross violations of human rights in Liberia at the time , you are guilty by association til otherwise is proven.

    In the end, you worked willingly in close proximity (working for a unit directly protecting Taylor and could be asked to perform violations.—-> Now, for critics, I understand the functions of the SSS but also understand how they operated under Taylor. Many who lived here in Liberia will corroborate my position) for a repressive regime thus making you guilty by association til otherwise proven.

    Yes, I am sorry that you had to be separated from any eventual family, loved ones and friends back in the US. But, the choices we make in life today sometimes haunt us tomorrow. I really hope you are directly innocent as you are claiming. And, til you are proven directly guilty, welcome home. Home sweet home !

  3. When in our lives, will we be able to say the truth, as Liberians?
    Speak your mind, someone accuse you of looking for government job.
    I don’t know this fellow, but he doesn’t looks like common criminal. He took training to serve and protect who ever president was in the executive mansion.
    Taylor being a dictator, doesn’t require him Charles Cooper to resign his job as SSS. Do we Liberians know how many dictators around the world? Do we know how many dictators that have been propped up around the world by the great powers?

    It is not who the DICTATOR is , but who the dictators served. If you don’t served the great power? Who have to GO.

    • I assume the “Dictator” part of the your comment refers to my comment above that he is guilty by association.
      You claim he took training (I guess oath as well) to protect whoever that is President. I do agree, but don’t you understand that several laws apply? The universal human right declaration (which Liberia is a party to ) , most specifically Article 5 states :

      “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”.

      If you work repressive regime practicing such , you are guilty by association. There are other relevant criminal laws that apply to mention a few reasons why he might be deemed guilty.

      • CORRECTION
        If you work for a repressive regime practicing such , you are guilty by association. There are other relevant criminal laws that apply to mention a few reasons why he might be deemed guilty.

  4. It was the same repressive government that was in apartheid South Africa gunning down blacks and receiving top dollars from Washington, London etc…Mobutu killed his own people from 1965 to 1995. There was no problem then. As soon he told the Belgium and the American to close the copper mines in kissingani( Stanley ville) in 1995, he became the worst DICTATOR HYPOCRISY at the highest order.

  5. Guilty by association then former president Taylor should not be in prison alone. All that served should be punished because they served a dictator government. We have to stop these kind of comments. we can make Liberia better for all.

    • “Cooper also said he was also probably deported, because of guilt of association for being in the employed of the SSS to protect former President Charles G. Taylor.”
      I guess besides our analysis here, you read that part of the article. Making Liberia better has nothing to do with not speaking out!

      You wrote
      “Guilty by association then former president Taylor should not be in prison alone. All that served should be punished because they served a dictator government.”

      We are speaking of the inner/closer circle here, those that were close to the president in whatever way!

  6. We have so many people in our government that needs to be stop//// there so many killers in our government, until we do not know who to stop, but just like this man, all of those killers will be pay someday for what they did, and no bad deals will go unpunished.

  7. We, Liberians, and other in third world countries, are allowing ourselves to be used to do the dirty work for the big powers. When the deals go wrong, as is always in the case, they (the big powers), sit in the back and scapegoats us.

Leave a Reply to Oscar M.Dolo Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here