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Copied below is a diary posted on Daily Kos by Michigan's own John Conyers. I have always been an admirer of Conyers for his steadfast and no nonsense approach to holding Bush and his administration accountable. Imagine what he could do to hold this administration accountable if he has the chairmanship of the judiciary committee come 2007:

Here is what he diared at DKos:

As some of you may be aware, according to the President and Congressional Republicans, a bill does not have to pass both the Senate and the House to become a law. Forget your sixth grade civics lesson, forget the book they give you when you visit Congress - "How Our Laws Are Made," and forget Schoolhouse Rock. These are checks and balances, Republican-style.

As the Washington Post reported last month, as the Republican budget bill struggled to make its way through Congress at the end of last year and beginning of this year (the bill cuts critical programs such as student loans and Medicaid funding), the House and Senate passed different versions of it. House Republicans did not want to
make Republicans in marginal districts vote on the bill again, so they simply certified that the Senate bill was the same as the House bill and sent it to the President. The President, despite warnings that the bill did not represent the consensus of the House and Senate, simply shrugged and signed the bill anyway. Now, the Administration is implementing it as though it was the law of the land.

Several public interest groups have sought to stop some parts of the bill
from being implemented, under the theory that the bill is unconstitutional. However, getting into the weeds a bit, they have lacked the ability to stop the entire bill. To seek this recourse, the person bringing the suit must have what is called "standing," that is they must show they were injured or deprived of some right. Because the budget bill covers so many areas of the law, it is difficult for one person to show they were harmed by the entire bill. Thus, many of these groups have only sought to stop part of it.

After consulting with some of the foremost constitutional experts in the nation, I determined that one group of people are injured by the entire bill: Members of the House. We were deprived of our right to vote on a bill that is now being treated as the law of the land.So, I am going to court. With many of my Democratic Colleagues (list appended at the bottom of this diary), I plan to file suit tomorrow in federal
district court in Detroit against the President, members of the Cabinet and other federal officers seeking to have a simple truth confirmed: a bill not passed by the House and Senate is not a law, even if the President signs it. As such, the Budget bill cannot be treated as the law of the land.

As many of you know, I have become increasingly alarmed at the erosion of our constitutional form of government. Whether through the Patriot Act, the President's Secret Domestic Spying program, or election irregularities and disenfranchisement, our fundamental freedoms are being taken away. Nothing to me is more stark than this, however. If a President does not need one House of Congress to pass a law, what's next?

The following is a list of co-plaintiffs on this lawsuit. I would note that I did not invite every Member of the House to join in the suit, and I am certain many, many more Members would have joined if asked. However, this was not possible for various arcane legal reasons.

The other plaintiffs include Rep. John Dingell, Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee; Rep. Charles B. Rangel, Ranking Member on the Ways and Means Committee; Rep. George Miller, Ranking Member on the Education and Workforce Committee; Rep. James L. Oberstar, Ranking Member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Rep. Barney Frank, RankingMember on the Financial Services Committee; Rep. Collin C. Peterson, Ranking Member on
the Agriculture Committee; Rep. Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member on the Homeland Security Committee; Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, Ranking Member on the Rules Committee; Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark, Ranking Member on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee; Rep. Sherrod Brown, Representing Ohio's 13th
District.

All I can say is more power to ya and I salute you sir.

I believe this point newspaper editorial captures what most observers of Gambian politics have feared all along. With a divided opposition the APRC stand to win in any given election. The opposition camp will be vying for votes from the same slice of the electorate and even though that slice left intact might be bigger than the APRC's support base, a two way split will surely guarrantee a victory for the ruling party. Here is the points editorial:

The opposition as a divided house
Thursday 27th April 2006

The selection of candidates for the Kombo East bye elections by both the NADD and the UDP/NRP coalition is an apparent indication that the split of the opposition coalition is as good as irreversible. While it is now more than two months since the split, but there were some people amongst the opposition who were still with the hope that their difference could be patched and the two factions can be brought back together.

However, with the decision to contest the bye election under separate tickets, then it is hard to see how such an objective can be achieved.This is yet another indication of that the opposition is not united and it is hard for anyone to contemplate how they can fare better under such a situation against the financial might of the APRC in any contest.Of course it is possible for anyone of the parties to win the bye elections, but it is certainly not going to be a good indicator of what is in store for them in the forthcoming presidential elections in October or the National Assembly elections in January.

When NADD was launched in May 2005 with a lot of fanfare, many supporters of the opposition were happy that they had finally found the formula to oust the APRC from power. However, when the split occurred about two months ago, many of those people felt quite despondent and let down that some of them decided to take a “holiday” like what Sheriff Dibba did in 1994 when the AFPRC seized power.

It is deja vu all over again. When you think these fellows (opposition leaders) are not obtused, egomaniacs, and will eventually get along for the sake of sanity, they go ahead and pull a stupid thing like what the point is reporting. Despondency has start setting into my optimistic pysche. I am begining to get what people have been saying all along...that the split is irreversible and that we should prepare for another half a decade of Yahya's moronic behavior. Yeah go ahead and gloat because I happened to be a slow learner.

I've finally come to the sad and ugly conclusion that every single leader of the ruling APRC party is captive to fear and motivated by the evil caprices of greed. The end result, unfortunately for the Gambia is the obscene accumulation of wealth by a small coterie of cronies, criminals and murderers that constitute Yahya Jammeh’s government and criminal empire.

Funny, isn't it, how times have changed? Once upon a time, Muslims considered avarice a sin. They will rather go to an early grave than bear false witness. In today’s Gambia, grown men and women, religious and other opinion leaders do not hesitate for a second in serving as an agent and in some cases witnesses to the cruelty of an ignorant dictator without lifting a finger or saying a word. Ansu Machine (the renowned warrior) will be rolling over in his grave watching Gambians bled to ruin as Yahya and his cronies feed their insatiable greed while religious leaders with prayer beads cower in fear. What ever happen to the believe that God is the final arbiter that they (religious leaders) keep preaching from the pulpit?
Gambians are bleeding from excessive taxation. They are bleeding from the debt burden that is incurred in their name and siphoned off to overseas banks in some of the greatest corruption debacles that has occurred since independence.

And of course, there's the literal blood, Gambians summarily executed by this government since 1994. There are so many victims and no perpetrators brought to justice. What else do we expect? The culprits of these heinous crimes are in charge of government. They pardon their own crimes, thereby becoming the judge, the jury and the executioner.
But what does the ruling party members of the National assembly do? Give the dictator more powers as if he needed more. The only time these group of people have there priorities straight always involve lining their own pockets.

Lying, conniving in the service of money and been cowardly when the interest of the country is at stake has become the trademark of every single leader of the APRC party. They help in bamboozling an agrarian, poor and illiterate population in voting against their own interest. They coerced and punish those that see their evil ways and refuse to oblige. How, one might ask do you put a wrench into this monkey’s wheel?Well for starters opposition politicians in this election year need to come together and form a common front. I know that is a common cliché, but we have to keep harking on it until they listen. A significant ingredient of representative democracy is the leader listening to the electorate and as such demands for opposition unity should be a consistent clarion call of all that seek to see a peaceful end to Yahya Jammeh’s tyranny.

Second they need to ask Gambians what will make them put a leader and a party in charge of government when all their actions and deeds undermines and arguably abolishes that very institution. They need to drive home the fact that Yahya Jammeh and his APRC uses government to further their evil and greed at the detriment of the nation.

Furthermore, they need to point to the obvious fact that Yahya Jammeh has become a master at outsourcing blame. He castigates Gambian youth and calls them lazy without taking responsibility for the miserable economic environment that his policies wrought. The economic failure that is caused by his inept leadership is shifted to the victims. It is their (the youth’s) fault that reliable electricity and other infrastructure needed for economic development are virtually non-existent in the Gambia. Yahya Jammeh and his APRC can be summed up as devoted to lying to, stealing from and killing Gambians.

Opposition leaders need to take heed. Quit whining about your petty differences and close ranks. It's time to talk straight to the Gambian people and ask them to make sacrifices for the future of a nation. The Nepalese opposition just pulled a great feat and there is no reason to believe that Gambians couldn’t do the same.

Readers of this blog are used to my continous and relentless rants against the tyranny and dictatorial rule of Yahya Jammeh. The Gambia is a police state and the commanding officer of the state happens to be a state unto himself. Critics might contend that there are other branches of government that could curtail this extreme executive power. But the rubber stamp "people's representatives" that is the Gambia national assembly have decided to abdicate their roles and give Yahya Jammeh the power to fire them even though they were hired by the people to work for the people. They've decided by their vote in ammending the constitution that they are not worthy of the trust and power bestowed on them by the electorate. By now you are wondering what is irking him so much. Well here is the story that got my blood boiling:

Jammeh Empowered to Dissolve National Assembly at Will
Monday 24th April 2006
By Abba A S Gibba

A president in The Gambia can now dissolve the National Assembly “anytime
he or she deems it necessary”.
This was made possible after members of the National Assembly approved on Thursday the proposed amendment to section 96 of the Constitution of The Gambia.

“The amendment to section 96 of the constitution is that notwithstanding the provision of subsection (1), the President may, in the public interest, declare that a general election of all members of the National Assembly shall be held on such date as he or she shall determine,” the Secretary of State for Justice, Sheikh Tijan Hydara, said at the National Assembly.

The proposed amendment to Section 96 of the Constitution states: “Notwithstanding the provision of Subsection (1), the President may, in the public interest, declare by order published in the Gazette, that a general election of all members of the National Assembly shall be held on such date as he or she shall determine.

Secy Hydara said there is however a clause in the proposed amendment that states that “the President shall not exercise his or her power under this subsection if the time for a general election of all the members of the National Assembly under subsection (1) is less than eighteen months.”In moving the motion, Hon. Hydara said the amendment is in the public interest of the nation. “It is only in the public interest of The Gambia that established institutions of government should be overhauled to give it a new momentum, a new sense of direction, a new lease of life, or to re-position it to meet other greater challenges, he added.

However, when the motion was moved for the approval of the amendment, it provoked a bitter argument between the political divide in the National Assembly. It was nonetheless put to a vote and the results were as follows: the yes vote was 29, the no vote was 3, the absentees were 17, and 1 person abstained.

Is Secretary Hydara out of his fucking mind? What public interest is served by giving the executive such outrageous powers? Why is intelligent folks like Hydara so evil? why do they use their intellect to further subjucate our people? Evidently he hasn't learn much from the humiliation Fafa Mbye suffered at the hands of this moron. Fafa ...a very intelligent lawyer by any standards promulgated some of the most dracion decrees for the AFRC as justice minister and ended up getting his assets confiscated under those same decrees after falling out with Yahya. The same fate awaits hydara. The most outrageous thing about Hydara's later stunt is that he used a cowered and semi-literate group of politicians to change a significant provision of the Gambia constitution, thereby and in the process bestowing monarchical powers in the hands of a full blown dictator...Yahya Jammeh. Will he use it? You betcha and soon.

But come to think of it, the national assembly members ( opposition been the exception) has been doing crap shoot for their constituents. They are a bunch of no good, free loading leeces feeding on the Gambian tax payer. They have been doing what Yahya demand they do all along. Passing bills, amending the constitution to suit 'Tony Daba". Now the chicken has come home to roost. After getting them to change the law of the land to his liking, Yahya has decided that he doesn't even need the bogus semblance of checks and balances that the national assembly portray. The obliging 'people's representatives' gladly gave dear leader the power he is had all long ... the power to fire them as well and at will. What a cowardly act by a bunch of selfish people.

Is it Fear?

Opposition leaders/figures in the Gambia think that by keeping their mouths shut or releasing vague condemnation of a faux pas of a coup cooked up by Yahya Jammeh and his hired goons will earn them some brownie points. Furthermore letting Gambians see the debacle that is Yahya Jammeh’s rule in all its glory will earn them dramatic gains come October. But alas no. They are sadly mistaken. The dictator smell fear and is going for the jugular starting with that coerced ten thousand solidarity march.

The corrosive cynics in Gambian opposition land keep whispering in the ears of our purported opposition figures to take the high road and not get into an altercation with what one Gambian commentator going by the pseudo “ bulfalleh” called “Doof” (meaning psychotic or crazy person), that taking a strong stance will only earn them the wrath of the moron that is Yahya Jammeh. So they (the opposition) release press statements but generally remain silent about gross human rights abuses dealt to the alleged coup plotters that continues to this day. Instead of calling for the constitutional rights against self-incrimination of the alleged coup plotters while they are paraded on national television incriminating themselves under duress, our learned opposition parties send out press releases condemning an event they have no evidence even happened.

What is responsible for such a lackluster performance amongst a group of people vying to bring democracy and the rule of law to the Gambia? Why are they silent and not demanding that the government respect the rights of defendants? Fear some one told me is the culprit. What else? Because these guys (opposition leaders) are savvy enough to know that silence in a political scene doesn’t motivate your supporters. Gambians understand long ago that Yahya doesn’t know crap about governance, but what they have not seen is backbone from the opposition camp. Every time they have a chance at scoring a touchdown, (using a football metaphor), they punt the ball.

Meanwhile, Yahya sensing the fear continues to ruthlessly imprison and torture people at mile two prisons. Disappearances and rumors of summary executions of Gambians continue to dominate our society since the announcement of the alleged coup, reminiscent of the November 1994 event. This would have been the shining moment for a credible opposition force. Demanding the treatment of Gambians humanely no matter the grievousness of their alleged crime should be the mantra of the opposition not joining a press release galore castigating an event the circumstances of which is dubious at best.

We have an opposition leadership that is scared of offending the government and by extension never inspire or motivate their supporters. Yahya Jammeh knows this and that is why he does what he does. Recent events in Nepal shows that a committed and steadfast opposition leadership can make a monarch shake in his boots and reverse his callousness just by inspiring and motivating a population that is tired of been victimized. But Gambian opposition leaders are simply for lack of a better metaphor afraid. And that has to change and soon for the sake of our country.



























This is what it has come to. The bamboozlement that this guy pull on Gambians is beyond me. I mean what the heck is that man thinking? What is going through his mind as he squat there while the emperor perform his idea of mystic healing. At a certain point we will just have to face the fact that many members of our society are just gullible. Check out the rest of the photos here

Talking of gullibility, what in God's name has gotten into Sherriff Mustapha Dibba? How low will Dibba stoop? The cowardly behavior of the man lately is a new trait. Maybe I am a bad judge of character. But I am of the belief until lately that it takes someone with cojones to oppose Dawda Jawara at the zenith of his power and abandon along the way your own power and prestige. But that was exactly what Sheriff Dibba did and most of my native Badibu stood with their native son and take a hit for it when it comes to development. Badibu still has the same feeder roads that were built during the colonial days. Most of these is due to their opposition to the PPP and by extension the APRC governments until Sheriff Dibba jump ship and join the later, swaying along the way many of his supporters to vote for the APRC.

Politics is a blood sport and one can even forgive Sheriff Dibba for aligning with the APRC, but apologizing to a moron for infringing on your freedom without cause is cowardice. That is the peeve I have with Mr. Dibba. He is free to align/associate himself with any legal political arrangement, but he is abetting and condoning an atmosphere of lawlessness by actions like this:


The former Speaker of the national assembly, Mr. Sherrif Mustapha Dibba paid a courtesy call on President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh at State House today. Mr. Dibba, who was speaker of the assembly until a week and a half ago when he was removed for alleged involvement in the failed March 21st.Coup attempt went to State House to pay his allegiance to President Jammeh. During an emotional meeting in the cabinet room, Mr. Dibba thanked the president for the opportunity to have served as Speaker of National Assembly. He also pledged his allegiance to President Jammeh and the ruling APRC Party. Mr. Dibba also made it clear that he will fully support President Jammeh during the coming months when the campaign heats up. He also thanked the president for his visionary leadership and commended the great work he has undertaken since taking the realm of power.


The kind of fear Yahya Jammeh instil in grown men is beyond comprehension. Yep you read it right. He locked Dibba up for taking part in a bogus coup that never happened, took his job from him and what did he get in return? An apology off-course...

Raki Web has the GRTS audio transcripts of the "alleged coup plotters" confessing to their roles in the alleged plot. The incoherent nature of their confessions is mind buckling. Listening to the audio I can hear a voice in the background supplying names. Somebody is coaching them to say what they say.

Click here to listen to the audio.

North American Airlines, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of World Air Holdings, Inc. WLDA, will inaugurate weekly scheduled service linking Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) to Banjul, The Gambia and Accra, Ghana beginning June 4, 2006, pending approval from The Gambian government. This new service will operate non-stop to Banjul and continue to Accra.

North American is the only U.S. airline serving Africa with scheduled service currently operating non-stop between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Accra.

"There is significant demand in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area for direct flights to Africa, and North American's Boeing 767-300ER service will greatly reduce flying time between BWI and the cities of Banjul and Accra in West Africa," said Jeff MacKinney, president of World Air Holdings, Inc., at a news conference today at BWI to announce the new service. "Customers also will appreciate our new Business Class service with all-leather seating, 55-inch seat pitch, 135-degree recline and 100 hours of on-demand, in-flight entertainment.

"Maryland Lt. Governor Michael S. Steele said, "The State of Maryland thanks North American Airlines for providing this new scheduled air service from BWI Marshall to West Africa. It will create new opportunities and advance the exchange of goods, services, and ideas. The airline's weekly flight will foster economic and cultural exchange between the State of Maryland and the countries of West Africa."With the launch of Baltimore/Washington service June 4 and an additional flight at JFK beginning June 3, North American will have a total of three weekly, direct flights between the United States and West Africa."We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from the Maryland Aviation Administration and the State of Maryland, which have committed to jointly promote this new service with North American through marketing efforts," MacKinney said. "We look forward to providing this important link that many customers want between the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area and West Africa."The flight schedule effective June 4 will be: ....GhanaWeb
BWI to Banjul/Accra -
Depart BWI - 11:55 p.m. Sunday -Arrive Banjul - 12:15 p.m. Monday
Depart Banjul - 1:15 p.m. Monday - Arrive Accra - 4:30 p.m.
Monday
Accra/Banjul to BWI -
Depart Accra - 11:30 a.m. Sunday - Arrive Banjul - 2:45 p.m.
Sunday
Depart Banjul - 4:15 p.m. Sunday - Arrive BWI - 8:45 p.m.
Sunday


I hope their services will not be as bad as Ghana airways. This is a profitable route and as long as they treat their customers right, most of the people taking the european route to get to Gambia will opt for this much shorter route. Heck I will be one of their customers sometime this year if their service is any good.

Our little King George has his pep rally intruded by a patriot today. I don't think George Bush is stupid. I think the man is arrogant ... you know the type that don't have a clue the struggles that other people go through on a daily basis. If you have daddy and his friends propping you up at every turn, without any repercusions, that is how you turn out. Life becomes a long joy ride for you.

I have a hero somewhere in North Carolina today. His name is Harry Taylor. Below is a transcript of the comments he made to bush. Watching and listening the video, I caught myself saying: yeah beyatch how you like it? The transcripts are courtesy of Thinkprogress :



Q: You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that. But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food. If I were a woman, you’d like to restrict my opportunity to make a choice and decision about whether I can abort a pregnancy on my own behalf. You are


THE PRESIDENT: I’m not your favorite guy. Go ahead. (Laughter and applause.) Go on, what’s your question?

Q: Okay, I don’t have a question. What I wanted to say to you is that I — in
my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my
leadership in Washington, including the presidency, by the Senate, and


AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Booo!

THE PRESIDENT: No, wait a sec — let him speak.

Q: And I would hope — I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and
common sense have been left far behind during your administration, and I would
hope from time to time that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of
yourself inside yourself. And I also want to say I really appreciate the courtesy of allowing me to speak what I’m saying to you right now. That is part of what this country is about.

THE PRESIDENT: It is, yes. (Applause.)

Q: And I know that this doesn’t come welcome to most of the people in this room, but I do appreciate that.

THE PRESIDENT: Appreciate –

Q: I don’t have a question, but I just wanted to make that comment to you.

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate it, thank you. Let me

Q: Can I ask a question?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m going to start off with what you first said, if you don’t mind, you said that I tap your phones — I think that’s what you said. You tapped your phone — I tapped your phones. Yes. No, that’s right. Yes, no, let me finish.I’d like to
describe that decision I made about protecting this country. You can come to whatever conclusion you want. The conclusion is

I’m not going to apologize for what I did on the terrorist surveillance program, and
I’ll tell you why. We were accused in Washington, D.C. of not connecting the dots, that we didn’t do everything we could to protect you or others from the attack. And
so I called in the people responsible for helping to protect the American people and the homeland. I said, is there anything more we could do.

And there — out of this national — NSA came the recommendation that it would make sense for us to listen to a call outside the country, inside the country from al Qaeda or suspected al Qaeda in order to have real-time information from which to possibly prevent an attack. I thought that made sense, so long as itwas constitutional.

Now, you may not agree with the constitutional assessment given to me by lawyers — and we’ve got plenty of them in Washington — but they made this assessment that it was constitutional for me to make that decision.

I then, sir, took that decision to members of the United States Congress from both political parties and briefed them on the decision that was made in order to protect
the American people. And so members of both parties, both chambers, were fully aware of a program intended to know whether or not al Qaeda was calling in or calling out of the country. It seems like — to make sense, if we’re at war, we ought to be using tools necessary within the Constitution, on a very limited basis, a program that’s reviewed constantly to protect us.

Now, you and I have a different — of agreement on what is needed to be protected. But you said, would I apologize for that? The answer — answer is, absolutely not. (Applause.)

Here is a video of the exchange...Crooks and Liars




Daba Marena, 4 Others EscapeWednesday 5th April 2006The Office of the Inspector General of Police has yesterday issued this paper a press release, informing the general public that during the process of transferring some of the suspected March 21st coup plotters to Janjangbureh Prison in the Central River Division, former NIA Director, Daba Marena, alongside others have managed to escape.

Among those who also managed to escape, according to the release, included Lt. Ebou Lowe, 2nd Lt. Alieu Ceesay, Warrant Officer, Alpha Bah and Staff Sgt. Manlafi Corr.According to the release, the vehicle in which the escapees were being transported had crashed into a ditch and almost somersaulted.

“The five men are still at large and believed to be on the run,” the release added.The cooperation of the general public in volunteering any information that would lead to the arrest of the above mentioned fugitives, it was stated in the release, is sought.“The public is also reminded that any person(s) who harbour(s) or render(s) any assistance to these suspects is/are liable of an offence, and would be dealt with accordingly,” added the release.“The general public is hereby assured that there is no cause for alarm as the situation is under control,” the release concluded.... Point

And today grapevine has it that the men might have be summarily executed and this whole escape episode is the government's cover story. It is sad and tragic, but I am inclined to believe that was in fact what happened. How in God's name can five unarmed men escape from their armed guards? We are not told what happened to the guards. Are they in cohorts with the prisoners? I seriously doubt that. The last time and only time I saw Daba Marenah...circa 1996, the man doesn't come anywhere close to physical fitness by any definition. But the government will want us to believe that he managed to get away from some armed young thug. If that is not an insult to our collective intelligence then what is it? Another thing that bugs me about this tragedy (that is what it is) is why are they transfering these men to Janjanbureh? Mile two central prisons is closer to the courts...oh forget about it. I guess transfering them to Janjabureh is a perfect cover for their sick and vile plans.

I am not saying these men are dead, but the story emerging is eerily similar to that murderous rampage the Gambia witness in November of 2001, when several fine men were brutally murdered by Yaya and his cronies. Here is how Captain Sarr going by the pseudo Ebou Colley narrated that incident on Gambia-L:

KB Dampha, I am pleased but equally saddened that you asked about Gibril Saye or Lieutenant Saye. Pleased in the sense that his case needs to be told which I shall attempt to do the way I understand it. But am also quite sad to remember every thing about this fine soldier who was too good to die the way he did. Everything you mentioned about this soldier, especially his devotion and love to promote sports in the GNA-had a keen hand in football, basketball, volleyball and everything-made him more so a victim to be mourned and wept for until that day when his bodyis exhumed from that toilet pit and given a decent burial.

We can classify Saye as the real soldier with difference. He was nice, respectable and highly competent. But above everything, the young man was soft hearted, couldn't hurt a fly when it comes to killer instincts that we saw among the ranks of the army since 1994. The guy had conscience and would rather die than see the truth twisted and remain indifferent to it like so many APRC lackeys we see today. One of the reasons I later learnt for the AFPRC's decision to eliminate him was among other things his constant challenge to all of them over our detention at the central prisons without any credible reason or explanation for it. I understand he had openly and constantly protested to the council membersto try us if they had anything against us or set us free.

But death row at Mile Two prisons was not, as far as he was concerned, a place for good officers like us. He had even gone against all odds one day by coming to the prisons to see us with encouraging words to the effect that they were working hard for our freedom. He had brought us provisions and toilet articles as well. It was shocking to learn few days later that Saye was dead.

So you were right Dampha in stating that the 11th November event found me in jail. About thirty-five of us were detained for nothing we did. But I can still remember how devastated Saye's family was over the death of the man who solely provided for them. They even had to send a secret inquirer at Mile-Two prison to find out whether Saye was detained with us. His father cannot still get over what he new was a murder of his son, because he saw his son when he was leaving for work the morning after the so-called abortive counter coup. Soldiers who were present at the camp that day also took the trouble to go to the family house and explained to them what happened at Yundum that weekend afternoon.

I personally conducted my private investigation over the case and came out with the concrete evidence that these men were murdered when they least expected it from these cowards. A man like Saye would have never dreamt about Sana Sabally taking a direct role in his slaughtering. They were very close job associates, sharing the same office where Saye was his deputy in the heavy-weapons platoon. They were always together in their small office by the fuel storeroom. Before the coup one would easily mistaken them for brothers given the way they used to hang closely together. On the flip side however I think that was the reason why Sabally freaked out after the 11th November massacre. Killing a human being out of no justifiable reason could be psychologically very traumatic to the mind of the killer but when the relationship between the killer and the victim was bonded by that human factor bordering on friendship and love, the tragedy turns into a clinical nightmare. Anyway, that's another trivial story that I may come back to in later discussions. But as I said I started my investigation about 11th November in the jail with special interest in Saye's case. The first opportunity I had to know what exactly happened was when in February surviving soldiers arrested and accused of complicity in the counter coup were brought to Mile-Two prisons under heavy armed guard.
The notorious Staff Sergeant Kanyi was part of the guards. They had to be transferred from the Yundum cells to death row at Mile Two. They were WO-2 ATrawelleh, Sgt. N kabareh, Sgt. S. Manjang Cpl.A.Jallow, Cpl. M. Saidykhan, L/CPL M.O. Njie, L/CPL K.Kamara and PTE. B. Manneh.

When they were first brought in, they were so much convinced of being lesser criminals than we were that for a while they refused to say anything pertaining
to what bought them there. Every one of them thought his arrest or detention was a mistake because, as far as they were concerned, they did not have a clue about any organized counter coup as such. As a result they all thought sooner rather than later they were going to go home.

Then on the 22nd February 1995, each of them received a letter from Baboucarr Jatta's office (then army commander) warning them to brace up for a general court martial scheduled to start on 25th February1995. That was to say that they had barely thirty hours to face a court martial on charges of treason. For their defense, they were not allowed to have any representation from professional legal officers or practitioners. The following officers' names were forwarded to them as the only available persons they could choose their legal representatives from: Captain M.B. Sarr, Captain S. Fofana, Captain JP Jasseh and Lt. Seckan. These were men who were big time legal illiterates. For the prosecution however, Justice B.Akamba a Ghanaian solicitor was the head of the team. It was clear to all the accused that it was after all a kangaroo court martial that awaited them and they also knew that Baboucarr Jatta was a genius at it. It was a lost course to all of them. That was the time they really started talking. By the time they were hastily tried, found guilty and all sentenced to nine years imprisonment with hard labor, they had told us everything they witnessed and knew about the murder of their colleagues.

Most of them were arrested after Barrow, Faal and Nyang were killed but well before Saye was arrested. They were in the Yundum cells when Saye reported for work the following morning and was placed under arrest by the military police. Every clothes he was wearing (he was in working uniform) was taken off him and was left with only his underwear before the military police forced him to join them in the cells. He was stunned and tried to ask for explanation but was simply told that the orders came from the council members of the government. Who were they? Of course the cowards: Yaya Jammeh, Sana Sabally, Edward Singhateh, Sadibou Haidara and Yankuba Touray.

Anyway like all of them who were detained Saye had felt that the error would be corrected and that he would soon be set free. Then the next day while Major Frazer Joof, commander of the military police unit was taking their statements at the military police office, they received orders to stop the investigation and send them back to the cells. They were informed that the council members were at the officer's mess discussing their fate. It was lunchtime, so they decided to have their meals. Half way in their eating they heard some strange movements out side. Then a voice they could not recognized started calling for all those officers arrested to come out now. Sorting out the officers from the other ranks was, according to them, very scary .
All the officers were handcuffed the moment they stepped outside. Then they loaded them like sheep in the back of an army Land Rover and covered them with tarpaulin. The windows of the cells at Yundum were not quite high, so those in the cells could clearly view the activities going on outside. It was from there that they saw the convoy of council members departing with the officers including Saye. Baboucarr Jatta was with them too.

For two to three hours they sat in silence praying and hoping that things were not
really what they thought they were, until they heard the convoy roaring back into the camp with the green tarpaulins all soaked in blood. They drove them back to the toilet area where they stayed for another twenty to thirty minutes. Then they came back and called for Sgt. E.M. Ceesay and Sgt. Basiru Camara to follow them to the back. Few minutes later they heard burst of automatic gunfire twice. They were the last two to be murdered.

It was a nightmare of unprecedented proportion that shocked every person with human emotion that evening. The second part of my investigation, which filled in the blank spaces left by the accused men, was completed when I was freed from detention after ten months. After being released and reinstated back to the army, I eventually became very close to Baboucarr Jatta who in his non-stop effort to clear himself of any wrong doing that day told me the missing details. Anyhow taking stock of what Jatta had in mind could be extremely elusive. Sometimes he would echo as if
Lt. Barrow had really planned a coup; but at other time it is as if, the AFPRC government, in order to eliminate the officers and soldiers who felt they betrayed the nation and the army, framed everybody.

For example when Lt. Barrow was arrested that night, Jatta's explanation was that he had found him surrounded by Sabally and his guards after he was severely beaten up. He said that Sabally showed him a list of names of government officials Barrow and his partners had planned to execute if they had succeeded. His name Jatta was on top of the list.

But he said upon scrutinizing the paper he had discovered that the list was forged to justify their desire to execute them. As a matter of fact, he confirmed the forgery in the paper when he noticed that his own name on top was quickly scribbled in pencil while the whole list was in ink. He said he took the list from Sabally and walked up to Barrow and asked him why he wanted to kill him. But as soon as Barrow started swearing that he did not mean to kill anybody, Sabally turned around and hit him on the mouth with the wooden butt of his AK47 rifle, breaking all his front teeth. "The torture they subjected Barrow and Faal to", Jatta had said, "even if they were not shot and killed finally, they would have most likely died from their injuries".

Jatta also explained how all those arrested were later taken to Mile-Two prisons first and then to Fajara Barracks that night for execution during which a good number of them took the risk and ran away into the dark. Almost all of them escaped to Cassamance including Lt. Minteh, Lt. Jarju Lt. Bah Lt. L.F. Jammeh, Sgt Jadama, Sgt. Joof and others.
The dash for freedom happened when the captives were forced in line at the middle of the field and then ordering some selected soldiers to open fire on them in a typical military execution style. Three times the order was given, and three times the soldiers aimed and fired above the heads of the victims. Then Edward Singhateh soon got frustrated with the firing team, walked up to where Barrow was standing, held him by the wrist, pulled him away from everyone and then fired two shots at him. One bullet hit Barrow on the leg and the fatal one went through his ribs. He fell down on the ground kicking and moaning until his whole body was reduced to weak involuntary twitching of his muscles here and there.” It was then that everybody woke up to the reality that they were dealing with real killers", said Jatta.

There was total chaos. Some running for their lives others dumb founded by Singhateh's action while most of the soldiers suffered total shock. However, Faal was unable to move because of the injuries he had sustained that crippled him altogether.
The bullet that finished him was fired from the late Sadibou Haidara's handgun. After that Staff Sergeant Kanyi was left with his sadistic pleasure of pumping more brass into poor Faal's body. However let us not forget that in the heat of all this commotion, Lt. Gibril Saye was at home perhaps helping his wife nurse the three-week old son they just had. So to even say that he was seen that night around anywhere the coup was staged was ridiculous much more being killed in a firefight that night as the cowards tried to sell to the world. With the number of soldiers supposedly killed in that single incident that night, it is practically impossible or mind boggling to imagine that it was a fire fight where all the enemies were shot and killed while no one in the friendly forces got a scratch on him.

That must have been the cause of the bitterness from Saye's family members especially from his dad. It should have also been a wake up call to the entire Gambian population that the so-called soldiers of difference were nothing but sadists with death. But as Dampha rightly put it the civilian population in most cases hardly show any interest in what happens in the army or have little sympathy to the soldiers in active service. The general concept is that they are all the same, so whatever may happen among them good or bad is their own business. On the contrary, most soldiers are ordinary people, the typical Gambian type who sees his work as a source of earning income.
Although the salary is very limited, the majority works hard to manage their lives with it, get married, raise and support good families hoping to survive the danger of being killed in the job or avoid the evil of killing unnecessarily until such time when they finish their signed contracts and leave for something better. However, talking about the summarily execution at Yundum in which Saye was murdered Jatta had explained it all in the way he experienced it. As it was weekend, he said he was at home when he received a call from an officer at Yundum Barracks reporting the presence of the council members at the officers' mess. And the way things appeared they did not seem to mean any good towards the arrested officers and soldiers in the cells. He immediately drove to the camp and found them in the mess as reported. When he entered, they instantly stopped talking.
But after a short while they informed him of their decision to execute everybody in the cells for their role in trying to overthrow their government. According to Jatta, he tried to talk them against the idea in every way to no avail. At one time he said he almost got Sabally, the vice-chairman then, to understand, but Singhateh called Yaya at the state house to inform him about the situation. When Singhateh returned from making the call at an office close to the mess, he said that Yaya's decision was final-death for all the officers. That was when everybody moved out to get the officers from the cells. It was lunchtime just like the survivors inside the cells explained it later at Mile Two.

Anyway everything was the same except that those in the cells missed what happened in the killing process. When the officers were handcuffed and covered with tarpaulin in the back of the Land Rover, Staff Sergeant Kanyi was ordered to ride with them at the back. By the time they arrived at the execution ground behind Njamby Forest, Kanyi had severely hurt most of them with bayonet stabs all over their bodies. He was that instruction to Kanyi originated from Singhateh.

Jatta had claimed to have followed them all the way to the killing field to put more pressure on them and to still try to talk them out of it. Well, he must have done a perfectly disgusting job in convincing them not to kill, anyway. The officers were as soon as they arrived at the ground lined up in a firing-squad formation to be shot. It was another tense moment where it appeared as if everyone was waiting for the other person to commence the shooting. Then as if it was an accidental discharge from Kanyi's weapon who was standing very close to Singhateh, he fired straight at the officers hitting Saye and killing him instantly. After that, it was a matter of finishing the rest since one had already died. It was the final green light for the butchering orgy to start.

Jatta went on to explain how confused the council members felt when the killing was all over. They were altogether confused with what to do with the bodies. They finally arrived at the stupid decision to have their guards bury the corpse in the bushes somewhere. Jatta said he talked them against that for fear that people will soon find the bodies. That was how they were eventually taken to Yundum Barracks, to the toilets. He talked about how Sgt. E.M.Ceesay and Sgt. Basirou Camara were also killed that day.

He could particularly remember Lance Corporal Batch Jallow, Singhateh’s driver at the time pulling the trigger on those two. He further gave the gruesome details of how Saye's long legs (he was about 6ft. 8ins. tall) could not fit in the ditch together with the others and how Kanyi and co used a machete to cut off his legs before force-fitting the body in the mass grave. It was the mother of all evil that I know the culprits will account for someday. It is hard to comprehend how brutal these demons were on people who did not hurtanyone in their existence. Why was it impossible for anyone among them to stand up and say that this must stop, for it is all-wrong? Where was god in the hearts of these GAMBIANS?

Jatta said Saye's father made a final attempt to know about the fate of his son after Sana Sabally and Sadibou Haidara fell victims of their own creation on the 27th of January 1995. He had gone to the ministry of defense to ask Singhateh but the old man was referred to his office at the army headquarters. All that the father wanted to know was whether his son was dead or alive. He said he frankly told him to give it up in ever seeing his son alive again because he was really dead.The old man, he said, thanked him for the information and left with high emotions. Now back to where I stopped in my last piece COUP IN GAMBIA.

For a brief flashback, I was part of the team of the American guests visiting the vice president's office when a GNA officer at the state house told me about the soldiers at Yundum Barracks on their way to Banjul to overthrow the PPP government. However, because of my duty that day to escort the guests upstairs to Mr.Sahou Sabally's office, I tried to calmly perform it without raising any alarms. Yet I was very worried. The whole thing was really scary. Upstairs, Mr. Sabally welcomed the team in few nice words and then said. "Gentlemen, I am afraid to inform you that we just received a report that the soldiers at Yundum Barracks were on a rampage again”. He had sounded as if the matter was a familiar thing that may die out soon.

It was pretty much possible that Mr. Sabally had thought that it was one of those demonstrations from Yundum again which the TSG could stop like they did before.
Whether Mr. Sabally understood the imbalance of power between the two forces
caused by the Nigerians lately could be anyone’s guess. Whatever he was thinking
at that moment, he appeared very calm about the matter. Anyway Mr. Winters the
ambassador before stepping into the office immediately asked whether it was not
better for them to go back to the ship until the situation was under control then they come back.

The vice-president insisted that there was no need for that. He told them to stay indicating that it was possible that their help may be needed. While they stepped into the office, I took permission to go and find out what was going on. It was granted. Downstairs, the same officer who first announced the trouble at Yundum was still at the spot I left him. I wanted him to tell me more about what he had heard and whether it was not mistaken for the exercise rehearsal the GNA was supposed to hold with the American marines that morning.
It was not a rehearsal or anything like that. The way they got the report, the soldiers had broken into the armory sharing all the weapons among them and were coming down to Banjul. Asked whether names of any leaders were mention in the report, he said no. I did not know whether it was only the other ranks again like the past two demonstrations before or whether the officers were part it this time. I looked at the state house environment again especially the security situation and felt very insecure there. I had my office there and had been working there for almost two years but the officers and other ranks of the presidential guards were like clowns.
These people never trained, did not understand section, company or battalion battle drills. They did not know the difference between camouflage and concealment in the language of battlefield tactic. Combat fitness did not exist in their vocabulary. They were overfed, better paid than all the security forces in the country, spoiled and generally very rude towards GNA officers. Their only reserved powers were linked to the crazy "jujus" they carried in abundance making think that they were bulletproof charms. The charms were only for bluffing, because if they had strongly believed in those powers the majority would not have thrown their weapons at the last minute and jumped over the tall state house fence and disappeared into Banjul.
Those who remained, Musa Jammeh and others, simply opened the gates and
surrendered. But how could we blame them if their main commander who should have taken charge of the critical situation Captain Lamin Kaba Bajo chose to abandon the camp and joined former president Jawara on board the USS Lamour County?

What was there to protect in a president who had lost his nation? Perhaps if he had
stayed the majority of his men would not have had the nerve to run away with their tails between their legs. What else would you expect from such men, anyway? I knew that staying with the state guard was unwise or even suicidal. Beside, they only had AK47 rifles and most of them hardly used their weapons for training or anything.

If it was true that the soldiers had actually broken into the armory, I thought, and were bent on taking the country by force, there was no force that could challenge them in the country. The GNA armory was jam-packed with super deadly weapons such as the RPG-7s,AAMGs, 81MM and 60MM mortars that excluded the medium range machine guns and the Chinese-type LMGs.

Truthfully the GNA was not quite trained on how to employ these weapons in combat, but I know by merely firing them at the direction of any enemy force not exposed to even the sound that comes out of their barrels was enough to chase them away or make them surrender. I therefore told the officer what I believed could have been a possible way of pulling something. The Gambia Marine, commanded by Major Antouman Saho had new 50 Caliber machine guns delivered by the Americans that very morning for the patrol boat.

The firepower of those weapons were enough to make the soldiers from Yundum to listen if fired back to them out of necessity. The ballistics of their projectiles has the capability of piercing six inches of homogeneous steeland was meant to kill armor in
battlefields. They are so deadly that there in an international law forbidding anyone
from shooting it directly at humans. With the men at the Gambia Marine who had
some pretty good experience with similar weapons of the Chinese type mounted on
some of their other patrol boats, it was possible to assemble a counter force
that could challenge the soldiers from Yundum.

The gentleman agreed with my analogy; hence I took off to the Marine Unit base. Major Saho was there, but he would not buy my idea. He was in his office and was fully aware of what was going on but had put it to me that he did not even want his men to know about the coup situation because he did not trust them. " I don't want to have anything to do with this trouble", he had continued. "Was it not the Nigerians who were being paid fat salaries to defend the country? Let's leave things with
them to solve." Nothing was going to make him involve himself in the problem or his men or weapons for that matter. Anyway when I heard him talking to the concerned citizens calling him from various offices in the country asking to know what was going on, and he kept on assuring them that special plans were underway to arrest the situation, then I realized that I was at the wrong place.

Banjul was an island and the last thing I wanted was to be cornered in the city in unarmed conflict. After all most of our family members were at the other side of the bridge. I decided to drive alone via Bond Road towards Yundum. I had had no reason to fear any soldier from there. As for the officers, leaving the Nigerians out, there were Major Davis, second in command of the battalion, Captain Badjie (now colonel) commanding "C" company, Captain Sonko Commanding "B" company, Captain Johnson, AHQ Camp, Captain Dibba Band, the late Captain Baldeh Band, Lt. Ndure Cham (now major) engineering section, late Lt. Barrow MT section, Lt. Sheriff Gomez, battalion adjutant, Lt. Yaya Jammeh MP commander, Lt. Mbye platoon commander, 2LT Haidara platoon commander and 2lt Singhateh, platoon commander. 2Lt Sabally was supposed to be at Farafenni at his new parent unit. Going by anything in the past present or even future, I could not see what I could have done wrong to any soldiers or officers for me to be treated otherwise than with respect and understanding. Terrible thinking in a coup situation, as I learnt later.

In the first place, I was later made to understand that Major Antouman Saho had reported me to all the council members that I went to the marine unit to get his weapons to counter the coup but that he drove me away because the coup was an absolute necessity. That, I suspect, contributed to my arrest and detention four days later. Betrayal by people you trust is another coup malady. So in trying to draw some basic principles for any soldier caught in a coup situation, my first ones will include this one: NEVER TRUST ANYPERSON IN UNIFORM AROUND YOU. However, my trip to Yundum stopped at Denton Bridge, where the TSG commanded on the ground by Majors Chongan and Swareh were making frantic efforts to prevent the soldiers from crossing over.

Those are some fine men they killed and they won't hesistate for a minute to kill some more. Yaya told us so in his six feet deep speech.

News reaching us this afternoon has indicated that five coup suspects have escaped while en route to Jangjangbureh Prisons. According to report, the vehicle in which they were traveling in plunged into a ditch when the vehicle almost somersaulted and the five suspects escaped. They include: Daba Marenah (former National Intelligence Agency director), Lt. Alieu Ceesay; Alpha Bah, Staff Sergent Manlafi Corr; and Lt. Ebou Lowe. Their whereabouts is not yet clear. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens are apprehensive about purported claims of escaped prisoners, as the individuals concerned are high profile detainees that the government might find worrisome. Others allege they may have been summarily executed. ...allgambian

Why is it that I don't believe this story for a minute? What happened to the guards? Mind you these are 'supposedly very dangerous men', who try to over threw a government a few days ago. The convoy taking them to Janjanbureh will be heavily guarded, most likely the convoy will consist of numerous vehicles. How in the world will they escape if one of those vehicles get involved in an accident?

For the sake of argument, lets say the convoy is made up of one vehicle. Are they the only survivors? What happened to the guards? Are they not restrained in some fashion? how did they get rid of their restraints if any?

So many questions and no tangle explanations. I smell a rat. I hope these men come out of this alive and well.

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