Cllr. George E. Henries, a son of the late Richard A. Henries, said that the Progressives drew out the list for the 13 thirteen officials of the True Whig Party Government to be executed by Samuel K. Doe.
Cllr. Henries stated that he did not send any telex or telegram to the late President Samuel K. Doe detailing the killing of the TWP Officials.
Cllr. Henries said that as far as the preparation of a list by the so-called progressives is concerned, sometime in 1987, Samuel K. Doe, Chairman of the People’s Redemption Council, gave an appointment to officers of the Grand Lodge of Masons to meet him at the Executive Mansion and the purpose of the request for the appointment was to request that the Masonic Temple be returned to the Grand Lodge.
He noted that the masons who attended the meeting were, Philip J. L. Brumskine, Grand Master, Robert I.E. Bright, Deputy Grand Mas-ter, Leonard T. Deshield, Alfred Curtis, Dr. J.N. Togba, Emmett L. Harmon and him, Senior Grand Warden.
The son of the late Richard A. Henries stated that when they reminded late President Doe about their request, he immediately ordered that the building be returned to them.
He stressed that the purpose of the meeting having been successful, they thanked him and stood to leave.
“Doe then told us to sit and he started to tell us about the list prepared by the progressives and said it was they who pointed out the officials who were executed on April 22nd. He specifically named Fahnbulleh, Matthews and some others who are mentioned in your newspaper. He also said that the PRC did not know those who were to be executed. He then went on to say that he sent a messenger for Mr. Frank Stewart who had been very kind to him, and after a while the messenger came only to tell him that Mr. Stewart was one of the persons who had been executed,” Cllr. Henries mentioned.
The Liberian Lawyer said that insofar as the preparation of the list is concerned, it is not an allegation or gossip, it is true and it “came from the horse’s mouth,” so to speak, and Fahnbulleh has confirmed it and given the purpose for the preparation of the list, and the statement by Mr. Doe, the progressives have been “astoundingly naïve”.
“You give a list of names of persons to soldiers who have violently overthrown a government, you point out to them those persons whom you believe could cause mischief; they are taken to a tribunal which everyone agrees was a farce where they are adjudged guilty and subsequently executed. It is preposterous and quite a stretch for anyone to believe that the execution was due to an SOS message which I did not and could not send.”
Cllr. Henries narrated that some years ago he mentioned the conversation with Doe in a newspaper article and Fahnbulleh wrote that Doe was being economical with the truth and with the confirmation of Fahnbulleh about the list, it is clear that Doe told the truth.
He said nowadays, in an effort to assuage their conscience, it is fashionable for those who were involved in the overthrow of the Tolbert government and the subsequent executions to either shift blame and thus exonerate themselves, or vindicate their supposedly humanitarian acts and minimize their participation in the whole affair.
Dr. Henry B. Fahnbulleh, Jr. in a debate between him and Samuel D. Tweah, Jr stated: “Let me now turn to an issue of which much fuss has been made over the years. This has to do with the drawing up of a list and a telex or telegram sent by George Henries with an ‘SOS’ message. What most people did not know was that during the old regime, every telex or telegram that left the Liberian Telecommunication office on Lynch Street and the French Cable office on Front Street was intercepted by a special secret communication system based at the Ducor Palace Hotel. This system was under the control of the NSA. On the afternoon of the 22nd April, Henries intercepted message was taken to the Mansion and given to Samuel Doe the allegation made and on which Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. and others have based their gossip is that the progressives made a list of TWP officials to be eliminated. This is sheer nonsense.”
A list was drawn up on the third day after the coup but it was meant to account for every senior official of the former government. They had to be interned to keep them from causing mischief. …. The list was not drawn up for the elimination of people as many of us had relatives, personal friends and acquaintances that were listed. The truth of the matter is that we had assumed that there was more to the TWP and the institutions of security over which it presided and thus we wanted to account for all those who we felt were capable of revising the process” (emphasis mine).
He referenced debate between Henry BoimaFahnbulleh, Jr. and Samuel D. Tweah, Jr under the headline PROGRESSIVES IN VIEW, found on pages 6 and 7 of Success Forum Newspaper of Friday, June 19, 2015.
In his statement regarding “the execution of the thirteen former government officials of the Tolbert government in April 1980”, Fahnbulleh stated: “But sometime between the 20th and 22nd of April, something happened that pushed the military fellows into an uncompromising mood. The young man panicked and summoned all the members of the PRC who were in Monrovia.”
Fahnbulleh’s assertion is an outright lie. In the first place, when I heard about the coup it was about 6:00 in the morning of April 12, 1980. My late wife and I, with our children, hurriedly left our home and went to Careysburg to stay with my mother-in-law. There I remained until April 18, 1980 when I decided to turn myself in. I informed the military man who was in charge of the Careysburg District and he sent me under military escort to Monrovia. I was taken to the Executive Mansion and after about an hour and a half George Boley issued a commitment and I was taken to the military stockade at the Barclay Training Center. Except when I was taken under military escort to the tribunal on May 19, 1980, I remained at the Stockade and never left it until September 17, 1981 when I was finally discharged.
Cllr. Henries stressed that on April 20th and 22nd 1980 he was locked up in Cell No.1. No one was allowed to go out or send anyone anywhere and the statement that he went to, or sent a telegram or telex through, the Liberian Telecommunication office or French Cable office is a lie.
He said that it is worthwhile to mention that Fahnbulleh does not state where, to whom the telegram or telex was sent, and what was the content of the message and the fact of the matter Is that he has never at any time before, during or after the coup, written or sent any letter, telex or telegram to Abidjan.
“I did not know anyone there at that time and I do not know anyone there now. I mention Abidjan because Fahnbulleh stated that “there had been rumors that former Vice President Bennie Warner was seen in Abidjan and also that the Ivorians were thinking of intervening to over-throw the military regime. It is a miracle that I did not get executed or taken out of the stockade in the middle of the night to be killed as was done to the late A.B. Tolbert and Varney Dempster, because of a lie.”