Despite efforts by the Liberian Minister of Information, Lewis G. Brown to bring the publisher of the independent Hot Pepper Newspaper to public ridicule for the paper’s series of articles regarding the works of the Liberian government, most recently the paper’s headline which featured, “Obama Names Rogue Presidents In Africa,” the Paper management says it stand by its publication, and described the Minister’s insinuation as “Lies.”
Meanwhile, the newspaper in its communication to the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, and published entitled: “With Due Respect, Madam Ambassador Deborah R. Malac” the Editor of the paper writes:
I am very proud and honored that the Honorable Ambassador of the world's greatest nation, the United States of America, would write me on topical issues concerning her nation as it relates to bringing sanity to a little nation in West Africa called Liberia, which has been torn apart by senselessness, and now its leaders are grabbing everything for themselves, leaving the impoverished people to come face-to-face with the scourge of the deadly Ebola killer.
On Monday, August 3, 2015, the Hot Pepper published its front-page banner headline, “Obama Names Rogue Presidents In Africa”. In that article, the paper informed the public that, during the first visit to the US of the Nigerian President, Mohammadu Buhari, according to sources, President Barack Obama presented him a list of corrupt governments and presidents on the African continent.
The article further said that the US President hinted an internationally recognized Economic Crimes Court (ECC) to be headquartered in Nigeria. The court, President Obama told the Nigerian leader, would be funded by the US Government.
It appears like that did not go down well with the US Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Deborah R. Malac. On Thursday, August 6, 2015, the Managing Editor of the Hot Pepper Newspaper, Jah H. Johnson, received a letter from the Honorable Ambassador refuting the report of the medium.
Madam Ambassador, your letter was dated August 5, 2015 Wednesday, but I received it on Thursday, August 6, 2015 at about 3:00 p.m. after the press conference of Minister of Information, Lewis Brown. To my utmost surprise, Madam Ambassador, my reporter returned from the press conference with a photo copy of the same letter I received after the press conference of Lewis Brown. According to the reporter, your official letter addressed to the Managing Editor, Jah H. Johnson, was commonplace at the Ministry of Information even before the editor's copy was delivered to him.
The same letter, Madam Ambassador, was even on social media even before it reached the office of the Hot Pepper. How could the official letter of the Ambassador of the United States of America, addressed to the Managing Editor of Hot Pepper, be posted all on the social media and so commonplace at the press conference of Minister Brown, which he used as ammunition to lambast the Hot Pepper, even before it reached my office? I do not think this is the doing of the United States of America.
Madam Ambassador, you told the Liberian people that there are no FBI agents in Liberia. I am sure this was diplomatic language because I am certain that there are agents of inter-agencies of the US right now in Liberia investigating war crimes, crimes against humanity and economic crimes. I knew that FBI and Homeland operatives were here, and have returned again. I can tell you for sure, Madam Ambassador, when the agents were leaving a few months ago, one of the vehicles were involved in an accident. I can even give you their address in Mamba Point. So tell the Liberian people, are you trying to mollify the fears of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her bunch of corrupt government officials?
Tell the Liberian people, Madam Ambassador, whose side are you on? Are you on the side of an intrinsically corrupt system? A system which builds mansions, condominiums and huge foreign bank accounts while the ordinary people perish from malaria, diarrhea, typhoid, Ebola, etc.? I know you are on the side of truth, justice and righteousness. The Bible says, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to a people."
Madam Ambassador, I am not unimpressed by your action yesterday. Journalistically, I knew that this story had no link with the US Embassy. You have already told the Liberian people that there are no FBI agents here, though I know there are. Therefore, it did not oblige me to contact your Embassy for clarification. I would not have gotten it anyway!
Madam Ambassador, you have a multimillion dollar modern embassy complex. It's very impressive. Who is your press attaché? What is his contact number? Maybe we could start from there, Madam Ambassador.
Ambassador Malac, every Liberian community in the US is talking about this list I wrote about, if you do not know. Right now, as I write, the Liberian Ambassador to the US, Jeremiah Solunteh, and his embassy staff are desperately searching for this list to have it sent to President Sirleaf. If there is no list, what are they searching for, Madam Ambassador? Are they on a wild goose chase? My source tells me that they will not find it because it is not in the public. It is classified, Madam Ambassador.
Madam Ambassador, every newspaper in Nigeria has it that President Obama gave their leader a list of oil thieves in their country. Your embassy in Nigeria is not denying it. Can we not talk about ours, for peace sake?
Madam, you and I know that the fate of motor-mouthed Lewis Brown hangs in the balance. You know that security agencies as the FBI, Homeland and Immigration were infuriated because President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf travelled with him on her delegation. You know that the only reason Lewis Brown did not get arrested was because of respect for the Liberian Presidency, and nothing else.
So Madam Ambassador, stop polishing a very rough situation because, in about few months, there will be arrest warrants out for people in this country, whether they like it or not. Madam Ambassador, you need to start preparing them now, instead of giving them false hope.
Ambassador Deborah Malac, I stand by everything I have written. I have no regret. I have written only the truth, and only the truth will set Hot Pepper free. Our consolation stands in the fact that the Liberian people are not fools anymore, and no amount of cover-up of this scoundrel regime of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, which has lost credibility in the eyes of the suffering people of Liberia, will deter us from writing the truth and the whole truth. The Hot Pepper stands by everything it has published. Let me send a caveat to those Adolf Hitler-styled security officers we have in this country: Time will tell. Yes, Time will tell," the paper's communication to Ambassador concludes.