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Suffocating the Media in Terror
"There is freedom of the press here and it will growThere are no journalists or political prisoners in jail like in other African countries", President Charles Taylor thundered recently, his high-pitch, emotion ridden voice consumed in cheers from believers. But the reality is that his canons dominating free speech are built around instilling terror to obtain silence.

Unraveling Our Past to Make Necessary Corrections
Many adjectives have been used by Europeans and people of European descent to describe Africa, which not only carry derogatory connotations, but are also couched in racial undertones. One popular reference to Africa is that it is (or was) a "Dark Continent," which they popularized in their history and their psyche, relegating the continent to one that was barren, lacking in enlightenment and devoid of civilization which other cultures especially Western Europe had experienced.

The Olmecs: An African Presence in Early America
According to an archeologist who recently participated in archeological work in Mexico, One of the most ancient civilizations in the Americas, the Black (Negritic) Olmecs developed a calendar that goes back to about 3,113 years Before Christ. The archeologist who appeared on the Art Bell show made that point.

Report Shows no Improvement in Human Rights Practices in Liberia
The U. S. State Department issued its 25th annual report on Human Rights Practices in 195 countries. Countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Mexico, etc were smiling when they received their respective report cards, because as U. S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell put it, "the year 2000 saw many improvements in human rights -- from the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria and Ghana to the defeat of an entrenched dictator in Serbia and the election of a new president in Mexico... Each nation must be accountable for the way it treats its citizens." Liberia is among the countries that are weeping due to poor performance in human rights practices during the year 2000. The report does not show any improvement in human rights practices in Liberia during the past three years of Taylor presidency.

And Where Are the Democrats of the 1990s?
In 1990, the Cold War ended, resulting in a new global policy initiative: democratization, the curtailment of regional conflicts, and economic reforms. Under the new global policy initiative, political legitimacy could only be won through the ballot box, and not the usual military coups, or rebel wars that characterized the Cold War period. The United Nations, the United States of America, the Organization of African Unity, and a host of other international organizations adopted the new global initiative as the medium of international diplomacy.

Human Rights Practices In Liberia - 2000 (U.S. State Dept)
The Government's human rights record remained poor, and there were numerous, serious abuses in many areas. The security forces committed many extrajudicial killings, and they were accused of killing or causing the disappearance of persons. Security forces tortured, beat, and otherwise abused or humiliated citizens. The Government investigated some of the alleged abuses by the security forces; however, offenders were rarely charged or disciplined.

Is Freedom of Press A Threat To Liberia's "National Security"?
There is something rather conning and deceptive about the charge of espionage that the Government of Liberia has accused four journalists of being engaged in. When the government asserts that the article written by the journalists which alluded to the use of US$50,000.00 to repair helicopters, was meant to "divulge military secrets to the enemies", it clearly raises more questions than answers. What are the "military secrets" that the journalist have divulged? And who are the enemies?

The Senate's Inquisition
Old habits die hard. The personality cult, the obsession with simplicity, the knack for all things venal which propelled the bloody coup of 1980, have been elevated to higher heights, bringing fresh memories to those years of ineptitude when a greedy oligarchy stamped its imprints of poverty and stupidity on Africa's so-called oldest republic.

S. Leone Joins Guinea for Immediate Liberia Sanctions
Citing continuous Liberian rebel support since the UN Security Council gave President Charles Taylor 2 months to end his backing of the Revolutionary United Front, Sierra Leone joined Guinea in demanding immediate sanctions on Liberia for its regional destabilization schemes leading to tens of thousands of refugees.

The Government of Sierra Leone Statement on UN sanctions against Liberia: It is now almost a month since the United Nations Security Council discussed the report and recommendations of the UN Panel of Experts set up last year to conduct an in-depth study of the role of diamonds in fuelling the armed conflict in Sierra Leone.

Tyranny and the Media (editorial)
President Charles Taylor's war on the media, now culminating in the banning of 4 newspapers, the arrest of 4 journalists on the hilarious charge of espionage, along with reports that the detained men have been tortured as is customary in today's Liberia, amplify once again that elections do not necessarily lead to democracy. In Taylor's Liberia free thoughts and tyranny are finding it impossible and incompatible to co-exist.

Taylor's New ULIMO Gambit: Implications For Sub-Regional Security
With Charles Taylor bent on removing the goal post at every turn of the game, it has become increasingly evident that the search for peace in the West African sub-region will for now remain an illusive prospect. The day before yesterday, Taylor blamed the inferno he lit in Southern Guinea on the activities of Guinean dissidents unaided by Liberian manipulations; yesterday, he linked the mayhem to the failure to release detained Guinean opposition leader, Alpha Conde; today, he links the end of the plunder to the expulsion from Guinea of people he considers members of his war-time rival faction known as ULIMO. What he will say tomorrow and what further preconditions he sets, only time will tell.

Four Liberian Journalists Charged with Espionage
According to reports from Liberia, four journalists of the NEWS newspaper have been arrested and charged with espionage by the Government of Liberia. The journalists arrested include: Joseph G. Bartuah, Editor; Abdullah Dukuly, Associate Editor; Jerome Dalieh, Sub-editor, and Bobby Tapson, reporter. The journalists were denied bail and will begin appearing in court today.

Students Want UN Report Published
Students at the University of Liberia have accused the Government of misleading the population on the UN Panel of Experts report, and challenged it to publish the full report. They contended that the imposition of sanctions will make no difference in the daily lives of the population because the Government is squandering resources.

Taylor Claims Opposition "Part of Attacks"
As tension mounts between Liberia and Guinea with counter accusations, coupled with prospects of sanctions, President Charles Taylor, warning Liberians against contemplating "People Power" for his removal, has accused the Opposition of backing armed attacks against Government.

ECOMOG: Dirtier Than a Lie
Much as I would like to give more credit to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for sending the military expedition called Economic Community Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) into Liberia in 1990 to stop its civil war, I must hesitate in awarding some credits. The string of disasters resulting from the ECOMOG military servicemen's susceptibility to bribes and other woes underwritten by low morale, absence of measurable morality, and any number of demerits make the force dangerous on to itself without it been thrown into the mix of other conflicts.

Guinea: Curse for Ignored Prophecy
With the disintegration of Guinea proceeding as planned, and West Africa's success in averting deserved sanctions on Liberia, the UNHCR High Commissioner, Ruud Lubbers, burdened with ever-increasing numbers of refugees and the displaced in the midst of donor apathy, says Charles Taylor holds the keys to regional peace.

Nailing the Messenger
Today, in Taylor's Liberia, common sense is bastardized with appalling ease, while truth no longer has value. For these people, shooting the messenger kills the message. So goes their logic. Such is the essence of the President's "Big Dream" nation. So, true to form, defenders of Charles Taylor came trooping to the United Nations Security Council's meeting recently, blazing with rage and accusing every body but themselves for Liberia and West Africa's nightmare- a tragedy clearly engineered and prosecuted by no one but the Taylor Government itself.

Guinea's Justified Anger With ECOWAS (Editorial)
It seems the decision of West Africa's regional organization ECOWAS, to appoint itself as a lobbying group for Liberia may divide the organization rather than unite it. Guinea, one of the founding members, is accusing ECOWAS of a "conspiracy" against the country.

We Mourn for Sierra Leone's Children
Finally, the UN Security Council has succumbed to pressure from deceptive West African politicians. Despite all the evidence before it, despite massive calls for action and justice, despite horrific cries of Sierra Leone's children pleading to be heard, the world body has chosen to listen to dishonourable West African politicians. The UN has extended West Africa's hangman's rope.

"Don't Push Us", Taylor Warns America, Others
While the United Nations Security Council is deciding whether to delay or impose sanctions on Liberia for its violent intervention in Sierra Leone, President Charles Taylor is warning Washington and the international community not "push [him] too far."

Taylor's Acquired Wealth & the Moment of Truth
With intense world anger leading to sanctions against Liberia for its president's refugee breeding machinations in West Africa, Charles Taylor, who describes himself as the "most successful rebel leader", is gradually hinting at his "sources" of his wealth.

Sanctioning Sanctions
I cannot understand why the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) is so exercised and seeking to prevent the imposition of sanctions against the government of Liberia for the reasons that the United Nations Security Council's Panel of Experts have documented. Did ECOWAS not know that there was going to be actions taken against Liberia based upon the report to the UN Security Council? Of course I have some ideas about the next line of argument that normally follows such maneuvers.

Of Sanctions, "Honorable Men" and Morality
I was shocked but not surprised by the defensive position taken by people who called themselves international figures regarding sanctions on Liberia. The remarks from France Ambassador to Liberia, Francis Lott, that "The discussion of sanctions is still going on and that the position of France is that the punitive approach is negative", is not surprising.

West Africa's Call for Delayed Killingfields (Editorial)
Despite justified global anger directed at Liberia for its platform of disintegration in West Africa, West African foreign ministers want the UN Security Council, now debating sanctions on the country, to give President Charles Taylor more time for presumed repentance.

Liberian Groups Intensify Sanctions Campaign
Leading Liberian community and political organizations and individual Liberians in the US, Canada and Europe, have urged the UN Security Council for swift sanctions against their country for its violent intervention in conflicts consuming neighboring states.

Liberian Groups Call For Immediate Sanctions
Since Mr. Taylor's ascension to our nation's highest office, the violation of the human rights and civil liberties under the NPP led Government continues unabated. Non-adherence to the principles of constitutional democracy and the rule of law makes a sham and mockery of democracy in post-war Liberia. The pillage and plunder of our resources for personal gains as well as Liberia's new image as a pariah state cannot go unnoticed.

ECOWAS Asks UN to Delay Sanctions
When it finally had its chance, ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, asked the Security Council to delay the imposition of new sanctions against Liberia for a period of two months, arguing that this would give the country more time to sever its ties with Sierra Leone's RUF rebels and stop the lucrative trade in guns-for-diamonds that continues to fuel the civil war in Sierra Leone.

Taylor Proclaims Progress in Poverty
President Charles Taylor's 3-year performance report, reflecting an end of his 7-year gruesome war that delivered a ruined country with over 250,000 killed, is crammed with promises and achievements--- "commitment to peace in Sierra Leone", unprecedented economic recovery, a labyrinth of blames, promises of greatness, the desire to woo Washington for its money, and many more, including the forward march towards "reconciliation" and "democracy".

A Call For "Biting" Sanctions on Liberia
Having escaped near-death twice at the hands of "ex-combatants" - former rebel soldiers of the NPFL, now used as extension of the Liberia national security network to harass and intimidate political opponents and critics of the government - Mr. D. Conmany Wesseh, Executive Director of the Center for Democratic Empowerment (CEDE), offered his views on the issue of sanctions being currently debated by the UN Security Council and other national issues, in an interview.

Taylor, RUF Issue Warnings as Refugees Pour
As heavy fighting sends tens of thousands of residents and refugees stranded in Guinea now described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, President Charles Taylor and Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels, have respectively issued warnings that more troubles are ahead. But UNHCR High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers, now touring the refugee camps in Guinea, says criminal gangs, diamonds , gunrunning are quickening the region disintegration.

UN New Task: Handling Agents of Horrors (Editorial)
Even as the United Nations battles with solutions to West Africa's rapid disintegration, there is one vital question missing in this difficult task: how to deal with international criminals now in league with hyper-corrupt governments such as the one in Liberia? In the absence of dealing with this question, we are afraid that any solution, such as sanctions, will affect the symptoms, but not this killer disease.

Taylor's Soiled Olive Branch to the Opposition (Editorial)
After reserving for himself the notoriety as Africa's leading pariah, Charles Taylor is offering the exiled Liberian opposition an "olive branch", but on his terms. Taylor wants Liberians who have fled the country to save their necks, and in protest of his internal and external policies, to return home once they "obey the law", his "law."

Netherlands Urged to Endorse Liberia Sanctions
As the UN Security Council debates sanctions on Liberia, the Dutch Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) has urged the Dutch Government to ensure that sanctions are imposed on President Charles Taylor's Government for its violent involvement in Sierra Leone and destabilization of West Africa.

The World Should Not Be Fooled!
The international community should not be bamboozled or hoodwinked by Taylor's eleventh hour attempt to absolve himself of his direct role in fueling the crises in Sierra Leone, or pursuing his grandiose design of destabilizing the West African region and asserting himself as a dominant voice and a so-called "superpower", or better yet, regional power.

New Democrat Goes on the Net
The New Democrat newspaper, which shutdown operations following President Charles Taylor's threat to personally invade its offices without the help of his security forces and handle staff, has launched a website.

Misinformation, Sanctions & Bedfellows
As tens of thousands Sierra Leoneans, with hacked limbs await the result of the United Nations Security Council verdict on whether Liberia deserves a pat on the back or punishment for subjecting them to a decade of unimagined horrors, there is an orchestrated campaign of misinformation on the momentum for or against sanctions, with Liberia intensifying its claims of being unjustly "demonised", while painting a picture of divided Western powers opposed to sanctions and buying its wisdom.

Liberia Claims Sanctions Victory
Citing a "brilliant counter-argument" by its Foreign Minister, Liberia says the UN Security Council will not, as speculated, impose sanction on the country for its involvement in Sierra Leone's now over a decade old war which has left hundreds of people, including children, with hacked limbs.

France's Stance on Sanctions Viewed as Affront to Liberians
As the drumbeat for sanctions continues to mount, it is becoming apparent that some key members of the UN Security Council are being swayed in a different direction by not supporting the UN Panel of Experts report which has called for the imposition of sanctions on the government of Liberia for its illegal arms-for-diamonds trafficking. The panel report noted that such trafficking has fueled the civil war in Sierra Leone. France, a permanent, influential and standing member of the council, now views sanctions as punitive and negative.

A Demon or Demonized?
Truth has defeated deception, at least for once in Liberia's continuing tragedy. President Taylor has seen wisdom (again at least for once) in dropping his case against The Financial Times of London and Dr. Stephen Ellis, author of the acclaimed book, The Mask of Anarchy. Just why Taylor, who incessantly cries against what he regards as well-planned "demonization" orchestrated from Washington and London, waive such an opportunity to clear his name?

Implications of Taylor's Decentralization of Power
Our discussion here is not to fuss over how Taylor's "Night Legislature" passed the Act for the Local Government Code enabling the formation of Regional Grouping of counties and the creation of additional counties. Neither do we have problem with the criteria for a group to petition the Liberian National Legislature for a status. The1986 Constitution provides relatively less information on the Local Government System of Liberia.

ECOWAS' Callous PR Against Sanctions
The Secretary-General of the Economic Community of West (ECOWAS, Lansana Kouyateh, says criticisms against Liberia's President Taylor for backing the RUF in return for diamonds, are stupid. ''We think that the continuing accusations against Liberia are baseless and absurd,'' he said following a secrete meeting with Taylor, now fighting tirelessly to avoid sanctions.

  Out of the ashes of the Liberian civil war emerged a new society. What is it like? Read all about it and join the conversation. It is in The Perspective - the publication devoted to Liberia's democratic future. Subscribe today@ $25.00/year (international rate is $35.00/year).
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