Closing In On Mr. Taylor
November 8, 2001
On Sept.18, 2001, the Internet Edition of The Perspective carried a flash piece in which we expressed our condolences to the government and people of the United States, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. At that time, we warned U.S. policymakers to be mindful of wolves in sheep's clothing, people who would, by ruse, simulate sympathy; but in reality, their hearts and minds were with the terrorists.
We made particular reference to Liberia's Charles Taylor, as a chief West African terrorist, who was shedding crocodile tears following the horrendous tragedy. We also alerted U. S. officials that despite Taylor's rhetoric of ostensible concern for the victims by his declaration of three days of national mourning, and other seeming demonstrations of genuine sorrow that the maniacal Liberian dictator was closer to Osama bin Laden than to the United States.
Shortly after the publication of that article on the internet, we became a target of the Liberian government propagandist internet stooges, with their scourged-earth tactics of attacking the individuals - in this case, deriding The Perspective - rather than addressing the underlined issues at hand.
Here is what the chief purveyor of propaganda at the Executive Mansion, Molley Paasewe, said among other things: "With the high velocity of diplomatic tension and rancor between Washington and Monrovia, no doubt, Taylor's detractors had expected nothing less than a Allah aku-bai (Allah is great) from Liberia following the September 11 terrorist attacks on America. Instead they got the shock of their lives when Liberians openly condemned terrorism and sided with America.
"The Perspective and other detractors should cease capitalizing on America's tragedy by using it as a medium to get back at the Liberian people and their president. For those Liberians in the U.S. who are masters in the game of exploitation, the best use they could make of the terrorist attacks on America is to sign up when the burgle sounds for war against global terrorism. Then there will be no need for them to seek political asylum by lying to U.S. immigration that persecution awaits them at home. When they sign up, there will no longer be any need to pine and wine for the ephemeral Temporary Protective Status (TPS)."
By a shrewd tactic of avoidance, which has become a favored method used by many members of Taylor's hired pens and other deceptive functionaries, Molley Paasewe decided to ignore the central theme of the article, which was global terrorism, and Charles Taylor's role in it. Instead, Mr. Paasewe chose to trivialize the issue, and by some irrational illusion, surmise the purpose for the article was to appease U.S. immigration officials to grant permanent resident status to The Perspective's personnel and other Liberian refugees in the United States.
But it is becoming apparent that Charles Taylor did not look up the meaning of the word terrorism. Had he done so, no doubt, he would have hesitated in embracing the U.S. call for war against global terrorism in all its manifest forms and wherever it's found, since he himself fits the primary definition of the word.
There might be some concern and jittery in Monrovia by now since reports are surfacing that not only is Mr. Taylor, by definition, a terrorist, but there appears to be credible Western intelligence evidence that links the Liberian ruler to bin Laden's Al Qaeda network, through the diamonds-for-cash secret deals in Monrovia. This could be one of Mr. Taylor's toughest fights yet since he commandeered his way to power, because it could put him in direct line of U.S. fire aimed at eliminating global terrorism.
As usual, the government -meaning Charles Taylor and his gang of bandits -expressed "shock and anger" at reports in the United States media accusing it of links with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network. The Washington Post carried an incriminating article linking Taylor to bin Laden's operatives in its Nov. 2 Edition.
The regime further said, "The Liberian government views these claims as part of an organized smear campaign intended to discredit this administration and bring it to international disrepute."
For the love of their country, most Liberians would like to exercise restraint and give Taylor the benefit of the doubt, at least for now, until more details of his al-Qaeda connection become available from Washington. But there is this astonishing pattern of deception, denial and deflection that has made it impossible for any Liberian to attach credence to anything that the Liberian government says. And it's sad that Liberia has sunk this low.
All of the articles written by the rapid response team who were hired to "improve" his negative image that The Perspective and other Taylor's critics were putting out there, did not address the points raised in the Washington Post piece. Instead, all writers engaged in personal attacks on the credibility of Douglas Farah, the author. And we think we know why they failed to refute any of his points.
These are people hired not because of their collective ability to analyze vexing issues of our time and discern the truth by making conscious professional decisions to report the facts - as they know them to be true. They're chosen based on their ability to parse words, and skilled in writing attack episodes, but not necessarily professional journalists. In other words, these are individuals who would prostitute their skills for crumbs from Mr. Taylor and not bound by ethics or professional canon.
Some of these desperate men are often ignorant of the issues they write about, since their benefactor, Charles Taylor, is unlikely to transact crooked, illicit and criminal deals in public. These faceless characters are men predisposed to corrupt proclivities and have no value for honesty, but imbued with low tolerance for democratic virtues. Their role is to assault anyone who says or writes anything unfavorable about Mr. Taylor without a modicum of regard to substance and veracity of the question. Given the opportunity, these scoundrels, too, would assemble similar criminal gangs as Mr. Taylor and perpetrate similar acts of violence against our people for their own selfish interest.
Ostensibly, the propaganda web site, allaboutliberia.com, the prostitute writers at the Ministry of Information and the New Liberia newspaper came into being to counteract the so-called negative image of Liberia that was being portrayed on the internet by Taylor's detractors. They were to explain to the world at large of the wonderful things that the Taylor regime was doing to lift Liberia out of the abyss, which were not being reported by the anti-Taylor Liberian media outlets based in Europe and the U.S. But these image makers turn out to be nothing more than propaganda organs designed to use character assassinations, innuendoes and smear tactics to overwhelm anyone who dares expose Taylor's criminal and corrupt practices.
But what seems odd and curious about the Taylor dictatorship is its obsession with improving its image abroad by recklessly investing huge amounts of money in illusory projects that have not delivered the intended results. What must be done are some basic changes in the way the regime does the public business. Mr. Taylor must realize that he is a servant of the people, not their master, and as such, he must shelve his dictatorial tendencies by embracing democracy in all its manifest practices.
These are ingredients for positive image at home and abroad. No amount of money can substitute for that, nor a bunch of spineless mercenaries of the pens cornered away in some hallway of the Ministry of Information fuming acid lies to cover up frauds, lies, corruption, criminal activities worth the price.
Taylor ought to know this by now, since he had spent at least U.S. $1 million dollars among Lester Hyman, Herman Cohen and Jefferson-Waterman International (JWI) for various public relations schemes, all of which had failed to improve his image in the United States. And no telling how much is being spent in Europe and elsewhere for similar purposes. None of these people or organizations can do anything to change the image of a ruthless dictator, who loathes every tenet of a pluralistic democracy.
And as for those unprincipled Liberian opportunists who seem so certain that Mr. Taylor is innocent of any wrongdoing, they could very well become culpable and accessories after the fact, if it turns out that Mr. Taylor is not so innocent after all. Eventually, the truth is bound to come out soon.
In another matter, the United Nations panel of experts' report on Liberia uncovered a trail of money transfers from the Liberia International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) based in Vienna, VA to an offshore, non-government account, in the United Arab Emirates. Nearly US $1 million dollars was diverted from the starving people of Liberia and used to buy arms for Sierra Leone rebels, in contravention of the U.N. sanctions regime.
Interestingly, when The Perspective reported the United Nations panel's investigation of the maritime program a few months ago, Ministry of Information functionaries, in their usual refrain- deny, deceive and deflect - dismissed it as a "malicious lie" designed to smear the regime.
Since the U.S. based director of the maritime program has admitted the illegal transfers, and promised to take corrective action to avoid recurrence, the Taylor regime is now "taken aback by contradictions in sanctions reports." This gang of criminal bandits could very well be running out of tricks. And the sooner, the better it will be for Liberia.