Are Taylor's "Hands Clean"
By Tom Kamara
An interesting development which has occurred since the gang-style closure of Star Radio, is the simultaneous launching of the Liberian News Agency (LINA) internet website as Taylor's high command in his "Cyber War." In this intensification of chaos and terror they call democracy in Liberia, Star Radio (which Taylor wants turned over to him or sold to "shareholders") must be silenced for LINA to be heard.
Here lies our "democracy": the killing of 250,000, the entrenchment of a primitive state, and daily public shooting contests between the tyrant's drunken "Tonton Macoutes, (the rebel police and army) that send Monrovians running like headless chickens towards what used to be the ECOMOG, hopelessly dreaming of finding protection in the hands of troops of the West African multinational force driven out of the country by the 'You kill my ma" president.
But I will leave this outdated concept of Nazi propaganda and dwell on LINA's allegations against me for an article I wrote on the United Nations report linking Burkina Faso, and other African countries for the ongoing Angolan horrors. In that article, published in The Perspective, I linked Blaise Camapori's destructive Al Capone-style maneuvers in West Africa to the new revelations of his role (for diamonds) in the Angolan genocide. I contended that while the West is prepared to punish rogue states like Iraq, Libya, etc. for their destabilization of neighbors, it has turned a blind eye to Africa's rogue states and their destabilization schemes, now costing relief organizations and donors, millions of dollars. I touched on Liberia's continued involvement in Sierra Leone, with fresh revelations that 1500 rebels are now training in northern Liberia, and contended that this indicates catastrophic dimensions of the silent gangsterism sponsored by men the world has accepted as respectable leaders of nation-states, prime among them Taylor, Campaori and the late Houphouet Boigny.
The Liberian government's reaction to this article is quite understandable, since Monrovia has unquestionably become an assembly-line for producing rebels, criminals and serves as a safe haven for international Mafiosi. After all, Mr. Taylor was listed by The London Times in one of its October 1999 editions as the only African "leader" amongst 12 hard core international criminal gangsters around the world. Therefore, to link Burkina Faso is to connect Liberia (Taylor). When one hauls rope, according to a Liberia saying, rope will haul bush. Campaori and Taylor, two of West Africa's most suave criminals parading as politicians, are at the center of destabilization in the West African sub-region, a process that is witnessing the wasting of millions of dollars on relief, resettlement, and infinite peace efforts. The sooner the world acknowledges this and treats these two Ali Ba Bas for the gangsters they are, the sooner reconstruction of the sub region can be pursued. In the absence of calling a spade a spade, the current horrors will intensify. And indications, justified by the refusal of the RUF to disarm, are that there will soon be a President Sankoh elected on the basis of his ability to wage unmitigated terror in Sierra Leone a la Liberia. After that, Guinea will be the next victim of the terror domino. For this analysis, the president of Liberians employed secondary school dropouts, half-baked so-called journalists, to do what it does best - throw insults and cooked up charges for diversionary purposes in the absence of raping, shooting innocent people, and stealing.
What I expected from the "president of Liberians" (I am using the quotation marks because the "You kill my pa, you kill my ma, I will vote for you" people who installed this laughing stock called government are also Liberians. Hence, I will refer to Mr. Taylor as "president of Liberians" to save mentally sound, morally upright Liberians from the linkage with the "You kill my pa" group.) was a comprehensive, factual rebuttal of my repeated charges against the "president of Liberians" for his reign of terror. Unfortunately, LINA embarked upon a futile attempt to haul me into their sewer pit of genocidal damnation called a patriotic front (NPFL) or a political party (NPP) by claiming that I was a member of this insane doomsday cult, and that I wrote their so-called manifesto of theft and mass executions. If so, why can't the "president of Liberians" publish this so-called manifesto? An honorable position (but there is no honor among thieves) is to respond to the charges. And what are these charges that Taylor and his apostles of terror would not be reminded of ? For those who have not followed my consistent charges , here is a summarized list.
1. That the president of Liberians is a thief who must answer for his mammoth crimes of theft and terror waged on Liberia in the name of politics. Did LINA address this charge? Not really, for it is difficult to explain how come Taylor, a man of no previous economic standing, a loafer, is now worth $2.8 billion, according to the London Times.
2. That Taylor personally ordered the execution of a number of African-Liberians such as Jackson F. Doe, Moses Duopu, Stephen Yekeson, among dozens of prominent African-Liberians who were selected on the basis of their ethnicity Nazi-style and shot by the "president of Liberians" in his crusade of death and destruction. Why LINA did not address this charge is obvious. The records, including eye witnesses, are there. (More will be known when Taylor's libel case against The London Times and Dr. Stephen Ellis, author of The Mask of Anarchy, opens soon with the president of Liberians testifying on charges for cannibalism.)
3. That Taylor and his cronies plundered, and are plundering the country to an unprecedented level in a stampede for crude wealth accumulation. Evidence? See the 1998, 1999 US State Department report on human rights practices and numerous other reports on the crimilization of the Liberia state.
4. That Taylor willfully spearheaded our current misery, encouraged the organized rape of 50,000 women, and according to Human Rights Watch in its 1997 Report, Mr. Taylor recruited between 15,000 - 20,000 children in his marauding killer army. These children have been crudely abandoned to an uncertain fate by the wealth-seeking warlord. The same organization, concluded that Mr. Taylor's army "committed "some of the most unimaginable. Mr. Taylor instituted the culture of mass looting, reduced the country to tartars, and is now grossly incapable of providing alternatives. Evidence? After one year in his coveted post as president (1998), Taylor announced he had failed, but clung on to the presidency. But to its credit, LINA admitted this much. "Things are not going right" This is however a gross understatement. Things have gone ridiculous, to the point that Liberia is now praying for the impossible return of dictator Samuel Kanyon Doe.
5. That the "president of Liberians" lacks ideas, imagination, and above all integrity to undertake development. Evidence? Listen to his accusations against the international community for refusing to stuff his thieving pockets with more money in the name of reconstruction. He blames the international community for not giving him more money to buy more luxury cars such as Rolls Royces and for causing corruption in his government.
6. That Liberia has become the epicenter for the proliferation of state-sponsored terror, money laundering, rebellion and general destabilization in Africa and West Africa in particular. Evidence? Too many, including recent publications by various authors. LINA conceded, but added that their master's involvement in a place like Sierra Leone is now "old story," and that's proof of Taylor's "clean hands" in that country's horrors can be seen in his selection by ECOWAS to handle Sankoh's madness called revolution. But is Liberia's involvement "old"? About 1500 rebels are currently being trained in Taylor's terrorist training camp of Gbatala, a few dozen miles from Monrovia. When Sam Bokarie "Masqita" left his RUF rebel stronghold last year after personally executing 8 persons, he fled into Taylor's accommodating and comforting arms with hundreds of his rebel loyalists.
The goal is to have a reserve army for Taylor's agenda. The new training exercises also have implications for Guinea which is already justifiably crying for the environmental degradation caused by thousands of Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugees on Guinean soil, victims of Taylor's, Campaori's, and Ivorian adventures in West Africa. Soon, relief agencies and donors will be dumping millions of dollars on relief in Guinea while long-term socioeconomic development in the sub region suffers. So, Here are Taylor's clean-hands as LINA claimed. The process of destabilization in West Africa is just beginning while men like Nigeria's Obasanjo played Taylor's game, dance to his music for reasons that only the flesh of man can understand, according to inside information in Taylor's Executive Mansion. On the other hand, the utterly naïve Sierra Leone Kabbah actually believes Taylor's plans for a so-called Mano River Union reactivation for which he (Taylor) recently gave $50,000. There is a saying that madness can be cured, but not stupidity. In any case, Taylor's selection by ECOWAS to seek a solution in Sierra Leone obeys the old rule: give a known thief the responsibility of safeguarding your property. You can then hold him/her responsible if it's stolen. ECOWAS realized that without Taylor's blessing, there can be no peace for Sierra Leoneans, since he is the main controller of the RUF, and there's abundant evidence to prove this. In the end, however, peace in Sierra Leone will take a "Dr., His Excellency President Sankoh. Without this, Taylor is in Sierra Leone to stay.
We must remember that it was Taylor who armed and dispatched NPFL rebels to ignite and spread the flames of destruction and atrocity in Sierra Leone. Taylor and Sankoh were bedfellows in Libya, Burkina Faso, and later Gbarnga. In 1999, it was Liberia that armed and dispatched RUF to butcher 5000 Sierra Leoneans in Freetown. Taylor's apostles, with his son Chuckie in charge of logistics in return for diamonds, were determined to implant the RUF in Sierra Leone and they have not given up.
7. That Taylor and his apostles of genocide roaming around
as government officials are benefiting from the centuries of illiteracy
and ignorance implanted in this part of Africa. How else can one
explain the fact after all Taylor has done to Liberia and Liberians,
he still has many defender around calling his name in praise?
8. That Taylor, true to his character, lied to Liberians, about the real objectives of his crusade: wealth. He promised things like a computer for every child while unleashing his thugs against student protesting for chairs in derelict classrooms, wounding many of them. Promises of the return of the US dollars as legal tender have been fulfilled with the printing of the "Ghankay", a soon to be useless piece of paper.
9. That Taylor has used terror as the foundation of his rule. Evidence? Frequent disappearances of opponents, summary executions, false charges against human rights activists, etc.
10. That the president of Liberians has become a shame to Liberia because of his criminal linkages. Evidence? Read the many reports and international newspapers that make Idi Amin look like a great African leader. That any hope for democratization in Liberia under the current team is a mere dream. Evidence: Terror against the media, etc.
These are the charges that have earned me the classification of "scoundrel". But when a Charles Manston, Pop Pot, Hitler or Al Capone calls someone a scoundrel, it must be regarded as a compliment, not an insult. Forgive me, but I genuinely feel like a saint receiving insults from the "president of Liberians" and his operatives.
Unveiling Taylor's genocide, protesting his crimes, has been an ongoing battle. For these reasons (the same reasons that led to the execution of Jackson F. Doe, Moses Duopu, Sam Dokie, among the hundreds of African-Liberians ordered executed by Taylor) he had ordered my summary execution wherever his rebels spotted me in Liberia. Thus, when in 1991 news hit Gbarnga that I was shot and killed, according to the late Sam Dokie, Taylor ordered a celebration. In 1996, he burnt down by newspaper offices, (among many other media entities) and later openly boasted about the crime during a press conference. That year, he ordered his killers to "finish me up" wherever they saw me in Monrovia, with one of them, a market woman on his KISS FM, challenging me to show my head up now that Monrovia was under their control and buried deep in terror which took 3000 lives, according to UN. This was preceded by a series of public threats of arrest, and death. So now that I am thousands of miles away, the gangster (any other word to describe such a person?) continues the battle in vain. In the name of fair-play, this battle would have been rewarding had I been in Liberia and allowed, as expected in a democracy which took 250,000 lives to "achieve" to continue what I started in 1990 - telling the world who this gangster is. Yet, there are those who actually believe this gangster when says "Liberia is a country of laws, not of men."
Blaming other Liberians for organizing to defend themselves and having ears to listen to such insanity is one of Taylor's strengths. Had Jackson F. Doe or Moses Duopu had their own factions, they would have perhaps died honorably, not tortured and mutilated like animals. As early as 1991-1993, I made it clear that the only method of dealing with Taylor was to use his language, "fighting fire with fire." During a radio talkshow, I contended that if Taylor could claim the right to drug teenagers as "soldiers" in his army of plunder, others had the right to also organize their own armies for self-defense and more honorable, redeeming objectives. This would have been a manly act of self-defense. This was when Sawyer and others were dilly dallying on accusations coming from the worst organizer of children as canon fodder for theft and terror in West Africa, that the Black Berets were being organized against the NPFL. Amazingly, the Sawyer camp, feeble and less convinced of its convictions, felt guilty and proceeded to issue insane denials. They eventually disbanded the Black Berets without gratitude, leaving many of them for slaughter by NPFL terrorists. This was one of the most cowardly acts I would note in despair. Had Liberia become Taylor's farm on which he could organize killers to hunt down enemies while depriving others of the right of self-protection? I could not understand this cowardice and cannot understand it now. I can only say that had I been in charge of the Black Berets as LINA claimed, the battle lines would have been drawn.
The fact is that these killers simply don't know where to place
me. Prior to the LINA editorial, I was listed in another NPFL
organ as an "agent provocateur", that fascist word popularized
by a regime which came to power through terror tactics. Now, they
claim that I am a member of this ludicrous gang and that its leader
is supposed to be my friend. But such accusations against those
who see Liberia differently are not new. The Catholic Archbishop
Michael Francis, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and many others in
the same category, have all been declared original members of
the NPFL. So I am just an addition to the list of critics who
are readily enlisted in this fascist group in an unsuccessful
game plan of selling the insane idea of collective guilt and participation.
It was not long ago when the same NPFL listed me along with Archbishop
Francis and former JPC Director Kofi Woods as being on the payroll
of the American Embassy.
It is important to re-emphasize the Taylor-Campaori marriage
in West Africa because it entails more dangerous implications.
LINA argues that it fails to see the analogy between Campaori's
diamond dealings with Angola's rebel UNITA and his fanning of
the flames that destroyed Liberia. Well this is normal. One must
understand issues to discuss them, to appreciate their dimension,
to see beyond the clouds that may cover them. LINA as its stands
today, an organ of men determined to transform West Africa into
a criminal bastion manned by highly inadequate individuals, is
simply devoid both of the intellectual requirements and moral
character to understand complex problem in today's global politics.
But the fact of Taylor and Campaori's marriage of destruction
in West Africa which a number of West African leaders are ignoring
with a terrible consequence, was long given to us by Blaise Campaori
himself. He said he sent a battalion of Burkinabe soldiers in
Liberia to "help" his "friend" Taylor in becoming
president of Liberia. The "president of Liberians" has
a mansion in Ouagadougou, his real home where he trucked fleets
of Liberia's industrial equipment. Valuable equipment belonging
to private investors such as Bong Mines and LAMCO, now frequently
begged to return, were trucked to Ouagadougou in return for guns
and drugs for Taylor's private army of anarchy. Here are other
facts backing Taylor's criminal links within the sub-region and
1. A recent report by a Canadian research team, Partnership Africa Canada, reveals that a total of 31 million carats of diamonds passed through Liberia for Europe, mainly Belgium. The report is revealing about Liberia as a major diamond exporting country, although its diamond production is between 1000 carats to 1500 carats per year. The UN reports further indicates that Liberia's diamond export was $298 million in 1999 as against $268 million in 1998. (Remember that Liberia's national budget is about $50 million) Any wonder why the marriage between Taylor and Sankoh?
2. A member of United Nations donor team visiting Liberia recently said because bona fide investors were isolating Liberia due to its criminal nature, criminal syndicates have taken over the country's economy. See the report on Oriental Timber in The Perspective, among many others.
3. In a recent article in the Oxford Analytica, it was stated that the international diamond buyers are putting a squeeze on diamonds emanating from rebel held areas. Taylor may soon lose much of his income, something which may lead to the collapse of the criminal patronage system (from which entities like LINA and its operatives are benefiting).
4. Liberia's forest are falling at such a rate that many experts believe that the country is likely to be transformed into a sahel in the short period. Asians, Indonesians, etc. are flocking into the country to ensure that Taylor keeps his "Pepper bush" for himself, which means Liberia's logs are for his personal wealth.
5. The United States State Department, in its 1999 as in its 1998 report on human rights practices in the country, reveals that government officials are exploiting the country's resources for themselves. While this plunder goes on, they are shamelessly asking the international community which means American, Dutch, German, French, British, etc. taxpayers to pump more money into their pocket for the purchase of more Rolls Royces.
So am I "frustrated"? Wouldn't any normal person seen his/her country plundered by thieves be? As admitted long ago in another response to one of the government mudslinging campaign , yes, I am. But LINA has given a clearer answer here. It states that "Things are not going the right way." And yet it states that I am frustrated because I am not a part of a system which has gone wrong. Since "things are not going the right way, why would any logical person join a criminal gang soon to pay the ultimate price?
What is evident is that the "president of Liberians" is bent on defining the parameters of the debate on Liberia's decay. He cannot. He must be reminded repeatedly that his reign is one of terror and theft. We must demand that this man and his followers pay for their horrific crimes against humanity. Decent Africa and West Africa in particular must wake up to see the long-term effects of the Taylors and Campaoris on Africa's socioeconomic and political development. And without demanding that Taylor and his cronies pay for their crimes, there is no future for Liberia because another warlord will rise to repeat the horrors with justification. Freedom and liberty are not earned easily. Taylor's nightmare is therefore just commencing, and not even the savage eviction of people around wherever he lives his miserable life will safe him from a fate befitting mass killers and thieves. Wherever he lives, images of Jackson F. Doe, Moses Duopu, Elmer Johnson, Dr. Stephen Yekeson, etc., etc., will hunt him into insanity. We can already see the symptoms!
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