Liberian Citizenship and Passport
Up for Sale!
By Tom Kamara
Predictably, Liberia's economy and resources are fast being surrendered to shady international syndicates determined to complete the cycle of theft and plunder after seven years of the worst ever recorded looting, massacres and displacement in the country's history, factors which led to the country's economic decay. For a country once listed in the 1950 and 60s as recording astronomical growth second only to that of Japan but registered no development, the current political landscape is providing better opportunities for its final withering. Criminal economic activities, in the absence of viable and secured investment environment, have placed the country's economy into the hands of underground "businessmen" and economic forces. From indications and recent disclosures, a number of these shady businessmen and companies, now clearly emerging as Mr. Taylor's prime financiers in his 7-year war that obliterated all economic activities and left 250,000 dead, are now mushrooming to reap the benefits of their investment in the Liberian holocaust. Recent revelations, and statements from state officials, indicate the rising despair as Charles Taylor single-handedly sets the country on the course to self-destruction and entrenched poverty.
As if a prophesy, Liberia now amazingly fits the scripts of the film "Dogs of War", which deals with the investment of millions of dollars, and the recruitment of mercenaries by Western financial conglomerates to overthrow an African government all for the single objective of seizing the country's mineral wealth and resources and installing a like-minded stooge president. The only twist is that the White mercenary force in the film, appalled at the inhumanity and greed of his bosses, shot their selected lapdog president, freed the imprisoned nationalist leader and installed him president. In the case of Liberia, evil, in all its demonic forms, was to emerge victorious. About 3 years since Taylor became president, the picture of how foreign economic interests led to the destruction of a pathetic backyard African state is gradually unfolding. Taylor's financiers are emerging in Monrovia to implement their contract of loot and genocide, which saw the disintegration of Africa's oldest republic, leaving its population helpless and at the mercy of criminal international syndicates, determined to prolong their misery.
One of these previously unknown companies, the Mano River Resources Ltd., has announced a scheme for the exploration of gold, diamond deposits in western Liberia. Interestingly, this company has revealed that it first arrived in Liberia in 1995. This is when hundreds of thousands of Liberians were fleeing from Mr. Taylor drugged rebels, many of them recruited from Cote d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso and armed with Libyan bought weapons. Half of the country's population was displaced, while over 700,000 of the country's barely 2.5 million people found themselves in refugee camps.
"The company (Mano River Resources) having made its pioneering entry into Liberia in 1995, is currently concentrating its exploration efforts on its extensive licenses in the west of the country", announced its chief executive officer a Dr. Tom Elder based in Britain; Elder boasts of projects in South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Gabon and "West Africa". He said his company was "formalizing its moves into Kimbalite diamond initially focusing on Western Liberia," according to the news service Presswire.
Prior to this revelation, Africa Confidential and other publications, including The Washington Post, reported the role of South African neo-Nazis and South American death squad leaders brought in by Mr. Taylor to takeover the economy and its security structures in his links with Sierra Leone's rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF).
Meanwhile, the country's maritime service, managed over 50 years by a group called the International Registries, has been hijacked and placed under the control of an American-based group called Liberia International Shipping Registry (LISCR), trusted allies of Mr. Taylor and certainly some of the sponsors of a war that reduced the country to a primitive state, with unemployment well over 85%, according to the US State Department in its 1998 Human Rights report. The new shipping registry's chief executive officer, Y. Cohen, says a maritime financial institution will soon be established in Liberia, although he did not say how such a bank would be funded, according to Reuters. Mr. Cohen reveals that his company has "invested millions of dollars" in Liberia - a country with an annual budget of barely US$50m.
At the same time, the country rain forests are disappearing at a faster rate than even Mr. Taylor's technicians had imagined. "It is evident that most of the country's natural rain forests have been depleted without reforestation If Liberians are not careful about the effective utilization of forests resources, the nation could face drought in the next 15 years", warned one of the president's loyalists, his minister of agriculture from the war years and now.
The Oriental Timber company, a Malaysian entity which has brought in hundreds of Asian workers and destroyed villages for roads to transport huge quantities of logs, reportedly gave the president US$5 million and it is exempt from all taxes for a number of years, along with the fact that it does not have to follow environmental regulations. When one looks at the character of the president, a man who escaped from an American prison before he could be extradited to face trial for allegedly embezzling about a million dollars, doubts are erased.
Hard pressed for quick cash and unsuited for genuine, transparent long-term economic programs, Mr. Taylor has launched a worldwide campaign to attract an "Internet gambling" empire based in Monrovia, a city fast becoming haven for criminal syndicates. It is difficult to see the economic benefits of "Internet gambling" in a country with no reliable Internet provider, without electricity, and reliable telecommunications system. What is not difficult to see is the international criminal intent behind the program, which is just one of the many shady schemes initiated by the a man listed as one of the 12 hardened international criminals by The London Times in its October 30th, 1999 article headlined: "The dirtiest men on the planet". The only African and a president among drug barons from Russia, Burma, Columbia, etc. The paper concluded that the Taylor, who escaped from an American prison to elude deportation for embezzlement, is worth about $2.8 billion. His fortune rose during the 7-year war which he initiated as he controlled the country's gold, diamonds, rubber and looted many industrial establishment, selling their equipment to countries like Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire for cash, drugs, and weapons.
The chaotic state of the economy, and its international isolation as a result of increasing human rights abuses and heightened corruption within the government, has opened avenues for international criminals bent on filling the vacuum. One of the many "new ideas" is the setting up of a web site (based in Birmingham, Britain) advertising - "Liberia, Freedom country" that offers "a new nationality, new citizenship, privacy tools, a second nationality, second passport, tax freedom driving license and a number of "opportunities" for anyone with the required money. These initiatives fall under the control of the National Recovery Agency (NRA) which offers "Thanks to the enlightened mind of H. E. Dr. Charles Ghankay Taylor" for these initiatives. The sale of citizenship runs contrary to the country's constitution, which stipulates that only people of Negro descent can be Liberian citizens, a clause insisted upon by descendents of free slaves who settled in what is now Liberia in 1822 (See URL and e-mail address: http//liberia.org.uk/; email@example.com).
The pending apocalypse is that Mano River Resources (and other criminal establishments) is planning to extend its "exploration" to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and the rest of "West Africa". To succeed, Mano River will have to install like-minded regimes in these countries, something not difficult when one looks at Liberia's decay. It will only require a number of AK-47s and trainers from South Africa's Special Forces who, according to The Washington Post, know the Liberia/Sierra Leone terrain very well. Cry West Africa, the horrors and cycle of poverty, displacement is just beginning!
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