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"Liberia has an image problem" - Says JWI
After having received information from our sources in Liberia that a Washington based public relations firm, Jefferson Waterman International (JWI), has signed a PR contract with the government of President Charles Taylor, we contacted JWI. Here is excerpt from the discussion between George H. Nubo of The Perspective and Ken Yates of JWI.

PR Firm Hired To Fix Taylor's "Image Problem"
Public Relations has become one of the fastest growing and lucrative fields in recent years, as firms from the West have found a goldmine of clients in Third World countries engulfed in crisis. Dubbed PR firms, their goal is two-fold:

US$300,000 Per Year PR Contract Signed With US Firm
A US$300,000 per year "plus reasonable expenses" PR contract "for an undefined period," has been signed between a Washington firm, Jefferson Waterman International, and a Liberian-based mining company, AmLib United Minerals. But our Liberian Government sources say AmLib United Minerals is a conduit for President Charles Taylor.

Taylor Refutes House Testimonies
President Charles Taylor has disputed recent testimonies by various witnesses before the US Congressional Sub-Committee on Africa, which indicted his regime for regional destabilization and gross human rights abuses. In a lengthy letter dated 20 March to the Committee's chair Congressman Ed Royce, Taylor said the testimonies by Liberians and others misrepresent his good human rights record and are geared towards winning legal immigration status for Liberians in the US.

CEDE "Attack Organized by Mr. Taylor"
Having escaped near-death twice at the hands of "ex-combatants" - former rebel soldiers of the NPFL, now used as extension of the Liberian 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 attack and other national issues, in an interview with The Perspective.

Struggling Against The Sword
The winds of intolerance raging over Liberia since its founding in 1822 by freed American slaves, continue to blow with devastating effects despite a coup d'etat over 2 decades ago in the name of change, followed by a war of terror in the name of justice. "I came to get the dictator off the Liberian peoples' back," Taylor the ruthless, marauding warlord promised a decade ago. But the handwriting was all along on the wall, for even the blind, that he came to climb on the people's back for implanting a more debased tyranny.

Liberia's Addis Embassy to be Evicted
The Liberian embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, may soon be operating from the streets due to $200,000 rent arrears owed within nine years. The landlord of the building has reportedly lost patience and is fed-up with unfulfilled promises of payment.

Justice for Students Against Terrorists (Editorial)
Ongoing developments in Liberia, culminating last week in the violent invasion of the University of Liberia by Taylor's thugs, only remove the veil of deception that democratic elections and reconstruction can be undertaken under the current regime. They cannot! There is a need for redemption before it is too late.

Liberia: As UN sanctions approach, repression of critics escalates
Liberian security officers responsible for torture and ill-treatment of students should be immediately investigated and brought to justice, said Amnesty International today.

Manhunt for Students, several arrested
President Charles Taylor has unleashed his security forces for a manhunt of university students attacked Wednesday for staging a solidarity march to support detained journalists. Reports say many have been taken to unknown destinations and that their fate is yet uncertain. Other unconfirmed reports say there were a number of deaths when the security men invaded the campus Wednesday. Unknown number of students were severely wounded. Several homes in Jallah Town, a poor neighbourhood near the university campus where many students live, were destroyed, broken into, and looted by marauding security men searching for students who had planned a solidarity rally for four detained journalists on espionage charge.

Obasanjo's "No Sanctions", No Alternative Policy
As the 2-month UN ultimatum for Charles Taylor's Liberia to desist from backing Sierra Leone's rebels or face sanctions recedes, signs are that West Africa's regional organization ECOWAS, which lobbied and convinced the Security Council for the grace period, had no intention or influence in forcing the ex-warlord to comply with stipulated UN demands. ECOWAS simply wanted Charles Taylor to be left alone as he hatches his regional destabilization plots.

Taylor Attacks UL Students; deaths reported
Reports from Monrovia say Government security forces Wednesday invaded the University of Liberia and severely attacked students protesting the arrest of journalists of The News newspaper. Unconfirmed reports speak of a number of deaths.

Implications of UN Sanctions Reprieve
The two-month deadline given to Liberia to comply, with UN ultimatum of totally disengaging from its admitted involvement with Sierra Leone rebels, is gradually fading. But while West African leaders were pleading with the UN to save this destabilizing enclave within the region, many ignored how useful Taylor has been to a number of those West African leaders who have lobbied at the UN on his behalf. Many are indebted to the Liberian ruler, the undisputable Godfather of anarchy and violent politics in the region for helping them gain and retain power.

Bishop Diggs Sets the Record Straight
In answering questions pertaining to his alliance with Charles Taylor in their attempt to arrest Roosevelt Johnson in 1996, Alhaji Kromah stated in an interview that Lutheran Bishop Ronald Diggs who was asked by the Council of State to intervene, said that "Johnson did not have to report to the Justice Ministry because all of the government officials were criminals." Mr. Kromah believes that Johnson was to avail himself to the Council of State had Bishop Diggs, who "should have brought about true mediation", not made that statement. Bishop Diggs recently read the interview and subsequently sent the following response to The Perspective.

Harbingers of Truth & Reluctant Converts
The Truth about Liberian-born rolling West Africa's apocalypse and its international dimensions, lost on the platform of self-interest and criminal spin, is now spreading with hopes of a solution. For a drowning people seeking any rope to hang on, the recent US Congressional Hearing on the region's collapse engenders optimism among West Africans that Truth will triumph over Deceit once American politicians, among others, gain a better understanding of the calamity and its human woes, preparing them to contribute in closing the curtain on the beneficiaries of terror.

Indeed "Confronting Taylor" (Editorial)
The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa this week held another Hearing on the evolving holocaust in West Africa, which was ignited by Charles Taylor and has sustained him for over a decade. The Hearing was a dramatic departure from the celebratory policies of key members of US Congress, particularly Democratic liberals and their African-American colleagues, who just three years ago were stumbling over one another congratulating themselves for the bloody emergence of a man they believed represented their values and politics.

Star Radio Press Release
It's been a year since Star Radio was ordered closed down. It's been a year since the Liberian journalists at Star Radio, who had been hailed by the people for their high journalistic standards, their impartiality and their reporting, were effectively muzzled.

Prophets of False Promises
Three years ago Liberians heard some of the bizarre promises made in the quest for power. And they believed them all. Like people under the influence of psychotic drugs, they believed the promises that destroyers were better builders, and that thieves were saints. For a people accustomed to free gifts and the easy way, Liberians received free rice, free fish and free bundles of looted Liberian dollars in exchange of votes. En mass, with the help of Abacha's Nigeria, they indicated their preference to eat now and perish later.

Celebrating Diamond Sanctions
After months of threats, the UN Security Council finally slapped Liberia with a regime of sanctions that has sent Charles Taylor and his joyful inner circle celebrating. His Foreign Minister, the Syrian Monie Captan, said the sanctions are not as bad as expected. But he sent an indirect indication to the UN not to expect too much after the 2-months grace period given to comply or face punishment:

A House in Disarray
Three years after climbing the throne with endless promises of plenty, and 11 years after igniting the flames of poverty in tyranny, members of Charles Taylor's rebel National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), now transformed into the National Patriotic Party (NPP), are disillusioned, pessimistic and contemptuous of their killing and looting machine. They fear the future in a house divided and crumbling. Their leader's recent cry that, "If your house cannot sell you, the street will not buy you," has come to pass.

The learning society: A gateway to social progress in Liberia
Since the foundation of the republic in the 19th century as a safe haven for ex-slaves from the United States, the benefits of progress and technological change have alluded us as a nation. But this does not suggest that the boundless possibilities that come in the wake of social progress are not tangible enough. In fact, the hard facts of life and the historical imperatives of modern society show exactly the opposite.

Woes of the African Journalist
When four journalists linked to a British media institution were bundled-up and jailed on frivolous espionage charges by Liberia's dictator Charles Taylor, the world barked. Nelson Mandela sent pleading messages to the "strongman", a man he had once lavishly entertained as a visiting, fellow African president. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, always keen on not missing an opportunity to champion good causes for media and public attention, stormed the CNN pleading the men's case. International media institutions threw their influence behind the men.

An African Book with a Perspective and Liberian Connection
A new book, AFRICA AT THE MILLENNIUM: AN AGENDA FOR MATURE DEVELOPMENT, which was published late last year by Palgrave Publishers Ltd (formerly Macmillan Press Ltd), has had a strong Perspective and Liberian connection. Geepu Nah Tiepoh, the Economic Affairs Editor of The Perspective newsmagazine, and a fellow Liberian Thomas Jaye, former editor of Africa World Review, were among those who contributed chapters to the book.

Justified Sanctions, Endorsed Plunder (Editorial)
At last, the UN Security Council has imposed the much awaited and deserved sanctions on Liberia. The sanctions will cover diamonds from Liberia, banning the bloody stones in whatever way and form they enter and leave Charles Taylor's hands. The movements of Liberian officials and their criminal counterparts will also be monitored within 2 months. Undoubtedly, the UN action is one giant step in telling the despicable Liberian regime and its international criminal partners engaged in the trade that the end is near. We can only hope that the UN adds teeth to enable it to bite.

African Union or African Utopia?
Splendidly decorated in their best for the occasion, 52 African rulers obediently marched to Tripoli recently to sign the African Union, which is to replace the moribund Organization of African Unity. Even if their continent is immersed in bitter regional conflicts, violent ethnic rivalries, and at the bottom of the world economic and human development ladder, Africa's drowning chiefs, true to their taste for hypocrisy, declared their new little Gaddafi-sponsored toy a resounding success.

UN Approved Sanctions Lack "Teeth"
The much heated debate on whether sanctions should be imposed on Liberia for its role in fueling the war in Sierra Leone (and now Guinea), for its support for the RUF rebels, and its involvement in the illicit trade in "blood" diamonds for guns, seemed to have reached its climax after the UN Security Council convened a few days ago to approve a final resolution.

A Reaction to "Divided by a Common Color"
I sense a compelling need to react to Harald Franzen's article, "Divided by a Common Color", that appeared in the Africana.Com Internet website on January 25, 2001. In the article Mr. Franzen brought to light an unwholesome situation in Harlem, New York between African-Americans, and residents that immigrated to America from Africa - predominantly from Senegal.

Professional Journalism in Liberia Beclouded
Almost two weeks ago, on February 21, 2001, the Liberian government arrested and charged four journalists of The NEWS newspaper, Editor-in-Chief Joseph G. Bartuah, Associate Editor Abdullai Dukuly, Sub-Editor Jerome Dalieh and reporter Bobby Tapson with espionage for an article published in that day's paper. The NEWS, an independent national daily, in its article captioned: "US$50.000 Spent on Helicopters" challenged the government spending of US$50,000.00 on the repairs of helicopters and US$23,000.00 on Christmas cards and souvenirs, while basic social services continue to crumble. The paper also compared those expenditures with government's inability to rehabilitate and maintain the John F. Kennedy public hospital.

Did Kaddafi Try to Bribe Conte for Taylor?
Jeune Afrique, the Paris-based African magazine, has reported in its current issue that Guinea's President Lansana Conte recently rejected a US$500,000 "gift" from Libyan leader Kaddafi.

Fighting in Northen Liberia (BBC)
Government forces are fighting to retake the town of Voinjama in northern Liberia, which is reported to have fallen to rebels.

ALJA Condemns Detention of Journalists
The U.S. based Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) has condemned the arrest and detention of four Liberian journalists of independent newspaper, The News, by the Liberian Government on charges of espionage and has called for their immediate and unconditional release. In a strongly worded press release issued over the weekend, signed by its Secretary-General, Gabriel Williams, and approved by Acting President, Isaac Bantu, AJLA charged that the detention of the journalists was not only illegal and politically motivated, but also a serious bridge of the Liberian Constitution.

The Lesson Guinea Must Learn
Guinea, it seems, is now waking up to the reality of the danger Taylor poses. And this is good news. At least, for once, the reality is dawning that the monstrosity is real. With disaster stalking the country, and the West African sub-region facing the prospect of yet another catastrophic fallout from what is already the world's worst refugee crisis, the Republic of Guinea is now called upon to make critical choices for its own survival.

  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).
The Perspective
P. O. Box 450493
Atlanta, GA 31145