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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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,
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
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.