the Media in Terror
"There is freedom of the press here and it will growThere
are no journalists or political prisoners in jail like in other
African countries", President Charles Taylor thundered recently,
his high-pitch, emotion ridden voice consumed in cheers from
believers. But the reality is that his canons dominating free
speech are built around instilling terror to obtain silence.
Past to Make Necessary Corrections
Many adjectives have been used by Europeans and people of European
descent to describe Africa, which not only carry derogatory connotations,
but are also couched in racial undertones. One popular reference
to Africa is that it is (or was) a "Dark Continent,"
which they popularized in their history and their psyche, relegating
the continent to one that was barren, lacking in enlightenment
and devoid of civilization which other cultures especially Western
Europe had experienced.
The Olmecs: An African
Presence in Early America
According to an archeologist who recently participated in archeological
work in Mexico, One of the most ancient civilizations in the
Americas, the Black (Negritic) Olmecs developed a calendar that
goes back to about 3,113 years Before Christ. The archeologist
who appeared on the Art Bell show made that point.
Shows no Improvement in Human Rights Practices in Liberia
The U. S. State Department issued its 25th annual report on Human
Rights Practices in 195 countries. Countries such as Nigeria,
Ghana, Mexico, etc were smiling when they received their respective
report cards, because as U. S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell
put it, "the year 2000 saw many improvements in human rights
-- from the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria and Ghana to
the defeat of an entrenched dictator in Serbia and the election
of a new president in Mexico... Each nation must be accountable
for the way it treats its citizens." Liberia is among the
countries that are weeping due to poor performance in human rights
practices during the year 2000. The report does not show any
improvement in human rights practices in Liberia during the past
three years of Taylor presidency.
Are the Democrats of the 1990s?
In 1990, the Cold War ended, resulting in a new global policy
initiative: democratization, the curtailment of regional conflicts,
and economic reforms. Under the new global policy initiative,
political legitimacy could only be won through the ballot box,
and not the usual military coups, or rebel wars that characterized
the Cold War period. The United Nations, the United States of
America, the Organization of African Unity, and a host of other
international organizations adopted the new global initiative
as the medium of international diplomacy.
Human Rights Practices In Liberia - 2000
(U.S. State Dept)
The Government's human rights record remained poor, and there
were numerous, serious abuses in many areas. The security forces
committed many extrajudicial killings, and they were accused
of killing or causing the disappearance of persons. Security
forces tortured, beat, and otherwise abused or humiliated citizens.
The Government investigated some of the alleged abuses by the
security forces; however, offenders were rarely charged or disciplined.
Is Freedom of Press
A Threat To Liberia's "National Security"?
There is something rather conning and deceptive
about the charge of espionage that the Government of Liberia
has accused four journalists of being engaged in. When the government
asserts that the article written by the journalists which alluded
to the use of US$50,000.00 to repair helicopters, was meant to
"divulge military secrets to the enemies", it clearly
raises more questions than answers. What are the "military
secrets" that the journalist have divulged? And who are
The Senate's Inquisition
Old habits die hard. The personality cult, the obsession with
simplicity, the knack for all things venal which propelled the
bloody coup of 1980, have been elevated to higher heights, bringing
fresh memories to those years of ineptitude when a greedy oligarchy
stamped its imprints of poverty and stupidity on Africa's so-called
Joins Guinea for Immediate Liberia Sanctions
Citing continuous Liberian rebel support since the UN Security
Council gave President Charles Taylor 2 months to end his backing
of the Revolutionary United Front, Sierra Leone joined Guinea
in demanding immediate sanctions on Liberia for its regional
destabilization schemes leading to tens of thousands of refugees.
of Sierra Leone Statement on UN sanctions against Liberia:
It is now almost a month since the United Nations Security Council
discussed the report and recommendations of the UN Panel of Experts
set up last year to conduct an in-depth study of the role of
diamonds in fuelling the armed conflict in Sierra Leone.
Tyranny and the
President Charles Taylor's war on the media, now culminating
in the banning of 4 newspapers, the arrest of 4 journalists on
the hilarious charge of espionage, along with reports that the
detained men have been tortured as is customary in today's Liberia,
amplify once again that elections do not necessarily lead to
democracy. In Taylor's Liberia free thoughts and tyranny are
finding it impossible and incompatible to co-exist.
Taylor's New ULIMO
Gambit: Implications For Sub-Regional Security
With Charles Taylor bent on removing the goal post at every turn
of the game, it has become increasingly evident that the search
for peace in the West African sub-region will for now remain
an illusive prospect. The day before yesterday, Taylor blamed
the inferno he lit in Southern Guinea on the activities of Guinean
dissidents unaided by Liberian manipulations; yesterday, he linked
the mayhem to the failure to release detained Guinean opposition
leader, Alpha Conde; today, he links the end of the plunder to
the expulsion from Guinea of people he considers members of his
war-time rival faction known as ULIMO. What he will say tomorrow
and what further preconditions he sets, only time will tell.
Journalists Charged with Espionage
According to reports from Liberia, four journalists of the NEWS
newspaper have been arrested and charged with espionage by the
Government of Liberia. The journalists arrested include: Joseph
G. Bartuah, Editor; Abdullah Dukuly, Associate Editor; Jerome
Dalieh, Sub-editor, and Bobby Tapson, reporter. The journalists
were denied bail and will begin appearing in court today.
Students Want UN Report
Students at the University of Liberia have accused the Government
of misleading the population on the UN Panel of Experts report,
and challenged it to publish the full report. They contended
that the imposition of sanctions will make no difference in the
daily lives of the population because the Government is squandering
Claims Opposition "Part of Attacks"
As tension mounts between Liberia and Guinea with counter accusations,
coupled with prospects of sanctions, President Charles Taylor,
warning Liberians against contemplating "People Power"
for his removal, has accused the Opposition of backing armed
attacks against Government.
Than a Lie
Much as I would like to give more credit to the Economic Community
of West African States (ECOWAS) for sending the military expedition
called Economic Community Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) into Liberia
in 1990 to stop its civil war, I must hesitate in awarding some
credits. The string of disasters resulting from the ECOMOG military
servicemen's susceptibility to bribes and other woes underwritten
by low morale, absence of measurable morality, and any number
of demerits make the force dangerous on to itself without it
been thrown into the mix of other conflicts.
for Ignored Prophecy
With the disintegration of Guinea proceeding as planned, and
West Africa's success in averting deserved sanctions on Liberia,
the UNHCR High Commissioner, Ruud Lubbers, burdened with ever-increasing
numbers of refugees and the displaced in the midst of donor apathy,
says Charles Taylor holds the keys to regional peace.
Nailing the Messenger
Today, in Taylor's Liberia, common sense is bastardized with
appalling ease, while truth no longer has value. For these people,
shooting the messenger kills the message. So goes their logic.
Such is the essence of the President's "Big Dream"
nation. So, true to form, defenders of Charles Taylor came trooping
to the United Nations Security Council's meeting recently, blazing
with rage and accusing every body but themselves for Liberia
and West Africa's nightmare- a tragedy clearly engineered and
prosecuted by no one but the Taylor Government itself.
Justified Anger With ECOWAS (Editorial)
It seems the decision of West Africa's regional organization
ECOWAS, to appoint itself as a lobbying group for Liberia may
divide the organization rather than unite it. Guinea, one of
the founding members, is accusing ECOWAS of a "conspiracy"
against the country.
We Mourn for Sierra
Finally, the UN Security Council has succumbed to pressure from
deceptive West African politicians. Despite all the evidence
before it, despite massive calls for action and justice, despite
horrific cries of Sierra Leone's children pleading to be heard,
the world body has chosen to listen to dishonourable West African
politicians. The UN has extended West Africa's hangman's rope.
Us", Taylor Warns America, Others
While the United Nations Security Council is deciding whether
to delay or impose sanctions on Liberia for its violent intervention
in Sierra Leone, President Charles Taylor is warning Washington
and the international community not "push [him] too far."
Taylor's Acquired Wealth & the
Moment of Truth
With intense world anger leading to sanctions against Liberia
for its president's refugee breeding machinations in West Africa,
Charles Taylor, who describes himself as the "most successful
rebel leader", is gradually hinting at his "sources"
of his wealth.
I cannot understand why the Economic Community for West African
States (ECOWAS) is so exercised and seeking to prevent the imposition
of sanctions against the government of Liberia for the reasons
that the United Nations Security Council's Panel of Experts have
documented. Did ECOWAS not know that there was going to be actions
taken against Liberia based upon the report to the UN Security
Council? Of course I have some ideas about the next line of argument
that normally follows such maneuvers.
"Honorable Men" and Morality
I was shocked but not surprised by the defensive position taken
by people who called themselves international figures regarding
sanctions on Liberia. The remarks from France Ambassador to Liberia,
Francis Lott, that "The discussion of sanctions is still
going on and that the position of France is that the punitive
approach is negative", is not surprising.
Call for Delayed Killingfields (Editorial)
Despite justified global anger directed at Liberia for its platform
of disintegration in West Africa, West African foreign ministers
want the UN Security Council, now debating sanctions on the country,
to give President Charles Taylor more time for presumed repentance.
Groups Intensify Sanctions Campaign
Leading Liberian community and political organizations and individual
Liberians in the US, Canada and Europe, have urged the UN Security
Council for swift sanctions against their country for its violent
intervention in conflicts consuming neighboring states.
Groups Call For Immediate Sanctions
Since Mr. Taylor's ascension to our nation's highest office,
the violation of the human rights and civil liberties under the
NPP led Government continues unabated. Non-adherence to the principles
of constitutional democracy and the rule of law makes a sham
and mockery of democracy in post-war Liberia. The pillage and
plunder of our resources for personal gains as well as Liberia's
new image as a pariah state cannot go unnoticed.
ECOWAS Asks UN to
When it finally had its chance, ECOWAS, the Economic Community
of West African States, asked the Security Council to delay the
imposition of new sanctions against Liberia for a period of two
months, arguing that this would give the country more time to
sever its ties with Sierra Leone's RUF rebels and stop the lucrative
trade in guns-for-diamonds that continues to fuel the civil war
in Sierra Leone.
Proclaims Progress in Poverty
President Charles Taylor's 3-year performance report, reflecting
an end of his 7-year gruesome war that delivered a ruined country
with over 250,000 killed, is crammed with promises and achievements---
"commitment to peace in Sierra Leone", unprecedented
economic recovery, a labyrinth of blames, promises of greatness,
the desire to woo Washington for its money, and many more, including
the forward march towards "reconciliation" and "democracy".
A Call For
"Biting" Sanctions on Liberia
Having escaped near-death twice at the hands of "ex-combatants"
- former rebel soldiers of the NPFL, now used as extension of
the Liberia 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 issue of sanctions being currently
debated by the UN Security Council and other national issues,
in an interview.
Taylor, RUF Issue
Warnings as Refugees Pour
As heavy fighting sends tens of thousands of residents and refugees
stranded in Guinea now described as the world's worst humanitarian
crisis, President Charles Taylor and Sierra Leone's Revolutionary
United Front (RUF) rebels, have respectively issued warnings
that more troubles are ahead. But UNHCR High Commissioner Ruud
Lubbers, now touring the refugee camps in Guinea, says criminal
gangs, diamonds , gunrunning are quickening the region disintegration.
UN New Task: Handling
Agents of Horrors (Editorial)
Even as the United Nations battles with solutions to West Africa's
rapid disintegration, there is one vital question missing in
this difficult task: how to deal with international criminals
now in league with hyper-corrupt governments such as the one
in Liberia? In the absence of dealing with this question, we
are afraid that any solution, such as sanctions, will affect
the symptoms, but not this killer disease.
Olive Branch to the Opposition (Editorial)
After reserving for himself the notoriety as Africa's leading
pariah, Charles Taylor is offering the exiled Liberian opposition
an "olive branch", but on his terms. Taylor wants Liberians
who have fled the country to save their necks, and in protest
of his internal and external policies, to return home once they
"obey the law", his "law."
Netherlands Urged to
Endorse Liberia Sanctions
As the UN Security Council debates sanctions on Liberia, the
Dutch Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) has urged the Dutch
Government to ensure that sanctions are imposed on President
Charles Taylor's Government for its violent involvement in Sierra
Leone and destabilization of West Africa.
The World Should
Not Be Fooled!
The international community should not be bamboozled or hoodwinked
by Taylor's eleventh hour attempt to absolve himself of his direct
role in fueling the crises in Sierra Leone, or pursuing his grandiose
design of destabilizing the West African region and asserting
himself as a dominant voice and a so-called "superpower",
or better yet, regional power.
New Democrat Goes on
The New Democrat newspaper, which shutdown operations following
President Charles Taylor's threat to personally invade its offices
without the help of his security forces and handle staff, has
launched a website.
Sanctions & Bedfellows
As tens of thousands Sierra Leoneans, with hacked limbs await
the result of the United Nations Security Council verdict on
whether Liberia deserves a pat on the back or punishment for
subjecting them to a decade of unimagined horrors, there is an
orchestrated campaign of misinformation on the momentum for or
against sanctions, with Liberia intensifying its claims of being
unjustly "demonised", while painting a picture of divided
Western powers opposed to sanctions and buying its wisdom.
Citing a "brilliant counter-argument" by its Foreign
Minister, Liberia says the UN Security Council will not, as speculated,
impose sanction on the country for its involvement in Sierra
Leone's now over a decade old war which has left hundreds of
people, including children, with hacked limbs.
France's Stance on
Sanctions Viewed as Affront to Liberians
As the drumbeat for sanctions continues to mount, it is becoming
apparent that some key members of the UN Security Council are
being swayed in a different direction by not supporting the UN
Panel of Experts report which has called for the imposition of
sanctions on the government of Liberia for its illegal arms-for-diamonds
trafficking. The panel report noted that such trafficking has
fueled the civil war in Sierra Leone. France, a permanent, influential
and standing member of the council, now views sanctions as punitive
A Demon or Demonized?
Truth has defeated deception, at least for once in Liberia's
continuing tragedy. President Taylor has seen wisdom (again at
least for once) in dropping his case against The Financial
Times of London and Dr. Stephen Ellis, author of the acclaimed
book, The Mask of Anarchy. Just why Taylor, who
incessantly cries against what he regards as well-planned "demonization"
orchestrated from Washington and London, waive such an opportunity
to clear his name?
of Taylor's Decentralization of Power
Our discussion here is not to fuss over how Taylor's "Night
Legislature" passed the Act for the Local Government Code
enabling the formation of Regional Grouping of counties and the
creation of additional counties. Neither do we have problem with
the criteria for a group to petition the Liberian National Legislature
for a status. The1986 Constitution provides relatively less information
on the Local Government System of Liberia.
Callous PR Against Sanctions
The Secretary-General of the Economic Community of West (ECOWAS,
Lansana Kouyateh, says criticisms against Liberia's President
Taylor for backing the RUF in return for diamonds, are stupid.
''We think that the continuing accusations against Liberia are
baseless and absurd,'' he said following a secrete meeting with
Taylor, now fighting tirelessly to avoid sanctions.