Charles Taylor Did Not Encourage Press Freedom In Liberia, Prosecutors Say

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor did not tolerate press freedom in Liberia while he served as the West African country’s president from 1997 to 2003, prosecutors said today at his trial in The Hague. Mr. Taylor dismissed the allegations as “not correct.”

Lead prosecution counsel Brenda Hollis told Mr. Taylor that during his tenure as president of Liberia, several radio stations were closed down and several journalists were harassed and imprisoned. Reading from a report on press freedom in Liberia by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), Ms. Hollis told Mr. Taylor that his government was “repressive and intolerant to press freedom.”

“Indeed Mr. Taylor, during your presidency, independent news reporting was cut back substantially, isn’t that correct?” Ms. Hollis asked Mr. Taylor.

“That is not correct,” Mr. Taylor responded.

Ms. Hollis read from the CPJ report that in 2001, Mr. Taylor’s government arrested journalists Joseph Bartuah, Bobby Tapson, Abdulai Dukulay, and James Dalieh.  The journalists, who were imprisoned by Mr. Taylor’s government according to the CPJ report, were charged for the crime of espionage because they had reported that Mr. Taylor’s government wasted money in repairing a helicopter and producing Christmas cards.

Mr. Taylor dismissed as “total nonsense” Ms. Hollis’s assertion that after his presidency, there was a massive improvement in press freedom in Liberia.

“Indeed Mr. Taylor after you left office, freedom of expression and freedom of press improved significantly in Liberia, isn’t that correct?” Ms. Hollis asked.

“Total nonsense, no, that’s not correct,” the former president responded.

Responding to allegations that his government closed down media institutions including religious radio stations that questioned his government’s violation of human rights, Mr. Taylor said that media institutions were closed down because they failed to pay taxes. For religious stations, Mr. Taylor said that such stations which deviated from their religious broadcast were warned not to engage in politics.

As Mr. Taylor draws closer to the end of his cross-examination, prosecutors have been focusing on the former president’s policies in Liberia while he served as the country’s president. Prosecutors have accused the former president of running a government which did not have respect for the fundamental human rights of its citizens and democratic standards. As they do this, prosecutors have been trying to establish that the ‘Mr. Taylor’ who was leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel group which is accused of committing atrocities against the people of Liberia was no different from the ‘Mr. Taylor’ who became president of the country. Prosecutors allege that Mr. Taylor did not tolerate opposition and his violent reign in the NPFL and Liberia was reflective of how the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels operated in Sierra Leone. By questioning Mr. Taylor about his presidency in Liberia, prosecutors also aim to prove that Mr. Taylor has lied to the court in his testimony under direct-examination that he entertained press-freedom in Liberia and that he had respect for fundamental human rights. Mr. Taylor has denied these assertions.

Also in court today, Ms. Hollis questioned Mr. Taylor about his September 2009 testimony that it was only in court that he heard about “Operation No Living Thing”– an operation that was launched by RUF rebels in Sierra Leone which aimed to ensure that anything that had life must be killed. Mr. Taylor has previously denied giving orders to RUF rebels to conduct such an operation.  In today’s cross-examination, Ms. Hollis asked Mr. Taylor about his September 2009 testimony that he did not know about such an operation.

“Were you telling the judges that prior to coming to this court, you’ve never heard of ‘Operation No Living Thing’?” Ms. Hollis asked Mr. Taylor.

“I could have but I cannot recall,” The former president responded.

Mr. Taylor reiterated that he never gave any order for such an operation.

Ms. Hollis also told Mr. Taylor that he ordered Operation No Living Thing in Liberia, an operation that involved Mr. Taylor’s Director of Special Security Service (SSS) Benjamin Yeaten and former prosecution witness and NPFL member Joseph Zig Zag Marzah.

“I was not aware and I gave no such order,” Mr. Taylor said.

Mr. Taylor is on trial for his alleged association with RUF rebels whose 11-year war in Sierra Leone saw the commission of atrocities such as amputations of the arms and limbs of civilians, rape, burning of houses and the killing of civilians. Mr. Taylor is accused of providing support for the rebels through the supply of arms and ammunitions in exchange for the country’s blood diamonds. Prosecutors say that Mr. Taylor occupied a superior position to RUF rebels and that he either ordered or could have prevented the commission of those crimes but he failed to do so.

Mr. Taylor’s cross-examination continues tomorrow.


    1. Hi Malcolm X — it was actually a trial conducted by the International Criminal Court, of alleged Congolese militia leader, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, who is charged with enlisting, conscripting and using child soldiers in Congo. We are also reporting on that trial too, in case you or others are interested, at

      I will be posting the new calendar for the court sessions today so people know when the Taylor trial is on.


  1. Tracey,
    I need some help to digest the publications of 1/29/2010 regarding the following and I quote “while agreeing that he Charles Taylor approved Mr. Ruprah’s status as a Liberian diplomat, he how ever added that he does not know every details of Mr. Ruprah’s life”.But my understandings of the transcript of 1/2/10 page 34303 line # 7 is totally contrary and would liked to quote that too for more backgrounds of my observations.
    ” Question by Mr. Koumjian: Now we have a new name: Ruprah and your counsel ask, who is he? and your answer ,Mr.Taylor,”No,I don’t know Ruprah.” Mr. Taylor do you think it was an honest answer when he was your ambassador-at-large with a diplomatic passport and you had approved over a million dollars of transferred to him, to say , no I don’t know Ruprah?
    Ans Charles Taylor:”well I gave an honest answer based on my understanding of the question at the time, and you and I can get into know or knowing of. that’s my answer and it’s earnest and I approved of him. I do not know him, I have never met him, but I know of him”.Mr Taylor’s admissions of knowing of Sanjivan Ruprah, who is defined in U.N.reports as an arm supplying junky to conflicts all over africa for blood dimonds and approving over a million dollar to him,should not be understated.this man (Charles Taylor) has lied! and doesn’t deserves any mercy!

    1. Hi Ziggy Salis,

      Thanks for adding that quote from the transcript and your analysis.


  2. I am a stout follower of this web and I am very much interested in the arguments by various contributors. What prompted me to write is the statement “operation no living thing” anything that had life must be killed. Very interesting. How about the killers, were they not eligible to die because they had life? I believe it just need common sence to ask this question because to a lay person like me it sounds rediculous joke!! I believe the percecutors have lost direction inthis case because in all I see CT has an upper hand. It will not be surprising to see this formers walking out of jail before the year ends. May be for the judges not to embarrance their fellow lawyers, they will just give him 4 year in jail to which 3 have already been saved through remand.

    Good luck persecutors.

  3. Let Ms. Hollis know that in Liberia, freedom of speach comes with responsibility. No man, including journalists is above the law. Yes, journalists that abused the rights of other under the name of free speach, were arrested and charged during Mr. Taylor tenure. Even today ill responsible journalists are been arrested and charged. So please know that this is not only limited to Mr. Taylor government as you think. How does this link Mr. Taylor to the RUF, and how many media institutions did the RUF close down in FreeTown?


    Harris K Johnson

  4. Charles Taylor of NPFL is the same Charles Taylor, President of Liberia… so what!? What has that got to do with the 11counts. Besides, what did the prosecution expect? Did they expect CT to change when he became president? “Total Nonsense” (didn’t think I would ever have to use those words)

    CT did not allow press freedom in Liberia when he was president… so what!? I really cannot see how the prosecution plans to link CT “violent reign in the NPFL and Liberia” to RUF rebel operations in SL. So far I haven’t seen any evidence showing this link. The prosecution’s line of questioning to me has been to show inconsistency in Taylor’s testimony. That’s great! Then, what next!? Is Taylor not been credible as a witness enough to convict him of the alleged crimes? Tracy, your legal expertise is needed here, please.

    Taylor has lied (under oath) to the court about some key issues. In my mind, I think he has something to hide and MAY actually have been involved with RUF. It’s a shame that the prosecution has not been able to show “beyond any reasonable doubt” CT’s involvement with RUF. If this how the prosecution tends to relieve its burden of proof, then I’m sorry and sad to say CT may go scored free. This is not to say that the prosecution has done nothing. It had some moments but still, these moments were centered around discrediting CT as a witness. And I don’t see how that is enough to convict the accused. Maybe it is but how? Herein lies my confusion.

    1. Hi Elbee,

      You ask some good questions.

      On the issue of press freedom: it appears that the prosecution is trying to do two things: (1) trying to demonstrate that Mr. Taylor did not respect human rights and democratic standards in Liberia and that is reflected also in the actions of the Sierra Leonean rebels, whom he is alleged to have controlled during the Sierra Leonean conflict. The focus on Mr. Taylor’s treatment of the media in Liberia seems to be designed to show that Mr. Taylor did not tolerate opposition and press articles which were unfavorable to him – the violence and lack of respect for fundamental freedoms, according to the prosecution, was also reflected in the way the Sierra Leonean rebels (of whom Mr. Taylor is alleged to have been in control) behaved in Sierra Leone. In short, it appears part of the effort trying to demonstrate the link between Mr. Taylor’s behavior in Liberia and that of the rebels he is alleged to have led in his neighboring country; and (2) they appear to be trying to discredit Mr. Taylor’s own testimony when he told the court that he respected human rights and allowed press freedom in Liberia under his rule, and therefore part of a process of trying to undermine his credibility as a witness in an effort to show to the judges that his side of the story cannot be believed. It is important to remember that Mr. Taylor has denied all the allegations against him.

      In terms of Mr. Taylor’s credibility and whether a lack of credibility would be enough to convict him: As the judges are deciding whether Mr. Taylor is guilty or not guilty of the charges — and so far, we don’t know what they will decide — the credibility of Mr. Taylor’s evidence in his own defense is likely to be one of the important things the judges consider, but it will not be the only thing they consider when reaching their verdict. They wlll have to look at the whole range of evidence put forward in the prosecution’s case, as well as all that pur forward by Mr. Taylor’s defense team.

      However, in this case, Mr. Taylor’s defense relies heavily on an entire counter-narrative (or alternative story) by Mr. Taylor to the one presented by the prosecution. So it is not just that Mr. Taylor is denying the charges against him, but he is saying that the prosecution got it entirely wrong — instead of being a warmonder, as the prosecution is arguing, Mr. Taylor is saying that he was instead a peacemaker and a statesman who was trying to end the violence, not perpetuate the war in his neighboring Sierra Leone. This is part of Mr. Taylor’s effort to create a “reasonable doubt” in the mind of the judges that he was, as the prosecution alleges, guilty of the charges aginst him. In order for the greatest amount of doubt to be sewn in the judges’ minds, the more credible Mr. Taylor’s testimony needs to be. If the prosecution can poke holes in Mr. Taylor’s testimony, or show that he was lying and can make a compelling argument that Mr. Taylor cannot be trusted as a reliable and credible witness, then it helps bolster the prosecution’s case against him, and may also undermine Mr. Taylor’s arguments. If, however, the judges think Mr. Taylor stands up well to cross-examination and his side of the story still seems credible, then it helps Mr. Taylor remain a viable, credible witness in the eyes of the judges as they think through all the evidence they have heard.

      Does this answer your questions, Elbee?


      1. Wow! Tracey, you explained it that even a “dummy” like me understand. I had a problem piecing in the press freedom and the SL crimes….This was insightful and crystal.


        1. Thanks Bnker – glad you found it helpful.

          Best, as always, and will look forward to your continued contributions to our conversation here,

      2. Thanks Tracey,

        Yes, you did answer my question in a clear, insightful and concise manner. My understanding of your response is that even though undermining Taylor’s credibility is important in reinforcing his guilt, it is NOT enough to convict him.

        If this is the case, I think the prosecution is wasting a lot of time milking the credibility issue. Considering that the burden of proof rests on the prosecution, I think they need to provide more compelling evidences to show beyond reasonable doubt that CT is guilty. I am of the opinion that CT was indeed involved with RUF but the prosecution has not been able to prove it to me. And if they haven’t been able to convince me (a layman in law and court proceedings), I wonder how they will succeed with the judges.

        1. Elbee,

          What is going on bro? Are you the same person that wanted President Taylor put in jail for crimes he did not commit? You seem to be looking for at least concrete and reasonable evidence beyond all reasonable doubts presented by the prosecution to put this innocent man away for good unjustly. But you think, they (prosecutors) have not done it. Thank you Elbee. If we think like you in this identical instance, these westerners will have more respect for us and they will not take us for ride anymore. Good job buddy on this identical piece and not your previous approach.

  5. Bnker,
    The comment you posted on Jan 27 was really good, I couldn’t have agree with you more, I believed at times you try to be unbias unlike many of US here, me ( Grebo) in particular, I M BIAS. After-all rain or shine I believed Taylor was wrongfully accused and he’s being lied on.

    Like many others, I lived in all part of Liberia during the war, Taylor control areas were far better, safer and far less starvation ( Taylor said it right, how can the city of London put sanction on Great Britain). Many will argue, oh Monrovia was safer, and then I’ll say safe? Well, I don’t know about that, tell that to Regina B, who was taken on the beach by AFL soldiers, shirt off and about to be executed until another soldier convene and threaten to shoot the executors. A father carrying his daughter to school around Logantown, passed between Ecomog gate, he was publicly flog in front of his little daughter and scrape naked for passing through the gate. There were so many abuses reported on Ecomog until “Status Of Forces Agreement” was the biggest news in Monrovia for a long, long time. Oh, PYJ constant attack in central Monrovia. Did I forget Black barrette and Ulimo roaming in Monrovia too?

    Now it’s about media and press freedom against Taylor, I’ll agree if all media houses in Liberia take up Liability insurance. If they lie, they can be sue. The press has ultimate freedom all along in Liberia. As a matter of FACTS, Liberia was/is the most open mic country I know. Unlike other counties, media houses in Liberia gets profit from circulation not advertisement, so they make-up stories. If you sue them, they don’t show up to court, if they do and can’t proof their lies, they’re fine. Well, NO media house in Liberia pays fine. So what is the best alternative for a government official or individual who name is scandal ( Joe Tate) to do? Tracey? If the court closes them down, human right group brand the government, and you know the consequent, so he goes and flog the damn press men and the case is close! Put your money where your mouth is. Here are very few of the media houses that were, and are anti Taylor, New Democrat, Daily Observer, Inquirer, The daily Times, and the daily News; however, everyone will consider New Democrat, Daily Observer and Inquirer, the Fox news of them all. They insulted Taylor daily with impunity, can anyone argue about that?

    Now the prosecution is throwing all these lies and non-sense stories that are far from the true, don’t they know the Liberian people knowingly elected this man despite the ELECTION COMMISSION CHAIRMAN being the #1 hater of Taylor( No-one should forget here ” The New Democrat”). It’s easy to understand why few folks hate Taylor, primarily because he disrupted our way of life and in the process many folks lost their lives. I really can’t understand and comprehend why folks that don’t really know this man, never live in his control area make up so much lies?

    1. Grebo,
      Hey thanks for reading. It’s true though, we fuss and argue for a man who adds nothing to our personal lives. Shoot lets forget about Taylor for a moment. We shall collectively place them in one category, “warlords”. While they fought and killed, where were they children and where are they kids now? If you are still in Liberia, I am sorry to say that, hey you suffered, walked long distances, and was out of school while their kids were in school and living normal lives. There were no disruption in their learning. One of our former information minister during CT administration, had his family here in the states and lived in a multimillion dollar home. His youngest child is a lawyer and works in South Africa, oh did I mention that she attend Yale Law too…yep, she did and you were dodging bullets why she was learning.

      Sop, you really thing some of the things that CT is accused off in Liberia is a lie? I lived behind CT lines too and at some point, I favored and believed in the NPFL, but after leaving our home and seeing the atrocities I lost confidence and faith in this man. So what do you considered safe in “greater Liberia”. We were all dang hostages. I am not sure if you were in Buchanan, there was a time that Ecomog went there and people cheered, that night several people were beheaded for rejoicing. One needed a pass to leave from one city to another and another for Monrovia and when one didn’t have one, you were arrested, beaten or even killed. So this is safe. Sheeeaa, I don’t want to live in a place that you call scary. Frankly, I found it more peaceful and pleasant when I got to Ecomog territories and so did you.

      You said a lot, but I can’t comment on all….so you say “Henry Andrews” was anti-Taylor, I guess that explains is mysterious death. Remember he was a journalist one of our premier along with Albert Porte…Taylor was a modern day torture chamber, remember the songs his boys sang, “anybody say they ain’t want Taylor, we treat you like a dog, ooh Taylor our leader, Taylor our leader”

  6. Traacey,

    Are you broadcasting another trial from courtroom #2? This is the second time that your link has generated this trial. Yesterday it also did. The question is has mr Taylor’s trial schedule changed? Because here in the states, i have to get up like 4am to follow the trial.

    If it has changed maybe I could get additional sleep time.


    1. Hi Andrew,

      Nice to hear from you. Actually Alpha just sent me the court schedule yesterday — the Special Court now has to share the courtroom with the ICC for its own trials. It seems for yesterday and today, the ICC’s Lubanga trial was in the morning, while the Taylor trial was conducted between 3pm-7:30pm Hague time. The schedules appears to say there will be other hearings tomorrow (It does not look like the Taylor trial will be on, but I am not sure) whereas Thursday and Friday this week it will go back to all day sessions. Next week, it looks like the Taylor trial will be held between 9am and 1:30pm Hague time between Monday and Thursday. It then looks like it will resume for full days the following week, and return to only half days in the mornings the week after that. It is all a bit confusing, actually, so I will do a post with the calendar as I undersatnd it for the coming weeks so people are not getting up so early to watch the proceedings when they don’t have to.

      Thanks for raising it, Andrew — and sorry to hear you have been getting up so early when the trial is not on.


  7. Hello,
    I would like to know from the writer of this summary if Ms Hollis gave evidence of the Liberian “operation no living thing” in court and also what evidence she showed relating to Mr Taylor’s order of the same operation in Sierra Leone. That is to say, did she just allege or did she provide the evidence? . I shall be awaiting your response Thank you.

    1. Rgk007 — I just got word from Alpha about your question. Here is what he says: “Ms. Hollis tried to submit documentary evidence of Operation No Living Thing in Liberia and how it was ordered by Taylor. She sought to submit a document from the Liberian TRC hearings where an ATU radio operator testified about the said operation in Kolahun District, Lofa County–“Taylor’s fighters massacred hundreds in Kolahun, ATU radio operator testified” was the document. Defense objected on the grounds that the said killings took place in February 2002 which goes beyond the indictment period of January 2002, and that it was new evidence which did not serve the interest of justice and did not satisfy the fair trial rights of the accused. The judges upheld the defense objection and Ms. Hollis was not allowed to use the document. So while the allegation was made, which Mr. Taylor denied, the evidence for said allegation was not allowed to be used.”

      Does that help answer your question, Rgk007? Let us know if not.


      1. Hello Tracy,
        Thanks for the effort but my understanding of the accusation is that the Sierra Leone operation “was” a reflection of the Liberian one. Now the answer you have provided seems to suggest that the reverse is the case since the RUF one must have been before the Liberian governments’ not NPFL version. Moreover – If I may ask – was the ATU operative saying Mr Taylor was giving orders over the radio in 2002 or how was he alleged to be directly involved ? I await your response on this. Thanks.
        P.S: May I ask if the trial chamber has made any ruling with regards to some defence motions pertaining to Mr Ellis? If yes, how may we access the ruling? Cheers.

  8. Big B,
    Take Heed. You are not the only one being censored. There are others who share many of the sentiments you express her but go even further with suspicions of the sponsors of this site. The decision to do so started shorly after I started posting on this site with a warning of coming censorship. Since that warning, despite absence of any breach of their rules, they have censored every posting that i have submitted which number 2( once a week). YOu will never know who and what content was censored since it does not appear if you are logged on from the computer you usually post from. They do not tell you that either, only that your posting is awaiting moderation, some of mine for 2 weeks.

    Oh well, as I said, the decision not to post is confirmation of the accusations levied in the post. Unfortunately only they and I will know what that is. That’s a great strategy… for you know who?

    1. Hi Michael A,

      I am sorry to hear you feel that way about our moderation. Our intention is certainly not to censor anyone. According to my records, you have posted five comments and I have published four of them — the fifth (from yesterday) is awaiting advice from our in-house legal counsel. On the fourth, which was indeed delayed in my posting of it, I hope I explained in my note to you of yesterday why there was a delay: we took your concerns seriously and wanted to address them properly and with reference to the transcript and the original documents used in court in order to give you a comprehensive reply, which I hope you consider that we did.

      Meanwhile, MIchael A, hopefully I will be able to respond to yoru fifth post soon, and I look forward to hearing more from you as our conversation here continues.


  9. I think that this trial is an economic waste and that its intend is western driven. From my personal assessment, the prosecution does not have any tangible evidence to convict Mr. Taylor. We should be now thinking of how to consolidate and re-build africa instead of practicing western so called democracy. what going to happen to the americans tht are responsible for the lives of thousands of Iraqis? what is international justice, anyway? can an american be prosecuted at the Hague? isn’t this a mockery? For some of us with these kinds of feelings, we are awaiting the out come of this trial and we would appreciate the day we will see the likes of Tony Blair and his father George Bush accounting for the heinous crimes committed. If this world should be a better place, justice must be blind and all should have equal rights.

  10. Hey Tracey I want to know if you are a Liberian, if yes, then you know to be known and popular in Liberia is not hard, henceforth, Most of the guys around here went for the risk, they lure Taylor through the press by provoking him (I may not be correct) that’s what got most of our guys around here scholarships to study abroad.
    They asked and claimed that Taylor was very hard on the press but the press in one way or the other provokes the poor man too, let be frank.
    Press freedom does not require insults and abuses, Journalism in Liberia is a kid’s play and their stories can only be sold in the entertaining world. The fact that Taylor used his might on the press it was because they thought others were getting pay for lies and character defamation.
    The press in Liberia took and played a foremost part in getting us this far. One, they were tip by big hands to promote lies for scholarship to paint Mr. Taylor image negative to the so called big hands, radio station got funds from humanitarian agency to carried lies and so on and so no.
    I will never say that Taylor was not hard on the press but they made stories that could best go in the trash can a story, made people to run because of their hodgepodge headline and unconfirmed stories that they had to say “sorry for the headline we carried yesterday”
    So, the press in Liberia is nothing you can use to beat somebody guilty, for now come home we have good news because the same guys that were awarded scholarship are back to trumpet people around here all because they benefited form their played games.
    Let the court get something good to get Taylor blameworthy and not the issue with press freedom in Liberia.

    1. Hi Chappy — thanks for your comment. To answer your question, no I am not Liberian. I am Australian.

  11. So really what was gained today??? No need to waste precious time…..

    The score reads Ms. Hollis & Mr. Koumjain 2 vs Mr. Taylor 17

  12. Tracey,
    I see my post of Febuary 2, 2010 still wating moderation without you telling me what is wrong. I would appreciate your respond as usual.

    Best regards

    Harris K Johnson

    1. Hi Harris – it should be posted now. I was just later than normal in moderating comments today. Let me knwo if you don’t see it and I’ll check into it.

  13. well, the prosecution has not found the evidence hard enough to break peple form their perceptions and taylorism but he is being shown as a lier, a war monger, and a hard hearted man whose dream for Liberia, Sierra Leone , Ivory Coast , and Guinea was to see these countries in total chaos.
    The trial Contineus and the victims will be satisfied in the end.

  14. Hi J Fallah Menjor — I received a post from you today at 1:25am. Alas I cannot post it as it doesn’t quite fit with our policy. I will be providing clearer guidance on the policy in a post today, which hopefully will help explain why we need you to just rephrase some of your sentences to make clear that this is your opinion, and not a statement of fact, so that we are able to post it on the site. I remain happy to send you the text of your comment if you wold like to rephrase and resubmit so I can publish it.
    Thanks for your understanding in advance, J Fallah Menjor,

    1. No problems Ms Tracey. I shall rephrase or do another topic instead because I see lot of what I intended saying above in better and non-emotional as mine clearly was. I accept full resposbility Ms Tracey..jfallhmenjor

      1. Hi J Fallah Menjor — thanks for your understanding. But I don’t mind at all if your comments are emotional – that is completely fine. We just have to make sure they fit with our policy — I’ve just posted an update on our comments policy on the site if you are interested.
        Looking forward to hearing from you again soon, J Fallah Menjor,

  15. The profound loss of memory that Taylor is exhibiting must give the Defence cause for concern. The cumulative effect of his selective amnesia wil be most persuasive in pointing to his ‘Guilt’. It seems his memory fails him mostly in areas which go to ‘Impeaching his credibility’….
    Thus, we find that Taylor claims he has no recall of’ Operation No Living Thing’ one of the most blood thirsty ‘Genocidal Assault’ on the people of our Nation. He claims to be unaware of an operation of such destructive magnitude thathuge areas were depleted of Life, he is unaware of a major operation involving “Mr. Taylor’s Director of Special Security Service (SSS) Benjamin Yeaten and former prosecution witness and NPFL member Joseph Zig Zag Marzah”. How could Taylor, who in his defence has made great play of his ‘Leading Role’in the mediation process, now, not recall that during his mediation his very own ‘Director of Special Security Service(SSS) was involved in a ‘Genocidal Assault’ against one of the parties to the ‘Peace Process’! It beggers belief!!!
    Taylor is in serious trouble, his credibility has been fractured, there is also a veritable mountain of circumstantial evidence which go both to ‘Linkage’ and to ‘Guilt’.
    On the evidence so far it will be very difficult for the Judges not to return a ‘Guility Verdict’……However we are yet to hear the ‘Defence Case’ in its entirety it is therefore conceivable that the case could be turned around for Taylor. I am, though far from optimistic.
    As Always Wadi’The Zima’

    1. Wadai Williams,

      If you are optimistic that Charles Taylor will be found guilty we must be watching two different trials.

      1. Aki
        You either misread or misunderstood my post………The point I am making is that I am far from optimistic that Taylor will be able to turn this case around, the sheer weight of Evidence is becoming overwhelming, and his attempt to find refuge in ‘selective amnisia’ is not going to cut it!!
        The judges will be acutely aware of the fractures in Taylors Defence,aware of the inconsistencies, contradictions and outright Lies in Taylors Evidence and as such The Defence’s Re-Examination of Taylor is going to be crucial in the effort to salvage his defence…..As I said in my previous post, I am far from optimistic that he will be able to pull this chessnut out of the fire.
        As Alway’Wadi’The Zima’

        1. Wadi,
          Can you point out A EVIDENCE that’s related to the CHARGES??? I have watched this trial from day one and up til now, I am WAITING hopefully NOT IN VAIN to see the LINKS to the charges.

          Really, a DISGRACEFUL DISGRACE to see what we thought was the NAIL IN THE COFFIN for Mr. Taylor…Is this case about Liberia??? Where is the 5 BILLIONS we’re promised will be EXPOSED??? Where are the INNER CYCLE or CIRCLE testimonies that were to show a DIRECT LINK in this case??

          All I and most see is the AROUND and ABOUT…..

      2. No watching the same trial Aki, but from two vintage points…that’s all. The closing days don’t look good. His appointment of an arm and diamond dealer at Maritime who is a Kenyan. Who has two names. His Liberian passport has “Samir”. He denied kids fighting in Liberia and you recklessly asked, if they wore uniform….odd assumption of questioning. The final days of cross examination Taylor got himself in trouble…he lied and then admit I to it. Ones he did that he shattered his credibility. I knew at some point this guy will talk himself into trouble. Liberians love chatty people but in court that can be ur only enemy…for CT it was.

        1. So Bnker, ALL the FACTUAL FACTS he presented don’t count??? I think he did a honorable thang by stating that his memory was WRONG….Didn’t he tell us that he had NO SMALL BOY UNIT?? Was that a lie too???

          So what has been the PROOFS from the prosecutors Bnker?? HEARSAYS???

    2. Wadi,
      I think it is unfair to point fingers at Mr. Taylor for releasing a genocidal assault code name “Operation No Living Thing” on your country without you presenting a proof. I can assure you that Mr. Taylor never ordered such operation as alleged by you and the so-called ATU radio operator. The presence of thousands of your brothers and sisters in displace camps in Foyah, Voinjama, Gbarnga, VOA Camp 1&2 near Monrovia, are all evidences that Mr. Taylor was kind to people of Sierra Leone during the civil war. It is unimaginable to compare crimes committed in Sierra Leone to those committed in Liberia during the cavil wars in both countries. Again, this is evidenced by the many limbless young and old people in Freetown. It has been stated in this court that those limbs were chopped off by some of your brothers and sisters that testified in this court. Believe me Wadi, Mr. Taylor is not responsible for what wrong when wrong in your country until proven guilty by law. Think about it.

      Harris K Johnson

  16. If Charles Taylor had said this, the socalled international human rights groups would be condemning him as intimidating journalists and press freedom. This is what was said: ” I must also act against those in the media and elsewhere who maliciously falsely try to bring our country to shame by falsely accusing citizens and institutions only for political and commercial gains,” she declared in thunderous applause from the Legislators. So here we find this current Liberian president accusing journalists for the same reason that Taylor accused them, for “political and commercial gains.”

    I know some people would promote the current Liberian president statement that since she came to power no one have been forced into exile. For the record, no Liberian journalist or human rights person was forced into exile, during Taylor presidency, except those who acted as combatants or engaged in destablizing the state. Take for example the cases of Tiawon Glongloe, Kofi Woods, and Mrs. Francis Johnson-Morris. During the period that these people got in trouble with the government, it was mostly during war or actual combat period. Even the prosecution own documents pointed to that fact:

    Kofi Woods: during the September 18, 1998 war upon the government and people of Liberia by ULIMO-J. Kofi Woods joined the dissidents forces and condemned the government actions against those who attempted to assisnate president Taylor. The executive mansion was unprovokingly attacked by ULIMO-J forces and Taylor nearly lost his life. Government forces responded and it was, I guess this time that Taylor made the famous statement , something to the effect that “we cannot have a state within a state.” Note: I am not saying Taylor statement was related to Woods but the war. Because ULIMO-J had taken over Camp Johnson Road and other parts of Monrovia and was claiming it as their controlled area. Kofi Woods and the socalled other human rights groups did not go after and condemned ULIMO-J for abusing peaceful citizens, as they did with Taylor. But when Taylor ordered his forces to clear up the city of these dissidents, then they waged their fake human rights campiagn against the government.

    Taiwon Glongloe: during the LURD war upon the people of Liberia. Glongloe visited LURD based in Guinea and spoked out publicly against the government and people of Liberia. He condemned Taylor for human rights abuses against LURD forces but never condemned LURD forces. It was upon Glongloe returned from Guinea that the Liberian security forces arrested and maltreated him. Yes, he was beated in prison but upon his own public statements, he was beaten by fellow inmates. It is common practice in Liberian prison, against anybody who is lock up; fellow prisoners will demand what is known as “toilet fee.” If you don’t paid that fee , you will get beaten up. Glongloe himself have admited this story in my presence during his visits to the USA when we had the opportunity to meet and talk.

    Francis Johnson-Morris: Again, yes she was arrested but not maltreated, She herself spoke publicly on this issue and indicated that she was arrested ,upon the orders, by Police Director Joe Tate and taken to the war front. Tate did this because she had been constantly condemning the Taylor government of lying and making up the issue of LURD attacks against Liberia. These are public knowledge in Liberia and honest Liberians know this. So the prosecution should stop all of these lies and propoganda that they have brought to this court. All of the top human rights people in Liberia were members of the opposition, and were paid agents by greedy corportations who had lost business favors with the Taylor’s government.

    This is why all of those socalled human rights people are serving in various ministerial posts in the current Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf government. They were simply fighting for power and not human rights. In this current Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf government—Kofi Woods was the first minister of Labor but he is now the minister of Public Works; Tiawon Glongloe was solicitor-general at the Justice ministry but has replaced Kofi Woods. Glongloe now serves as minister of Labor, and Francis Johnson-Morris was first minister of Justice, then she was appointed minister of commerce and now she is the chairperson for the socall “Anti-Corruption bureau” which has never prosecuted one corrupt government official. This is the reality that Taylor was faced with, opposition leaders mask as human rights crusaders.

    Today, those same acts by the police are still happening, so should we blame Ellen for the recent beatings and brutalization of students?

    1. King Gray,
      Thanks for standing up for the facts. Those people were not human rights advocates, but political guinea pigs. They are now silent on issues in Liberia because they are in government positions and have foods on their tables while other sleep hungry. What a shame? Just a little correction if you don’t mind. Paul Mulbah was the police director during the arrest of Francis Johnson Morris, not Joe Tate. Have a nice day.

      Harris K Johnson

      1. Harris
        You are correct about Paul Mulbah and Francis Johnson-Morris the election theive, who was election commission chairperson, and committed election fraud for Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to become president. Some times this prosecution lies and deception get people mixed up.

        Again you are correct that “The presence of thousands of [Sierra Loneans] in displaced camps in Foyah, Voinjama, Gbarnga, VOA Camp 1&2 near Monrovia, are all evidences that Mr. Taylor was kind to the people of Sierra Leone during the civil war. It is unimaginable to compare crimes committed in Sierra Leone to those committed in Liberia during the cavil wars in both countries.” Great thinking , Harris! That is why makes this trial nothing but TOTAL NONSENSE!!!

        1. King Gray,
          You are always welcome. I’m very proud that many Liberians like you continue to add positive value to this site. I wonder how this site would look like without you and the many true Liberians brothers and sister who sometimes put their status on the line by looking in the face of the white man and say hell no to injustice melted against Africans Leadrers. I strongly believe that the conclusion of this case is critical to peace and stability in Liberia and Sierra Leone. I stand corrected, but my feeling is that this trial has divided the people of Sierra Leone and Liberia than ever before as evidence by some of the post on this site. What do you think? I’m sure Tracey and other has something to say on this.

          Harris K Johnson

          1. Hi Harris — I’m curious why you think the trial has divided the people of Sierra Leone and LIberia more than ever before — can you let me know more about why you think that to be the case?

          2. Tracey,
            Generally we don’t trust each other any more. This is evidence by the many security checks that one under go while traveling from Liberia to Sierra Leone and the other way round. Before the wars in both countries, our people were connected in many ways like marriages and cross border trades. Today these two important aspects of our lives that once held us together as brothers and sisters, have been greatly hinder by allegations of cross border attacks that left thousands of our people dead in both countries. Some marriages are broken simply because a wife or husband believes that his/her family line was destroyed by fighters form the other country. This kind of feeling is enforced by this trial of Mr. Taylor that he is responsible for the suffering and deaths of thousands of Sierra Leonean. On the other hand, some Liberians believe Mr. Taylor shouldn’t be single out as the one that started the war in the region for which he being jailed. Remember that Sierra Leone was used at spring boat to lunch several attacks on the people of Liberia long before Mr. Taylor and the NPFL. They think Sierra, back by the WEST has disrespected their leader, there by breaking that African Brotherhood that once united and held them together in an African Sprit. More over, for Sierra Leone to have brought in STRANGERS in an African Matter, has wilding the mistrust among our people. Lastly, Let me ask, what’s about Alpha response on public view in Freetown about the trial at time?

            Harris K Johnson

  17. Press freedom?

    Since I was not living in Liberia during CT’s presidency, it will be unfair to comment on whether his administration stifled press freedom or not (those who live there, or who experience it, or who have evidence, can comment on this). It will also be unfair to base my judgment on third party information as this can be tricky.

    Having said that, press freedom or better yet the lack thereof has been endemic to Liberia’s political and media landscape for many years especially the period 1980 and after ( this is the period I am most familiar with). I think one of the reasons for this is that we are (believe or not) experimenting with Western democracy, rule of law, and good governance. This experimentation is complicated given our history, mindset, and education. Thus, sometimes in this experiment presidential power on the one hand oversteps it limits and censorship or the threat thereof becomes normative while on the other hand journalism sometimes appears to take the shape of ‘tabloid type’ reportage or the opposition itself rather than the voice of the opposition.

    We can only hope that at the end of the experiment, we all can breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate the fact that we have good democratic rule and press freedom.

    Until then, I can say: good luck to democratic rule and press freedom in Liberia.

  18. Tracy,
    My take on press freedom is not a response to wadi-Williams. Please put it anywhere you feel necessary.

  19. It funny that the prosecution want to talk about the Charles Taylor clearing of Camp Johnson road. Did they (prosecution) that Joe Tate had to force taxis to pass on Camp Johnson Rd. because people were afraid to go through. Civilians living there had there own curfew… and I know for a fact that ULIMO-J were planning to attack front there.

    When Charles Taylor gave Roosevelt Johnson some money to come to the US for medical treatment, he was here meeting with William Glay and others planning to attack monrovia. I was scheduled to travel to Liberia during the All Liberian Conference and was informed my someone within the circle not to go because of what was planned.

    Another thing I have noticed, is the fact that everybody that need political asylum in the US blame and lied on Charles Taylor. He is the single most contributing factor for getting asylum in the US. Some of those political oppositions will create their situation when planning to come to the US and applied to asylum.

    Press freedom did exist in Liberia… Ask T. Max Jlateh, one of the most outspoken radio personality.

  20. What happened with the shutting down of Star Radio? what happened with the shutting down of the famous D.C. 101 radio news show “Issue in the Press” what happened with the two times interruption of the popular D.C. 101 talk show “DC Talk” that later transferred to Sky FC as “50 50.” All were close down because they tried to investigate government activities. Mr. Charles Taylor didn’t hear about them too.

    1. Lotson,
      Didn’t Mr. Taylor address your concerns?? Star Radio was a CIA operation and was dealt with according to the LAWS of Liberia…..go and read the transcripts please.

  21. Maybe the prosecutors need to read this as they DREAM.” I must also act against those in the media and elsewhere who maliciously falsely try to bring our country to shame by falsely accusing citizens and institutions only for political and cmmercial gains,” she declared in thunderous applause from the Legislators”

  22. Noko4,
    The prosecution is not concern about the accurate accounts only the misstatements and inconsistencies. For the defense, the factual statements and events are relevant for their case. I still think that CT talks too much and he got himself in trouble. For those who are biased on either side, their “side” is winning.

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