As Witness Concludes His Testimony, He Says Charles Taylor Did Not Take Part In The 1999 Rebel Attack On Sierra Leone’s Capital Freetown

Neither Charles Taylor nor his security forces supported or participated in the Sierra Leonean rebel attack on the country’s capital Freetown in 1999, the Special Court for Sierra Leone heard today as Mr. Taylor’s first defense witness ended his testimony.

Mr. Yanks’ testimony – consistent on this point with Mr. Taylor’s own testimony — stands in contrast to that of several prosecution witnesses, who had testified that the former Liberian president provided the support needed for the rebels to attack Freetown. Prosecution witnesses had also testified that both Mr. Taylor and his Special Security Services (SSS) director, Benjamin Yeaten, were in radio contact with one of the top Sierra Leonean rebels, Sam Bockarie, during the attack.  In his re-examination today, Mr. Smythe dismissed the allegations as lies, adding that no member of Mr. Taylor’s security apparatus travelled to Sierra Leone for the operation.

“To your knowledge, did Benjamin Yeaten travel overseas at any point in time around the first week of January in 1999?” Mr. Taylor’s defense counsel, Morris Anyah, asked the witness.

“I’m not aware of him making any trip outside of Liberia at that time,” Mr. Smythe said.

“To your knowledge, were any employees or members of the SSS during that period of time engaged in any fighting in Sierra Leone?” Mr. Anyah asked.

“No, to my knowledge, none of the SSS were involved in any fighting in Sierra Leone,” the witness responded.

Seeking to clarify the issues further, Mr. Anyah asked the witness whether “to your knowledge, were any members of the SSS, in particular Benjamin Yeaten, engaged in any radio communications with persons in Sierra Leone during that period of time?”

Again, Mr. Smythe responded that “to my knowledge, no.”

My. Smythe also today told the court that a document bearing the name and signature of Mr. Yeaten did not reflect the correct spelling and signature of the former SSS director’s name. In his 2008 testimony for the prosecution, Abu Keita, who reportedly served in Mr. Taylor’s government in Liberia, testified to the authenticity of a document titled ‘Operation Orders’ and attested that the document bore Mr. Yeaten’s name and signature. During his re-examination today, Mr. Smythe told the court that the name Benjamin had been misspelled and that the signature did not reflect that of Mr. Yeaten’s as he knew it. Mr. Anyah sought to clarify the issue.

“In the time you were assistant director for operations when you worked with Benjamin Yeaten, have you ever know him to sign a document containing an incorrect spelling of his name?” Mr. Anyah asked the witness.

In his response, the witness said that “no, I’ve never known him to sign any document containing an incorrect spelling of his name.”

Looking at the document that bore Mr. Yeaten’s name, the witness observed: “that doesn’t look like Benjamin Yeaten’s handwriting.”

As Mr. Smythe concluded his testimony, Mr. Taylor’s defense team called the next witness to testify in defense of the former president. The witness, with pseudonym number DCT-125 will testify as a protected witness because, like some prosecution witnesses, security reasons demanded that his identity not be revealed to the public. The witness testified mostly in private session with the exclusion of the general public. For the short periods that his testimony moved from private session, the witness testified with voice and image distortion measures. Voice and image distortion measures ensure that the witness’s voice and image are not identified by members of the public.

DCT-125’s testimony continues tomorrow.


  1. Good, thank goodness the first liar is off the stand, bring on the next one to put Taylor in more trouble. At least this one has started off smart by hiding his name, voice, and image. This new guy should be plenty of fun, hope his statements are not “misrepresented” like the previous guy. CT supporters are probably praying this guy doesn’t forget where CT lived in monrovia because the first guy couldn’t even remember where he first met CT. hahhahahah

    1. John,

      You better start bracing for Taylor being your next preident again if he is finally acquitted before the 2011 election. Are you actually following this trial? If you are, than you will know that it was the prosecution who introduces witness protection, voice distortion, and closed door hearing. However, the defence was not the first to do this. Instead, they are only doing what the prosecution did first.

      John, by the way, when was the last time you visited LILberia? You made or made not answer this question: depending on your willigness, we will know.

  2. Yank Smythe!


    I have nothing against Yanks but need to make a comment after reading about his background and doing some reflections..

    I love the enviable spirit of Liberian hospitality and politics. Well, I must say this is sarcasm because I seriously question the rationale behind some aspects of Liberian hospitality. Having a Gambian insurrectionist and NATIONAL, Yanks Smythe, appointed by president CT as Liberia’s ambassador to Libya and Tunisia; having a Ghanaian NATIONAL working as controller at the executive mansion under president Doe; and you can populate this list including examining what president Johnson-Sirleaf is doing. The bottom line: this is disconcerting. Don’t we have qualified Liberians to fill these important ambassadorial and financial roles? Why this type of hospitality to folks who are nationals of other countries and who did not obtained Liberian citizenship? I am not against being hospitable to other West Africans or others because we need to but these are very important national security sensitivity posiitons that should be filled by qualified Liberians. I might be wrong and stand corrected, but I am not sure if Liberian nationals have ever served another country in high profile GOVERNMENT positions in the West African region. Do we really love ourselves? Do we have national pride? Are we patriotic? What hols us together? What keeps us from fighting? Hummm! Oh Liberia…


    1. More reflections and questions on our NATIONAL HOSPILITY.

      It is more than hospitality? It is more than nationalism? Is it recklessness with the way our leaders make important appointments in government?

      Still reflecting…


    2. Davenport noko7,

      Given this logic are you then saying that all the thousands of Liberians who have now become United States citzens should never be able to work in the top tier of American government? Do you know that the current Governor of California is an immigrant from Austria? Your statements above show a prejudice to naturalized Liberians.

      1. Aki,

        Oh Boy!!!

        NO! Absolutely no!!!

        Do not get me wrong.

        The sky is the limit for any individual who ONCE HELD LIBERIAN CITIZENSHIP but is NOW A US CITIZEN BY NATURALIZATION ( here is my operative logic, Aki – naturalization).

        My comments are not chauvinistic towards Liberians. I was questioning the rationale behind the appointments of non-Liberians to high government offices by various Liberian presidents including SD, CT, and perhaps EJ. I am more concerned about what such appointments do our national psyche. Do we not have qualified Liberians to fill their functions? If this is done, will we not be on the road to respecting ourselves, our national pride, and being patriotic?

        Let’s talk about Governor Arnold for a minute. You and I know that Arnold is an immigrant alright like many immigrants who came to the USA but HE IS A NARUALIZED US CITIZEN. By default of his new citizenship, the governor is no LONGER AN AUSTRILAIN NATIONAL. In fact, if he were not a naturalized US citizen, securing his current political office would have been unfeasible ( and this applies to any immigrant in the USA. To serve in such high office, you must be a citizen by birth or naturlization, wouldn’t it). I am afraid this is not the case Yanks Smythe who IS A GAMBIAN NATIONAL, NOT A LIBERIAN CITIZEN by naturalization. Wouldn’t it have been prudent to have this guy applied for citizenship and granted Liberian citizenship before appointing him to a high ambassadorial job? What are we doing and where are we headed?

        Well, I need to speak to Jose’s comments so I have to rest my case, Aki.


    3. Noko7/Davenport,

      Are you aware that President Johnson Sirleaf made a Nigerian General Chief of Staffs of the Armed Forces of Liberia? Where do you stand on this one bro?

      1. Jose,

        Remember now I did not leave out Ellen. Read excerpts of my original post: “I love the enviable spirit of Liberian hospitality and politics. Well, I must say this is sarcasm because I seriously question the rationale behind some aspects of Liberian hospitality. Having a Gambian insurrectionist and NATIONAL, Yanks Smythe, appointed by president CT as Liberia’s ambassador to Libya and Tunisia; having a Ghanaian NATIONAL working as controller at the executive mansion under president Doe; and you can populate this list including examining what president Johnson-Sirleaf is doing.” So it is good you are populating my list.

        I believe this attitude of our presidents appointing non-Liberians to ambassadorial or senior government positions is worrisome especially if there is a qualified pool of Liberians who can fill those positions. Having said that, I can understand that for some outlying countries where we do not the money or interest to establish a consulate or an embassy, a foreign national who hails from that country could perform limited plenipotentiary work on behalf of our government.


  3. Hi Tracey/Alpha,

    Alpha is doing an outstanding job in his last couple of reporting. Kudos Alpha, keep up the fair and balance reporting.

    While watching the trial this morning, I was taking notes to write my view as I saw it in the court room. I was flabbergasted Alpha’s comment on today’s trial was a duplicate of mine. I had to hold back on what I wrote, because Alpha told the story almost as good as I would have. Ha ha.

  4. It is unthinkable for someone to believe that Mr. Taylor or any member of his security would communicate on HF radio to the RUF. What the witnesses failed to know is that HF radios do not support private communication at all times. Mr. Taylor would have been monitored or recorded by the Americans or British if such communication ever took place between Mr. Taylor and any member of the RUF. However, it is the business of the prosecution to present proof of their many lies, but too late to say.


    Harris K Johnson

  5. There were rebels attacks on the Liberian government in 1999 by lurd and model.Former President Taylor will not be at war in his own country then supporting another war in sierra leone, total NONSENSE. If you want to keep him in jail keep him, but he is not quity of your so called crime.

  6. Hi Tracey,
    Are there reasons why the next witness for the defense team testimony hasn’t been posted? Is it possible for you to give us an over view as to what his testimony is about? How many witnesses we should expect to testify for the defense team?

    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Jocone — we do not have any information about the next witness yet. We understand that the defense expects to call 98 witnesses, but there is some speculation that it may end up being less than that number.

    2. Jocone,

      To be quite honest, I wouldn’t comment on this other defense witness testimonies too mush. My reason is that he is saying too many things about the country that I love too much and that is the U.S. I will only comment when I have to. Jocone, America is a good country. Had not it been for America, some of us will not be saying or writing what we think about this fake trial. However, I will not be who you know me to be, an intellectual. Look at the Haiti Natural Disaster. Overwhelming support. Nontheless, Common Americans and the Military are going there without even knowing where they will sleep for the night, and yet still helping the people. The problem is few guys like Alan White, David Crane, and ect, think since they are powerful, or know people in power, they can do what ever the heck they want to do, because they have contact or are in the position of authority. It is sad and disappointing. They are the ones that making this Great Country America to be looked at with scrupulous care.

      1. Jose,
        You are right but the Country we love so much ( America ) made alot mistakes in the past and we are hunted by her mistakes. Let’s be honest here brother, we both know some of things our Country have done to others Countries. Let’s take for example, South Africa back in the days, those people went through a lot while we sat back watch. look in the middle East…. we can do more to make the situations there better if and only if we can allow everyone to have their Freedom for which we stand, I think we will have nothing much to worry about.

        1. Jocone,

          Sometimes, something just doesn’t require explanation. However, it is few guys who find themselves in position of authority that is creating lots of problems for America.

          Anyways pekin, lets drop this topic for now.

  7. The score reads Mr. Koumjain 0 vs Mr. Smythe 3.

    And those documents were handed to the defense by the prosecutor….where did they get them from??

    1. Noko4, I am surprised with your score – not when Yank Smythe developed a chronic case of amnesia under Cross and prefaced almost all his answers with, “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember”. I suggest you read the full transcripts of his evidence. He was a complete mess, especially when he was confronted with the inconsistencies between his testimony and the written statement he had given to the Defense in 2009. Yank Smythe only proved that a decomposing carcass only attracts vultures and hyenas, not hummingbirds and bees!

  8. why is the international communities so concern about judging Mr Taylor for world crimes they themselves commited in both sierra Leone and Liberia? why cann’t you judge yourselves first? I think you should judge yourself for supporting rebels in Liberia and also judge the leaders of our neighboring countries like sierra leone and Guinea for also supporting rebels through the help of the international communities that is now judging Mr. Taylor. How can Mr Taylor receives fail trial from his enemies.

  9. Tracey can you please help me with the web site to visit for me to watch this trial live on the net if there is any. I currently live in the US

    1. Hi Sylcor — yes of course — you can actually access it through this site. If you go to our home page, you will see a button on the right hand side of the page with the words “watch live” inside. Alterantively, you can go to the Special Court for Sierra Leone’s site, where you can watch through their site as well — you will see the links on the top of the page, also on the right hand side under a photo of Mr. Taylor at

      Unfortunately it is only available live, so if you are in the US, it means getting up around 4am if you live on the east coast (or 1am if you live on the west coast). The court is back in session on Tuesday through Friday between 9:30 and 4:30 Hague time (so 4am and 11am New York time, given the half hour delay in streaming).

      I hope this helps.


    1. Hi Sylcor — that’s great. Let me know if you have any problems and we will try to help if we can.

  10. Jose

    you seem to just spit stuff out your mouth, I asked you for some facts on your previous posting and not one single anwser and now you want to sit here and tell me to brace myself for Taylor being the next president. You seem to be moving backwards while everyone is moving forward. What can Taylor do for Liberia? NOTHING.

    Secondly even if Taylor is aquitted he can not return to Liberia, it was part of the agreement he sign before leaving in 2003. And what does my going back to Liberia has to do with me expressing my dislike for Taylor, unlike you I am not afraid of no man, will it make you happy or sad if I told you I was in Liberia this past Christmas. And yes all the destruction it makes me sake, no running water, no electric, total darkness, kids high on drugs and the list goes on.

    Look man don’t get me started, you must be one those Liberians who benefited from the war and must think you’re more of a Liberian than the next Liberian because you can talk a lot with no facts.

    1. John Thompson,


      John, prior to your claim of going to Liberia, we told you and the world that none of what you yourself talked about was in Liberia at the level Ellen and her international partners were selling it to us. However, Ellen and the international media and community were lying to the world. And they were just bent on promoting Ellen. Now you know the truth.

      John, Ellen who has all of these supports can not do it. What makes you think, Taylor, who had the opposite could have done it? Reality is closing on you John.

      John, what previous posting you asked me for facts about? Apparently I forget or overlooked it.

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