Charles Taylor Did Not Order His Rebels To Commit Crimes And Foreign Countries Prevented Him From Liberating Liberians, Witness Says

Charles Taylor never ordered his rebel forces to commit crimes, and he was prevented from liberating the Liberian people by foreign countries who interfered in the country’s conflict, a defense witness told the Special Court for Sierra Leone this week.

DCT 125, a protected witness testifying with face and voice distortion on Tuesday told the judges that he never heard of the former Liberian president giving orders to his own rebel forces to kill, rape, loot or burn people’s houses, as alleged by prosecutors.

The witness said that if any crimes were committed under Mr. Taylor’s rule, they were isolated incidents which could have taken place without Mr. Taylor’s knowledge. The witness maintained this position in a direct question and answer session with Mr. Taylor’s defense counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, on Tuesday.

“Were you ever aware of Charles Taylor giving an order to kill?” Mr. Griffiths asked the witness.

“Never,” the witness responded.

“To burn people’s houses?” Mr. Griffiths went on.

“Never,” the witness responded again.

“To rape?” Mr. Griffiths went further.

“Never,” again, the witness responded.

“To loot?” Mr. Griffiths asked again.

“Never,” the witness said for the fourth time.

The witness added that “maybe if that had happened, it would be an isolated incident without Charles Taylor’s knowledge.”

The witness explained that he had been a pan-African revolutionary colleague of Mr. Taylor, adding that he personally did not have any specific interest in helping to start a conflict in Liberia. He said that he did not help Mr. Taylor in his invasion of Liberia in 1989, but that together with some other colleagues who were not named in court today, he moved to Liberia to help provide security for the former Liberian president whose NPFL rebel group was split into two when one of Mr. Taylor’s former rebel colleagues, Prince Johnson, led his break-away faction from the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) at the initial stages of the Liberian conflict.

On Wednesday, the witness told the court that foreign countries interfered in Mr. Taylor’s revolution in Liberia and prevented the former president from liberating his people.

“The Liberian revolution failed because foreign hands interfered in the Liberian revolution to disturb the revolution and prevent His Excellency President Taylor from liberating the country,” the witness said as he finished his direct-examination on Wednesday.

The witness also told the judges that Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeeping force was not neutral in the Liberian conflict. He said that the peacekeepers were more sympathetic towards the other Liberian warring factions at the expense of Mr. Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel group.

During cross-examination by prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian, the witness told the court that the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the Sierra Leonean rebel group which Mr. Taylor is accused of providing support for, is not a terrorist organization as alleged by prosecutors. Presiding Judge of the Trial Chamber, Justice Julia Sebutinde, asked the witness to give his definition of terrorist organization.

“It is an organization that is bent on the destruction of life and property without any meaning and purpose, to disturb the peace within the human being,” the witness said.

Before the end of Wednesday’s proceedings, Mr. Koumjian requested that the cross-examination of the witness be suspended and that prosecutors be given more time to prepare. Mr. Koumjian explained that defense lawyers for Mr. Taylor had failed to disclose the witness’s personal information to prosecutors within the 21 day period required. The prosecution request was granted and so the witness’s cross-examination was suspended.

On Thursday, a new witness told the judges that RUF leader Foday Sankoh waged a war on Sierra Leone in 1991 to free the people from the misery of the country’s politicians.

The witness, a Sierra Leonean and former member of the RUF, told the judges that Mr. Sankoh started agitating for multi-party democracy in Sierra Leone in the 1980s.

As he led the witness in direct-examination, defense counsel for Mr. Taylor, Terry Munyard sought to know what had motivated Mr. Sankoh to wage a rebel war on his own country.

“What did you understand his purpose in bringing war to Sierra Leone to be?” Mr. Munyard asked the witness.

“What I understood was that he had launched the war in Kailahun and the war was coming to free the Sierra Leoneans from the misery of these politicians,” the witness responded.

The witness explained that he, together with Mr. Sankoh, was a member of an underground group called “The Study Group,” which existed in Sierra Leone in the 1980s with an aim of advocating to change “the profoundly corrupt system which characterized governance in Sierra Leone.” After Mr. Sankoh started waging war on Sierra Leone in 1991, the witness joined the RUF the following year and said he eventually became the rebel group’s “Civilian Coordinator.”

Under cross-examination, the witness said that he had “no idea” about where the RUF was formed. Prosecution counsel Mr. Koumjian in an exchange with the witness suggested that the RUF was formed in Liberia. In the exchange below, the witness maintains that he had no idea about the birthplace of the RUF.

“Where was the RUF formed? You said it was formed when you heard Sankoh on the radio in January 1991,” Mr. Koumjian said.

“No idea,” the witness responded.

“Sir, you know it was in Liberia, don’t you?” Mr. Koumjian asked further.

Laughing, the witness insisted that “I said no idea. I’ve never been to Liberia. I only went to Liberia for the peace process, period.”

Mr. Koumjian asked the witness whether his response was because he was afraid of implicating Mr. Taylor “who created the RUF in Liberia.”

The witness insisted that he was not afraid of anything.

The witness also refuted prosecution evidence that diamonds mined by the RUF were taken to Liberia and handed over to Mr. Taylor. He made specific reference to a 21 carat diamond which prosecution evidence suggested was taken to Mr. Taylor in Liberia. According to the witness, he was present when the diamond was discovered by the RUF  and when it was handed to Mr. Sankoh. Mr. Sankoh, the witness said, received the diamond one week before his Freetown residence was attacked on May 8, 2000. The witness said that he was part of the team that escaped with Mr. Sankoh that day, but they were unable to take the diamond with them as they had to flee without any belongings.  The diamond, he said, stayed at Mr. Sankoh’s house in Freetown and was never taken out of Sierra Leone.

On Friday, Mr. Taylor’s fourth witness, a Liberian national, told the judges that he was part of the rebel force that trained under Mr. Sankoh at Camp Nama in Liberia in the early 1990s.  The witness also recalled the names of other rebel commanders with whom he underwent training at the camp, some of whom have been prosecuted and convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for their role in the crimes committed during the Sierra Leonean conflict.

“I can remember Sam Bockarie who is Mosquito, I knew Sam Quelleh, I knew Issa Sesay, I knew Morris Kallon, I knew Augustine Gbao, I knew Jonathan Kposowa, they were many, I can’t recall all of their names now,” the witness said.

The witness explained that on March 20, 1991, RUF leader Mr. Sankoh took about 150 trainees from Camp Nama to the Liberian-Guinean border in Lofa County. He said that on the orders of Mr. Sankoh, 100 men attacked the town of Koindu in Sierra Leone’s Kailahun District. The 100 men who launched the first attack succeeded in capturing several boxes of ammunition and military radios from the police station in Koindu.

Prosecutors have alleged that with Mr. Taylor’s help, RUF rebels, among whom were Sierra Leoneans and Liberians, were trained at Camp Nama in Liberia before the 1991 attack on Sierra Leone. Prosecutors say that RUF commanders such as Sam Bockarie, Issa Sesay and Morris Kallon were all trained at Camp Nama. Mr. Taylor has denied the prosecution allegations, saying that he did not provide any support in training RUF rebels and that he had no knowledge of RUF rebels undergoing training at Camp Nama.

The witness’s testimony continues on Tuesday.


  1. Taylor’s “revolution in Liberia”; is that what murdering innocent Krahn and Mandingo civilians is called. So is it safe to say that LURD MODEL LPC and the other waring factions were participating in a “revolution” and were hindered too by International community? And who were he international community, that interfered, ECOMOG, i’m not sure what this witness is saying, America great Britain; these guys thought that our civil war was just another “African civil issue” and barely intervened (until George Bush made Taylor Run like a coward in 2003 that is). We could barely get the world to intervene, so who were the people stopping Taylor’s “Liberation”.

    Taylor had full knowledge of What NPFL was doing, every thing bad that NPFL has done and can be proven turns out to be incidences happening with out Taylor’s knowledge, quite convenient wouldn’t you say. So is it safe to say that Taylor was quite and incompetent leader and could not control his boys actions? I mean, he was aware that they were using child soldiers, even though the world did, he wasn’t aware of 300 RUF troops entering and training in Liberia, he wasn’t aware of NPFL, looting or raping women and the list goes on….Someone seems to have a bit of selective amnesia here.

    Liberate: set free, as from imprisonment or bondage. free (a nation or area) from control by a foreign or oppressive government. free (a group or individual) from social or economic constraints or discrimination, esp. arising from traditional role expectations or bias.

    These are the absurd claims, that makes me call this witness not “credible”. Charles Taylor never did any “Liberation”, or attempted any “Liberation”. If that was his original intention he failed 100%. Taylor never attempted to Liberate Liberians; Taylor came into Liberia full swing doing exactly what Doe and others had been doing to the Mano and Gio, let’s not pretend that we don’t know how many Krahn and Mandingos CIVILIANS NPFL rebels lead by Taylor massacred. Taylor is no different from Doe, from Prince Johnson, than George Boley, than Roosevelt Johnson. So there is no way he could have been stopped from “Liberating”. All Taylor help do with ALL THE OTHER MAD-MEN (READ Analyticallyl I’m NOT SAYING ONLY TAYLOR) was destroy Liberia, and her people, the road, buildings, the infrastructures. Isn’t it soooo Ironic how when Taylor finally left Liberia, thanks to George Bush, yes I said it…..that there has been no civil war in Liberia. Yes, there has been uprising religious but since, the NPFL left Liberia, Liberia has been peaceful. If Taylor wanted to “Liberate” Liberia he would have kept NPFL from recruiting child soldiers, killing innocent KRAHN and MANDINGO and other civilians, looting, raping and molesting women, and just destroying Liberia. Taylor would have told his NPFL boys
    “despite the fact that I want to Liberate Liberia from other crazy people, I see that NPFL is doing more hurt than harm, and so we will lay down our arms and let Liberians, OUR people have peace”. Taylor never did that, he persistently allowed NPFL to run amok, and allowed NPFL boys to disgrace and degrade the Liberian people.
    GIVE ME A BREAK WITH THESE LIES…..ALL I CAN SAY IS LOOK AT WHERE LIBERIANS and LIBERIA IS NOW BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER TAYLOR and other war LORD. Taylor or no other war lord brought freedom to Liberia, all they brought was terror, fear, humiliation, poverty, destruction, death, murderer, unimaginable horror, and the list goes on.

    By the way let me be clear for those who would like to interrprut my comments into something else. I NEVER SAID Taylor is the only one responsible. This blog is about Taylor, the witness spoke about Taylor and so I comment in regards to that.

    1. Msteage,
      What would have been your alternatives to remove Samuel Doe. In 1985 we went to the polls and voted Doe out. The Election Commision said he won eventhough the world knew he had not. America’s response was ” Althought it was not a perfect election it is a start in democracy ” Later on in 1985 a coup was staged which failed. You know what the Kranhs with the help of the Mandingos did to the people of Nimba.

      A revolution was started remember ” War is hell” which is what President Nixon said during the Viet Nam war. Although not perfect what Charles Taylor started in 1990 we are enjoying the benefits of today. He was the first truly democratically elected president of Liberia. He willing stepped down for the sake of peace and the democratic process has moved forward. Aren’t you glad he stayed and fought long enough in 2003 so Liberia was not overrun by LURD and MODEL or are you a supporter of them. Don’t hide behind your statements if you are don’t be ashame. You seem to be against only Charles Taylor.

      1. Aki,
        Thanks for the REMINDER… are just BLIND to reality.

        Ms. Teage,
        This case is not about Liberia when the dust settles……

        1. Noko4,
          you’re educated so don’t give me that ‘this is not about Liberia. Maybe you didn’t read the post above but the post above was pertaining to Liberia, hence my response..

      2. My alternative does not involve killing innocent civilian…thats all u need to know….

        1. Msteage,
          You see from your response above. It is easy to criticize someone else’s shortcoming but coming up with alternatives is much harder.

      3. Aki,

        The question on an alternative to removing Doe presupposes an alternative to removing Taylor because both were like and dislike by different sectors of the population and the initial modus operandi both leaders used to catapult themselves to the nation’s top political office was violence, bloodshed, and killings. Now, their elections: one of these elections was rigged by one of these men (Doe) and the other election rode on the fear and war fatigue sentiment of the citizenry. I think we need to scrutinize the root cause then scratch the surface of the issue. What created Doe and what created Taylor in the fist place? If we have had the socio-political, intellectual, educational, economic, democratic, and leveled structures in place, these sad events would not have happened. We are very lucky, thanks to God’s mercy, which we are not counted in the numbers of deaths both men and their followers as well as other militia leaders and their followers are responsible for…we are talking between 250,000 to 300,000. This is troubling but what can we do to give our country a new direction away from this old culture?


        1. Aki,
          It’s not it was hard coming up with an “alternative” you called systematically targeting and intentionally murdering people of a certain tribe a “means” there is no alternative to genocide or acts of genocide, and that was my point. I was not even entertaining your “alternative” for Taylor’s war. I have a million alternative but I’m not even going to entertain that from you, because i don’t even think that there could be any type of alternative to what Doe did to Mano and Gio, what Taylor and Johnson did to Krahn and Mandingo.

      4. Aki,

        Here is an expanded discussion to your question.

        The question on an alternative to removing Doe presupposes an alternative to removing Taylor because both were like and dislike by different sectors of the population at different times, and the initial modus operandi both leaders used to catapult themselves to the nation’s top political office was violence, bloodshed, and killings. Now, their elections: the 1985 election was seriously rigged by sergeant (Doe) while the 1996 election of Taylor evidently rode on the fear and war fatigue sentiment of the citizenry.

        I think we need to scrutinize the root cause then merely scratch the surface of the issue. What conditions give rise to the creation of Doe as well as his buddy Taylor in the first place? If we have had the socio-political, intellectual, educational, economic, and democratic structures firmly in place, these sad events would not have visited our “sweet land of liberty.” We would have basked in peace, glory, economic prosperity, harmony, PATRIOTISM (I needed to capitalize this as I really think the lack thereof is hurting reconciliation and harmony), and respect.

        Those of us alive today who did not take guns to fight in that ridiculous war to kill Gios and Manos, or Krahns and Mandingos (and you can populate this list with the names of other tribes), are very lucky (thanks to God’s mercy) because given the carnage that visited Liberia, we could have become statistics in the 250-300,000 deaths directly linked to CT, Doe, NPFL, ULIMO, INPLF, LPC, LURD, MODEL, BDF, LDF, and all the numerous factions that emerged in the guise of liberation and empowerment. These guys and their followers kill our people – the innocent people of Liberia regardless of which county the came from or which vernacular they spoke – a people who had no chance to defend themselves in a court of law for crimes they did not commit except they spoke a certain dialect or came from a particular county – a people who were seen in the eyes of their executioners as subhuman – pregnant women and young babies. This is troubling – what can we do to give our country a new direction away from this sad culture?

        To hail these guys as heroes is to perpetuate the culture of killings because no matter what mask they wore to justify their coups and wars, they (CT, Doe, Prince Johnson, Conneh, Kromah, etc) were the very epitome of death and destruction. We cannot undo what happened but we are responsibility for our own actions and words. Maybe some of us were given second chance to life for a reason and we need to grasp that…yes, grasp that…


        1. Ms. Teage,
          You keep on saying what you wouldn’t have done. My questions is what would you have done to remove Doe from power ? You see to answer the question on what you would have done to remove Doe is much more harder than just saying I wouldn’t have killed people.

    2. Teage,

      Prevail on Ellen to implement the TRC Report while she is still president, and at the same time, while President Taylor is in the hands of the powerful.

      1. And you always ask me to stay on Topic, What does your question have to do with the post above? How do you want me to “prevail” against Ellen.Jose, this blog is not about my political afiliation my character or ME, it’s about Charles Taylor’s trail. But I will say something I believe in justice regardless of ones title or position.

  2. It appears that Prosecution does not have any serious case against Taylor, but they are directed to see that Taylor never leaves the jail.I do not know if the ugly Obasanjo has any conscience

  3. Folks,
    Where is this going this time? According to witness DCT 125, “he never heard of the former Liberian president giving orders to his own rebel forces to kill, rape, loot or burn people’s houses, as alleged by prosecutors.” In further direct examination: “Were you ever aware of Charles Taylor giving an order to kill?” DCT 125 said “Never.”
    Here again is another instance of a disquieting testimony. When Taylor lunched his so-called war in Liberia, was it not to kill and pillage? Was his pronouncement of wanting to rid Liberia of Doe and march his forces to Monrovia not within itself an order to shoot others (civilians and combatants)? What instrument did they use to persecute the war – computer games? No!
    When CT gave the order to attack towns, villages, and cities in Liberia did he order his boys to walk unarmed to the AFL or other militias to ask them to surrender? Is the order to capture towns and villages not an order to fight to capture those areas and kill anyone who stands in the way of his personal ambition to become president? If this witness did not hear it then others did – others in the international community who had their ears tuned to VOA, BBC, RFI, and other news outlet daily to listen to his comments. The videos of the Liberian wars have several instances of CT given order to fight and in war fighting means killing…that is what it means. This is sad!!!

    1. Davenport Noko7,

      So you are now saying that ” no orders to kill” meant that Charles Taylor should have told his men to fight the Doe forces with flowers ? This case is so weak for the prosecution supporters that you take anything said by Charles Taylor or is defense witnesses literally to the point of the absurd.

      1. Aki,

        Let us not get down to thinking the opinions of others are “absurd” (cf On March 15, 2010 at 2:40 pm, Aki ) okay. Please feel free to respond to my comments without emotionality and vulgarity but again you may choose otherwise.

        That said, I will reiterate what I said to Noko4: Wherever this is war, killings take place; it is inevitable. Whenever orders are given, whether by Doe or CT, to capture territories or repel rebel incursion many got killed. So the bottom line is this: The orders given to fight especially in a military situation carry certain consequences such as killing, pillaging, and destroying. For the witness to say that “he did not hear CT given orders to kill” is only good for him but not for others; it really does not hold in this instance. A soldier or rebel does not go into battle with “flowers” as you said (cf On March 15, 2010 at 2:40 pm, Aki ) but with weapons of destruction – weapons that kill. This is the point I am making okay.

        Tracey, resend. Please post this and delete the duplicate of this addresed to Aki.

        1. Noko7,

          Just couple of days ago, in fact, it was the 13 of March 2010 @about 1:45 AM and can be found on the 11 of March 2010 Daily Post when you called me ” Jose Charles Taylor Rodriguez”. However, you did not stop there, but continue to refer to me as “Jose Taylor.” Nontheless, did those names calling mean anything to you? UNBELIEVABLE. Whether for good or bad reason you have decided to change my name and at the same time engages in name calling, you are as guilty as the ones who came before, that are there with you, and that come after you in such a behavior.

    2. Davenport,
      Was there only from Mr. Taylor to KILL or RAPE anyone??? NO!!!. What happened were such that were done by ALL to blame this one man for ALL the mess in Liberia is SILLY, CRAZY and SHAMEFUL.

      1. Noko4,

        Frankly, we might be saying the same thing…

        Wherever this is war, killing takes place. Whenever orders are given, whether by Doe or CT, to capture territories or repel rebel incursion many got killed. So the bottom line is this. The orders given to fight especially in a military situation carry certain consequences such as killing, pillaging, and destroying.

        1. Noko7,

          Sorry again bro, your colorful rainbow assertion of “the orders given to fight especially in a military situation carry certain consequences such as killing, pillaging, and destroying” doesn’t hold in all prevailing circumstances. for example: The U.S. sixteenth President in person of Abraham Lincoln, led a successful military war victory of his country during the America Civil War. He was never tried for all those deaths. In fact, Presient Lincoln even went further in preverving the Union and ending slavery. People in his own party, the Republican Party were mad at him for the abolishment of slavery. However, did he pay or was there any consequencies against him for all those deaths? More importantly, hewas elected and is now seen as one of America’s greatest Presidents by scholars. However, during our Civil War, President Taylor in his devotion and valor, stood and challenged the Doe regime. And we rewarded him by electing him President of the republic of Liberia.

      2. Noko4,

        I beg to differ and here is why: In the court of law or in the eyes of the law when Mr. X asks, hires, or pays Mr. Y to cause harm to another person or commit a crime, Mr. X bears equal or greater responsibility for Mr. Y’s actions irrespective of the method used by Mr. Y to execute Mr. X’s order. Is this not the case?


        1. Noko7,

          NO Noko7!! This is not the case. In fact, this is your own rhetorical question by interpreting it as being the case. Sorry boss. Some of us stand ready to deny you the access of the fundamentally false rhetorical question of hope not based on any undoubtedly and undisputable evidence that you have presented in your question. I suffer no illusion to point out that you have miserably failed to put forward those relevant evidences for which you believe is the case of this innocent man.

      3. Noko4,

        And i fully agree with you that “ALL the mess in Liberia is SILLY, CRAZY and SHAMEFUL.” It is very sad.

        Guess had there not been a Doe there wouldn’t have been a Taylor…and we can go even further back into our historical narrative but the whole thing is sad…a vicious cycle.


    3. Noko7,

      He(witness) said he did not hear it. Did you hear it either? And if you did, can you provide proof? Bro, your pick and twig will not help you. Show us your evidence. How hard is that?


  4. Now, here is another comment from the witness:

    • “on Wednesday, the witness told the court that foreign countries interfered in Mr. Taylor’s revolution in Liberia and prevented the former president from liberating his people.”

    This is hilarious and paradoxical. At what time in the conflict of Liberia were external forces not involved? What was the role of Libya, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast? Are these not foreign powers that played a major role in destabilizing Liberia and the sub region or do we always need shift the blame on western countries for problems of our own making? Or did he, like Doe, think that they were the only folks called by “the divine” and equipped and trained by external forces to “liberate” Liberia…and so had an inherent right ( better yet “ordained right”) and privilege to stage a coup or a war without the interference of other forces that might challenge them? Are these folks really serious?


    1. He is right…HOW WAS PRINCE JOHNSON ARMED??? Wasn’t he armed by the US?? Will you considered that an “INTERFERED”?? What was the role of Ecomog?? Was she NEUTRAL??

    2. Noko7,

      The witness reference to foreign countries was very clear. He made mention of “big Powers”including America and Great Britain. Nobody who supports this false case against this innocent man has even gone this far in contextualizing the capriciousness and interpretation of this unambiguous and unambivalent statement of this witness, but you. However, there are pointy-headed intellectual academics and people with backbones and spines who can not stand idly to see your misrepresentation of the facts by infusing weak, small, and poor African countries to replace World’s Super Powers.

  5. Ms Teage,

    First of all I will deal with that statement you made about the US not intervening in the civil war. This shows how much you actually know about the civil war. First of all are you aware that weapons were supplied by the US to Doe during the civil war and that the US sent military observers along with the Doe soldiers who not only observed but actually actively fought in Nimba county- Kahnplay to be exact? Did you know they used APC’s and were directing the Doe soldiers how to attack the NPFL at the time and even got killed during that process? Go back and check your facts before you start making bland statements that you do not know about.

    Also do you know that ex-SAS pilots from the UK flew jet bombers that killed scores of innocent civilians during bombing raids over NPFL territory? Do you also know that they were hired by the Sawyer interim government for a fee of $5 million to attack the Gbanga mansion and kill Mr Taylor and family but failed? Did you know that two of the planes were shot down and one of the pilot died while the other lost his leg in the process and threathened to sue Mr Taylor for the lost of his life live on BBC? Did you know these things just to name a few?

    Are you aware that it was the US that requested that Mr Taylor allow Doe to leave the country and not attack Robertsfield in order for them to evacuate Doe and his family including a total 400 persons? Do you know they were dealing with Mr Taylor on the one hand and with Doe on the other hand asking him to cease fire and then organised the interim government in Banjul behind Mr Taylor’s back? They funded and armed Ecomog with the sole intention of stopping Taylor and the NPFL of taking monrovia while they rushed in the IGNU government of Sawyer?

    Do you know that the under Secretary of state met with Mr Taylor on several times in side and outside of liberia during the NPFL period and made promises that were reneged upon many times?

    Do your homework before you make blanket statements that you do not know about. i can understand your dislike of this man but please do not speak out of term about established and known issues as if they never happened.

    At the time of Mr Taylor’s revolution there is no doubt here that it was very popular. He had overwhelming support from the majority of the Liberian people who wanted a change from Doe. Do you deny this? people wholheartedly supported his revolution and that is why it was so successful. He did not have to conscript anyone into the NPFL as is common practice in many rebel wars. People volunteered from all walks of life to join in the fight. this was the one time Liberians had full ownership in fighting for what they felt was their liberation.

    I do not doubt here that some things did go wrong along the way, they did. However,this was not the intention of the leadership of the NPFL for things to go awry. These things do however happen in situations such as this when you have such an overwhelming force of people from all walks of life with their own individual prejudices and biases. People for the first time had weapons and saw it asd an opportunity to settle old scores. this is very common in all civilian uprisings and revolutions. Look at the French revolution, do you think it was a pretty sight or the revolution in the UK with Cromwell. Do you know how many innocent people lost their lives then? It is unfortunate but true. Terrible things happen during revolutions but not necessarily with the direction or complicity of the leadership all the time.

    Let’s approach these issues in a matured and academic way and not from an emotive position. Emotions cloud our ability to logically analyse events.

  6. Davenport-Noko 7,

    You are quick to criticize but I would like to hear from you on what you would have done to remove Samuel Doe from the Liberian people’s back? We tried elections which Doe rigged. We tried a coup which didn’t work. So tell us what would have been you plan?

    1. Aki,
      What you don’t seem to understand is that an ‘alternative’ means ‘another’, ‘different’ not the same etc…. Doe targeted and murdered Mano and Gio civilians, I don’t know if that was retaliation for Quiwonkpa’s attempted coup or what but Doe murdered civilians destroyed the economy etc..
      .How was what Taylor did an ‘alternative’ to what Doe was doing? Taylor, Boley, Konneh, Kromah, Johnson(s), etc… their plight for power can be seen as an ‘alternative’. You cannot take Taylor out from among the other murders and glorify what he did as an ‘alternative’. Just like Doe murdered innocent civilians Taylor did the same, just like Doe stole money from Liberia Taylor did the same, and then he went on to recruit children to fight for his war, and claimed to have no knowledge of it..
      If the ecomomy was bad during Doe’s after Taylor et al era the economy was worse and so was the country. So you see Aki Taylors ‘alternative’ did not benefit Liberia or Liberians.
      Let’s talk about this alternative,lets say NPFL/Taylor had to come and remove Doe through a coup…., How about NPFL not using children, only adults who consented, ( I don’t belive one bit that for 14 years Taylor was not aware and could not stop the use of child soldiers). How about NPFL not loot and live in peoples home (like my home). How about NPFL not murder Krahn and Mandingos how about NPFL fight with its enemies ULIMO J/K LPC and leave everybody else alone, how about NPFL not rape women and girls? Maybe if NPFL had done that and innocent civilians died by stray bullets or whatever, then people could’ve honestly called Taylor a hero and praised his effort. But when Taylor showed up worse then the SKDoe, how do you call his means an alternative. He was doing wxactly what Doe did and even worse! Taylor/NPFL and all the other rebel leaders after Doe intentionally and consistenly were invovled in way too many human right abuses. So you see Aki, My alternative does not involve INTENTIONALLY committing acts of genocide…Doe did that already………..

    1. Hi Aki — yes, I miss $$ker-Bnker’s contributions to the conversation as well. I hope he rejoins us soon.

  7. Folks,

    I need to push this dialogue a step further to speak to a causative factor of killing. In doing so I will repost below one of my earlier comments made in responded to Jose ( cf “Charles Taylor Dismisses ECOMOG Commander’s Allegations As Nonsense,” February 19, 2010 at 6:12 pm), as I think the orders given in a militaristic context reflect the downside of humanity- the downside that lead others to cut off and end the life of others as Doe did, as CT did, and as all the other militias did.

    “The action of that ECOMOG soldier, regrettably, reflects the sad side of humanity. We can only pray and hope that humanity at all times will see the need to love – love humans, love non-human creatures (i.e., dogs, cats, etc), and love creation. I believe this is our clarion calling as humans; we must eschew the hatred that leads to enmity, bickering, and destruction and aspire to the type of love espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and that Great Individual ( JC) who was both the eschatological and soteriological fulfillment of divine redemption. Using the words of one of these folks, “love conquers hate” and love becomes a soothing therapeutic healer in our world. Sorry! I do not purpose to sound religious or philosophical; but at times, I guess, we can’t help philosophizing and thinking spiritually as we wonder why some folks find gratification in hurting, killing, or destroying others.
    Some of us could not stomach the senselessness of the conflict nor the carnage perpetuated by various factions to the conflict including the peace keepers-enforcers and the army and we exited the country…painful stuff, Jose, painful stuff! Others could not exit; but irrespective of our geographic location in the sub-region or the world, we were all affected in some ways by the mayhem and absurdity that visited our “sweet land of liberty.” Many Liberians bear emotional, mental, and physical scars as a result of events that occurred between 1980-2003. We can only pray and hope that one day full and true healing and reconciliation will occur…where wounded souls will be healed; where justice will be tempered with mercy; where we all can tearfully and ecstatically sing that old spiritual hymnody that we learned during our formative years “There is a balm in Gilead to heal our souls.”

    The justification for war might be compelling but all wars, whether WWII, the Balkan wars, Rwanda, El Salvador, the Gulf wars, or the Liberian civil wars reflect the sad side of humanity to resolve to killings to liberate, empower others, empower self, or simply to steal and enrich the self.
    It really does not matter whether CT gave order to “kill, rape, or loot” as I think CT’s order to fight is an order to kill. What matters for me is the common denominator or thread: humans solving difference through bloodshed and violence – something which has come to stay with humanity. When will we be fully civilized to the extent we respect the views and opinions of others? When we solve political difference through a free, fair, and transparent electoral process? When we will not deprive others from socio-economic mobility, which sows the seed for hate and rebellion?
    What can our generation do to ensure a society free of these ills and vices? What legacy do we plan to leave behind for future generation if we continue to thrive on violence, killings, retributions, corruption, nepotism, stifling of press freedom and human rights, malfeasance, ploys, and evil intentionality?

    Our song should be desire to work to leave behind a legacy free of the culture of deaths, killings, and destruction. In the words of John Legend, a heterodox Christian, philanthropist, and enigmatic leader on the American musical landscape, the time to act is now. Read his words:

    (“If you’re out there”)
    If you hear this message, wherever you stand
    I’m calling every woman, calling every man
    We’re the generation
    We can’t afford to wait
    The future started yesterday and we’re already late
    We’ve been looking for a song to sing
    Searched for a melody
    Searched for someone to lead
    We’ve been looking for the world to change
    If you feel the same
    Then go on and say
    If you’re out there
    Sing along with me
    If you’re out there
    I’m dying to believe that you’re out there
    Stand up and say it loud
    If you’re out there
    Tomorrow’s starting now
    Now, now…


    1. Davenport.Noko7

      Your words really resonated with me. Particularly “When will we be fully civilized to the extent we respect the views and opinions of others? When we solve political difference through a free, fair, and transparent electoral process? When we will not deprive others from socio-economic mobility, which sows the seed for hate and rebellion?
      What can our generation do to ensure a society free of these ills and vices? What legacy do we plan to leave behind for future generation if we continue to thrive on violence, killings, retributions, corruption, nepotism, stifling of press freedom and human rights, malfeasance, ploys, and evil intentionality?”

      To my mind, these words apply equally to all of us, no matter where we are or where we’ve come from. And I took your exhortation as a call to action, or at least thoughtfulness and tolerance for each of us as individuals and as collective actors.

      Though the daily blow-by-blow accounts of specific incidents in the trial is both important and interesting, I think you are right to take a step back from this trial and try to look at what the larger issues are implicated by these trials, and what reconstruction is needed, including to the rule of law and accountability efforts, in the wake of mass violence, and what each of us can be doing ourselves. I’d be interested in other readers’ thoughts on this also.

      Best, as always,

  8. AKI,FA Howard,Noko4,& Petro, how big must the proves be for you to relise, and what if it is looking right in your faces? remember the prosecution does n’t have to proves all of their charges against Charles Taylor but only one, and the one right now admitted into evidance is not good for your man.prosecution charged that the RUF was trained in Taylor’s held areas in Liberia before their first attack on Sierra Leone in 1991.although CT vice president Moses Blah and other key prosecution witnesses testified to this, CT has continue to contradict himself on this issues now his own witness & should not matter that he is a Liberian, but his testimony puts key RUF founding fathers and about 300 of their fighters in camp Nama namely: Sam Bockarie, Sam Quelleh, Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon, Augustine Gbo & Jonathan Kposowa ( some already convicted in earlier SL trial) . and all of this was taken place just a few Kilometers away from CT farm in Bong County where he stayed at the Charles Taylor is to be found quilty just on this, My question to our moderators is can the international court goes after culprits arising in this indictments? Mainly colonel Muammar Abu Minyar al Gabbafi who all witnesses including defense witness DCT 125 are pointing to, for allowing the use of his country libya( Camp Mataba & Camp Tajura ) as a breeding grounds for the carnaged level against the innocent lives of Sierra Leone & Liberia.With camp Mataba & camp Tajura transferred to Camp Nama and defense witness DCT125 admitted being one of editors of the Mataba manifesto and was also in Liberia under CT’s protection says volume.QUILTY it is!

  9. Aki,
    The answer to your question is simply opposing Doe through legal and democratic processes and be willing to sacrifice my own pleasure, comfort, convenience and even life not cowardly using other people children and wantonly destructing and looting the country under the facade of liberation.
    Now, you tell me what should have been done to rid Liberia of Taylor?
    Please don’t come up with the funny argument that Taylor’s government was democratic. For we all know that Taylor’s government was no better than Doe’s. Holding an unconstitutional elections under strange conditions and an uneven environment doesn’t outrightly translate into a democratic government.
    Also, supporters of Doe can equally claim that Doe was democratically elected and that the claim of him rigging elections are unfounded.

    1. Morris Kanneh,
      Firstly if it makes you feel better to say that citizens voted for Charles Taylor because they didn’t want anymore war that is fine with me. I who was in Liberia know this is not true. The difference between the elections of Doe and Taylor is mainly Taylor’s election was certified by independent observers. One of them who readily comes to mind if the former US President James Earl Carter. Now to answer another of your statements with a question. Is Barack Obama a coward for sending troops to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq while he and his children remain in Washington D.C. ? You ask what could be done to rid Liberia of Taylor. The answer is simple we were less than a year away from elections when LURD and MODEL attacked Monrovia. If they were so sure the citizens didn’t want Taylor why not have peaceful elections? The reason is clear that they knew Taylor would win again becasue the vast amount of citizens would have voted for him.

    2. Morris Kanneh,
      Doe did not come to power through legal and democratic processes. Why would Doe give up power through legal and democratic processes. Doe had a chance to give up power through legal and democratic processes and he refuse.

  10. “Anybody say no mean Taylor
    we will treat you like a dog
    Oh Taylor our leader
    Oh Taylor our leader”

    Does anybody still remember NPFL most notorious song?

    1. Big Joe,
      This is one of the many lies and falsehood you guys have continued to tell the word. Check the wordings of your so-called song and revert to us. I challenge you and your likes to prove that these are the exact words of any song that was in support of Mr. Taylor. Beside, what bearing does this have on Mr. Taylor trial?

      Harris K Johnson

      1. Hi Harris,

        I understand that the song upset you. That said, I wondered if I could make a request of all readers on the site?

        I know everyone has opinions about Mr. Taylor and this trial, and we want to hear all of them. What worries me here is that there is a tendency for groups or sides to form, and this site then becomes somewhat of a verbal battlefield – but directed against people or sides, and not a battle of ideas. I do understand the desire to group with like-minded people to discuss issues, and I do not want to discourage that in any way. However, what I am worried about is the natural and understandable tendency to ascribe misdoings or wrongs to groups of people who think differently about the trial or the issues. May I ask us all: instead of ascribing characteristics to groups of people, can we focus on the substance of the issues and in doing so, try to correct any inaccuracies or misperceptions that arise in specific areas?

        I understand this request is really left up to the discretion of readers, because there are no rules being broken here. My hope is, and I hope others share it, is that this is one space where all of us, no matter what position we may take on Mr. Taylor, can get together here and discuss the issues thoughtfully, and without malice or fear — but as a group of people who are interested in intellectual engagement around the trial.

        I’m curious whether others share my vision for the site and the discussion here?

        Harris — please know I do not mean to single you out here – this is actually an issue that I have been thinking about for a while, and this just seemed a good opportunity to raise it. This is an issue that affects all of us and the way we want to share this space together, and it might be worth us all discussing together.


        1. Tracey,

          I share your vision. I have been lobbying for such discussions but it looks like we have an existential problem, as some folks have intentionally decided (or might be passionate and hasty generalization on their part) to portray, label, and categorize independent thinkers like myself and others as anti-Taylor or pro-Taylor. For me this is not about fitting into an emotional club. It is not about rooting for Taylor or going against Taylor, as it is more about having dialogue with issues arising from the trial. I have asked the question many times: can we dialogue without constructing a camp? – Which I think is indicative of the (divisive) mentality associated with our war culture. How can we take one step aside and critically examine the issue without attacking independent voices of being fixated with prosecuting Taylor or being fanatical about setting Taylor free.

          I believe this is a dilemma for us all because of our freedom to mask our identity behind the veil of Pseudonymity which is good, laudable, and inn the spirit of democratic freedom. However, the real problem or challenge, I have observed, is that maybe (I am conjecturing here) one or a few of us might be somebody we, Liberians, KNOW TOO WELL or do not want to know. And because that person is who she or he is, there is absolutely no way we can lobby their support for the creation of an ambiance in which issues arising from the trial are intellectually and meaningfully because for them this trial is about life and death or about retribution and vindictiveness. And no matter what independent voices say, the battle line is drawn and folks are deeply entrenched not necessarily in the trenches of ideology, logic, and reason but probably in the trenches of emotionality (emotions arising from HATE of Taylor or emotions arising from LOVE of Taylor)…and the battle cry is ‘you either join us or you are against us.’

          This website is not the forum for us, Liberians, to perpetuate our conflict. I thought we had enough already. We have been exploited and taken for ride by coup leaders and insurgences who used the banner of power to the people, empowerment, and progress to deceive us and enrich and empower themselves. Battles have been fought, innocent have been killed, and maybe, just maybe, it is time to permanently drop the gun and rethink. Is killing other humans who are created in God’s image like ourselves something pleasurable, cheerful, civilized – it is something we need to perpetuate?

          Not to be distracted, I might purposely ignore comments from a few screen names. My decision is not healthy to the spirit of dialogue but just to keep above the divisive camp mentality. I will remain who I am – an independent voice examining issues arising from the trial. Whether CT is found guilty or acquitted is not mine to decide but the judges’.

          Well, this is my take on it Tracey…and I might comment further at a little date.


          Please post this and delete the other rejoiner to your question.

        2. Tracey
          No problem if you single me out here. What is important is that intellectual discussions come with facts, but not bundle of lies. I’m aware of most of the very issues that are been discussed here like the song Big Joe talked about because I did cross any border during the fourteen year war in Liberia. It will sound stupid if I sit and allow people to misrepresent Mr. Taylor here all because he is on trial and don’t have the time to respond to some of these lies. I’m also aware of people’s right to free speach, but let me remind you that freedom of speach comes with responsibility. You stand responsible for whatever you say. I don’t think that it is wrong to challenge someone to prove what he or she has said against some one like Mr. Taylor. This is the most elementary responsibility that one ever asks from a speaker. I don’t really know what you think about Mr. Taylor that you allow all dirty talks to be directed at him and wish that no one challenge such stupid talk. Tracey, know that Mr. Taylor is our former president who some of us respect with high esteem no matter what others think about him. I agree with you that we should respect other people options on issues that come up on this site, but we will not relent to kick back at them if they choose to remain ill responsible on how they link Mr. Taylor to evil on this site. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset in any way. But I must say just what I stand for without any fear or favor.

          Harris K Johnson

          1. Hi Harris — I think we both agree that any factual inaccuracies should be corrected on the site, or if there is disagreement over accuracy, then those disagreements should be aired here. My hope is that we can focus on the factual inaccuracies or on the content of the posts themselves, and not on the motivations of those who posted the comment in question, or to ascribe bad faith to those people. If we focus on the issues, we are less likely to get distracted from the real issues arising in the trial. Sound fair?

            And thanks for your understanding about me raising this broader issue in response to your post — it was really a general issue which pertains to teh site and discussion overall and not one intended to be directed towards you specifically.


        3. Tracey , the truth is that this song was widely and without remorse sang trough out Liberia those days. some people only think they can outsmart others through this site; Mr. Harris, you Knows about this song . Give way to truth for once.

    2. Big Joe,
      all the rebel groups had notorious song do you still remember some of them or just the NPFL’S.

  11. Big Joe,
    You need to check your facts . This is not the song I know. Were you in Liberia? Looks like youpicked this song you got from somewhere elese. If you don’t know the song ask and you will be taught… thanks.. Stop spoiling our song. ok..

  12. Davenport.noko7

    You hit it right on the head man, this is some true and powerful stuff you’re talking about. I hope it send a message to a lot a people. I don’t even know what to say man, what took you so long to let it out.

    We need find better ways to solve our problems other than WAR. If you don’t mind I would like to circulate your message to other forums. Thanks brother, God Bless.

    1. John Thompson,

      You are welcome and please free to share our thoughts.

      Peace and blessings.

  13. Aki,
    I’m truly disappointed in your answer. The truth of matter is not your answer is disjointed and very difficult to follow.
    In the first place you are creating the wrong impression that you alone were in Liberia during the election of 1997.
    Secondly, you think we are so gullible as to accept statements as facts simply because you say so. My brother, your words are no gospel. You need to go beyond mere words in order to debunk what many independent credible observers of election 1997 see as the reasons why Taylor won that election.
    Thirdly, you seem not to be aware that the US government officially endorsed the elections of 1985 with even the then Secretary of State going as far as saying that though there were some irregularities, considering the prevailing situations the elections are credible.
    Fourthly, you seem not to know that official policies of the US government are not expressed by ex-officials but by the current officials. The then Secretary of State endorsing an election has more weight than a former President doing the same.
    Fifthly and most puzzling is your failed attempt to draw an analogy between a President of a country sending troops into another country to get rid of terrorists with those of a common criminal with no constitutional authority recruiting children, drugging them and sending them to kill, loot and rape while he still far away from the battle fronts and live comfortably from loots. If awards are given for the worst analogy of the Millennium, I beg yours will win hand down.
    Your analogy only shows that you don’t know the processes leading to sending US soldiers into battle. The President doesn’t unilateral send American troops to war. He needs congressional approval. Your claim that Obama send US soldiers into Iraq is a big fat lie. Furthermore, Obama’s children are kids and illegible to serve in the US army. Anyway, I don’t expect any supporter of Taylor to know that it is wrong to send kids to war. I could go on giving litany of examples to show that the similarities between a US president sending troops into war and Taylor’s barbaric and senseless war are like the similarities between heaven and Hell but the few aforementioned examples will do.
    If Taylor would not wait for 1991 just a little over a year from his rebellion and he wouldn’t immediately cease fire when Doe promised not to run for a second term then why should have others waited for Taylor’s reelection?
    Let me end with a quote from Richard Sisson
    “People do strange things when they are cornered by facts. When evidence cannot be denied, men care nothing. For the truth simply become illogical. Minds become willfully ignorant and emotions turn hostile.”

    Aki wrote
    Firstly if it makes you feel better to say that citizens voted for Charles Taylor because they didn’t want anymore war that is fine with me. I who was in Liberia know this is not true. The difference between the elections of Doe and Taylor is mainly Taylor’s election was certified by independent observers. One of them who readily comes to mind if the former US President James Earl Carter. Now to answer another of your statements with a question. Is Barack Obama a coward for sending troops to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq while he and his children remain in Washington D.C. ? You ask what could be done to rid Liberia of Taylor. The answer is simple we were less than a year away from elections when LURD and MODEL attacked Monrovia. If they were so sure the citizens didn’t want Taylor why not have peaceful elections? The reason is clear that they knew Taylor would win again becasue the vast amount of citizens would have voted for him.

  14. Thompson and cousin7
    Only cowards are afraid of war. Some wars are of neccessity. I don’t know what you guys are talking about here. Are you saying it is wrong for America to go after Binladen? Was it wrong to fight Doe out of power? When there is a neccessity to fight war, it must be fought .. It is natural. Stop being a coward. Civil war was fought in the great USA.. HELLO!!!!!!

    1. cousin5,

      You are misunderstanding me contextually…and this is systemic.

      No one is a “coward” except the one from whose lips the word “coward” came.


  15. Noko 5,
    Charles is the coward because he invaded Liberia under the ‘gise’ of revolution anf freeing Liberians and ended up doing worse to the country and it’s people. Only cowards committ acts of genocide (against Krahn/Mandingo Mano/Gio or any tribe or race ) only cowards drug up kids to fighta, only cowards loot and steal from their own people, rape women and murder in cold blood, and most of all only cowards like NPFL boys commit gross human rights violation against their own people Liberians and Sierra Leone I believe.
    You and every Taylorist have made the assertions that Bush needs to go to jail for the acts committed in Afganistan and Iraq, because the soldiers killed many innocent Iraqi/Afgans, even though their objective was to ‘liberate’ the Iraqis/Afgans…..So according to the assertions you’ve made wouldn’t that be the same for Taylor? Didn’t he go into Liberia with the ‘intention’ of ‘liberating’ Liberians. Didn’t he end up intentionally and systematically targeting and murdering civilians because of their tribe; committing many human right violations in the process of ‘liberating’. So you see then Taylor is just as guilty as Bush/America.
    But your analog of America/ Iraq and Taylor/Liberia IS NOT SAME…the invasion of Liberia and Iraq/Afgan only bare one distinctive similarity and that is they were both invasions …Bush/Powell et al were legitamte leaders of a nation and invaded another nation. Taylor on the other hand was just another ordinary coward/hoodlum/criminal and invaded his own country, he was not a legal head of state as was Bush, he intentionally targeted ( the operative word being INTENTIONALLY) civilians just because of their tribe.
    Interahamwe were cowards for doing that to the Tutsis, Janjaweed are all cowards for doing that to the southern sundanese, Doe was a coward for doing that to Mano and Gio and Taylor/NPFL is a coward for doing that to the their fellow Liberian.

    1. Goo points Ms. Teage ,
      Trust me , we are going to get to the bottom of this….nothing will be left unttouched this time…

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