Today’s defense witness denied knowledge of Charles Taylor’s alleged involvement in sending Liberian traditional herbalists – or “juju” men –to Sierra Leone to perform ceremonies for rebel forces to protect them from enemy bullets. The former Liberian president is on trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone for allegedly supporting rebel forces in neighboring Sierra Leone during its brutal 11-year conflict.
John Vincent — a former Training Commandant for Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels – was responding to claims by a prosecution witness about Mr. Taylor’s role in relation to the “juju” men. In 2008, former RUF radio operator Alice Pyne said she was present when the Liberian herbalists arrived in Sierra Leone and that she was part of the RUF rebels who participated in the ceremony. Ms. Pyne also said she had spoken with one of the herbalists who had told her they were sent by Mr. Taylor from Liberia.
Mr. Vincent said he had heard of the RUF using herbalists to protect their fighters from bullets, but did not know or hear about the group Ms. Pyne spoke of.
“More specifically Mr. Vincent, did you ever hear of Charles Taylor sending herbalists to the RUF to use to protect their fighters?” defense counsel Morris Anyah asked the witness.
“No,” the witness said, emphatically.
In cross-examination today, the witness recounted his days as a trainee for the RUF at Camp Nama in Liberia. He said RUF leader Foday Sankoh only told the RUF rebels his real name when they entered Sierra Leone in March 1991. At Camp Nama, he only knew the RUF leader as Pa Morlai or God Father.
“It would make sense, doesn’t it to you, that Foday Sankoh, being supported by Charles Taylor in NPFL territory, that Charles Taylor would want to hide his support for the Sierra Leone dissident from the government of Sierra Leone for as long as possible. That’s why Foday Sankoh didn’t use his name……isn’t that true?” Mr. Koumjian asked the witness.
“I did not have such an idea,” the witness responded.
Mr. Taylor also today gave permission for trials to proceed in his absence tomorrow as he will stay in his cell celebrating the Jewish Passover holiday. Mr. Taylor, who was a Baptist while in Liberia has converted to Judaism since his relocation to The Hague to face trial for his alleged role in supporting RUF rebels in Sierra Leone who committed serious international crimes. This week, Jews around the world will celebrate the Passover holiday, an event that commemorates the deliverance of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.
Mr. Vincent’s cross-examination will continue tomorrow.
I pray and hope CT’s proselytization will assist him critically reflect on some of his mistakes and revolutionary impulses that sent many innocent victims to their early graves. Many who never got the chance to live to the fullest; their life was cut short by war barons and thugs. I weep for those innocent people…
I pray and hope this period of lent in Christianity and Jewish Passover holiday will offer him the clarity, calm, and humility to encounter anew with divine, seek forgiveness for his transgressions against God and God’s creation and descend from grandstanding.
I pray and hope that during this special time of religious celebration, where the ecclesial emphasis is focused on the special Seder meal which memorializes the start of the Exodus, he will find peace, guidance, and perceive others with a theocentric ( somebody said it is θεός) lens; where his egocentric impulses will give way to Yahweh’s impulses.
I pray and hope this special spiritual and religious festivity will spark the fire of contrition for the injury he and others caused God’s peaceful creation. In Judaism, like Christianity, realization of one’s sins and repentance are essential elements in an individual’s relationship with the divine…and repentance will be good for his soul.
I pray and hope that CT will become a changed God fearing, human loving individual.
Repost Tracey. Delete earlier posts.
The bigger question is if you as a person of faith have forgiven him for what you felt he has done ?
please delete my first comment.
Aki – it is deleted.
Sure, Aki, I have.
We have to temper justice with mercy though.
Wish you well, brother.
Hope you have too, Aki!
If not CT, then someone else…there is always enough room for forgiveness. Isn’t i?.
Enjoy your Easter bro…we have more discussions ahead.
Excellent question…and I hope we all can find the time to forgive those who brought destruction to our sweet land of liberty. Good question, bro…
Jose — I cannot approve a post submitted today at 2:15pm because it focusses on other readers. If you can reformulate to focus on the point you are trying to make and not other readers specifically, I can publish it.
Thanks for your understanding,
On CT cont’d…
This is not simply about CT but the departed and all peace loving Liberians who bear psychological, emotional, and physical scars owing to prolonged unwarranted exposure to repressive and at times malevolence impulses, senselessness, greed, unquenchable quest for self social, political, and economic empowerment, and covetousness of a handful of Liberians who perfectly masqueraded themselves as coup leaders and revolutionaries. These victims and the departed need to be prayed for as CT withdraw momentarily from the proceedings for spiritual reasons.
On a broader national level, we need to pray for personal, communal, and national healing and reconciliation. We need to pray for the divine to assist Liberians turn hate into love; theatres of war into educational and technological advancement centers; perverse and disillusioned mind into workshops of rationality, excellence, and good thought; despair into hope; negativity into constructive and healthy criticism; illiteracy into literacy; tribalism into nationalism; factionalism into welcome engagement; discord to peaceful coexistence; social and economic injustices into respect and equal treatment for others; governmental centralization into decentralization; sounds of canons and grenades into dancing and socializing; lawlessness into rule of law; and evil subversive destabilizing tendencies into patriotism or love of country.
We all need to pray, if we can.
Tracey, please post this version and delete the other on this particular topic.
Hi Davenport.Noko7 — absolutely no problem. Just let me know if I have not posted one of your previous posts that you wanted posted.
Hey people! BREAKING NEWS: Prosecution motion to limit the defence case to conclude by june has been denied by the court! the prosecution presented its case without hinderance for 12 and half months but wants the defence to be compelled to conclude its case by june. what a case!
First of all, thank you. However, just when you think this dumb case can not get any much dumber than what it is already, is when the prosecution prove you wroooonnnnggg. Sure, it can get dumber. Shame on the prosecution and those very few Liberians who don’t care about true justice other than seeing this innocent man being nailed and burned by hope or crook at all cost. Many thanks to the judges who saw through the scam of the prosecution motion to restrict and deny the fair trial rights of the accused and not allowing justice to take its course. Anyways, we have seen worse and weird scam from the prosecution than this before. Again, thanks to the honorable judges for putting the prosecution in judiciary check. In fact, these kinds of behavior from the prosecution must raise more questions even from the other side opposite me of their(prosecution) true intent to dispense justice.
Tracey, Something strange happening here to me. However, I don’t know what it is. But like when you submit your post, you usually see awaiting moderation, for some odd reason, I am not seeing it. In fact, it disappears from the screen. What is going on?
Hmmmm, Jose. THis is strange as Noko5 mentioned he had the same problem yesterday. I have had a similar problem in the past, and when I took out links contained within my comment, it seemed to correct the problem. But since two people have now raised this, I will talk to the tech guys about it and see if they know if there is anything wrong and whether they can fix it.
Thanks for alerting me, Jose.
could we ask Alpha about this technical problem too since it hasn’t affected the guys on the other side..cause I know you love both sides, but I am not sure of some of your cworkers.Just taking additional precautionary measures…cheers
Noko5 — I’ve checked with the tech guys here — they asked me to check with you and Jose whether your comments included hyper links. That was the problem with mine when I had a similar concern about my responses not appearing, and they wanted to check if it was the same with you so they could try to track the problem. Can you let me know if you wouldn’t mind?
(And I can assure you that Alpha loves both sides too, and that the problem has nothing to do with him.)
Thanks Brother Vincent for standing up for the truth. You are indeed a deep, deep insider of the rebel ruf. Your knowledge about events inside the ruf proves that you are by far aware of major activities of the ruf then some so-called prosecution witnesses that testified and lie in this court. I can already see that your cross will be a difficult one. We all see how Mr. Koumjian has started on a very weak front by asking Vincent reason why Mr. Sankor hided his name. How was he suppose to know, is Vincent a mind reader? Mr. Koumjian should know by now that Mr. Sankor was operating in Liberia covertly so he wouldn’t have disclosed his identity for safety and security reason.
Harris K Johnson
All my posts yesterday disappeared from the screen after I submitted. I did not see the awaiting moderation statement either. What is going on?
Hi Noko5 — yes, that is weird and it has happened to me before too when I have tried to write responses. When I took out some links to websites, that seemed to help. I’m not sure what was the problem — but this one of yours came through. Let me know if you still have problems and I’ll ask our web wizards here to look into it.
Noko5 — by the way, I posted a response to your question about states and rebels launching attacks on other states’ territories under the “no post today” post last Monday. Hope you find it useful.
This is just a free thought. Don’t you think some one who hate the way some of us think has decided to silence us by deleting some of our comments on arrival? Has this happened to anyone whois advocating for the procsecution,like for example, Fallah Menjor or Ms Teage? Please, just thinking freely. NOT ACCUSING…..
Hi Noko5 — I actually think it is just some weird glitch with the wordpress software. Given it has also happened to me and I am the moderator and take no position on issues of guilt or innocence, I think we can count out any outside interference. Let me know if it keeps happening to you, however, and I will ask our tech guys.
The comments you published “On CT cont’d” is a sequel to the other work you are yet to publish. That work has the introductory caption – “On CT” – and was revised a few times.
Please publish the most recent revised version of that work.
Thanks for letting me know, Davenport.Noko7. I think I have now posted the right one.
Peace and blessings to all of you wonderful and special creation of the divine.
Sorry, sister Tracey! CT’s spiritual retreat inspired me to go into a theology mode.
Davenport.Noko7 – feel free to be inspired!
Yes I agree with the prosecutor these defense witnesses are waste of TAX payers money, in my books the man is as GUILTY as he can be, he’s lucky this trial is not in America because it would’ve taken 2 weeks like his son trial did. Two weeks and 98 years in prison case close.
I know you CT supporters will shout back but who cares, blah, blah, blah, your so call leader/revolutionist is lock up and will never see the day of time. And what with all you people saying if he’s found not guilty he will return to Liberia. Are you just naive or something is wrong with your brains, don’t you know it was part of his exile deal that he will never return to Liberia, how sad.
Now if someone told me I can never return toLiberia I dont know what will happen to me. What a coward, distroy the country and then try to run away in a white suit thinking he’s rightous. Just another money and power hungry man but his days are number, look how old and tired he looks. This is the time he should be enjoying his retirement instead he’s chain up like some cage animal. What a loser.
OK MR THOMPSON, LET SAY MR TAYLOR IS LOCK UP FOR 1000 YEARS, WHAT ELSE WILL CHANGE? LIBERIA PAVE WITH GOLD AND THE STREETS ARE LIGHTED WITH DIAMONDS? BY YOUR SO-CALLED AMERICAN GOVERNMENT WHO ONCE SAID THAT LIBERIA PROBLEM WAS FOR LIBERIANS TO SOLVE, AND AT THE SAME TIME SUPPORTING MR TAYLOR AT ONE END? HANDED SAMUEL DOE TO CONFUSED PRINCE JOHNSON?
ONE THING YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN JOHN IS THAT NOTHING SO FAR HAVE EVER LINK MR TAYLOR TO THE 11 COUNTS ON SIERRA LEONE AND YOU HAVE ALREADY BECOME THE JUDGE AND THE JURY. I SOME TIME RESERVED MY COMMENTS BECAUSE SOME OF YOU GUYS HATE MR TAYLOR SO MUCH THAT YOU PREFERED LIBERIA TO GO DOWN THE DRAIN.
EVEN IF THIS TRIAL WAS HELD IN US COURT YOU KNOW VERY WELL THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN TROWN OUT THE WINDOW BECAUSE OF LACK OF EVIDENCE/S TO PROVE THE 11 COUNTS OF WHICH MR TAYLOR IS ACCUSE OF ON SIERRA LEONE.
I WILL TELL YOU ONE THING JOHN, MAYBE SOME ONE SOMEWHERE THINK THAT THE BLACKMAN IS A FOOL BUT THIS ONE IS CERTAINLY NOT, AND NOT MR TAYLOR.
MY PRAYER IS THAT YOUR EYES AND MIND WILL OPEN TO SEE REASON AND KNOW THAT MR TAYLOR IS INNOCENT……………………………….GOD BLESS MR TAYLOR………. GOD BLESS THE PEOPLE OF LIBERIA…………… GOD BLESS LIBERIA……………………….
It sounds like frustration talk to me.
The Easter break of the trial will do you alot of good. It seems that the strong defense case has taken a toll on you.
Obviously Taylor wasn’t smart enorgh if he got USED by the U.S, took a crappy exile deal, then get caught on the Nigerian border while trying to run. Lets admit the man is not that smart, he might seem smart to people who are not highly educated.
He might go down in history has one of the worst president, even worst than Doe. If I’m not mistaken, he might be the first former African head of state since independence from colonial power to be chain up like some cage animal and put on international trial.
Hey John, he was smart enough to be your president. Wasn’t he?
Liberians are standing up everyday and cheering when they hear voice of their beloved president. Nonetheless, it is only a blooming idiot, or a glittering jewel of colossal ignorance will not write in the history books of how President Taylor was the first and truly democratically elected president with an overwhelming mandate from the people. You and the West can try to criminalize, criticize through hate speech, and inflict upon him the cruel denial of the utter humanity of mankind; but history will be fair to him and Liberia as “THE ONE” who stood up against the powers of this world and gave his life as a sacrificial lamb just so his people can live life to the fullest of their god given potential. However, to those who disagree with him including you John Thompson, have every right to do so. But you don’t have the right to disparage his good character and to assert these unfounded proposition and idea. To me, it is just dumbfounded.
This is not about any African, it’s about the big boys who has what it takes to build and destroy when want and how they want! We had missionaries in Africa, they said they were going to civilize Africa, but they ended up enslaving those they took out of Africa. They returned and divided the continent to weakened it strength before exploiting Africans resources. We’re not stupid although we’re humble. These big boys are not done with Africa until they enrich themselves thoroughly. US want to control Africa’s richest areas through AFRICOM, and Liberia is their starting point to get to those rich areas in african countries of their interests. This is part of the reasons Taylor was sent, i believe. he was to get rid of Doe and come back to those who sent him to mission after it was accomplished. But he did not, and that is where Taylor became the criminal he’s been painted to look like in the eyes of those who don’t research meaning of International conspiracies like this nonsense. If he was as weak as other leaders, by now he should have been gone to his grave long ago.
Let no one make mistake, i am not Mr. Taylor’s fan, But i have no reason to hate him because he was used to get rid of Doe out of my beloved state of MA’s prison. During his mission I lost all my family and found myself in exile where I been living lonely after my mother passed away when I was nine. I have not had the opportunity to see or return home since i left at the age of 3, and I have every reason to be mad and seek vengeance when I look back at what millions of Liberians went through including myself during the time of war and after. But then again it better to forgive and accept my own fate as it made me who I am. I have made friends who understand my ideals of global citizenship, and what it means to be a part of a generation. I have come along, and I am happy that at the expense of my lost I was able to safe lives, speak out and encourage other people to love and help write a different legacy for our time out of the desire of love, unity and peace. I am grateful to the Americans of all backgrounds who find my words motivating and inspirational. But I mostly thank those who helped me when I was in Cote dIvoire. Deborah Adeleke especially, I thank you for remaking me out of your humanitarian philosophy of Love and forgiveness! I have kept your words of great courage and faith, and I have been trying to stand up for those who can not for themselves.
I have learned and seen a lot in my quest for a better day to come, and I have you to and Nicole LeRoux to thank for encouraging me. It’s for your advises, and for the love of justice im on here, and I must return to this Taylor dis n dat topic now! lol
He’s not a ghost, and i have never been to jail so I don’t know how secure wherever Taylor was imprisoned is. But one thing I do know is that no one escape from jails in the USA. If Taylor escaped from jail, I am sure he did not walk to Africa on his two feet; he took a plane and he could have been arrested if it was true that he really ran away. He did not! America sent him to clear the way for its foreign policy of Africa exploitation. Please, no who should hate America because ordinary American don’t agree with what the US govt do. They find the govt international criminal and terrorist activities shameful, because it is not right to have innocent people dying for big businesses interest.
No matter how bad econ is in the US, the govt or big businesses don’t give free gas, oil or any resources to anyone as a cadeau. We all go to the pump for the same mountain prices. Most Americans will agree on negotiation with other nations instead of disrupting the peace, ignoring their national sovereignty and killing people to for those oil and gas companies to get free resources to come sell at the price of an elephant for a gallon. I live in MA where I have seen children and their parents done all they could to end the war in Sudan, feed the refugees in Sudan and help the children of Uganda return to a normal life. These are the American I have talked in middle and high schools, and they’re the people I hope the world can think about when the US is define. When I traveled to colleges, religious places, well as different communities around my hometown of Sharon as an activist; these are the Americans who shared their times and little resources to make sure that those beyond United States boundaries understand we live for one another.
I am not a terrorist, and I pray no one makes an enemy of me. But whatever is wrong is wrong! I know i am being monitored for my words on this web, and I am very happy to exercise my right of freedom as a freeman living in a free world. I just don’t agree with wars and injustice. No nation is better than any other regardless of its size or population. We’re all human, and we must be governed by the same international laws of right. Disrupt the NATO and it allies so the world can have peace. All Unions must work together for the sake of fairness, and let no law give right to anyone and leave over another. End the Nucleus program, or give right to every nation to have their own if we can trust each other. United Nations must not last one second it can’t every nation squarely, and African Union must not dealers representing themselves if they can’t do the right thing for Africans.
Send every child to school even if it cost the last penny in our national budgets, and end supporting all kind of useless organizations that means nothing to our time and to the strength of our young one who will lead us tomorrow!
Enough said for one day my friends, this web must go global! Facebook, myspace and twiter will have less fan than you because we talk real sense here. I’ll love to help Tracey, in anyway possible. Let the debate go on guys, u don’t always have to agree with someone as long you can…
Dear J. Tomas – you wrote a very thoughtful contribution to the debate here, and shared some very personal thoughts and experiences with us. I am grateful to you for telling us your own history and your ideas. I am also so sorry to hear what you have been through, and for the loss of your family. I’m glad to hear you had people you could turn to along the way.
I share your hope that the debate can continue here. On a general level, I truly think you, the readers, have made this a space where a truly democratic dialogue about the rule of law can flourish. People can disagree with each other, and do so respectfully and without fear. If only all democratic spaces could operate like each of you have made this space operate!
You wrote a nice piece but I would like to inform you that people escape from US prisons daily, even the maximum security Federal prisons. There have been several incidents in the last 30 years where prisonals have escape and flew out of the country. Please check the bureau of prisons website or the FBI webstite.
Secondly, why would America use CT, they already had Doe in their back pockets. No government is perfect but thus far the US seems to be doing a decent enorgh job for its task payers, your basic human and civil rights are protected. You have the right to say whatever you want about the government or anyone, which is not the same in other countries. People are prosecuted daily in other countries for execising these rights.
J Thomas, again lets be thankful for what we have and not be so quick to point fingers. On the issue of Nuclear progarms I don’t think its safe for every nation to have a nuclear weapon, having a nuclear weapon is a big responsibilty, the government must a be stable with several mandates so the weapon doesn’t fall in the hands of disgruntle military generals or terrorist with personal vendetta.
As for NATO, it is not a military alliance, its actually a trade alliance with a military support, countries.
John Thompson, I’m humbly grateful for your thoughtful words! Thank u also for your infos about people escaping from US prison facilities “in the last 30 years,” and for directing me to those webs of your suggestion.
However, my brother, Taylor from the US to Liberia was a very organized operation as we all know it. Yes security then was not as strong as it is today. But. how does a man like Taylor escape from Jail in the US and walk over Liberia when he was supposedly a criminal? I am not happy, and will probably never be until someone tell me on which plan this man flew from the US to Africa, and who sponsored his mission to overthrowing Doe before having the Audacity for Liberia’s presidency!
About Nukes Thompson, i agree no nation should have even the smallest of a weapon that will kill an entire country for any reason! I’d rather we all follow the footsteps of Dr. King and Gandhi to accomplish many desires to better this world. That being said, if one nation can have 1000 Nukes, regardless of it size; even the smallest country on earth should have the same amount because what it comes down to is life and death. If Nukes are possessed for protection sake, let the same law that says all men are equal allow every one to protect his/her life as well because eventually those guns will be use again those who don’t have it. Protecting one’s life is a big responsibility weather you’re a peace maker or you’re the mother of wars!
To your point about rights protection in the US I agree with your point bro. Thompson, that many nations would kill anyone who dares going against its govt. This is where I want the US to shine by promoting those principles without wars and special business interests that make contradict the American democracy. I love the US, i the fed here represent the daily men and women who work their hearts out just for the sake of humanity.
About NATO, i know what they said it is; but we also know what they actually do together for its members when it comes to getting their hands on other nations resources. I know their politrics John Thompson, it is not just a trading org. I rather call it a military org ensemble to over power any one who is not part of them, and who’s resources that NATO’s member wants from that non-member nation. It’s a pure corrupt organization that i hope can change their way of doing business, and be more respectful of other nations’ sovereignty and regard the lives of the people of those countries that are not always going to agree to let what NATO want from them.
Again, this is not about Nukes, NATO or me pointing finger at the US govt; it about living by the rules of life with one law governing all of us. When those rules are broken, (like Taylor is accused of), those who foul must pay along with all their partners in crime.
If Mr. Taylor is guilty, I’m sure he did not event his own resources; therefore, let everyone who empowered him pay even greater than Charles Taylor! Otherwise, he Taylor should be let go and enjoy freedom as much as those who helped him get to Liberia in 1989 are. They must be blamed for any lost because they helped Taylor get out of US before he could even locate S. Leone and its people to whom he’s accused wrong against. My point is about true just bro. Thompson, Justice and truth are beautiful twin sisters when they’re clearly naked.
Let me hear you if need be,
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