Liberian Witness Says Paramilitary Groups Were Created Without Charles Taylor’s Knowledge; Sierra Leonean Witness Says RUF Rebels Used Forced Labor

Paramilitary units were established as part of the Liberian security apparatus without the knowledge of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, a defense witness for Mr. Taylor said today at his war crimes trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.

John Vincent, a Liberian national who served as training commandant for Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and later as Colonel in the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), today told prosecutors that units could be created in the Liberian military without Mr. Taylor’s knowledge — even though he was the president of the country at that time.

The issue emerged as Mr. Vincent appeared to contradict testimony of Mr. Taylor’s about the existence of a Special Operation Division (SOD) existed as a unit in the Liberia National Police. (In his 2009 testimony, Mr. Taylor told the court that no unit called the SOD existed in the Liberian police force. In today’s testimony, Mr. Vincent said that the SOD did exist as a unit in the police force).  Mr. Vincent added, however, that the former president may not have known about the existence or establishment of the SOD. The witness also told the court that together with his colleagues in the Liberian army, they created the Jungle Fire Quick Reaction Force in the AFL without Mr. Taylor’s knowledge.

Mr. Taylor’s defense counsel, Morris Anyah, sought clarification about how these special units could be created without the knowledge of the president.

“Now, in relation to Jungle Fire Quick Reaction Force, in your opinion, when you and others gave yourselves that name, is that something that can be the concern of the president of Liberia?” Mr. Anyah asked the witness.

“No, it cannot be the concern, no,” the witness responded.

“And why do you say it cannot be the concern?” Mr. Anyah asked further.

“Well, it would only be the concern of the president if we were doing something contrary to his administration, but as long as it was in the interest of the government that we bring ourselves together to fight the common enemy, I did not see any problem with it,” Mr. Vincent said.

As Mr. Vincent concluded his testimony today, defense witness Charles Ngebeh — whose cross-examination was suspended on March 24, 2010, based on a request by prosecutors — took the witness stand again today.

Mr. Ngebeh, a Sierra Leonean national, told the court that before he joined the Sierra Leonean rebel force, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the rebels forced him and other civilians to walk for one week to a town called Pedembu in the Kailahun District of Sierra Leone. He and the other civilians were then forced to carry looted goods on foot from Pedembu to a town called Foya, in Liberia, he said.  In doing so, Mr. Ngebeh asserted that the rebels used forced labor in Sierra Leone. (Among other charges, Mr. Taylor is responding to allegations that he is responsible for the rebels’ use of forced labor in Sierra Leone.  Prosecutors say that Mr. Taylor knew or had reason to know that the RUF used forced labor in Sierra Leone but continued to support them through the supply of arms and ammunition. Mr. Taylor has denied the allegations against him.)

Ms. Brenda Hollis, Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, conducted the witness’s cross-examination and asked the witness about how the rebels forced them to walk from Pendembu to Foya in Liberia.

“They used me as manpower,” the witness said.

“And when you say you were used as manpower, what do you mean, how were you used?” Ms. Hollis asked the witness.

“They told us to assist them carry their things that they had gotten from Golahun, that’s what I mean by manpower,” the witness said.

Asked to explain “what kind of things” he carried for the rebels, the witness said that “they had looted food, rice — I carried rice.”

He added that the rice was taken by the rebels from the military and the civilians in Sierra Leone.

Mr. Taylor, who is on trial for allegedly supporting RUF rebels in Sierra Leone, has so far presented seven witnesses since his defense team rose on January 11, 2010. 

Mr. Taylor’s trial will resume on April 12, 2010 as the court breaks for Easter recess tomorrow.


  1. I have just finished reading the transcripts for March 31st. John Vincent was a good witness for the defense. He outlined his time with the RUF well and when he didn’t know about events the prosecutor asked him about he said he didn’t know and would refuse to speculate.

    1. Aki,
      Strangely i find myself agreeing with you that the witness, John Vincent was a good witness, but for different obvious reason. He was unintentionally a good witness for the prosecution. His admittance to the existence of the paramilitary unit (SOD) was in contrast to Taylors nonknowledge. Vincent’s attempt at clean-up was usual of the defense. Whenever the defense is cornered with evidence,Taylor becomes unaware. What kind of country, government or organization was that? Having the creation of special security operation units, the training of over 300 men in your military barracks, the use of child-soldiers and the Commander in Chief has no idea? Give me a break!! This strategy is old for the defense. You are overplaying this hand. It has become the MO(modus operandi) for this team. What Courtney Griffin is failing to realize is that some concession will go a long way in a mostly circumstantial case. And that is what this case is and there have been convictions based solely on circumstantial evidence. Sadly, the majority of Taylor supporters have been banking on the lack of a smoking-gun i.e visual or audio. Total denial is not going to help. When the visual evidence of the use of child-soldiers was introduced on this site by one contributor, Taylor defenders questioned it. They even questioned the obvious youthfulness of the children. Come on, have conscience in your strategy of DENY DENY DENY!!!!

      1. Nosirrah,
        Now so what does everything you are saying got to do with Sierraleone?????? Please be the first prosecution advocate to answere this question> All your brothers and sisters on this web have failed on this one and simple question….

        1. noko5,
          All i am saying is that Charles Taylor and his cohorts have lied, is lying and will continue to lie to everything he is accused of. Plain and simple as is evidenced in the few enumerations i made in the post you responded to. Did i succeed where my fellow prosecutorial advocates failed? Offcourse, i know what your response will be. I honestly don’t think anybody; be it from your position or mine will be able to break the impasse in this debate. Again it is our entitlement on this site.

      2. Nossirah,
        If I recall Mr. Taylor’s answer to SMALL BOYS UNIT..he said he nor NPFL sanctioned such but like Mr. Vincent said….some brought their kid relatives with them.

        When Mr. Vincent trained, Mr. Taylor was not in charge of the area….let’s get the FACTS right and correct please.

        1. Noko4,
          At the time Mr. Vincent trained at camp Nama (1991), that territory was definately under Taylor’s control. I worked with the U.N then under the late Sean Devereux and U.N country representative Mr. Ross Martin and knew the various buffer zones. On the east end of Monrovia (Paynesville), the buffer zone was at mount Barclay between Charles Taylor’s NPFL and Ecomog. Camp Namp is east of Mount Barclay. Taylor controlled from Mount Barclay to the Ivorian border and Nama falls within that territory. From the west of Monrovia, the buffer zone was at the Po river; again between Taylor’s NPFL AND Ecomog. Taylor’s controlled territory ran from Po river to the border with Sierra Leone. Thirdly, Prince Johnson’s INPFL was locked in Caldwell and Ecomog was at the buffer zone northwest of Monrovia which was at white Plains with Taylor and his forces. All this time, only Monrovia and its environs was not under Taylor’s control. Camp Nama was captured sometime in 1993 by Ulimo. Before that, camp Nama was under NPFL’S control.
          This is repetitive with regards to this argument and we both know it. The late Winston Stefeny aka “General Kill it” was a 15yrs.old child soldier and he was commander of the Small Boys Unit (SBU) at Taylor’s Executive Mansion in Gbarnga, Bong County. Winston was a former friend,soccer team-mate and school-mate of mine at St Francis Catholic High School Tappita, Nimba co. before he transferred to St. Martins catholic School. The late Debra Kwame Waye 16, was also at Taylor’s Mansion. i knew hundreds of NPFL rebels, because i went to school with most of them for three years. I can name more and more, but that will not be necessary. MR. TAYLOR’S DENIAL OF THESE OBVIOUS FACTS ERODES HIS CREDIBILITY, IF HE EVER HAD ONE. So there you have it; THE FACTS.

      3. Nosirrah,
        Please read the indictment to know the time frame of this trial. The training of the RUF in Crabhole took place in 1990-1991 the indictment period is 1996 Nov or thereabouts to 2003 so how does the witness admission damage the defence case? the prosecution got nothing from the witness he rather kept contradicting the prosecution evidence. He was great!

        1. Nossirah,
          I was in Gbarnga for a time in 1992 and there were no SBU guarding Taylor’s Executive Mansion . Just think for a moment what you are asking readers on this forum to believe. Charles Taylor during the height of the war would leave his security and that of his family to a bunch of small boys for protection. I ask you does that make sense ?

      4. Nosirrah,
        I have posted below to Ziggy but I meant to have added you name also. For this reason I will only comment in response to the photo of the Child Soldiers. The picture was purportedly taken around Monrovia during the 2003 fighting. Please be reminded at that time the N.P.F.L. had been disbanded for about seven years. Secondly there was a standing army which fought in 2003 namely the AFL and ATU. Nowhere on that picture was there any indication on who those soldiers were fighting for. I agree of the people in the photo at least one looked under the age of 18. How can you assume that those fighters were for Charles Taylor when there is no indication of it being so ? How do you even know if that photo was taken in Monrovia? There are no land marks to identify? This is why this photo was never introduced in court because it could not hold up to scrutiny.

        1. Aki,
          You are asking me to think about Taylor leaving his security and that of his family to small boys; well i am thinking and Taylor was thinking too. What i did not say was Taylor’s entire security at the mansion in Gbarnga was entirely left to the SBU. They were part of the security at Taylor’s mansion. We all know the rationale for the use of child -soldiers in rebel organizations. The children are exploited by these rebel leaders like Taylor because the children lacked rational judgement and the infusion of drugs further erodes that capacity.

          Another thing you raised was the photo. That photo caption did state Government Troops. What was disgraceful was that although NPFL had been disbanded years prior, it was only on paper and in words, but when Taylor was in trouble in 2003, he went to his reliable pool of fighters (child-soldiers). Those children in the photo were rag tag like his forces used to be. They were not the regular AFL forces but rather Taylor’s private drugged children army. That was disgraceful as a Liberian to see the caption “Government Troops.”

      5. Nosirrah,

        Lets look at the issues you have raised.

        1: Witness vincint ” admittance to the existence to the paramilitary SOD.”

        2: Having the creation of special security operation units, the training of over 300 men in your military barracks, the use of child-soldiers and the Commander in Chief has no idea?

        A: Nosirrah, what country is President Taylor on trial for, is it Liberia, or Sierra Leone? I think the prosecution told us Sierra Leone is the rightful answer. What the creation of paramilitary division has to do with the charges in Sierra Leone? This thing is not complicated and it is not high tech: therefore, anybody can understand this thing. Taylor governance of Liberia has nothing to do with the case. He is not charged for the creation of SOD in Liberia.

        B: It is true that the witness said about 300 men were trained at Camp Nama in Liberia. However, he also said President Taylor had no knowledge about the training. he furthered by saying, it was in 1991. He continue by saying they change Camp Nama to a pseudo name.

        Nosirrah, my question is why are you cherry picking among the witness multiple statements? You however, believe the one you want to believe and disbelieve the one you don’t want. Notwithstanding, he said, there was training in Liberia, but not to the knowledge of Mr. Taylor and it was in 1991. You purposely decided to take one of the statements to nail this man. Let’s assume that you are correct in choosing only that one statement over all other statements made. It still does not amount to guilt. The reason is simple. “THE PROSECUTION” charged him from November of 1996-2002. So 1991 is total out of the time frame. This case is harder than you can possibly imagine on the prosecution.

        1. Jose,
          That’s what we are suppose to do; cherry-pick from your witness’ testimony. The reason i keep referring to this time period that is not within the indictment period is to establish precedence. If Charles Taylor and his cronies can deny the obvious, he is not ever going to speak the truth. It is not in his DNA.

      6. Nosirrah,

        What the CT supporters have being saying here is simple; the burden of proof rest with the prosecution and the prosecution MUST prove her case beyond a reasonable doubt.

        Realistically, the prosecution has failed to meet the BURDEN of PROOF and BEYOND a REASONABLE DOUBT that would allow a guilty verdict.

        So, if the evidence is not there you MUST acquit.

        1. Big B,
          Your closing argument was very eloquent, however, it is a little too early. The judges will make that final determination. If the judges did not see any evidence and validity in this trial, why are they wasting everybody’s time? Obviously, there is something there to keep this thing going. I will be watching and i hope you are too.

    2. Alpha Sesay,

      Why don’t you just quit your current job and reduce yourself to be a poster like us? Because you are acting like one of us by infusing your personal take on the various testimonies of the defense. Nonetheless, you are telling us again, that the witness appeared to be contradicting President Taylor on the issue of Special Operation Division (SOD). Alpha, your false assertion about this witness is not true. Again, this is your personal interpretation. In fact, this is just another acrimonious attempt to create doubts about President Taylor. No matter how hard you try, Taylor is winning this thing openly. However, it is the prosecution that has to prove beyond all reasonable doubts and not the defense. Alpha, why don’t you just report the news as oppose to making the news? How hard is that? Kindly say what happens in court and don’t tell us what you think.

      1. Tracey/Alpha, do you guys have problem again to this post in respond to Alpha report? UNBELIEVABLE. What is this? Tracey and Alpha, you guys claim to respect free speech. Please ma’am and sir, clear my posts. I have not however, violated any laws. Let free speech reign.


        1. Hi Jose — I understand your frustration. The clearing of posts will be slightly slower during the recess, so please bear with us. I will explain to you why if I cannot publish what you have posted.

      2. Hi Jose,

        Just a quick note in response: Alpha is reporting the news from the courtroom. He is also puts it in context for us and helps us to think about the important issues and what might be valuable for us to think about when we are looking at the trial. He is not making things up or injecting his own personal opinion if he notes that one witness says “x” and previously, another person has said “opposite of x” if both are true. It is certainly interesting when a witness appears to say something contradictory to the testimony of the person on trial — it raises questions about credibility, which the judges will be looking at when they come to the end of the trial and think about all the evidence put in front of them. We consider this to be important for readers to think about. Similarly, Alpha notes when defense witnesses contradict testimony of prosecution witnesses. He is simply doing his job in helping us to see the trial in the bigger picture, and not just as disconnected daily events. He will continue to do this and our policy for reporting on the courtroom is not going to change. If you object to this style of reporting, I am sorry to hear that — but given we are not going to change the style of reporting that we do, it may be that you might then want to consider relying on other media or else the court’s own transcripts if you prefer to read just what happens in the courtroom unfiltered instead of his reporting on this site. I do hope you are able to stay with us though.

        1. Tracey,

          Sorry ma’am, he is not putting anything in context for us: and besides, we don’t need him to put things in context for us. What he has to do, is to just report the news. However, he is infusing his personal take on the trial in disguise of reporting the news. Notwithstanding Tracey, do you remember, when you said to me, that you have to burst my bubble on the admittance of witness Yank Smythe’s evidence, when I said most of Mr. Smythe’s evidence was accepted and marked for identification or was considered as evidence by the judges?

          Ma’am, why will you engage in such a language like that? Luckily for me, I was smart enough to counter you with a reasonable answer, thereby preventing you from coming back at me. Tracey, when the prosecution was crossing President Taylor, you were all over the process and interpreting it in favor of the prosecution. And your excuse was, it was the prosecution that was on board and you will do the same when the defense time comes. Do you remember that? However, we are yet to see you and Alpha putting things into proper prospective for the defense. Way to go ma’am. Tracey, I hope you don’t deny this other post from clearing because I have struck you as our moderator nerve with an uncharacteristic absence of hysteria, but the ‘TRUTH”.

          lastly, thanks to Sam for reading the original transcript and rejecting Alpha interpretation of the transcript. Good job Sam.

          1. Jose — I take your point about the use of the phrase “burst your bubble” — it was not the best choice of phrase and I am glad you pulled me up on it. I was indeed being too glib in highlighting a procedural issue.

    3. Hi Tracey,

      Just checking if the below posting violates the site policy. I posted two postings but this one is still pending for moderation. By the way, I am asking for clarifications rather than speculating.

      Hello Tracey,

      The Appeal Chamber of the Special Court has been labeled as “biased” by the chief defense counselor Mr. Griffiths. I stand corrected, but is it a fact that two judges on the Appeal Chamber are from Sierra Leone?

      My question to you and other readers is this. If the above statement is true, under the circumstances, wouldn’t it be prudent for the defense to petition the court to have the two S.L. judges rescue themselves from the bench and replaced by judges from other countries to give President Taylor a free and fair trial?

      Why and why not?

      1. Big B — this is a great question.

        First of all, sorry for my delay — I do hope that the issues which kept me away from this site in the past week have now passed and I will be back in more regular conversation with you and other readers.

        Secondly, I don’t think the defense can petition for the Sierra Leonean judges to recuse themselves solely on the basis of their nationality. If I am remembering correctly, however, I think there were efforts in other cases by the defense to have judges be recused on the basis of demonstrated bias of specific judges which, they argued, impacted the ability of their client to get a fair trial. I cannot remember the details of the motions I am thinking of, however. I will need to do some checking for you and give you an outline of the issues where the defense has raised issues regarding the judges in the past at the SCSL, and if we have time, in other courts as well.

        Again, my apologies for the delay, Big B, and thanks, as always, for your patience.

  2. Tracey,
    Could we hear from the people from the Berkeley War Crimes Center about the cross examination of Mr. Taylor during this recess period ?

    1. Hi AKi — the Berkeley folks said they will get us a report in mid-late April that will cover Mr. Taylor’s testimony, and then will resume their monthly reports after that. So in a few more weeks we will get their take.

  3. Jose Rodriguez, again you are missing the point and holding the whole world responsible including me for Charles Taylor’ evil misdeeds which resulted to the lost of innocence lives in the Mano river union. and all we are asserting on this blog is that CT has not been hornest with this court and has prejudice himself as all of his witness has either collaborated at least one of prosecusions’ charges against him ( CT ).back to Jose Rodriguez last publication and will quote him directly “Ziggy Salis, president Taylor earns the right to the presumption of innocent if there is a rational ahead of the trial judgement. your repetitive plea of guilty poisons the tenents of true justice. nonetheless, the whole thing about you declaring this innocent man guilty even before the trial could commence has been immensely naive and you have your will, it will eventuate into steamy a anarchy”.Jose this blog is about the freedom of expression relating to this trial and if I am viewed in your opinion as been naive because of my assertions of CT’s own contradiction and lies he has admitted to while under oath is sad , but we will not be bully by you or any of your colleagues this man CT is QUILTY and QUILTY it is..

    1. Ziggy – I do want to reinforce your point that this is a blog intended to promote free expression of opinion and ideas related to issues arising out of Charles Taylor’s trial. Mr. Taylor is legally entitled to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty by the judges. However, readers are also entitled to express their opinion and thoughts and why they think them in this forum within the boundaries that we have set out for comments.

    2. Ziggy Salis,

      Well, you brought it on yourself and you have your very self to be blamed to this methodically processed post that I am posting. First of all, let me set the record straight, or try, to set the record straight. At no point in time, have I held the whole world responsible for President Taylor self described, self dichotomy evil misdeeds and never in the remotest form of any inclination did I mention Ziggy Sali’s name: So your argument is basically based on false premise to begin with. However, this was and is still my position today when it comes to the world’s take on this innocent man. I have the enduring feelings inside of me and the spontaneity backed by facts, that this case is an internationally contrived conspiracy to annihilate this innocent man in a publicly viewable fashion for his refusal to allow himself to be used as a puppet. It is a fact that the UN, America, and Great Britain didn’t elevate this fake court to the status of the ICC. But rather limited it to SCSL. Nonetheless, this court is not in search for justice as they want us to believe. If they really wanted to seek true justice, they would have gone after Sandline, Executive Outcome, President Kabbah, Former British government and military officials, Diamonds work, and etc. These two big countries have a track record of undermining and installing a puppet government. However, President Taylor is not the first neither will he be the last. In fact, just Today April 3, 2010, President Kaizai of Afghanistan has just accused the U.N and the West of wanting a puppet government and of orchestrating fraud in last years’ presidential that he won.

      Folks, I am very sorry that I can’t complete this post as the result of an emergency call. I have to go folks. SORRY.

      1. Ziggy Salis,

        I am back. Folks, I am very sorry for the abruptly ending the post above when I was responding to Ziggy Salis, but I had to leave guys. Anyways, you said the accused has not been honest but yet you horribly failed to point specifically where he has been dishonest. Notwithstanding, let me tell you who have been dishonest just incase you may not know. It is the prosecution who brought 11 charges but yet fail massively to show any concrete and convincing evidence to prove one. For example: they say Taylor and Sankor had a pact of a joint criminal enterprise to take over Sierra Leon in Libya, but yet failed to present the pact in court. Quite frankly, there was no such thing. More importantly, Sankor was not even the leader of the Sierra Leonen group in Libya, but rather Alie Kabbah.They said Taylor took Sierra Leone diamond and sold it in exchange of weapons. But they failed again to show who bought the alleged diamonds and what weapon manufacturing companies that took the diamonds in exchange of weapons. However, the only evidence they gave us concerning diamonds was Mia Farrow best friend, super model, Naomi Campbell says, Mia Farrow says, some mysterious man says, the diamonds Naomi Campbell allegedly received last night at President Nelson Meldala Birthday Dinner was give by Taylor. They did not stop there, they continue by saying Taylor transported weapons to Sierra Leone and this is their proof; he used the U.N helicopter to transport the arms. Their own proof said there was no weapons on the U.N helicopter that was transporting Sam Bockarie back to Sierra Leone, while the other witness said there was arms on board the helicopter.They said he “has” 5 billion dollars in foreign banks, but yet failed miserably to show/bring the money. Look Ziggy, I can go on and on. But bro,the prospect for this case turning around for the prosecution is dismal. However, the prosecution is the dishonest one here and “not” President Taylor: so stop selling us your snake oil here.

        Oh one more thing before I leave this computer, please quote me word for word if you will choose to quote me directly. OK.

      2. Tracey, please clear my post in respond to Ziggy Salis post ma’am. As far as I am concerned, I am not in violation of the rules. And if I am, please point it out for me.

      3. Jose(AKA, GENERAL FIX IT)
        I think zigi will definitely pay for this tutorial this time ..thanks for letting another african his importance….

    3. Yeaaaaaaaa! And the prosecution has to prove it!

      In dubio pro reo!

      Actually the defense witnesses and Taylor started contradicting each other.

      I wonder why the defense counsel Mr.Anyah asked Mr.Vincent in regard of the paramilitary froups,wich Taylor’s oWN soldiers formed within his army.

      Mr.Anyah question:”Is that (the formation of paramilitary groups like Jungle Fire Quick Force) something,that can be of the concern of the President of Liberia?

      “No!No,at all!”

      “And why do you say,it cannot be the concern of Mr.Taylor?” asked Mr.Anyah futher.

      Then the witness makes huuuuuuuuuuuuuge mistake to say,that the founding of paramilitary groups in Liberian Army could NOT be of concern to the President,Charles Taylor,because…

      and because these groups were acting in accordance with the war tactics of the Government of Charles Taylor.

      So…if Taylor did not have ANY knowledge of the existance of “Jungle Fire Quick Reaction Force”,

      HOW is possivble, that he KNEW,that those groups were acting in accordance with his DESIRED war objectives and as a result of this knowledge,he could sleep peacefully during the night,

      without ANY concerns about the existence of the rebel groups?

      How odd!

      Is a woman concerned with the health of a prospective child,if this child is still NOT conceived?!

      In order to be concerned or NOT concerned about something,you ought to know,that this “something” exists!

      1. Alpha/Tracy,
        Can you see now in the light of the obviously misguided conclusion that Rosie has arrived at that my Point and infact that of Jose Rodriguez is valid.

        You see, he has obviously being misled by that reporting by saying – Quoting him “Mr.Anyah question:”Is that (the formation of paramilitary groups like Jungle Fire Quick Force) something,that can be of the concern of the President of Liberia?”

        those groups were not Paramilitary groups “formed”. they were Army units that were part of the conventional Army – AFL. Those units may choose a name by which they want to be identified. they were not Paramiltary groups like for instance the Kamajors in SL. they were AFL units.

  4. Folks,

    A few comments on this witness’ cross.

    1. Craftiness: I admire this witness shrewdness in his diction selection – the use of the word “may.” This auxiliary verb invokes or expresses possibility, not certainty.

    2. Military state: at what point during the presidency of CT was Liberia not run as a military state where the military and police were always on high alert and where they created new branches and units to defend the establishment, and where CT, the commander in chief, never had a strong hand in everything on security and military movements, restructuring, expansionism, and the organizing of newer units?

    3. Personality cult: Like most African leaders, CT developed a cult personality type of political leadership where he was the center of gravity and everything or everyone else revolve around him or were pulled by him. In this type of leadership who dare structure a unit without the directive, knowledge, or endorsement of the “power that be – CT?” CT was both loved and dreaded by his protégées and the few who idiotically opted to think or act otherwise were silenced or “dealt with”.

    4. Conclusion: while I admire the use of the terminology “may” – as in CT may know of the creation of a unit – the type of dreaded, centralized, gravitational political leadership CT superimposed on Liberia speaks to the contrary.


    Tracey, noko7 is now dropped for Davenport.

      1. Tracey,
        You are welcome. A couple of months ago I hinted you of the transition or better yet incarnational pseudonymity. Get some rest if you can as we prepare for next week!

        1. Davenport — indeed, next week we will be back to the discussion in full!

    1. Noko7,
      For whatsoever reason you are changing your ID , that is up to you. Until a general reason can be stated, YOU ARE NOKO7.

      1. noko,
        I owe you no explanation.

        Please post this, Tracey, and delete the other post.

      2. Hi Jose — you submitted a comment on April 3 at 2:02pm which is focussed on another reader and not on the trial and so I cannot publish it.

        1. Tracey, I was responding to the assertion this person made about President Taylor being allegedly dishonest and I disagreed. However, I pointed out the dishonest party and gave detail reasonable reasons. How could you possibly denied this post on your reason given above? Please tell me ma’am, which sentence or lines that is in violation of the rules. For me, I don’t see it. Therefore please allow free speech to take it course here by clearing all my posts.

          1. Hi Tracy/Alpha,

            Just to remind you folks that it is important for actors involved in outreach and community engagement programes to appear impartial in complimenting rule of law reform efforts through transitional justice mechanisms such as your organisation. The fact that people are voicing concerns regarding your impartiality or otherwise in reporting the proceedings at the SCSL is something to think about. Do not forget that people can read through the lines. Mine is just a word of caution!

          2. Sylvanus — forgive me. I have been delayed in moderating comments in the last week due to factors outside my control. Hopefully it will be smoother sailing from here.

          3. Hi there Sylvanus – I’m not sure what you mean about our impartiality. What I can tell you is that both Alpha and I are trying the best we can to present an objective account which helps to make sense of the courtroom each day, and connect each day’s events to the larger developments in the trial. That means making explanations at times — and perhaps they are explanations that may appear to benefit one side or another depending on one’s viewpoint about the trial — but in doing so, we are hoping to present a more cohesive picture of the trial. I hope that does not make us seem biased as a result. We take our role seriously here as independent monitors, and as for perceptions of our role, we know it is ultimately up to you, the readers, to judge whether we are doing a good job or not. I hope we are living up to your expectations – but for us we are trying the best we can and trying to be professional and guided by a vision of what we think is helpful and proper to do as monitors. We always encourage constructive criticism and feedback if there are ever any concerns.

          4. Bnker and Vaa Alie Mansaray,

            I know both of you have “not” posted for some time now. But, I think, you guys still read the posts on this website. And if you do, please check this out. Today Monday, April 12, 2010, Guinea-Bissau has just assassinated and savagely murdered their own president and there is instability in this West African Country. WHERE IS PRESIDENT TAYLOR? How come there is still instability in the sub-region in the absence of Mr. Taylor? However, we need an explanation from the both of you.

            I tell you what, you need to tell the so-call “book people” that are running Liberia today to actually reconciled the country; because, the people are not as stupid as they may think. Bnker and Vaa, we are as equally qualified and probably “more educated than you guys may think of us. In fact, I have a colleague who openly challenged Dr. Fahnbulah in a debate in the State of Maryland, USA, in 2006. I myself, challenged Dr. Sawyer at Augustine Manyeh and the late Anchie’s Restaurant around 51th Street Southwest Philadelphia on the issue of the Taylor arrest and people around were chocked for an ordinary Liberian boy like me to openly challenged the P.H.D holder, Dr. Sawyer. However, right now, President Taylor fate is in the hands of the powerful. However, apologize to the entire country for what Ellen and your government did to Liberia for turning this innocent man over to this fake court without the approval of the people through their Congress, and accept the fact that they are as guilty as anyone else for our suffering. But if you think the government and the International Community can lie and snooker us to believe their hoax , Ellen days are numbered and the Liberian people will win!!!!! Trust me on that one and take it to the bank.

          5. Jose, you are absolutely right! Maybe some need to re-take the WAEC test to know the History of West African politician such as taylor, your Godfather, and god sent Boss! Hail to taylor.. 4 more years, yes, does this satisfy taylor boys and girls?

    2. Noko7,

      President Taylor was democratically elected as president of Liberia. However, at no time after his election victory, Liberia was ever run as a military state. You are again misleading the general public. Noko7. Nonetheless, there are various kinds of threat levels. That does not mean the country is a military state or is being run as a military state. For example: they have Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta threat levels. Alfa being normal but on the lookout and delta being the severe. Even in America, there are threat levels. it doesn’t mean the country is a military state. It is true, the failed Liberian politicians, LURD, MODE Rebel, and “Big Countries” constantly disrupted our way of life through war, but Mr. Taylor never declared or run Liberia as a military state.

      Secondly, I humbly advised that you stop this lie about President Taylor developed a personality cult. It is not true. What is true is that he created an environment of self independence, self individualism, and self reliance: thereby graduating from this dependency syndrome of international welfare to that of Laissez- Faire, which encompasses free hands, nonintervention, nonrestriction, noninterference, and the people believe in the message even up to Today’s date. As the result of the people of Liberia believing in the message brought by their humble messenger, Taylor: Liberians are standing up and cheering when ever they hear the voice of Mr. Taylor. And only a blooming idiot, a glittering jewel of colossal ignorance will believe that Liberians do not love this man for all that he has done to make us free and independent.

      I am waiting for your respond Noko7.

      1. Tracey, could you please tell me the problem with this post too? Tracey, we are speaking English here. Take your time and re-read my post. There is no curse word. There is no person attacks. And certainly, it does not focus on any one particular person.

    3. Rosie Deus Von-Homeyer,

      Welcome. This website is not just one of the other ordinary website where you can just come here and make any floating statement without challenges. First of all, the Police Department is different from the National Army/Military. The Police is a Governmental Department that is charged with the responsibility of keeping with the laws and orders wihin the “CITY LIMIT”. So the army has nothing nothing do with the police operation. Secondly, President Taylor objective, I think, was to defend and protect the constitution of Liberia against all enemies both foreign and domestic. As the result, if any functionaries of the government live up to the desired intent of the president, than, it was the right thing to do. Again, welcome.

      1. Welcome indeed Rosie — as the moderator here, I just want to highlight that everyone is welcome on this site, and all views are welcome. Glad you have joined us.

    1. Noko5 — I’m sorry you are having so much trouble. Does your comments include links in them? Our web guys say that can sometimes cause problems. Let me know so I can tell them and they can check into the issue in the site.

    2. Noko 5

      It’s difficult to troubleshoot a problem away from the computer. But if I attempt to troubleshoot the problem, I will suggest that if you don’t have the upgraded browser, download the latest version. Older browsers are not compatible to the HTTP exchange.

      If that doesn’t solve your problem, reinstall the Drivers CD that came with the computer. Any CD from the same computer manufactory should do.

      Good Luck.

      1. Hi Big B — thanks so much for helping out on this! I appreciate your thoughtfulness, and hope that the problems in submitting comments for Noko5 and Jose are over and they can continue posting here as usual.

      2. Thanks Big B,
        Unfortunately, I experinced the problem from different work stations especially at work when I was at two different companies. But thanks for the advice…appreciate it alot.

      3. @BigB
        Sorry 4 the delay in responding to your comments. I have just re-read your posting and as often as I repeat the process it still appears confused. At the risk of appearing pedantic let me deconstruct your posting.
        1)’President Taylor is chosen by God, he was born into God’s family by believing in his son Jesus, as our Messiah.’ What evidence do you have for these bold assertions? a) First you assume there is a god, then you go on to claim that he or she has chosen Taylor…Where is the evidence? Furthermore, what kind of psychopathic lunatic would chose a venal, blood thirsty, mass murderer like Taylor.If this were so, then god would also have to be in court charged with crimes against Humanity etc etc. You also claim that he(Taylor) believes in ‘Jesus as our Messiah’, this patently not the case, since by definition, as a jew, he cannot believe that jesus is yours or anyone else’s messiah’
        2)’President Taylor chose to be the sacrificial lamb in order for his people to be free’ This is verging on the delusional. Taylor did not ‘chose’ he was hunted down, captured and put on trial for crimes against Humanity and the only people he freed were the hordes of killers.
        As Always Wadi’TheZima’

          1. Dear Wadi Williams – I do apologize to you for the delay in moderating your comments. The factors that have kept me away from this forum moreso than usual have hopefully subsided now. I hope there will be less delays going forward — thanks for bearing with me.

  5. Dear friends,

    when Taylor was President, he had the right to be informed about any unit in his national security! But if he did not have knowledge about this SOD unit, do you guys think it was his fault? I know this is about Taylor breaking law (s), but law is logic presented by humans. Taylor is a human being and not a God. People don’t always have all the infos they deserve, so i personally don’t see any reason why it should be Taylor’s responsibility if SOD was created, or if they’ve done anything silly as long the X president was uninformed.

    What’s your take on that? Keep it going, guys!!!

    1. Tomas,
      You sure you got the TIME FRAME right and correct??

      Strangely, my son is named Tomas…you are the second person I know with said name…

      1. Bonjour cher Noko4. How are you today, friend?
        Hey, I’m glad your son name is Tomas, Noko; I hope he’s as humble as the name sounds.

        About time”right,” what time frame are you asking me about?

    2. Logic is used in Cross-Examinations and there are NOT laws on Cross-Examinations!

      The prosecution does not require,that Taylor OUGHT to know about the Special

      Operation Division.

      He testifies he does is NOT aware of the existance of S.O.D.

      His witness,mr.Vincent testifies,that Taylor could not have been concerned with these paramilitary groups in his Army or in the liberian Police Force,

      because he knew,that they were operating in accordance with his military objectives.

      This is contradiction and produces evidence,that Taylor is NOT saying the truth.

      If the prosecution can prove,that Taylor KNEW about the rebel froups and that theywere deployed to Sierra Leone with his concent,in order to topple the Sierra Leonian Government,then

      the Court could apply the International Humanitarian laws(the Geneva Conventions and others) to the ACTUS REUS of the accused.

      If ALL ellements of the crimes,of which Taylor is accused,are GIVEN,then a verdict shall be pronounced.

      Study Criminal law and Procedure.

  6. Davenport,
    Your points are well taken. However I think to much is being made of the fact that Taylor did not remember the name of the police unit Special Operations Division or SOD. The SOD did not fight during the war or was it a unit that name has to be approved by the Legislature such as the AFL. Secondly the SOD is not central to this case at hand. Now if Taylor had said that he didn’t remember a group called the ATU then there would be more reason for concern.

    1. Aki, these guys probably think we are living in an alternative universe where they consider Mr. Taylor to be a SUN GOD who knows everything. However folks, Taylor is a human being, as the result, he does not know everything.

  7. Deveport again Bravo! I applause your decision to eliminate the Noko 7,makes lives a little easier; In that light I would liked to call the attentions of AKI,Noko5&4,Tomas & BigB that the excuses of CT not knowing about the existance of the SOD in the Liberian National Police force is absurd, most especially as president of Liberia when he appointed the than police czar who sat with him in security briefings and must now bears all responsibilities of his (police Czar) actions and reactions, and for CT to say under oath that the (SOD) never existed in LNPF in his attempt to discreadit prosecusion witness Vamuyan Sheriff who testified to these accounts, and with his own witness Vinent Johns’ confirmations of Varmuyan’s accounts that the SOD actually existed again discredit CT.and also remember that other prosecusion witnesses had testified that they were RUF members and were given safe haven in Liberia by CT even at the time when CT wrote the than seating president of Sierra Leone that he would arrest and turn over all RUF cuprits seeking refurge in Liberia which he never did, a letter which he CT presented and was admitted into evidance, and now comes Vincent John’s confirmation that he was not only provided safe haven as an ex RUF fighter, but was never arrested and was fact promoted to colonel in the CT lead Armed forces of question to Aki,Noko5&4,Toma& Big B, how big should the facts be especially when your man CT has already damage his own creditability? This man Charles has lied & mislead this court and should be found QUILTY & QUILTY it is….

    1. Ziggy,
      Taylor not knowing the name of S.O.D. is not in any way central to the case at hand. The S.O.D. was not involved in any fighting in Sierra Leone. I ask you this why would it be benificial for Taylor to lie about his knowledge. If he had said he was not aware of the ATU there would be more credibility damage becasue as alleged by the prosecutors they took part in the fighting. Concerning the letter Charles Taylor wrote to Tejan Kabbah. My question is what Liberian dissidents did Kabah arrest for their fighting in Liberia ? The answer is none. John Vincent is a Liberian and he has every right to come back to his home land. As others have mentioned you must not feel that Charles Taylor is responsible for all hideous acts during the war period. A video was just released online yesterday of a US helicopter gunship killing innocent journalist in Iraq. The US government has been hiding the facts behind this killing for three years. Are you willing to blame George W. Bush for this ?

  8. Hello Mr Gurd,

    It surely has been a while since I commented on this forum and that is partly to do with the almost unchecked trading of insults that have been reigning here. Well, that aside, I just need you to clarify something I read on this summary and that is about paramilitary groups. Did the witness mention creation or formation of paramilitary groups? Is the SOD alledged to be a paramilitary group or a polive unit? Do respond. Thanks.

    1. Hi RGK007 — nice to hear from you again and I am sorry to hear the reason why you have not been posting of late. We are trying our best to keep the moderation in line with our stated policy for comments on this site. We also need the assistance of readers too to ensure their comments remain respectful. EVeryone needs to contribute to making this a free space for people to comment freely and without fear, and you have reminded me to keep vigilant about the role that Alpha and I play. I apprecaite you pointing out when we have not done so, and if you or other readers could give us specific examples of where we have allowed through comments which do not meet our own policy. we would be grateful and will try to correct any mistakes.

      On the paramilitary groups and SOD, I will ask Alpha who followed that discussion most closely. He is on a well deserved holiday this week, so it may be a few days before he is able to respond. I hope you are able to bear with us?


    2. Well,

      There you go again another commentator (RGKOO7) who could drop off because of superfluous emotionality, insolence, stalking, harassment, militancy, and blatant contempt for views that challenge our.

      Brother, I encourage you to stay on…things are getting better. Tracey, Alpha and team are working to mitigate the evolving of this God sent space into a “house of insults and abuse.”


      1. Davenport — we are definitely trying to make sure this is a respectful space. BUt we also need everybody’s help to make it so. I hope all our readers can stay with us and work with us to help generate the type of debate that we all want to be a part of.

  9. This is bordering on the trivil now. it appears that the real issues of substance can no longer be substantiated so the very trivial is becoming a core issue of discussion. The prosecution need to admit that the are just too many holes in their case and safe them and everyone time and resources.

    How relevant to the 11 counts are some of these things they keep dwelling on? NIL I say. It is as if they are just trying to fill the time and grap at straw.

    1. Good word Helen! thats exactly what they are trying to do. they are presenting irrelevant evidence as far as the indictment is concerned and highlighting it as if those are the core issues. Mr Taylor has said he provided support to the RUF in 1991, 1992 and that is what the defence witnesses are now corroborating. But the prosecution is making it look like 1991,1992 is the same as 1996-2003 which the indictment in this case covers or are they trying to modify the time of the indictment now in the middle of the game?


        crimes against the humanity:

        In Germany there is a statute of limitations for murder and manslaughter of

        thirty years,what means after thirty years from the date of the crime,the prosecution can not charge the accused.

        As far as i know,USA does not have any statute of limitations for murder and other capital crimes.

  10. This is crazy, once again Taylor witness is distroying him, I’m starting to wonder these witnesses might be playing both sides or are just not properly prep before getting on the stand. And why every time a witness screws up, the defense response is CT didn’t know. How can you me a war-time president and not be aware of all these paramilitary groups in your your government.

    Please, give me a break, no one in their right mind will believe this, or be so naive to even give it a second tought. Look folks this man is taost. And if I hear one more thing of Taylor not knowing what’s going on in his own back yard I don’t know what I will take for my headache. First everything was ” TOTAL NONSENSE” to him (CT), now “HE DIDN’T KNOW”, poor strategy.


  11. Oh yes , i can see justice clearly getting now at Mr. Taylor. All the threaturies, machinations and procastinations have done nothing to make another escape from ‘Massachussett’.
    My late friend, Mark Talue, was killed by Taylor’s NPFL in Sierra Leone, inspite of the fact that he had ran from the very group in Liberia to safety in Sierra Leone; My father was killed by Mr. Taylor’s NPFL in Grand Cape Mount Ct when i was a child; It’s deu Mr. Taylor’s war that i lost my elder brother, Patrick, and my little sister, Wolky. The deadly hunger i faced those days are forgetable for i have in aburdance now but for the lost of my loved ones, i shall never forget. REST IN PEACE FAMILY: I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!

    1. VEM — I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your family members. I’m glad you chose to pay respects to them in this forum too.

      1. VEM,
        Sorry to hear about your lost ones during the war. Please rest assured that every Liberian on this forum lost loved ones. However to blame Charles Taylor is not fair. Do you blame George Bush for all the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed since the US invasion of Iraq ?

        1. Dear Aki,

          I know so many on this forum lost loved ones. As a way of respecting these lost loved ones and readers’ own sense of loss, let’s let them and their memories rest in peace and not invoke them to make broader political points, if we can.

          I understand your point — if we can focus on issues arising out of the trial to make those kinds of points, I think that will keep us headed in the right direction.


        1. I can only imagine, VEM. I’m so sorry that you had to experience that as a child, and continue to experience it today.

        2. Tracey, did I hear you talking about people making political points? Political points? I knew you were a smart person. I know you are a legal analyst. I know you are familiar with our rhetoric, but choose not to voice it out.

          Tracey, these guys on this website are smart people. And we know how smart you are. Let us not play tricks, because we know each other to be intellectually sound: and don’t mind the people rhetoric opposite me. Tracey, you as being a lawyer, had probably worked in the Australian Government. You, I think, did some journalistic classes why in school for your law degree and along the way, did history, philosophy, political science and etc. Ma’am, we are not illiterate and human eaters. Don’t listen to these guys. They are lying. However, let me veer a little bit. When I was living in the U.S, I had “White American Students”, I mean real Blue eyes and Blond hair, coming to my house in Southwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., almost every night, for me to teach them their own American History, even though, we were in the same class. Ma’am, these Liberians on this website can’t win President Taylor in a political battle in Liberia and they know it. That is why they are in support of this fake court. Remember now, most of them don’t want a “War Crimes Court” in Liberia: this is because, they want to reward Ellen for delivering their arch enemy to the powerful, rather than bringing a war crimes court in Liberia that will ruin Eleen career.



    1. John Thompson,
      Is this a poem?
      Composed by you?
      If you, you are a poet!
      Peace to you.

  13. Apha,
    This is a quote from the first paragraph of your report above “PARAMILITARY UNITS were established as part of the Liberian security apparatus without the knowledge of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, a defense witness for Mr. Taylor said today at his war crimes trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.”

    After reading the transcripts of Mr Vincent’s testimony, I do not see anywhere in the transcript that said those units were 1)Paramilitary and 2)as part of the Liberian security apparatus.

    Going through your first paragraph, one get the understanding that those units were new units established as militias but operating as part of (in the security forces of Liberia without Charles Taylor’s knowledge. But the actual fact is that these units were not new and they were already security forces. what the witness said was that AFL units may decide to give themselves a name and operate under that name but they were AFL solders they were not paramilitary neither were they militias. He went further to say that those names given to those units need not concern the president because it was just a name given by the units to themselves and they were not acting contrary to the order from the military command. He also said that units from the police may have done the same by giving names to themselves such as Special Operations Division which the witness said may have been a name that particular unit of the police force adopted themselves to use which need not come to the attention of the president.

    This is just to put the witnesses testimony in perspective so that an accurate reporting of his testimony may be presented to the public. I know that this may just have to do with choice of words but sometimes choice of words may present a totally wrong view of what the witness said.

    Thank you as always I enjoy reading your dailly surmary to have an overview of the proceedings before reading the transcripts. Please do keep up the good work.

    1. Mack,

      Right on brother. You say “SUPER HUMAN” in what some may want President Taylor to be in knowing everything. But I say, “SUN GOD” in describing Mr. Taylor with respect to him knowing everything for those who want to see him burn at all cost. Brother, we are saying the same thing.

      Again Mack, excellent post. However, give me “High Five and Chest Bump” for true justice and the reality of mankind.

    2. Sam,

      As usual, thanks for putting Alpha and Tracey in reality check. Your post is phenomenally awesome. keep it up brother.

  14. Nosirrah,

    If you think the President will know every policing force in the country then you’re mistaken. this is why you have a person in charge of the justice department. not even the president of the USA knows all the forces. in the 90’s the president Clinton didn’t know what the CRASH Unit in L.A was until one of there officers was caught stealing drugs and there was a big shake up about how corrupt the unit was. i’m sure the President in the early 90’s didn’t know what the REDRUM Unit in D.C was. these are not the overall major force but smaller pockets designed for a specific purpose.

    The president is not going to know everything in his country unless something hits national level and is brought to his attention. Not saying he didn’t know but it seems that some of you want this man to be super human and know everything. That’s just not how things work when running a country and that’s why you have different commanders to handle things without involving the President who has bigger and more important things to attend too.

    But on the other hand this can lead to corruption and commanders running free to do run their own agenda’s without the President knowledge. not saying this is what happened here but it has happened in just about every country including the U.S. That’s why Bush isn’t held responsible for a lot of what was done in Iraq but some of the commanders were brought up on charges or discharged. It’s impossible to know everything.

  15. Tomas,Helen,Noko5,jose, first to Noko5, please try to live with contributor devenport’s decision to drop the noko7 from is ID, and focus on the issue at hand, which bring in Rodriguez’s posting and I quote ” when Taylor was president he had the right to be informed about any unit in the National security! But if he did not have knowledge about this SOD unit, do you guys think it was his faults?”. your answer is yes especially when the accused was asked under oath to tell the truth and nothing but the little as this admission is by CT’s witness Vincent John that the SOD existed in the NPFL, is very crucial in this case, remember CT did’nt volunteer this information it was brought in this trial by prosecusion witness Varmuyan Sheriff who in his testimonies revails that he was ordered by CT to go into SL and travel with Sam Bockarie from Kono to Monrovia via Voinjama with a mayonase jar of blood diamond and was also present when it was handed over to CT, at his resident in Monrovia, and also at that time he Varmuyan works with the SOD of the NPFL.CT in his desperate attempt to discredit Varmuyan’s accounts has come to hunt him,when he said that the SOD never existed in the NPFL.As the existance of this SOD is confirmed by both witness, why shouldn’t the exchanged of blood diamond in a mayonaise jar between Sam Bockarie & CT in the presence of Varmuyan be consider crucial? if CT had said that day under direct by Griffith ” I do not know that the SOD existed in the NPFL” could have been an honest response but instead stated that it “never existed at all.” which goes down to his creditability,and doesn’t look good for him. This man Charles Taylor with bloody hands, was caught and instead have chosen to mislead justice is QUILTY & UILTY it is…..

    1. Ziggy Salis,

      You guys especially you and the very few opposite me, continue to just make me look darn good on this website. Are you aware, that after and even before the election of 1997, there was “NO” such thing like the NPFL? All warring factions were dissolved boss. So where are you coming from with the SOD being part of the NPFL, when in fact, the SOD was a unit in the Liberian National Police(LNP)? More importantly, your premise is even wrong because the LNP of which the SOD was a subset was long in existence before Mr. Taylor became president.

      Secondly, thanks a whole lot for having some seizure of conscience when you narrowly acknowledged how “little” is this SOD story by saying this. “as little as this admission is by CT’s witness Vincent John that the SOD existed in the NPFL, is very crucial in this case” Could you please explain to us why and how you came to this conclusion of how little is this so-call evidence?

      Lastly Ziggy, I am not a “SUN GOD”, or “SUPER HUMAN” like the way you expect President Taylor to be. Therefore, if you will quote me directly, could you please include the date and time for authenticity and verification purposes, that way, it could be much more easier and convenient for the both of us, in that we can go directly to that post without hazard and ascertain the quote and the context in which it was written.

    2. Ziggy,
      Kru man say “don’t agrevate my annoiance”. Noko7 is hiding his identity for notthing. We will trace and find all his false aligations against mr. Taylor. Especially, now we ‘ve known that we are winning, you guys are in trouble…..

  16. Davenport, I am in total agreement with you that not only has attacks increased from some on this site, but immaturity as well. I lament trying to contribute since it has become like a tribal fight instead of meaningful dialogue among intellects! How can someone attempts to response to every posting so negatively every time? Is this sanity, or what?
    At times it must be frustrating, even to readers, when it seems as if this taylor guy was doing so well for his country and was cut short by the West from doing so! What a shame how brothers perceive this garbage and yet become insulting toward anyone that disagrees!
    There are two reasons I believe: taylor’s guilt is shared by possible participants in these crimes, or they have no place after taylor because this man was life in itself for some! The shouts will never deminish until this case is over. Sorry but these are the types of followers taylor bred in our society! Rude and arrogant set of individuals who seem to love violence! I feel reluctant to bring myself to this level because I know what true peace of mind means to me and most on this site. What I am seeing here is not only lack of respect for others, but complete ignorance and lack of intellectual ability to have a meaningful debate that is untribalistic! Bye..jfallahmenjor.

    1. Fallah,

      I am having fun reading this identical post from you. I am smiling. I am laughing with tears running down my chicks. Folks, I just can’t help this laughter. Seriously, I don’t know where to start from and where to end.

      Fallah, where this tribal fight coming from? Folks, I just have to stop writing this post because I just can’t stop laughing. Look whose talking? Can some one pick it up for me?

    2. J. Fallah Manjor,

      I suppose we share tremendous commonality on this one and you are very much right. We can disagree without the threats, sense of false self-worth, insolence, and “stay off this site, if you are not with us (pro-Taylor)” rhetoric and agenda that some are passionately pursuing to the dismay of others. I couldn’t have articulated it any better.

      It is not what we say here and how we say it that will declare Taylor guilty or innocent but the decision of the judges. Since we are not the judges, I guess the most intelligent thing we need to do is simmer down our tone and make the discussions invigorating, warm, and inviting. Judging from the history of earlier postings, this would have been a utopian thought; but judging from current postings, the reality of this is on the horizon. Thanks to Tracey, Alpha, and team.


      1. Davenport — I do agree: the reality on this is on the horizon. I think I can see it! Thanks for helping to encourage a discussion which is, as you rightly put it, “invigorating, warm and inviting.”

    3. Fallah,
      Actually, I had a lot of respect for you, especially been a retired brother,nevertheless you are on the otherside. I just donot understand why you think you got any authority to down grade the integrity of other writers..My friend, anyone in his total sensibility will never think that we who are advocating justice for Charles Taylor, want pay or any kind of ransome. Fallah, some of us do very good jobs where we are, and do not need a dime from somebodys pocket. Please be mindful of your alterances to folks on this web site…I will always say. Its a good think to share your retirement with others ..I will love to see you go to liberia and help some schools with this socall intellectual reservoir you say you got, instead of being around here making big mouth.

      1. Readers – please, let’s keep the temperature warm and sunny here, and keep focussed on the issues arising from the trial and not each other.

  17. Davenport,

    I read with interest your comment addressed to Jose and I would like to interject on the issue of the use of the word “fight”. I beleive that the phrase pick you fight and not fighting back are figurative expressions that in no way connote militarism or militaristic characteristics. In the former, my understanding is that an individual is selective in his engagements, and in the latter, and individual selects not to response or offer no rejoinder. In my opinion both expressions are intellectually grounded and their use has no military implications have you have posited.

    peace brother.

    1. Andrew,

      I think I like the manner of this particular conversation – clear, soft tone, conversation friendly and direct. DISCLAIMER: this observation about you could be erroneous and I stand corrected.
      That said, Andrew, I will briefly address the issue you raised, as we anticipate normal postings next week.

      Your conceptualization and assumption of the terminology is remotely dissimilar from the context (here I imply specificity of context, not generality or allegorical nuance) of the brother’s
      • Comments
      • Intentionality
      • historically belligerent disposition to others.

      Thus, what I articulated is accurate analytically and contextually; it is not a hypothesis (“posit”) – it is factual, not abstract.

      As enlightened commentators who are predominately of Liberian origin ( no prejudice against others but generally most of our comments on CT, the war, victimization, reconciliation, tribalism, or thematic expressions reflect specific knowledge only those who lived or have lived in Liberia would know), we have a responsibility to resist the tempting urges to hijack (usurp or commandeer) this website for self-centeredness and synchronistically promote the all too familiar pro-Taylor chants – “Taylor is innocent,” “the whole world is against Taylor,” and “Free Taylor” — particularly when the views of others are not favorably disposed to these chants nor resonate with the dictum of these chants.

      Andrew, my understanding is this website, thanks to Tracey, Alpha, and team, empowers us in ways that would have been unconceivable to share our views on issues emanating from the trial with respect, cordiality, and constructive dialogue grounded in the strength of our arguments, not the loudness of our emotional tirades. Based on this understanding, we have a responsibility to welcome the views of others, inspire others to join and contribute to ongoing conversations, disagree with one another in the ambiance of respect, and reverentially dialogue with one another. We are not to hijack this website by
      • inundating it with pro-CT rhetoric
      • persistent insolence towards others who views challenge ours
      • names calling
      • the use of empty threats
      • and especially the now blatant and impudent “daring” of others to write something that militate against our views.

      Sometimes when we read some of the comments on this website, as J. Fallah Menjor alluded to;
      • we get the feeling this website is involuntarily and progressively evolving into a battleground where personal battles are fought and won or lost
      • where a fierce subtle war is raging
      • where a fight, not a healthy debate, like the brother in question explicitly said, has developed.

      If you are not familiar with this, then please retrieve postings from the annals on this website and read some of the comments (it has taken the hard amazing work of Tracey, Alpha, and team in recent time to mitigate the severity of these personal battles by moderating this site and successfully reversing the evolution of this site into another sad unwinnable Liberian civil war).

      While this is not the best thing to do, I have refrained from reading the comments of a few selected commentators to preclude the perpetuation of “using our freedom of expression” maxim to exploit this website for private battlefield. Freedom comes with responsibility. We can not use of freedom of speech to
      • harass
      • stalk
      • and abuse others with the intent of cutting them off from using this website and ultimately dominating it with only our rhetoric. No! Freedom allows us to behave and act with respect for the views of others.

      Besides, we have seen, experienced and felt excess militancy and impertinence for the opinions of others couple with rampant contempt for human life in Liberia over the years at the hands of Charles Taylor, Samuel Doe, the likes of these two men, and other thugs masquerading as militants. I believe this militant predisposition and impertinence for contrasting views by our political leadership lend itself to the near genocidal war and mayhem that visited Liberia for over a decade, caused unimaginable sufferings and deaths of many, and which extended into Sierra Leone where countless deaths and unbelievable evil (i.e., mutilating the limbs of others) became the name of the war game.

      You will agree with me the bigger question is how can we collectively reinvigorate our debates to inspire many others to join us and share their views? How can we mitigate this belligerent disposition that has the potency to fend off others from sharing their views on this “God-sent” empowering website that we have come to love and which has become the primary outlet of our voices?

      For those who yearn to hijack and inundate this website with pro-Taylor rhetoric, slogans, and sensationalism to calculatedly isolate or silence independent voices (and are explicitly boasting about it) here is one of the profoundest and resolved messages ever:

      • independent voices on this site are here to stay and we aren’t going anywhere!
      • We are here to stay and we have better got used to it – independent voices here is a reality!

      Andrew, many thanks for your peace. We need peace and love in our lives after years of greed, bloodbath, senselessness, self-empowerment ambition, vindictiveness, and total socio-political and economic pandemonium at the hands of the likes of Charles Taylor and Samuel Doe.

      Peace! Peace! Shaloam!

      Please post this comment to Andrew and delete earlier rejoinders sent to him.

      1. Davenport — what a wonderful question: “Andrew, you will agree with me the bigger question is how can we collectively reinvigorate our debates to inspire many others to join us and share their views?” I look forward to hearing thoughts on this.

  18. Guys,
    The prosecution is against taking judicial notice of the following facts from the Judgement of this court in the RUF case (I habvve included the paragraph in the judgement where this is found).

    1. (PAR 879-880:) In the early hours of 6 January 1999, AFRC entered Freetown. The troops were divided into two flanks and ordered to take different routes through Ferry Junction to converge on the ECOMOG troops at Upgun.

    The AFRC forces overwhelmed ECOMOG at Upgun and continued toward
    the central part of Freetown. At approximately 7:30am, the fighters secured
    state House, the seat of Government.

    Gullit then dispatched a group of AFRC troops to Pademba Road Prison , where they
    released the inmates, including former President JS Momoh and RUF members
    Gibril Massaquoi and steve Bio. The troops searched for Sankoh, but were informed by one of the prisoners that he had been moved to another location.

    NOTE: This information is based on testimony from Prosecution witnesses TFl -360, TFl-334, and George Johnson as found in the references in the footnote to these paragraphs.

    2. (PAR 893) The RUF had no control over the AFRC forces in Freetown during the attack and the RUF did not form part of a common operation with the AFRC forces for this attack on 6 January 1999.

    NOTE: This is a factual finding reached by Trial Chamber I after considering the testimony of all of the witnesses. While it has legal implications, it is not a legal conclusion in and of itself.

    3. (par 904) In February 1999, Bockarie promoted Sesay, Mike Lamin, Peter Vandi, Isaac Mongor, Superman, and Kallon to Brigadier.

    NOTE: Taken from the testimony of Prosecution witness TF1-012 as found in the references in the footnote to these paragraph.

    4. (PAR 854) Superman remained officially the highest ranking RUF officer in Koinadugu District.I There is evidence that Superman communicated with the RUF High Command in this period : for instance, he informed Bockarie and Sesay of the attack on Kabala via the radio. Notwithstanding the sporadic communication from August 1998 Superman and those fighters under his command operated as an INDEPENDENT (emphasis mine) RUF faction. These individuals were no longer under the effective control of or working in concert with the RUF High Command in Buedu.

    NOTE: This is based on the evidence of Prosecution witness TF 1-361 As can be found in the footnote to the paragraph. This is a factual finding by the Trial Chamber.

    5 (PARS 657,661,662 721) The most senior assignments in the RUF movement were the Leader, the Battle Field Commander (“BFC”) and the Battle Group Commander (“BGC”) . This trias was the center of the military power and control of the RUF and together formed the core of the RUF “High Command.” Subordinate to these senior Commanders there was a system of appointments of both operational and staff commanders whose responsibilities generally corresponded to a particular geographical area of control.

    The Battle Field Commander was the Leader’s second in command. The BFC was
    responsible for planning and executing military operations, inspecting the front line
    and ensuring the welfare of the fighters there. The BFC received instructions from
    the Leader and was superior to the Commanders of combat and staff units. In the RUF military structure the Battle Group Commander functioned de facto as third in command of the RUF and second-incommand to the BFC. The BGC was responsible for the welfare of all members of the RUF, both civilians and fighters, and for all internal affairs of the RUF.

    NOTE: The facts comprising paragraph 721 and objected to by the Prosecution, are taken from the evidence of Prosecution witnesses: TF 1-371, TF 1-071, and TF 1-045 as can be seen on the footnote to that paragraph.

    Now justice loving people, the prosecution led evidence ina nother trial which lead the learned judges to arrive at this facts based on evidence before them and as indicated in the references contained in the footnotes on quoted above, those conclusion were largely based on testimony of prosecution witnesses. Now in the Taylor trial the prosecution has made a U-Turn and opposed taking judicial notice of these facts which it led the court to believe in the RUF case. Why is the prosecution choosing which facts it accepts especially since it is not favourable to them since they claimed Mr Taylor provided the Arms and Amunition used for the free town invasion in which it claimed the RUF carried out in collaboration with the AFRC troops but which has been found by the court to have actually been carried out by the AFRC troops alone without the participation of the RUF. These and manny more begs for answers as the prosecution cannot be speaking with both sides of it mouth at the same time.

  19. Those arguing against the defense witness is making a vainglory celebration. The witness has not contradicted himself nor Mr. Taylor. The witness said that military men could form their own groups without the knowledge of the president. Are we just pretending that these things did not happened during the Liberian war?

    I do not know where most of you fellows were but I know for a fact that, even in small neigborhoods , guys could form themselves into groups, give themselves some kind of fearful name and take over that community just like that. Especially if one or two members of the NPFL were part of such illegal group, then that group will operate on their own and do their own things. Civillians were very afriad to report these kinds of misbehavior, to the NPFL superiors, for fear of reprisals. In other cases, it was the very civillians’ brothers, husbands, uncles, cousins ect that were doing these bad things; those civillians that were related to armed men did not care about the bad behavior of their relatives because they (civillians) were benefiting from the spoils of the war-all the looted goods, especially food items. In many instances during the war, it was civillians that pointed out other civillians to be brutalized or executed for foolish reasons.

    I know of a brother and sister now living in the Maryland area of the United States. As we were leaving our house upon the rebels attacked in early 1990. Their father who had retired from the Armed Forces of Liberia was pointed out by some people in our neigborhood and executed on the spot. Meanwhile, this man was in the engineer battalion of the AFL and did not fight during the war. So this was the silly nature of the Liberian war, civillians used their gun-totting relatives to harm other people. Most people that were killed at check points were pointed out by other civillians.

    So people should stop pretending here as if Taylor knew everything that was going on in Liberia. If Taylor was so powerful and knew everything that was happening, then why he did not know that some of his own men collaborated with LPC and ULIMO to take over Gbarnga? How come LPC and ULIMO succeeded in capturing Taylor’s headquarters?

  20. Jose Rodriguez,
    Stop being paranoid and attacking even the hardworking moderators of this forum.
    We understand and know fully well that freedom of speech and plurality of views were never the norm of Taylor’s Liberia to the extent that it is difficult for those who live too long in Taylor’s Liberia to be tolerant of others. We also know that as the day of the reckoning draw near, as the screw is being tightening on Taylor and his many lies and deceptions being exposure to broad daylight, it is very normal for a hardened supporter of Taylor to become uneasy but that is no reason to go about misrepresenting others. We have no right to toy with the decency, objectivity and integrity of others.
    I suggest that you either accept the objectivity of the moderators of his forum or you establish your own website for the promotion of the innocent of Taylor.

  21. It is indeed true that the there was never a unit in the NPFL called the SOD.
    But in the government led by the NPP, there was a unit called SOD.
    So does that suggest that CT lied?

  22. Tracey,

    I just want to know of what is going on? I posted couple of posts but it are still awaiting moderation. What is the problem ma’am, if there is any?

    1. Jose – so sorry you have been kept waiting. My moderation has been slower due to other factors outside my control. I hope all will run more smoothly now.

    1. My dear Davenport – I do apologize. I think I have deleted it now. Let me know if I have not corrected it, but it is not coming up as posted any more on my end.

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