Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

Visit Douglas Farah's
author page at

Press Releases

Chuckie Taylor Jr. Indicted For Torture
In an unusual and bold step, the U.S. government has decided to prosecute Chuckie Taylor Junior, son of Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, on three counts of torture.

As the New York Times wrote: "The case is the first in which federal authorities invoked the anti-torture law, which bans extreme interrogation methods. The law gives American courts jurisdiction over reported abuse overseas by American citizens."

Junior, whose real name is Roy M. Belfast, Jr., was the head of his father's Antiterrorism Unit, the elite group responsible for rounding up political opponents, torturing them and often executing them. Like any elite unit in a ferocious police state, the ATU was feared and loathed in Liberia, and Junior was too.

This is big step, both for the U.S. justice system and for Liberia. Junior had originally been apprehended nine months ago on charges of lying about his father's name when applying to the U.S. passport, to which he is legally entitled.

It was not clear initially that DOJ was interested enough in the case to pursue it further, but an inter-agency group, led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tracked down credible witnessess and brought the indictment.

The indictment charges Junion with pouring scalding water on the victim, using electric shock on the victim's genitals and holding the victim at gunpoint. Human rights workers have documents scores of other cases of Junior's involvement in torture and killings, but the DOJ took a minimalist approach, choosing to stick with one case in the indictment that was the most solid.

The Washington Post noted that, in the past, the DOJ has sought extradition of those charged with torture back to the country in which the torture was commited because trying them is time consuming and expensive.

"These cases are hard cases," Julie L. Myers, head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, said at a news conference yesterday. "In this case alone, we had agents from . . . three different agencies flying all over the world to get evidence."

Myers called the indictment a milestone. She said it will send "a clear message that the United States will not be a safe haven for human rights violators." She noted that her agency created a new unit in 2003 to investigate human rights crimes.

In this case, it was well worth the effort. Junior can receive a fair trail that he would never have granted his enemies in Liberia, because he was priviledged enough to be born in this country. I hope that, if guilty, he spends the rest of his life behind bars, in conditions far better than his victims could ever dream of.

In a world where so much is wrong, there are somethings that go right. Junior is in prison and charged, his father is awaiting trial in the Hauge for crimes against humanity. Small but important victories in the fight against impunity.
Why Jihahdis Are Feeling Good
Is Hezbollah Opening More Formal Franchises in Latin America?
Maintained by Winter Tree Media, LLC