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

In Choreographed Move, Taylor Escapes
In a stunning display of choreographed incompetence, the Nigerian government of president Obasanjo has let Charles Taylor slip away into the night. Nigeria, Liberia, the Bush administration and United Nations all bear a large dose of responsibility in the fiasco that will haunt the region for years.

So, a man who sold diamonds to al Qaeda, bankrolled weapons dealer Viktor Bout while Bout was selling weapons to the Taliban and wreaked havoc on an entire region, has flown from his gilded cage, where the money he stole from his raped and pillaged country was able to buy him freedom.

Despite being indicted on 17 counts of crimes against humanity, he enjoyed almost three years of relatively unfettered freedom in his exile home in Calabar. From his gilded cage in Calabar, where he paid his Nigerian "security guards" to let him continue his deadly meddling unabated, he has gone to some undisclosed location where his cash reserves in France, Switzerland and offshore structures will buy him more protection.

Like a bad novel, Taylor's escape was a foregone conclusion when Obasanjo suddenly announced that Liberia could come and get Taylor. Obasanjo, who now, in classic Big Man African fashion, is ordering an "investigation" into how Taylor escaped, withdrew all of the guards from Taylor's compound. It was a clear that was Taylor's signal to slip away. The U.S. did nothing but express alarm. The UN was paralyzed. The British ran for cover.

It matters little now what Bush says to Obasanjo after the two meet tomorrow. Obsanjo's "investigation," when he had been warned months ago, with specific names, of the senior people in his security structure that Taylor was paying off, is a rather poor joke. The horse is so far gone, the barn door so far open, that there is really nothing to say. Obasanjo should be embarassed to show his face, but he is not. Bush should shun him, but he probably will not.

The White House has been paralyzed by internal disputes over how and if Taylor should be extradited. NSC Africa chief Cindy Courville has consistantly blocked more expeditious moves wanted by the State Department and others, in part because of Taylor's past ties to the U.S. intelligence community.

Now, Taylor is free to continue his particular brand of mayhem, which has led to the abduction of thousands of children into brutal rebel armies, the amputation of the arms and legs of thousands of civilians and the systematic rape of tens of thousands of women. The culture of impunity that has left Africa a wasteland is perpetuated. U.S. rhetoric on establishing justice and the rule of law ring hollow. Staunch U.S. ally Obasanjo has proved to be as up for sale as his predecesors.

It has to be one of the sorriest chapters in U.N., British and Nigerian supposed efforts to bring justice to the millions who have suffered at the hands of butchers like Taylor. And it sad day for West Africa, having to face the prospect of more murder and mayhem from the man who has done it all before.
Pressure Mounts on Bush to Cancel Visit with Obasanjo
Going After the FARC is Important in Terrorism Fight
Maintained by Winter Tree Media, LLC