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

Blood from Stones

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Pressure Mounts on Bush to Cancel Visit with Obasanjo
A growing bipartisan chorus in Congress is demanding that President Bush cancel his meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, with Nigerian president Obasanjo, given Obsanjo's complicity in the escape of Charles Taylor. I suppose it is a small price for Obasanjo to pay, temporary disgrace, for allowing a mass murderer and abettor of terrorism to walk away.

The best line of the day was provided by Obsanjo's spokesman,
Femi Fani-Kayode: "It was not for us to take him back," he said of Nigeria's failure to keep Taylor in custody. "The onus was on the Liberian government. He was a guest of ours, and you do not pick up your guests and take them anywhere." Whew, that clears it up! Seems to apply even if the guest has an outstanding indictment on 17 counts of crimes against humanity and Interpol arrest warrants.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif and leader of the movement to bring Taylor to justice, was the first to call on Bush to cancel tomorrow's informal summit. “Nigeria reportedly has let a mass murderer with alleged links to al-Qaeda slip out the back door. President Bush should cancel tomorrow’s scheduled meeting with President Obasanjo,” Royce said. He also warned that any country that gave Taylor sanctuary would face serious sanctions.

Sen. Barak Obama, D-Illinois, and Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ and chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, joined the call. "There have been persistent questions about the level of security provided by the Nigerian government to ensure that Charles Taylor didn't haveunchecked ability to travel," said Smith. "As a result a warlord with ties to Al-Qaeda and terrorism is now on the loose."

Human Rights Watch says Mr Taylor's disappearance is a
"disgrace" and "brings into question President Obasanjo's commitment to peace and security for the people of West Africa, the reason he allegedly took Taylorin the first place."

The White House hinted it would drop the meeting. And State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters, "We have made it clear to the government of Nigeria that it has a special
responsibility to make sure that Charles Taylor is brought to justice." Let's see if the administration has the guts to stick to that.

The Obasanjo government has engaged in some bald-faced pervarications on the issue. Despite having received at least six months ago a detailed list of who Taylor was paying in the Nigerian public security forces, how much and when, Obasanjo chose to ignore the topic. Taylor was paying out close to $25,000 a month to the rotating security people, not counting what he was paying senior Nigerian security officials, to insure he could do exactly what he did-leave then the time came.

Now Obasanjo is "deeply shocked." Yes, and he will round up the usual suspects, form a committee to investigate, arrest all those involved (since he conveniently has the names already provided to him), and the casino will reopen and the gambling will begin again.


POSTED BY DOUGLAS FARAH
Finally, Taylor In Hand
In Choreographed Move, Taylor Escapes
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