"Charles Taylor: A man betrayed … AU leaders had an agreement that facilitated peace in Liberia. It's shameful how Obasanjo threw Charles Taylor (left) under the bus after pressure from the Europeans and America (not a signatory to the so-called UN court). For four years Iraq went through a wave of brutal ethnic cleansing, I don't see the UN Court going after the Iraqi Cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr and Co. as well as those brutal Afghan tribal war lords; all of whom the US State Department and other foreign powers struck deals (with). I believe African leaders need to grow more "spine", there will be more ridiculous demands by western countries and the UN to change some part of our constitution in a few years." – Femi Fani-Kayode/NEXT
Dominant Social Theme: Step by step the world is getting to be a better place.
Free-Market Analysis: Like everybody else, we have been transfixed by the war-crimes tribunal that is weighing the fate of former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor. OK … that was a nice opening line, but actually, we don't know anyone who is "transfixed," and few who are following it, closely anyway. But the tribunal grinds on and actually it is probably one of the more significant events of the 21st century because it is setting a good many precedents having to do with the imposition of yet another layer of "justice" on this unjust world. It is, in fact, a big deal.
In this article we will provide a distinctly non-mainstream view of that background. As you can see from the above article excerpt, the larger "back-story" has not found its way into the Western mainstream press. Certainly, we've been surprised by what we've found. We looked into it, in part, because, unlike previous tribunals, it's been in the news. The testimony of uber-model Naomi Campbell and the faux-fecund Mia Farrow – who has dozens of children of all ethnicities (like current-day star Angelina Jolie) and who never met a UN cause she'd turn down – have brought some level of Western attention to the tribunal.
It seems to us this could be yet another power elite promotion, an important dominant social theme a-building. The meme in more detail, might be, "World justice cries out for world judicial authority – thank goodness for the pioneers at the Hague." In fact, this is obviously a theme very close to the beating, bleeding heart of the elite. World justice is still lacking from the global equation. It can't be installed in the UN because a plurality would probably end up in jail, and it's taken a long time to germinate.
How did Charles Taylor end up at the Hague? It is a bit of a tangled tale, but an important one, in our view – involving as it apparently does the United States, George Bush and a good amount of international intrigue and derring do – all ending up on display along with Naomi Campbell and Mia Farrow. First a little bit on the concept of "universal justice" taken from Wikipedia, as follows:
Universal jurisdiction or universality principle is a principle in public international law (as opposed to private international law) whereby states claim criminal jurisdiction over persons whose alleged crimes were committed outside the boundaries of the prosecuting state, regardless of nationality, country of residence, or any other relation with the prosecuting country. The state backs its claim on the grounds that the crime committed is considered a crime against all, which any state is authorized to punish, as it is too serious to tolerate jurisdictional arbitrage …
The concept received a great deal of prominence with Belgium's 1993 "law of universal jurisdiction", which was amended in 2003 in order to reduce its scope following a case before the International Court of Justice regarding an arrest warrant issued under the law, entitled Case Concerning the Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium). The creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002 reduced the perceived need to create universal jurisdiction laws, although the ICC is not entitled to judge crimes committed before 2002. …
In 2003 Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, was served with an arrest warrant by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) that was set up under the auspices of a treaty that binds only the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone. This is different from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (that were specifically mentioned in the ICJ Arrest Warrant Case), that were set up under the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter that grant powers to the Security Council that are binding on all UN member states. In this respect the SCSL is more like the International Criminal Court that although it denies immunity to Heads of State.
Now to Charles Taylor himself. According to this article in NEXT (seemingly a fairly major Nigerian news site) Charles Taylor ceded power in Liberia after agreeing to a deal that would allow him to take refuge in Nigeria. Of course, Taylor seems like a fairly mean piece of work. Here's how the Digital Journal (which is covering the trial) puts it: "Prosecutors claim Taylor helped plunge Sierra Leone into civil war from 1992-2002 using the 'blood diamonds' to finance armies of drugged child soldiers from his neighbouring country of Liberia. The conflict inspired the Hollywood movie Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou."
Generally speaking, war is a dirty business (as WikiLeaks has shown us once again); still, a deal is a deal (or maybe not?). Taylor apparently gave up power and Nigeria took him in. One might think that was the end of the story, but due to pressure from the United States and Europe (especially the Bush Administration) the deal was abrogated and Taylor was flushed out of Nigeria and flown to the Hague where he is now standing trial. Here's how Femi Fani-Kayode puts it:
This was the betrayal of the century and, in my view, those that should have known better panicked at the last minute and broke ranks. But I do not believe that Obasanjo was amongst those that betrayed anybody. To be fair to [Nigerian] President Olusegun Obasanjo he was, in fact, the last man standing and he resisted the pressure until it all came to a head during a state visit to America when George W. Bush refused to see him until Taylor was produced. Ironically the real traitor was not Obasanjo but rather President Ellen Sirlief-Johnson of Liberia.
And who is President Johnson? According to Fani-Kayode, she was actually the "American and Nigerian candidate" for election in Nigeria following the deal for Taylor to step down. Fani-Kayode speculates that she "worked closely" with Americans before she came to power and that "she was always at the Villa in Abuja in those days and I think that she was one of those people that used to work for the World Bank before she came home for the elections."
Fani-Kayode rehearses the terms of the deal for us in his article. It was a simple one, he says. Taylor would step down but he was not to be harassed in any way. He would not face prosecution in Liberia, nor "at the International Court at The Hague and Nigeria would not be pressured or harassed by anyone to extradite him anywhere." He was supposed to live simply and quietly in Nigeria and stay out of politics.
Fani-Kayode relates how the Bush Administration suddenly reneged on the deal and placed a great deal of pressure on Nigeria to turn Taylor over the to the Hague. "I was deeply involved in that public spat as [Nigerian] presidential spokesperson," he relates. "Things eventually came to a head when Obasanjo went on a state visit to America and a final demand was made for Taylor … It was at that point that George W. Bush pointblank refused to see Obasanjo whilst he remained in Washington unless and until Taylor was traced, found and handed over to the Liberians."
We can see from this that the Americans were instrumental in remanding Taylor to the International Court of Criminal Justice at The Hague in the Netherlands. This is ironic since, Fani-Kayode notes "America herself, who fought for and orchestrated all of this, is NOT a signatory to that Court and therefore no former or serving American president, leader, citizen or even soldier can ever be brought before it to face any charges of crimes against humanity. That tells you just how unfair and ridiculous the whole world system is."
Fani-Kayode, once a high-ranking Nigerian, is obviously upset at American actions regarding Taylor. What is important from our point of view, however, is the apparently unremarkable nature of this exercise in international justice. It's been reported on by the mainstream media just as if it is a local or federal trial. There have been transcripts, descriptions of the court-room and the demeanor of the participants. It might as well be "Judge Judy" as a precedent-setting global court.
To us it's remarkable, (assuming for purposes of this article that Fani-Kayode's narrative is accurate – and aspects of it that we can research seem fairly credible). But even if Fani-Kayode is exaggerating, the larger issue is the mundane nature of what is taking place from a legal standpoint. We note that Mia Farrow and Naomi Campbell have both been subpoenaed to appear at the Court, and that Campbell was apparently threatened with seven years in jail. It's a bit unclear to us as to how this subpoena power works and what jail Campbell would have found herself in. We're a little surprised this aspect of court affairs has not been more thoroughly examined by the mainstream Western media, which is covering this trial as though it were a normal, even humdrum occurrence.
A lot of power elite promotional elements seemingly converge on this trial. There are the initial reports about Taylor himself, which painted him as the second coming of Idi Amin, except worse. Then there was a major movie, "Blood Diamonds" that popularized the horrible idea that Taylor was using diamonds to fund a war of genocide. Surprisingly, it turns out, the Bush administration was apparently instrumental in shipping Taylor to the Hague to stand trial. And now, of course, the trial itself has become something of a celebrity event with the testimony of a major actress, Farrow, and a major "supermodel," Naomi Campbell.
It is certainly possible to maintain all the above was a coincidence, or Fani-Kayode is putting his own spin on things. But here at the Bell, we try to track the fear-based promotions of the power elite and there are many elements to this story that seem to us, possibly, to have been manipulated to provide the Hague a profile in prosecuting a most evil and beastly man. Is it too much of a stretch to suggest that the current spectacle has been, in a sense, preplanned? There is almost no doubt (for us anyway) that the elite seeks an international judiciary. It has to be built, piece-by-piece.