Liberia's Charles Taylor & the CIA
Liberia: Rebels and Government Exchanged Information With The CIA, Taylor Says; Denied Influencing Witnesses
16 November 2009
After his cross-examination got off to a stumble last week over the use of "new evidence," Charles Taylor today admitted to prosecutors that he shared information with the spy agency of the same country he has accused of plotting his downfall: the United States. Mr. Taylor also dismissed as "nonsense" prosecution allegations that he has been misusing his phone privileges while in jail to try to influence testimony of his defense witnesses.
When court resumed this morning, the prosecution's lead counsel Ms. Brenda Hollis indicated her team's willingness to go ahead with Mr. Taylor's cross-examination, having had more time to "rearrange strategies" after the court refused to allow the use of "new evidence" which had not been part of the prosecution's case and was not raised in Mr. Taylor's direct-examination. As the cross-examination proceeded, Mr. Taylor denied suggestions that he was an agent of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He admitted, however, that his rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), exchanged information with the CIA – a collaboration and exchange that continued into his presidency.
"The organization [NPFL] provided information to the CIA. The NPFL at the time did provide information to the CIA and there was information from the CIA to us too. There was exchange of information, mostly from between 1991-92," Mr. Taylor said.
"The NPFL and the CIA exchanged information on certain operations. They were mostly internal to the Liberia operation," he added.
Mr. Taylor explained that the collaboration with the CIA continued when he became president in 1997.
"The government of Liberia associated in so many ways in exchange of information with the CIA. Throughout my presidency, an agency of my government collaborated with the CIA," the former president said.
Despite this previous collaboration with an agency of the United States, the accused former president has consistently accused the United States of plotting his downfall through support to rebel forces who fought to unseat him in Liberia, and his subsequent trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. ...
Mr. Taylor is responding to charges that he was involved in a joint criminal enterprise with Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor has denied allegations that he supplied arms and ammunition to the rebels in return for Sierra Leone's blood diamonds and that he helped them plan certain operations during which atrocities such as rape, murder and amputation of civilian arms were committed. From July 14 to November 10, 2009, Mr. Taylor testified in direct-examination as a witness in his own defense. He is currently being cross-examined by the prosecution.
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