Thursday, May 31, 2007

Then and Now: Pat Robertson And Dictator Charles Taylor

What's more, to hear Robertson tell it, one of the abominations prompting God to hide his face from America is this country's self-indulgence, pursuit of financial gain and focus on wealth.

Which is the subject of today's column, and the basis for this humble question: What, pray tell, does the Good Lord make of Pat Robertson's gold-mining venture in Liberia with Charles Taylor, international pariah and one of the most ruthless, greedy and terror-producing heads of state in all of sub-Saharan Africa?

What? He didn't know?

Well it probably slipped Robertson's mind, busy as he is in getting people to send in those checks, money orders and love offerings to support his cause. How the reverend found time to hook up with Taylor, I'll never know.

But in May 1999, Robertson, through Freedom Gold Limited, an offshore company registered in the Cayman Islands but based at CBN headquarters in Virginia Beach, signed an agreement with Taylor and key cabinet members allowing the for-profit Freedom Gold to explore and receive mining rights in southeastern Liberia, where gold is believed to be in the ground.

It's a great deal for Liberia, which is now an economic basket case thanks to the long civil war and Taylor's corruption. It's also good for Freedom Gold, which was formed by Robertson in 1998. Liberia -- and for all practical purposes we're talking Taylor -- gains 10 percent ownership of Freedom Gold.

Today, there is news on Taylor's upcoming trial.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor goes on trial next week charged with instigating murder, rape and terrorism during Sierra Leone's civil war in a case prosecutors say could end impunity for African strongmen.

Taylor, once one of Africa's most feared warlords, faces 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, including recruiting child soldiers during the 1991-2002 conflict.

The 59-year-old has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
He was a driving force behind intertwined wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone which killed more than a quarter of a million people and shocked the world with stories and images of child soldiers high on drugs, killing, raping and looting.

"Charles Taylor caused the biggest atrocities in this war. I support the trial because then other people will fear to do the same," said Freetown trader Mohamed Kolokah, 28, whose business partner was killed by rebels supported by Taylor.

The trial starts in The Hague on Monday.

Pat Robertson has said that Taylor was only being targeted due to "his Christianity". Pat Robertson is an asshole.