Liberian War Criminal Charles Taylor Worked for U.S. Spy Agencies
Friday, January 20, 2012
Long before he became one of modern Africa's most notorious dictators, Charles Taylor of Liberia was on the payroll of the U.S. government providing intelligence on American enemies.
Taylor's relationship with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began in the 1980s, when the U.S. was still fighting the Cold War and sought assistance from sources, including cutthroats like Taylor, in the battle against communism and other perceived threats.
According to previously-classified documents and interviews with intelligence officials by the Boston Globe, Taylor obtained intelligence on Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The Liberian strongman also may have fed American officials information on illegal arms trafficking in Africa and on the activities of the Soviet Union.
Taylor attended Chamberlayne Junior College in Newton, Massachusetts, and Bentley College in Waltham. He returned to Liberia in 1977 and joined the government of military dictator Samuel Doe in 1980. However he came back to Boston in 1983 after he was accused of embezzling $1 million. Arrested the following year, he was detained in the Plymouth County House of Correction awaiting extradition. The revelation about Taylor’s involvement with the DIA and CIA help explain what happened next: he disappeared following an escape that has long aroused suspicion. In fact, Taylor would later testify that a guard opened his cell door and he was met by two Americans who drove him to New York.
In 1989 Taylor reappeared in Liberia as the leader of a rebel army. He became the head of the country and remained in power until 2003, when he was again forced to flee. He lived in exile in Nigeria for three years. He was arrested in 2006 and was tried by the United Nations’ Special Court for Sierra Leone on charges of murder, rape, attacking civilians, and using child soldiers. Although the trial, which included testimony by actress Mia Farrow and model Naomi Campbell, concluded in March 2011, a verdict has not yet been announced.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Former Liberian Dictator Charles Taylor Had US Spy Agency Ties (by Bryan Bender, Boston Globe)
The Trial of Charles Taylor (Special Court for Sierra Leone)
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