The Carpetbagger Report – 2005-09-01 00:37:38
(August 24, 2005) Original posting: (June 9, 2003) — Pat Robertson…, the infamous television evangelist got some bad news last week: his business partner, Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, has been charged by the United Nations as a war criminal war criminal .
Few deserve the label of “war criminal” as much as Taylor. Under his reign as Liberia’s dictator, the country has been brought to the brink of chaos after a bloody civil war. Thousands have been killed and tortured by Taylor’s “security forces” and Taylor has been accused of backing rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone, causing even more wide-spread killing.
As the Washington Post‘s Colbert King noted last November, “The international community has received a steady stream of reports detailing police floggings, kickings and burning of a detainee’s skin with hot plastic to extract confessions; victims stripped naked, made to kneel on iron bars and whipped with belts and cables; the jailed people lying face down on the floor while police walk on their wrists and forearms.”
Tom Paine.com’s blog noted last week that the Human Rights Watch considers Taylor “one of the single greatest causes of spreading wars in West Africa.”
Before Taylor seized control of Liberia, he wasn’t exactly known as a Boy Scout. He fled to the US in 1983 after embezzling $1 million from Liberia’s treasury. He was arrested, but escaped from a jail in Massachusetts in 1985. Four years later, Taylor led a group of armed rebels in touching off a civil war in which half of Liberia’s 3 million people were killed or displaced.
Indeed, bolstered by international condemnation of Taylor’s regime, Liberia’s oppressed citizens are revolting against his government, restarting another civil war, which has prompted an evacuation of international aid workers
Taylor may be a war criminal and a vicious tyrant, but that didn’t stop Christian Coalition founder and Republican Party activist Pat Robertson from making him a business partner in 1999
For all his talk about Christianity and morality, Robertson didn’t hesitate to join forces with Taylor to make a bundle in gold mining in the West African country. In 1999, the TV preacher reached a deal with Taylor that allows a Robertson-owned company, Freedom Gold Ltd., to mine for gold in the Bukon Jedeh region of Liberia. The company, which lists Robertson as its president and sole director, was reportedly formed offshore in the Cayman Islands in December 1998.
One has to wonder what would possess someone who claims to be a moral religious leader to enter into a business arrangement with someone like Taylor. I guess it comes down to one thing: unfettered greed.
As GQ reported in an expose on the Robertson-Taylor connection, “[I]t seems clear that in his lust to tap the lucre of the West African Craton [gold seam], the Reverend Pat Robertson has crossed a moral line in order to go into business with a torturer, a murderer, a barbarian who has supported thugs who lop off the arms of defenseless women and children.”
When it comes to Robertson’s moral failings, this may be the worst, but it is part of a terribly long line of travesties. Why so many conservatives consider Robertson a respectable moral crusader worthy of considerable political influence is beyond my comprehension.