“Whereas Liberian president Charles Taylor was accused of encouraging the slaughter of possibly 50,000 people in Sierra Leone, Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have armed, financed and protected the killers of six million people – 120 times as many fatalities – in the eastern Congo.”
Last year, former Liberian president Charles Taylor became the first former head of state ever to be convicted by an international tribunal. Taylor, whose 60-year prison sentence was upheld, last week, was found guilty of war crimes – not in his own country, but in neighboring Sierra Leone, where a civil war had raged from 1991 to 2002. The Liberian president wasn’t accused of personally committing mass murder in Sierra Leone, or even of having ordered that these crimes be committed. Instead, the prosecution argued that he had “instigated” others to commit the crimes in order to profit from the sale of what became known as “blood diamonds.” The court reasoned that Taylor must have known about the horrendous crimes that were being perpetrated by his friends among the rebels in the neighboring country, and was, therefore, as guilty as they were.
If that is the new standard for international criminal law, then Barack Obama and the two other living U.S. presidents should soon be moving into prison cells next door to Charles Taylor. These three U.S. presidents have instigated – with full knowledge of the consequences – 17 years of the most ghastly crimes imaginable in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Whereas Liberian president Charles Taylor was accused of encouraging the slaughter of possibly 50,000 people in Sierra Leone, Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have armed, financed and protected the killers of six million people – 120 times as many fatalities – in the eastern Congo, where American allies Rwanda and Uganda have been on a rampage of looting and mass murder since 1996.
Charles Taylor’s motive was said to be personal gain from the blood diamond trade – although international investigators have never found his alleged hidden treasure. The United States let loose its Rwandan and Ugandan dogs of war for a much bigger prize: the world’s largest deposits of strategic minerals that are required for maintenance of modern industries and war machines. Charles Taylor’s stash of ill-gotten cash may be fictional, but the flow of Congolese coltan and other strategic minerals through Rwandan and Ugandan military middlemen to the rich countries of the West is undeniable. Charles Taylor’s crimes in Sierra Leone – if he is guilty – pale in comparison to those of U.S. presidents in the Congo, where Clinton, Bush and Obama have instigated, encouraged and collaborated in the worst genocide since World War Two. And, just like common criminals, they tried to hide the evidence – suppressing United Nations reports, preventing discussion of Congo’s complaints before the World Body, and flooding the corporate media with propaganda that Rwanda and Uganda’s leaders are the most honorable men in Africa – when, in fact, they are the continent’s most coddled thieves and killers.
Of course, the United States will never submit to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court; its presidents cannot measure up to anyone’s standard of justice. They live by the law of the gun – the greatest war criminals on planet Earth.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].