US admits African war crimes suspect Charles Taylor was CIA agent

Charles TaylorBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |

Editor’s note: Since publishing this story, The Boston Globe issued a correction, which includes the following: “This story drew unsupported conclusions and significantly overstepped available evidence when it described former Liberian President Charles Taylor as having worked with US spy agencies as a “sought-after source’’ […]. The Globe had no adequate basis for asserting otherwise and the story should not have run in this form”.

Ever since his 2006 arrest for war crimes, Liberia’s former President, Charles Taylor, has consistently claimed that he was an agent of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Now declassified US government documents have officially confirmed that Taylor was indeed an agent of the CIA and the US Defense Intelligence Agency for several decades. The 63-year-old, who ruled his West African homeland from 1997 to 2003, is currently being tried at the United Nations Court in The Hague on multiple counts of civilian murders, rapes, and deploying underage soldiers during a brutal civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone. Rumors that Taylor was being protected by Washington started surfacing in 2003, after he left Liberia and was given protection in US-allied Nigeria, despite his indictment by the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone. In July 2009, intelNews reported Taylor’s claim that his 1985 “escape” from the Plymouth County maximum security Correctional Facility in Massachusetts, which allowed him to return to Liberia and take over the country through a military coup, took place with US government assistance. His persistent claims led The Boston Globe newspaper to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which has resulted in the declassification of nearly 50 separate documents covering “several decades” of Taylor’s work for the CIA and the DIA. The documents confirm that both agencies employed Taylor as an agent beginning in the early 1980s, long before he became Liberia’s ruler. But the FOIA release does not contain details of Taylor’s work for US intelligence, in an alleged effort to “protect intelligence sources and methods” and so as not to “harm national security”, according to The Boston Globe. Read more of this post

Advertisements

News you may have missed #0190

Bookmark and Share

News you may have missed #0094

Bookmark and Share

FROM OUR ARCHIVES: Charles Taylor was not acting alone

Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
As former Liberian President Charles Taylor becomes the first African leader to stand trial for war crimes, it is worth remembering that the 61-year old father of 14 was not acting alone. Taylor, who headed the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), became the country’s President in 1997. He is currently being tried at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, accused of indescribable violations of human rights, which he allegedly committed during his 14-year rule. He is also accused of conspiring to foment the brutal civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone, which he allegedly funded through the Liberian diamond trade. But as I explained last February, Taylor’s diamond smuggling was facilitated by Roger D’Onofrio Ruggiero, an Italian-American 40-year veteran of the CIA, who worked with Taylor and others to channel diamonds into Europe through a number of front-companies. Taylor was also assisted by Ibrahim Bah, a Senegalese who in the 1970s and 1980s was funded by the CIA to join the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the war against the Soviet Red Army. It is unlikely, however, that Charles Taylor’s prosecutors at The Hague will be calling on these two witnesses during the trial. Witnesses aside, however, Charles Taylor’s trial may prove to be interesting on numerous levels. Yesterday, for instance, he told the court that his 1985 “escape” from the US maximum security Plymouth County Correctional Facility in Massachusetts, which allowed him to return to Liberia and take over the country through a military coup, took place with US government assistance.

Analysis: Ex-CIA Agent Involved in Arms Scandal

Imants Liepiņš

Imants Liepiņš

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has heard allegations that a retired agent of the CIA was instrumental in facilitating a vast diamonds-for-arms smuggling operation on behalf of Liberian warlord Charles Taylor. Taylor, who headed the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), became the country’s President in 1997. He is currently held by the United Nations in The Hague, pending trial for crimes against humanity. Roger D’Onofrio Ruggiero, an Italian-American 40-year veteran of the CIA, worked with Charles Taylor and others to channel diamonds into Europe through a number of front-companies. According to the allegations, D’Onofrio helped organize the smuggling operation with Ibrahim Bah, a Senegalese with Libyan connections, who was connected with D’Onofrio in the 1970s, when the former was funded by the CIA to join the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the war against the Soviet Red Army. In the early 1990s, Bah, who by then had established al-Qaeda connections, became Charles Taylor’s “Minister for Mineral Resources”, a post that enabled him to handle the majority of NPFL’s diamonds-for-arms deals. Read article →