Liberian despot Charles Taylor worked with US intelligence

The confirmation came in a response to a Freedom of Information Act request
made by the Boston

Pentagon officials disclosed that US
connections with Taylor were contained in at least 48 secret documents
compiled over several decades, but declined to give any further details
about the exact length or nature of the relationship.

According to former intelligence officials Taylor could have been considered
useful in the 1980s for collecting information on Libyan leader Muammar
Gaddafi, and attempts by the Soviet Union to gain influence in Africa during
the Cold War.

Before becoming one of the world’s most notorious and brutal rulers Taylor had
been a student at Bentley College, just outside Boston, from 1972 to 1977.
He earned a degree in economics.

He first came to the attention of authorities in the US when he was arrested
during a protest outside the Liberian Mission in New York in 1979.

Taylor, who was born in Liberia, supported a coup in his home country by
Samuel Doe the following year and joined the new government. He then fled
back to the US after being accused of embezzling almost $1 million, and
began fighting extradition to Liberia from a maximum security jail in
Plymouth, Massachusetts.

According to Taylor himself, he then received help from the CIA. He told the
Special Court for Sierra Leone that a plan was hatched for him to join
another planned coup in Liberia, headed by military leader Thomas Quiwonkpa.
Taylor claimed he was “100 per cent positive” the CIA was
providing the weapons.

He claimed a guard at the jail came to his cell late at night, opened the door
and took him to a window where sheets were tied to the bars allowing him to
climb down. According to his version a “Government car” then drove
him to New York, before he made his way to Mexico on his own passport. News
reports suggested he had escaped from the jail.

The Quiwonkpa coup failed and, according to Taylor, the would-be leader’s “flesh
was eaten by the military leaders at the time.”

After undergoing training in Libya under Gaddafi, Taylor founded the National
Patriotic Front of Liberia and after engaging in civil war became president
in 1996.

During the Sierra Leone civil war that followed Revolutionary United Front
rebels, described as Taylor’s “surrogate army”, mutilated
thousands of civilians.

Taylor is accused of funding atrocities there in return for “blood
diamonds.” The former leader, who has compared himself to Jesus, denies
the charges.

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