Rumors of former Liberian president, Charles Taylor‘s connection to the US government arose in 2009, when the dictator admitted to having CIA ties at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in the Hague. Taylor told the court that US agents helped him escape from a maximum security prison in Boston in 1985. Accused of crimes against humanity, the former African warlord is known for his ruthless, guerilla-style murders in the 1990s. The BBC estimates that the civil war ignited by his rebel group killed around 250,000 people and led thousands to flee the country.
A Boston Globe investigation lead reporter Bryan Bender to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s spy arm, who confirmed Taylor’s informant work. Although specific details were not given, they did state that Taylor started working for the CIA in the 80s, the period in which he rose to power. In 2003 Taylor was indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for arming rebels in the neighboring country during a 10-year campaign of terror largely conducted against civilians. Charles, who is awaiting a verdict in the UK, denies charges of rape, murder and using child soldiers.
How much influence did the US have in Taylor’s rise to power? Given the history of the US funding and supplying rebels and terrorists abroad, should our government should be held accountable for the atrocities he caused?