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Mercenaries given go-ahead to abduct Liberian leader By Christopher Marquis and Thom Shanker in Washington July 26 2003
The internationally backed War Crimes Tribunal in Sierra Leone has given the green light for mercenaries to arrest the Liberian President, Charles Taylor - if they can raise their own funds for the operation and deliver him across the border.
"We would not turn down anybody legitimate - whether government, international organisation or private company - who can deliver Charles Taylor or any other fugitive of justice," Alan White, the court's chief of investigation, said on Thursday.
But while encouraging bounty-hunters, Mr White made it clear he was not offering a payout. "We won't pay anybody. We're not in a financial position to do that and would not engage in that anyway."
The special war crimes court - set up jointly by the Sierra Leone Government and the United Nations to prosecute those responsible for atrocities during the country's appalling civil war - issued an indictment against Taylor last month.
Two days after the United States Secretary of State, Colin Powell, called for the speedy deployment of troops to Liberia, the US's top two military officers have warned of significant dangers facing any US military involvement in the West African nation. They also called for a strategy for its successful end before any troops are committed.
The anarchy and violence in Liberia would, they predicted, not yield to a quick solution. "It's not a pretty situation," General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during his reconfirmation hearing before the Senate armed services committee on Thursday. "It's not going to give way to any instant fix. Whatever the fix is going to be, [it] is going to have to be a long-term fix."
The comments by General Myers and General Peter Pace, the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were the most sobering public analysis to date of the risks facing the US in Liberia. "It is potentially a very dangerous situation," General Pace said. "If we're asked to do something militarily, we need to make sure we do it with the proper numbers of troops and that we be prepared for the eventualities of having to take military action."
General Pace cited the failed humanitarian mission to Somalia, which ended after the deaths of 18 troops in a vicious firefight in the capital, Mogadishu, in 1993.
He was deputy commander of US forces there from 1993 to 1994.
At the time of the disastrous raid, Mr Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The US President, George Bush, is expected to decide soon whether to send as many as 2000 American troops to back up two peacekeeping brigades due to be deployed in Liberia from Nigeria.
The Pentagon said on Thursday that the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima - leading a three-ship group carrying 2300 marines - has arrived in the Mediterranean for possible duty in a Liberian operation. The three ships have been ordered to the Mediterranean "so that, if called upon, they could respond to the situation in Liberia", Daniel Hetlage, a Pentagon spokesman, said.
The Economic Community of West African States has committed 1400 Nigerian troops, which may be followed by a battalion drawn from Mali, Senegal and Ghana, a United Nations official said on Thursday.
The Telegraph - London, The New York Times, Reuters
Give a half dozen cops a chance at it. I'm sure they'll have no trouble. Hey here's an idea..... use the same cops that a poster here thinks could have done the job in Iraq!
-------------------- You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers
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