Pat Robertson, you may recall, was last seen on these pages for suggesting that Haitians brought on the earthquake themselves by making a pact with the devil. Information disclosed in a Hague courtroom yesterday, however, lends credence to the theory that it is Pat Robertson himself who is making pacts with devils.
The pact in question is with former Liberian president Charles Taylor, who is on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from his support for militias that ravaged neighboring Sierra Leone in the late 1990s and early 2000s. How bad was Taylor? Here is a sample passage from his indictment from the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. The “AFRC/RUF” are militias that Taylor is accused of supporting in order to “obtain access to the mineral wealth of the Republic of Sierra Leone,” (i.e. blood diamonds.)
So how does Pat Robertson fit into all of this? Colum Lynch reports that in court yesterday, Taylor said Robertson was awarded a Liberian gold-mining concession in 1999 and that Robertson offered to lobby the Bush administration on Taylor’s behalf.
Under cross-examination, Taylor said that Robertson had volunteered to make Liberia’s case before U.S. administration officials, and had spoken directly to President Bush about Taylor. He also confirmed that Robertson’s company, Freedom Gold Limited, signed an agreement to exploit gold in southeastern Liberia, but that it never generated any profit.
Lynch says that Robertson admits to the gold mining concession, but claims there was no “quid pro quo” involved. Even if Taylor’s claims are true, though, it should be noted that President Bush played a constructive role in Taylor’s ouster. In 2003, Bush diverted a U.S. warship en route to Iraq to the port of Monrovia, Liberia. The Marines on board never disembarked, but the the show of force helped to convince Taylor to give up power.
Still, the fact that Robertson would want to make common cause with a man accused of the most heinous war crimes imaginable makes one question his moral compass, to say the least.