Should Liberia Host Africom, The Would-Be Headquarters Of The War On Terrorism (World War Iv)?
Would Africom Economic Benefits Flow Just As In Pakistan; Where Out Of $10 B. For War On Terrorism Only 10% Spent On Social Programs?
By J. Yanqui Zaza
About a century ago even before Herman Cohen reminded Liberians that U.S. officials value the interest of business over human rights, U.S. officials denied its World War I and II ally (Liberia) a $5 million dollar loan to repay $1.2 million dollar borrowed in 1912. Instead, U.S. officials lured Liberia in obtaining $5 million loan from Firestone on terms unfavorable to the country. Ironically, Liberia became cash trapped and bankrupt because U.S. coerced her to expel its major economic trading partner (i.e., Germany, United States’ rival during World War I and II). Firestone did not only get a good deal in negotiating the 1 million acres of land for 99 years, but also placed Liberia into receivership by positioning two key officials within our revenue offices to ensure that Firestone’s debt was repaid. In 2004, Liberia lying in ruins, U.S. officials, serving as fiduciaries, failed to protect Liberia’s $520 million reconstruction funds from corporate and NGOs’ chicanery.
Now without any accountability of the $520 million dollars, do U.S. officials have interest in promoting or protecting the people’s programs?
Can AFRICOM, unlike the C.I.A. base or the Omega Tower, spur economic benefits across Liberia as President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf would have us to believe? Is President Johnson-Sirleaf and her advisors unaware of U.S. laws, which make it easier for U.S. firms including Halliburton or DynCorp to continue to reap disproportionate lion share of U.S. funds be it for charity or for loan? For example, Pakistan, the country on the front line in the war declared on terrorism, only $900 million has been spent so far on social programs out of the $10 billion dollars appropriated. (The Center for Strategic and International Studies Report). A NY Time correspondent, Cecilia W. Dugger reported on July 31, 2007 that some U.S. Congressional leaders are against any change in the U.S. laws that would allow aid organizations to use U.S. funds to purchase food in Africa since U.S. domestic firms such as agribusinesses and shipping corporations would lose billions of dollars.
Suspending the debate on the risk or economic gains if the U.S establishes AFRICOM's headquarters in Liberia, should President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s government charge Honorable R. Wesley Harmon for treason for making incorrect assertions since Johnson-Sirleaf's advisor recommended that John Morlu, II the Auditor General of Liberia be charged for treason because he made incorrect statements? Honorable Harmon, in his rebuttal to “AFRICOM: Ghana, Morocco, others say no to U.S. Why President Sirleaf wants it badly,” said; 1) “… I daresay, the president has studied the example of both countries…” and 2) ” … The President has very eloquently laid out her case …”
Since his claims few days ago, Honorable Harmon has not provided evidence indicating who conducted the study on AFRICOM and with whom did President Johnson-Sirleaf discuss the issues of AFRICOM with. Predictably, had President Johnson-Sirleaf performed her responsibilities as Honorable Harmon claimed, the debate on AFRICOM would have begun long ago. And certainly, Honorable Harmon would not have wrongly interpreted the Constitution of Liberia to claim that President Johnson-Sirleaf is not required by any provisions within the Constitution to consult with the other Branches of the Liberian government. Article 57 of the Constitution of Liberia states that, “…the President shall conduct…and is empowered to conclude …treaties, and international agreements with the concurrence of a majority of the Legislature.” The operating words (shall conduct… with concurrence with a majority of the Legislature) unambiguously oblige the President to consult a majority of the Legislature on matters such as AFRICOM.
Many professionals who misinterpret agreements, responsibilities, programs, or make false statements are not burdened by the threat of treason. However, the idea of accountability, transparency, responsibility, or participatory democracy makes it an imperative for the Johnson-Sirleaf government to disclaim false statements irrespective of the source of origin, orator, or writer. This theory is even more important if those statements are intended, as in this case, to protect or support the government from adhering to the Constitution and discouraging free speech. Additionally, a failure by the Johnson-Sirleaf government to correct wrong statements would only encourage partisans, especially sycophants who would live on making false statements, which is a rebirth of the public relations legacy of the former Liberian President, William V.S. Tubman. Presumably, a disclaimer by the government of Honorable Harmon’s statements would expose President Johnson-Sirleaf’s violation of the Constitution and her disdain of the other Branches of government; another evidence of the "Iron Lady" penchant for anti-democracy tendencies and her inclination toward dictatorship.
Undoubtedly, U.S. intelligence and diplomatic presence in Africa continue and did promote dictatorship in many poor countries such as Mobutu Sese Sekou of the Republic of Zaire (now the Republic of Congo), Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo, Daniel arap Moi of Kenya, General Sani Abacha of Nigeria, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, etc. These dictators suppressed their citizens largely due to the assistance of U.S. personnel. Had America not protected corrupt businesses, such as Firestone, etc., Liberia would have avoided the 14-year civil war. Apparently, many Liberians refuse or are unable to link the interest of corrupt U.S. businesses, which usually influence American foreign policies, to the prolongation of dictatorship and massive poverty in poor countries, including Liberia. Therefore, other Liberians, including J. Yanqui Zaza see it as a patriotic duty to share their understanding with the public and policy makers such as our “Iron Lady.”