watch out bush and cheney

The Wonkette Geopoliticker: Congrats On Getting Rid Of Your War Criminal, Liberia!

Cannibal Lecter.World renowned sicko and former Liberian prez Charles Taylor is the first head of state to be convicted by an international tribunal since the Nuremberg Trials after World War II. (Nah guys, Pinochet was just Spain.) Who says that there’s no such thing as international law? Up next at The Hague is Laurent Gbagbo, the former Côte d’Ivoire president who had his citizens raped and murdered; in addition, an arrest warrant has been issued for President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, who presides over a little region called Darfur.

But like a lot of sub-Saharan Africa, Liberia is looking up! Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, elected in 2005 and again in 2011, is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a far cry from the cannibal, serial-rapist murderer she took over for. Everyone Loves Her. For the fiscally conservative, she’s a former Citibank VP who inherited a country with $4.9 billion in debt and reduced that to virtually nothing in just a few years. For you liberals, she’s good on gay/lesbian/transgender stuff, on a continent where that’s very hard to be politically (and personally). She even won the highly coveted and prestigious 2011 African Gender Award. But her best move so far has been pushing back against a tire company that’s been fucking her country up since the 1920s.

Along with Ethiopia, Liberia is one of only two African nations to have never been a “colony.” (Although it does have looong ties to the US, as we sent a few folks there after magnaminously deciding they didn’t have to be slaves anymore.) But being a neo-colony is maybe worse: people are still raping your resources, but they don’t have any social or civic ties or even lip-service to civic responsibility. Liberia has the world’s best rubber forests, by far. The world uses a ton of rubber. Yet Liberia is one of the poorest countries on Earth, because the ‘owner’ of these rubber forests is this guy. Who? For God’s sake, he was a “The Bachelor.” So Andrew Firestone gets rich off good rubber growin’ (although he does make a lovely merlot) while Liberians get child slavery and $3 a day.

Firestone, under previous Liberian regimes, has controlled one million acres, which is four percent of the country’s area and 10 percent of its arable land. Under Sirleaf’s administration, it’s been scaled back to 100,000 acres, a 90 percent reduction. Local farmers are now using the 900,000 acres that were conceded.

When you look at the huge amounts of timber, oil, diamonds, iron ore, gold, and of course rubber found there, and at the transparency and fairness of the current administration, it’s clear that Liberia’s stock is going up. Seeing the former warlord president go to jail is just icing on the cake.

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About the author

John Schoenkopf likes geography. johns@wonkette.com

View all articles by John Schoenkopf

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144 comments

  1. Barb

    Oh John, I want to bake cookies for you and cheer you up. Just let me know where to send them, please.

    1. redarmyzombie

      Similarly, I can make a mean espresso brownies with wine frosting (oh, they're good)!

  2. swordfis

    "Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, elected in 2005 and again in 2011, is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a far cry from the cannibal, serial-rapist murderer she took over for. "

    Strange coincidence – Barack Obama is also a Nobel Prizewinner who took over from a similar gentleman.

  3. Fukui-sanYesOta

    Ethiopia was conquered by Italy in the 30s. Along with Libya, which is why the Italians were so fucking keen to beat shit out of Libya recently.

    edit: and thank fuck Charles Taylor got what he deserved. It's a shame Slobodan Milosevic didn't live to get the same.

    1. anniegetyerfun

      I'm always amazed when Ethiopians tell me that their country was never a colony.

      Oddly enough, the third-highest ranking Google search for "Italy in Ethiopia" is (at least for me), from my alma mater.

      1. Fukui-sanYesOta

        It was never really a colony as per modern interpretation, but it was under, um, colonial rule I guess? Perhaps "external rule" would be a more accurate phrasing.

        Your alma mater looks like a cracking school, if a bit papist (joke).

        in 2011-2012, Mount Holyoke is one of the nation's top producers of Fulbright Scholarships

        can't knock that.

      2. BaldarTFlagass

        Ethiopia was never a colony in the sense of "Nigeria was a colony of Britain." More in the sense that "Poland was a colony of Germany," but with less Jews and more blahs.

      3. Chow Yun Flat

        I think that Ethiopia wins by a technicality. Eritrea which has been both a province of Ethiopia and an independent country was an Italian colony from the mid 1880s. The Italians invaded and occupied the Ethiopia from Eritrea but were expelled by the British during WW II.

    2. Terry

      So, what's up with the The Hague? Why are they finally going after these guys?

      I saw this weekend that a group of middle class Greeks are trying to bring charges at The Hague against the Greek government for genocide, among other things, due to the precipitous fall in the quality of life there since the crash.

  4. memzilla

    Now I'm jealous of Liberia for getting their incompetent, war-mongering, illegally-appointed, tool-of-the-plutocrats ex-dictator in front of The Hague before we got ours in front of The Hague.

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        Also regrettable is that only 2 or 3 percent of Americans know who Charles Taylor is. Or what's a Liberia.

        1. CivicHoliday

          Actually I'd wager it's less than 2%. I'm pretty sure most US 'Murikans think that Charles Taylor makes cool shoes.

  5. savethispatient

    Liberia and Ethiopia: the two African countries a Britisher doesn't have to feel quite as guilty about.

    1. sullivanst

      There's plenty of African nations a Britisher doesn't have to feel terribly guilty about: there's the ones the French fucked over, and the Congo is on the Belgians. We're only on the hook for what… 1/3 of the continent?

  6. iburl

    OK, Liberia….President Obama supported the uprising, correct? President Obama called for the removal of Charlie – just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing before I say yes, I agree, or no, I didn't agree. I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason – nope, that's a different one….I gotta go back and see – um, I got all this stuff twirling around in my head….Specifically, what are you asking me. Did I agree or not disagree with Obama?

  7. Mumbletypeg

    Shall I take this as good* news? Do I dare to eat a peach?

    * So refreshing on teh wonkettes, I keep 'refreshing' my browser to make sure I'm reading this correctly: someone got the justice they deserved belatedly, and for the Liberian people a new leader that sounds like someone dreamed her up~

    1. Designer_Rants

      I wish the ladies would just get it over with and snap some sort of limiting collars on the males, then take over. Not saying all of you girls are good at running things, but I've seen how the guys try to make everything about their dicks. You can do better than that. I'm sure of it.

      1. emmelemm

        Til human voices wake us (a new crop of terrible Wonket stories tomorrow am) and we drown (our sorrows in another drink).

  8. Fukui-sanYesOta

    Both Italy and France have come to accept that they're the catamites of Europe.

    Good food, though.

      1. Fukui-sanYesOta

        Heh, I love both countries. It's just that as a Britisher I have to do it.

      2. Fukui-sanYesOta

        Now I've had a couple of rum drinks too many and I'll tell stories about why I love both Italy and France.

        The Italy one I've told before: turning up with my parents, my brother and his girlfriend and me and my (American) wife, wife had left her passport on the plane. Being Easyjet it fucked off, so no chance of getting it back. Italian customs agents said "find us when you get it back" and then conveniently disappeared to let us go through immigration unmolested.

        Well, that and Italy is a fantastic country full of gourmets. Yum. Can't wait to go back.

        France is a funny place. Paris is wonderful and I'd advise everyone to go – but learn a little French first. You don't want to be the Americans I saw in a pizza place in Paris yelling "KETCHUP! KETCHUP!" at a French waiter who was pretending to be Italian. I foxed the cunt by ordering in Italian; not that my Italian is much cop, but it was better than his. Just don't be the loud, shouty American and all should be well.

        Oh, I have more stories, but I don't want to bore you fine people.

  9. SexySmurf

    But her best move so far has been pushing back against a tire company that’s been fucking her country up since the 1920s.

    That was actually Mitt Romney's idea.

          1. Swampgas_Man

            Actually, since silicone warms to the touch, studies show users DO get off better w/ it.

  10. Monsieur_Grumpe

    Too bad he's heading to jail. I understand he was on the short list for Mitt's VP choices.

  11. Schmannnity

    "she’s a former Citibank VP who inherited a country with $4.9 billion in debt and reduced that to virtually nothing in just a few years."

    $16 trillion in U.S. national debt awaits your able hands.

      1. Guppy

        Except this post is full of "looking up," while Newell is full of "looking down (at the bottom of a bottle)."

    1. SudsMcKenzie

      Its probably a good thing Layne doesn't have electricity in his post apocalyptic cul de sac.

        1. Barb

          Uhm, in an adult and responsible relationship BOTH partners make sure that you use a condom. Safe sex and birth control issues should be discussed and agreed upon before the dirty deed of darkness. A condom is for safer sex for the man and the woman.

          1. Boojum

            No, no, silly Barb! Wimmins is not capable of making those decisions, so we must leave that up to men, who understand these policies better than other people.

    1. IndianaKevin

      Be careful what you wish for. Firestone was all about "Where the rubber meets the road," which could be unpleasant in a sexual context:
      "Rubber, meet road."
      "Charmed."
      "Road, meet rubber."
      "The pleasure is mine."
      "Let's do this."
      "Agreed."
      (From a legal standpoint, the slogan is excellent. It sounds like it means something impressive, but would never stand up in court.)

  12. Maman

    Maybe Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will look into how it is that Andrew Firestone was allowed to control so much of Liberia? That would be infinitely more amusing than The Bachelor.

  13. rickmaci

    My heart leaped for just a beat because my tired old eyes read "an arrest warrant has been issued for President Omar al-Bashir" as "an arrest warrant has been issued for President George W. Bush." Time to log off and go drown the day in whiskey.

  14. ttommyunger

    So, when do we get to see Dubya and Cheney stand trial? They make this chump look like Mother Teresa.

      1. Dashboard Buddha

        Nor were the charges that he kept a stable of Girl Scouts that matched his blood type.

  15. subsum

    I guess this is good news but not as good as it could be. When they catch Rumsfeld and Cheney the news will be really good.

  16. SayItWithWookies

    Gee, maybe having the ear of the guy who has the ear of The LORD isn't as much of a get-out-of-jail free card as it used to be. And Pat Robertson is running out of dictators to cozy up to.

  17. ManchuCandidate

    When you look at the huge amounts of timber, oil, diamonds, iron ore, gold, and of course rubber found there, and at the transparency and fairness of the current administration, it’s clear that Liberia’s stock is going up. Seeing the former warlord president go to jail is just icing on the cake.

    Somewhere a US America 1%er is roiling in rage at the happy poor blah people and is plotting revenge and a coup to change it back to the normal misery he feasted on.

  18. CheneysOldHeart

    I, for one, am NOT of fan of this dangerous and immoral trend of holding heads of state accountable for their horrendous crimes against humanity. Slippery slope people! Slippery slope!

  19. Negropolis

    Ah, the difference between being a dictator of a basket-case, and one with some global influence and or a nice, big sugardaddy. They'll never get Alexander Lukashenko.

    1. fuflans

      i'm not sure. depends on who gets sicker of belarus first.

      as an aging tinpot dictator you should always be aware of your shelf life.

  20. Come here a minute

    But has little Johnny started pooping in the potty yet? (Sorry, can't stop with the family-blog stuff.)

  21. littlebigdaddy

    Are you our editrix's brother or husband, or alter ego? Can we log our complaints with you? (Intense Debate sucks balls, BTW).

    1. HistoriCat

      Johnnycakes is one of the Editrix's brothers … apparently she comes from one of those families with talent and drive. Just watch out for commiebro – aka older brother Eric – he disapproves of fapping to his sister's image. And he was a Marine sniper …

  22. ManchuCandidate

    OT/ Seems the esteemed PM Fatbody lied/hid from public 114 Billion bailout of Canada City Banks. Smug Canada City people not so smug. I knew from a friend that the CIBC was about 3 days away from melting down thanks to Lehman and CDOs of US America mortgages. PM Fatbody campaigned and won majority in part due to smugness that we weren't as fucked up as US America.

    http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/canadian-banks-g

    1. Negropolis

      LOL! @ "PM Fatbody." Hadn't heard that one

      BTW, conservatives attack the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives as a leftist conspiracy in 3…2…

      1. ManchuCandidate

        I would not be surprised if they have the attack ads ready to go.

        Of course, the Canada City media will not be on this story because… that would mean they were manipulated by PM Fatbody (and they have been since he showed up) and lied to the ignorant masses. Plus they won't let that ruin the NHL playoffs.

        1. BaldarTFlagass

          Since there are no Canadian teams left standing, I can't imagine that they give much of a fuck.

  23. Radiotherapy

    To hell with this human rights, political justice, snark-fest, ZOMG, guys, Jos. A. Bank is having a "buy one suit, get two for free" sale…everything in the store… for two days only…everything in the store 1/2 off, the entire stock of shirts, socks, shoes, ties, woolen pants and more…see you guys later! Even you ladies can click on it…
    ♫ ♬The girls go crazy for a sharp dressed man. ♫ ♬

  24. Dashboard Buddha

    Oh, that's just fuckin' great. Next they'll have to pay the workers a decent wage. Do you have any idea what that will do to the price of tires??

  25. horsedreamer_1

    So, to face trial as an international criminal, you also have to be black? Lukashenko is breathing a sigh of relief.

    1. littlebigdaddy

      ANd who's the other shenko? The one with the braids? I'm sorry but that is a war crime in and of itself.

      1. Negropolis

        That she's rotting in a prison, or the Princess Leia braids? 'Cause the former is a pretty fucked up situation, if you ask me.

    1. deanbooth

      I was glad to see this truth finally bubble up to the surface.

      See also Doghouse Riley: "The time to speak up was thirty years ago, when this stuff was just as plain, and was being covered by a transparent rewrite of unpleasant history, and a clear retrenchment on individual rights."

    2. Callyson

      "We're not exactly neutral or balanced, are we?" says Mann. But a central message of their book, he says, is that norms of nonpartisanship in the media and elsewhere sometimes do "a disservice to the reality."

      From your lips to the ears of SOMEBODY in the MSM, dude…

      1. LetUsBray

        …but Bush and Cheney were two of the greatest war criminals of all time. Of all time!

        1. Radiotherapy

          Nah, srsly, Hitler and Stalin (our bedfellow '41-'45), make those guys look like a blastocyst.

          1. Fukui-sanYesOta

            Fucking sepps and their prism-view of WW2. Stalin was best buds with Hitler (Molotov-Ribbentrop pact) until Barbarossa. The UK didn't know where to look.

            Eventually he was "Uncle Joe" for fuck's sake. Poor Poland. They still haven't forgiven us for Yalta, and rightly so. We'd never have cracked Enigma without the work of Polish mathematicians and both our countries fucked them.

  26. Isyaignert

    Say, isn't this Funny Uncle Pat Robertson's blood diamond partner? Yup, it sure is. Both of those mofos are going to have some 'splaining to do when they finally croak.

  27. Callyson

    I can't come up with anything better to say than to quote MLK:

    The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice

    And this is a good step in that direction…

  28. lulzmonger

    Moral: if you're going to be a cannibal rapist mass-murderer, ALWAYS make sure you book an overseas flight in advance … & DO NOT try to stiff the cab-driver.

    Sooooooo … does this mean reuseable condoms are about to be "in" again?
    AFAF.

    1. Serolf_Divad

      I had no idea they were "out." Is washing your condoms (and setting them out to dry on a little laundry line made of chopsticks and dental floss) to save a little money really frowned upon?

  29. Serolf_Divad

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, elected in 2005 and again in 2011, is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a far cry from the cannibal, serial-rapist murderer she took over for.

    Bah, typical bleeding heart, biased, liberal journalism: why is it you only present the bad side of serial-rapist, murdering, cannibalism?

    1. James Michael Curley

      Typical British. Over cook the meat until its dried out, tough and crusted.

      1. C_R_Eature

        If you think that was bad, you should see what they did to the vegetables.

        Julia Child Wept.

  30. Dr_pangloss

    So when do we invade Liberia violently depose their democratically elected government and put Taylor (or someone like him) back in charge. Since that evil socialist Nazi is being mean to a Very Good (American?) Tire Company!

    1. ElPinche

      So Palin is now just a "poll troll." She waits until candidate looks like he's going to win, then endorses them. And course, she claims victory, then more paid speeches, yada yada. Wow, grifting is an artform.

  31. SolitaireRose

    The good thing is, since the US doesn't recognize the international court, we are all required to put out fingering in our ears and loudly shout "American The Beautiful" when the story is accidentally reported by CNN when they give some international news to give political pundits time to find the donuts and coffee before they sit down.

  32. DamnHomie

    How to resuscitate a dying website:

    Step 1. Alienate longtime visitors by constantly referring to yourself as "your editrix" and interjecting personal anecdotes into posts as often as possible.
    Step 2. Publish your brother.
    Step 3. Publish your mother.
    Step 4. Write posts about your mother.
    Step 5: ????
    Step 6: Profit.

    Suggestions: Add merch store with Schoenkopf family SWAG, family vacation photo albums, opposing Op / Eds written by cousins, weekly Q&A features with extended family members.

    Hey – it's YOUR website, amirite?

  33. thesuniverse

    I think I must be in Bizarro World – was that GOOD news? My mind can't take it.

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