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May 01 2012

Pat Robertson’s Dictator Pals

Charles Johnson, the former dictator of Liberia, was found guilty by an international tribunal in The Hague of crimes against humanity, including aiding in child sex trafficking, rape, murder and the use of child soldiers. Americans United points out that Johnson was a business partner of Pat Robertson’s:

Robertson signed an agreement with Taylor in 1999 to allow the televangelist’s for-profit Freedom Gold Ltd. to mine for gold in Liberia. If any gold was found, 10 percent would go to the Liberian government, and in effect, into the pockets of the loathsome Taylor.

On the stand during his trial, the Liberian leader said Robertson promised to argue for the Liberian government with officials in Washington, and he claimed the TV preacher personally intervened with President George W. Bush.

Taylor was grateful for Robertson’s help. In 2002, he even appeared at a three-day “Liberia for Jesus” rally sponsored by CBN. When the Bush administration pressured Taylor to resign in 2003, Robertson sprang to the dictator’s defense.

On his Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club” program, Robertson said, “We’re undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country.”

They also point out that this is not the first murderous thug he’s crawled into bed with for financial gain:

Robertson cozied up to thuggish strongman Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire (now the Republic of the Congo) to mine for diamonds in that desperate country in 1994. He even used his tax-exempt Operation Blessing relief planes to assist with the business project when the aircraft were supposed to be helping the poor.

And then there’s Efrain Rios Montt, a former Guatemalan general and dictator heading for trial for war crimes committed during that nation’s civil war. Rios Montt seized power in a coup in 1982, and he stands accused of wanton brutality, with hundreds killed during his 17-month reign. But because he is a Pentecostal Christian, he received staunch support from Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell and other Religious Right figures.

In 1990, long after it was common knowledge that Rios Montt was a monster, Robertson was still singing his praises. He commended the dictator for his “enlightened leadership” and said people danced in the street when Rios Montt seized power “literally fulfilling the words of Solomon who said, ‘When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.’”

What a shock.

13 comments

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  1. 1
    tommykey

    Ed, it’s Charles TAYLOR!

    Isn’t Charles Johnson the guy from Little Green Footballs?

  2. 2
    scottpilutik

    But this all happened before Charles Johnson had a change of heart and turned Little Green Footballs into a pretty respectable blog.

  3. 3
    plutosdad

    Those weren’t bullets they fired, but little green footballs (beanbag shotguns weren’t available), after all dead people can’t mine gemstones.

  4. 4
    Synfandel

    I think Ed must have meant Charles Taylor.

  5. 5
    matty1

    Ignoring the error the conviction of Taylor sets two important precedents.

    1. Former heads of state can be found guilty of crimes against humanity. There is some limit to sovereign immunity.

    2.A leader can be guilty of aiding and abetting crimes even if they did not directly order them.

    These are important points with relevance to other cases, *cough* Bush, and while I understand Ed’s decision to go with the Robertson angle and that I don’t get to tell him what to write I would love to see something on the meat of this.

  6. 6
    timgueguen

    Rios-Montt supposedly described his military strategy this way: “The guerrilla is the fish. The people are the sea. If you cannot catch the fish, you have to drain the sea.” You’d think Pat would object to killing potential sheep, but apparently not.

  7. 7
    d cwilson

    Crazy Uncle Chuckles has always loved his brutal dictators, strongmen, and assorted thugs. The list of peope who have cheerfully gotten into bed with more dictators than Robertson is fairly short: Kissinger, Reagan. That’s about it.

  8. 8
    Ingdigo Jump

    Random question on International Law: Can the people of Liberia now sue Robertson to reclaim the profits he got from working with said war criminal?

  9. 9
    jnorris

    Good question Ing. Another: is Pat Robertson also criminally libel for Taylor’s actions because Pat funded him?

  10. 10
    pacal

    Rios-Montt during his less than two year reign of terror in Gautemala didn’t kill hundreds of people but well over 100 thousand in a campaign that can be described as genocidal.

  11. 11
    Michael Heath

    d cwilson writes:

    The list of peope who have cheerfully gotten into bed with more dictators than Robertson is fairly short: Kissinger, Reagan. That’s about it.

    Citation requested regarding both men relative to other political leaders.

    Do you concede that President Reagan’s ambitious engagement with President Gorbachev was a monumentally positive development? If you agree, do you also agree that perhaps if you do a fair evaluation, perhaps these Messers Kissinger and Reagan won’t stand out among political leaders as you characterize them here?

  12. 12
    whheydt

    Can Robertson be charged with failing to register as an agent of a foreign power over his lobbying Bush on Taylor’s behalf?

  13. 13
    markholcombe

    I don’t know how Pat Robertson is not behind bars or executed. Back in the 80s he was found guilty of selling conflict diamonds. He was selling them through the 700 Club as “Diamonds from the Holy Land”. That constituted fraud as well as violating UN and USA embargoes. Technically he could have been found guilty of treason. He never served a day of jail time.

  1. 14
    lentilla color

    lentilla color…

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