PBS’ Frontline will broadcast its report on the relationship between Firestone (the tire and rubber company) and former Liberian warlord and president Charles Taylor. In 1926, the company opened one of the world’s biggest rubber plantations in Liberia, spanning more than 1 million acres. When Taylor established “Greater Liberia” in 1992, he ensured that the Firestone plantation (established in 1926) returned to operation and “the company paid Taylor’s NPFL $2 million a year for ‘protection.'” Taylor was found guilty of “aiding and abetting” war crimes and crimes against humanity. He is currently serving 50 years in a British maximum-security prison.
In 2005, the International Labor Rights Fund brought a slavery and child labor lawsuit against Firestone claiming that the plantations workers remain trapped by poverty and coercion.” Firestone has rejected the allegations. The Frontline report, “Firestone and the Warlord,” which airs Tuesday, November 18 at 10pm on PBS, is based on accounts from Americans who ran the company’s Liberian rubber plantation as well as diplomatic cables and court documents.