To the Editor,

It will be a welcomed development when Charles Taylor finally leaves Liberia. His so-called presidency has brought nothing but misery to the region. Perhaps now, too, the pillage of Liberia's rainforests will slow. These forests - home to scores of endangered species - are some of the most important of the rapidly-dwindling primary rainforests remaining in that region of West Africa. Taylor and his cronies, such as Gus Kowenhoven, managed to turn much of Liberia's forests into log exports, funneling the resultant cash into buying weapons to supply the region's armed conflicts.

Whether or not buyers here know it, much of the timber stolen from the forests of Liberia by this illegal logging has ended up in the U.S. as veneers, decking and subway track ties. In fact, had it not been for a fluke in cutting the ties to the wrong size, tens of thousands would have ended up in NYC's subway system, as they have in Chicago's.

It never ceases to amaze me how governments can condemn an evil regime with words on the one hand while corporations and even those very governments are supporting that regime with dollars with the other. Surely one of the easiest ways to defund the terrorism occurring at the hands of these illegal dictators is to simply stop buying their products. But that may be too much to ask of corporate campaign donors. The amount of public money being spent on military contractors to support the troops waiting off the shore of Liberia (who may be sent in any day) may soon surpass the amount that's been made by importers of Liberian timber. But then, the use of taxpayer money to support the accumulation of corporate wealth is the obvious modus operandi of all illegitimate governments, including the one currently running these United States.

Tim Keating, Director
Rainforest Relief
122 W. 27th Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10001


"The earth and myself are of one mind. The measure of the land and the
measure of our bodies are the same..."
-- Hinmaton Yalatkit, Nez Perce chief


Sparing the World's Rainforests from Consumption

Rainforest Relief works to protect the world's remaining tropical
and temperate rainforests by reducing the demand for the products
and materials of rainforest destruction such as timber and paper,
industrial agricultural products such as bananas, beef, coffee,
chocolate and cut flowers, and mining products
such as oil, gold and aluminum.

Brooklyn, NY: phone/fax: (718) 398-3760
Portland, OR: (503) 236-3031
P.O. 150566 * Brooklyn, NY 11215 USA