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Frontline, ProPublica investigation examines relationship between Firestone and Liberian warlord Charles Taylor

...Firestone [a subsidiary of Bridgestone] wanted Liberia for its rubber. [Charles] Taylor wanted Firestone to help his rise to power. At a pivotal meeting in Liberia’s jungles in July 1991, the company agreed to do business with the warlord. In the first detailed examination of the relationship between Firestone and Taylor, an investigation by ProPublica and Frontline lays bare the role of a global corporation in a brutal African conflict...

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18 November 2014

Frontline discussion with Christine Bader & Arvind Ganesan on the obligations and costs of doing business in a global context

Author: Sarah Childress and Lu Olkowski, Frontline

'Podcast: what's the moral cost of doing business today?', 19 Nov 2014:...In recent years, we’ve seen a great shift in the business world towards corporate social responsibility. But what does that really mean?...How responsible should companies be for human rights abuses or environmental fallout [?]...[I]n the latest FRONTLINE Roundtable, we’ve invited...[to] wrestle...with these questions...Christine Bader, a scholar and lecturer at Columbia University, and...author of the book, The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil...about her work at...oil giant BP...[and] Arvind Ganesan, director of the business and human rights division at Human Rights Watch, who works to expose abuses by corporations and set new guidelines for accountability...

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18 November 2014

Firestone's response to ProPublica, Frontline investigation

Author: Firestone

'Firestone responds', 18 Nov 2014: Firestone responded...to...ProPublica and FRONTLINE...Firestone...had to acknowledge the Taylor government or abandon the concession...[they] chose to stay...Firestone’s management negotiated the best terms they could under the circumstances. At the time of the MOU, there was no well-established record of Taylor’s human right violations...Taylor’s armed forces occupied Firestone’s facilities against the wishes of the company...and...took whatever they needed, including trucks, food, medical supplies, fuel and equipment...Firestone was powerless to prevent it...Firestone worked with all relevant parties to ensure...minimal damage to the plant and facilities, that its employees received food, medicine and other crucial items…Firestone also assisted NGOs in transporting vital goods... [f]or...relief operations...work[ing]...with such groups as Catholic Relief Services and MSF (Doctors Without Borders) in providing food to at least 70,000 persons...At no time did Firestone have a collaborative relationship with Charles Taylor. The company’s activities were focused on protecting its employees and property...

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18 November 2014

‘Firestone and the Warlord: the untold story of Firestone, Charles Taylor and the tragedy of Liberia’

Author: T. Christian Miller and Jonathan Jones, ProPublica

‘Firestone and the Warlord: the untold story of Firestone, Charles Taylor and the tragedy of Liberia’, 18 Nov 2014:... In the first detailed examination of the relationship between Firestone and [Charles] Taylor, an investigation by ProPublica and Frontline lays bare the role of a global corporation in a brutal African conflict. Firestone served as a source of food, fuel, trucks and cash used by Taylor’s...rebel army, according to interviews, internal corporate documents and declassified diplomatic cables...In return, Taylor’s forces provided security to the plantation that allowed Firestone to...safeguard its assets...For Taylor, the relationship with Firestone was about more than money...“We needed Firestone to give us international legitimacy,” said John Toussaint “J.T.” Richardson...one of Taylor’s top advisers. “We needed them for credibility.” While Firestone used the plantation for the business of rubber, Taylor used...factories on Firestone’s...rubber farm...[to store] weapons and ammunition. He housed himself and his top ministers in Firestone homes. He also used communications equipment on the plantation to broadcast messages to his supporters, propaganda to the masses and instructions to his troops...

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17 November 2014

[Video] 'Firestone and the warlord'

Author: Frontline

'Video: Firestone and the warlord', 18 Nov 2014: Frontline and ProPublica investigate the relationship between Firestone and the infamous Liberian warlord Charles Taylor. Based on the inside accounts of Americans who ran the company's Liberia rubber plantation, and diplomatic cables and court documents, the investigation reveals how Firestone conducted business during the brutal Liberian civil war.

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