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Here and there: Charles Taylor and other forms of trash
The terror evil leaders can perpetrate on people can reach unbelievably horrific levels. Think Stalin and his gulags, Pol Pot and the killing fields, Ceausescu and brutal repression--and Charles Taylor.
Taylor was president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003 when he armed rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone in exchange for "blood diamonds" smuggled across the border. The rebels had a knack for horror--pillaging, raping, chopping off the arms of their victims, kidnapping children and turning them into killers. Taylor was complicit with the mayhem they perpetrated.
Last week, Taylor became the first head of state since World War II to be tried for his actions by the rest of the world. The International Criminal Court found him guilty of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The verdict was hailed in Sierra Leone, where victims are still trying to piece together what remains of their lives. It should be a warning to others who think atrocities are fun. Sic semper tyrannis.
SPEAKING OF TRASH
When sailing in the Pacific, oceanographer Giora Proskurowski noticed that the trash in the sea disappeared when the winds came up. Were breezes pushing the plastic below the surface?
Joining with Tobias Kukulka of the University of Delaware, Mr. Proskurowski devised a net designed to collect trash at specific depths. (Prior estimates of trash had focused on surface-level debris.) They found that most plastic trash hovered at ocean depths of between 10 feet and 82 feet. They now suspect there may be 21/2 times as much plastic in the sea as previously thought.
Plastic, even millimeter-sized bits of it, harms sea life. It can kill fish, entangle turtles, strangle sea lions, and play host to bacteria that are then transported to other areas. Where does it come from? Humans. We have met the enemy