'Firestone and the Warlord'
(DVD / NR / 2015 / PBS)
Overview: The secret relationship between the iconic tire company & the infamous Liberian warlord Charles Taylor. Firestone and the Warlord reveals how the American tire company Firestone conducted business during the brutal Liberian civil war, piecing together how the stories of Charles Taylor (the American-educated war criminal notorious for his use of child soldiers) and Firestone (Liberia's largest single employer) intersected in fateful ways between 1989 and 1992.
DVD Verdict: The investigation within 'Firestone and the Warlord' uncovers the details of the deal Firestone struck with the warlord-how it channeled millions of dollars to Taylor in exchange for being able to operate-money that, in his own words, provided the "financial assistance that we needed for the revolution," and how Taylor turned the plantation into a rebel base that he used to wage war.
Orchestrating the anarchy of war was Charles Taylor, a suave egomaniac obsessed with taking over Liberia, America’s most faithful ally in Africa. For the attack that October morning, he had built his army of butchers and believers in part with the resources of one of America’s most iconic businesses: Firestone.
Firestone ran the plantation that Taylor used to direct the October 1992 assault on Monrovia. In operation since 1926, the rubber plantation was considered to be the largest of its kind in the world, a contiguous swath of trees, mud-brown rivers, low hills and verdant bush that at the time splayed across 220 square miles – roughly the size of Chicago.
Firestone wanted Liberia for its rubber. 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.
With all eyes on Liberia as the country battles the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history, FRONTLINE and ProPublica shine new light on the country's history and its civil war-a conflict that left lasting scars on the country's infrastructure and psyche-and raises provocative questions about corporate responsibility, accountability, and the ethical ramifications of doing business in conflict zones. If you ever wondered what went on around that time, and how Firestone got so involved with a true warlord, well, this is the documentary for you. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.