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The Cannibal Generals of Liberia


SHANE SMITH: In this episode, we
go to Liberia and hang out with cannibal warlords. MALE SPEAKER 1: I lift
it up on the temple. I’m gonna eat it. [GUNFIRE] MALE SPEAKER 1: It’s a Liberian
general’s heart. SHANE SMITH: I was afraid
probably the whole time I was in Liberia. There’s always this underlying
hum of violence. And the poverty there is so
crippling that you’re kind of like, why wouldn’t they
steal our camera? Why wouldn’t they steal
our clothes? I mean, people are starving. And all they know is war. So is that why your nickname
was General Butt Naked? SHANE SMITH: A lot of people
would drink or do drugs before fighting? SHANE SMITH: So you
killed a child? JOSHUA BLAHYI: Yes. SHANE SMITH: And then
drank the blood. JOSHUA BLAHYI: Yeah. [GUNFIRE] [GUNFIRE] MALE SPEAKER 2: So what
kind of war is this? Guerrilla? MALE SPEAKER 3: It’s
World War III. MALE SPEAKERS: It’s
World War III. [GUNFIRE] [HORN HONKING] SHANE SMITH: We here at Vice
have been fascinated by Liberia for a long time. It’s America’s first
and only foray into quasi-colonialism in Africa. It started as a back-to-Africa
movement for freed slaves, and in fact, the Constitution was
written in Washington, and Monrovia, the capital city of
Liberia, is actually named after President Monroe. And it became a state
in the 1840s. So the freed slaves go back to
Africa and promptly enslave the native Africans based on the
plantation method they had learned in the US, which lasts
for about 140 years, until Samuel K. Doe, the first native,
African-born Liberian, was elected. But this doesn’t
last very long. Why? Because an American-educated,
and some would say American-backed, rebel leader
named Charles Taylor and his buddy Prince Johnson came from
America and overthrew him. NEWS REPORTER: Despite reports
that the government wants talks with the rebels,
the violence goes on. [GUNFIRE] NEWS REPORTER: Rebel forces
stormed into the center of the capital today. They’re now less than a mile
from the executive mansion, where President Samuel Doe has
barricaded himself with about 500 soldiers. SHANE SMITH: In fact, Prince
Johnson, who got to Doe before his buddy Charles, ended up
torturing him, cutting him up, and is rumored to have
eaten him while filming the whole thing. SHANE SMITH: So Charles Taylor
finally gets elected with a campaign slogan that reads, He
killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I’ll still vote for him. And it works. He gets elected. But he’s so corrupt that soon
after, there’s a bunch of warlords fighting for control
over Liberia. The country falls into civil
war, and things go from bad to severely fucked up. [GUNFIRE] [GUNFIRE] SHANE SMITH: But this is like
a civil war on steroids. It’s a post-apocalyptic
Armageddon, with child soldiers smoking heroin,
cross-dressing cannibals, systematic rape– it’s total hell on Earth. [GUNFIRE] MALE SPEAKER 4: We
love the music. This is our music. NEWS REPORTER: They call
it the sound of death. MALE SPEAKER 4: Yeah, but it’s
the sound of music to us. SHANE SMITH: Liberia’s been in
the news a lot lately because Charles Taylor is on trial at
The Hague for war crimes. But we wanted to know
what happened to all the other warlords. So we contacted a Canadian
journalist who lives in Liberia named Myles Estey, who’s
kind of a Kurtz-like character– tall, skinny, skeleton guy who’s
had malaria more times than he’s had hot dinners– and he said he could get
us access to all these ex-warlords. So we said, great. We got on a plane and
we flew to Liberia. [MUSIC – THE ALMIGHTY DEFENDERS,
“ALL MY LOVING”] [HORN HONKS] [HORN HONKS] SHANE SMITH: When you first
get to Monrovia, the first thing you think is,
it’s really hot. It’s really hot. It’s really poor. And it’s totally chaotic. In fact, when we went to pick
up Myles, he had just gotten out of the hospital
with malaria. He gets in the car and he says,
are you ready to go? We’re going to Baboon Town in
the Red Light district to meet our first general, General
Bin Laden. So as we drove to Baboon Town,
we asked Myles, what’s up with the name General Bin Laden? And he said, well, a lot of the
generals took different names because they didn’t want
to be identified after the various wars. And these pseudonyms were meant
to strike terror into the hearts of their enemies. So there’s a General Rambo,
because he’s scary. There was a General Mosquito,
because mosquitoes are terrifying because they
bring malaria. The general that fought General
Mosquito was named General Mosquito Spray. [HORN HONKS] SHANE SMITH: And of course,
there’s General Bin Laden. In fact, there’s two
General Bin Ladens. Our General Bin Laden, we found
out en route, had just been put in jail. Now he didn’t know why, but
he suspected because the authorities found out that
we were coming with cameras to shoot him. MYLES ESTEY: And they say
they’re not going to let him out, but we can interview him
in the jail and we can interview the commanders. SHANE SMITH: Let’s do that. Let’s go there. MYLES ESTEY: Yeah. SHANE SMITH: So the minute we
arrive in Baboon Town, our car was surrounded by a bunch
of sketchy dudes. So when Myles came back and said
we could interview Bin Laden in the police station,
I was like, yeah. Let’s get out of here and get
in there really quick. [MONKEY SCREECHES] SHANE SMITH: So we get
into the police station, and it’s chaos. Some guards are saying,
you can go see him. Other guards are saying,
you can’t go see him. And we just have to sit
there and wait. I like being in the
police station. It’s nice. [MONKEY SCREECHES] SHANE SMITH: Monkey. Little monkey. He’s got herpes, I think,
or something. [MONKEY CHATTERING] SHANE SMITH: Hi. What’s wrong with the monkey? Why is the monkey here? SHANE SMITH: Why is
the monkey here? We’re in a police station in
the middle of the red light district to meet General Bin
Laden, and I’m wondering why the monkey’s here. [MONKEY CHATTERS] SHANE SMITH: And eventually
after sitting there for a while, we realized, oh, we’ve
got to grease some palms. So we gave them some
money, and bang. We were back into the jail and
we could talk to Bin Laden. Hey, Bin Laden. GENERAL BIN LADEN: Yeah. SHANE SMITH: How are you? MYLES ESTEY: This is
my friend Shane. SHANE SMITH: Shane. GENERAL BIN LADEN:
[INAUDIBLE]. SHANE SMITH: Nice to meet you. We’re going to try to get you
out of here now, and then we can go back. SHANE SMITH: All right. We’re going to do
it right now. MYLES ESTEY: Yeah. I know what he did. Just–we’re talking about
to get him out. What do we have to do? MYLES ESTEY: To who? SHANE SMITH: OK, we’ll stop. We’ll stop. It’s off. MYLES ESTEY: The video’s off. He’s carrying it, he’s just
holding it right now. SHANE SMITH: Look, we’re
good people. We’re good– nobody. Nobody’s recording. SHANE SMITH: Sure. I can give him cash. Can we– can we pay him
and pay you a fine and then take him? POLICEMAN: Fine. SHANE SMITH: OK, great. POLICEMAN: That’s good. SHANE SMITH: OK. OK, let’s go, let’s go, let’s
go, let’s go, let’s go. OK, let’s go, let’s go. MALE SPEAKER 5: Hey, hey, you. SHANE SMITH: We went in there. And we’re being followed by
the police right now. SHANE SMITH: Yeah, we might
have to change tapes or do something, because– what we do is we shoot cards,
and if they come, we can give them the tape. There’s nothing on the tape. SHANE SMITH: Yeah,
we do right now. SHANE SMITH: Our trip is getting
progressively heavier. SHANE SMITH: Yeah,
that’d be good. OK. I’m kind of a little bit worried
that the police are going to come get
us right now. I gave them a fake name
and fake number. SHANE SMITH: OK. Nice to meet you. SHANE SMITH: Nice to meet you. SHANE SMITH: Thank you. Thank you. SHANE SMITH: So after we got Bin
Laden out of jail, he was very excited to get us
up to his rooftop and tell us his story. And according to him, the
ex-generals, who are now the community leaders, are the only
ones doing anything to help the people. So maybe you could explain a
little bit about– so first of all, you became known as Bin
Laden during the war. GENERAL BIN LADEN:
During the war. SHANE SMITH: And then after the
war, now you’re sort of trying to help people by
carpentry and by karate. GENERAL BIN LADEN: And karate. SHANE SMITH: Do get
any money here? SHANE SMITH: Yeah, but the UN,
or the government doesn’t give you any money? SHANE SMITH: And is this–
is this area– this is Red Light, here? GENERAL BIN LADEN: It’s
Red Light [INAUDIBLE]. This is Red Light. SHANE SMITH: And is it– is there a lot of crime
in Red Light. GENERAL BIN LADEN: Yeah. It’s [INAUDIBLE]. This is Red Light. SHANE SMITH: Red Light. SHANE SMITH: So Myles comes
over, stops the interview, and says, we have to get the
fuck out of here now. And Bin Laden looks down,
and he goes, yeah, yeah. Those aren’t my guys. You guys should really go. So Bin Laden gave us an escort
and a couple of his guys got us through the crowd to the car,
and we got the fuck out. CAMERAMAN: Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go. Holy fucking shit. That was out of hand. We gotta get out of here. There was some heavy-duty
vibes there. SHANE SMITH: So after meeting
and being freaked out by General Bin Laden, we wanted
to see what the UN and government were doing
to rebuild Liberia. So we met a local journalist
named Nagbe and we asked him, and he said, you want
to see what the government and UN are doing? I’ll take you to West Point. So West Point is the worst slum
in Liberia, which makes it one of the worst slums in
West Africa, which makes it one of the worst slums
in the world. And when you first get there,
the first thing you want to do is get the hell out. It’s open sewers everywhere,
shit, piss, garbage, everything mixed in. And the stench is
overpowering. CAMERAMAN: Oh, dude. It really stinks here. SHANE SMITH: But I mean, one of
the first basic rules is, don’t shit where you eat. IMMANUEL NAGBE: That’s
it, but– SHANE SMITH: That’s the
number one rule. SHANE SMITH: But the government
has to do something about that– SHANE SMITH: So even in one of
the worst slums of Western Africa, you see the cultural
impact that America has there. All the kids are wearing Biggie
or Tupac t-shirts. And in fact, one kid
came up to us and said, hey, I’m a rapper. Can I rap for you? And we said yes. And it wasn’t about bling, and
it wasn’t about Cristal. [DOG BARKING] SHANE SMITH: And is there a
lot of malaria in here? SHANE SMITH: Needless to say,
in West Point, health conditions are foul. Diseases everywhere. Malaria, infections, and
AIDS are rampant. SHANE SMITH: Yeah? SHANE SMITH: Cover-up
for heroin. SHANE SMITH: Wow. IMMANUEL NAGBE: It’s
a big business. SHANE SMITH: We heard stories
that during the war, the rebels would go out in boats
with diamonds and trade the diamonds for weapons and
cocaine, and it was a lot of Colombians and Mexicans. SHANE SMITH: We find it
interesting, because cocaine and heroin are very
expensive drugs. So we were surprised to
find heroin here. Usually, in poorer countries,
there’s speed or meth or things you can make. SHANE SMITH: Why is that? [CHILD CRYING] SHANE SMITH: Liberian dollars? IMMANUEL NAGBE: Liberian
dollars. SHANE SMITH: So how
much is that? SHANE SMITH: So because of the
poverty, a lot of women have to become prostitutes. IMMANUEL NAGBE: Yes. SHANE SMITH: Sex worker. IMMANUEL NAGBE: We
can go this way. IMMANUEL NAGBE: Condoms, here. SHANE SMITH: So on our first day
in Liberia, we see child junkies, shit and piss
everywhere, malaria, AIDS, rape, and now we started hearing
about cannibalism. The scaredest I was, was we
actually shot in West Point, which is the worst slum
in West Africa. And it’s kind of these rabbit
warren streets. And we went to shoot in a
brothel with these junkies, and the junkies started
asking for money. Like, where’s my money? Where’s my money? And people started hearing
“money” and just flooded into the brothel. Like money, money, money. So we took off. The problem is, you take off,
you can’t go anywhere, because there’s these little streets
that, you know, there’s no rhyme or reason to them. So we’re all running
around in the dark. We finally get back to the
car, against all odds. We get in the car, and our
driver’s so freaked out about the mob following us that he
peels off and nearly kills some people. Which is terrifying, because
if you kill people down in West Point, they’ll just
take the car, rip you limb from limb. And so against all odds,
we get out of there. And I’m like shaking and
nervous, whatever. And as we go, we realize, oh,
now it’s time to meet General Butt Naked.

Stephen Childs

100 Comments

  1. When Trump said shithole countries. I'm assuming this is what he was referring to?

  2. And than people want open borders so these people will be able to come to our countries

  3. I know they are poor but why do they have to sh*t everywhere and in their water supply? Why do they have to throw trash everywhere? Build outhouses and that is where you use the bathroom. Dig a big hole and that is where you put trash. You don't need money to dig a sh*t hole.

  4. Libira is ritualistic asf. Y’all misses the part about them killing a child and drinking its blood

  5. a post apocalyptic Armageddon with child soldiers smoking heroin, cross dressing cannibals,systematic rape..it's TOTAL HELL ON EARTH.
    Anyway, so much for Chicago:now let's talk about Liberia.

  6. These guys are literally zombies
    And anyways how is this video not banned from you tube

  7. Look at all the police corruption in Liberia they learned a lot from American police officers

  8. What did you just do to your self cannable you stupid peace of shit stupid stupid stupid

  9. I think if we bring more of these people into the west, our societies will be become markedly better!!

  10. I am proud that they do care for their people and want whats best. I wish they had more so life was not so hard for them. It doesnt help either that the system is also corrupt. My heart feels for these children im so sad after watching this.

  11. Damn, these are awful living conditions! I feel sorry for these people and i'm sick of western countries stealing Africa's ressources…

  12. This video has really changed my perception about things, particularly how lucky we are in the west and what absolute hell holes exist on this planet. Anyone in the west suffering from depression should watch this and realise what a compartively easy life we have been blessed with. And all those in the west who cry about Europe and USA having oppression, hard ship and lack of oppurtunity need the shut the hell up. I'm refering specificly to, bleeding heart liberals, feminists and those who in inner cities who say our governments neglect and oppress them. I hope the people of Liberia find peace and happiness even though they probably never will.

  13. 1 US dollar is 207.7 Liberian dollars so women are selling themselves for less than 50 cent. It’s so sad.

  14. I saw the thumbnail thinking: “Oh that’s a nice piece of chicken” mainly because I was hungry. Then after clicking on the video I read the title and immediately thought “I don’t think that was chicken…”

  15. this is why we don’t care when you shitty journalists report on anything

  16. Its exactly why i dont understand when i see 1st world individuals get depressed and say there is nothing to live for…… just be grateful you dont live there.

  17. What is truly sad is all the money America and other countries spend on weapons of mass destruction and space exploration of dead planets and other people live like this! When Jesus comes back he's going to be disgusted with us.

  18. Holy shit, it's like a game developer invented that whole country with ridiculous scenarios

  19. Freed slaves go back to Africa and enslave people? That had to be the most disheartening thing I've ever heard. It's so fucked

  20. You See…You See, I always knew that after watching my first Tarzan movie, these kind still eat people.

  21. Black people in Africa…still living like animals, ruled by animals. Yet will have no hesitation screaming 'racism' to. anyone pointing out the obvious. Savages.

  22. oh look I found a sea shell on the beach…no son that's not a sea shell…

  23. all the African Americans say they have no freedom and the white man is racist ,and they find everything offensive to get their way if they don't they start looting and burning businesses ,i say send them over their and there gangs , don't forget the illegals send them to, crime would drop and California could not protect them anymore and Federal funding would drop for California

  24. This is scary. Now they say it’s Nigerians bringing in heroine. How do they get the money to buy it?

  25. Well they weren’t kidding about no food or water in Africa no wonder why they are eating each other

  26. This is fucked a lot worse shit happens in USA like sooky little white kids shooting up there school. you need to stay in your own fucked up country and look at your own problems you cant help for fuck all . But it's clear your mission is to change the perception of the public's mind of these people fuck the people that comment bad negative shit about this video and the people who created this video fuckin scared white devils I know you plans and you are already beaten

  27. Dumb ass people have No money for food or housing.. but yet they have money for guns and bullets.. WTF..

  28. So you went in and paid for a criminal to get out of jail, the rest was just talk..
    What crime did you commit to corrupt a police to let a murderer out?

  29. Weird how these people torture and kill children, drink the adrenalized blood as a drug. Same thing our US leaders do.

  30. damn, this was when vice was incredible doing super engaging interviews and shining a light on massive inequality. more of this.

  31. Why don't you go deep into usa or Scandinavia cold cities to meet white supremacists incel men killing innocent people by the hundreds

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