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
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,
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.

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100 thoughts on “The Cannibal Generals of Liberia

  1. Yaaaaa… stop all traffic to and from Africa. Globally invade the first 5 km on the coast all around it, build a wall and then we can have world peace. Also arm it with TOW missiles that blow up any PKM pickup that tries to do something heroic.

  2. You have to wonder what sort of madness someone needs to be involved with in order for a cannibal warlord known as "General Bin Laden" to feel that they're "going astray"? Selling biological weapons to kids, perhaps? Clubbing underage nuns to death with frozen baby seals?
    Musical theatre? How depraved can it get, I wonder?

  3. This is gonna sound fucked up but honestly at this point what can you do to save Liberia? Nothing in reality. If we tried to help we'd be bound by morales and the UN and they'd continually rebel back. Just bomb the entire place and start over.

  4. WTF ? The U.S slaves get freed and go back and enslave their own people ?!?!? Wow and they talk bad about others ancestors here in the United States for enslaving blacks but don't say anything about this ? WOW !!!!! I guess in this case the Kettle can call the pot black 😏

  5. Why the fuk would these people want to breed knowing that their kids will live in a place like this ? The parents to me are almost as fuked up as the scum warlords , getting pregnant and bringing a child into a shit hole like this . Yes the parents have no morals , values and no respect for life . This place is worse then HELL itself , Satan wouldn't even vacation here .

  6. Lord what did I click…whew VICE y'all wild for this trip hell I was a lil nervous for y'all n I was born n raised n Los Angeles South Central LA to be exact "the Jungle" this was Good to see 👍🏾👏🏾

  7. As a Liberian, I'll like to say that everything that was filmed and said in this video is a thousand percent true. Despite the fact that liberia is rich in resources, the government is greedy and the citizens are ignorant. The educational system, justice system, and other resources are devastating, Children are being tossed on the streets as bread winner and they get abused, raped, molested and killed for sacrificial purposes. School fees rates are high and parents are jobless forcing some to be lured into drug, killing, prostitution or many other disgusting activities! Getting killed by a government official because you spoke your mind and said what was right is very common, so the pressure of silence is at it's maximum peak. The health sector is a mess. Outsiders import expired drugs into the contry with the government's consent leading people to their early death! Being a college graduate and getting a job in liberia is extremely difficult because all the government official safe a spot for their family members which is resulting into extreme poverty. They are low minded individuals with a wrecked brain cell.

    Then again, not all liberian are poor. Yes, they do have wifi. No they don't eat people anymore, That was during they war and warlords did that because of their charms prescription. No, everywhere isn't like that, you guys were taken to the dirtiest places with bunch of uneducated people. Yes, they do have heroine and every necessary drugs you can think about. Yes, they do have people that speaks standard english. No, i don't live in Liberia but America. Yes, i thought i should do this because there are some people in the comments that are talking about internet connection smh..

  8. And I thought I was poor from now on I will thank god every day ( that I remember) for not being born in a place like that.

  9. I can see they haven't caught on to the fact this war hasn't changed life around them in any sense of in a positive way. I think it's a lifestyle they choose and the truth of why this all started isn't the issue today, it's just what they are used to and prefer. It's their excuse to live in violence and do others any way they choose, no value to any life around them. Heartbreaking they are proud of killing the innocent children which will one day be their future when those involved here are dead or too of, crippled to do anything for themselves. Ignorance is bliss to these people. I see laziness as a choice. They obviously don't crap on their food or their bed so digging a hole to poo in takes too tch effort they choose to avoid. It's a choice, I just can't blame this on government. My people have lived on this land long before the English took it over and our homes weren't filthy, we lived off the land and medication from nature. This is a choice in the end where those involved refuse to take any ownership to how they live. It's just sad to see children raised to look at life this way. It starts with the people long before government can create change of any kind. I don't think even if say toilets were built that it would be used for its purpose or kept clean. It would just them become part of the problem because it wasn't fixed at the beginning… The people

  10. Don't get the point of this… You went to africa and show us how first world countries fucked it. The high point being how you poor people have to deal with them. Find some rope and kill yourselves you useless pieces of shit, you should be ashamed of what you are doing for views…Pls just kill yourselves

  11. Just end it, so funny you think you actually did a documentary, nope just ran around like idiots showing us how uncomfortable you were, pls find some rope and kill yourselves, useless pieces of shit

  12. This people are worse than the criminals in Nigerian prisons. not been born in this part of the world, is the luckiest thing any human should think of. Thank you God.

  13. A whole land of psychopaths and sociopaths with a few normal humans. Pathetic. I wish we could do something about it soon, human lives are being lost like anything.

  14. I swear to God,if I see one more American complain about depression and suicidal thoughts,I will just EXPLODE!

  15. American niggas fucked and lynched by in the US does the same and even worse to african. Not much good have vome out of America. America=Roman Empire mentality and traditions and lack of .. love and mercy.

  16. jay versace: ooo i like ya accent where u from
    liberian: i’m liberian
    jay: oh sorry whispering i like ya accent where u from
    liberian: shoots jay and eats him

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