Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

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Hey, Robert here. It's been like two months since I had LASIK and I'm still seeing 2020. All I had to do was go in for a consultation, then go in for a maybe 10 minute procedure and then my eyes have been great ever since. You know, I healed up wonderfully. It was very simple, couldn't have been a better experience. So if you want to explore LASIK plus I can't recommend it enough. They have over 20 years experience in the industry and they performed more than two million treatments right now if you want to try getting LASIK plus you can get $1000 off of your surgery when you're treated in September, that's $500. Of per eye, just to schedule your free consultation. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried true crime. And if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's breaker handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Want to say I don't know less? Listen to stuff you should know more. Join host Josh and Chuck on the podcast packed with fascinating discussions about science, history, pop culture, and more episodes. Dive into topics like was the lost, city of Atlantis Real? And how does pizza work? Say goodbye to I don't know, because after listening to stuff you should know. You will listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey everybody, Robert Evans here. And for the last two years behind the ******** listeners have funded the Portland Diaper Bank, which provides diapers for low income families. Last year y'all raised more than $21,000, which was able to purchase 1.1 million diapers for children and families in need in 2021. And this year we're trying to get $25,000 raised for the Portland Diaper Bank, which is going to allow. Just to help even more kids. So if you wanna help, you can go to bTB fundraiser for PDX diaper bank at GoFundMe. Just type in go fund me. bTB fundraiser for PDX Diaper Bank again, that's go fund me. bTB fundraiser for PDX Diaper bank or find the link in the show notes. Thank you all. Ohh, what is viciously executing and publicly torturing my son of God? It's Good Friday. Not when you listen to this. You listen to this weeks after Good Friday. Hi, shereen. Lonnie. Eunice, how, how are you doing? Hi, Robert. Robert Evans. I'm OK. Robert, your middle name, right. Robert. Robert, I'm not gonna confirm or deny what my name is or isn't. I have a number of names like most people like Jesus, who also like Allah. Exactly, exactly like our like our Lord and our sovereign Allah, like Ahura Mazda, like Buddha. You know, there's all sorts of. Everybody's this time of year, for whatever reason, all the religions are like, we should have a thing, you know? Yeah, exactly. We'll have us a Ramadan, we'll have us a Passover, we'll have us an Easter. We're all or at least all of the all of the Abrahamic faiths. I don't know if, like, I don't think anything Hindus going on right now. I don't think anything Zoroastrians going on, anything, anything Buddhist. Probably not any Shinto stuff happening right now, but whatever, maybe there is, it is like spring ones up there, although it's also, I think it's like the dead of summer where a lot of those religions are. Southeast Asia. This is kind of like the hottest point of the I don't know. I don't know anyway. Religion. Do you like religion, Shereen? No, please don't hate me, Internet. No, I don't. I actually, that's fine. I'm not a big fan myself. My teenager self would say, like, I despise religion. I loathe it. It made me so angry. I hated it. And I think I'm like eased up on that language recently because I want to offend anybody. And like, I realize for some people it's like meditative and depending on their religion, it can really help people. It's not for me. I just. I don't. I don't like it, you know? Yeah. I mean, like, that's completely where I am. Do Shereen cause, like when I was a kid, I was a really angry atheist, you know, after. Not when I was like when I was like 18-9, I guess like 17 is kind of when I decided I was an atheist atheist. But yeah, I started to get really angry about it as a young adult and I'm I'm not angry about it anymore just because, like I've realized that all of the things that are ****** about religion are ****** about a bunch of stuff. And some people just choose to do ****** stuff and whether or not. They use a religion to justify it. They'll find other things to justify it if it's not religion, but that's really beside the point today. Yeah, sharing religion? That's ******. It's humans. I get it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's not in that they're ******. It's just that ****** people will find reasons to do ****** things. Yes, exactly. Religion or not. Yeah, religion or not, it's it's just a thing that we do because we're cool. Speaking of, actually, this does tie in a bit to what we're talking about. There's summer Evans. There's some religion. There's definitely some religious stuff involved here. It's gonna be real uncomfortable sharing. What do you know about Liberia? Liberia? Yeah, nothing. And I was going to that. You are, you are more or less in the in the where most Americans are then. OK, great. Yeah, I know nothing about most things, so I'm excited to learn about Liberia. You are. You are aware that they had. There's been a bunch of war there, right? Yes. Yeah. You've kind of seen something that there's conflict and tragedy, things that my brain sometimes turns off because I can only handle so much trauma. But that's my luxury of being privileged, *******. You know what I mean? Well, yeah, it's it's very funny because, like, there's a bunch of places in the world where horrible things are going on. Places like Myanmar, places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Uh, Palestine where people, you know, don't, don't. Americans are are able not to care because and to some degree it's like, yeah, man, the world's ******* big. There's a lot of stuff going on like, I can't, no one can know about all of the bad things that are happening and you can't. You shouldn't be expected to, like, be aware of every single terrible thing happening in the world. There's a particular reason why Americans ought to know more about Liberia, and it's because we made Liberia now. I'm gonna talk Shereen today. The main subject of our episode is a fellow who went by the name General **** Naked. That's that's of truth. That's it's it's pretty fun. It's pretty fun name. Not a fun guy. Not a fun guy, but he's one of those dudes. The broad strokes is that, like, he was this warlord did a bunch of horrible stuff in the Liberian Civil War, fought naked, hence the name, and then afterwards repented. And there's been a bunch of documentaries about how he's he's a Christian preacher now, and he's apologizing to all his victims. He's a grifter, in my opinion, but in order to properly talk about this guy because a lot of the **** he did, there's a lot of witchcraft and sacrificing babies and all sorts of ****** ** ****. Oh yeah, well, but The thing is, like, that all sounds a lot more like. You know, there's a problematic history of particularly white dudes like me talking about witchcraft and occult practices in in different African countries and getting all like, Oh my God, they did this and they did that. None of it is exactly the way that it seems with like the casual description of what's going on. So before we talk about general **** naked, we're going to spend an hour or so talking about the history of conflict in Liberia, where it came from, and how **** like human sacrifice wound up getting kind of ground into the mix there. So, you ready? You ready for this? Buckle in. Yeah. Let me click. Get your get your sad pants on. Right. What? Pants on? Sad pants. Uh-huh. Yeah. They're they're always on their. Take those off. No. Yeah. Yeah. So the first enslaved African people from North America landed at Jamestown on August 20th, 1619. This is pretty famous because of that New York Times thing. Now, most of these folks were Angolans who had been captured by Portuguese slavers in the centuries that followed. They. And the Africans who followed them became an integral part of agriculture and economic viability in the colonies. When the United States became a thing, a number of the founding fathers, chiefly Thomas Paine, denounced slavery as a terrible evil that would one day tear the new nation apart. Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner himself, realized this when he wrote his notes on the state of Virginia in 1785. Here's what he had to say. Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expense of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites, 10,000 recollections by the blacks of the injuries they have sustained, new provocations, the real distinctions which nature has made, and many other circumstances will divide us into parties and produce convulsions which will probably never end, but in the extermination of 1 or the other race. So what he's he's talking about here is his idea that, like, if you're gonna in slavery, you should send the black people who were brought here back to Africa, right? That's kind of Thomas could, because otherwise there will be inevitably be a race conflict. You know, you you can't just keep them here if you're going to free them. That's Thomas Jefferson's attitude. And there's a number he thinks that black people were probably inferior to white people. And he thinks that, again, there's just too much anger and whatnot. He also, like, does note that white people are probably too bigoted for it. It's a weird mix of things. He's a strange man now. Others among his peers disagreed. There was an attitude among kind of abolitionists in this early period. Some felt that black people had just been temporarily degraded by slavery, and they could be gradually uplifted to the point of social responsibility. This is still problematic, right? The idea that they need to be uplifted rather than just freed, but is generally better than the idea that they're, you know, genetically different. So I don't know. As the abolitionist movement picked up steam in the mid 1800s, advocates were often extremely racist themselves. Many abolitionists believed that freed black people could not exist or keep up in white society. Others, like Jefferson, just felt that there would be too much understandable anger over slavery for them to live alongside white people. Which is not like a an unreasonable attitude to be like, well, **** why would they want to hang out here like after all the ****** ** **** we just like? They're fearful for their own lives, right? Like, oh, the minute they are able to, they're going to come after us. For us, treating them like actual animals, you know what I mean? So I, I think there's a mix of that. I think there's some people who are honest abolitionists and for the time, very racially progressive who just, like, can't imagine them wanting to. And obviously, like, one of the problems you'll hear again and again is a lot of people who are abolitionists are not great at actually listening to black people. That's a problem the whole abolitionist movement has. Some people are better at it than others, but it's like a thing that happens at periods of time. So, yeah, all of these discussions. Going on late 1700s, early 1800s, this abolitionist movement is building up steam, and some of the people who are for abolition start to advocate for a sort of sponsored immigration program to send freed black slaves out of the United States and back to Africa. And so this is not they're they're advocating for abolition in the United States, but they're also saying we've got all these free black people, we should create a colony in Africa for them to send them back to, and that once we start freeing more slaves, those people can go to that. Colony right. One of these men was Pennsylvania reformer John Parrish. He advocated manumitting. That means freeing slaves and sending them back home where they could experience, quote, liberty and the rights of citizenship without being particularly near him. His hope was that sending over a small number of black folks would convince other free black people to leave North America, and that this would somehow inspire the better nature of slave owners to free their own people. Quote many persons of humanity who continue to hold. Slaves would be willing to liberate them on condition of their so removing. You get what he's saying. He's not. He's actually kind of saying the same thing Jefferson was because Jefferson was arguing like, well, you can't just free him and have him stay here, you know? Otherwise it'll be a problem. So parish is being like, well, obviously, maybe a lot of these slave owners are really good people. They just see that they've it's too dangerous to let these people be free. So we have to. It's very racist again. But it's also not a kind of racism in America that we talk about a lot because a lot of this history's been kind of brushed over. I mean, yeah, it's like kind of. Backwards because you're like, they're not saying like, Oh my God, controlling another human is terrible. They're so controlling them. You're still like, OK, let's stay out. You know, they are. They are saying that they're just saying it's not the worst thing. Right? Exactly. That. Like, freeing them would be right. Because they are saying it's bad to have slaves, but they're just saying it's worse to, you know, again, very racist, just kind of a type of racism we maybe don't talk about enough that existed in this. So he felt like a lot of slave owners didn't want slaves. They just kind of inherited them. And they were scared. About what black people would do if they were free, which is a very silly thing to think. In December of 1816, a mix of people with good, bad, racist, and only slightly racist intentions formed the American Colonization Society, now part of this group. Some of these people are very legitimately just like again, if you're like a civil rights advocate, you're born into the mid 1800s, you see this nightmare system. I can see a ways that a decent person would be like, maybe this is the best thing, maybe providing these people like, it's so racist here, it's so hard. For them, maybe if we tried to set them up with a place nice back in Africa, this would not be this would be a more ethical situation than having to live with all these ******* horrible racist, right? Some people in the American Colonization Society Society are like that. However, it is primarily a dark money organization funded by slave owners. And what's going on here is that powerful slave owners want to push the idea of an African colony for freed slaves because this will remove free black people out of the Americas. And free black people they see as like competition for slave labor that they can profit from, like competition for slave. Yeah, they've got slaves, which is free labor. Yeah. But free black people because they, you know, work for less than free white people because of racism, right? That's competition for low paying work that otherwise will go to their slaves that they just profisee. OK, you know, wow. Yes, yes. I think they also see it as like a safety valve because again, they're really racist. They understand that like some states, black people are gonna get free, but they don't want them sticking around because as long as there are free, free black people in North America, that's a body of people who are going to organize. To abolish slavery, right. There's a few reasons, right? Yes. So it's yeah. So there's a number of reasons why slave owners really like the idea of a colony in Africa for free slaves and that their dark money is kind of funding the American Colonization Society. Yeah, and again this group, the there are abolitionists in this group, but it's not committed to abolition. I want to quote now from a write up on the American. I want to quote now from a write up on the African American intellectual history societies Black Perspectives blog by by Nicholas Guyette quote its origins and trajectory always events to watery commitment to abolition. 2 facts made this commitment supremely insidious. First, it placed the burden of ending slavery on the benevolent slaveholders themselves, who would supposedly free their slaves when provided with an. Outlet for doing so. Second, it marked an epic endorsement of racial segregation, effectively denying the possibility of coexistence while promoting what would later be termed separate but equal. So you can see the the roots of a couple of really ****** ** things and the American Colonization Society now before the souring of sectional relations in the 1830s and 1840s. Colonization also supplied a bridge between mainstream anti slavery sentiments in both North and South. The ACS opened auxiliary societies from New England through North Carolina when upper Southern. Legislatures engaged with the question of ending slavery, and variably they identified a black colony as the prerequisite for general emancipation. Only the Deep South became a no go zone for colonization enthusiasts, with white politicians, editors, and businessmen mobilizing their considerable power against even a featherlight anti slavery challenge. In New England, by contrast, colonization retained a considerable appeal through the first years of the civil war. So colonization is popular proper in like these. Kind of progressive, you might say, like liberal chunks of the north. Where abolitionist. It's A and that's why slavery enthusiasts don't want any discussion of this in the South. Right. Because it's even a little bit of of abolitionist tendency is too much for them. But they love pushing this in the north because it's a lot. If you can get people focusing on this, they're not focusing on abolishing slavery, which would actually hurt them. Right, right, right. You get what's going on here. Yeah. So the chief accomplishment of the American Colonization Society was the establishment of the colony of Liberia on Africa's West Coast. It was founded in 1821 by a group of roughly 10,000 free black migrants who took one look at the US in the 1820s and figured, well, **** anywhere is better than here, right? Like, from the point of view of these guys who are leaving and ladies who are leaving, it's like, yeah, of course. Like, I get why you wouldn't want to stick around North America right about now. So it doesn't seem like there's that's a safe bet. The first big wave of immigration to Liberia was, yeah, about 10,000 people. And this, this occurs over a period of time from 1822 to 1841 and several successive waves. And these these migrants form several towns on the coast with names like Roberts Port, Monrovia, Buchanan and Greenville. Although I think their initial Monrovia is First Capital name is Christopoulos. Christopoulos. Yeah, that was the first name. Very funny, although it's not going to be funny actually, because. Spoilers. Colonialism, yeah. So because of racism, these, these, these black people who have gone to Liberia are not actually the masters of their own domain. At first. Liberia is a colony of the United States and the new immigrants are ruled by a white governor who appoints white officials. Now, the new residents of the city did have a legislative council that they got to vote for and their own elected representatives who work with the governor. Right? So they do have representation, certainly more than they did in the United States. At the time, right, but final approval for all actions voted for by the Council pinned it on approval by a board of managers for the Colonization Site Society who lived in Washington DC. So if the if the black people living there voted for something, they had to send it back across the Atlantic to get ratified by this Council, who could also anoll laws. So they basically just like they're they leave these plantations, they're enslaved and in the States and they go to this just dry island plantation. Oh boy, you have predicted some of where this is going. Oh no, but not for them, actually. But yeah, there there is like, this is obviously very ****** **. It's in keeping though with their right, the idea of some of these, these dudes that like you, they need to be trained up before they can run their own country, right? That's that's why they're doing it this way. That's why the the white people are doing it this way. So now it is the the good news is that anytime they send a dude over there, a white dude over there to help govern the colony, that ************ dies immediately, right? Because there's all sorts of, there's all sorts of bugs and **** that are biting white people they get, right. Like there's all sorts of **** that, like, kills white people in Africa in this. Because we don't have good medicine. Yeah, they're just dropping like flies. Killed. Can't handle a ******* mosquito bite, white *** *************. Umm, no. It's so funny. OK, yeah. So these, these guys keep dying, which is a real problem. It makes it difficult for them to, like, run the colony the way they want to. It makes it hard for them to have white people to report back to DC and beyond that, the society after the the earliest years runs into a funding crunch. So part of this is because they stopped getting donations, because abolitionists wake up to the fact that this is a dark money thing for slave owners. Part of this is that, like the the conflict. Over slavery gets nastier and slave owners stop putting like they start putting money elsewhere, right? So starting in the 1840s, white oversight of Liberia starts to peel away. Liberians begin to agitate for total autonomy, and when the last white governor dies in 1841, they get it. The society appoints a black governor, Joseph Roberts, who became the first not white person to run things in Liberia. Now the colony then at this point, you know, stops being a colony, not really a colony after this moment. And it's it becomes an independent nation in July of 1847 and if that had been. All that happened Sherbin. This would be one of the less depressing stories in the history of slavery. Damn it, Robert. Here's the thing. Now. You send 10,000 black people in America, pretty much all born in the United States, as slaves. You some of them Born Free, but you you take these these black Americans and you send them to the West Coast of Africa. To set up cities now, are you seeing any particular potential problems here? Well, I mean, are there? I'm confused. Were there already people online? Oh yes, there sure were. Is that? Absolutely. Where, where people there before. OK, yeah, they're under there. It's going 100% were people there. I mean, I'm sounding like people that don't understand about Palestine. Of course, there's a ton of people there. OK. And like, great, again, these, these, these dudes, these, these, these these migrants are obviously these people were stolen from somewhere in Africa or at least their ancestors were right. But they're from like potentially all over, like certainly not Liberia in specific. Generally. And also they were, they speak English, they're Christian, they dress like Americans. They're they have been living free in the US cities. Yeah, right. So these are, this is not a case of like these people returning to their homeland. These people are colonizing Liberia. And if you know anything about colonization, it's not nice. And and this was not suddenly fine just because the guys doing the colonization in Africa were were black. It's it's still pretty messy. And I'm going to quote now from an article by in MB Akpan in the Canadian Journal of African Studies titled Black Imperialism. Quote the settlers constituted the rulers who ran the Liberian government in much the same way as the British and French constituted rulers and naval and neighboring colonial territories like Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast. However, actual power rested in the hands of prominent members of certain leading settler families or lineages, in a manner that retained that maintained some balance of power. Among the families, the settlers on whom the government of Liberia that's devolved as from 1841 were essentially American rather than African in outlook and orientation. They retained a strong sentimental attachment, attachment to America, which they regarded as their native land. They were the western mode of dress, which they had become accustomed in America, however unsuitable this dress was to Liberia's tropical weather. A black silk Topper and a long black frock coat for men and a Victorian silk gown for women. They built themselves frame stone or brick porticoed houses of 1 1/2 to two stories similar to those of the plantation owners in the southern States of America. And they preferred American food like flour, cornmeal, butter, lard, pickled beef, bacon and American grown rice, large quantities of which they imported annually to African foodstuff like cassava, plantain, yams, palm oil, sweet potatoes and country rice grown by Africans and the Liberian hinterland. They were Christians. Spoke English as their mother tongue and practice monogamy. They held land individually, in contrast with the communal ownership of the African population. And their political institutions were modeled on those of America, with an elected president and a legislature made-up of a Senate and a House of Representatives, so that in spite of their color, they were as a rule, as foreign and lacking in sentimental attachment to Africa, as were European colonialists elsewhere in Africa, like the British, the French, the Portuguese and the Spaniards. Yeah, that's a really stirring the pot here. I mean, like it just. They're like conduits or like vessels for still like white agendas. It sounds like even if they don't mean to be, I mean, it's not so much white as like Western cause. Obviously they're not white. For me, it's interchangeable. I know that's a mistake, but yeah, yeah. But they are very much, they are westerners and they see to a large extent the people who had been living in Liberia as, like, backwards. Devil worshipping weirdos who don't deserve political rights, right? So the indigenous Liberians don't get to vote in the same way that like. Yeah, like there are. They are shut out to a significant extent, at least from the franchise, right? And if you're thinking, boy howdy, I bet this caused a problem somewhere down the line, then good news. You're right on the money. Over the next half century and change, the Americo Liberians became an oligarchy, practicing what one historian called a quote sort of sub. Imperialism at African expense. By 1900, about 15,000 Black American immigrants had settled in Liberia, along with around 300 immigrants from the West Indies. Liberia is often claimed in 20th century history books as one of two African states that remained independent during the scramble for Africa, the other being Ethiopia, but this is not quite accurate. Ethiopia is for sure, but Liberia was a colony that just became independent in 1847, like certainly a lot earlier than other colonies did because most of Africa. Had been colonized in 1847, but the fact that it was not recolonized doesn't really mean anything because it was already a colony, right? Right, and the actual indigenous people in Liberia were a subclass within their own homeland with very little economic or political power. The Americo Liberians held all of the power, and their Americo Liberian Whig Party was essentially the only legal political party in the country from 1860 to 1980. Despite the fact that immigrant descended, Liberians made-up only 2% of the population. They effectively turned the rest of the country into a profit making engine for themselves. In 1931, an international Commission found that several prominent Americo Liberians had enslaved indigenous Africans. No. So yeah. The West is pretty pretty, pretty pretty. Yeah, it it does. It does. It does work that way sometimes. God, you know what else tests people and is a virus cherid racing on it. It is a virus is a virus that keeps our democracy functioning in a healthy manner like the Epstein Barr virus. You know, you can't get enough of it. Just NUM, NUM, NUM. Good shape. Yeah, yeah. That's what everyone says about the Epstein Barr virus, anyway. Here's some ads. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the build to find all these nuts fees. 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In this special episode, we sit down with Doctor Jane Goodall to hear her inspiring thoughts on how we can create a better future for humans, animals and the environment. Anything, particularly young children out into nature so that they can experience it and take time off from this virtual world of being always on your cell phones and so on. And get the feel of nature so that you come to be fascinated, then you come to want to understand it, and then you come to love it, and at that point you want to protect it. And then we'll come to the sort of healthy world that I envision as a good future for us. And the rest of life on this planet. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Ohh. We're back. We're we're really enjoying that message from our sponsors. The Epstein Barr virus catch. Catch it tomorrow anyway. So if you want a good example of how like what Sophie Sophie shake her head. The good the good people at the the Epstein Barr virus paid us serious money for that plug. You ignore them. Makes you happy, Robert. That does make me happy. I'd be happier if. Everybody went and got the Epstein Barr virus. Look, let's move on from the bit. I think. I think that should we move on from the bit, is it? Yeah, you think so we got. I'm gonna look up what the Epstein Barr virus does cause I've forgotten. Yeah, well, you know, I I just remember the name. I'm so lucky. Or, like, I'm. It's like it's the herpes virus, I guess. Oh, wait, no. It's mono. Is it mono? I don't know. Let's let's let's ignore. Yeah, I think it's mono. Mono. Say it for the 17th time. Yeah. Yeah, that's that's that good ****. Yeah. So get mono. Everybody get mono. OK. Yeah. Sophie, how we doing? You happy? You happy with me as a podcaster? No. You you glad you made this series of choices in your life that led to you. Sitting here while a guy talks about how everyone should get mono on a podcast about Liberia. Kind. You psyched? Kind of. Actually, I was. I was gonna say, I was gonna say even though Sophie is like, not, she's, like, wasn't talking. Like, I'm just so glad her cameras always on because I can just, like, every time you say something, I can just look up. And I know Sophie is like, we connect, you know, she shakes her head and I'm like, yes, we connect. And you know what? Connecting is how people get mono. Robert. Anyway. What? Move on from the bit, OK? Try to make a good example. So we're talking about, like, mono colonization spreads like the colonial mindset, and the imperial mindset spreads from the United States to Liberia, as they do, actually. What's really ****** ** as we noted, like some of these Americo Liberians take slaves from the native Africans for themselves. They also create a plantation. I mean several, but there's one in particular. Going to talk about right now, because this really highlights how ****** ** some of the stuff going on here is. Starting in the 1920s, the Firestone Corporation starts a massive rubber plantation in Liberia, which profits, obviously the 2% of people who are Americo Liberian that sprawls from the coast to like the hills of central Liberia. It's this like massive thousands and thousands of acres with people like living on it. Harvesting rubber rubber for very little money and have very little control over their own lives. Like indigenous people laboring day in and day out to harvest the rubber that makes the tires, and like the cars that first start filling American streets. It's pretty cool. I'm going to quote from a write up in Pro Publica. At the center of this Kingdom was House 53, reserved for the plantation boss. It stood on a hill overlooking the rest of the plantation, A2 story antebellum style, Georgian colonial mansion of pink brick. It had a wide porch, 6 white Corinthian. Columns and jalousie windows other homes for expatriates featuring verandas and manicured gardens, were scattered nearby in a section of the plantation known as Harbal Hills, there was a 9 hole golf course, tennis courts, and a Country Club with a bar. About 3 miles down the road was horrible Firestone's own company town, a portmanteau formed from the names of the businesses founder Harvey S Firestone senior and his wife Idabel. It held Firestone Central Office industrial garages and a latex practicing plant redolent of ammonia and other chemicals. The town itself was a collection of tin roofed homes and shops. The grocery store, a bank, schools, and brick and cinder block bungalows for mid level Liberian managers and domestic staff. There were the homes of the tappers, the Liberian workers who did the hard work of extracting the latex SAP from the trees. The camps were long, low rows of residence. It's almost like coops. Units generally consisted of a single room. The homes had waddle and daub walls and aluminum roofs. There were no windows and no kitchens. The work camps had communal pumps for water and outdoor kitchens for cooking. There was no electricity. Bathrooms were outhouses or the nearby. Bush, there was the world. This was the world of the Firestone operation, described in a night in 1990 by 1 company executive as resembling an old Southern plantation. Wow. So ******* George HW Bush is in the White House, and white people are running a plantation in Africa with the collusion of the Americo Liberian government, where the workers there are just a couple of steps above being enslaved. That was like, yesterday. Yeah, real recent. And like with the Civil War starts fire stones, company representatives are going to make some cool choices about how to how to help. Yeah. This is Firestone tire and rubber. Yeah. This is where the rubber comes from, a plantation in Africa. So that's neat. Now, you will not be surprised to hear that an awful lot of Liberians, and I'm, I mean, like Indigenous Liberians. We're not jazzed with this status quo, right? People have problems with it. It was a pretty. Yeah, at least, yeah. Not psyched it was. It was. You have to give it, though, a really effective system because Liberia, kind of, if you treat the Americo Liberian rule as a colonial project, it lasts longer than basically any other African colony other than, like, South Africa, arguably. Like. That's right. Yeah. Maybe it's because, like, people are never taught about it or like, you know, I mean, went under the radar because no one even knew it was there. Well, I don't know. I think there's a number of factors here and I just think don't know enough about it. I mean most, I think, I think very little of this history is known to Americans, right? Like it's not something we really talk about. I remember vaguely hearing that one of the like I remember in like a textbook I had in high school that was talking about like abolition movement pre civil war. There was like a little box in like one of the pages that summarized like the American Colonization Society and the colonizing of Liberia and like 4 paragraphs and like that was just kind of like, oh some people went over there. This is one thing that folks tried like. I don't, I didn't. I didn't hear this. I didn't learn anything about like the, the the guy. Again, like black imperialism is the title of one of the and obviously it's not. I don't think it's. I think they're using that to kind of. Elicit a reaction. This is still, in a lot of ways, white imperialism. It's just using black people because there's a huge financial benefit and a military benefit, which we'll discuss later to the United States because Liberia functions this way. So yeah, it's a pretty effective system. Uh? The Americo Liberians remain in charge until 1980, when things begin to go terribly wrong. The last president that the oligarchy was able to successfully keep in power while install in power, I should say, was a guy named William Tolbert. His administration was severely weakened early on due to a series of rice riots and the end of the 1970s, and by early 1980, his ability to stay in power was teetering on the break. You might guess there were like, there was a lot of hunger people, poor people who are indigenous Liberians generally are starving. They riot because they want food. The government cracks down on it brutally. They arrest a bunch of organizers, but, you know, they they they beat this down, but they're their hold on. Power is not secure. Tober does not seem to have been a very bright dude because he's not entirely aware of how shaky his position is. He and his fellow oligarchs felt like they had control, mostly locked down because. All of the officers in the Liberian military were Americo Liberian. You could not be an indigenous Liberian and be an officer. Now here's what's interesting. All of the enlisted men are indigenous and so all of like the sergeants and corporals are indigenous men. This is exactly the same way we talked about years ago. I did an episode on Idi Amin, who becomes the dictator of Uganda, which is a British colony after the British come out and and Idi Amin was like the highest ranking native African military officer in the military. Uganda when the British left and he was a Sergeant because the way the British military worked in Africa, all of your officers are white dudes, all of the enlisted men are are black Africans, right? So the people that could die are usually not white, yes, but also the the officers are the ones who are supposed to be able to do the coordinating and the actual, like executing a military operations. So that's part of why you don't want indigenous people to be officers, because then they'll have sergeants are never supposed to have command over big units of guys, right? That's a thing for for for captains and majors and colonels and whatnot. So you can see that the Liberian military is organized the same way that, like the British and the French organized their colonial militaries. And because, again, Lidia mine was a Sergeant before he became dictator. When Liberia has its civil war and the government gets overthrown, it's going to be a sergeants who do the overthrowing because that's as high as you can rise in the military as an indigenous person. So Tolbert was so convinced that he was in a secure position that he started doing the one thing an oligarchic leader of what was effectively a US backed dictatorship should never do. He starts to **** with the US. See, the US Department of Defense had come to expect we liked Liberia in part because there's a bunch of benefits. Financial benefits. U.S. companies make a lot of money, cheap labor, get rubber and **** from Liberia. But also the US has a bunch of ******* we get up to in Africa, right? We got a ton of ****. Going on in Africa, especially in this. And Liberia, we say, hey, we need to land some ******* planes. We got to keep some Marines there. We need to keep, like, a rapid deployment force or whatever. In the past, Liberia is always, like, absolutely send as many troops as you want, say, like laying your planes here, fly out of here, you're good to go. We're buddies, you know, because intelligent people who are part of this oligarchy recognize that the United States being in your pocket is basically the best thing you can do in terms of staying in power. What's what's what does he think is the benefit of that? I I don't think he's a very bright dude. I I'm gonna admit I'm not the most knowledgeable on this, but it's it's generally reviewed regarded as kind of a baffling decision. But he's also like, you know, there's, there's the the US is kind of like I think withholding some some aid funding and stuff out of civil rights concerns. So there's like there's some pressure being put on his regime, I think by the US and he decides to like push back in this way. This proves to be a really bad call because when he basically DC decides we want a new US rapid deployment force in Liberia, and they asked permission, and Tolbert is like, no, so then the CIA and the Department of Defense are like, well, why do we want this guy in power right now? Right? Like, this doesn't benefit us at all. Who have, well, they try to. It's kind of debatable as to how much of an impact they really have on this, but they certainly start thinking about it and they start going through some names of like, what? What sergeants? And whatnot in the in the Liberian military do we think could, like overthrow the government? It was generally assumed Liberia doesn't have much in the way of other political parties yet, so there's not really an established opposition. So it was assumed the army is the best place to actually get some kind of revolutionary leader. They're not really able to move forward unless the situation changes, though. And that change starts to come courtesy if the progressive alliance of Liberia, an advocacy group which decides to become a political party in 1980, they start holding events. And talk spread that Tolbert's regime was planning to execute a bunch of the organizers of the riots who were still imprisoned on the one year anniversary of the rice riots to like kind of solidify power, threaten these people. So this inspires a lot of local Liberians to do something ahead of that date. And it's very likely that the CIA had some sort of, I don't think we know exactly what they were certainly talking about overthrowing Tolbert. And then it happens. It's again, I can't tell you exactly their role. Here, but what happens is that a group of 17 soldiers, mostly sergeants, which is the highest rank that Liberians could hold, attempt to launch a coup ahead of that anniversary. And I'm going to quote now from the Liberian Civil Wars by Charles River, editors. The senior ranking member of the coup party, although not its leader, was Master Sergeant Samuel Doe, an almost entirely unknown figure. The decision was rather spontaneous and aided by alcohol. The party set off on the evening of the 11th, fully armed, and made its way to the foot of the Barclay Training center towards Capitol Hill. And the executive mansion. The streets were unlit, and entry to the grounds of the mansion was gained without challenge at about O 100 hours. On the morning of the 12th, the coup party broke into the basement, also without encountering any challenge, and cautiously entered the upstairs section, now purely by chance, it turns out that President Tolbert had been out at a Baptist convention. He was a preacher, so he had been preaching at this convention, and instead of going back to his compound, he decides to go back and sleep at the Capitol building that night. So he's in his bathroom in his pajamas. When he hears gunfire, which is the coup members assaulting his guards, the whole thing is very messy. It ends with Tolbert, his teenage nephew, and a bunch of guards all executed brutally. These are very violent killings. When Tolbert's body is discovered the next day, his corpse was found mutilated as best as anyone can tell, a corporal named Harrison Pennoh had shot him in the head after Tolbert attempted to bribe him. For more detail, I'm going to turn again to the quote from that book, The Liberian Civil Wars quote. After the shooting, Corporal Penot was asked what he thought he was doing, and his reply was that he wanted to see Tolbert die in order to debunk a generally held belief that the president was a witch doctor. The idea of leadership allied to sorcery remains common enough in Africa, and most Liberian leaders tended to to allow mythology of that nature to pass since it added to the mystique of their rule. Tolbert habitually carried a short, ivory tipped cane, and the belief was that it was carved from the femur of a human leg bone. It was remarked by 1 soldier that if Tolbert had laid the cane down, he would not have been killed. But it is unlikely that he was carrying any ceremonial accoutrements at that particular moment. Regardless, three more bullets were put in his head just to ensure the job was done. And with that, the 19th President of the Liberian Republic lay dead on the floor of his bedroom in a pool of blood. So he gets disemboweled after this. At some point after he's killed, his guts get removed, which is again seen as like the best way to kill a witch doctor. It is hard to say who did this, because after the coup proved successful, these 17 initial dudes are joined by like 100 other soldiers. They find the president's liquor cabinet and they all just get shithoused drunk and go on a killing spree. They just start murdering like anybody associated with the old government, right? Well, yeah. So this is gnarly. It's also like you're part of an oppressed class. You're used as cannon fodder by the government. Like you have no rights, and you get a chance to murder them all. Historically, you murder them. All right? This is not the only place something like this has happened. So we're going to talk a lot more about disembowelment, cannibalism, and other similar subjects, but we should probably discuss what those things mean in a Liberian context. Because, again, a lot of this stuff gets like over, like, focused on by. Foreigners talking about, like, this conflict and being like, Oh my God, there's cannibals and witch doctors really? Like, talk about why that exists in what that means. Are you gonna talk about what she stuff a little bit? Yeah, we're going to talk about this part. The particular part of West Africa where the Liberian colony is established has a history of a practice called Garboil. And Daboya was a practice whereby people are killed so that their body parts can be used as sacrifices to magically obtain certain benefits. Now one like local news source. It was kind of like a W African news source described this as an ancient practice and notes that Liberian elites, which generally means the Americo Liberians, never really attempted to like find ways to stop this and never really worked on a good way for how to do it. And since they tended to be Christian and kind of ***** indigenous practices developed. A degree of gravity is like acts of resistance to the oligarchy. A version of this happens in Haiti, right where a lot of these traditional practices become associated with resistance. To the colonial regime now. Also, that local source I found, scholars will quibble with aspects of that because again, as was noted above, Tolbert, who's Americo Liberian and other presidents would definitely like signpost to some of these kind of beliefs about witchcraft. Invincible or like the mystique. Yeah, yeah. So anyway, the fact that a lot of these these kind of traditional, like this traditional practice is seen as kind of a resistance. Practice to the Christian and like very western regime. This seems to have caused what had been very fairly uncommon practices, spiritual practices before colonization, to grow and mutate university. Yeah, because this is what happens in Liberia. All of the **** we're going to be talking about that happens in the civil war. All these really ****** ** practices, these are a lot of people argue, did not really exist in the same fashion prior to colonization. But there were, there were, like, in response to being colonized and oppressed. They were like, so much on to these things that are becoming this form of resistance. Yeah, and they're also they're going to change over time, so University of Wisconsin professor Florence Bernau writes that quote. Public rumors depict human sacrifice and often related sorceries as the most common way to achieve personal success, wealth and prestige. In times of economic shortage and declining social opportunities, political leaders are widely believed to perform ritual murder to ensure. Electoral success and power. And many skillfully use these perceptions to build visibility and deference. So people like a lot of these, these rulers in this. Like, aren't necessarily doing these things, but they are kind of signaling that they do, which leads to an increased belief that there's some efficacy to this. And Bernaut notes that rather being a truly ancient practice. Kaboyo and other similar practices have roots in the past but are influenced in their modern forms by the extractive nature of colonialism. Quote the colonial. Situation revealed significant contradictions in the western fiction of a modern disconnect between body and power. The series of political and moral transgressions triggered by the conquest made apparent how Europeans themselves envisioned political survival as a form of positive exchange revolving around the body fetish in the colony, black and white bodies became re sacralized as political resources. Think about how in the but can you explain wait, body fetish? Like are you saying like this fetish is kind of like a a religious term? They're like an object of sort of like worship or at least of, of spiritual focus, you know, needed to, OK, I understand that. But, like, that's so think about 1:00. So one of the things people talk about, like, cannibalism in the Congo. And one thing they'll point out is that a lot of these practices were influenced or even have their origin in what the Belgians were doing and taking the hands of people who did not like harvest enough rubber because, like, So what they're pointing out is that, like, well, from the perspective of these people living in this region, Europeans are engaging in the same acts. They're taking pieces of human bodies. And they are using them to gain power in some way, trophies. Why wouldn't that work? Well, it's like you, you get power by taking somebody's hand from them, right? You get power over the whole community. You know that as this threat. How is that any meaningfully different than like you kill somebody and you take take a part of their body part and like eat it or whatever. Like you can see a relation between those two things and you can see how like the the the extractive nature of colonial capitalism on these people in influences, these ideas of like sacrificing. Taking pieces of the body in order to gain power. You know it's not this is not evolving in at the point that these scars this doesn't these practices aren't they're not it's not just people doing what they've been doing for thousands of years. They they have evolved and changed over the period of colonization as much as everyone has. And so have these practices. And these practices cannot be extricated from from capitalism or from colonization, right. So by the time Sergeant Doe and his allies. Overthrow the government. These practices have become, quote, not a marginal but a central dimension of the nature of public authority, leadership and popular identities. And this is going to cause a lot of real nasty problems. But you know what else is going to cause some real nasty problems, Shereen? Epstein Barr virus it home boy. Howdy. Let me tell you, the Epstein Barr virus should have brought it back. I'm still causes the problem of having a good time. Look, everybody loves a little bit of mono. Smooch, smooch. Hmm. It was very popular in my high school. Me too, actually. Yeah, all all the kids loved it. All right, here's some ads. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. 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Look, ******* NPR's whatever thing they do, the daily that New York Times podcast was ******* cowards would never be sponsored by the Epstein Barr virus. Cowards. Cowards. All of them. I would say, though, like there's an impulse that I won't, I won't entertain like this, this fascination with physical body and power and like what that means, like on a philosophical level, like, I'm so fascinated by that. And I I said this before another podcast, but there's always a tendency I have in any podcast I guessed on to just become philosophizing. And I won't do that this time, but I will say I have the impulse too, because it's very fascinating when you think about that overlap in that. Direction because it's like. So I don't know what it is. It's. It's just *******. Why I would I don't know. I don't know. The word is I would really encourage people to read some of what Bernaud has written on Florence Bernaut BER in AU Lt. I think that's how it's pronounced from the University of Wisconsin because there's a lot of like writing on this not just in Liberia because like versions of this are are recognized in other colonies. But it is really we've, we talked about it a bit in some of our Congo episodes. It is a really fascinating dimension and it also. You you often get from not not just from racist because obviously racists be racist thing, but from like people who don't, who are racist but don't want to frame themselves that way. Talking about like problems in Africa as like, well you do have this problem of like you've got this ancient and and culture that has some really savage dimensions and you know that this is a problem with like Liberia of like attaining any kind of peace. It's like, well actually those practices aren't, they are evolved from ancient practices, but they're very much rooted in the **** that like was done to these people to make them up. Productive rubber plantation, you know? Yeah, no, it's that part does not get it gets glossed over, you know what I mean? Really, it's like savage practices, you know, should be discussed like this. They are not any more savage than slavery and then colonialism, you know, they're just nastier looking because there's a lot of value put in kind of like making the plantations. That's why people have weddings at plantations, right? Because you're a slave owner, you dress it up more. It is so embarrassing. Me like friends or friends or whatever. Just the the photos of like, having a wedding on a plantation makes me want to vomit. But like, why, why, why isn't glossed over that, like, lynching happened and all these things and, like, it's still, it's still ******* happens, you know what I mean? Like these violent acts that are so disgusting. I will say it right here. I think killing a dude in battle and eating his heart is 1000 times less gross than forcing a man to labor for you until he dies. 100% agree. Yes. Way less gross. Yeah. That God, that's I don't know. I ******* people, man. I don't know. But like also like body power, all the stuff. It's also in every culture, not every culture. I can like. Think of a few cultures that still incorporate this, like, fascination with like someone like. Taking a part of someone's body to demonstrate your power over. Look. Yeah. You know what I mean. Like, it's just like there's like and I can, I want on deep dive into this off air. There's there's somebody there's. I mean a lot has been written. This is really a fascinating thing to read into. We're not going to. I don't. I don't want to pretend we're doing anything but scratching the surface. But it is important to scratch the surface because when we read these lurid stories of, like, child sacrifice and cannibalism, you need to know that it's more complicated. And just like look at this ****** ** thing they do in Liberia, right? That's ****** ** thing. These non white people have exactly time because they're uncivilized or whatever. It's like it's important to understand that it's like it's part of a continuum of violence and it's not the it's it's an ugly. It's certainly bad, but it's not like it's not the start of it and it's not the part that has caused the most harm at scale. Yeah, by the time Sergeant Doe and his allies overthrew the government, these practices have become again like. Central to the the nature of public authority. And guys like Tolbert probably maybe aren't actually doing anything, certainly not aren't doing some of the stuff that other people will do. But when these indigenous folks come into power, they have this expectation that, like, this is what you do when you're in power. These practices are both how you submit your power publicly and also how you ensure that you won't lose it. So DOE founds a new military junta government with himself at the head. Most of the people that he let run the country are members of the Koran. Ethnic group because dough is Cron, they had been traditionally a fairly minor group in terms of their like numbers and power in the country. But Doe puts them at the center of a building **** show. The government he headed was at least as brutal and violent as the one he'd replaced, and by the way, the Firestone plantation keeps right on chugging along because of that. A brief moment but when Joe comes in in part to be pro US right he's very he doesn't want he doesn't want to **** ** things for business you know like because obviously he underlying beneficial to him yeah exactly he's he's all about that so yeah they they do all their nasty as **** one of the one of the most infamous moments like right after taking power when everyone still kind of like because again Liberia prior to this had been they were very integrated into African the continent like there's all these different economic and. And and political organizations that are four different that all of these multiple African states will be a part of, right. So even before we had their integrated in Africa, yeah. But even as a colonized state it was still like not it wasn't like ****** like before they became like back like before it was black imperialized it was still a colony, right? No, no, no. It was established by the US like it was had just been people living in Africa like, no, I'm talking, I'm sorry. I'm talking about the government doe overthrows. Right, the tobert government, the the Americo Liberian government. They're integrated into the political. Yeah. So all of these, when he overthrows the government, all of these, he's arrests all of these government officials who have, who are like friends with the people running Nigeria and like Kenya and all of these other countries, right. They they're in political organizations together. They're like managing trade deals. They're going on vacation and they're they're like there are they are buds with the other people who are in power in Africa and now they're in prison and doe in a surprise moment has them all executed by drunken soldiers. On television. So ****. Oh my God, this is modern. This was yeah. This is like the 80s, baby. Oh my God. So this this really ****** off a lot of other people in it, like a lot of other African governmental leaders, right? Because, like, that's my ******* buddy. You just shot in the street. Like, what the **** dude? Yeah. So this causes a lot of folks in the international community to support his ouster. Still, though, the Reagan administration is like, hey, you're willing to let us land planes there like we'll play ball. You know, they they invite doe to the White House. He meets with the president where Ronald Reagan and what it might be an early senior moment refers to him as Chairman Moe instead of Chairman Doe. And Doe just kind of like goes with it, you know? We have to have we have to stop having these. No, not to be ageist, but there has to be no, it's OK. Looking ******* you. Look, there's things we, we we're all fine with the idea that you could be too young to do certain things. OK? Maybe you can be too old to do certain things. Exactly. Even though I mean not to. Whatever. There are so many moments where, like being Congress. Look. Yeah. Just my God. Being governed by people that are solely fading away. And yeah, not complicated. Be president until 35, which is an implicit acknowledgement that the age you are impacts your ability to do the job properly anyway. This is this is a rant for elsewhere. Yeah, yeah. So MO, which is what Reagan calls him. The shares the Reagan administration that Liberia's totally gonna return to democracy December of 1985, right? Need a couple of years to get stuff into shape, right? Get purge the government of all these bad people. You know I'm going to fix stuff up and then I'm going to stop being dictator, right? 1985, we're a democracy, baby. So Mom knows he does have to hold or doe knows he just does have to hold an election. Maybe. Love. Go ahead. Yeah. He knows he's got to hold an election, but he also knows that, like, I I'm not gonna have an A real election. So he does the kind of **** dictators do, right? You know, he and he cracks down every time political parties will rise up, we'll find excuses to arrest them. He's constantly arresting and purging people, including other folks had carried out the coup with. And obviously a lot of resistance starts to bubble up to his regime. And the Nexus of antidote sentiment forms around a woman named. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, she's an economist who'd been educated in the US and had worked as an executive for Citibank. She decided to run for election alongside Jackson F Doe, who is not related to Sergeant Doe, right separate dose and they she's in the. She comes back, she comes back. That's one of the things she gets a lot of like early kind of respect is she like leaves the US to go back to Liberia to run. So they run for President, uh, with the Liberian action party. The election is held largely. So the bad dough, I'm going to call him good dough and bad dough from this point on because it's going to get too confusing anyways. And and doing this because there's like $93 million in US aid funds that he wants, but he has to do an election first. So quotes election, right. He wins the election, but like immediately in every like independent observers like, well, that was completely fraudulent. US the US decides to work with bad dough anyway because, again, he's smarter than Tolbert. He's not gonna like say no to the US military establishment. So DOE sets to work, carrying out happily carrying out an ethnic cleansing in Nimba County, where Jackson Doe had called home, because he gets to see where people are voting against him. He he burns their ballots, and then he sends his soldiers to massacre them. So his mother was away, just to see where he's hated the most. ******* hell, man. So his, you know, again, the troops carrying out these massacres are mostly Cron like him, right? Because again, he's very much and there's other ethnic groups that are kind of allied with the Koran, right? This does really break down on like racial lines, tribal lines, kind of whatever you want to call it. But so he sends his crown soldiers into this region which is inhabited by other other peoples, and he massacres a **** load of them because he sees them as like enemies of the regime and whenever he captures men who he had been like political leaders. Agitating against him, he'll have them mutilated and have their corpses paraded through the streets so soldiers can cut off pieces to eat or keep as souvenirs. This isn't good for the economy, Shereen. Now, I'm not an economic expert, but I I I'm not surprised to hear that this was, like, bad for money, right? Yeah. You might not want to invest in a country where this is going on quite as much, you know? And televisions exist, remember? So this. Yeah. Tell this is able to be documented. People are looking at this. And, like, well, maybe I'm gonna pause on some of those. Develop those building funds for a moment. Might want to wait until this parading corpses thing is over. Yeah. Yeah. See how it shakes out. So, further economic problems are caused by the fact that the Minister of Procurement shoe designer Charles Taylor had embezzled something like a million designer. Yeah, Chuck Taylors. He's the he's the one of what? He's the guy who designed the Chuck. No, no, sure. What was the Charles Taylor? Well, he's the, he's the minister of procurement for Liberia. Yeah. Why did you say that? As if it was like, duh, like, well, how is that a thing? You know? You've heard of Chuck Taylor? I know, I've heard. Yeah, but, like, I didn't know the inventor of ******* converse was. Yeah. Yeah, he's he's he's gonna be he's a Liberian warlord. Don't look that up. Is that something everyone knows? Again, I just think that's yeah, definitely common knowledge. I'm willfully ignorant. So much of my time, so much of my my life. I just can't handle this. That was a lie, Shereen. I'm sorry. I can't do this to you anymore. Yeah, I was lying. I just. It was just a joke. Well, no. There's a Charles Taylor, and he embezzled $1,000,000 from Liberian government. Becomes a warlord later. The world is so ****** ** and crazy. I don't believe anything you say. Like I was going to burn my ******* converse after this ******* episode. I can't believe it was it was it was just a joke. Because again, like, Chuck Taylors. Charles Taylor. I thought it was. Way too gullible. When I know I know I'm gonna get roasted on the Internet, I don't ******* care. Whatever. I mean, Shereen, This is why I tell everybody one lie. You should never trust me. Never trust Robert, never trust you. I mean, yeah, maybe. Maybe there's a level of me that trusts you. This isn't this isn't on you. This is on me. Shareen. He's a liar. Firestone, like Firestone was, is already like that. That's all real. You can. That's why we provide sources. Look, that's OK. That's the thing. I know the fire still thing is real, but it doesn't mean it's so far out that another. Looking big American brand is rooted. I know because like shoes and rubber. I mean again this week we could, I could have just gone through with this and just waited for people on Twitter to get really angry or on on Reddit. You wouldn't do that to me. I felt bad. That shows gross. Felt bad job. I felt bad. I felt bad. Worry. He's lied to me, too. Hmm. I lied to everybody once. I mean, I I well, now. I haven't lied to you yet, Sheree, but I'll figure one out. Lying is the most human quality you could have, so it's it's fine. I understand. You don't have to be so excited for Reddit, so just getting don't have to. It's OK don't, shereen. Trust me. I'm the one who's going to look bad as a result was. No, it's. I mean, because you were so earnest about being angry about the converse guy. Jane warlord. That's OK. This is to all my gullible people out there. I represent you. I hear you. I see you. I have to say, it would have been really funny if if the actual Chuck Taylor guy had been a Liberian warlord like that would have been hilarious. So Taylor had been born in Liberia, but his dad was an Americo Liberian. His mom, though, he's he's he's mixed kind of between Americo Liberian and his mom is a member of the indigenous Golla tribe. Now, that said, he is raised as an Americo Liberian, right? Like the fact that his dad. This means that there's obviously one of the things you have to say about Liberia, like kind of the racial caste system is not nearly what it is. And like, colonies that are are run by white people. So Taylor benefits even though his mom is indigenous and his dad is Americo Liberian. He's raised Americo Liberian. He attends College in the United States, Bentley College in Massachusetts. Somebody else will have gone there and be like, holy **** once we talk about this guy. Holy **** this dude went to my alma mater. He's. But the point is, his early life, he's thoroughly Americanized. Speaks English very like he's, I mean obviously actually I should, I should note here, they all speak English. English is the official language of Liberia. If you go to Liberia, like, you don't need to learn. And now some of the like there, there's a patois, like accents are kind of different, like sort of like it is in in parts of Louisiana. But it's English like you listen to these like interviews with warlords and ****. They're they're all speaking in English and stuff because again, it's a colony of the United States, right? But he is. He's not just like he's he's incredibly Americanized. His previous political experience came from rising through the ranks of the Liberian expat organization in Philadelphia. And when he flies back, or so he he he he goes back to Liberia after dose revolution and gets a job in the government. And then he embezzles a bunch of money and he gets kicked out. So he flees to the US because he doesn't want to get executed and paraded through the streets. Doe tries to extradite him because he had, almost certainly actually. Committed the crimes he was being accused of. Charles Taylor is initially arrested by the United States and we keep him in a Correctional Facility for two years while we're trying to decide what to do to the man. But then, and I'm going to quote again from the Liberian Civil Wars, the story grows rather murky. Taylor escaped from Plymouth House on the evening of September 15th, 1985, apparently with the help of the CIA, responding to an obvious reluctance on the part of the government to extradite Taylor to face almost certain execution at the moment he landed. It is also possible that the CIA. Well, Taylor might be useful because if someone replaced her toppled dough, Taylor certainly seemed the most likely to do so. Either way, the popular version of the story has it that Taylor and three fellow escapees cut through prison bars with Hacksaws before lowering themselves to the ground outside on knotted bed sheets. More realistically, perhaps, arrangements were made for his cell to be left unlocked one night and he simply walked out. He was picked up by his wife, Jewel, at a local freeway exit, after which he dropped out of sight. For a few months later. He reappeared in Ghana, having traveled to Africa via Mexico. In Ghana, he was arrested immediately on suspicion that he was somehow involved with the CIA, which tends to lean credence to the latter version of his escape. Taylor's lawyer at the time was Ramsey Clark, the former US Attorney General, so certainly there was money and influence floating around somewhere. No charges were ever brought against Taylor in America for his escape. So he gets over to Ghana, and while he's in the US, he spends 2 years in custody, right? He gets the CIA kind of smuggles him out while all this is happening, DOE is in power in Liberia. But there are constant coup attempts, right? Or at least attempts at coup attempts that dough cracks down on. In every time there's a threat to his reign, he does the same thing. He sends his soldiers to that region of the country and he massacres all of the men that he can find, you know, and often like you know, rapes the women, kills baby, like, is ugly ****. It's it's ethnic cleansing, kind of. It's really nasty. So by 1987, DOE has murdered a lot of people and he is repeatedly purged ethnic groups. So that's around the time when Charles Taylor makes his way to the Ivory Coast and he meets a guy who's like a friend of the Ivorian president who decides to back him in his plans to overthrow dough. Now, by this point, DOE has made the major mistake of ******* off Moammar Gaddafi because he, again, he's on the side of the United States, right? And he the United States. I don't know if you're aware of this. Not big fans of Moammar Gaddafi. Really? Yeah. No. So Joe expels Libyan diplomats from his capital. Now, this is a problem because not only is Gaddafi kind of a petty dude, he also runs a gigantic pan ideological training camp for insurgents, right? If you are an insurgent and you want to learn how to build bombs and shoot people, Moammar Gaddafi's got you. You're the IRA. You're the you're Palestinian Oregon. Like, he doesn't give a ****. Like, Moammar will take as long as you're, like, cool with Moammar. He'll. He'll train you dudes, you know? One 800 momar, yeah, one 800 number for all of your in search, it needs so he and he and Taylor, so Moammar Gadhafi doe ****** him off. And so Gaddafi is like, why I'm gonna ******* get back at that *** ** * *****. And he hears there's this ************ named Taylor who's got connections to the government of, you know, in the Ivory Coast and ****. And so he and Taylor get into contact and in very short order, a number of militants who are like on Taylor side. These are like. Generally, like Liberians who've had to flee the country because they were also associated with some sort of rebellion or another that Taylor's gathering to him. These folks go over and get trained in Libya, right? And again, good chance there's some CIA involvement here. It's very murky. I assume they're everywhere. So yeah, they're always doing some ****. I mean, they certainly seems to have like, helped Taylor get out, right? Gaddafi is maybe more. A bigger part of like, how he actually gets to carry out is it's whatever on December 24th, 1989, Charles Taylor and 168. Insurgents Inter Liberia through the ivory or, yeah, the Ivory Coast. Chuck makes an announcement through the BBC, using a satellite phone he'd been given by somebody again, who knows where he gets this kind of **** that he has no personal ambitions for higher office. He just wants to liberate his people from President Doe. Open civil war results, resulting in bits in breaking out in kind of bits and pieces here and there and gradually, like Taylor's, forces start to make progress. They're pretty well organized. Competent. They expand quickly, and more and more of the country starts to fall out of dose, ability to control because he's not really popular because of all the massacres. So he starts having his security forces round up hundreds and hundreds of residents of the capital from ethnic groups he viewed as rebellious. And these people just disappear. Some of them do show back up headless on the streets, so citizens of the capital start greeting each other with the phrase glad to see you've still got your head. Members of their yeah, and members of the ethnic groups targeted by those purchases start flooding into Taylor's growing army, right. They they get away from wherever the president controls and a lot of them pick up guns as they won victories. They replaced the initial weapons that they invade with the armies mostly equipped with these old Soviet Soviet like World War Two era submachine guns PPSH. And they gradually replace these with US M sixteens from dose dead US backed fighters and once his regular. Forces start to get real rifles. He hands these submachine guns off to little kids and he uses them to form what he calls his small boy units. Quote from the Liberian Civil wars. The bulk of advancing forces were locally recruited, youth handed guns and fortified by alcohol and cheaply sourced Chinese amphetamines, known colloquially as bubbles and of course, a great deal of local marijuana in much the same way as the Cron dominated AFL that's dose party took excruciatingly violent revenge against Gio and Mano. These are other ethnic groups. Roving bands of armed youth singled out Cron and Mandingo for similar treatment. Newsreel images of the Liberian Civil War as the initial coup of inevitably came, came to be characterized by images of children and young people, both male and female, dressed in civilian clothes, often in wigs and bizarre fancy dress, enacting scenes that might have been extracted from Lord of the Flies. These were the first high profile displays of child soldiers at work in the African context of war, and the spectacle was utterly terrifying. So that's where we're going to end. For today, what a high note to just leave me on good vibes, yeah. Well, I was hoping, I mean, I was hoping there's gonna be more witchy stuff, to be honest. That stuff is really interesting to me. There will be next episode of this is not gonna be an interesting or. It'll be interesting. It's not gonna be much of a you'll want to go elsewhere to learn in detail some more discussion of that. But we will talk about kind of 1 expression of these things from people who are like power hungry grifters. You're not going to get a great sense of what the actual religious practices were among these people, but you will see some folks doing ****** ** **** and then deciding to be born again. Christians? Yeah. At this point, I'm not. Like at a certain point when? And this is just me theorizing and not, don't take any of these blanket statements seriously. But I would imagine that at a certain point when, like, a religion or a practice is just used to gain power, it's more used for the violence versus the belief. You know, I'm not like, I'm not convinced so many people believe it. I'm just convinced they're using it to benefit themselves or like, you know, so that's just like, well, it's one of those things, like there's, you know, you talk about cannibalism and another kind of beliefs that involve taking pieces of the body. Certainly thousands of years ago there were groups doing that. Africa is there were in many other parts of the world for different reasons, but the kind what you're going to see during the Liberian Civil War has about as much is is related to those those indigenous belief practices in the same way that like a modern Baptist Revival meeting is related to a Christian Church meeting in like 850 AD, you know, to like at a church service in 850AD. Yeah, there is like a line of descendants from one to the other. But it's changed tremendously over time for a variety of reasons. And someone partaking in the 800 and 5080 church service might look at a modern one and be like, well, I don't really know what the ****** going on here, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Anyway, any plugs at the end here? Shreen? I'm shareen. Allegedly, allegedly. I'm on Twitter. Shiro. Hero 6, like 6 Instagram is just sheer hero. I'm honestly like, I'm not really on the Internet much these days. I'm trying to have an impulse to delete everything all the time, but I think I just need it just for this kind of stuff. But follow me if you want. I'm posting less, but the stuff I post gold, you know, sort of stick around for that. Yeah, but I will say. I was thinking about this as you were teaching me all these terrible things. It's like, like, sometimes I get frustrated, for example, that no one knows the history of Palestine or Syria or whatever, and there's like selective things, as you said, like people can. There's so many, there's so much ******** and violence and terrible things in the world. You can only learn so much about it. You can only handle so much of it. So I for 1:00 AM happy I know about this terrible thing because I maybe was ignorant before. And I hope people feel that way when they learn about other terrible things. They. Yeah, you know, context. Is important not because it mitigates bad things, but it's like it would be ****** ** to just get angry about the IRA bombing a bar and not recognize that that act of terrorism was directly influenced by the genocide of half of the Irish population, right? That would be ****** **. It likewise. Yes, it's bad to it's it's certainly bad to like, shoot missiles into cities like Hamas does, but also that's not happening in a vacuum. And it's happening in response to missiles being shot into there and a bunch of other ****** ** ****. This history of like really horrible things. And likewise, it is bad to make recruit child soldiers and carry out human sacrifices. It's not. They didn't just decide to do that because Liberians are brutal. All of this occurred as part of a continuum of things that is heavily influenced by U.S. policy and is heavily influenced by colonialism. Yeah, again, it's just it's not a matter of like, saying, well, this isn't bad. Because of this bad thing, it's a matter of you don't understand what's happening if you if you're only focused on one part of this picture. And The thing is, the information we all receive is usually funneled through a white supremacist ******* colonial, you know what I mean? Like, it's all funneled through a different a certain lens to make us think certain people are good or people are bad. So, I don't know. Use your brains. I suppose I will also try to use mine to. I don't think ******* converse are evil. Yeah, yeah. Attack. Destroy your converse shoes. Light their headquarters on fire. No hunt down their corporate representatives in the street. No vengeance can be enough for Converse, Robert. On another note, we should probably plug 2 new podcasts on Cool Zone Media that that are recently out. Shouldn't we have what are now Sophie's real quick sidebar? What? What is a podcast? Alright, so like this does not know where that was going. I was like, is he actually doing this? Is like an edit note? No? OK, this is this is a bit, but also This is why I'm in charge. Not that there's Sophie. This is like 10% of why you're in charge. We have two new podcasts and cool zone media that you should check out if you haven't checked them out already. We have a ghost church by Jamie Loftus, which is a ghost church fascinating podcast about American spiritual Jay loft. Yes, and we are. And we also have a cool people who did cool stuff hosted by Margaret Killjoy that is, in fact, about cool people who did cool stuff. It's like, it's like the allegedly the uplifting version of whatever the **** this podcast is, you know what I mean? Like. Yeah, it's great. Actually, Shereen, there's some really cool people who do some really cool stuff in this next election. Are you familiar with the story of Liz Estrada? I don't know. Just stop talking, Robert. OK. But yeah, check check those podcasts out. Sherina Sherina actually works on cool people who did cool stuff. And she allegedly and allegedly. And both Robert and Shereen are are guests or upcoming guests depending on when this drops on the show. So check it out. We so happy Shereen. Working with Margaret. Has taught you the most important thing about being an anarchist, which is saying allegedly before almost any statements. Yep, in my vocab forever and that is the episode. Behind the ******** is a production of cool zone media. For more from cool Zone Media, visit our website, or check us out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried true crime. And if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then, after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Want to say I don't know less? Listen to stuff. You should know more. Join host Josh and Chuck on the podcast, packed with fascinating discussions about. Science, history, pop culture, and more. Episodes dive into topics like was the lost city of Atlantis Real? And how does pizza work? Say goodbye to I don't know, because after listening to stuff you should know you will listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Sisters of the Underground is a podcast about fearless Dominican women who stood up against the brutal dictator Kabayel Trujillo. He needs to be. Stopped. We've been silent and complacent for far too long. I am Daniel Ramirez, and as a Dominicana myself, I am proud to be narrating this true story that is often left out of the history books through your has blood on his hands. Listen to sisters of the underground wherever you get your podcasts.