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Jesse, Liberia and Blood Diamonds
Insight Magazine ^ | July 25, 2003 | Kenneth R. Timmerman

Posted on 07/25/2003 5:16:31 AM PDT by SJackson

With the Congressional Black Caucus clamoring for President George W. Bush to dispatch U.S. troops to Liberia, after having voted almost unanimously against the U.S. war in Iraq, the president and his national-security team are weighing the costs of joining a multinational peacekeeping force in a nation that has ripped through several of them during the last decade. One thing neither Bush nor the Congressional Black Caucus is talking about publicly, however, is how Liberia began this latest phase of its spiraling descent into chaos.

And for good reason. The current crisis was in part the creation of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a Democratic Party activist who claims to champion the rights of Africans to self-governance. As special envoy for democracy and human rights in Africa, starting in October 1997, Jackson was President Bill Clinton's point man for Africa. It was Jackson who spearheaded Clinton's 10-day African safari in March 1998, at a cost to taxpayers of $42.8 million. And it was Jackson who legitimated Liberian strongman Charles Taylor and his protégé, the machete-wielding militia leader in neighboring Sierra Leone, Cpl. Foday Sankoh. Without Jackson's active intervention, both leaders were headed toward international isolation and sanction. Thanks to Jackson, both retained power to murder another day.

At Jackson's prompting, Clinton made an unprecedented phone call to Taylor from Air Force One while flying over Africa. Until then the United States had shunned Taylor because of his grisly past. Among Taylor's many "accomplishments" were the murder of American Catholic nuns in Liberia and the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia.

The mainstream media has resolutely ignored Jackson's involvement in the diamond wars of Liberia and Sierra Leone, and he never has been hauled before a congressional committee to account for this behavior [see Kenneth R. Timmerman's New York Times best seller, Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson (Regnery Publishing, March 2002)].

Jackson first met Taylor in Monrovia on Feb. 11, 1998, thanks to the intercession of an old friend, a Liberian named Romeo Horton who had become a close aide to Taylor. Taylor had just been elected president of Liberia after a campaign riddled with intimidation in which he sent his infamous "Small Boys Units" throughout the countryside, waving their machetes at anyone who refused to vote for their man. But instead of hectoring Taylor on human rights and democracy - after all, that was Jackson's brief - Jackson embraced the Liberian strongman, as shown in a State Department after-action memo obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

"During his 24 hours in Liberia, the Rev. Jackson met several times privately with President Taylor and appeared to establish a strong personal bond with him," the April 29, 1998, memo from the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia reads. "After Jesse Jackson's visit, President Taylor went out of his way to stress that Liberia is America's best friend in Africa, and that it was time to improve the bilateral relationship - a 180-degree change in direction from the public posture of the Taylor government before the Jackson visit."

In neighboring Sierra Leone, Sankoh and his Revolutionary United Front (RUF) militia had massacred tens of thousands of civilians and, teamed with disgruntled military officers, had driven elected president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah into exile. Jackson said in an interview that he considered Sankoh and Taylor to be like the gang leaders in Chicago, who could be "redeemed" by his careful ministrations. Rather than confront them, Jackson befriended them, over the howls of the State Department professionals.

"Secretary [of State Madeleine] Albright delegated Africa policy to [U.S. Rep. Donald] Payne [of New Jersey] and the Congressional Black Caucus," Sierra Leone's outspoken ambassador to Washington, John Ernest Leigh, told this reporter. A House International Affairs Committee staffer who followed Jackson's meetings with Taylor put it more bluntly: "The whole effort under Clinton was to mainstream Charles Taylor, and Jesse Jackson had a lot to do with it."

Just two months after his first meeting with Taylor, Jackson played host to a "reconciliation conference" at his Operation PUSH headquarters in Chicago. It was meant to drum up support for Taylor in the United States and to portray him as a modern democratic leader. Taylor appeared on a huge video screen that dominated the stage, while Jackson chirped, "It's morning time in Liberia."

Harry A. Greaves, a Taylor opponent who helped found the Liberia Action Party, called Jackson's conference "a PR exercise by Charles Taylor. The general perception in the Liberian community was that Jackson was a paid lobbyist for Charles Taylor." Jackson insisted to me that he "got absolutely no money from the government of Liberia" to play host to the conference. But Jackson had tried to exclude the opposition from the conference entirely, until Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Howard Jeter telephoned Jackson and insisted otherwise.

"If there are any adversaries who are not ready to reconcile, please leave the room," Jackson told the auditorium. He then demanded that Liberians stop using the Internet to publish information on Taylor's atrocities. "The international community frequents the Internet and takes note of whatever information is disseminated on the information superhighway," he said. "So, please stay off the Net."

In September, just five months after the "reconciliation" Jackson hosted in Chicago, Taylor's Special Security Service went on a killing rampage in an effort to track down and eliminate rival warlord Roosevelt Johnson, an ethnic Krahn whom Taylor accused of plotting a coup. When Johnson sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy, Taylor's men gunned him down in the entryway, wounding two embassy employees. The State Department was not amused, and asked Jackson to reprimand Taylor by phone. No record of what Jackson actually said was released but, in November 1998, during another visit to the region, Jesse again treated Taylor as a statesman.

With help from Britain and Nigeria (but not from Jackson), Sierra Leone's elected president Kabbah managed to return to power in March 1998. Sankoh's RUF guerrillas were forced back into the bush, and Sankoh himself was arrested, tried for treason and sentenced to death. It all could have ended there - if it hadn't been for Jackson, who intervened with Kabbah to get the death sentence against Sankoh lifted.

In January 1999, Sankoh's troops went on another killing spree and launched an offensive that brought them into the streets of Freetown. A West African peacekeeping force led by Nigeria managed to drive the rebels out of the capital and fought them to a stalemate. Again, it could have ended there if it hadn't been for Jackson's active intervention.

In May 1999, Jackson decided it was time to reinvent Sankoh, whose troops now controlled Sierra Leone's rich diamond mines. By this point, the United Nations and private investigators had published detailed reports on how Sankoh and Taylor were using "blood diamonds" to fuel West Africa's civil and regional wars, leading to international controls on the diamond trade. On the margins of a conference in nearby Ghana, Jackson "kidnapped" Kabbah, according to Kabbah advisers I interviewed for my book, and flew him to neighboring Lomé, Togo, where Jackson forced him to sign a cease-fire with Sankoh. "We had not expected or planned that agreement," former assistant secretary of state Susan E. Rice tells Insight, "or that Jackson would have a role in it." The impression among African policymakers at State was, she says, "Where did this come from?"

In July, under the terms of a power-sharing agreement that Jackson helped negotiate and which Kabbah vigorously resisted, Sankoh was released from house arrest, made a vice president in a new national-unity government and put in charge of Sierra Leone's diamond mines.

Now in government, Sankoh began smuggling out thousands of diamonds, many of which he sent to Taylor in Liberia in exchange for weapons. Jackson repeatedly raised the issue of the illicit diamond trade and the clandestine arms supplies with Taylor, who simply denied the charges, the State Department transcripts show. Jackson never pressed him further.

Jackson maintained direct contact with Sankoh after the Lomé accords were signed, telephoning him repeatedly with words of encouragement and promising him a "full pardon." Braced by Jackson's support, Sankoh and his RUF fighters built up their forces, thanks to the diamond trade, ignoring Jackson's pleas to disarm and give peace a chance. New fighting broke out in January 2000 in the hinterland. The cease-fire Jackson brokered lasted less than six months. By May the fighting took on crisis proportions when Sankoh's fighters murdered U.N. peacekeepers and took 500 of them hostage. Meanwhile Liberia, which produces no diamonds, reported that it had exported $300 million worth of the precious stones the previous year.

Jackson made one final attempt to halt the bloodshed in mid-May 2000. He tried in vain to cajole Taylor to "negotiate" an end to the hostage crisis, since Taylor was widely (and correctly) viewed as godfather of the RUF and as Sankoh's arms and diamond broker. In one telephone conversation with Taylor, on May 7, 2000, Jackson gushed: "Brother Taylor, word is coming through that you are playing a constructive role. Two or three wire-service stories. Congratulations! Your public leadership is important."

When challenged by African reporters during a May 12, 2000, press conference as to why he was relying on Taylor and Sankoh to get the U.N. hostages released, when in fact they had orchestrated the hostage crisis themselves, Jackson said, "There is blood on everybody's hands and no clean hands. If Charles Taylor can talk to the [RUF] commanders and they hear that, that would be positive. It would be different if he were encouraging fighting, but he is not."

Then Jackson made a blunder that would make him an object of ridicule and scorn across Africa: He compared Sankoh to former African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, who went on to become president of South Africa. On May 16, Jackson was all set to take off for Sierra Leone when an urgent message came into the State Department, warning that Jackson could be assaulted physically should he attempt to land. Foreign Minister Sama Banya even went on state radio in Freetown, urging Jackson to stay away. "When people in Freetown heard Jesse Jackson's statement comparing Foday Sankoh to Nelson Mandela, they were up in arms," recalls Sierra Leone Ambassador Leigh. "Comparing Nelson Mandela to a guy who was ripping arms off of babies was the biggest insult to Africa you could think of. Jesse Jackson destroyed the credibility of the United States."

During a conference call to leaders in Freetown, Jackson tried to retract his earlier statements but was openly attacked as a RUF "collaborator." One local journalist wrote bitterly that Jackson was known as a civil-rights leader in the United States, but that in Africa he was better known as a "killer's-rights" leader.

Arriving in Monrovia, Liberia, on May 17, 2000, Jackson declared, "President Taylor has been doing a commendable job negotiating for the release of the hostages. All the hostages should be freed and freed now. There is no basis for delay, there is no basis for negotiations." Jackson's comments would have been laughable were it not for the quantities of innocent blood that had been shed, thanks to his self-serving misbehavior.

By this point, the State Department had suffered enough of Jackson's alleged diplomacy and the failed agreement he had brokered. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker declared on June 5, 2000, that the United States was "not part of that agreement." Jackson summarily was fired as Clinton's special envoy shortly afterward.

But the Clinton State Department is not innocent in this affair. In a series of dispatches and briefing documents stamped "Secret," which the State Department declassified at this reporter's request, it is clear that Assistant Secretary of State Rice, an Albright protégé, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jeter primed Jackson with intelligence, talking points and background papers throughout the entire three-year period he was Clinton's envoy. Indeed, the entire bureaucracy of U.S. diplomacy was put at Jackson's disposal with tragic results.

However, it also is clear that Jackson repeatedly took initiatives on his own, especially when it came to forging that strong personal bond with the Liberian dictator.

The United States and the citizens of West Africa now have a historic opportunity with the war-crimes indictment against Taylor that was released in June by the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. Taylor is seeking asylum in neighboring Nigeria, but already voices are being raised among Liberian opposition politicians and their U.S. supporters that he should not be allowed to escape prosecution.

Among the first questions they believe prosecutors should ask Taylor is who he paid off using Sankoh's diamonds. U.S. intelligence officers and their assets on the ground in Liberia reported back to Washington concerning these payoffs at the very moment that Jackson was negotiating a favorable role for Taylor and for Sankoh in Lomé, former CIA officers and other sources have told this reporter.

Who received the diamonds, how they were brokered onto the international marketplace in Europe and where the cash proceeds went remain mysteries. Charles Taylor knows many of the answers.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: africa; cbc; diamonds; jessejackson; liberia

1 posted on 07/25/2003 5:16:31 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson
Just let Jessee go over there and save the day, his mouth is a lethal weapon! I'm sorry, we don't have any reason to go to Liberia in my opinion.
2 posted on 07/25/2003 5:24:24 AM PDT by HELLRAISER II
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To: SJackson
GREAT ARTICLE....THANKS.
3 posted on 07/25/2003 5:33:58 AM PDT by AmericanMade1776
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To: HELLRAISER II
I love reading all I can about Jackson. The ammo it provides against him and his supporters is priceless.

I have started asking liberals about Liberia and almost all of them say we should send in troops. I get them to go in to reasons why and then I bombed them with their opposition to Iraq, though the same things happened in Iraq on a daily basis.

4 posted on 07/25/2003 6:00:02 AM PDT by Phantom Lord (Distributor of Pain, Your Loss Becomes My Gain)
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To: HELLRAISER II; Phantom Lord
Agreed, Send Jesse!
5 posted on 07/25/2003 6:04:03 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: Phantom Lord
But that's different, just ask them they'll tell you. Jessee Jackson is a blight on the Human race, for Whites and the Blacks as well
6 posted on 07/25/2003 6:10:07 AM PDT by HELLRAISER II
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To: SJackson
I read this yesterday, and was hoping it would get wider attention !
7 posted on 07/25/2003 6:23:25 AM PDT by genefromjersey (So little time - so many FLAMES to light !!)
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To: genefromjersey; SJackson
Waddaguy!

Reverend in the morning, NASCAR Driver in the afternoon, Diplomat on weekends, Part-Time Diamond Merchant in his spare time, and Extortionist all the time.

Factoid: The Reverend JJ's half-brother (on the legitimate side of the blanket)and with whom he is intimately involved in many a "business venture," runs a vicious Chicago street gang, 'al-Rukyn.'

Quite incredible. <

8 posted on 07/25/2003 6:34:14 AM PDT by Kenny Bunk
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To: genefromjersey; SJackson
Waddaguy!

Reverend in the morning, NASCAR Driver in the afternoon, Diplomat on weekends, Part-Time Diamond Merchant in his spare time, and Extortionist all the time.

Factoid: The Reverend JJ's half-brother (on the legitimate side of the blanket)and with whom he is intimately involved in many a "business venture," runs a vicious Chicago street gang, 'al-Rukyn.'

Quite incredible. <

9 posted on 07/25/2003 6:34:18 AM PDT by Kenny Bunk
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To: SJackson
Great article. I am looking forward to the day that JJ is finally disgraced beyond foriveness, an forgotten by his "constituents".
10 posted on 07/25/2003 6:38:06 AM PDT by Shryke (I)
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To: SJackson
Any way to get this info to Bill O'Reilly?
11 posted on 07/25/2003 8:12:39 AM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Free! Read my historical romance novels online at http://Writing.Com/authors/vdavisson)
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To: HELLRAISER II
I have to say I disagree. More and more terrrorists are running to Africa because they know Europe and the West wont penetrate fighting.

Kofi Anan won't interfere - he's as dirty as Mandela is.

12 posted on 07/25/2003 8:15:30 AM PDT by mabelkitty
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To: mabelkitty
That's a good point and one that I admit that I had not given much thought to. However at this time I don't know that we need to jump into another hornet's nest. We are spread out to far and to thin and our economy is just starting to rebound so even though I do give creedence to what you say. I would still have to say no to sending troops to Liberia, at least for the immediate future & until Iraq is wrapped up. I'll tell you where the next conflict is that we're going to have to address is, North Korea.
13 posted on 07/25/2003 8:21:12 AM PDT by HELLRAISER II
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To: SJackson
Verrrry interesting post!
14 posted on 07/25/2003 10:06:04 AM PDT by livius
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To: SJackson
Verrrry interesting post!
15 posted on 07/25/2003 10:06:12 AM PDT by livius
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To: rdb3; Khepera; elwoodp; MAKnight; condolinda; mafree; Trueblackman; FRlurker; Teacher317; ...
Black conservative ping

If you want on (or off) of my black conservative ping list, please let me know via FREEPmail. (And no, you don't have to be black to be on the list!)

Extra warning: this is a high-volume ping list.

16 posted on 07/25/2003 10:52:11 AM PDT by mhking
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To: SJackson
Jackson's mouth kills blacks on both sides of the big pond, while he rakes in the blood money.
17 posted on 07/25/2003 11:17:29 AM PDT by Trueblackman (Will you be frinking today???)
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To: SJackson
Totally disheartening to read the breaking news : President Bush has ordered a MEU aboard the Iwo Jima to stand by off the coast of Liberia. The MEU is about 2 days away.Supposedly, 2 Nigerian battalions are also about 2 days away ( 1 Nigerian Battalion = 1 Marine Corps squad - assuming half the squad is on the sick,lame,or lazy list).)
18 posted on 07/25/2003 1:15:19 PM PDT by genefromjersey (So little time - so many FLAMES to light !!)
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To: SJackson; MeeknMing; Joe Brower; dix; humblegunner; antivenom; bobbyd; eastforker; Flyer; ...
Bump to a really interesting read! This NEEDS to get spread far and wide!!!!

Hey Meek, Please hit this with you biggest ping list. Same request to you Mr. Brower (I know it ain't guns, but our military may soon be involved)!


Eaker

19 posted on 07/25/2003 1:36:44 PM PDT by Eaker (This is OUR country; let's take it back!!!!!)
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To: genefromjersey
( 1 Nigerian Battalion = 1 Marine Corps squad - assuming half the squad is on the sick,lame,or lazy list).)

Great statement!!!

Thanks,
Eaker

20 posted on 07/25/2003 1:38:46 PM PDT by Eaker (This is OUR country; let's take it back!!!!!)
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To: SJackson; Eaker; Alamo-Girl; onyx; SpookBrat; Republican Wildcat; Howlin; Fred Mertz; ...
Interesting info on The Reverend Jesse Jackson, Bill Clintoon and Africa.
Thanks for posting this !


Please let me know if you want ON or OFF my General Interest ping list!. . .don't be shy.


21 posted on 07/26/2003 4:07:34 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Dixie Chimps! / Coming Soon !: Freeper site on Comcast. Found the URL. Gotta fix it now.)
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To: Eaker
Thanks for the ping.
I wonder how much Jesse raked in over all his Africa adventures ??




22 posted on 07/26/2003 4:13:11 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Dixie Chimps! / Coming Soon !: Freeper site on Comcast. Found the URL. Gotta fix it now.)
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To: SJackson



23 posted on 07/26/2003 4:14:48 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Dixie Chimps! / Coming Soon !: Freeper site on Comcast. Found the URL. Gotta fix it now.)
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To: yall



24 posted on 07/26/2003 4:17:12 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Dixie Chimps! / Coming Soon !: Freeper site on Comcast. Found the URL. Gotta fix it now.)
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To: yall







Jesse's Love Child

25 posted on 07/26/2003 4:18:08 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Dixie Chimps! / Coming Soon !: Freeper site on Comcast. Found the URL. Gotta fix it now.)
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To: MeeknMing
I wonder how much Jesse raked in over all his Africa adventures ??

Chump change. Diamonds aren't even the main business. Hardwood lumber is. Gus van Kouwenhoven, Talal El-Ndine,Simon Rosenblum and Kuku Denis are the ones in Taylor's inner circle who run that.

26 posted on 07/26/2003 4:27:01 AM PDT by DPB101
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To: Eaker
OHHH I have an idea where the money came from, to buy the diamonds that were later sold to pad the pockets of all the crooks at the top...That dumb honky Pat Robertson...

I heard mention of this (Jackson and his bloody diamonds) the other night on O'Reilly...BUT what was also interesting...Religious leader Pat Robertson is UP TO HIS ears involved in ass kissing of Taylor too!

What the decline to further comment is all about is this...there are "squatting rebels" on the land of the gold mind...Pat wants his Christian "buddy" Taylor ro go in and slaughter the rebels, so that the "christian" investment can proceed according to plan. Pat is delusional if he really believes that Taylor is a christian and deserves to be treated as such.

I have nver been a FAN to Christian church TV monopolies...but now I have evidence and a reason to support my "distrust" of yet another. He will soon run down the path of destruction as Swaggart, J Jackson and Baker.

Funny how Pat and Jesse, with their love of the gospel, are really singing to a VERY small choir...of bankers.

27 posted on 07/26/2003 5:07:42 AM PDT by antivenom (Tag, you're it!)
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To: backhoe
bump
28 posted on 07/26/2003 6:35:26 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: MeeknMing
Thanks for the heads up!
29 posted on 07/26/2003 11:59:25 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: MeeknMing; mhking
In one telephone conversation with Taylor, on May 7, 2000, Jackson gushed: "Brother Taylor, word is coming through that you are playing a constructive role. Two or three wire-service stories. Congratulations! Your public leadership is important."

When challenged by African reporters during a May 12, 2000, press conference as to why he was relying on Taylor and Sankoh to get the U.N. hostages released, when in fact they had orchestrated the hostage crisis themselves, Jackson said, "There is blood on everybody's hands and no clean hands. If Charles Taylor can talk to the [RUF] commanders and they hear that, that would be positive. It would be different if he were encouraging fighting, but he is not."

Hmmm, well what can I say! Jesse is such a hypocrite!

30 posted on 07/26/2003 9:03:43 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul
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To: SJackson
This is an very enlightening article, thanks for sharing it. I doubt we'll hear much about this as the left/media have mastered filtering the information available to sheeple. Eight years of the most inept foreign policy in US history has left an incredible mess for the current administration and this country. There is a special place in hell reserved for Bill Clinton.
31 posted on 07/27/2003 4:58:07 AM PDT by Quilla
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To: SJackson

“diamond wars of Liberia and Sierra Leone” and Jackson was in it up to his eyeballs.

If any of you have ever met anyone who escaped from Sierra Leone or Chad, it’s an eye opener.


32 posted on 07/09/2008 3:15:31 PM PDT by combat_boots (She lives! 22 weeks, 9.5 inches. Go, baby, go!)
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To: combat_boots

Thanks for pinging this, ironic on a day Jesse is making the news.


33 posted on 07/09/2008 4:16:09 PM PDT by SJackson (I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), roasted grasshopper (crunchy), BH Obama)
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