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U.S. Military Helicopters Land in Liberia
The Guardian (UK) ^ | 8/6/03 | GLENN McKENZIE

Posted on 08/06/2003 9:17:22 AM PDT by Sparta

By GLENN McKENZIE

Associated Press Writer

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - Three U.S. military helicopters landed at Liberia's high-walled U.S. Embassy on Wednesday, a day after President Bush promised to send a first American team to Liberia's war-divided capital.

U.S. officials declined to immediately confirm whether the helicopters contained the promised six- to 10-member U.S. military team. The team is moving in as Nigerian troops at Monrovia's airport - the vanguard of a West African peacekeeping force - prepared to enter the capital for the first time.

American authorities barred journalists from the embassy for the landing. They would confirm only that three members of a U.S. humanitarian team were on the flights.

The helicopters, swooping in from across the Atlantic, disappeared behind the embassy walls as they landed.

Bush on Tuesday authorized a contingent to deploy for logistical support of the steadily building West African deployment. A senior Bush administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the team could grow as large as 20 in coming days, but the official said that it should not be seen as the beginning of a larger deployment.

The USS Iwo Jima amphibious assault ship and USS Carter Hall amphibious landing dock were within 100 miles of Liberia, out of sight from shore. The amphibious transport dock USS Nashville was moving toward Liberia. U.S. officials have spoken of the ships moving into sight of Monrovia at some point - in an intended show of force for combatants and residents.

With hundreds of thousands of refugees and residents in government-held parts of Monrovia desperate for food, West African and U.S. diplomats have been working - with no word of success - to negotiate access routes to the rebel-held port area, where warehouses stocked with food are located.

Nigerian Lt. Col. Sam Nudamajo said he expected to send the first troops from his force into the city later Wednesday, to head toward the port. Three days since they arrived, Nigerian forces were building to battalion strength of 770-men at Liberia's main airport, outside Monrovia.

Rebels have besieged the capital for months with the goal of ousting President Charles Taylor, a former warlord blamed in 14 years of conflict in once-prosperous Liberia and indicted for war crimes in nearby Sierra Leone. The fighting in Monrovia has killed well over 1,000 civilians.

On Wednesday, Taylor's forces stood guard in the middle of the bridges between the port and the government's stronghold downtown. They turned back hungry civilians trying to cross into the rebel territory in search of food.

Taylor's forces allowed only journalists to cross Wednesday. On the rebel side, civilians waited anxiously inside for clearance to cross over to reach hospitals in government territory for malaria and bullet- and shrapnel wounds from fighting.

``We have enough food here. But there are insufficient drugs to give medical attention to our sick, and war-wounded,'' said Sam Van Kesselly, a journalism professor.

Residents of the rebel side were tending their wounded and sick in schools, churches and rebel headquarters, with local doctors helping as they could.

In front of journalists, rebels cracked down on looting of shops and warehouses - at one point shooting a man they said was a looter before an Associated Press Television News camera. It was unclear if the man died.

Six bodies - some naked, others with their hands tied behind their backs - lay on sidewalks and water-clogged streets among cans of orange juice, emptied boxes and other looted goods.

Rebel officers used rubber hoses to whip three crying, shirtless subordinates, also accused of looting.

On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador John Blaney joined West African officials in a convoy to the rebel-held side, appealing to rebel commanders to open up humanitarian access to the port.

Rebel chief of staff Maj. Gen. Abdulla Seyeah Sheriff told reporters Wednesday that would happen only when Taylor resigns and leaves Liberia. ``We will hold our positions,'' until then, said Sheriff.

Earlier, Taylor's military chief of staff, Gen. Benjamin Yeaten, warned that if rebels fail to withdraw from the port it could ``tempt me'' to break the cease-fire.

Bush and West African leaders have demanded that Taylor cede power and leave Liberia, taking an asylum offer in Nigeria. Taylor has pledged to leave office Monday, but his government says he will leave the country only when an adequate number of peacekeepers are on the ground - and a U.N.-Sierra Leone war-crimes indictment against him is dropped.

On Wednesday, the World Court confirmed that Liberia had asked it to stop the war crimes prosecution. Officials at the World Court, the U.N.'s highest judicial body, said it would have jurisdiction only if Sierra Leone agrees.

The U.N.-backed Sierra Leone court accuses Taylor of crimes against humanity for backing Sierra Leone's rebels in a brutal 10-year civil war there.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: africa; liberia; marines; nigeria; semperfi; usmilitaryteam; usscarterhall; ussiwojima; ussnashville

1 posted on 08/06/2003 9:17:23 AM PDT by Sparta
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To: Sparta
GOD bless and protect our troops!
2 posted on 08/06/2003 9:27:02 AM PDT by quesera (Scr*w the RATS, the U.N., and the French!)
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To: Sparta
I hope our military folks are there just to evaluate the situation, evacuate any Americans that might be there, and leave.

A choice between supporting a violent brutal dictator and several groups of Islamic "rebels" is no choice at all, and we shouldn't get involved in this at the moment, other than diplomatically.
3 posted on 08/06/2003 9:29:03 AM PDT by livius
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To: quesera
Amen
4 posted on 08/06/2003 9:29:49 AM PDT by Mo1 (I have nothing to add .. just want to see if I make the cut and paste ;0))
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To: livius
An article in last week's Rolling Stone magazine, by someone who spent time with the Liberian local troops is horrifying! They are nothing but doped up, crazed out kids between the ages of 10-15ish. Since reading that article I only pray that Bush will keep us out! Not one American life is worth trying to save that hell hole.
5 posted on 08/06/2003 9:53:57 AM PDT by joey'smom
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To: joey'smom

  Out of Africa: Butt Naked Battalion

Sun Tzu's Newswire Press Release - 9753
Monday, August 18, 1997, 6:45 pm U.S. Eastern Time
Out of Africa: Butt Naked Battalion
---- by Sun Tzu's Newswire Staff
An Associated Press story by Tina Susman contributed to this piece

In Monrovia, Liberia, Joshua Milton Blahyi was General Butt Naked
during Liberia's civil war that claimed up to 200,000 lives before
the warring factions signed a peace accord.

Blahyi was hired by warlord Roosevelt Johnson. His group of drugged
and drunken teenagers entered battle in drag wearing wigs, flowered
dresses, and carrying purses.

General Butt Naked, as Blahyi has been named in press dispatches out
of Monrovia, wore only his shoes as he led his Butt Naked Battalion
into battle.

Blahyi claimed a pact with the devil at age 11 consummated a satanic
ritual. He said he was required to perform human sacrifices and go
into battle naked to ensure his safety on the battlefield.

Many of Blahyi's sacrifices were small children, some taken underwater
as they played and others simply butchered.


In 1996 Blahyi claims that God told him that he was a slave to Satan
and from that Blahyi asserts that his conversion to an evangelical
religion began.

Blahyi is now an evangelical preacher in Monrovia.

Sources: AP, Aug. 4, 1997, Tina Susman, Sun Tzu Organization files

6 posted on 08/06/2003 10:13:05 AM PDT by gcruse (http://gcruse.blogspot.com/)
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To: Sparta
Isn't 8 marines a bit much....its only one war. One marine should do it.

OooooRAaa!!
7 posted on 08/06/2003 10:38:14 AM PDT by Conan the Librarian (I am a Librarian. I don't know anything....I just know where to look it up.)
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To: *SemperFi
Marine ping
8 posted on 08/06/2003 11:10:33 AM PDT by anymouse
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To: Conan the Librarian
"Isn't 8 marines a bit much....its only one war. One marine should do it. "

They said Marines not, Texas Rangers.

9 posted on 08/06/2003 12:10:20 PM PDT by blam
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: Britannia; blam; Admin Moderator
Welcome to FR. Enjoying your DisrUption playtime?
11 posted on 08/06/2003 2:28:52 PM PDT by Long Cut
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To: Long Cut
"Welcome to FR. Enjoying your DisrUption playtime?"

Was that directed at me or Britannia?

12 posted on 08/06/2003 5:04:10 PM PDT by blam
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To: Britannia
Good evening, you worthless gobshite wanker.
13 posted on 08/06/2003 5:05:44 PM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.)
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To: Long Cut
Welcome to FR. Enjoying your DisrUption playtime?

I think that was more of a jab from [insert other military branch].

14 posted on 08/06/2003 5:21:03 PM PDT by Djarum
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To: Djarum
Nevermind.
15 posted on 08/06/2003 5:22:43 PM PDT by Djarum
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: blam
Toward Britannia. Click he/she/it's homepage and check it's posts...I suspect treachery.
17 posted on 08/06/2003 9:53:11 PM PDT by Long Cut
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To: Sparta
Good, we belong there
18 posted on 08/06/2003 10:02:09 PM PDT by Porterville ("They drew first blood, not me.")
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To: Long Cut
"Click he/she/it's homepage and check it's posts...I suspect treachery."

Yup. I think you're onto something.

19 posted on 08/06/2003 10:03:12 PM PDT by blam
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To: Britannia
Hmmm... I suspect you be of trollish breed.
How many Liberals does it take to change a lightbulb?
20 posted on 08/07/2003 9:29:01 AM PDT by Darksheare ("Liberals, fodder for the Dogs of War.")
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To: blam; Long Cut
Where's the Viking Kitties?
I'm sure they'd like to play with this guy for a bit.
21 posted on 08/07/2003 9:29:41 AM PDT by Darksheare ("Liberals, fodder for the Dogs of War.")
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To: blam; Long Cut
I found one of the VK's, am hoping for some fun with Britannia here, maybe.
Check out Britannias posts, especially the first one from yesterday.
22 posted on 08/07/2003 9:38:40 AM PDT by Darksheare ("Liberals, fodder for the Dogs of War.")
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To: gcruse
Yes, I believe it. In Liberia, this type of satanic devil worship stuff is literally out in the open and part of the normal culture. I do not think Islam is a factor in this civil war, but involved in it is animism, spirit worship, "Lucifer" worship; a battle between different types of "powers" or "principalities" of another sort.

This is the real war. It just jooks different on the outside; plays itself out differently in different cultures. That's one of the most important things I realized in Liberia.
23 posted on 08/07/2003 5:27:31 PM PDT by Gal.5:1
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To: Sparta
Praying: God protect our troops in Liberia.
24 posted on 08/07/2003 5:29:06 PM PDT by Gal.5:1
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To: Sparta
A Marine gets off the chooper, looks around and tells his buddies, "Y'all go home, I can take this place."
25 posted on 08/07/2003 5:32:34 PM PDT by PatrioticAmerican (Helping Mexicans invade America is TREASON!)
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To: Gal.5:1
The amazing thing is that they stick with cross dressing, etc, as if it works. The ability of the human mind to form connections and causality where there is none is famous. Being unable to see when it is bogus defines civilizations, I guess. Hug an atheist today. :)
26 posted on 08/07/2003 5:35:38 PM PDT by gcruse (http://gcruse.blogspot.com/)
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