‘Slave Bible’ Converted Slaves to Christianity by Omitting Parts That Could Lead to Uprising

a3yb16ra28nltbevn8inPhoto: Museum of the Bible

A new exhibit at a Washington, D.C., museum featuring an abridged version of the Bible sheds light on how Christian missionaries converted enslaved Africans to Christianity by teaching them the Gospel… except the parts about freedom, equality and resistance.

According to NPR, Parts of the Holy Bible, Selected For the Use of the Negro Slaves, in the British West-India Islands, is on display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., and is one of only three known copies of this abridged version of the King James Bible. Printed by the Missionary Society For the Conversion of Negro Slaves, the text of the Bible was used by missionaries from England to convert slaves to Christianity.

The book is basically the enslavers extended remix of the King James version of the Bible, leaving out all that unnecessary junk that might lead slaves to turn on their masters. For instance, Moses doesn’t even exist until he is an old man in the “Slave Bible.”

“You’ll see a jump from Genesis 45, and they’ve cut out all the material to Exodus 19,” says Anthony Schmidt, associate curator of Bible and Religion in America at the museum. “What they’ve cut out is the story of the Israelites captivity in Egypt and their eventual liberation and journey to the promised land.”

The censored version removed 90 percent of the Old Testament and 50 percent of the New Testament, eliminating potentially seditious passages such as Exodus 21:16, which reads: “And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.”

However, the curators of the Slavery Bible did keep some passages that they thought were necessary for slaves, including Ephesians 6:5:

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

The Missionary Society For the Conversion of Negro Slaves was a group of missionaries’ that was formed in 1794. The society’s original intent was to convert Native Americans to Christ but the group began to focus on enslaved Africans after the American Revolution.

The extremely rare artifact is on loan from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., which has housed the “Slave Bible” in their special collection for more than 50 years. The only other known copies of the artifact are in the United Kingdom.

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North Texas pastor charged with sexual assault of children!

An affidavit says one victim was just 13 when Darrell Yancey started abusing her and she conceived three children with him!!

 

Pastor Darrell Maurice Yancey, 59, was booked into the Arlington jail Thursday for sexual crimes against children that police say happened in the 1990s and 2000s.

The pastor has since been moved to the Tarrant County Jail.

Arlington Police have charged Yancey with seven counts of sexual assault of a child, three of which are aggravated because of the age of the victim.

An arrest warrant affidavit says one victim was just 13-years-old when the assaults started, and she conceived three children with Yancey. He is her former pastor. She was living with him at the time because her family had financial difficulties.

The affidavit said the victim placed a recorded call to Yancey earlier this year, in which she confronted him about the abuse and the “impact it had on her spiritually, mentally and emotionally.” She asked if he felt remorse.

“The suspect stated he did not enjoy it and gave an example stating ‘a man does not enjoy it because you didn’t have a willing participant,'” the affidavit reads.

The court documents say another victim was Yancey’s own daughter. She confirmed what was in the affidavit Friday and gave WFAA permission to share that.

Police wouldn’t comment on why charges were brought now.

Yancey has been a pastor all over the DFW area. There are videos of him singing at church all over YouTube. On his Facebook page, he calls himself “The Apostle.”

Police and those who know Yancey say he was most recently a pastor in Terrell.

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Man accused of wanting to eat child sex slave gets probation!

180820-man-accused-wanting-to-eat-child-featureJustin Teeter Bensing – Greenville County Sheriff’s Office

 

GREENVILLE, S.C. — A man who South Carolina authorities say wanted to enslave and eat a child has been sentenced to probation.

News outlets quote court records as saying 36-year-old Justin Teeter Bensing pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal solicitation of a minor and was sentenced Aug. 9 to 10 years in prison, but the sentence was suspended to five years of probation.

A sentencing sheet The Greenville News obtained from the Greenville County Clerk of Court’s Office says Bensing was diagnosed with autism and considered low risk. The judge said no prior criminal charges were also among the factors determining Bensing’s sentence.

Bensing had been accused of soliciting an undercover officer he thought was a girl. Bensing’s attorney James Brehm said Saturday that the cannibalism comments were Bensing joking with someone else and unrelated to the investigation.

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A glimpse into the strange world of self-cannibals!

180824-woman-tried-cannibalism-for-first-timeAnthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in 2001’s “Hannibal.” MGM

 

Warning: Graphic Content

The texture was good, it looked tasty, there was a nice hint of spice and if Gwen van der Zwan hadn’t have spent all day cooking it, she’d probably never have guessed that the sausage she was eating had been made from human blood.

She’d invited one of her friends over to try the meaty dish as well, and served it up at a candlelit table with a side salad and a gourmet-style bloody drizzle. They both agreed: too much soy sauce, but otherwise delicious.

In July, van der Zwan, from the Netherlands, tried cannibalism for the first time.

However, she’s no Hannibal Lecter and no humans were hurt in the making of her dinner.

Instead, she made the meal from her own blood — which she had painstakingly drained into a medical bag — after becoming fascinated with the idea of trying a human sausage.

“Why is my idea considered disgusting, but doing the same thing with pigs’ blood isn’t?” she asked at the time.

’37-year-old male seeks cute piece of meat’
Although she’s rare in acting publicly on her unusual tastes, van der Zwan is far from the only one to be fascinated by cannibalism.

Dating-style fetish sites match up those desperate for human flesh with those who want nothing more than to be eaten alive themselves.

“Cannibal seeks meal,” one post reads. “This 37-year-old male seeks a nice cute piece of meat. I prefer girls.”

Another says: “I’m a thirty-something man looking for a female so we can sample each other’s flesh. Cut together, cook together and eat together. Non-lethal cuts so we can enjoy eating one another.”

Would-be victims refer to themselves as “longpigs” — a term meaning human flesh which was used by man-eating Pacific Islanders who thought people tasted like pork.

But why would anyone want to eat, or be eaten by, someone else?

Experts say that cannibalism is largely to do with power — breaking the “ultimate taboo” leaves man-eaters feeling euphoric.

Therapist Karen Hylen has even suggested that cannibalism can become addictive for a small number of people with psychopathic tendencies, comparing the act of eating someone to a cocaine high.

On Reddit, a growing number of posters chat openly about their fascination with cannibalism, although comments seem to often be driven more by a morbid curiosity than anything else.

Bill Schutt, author of “Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History,” ate a human placenta when writing his book.

He told The Sun: “We think cannibalism is revolting because that’s what our culture dictates.”

“Other cultures that didn’t get that memo have had very different attitudes toward cannibalism.”

“For example, in the mid-20th century, the Wari people of Brazil were apparently just as upset to find that Western anthropologists buried their dead as the anthropologists were aghast to learn that the Wari ate their loved ones after they died.”

The man who served his friends foot tacos

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In June, a 38-year-old man took to Reddit to share the story (verified by Vice) of a dinner party where his friends ate a meal made from his amputated foot.

After a motorbike accident in 2016, he had the smashed limb cut off and doctors let him keep it.

Then, three weeks later, he threw a brunch for 10 willing friends where the main course was tacos made from the flesh which had been amputated.

The anonymous man posted photos of the dish and explained how he kept his mangled foot in the freezer until it was time to cook it.

Then he cut out a chunk of flesh, marinated it overnight and sauteed it with onions, peppers and lime juice.

Posting on Reddit, he says: “I taste like buffalo. But chewier. Super beefy and a little fat. We weren’t looking to go all Hannibal and get gourmet — just to make it so no one gagged.”

“My friends and I always had this joke,” he adds. “If you could try human flesh in an ethical and healthy way, would you? And we always said of course. Well, the opportunity came up and I called them on it.

“It was a neat experience, and I wouldn’t change it.”

‘What would my mom think of my blood sausage?’

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In van der Zwan’s case, it all started because she had been thinking about how her friends would react if she really made a dish from her own bodily fluid. So last month she got online and ordered a set of needles and a blood bag.

A couple of days and a few YouTube tutorials later, she punctured the skin on the inside of her elbow and started filling a bag with half a quart of her blood.

Listening to the sounds of blood splashing into the bag, van der Zwan wondered: “What would my mom think if she saw me sitting in my living room like this?”

Once she had extracted half a quart of her own blood from her now weak and purple-looking arm, she removed the needle accidentally squirting a few droplets onto the carpet.

Then, with the help of a close, not-too-squeamish friend, van der Zwan mixed lentils, tomato puree, soy sauce and herbs into a filling and sloshed in almost the entire bag of blood.

“The kitchen looked like a slaughterhouse,” she jokes in a Munchies article.

Amazingly, many of van der Zwan’s friends were eager to try her creation, which she served up, MasterChef style, on white plates with a bloody jus.

“We cut happily into the sausages and chewed on them as if we were judges on a cooking show,” she writes.

“The texture was very good and the level of spiciness was perfect. Unfortunately, I went a bit heavy on the soy sauce, so the sausage is a bit salty. Not bad, though.”

The computer geek who ate a willing victim’s penis

However, not all would-be cannibals are so easily satisfied with just a bit of blood sausage.

An alarming number of online posts feature requests for victims willing to be eaten alive to satisfy cannibalistic sexual desires.

The forum which hosts hundreds of these posts is the evolution of Cannibal Cafe, a now-defunct website for cannibals seeking the same.

Supposedly, the message board is for fetishists who want to roleplay as man-eaters, but we know from a high-profile case on Cannibal Cafe that some users were deadly serious about eating someone they met online.

German IT technician Armin Meiwes was among the unknown number of legitimate cannibals lurking on the site.

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Armin Meiwes AP

In the most notorious case of cannibalism this century, he posted: “looking for a well-built 18 to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed.”

Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes, an engineer from Berlin, answered his ad in March 2001, stating that he was willing to be killed and eaten.

A few days later, the pair met in Meiwes’ home in the small town of Rotenburg and filmed a video where Meiwes cut off and ate Brandes penis, with his consent.

As Brandes bled to death, Meiwes fried the penis in a pan with salt, pepper, wine and garlic.

He later stabbed his victim in the throat and hung his body on a meat hook.

Meiwes ate the remains over the following 10 months, hiding body parts in his freezer and eating up to 44 pounds of human flesh all for the supposed sexual pleasure of it.

The cannibal wasn’t arrested until 2002, when another ad he posted online was brought to the attention of the authorities.

Even though his victim had agreed to being killed and eaten, he was eventually convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Today, Meiwes is a vegetarian and says he regrets his crime, but he estimates that there could still be as many as 800 active cannibals in Germany alone.

As for the number of cannibals elsewhere, experts say it’s impossible to guess.

But new posts pop up on the cannibal forum every day, and based on the chatter online it seems like the appetite for these dark and unconventional tastes is only growing.

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Man allegedly plotted on dark web to kill, eat underage girl!

barterAlexander Nathan – BarterShelby County Sheriff’s Office

 

A depraved Texas man was busted in an undercover sting that revealed he allegedly wanted to kill and eat a little girl, authorities said.

Alexander Nathan Barter, 21, was arrested Friday after reportedly posting on the dark web looking for help to fulfill his necrophiliac and cannibalistic desires, according to news station KTRE.

An undercover agent posing as a parent responded and offered his underage daughter to Barter, who expressed interest in raping and killing the girl.

Barter reportedly replied to the officer saying, “Nice! I’m in East Texas. How old is your daughter? Can we kill her?”

In a series of emails, Bart came up with a disturbing plan to meet the father-daughter duo and take the girl back to a Joaquin hotel. The suspect instructed the agent to return home after dropping off his daughter and report her missing to police.

But as Barter was leaving his house for the meet-up, authorities arrested him outside his residence while carrying a plastic trash bag and knife, according to KTRE.

The 21-year-old allegedly confessed to discussing his plans online to kill, rape and cannibalize a minor.

He was booked at Shelby County Jail on charges including attempted capital murder and attempted sexual performance of a child.

Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires released a statement saying the incident was a “continued reminder that parents should always be vigilant and aware of what their children are doing on the internet.”

“The dark web, and the individuals that operate there, pose a continued and increasing threat to the safety of our children,” Shires said. “Jurisdiction, geography, and distance serve as a minimal, if any, impediment to some very terrible activities. In this matter, Law Enforcement mounted an effective and integrated effort to deal with this situation.”

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Cannibal trio sentenced for killing women, stuffing flesh into pastries!

brazil-cannibals-pastries-12.17.18(From left) Jorge Beltrao Negromonte da Silveira, his wife, Isabel Cristina Pires, and his mistress, Bruna Cristina Oliveira da Silva, during their trial in September 2014.

 

A Brazilian man — dubbed the “Sweeney Todd” cannibal — his wife and his mistress were each sentenced to several decades in prison after they were convicted of murdering women and stuffing their flesh into pastries that they then ate and handed out to neighbors, reports said.

Jorge Beltrao Negromonte da Silveira, his wife, Isabel Pires, and his mistress, Bruna Cristina Oliveira, were sentenced over the weekend after they were arrested in 2012 for killing at least three women, Brazilian outlet G1 reported. The trio — nicknamed the “cannibals of Garanhaus” for the neighborhood where the murders took place — was on trial for killing Alexandra Falcon Silva, 20, and Gisele Helena da Silva, 31.

Silveira was sentenced to 71 years in prison, while his wife received 68 years and his mistress 71 years and 10 months.

The trio lured women to their home by offering them a job as a nanny or giving them religious advice before slaughtering them and eating their flesh. Silveira’s wife used some of the flesh to make stuffed meat pastries called salgados. They sold some of the pastries to neighbors.

The rest of the women’s remains reportedly were buried in their back yard.

On Friday, Silveira accused his mistress of torturing him.

“I’ll tell you the truth now because in the other trial, I hid a lot in defense of Bruna. I’ve known Bruna since she was 17 and she told me she was a witch. I have no part in it. Both I and Isabel were tortured to assume that,” Silveira said, according to G1.

The trio carried out the killings as a “purification ritual,” the BBC previously reported. At the time of the arrests, police also uncovered a book written by Silveira titled, “Revelations of a Schizophrenic,” in which he claimed he heard voices and was infatuated with killing women.

The cannibal family was convicted in 2014 of killing Jéssica Camila da Silva Pereira. Silveira received 23 years in prison, while his wife and mistress were sentenced to 20 years, the BBC reported.

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DEMON-CRATIC MUTANT: THE GAY TRANSGENDER AGENDA!

The gay agenda is to convince the heterosexual majority that there are no appreciable differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals. We are to believe that sexual preference is merely a personal choice with no broader ramifications for society. The choice of a sexual partner or partners is supposed to be as innocuous as choosing a flavor of ice cream. The inescapable corollary is that any biases against homosexuality are necessarily irrational.

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Police Say She Held Down a 2-Year-Old While Her Cousin Sexually Abused the Toddler — And it Gets Worse

CINCINNATI —
A Cincinnati woman and a Franklin man have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to selling and creating child pornography, according to the United States Attorney’s Office in Cincinnati.

Ciera Richter, 25, of Cincinnati, and Jason Fletcher, 40, of Franklin, were federally indicted Wednesday.

Fletcher was previously convicted by the state of Ohio of importuning a minor, among other crimes. Under the terms of his probation, he was not to possess pornography of any kind, according to Jennifer Thornton, Department of Justice spokeswoman.

In May 2017, during a visit with his probation officer, the officer noticed Fletcher had two mobile devices and, after having Fletcher provide access to the devices, started to review the content on both phones.

The probation officer found pornography of a minor female on one of the phones and Fletcher was subsequently arrested, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A search of the phone revealed not only a collection of child pornography, but also child pornography videos made with the phone. Some of the videos on the phone involved Fletcher, Richter and a 2-year-old.

In the videos, Richter helped hold, entertain and position the toddler, while Fletcher recorded himself sexually abusing the child, according to court records.

Richter procured the 2-year-old for the purpose of making the videos and intended to sell the videos, according to the indictment and other court documents.

“Richter provided the toddler to Fletcher with the knowledge that as a consequence of the transfer, the 2-year-old would be portrayed in child pornography,” said Benjamin C. Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, in a statement. “Offenses like those alleged here are among the most heinous, and most important, that we prosecute. We take seriously our duty and responsibility to keep children safe from those who would prey upon them.”

Richter and Fletcher are each charged with one count of conspiracy to produce child pornography and production of child pornography. Those crimes carry a potential sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison.

Fletcher faces a potential range of 35 years to life in prison, because he has at least two prior state convictions for crimes involving children.

Richter is also charged with one count of selling a child, which is punishable by 30 years to life in prison.

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Inside The Country Where You Can Buy A Black Man For $400

sub-buzz-2761-1544823388-1Slavery is thriving in Libya, where thousands of black Africans hoping to get to Europe instead find themselves bought and sold, forced to work for nothing, and facing torture at the hands of their owners.

 

BENIN CITY, Nigeria — Jude Ikuenobe sensed the car following him before he saw it. Heart pounding, he turned around. Under the Libyan desert sun, the highway stretching behind him was so hot it shimmered in the distance.

Nobody’s there, he tried to reassure himself for the tenth time since he had stepped out a few minutes earlier in search of water, along with three of his friends. The sandy side streets were deserted, every shop and café shuttered. It was a Friday afternoon, which meant even the armed militias who ruled Sabha, a sprawling oasis city 480 miles inland from the coastal capital, had filed to mosques for the most important weekly prayers.

Then came the sound again — the unmistakable purr of an engine.

Wordlessly, all four men scattered.

Ikuenobe felt like he was running through quicksand. As the car sped closer, he knew a single misstep could mean being gunned down and dying anonymously in the street.

“In Sabha, every black man is a target.”

He glanced over his shoulder, and terror seized him: A white 4×4 with tinted windows was heading straight at him.

All the warnings he’d heard flashed through his mind.

“In Sabha, every black man is a target.”

“We black in Libya — we’re money to Arabs. The minute they get us, they can sell us.”

“If they are coming, just run. Run for your life.”

Ikuenobe ran, and kept running even as there was a screech of tires, the smell of burning rubber, and a volley of gunshots. He kept running as one of his friends hit the ground with a thud. He ran until his legs gave way in an unpaved alleyway, and he collapsed onto the sandy ground, drenched in fear and sweat.

It took him several hours, on shaky legs through labyrinthine back roads, to slip back into the walled compound where he had spent the last three weeks. The building was no sanctuary, and Ikuenobe knew the owner of the compound would dole out a vicious beating, but he had nowhere else to go.

At least he was alive — none of his friends had made it back at all.

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That summer afternoon in 2015 was the latest reminder of how far his life had slipped from his control, and how far entangled he was in a web of paymasters who control the new African slave trade.

Slavery typically conjures up images of ships transporting black Africans across the Atlantic, or the death marches of the trans-Saharan slave trade. But this modern-day version has added a cruel twist — this time, people from sub-Saharan Africa are often selling themselves into slavery, believing they are buying a ticket from a life of conflict, poverty, or repression to a glittering future in Europe. In a grim irony, the very policies of a European Union that is hardening itself against immigration are largely responsible not only for preventing people from reaching the continent, but their becoming enslaved and dying in their attempts to escape.

Few places could be further from the promised land than current-day Libya, where tens of thousands are detained indefinitely, spend years working for arbitrary sums or without pay altogether, and are at constant risk of being kidnapped, sold, and auctioned from one militia to another. In a country where chaos is the rule, some experts argue that such treatment doesn’t amount to slavery, a view that downplays the racism underlying the situation.

Ikuenobe had ended up trapped in Libya after leaving his hometown of Benin City, a verdant city of low-rise buildings in southwestern Nigeria, in search of a better life in Europe. He had planned for a two-week journey northward across the Sahara desert into Libya, from where he would set off in a boat across the Mediterranean. Instead, he found himself spending more than two years trying to survive in the underbelly of modern-day slavery.

sub-buzz-26824-1544823725-7People at a naval base in Tripoli, after being rescued off the coast of Libya, on July 30, 2018.

 

Starting in 2014, images of desperate people crammed onto boats as they tried to cross the Mediterranean began to appear on TV screens. The “migrant crisis” soon upended European politics, unleashing a wave of far-right populism and anti-migrant rhetoric.

The European Union began pulling up the drawbridge, and debates flared up around the legality and morality of its “stop the boats” policy. But its darkest consequences were often erased from the narrative: the tens of thousands of black Africans entrapped in a growing slave market.

In November last year, a video that could have been lifted from a 300-year-old time capsule went viral. On grainy cellphone footage obtained by CNN, a group of black Africans were shown being auctioned as slaves somewhere in Tripoli, Libya’s capital. Offscreen, a slave trader repeatedly emphasized the strength of the black men for sale: “This is a digger, a big strong man,” he said, a proprietorial hand on another man’s shoulder. A Nigerian man in his twenties, his eyes blank with fear, was offered as part of a group of “big strong boys for farm work.” The men were sold for $400 each.

The Tripoli-based government reacted by launching a committee it said would bring those responsible to justice — although a year on, no findings have been made public. The UN-backed presidency said: “We, in Libya, are victims of illegal migration and we are not a source for it.” Shortly after the footage was published by CNN, Libyan media described it as “fake news,” using a tweet by US president Donald Trump that attacked the news channel as a way to discredit its reporting on slavery in Libya.

Fewer people are making it to Europe, but more are dying, disappearing, or being abused.

The slave auction video, it emerged, was the tip of the iceberg of a forced labor market estimated to be worth $150 billion worldwide. Images resurfaced of black Africans being detained by militias in cages in Tripoli zoo. There were videos of Libyan coast guards whipping terrified black women and children at sea.

Perched on the northern coast of Africa, some 120 nautical miles across from the Mediterranean coast of Italy and Malta, oil-rich Libya has long served as a launching-off point for Europe. For nearly four decades, migrant numbers were controlled by the country’s flamboyant dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. He periodically threatened to unleash an “influx of starving and ignorant Africans” who would turn the mainland into a “black Europe” — in order to wrangle cash-for-migration-control deals.

In 2008, he secured a $5 billion reparations deal from Italy, a former colonial power; in exchange, Gaddafi would stem the flow of refugees. That paved the way for both countries to start capturing asylum-seekers and returning them to Libya, until the European Court of Human Rights ruled the deal broke human rights laws. The self-named “king of kings of Africa” then began demanding 5 billion euros ($5.67 billion) annually from the European Union.

After the Arab Spring and the US-led bombing campaign toppled Gaddafi in 2011, Libya was carved up between a UN-recognized central government in Tripoli, another in the east, and dozens of militias vying for control of the south. Migrant routes that had previously been controlled under Gaddafi suddenly opened up again.

Panicked European governments turned to a familiar playbook. Through EU and UN security and funding agencies, they poured sophisticated surveillance equipment, warships, and billions of euros into countries across Africa — with Libya as the centerpiece — in an effort to push back, return, or contain would-be arrivals. With no strongman ally this time around, that money has been channeled toward training Libya’s coast guard and funding migrant-holding centers — even when news emerged of coast guards firing on refugee boats or militia-run labor camps.

But critics fear that without dealing with the root triggers of migration, these kind of border controls are short-sighted at best. Sealing one route simply opens another one. It’s like playing a high-stakes version of whack-a-mole — but the question is how long is it sustainable, and at what human cost?

Fewer people are making it to Europe, but more are dying, disappearing, or being abused en route — except it’s no longer happening on the shores of Europe. Yet every step of Ikuenobe’s journey into slavery was shaped not just by conflict or poverty in Africa, but also directly by Europe’s policies on migration.

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Ikuenobe wasn’t willing to risk everything to get to Europe — he just believed slavery was a thing confined to the history books he’d read at school. Tall, broad-shouldered, and dimple-cheeked, Ikuenobe spent his free time playing football or attending activities organized by his local church. A political science graduate, he was often teased by friends who said he had squandered his true talents by not playing for Arsenal soccer team, whose colors draped his room at home.

His journey into captivity began one evening in July 2015, when he was scrolling listlessly through his Facebook feed after yet another visa application at the US Consulate office. It was the fourth time that year he’d painstakingly filled out the forms, forked over money from his dwindling savings, and sat through a humiliating interview in an embassy. And for the fourth time, his request came back: application denied.

Depressed, Ikuenobe was about to log off when a familiar face popped up under the “people you may know” tab. His initial joy at reconnecting with Asiri, an old school friend, was soon replaced with a typical reaction Facebook engenders: FOMO. Except this wasn’t a fear of missing out on concerts or travel or parties — his dwindling bank account saw to that every day. This felt like his whole life was slipping by.

Ikuenobe believed slavery was a thing confined to the history books he’d read at school.

His former classmate had ended up in Italy, where he’d found a job as a waiter. According to the glossy version of his life on Facebook, he’d saved enough to buy a Vespa and would soon be putting a deposit on an apartment. “Where he was, you know the atmosphere was different. Everything looked fresher. It looked good,” Ikuenobe recalled, sitting in the same room in his family home where he’d been that evening three years ago.

All Ikuenobe ever really wanted to do was work. After graduating in 2013, he’d traveled 7,000 miles across the Atlantic to Mexico, where he got a job in a textiles factory. It wasn’t exactly his dream job, and he was homesick every day, but the paycheck of $800 provided enough to send money back to his family and help put his five younger siblings through school. But just over a year later, he had to return to Nigeria to complete his compulsory national youth service — a requirement if he wanted to eventually settle down back home.

After finishing his service, his plans to find another job abroad were crushed by the reality of Nigeria’s job market — there weren’t enough jobs that allowed him to save, and every legal door to emigrating slammed shut. He began pawning treasured possessions, including the peacock blue Toyota Camry he’d bought when he first returned from Mexico.

The next day, he called the number Asiri had given him. The man on the end of the line sounded warm and friendly. He could open doors northward from Nigeria, through its landlocked neighbor, Niger, and finally to Libya. From there, Europe would be within his grasp.

“He told me that in one week, I will be in Europe. I was like —,” Ikuenobe opened his eyes wide for emphasis, “What?! And I’ve been suffering myself since. I have been spending money.”

But Ikuenobe had questions, so he arranged to meet for drinks.

“I told him, ‘But we’ll be passing [the] desert, the Sahara desert.’ I went online to check it — one of the largest deserts, one of the hottest deserts on the planet.”

“He told me that in one week, I will be in Europe.”

The man reassured him that if Ikuenobe really wanted to put his mind at ease, he could pay a little more for what he called a VIP ticket, a package that came with extra security and what the man called “fine dining.”

For many, the chain that leads to slavery begins in Nigeria, where smugglers known as “trolleys” transport customers across the Sahara to Libya. When Ikuenobe handed over the last of his life savings of 800,000 naira ($2,200), he trusted the man would then send the right people to ferry him onward at each stage of the 1,500-kilometer journey to Libya’s coast.

The night before he set off, he paid his mom a visit. “Mom, I have a job now,” he’d barely begun, when his 74-year-old mother began screaming and jumping for joy.

She asked him what kind of job it was. Shipyard work, Ikuenobe lied. It gave him an excuse for why he wouldn’t be able to call — he’d often be at sea, he said.

He didn’t tell any of his siblings, knowing he wouldn’t be able to evade their questions so easily.

sub-buzz-967-1544829040-1A woman and children wave as two pickup trucks leave Niger for Libya, on June 1, 2015.

 

The first time he saw the man who would enslave him, Ikuenobe was relieved.

In reality, the VIP ticket meant clinging onto the railing of a pickup truck as it maneuvered the vast expanse of the Sahara. In a convoy of eight trucks, each crammed with 30-odd West Africans, Ikuenobe’s fellow travelers ranged from doctors to entire families with toddlers. It took them three days to reach Agadez, a former trans-Saharan slave trading hub 900 kilometers deep into Niger’s hinterland, but still only on the southern edge of the Sahara. Nothing could have prepared him for the landscape beyond Agadez.

They drove for miles with no shade, until the endless heat and dunes made many wonder if they were going mad. “Sometimes you look at your colleagues and it’s like blood is gushing out of their eyes. Some people will just lose it psychologically.”

They drove for miles with no shade, until the endless heat and dunes made many wonder if they were going mad.

Children were more likely to survive, Ikuenobe said, since they needed less water. Twice during their 2,000-mile ordeal across the world’s hottest desert, Ikuenobe saw fathers die, then mothers, until only the youngest children were left.

“When they died,” Ikuenobe recalled quietly, “you don’t have [a] choice. You just cover them with sand, and put their [water bottle] on top of them.”

The convoy arrived in Libya 10 days after leaving Niger, late in August, pulling up at the gate of a crumbling mansion on the outskirts of Sabha.

As Ikuenobe walked through the gates of Ali’s “ghetto” — as the compounds named after their owners were called — he felt exhilarated. His new friends had nicknamed him “Big Big,” on account of his towering physical presence, which they thought had helped him survive the desert. In a country where the word for black person, “abd,” literally means “slave,” he had no idea the strength on which he prided himself had a price here, judged to be between $200 and $400.

After the trolleys have transported customers across the Sahara to Libya, charges are then handed over to a “connection man” who is part of a network of traders that ferries them through Libya to launching points along its 1,100-mile coastline. But the journey through Libya is rarely straightforward. Paying off and dodging officials, connections also sell off migrants and refugees among themselves, or herd them in migrant ghettos.

sub-buzz-2488-1544109836-15Ikuenobe’s approximate route from Nigeria to Libya.

 

Ikuenobe hoped to follow in the footsteps of the hundreds of thousands of others who’d undertaken the same journey that year. But one by one, he watched all his new friends leave Ali’s ghetto as their connection came to collect them. By nightfall, it was clear no one was coming for him.

Ikuenobe was alone in a foreign country he knew nothing about when the gunshots started.

In one corner of the courtyard, a crumbling brick staircase led to a roof terrace. A group of children were using cans filled with sand for target practice. “I saw a very small boy, I don’t think he could be up to 14 years old. He was carrying an AK-47!”

“I saw a very small boy, I don’t think he could be up to 14 years old. He was carrying an AK-47!”

Ikuenobe had witnessed street violence in Nigeria, but nothing prepared him for Libya’s lawlessness. He watched, horrified, as the young boy pumped bullets into the air in celebration. “I was like, Jesus! Look at all these children!

The next morning, a man came in and gave Ikuenobe an appraising look. “Don’t worry. Somebody will come for you,” Ikuenobe remembered him finally saying.

He had gone back to lying on the concrete courtyard floor when four men approached and told him to follow them. One had a Nigerian accent, and the familiarity made Ikuenobe feel a little less lost.

The men marched him into the main house, past a series of cratered, marble-lined corridors to a room with a bolted metal door. Inside, the worst part was not the lifeless bodies lying in the dark, or the puddles of urine and shit. It was the smell of fear.

The first man pushed him down to the ground, and Ikuenobe felt something wet and warm against his cheek, but his brain couldn’t process what. He looked up and could just make out the face of the man with the Nigerian accent.

“Please,” Ikuenobe whispered.

The man brought his foot crashing down.

At some point, a long, heavy pipe was smacked repeatedly against his jaw, shoulders, and thighs. Much later, after his body had dissolved into a pulpy mass of pain and he could barely see out of one eye, everything finally went dark.

The four men took it in turns. When Ikuenobe tried to stand, one of them held him down, and the others continued punching and kicking. At some point, a long, heavy pipe was smacked repeatedly against his jaw, shoulders, and thighs. Much later, after his body had dissolved into a pulpy mass of pain and he could barely see out of one eye, everything finally went dark.

Something cold woke him up — they’d poured water on him to revive him.

One of the men was standing above him. He had an electric cattle prod in his hand. A second man was holding a cellphone. He demanded Ikuenobe give him the number of his mother, whom he’d last promised to call as she poured drinks celebrating his new “job.” Through a mouth foaming with with blood, Ikuenobe instead gave his older sister’s number. As soon as his sister answered, the first man pressed the electric prod against Ikuenobe’s wet skin.

By the end of the call, Ikuenobe could no longer tell who was sobbing loudest — him, or his sister thousands of miles away. His tormentors finally hung up after she promised to send them 600,000 naira ($1,650) in exchange for his “freedom.”

Such brutal tactics have become the norm in post-Gaddafi Libya — where not a single militia member or official has been prosecuted for torture or disappearances since 2011. Extortion is so widespread that captives even have a market value depending on which country they’re from — Eritreans, who have a large, well-organized diaspora, command the highest prices, while West Africans fetch the smallest ransoms and are the most likely to be ill-treated, Libya experts say.

New prisoners drifted in and out of the cell every day. When their captors came to beat one of them, others would join in the wailing, so the noise was magnified to relatives listening on the other end of the phone. Ikuenobe tracked how long he was in the cell by the amount of money his sister paid. After each phone call, he knew she handed over roughly 500,000 naira ($1,370).

Roughly a week later, when a short man called Israel limped in and told Ikuenobe he was free to go, he had to restrain himself from hugging him. His family had paid him over 2 million naira ($5,500), Israel said.

Believing he now had a connection to take him on the last leg of his journey, Ikuenobe felt relieved when he saw Israel press a bundle of notes into Ali’s hands. “I saw that money changing hands, and I thought it was the right person coming for me.”

Israel took him outside to a waiting car, and they sped along the wide, dusty streets to another private home. Inside, more men and women sat side by side on the concrete floor. They looked tired and gaunt.

Ikuenobe’s heart sank.

Israel hadn’t come to rescue him. He’d bought Ikuenobe as though he were chattel.

sub-buzz-20167-1544823849-1People rescued from a ship off the coast of Libya on June 18, 2018.

 

Perhaps surprisingly, many Libya experts tread carefully around calling experiences like Ikuenobe’s slavery. Othman Belbesi, head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Libya, said up to 800,000 sub-Saharan Africans face various abuses at any time in Libya, but he was cautious about naming it. “We need to agree about the definition of slavery before we use such strong words,” he said.

This reluctance stems, in part, from the different legal definitions of various forms of slavery, from trafficking to forced labor. But it also comes from a misconception that slavery is only the outright ownership of a person, according to Jakub Sobik, a spokesperson with Anti-Slavery International. “However you look at it, what’s happening in Libya is slavery.”

For Ikuenobe, the debate is purely academic. “I’m working. I’m not earning any money. I’m a slave already,” he said.

 “I’m working. I’m not earning any money. I’m a slave already.”

The city of Sabha, where he found himself, was in constant conflict, ruled by asma boys, as many sub-Saharan Africans called the militias and armed gang members. Ikuenobe was terrified. He was undocumented and jobless in a country where he was a moving target just walking down the streets.

He took the only real option available to him: to work for the man who was holding him prisoner until he’d earned enough money to buy his freedom. “I thought, ‘I’m already in Libya, it’s better I face the sea than for me to pass through that [Sahara] sun, better to die drinking saltwater than thirsty.’”

Israel, his new owner, also ran a car wash, where Ikuenobe was put to work for 12-hour shifts, with barely any food or water, in blistering temperatures.

Ironically, once at the car wash he was comparatively safe — he was marked as someone else’s property as surely as if he’d been branded. The asma boys tormented him with this knowledge at every opportunity.

“They hated us,” Ikuenobe recalled. “If you come near them, slap! Sometimes you don’t even do anything, they’ll —” he mimed being grabbed by the collar, “and blow gunshot near your ear like this.”

Am I going to die like this? he often wondered.

Sometimes desperate, Ikuenobe would use the few Arab phrases he’d picked up.

Asma, maloush. Fi maya?” he’d ask after washing their cars. Please, boss, give me water.

“Go fuck your mom. You stink of shit, get out,” would come the reply, as the men mockingly pulled up their shirts to cover their noses.

For many of the estimated 800,000 black African migrants and refugees in Libya, the situation is just as perilous. “If you’re dark-skinned and you’re from sub-Saharan Africa, … you’re at a very, very high risk of being assaulted, exploited, and detained,” said Hanan Salah, a Libya researcher with Human Rights Watch. “Libya is an accountability-free zone at the moment. Which police station is even going to take this complaint?”

“Libya, it’s a place that you can even sell your brother.”

One day blurred into another day for Ikuenobe, until three months had gone. He felt ever more paralyzed by his situation. His new owner refused to tell him how near he was to earning his freedom. Then one morning, Israel sent Ikuenobe on an errand. Ikuenobe considered it a breakthrough — it meant he was trusted. Perhaps he had paid off the arbitrary sum he owed?

Ikuenobe went completely still for a moment as he recalled what came next. “I had just arrived so I didn’t understand — Libya, it’s a place that you can even sell your brother. You really need to shine your eye because anybody can put pepper in it at any time,” he said, using a Nigerian phrase that means you have to constantly be on your guard.

Israel had not sent him out to run an errand. He had arranged for Ikuenobe to be snatched by a group of asma boys as soon as he stepped outside, pocketing the money in exchange for passing him into the hands of a violent militia. Ikuenobe was taken to another dreary compound in Sabha, and the now-familiar routine unfolded: He was tied down and beaten as he made the call back home. “I begged my family they should just settle [pay out] so I can cross [to Europe]. I had to cross.”

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Ikuenobe’s family ended up paying the asma boys for his release, a sum that included his passage across the Mediterranean. This time, he was shoved into the back of a Toyota Camry — the same car he’d once loved cruising in when he’d had money back home — with three other men. They took turns praying aloud to keep themselves from passing out on the 480-mile-long journey to the coastal city of Sabratha, whose pretty whitewashed houses belie its reality as a watery graveyard for thousands of people trying to get to Europe.

Just after sunset one day in March 2017, Ikuenobe stood on the shore of a beach and gazed across the blue stretch separating him from Europe.

At last, he thought, his nightmare was coming to an end.

But in the 16 months since Ikuenobe arrived in Libya, the political tides had turned drastically. In August 2015, when he had first reached Sabha, the numbers fleeing across the Mediterranean had surged to historic highs, driven in part by the war in Syria. The dangers of the journey were illustrated in the last photo of Alan Kurdi, a 3-year-old Syrian toddler who washed up facedown on a Mediterranean beach, his red shirt clinging to his tiny torso. Politicians across Europe seized on public outrage to say “never again” — but their way of doing so was to make sure fewer boats left North Africa in the first place, no matter the cost.

So when Ikuenobe and roughly two dozen others boarded a rubber dinghy, they had no way of knowing they were sailing straight into Europe’s “stop the boats” policy.

So far this year, only 1 in every 10 attempting to escape Libya by sea has been successful — the rest die, disappear, or are returned by the Libyan coast guard.

After a protracted battle with the Tripoli-based government over whether its ships could enter Libyan waters, the EU launched Operation Sophiain 2015, the latest replacement for Italy’s highly successful search and rescue operation called Mare Nostrum, which in a single year had plucked tens of thousands out of the 27,000 square miles of sea it scoured. Instead, under Operation Sophia, boats carrying people to Europe are blocked and rowed back by the Libyan coast guard, which is unofficially but partly made up of armed militias.

Spring and summer mark the peak of crossings, but by the end of that July, only half as many as the previous year had arrived. Eventually, even being pulled by humanitarian ships was no longer an option. Facing increasing political pressure, only one NGO search and rescue ship, the Aquarius, was operating in the central Mediterranean over the summer — until the vessel was impounded by Italian authorities in November, and relocated to a French port. Earlier this month the organizations running the Aquariuswere forced to cancel operations, blaming “a relentless … political, judicial and administrative campaign backed by several European states.” For now, the world’s most dangerous migrant route is patrolled only by Libyan vessels.

The departures haven’t stopped though — they’ve just become riskier. To avoid detection, smugglers increasingly push off at night, in flimsy rubber dinghies that are cheaper to replace than more seaworthy wooden boats.

So far this year, only 1 in every 10 attempting to escape Libya by sea has been successful — the rest die, disappear, or are returned by the Libyan coast guard. But a familiar complaint follows those who make it across: Lighter-skinned Libyan migrants often complain about having to wait alongside black asylum-seekers.

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For 18 hours, the dinghy carrying Ikuenobe flailed in rough waters. Everyone aboard, including the smugglers, had all but given up hope by the time they were intercepted by men who claimed to be with the Libyan coast guard.

Their would-be rescuers towed the boat to safety, then drove them to a city called Zuwara, 120 kilometers west of Tripoli, where Ikuenobe was thrown into one of an unknown number of militia-run detention camps scattered across the country. “In this prison, there is no banamish,” he said, using the Arabic word for “50-50.” “You don’t pay for your freedom. There are people who had been there for 10 years.”

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Ikuenobe was assigned to work on a farm harvesting dabinos — the Arab word for “desert date,” a fruit he’d never seen or heard of in Nigeria, and whose English name he still struggled to recall.

“The skin of that fruit is like needles. If it hits your eye, bashes you on your head — they will not give you any medicine. Sometimes the pain, you think, let me just die, if this how we live our life.”

Zuwara periodically erupted into violence, and one afternoon, the fighters overseeing the prison scrambled off to reinforce another battalion, leaving a 14-year-old boy in charge.

A fellow Nigerian prisoner, who had spent so long in Libya he spoke almost fluent Arabic, seized the opportunity to escape by tricking their young prison guard. “The [Nigerian guy] was telling him, … ‘Go and see your father. Rebels are attacking your father — go, go go,’” Ikuenobe recalled.

The frightened teenager ran, and the prisoners escaped.

For the second time since he’d arrived in Libya, Ikuenobe found himself running for his life through the streets of a city he didn’t know. This time, he was soon caught by a group of militias.

“I can’t remember exact dates — you just erase time from your head, because you’re living like an animal there.”

What followed was so traumatic that Ikuenobe struggled to articulate what he’d lived through. Normally talkative, he spoke in a flat voice and drummed his fingers. He could summon names and locations — or at least how they sounded to his foreign ears — but sometimes struggled to piece together a coherent timeline as he recounted eight months of being shuffled from one militia-run prison to another.

“I can’t remember exact dates — you just erase time from your head, because you’re living like an animal there.”

The guards would round them up suddenly, with no warning or explanation, and transport them from one prison to another.

“Black prisoners were kept separated from others, and they are scared of Nigerians, so your prison is worse,” he said of a prison called Duwela, near where their boat had launched off in Sabratha.

Next, he landed in a Tripoli jail, which he knew as Terigmata, an EU-backed holding center that made the previous militia-run one “seem like heaven.”

Then came a holding cell in Tajoura, in another official center for deportees. “That one was hell.”

Their keepers employed sadistic tactics to keep control over the thousands of half-starved prisoners. Guards would sometimes enter the room and let off a round of bullets above their heads. They were housed in a room with a corrugated iron roof — which meant that bullets sometimes ricocheted back into the overflowing cell.

Purple bruises formed around his joints from sleeping on a concrete floor. “It was like a dungeon. Where you piss and shit is where you sleep. Sometimes you’re shitting blood,” he said.

Salah, the Human Rights Watch researcher, said black prisoners were more at risk of being forced to work than others. “Nobody is exempt from ill-treatment, [but] in my experience … people with white skin or other Arab nationals tend not to stay as long in prisons.”

She recalled asking wardens in one detention center why their charges were being treated so inhumanely. The guards shrugged. “It just doesn’t compute [to them] that these are human beings who have the same needs as we all do.”

Every night, Ikuenobe prayed fervently. “We [felt] closer to God because we felt closer to our grave. I prayed to God to go to heaven when I died.”

Like much of Ikuenobe’s recollection of this part of his time in Libya, events blurred into a mass he had difficulty pulling apart. In one holding center, he remembered, two IOM officials visited and spoke to him. Ikuenobe gave his name and detailed how he’d ended up there. The officials recorded his account, adding him to a list of names of people wanting to return home.

Dealing with undocumented prisoners is a laborious process at the best of times, but that’s pushed to extremes when it comes to Libya. Whether IOM officials can even reach the people being held depends on them being aware they even exist — which often comes down to pure luck, as no one knows how many centers or prisons there are.

And then there’s keeping track of the ones they do know of. In one desert camp that Ikuenobe remembered as “Geria prison,” captives nicknamed it the “caravan prison” because military officials would periodically round them up and transport them to other holding cells scattered through the desert.

EU officials, who have denounced the inhumane conditions in detention centers, nevertheless say that they have no alternatives. “Libya is a sovereign country and we need to be working in close partnership with the Libyan authorities,” an EU spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “We’re not turning a blind eye to the situation. We’re trying to do our best in the situation that is not easy.”

sub-buzz-17084-1543869310-3People who have returned from Libya are registered by the Edo state government.

 

Last year, the African Union began to take a bigger role, which has helped. “They started paying attention to the fact it’s their own people suffering,” an IOM official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. It became easier, for example, for trapped people to obtain papers to allow them to leave the country. That helped some 20,000 people return to their country of origin aboard IOM-run flights from Libya.

“Voluntary returns isn’t being presented as a solution to address the current situation,” Belbesi, head of the IOM Libya, told BuzzFeed News. “It’s just one of the solutions that are available for people that are stranded in the country.”

Many don’t want to go home. For those fleeing war or repressive governments, Libya is not much better or worse than going home. A handful of African countries are accepting “third-country resettlements,” but experts say it’s just a stopgap solution until those who really need asylum can be given viable routes to do so. Although the EU has successfully lobbied to close down 25 Libyan detention centers this year, no North African country has accepted controversial proposals to set up official migrant-processing centers.

Two years and three months after leaving Nigeria, he was finally going back home.

With so many people alongside him in the camp, Ikuenobe had little hope of being rescued, and spent most of his time in a bleak fog.

But one day is etched in his mind. On Wednesday, Nov. 22, last year, the door to Ikuenobe’s cell was thrown open, and two officials began reading out a list of names — those whose return applications had been processed.

Crouched in a corner, Ikuenobe barely raised his head as the list of names grew longer. In an act of self-preservation, he didn’t dare hope.

When his name was called out, he staggered to his feet in a daze. He was physically wasted from the months of grinding work, his mind clouded by the constant trauma.

Two years and three months after leaving Nigeria, he was finally going back home.

sub-buzz-2761-1544823388-1Ikuenobe stands at the gate of his sister’s house in Benin City.

 

For many, the euphoria of going home is short-lived. In Nigeria, returnees find themselves deeper in debt — often having saddled their own families with additional debts, too — and with even fewer prospects than ever. Rather than facing the shame of returning empty-handed, many people attempt another trip to Europe, often using a different smuggler who offers an “updated” route.

The lack of government resources available to help returnees or to stop others from wanting to leave is compounded by the fact that many returnees don’t want to help with prosecutions of people smugglers. “You can’t prosecute and do humanitarian work at the same time. People won’t even come near you if you’re prosecuting aggressively — we’re talking about their mothers, fathers, people close to them,” said Yinka Omorogbe, attorney general of Edo state, where around three-quarters of families have sent at least one member abroad.

Ikuenobe has made it his personal mission to stem the flow of Nigerians abroad. Still unable to find a decent job, he spends his days visiting schools and churches to share his experiences, borrowing money from his sister to cover his transportation fees. But his lectures often fall on deaf ears, and Ikuenobe understands that, too.

“I don’t tell them not to migrate. Migration is good. But they shouldn’t go the Libya route — they should apply for a visa, legitimately. These traffickers, they can poison your mind.”

He usually drives his point home by showing students a picture of when he first returned from Libya — gaunt, his eyes hollow, and cheeks sunken. A stunned silence always follows.

After months searching, he recently found out what happened to one of the three friends he had stepped out with to buy water in Sabha. He learned via a fellow returnee that after shooting the man in the leg, the asma boys had dragged him to their ghetto. For months, the man’s parents kept sending money, hoping he’d be released. They didn’t know their son had bled to death a few days after he was shot. ●

CORRECTION

A previous version of this story said Trump described the CNN video of the slave market as “fake news.” He in fact called CNN “fake news,” but did not make specific reference to the video.

CORRECTION

The name of the organization Anti-Slavery International was misstated in an earlier version of this story.

Clinton Corruption

“Clinton Corruption”

The House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations held a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday investigating the Clinton Foundation.

My latest cartoon is a striking image of Bill Clinton’s debauchery and corruption.

It might finally catch up to him. The former president (and rapist in chief) was known to snort cocaine in the White House. A secret service agent mentioned it in his book. Of course, Bill also arranged schedules in order to allow him to carry out a string of affairs there. He got caught with Monica Lewinsky, but he still got away with it for the most part.

The Clintons are used to getting away with everything.

One whistleblower claims to know where the Clinton Foundation skeletons are buried. The Clintons always leave a long trail of bodies in their wake.  They must not get away with it this time.

LOCK THEM UP!