73 Civilians killed in Jamaica. Big deal! So what?

The deaths of 73 civilians matter so little that the government of Jamaica can’t be bothered to ask for surveillance footage from the US DEA P 3 Orion which should show what took place on May 24, 2010 in Tivoli Gardens

To my astonishment the Jamaica Observer carried an editorial on Sunday  titled “There was a spy plane over Tivoli, so what?”  This was astonishing to me because in my last post I had commented saying that the Minister of Security’s reaction to questions about the spy plane he said he knew nothing about seemed to be a nonchalant shrug. “In fact he acted as if it really wasn’t his business or ours (!) An unidentified flying object in our airspace? Pshaw! So he didn’t know about it, so what?

Now here was one of the nation’s leading newspapers shamelessly saying exactly the same thing. Not only that: highlighted on the Letters page was an inane one titled “What’s the big deal about the surveillance plane?”

“Dear Editor,

Ok, so it has been confirmed that a US plane provided surveillance assistance during the 2010 Tivoli Gardens operations. I don’t understand the controversy and what’s the big deal if they were invited to assist to strengthen the army’s tactics and strategy?”

The big deal dear thick-skulled letter writer and Observer editors is that 73 people were killed under unexplained circumstances during that Tivoli Gardens operation. This spy plane has video footage of what happened on the ground during that operation which ought to be central to any investigation into the massacre of 73 civilians by government forces only one of whom was killed in the battle for Tivoli.

So no one is faulting the government for asking or accepting assistance from the US government. As the Sunday Gleaner’s editorial eloquently said:

“…the decline in crime in Jamaica, in particular homicides, since Coke’s departure and the degrading of his network suggest that America’s insistence on his extradition, and whatever help they may have given to effect it – the memorandum included – were the best aid package by a foreign government to Jamaica in recent times.”

The question is why then Minister of Information Daryl Vaz denied this so vigorously immediately after the Tivoli incursion and why Minister of Security Dwight Nelson continued to do so until a few days ago.

And the really burning question is why the government shows so little interest in acquiring the video footage shot by the P-3 Orion. Are we to assume that the residents of Tivoli matter as little to this Prime Minister as they did to the previous one?

If this is a strategy by the Jamaica Observer to come to the rescue of its favourite political party it should think again because in its haste to diminish the import of the spy plane what it seems to be saying is that the massacre of 73 civilians in Tivoli in May 2010 was insignificant.  Big deal! So what?

Author: Annie Paul

writer, editor and avid tweeter anniepaulose@gmail.com

34 thoughts on “73 Civilians killed in Jamaica. Big deal! So what?”

  1. It’s truly disheartening to see politicians pointlessly deny something the whole world knows. I knew about the aircraft from the beginning and assumed it was common knowledge. These lies are just depressing and shocking, though I’ve always been wary of Jamaican politicians, especially.

  2. The whole JLP gang can and probably will get away with acting like it was a bunch of dead dogs the spy planes have footage of. Why? Because we sit down and take it. We are so used to these politicians treating us like we’re stupid that we just grumble and then go about doing exactly what they want us to be doing – campaigning to help them win back their seats, so they can continue to do this again, and again. No big deal. It’s like we still think that at the end of the day, we are still their slaves, so it doesn’t make any sense to mek up noise, because the massa still control our destiny. I hear people waking up, but not fast enough. If enough people are upset and have never forgiven Golding for that massacre, the dozens of lies told before and since then, maybe they won’t get back into power.

    1. hey Longbench, glad to have brought you out of your hibernation…yes, its true ultimately the public has to blame themselves, they do participate in this farce and in the process propagate it…

  3. Back in the 1930s, the Nazis used the term “Gleichshaltung” (‘regularisation”, “equivalence”) to refer to the practice of forcibly removing dissidents from visible jobs. Interesting to see it revived by the JLP.

  4. “which ought to be central to any investigation into the massacre of 73 civilians by government forces only one of whom was killed in the battle for Tivoli…”

    I can understand and appreciate the concern for any innocent persons who did die in Tivoli on that dreadful day Annie Paul, but this should be no excuse for getting facts wrong.

    It was not only “one” member of the government forces who was killed in the battle for Kingston that day, it was 3 – 1 soldier and 2 policemen (I’m sure at least one of the policemen left a young daughter and wife (now a widow)). In fact if I’m not mistaken the breakdown of the dead for that day would go something like this:

    *1 soldier
    *2 policemen
    *70 other persons of whom:

    – I remember 2 having been reported dead in the papers before the security forces went in and even before the police stations were shot at and firebombed (If I remember rightly, they may even have been left in the streets around Denham Town with a warning attached to serve as an example of those who refused to fight for Dudus)

    – according to the New Yorker article on the incident at least 2-3 would have been women and 1 would have been a teenage boy

    – a dozen were claimed to have been in a more advanced state of decay than would have been possible if they had been killed on May 24, with the implication being that they may have been killed by gunmen possibly for refusing to fight or for attempting to escape.

    – the rest (50+) would have included some gunmen at least and most likely some innocent persons caught up in the exchange or even executed in cold blood. I well recall reports that some of the dead men had been dressed in women’s clothing with the speculation being that this was an attempt to confuse the security forces (and if so would have been just as bad as using women and children as human shields). I’m sure there were even pictures of some of these men in women’s clothing in the media (perhaps you could confirm with someone who worked in KPH at the time).

    A massacre did occur that day but I’m certain it wasn’t only done by government security forces (even in the New Yorker magazine article the author is told by one resident that she would be killed for simply telling him the truth). Alongside the massacre (or massacres by both government forces and gangsters) there was a very real gun battle between government forces and gangsters. What needs to happen now (and should have happened from the day the shooting stopped) is a thorough and open investigation into all the deaths to determine who had died, why and under what circumstances so that those who were really innocent can be properly remembered and honoured; their families compensated and their killers (whether police, soldier or gangster) punished (if they are not already dead) to the full extent of the law instead of having them lumped together with perhaps a handful to dozens of ruthless gangsters which we surely must be doing every time we refer to the specific “73”.

    1. Excuse me it was ONE member of the security forces who was killed in Tivoli that day, the other two were killed elsewhere so check your facts too. I was talking specifically about Tivoli.

      1. Well I did say in the battle in Kingston (read it again), not Tivoli specifically as I’m quite sure that the 73 figure often cited in the media included the 2 policemen as well as the couple of guys killed outside of Tivoli a day or two before (the count may have excluded those two poor souls, but I’m fairly certain the news media had included the 2 policemen in the count and that sometimes we see figures of “76” which is as a result of double counting of the deaths among the security forces on the assumption that the “73” included only non-police and non-JDF personnel). I remember the initial count being 70 + 3 but then the media got lazy and cited 73 (or at times “more than 70 persons including one member of the security forces” or something along those lines) and thereafter the 73 was sometimes assumed to be only non-security people and the 3 security persons were then included again in the count to get 76.

        So if we are only talking about persons killed in Tivoli only while ignoring the others who died elsewhere and ignoring the deaths of any security forces the figure might be more like 68-70.

        The loss of life of ALL of those people, whether they were soldiers, policemen, gangsters or innocents was quite unnecessary though as the government deliberated allowed the situation to develop in which such of loss of life became far too likely and for that the government (before it demits office and even afterwards) needs to provide some answers.

    2. Jon,

      if this statement of yours is true “Alongside the massacre (or massacres by both government forces and gangsters) there was a very real gun battle between government forces and gangsters.” then how can it be that only one member of the govt forces were killed and 73 ‘gangsters’/innocent ppl? Surely that’s a most inefficient form of warfare no?

      1. Inefficient? Sure. If you want to look on it that way. I would be very concerned though if professionally trained soldiers and policemen were to incur heavy losses against part-time gunmen. That some very real gunmen managed to firebomb a couple of police stations (forcing the police to retreat from them!) and shoot up a number of others is bad enough. But I wouldn’t expect anything less than 1 soldier being killed to at least a dozen gunmen because we would be talking about the JDF (where soldiers sometimes end up going on exchanges with Canada and Britain) versus the Shower Posse (where quite often gunmen are used to having overwhelming force and have no need to coordinate their action and the worst they face is other, similarly ill-trained but heavily armed gangsters), not the JDF versus the US Army. Given the protection that the Shower Posse were given for so long, they had never really encountered any force stronger than they were as they were free to operate from Tivoli where the police could not enter and where the residents were all practically human shields.

        And lest we forget at least a dozen soldiers and a couple of policemen were injured with gunshot/shrapnel wounds over those days. I wouldn’t be surprised if later on some folks begin claiming it was all friendly fire as Derrick Smith (yes the same one who was national security minister under Golding and spokesman on national security under Seaga and who had apparently been taped telling known gang leaders to cool it down after a particularly violent period in Kingston) and Edward Seaga and the JLP were basically saying back in 2001. That the security forces acted recklessly back then (and quite likely in 2011) is not in doubt, but to imply that they must have died by friendly fire because the bullets recovered from their bodies were from weapons typically issued to the security forces is a very naive assumption to make since it is well known that gangs will acquire the same kinds of weapons illegally (even renting them from corrupt cops at one time as I remember from news stories here).

        And as I said in my previous post I would hardly use the 73 label for everybody except the security forces (as it almost certainly includes at least 1 member of the security forces) and would not want to conflate the gangsters and the innocent people (that is doing a massive disservice to the innocent people to lump them together with the very same people who were busy shooting at army vehicles before the incursion and committing arson). As I said previously the loss of life of everybody who died over those days was very unnecessary. Under the ideal scenario, Dudus would have simply been taken into custody (as he was in 2008 incidentally during a much less violent police/army raid into Tivoli under Lewin; Dudus was taken in from his house in Red Hills if I recall correctly and he went peacefully and quietly, probably because he knew he had friends in high places) and the road blocks themselves would have been dismantled while anyone breaking the law (whether by throwing up illegal roadblocks or carrying around unregistered weapons) would be similarly arrested. Under the best case scenario Dudus could probably have been taken in fairly quietly from his house in Red Hills way back in 2009 and then fought his extradition in court (or if he felt too afraid that he might spontaneously combust like his father apparently did while waiting in jail he could have done as he did in real life and waived his right to an extradition hearing to fight his case in the United States). Instead the government dragged out the request, attempted to thwart it at every corner and then when they were pressured into doing the right thing they broadcast the announcement the same day. Even then it was surely leaked by someone in the government to Dudus and his cohorts because I well remember having to leave downtown very early that day as rumour swirled that they had signed the extradition request hours before Golding made the announcement on TV – and if I and just about everyone else downtown that day got wind of it through rumour there is little doubt that Dudus and his gang got wind of it much, much earlier. Then we had barricades being thrown up around Tivoli (and I personally witnessed it as I had to drive along Spanish Town Road to get out of the city) and we had little children and young women and men out on the streets attempting to get drivers-by to give money for Dudus (yes, I was begged and I know others who were too). What did the government do? Well they certainly gave a very limp verbal response to widespread law-breaking. I don’t think they even called on people to specifically remove the barricades but used weasel words like “allowing” the security forces to do their duties unhindered or some such rubbish. Instead of going out there and saying “hey, this is illegal, don’t do this! Take those barricades down!” and giving assurances that Dudus would have a fair trail I don’t think the MP for the area even so much as drove by to get a glance. At every step the government basically allowed for or even encouraged confrontation which would almost certainly have resulted in deaths.

        By the way, I may be reading it wrong, but it almost sounds as if you are skeptical than any real firefight occurred. Surely I was reading that wrong, yes?

      2. 2008. would that be after the killing of Dudus’s half brother outside/near the Canadian High Commission in retaliation for which a couple of policemen were murdered? amazing that such info–that Dudus had been arrested before–isn’t in the public domain. why would the media not dig that up and have carried it during the 2010 siege? boy i just don’t understand the media in Ja…they’re not serious!

        yes, I am skeptical about official versions of what took place in Tivoli. The spy plane might have flown all over Kingston and Jamaica for that matter but the article in the New Yorker which my two posts were written in response to was about its surveillance of Tivoli and what might be available in the footage shot on that particular day in May when the 73 were killed. That figure doesn’t include the security person btw, he would make it 74. from what i gather 72 male and 1 female civilian(s) were killed in Tivoli that day. We need to know under what circumstances. The surveillance footage could help with this. that’s all. I am inclined to believe that police went on the rampage in Tivoli that day, as payback for all the times they had been unable to enter there and carry out their normal functions. There is no doubt that Tivoli was fortified leading up to the actual events of May 23-24, my friend Peter Dean Rickards went and took photos of the barricades and posted them on his blog. I also remember how people had to close offices and leave early the day it was rumoured that the extradition request had finally been signed.

        but why do you think Bruce delayed signing for so long? why didn’t he just co-operate with the Americans? The JLP has always been much closer to the Yanks than the PNP so why jeopardize that relationship?

  5. “Yes i was discussing Tivoli, that’s where the spy plane was, and that’s what was under discussion in those two posts…”

    The P-3 was not only over Tivoli. It orbited Tivoli and other parts of West Kingston but it also orbited other areas of the city in the days after the initial raid (when Dudus wasn’t found). I have relatives who heard and saw it orbiting in the Red Hills area. That Orion itself is probably the same Orion (or one of a few based in Texas) that had been used in Mexico at times in the struggle with the drug cartels in that poor, blighted country.

  6. The whole situation was quite screwed. I have a few old schoolmates in the JDF who thankfully were not injured and through some of my friends had heard of the plight of at least one young lady in Tivoli (whom they knew socially) who had wanted to leave when the buses were provided but was warned against doing so and who had her phone confiscated by some of the thugs patrolling in the neighbourhood (I suppose they suspected of her of being less than 100% loyal). Another friend of mine who lives downtown (but not in Tivoli) even witnessed armed gunmen escaping through her property (thankfully not through her domicile itself) and had to hide in her bedroom for pretty much the entire time. God only knows what might have happened to her had they decided to take refuge in her house and began taking potshots at the police – I would probably have had to attend her funeral. Red Hills Road was no different either with some of my colleagues having to skip work that day (despite being government workers and being told that work was still going on) as driving down Red Hills Road (and getting so far as Calabar) would have been little different to playing Russian Roulette.

    The entire situation could have been handled MUCH better and 73 people (74 if we include Keith Clarke) did not have to die across Kingston over that week.

    1. Thanks Jon, all of this really rounds out the picture comprehensively, i mean also what you detailed below about the various cronyistic maneuvers…thanks, have a great 2012 when it comes. Let’s hope the new govt doesn’t enact the same shenanigans.

  7. Actually Annie, I was getting the raids confused. Dudus was detained during the first Tivoli raid under Lewin’s watch (in 2005). It was after the second raid under his watch (in 2008) during which things seemed to have really soured between him and Golding.

    “2008. would that be after the killing of Dudus’s half brother outside/near the Canadian High Commission in retaliation for which a couple of policemen were murdered? amazing that such info–that Dudus had been arrested before–isn’t in the public domain. why would the media not dig that up and have carried it during the 2010 siege? boy i just don’t understand the media in Ja…they’re not serious!”

    And the info is actually in the public domain. The media reported it. But as you said, they are not serious as they should have dug it back up:

    http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20051005/lead/lead1.html

    http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20051007/lead/lead2.html

    Both Dudus and Justin O’Gilvie (his “business” partner) were detained.

    “yes, I am skeptical about official versions of what took place in Tivoli.”

    Well nothing wrong with questioning the truth, but one never gets to the bottom of the truth by completely disregarding one side of a story. As the old saying goes, there are always three sides to a story: yours, mine and the truth. What Mr. Schwartz may have heard from the residents in Tivoli is some truth mixed with fiction. It wouldn’t be the first time. Even Bishop Blair mentioned in the article that quite often a narrative is told whenever the police are involved. I remember one incident in southwestern Kingston where it was claimed that the police had killed two young men who were sleeping in their beds (might have been Denham Town), yet the pictures of the bodies in the paper showing the lower half of their bodies showed them fully clothed with laced up shoes on (very odd dress for people sleeping in bed) and the incident took place at about 12 noon or 1 in the afternoon. The claim by the mother also failed to account for how one of the police officers suffered a gunshot wound in the process and why bullet holes were found all over the place instead of in one area (the area where they boys were supposed to have been executed). I have little doubt that the police did kill those two young men. They may even have killed them when the boys were no longer a threat. But I also have little doubt that the story went exactly as the mother told it. And of course we know from experience that the police have their own narrative that they feed to the media whenever policemen are involved in a shooting (and it was exposed through an error by the constabulary communication network in 2010 I think when an unarmed man was claimed to have been in a shootout or something like that).

    Even in the story by Mr. Schwartz we see some suspicious events and persons. For instance the Mr. Freeman whom Mr. Schwartz reported on and who was supposedly murdered was initial presented as a generally nice fellow: a carpenter working in the United States and supporting his girlfriend and 2 children back home in Tivoli. Later in the story however he is acknowledged by other gang members as having been an out and out gangster in the days of Jim Brown but he supposedly “turned his life around”. That seems odd to me as one does not usually escape from a life of crime by continuing contact with your old partners in crime and he did have continued contact as it is also stated in the story that on his trip back to Jamaica from the US, Mr. Freeman carried two BlackBerrys and a bottle of cologne which were gifts from the don (Dudus). Even his trip back has large questions hanging over it as he was working as a carpenter in the United States but suddenly came back to Tivoli in April 2010 (one month before the extradition standoff and incident in Tivoli) at the behest of his girlfriend. How it is that he could suddenly drop all his work and fly back home (with no stated means of earning an income during this period) for 1 to 2 months is never stated. Given his continued contact with the Don it seems far more likely that he was actually called back in to help defend Coke and he may well have been working for a company linked to Coke in the United States.

    Certainly other parts of the story reported by Ms. Marjorie Hinds (Freeman’s girlfriend) are very curious. For instance the impression given is that all was peace and quiet until shortly before the security forces stormed in during the morning of May 24th but that is certainly not how it was as I remember the night of May 23rd and it was reported that a number of police stations were under attack that evening and sporadic shooting could be heard along Red Hills Road, in West Kingston and even on Washington Boulevard/Dunrobin where it linked up with Red Hills Road (as I was due to travel on that very road that evening I remember very clearly having to keep the radio tuned to whatever station was giving me news). Since two of police stations attacked were right outside Tivoli itself (one was on Darling Street) and on the news it was being reported that sporadic gun battles were occurring throughout Kingston late into the night of May 23rd it is seems inconceivable that Ms. Hinds was so deaf that she only heard the gunfire the next day.

    Today one can see the bullet holes in the walls of the police stations (including the Cross Roads police station and Denham Town police station; obviously caused by people shooting at them) and on the walls of the buildings both in Tivoli (which would be caused by the security forces shooting into Tivoli) and across the roads from Tivoli (caused by someone or several someones shooting OUT from Tivoli). I well recall the pictures and videos of some barricades which were built like military strongpoints with gaps with which to see (and possibly shoot) out of. And there were pictures and videos of gunmen occupying the rooftops of some buildings which can be clearly identified as Tivoli (due to the architecture and colouration of the buildings) and gunmen hiding behind barricades with some shooting and some acting as spotters. I have little reason to believe that the security forces simply fabricated it all since I know people who did see gunmen running around town that day. Military and police may lie, but they can tell the truth. At times they may avoid the truth (especially if you give them an opening by asking the wrong question as the media did at the time when they asked about “drones” and “fighters” and the good soldier could quite honestly reply that no drones or fighters were involved since the P-3 is neither).

    I would be quite willing to bet my house that the government side and Tivoli residents’ side of the story both contain elements of the truth but not the whole truth. It would be in the interest of the government to focus on the very real gun battle and the murder of persons by thugs before the raid but to hide any extra-judicial killings that may have been carried out by the security forces. Likewise it would be in the interest of the Tivoli residents who are either in cahoots or in fear of the gangsters to focus on an extra-judicial killings while pretending that everything else never happened. So in the case of Mr. Freeman, I have little doubt that he was a gangster and that he was called back to defend Dudus. He wasn’t even beside his girlfriend (and apparently did not let her know where he was going) on the morning she awoke to sporadic gunfire (May 24th) which is very unusual behaviour given the situation. She eventually found him at the house of a male friend. I suspect he may even have been preparing to take up arms or at least facilitate others in doing so. He may even have taken up arms and shot at the police and soldiers or he may not. He may have been killed in a shoot out or he may have been rounded up and then shot. However once he wasn’t armed and shooting at the police his death at the hands of the security forces would have been murder no matter if he was a gangster. That should be investigated. But to take up only one side of the narrative is to unwittingly play right into the hands of one side instead of really seeking out the truth.

    1. There was plenty to question in Schwarz’s story much of which was very familiar to me, because it had already been circulating in videos, in blogs, in articles long before the New Yorker article came out. what was useful and had never been disclosed before was the info from the US Sig Incident Report which verified that such a plane was indeed used by the US govt to help in the battle for Dudus.This made a liar out of the govt which had clearly denied any such assistance. This is why the New Yorker article was sensational, not really because of the info about what did or did not go down in Tivoli that day, most of which is still the subject of speculation. the other valuable thing Schwartz’s article and the one in Wired did was to place front and centre the fact that the surveillance footage could cast much light on the situation but that neither the US govt nor the Jamaican one, for obvious reasons, is interested in making such info available. of course with the new govt who knows? I hope the PNP will demand the footage and hopefully it will be able to show what actually happened as much as such technology makes possible.

  8. “The spy plane might have flown all over Kingston and Jamaica for that matter but the article in the New Yorker which my two posts were written in response to was about its surveillance of Tivoli and what might be available in the footage shot on that particular day in May when the 73 were killed. That figure doesn’t include the security person btw, he would make it 74. from what i gather 72 male and 1 female civilian(s) were killed in Tivoli that day.”

    Well that can’t be right. You can read the full article on Norman Girvan’s blog:

    http://www.normangirvan.info/schwartz-massacre-jamaica/

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/12/12/111212fa_fact_schwartz?printable=true&fb_ref=social_fblike&fb_source=home_oneline

    Schwartz mentions:

    “No fewer than seventy-four people were killed in the operation to arrest Christopher Coke and extradite him to the United States—one soldier and seventy-three civilians. Among the dead were at least three women and one United States citizen.”

    Note he said no fewer than 74 people were killed in the operation. He didn’t say 74 people were killed in Tivoli alone. Policemen are not classified as military and will often be confusingly lumped in with the category “civilian”.

    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/12/12/111212fa_fact_schwartz?printable=true&fb_ref=social_fblike&fb_source=home_oneline#ixzz1iAW2Cnvg

    “We need to know under what circumstances. The surveillance footage could help with this. that’s all. I am inclined to believe that police went on the rampage in Tivoli that day, as payback for all the times they had been unable to enter there and carry out their normal functions.”

    It’s possible but I don’t believe that it was only a rampage. You can even read the “Significant Incident Report” that Mr. Schwartz got declassified on the Gleaner website:

    http://jamaica-gleaner.com/pages/video_recordings_drone/dhs-tivoli-newyorker.pdf

    There is at a description in there of what the P-3 crew saw and which was quite likely recorded:

    “At 1840Z, six of the Jamaican military personnel were observed on top of a building at 1800N 07648W. After deploying orange smoke on the roof of this building, the military personnel were observed in the prone position apparently attempting to avoid incoming small-arms fire. The source of this small arms fire could not be determined”

    I can’t imagine why 6 soldiers would act as though they were being shot at if they didn’t know they were being filmed and if they weren’t really being shot at. They would certainly be very good actors if that is the case.

    There are also these videos and news reports which show it was far from any kind of one-sided rampage:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEhOzIXKwVg&feature=bf_prev&list=PLDBC3821A558D5099&lf=results_main (this last one is a part of a playlist of many videos on the event).

    There is some footage which I remember seeing on BBC which even showed a police officer getting shot in downtown kingston (in the arm or upper body). I’ve tried to find it, but youtube is difficult to use in searching for specific videos (it may not have even been uploaded).

    If we are to disregard just about anything official because of the distrust of the police then we are no closer to the truth than if we had pulled a wool coat over our own eyes. Even if we may be suspicious the security forces for whatever reason, starting from a prejudiced position (that they must simply have gone on a rampage) doesn’t get anybody closer to what really happened and why 74 people died across Kingston in that week. Over a dozen security personnel don’t get injured and 3 aren’t killed in a rampage against only unarmed civilians (and although several were injured and 2 killed outside of Tivoli, looking at Tivoli in isolation is to miss out on the woods for the trees as what happened in Tivoli was intimately connected with what else happened in the rest of Kingston and even in Spanish Town in those days; it’s impossible to separate them). Nor is it possible that the dozens of guns (including assault rifles like AK-47s which are not police-issue weapons and handguns), grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition found after the raid simply hid themselves in West Kingston. Somebody possessed those weapons and at least some of those weapons had been used.

    “but why do you think Bruce delayed signing for so long? why didn’t he just co-operate with the Americans? The JLP has always been much closer to the Yanks than the PNP so why jeopardize that relationship?”

    The best advice I can give you is to look through the US Embassy Cables from Wikileaks pertaining to Dudus. You can even search for all the ones about Coke only here: http://www.cablegatesearch.net/search.php

    It is much more complicated than being friendly with the Americans. In the cables you will see where they talk about Golding and Lightbourne pushing the Americans to ask for a provisional warrant (which would expire after a given time – 60 days I think) in the case of Coke and the Americans being reluctant to do so as there was a previous case with such a warrant where the suspect was released after the warrant expired when Lightbourne delayed the proceedings for just enough time for the expiration to occur. Evidently the plan was to have this warrant issued for Dudus and then have it expire and have Dudus free to remain in the island as he couldn’t then be arrested again on the same charges for that warrant. Other cables also show James Robertson’s very intimate connections with gangs and label him as being involved in illegal activities; others refer to Shahine Robinson and Dr. Horace Chang being involved in money laundering and Edward Seaga being involved in gun-running and Derrick Smith (as I mentioned before) being taped talking to known gang leaders.

    1. Listen i don’t have to go to Norman Girvan’s blog to read the article, a copy was sent to me before it started circulating in the public domain here. My question is very simple and it echoes that of the New Yorker reporter–how the hell did 73 civilians die, under what circumstances, who’s responsible?

  9. Didn’t know the videos themselves would end up in the post (any way you can edit it so than only the links show?).

    “thanks, have a great 2012 when it comes”

    You too Annie! Have a Happy New Year and all the best for 2012, 2013 and beyond!

    1. I know i was about to say! i’m going to have to delete the videos, have posted similar ones in earlier blogposts…i suggest you start a blog and put up some of this material, its really useful

      But you’re overreacting, i’m not denying that the armed forces came under attack, everyone knows they did–but how on earth was the outcome so lopsided? that bears explanation, the so-called spy plane has footage that may cast some light on this, that’s all…

      and clearly your knowledge of details is far superior to mine, but i’m asking broad questions, how did 73 civilians die in an all out battle with only one casualty on the other side?! excuse me we ask such questions of the US in Iraq and we must demand answers to such anomalies at home too. that’s all.

      1. Again sorry about the videos, I really didn’t think they would appear. I thought only links would appear. I had no idea that the videos would be embedded simply by posting the link. Please delete if they are taking up space.

        As to the outcome being lopsided I reiterate – it was a group of professionals (soldiers and policemen) versus part-timers (gunmen) mixed up with outright murder in at least some instances (soldiers and policemen killing civilians and gunmen killing civilians) surely. I doubt very much that all of the 70+ civilians killed were unarmed and necessarily innocent. I’m sure at least some of them were unarmed and innocent, most likely dozens were so (20+ to maybe even 50+). Definitely the 3 women killed are very unlikely to have been gunmen..or “gunwomen”.

        We see the same thing when you get two forces that are not of equal strength thrown in to any urban environment – the US Army versus the Iraqi Army in Iraq and it’s cities; Israel’s Army versus any opponent anywhere in the Middle East; the Russian army versus the Georgian Army in Georgia…..one force overwhelms the other and in the process bystanders get slaughtered by trigger-happy armed men (sometimes on both sides). There is no way that even if there were 100 gunmen facing off against 20 JDF soldiers that we should have all 20 JDF soldiers killed, because the JDF soldiers are professionally trained in military tactics which despite any highfalutin language is geared towards one purpose: killing. Gunmen are not inducted into an academy and trained to use their weapons and coordinate effectively. Quite often the most successful gunmen are the ones who have happened to survive shootouts with other gunmen, but surviving those shootouts would not prepare you to take on a trained military force in open battle.

        Combined in that mix of gunmen facing policemen and soldiers in a crowded neighbourhood we have unarmed civilians who are easy prey for any gunman and any rouge policemen and soldiers who may shoot first and ask questions later or who may well simply murder civilians after justifying it to themselves that these civilians are actually gunmen who have thrown away their weapons or civilians who support gunmen.

        I agree that the spy plane footage may cast some light on it, but until then we have an abundance of evidence (both direct and circumstantial) which strongly points to the scenario I’ve outlined, i.e. The 70+ persons killed were killed under widely varying conditions (some were gunmen killed by security forces, some were members of the security forces killed by gunmen, some were innocent civilians killed by gunmen and some were innocent civilians killed by security forces).

        Quite often even when we are fed lies and half-truths there are elements of truth there if you read between the lines and you can glean a lot. For instance when Golding claimed that Jamaica got no foreign assistance he was lying, but in one sense he was not (I can’t say more about it than that the P-3 was effectively loaned to Jamaica and hence was not “foreign”). Also there is a clip of a debate in parliament (don’t worry, I’ve learned my lesson – no more links to youtube videos 🙂 ) where Peter Phillips asks about 3 members of the cabinet meeting with Dudus after the extradition request had been received and in a deflection Golding says he knows no more about any such meeting than about MPs attending don funerals (in an obvious jibe at Phillips and Davies). Golding never denies such a meeting though and if you listen to again, he has basically admitted that such a meeting did take place!

      2. Hi Jon! as you can see i decided to leave the videos in…they add value to my post and if you want to post the one of the parliamentary exchange I’d welcome it too. of course now you have me wondering who you are?! you sound like a military man…:)

  10. Nah, not a military man but I do have classmates as I said in the military and friends and relatives in the US military. I also have friends and acquaintances who live downtown. So one can hear a lot of rumour and simply wait until further evidence comes about to prove or disprove it.

    For instance before the incident I had been warned by an acquaintance that “something may go down” over the Labour Day weekend since it would have been a long weekend and because there were exercises going on in the one of the eastern parishes of the island (in one of the clips what my acquaintance said was confirmed as the reporter noted that military vehicles entered Kingston from the east) and gangsters were streaming into Tivoli for days up to that point (as had been reported even in the Star).

    Additionally there was a LOT of US military activity around Jamaica in the lead-up to the crisis. There weren’t any fighter jets or anything like that, but it was sure one heck of a coincidence that there were multi-national military exercises in Port Royal (I think the US, UK, Canada, Jamaica and other Caricom countries participated – http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20100417/news/news1.html) and that we saw a visit to Jamaica by the USS Wasp (an amphibious assault ship/helicopter carrier) and I think at least one other ship whereas years before there was hardly that level of activity.

    And here’s the video of the parliamentary exchange. It took a bit of digging, but you can find the exact exchange between Phillips and Golding from 2:07 to 2:55 in the video. Listen to Golding carefully:

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