Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tivoli COE: The Role the US Played

It is an indisputable fact that agencies of the US government payed a role in the the May 2010 incursion into Tivoli Gardens. It is likely that such foreign agencies were  involved prior to the operation and subsequently in the capturing of Christopher "Dudus "Coke.

Any serious investigation into the May 2010 incursion must seek to discern the nature of the role played by foreign security agencies in the Tivoli incursion/siege.

There has been documentation to suggest that then Prime Minister and Minister of Defence sought the assistance of the US Embassy to ascertain the reliability of reports of the extent of the  unfolding carnage. Furthermore, then Minister of National Security was forced to publicly acknowledge the operation of a USA "spy plane" in Jamaica's airspace prior to and during the incursion.

Generally the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) has demonstrated an unseemly recalcitrance in disclosing the nature and extent of the role played by foreign security agencies. No official explanation has been offered.

Mattathias Schwartz, a freelance writer based in the USA, has been doggedly  determined to reveal that role. He has met with very limited success and that information should be shared with the Tivoli COE.
In an article "US Has Role To Play In Tivoli Enquiry" The Gleaner, Thursday, January 29, 2015,
Schwartz makes the case for the Tivoli COE taking steps the ensure his appearance and the relevance of documents in his possession:

  • A US plane, from the Department of Homeland Security, flew over Tivoli Gardens and relayed intelligence to Jamaican forces during the incursion. The plane shot hours of video footage from the operation, which I obtained by filing a Freedom of Information Act request in the United States, which eventually led to a lawsuit. I have hundreds of pages of documents that demonstrate just how closely the US Embassy was monitoring the situation in Tivoli, meeting with senior officials from the Jamaican security forces and positioning US military assets nearby."

More importantly, Schwartz himself acknowledges that the documentation he possesses does not give the full picture of the US involvement:

  • "These materials are small fragments of what the US knows about the Tivoli massacre. The Defense Intelligence Agency, which handles military intelligence for the Department of Defense, told me that it has 15 documents on the Tivoli massacre that are classified - too secret to be released. The Central Intelligence Agency, which has a long and troubled history with Jamaica, confirmed that it possesses documents related to the Tivoli operation. It did not say how many."

Expectedly, Schwartz has faced resistance from the US agencies in his quest to get all information. He has suggested that the GOJ undertakes diplomatic initiatives to obtain the release of all the information in the possession of such agencies:

  •  "Working through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, they should ask the United States to turn over all the material - documents, cables, and video - that it has relating to the investigation of Christopher Coke and the killings that took place in Tivoli Gardens at the end of May 2010. These materials are part of Jamaica's history. Without them, the full story of the massacre will never be told. Both Jamaica and the United States need the best possible understanding of what happened and who was responsible." 

It is likely that some video footage will be presented by the security forces to substantiate the claim as to the nature and extent of the resistance  encountered during the operation. One expects to see footage of armed men traversing the barricaded area with the accompanying audio of gunfire.
That the Tivoli COE will have the benefit of  the surveillance coverage and other documentation---  classified as "top secret" ostensibly for "National Security" interests--- seems rather remote. 
However Mattathis Schwartz could be of considerable enlightenment.

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