Just short of Death

News coming to me from legal circles in New York, has more than strongly hinted than a super indictment has been amended to include three top ranking Jamaica Labour Party members on charges of obstruction of justice, money laundering and conspiracy.
Who are they? Well let’s say if these names ever get released in the near future, there should be little surprise. Why am I not releasing the names? Because as much faith as I have in my source, there is always a lot of politics that can play out in this situation and I wouldn’t be surprised if deals are cut with the Jamaican government and the United States justice and state departments. The level of the names could destroy the present government.
I suspect that with one of the indicted, no easy deal can be cut because not only has there been several money trails leading to that person, but said person offended the US state department in an attempt to secure a safe location for Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.
The thing is that I wonder how far the US government is willing to go in this thing because as I have been told, they have been following money trails via the Dudus connection for some time.
Apparently, because the justice department was slowly turning the screws on the Jamaica government instead of taking a big hammer approach, several connections were flushed out and have now made the wanted list.
If you want to know who, just invite people who used to freely travel, to any country with an extradition agreements with the US, and see who quickly refuse the invitation. Granted some of them are sure to have diplomatic immunity (that’s a hint) now, but we’ll see how long before those are revoked.
***
Have continued to monitor the newspapers in Jamaica, seeing how they react to recent events. Two things very clear. One, that there is an attempt, particularly by the Jamaica Gleaner, to whitewash Bruce Golding. Secondly, I have seen no interest in following up on the British Times article that claims that Dudus wants asylum and safe conduct out of Jamaica because of his fear that he will be killed because he has knowledge about Golding that makes him targeted for death.
Allegations like this from a newspaper like that certainly must have attracted attention and should demand comment. Silence. Yet many people seem more busy attacking Edward Seaga, and papering over Bruce. Interesting.
I am also interested how the spotlight stays on Tivoli, Dudus, the security forces, yet fails to question the one person who is connected to each.

Another thing seemingly ignored, is that the police found Coke’s extradition papers in his house.  Since he has not yet been served, not even his lawyers would have had these papers.  he had to have access from somewhere high in government.

I have no doubt that Tivolites decided to defend Dudus, their godfather. That has always been their nature irrespective of what Seaga says. And I have little doubt about the status of Dudus… no angel there. I also am quite certain that there were several security excesses under the state of emergency. Even in normal times, extra-judicial killings were normal… much less under a free-for-all.
I can’t buy the ratio between recovered guns and dead bodies, and I refuse to buy the argument that fleeing gunmen take their fallen comrades guns. There have to be deaths that qualify as state murder.
But the connections… look at the connections and tell me that Bruce Golding deserves to continue as prime minister.
With all the available constituencies to choose from, Golding chose west Kingston. Why? Strategically, I don’t wrong him. No sane person in his situation would give up an armed force on call, to a rival. Would you?
But lets say that everything was above board his relationships with Dudus, Tivoli and west Kingston. It’s a stretch but imagine. Lets just examine the last several months since the extradition orders for Dudus became news.
Firstly, principle or not, Dudus was certainly the wrong person to use as poster-boy. Secondly, it was ill-conceived that with the nature of both the accused and the crimes, it could be defensible.
While it appeared that Golding was playing David to the US Goliath, it didn’t take long to see that there was more to it than that, and pretty soon it was clear that there was no principle at stake.
In all that, Jamaicans were turning into collateral damage and no good ending was in sight. Golding didn’t cut his losses but pursued it. Why? He put his party, his government and the people of Jamaica on the line. Result, 76 people officially killed , and the end game still to come.
He wasn’t forthright with his country, and when he owned up to a mistake, he didn’t apologise. Then he about-turned and the decision to serve Dudus the extradition papers, with no new reason given.
As much as the security forces were under alert, they obviously were under-prepared. Its obvious at the time of mobilisation, they didn’t know where Dudus was, they didn’t know what to expect inside Tivoli, they didn’t know that there were outside forces involved (if this is true and I’m beginning to doubt that), they didn’t know that bombs were being made, they didn’t prepare for an attack on police stations in the area, and it took them a week to mount raids on the homes of known associates of Dudus.
All stations in the area should have been re-enforced and the first thing that should have happened was raids on the homes of these associates. It took them a week to find one of Dudus’ main ‘partners’.
Then we have the report that it will cost over J$68m to repair two police stations, which means the tally for everything will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Ed Bartlett claims an estimated US$350m tourism revenue lost, and there must be losses in the millions of dollars to the internal economy.
76 people dead, 36 guns recovered, and our name as a civil society gone up in the smokes. Was it worth it? Is this the judgement and management of a prime minister?
***
And across the other side of the world, another case of state terrorism. That is, the Israeli attack on a ship in international waters, killing 9 people.
It is confirmed that in international waters, Israeli soldiers, at 4:00 am, attempted to board a ship that intended to breach the 3 year old blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza. The ship was one of six carrying 10,000 tons of aid and the only weapons found were metal baseball bats and two guns that were taken from the Israeli commandos and turned against them.
Perhaps if this had happened in Israeli waters, I would just sigh and moved on. You have a right to defend your territory… but an attack on any vessel in international waters to me, is illegal and piracy.
Israel claimed the right because the flotilla’s intent was to break a military blockade and deliver aid to hungry Palestinians. But this was not a warship, and there is no reason why they couldn’t wait to intercept the ships. Any failure to obey an Israeli command to halt in Israeli waters would be considered a threat, and then whatever happens, happens.
But this was not a warship… and it was in international waters.
Israel claimed it opened fire on the ship’s passengers because they were being attacked. They claim self-defense. But it was heavily armed Israelis that boarded without permission… in international waters.
What about the right of self-defense for those on board the ship? Is this part of the influence of the Bush doctrine, to strike irrespective of others rights? At least the Obama administration has taken a cautious approach.
But let me ask, if the ship had mainly American, French or German instead of Turkish activists who wanted to give aid to Palestinians who are being systematically starved, would Israel have committed this act of piracy and murder?
And let us look at Israel’s blockade which is supported by Obama as it was by Bush.
The blockade was imposed on the Gaza 3 years ago after Hamas seized control. Egypt also closed their border making it impossible for anything to come into Gaza without Israel’s scrutiny and permission. Gaza holds 1.5 million people.
Those who claim there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza say there is no known list as to what is allowed to be imported. It is capricious and never published. Strawberries are ok one day and tomorrow, it isn’t. And the US knows this.
Canned meat, tuna, tea and coffee are allowed but not canned fruit and chocolate. Up til this year, combs, brushes, shoes and clothes were illegal to import.
But a court case against the Israeli government brought by an Israeli human rights group, Gisha, has forced some disclosure about the blockade policy. One of those is that the blockade is ‘a central pillar in the armed conflict with Hamas’.
Also revealed is the ‘… minimum calorie intake needed by Gaza’s inhabitants according to their age and sex’. Israel says this is not taken into consideration.
Interestingly, while much of the world is against the blockade and many recognize that there is a humanitarian crisis present in Gaza, the BBC paraphrased Israel as saying that “…it allows enough basic supplies through border crossings to avoid any acute humanitarian crisis”.
I wonder how much of a difference there is between a humanitarian crisis and an acute humanitarian crisis? It does appear to me that Israel in order to get at Hamas, is slowly starving the Gazan population, perhaps just short of death.

Israel, instead of alienating Hamas, surely has made Hamas’ hold firmer and the peace process less likely to succeed.  Perhaps this was the intention all along.

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