To what extent, if any, did the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) participate in the slaughter of scores of
The community was run by drug lord Christopher (Dudus) Coke, a self-proclaimed “president” wanted in the
When he would not surrender to authorities, the Army’s Jamaican
Defense Force(J.D.F) and the Jamaican Constabulary Force(J.C.F.)
breached the barricades Coke’s men had erected and gunfire erupted.
Resistance was light and the defenders melted away. Unarmed residents
who had not taken the opportunity to leave
gunplay were not so lucky.
“No fewer than (73 civilians) were killed (as well as one soldier)” in
the operation to get Coke, and three other community residents are
missing, writes Mattathias Schwartz in last December 12th’s “The New
Although Jamaican authorities say many of those slain were armed
gunmen allied with Coke, they recovered just six guns during the
assault and to this day “the Jamaican government has refused to make
public what it knows about how the men and (three) women of
So has the
surveillance plane with an identifying DHS seal on its tail was flying
ground, Schwartz notes. “The video could corroborate, or refute,
allegations that members of the Jamaican security forces massacred
dozens of innocents, and could help identify the alleged killers,”
“The New Yorker” article suggests.
Investigators dispatched by
were told by
their homes, or dragging them out into the street and killing them,”
A DHS official confirmed to reporter Schwartz his agency had aircraft
and information turned over to Jamaican authorities. A
Enforcement Administration(DEA) spokesperson said, “We were absolutely
not involved on the ground in any of the operations.” A statement
given to Schwartz by the U.S. State Department and DEA stressed
law-enforcement officers at the American Embassy had not made
“operational decisions” during the incursion.
But Schwartz writes, “The U.S. knew there was a risk of violence
against civilians during the operation” as human-rights activists have
long been collecting stories of J.C.F. excesses, “including officers
indiscriminately firing on teen-age girls or crowded buses.”
In 2010, Jamaican police killed 320 civilians apart from those slain
in the Tivoli attack, a figure 40 times as great as the New York P.D.
which covers a population three times as large, and a UN report has
noted “the propensity for extrajudicial killings by the J.C.F.”
Once the police gained control of
were interrogated on the spot, and more than a thousand were sent to
detention centers, from which they were released a few days later,”
Schwartz wrote, but “dozens allegedly (were) shot to death in
custody.” Others, whose protestations of innocence were not believed,
were shot to death on the spot in
Meanwhile, Coke was nowhere to be found. Nearly a month after what
Schwartz called “A Massacre in
a roadblock and has been held since at the
faces up to 23 years in prison, Schwartz writes.
But several scores of civilians are buried in
which, for all its denials, the
perhaps more closely involved than it has let on.