An article in The New Yorker magazine titled “A Massacre In Jamaica,” states that an American spy plane monitored the incursion into Tivoli Gardens on May 24, 2010—a failed attempt to capture Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, the Tivoli don facing drug and weapons charges in the U.S. At least 74 people were killed during the joint police/military operation.
According to the investigative report by Mattathias Schwartz, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S) flew a Lockheed P-3 Orion above downtown Kingston on May 24 “in support of the D.E.A Drug Enforcement Agency and the Jamaican government.”
The new report contradicts official statements by Jamaican government officials who have denied the presence of any U.S. spy plane. During a May 25, 2010 press conference at Jamaica House, then Minister of Information Daryl Vaz stated that “there was no outside assistance in this operation, that is for sure.”
But The New Yorker article is backed up by an official D.H.S incident report obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. “All scenes were continuously recorded,” reads the document titled a “Significant Incident Report.” If the video is made public, the questions about what really happened during the Tivoli incursion may be answered once and for all. Read more about the implications of the new article below:
ABSTRACT: A REPORTER AT LARGE about the deaths of more than seventy people during a police and military assault on the Tivoli Gardens neighborhood of Kingston, Jamaica, in May of 2010. The trouble that led to the Tivoli Gardens deaths began in August, 2009, when the United States government requested the extradition of Christopher (Dudus) Coke. In the U.S., Coke stood charged in federal court of trafficking in narcotics and firearms; in Jamaica, he was known as the country’s most powerful “don,” a community leader who also runs a criminal enterprise. He lived in Tivoli, where everyone called him “president,” and, since 2001, Jamaican police had not been able to enter the neighborhood without his permission. Coke’s power was so great that Prime Minister Bruce Golding spent months resisting the extradition order. But in early May, 2010, under heavy international political pressure, Golding authorized Coke’s arrest. In response, Coke converted Tivoli and nearby Denham Town into a personal fortress. 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. Three more residents of Tivoli Gardens, including a sixteen-year-old boy, are missing and presumed dead. The Jamaican security forces say that many of the dead were armed gunmen allied with Coke, but the security forces recovered only six guns during the assault. According to extensive interviews with Tivoli Gardens residents and Jamaican officials, the resistance that the security forces encountered in Tivoli was quickly overpowered. Coke and most of his gunmen are believed to have fled when the siege began, escaping through a network of gullies and sewers. The rest of the battle was not a firefight so much as a police operation. The security forces rounded up residents and conducted searches from house to house. Unarmed men of fighting age were interrogated on the spot, and more than a thousand were sent to detention centers, from which they were released a few days later. Dozens were allegedly shot to death in custody. A year and a half later, the Jamaican government has refused to make public what it knows about how the men and women of Tivoli died. So has the government of the United States, despite clear evidence that a U.S. surveillance plane flying above Kingston on May 24th was taking live video of Tivoli and that intelligence from the video feed was passed through U.S. law enforcement officers to Jamaican forces on the ground, and that the Department of Homeland Security has a copy of this video. 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. A month after the attack on Tivoli, the Jamaica Constabulary Force caught Coke at a roadblock. Since late June, he has been held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan.