Drug Dealers Or Not, Their Alleged Treatment Defied Human Decency…

ALLEGATIONS AND COUNTER ALLEGATIONS

The saga in which five Jamaican Nationals were arrest­ed by United States Coast Guard for well over a month in 2017 and did not allow them to con­tact their fam­i­ly mem­bers who thought they were dead should con­cern all Jamaicans.
The inci­dent was remark­able enough to prompt the American Civil Liberties Union to file a law­suit on behalf of four of the men in the state of Florida.
In the video above, the men recount­ed their ordeal and stuck to the nar­ra­tive that they were inno­cent fish­er­men whose engine died and their boat drift­ed off­shore.
The men spoke at length about the treat­ment they received at the hands of US Coast guard author­i­ties and the sub­se­quent guilty plea they took in order to be allowed to return to Jamaica to see their fam­i­lies after doing time in an American prison.


US Coast Guard ves­sel USCG Confidence 

At the same time, the US Authorities have insist­ed that the men were mar­i­jua­na smug­glers. They claimed they recov­ered a spe­cif­ic amount of mar­i­jua­na,( 613 pounds) to be exact. They also claimed that they found sev­en 20-gal­lon fuel drums and two 55-gal­lon fuel drums. According to the report­ing in the (local Observer), the Affidavit filed in the Southern District Court of Florida, did not elab­o­rate whether the drums con­tained fuel or not.
As such, it is dif­fi­cult to rec­on­cile the sig­nif­i­cance of the men­tion­ing of the fuel drums in the Affidavit(outside of sim­ple account­ing of course). Most sig­nif­i­cant to the American pros­e­cu­tor’s case I thought, was the fact that they said they found no fish­ing gear to back up the claim of the Jamaicans that they were indeed fish­er­men.
Having watched the video twice I thought to myself that the men could actu­al­ly be both fish­er­men and drug smug­glers, as there is no mutu­al exclu­siv­i­ty between the two.

Image result for jamaican fishermen claim us coast guard abused them

I also thought about fish­ing gear from the start. If they had fish­ing gear on board and indi­cat­ed to the American Coast guard, that they were actu­al­ly fish­er­men, it still would not mean that they are not drug deal­ers if they had drugs on board their ves­sel, or had been seen toss­ing the car­go over­board.
Having fish­ing gear on board would mean noth­ing in that sit­u­a­tion, if drugs were found.
On the oth­er hand, the men said that the US Coast guard destroyed their boat, which indi­cat­ed to me that there was some­thing unto­ward going on.
I know that American author­i­ties have gone over and above what is required when they deal with peo­ple of col­or. I know American Police have been known to frame peo­ple for crimes they have not com­mit­ted.
Nevertheless, I found it strange that the US Coast Guard would destroy a boat and incar­cer­ate inno­cent fish­er­men who have mere­ly drift­ed off course.
The US Coast guard has been a force for good in help­ing strand­ed fish­er­men and oth­ers strand­ed at sea, regard­less of their nation­al­i­ty, so if they are lying about this, to my mind it would be an anom­aly.

Image result for jamaican fishermen claim us coast guard abused them

DRUGS FOR GUNS AND AMMUNITION

Since we do not know what occurred out there on the high seas, we are left to spec­u­late and opine based on what the two sides alleged.
At the same time, we are ful­ly aware that Jamaica is awash in guns and ammu­ni­tion, much of which the local police tells us comes in through the drugs for guns trade.
We make no deter­mi­na­tion whether these men were drug deal­ers or not. What we do know is that the [US Coast Guard] has been instru­men­tal in appre­hend­ing untold ship­ments of drugs before they enter the United States, and in the process, have also destroyed numer­ous small ship­ping ves­sels used to trans­port the drugs.
We do not know who to believe in the sce­nario as is alleged by the two com­pet­ing inter­ests. Sufficing to say it would be help­ful if the Americans had video doc­u­ment­ed the event, so that their claims could have had more valid­i­ty as far as their affi­davit reveals.

TREATMENT OF DETAINEES

Which brings us to the ques­tion of how the men were alleged­ly treat­ed. We have heard the men tell their sto­ries of how inhu­mane­ly they were treat­ed by American author­i­ties after they were tak­en into cus­tody.
Again, this writer has no infor­ma­tion out­side that which has been report­ed to bol­ster the claim of the defen­dants in this mat­ter, or to sub­stan­ti­ate the alle­ga­tions of the charg­ing author­i­ties, nei­ther will the many who will have vary­ing opin­ions on this case.
However, from my per­spec­tive, the fact that the ACLU has filed a suit in court on behalf of the men, indi­cates to me, that there is some evi­dence that they were treat­ed inhu­mane­ly or out­side of what they were enti­tled to as detainees of the US Government.
Under all cir­cum­stances,( includ­ing wars), accord­ing to the Geneva Convention pris­on­ers are to be treat­ed with respect dig­ni­ty and care.
These men weren’t pris­on­ers of war even, at best they were sus­pects in a crim­i­nal case. Under what author­i­ty did the US Coast Guard keep them chained on deck their boat under the ele­ments for a month if true?
How is that even defen­si­ble? Even if they were mur­der­ers, that treat­ment is out­side the norms of decen­cy and nor­mal civ­i­lized con­duct. The Americans would be scream­ing blue mur­der if their [white] nation­als were treat­ed that way by anoth­er coun​try​.In fact they would be pre­pared to go to war over it.
Would they have liked it if their drug deal­ers were arrest­ed by Jamaican author­i­ties and treat­ed that way?
If true, the Commanding offi­cer and every­one involved who treat­ed those men with such bar­bar­i­ty and such indif­fer­ence should be held account­able to the fullest extent of the law.
However, the fam­i­lies of these men should not hold their breath for account­abil­i­ty from America.
At the helm of the Federal Bureaucracy sits a despot­ic tyrant who rips babies from their par­ents puts them in cages, and in many cas­es some have died. He does not respect the laws of his own coun­try, nei­ther does he respect large sec­tions of the American pop­u­la­tion which are non white.
It fol­lows, there­fore, that the treat­ment alleged­ly met­ed out to these black Jamaicans, (regard­less of whether they com­mit­ted a crime or not), was das­tard­ly and inher­ent­ly bar­bar­ic, but not out of the norms of what is expect­ed under a tyrant like the one which is in charge today.

This inci­dent must be held up to the world so that it may see what is hap­pen­ing to peo­ple as a result of a despot­ic régime which has zero respect for estab­lished nation­al or inter­na­tion­al norms.
The harm being done to peo­ple far extends out­side the shores of America and it must be held up so the world may see for itself, what tyran­ny cloaked under a façade of Democracy looks like.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer Jamaican police cor­po­ral, busi­ness own­er, avid researcher, and blog­ger. He is also a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog chatt​-​a​-box​.com. You may sub­scribe to his blogs free of charge.