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


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


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.


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.