My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How can one extradition be worth the Jamaica-US relationship?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How can one extradition be worth the Jamaica-US relationship?

I would first like to debunk the story “Dudus Bugged”, published Sunday 7th March 2010, Cover Story, The Herald which states that there is an “intelligence network” headquartered in Kingston, which is completely false.

There are no spies in Jamaica that intercept mobile, landline, fixed line or data call transactions on any networks without the prior knowledge of the respective Telecoms Providers. Worse, there would be no need to, as any such mobile unencrypted (yes, there are mobile apps that can be installed on smart phones that can encrypt phone calls!) calls on the Big Three mobile networks in Jamaica i.e. Digicel, CLARO and LIME are easily interceptable.

This is provided you have the right gear or equipment or you had recently acquired the A5/1 or A5/3 codebook from a Telecoms Provider employee and utilized the Open Source Solution.

This is now available online thanks to the research done by German security expert Karsten Nohl who had indicated at a Hackers convention press conference in Germany that he had decrypted the A5/1 codebook, which uses a 64-bit encryption key, as stated in the article “Q&A: Researchers Karsten Nohl on Mobile eavesdropping”, author Elinor Mills, CNET News.

For the layperson, this means that conversations on Telecoms Providers networks that still use the A5/1 codebook (hint: Digicel??) are not only interceptable but decodable. It is thus being hoped that local Telecoms companies have upgraded to the more secure A5/3 codebook, which Dr. Karsten Kohl, who holds a PhD in computer engineering from the University of Virginia, has yet to decrypt…….at least for now.

Apparently these spies are fictional characters that the Herald wishes to write in a book on the obviously stalled extradition of Tivoli strongman Chritopher “Dudus” Coke, as there is no proof offered or sources and their names mentioned.

But this issue and its larger possible implication as it relates to the security of data and conversations on our Telecoms Provider’s Networks aside, I segway to what I really am gunning. This is the legality of the Prime Minister making what seems a declaration that the extradition of Christopher “Dudus” Coke cannot proceed as the State Department of the United States of America obtained their information illegally.

This, John Public surmises, is really a matter for the Courts, as Dr. Peter Phillips, spokesperson on National Security points out in Parliament, his point of view being upheld by another PNP backbencher Abe Dabdoub. He stated that the Prime Minister had usurped his role as part of the Executive by making presumptions of judgment when legal matters were solely the prevue and prerogative of the Judiciary.

Please remember that not only did these statements get published in all three (3) Newspapers, it was also the prime news for a few days in the past week by the Broadcasters Television and radio Stations.

Their News reports are broadcast on the Internet on a Web TV channel, effectively the entire world, thus ruffling the feathers of the United States of America.

Although not a major trading partner with regards to exports, we do import a lot of their goods, have diplomatic relations with the USA in the form of ambassadors, consulates and embassies. We also get financial assistance from NGO and US multilaterals such as USAID and the IMF (the USA is a major contributor to their lending pool)

Most importantly, we have a working Extradition Treaty, formerly known as the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, which is a joint Jamaica-USA agreement. This allows the extradition of citizens from either country who are suspected of committing crimes in the other’s jurisdiction or aiding criminal activity in the other’s country. This is a Treaty to which the Government of Jamaica is signatory and signed of its own free will without coercion.

This extradition does not specify the time frame within which the extradition request has to be honored, but nonetheless it must occur within what is referred to as a “reasonable” timeframe.

Also, there is a judicial process that must be undertaken by the courts which has not been allowed to proceed, as Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, Minister of Justice, has had the Ministry of Justice itself peruse the request by the United States of America for “Dudus” extradition.  Senator Dorothy Lightbourne  then declared it as containing inadequate evidence and grounds upon which to extradite the alleged drug kingpin, when in fact this is a decision for the courts to decide and not the Ministry of Justice.

To add further injury to insult to the Common Sense view of John Public, one would think that since we entered into a Extradition Treaty, it would also make provisions as to what would be regarded as admissible evidence as opined in the editorial “Stop the posturing and do what is right”, published Sunday 7th March 2010, Sunday Herald Editorial, Sunday Herald.

Apparently the Prime Minister, in acting as a lawyer (which he is not), has made the point that the evidence is illegally obtained. But the evidence used to establish the prima facie case against Christopher “Dudus” Coke was obtained after the United States of America State Department had granted a warrant to the relevant investigative authority (DEA perhaps?).

They conducted the wiretap (which by the way includes conversations or data transmissions over a wireless network) which was done from the American side of the telecommunications link or on American soil e.g. the United States of America Embassy or Consulate offices, which are technically America Soil.

So the DEA tapped the conversations of the persons with whom Christopher “Dudus” Coke was passing information or had information passed to him concerning narcotics related matters currently under investigation prior to the wiretap requests.

It can confirmed by the United States of America State Department that they do indeed have sworn testimonies from the persons involved in those conversations that the person with whom they were conversing is indeed Christopher “Dudus” Coke.

Thus the extradition request from the United States is not only legally binding, but it can stand the test of the Jamaica equivalent of the Extradition Court, which would have legal oversight into issues relating to extradition requests. This should be the reasoning, instead of as Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, Minister of Justice declaring flatly that she would not sign the request for the extradition of Christopher “Dudus” Coke.

Indeed, it is possibly this knowledge of the procedures that may have made the United States of America State Department in the recently published International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, make it known that the actions of the Government of Jamaica “called into question Kingston’s commitment to the law enforcement cooperation with the US”.

We already have gotten ourselves in trouble with our Central Latin American [Caribbean], American and British authorities with regards to our Jamaica nationals, who, even when they do visit or have never visited the respective countries mentioned have a propensity to incite the worst in the citizenry of those respective countries.

Especially as it relates to the sale of narcotics and even our anti-gay hate lyrics in dancehall music by virtue of their connections to known criminal underworld figures in the respective countries.

This was brought into sharp focus when Mark Myrie, otherwise knows by his nom de guerre as Buju Banton, was held by Federal Agents on charges of dealing in and attempting to smuggle cocaine as stated in the article “Not and Easy Road – Buju Banton held for cocaine possession in the United States”, published Sunday, December 13, 2009, by Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer, The Sunday Gleaner,

Britain, the Cayman Islands and many of Eastern Caribbean countries have been forced by it respective citizenry to enact a Visa requirement and stricter screening of Jamaican citizens in a bid to keep the criminal activity out of their countries.

It does not help that Jamaica is a known transshipment point for cocaine from Latin America, specifically Colombia and a major producer and supplier of cannabis sativa (Marijuana) to the United States of America. It is definitely not helping the situation when it is known to all dry and sundry, inclusive of the learned John Public that the Government of Jamaica.

Worse with a JLP led Government of Jamaica who has a Prime Minister, Senator Bruce Golding appearing to defend a wanted criminal and strongman who literally controls the Tivoli Gardens area, which just happens to be his constituency.

Jamaica’s weakness in tackling crime and passing anti-crime legislation that could make fingerprints, forensic evidence and the admission of electronic recordings i.e. still photographs, video or audio, be they digital or analog at the time of recording the offence.

Making amendments to Acts as it relates to Corruption (both State and Civil), amendment of laws as it relates to fines and sentences for certain criminal acts, and the retraining of the police as it relates their sensitization to the various laws of the State as well as non-lethal means of subduing suspects.

Most importantly the passing of the Charter of Right and Freedoms, which would lay out clearly the Rights and Freedoms of both Citizens and non-Citizens in Jamaica!

These deficiencies in Jamaica law are all too well known to the United States of America Justice and State Departments, and even the EU, who have begged and pleaded with the previous successive Governments to enact in order to better deal with crime within their country.

Could it really be that the Prime Minister, Bruce Golding uncooperative stance is concern over losing voter support from his constituents in this well-known garrison in the upcoming General Elections in the next two and a half (2 ½ ) years?

Or is it that he is trying to stamp out (or stall, perhaps?) the lit fuse leading to a bigger powder ked, that of the Jamaica Labour Party’s involvement and possibly financial or other support and acceptance of financial or other support from the criminal underworld that exist in these garrison areas?

Such information would expose the Prime Minister and the JLP members as aiding and abetting the crime problem in Jamaica, which would explain in some part their reluctance in enacting the above legislation key to fighting Crime.

If this is the case, then we’re in for an even more longer ride with the Government of Jamaica in a soap opera John Public would like to call “As the Government Turns”, as it appears in protecting their proverbial posteriors (can I use the word “asses” or does the Newspaper censors not allow it?) they are willing to accept any and all political fallouts.

The Prime Minister Bruce Golding has sounded out this viewpoint clearly in Parliament by stating that - and these are his words - “if I have to pay a political price for, then I will”. Already, there is a strong feeling in the court of public opinion, presided over by John Public that the tardiness of the United States of America in appointing a US Ambassador since the end of the tour of duty of Barbera LaGrange in 2009.

The most recent diplomatic soundings of the United States of America in canceling the visas of Mr. Wayne Chen, Director of the UDC (Urban Development Corporation) who I might add was treated as any ordinary Jamaica would be when their visa has expired naturally.

This despite the protestations of Mr. Michael Spence in the opinion piece “Visa Revocation”, published Sunday 7th March 2010, The Sunday Herald and the alleged seizure of Green Cards by the Department of Homeland security in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida of as yet undisclosed prominent Jamaicans on Monday 1st March 2010.

Possibly, these may be somehow related to the ongoing extradition saga being played out almost every month in the Newspapers and on the Broadcast Television and Radio Stations since it first broke light in 2009.

But worse is yet to come, as the United States of America State Department has an even more daunting arsenal of weapons such as embassy and ambassador revocations, blocking the importation of technology transfers to Jamaica.

This widens the investigation to include the Government of Jamaica by declaring them also criminals by virtue of aiding and abetting a known wanted suspect in a narcotics investigation and blocking of international aid and loans from EU, NGO and Multilateral lending agencies.

Especially in light of not only the lack of effort by the Government of Jamaica to enact the aforementioned legislation to tackle crime and corruption but also their failure to enact the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in its presently amended form. This would have guaranteed the rights and freedoms of all Jamaican Citizens regardless of race, colour, class, creed, religion or sexual orientation.

What is even worse, is than not only is Jamaica’s reputation being dragged about and our dirty laundry aired to a foreign press that mostly sensationalizes bad press and ignores the good that is coming out of Jamaica, we can also face possible sanctions from the EU, if the USA suddenly decides that the process has exceeded a year.

Hopefully the Government of Jamaica should come to its senses and realize that its posturing using rights and due diligence as it relates to one of its citizens makes it look as if is hiding something.

The more the United States of America State Department patience wears thin, the more likely that after a year would have passed since the extradition request, they may even begin taking other action not mentioned in this letter that will instead be aimed at the citizens of Jamaica, the Jamaican electorate.

Apparently Prime Minister, Bruce Golding is more concerned about holding on to his political post than giving up a wanted man who controls his constituency. This despite his back being against the wall and having no other options but to allow the Courts to proceed with assessing the legality of the extradition request! Their actions ensure compliance with our Extradition Treaty with the intention to extradite Christopher “Dudus” Coke to face drug charges in the United States of America.

The sands of time have been set as it is now a question all of Jamaica and yours truly, the learned John Public, must be asking, as did David Rowe, a Jamaican borne lawyer residing in Ft. Lauderdale Florida: “How can one extradition be worth the Jamaica-US relationship?”

No comments: