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Cablegate: Jamaica: Fertile Soil for Terrorism?

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DE RUEHKG #0027/01 0561531
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 251531Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY KINGSTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0756
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO IMMEDIATE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 0193
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAORC/US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION WASHINGTON DC
RUEHKG/AMEMBASSY KINGSTON
RUMIESS/SOUTHCOM IESS MIAMI FL

S E C R E T KINGSTON 000027

SIPDIS
NOFORN
STATE FOR WHA/CAR (VDEPIRRO) (WSMITH) (JMACK-WILSON)
WHA/EPSC (MROONEY) (FCORNEILLE)
INR/RES (RWARNER)
INR/I (SMCCORMICK)
SANTO DOMINGO FOR FCS AND FAS
TREASURY FOR ERIN NEPHEW

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2035/02/25
TAGS: ECON PTER SOCI EAIR ASEC PREL PINS PINR KISL KCRM
KCOR, KTFN, JM, XL
SUBJECT: Jamaica: Fertile Soil for Terrorism?

REF: 09 KINGSTON 521; 09 KINGSTON 964; 09 KINGSTON 303; KINGSTON 3
09 KINGSTON 1024

CLASSIFIED BY: Isiah Parnell, CDA; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

Summary

1. (C) Jamaica has a significant penchant for violence, frequently
gang related, and often exported to the United States, Canada, and
the United Kingdom. Some perpetrators appear to be in search of
the sense of security and strength offered by gang membership, or
perhaps to fill the void of an absent father figure in a society in
which the family structure is fluid and marriage rates are low.
Although not widely known, Jamaicans have been involved in some of
the worst or potentially devastating acts of terrorism of the last
decade. In 2008, The Economist listed Jamaica as the "most
murderous country in the world," while concluding in a 2009 article
that the nation has an "unfixable" crime problem (Reftel A and B).
Although Jamaica's nascent Muslim population is small and largely
peaceful, these conditions could be fertile ground for the types of
Islamist extremism that has thrived in other countries. The recent
return of extremist Jamaican-born cleric Sheikh el-Faisal raises
serious concerns regarding the propensity for Islamist extremism in
the Caribbean at the hands of Jamaican born nationals. End
Summary.

Jamaican-Born Terrorism A Rising Concern

2. (SBU) Although Jamaicans have not been widely seen as potential
perpetrators of terrorist activity, developments over the last
decade indicate that a surprising number have had links to
high-profile events. After serving in the U.S. Army and working as
a contractor in Iraq, Jamaican-born U.S. resident Kevin Brown
returned here to find that his mother had been the victim of an
unsolved murder. As a result, Brown reportedly grew increasingly
withdrawn and in April 2008, attempted to board a flight from
Orlando, Florida to Montego Bay, Jamaica with bomb-making materials
in his luggage. Although Brown was not Muslim, he reportedly
wanted to show friends how to build explosives similar to those he
had seen in Iraq. Brown was sentenced to three years probation.

3. (S) In April 2009, Jamaican Stephen Fray bypassed security while
concealing a handgun and entered a Canadian (CanJet) charter flight
at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay (Reftel C). Frey
held one hundred and sixty passengers and the crew hostage while
the plane was at the gate. At twenty two years old, Fray was
sentenced to a maximum of twenty years in prison. Fray may have
been Muslim and it appears he visited a mosque on Jamaica's North
Coast. These incidents are reminders of security weaknesses for a
country whose biggest industry is tourism and to which more than 80
percent of visitors are from the U.S. and Canada.

Jamaican Shoe Bomber

4. (S/NF) In December 2001, Richard Reid, a Briton of Jamaican
descent, attempted to detonate an explosive in his shoe aboard
American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami. Born to an

English mother and an absent Jamaican father who spent nearly
twenty years in prison for car theft, Reid had dropped out of high
school at sixteen and had turned to a life of petty crime. While
in prison, Reid embraced the teachings of radical Islam, and later
honed his extremist beliefs at England's Brixton Mosque (NOTE:
Brixton Mosque has been linked to several Islamist extremist
figures, including Jamaican extremist cleric Sheikh el-Faisal. The
mosque officially condemns terrorism, but has been targeted by
extremists in recruitment efforts. End Note). Reid then turned to
the more extreme Finsbury Park mosque, well-known for its radical
preaching and the significant number of suspected terrorists who
have worshipped there. He later traveled to Pakistan and
Afghanistan, and since has been linked to some of the most
notorious terrorist cells in Europe. Reid has been sentenced to
life in prison in the United States.

Jamaican D.C. Sniper

5. (S/NF) In October 2002, Jamaican-born Lee Boyd Malvo terrorized
the Washington D.C. area in the sniper-style killing spree that
took the lives of ten people during a three-week period.. Malvo,
who grew up without a father and was periodically abandoned by his
mother, eventually moved to the U.S. in violation of immigration
law. He is presumed to have met his sniper accomplice, John
Muhammad, in Antigua, and the two later developed a bond while
living in a homeless shelter in Bellingham, Washington, where
Muhammad became a father figure in Malvo's life. Muhammad, a
former member of the U.S. Army who taught Malvo how to shoot, is
thought to have motivated the murders. After being convicted,
Muhammad was executed by lethal injection in 2009. Malvo was
sentenced to life in prison at the age of eighteen. Although these
events were not linked to Islamist extremism, Muhammad was a
convert to the Nation of Islam. (NOTE: Malvo and his mother were
detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in December
2001 for being illegally present in the U.S. They were released a
month later pending a deportation hearing. It was during this time
that Malvo caught up with Muhammad. The two are also suspected of
fatal shootings in Alabama, Arizona and Louisiana, which occurred
before the D.C. shootings. End Note).

Jamaican London Metro Bomber

6. (S/NF) Suicide-bomber Germaine Lindsay was a Jamaican-born
British resident who moved to the UK when he was five. After
converting to Islam and leading what many would later call a quiet
life, his beliefs became more radical over time, culminating in his
participation in the London bombings on July 7, 2005 at the age of
nineteen. Lindsay was killed in the terrorist attack. (NOTE: Less
is known about Lindsay's motivation, but many suspect he had been
radicalized by fellow suicide-bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan, eleven
years his elder. End Note.)

Prisons And Deportees - Extremism Export?

7. (S/NF) Islamist extremism is known to attract young, disaffected
single men who are not necessarily from Muslim nations. Jamaica's
marriage rate is low and the unemployment rate is officially twelve
percent, although unofficially thought to be much higher. The

country's organized crime dons are notorious for recruiting and
arming members from the ranks of poor young men looking for the
identity and protection offered by allegiance to a gang. Given the
right motivation, it is conceivable that Jamaica's disaffected
youth could be swayed towards organized crime of a different nature
through the teachings of radical Islam. The proportionally high
number of Jamaicans in U.S. prisons could also be exposed to
radical Islamist teachings, as was Richard Reid in the UK. Many
Jamaican criminals serving time in prisons abroad are eventually
deported back to Jamaica, and under the right conditions this could
create a dangerous flow of individuals with extremist attitudes.

The New Preacher In Town

8. (S/NF) The January 2010 return of Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, aka
Trevor William Forest, to his Jamaican homeland creates a potential
new catalyst for the call to radical Islam (Reftel D and E).
Having spent four years in a British prison for advocating the
murder of Americans, Israelis, and Hindus, el-Faisal has recently
been suspected of recruiting suicide bombers to stage a terrorist
attack during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Having led a
mosque attended by convicted terrorists in London, he was deported
in 2007 from the UK to Jamaica where he continued preaching
violence against non-Muslims. In 2008, the Jamaican Islamic
Council banned el-Faisal from preaching in the country's mosques,
although he was welcomed to attend. Undeterred, el-Faisal set out
to build a mosque in 2008 with money secured from unnamed overseas
sources. (NOTE: el-Faisal's Jamaican business partner was
convicted in the U.S. and sentenced to nearly thirteen years in
prison for cocaine distribution and sexual assault. The majority
of cases from the U.S. Marshals Service Jamaica field office
concern fugitives wanted for drug trafficking and violent crime.
Gang dons in Jamaican are often exceptionally wealthy as a result
of ill-gotten gains related to organized crime and drug
trafficking). El-Faisal later moved to East Africa to continue
preaching before being deported from Kenya in January 2010.
El-Faisal currently is back in Jamaica and is likely to continue
his advocacy of violence against non-Muslims, having recently told
the press he considers jihad self-defense.

Analysis and Conclusion

9. (S/NF) With easy access to drug money, networks of gang members
throughout U.S. and British prisons, thousands of disaffected
youth, a high number of U.S. tourists, and less than robust
security, Jamaica potentially presents fertile ground for those who
might commit acts of violence in the name of Islamist extremism.
This likelihood has increased with the return of el-Faisal to
Jamaica as a potentially motivating catalyst. Jamaica's proximity
to, and large expatriate populations in, the U.S., Canada, and the
UK underscore the need to ensure that Islamist extremism does not
grow in a nation struggling to control its staggering crime rate.
While Jamaica does have legislation to address terrorism, nobody to
date has been prosecuted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act
(Note: Stephen Fray was prosecuted for firearms offenses), and the
country is largely unprepared to address a real threat. The
Ministry of National Security has established an special unit to
collect information on Islamic extremism, but the weak appears to
be having trained law enforcement entity to able react rapidly to
actionable intelligence and to effectively prosecute an
anti-terrorism case in the courts. A societal trend of young men
who are quick to resort to acts of violence, and a history of high

profile terrorist operations perpetrated by individuals with
Jamaican roots, should raise concerns and awareness that history
could repeat itself. End Analysis and Conclusion.
Parnell

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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