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84 Jamaicans placed on US terrorist watch list

Published:Tuesday | May 24, 2011 | 5:47 PM

Confidential diplomatic cables from the US Embassy in Kingston obtained through Wikileaks have revealed that the United States placed 84 Jamaicans on a terrorist watch list last year.

The Jamaicans were placed on the watch list following two meetings of the US Embassy Visa Vipers Committee early last year.

According to the cables, some of those on the list have had their US visas cancelled while notations were placed beside the names of others that they should be refused visas whenever they turn up at the Embassy.

One of the 84 targets is a 24-year-old man, who is said to have issued threats against United States president Barack Obama.

According to the cable, several of the persons being watched by the United States, are suspected associates of controversial Muslim Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal.

Many are suspected of narcotics trafficking, terrorism and human trafficking.

Some have been labeled radical Muslims and criminal deportees.

From the cables, it appears that there were fears that at least two terrorist attacks were being planned for the tourist resort towns of Montego Bay, St James and Ocho Rios, St Ann.

A 31 year old Jamaican male was also identified as a radical Muslim suspected of involvement in a Montego Bay bombing plot.

Another man is marked as a suspect in threats against cruise ships in Ocho Rios.

However, the cables gave no details of the plots.

Meanwhile, el-Faisal’s name is a recurrent theme in two secret cables, one sent on January 7, 2010 and the other on February 10, 2010 from Kingston to Washington.

Born Trevor William Forest, in St James, el-Faisal is said to be an extremist Muslim cleric, who preached in the United Kingdom until he was convicted of stirring up racial hatred and urging his followers to murder Jews, Hindus, Christians, and Americans.

El-Faisal was sentenced to nine years in prison, but he served only four years before being deported to Jamaica in 2007.

He subsequently traveled to Africa, but was deported from Botswana in 2009 and from Kenya back to Jamaica