Sun | Jun 13, 2021

Media dropped the ball on army disclosures

Published:Friday | June 15, 2012 | 12:00 AM


With reference to The Gleaner's editorial of June 11 and the Letter of the Day of 13th instant, may I suggest that among the issues you have raised that you also look at how reporters and the media in general handled some of these issues?

1 When asked on TVJ's 'All Angles' about the circumstances in which Keith Clarke was killed at his St Andrew home, Col Rocky Meade, who has specialised training in linguistics and, therefore, tends to use his words very carefully, said, inter alia, "Some soldiers were wounded in the operation." The interviewers apparently took this to mean that they were wounded by gunfire from the Clarke household. Nobody asked specifically if the wounds were from gunshots or resulted from friendly fire. The public still does not know.

2 The same New Yorker magazine report that referred to the 'spy plane' over Tivoli was focused primarily on charges and allegations of extrajudicial killings. This was largely ignored by the local media. Here, the juicy story was that Dwight Nelson, the then security minister, had lied when he claimed not to have known about the existence of the plane.

3 Local media did not pursue the 'bombs in Tivoli' angle because there was a widespread view that whatever was done to the brigands down there was entirely reasonable, given the public outrage over their confronting the security forces.

There are many reports of soldiers systematically killing young men, whether they were shooting at them or simply still happened to be in the community instead of leaving when ordered to do. Still, such stories will not hold traction, because we want to believe our soldiers are honourable.

We have learnt nothing from the Green Bay and Southside killings of 1980, the battering of Michael Gayle, and a culture that almost always frees the security forces and especially from the consequences of their actions.

Fighting crime is one thing. Slaughtering your own people and then covering it up is another. We do not need any more public enquiries. The outcome is already predictable.