WAR GAMES

September 25, 2007

ON JUNE 23, U.S. POLITICAL OFFICER JOHN
Butler was shot to death in Grenada's police headquarters.
Also gunned down was Grenada Police Commissioner
Cosmus Raymond. The alleged assailant, St. Vincent
police official Grafton Bascombe, died almost immediately
in Grenadian police custody from "cardiac arrest." Butler
reportedly was at police headquarters to investigate alleged
irregularities in the handling of financial compensation to the
region's governments for participating in U.S.-sponsored
military maneuvers.
Eight days before he died, tourists were awakened from
their plush hotel beds by U.S. C-130 transport planes roaring
over Grand Anse Beach. U.S. helicopters were ferrying
troops and supplies from a warship anchored off Quarantine
Point in what resembled a re-enactment of the botched
"surgical strike" that began the 1983 invasion. Such military
exercises have been held in the region annually ever
since the 1981 trial run (practiced on Puerto Rico) for the
invasion of Grenada. Frequently the games involve forces
from Jamaica, Great Britain, Puerto Rico, and member
nations of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
Even as AID funds dry up, military money remains
plentiful. The United States has sponsored a "Regional
Security Force" and placed Special Service Units (SSUs),
U.S.-trained paramilitary forces, in Eastern Caribbean police
forces. They are mobilized for anti-marijuana raids, as well
as in times of domestic political tension. SSUs were sent from
neighboring islands to Grenada when the verdict in the trial
of those accused of killing Maurice Bishop was to be announced.
And in Dominica, the local SSU was called out
during a 1987 dispute over land rights between the Charles
government and the indigenous Garifuna (Carib) people.
One Dominican voiced a prevalent suspicion: "The SSUs
were set up to have an allegiance to the United States over and
above their loyalty to our own countries."

Tags: Grenada, police, military aid


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