soulhead: What inspired the book?
Casey Gane-McCalla: My father is from Jamaica so I travel there a lot as a child. I was always interested in Jamaican politics and how it relates to crime and gangs. As a teenager I was a huge Bob Marley fan, so I went to the Bob Marley museum where the tour guide brought me to the rehearsal area where Bob Marley was shot in 1976 and was told by the tour guide that the CIA arranged the hit on his life. Later my grandmother would give me the book “Marley and Me” by Bob Marley’s manager Don Taylor, and in the book Taylor claimed that there was a ghetto trial of Bob’s shooters, and they admitted that the CIA paid them in cocaine and guns to try and kill Marley. I wrote my senior thesis on Bob Marley and Jamaican politics at Columbia and the. When I became the Lead Writer for NewsOne, I wrote the story “How The CIA Created The Jamaican Shower Posse” after The Jamaican drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke the son of Shower Posse Leader Lester “Jim Brown” Coke, was extradited to the USA, which lead to violent manhunt in Kingston.
soulhead: Are the claims of the book widely known?
Casey Gane-McCalla: There have always been rumors and accusations of the CIA trying to destabilize or take down the Manley government in 1976. Recently Wikileaks released thousands of American Embassy cables, including ones from the American Embassy in Jamaica. I researched a lot of the Cables and they corroborate a lot of the allegations that have been made against the CIA in Jamaica. What I did with the book was combine lots of documents, evidence and allegations against the CIA and connected the dots to make a convincing argument that the CIA created a pattern of guns, drugs, political violence, economic sabotage and propaganda in their campaign to get rid of Democratic Socialist Prime Minister, Michael Manley because of his ties to Fidel Castro and opposition to Apartheid.
Recently there was great documentary on the Jamaican Shower Posse, on BET’s American Gangster that explored the allegations that the CIA armed and supported the infamous gang because of their loyalty to the Jamaican Labour Party which opposed Michael Manley’s People’s National Party. Also there is a brilliant historical novel by Marlon James, “A Brief History Of Seven Killings” that deals with the CIA, the shooting of Bob Marley and the Jamaican Shower Posse too. Although the book is fiction it’s very true and matches a lot of the claims made in my non fiction book.
soulhead: what do you want the impact of these revelations to be?
Casey Gane-McCalla: : Hopefully the revelations will lead to a greater scrutiny of the CIA, not only for their past deeds but what they are doing right now. The CIA’s roll in the drug trade has had a disastrous impact on the Black community. During the Vietnam War, the CIA’s roll in importing heroin from southeast Asia, led to massive addiction problem that devastated the Black community and in the 80s the CIA’s use of the cocaine trade to support the contras in Nicaragua led to the crack epidemic, in which the Jamaican Shower Posse had a big role as well. Today there is a massive heroin epidemic caused partially by the war in Afghanistan, and the CIA has been tied to several players in the heroin trade there, including President Karzai’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai.
Just as the CIA helped start the Jamaican Shower Posse to fight Michael Manley and Democratic Socialism, they also helped start ISIS to fight President Assad in Syria and Mexican officials have claimed that they manage the drug trade in Mexico today. There has been a renewed scrutiny on the CIA’s involvement in the JFK assassination so I think it’s important to view their patterns of assassination attempts on progressive leaders and artists like Bob Marley, and Martin Luther King too.
Hopefully the book will lead to a call for the USA to make an apology to Jamaica and offer some sort of restitution for what the CIA did, bringing in a vicious cycle of guns, drugs, killing and poverty. Most importantly tho, I think it is very important that history be documented properly in an era where the media can distort history to create propaganda to fit the government’s perspective. In order to understand what going on in the world today, we must now what was going on in the past, so hopefully the book can help a lot of people put today’s word news and events in perspective.