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Christopher “Dudus” Coke Pleads Guilty

Posted by shadmia on September 4, 2011

Jamaica, the country that brought the world such sportsmen like Usain Bolt and entertainers like Bob Marley also has a dark side. That dark side is represented by Christopher “Dudus” Coke.

In August 2009 the U.S. issued an international warrant seeking the extradition of Christopher Coke from Jamaica to face gun and drugs charges in the U.S. He was accused of being the leader and mastermind behind the notorious “Shower Posse” gang which was involved in the international trafficking of drugs and firearms.

For a long time the government of Jamaica resisted the request but finally, bowing to domestic and international political pressure, moved to arrest Mr. Coke in his neighborhood known as Tivoli Gardens.

The residents of Tivoli Gardens were fiercely loyal to Mr. Coke and when the police and army moved in to execute the warrant they met stiff resistance. The residents erected barricades and engaged in gun battles. The confrontation resulted in the deaths of more than 70 people and substantial property damage as the armed forces went door to door in search of Mr. Coke. In the end Christopher Dudus Coke was captured.

In June 2010 he was extradited to the U.S. to face the charges.

On Sept. 2, 2011 Dudus pleaded guilty in a New York court to assault and racketeering charges bringing to an end a two-year international drama between Jamaica and the United States.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 8, 2011 and Christopher “Dudus” Coke faces a possible 23 years in prison.

As noted in the Jamaican Gleaner, the capture and eventual incarceration of Coke was hampered by political considerations. He was not only generous to the people of his neighborhood, Tivoli Gardens, but could be depended on by the political party, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to deliver the votes at election time. In fact Tivoli Gardens is the seat in Parliament of the current Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, who was reluctant to issue the arrest warrant in the first place.

Christopher Coke personifies the kind of threat to the security and democracy of small and vulnerable countries like Jamaica. Control of large amounts of resources, illicitly derived notwithstanding, endow gangsters with the capacity to corrupt the political process and to control many levers of the State by proxy. Indeed, Coke’s activities – and the criminal machinations of others – were an open secret in Jamaica.

The newspaper also noted that perhaps Jamaica owes a debt of gratitude to the U.S. for pursuing Christopher Coke, since murders and serious crime have plummeted since his capture and it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for the Jamaican authorities to have him tried and convicted locally.

However, given Coke’s political and community connections, underpinned by his ability to distribute largesse and corral votes, it is likely that he would not have been arrested and prosecuted in Jamaica. Such an eventuality would have been made more difficult by the political fault lines in Jamaica.

Christopher Dudus Coke had previously been charged with offenses that carried a sentence of life in prison. When prosecutors approached him and said that they also had evidence that he had ordered the deaths of at least five persons and a judge ruled that tapes of bugged phone calls in which he discusses smuggling marijuana, cocaine and weapons could be played in court, Coke decided to plead guilty to the lesser charges of Conspiracy to racketeer and Conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering. 

Coke stood up in court and said:

“I ordered the purchase of firearms and the importation of those firearms into Jamaica in furtherance of this conspiracy”

When asked about his plea Coke said:

“I’m pleading guilty because I am guilty”

US Attorney Preet Bharara said:

“For nearly two decades, Christopher Coke led a ruthless criminal enterprise that used fear, force and intimidation to support its drug and arms trafficking ‘businesses’.

“Today’s plea is a welcome conclusion to this ugly chapter.”

Posted in Crime, Drugs, Jamaica, news, Our World, world | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Amazon Gold Rush Destroying Peruvian Rain Forest

Posted by shadmia on June 12, 2011

A gold rush that accelerated with the onset of the 2008 global recession is compounding the woes of the Amazon basin, laying waste to Peruvian rain forest and spilling tons of toxic mercury into the air and water. An army of small-scale miners in the state of Madre de Dios has swelled to some 40,000.

“Extracting an ounce of gold costs from $400 to $500 and the profit is $1,000 per ounce,” notes Peru’s environment minister, Antonio Brack. In just a decade, gold has more than tripled in value.

Government controls are mostly futile.

“We found that nearly all the public officials in Puerto Maldonado were involved,” the minister said. “In 2010, the regional mining director had a mining company. His No. 2 had one. His wife had one. His sister had one (as did) the sister of the No. 2. They were all in it. And you think anyone is going to regulate anything?”

The entire article on the situation can be found here. It is worthwhile reading.

This is a tragedy just waiting to unfold. I can understand the need to make a living and support a family (most of us go through this every day) and want a better future, but at what cost to your own personal health and the environmen­t.

These workers are suffering a slow death. The environmen­t is being destroyed and the authoritie­s are at least turning a blind eye to the situation and at worst profiting from it. There was also a brief mention of possibly indigenous and uncontacte­d tribes living nearby. Are their habitats and life style also being adversely affected?

I know it is easy to sit in an comfortable chair with a computer in hand and judge people and their actions thousands of miles away but maybe if the demand (and price) for gold wasn’t so high then there would be less incentive to engage in practices detrimenta­l to human health and the environmen­t.

Just something to think about the next time we are in a jewelry store marveling at how nice that necklace, chain or ring would compliment our evening attire. We are as much to blame as anyone else.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Posted in Culture, news, Our World, Peru, world | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

German wins Best Beard title

Posted by shadmia on May 15, 2011

Elmar Weisser, Trondheim, Norway (15 May 2011)

BBC News – German wins world best beard title at Norway contest

Elmar Weisser, 47, beat 160 contestants to the prize with his elaborate facial hair sculpture of a moose. It is the third time Mr Weisser has emerged as champion.

Mr. Weisser also won the title in 2005 with a design of the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin and in 2007 with the London Bridge.

“When my beard isn’t styled, it goes down to my waist. It is sort of folded up,” he told the AFP news agency.

The contest was held at the World Beard and Moustache Championship in Trondheim, Norway. The biennial event was started in 1995 and includes 14 categories.

For more on this unusual contest which has attracted contestants from all over the world see the website at:

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Posted in news, odd, Our World, Weird, world | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

A Cure for AIDS?

Posted by shadmia on May 14, 2011

Unusual AIDS Vaccine Shows Promising Results in Monkeys – ScienceNOW.

“It’s the best result I’ve seen against the worst SIV known,” says the University of Wisconsin’s David Watkins, an immunologist who tests AIDS vaccines in monkeys and was not involved with the work. “I’m very excited by this approach.”

The next step is of course to test this vaccine on humans. Maybe, just maybe, there will be a cure for AIDS in humans soon. The experiment was led by immunologist and pathologist Louis Picker of the Oregon Health & Science University in Beaverton. A human vaccine is in the works but Picker says:

“We’re fairly far along on it, but we’re going to have to prove that it’s safe and still protective.”

If successful this would be the greatest breakthrough in medical history with implications for all kinds of illnesses, including cancer.

Posted in AIDS, Cancer, Health, HIV, Medicine, news, Our World, world | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Subway Passes McDonald’s

Posted by shadmia on March 8, 2011

McDonald’s is no longer the world’s largest restaurant chain. That honor now goes to Subway. Subway had 33,749 restaurants open worldwide at the end of 2010. McDonald’s had just 32,737 locations open by the same point.

Wow. How many sandwiches have they sold?? Billions and billions?

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Posted in Fast Food, Food, news, Our World, world | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

International Women’s Day: To the Next 100 Years

Posted by shadmia on March 8, 2011

One hundred years on the road to equality
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Posted in news, Our World, Women, world | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Uncontacted Tribe in Danger

Posted by shadmia on February 1, 2011

Newly released pictures show an uncontacted tribe in Brazil. They are in danger of being overrun by illegal logging in that country.

The pictures were taken by Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department, which has authorized Survival International to use them as part of its campaign to protect their territory. For more on their story click here.

For more on the situation that these and other tribes that have little or no contact with the world as we know it –  and the dangers they face –  see the Uncontacted Tribes website.

Posted in news, Our World, world | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Back to the Future

Posted by shadmia on January 26, 2011

Is time travel possible? Well it seems like the answer is yes – if you are a quantum particle. So far its not for humans but you can be sure someone, somewhere is working on this.

If you want to learn more check out this video by Michio Kaku:

Posted in news, Our World, Science, Time travel, world | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Fattest People on Earth

Posted by shadmia on January 5, 2011

It is widely accepted that many Americans are overweight. Lots of processed fatty foods served fast are to blame. However the place where the most overweight people per capita can be found is not in the United States…..and it may surprise you where they can be found.

The tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru (formerly known as Pleasant Island) holds that “honor”. At only 8.1 sq. miles, with a population of less than 10,000 people, it is the smallest independent republic on earth. Nauru lies between Hawaii and Australia. It’s nearest neighbor is over 400 miles away. Ninety-five percent of the island’s adult population is overweight, and 85 percent of the male adult population is obese, according to ABC News.

See an ABC documentary here

Nauru’s population suffers from a diet of mostly imported fat-laden, sugar-enhanced food. Half of the residents suffer from Type II diabetes, the highest prevalence of this disease in the world. The average life expectancy on the island is less than 50 years. They have recently begun health and exercise programs especially for the young people in an effort to combat this disease.

For more on Nauru check this link

Posted in Health, Health Care, Health Food, news, Our World, world | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Christopher Dudus Coke: Arrives in the US

Posted by shadmia on June 26, 2010

Christopher Dudus Coke: Arrives in the US

Click below for the latest

Christopher Dudus Coke: Arrives in the US

Posted in Crime, Drugs, Jamaica, news, Our World, world | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »