“Some see the incident as an attempt by JLP gunmen to halt the concert, which would feature the ‘politically progressive’ music of Marley and other reggae stars. Others see it as a deep-laid plot to create a progressive, youthful Jamaican martyr to benefit of the PNP. Those holding the latter view note that the four persons shot, three of them including Marley, only suffered minor wounds.”
US Embassy Cable (May 11 1981)
“I cannot prove in a court of law that the CIA is here… strange things are happening in Jamaica that we have not seen before.”
Michael Manley — Leader of the Jamaica PNP
“His voice was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world. His sharp features, majestic looks, and prancing style a vivid etching on the landscape of our minds. Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation.”
Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga — Funeral eulogy (May 21 1981)
“I WOULD LIKE TO CALL THE ATTENTION OF THE JAMAICAN PRESS AND PEOPLE TO THE FACT THAT THE CURRENT [CIA] CHIEF OF STATION HERE [NORMAN DESCOTEAUX], AND TWO OF THE OPERATIONS OFFICERS ARRIVED IN KINGSTON DURING THE MIDDLE AND LATTER PART OF LAST YEAR PRIOR TO THE INITIATION OF VIOLENCE.”
AGEE PRESS RELEASE (September 17 1976)
December 3 2019 — On December 3, 1976, two days before the Smile Jamaica concert, seven men with guns raided Marley’s house at 56 Hope Road around 8.30 pm. Marley’s wife, Rita, was shot in the head. The gunmen shot Marley in the chest and arm. His manager, Don Taylor, was shot in the legs and torso. Astonishingly, there were no fatalities. Over the years, many have alleged that the CIA was behind the assassination plot. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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UPDATE (July 29 2020) — On July 27 2020, Chelsey Cox (USA Today) posted an interesting story: “Fact check: An ex-CIA agent did not confess to infecting Bob Marley with fatal cancer.”
At the end of this post, I wrote: “There is not a shred of evidence to the recently reported stories that Marley has been poisoned by a CIA agent. ”
So I am glad that USA Today’s journalist Chelsey Cox has come to the same conclusion.
“We rate this claim FALSE because it is not supported by our research. The site where the claim was first posted, Your News Wire, shut down in 2019. None of the information in the article is verifiable and the existence of “Bill Oxley” cannot be confirmed.”
However, I wish to point out that debunking this idiotic conspiracy theory does not address the questions raised in this post.
Who shot Bob Marley on December 3 1976? And Why? Was the CIA involved?
Sadly, most people will now conflate the two stories and will dismiss both as conspiracy theories.
As Professor Stephan Lewandowsky — Chair in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Bristol — wrote, conspiracy theories are not harmless fun.
“9/11 was a false flag operation planned by the US government. That same government sold weapons to Iran in order to fund Central American terrorists, and also created AIDS to exterminate gay people, and the CIA organized a fake vaccination drive in Afghanistan to get Osama bin Laden’s family DNA.
There is no doubt that two of those conspiracies actually happened and were hushed up by the conspirators, whereas the other two are widely dismissed as fantastical conspiracy theories.
This is the long-standing dilemma confronting philosophers: conspiracies do occur and they can seem quite outlandish and unexpected once publicly revealed—who would have thought that Oliver North would sell arms to Iran from the basement of the White House and launder the money to supply arms to Nicaraguan rebels in contravention of explicit legal prohibitions.
But by the same token, most conspiracy theories are bunkum—we can be quite certain that the US Government did not create AIDS or fly airliners into the Twin Towers.
What are the differences between conspiracy theories that are almost certainly false and the evidence for actual conspiracies?
This is a non-trivial philosophical challenge, but it is an important one to sort out, given that the mere exposure to conspiracy theories can undermine people’s trust in government services and institutions.”
Understanding the differences between conspiracy theories that are almost certainly false and the evidence for actual conspiracies is not an easy task.
The job requires years of serious research that few journalists are willing to do nowadays.
And no newspaper will pay a journalist for years of research just to publish one piece, however good, in the end. This is a serious problem. And a solution is badly needed.
END of UPDATE
The 1976 elections marked the beginning of a period of political violence in Jamaica.
A State of Emergency was declared by Michael Manley’s party (the PNP) in June and 500 people, including some prominent members of the JLP, were accused of trying to overthrow the government and were detained, without charges, in the South Camp Prison at the Up-Park Camp military headquarters.
Reggae musician Bob Marley announced plans to hold a concert in an attempt to quell the violence.
Politicians from both parties were hoping to capitalize on Marley’s support.
While Marley remained neutral, many viewed him as tacitly supporting Manley and the PNP.
Former CIA agent Philip Agee has revealed that the CIA was using the JLP as its instrument in the campaign against the Michael Manley government.
“I would say that most of the violence was coming from the JLP, and behind them was the CIA in terms of getting weapons in and getting money in.”
According to Covert Action, the CIA had 9 officers working in Jamaica at the time of the event. They were at least 15 by 1980.
In 1977, two reporters uncovered a “destabilization program” against Manley’s PNP government, allegedly organized by the CIA’s Jamaican station chief, Norman Descoteaux.
According to Gary Webb’s book Dark Alliance,
“The campaign included covert shipments of arms to Manley’s opponents, the use of selective violence, bombings, and assassinations, covert financial aid to the conservative Jamaica Labour Party, the fomenting of extensive labor unrest, and bribery.”
One of the CIA agents who would later play a key role in the Contra project, Luis Posada Carriles, a Bay of Pigs invasion and Operation Condor veteran, was spotted in Jamaica near the scene of one of the bombings.
Timothy White, the author of Catch a Fire, claimed that information he received from JLP and PNP officials as well as US law enforcement officials led him to believe that Carl Byah “Mitchell,” a JLP gunman, was contracted by the CIA to organize the Marley shooting and that Lester Coke, aka Jim Brown, led the charge on Hope Road.
Don Taylor, Marley’s manager, claimed that both he and Marley were present at a ghetto court in which the gunmen who shot Marley were tried and executed.
According to Taylor, before one of the shooters was killed, he admitted the job was done for the CIA in exchange for cocaine and guns.
Bob Marley died on May 11 1981 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami (now University of Miami Hospital), aged 36. The spread of melanoma to his lungs and brain caused his death. He received a state funeral in Jamaica on May 21 1981.
PS — There is not a shred of evidence to the recently reported stories that Marley has been poisoned by a CIA agent. Can you guess the purpose of this disinformation?
Bob Marley – Interview About assassination Attempt
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Bob Marley assassination attempt — Wikipedia
On This Day — Bob Marley Assassination Attempt (December 3 1976)
On This Day — Bob Marley Assassination Attempt (December 3 1976) [Was the CIA involved?]
On This Day — Bob Marley Assassination Attempt (December 3 1976) Was the CIA involved? [UPDATE : Conspiracy Theories vs Actual Conspiracies]