View Full Version : Charles Manatt & "Mr. Coke"

Austin Kelley
05-28-2010, 02:06 PM
Excerpted from:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704717004575268850282820346.html?m od=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion

Jamaica's Drug Rebellion
Will the country be run by gangsters or politicians?
Kingston, Jamaica

In his song "Trenchtown Rock," reggae legend Bob Marley celebrated the West Kingston slum of his youth. The tune marked the outside world's first familiarity with ghetto names here in Jamaica's capital.

Lesser known until recently has been nearby Tivoli Gardens. But since Tuesday of last week, Tivoli has become prominent in news reports as local police have attempted to serve an extradition order on Christopher "Dudus" Coke. Mr. Coke has allegedly trafficked large amounts of drugs into the U.S. and guns back to Jamaica. He's also the leader of the notoriously violent Shower Posse—so called for their penchant for spraying bullets. His headquarters are in Tivoli Gardens, an area dense with housing projects that's devolved into gunfights with police and riots since last week.

Tivoli Gardens has long been loyal to the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). Trenchtown, by contrast, always supported the more left-wing People's National Party (PNP). In the grinding poverty of Jamaica, political allegiances were crucial: If your party was voted out of office, you could lose your job or even your home.

Edward Seaga, a Harvard-educated Lebanese businessman, became a member of Parliament for Tivoli Gardens in 1962. During that decade, Mr. Seaga worked in the music business, owning the West Indies Records Limited label. Record producers were closely linked to sound system operators. Sound systems were like giant portable discos, with 12 or so wardrobe-sized speakers that would play all over the island and were the main means of promoting new records. Fiercely competitive, the sound system bosses would employ gangs of thugs to wreck the equipment and events of rivals.

Those gangs were the precursors to the political gunmen who, by the end of the 1960s, had emerged in Jamaica. By 1975, Jamaica was in a state of virtual civil war, with gunshots audible daily. Under the left-wing leadership of PNP Prime Minister Michael Manley, Jamaica was forging links with Cuba, to the concern of the U.S.

In 1976 Bob Marley himself was a victim of political violence, wounded in an assassination attempt by JLP gunmen two days before an appearance at a PNP-backed concert. Despite Marley's efforts to quell the violence by promoting One Love Peace Concert in 1978, it only worsened. In the build-up to the 1980 election, over 1,000 people were murdered. The election saw a landslide victory for the JLP, with Mr. Seaga becoming prime minister.

Marijuana smuggling had long been an element of the Jamaican economy. Now, however, cocaine entered the mix. By this point many of the political gunmen had become a law unto themselves; forming "posses," as they were known, some began to transport cocaine. During the first half of the 1980s, Tivoli Gardens' Shower Posse, under Lester Coke and Vivien Blake, became the number one Jamaican cocaine-smuggling operation. Migrating to several cities in the U.S., members of the Shower Posse dominated street sales of the new form of cocaine, "crack."

In 1992 Lester Coke mysteriously burned to death in his cell at Kingston's General Penitentiary; he was awaiting extradition to the U.S. on drug-smuggling charges. At Coke's funeral Mr. Seaga, who had been voted out of power in 1988, stood reverently behind the open coffin. Attending a 1997 rally in Spanish Town at which Mr. Seaga declared his candidacy for elections later that year, I heard constant chants of "Shower! Shower!" from supporters bussed in from Tivoli.

When Mr. Seaga retired from politics early in 2005, Bruce Golding, the present prime minister, replaced him as member of Parliament for Tivoli Gardens. Nine months ago Mr. Golding was handed the poisoned chalice of a U.S. extradition request for Christopher Coke. His response? Not only to prevaricate, but to hire a U.S. law firm, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, to lobby influential Americans in a bid to prevent the extradition.

The resulting scandal was seized on by the opposition PNP. On May 16, faced with calls for his resignation, Mr. Golding apologized to the Jamaican nation, declaring that the extradition of Mr. Coke would be implemented.

Four days later, I witnessed a disturbing riot here in downtown Kingston. Demonstrators ran through the streets threatening to destroy the city: "No President! [another of Mr. Coke's sobriquets] No Kingston!" At least 73 people have died since.

Excerpted from: http://www.truthout.org/jamaica-attacks-a-legacy-ties-between-politicians-and-gangs59851

Jamaica Attacks: A Legacy of Ties Between Politicians and Gangs

Tuesday 25 May 2010
by: Dan Murphy | The Christian Science Monitor

What Happened This Time?

The trigger for the current violent showdown was the Jamaican press. On May 17, Golding was forced to give a nationally televised speech after the press discovered he had hired a powerful Washington lobbying firm to help fight Coke's extradition.

He offered his "deepest apologies" to the people of Jamaica but insisted, contrary to local press reports, that the $50,000 paid to Mannat, Phelps & Phillips LLC to lobby against Coke's extradition came from the JLP's pockets, not the government's.

The lobbying firm was founded by former Democratic National Committee Chair and US Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Charles Manatt, who was directly involved in lobbying on Jamaica's behalf, according to a Foreign Agents Registration Act filingreported by the American Lawyer.

Golding's embarrassing television mea culpa was what forced Golding to finally give in to US pressure to extradite Coke, according to Jamaican press reports. Of course, the US had been hinting recently it was running out of patience with Golding, who came to power in 2007 and whose government relies on US aid and tourism.

"Delays in proceeding with the significant extradition request for a major alleged narcotics and firearms trafficker who is reported to have ties to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, and subsequent delays in other extradition requests, have called into question Kingston’s commitment to law enforcement cooperation with the US," the State Department wrote in a March report. Jamaica's "ambitious anticorruption and anticrime legislative agendas announced in 2007 remain stalled in parliament."
Though Golding's party relies on groups like the Shower Posse to deliver votes – and a number of senior party members are believed to do business with the dons – Golding has repeatedly promised to end the gang impunity in the garrisons that have given Jamaica one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Most of the world found out this week how complicated that could prove to be.

"For a decade and half, Mr. Golding preached against the dangers of the nexus between criminality and politics in Jamaica and the zones of political exclusion, the so-called garrison communities, spawned by this relationship," Jamaica's leading daily, The Gleaner, wrote in an editorial today "But not only has he done little in office to break those ties, but for nine months his government resisted America's attempt to extradite Mr Coke... if Mr Golding is indeed serious about confronting those powers of evil, he will not only have to declare his personal renunciation, even if tangential, of any relationship with the hard men of violence and at the same time confront and sideline those within the ruling Jamaica Labour Party who gain, politically and otherwise, from their links with criminals."

Excerpted from: http://www.narconews.com/USDominican1.html

The Democratic Party's Presidential Drug Money Pipeline

Charles Manatt, Clinton's New Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Demonstrates the Importance of Drug Money to Election 2000 and to Al Gore

By Michael C. Ruppert

The Democrats' Dynamic Duo

Tony Coelho, Al Gore's Campaign Chairman and Charles Manatt go way back. The Atlantic Monthly in an October 1986 story by Gregg Easterbrook, described the dark days after the 1980 Reagan landslide when the Republicans had all the money and the Democratic Party could seemingly raise none. Two new stars arose to resurrect the party and make it financially competitive again.

"The Democratic camp stood in even worse disorder than usual, with a little known Los Angeles lawyer, Charles Manatt, taking over the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the utterly anonymous Tony Coelho, a thirty-nine year-old California congressman with no organizational experience, assuming leadership of the related Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which is charged with raising money for democratic congressmen. Twenty-five more seats in 1982 would have given the Republicans the House, and with it, full control over federal decision making. The conventional wisdom held that the Democratic Party would not get out of the Reagan revolution alive."

But get out alive it did. It was not without incurring the wrath of some of the Democratic old guard that Coelho and Manatt resurrected party finances. But, according to the article, "Coelho tripled the take from DCCC fund raising, from $2 million to $6 million, in his first two years."

The story continued three paragraphs later, "Another businesslike decision Coelho made early on was to invest a portion of the DCCC's rapidly increasing income. Previously, the money had immediately gone out to finance campaigns or to retire old debts; some of these venerable obligations date to the days of the Humphrey-Nixon race. Coelho set aside about $3.5 million of the first $6 million he raised to finance a media center and a direct-mail operation; at the DNC, Charles Manatt was doing much the same."

Manatt was a skilled attorney. He was also a banker. In 1965 had founded the Los Angeles law firm of Manatt and Phelps that was eventually to become one of the largest and most powerful Democratic law firms in the country. Manatt would mentor and stay close to leading California Democratic political figures like Maxine Waters, Gray Davis and Tom Bradley. Powerful behind the scenes, Manatt also became a deal maker and big time money man. Surprisingly however, Charles Manatt has also been linked to shady deals that connected to legendary drug smuggler Barry Seal and covert CIA operations of the Contra era.

Recently, From The Wilderness Contributing Editor Daniel Hopsicker finished writing an as yet unpublished biography of CIA pilot/operative and legendary drug smuggler Barry Seal. While co-writing the October 1999 From The Wilderness story entitled "Why Does George W Bush Fly In Drug Smuggler Barry Seal's Airplane?", Hopsicker discovered that a Beechcraft King Airplane 200, tail number N6308F, was directly connected to a CIA "front" company through a series of fraudulent financial transactions.

That particular airplane had been leased to Barry Seal by real estate mega-developer Eugene Glick. To his surprise, while going through boxes of Seal's personal records, Hopsicker also came across documentary evidence, in Seal's own handwriting, that Glick's attorney at the time (1982) was none other than Charles Manatt. From The Wilderness has called the offices of Manatt and Phelps several times and inquired if their records confirm Manatt's representation of Glick. As of press time the firm has not responded.

Could Manatt and Coelho have been solving some of the Democratic Party's financial problems with drug money? Bill Clinton was certainly doing that in Arkansas.

[The full story of the Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft, which is now owned by the State of Texas and regularly used by Governor George W. Bush, now Republican Party candidate for US president, on state business, is covered in Dan Hopsicker's outstanding video In Search of the American Drug Lords which is available through From The Wilderness by mail order or at the web site - http://www.copvcia.com.]

Major Democratic Party figures doing business with drug traffickers and intelligence agencies is not as surprising as it might sound. Hopsicker also interviewed Iran-Contra insiders who told him that Democratic powerhouse attorney Richard Ben Veniste had - also in 1982 - incorporated a company named Trinity Oil for Barry Seal as a vehicle to launder Seal's enormous cocaine cash flow. Clearly, by 1982 the Democratic Party had learned from watching the old US espionage veterans from the OSS and CIA who had acquired decades of drug dealing experience in Corsica, France, Vietnam, Laos, Korea, Thailand and Taiwan. They had used the drug trade to finance elections, form political cadres, buy institutions and they had used that experience to elect Ronald Reagan.

The Democrats were now back in the game as tons of CIA-protected cocaine began to flow through Mena Arkansas and much of the money flowed through Arkansas banks, state agencies and law firms. The key was placing yourself to be in control of the right strategic locations ahead of time. In the 1980s Arkansas, Louisiana and California were the places to be if you were a Democrat.

[As of this writing, Daniel's fabulous book remains - sadly - without a publisher. His research and documentation of the life of Barry Seal are breathtaking and riveting. Contacted for this story, Hopsicker reiterated his belief that Barry Seal was documenting drug connections to both parties as blackmail insurance before his 1986 assassination in Baton Rouge.]

Manatt has other interesting bona fides. According to US FDIC records, and his own published biography, Charles Manatt founded and served as Chairman of First Los Angeles Bank in 1973. The bank got into serious trouble in 1989 and was later criticized for mismanagement by the government and the courts before being finally sold in 1995. This was at the same time that Tony Coelho's questionable association with junk bond king and L.A. resident, Michael Milken forced him to resign abruptly from Congress.

Manatt's law firm, including as a partner future Clinton crony Mickey Kantor, also represented the Bank of Credit and Commerce International's insider and number two man, Swaleh Naqvi. BCCI bank's well documented connections to drug money laundering and the CIA suggest other possible intelligence connections for Manatt. Internal BCCI bank documents are said to show that the bank used the Manatt firm to lobby the National Security Council in 1992 in an attempt to close down the investigations of New York DA Robert Morgenthau into BCCI operations.

It is also revealing that Manatt, Phelps and Kantor, (later to become Manatt, Phelps and Phillips) also represented Mochtar Riady's Lippo Group and the Worthen Bank of Arkansas, which was then owned by Jackson Stephens (Jimmy Carter's roommate at Annapolis). Both the Lippo Group and the now defunct Worthen Bank turn up like a carpet weave throughout Bill Clinton's history, the history of Mena Arkansas, Democratic Party fundraising and the story of BCCI. We also noticed that. Conveniently, Charles Manatt also sits on the Board of Federal Express.

A search of CIA-Base ©, a research tool developed by retired CIA agent Ralph McGehee offers another clue. It seems that Charles Manatt also served as a Director of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI). The CIA subsidized NDI organization, counted among its directors, Manatt, Walter Mondale and Edmund Muskie according to records in the National Endowment for Democracy. The NDI's ostensible purpose was to help facilitate elections in such CIA areas of operation as Northern Ireland, Taiwan, South Korea, Nicaragua, Panama and Chile.

It is not surprising then that Tony Coelho, who left Congress in 1989 under a storm front of allegations regarding his financial practices, in the middle of his sixth term as a Representative from California, is the Chairman of Al Gore's Presidential Campaign. He is the rainmaker. On him, and the money he can raise, ride the hopes of the emerging dominant faction in American politics.

But recently, Tony Coelho has fallen under investigation from the State Department regarding his alleged misuse of government funds while serving as the U.S. Commissioner General at Expo 98 in Portugal. A very detailed March 23, 2000 article by Bill Hogan in The National Journal, describes Coelho's expensive tastes and questionable business practices. Not only did Coelho rent a lavish beachfront apartment, he used U.S. government staff for his personal business, sought donations of airline tickets from various political cronies and then used his position at the trade Expo to solicit investments for his private ventures including a now defunct Internet Mortgage Loan Brokerage venture called LoanNet.

It is also not surprising then that, "Coelho invited Manatt and [ Democratic party power attorney, Coelho associate and fund raiser William] Cable and their spouses to Portugal… Coelho's government-paid Portuguese chauffeur, Samuel Silva, picked up the Manatts and the Cables at the Lisbon airport. The two couples stayed gratis for at least part of their trips in Coelho's $18,000-a-month luxury apartment, which had been restocked at his direction with Johnnie Walker whisky, Bacardi rum, vodka, gin, and other bar essentials - all purchased on government accounts…." According to The National Journal, Manatt and Cable both invested $200,000 apiece in Coelho's soon to fail LoanNet.

[B]"The Narco-Ambassador"

On December 9, 1999 Charles Manatt presented his credentials to the government of the Dominican Republic and became the fortieth U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic since 1883. There are a couple of unusual features to Manatt's appointment in a Presidential election year.

Former party chairmen, prodigious fund raisers and power brokering attorneys are not appointed to such backward and undesirable postings. Pamela Harriman, arch fundraiser and Presidential groomer asked for - and got - Paris. The Dominican Republic, with its rampant poverty, on the same island that is credited with helping spread AIDS to North America, with no major resorts, is a backwater. Even US Congresswoman Maxine Waters' husband Sidney Williams, as a reward for services to the cause was given the Ambassadorship to the Bahamas where he served from 1993 until 1998. The Bahamas are much nicer than the Dominican Republic. They speak English there and there are nice casinos and resort hotels like The Atlantis where drug lord Carlos Lehder's beautiful wife/consort, Coral Baca, even has a tower named after her and her photo adorns the publicity brochure.

[It was this same Coral Baca who delivered the federal grand jury transcripts to Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Webb at The San Jose Mercury News in 1995. That contact resulted in the stories in his book, The Dark Alliance, that swept across the nation in 1996 (also a Presidential election year), giving the California Democrat Maxine Waters a national forum to talk about Republican backed cocaine trafficking during the 1980s.]

In fact - according to State Department records - the previous twelve U.S. Ambassadors to the Dominican Republic, dating back to 1957, have not been political appointees receiving rewards at all. They have been career foreign service officers, assigned to the post because no "politicals" wanted it. The post remained vacant for almost two years from 1997 until Manatt arrived just in time for the Presidential election campaign.

In the days of Ancient Rome it was customary, whenever there was a critical political or military alliance with a province, for the Emperor to send a member of his family as a Consul or emissary to signify the importance of the relationship with Rome. This also served to demonstrate that no action would be taken against provincial leaders, who could - if necessary - take the emissary hostage knowing his importance to the Empire. The presence of the dignitary also provided status for the provincial leaders as they conducted business both within and around their territories. This is the role of Charles Manatt 2000 years later.


Jan Klimkowski
05-28-2010, 06:58 PM
Austin - thanks.

Will the country be run by gangsters or politicians?

Judging by those articles, it appears that there's no meaningful difference between gangsters and politicians, either in Jamaica or the USA.

Austin Kelley
05-29-2010, 03:42 PM
More relevant information, sans a deep politics perspective, is available from these sources: