Jul 06, 2013 Letters
Reference is made to M. Maxwell’s KN letter July 1, 2013 “Here are the facts that support Burnham’s involvement in Rodney’s assassination.”
Based on the claims, no rational thinker can see the linkage of Forbes Burnham’s culpability in Walter Rodney’s death. So far the known facts are: a) WPA’s Press Release June 14, 1980, which says Rodney was “murdered;” b) the releases of June 16 and 17, 1980, say Rodney was “assassinated” by the PNC Government/State; and c) these claims have been reported by local and external media and repeated across the continents, with the assassination claim becoming the main talking point and mainstream acceptance.
Maxwell’s law cannot determine culpability when Guyana is governed by a Constitution and laws, and culpability is best determined by an adjudicating agency. His ‘facts’ are mere conjectures arising from the need to believe – as distinct from prove – Burnham’s guilt.
Consequently, Maxwell’s quoted arguments are presented adjacent to mine and readers will determine:-
1) “Rodney was Burnham’s biggest threat because of …appeal to the PNC’s African constituency. Further, Rodney matched Burnham intellectually and charismatically and surpassed him morally.”
The WPA historically claimed Rodney appealed to Indians and Africans. If this is true ipso facto Rodney was a threat to both Burnham’s PNC and Jagan’s PPP. The personal comparisons are immaterial to the issue since they are perceptions and Maxwell is entitled to these.
2) “A major political and international figure like…Rodney could not be assassinated …without Burnham’s knowledge and endorsement.”
No credible evidence (testimony, research, record, document, objects) was presented to justify Maxwell’s conclusion.
3) “…Burnham replaced the armed forces leadership with his loyalists…. four WPA activists were killed by the Burnhamite-controlled security forces (Ohene Koama on November 18, 1979, Claude Bovell on November 18, 1979 and Edward Dublin on February 29, 1980). Within 13 months of its formation, the WPA suffered the most casualties.”
It was within Burnham’s legal remit to determine the armed forces leadership. And, were the incidents of the three political or criminal? Public records say: a) the three were in various confrontations with police while in possession of (army) Self-Loading Rifle (SLR) and, b) Dublin had a rap sheet of 19 charges, 8 of which he was jailed for and a record that goes back to 1962. Claiming these associations and their concomitant demise as political, present a scenario the WPA had/has a proclivity for criminality.
4) “Minette Bacchus says Rodney was stockpiling arms and therefore, planning to overthrow the Burnham regime and kill Burnham. Logically, wouldn’t Burnham want to kill Rodney who was plotting to kill him?”
I made no such statement! The statement’s first part was made by WPA co-leader Rupert Roopnaraine (SN, September 19, 2010 “WPA had been accumulating weapons prior to Rodney’s death) and duly credited. The latter is Maxwell’s view and the sentence thereafter is his usual sloppy argument.
5) ”Burnham defenders say Rodney had an accident and blew himself up….Rodney’s death was no accident. Logically, it can only be an accident if Rodney knew he was holding a bomb. No rational human being…knowingly tests a live bomb that could be remotely triggered in the enclosed space of a car….”
Maxwell failed to prove whether this aspect of Rodney’s political thinking was rational and he was unaware he was in possession of an explosive device.
6) “Gregory Smith admitted in his book a bomb could be triggered in a walkie-talkie by external forces hacking its channels.”
Maxwell in his KN June 1, 2013 letter “If Burnham did not plan Rodney’s…” says Smith’s book is “salaciously fraudulent…infantile attempts at deceit in that book literally leap off the page.”
A source cannot be outright rejected as fraudulent and seen as credible at the same time!
7) “The bomb exploded upwards, not outwards. The car roof was damaged. The bomb’s small blast force and upward not outward projection means it could have barely dented the Georgetown prison’s metal fence. This was a bomb made to kill a human being, not blow up a metal fence.”
These are not Maxwell’s thoughts and like Freddie Kissoon, he doesn’t have the decency to give credit to authorship. He is regurgitating the WPA’s June 17, 1980 release but in spite of this, was the party’s claim based on expert advice and who was the expert?
8) “Further, the prison goes into standard lockdown at night and there is no reason to bomb a prison in lockdown. The PNC never released the reports of the two British bomb experts…Dr. Skuse was later disgraced in the UK for many flawed findings.”
Maxwell failed to provide a rationale for the first sentence and deliberately withheld information that WPA’s activists were inmates at the time. The experts’ report is the property of the State, not the PNC, and should still be the State’s possession or a copy accessible from the British’s files. Skuse’s so-called disgrace does not automatically disgrace the Rodney report. There is no smoking gun here. Readers are advised when the PNC government sought assistance from the US State Department, the US declined citing the WPA’s accusation of the C.I.A’s probable “aid” in Rodney’s death (confirms in WPA’s release of June 17, 1980).
The USA offered to solicit the support of the British which was accepted. The team was scheduled to arrive in Guyana on June 19 and 21. On June 17, 1980 a WPA release says ”the regime has been brazen enough to tell the Guyanese people that it has invited experts from well-known imperialist police forces from imperialist capitals in a highly political incident in which they may have been involved at an earlier stage.” Decipher.
9) ”In a country notorious for lax police response…personnel reached the explosion within minutes…Death Squad members were seen double parked near the jail just before the bombing.”
It is normal, unto today, to have police presence within the environs of the prison. Camp Street is Guyana’s main and largest prison.
10) “The pre-prepared PNC radio statements at 6 am on June 14, 1980 said the victim was unrecognizable and that the explosion took place right next to the prison wall.”
Can Maxwell produce the radio statements for the readership to determine accuracy?
11) ”PNC… admitted this fact with its flyer later that morning of June 14, 1980, stating quite crudely, “Rodney blows himself on way to blow up the prison.”
Provide evidence of claim.
12) “WPA press release dated June 17, 1980 said a senior PNC security official was overheard around 8.45 pm at a party stating he was leaving to meet with Burnham and other PNC heavyweights because Rodney was killed.”
The release named a State security official, not a PNC security official and in spite of who is named or the ‘credibility’ of reported speech, how does this confirm Burnham’s culpability?
13) “The only plausible explanation is to cover up the killing. Burnham was in Guyana when Rodney died.”
How is geography consequential?
14) “1980 US State Department review on Guyana states ‘available information indicates that the government was implicated in the June 13 death of WPA activist Walter Rodney and the subsequent removal of key witnesses from the country.’”
State Department collects information from various sources, including media, press releases and man in the street. Note the Department’s reference to “available information indicates…implicated” which is different from ‘the facts are’ or ‘the court found’ or ‘evidence points to’ or ‘evidence shows.’
15) “…Burnham is now preserved on video …suggesting a theory of Rodney’s death by accident that has always been utterly rejected by forensic, logical and factual evidence and rejected by the US findings.”
Maxwell has to provide evidence to support No. 15 because what he has so far presented fails to do so!
Opportunists continue to cannibalise Rodney’s name on a ‘story’ of how he met his death to ensure their career/relevance/sympathy. They remain content to accuse and not prove; avoiding any mechanism be put in place to test their credibility or shame them and make public the truth of whom (including Rodney) was responsible.
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