The Position of US SOUTHCOM on the Carnival 2018 Threat in T&T
US Southern Command in its digital magazine DIALOGO an article titled: “ISIS Terrorist Attack on Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago Foiled” dated February 26, 2018 a carefully constructed discourse was unleashed which gave the Southcom version of this reality using quotations from T&T officials to support their position. Southcom states that the T&T agencies were the actors on the ground in the operation but the US played a vital role without which the success of the entire operation would have been in doubt. This is the Southcom version: the US uncovered a group of persons planning to attack the US Embassy in Port of Spain. The US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) alerted the T&T agencies to the threat to the US Embassy. In December 2017 the US agencies, the TTPS and the T&T military “put a monitoring task in motion”. This monitoring task uncovered the link to ISIS and the intention to attack the Carnival. For weeks at a time various people were kept track of in the districts of El Socorro, Laventille, Enterprise and Bamboo Settlement. Five mosques in El Socorro, Munroe Road, Sangre Grande, Bamboo and Laventille were searched for explosives. The article states: “Carnival ended without incident on February 13th, but the event represented a major surveillance and control operation.”
The Southcom discourse reveals nothing further on the plan to attack the US Embassy. The plan to attack the Embassy which according to Southcom triggered the need for US engagement with T&T for “a major surveillance and control operation” is silenced in the discourse becoming an operation to thwart an IS attack on Carnival 2018. The major lesson of the article is the description “a major surveillance and control operation” simply put the IS cell was not dismantled, its assets are still in place. Does this mean that the threat to the US Embassy remains and is now palpable after the “surveillance and control operation”? If yes, the US agencies must act to dismantle the IS cell in T&T as an attack on the US Embassy is an attack on US interests in T&T. To speak of attacking US interests in T&T and to act to attain the end in conjunction with other persons constitutes conspiracy to commit a terrorist act against the USA under US anti-terrorist law which applies to an attack on US interests in T&T. What is sent via encrypted digital means via social media platforms etc. constitutes conspiracy. The Southcom article states that since December 2017 the surveillance operation was in motion following which was the control action which commenced before Carnival Monday and Tuesday. One must then expect that the US operation is on-going and the move to dismantle can very well encompass a stint at Guantanamo Bay in orange jump suits.