The following may be the most important story I have ever written.
It's an incomplete story -- indeed, we have, at present, only about 50 pieces of a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. Perhaps some of you can help find missing parts of the picture.
In a previous post
, I argued that the "terrorist ring" led by Russell DeFreitas -- the man who had targeted JFK airport, where he once worked -- was actually a drug smuggling
ring. Now we have a Newsday piece
on the bomb plot which functions as a sort of palimpsest: The surface text shows hints of a more important tale which lies beneath.
Authorities were tipped to the plot by a confidential informant, a convicted drug trafficker who has been working with law enforcement since 2004, according to the complaint....
The author of this piece does not ask the obvious question: Why was a drug trafficker
tasked to get close to former baggage handler DeFreitas? The criminal complaint makes clear that DeFreitas vouched for this drug trafficker to his contacts in the Caribbean criminal underworld.
The author of the Complaint -- Robert Addonizio, an investigator with the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force -- prefaces his findings as follows:
Because the purpose of this Complaint is to state only probable cause to arrest, I have not described all the relevant facts and circumstances of which I am aware.
In other words, he does not feel obligated to discuss any subjects other
than terrorism. Subjects such as smuggling.
Although some media accounts have correctly identified Jamaat al Muslimeen -- a criminal organization based in Trinidad -- as a party to the JFK airport plot, none of these stories have seen fit to mention that JAM is in the business of illegal drugs and weapons.The Complaint makes clear that a JAM leader was cognizant of and involved with the plot.
Although the leader is not named, the reference almost certainly goes to head honcho Abu Bakr, one of the world's most dangerous men.
(On page 29 of the Complaint, Kadir is quoted as saying that this JAM leader -- whose name is redacted -- has strong ties to Libyan strongman Mohamar Qadafi. So does Bakr.)This CBS story
claims that JAM did not offer the plotters support. That claim is directly contradicted by paragraphs 53-58 of the Complaint
, which few in the media seem to have read with any care.
So why isn't the Bush administration, which loves a good scare story, talking about JAM and its leader, Abu Bakr? Bakr knew about this plot.
Why is the media focused on four relative small fry? Why the odd reticence to mention a Qadafi associate?
I don't have an answer to those questions right now. But I did discover a genuinely astounding connection.
The afore-cited Newsday piece gives this account of Russell DeFreitas' employment history:
[New York City Police Commissioner Ray] Kelly said Defreitas last worked at Kennedy in 1995 as a baggage handler with a subsidiary of Evergreen International Airlines Inc., an airline services company based in McMinnville, Ore. Kelly said Defreitas was unemployed and lived alone.
[Emphasis added.] Oddly enough, the chronology is contradicted by another Newsday story
-- a profile of DeFreitas -- which reports:
Defreitas was hired by a cargo transportation company at Kennedy Airport, Watts said. Documents show he was employed as a "trainee supervisor" in 2001 with Evergreen Eagle, a subsidiary of Oregon-based Evergreen International Aviation. Officials there declined to comment.When
in 2001? After September 11? More to the point, was he a baggage handler or a supervisor?
All of this is of no small importance, for one simple reason:Evergreen is CIA.
Of all the airlines used by the CIA -- and they have used many -- Evergreen has the closest, most longstanding ties to the agency. So close are they that we may fairly say that the two entities are kept separate only by a polite legal fiction.
This is not a questioned fact. This is not "tin foil hat" speculation.
For example, this San Diego Union Tribune story
(on a non-political subject) refers to "Evergreen Airlines – the CIA's (contract) airline that replaced Air America of the Vietnam era." A number of respected books on the Agency refer to Evergreen as the CIA's airline. Also see this fascinating affidavit
by a pilot who became involved with these operations.
Evergreen aircraft have, it seems, been used for "extraordinary renditions" (the transport of captured prisoners for torture): See here
I have elsewhere argued
that, in many cases, these flights make more sense if viewed as smuggling operations, as opposed to "torture flights." Although CIA aircraft have undeniably carried prisoners to remote locations for grisly interrogation, the pattern suggests that many of these flights have another purpose. (If that suggestion seems outlandish at first blush, I can only beg you to read my earlier piece before offering judgment.)
In short and in sum: The CIA has long been accused of using Evergreen for smuggling purposes. (I do not here refer, necessarily, to drugs. The CIA must often transport all sorts
of items which it would prefer not to pass through customs.)
Thus, it is of great importance to determine just what DeFreitas did while working -- in essence -- for the CIA. The disparate and contradictory reports of his tenure and job title are suspicious in and of themselves.
It is fair to presume that the CIA vets everyone connected with its ultra-sensitive air operations. I do not believe that the Agency would accidentally
hire someone linked to a foreign criminal organization.
But the DeFreitas story gets even stranger.
For someone living in poverty, he did an astonishing amount of international travel. The Complaint mentions the trip he made late last year to Guyana, where he met with various shady characters.
Take a look at this paragraph
from the Newsday profile:
Acquaintances said that in recent years Defreitas made much of his money shipping junk appliances, car parts and anything else he could get his hands on to Guyana, where he would sell them. He also sometimes sold books and incense on Jamaica street corners, his retired truck-driver countryman said.
Get real. Nobody goes from New York to Jamaica to sell "incense."
And nobody can earn a living selling junk in a place like Guyana -- at least, not the sort of "junk" described above. Travel and shipping costs far outstrip the amount of money one can earn, if
one keeps one's business on the up-and-up. If DeFreitas were just a used appliance salesman, then why does the Complaint portray him as a man well-known to the underworld?
Newsday's strange claim inevitably calls to mind our recent discussion
of Daniel Hopsicker's latest
on the mysterious Agape airlines. A source who caught a glimpse of the operation told Hopsicker:
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Its obviously a very well-funded operation, but the stuff they’re flying down to Haiti is junk,” he told us bluntly.
“Stuff that didn’t sell at garage sales. Used silverware and plates, used bedding. Every so often we’d see a new coffeepot, or a portable generator. But it was mostly all junk.”
“With the price of aviation gasoline today, it costs them between $6000 and $8000 just to fly down and back to Haiti. And for what? A couple hundred bucks worth of toasters?”
Cross out "Haiti" in that last sentence and scribble in "Guyana," "Jamaica" or "Trinidad."I think we need to know a lot more about Russell DeFreitas, associate of the dangerous Jamaat al Muslimeen -- and former employee of the CIA.
How can we get the media to ask the right questions?