Monday, June 04, 2007

Terror plot suspect worked for the CIA's airline

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 and 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?


Anonymous said...

Terrific work, Joseph. Any thoughts on the relationship of Defreitas to the "confidential informant?" If Defreitas was essentially employed by the CIA, why would the Terrorism Task Force bust him? A turf war of some sort between agencies?

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head highlighting Evergreen. If Newsday's fact is accurate -- and I am confident in its reporting -- there's no doubt in my mind DeFreitas at least initially was employed by the CIA.

That changes the picture on this "terror plot."

But to offer another speculation: Could it be this was part of the sting, to make him think he was CIA and wasn't? That would raise entrapment to a new level. Could defense lawyers prove entrapment or any CIA employment connection to DeFreitas? I recall a few bagmen the agency abandoned, left to rot in prisons.

Anonymous said...

HOLY CRAP!! joe, you've done it again. amazing work!

and unirealist, as ever, our suspicious minds are in synch. in a previous comment on joe's earlier post on this topic, i mused that - what with all these criminals now cut loose by our 'leadership of integrity' - there are bound to be turf wars.

and this could be their undoing. we can only hope.

one minor thing i'd like to add is just that pat robertson's 'missionary' efforts in africa were notable for sending over supplies and such (no doubt, such similar 'junk'), but returning with cargoes of diamonds and other precious resources. i was never convinced that those imports were completely legal, to boot.

very very messy stuff. note also that the doj is not really out front on this. one would think the AGAG would be all over this like stink on dog poop to make sure not only that the world knows that his people are protecting the american people from turrists, but also to make sure that the story detracts from his many scandals currently in the news.

the thought that bush and gonzo are actually sweating about the implications in this story, instead of pouncing on it to use and abuse it like 9/11, is just - well, really - delicious.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm having a Iran-contra moment. Shades of Ollie North, Jose Posada, ahem "Max Gomez" and gang.

I'm posting an archived article (May, 2006)from Guyana Chronicle.
Great work.. keep looking.

Welcome to our ARCHIVES
News Editor
Sports Editor


Trini terrorist suspect gave false name
-- How did Abu Bakr right hand man get Guyana passport?
THE Trinidad terrorist suspect nabbed in a Joint Services raid on a house south of Georgetown earlier this week, is not the man he claims to be, sources confirmed yesterday.

The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Thursday night announced that the man held in the raid in the continuing search for 30 AK-47 rifles and five pistols stolen from its Georgetown headquarters, had identified himself as Mustafa Abdullah Muhammad, also known as Edmund DeFreitas.

He has, however, now been identified as David Millard, well-known in Trinidad as ‘Buffy’, who fled from New York after a shooting incident and returned to Trinidad where he moved up the ranks of the radical Jamaat Al Muslimeen group led by coup leader Abu Yasin Bakr.

A top source yesterday said authorities are trying to find out how Millard found his way here and acquired a Guyana passport in the name of Edmund DeFreitas, recorded in the travel document as born in March 1960 at Bartica in Guyana.

A 9 mm pistol and 57 rounds of matching ammunition, electronic equipment, cell phones and computers were among items seized in the raid on a Nandy Park house where Millard and four others were arrested and investigators here are trying to find out what the Trinidad fugitive was up to while here.

He is now thought to have been hiding out in Guyana since late 2003 when he fled Trinidad after his leader Abu Bakr was charged with conspiracy to murder.

Mustafa Abdullah Muhammad, now uncovered as the dangerous and wanted `Buffy’, also claimed he was a bodyguard for a known local narcotics trafficker (name given) and that he was involved in the coup by the Jamaat Al Muslimeen against the Trinidad and Tobago Government in 1990.

The Army said Muhammad is wanted in Trinidad for his alleged involvement in a murder attempt on a former member of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen, led by Abu Bakr.

But the Guyana Chronicle understands that Millard was not involved in the 1990 attempted coup.

At the time of the attempted coup, he was in New York, but fled sometime later as a result of a shooting incident. He returned to Trinidad and moved up the ranks of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen.

He never used his Christian name and everyone in Trinidad knew him as Buffy, this newspaper understands.

Trinidad reporters following the case yesterday said that when the Jamaat's number three man, Mark Guerra, was killed in March 2003, ‘Buffy’ assumed that position and was considered a right hand man of leader Abu Bakr.

On June 4, 2003, in his bedroom in Diego Martin, six miles west of

Port-of-Spain, ‘Buffy’ allegedly met Bakr and two others to plan the murder of two expelled members of the Jamaat. There was a shooting incident that night outside of Port-of-Spain in which one of the two expelled members was shot, but an innocent woman was killed.

On August 21, 2003, Bakr was charged with conspiracy to murder the two expelled members.

But ‘Buffy’ was missing and his last departure was for Guyana, investigators believe.

Bakr went on trial, but on March 16, 2005, the jury failed to arrive at a verdict. His retrial is fixed for October 2 and he remains in custody.

Last November 7, he was charged with sedition, terrorism, and incitement and that trial is yet to be held.

‘Buffy’ was jointly charged with Bakr with conspiracy to murder and if he is returned to Trinidad, he will be placed in custody and tried.

Police here yesterday said he remained in custody.

Word of the arrest of the wanted Trini came as the GDF announced progress in the shocking theft of the AK-47s and pistols from a bond at its Camp Ayanganna headquarters in Georgetown.

The GDF Thursday said the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is “working closely” with it and has helped local investigators identify several suspects in the case.

It said the GDF investigation is progressing and several suspects have been identified.

The FBI assisted the GDF in conducting several polygraph examinations and interviews and the investigation produced additional leads that are being analysed by the FBI, the Joint Services and other organisations here and in the U.S., the release said.

The Army said the FBI is continuing to assist with the investigation.

The wanted Trinidadian was one of five persons arrested Wednesday morning, when the Joint Services swooped on a home in Nandy Park, East Bank Demerara.

Bakr is being prosecuted with conspiracy to murder several of the group's former members who had spoken out publicly against the Jamaat al Muslimeen and its practices, and who were suspected of becoming witnesses in legal proceedings against its members.

They are under surveillance by the local National Security Agency as well as the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for suspected terrorist relations with the Middle East, as are two other Muslim factions.

Anonymous said...

Good find Joseph.
I just was thinking the same thing about Hopsickers piece when I read down further on yours and voila !, you caught it.
It would be a hoot if the reporters figured out the 'junk out, drugs in' scenario and reported it before they connected Evergreen to "The Boys".
I'm sure the investigation and reporting would immediately stop after that though I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Er, by "selling incense on Jamaica street corners", I believe they mean nearby Jamaica, Queens... not the island country.

Anonymous said...

Hey, just thought I'd toss in my two cents on this. Great call on the link to Hopsicker's Agape piece, I was going to post it as a comment until I finished reading the article.

One thing which I'm not sure has been pointed out yet is that Guyana was the home of a little place called Jonestown. Anyone else remember the culpability of the Guyanese goverment in that one? Not to mention the reports of massive stashes of money being found and partaken of by the Guyanese.

Anonymous said...

These clowns are PATSIES. Idiots and fools under the control of informants who lead them around for years doing illegal activities and then use these morons as scapegoats so law enforcement can say hey look, we're doing something important. We're putting three idiots in jail! While the informant goes right back out and entraps a new bunch of idiots.

Why can't the government ever catch any criminal masterminds? Why can't they ever catch the guy who RUN this stuff? As Hopsicker always asks, why can't they catch the drug Kingpins on THIS side of the border? ANSWER: Cuz they don't want to. They're joined at the hip with them.

BTW - Malvo and Muhammed also travelled back and forth to that part of the world with no apparent means of income. And were also said to be involved in smuggling. They too played a major role in scaring the crap out of Americans and pumping "TERRA"

Anonymous said...

The link to Guyana here is unmistakable. Unlike the version of events there in 1978 we were fed, many have since come to believe the following:

1. The People's Temple was one big CIA mind control experiment gone bad. The people there were experimental rats drawn from targeted populations. All of members there received daily medical exams and wore medical identification bracelets;

2. Thousands of pages of "data" from these "exams" kept in locked steel file cabinets were seized by the CIA in the aftermath of this tragedy and have never been declassified. See: Operation

3. Guyanese government officals were not only complicit, they made millions in payoffs to insure that most would never survive.

A few additional oddities I find somehow noteworthy here are:

Former SF Mayor Mascone had been a political supporter of Jim Jones, said after tragedy that "those that are yet to be found, ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." He was assassinated within a week of making this statment;

CIA operative Richard Dwyer accompanied Congressman Ryan to Guyana. He somehow separated from Ryan's group minutes before the shootings began;

Dan Mitrione was a boyhood friend of James Jones in Indiana. Mitrione later joined the CIA and worked in counter-insurgency units all over the world. Many belive that Mitrione was Jones' original benefactor, and may have been involved in the conception of the People's Temple in Guyana. In other words, he made his old friend a useful idiot to the CIA;

Lastly, does it strike anyone as odd that Larry Layton, who admitted to shoting at least two people in cold blood including Congressman Leo Ryan, was sentenced to life in prison but was released in November 2002. Clinton refused the Pardon, however, the US Parole and Sentencing Commission, led by Gonzo Gonzalez at DOJ, approved his early relase.

Oh and one more weird thing - The site of the People's Temple was on one of the seven originally proposed as a relocation site for the Jews after WWII.

Lots of potential dots sensing but not yet seeing a clear connection. Yet the link to Guyana here cannot be ignored.

Kim in PA

Anonymous said...

Good sleuthing, Joe. However, what airline is NOT CIA-connected?

Anonymous said...

FYI, DeFreitas reportedly trained at Evergreen's Oregon headquarters shortly before the 9/11 attacks.

Anonymous said...

Note Guyana is contiguous with Venezuala. The CIA has a pattern of setting up base in neighboring countries when it has a target in its sites.

As for this last comment, yes, the CIA has at least one person inside just about every airline in America, but Evergreen really is THE agency airline, the original commercial morph of Air America when Congress told the CIA it could not operate a national intel airline with taxpayer dollars. That Evergreen is CIA, there is no doubt, really. The question is, is Freitas black op, white op or patsy? He's NOT just some nobobdy wannabe turrist.

Anonymous said...

Keep digging. Defreitas seems to be a popular pseudonym with the CIA. The name belonged to once wealthy Portuguese merchants long departed from Guyana. It is not a common name in that country.

Anonymous said...

if this suspect had cia ties???? queston is did binlaudin have any cia ties???? and able danger tied mahhamid atta to cia!!!if these ties are correct then,we can understand that we are really screwed if the presidential directive is ever used and it would seem that their is more domestic terrorist than abroad

wanttruth said...

If suspect had cia ties in past????
Did Binlaudin have cia ties in past????????
Mahhamid Atta was maybe linked with cia through able danger program??????????
If these things are true we're all screwed if the presidential directive is ever used because????????????????????????????

Anonymous said...

who is the terrorist if their linked to the states

Anonymous said...

"Former SF Mayor Mascone had been a political supporter of Jim Jones, said after tragedy that "those that are yet to be found, ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." He was assassinated within a week of making this statment;"

Both Moscone and Harvey Milk were killed; the trial of the guy who did it was the source of the infamous "Twinkie defense".

Brinck said...

I think they meant street corners in Jamaica, Queens, not Jamaica the country

Anonymous said...

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.

Very interesting... say, now I wonder if there has ever been another "terrorist ring" accused of airplane-related naughtiness that was actually just a drug smuggling ring?

Anonymous said...

The 1990 coup had all the characteristics of a CIA funded operation via its Al Qaeda creation and its T&T tentacle Abu Bakrs' JAM. ANR Robinson was a Nationalist and International Criminal Court founding contributor who asked the ICC to prosecute those involved in DRUG SMUGGLING in particular! CIA planes used in THAT activity? Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm funky things happen. I have been involved for more than 30 years of operations around the world. This is nothing new just the craft in which we live.