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|JFK Jihadi plotted death for witnesses|
|The convicted of a jihadist terror plot to blow up fuel pipelines at JFK Airport schemed from behind bars to murder key witnesses against him, newly unsealed documents reveal.|
Russell Defreitas, 68, a retired airport baggage handler who last year was sentenced to life in prison for the foiled plot, enlisted the aid of several fellow prisoners to eliminate witnesses before the beginning of his 2010 terrorism trial in Brooklyn federal court, officials said.
Defreitas also wanted to kill one of his own attorneys, Mildred Whalen, whom he believed to be Jewish, officials said.
Additionally, Defreitas hoped to target an unnamed federal prosecutor for , officials said.
"Defreitas said that [co-defendant Abdel] Nur insisted that the prosecutor 'had to go,'" an informant related, according to the government's March 2010 letter.
Defreitas, an immigrant from Guyana, was convicted of the JFK terror attack scheme along with fellow plotters Nur, Abdel Kadir, an engineer and former member of Guyana's parliament, and Kareem Ibrahim.
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|US airport attack plotter sentenced|
|[Iran Press TV] A Guyanese national has been sentenced to life in prison for allegedly ing an attempt to blow up the fuel system at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.|
Former Guyanamese Abdul Kadir, 58, was handed a life term on Wednesday for involvement in a 2007 plot to explode fuel tanks and the fuel pipeline under the airport, according to a statement from the US Eastern District Court of New York, CNN reported.
US District Judge Dora Irizarry said Kadir has been captured in surveillance video recordings while discussing plans with Russell Defreitas -- a US citizen born in Guyana.
She said the footage proved Abdul Kadir played a key role in the plot.
Defreitas, also convicted and for co-plotting the attack, still awaits his sentencing.
During a four-week trial back in August, a federal jury had found Kadir guilty of conspiring to explode the fuel tanks and pipelines at the international New York airport.
Prosecutors alleged that Kadir and Defreitas planned to cause a massive by igniting the fuel tanks.
Defreitas allegedly provided information on the facilities and layout matters while Kadir, an engineer, contributed in technical aspects.
The two were on charges of multiple counts of conspiracy back in 2007. Kadir has denied the charges.
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|Jury Reaches Guilty Verdict in JFK Bomb Plot Case|
|Two men charged with plotting to blow up New York's John F. Kennedy Airport were found guilty Monday.|
A federal jury in Brooklyn found Russell Defreitas and Abdul Kadir both guilty of conspiracy charges in connection with the plot to destroy the airport.
The jury found Mr. Defreitas, a naturalized U.S. citizen and former cargo handler at the airport, guilty of all six charges against him. Mr. Kadir, a Guyanese citizen who once served as a Parliament member there, was found guilty on five of the six charges. He was acquitted of a charge of surveillance of a mass-transportation facility.
The men face the possibility of life in prison. Their sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 15.
The men were arrested in 2007 before they could move beyond the planning stage of the alleged plot, prosecutors said.
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|Two found guilty of JFK bomb plot|
|Russell Defreitas, 67, a US citizen born in Guyana, and Abdul Kadir, 58, of Guyana conspired to blow up buildings, fuel tanks and pipelines at the airport in the New York City borough of Queens. The men, who were arrested in June 2007, face up to life in prison. |
Defreitas, who had worked at the airport, provided knowledge of its facilities and layout, US prosecutors said, while Kadir, an engineer, helped with technical aspects such as how to blow up the buried fuel pipelines.
Officials have said the plot was nowhere near being operational when the men were arrested.
Two other men were arrested in the plot. Kareem Ibrahim of Trinidad and Tobago was deemed too ill to be tried but may face trial later. Guyanese Abdel Nur, 60, pleaded guilty in June to a separate charge of material support to terrorism and faces up to 15 years in prison.
Interesting: four jamokes, none named 'Fred' or 'Steve' or 'Joe' ...
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|Gene Healy: Clowns or killers in al Qaeda|
|Last week, federal jurors in Brooklyn heard tapes from an undercover informant in what one prosecutor called one of "the most chilling plots imaginable," a 2007 Islamist plan to detonate underground fuel tanks at JFK International Airport.|
On the tapes, defendant Russell Defreitas promised "high-tech," "ninja-style" tactics that included releasing rats in the main terminal to distract security. "We got to come up with supernatural things," he told the informant.
Despite his bluster, Defreitas seemed unaware of the technical difficulties involved in igniting hardened underground pipelines, and he never secured explosives.
The JFK plotters' trial follows May's attempted Times Square bombing, in which Faisal Shahzad -- trained in explosives at an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan -- failed to set off a bomb made of gas cans, propane tanks, fireworks and nonflammable fertilizer.
You ever get the feeling that some of these guys aren't the sharpest scimitars in the shed?
If so, you're not alone. The notion of "savvy and sophisticated" Islamist supervillains is "wildly off the mark," Brookings' Daniel Byman and Christine Fair write in Atlantic magazine.
Many Afghan suicide bombers "never even make it out of their training camp," thanks to the jihadi tradition of the pre-martyrdom "manly embrace": "the pressure from these group hugs triggers the explosives in suicide vests." (Theological question: Do you get fewer virgins for an own-goal?)
On the American home front, al Qaeda and its sympathizers often don't look much brighter:
" In 2006, an FBI sting rolled up the "Liberty City Seven," whose ringleader, the Washington Post reported, "wanted to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago, which would then fall into a nearby prison, freeing Muslim prisoners who would become the core of his Moorish army. With them, he would establish his own country." Sounds like a plan!
" 2007 saw the arrest of six Islamists who planned to launch an armed attack on New Jersey's Fort Dix, but were rounded up after they "asked a store clerk to copy a video of them firing assault weapons and screaming about jihad."
" In 2003, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed associate Iyman Faris went to jail on charges involving a plan to topple the Brooklyn Bridge by severing its suspension cables with a blowtorch.
" The 2005 Jose Padilla indictment revealed that some Islamic terrorists haven't quite mastered speaking in code. One of Padilla's co-defendants insisted he was just talking about sporting goods on the surveillance tapes, but couldn't explain why he'd asked his co-conspirator if he had enough "soccer equipment" to "launch an attack on the enemy."
Lest you think I'm just cherry-picking particularly incompetent jihadis, recall that the Bush administration once considered Padilla, an American citizen, too dangerous for a civilian trial, and cited Faris' capture as the crown jewel of successes with its warrantless wiretapping program.
The fact that many terrorists are morons doesn't mean all are, and even morons get lucky sometimes, so vigilance remains essential.
But the myth that al Qaeda is 100 feet tall has fed dramatic government growth since 9/11. The Washington Post's new series on "Top Secret America" shows that D.C. has erected vast pyramids in the name of homeland security, with some 1,200 agencies and 850,000 people trolling through e-mail and clear-cutting forests to produce mounds of useless, redundant intelligence reports.
We've given al Qaeda power over us they don't deserve. When we recognize that they're often inept and clownish, we weaken their ability to sow terror. For the sake of our liberty and security, it's prudent and patriotic to allow an occasional smirk to cross your stiff upper lip.
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|Four indicted in plot to blow up New York airport|
|Four men were indicted by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn on Friday for an alleged plot to blow up New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. Russell Defreitas, Kareem Ibrahim, Abdul Kadir and Abdel Nur will face a total of six charges, including conspiracy to attack a mass transportation facility, conspiracy to destroy a public building by explosion and conspiracy to destroy international airport facilities.|
Prosecutors said the accused were Islamic extremists who sought to blow up the airport's fuel tanks and part of the 40-mile (64-km) pipeline feeding them from New Jersey. They planned to "discharge and detonate an explosive and other lethal device" to cause "death, serious bodily injury" and "major economic loss," the indictment said.
When the plot was disclosed early this month, law enforcement officials initially described it as "chilling." But authorities have acknowledged the plot was more "aspirational" than operational and posed no immediate threat.
U.S. officials are seeking the extradition of Trinidadian Ibrahim and Guyanese citizens Kadir and Nur who are scheduled to appear at a bail hearing on Monday in Trinidad after they were previously denied bail there. The men sought the help of Jamaat Al Muslimeen, an Islamist extremist group in Trinidad that was behind a 1990 coup attempt on the island, authorities said early this month. Since then a spokesman for the group in Port of Spain has denied any involvement with the men and said Ibrahim left the group 20 years ago.
The men face a maximum of life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge of planning to attack a public transportation system.
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|Background on the JFK airport plotters|
|Reading the indictment against the four would-be JFK airport bombers, Russell Defreitas, Abdul Nur, Kareem Ibrihim and Abdul Kadir, I was struck by the phrase “together with others” which frequently followed their names. It is on page 1, page 2, page 3, twice on page 4. In the course of the document we are introduced to these others, known only as Individuals A-G. There must be some legal rationale why we can’t know their identities. It surely can’t be to conceal from the Individuals that we know what they were up to; they must have figured out who is which letter by now. But until we know who Messrs. A-G are, we can’t know the extent of the network, or the magnitude of the threat.|
Of the six, the most interesting are A and E. “A” is one of the ringleaders of the plan, playing a key role in conceptualizing and promoting it. Yet for some reason, he was not indicted. “E” is even more important — a businessman in Georgetown Guyana, who funds jihadists on their missions and comes across in the indictment as extremely knowledgeable in matters of terrorism. It seems as though he has done this many times before. He served as a mentor for the prospective attackers, but eventually pulled out of the plan when he thought it might be compromised. Good instincts.
“E” is also a friend and associate of Yasin Abu Bakr, leader of the Trinidad and Tobago extremist group Jamaat al-Muslimeen (JAM). He is referred to as “the JAM leader” throughout the indictment, though his identity is well known in the Caribbean. Abu Bakr had fomented a coup against the government in 1990, which failed quickly. Since then he had been in intermittent trouble with the law. The plotters seem fixated on meeting with Abu Bakr, perhaps to obtain funding from him or his sources. Abdul Nur, the only named conspirator still at large, who had previous ties to Abu Bakr, met with him in May and discussed the plan in general terms. Abu Bakr liked the idea and wanted another meeting, but first wanted to do checks on some of the others involved.
But Trinidadian conspirator Kareem Ibrihim counseled against another meeting. Abu Bakr had been arrested the previous fall, charged with incitement, sedition, extortion, and terrorism. He was due to go on trial June 1, and was no doubt under constant surveillance. The conspirators planned to launder whatever support they received through Abdul Kadir’s Islamic Information Centre in Linden. Kadir is a Shiite, and tied closely to the International Islamic College for Advanced Studies, which is underwritten by Iran. The college’s former Director, Mohammad Hassan Ebrahimi, was kidnapped and murdered in 2004. Kadir took over as interim head. But just as Kareem was sending his emissary (who for some reason is not identified as “Individual H”) to brief the plan to the contacts abroad, arrest warrants were issued and three of the four named conspirators were taken into custody.
Once the case goes to trial one name that may pop up is Adnan Gulshair Muhammad El Shukrijumah — alias Abu Arif, or Jafar Al-Tayar. He is a computer engineer, born in Saudi Arabia, son of a Wahabbist missionary who moved to Guyana when Adnan was three. He later spent many years in Trinidad where he was associated with the Darul-Uloom Insitute, another of the ubiquitous Islamic study centers. He also stayed for a time in south Florida. He has been closely involved with al Qaeda, and it is said he was hand picked by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to maintain the terror network in the Americas. In 2002 he was in Canada looking for “dirty bomb” components, and in 2003 a warrant was issued for his arrest. In 2004 he was named as a prime suspect in a planned attack on the United States, and Attorney General John Ashcroft described Shukrijumah "as the most dangerous of seven Al-Qa'ida operatives suspected of planning strikes in the US."
Shukrijumah has not been spotted recently, though there was a report that he had holed up with wealthy Guyanese businessman Farouk Razac. Razac had been in and out of trouble with the law for years, on weapons and drug charges mostly. It would be interesting if Razac turned out to be individual E, especially since he was murdered in his home on May 8. His wife, Carolan Lynch, has been charged with the crime, and is also the reigning Mrs. South America.
Given the international flavor of this planned attack it struck me as odd that it is being described regularly as “home grown terrorism.” To me that expression implies Americans of long-established families, growing up in the American milieu, turning to political violence as a form of protest. The Symbionese Liberation Army, for example, or the Unabomber. Yes, Russell Defreitas is a U.S. citizen, but naturalized, and clearly not someone who grew up here or bought into the American dream or way of life. Of the other three who were arrested, two were from Guyana and one from Trinidad. The unnamed conspirators are mostly Guyanan, and none are American. Most of the people involved were foreign, the planning took place overseas, the funding came from abroad, and they sought to obtain the explosives from outside the U.S. So this is not “home grown” but definitely international terrorism.
From the indictment one gets the impression of a certain amateurishness among the plotters. The length of the planning cycle worked in our favor, as it did in other plots recently broken up, here and in Britain. The age of the terrorists is noteworthy — attack cells are rarely set up by guys in their 50s.
|Massive Terrorist Plot! NYT: See Page 30|
|By Ben Johnson|
This weekend, federal authorities foiled a stunning terrorist plot by Muslim extremists to kill thousands of our readers, strike the international transport grid, and depress the nation’s economy during its slowest quarter since late 2002 – but enough about that.
That was the message of Sunday’s New York Times.
The FBI had prevented four men, including a former member of Guyana’s parliament, from blowing up John F. Kennedy International Airport – and possibly part of Queens. They hoped to ignite underground fuel pipes, setting off a chain reaction of explosions that would envelop the entire complex. The NY Post and New York Daily News made it front page news. The NY Daily News headlined its story, “They Aimed to Kill Thousands.” The Post included a chilling sidebar, “Pipeline Security A Joke.”
The (inexplicably) most prestigious newspaper in the world put its bland story on page 30. Instead, page one featured yet another story about Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Any junior editor at any county newspaper in the country would have been fired for putting the most reported story in the nation two-and-a-half dozen pages into the well. Aside from burying a major international story that took place in its metro area, the Newspaper of Record took pains to make the Muslim battle plan that could have atomized a portion of its immediate readership appear utterly irrelevant.
The NYT began by obscuring the terrorists’ target. Although it faults the U.S. military for using the term “collateral damage,” the Times wrote as though the plotters only planned to blow up inanimate objects, certainly not human beings. Its opening line read, “Four men, including a onetime airport cargo handler and a former member of the Parliament of Guyana, were charged yesterday with plotting to blow up fuel tanks, terminal buildings and the web of fuel lines running beneath Kennedy International Airport.”
Secondly, it minimized the severity of the plot. JFK “was never in imminent danger because the plot was only in a preliminary phase and the conspirators had yet to lay out detailed plans or obtain financing or explosives.” Besides, “safety shut-off valves would almost assuredly have prevented an exploding airport fuel tank from igniting all or even part of the network.” Move along. Nothing to see here!
And, as they have for the last several plots (Ft. Dix, Miami, etc.), the Old Gray Lady portrayed the would-be mass killers as pathetic and sympathetic. Plot originator Russell Defreitas, 63, was “divorced and lost touch with his two children.” Once homeless, he moved into an apartment where “the weather was rough on his health and the cold was tough on his arthritis.” He now lives on “a run-down block full of graffiti.” He liked jazz, “especially the saxophone.” Friends described him as a “polite man” and “not that bright” – not bright enough to pull off a serious attack.
Much deeper into the story the crack staff fesses up: “Defreitas envisioned ‘the destruction of the whole of Kennedy” and theorized that because of underground pipes, ‘part of Queens would explode.’” He told his co-conspirators he wanted to inflict such massive loss of life that “even the twin towers can’t touch it.” Beyond crippling the U.S. economy (during a downturn), the move would have symbolic value, as well. Americans “love John F. Kennedy,” he said. “If you hit that, this whole country will be in mourning. It’s like you kill the man twice.” Apparently murdering the president’s brother once was not enough for Muslim extremists.
Later still, the Times notes that, while they weren’t al-Qaeda operatives, the four sought help from “extremist Muslim group based in Trinidad and Tobago called Jamaat al-Muslimeen.” They had “precise and extensive” surveillance of their target, which serves 1,000 flights a day. The quartet “was very familiar with the airport and how to access secure areas.” The plotters were motivated by “fundamentalist Islamic beliefs of a violent nature.” (Coincidentally, every terrorist who has killed Americans since the late Clinton administration has also shared “fundamentalist Islamic beliefs of a violent nature.” In fact, “Mr. Kadir, who, along with being a former elected official [in Guyana], is an imam.”) An unnamed law enforcement official told reporters they stopped the plot early for a reason: “if we let it go it could have gotten [serious]; they could have gotten the J.A.M. fully involved, and we wouldn’t know where it could have gone.”
Oh, and one of the plotters is still at large. Perhaps getting “J.A.M. fully involved” now. “The fourth suspect, Abdel Nur, 57, remained a fugitive.”
Too busy to concentrate on news that doesn’t fit, the Times featured another front page story in which the terrorist is portrayed as a victim, this one set in Gitmo. The story begins:
The facts of Omar Ahmed Khadr’s case are grim. The shrapnel from the grenade he is accused of throwing ripped through the skull of Sgt. First Class Christopher J. Speer, who was 28 when he died.
Not only a mere teen, Khadr is:
the youngest detainee at Guantanamo Bay, nearly blind in one eye from injuries sustained during the July 2002 firefight in which Sergeant Speer was mortally wounded and another American soldier was severely injured. Last week, Mr. Khadr said he wanted to fire all of his American lawyers, and some of them said they understood why he might distrust Americans after five years at Guantanamo. (Emphasis added.)
His lawyer, Muneer I. Ahmad is – surprise! – an associate professor at the American University Washington College of Law. Saith Ahmad, “If Omar had had his free choice, what he would have chosen to do is ride horses, play soccer and read Harry Potter books.”
Another innocent betrayed by Bush’s War on Terror! Just like Hillary Clinton.
Only in the 17th and 18th paragraphs of the story do we learn Omar’s father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was a “senior deputy to Osama bin Laden,” and one of his brothers told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, “We are an al-Qaeda family.”
Moreover, the story grudgingly acknowledges international law does not forbid the United States from doing precisely what it is with Omar. Not only is this a non-story, it is an old non-story. FrontPage Magazine covered The Littlest Jihadist as early as 2002 and has run numerous stories about this extremist family, with its extensive ties to the 9/11 plotters. But to the Times, his alleged suffering trumps the suffering of its own readers.
In addition to this meager coverage of a legitimate threat, the NYT editorial page had not a single editorial on the threat to its readers’ hometown, although Sunday’s issue had three editorials targeting President Bush, Dick Cheney, and the “harsh” jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas.
The decisions to put a story portraying the plight of Guantanamo Bay’s beleaguered terrorist population on page one and to ignore the JFK plot in its editorial coverage were transparently political moves. While Muslim extremists wage a hot war against the United States – often centered in one of the bluest cities of the nation – the Left sees its war on President Bush as infinitely more important. Why do anything that would put the spotlight on terrorism, vindicate the present administration, or – worse yet – perhaps elect a Republican in 2008? The NYT would not take that chance, and it had no difficulty altering its news coverage to fit that political template.
Ultimately, said Mark J. Mershon, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York office, the JFK plotters based their actions on “a pattern of hatred toward the United States and the West in general.” One suspects the same could be said of the New York Times.
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|Authorities charge 4, arrest 3 in NYC terror plot|
Authorities arrested Russell Defreitas, a US citizen native to Guyana and former JFK employee. He was in custody in Brooklyn and was expected to be arraigned Saturday afternoon. Two other men, Abdul Kadir of Guyana and Kareem Ibrahim of Trinidad, are in custody in Trinidad. A fourth man, Abdel Nur of Guyana, was still being sought.
Kadir, a Muslim and former member of Parliament in Guyana, was arrested in Trinidad for attempting to secure money for "terrorist operations," according to a Guyanese police commander who spoke on condition of anonymity. Kadir left his position in Parliament last year. Muslims make up about 9 percent of the former Dutch and British colony's 770,000 population, mostly from the Sunni sect.
The official said investigators first found out about the plot in January 2006. After that, an informant infiltrated the group. "This was the ultimate hand-and-glove operation between NYPD and FBI," said US Rep. Peter King, a Republican from Long Island.
The arrests mark the latest in a series of alleged homegrown terrorism plots targeting high-profile American landmarks. A year ago, seven men were arrested in what officials called the early stages of a plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and destroy FBI offices and other buildings. A month later, authorities broke up a plot to bomb underwater New York City train tunnels to flood lower Manhattan. And six people were arrested a month ago in an alleged plot to unleash a bloody rampage on Fort Dix in New Jersey.