2007-06-03a Start 2007
2007-06-03 Four charged over JFK 'bomb plot'!
A Week Before Returning To New York JFK From Moscow!
1 Four people have been charged in the US over
a plot to bomb
Four people have been charged in the US over a plot to bomb
1 Last Updated: Sunday, 3 June 2007, 02:56 GMT 03:56
JFK's fuel tanks and pipeline were the
target of the alleged plot
Four people have been charged in the US over a plot to bomb John F Kennedy airport in New York, US officials said. They include a former cargo worker and a former MP for the Caribbean nation of Guyana.
One of the suspects is a fugitive, believed to be in Trinidad.
The plot, which did not go past the planning stages, involved blowing up the airport's fuel tanks and pipeline, justice department officials said.
One arrest was in New York and the other two took place in Trinidad.
The four men are charged with conspiring to bomb one of the busiest airports in the United States.
It was "one of the most chilling plots imaginable," US attorney Roslynn Mauskopf told a news conference. "Had the plot been carried out, it could have resulted in unfathomable damage, deaths and destruction."
The pipeline is 40 miles (64km) long and carries jet fuel from New Jersey and through the New York boroughs of Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens.
The pipeline serves two other airports in the area - LaGuardia and Newark Liberty...
"They took extensive measures to seek expert advice, finances and explosives."
Islamic JFK Airport Cargo Worker
2 Airport videotaped:
The former JFK cargo worker was arrested in Brooklyn late on Friday and named as Russell Defreitas, originally from Guyana.
Defreitas (centre) appeared in court on Saturday
Mr Defreitas was arraigned in New York City on Saturday afternoon, but did not enter a plea.
He is to be held pending a bail hearing on Wednesday, US prosecutors said.
Guyanese citizen Abdul Kadir, a former member of Guyana's parliament, and Kareem Ibrahim, from Trinidad, are in custody in Trinidad and Tobago.
Abdul Nur, from Guyana, is still being sought and is believed to be in Trinidad and Tobago.
The alleged plot was brought to light when Mr Defreitas recruited an FBI informant to help him in the plan, officials said.
The informant recorded some of the conversations he had with Mr Defreitas.
"Any time you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States," Mr Defreitas said, according to a recording played to reporters.
"To hit John F Kennedy, wow... they love John F Kennedy like he's the man... if you
hit that, this whole country will be in mourning. You can kill the man twice."
In another recorded conversation the suspect was alleged to have said: "Even the twin towers can't touch it," referring to the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York City on 11 September 2001 that killed more than 3,000 people.
"This can destroy the economy of America for some time," Mr Defreitas was alleged to have said.
The arrests are the latest in a series of alleged plots targeting American facilities and landmarks.
Six men were arrested last month on charges of plotting to attack Fort Dix army base in the state of New Jersey.
Three people were arrested in July last year outside the US in connection with a plan to suicide bomb the tunnel under the Hudson River connecting Manhattan with New Jersey.
And in June 2006, seven suspects were charged over an alleged plot to destroy the country's tallest building - the Sears Tower in Chicago.
Terror On our Doorstep
3 Profile: Jamaat al Muslimeen - By Robert Walker - BBC News - Sunday, 3 June 2007 >
US officials say four men charged over an alleged plot to blow up John F Kennedy airport in New York have connections with Muslim extremists, including Jamaat al Muslimeen, a radical Islamic group based in Trinidad.
There has been no comment from the group about the allegations.
Jamaat al Muslimeen first came to attention in 1990, when it tried to overthrow the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
More than 100 armed men stormed the parliament building and took the prime minister and members of the cabinet hostage.
JAMAAT AL MUSLIMEEN Muslim social group in Trinidad 140 members took part in 1990 coup attempt Stormed parliament and Trinidad and Tobago TV, taking cabinet hostage 24 people died during coup Group led by Yasin Abu Bakr Those jailed for the coup were freed in 1992 Accused of links to criminal gangs
JAMAAT AL MUSLIMEEN
Muslim social group in Trinidad
140 members took part in 1990 coup attempt
Stormed parliament and Trinidad and Tobago TV, taking cabinet hostage
24 people died during coup
Group led by Yasin Abu Bakr
Those jailed for the coup were freed in 1992
Accused of links to criminal gangs
The militants surrendered after six days, claiming they had been granted an amnesty. And, although they were arrested a court later agreed they should be freed.
Since then Jamaat al Muslimeen has had several run-ins with the authorities. The group was linked to a series of bombings, but denied involvement. Last year, the organisation's leader, Yasin Abu Bakr, was acquitted of charges of conspiracy to murder two former members of his organisation.
The population of Trinidad and Tobago is mainly Hindu and Catholic. There is a small Muslim community, most of whom are Asian. But Jamaat al Muslimeen draws its support from the even smaller number of Muslims of African descent.
There is little history of Islamic militancy in the Caribbean. But security analysts have suggested the region could be attractive as a base for terrorist groups because of its proximity to the United States, its porous borders and because of the widespread poverty on the islands.
Two suspects were convicted in Manhattan for a terrorism conspiracy that revealed ties to Iran and Venezuela.
Following a six-week jury trial, Russell Defreitas, 67, a/k/a “Mohammed,” and Abdul Kadir, 58, a/k/a Aubrey Michael Seaforth, were convicted Friday in federal court in New York City of conspiring to attack John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, by exploding fuel tanks and the fuel pipeline under the airport.
According to documents obtained by National Association of Chiefs of Police's Terrorism Committee, the defendants believed their attack would cause extensive damage to the airport and to New York's economy, as well as the loss of numerous lives.
Both defendants face sentences of up to life imprisonment. Sentencing has been scheduled for December 15, 2010.
The evidence at trial established that Defreitas, a naturalized United States citizen from Guyana, originated the idea to attack JFK Airport and its fuel tanks and pipelines by drawing on his prior experience working at the airport as a cargo handler. Beginning in 2006, Defreitas recruited others to join the plot, including Abdul Kadir and Abdel Nur, during multiple trips to Guyana and Trinidad.
Between trips, Defreitas engaged in video surveillance of JFK Airport, and transported the footage back to Guyana to show to his co-conspirators. Nur pleaded guilty before trial to supporting the plot and faces a sentence of up to 15 years. A fourth member of the plot, Kareem Ibrahim, faces trial on the same charges as Defreitas and Kadir.1
According to the trial evidence, the plot members also attempted to enlist support for the plot from prominent international terrorist groups and leaders, as well as the government of Iran, including Abu Bakr, leader of the Trinidadian militant group Jamaat Al Muslimeen, and Adnan El Shukrijumah, an al-Qaeda leader.
In February 2007, Defreitas recruited Kadir to join the plot because Kadir, a former member of the Guyanese parliament, was an engineer and had connections with militant groups in Iran and Venezuela. During cross-examination at trial, Kadir admitted that he regularly passed information to Iranian authorities and believed himself bound to follow fatwas from Iranian religious leaders
Defreitas was arrested in New York on June 2, 2007. Kadir was arrested in Trinidad aboard a plane headed to Venezuela, en route to Iran. Ibrahim and Nur were also arrested in Trinidad. All three were subsequently extradited to the United States.
The specific charges Defreitas and Kadir were convicted of are: Conspiracy to Attack a Public Transportation System; Conspiracy to Destroy a Building by Fire or Explosive; Conspiracy to Attack Aircraft and Aircraft Materials; Conspiracy to Destroy International Airport Facilities; and Conspiracy to Attack a Mass Transportation Facility. Defreitas was also convicted of Surveillance of a Mass Transportation Facility.
“The defendants intended to send a message by killing Americans and destroying the New York City economy,” stated United States Attorney Loretta Lynch.
According to intelligence sources, Venezuela is host to a number of Iranian agents and members of terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah.
Federal judge sentences JFK bomb plot conspirator to life in prison
5 LaToya Sawyer - Friday, February 18, 2011
According to the original complaint [text, PDF], the plot was intended to "cause greater destruction than in the Sept. 11 attacks," according to one of the suspects. The plot could have destroyed parts of New York's borough of Queens [official website], where an underground fuel pipeline serving the airport runs. Defreitas, designer of the plot, sought to use his experience as a cargo handler for the airport to attack JFK's fuel tanks and pipelines. He recruited Kadir, Nur and Ibrahim during several trips he made to Guyana and Trinidad. Authorities tracked the plot for more than a year before making the arrests. Defreitas had said he formed the plot more than a decade ago, saying he chose the airport because its destruction would put "the whole country in mourning."