JFK plot convictions will intensify scrutiny of Guyana – Trotman Posted By Oluatoyin Alleyne On August 4, 2010 @ 5:50 am In Local News | 43 Comments
Following the convictions of two Guyanese, including a former parliamentarian, for planning to blow up the JFK International Airport, AFC Leader Raphael Trotman says there will be increased western scrutiny of Guyana.
 Abdul Kadir
Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee yesterday refused to comment directly on the convictions of former PNCR MP Abdul Kadir and Guyanese-born US citizen Russell Defreitas, who were found guilty by a jury on Monday. In e-mail correspondence, Rohee, when asked for his reaction to the convictions, said his reaction was “immaterial.” “The US Justice System has completed a trial internal to US security interests. My reaction to the outcome is immaterial,” he wrote.
The minister was also asked about the fact that Guyanese authorities were unaware of the fact that terrorist activity was being plotted on local soil and whether this incident would trigger a shift in the operations of the authorities. He responded: “This is not unusual. There have and will be many similar instances in other countries such as the US. Remember 911? Stronger local and International Cooperation is required.”
As to whether the bulletin issued for suspected terrorist Adnan El-Shukrijimah some years ago and the fact that it was stated that he was once in Guyana and had a Guyanese passport should not have alerted local authorities of possible extremist activities here, the minister said: “Re the El-Shukrijimah matter. He is on INTERPOL as well as CARICOM Watchlist.”
El-Shukrijumah’s father is Guyanese and US authorities had suspected him of links to the 9/11 plotters. It was thought that El-Shukrijumah was the real target in the JFK bomb plot investigation.
Meanwhile, the main opposition PNCR-1G maintained its silence on the convictions yesterday. Both party leader Robert Corbin and General Secretary Oscar Clarke were said to be in a meeting. MP Africo Selman indicated to Stabroek News that a message about the newspaper’s request for a comment was relayed to both men but they were engaged. When contacted subsequently, she said Corbin had left the office. A statement promised by party Chip Whip Lance Carberry on Monday was also not forthcoming up to press time.
Kadir, 58, served as a PNCR MP in the eighth Parliament of Guyana from 2002 to 2006. He is also a former mayor of Linden. He was arrested in June 2007 on a plane in Trinidad on his way to Iran.
His wife, Isha Kadir, when contacted by Stabroek News said: “From God we come to God we will return.” When asked how she was doing, she said both she and her family were all “okay” and they had no further comment to offer on the matter.
Defreitas, 67, who had reportedly boasted of being the mastermind of the plot, was once employed as a cargo handler at the JFK airport. Two other men, Abdel Nur and Donald Nero, have pleaded guilty to participating in the plot while another man, Kareem Ibrahim, is still awaiting trial. The plot to blow up the airport was hatched in January 2006, and reportedly involved blowing up jet fuel tanks leading to the airport.
‘On the radar’
AFC leader Trotman, who noted that his party has not met on the issue, said many present MPs would have worked with Kadir during his tenure in the house. As a result, he said it was difficult to associate him with the crime.
Trotman admitted that he initially thought the allegations against Kadir and the others were “speculative” but pointed out that a jury has found them guilty and this needs to be accepted. He said that the convictions mean it is the “closing of a chapter that begun years ago” but once again unfortunately Guyana will be remembered something notorious along the lines of the Jonestown massacre and the Roger Khan saga.
Additionally, Trotman said while he does not see the convictions bearing any significance on international travel for Guyana, he believes the authorities in the Western countries will place more emphasis on Guyana and surrounding countries. He said the fact that El Shukrijumah was reported here after 9/11 is a “very serious matter that would keep Guyana on the radar once he remains at large.”
Trotman also said that unfortunately the Muslim community in particular will find itself being unnecessarily profiled. “I don’t foresee any drastic implications for Guyana but I can foresee the government using this to their advantage whenever arguing about Roger Khan,” he noted.
‘No adverse effect’
Chairman of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of Linden’s Town Council Orin Gordon said yesterday that he did not see Kadir’s conviction having any adverse effect on the mining town. Gordon said he finds it hard to picture the Kadir he knows as an extremist. “In my view, I find it very difficult to comprehend this happened…” he noted.
He recalled that he knew the former MP from childhood, as they grew up in Buxton and attended the same secondary school, St Stanislaus. He also said that they did karate together and that it is from that “kind of idealic atmosphere I knew him.” Subsequently, the two met again at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad, by which time Kadir, who studied engineering, had converted to Islam. The two also worked together in the bauxite industry in Linden and Kadir and his family subsequently set up two businesses, including a chicken business.
According to Gordon, in 1994 Kadir became the Mayor of Linden—a position he held for two years. During his tenure, he said Kadir did a “few good things.” Even after he demitted the office, he remained on the town council right up to 2003, when the IMC was appointed by the Minister of Local Government.
Gordon said as chairman of the IMC he sought out Kadir from time to time on issues because of his wealth of experience in council matters and he was always willing to assist. A few months before Kadir was “collared in Trinidad,” Gordon invited him and former mayor Stan Smith to discuss the work done under the Urban Development Plan. While Smith was a no-show, Kadir attended the meeting. “I can only say about his work and that had no radical behaviour,” Gordon noted.
However, Gordon said he has an issue with extremist behaviour and views, since those result in “a lot of collateral damage.” He said he had known someone who died in the 9/11 attack. That being said, Gordon said he would never associate Kadir with such activities, adding that he would more describe him as a “chicken” as he was never one for a confrontation. He noted too that he was unaware that Guyana has radical Muslims as according to him the Muslims here are peaceful.
Meanwhile, there are questions about informant Steven Francis, who some believe may have been the one pushing the plot because of a deal he had made with authorities following a drug conviction.
According to reports, Francis was arrested by detectives assigned to an NYPD Tactical Narcotics Team several years ago with five kilogrammes of cocaine in a bag. Authorities subsequently searched a Kingsbridge apartment connected to him and turned up 44 more kilo-sized packages. When he was asked about the cocaine, Francis told one officer that he “just found the bag.” At the time of his bust, a kilo of cocaine wholesaled for about US $25,000. Since the street value was double that amount, the cocaine seized from Francis was worth around US$2 million. Indicted on four felony charges, Francis was jailed and his bail was set at US$1 million.
According to reports Francis remained in custody for nearly a year, until mid-December 2003. It was then that Francis cut his second cooperation deal. The first took place in 1994 after Francis was arrested by federal agents and charged with distributing “large quantities” of cocaine in West Harlem, Brooklyn, and Queens. Though federal guidelines called for an “imprisonment range” of between 27 and 34 years, Francis was only given a seven-year sentence.
While the nature and extent of his 1990’s government cooperation remains confidential, and the 2003 agreement and guilty plea are not part of the public record, the criminal complaint in the JFK terror case notes that, “The source was…convicted on drug trafficking charges in the New York Supreme Court in 2003. His sentence in that case is pending as part of his cooperation agreement with the government.”
Francis’ bail was slashed from US$1 million to US$50,000. He was released after his older brother deposited US$5000 with the court. It is not clear what Francis did for the authorities during the years prior to his release in 2006 but it is believed that it was El Shukrijumah’s reported presence in Guyana that propelled US authorities to send the star witness to Guyana in an attempt to lure the elusive terrorist into the trap of plotting to blow up the JFK airport.
Instead, Francis met Kadir, Abdul Nur and later Kareem Ibrahim. Francis visited Guyana in the company of Defreitas.
Reports are that while he was in Guyana, El Shukrijumah was once safe and secure under the protection of Swiss House Cambio boss Farouk Razac, who died in May 2007 under mysterious circumstances at his home.
According to reports, El Shukrijumah was spotted at the Swiss House Cambio by several witnesses, including self-proclaimed death squad informant George Bacchus. Bacchus himself was gunned down in 2006 following his many public statements about the existence and operation of a death squad.
It was at the cambio that El Shukrijumah reportedly met one of Razac’s closest clients, Imam Muhammed Hassan Abrahemi, the director of the International Islamic College for Advanced Studies, a small Shiite school in Georgetown that received large amounts of revenue from the government of Iran.
It was there he also allegedly became acquainted with Nur, who ran errands for Razac and Kadir, who served as the assistant director at Abrahemi’s Islamic College.
Abrahemi was kidnapped by two masked men as he was leaving the Islamic College on April 2, 2004 and many days later his body was discovered in a shallow grave on the outskirts of Georgetown.
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