November 07, 2007

Worldview - Geopolitics of Drugs: Narcoavión de Guantánamo

Far fetched, I know, this idea that the CIA is involved in smuggling drugs. I mean, come on, who would believe that?

It is, how you say in English?, complicated.

Chicago Public Radio - Geopolitics of Drugs: Narcoavión de Guantánamo: "...about the world of private jets and drugs. So let’s start out with what we are allowed to know. On a late Sunday Night last month, an American Gulfstream two private jet, crash-landed into the jungles of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It managed to avoid catching fire, skidding across the jungle floor, and splitting into three pieces. Mexican TV showed images of the plane and its cargo… dozens of “military style” duffel bags containing several metric tons of cocaine. [1] The reason this made the news is the history of the plane, tail number N987SA…Starting in 2003, the plane made several trips from Washington and Connecticut to Guantanamo Bay. This led to questions of its use by military or intelligence agencies. Since... how many people really fly from Connecticut to Guantanamo?"

KEVIN HALL: The CIA’s confirmed it was used, it was not confirmed now, it was confirmed in earlier reports through the tail numbers

The plane shows up on the list of CIA planes compiled for the EU human rights investigation into the “extraordinary rendition” program. Still, just being used in the program doesn't mean it was ever used to transfer prisoners. Only 2% of the its flights had prisoners on board… the rest were logistical support.

ROOT: You know in some cases, soldiers literally, or you know, CIA interrogators missed starbucks coffee so they would fly in some Starbucks coffee.

But even if the CIA was just using it for coffee runs…it was still a CIA jet. But the big question is: Was it still a CIA jet at the time it crashed full of drugs?

OFFICIAL: I can neither confirm nor deny

Tracing who the last owner was raises more questions than it answers. First: FAA records show the company that had the plane during its Guantanamo flights sold it on August 30[2]

The new owner? "Donna Blue Aircraft"[3] a corporation recently registered in South Florida to two Brazilians


So Bob reported he had been seen around the Ft Lauderdale airport days after the crash. The same day his story came out, O’Connor left the country in a hurry.[6] He flew to Canada and was arrested right away for lying about the guns in his bag.[7] Then, he paid several thousand dollars to get his plane back and then flew it to the Azores. He still doesn’t appear to be under investigation for any wrongdoing, despite being the cocaine plane’s owner of record....

Then there is this enticing tidbit:

We’re not allowed to see that yet. South Florida has long been central to the drug war…and the terror war. Especially Ft Lauderdale Executive Airport says local reporter Bob Norman…

NORMAN: It has a reputation as a place where smuggling has occured

South Florida, where the 9/11 pilots practiced on private planes, [15] Has plenty of room for shady operators… Remember Don Whittington from earlier in the story? Alleged financier of the drug-plane and owner of several other rendition planes? He runs the largest operation at Ft Lauderdale executive: “World Jet International”?

HOPSICKER: When Wally Hilliard, the owner of the flight school Mohammed Atta went to bought a lear jet that was busted with 43 pounds of heroin—

Tail number N-351 WB…

HOPSICKER: He got his Lear Jet from Don Whittington too…

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