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» June 4, 2007
It's one of those odd series of coincidences you pick up from too much extended contact with facts.
Russell Defreitas, the Guyanan-born US citizen accused of recruiting three others and suggesting a strike on JFK airport in New York City, was identified by two Portland television stations as a former employee of McMinnville's Evergreen International Aviation.
These days, Evergreen operates a number of ventures, including the Evergreen Aviation Museum, where you can go to see Howard Hughes's Spruce Goose, and the EAGLE ground handling service that Defeitas worked for, but until the late 1980s, Evergreen was more known for not being known. It operated as a front for the CIA. It extricated the former Shah of Iran from Panama just ahead of an Iranian extradition request in 1980. CBS said it was running guns to contras in Central America in the mid-1980s. The Oregonian ran a series of articles in 1988 tracing business connections between Evergreen and the CIA, including the purchase of the site of a maintenance center in Arizona.
When stories about private CIA planes flying terrorism suspects to "black site" prisons or for extraordinary rendition appeared, Evergreen was a natural suspect. Particularly when an executive jet identified by reporters as involved in the flights was bought by a company that used an Oregon lawyer's office as its only address. The lawyer, who says he simply filed paperwork for the company though he never met the owners, had a complaint filed against him with the Oregon State Bar which was dismissed.
To recap: Evergreen Aviation used to/still does work for the CIA. Evergreen runs services in airports around the country. A guy who used to work for Evergreen is now said to have incited a few other guys to consider an attack on JFK.
I don't know, it all sounds vaguely fishy, somehow. I sure hope this doesn't turn into one of those "trying to reel in the big fish we caught our own bait" stories.