One of the four men accused of plotting to blow up fuel tanks at JFK airport took the stand yesterday, and provided an interesting afternoon of testimony as he defended himself against charges of conspiring to commit an act of terrorism. Abdul Kadir, a former member of parliament in Guyana, claims that he was only pretending to go along with the alleged plot because he hoped the others would introduce him to rich Muslims whom he could hit up for money to build a mosque back home. Oookay, but what about those photos showing him armed to the teeth with guns?
Prosecutors say the photographs were taken in order to show potential terror financiers in Iran that Kadir and his alleged conspirators meant business. But Kadir testified that most of the weapons in the photographs were toys. "It was Christmas time and we had all these toy guns around," Kadir told the jury. And he pointed out that he never intended to show the pictures in Iran, and even if he did, his target audience would be offended by images of a shirtless man without traditional Muslim garb.
In 2007, the alleged ringleader, Russell Defreitas, and a government informant, Steven Francis, showed Kadir an amateurish videotape of the airport fuel tanks. Prosecutors say Kadir expressed interest, "saying that he needed a few weeks to contact some associates who would probably help them." But yesterday Kadir insisted that when he was invited to join the plot, he did not want to respond negatively because he hoped the others would introduce him to potential mosque financiers.
Kadir also testified yesterday that the video "made no sense to me" and suggested they use Google Earth to get better images. According to the Times, some law enforcement officials have questioned if the men ever had the ability to do substantial damage. Of course, they were arrested before they had the chance to unleash their rat army.