Kennedy Airport bomb-plot mastermind Russell DeFreitas referred to his plan as "The Shining" because he expected the ignition of jet fuel tanks and a pipeline to light up all of Queens, a government witness testified Thursday.
The witness, Donald Nero, who has pleaded guilty to briefly participating in the alleged terror plot in 2006, also testified DeFreitas - a former airport cargo worker - revealed he devised the plan after discovering he had been loading military equipment for Israel onto planes.
"America was putting missiles, bombs, war equipment on planes to send to Israel to kill the Palestinians," said Nero, 51, a Guyanese man who was testifying under a cooperation agreement with the government. "He said he put those things personally on planes."
The disclosures came on the first day of testimony in the trial of DeFreitas, 66, a Guyanese-American, and Abdel Kadir, 58, a former member of the Guyanese Parliament. The two men face multiple conspiracy counts in the 3-year-old case.
Prosecutors allege the conspirators sought help in carrying out their plan from Jamaat al Muslimeen, a militant Islamic group based in Trinidad, and tried to reach out to Iran and to an al-Qaida operative, Adnan Shukrimujah, whom law enforcement officials have linked to last year's subway bombing plot.
Although the goal of the plot was economic damage, Nero testified, all the plotters recognized that people would die. "There was going to be destruction of a lot of buildings," he said.
"At the airport there are lots of people going in and out. So, lots of lives."
Nero said he was recruited in late 2005 and 2006 into a group of conspirators that included a prominent Guyanese businessman, a man referred to as "Longhair," and an American named "Annas" whom DeFreitas brought into the plan.
That group - which did not include Kadir - broke apart in late 2006, Nero said, amid differences about money and tactics and suspicions about informants, and his involvement with the plot ended. Annas, however, turned out to be an FBI mole named Steven Francis - a former drug trafficker who agreed to work undercover and taped DeFreitas and other plotters for months.
Francis, 39, a Dominican-American, followed Nero to the witness stand Thursday, describing how he hooked up with DeFreitas at a Brooklyn mall and gradually became his friend after being tasked by the FBI with winning his confidence.
Eventually, he said, DeFreitas decided to let him in on his "very big" plan, telling Francis, "I feel I can trust you. I feel you were sent by Allah.
Dozens of tapes made by Francis are expected to be introduced and played when the trial resumes on Tuesdaycq.