One thing about plugging away at the same topic in the same place, in this case weapons trafficking—is the value of institutional memory. Sooner or later obscure details and links become relevant. This latest turn of a shovel was revealed by an Italian friend living in Turkey, who wrote to me a few months back, “Claudio Gatti has written a very interesting article mentioning CIA people involved in weapons in Syria, and this follows in your path with weapons coming out of Georgia. You might also want to share about the document trail about illicit stolen oil out of Iraq and Syria and the links to Batumi and Intertek – Oil, Chemical & Agri Division, especially their oil testing labs in Batumi/Baku and their dodgy documents.”
It is almost common knowledge that the CIA is involved in weapons dealing in Syria, and this begs the questions as where the weapons come from and how are they moved. Having dug into this a bit more, and compared notes with some Turkish sources, I have become convinced that Jeppesen, an air transport and logistics company, is back to business as usual.
The evidence suggests that Jeppesen will have lots more of its usual work – arms and human trafficking – soon. It will not only be supplying the “moderate” Free Syrian Army and its’ so called moderate terrorists but arming and equipping America’s newest strategic partners in the region, the PKK, as part of the programme of regime change in Turkey and the establishment of the world’s newest state, the Kurdish State long planned and plotted by successive US administrations.
As I told the Italian journalist and a few Turkish ones, “we just need to connect a few dots here and there.” All these dots are pretty much taken from open source information. So we can bet that the US has also connected them long ago, having put then in order in the first place, and won’t be able to deny what is occurring no matter how hard it tries.
The link between Turkish intelligence and arms supplies is well documented. Washington is officially worried about Turkey and Qatar arming Islamists both in Libya and in Syria. As 24 Ore-Italy24 has made only too clear, Turkey and Qatar’s interests are in conflict with those of the West. But a series of flights by military cargo planes reported by The New York Times and investigated by the UN suggests that the US has helped them do so.
The suspicion that those planes were carrying weapons hasn’t yet been supported by hard evidence, but that is because the Georgian link has not been factored in. Both in terms of air traffic and road transport, Georgia has long been involved in the illegal arms supply business. One only has to read official US State Department reports and use the cut and substitution function, changing a few names to Georgian ones connected with the previous Georgian government, and the connections between the dots become obvious.
Let us remember that back in 2011 Russian Information Agency Novosti reported that an Azeri cargo plane, which just happened to be a Soviet-designed Ilyushin Il-76 with a crew of nine, had crashed in Afghanistan. Afghan television reported that this had been carrying fuel intended for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the international U.S.-led coalition fighting the Taliban, and had crashed while preparing for landing at the airport of the northern Afghan town of Bagram. The plane, operated by Azerbaijan’s Silk Way Airlines, had taken off from Heydar Aliev Airport in Baku. Planes of this kind are capable of carrying up to 40 tonnes of cargo, and many are registered in Georgia to offshore companies.
This trade is so well-known that the editor-in-chief of Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, along with that newspaper’s Ankara bureau chief, were arrested after publishing a report claiming that Turkey’s intelligence agency has been arming Syrian rebels against dictator Bashar al-Assad. The charge against them was “divulging state secrets,” but they were only reporting what was obvious from open sources.
Back door becomes front
However the current geopolitical situation has changed Jeppesen’s role. Turkey and its MIA can no longer be trusted to keep America’s terrorists supplied, as they were faithfully doing before Turkey entered the conflict off message, in its own right. Its nominal allies are now in the process of either dumping it or at least distancing themselves from it, partly for this reason.
External logistics are paramount to any operation. Generally, these are supplied by the major US companies which have defence contracts, as smaller and less reputable companies, whose work is not so easily monitored and doesn’t feature so prominently in official documents, can then be brought on board under their umbrella without tainting the contract.
Jeppesen, which is a Boeing subsidiary as openly acknowledged on the Boeing website, is one such company. Both Boeing and Jeppesen itself have long had links with Georgia, the conduit for most illegal weapons transfers. There are some very interesting links between logistics, the Boeing Corporation and the Georgian Aviation University, for which Saudi backing is clear and needs no commentary.
At corporate level Boeing is now looking for new customers, and would like to open markets with Iran. This would make it practical to abandon providing material support to so-called terrorists, at least that hodgepodge of groups close to the Free Syrian Army who are supported by the US Administration. But it still has a contract to fulfill – so Jeppesen, as its subsidiary, will henceforth be doing the work previously undertaken by Boeing and Turkish intelligence itself, off the books, having long proved itself to be a trusted US partner in such operations.
CIA’s travel agent
Jeppesen has proved itself a trusted partner because it has already provided logistics to the Turkish and Qatari operations. As the Italian journalist wrote, “It has already been confirmed that the C-17 used for the cargoes of weapons from Libya belong to the Qatar Air Force, that their final destination is Turkey and that a US company provides logistical support for the flights.” Not just any US company, but one that the US media has called “the CIA’s travel agent,” which leads to the conclusion that their cargo did not consist of humanitarian goods.
Boeing’s official website devotes a whole section to a subsidiary called Jeppesen International Trip Planning, which is based in San Jose, California. This mentions that this subsidiary “offers everything needed for efficient, hassle-free, international flight operations … “spanning the globe“from Aachen to Zhengzhou.” The paragraph concludes, “Jeppesen has done it all.
A Panel of Experts set up by the UN Security Council pursuant to resolution 1973 (2011) has openly stated that Jeppesen is involved in the transfer of weapons. This Panel was supposed to provide a final report to the Council with its findings and recommendations. Jeppesen devised the flight plans of the Qatari C17, and the Panel asked it for obtain information about these flights, including the cargo transported. It has also asked Jeppesen to provide a list of the flights operated by Qatari C17 to Libya since July 2012. The company responded that it was not involved in the process of obtaining diplomatic clearances for the Qatar Air Force and did not know the content of the flight cargo for the flights it plans, but at the same time did not provide the list of flights the Panel had requested.
This travel agent of choice is clearly well known to both intelligence agencies and human rights groups. According to their own websites, Jeppesen and Boeing are working with leading global airlines, flight schools and universities in the United States, Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South Africa to prepare the next generation of student pilots.
As location theory goes, than what better place to operate such a business than Georgia? Jeppesen and the Georgian Aviation University have partnered to offer an EASA Ground School for Dispatch in Georgia. This training consists of at least 500 hours of Flight Dispatcher theoretical related training, followed by testing. Itis in compliance with ICAO Phase 1 of Doc 7192 D3, and is endorsed by the Georgian CAA for Phase 1 Dispatcher training. It consists of a nineteen week instructor-led online class followed by a three week classroom-based class held in Tbilisi.
Turkey is a member of NATO and Georgia is a wannabe member
Jeppesen has also played an essential role in the illegal Rendition Program and many other covert CIA operations. Publicly available records demonstrate that Jeppesen has facilitated more than 70 secret rendition flights over a four-year period, all to countries where it knew, or should reasonably have known, that detainees are routinely being tortured or otherwise abused in contravention of universally accepted legal standards.
Jeppesen cannot claim it was involved in this programme by accident as it provides crucial flight planning and logistical support services to the aircraft and crew, including filing flight plans, planning itineraries, obtaining landing permits and arranging for fuel and ground handling to take place. It is also active in faking documents, as needed, to expedite human or weapons cargos. All this activity is traceable in flight plans and other documents filed with national and inter-governmental aviation authorities in the United States and across Europe.
It can also be demonstrated that Jeppeson has been involved in CIA torture sites. Most unusually, some of the clients of its travel service cannot be sued in US Courts as a matter of US National Security. If you booked a flight on the internet, would you expect your chosen air company to have such clients?
There are also many smaller companies involved in supplying weapons to Islamist terrorists in Syria, and some of these are also based in Georgia. For instance, local media reported that the plane which crashed in Congo on 7 September 2007 was carrying weapons from Georgia. According to external media reports, however, it was merely transporting palm oil and cosmetic products. You have to ask why there would be a discrepancy in the reports, and who stands behind the big media outlets and who behind the backwoods Georgian ones.
There is a company in Armenia called “Cargo Jet Line Ltd.” This was established in 1995, with a partner company called “Jet Line Air Cargo, Inc.” based in California. Both companies specialise in transporting goods to and from the United States only. They send and receive everything, except the items which the US has banned the export of to Armenia (food, drugs and perfumes). Cargo Jet Line employs four or five people in Yerevan, but its American partner is part of a wider cargo network. Their contact details are as follows – Cargo Jet Line, Ltd. Armenia, Yerevan 15, Saryan Street and Jet Line Air Cargo, Inc.307 East Beach Ave. Inglewood, CA 90302.
Show us the goods
For many years heavy weapons technology, including armour piercing artillery rounds, has been supplied to Georgia by the US. The Georgian Armed Forces see very little, if any, of this equipment. However Georgia has a long history of selling on the equipment supplied to its own army to profit previous government ministers and the criminals who support them, as its own army commanders have pointed out publicly. Undercover tapes presented to the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office, as part of an investigation into the crimes of the previous Georgian government, have demonstrated American involvement in the illegal export of arms from the United States and how fake end user certificates have been generated for this purpose.
Documents submitted to the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office by Jeffrey Silverman, the Veterans Today Bureau Chief for Georgia, clearly demonstrate that the United States is involved in using Georgia as a transit country for weapons transfers to Sudan, Turkey and other countries, and that this constitutes enabling international terrorism, as those weapons have ended up in the hands of terrorist organisations. Silverman has also been tortured on the order of US the authorities, this torture being related to his investigation of officials of the US government and USAID. This established that the United States Department of Agriculture and the US Embassy in Georgia were involved, through a Food for Peace Program, in the provision of material support to Chechen terrorists and the terrorist acts carried out against the Russian Federation as a result of that material support.
The Georgian Office of the Public Defender has been asked to look more closely at the case of Amir Ardebili, who was lured to Georgia (which he had never previously visited) in a sting operation and accused of supplying electronics to terrorists. The case, No 07-177M, contains abundant evidence (as claimed by the United District Court of Delaware) that a crime against Ardebili’s person was committed and the claimed evidence submitted to the Georgian authorities was fabricated to cover allegations of violations of the act outlawing arms sales to terrorists, under the Colour of Federal and International Law. The Georgian authorities were fully aware at the time that Ardebili’s arrest was illegal, and remain so now, but they are still trying to cover the illegal act for political reasons, knowing how deeply their country is involved in the matters they are trying to cover up.
Jeppesen acts with impunity
If these networks of terror and arms trafficking were fully investigated there would be great political bloodletting at the top of many countries, especially the United States. The full extent of the knowledge the UN Panel of Experts acquired during its investigation into Jeppesen is unlikely to see the light of day, especially in an election year. What we do already know, and can demonstrate with documents, is that weapons from Libya have been transferred to Syria, via Georgia, by the CIA’s own travel agent.
This demonstrates that the US is a State sponsor of terrorism against a sovereign state, and therefore, according to its own laws, should stop arming itself let alone anyone else. All this is already known information, but as yet all the evidence has not yet been brought together into a cohesive case. Time will tell if that will always be so.
I personally have the manifests of certain deliveries made by offshore companies including Bel Trading & Consulting Ltd., which is registered in the Seychelles but operates in Georgia. There is a fine line between civilian and military air transport, but it does exist. The CIA’s “rendition” programme has turned into a cottage industry, logistics, and is now out of the control of even the CIA or the various national governments involved.
In bygone age the media and intelligence agencies complained about the 9/11 Saudi Arabian born terrorists having attended a flight school in the United States. Now the same training is being supplied right under the noses of intelligence and media in Georgia, a strategic partner of both Turkey and the United States, and nobody seems a bit concerned. It is not difficult to understand why.
Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.