Western Global Airlines N545JN

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Event.png Western Global Airlines N545JN(flight,  money laundering?)
CIA MD11 cash and body plane.png
A view of the dead body that was found in Harare, along with 67 tonnes of banknotes, in an apparently CIA-owned plane making what was later claimed to be a "Diplomatic Shipment".
Date 13 February 2016 - Present
Perpetrators Western Global Airlines
Description 67 tons of cash and a body found on the CIA plane. Not known to have been reported by commercially-controlled media in Europe or North America.

Western Global Airlines N545JN is a CIA-connected cargo plane which took a remarkable flight on 13 February 2016. After a few changes, the official narrative became that it landed in Munich (visibly bloodstained[1]) and took on a "Diplomatic Shipment" of 67 tonnes of banknotes, before flying to South Africa, but landed at the Zimbabwean capital Harare, where ground staff found discovered the partially decomposed dead body of a stowaway in the cargo hold.[2] The plane and crew were held for a few days by local police, but as with the 2006 bust of a DC-9 carrying 5.6 tonnes of cocaine[3] no prosecutions were forthcoming.

Official narrative

On February 13th 2016 a Western Global Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-11, registration N545JN (leased to Network Airline Management) completed flight AJK-4425 from Entebbe (Uganda) to Liege (Belgium), before flying on to Munich, still as flight AJK-4425 the same day. It took on a cargo of 67 tonnes of freshly printed banknotes. As the South African Reserve Bank clarified:

“The bulk of the annual production of banknotes is done locally in South Africa and a small percentage is done offshore as part of the contingency plans of the SARB. The aircraft currently detained at Harare Airport is carrying a consignment of South African banknotes that was produced overseas as part of the SARB's annual production plan.”
South African Reserve Bank (16 February 2016)    —   [4]

Bloodstains were detectable on the side of the plane when it landed in Munich,[1] and ground staff in Munich asked about them, but believed the crew's explanation that the blood was because the plane had struck a bird.[5][6]

On Feb 13th 2016, N545JN taxiing in Munich, with the blood stains enlarged (Photo: Markus Schwab, a planespotter whose photograph of the aircraft in Munich showed blood stains on the right hand side of the fuselage - courtesy of the Aviation Herald)

The (emergency) landing

After being denied landing in Maputo (Mozambique), the plane made what was initially referred to as an emergency landing at the Zimbabwean capital Harare[7] but which was later described as "a routine fuel stop in Zimbabwe".[5]

The occupants

The crew of three pilots ("led by two Americans")[8] and a mechanic as well as two passengers who were travelling as couriers for the diplomatic shipment.[9]

The body

The Zimbabwe Herald reported that "the ground crew refueling the plane alerted local authorities" after noticing blood dripping from the plane. The authorities also noted that not only did the plane contain the body of a dead black man, it also had 67 tonnes of South African cash in the hold. The airline later explained that "during a routine fuel stop in Zimbabwe, a body was found in the lower compartment. The body is presumed to be a stowaway who may have entered the airplane during a previous stop."[5] Another report suggested that he "could be a vagrant who sneaked into the aeroplane when it landed at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda."[9]

Impounded

The plane and contents were impounded[10] but later released, together with the crew.[8][11]

Released without charge

The Zimbabwean police reportedly stated that the autopsy of the body revealed no internal or external injuries, the death was result of lack of oxygen, and so finding nothing suspicious, they let the crew continue on their way.[5]

Ground staff gingerly approach the dead body in the hold.

Plane History

As of September 2016, FAA website indicated that it was registered to 7892 FISHER ISLAND DR, DADE, MIAMI FLORIDA.[12] The owner's real name is not given, but planes of a same make and model number are registered to Sky Lease I Inc and Centurion Air Cargo Inc, both of 4500 NW 36TH ST, MIAMI SPRINGS, FL 33166-6121.[13]

Ownership

The plane was constructed in May 1995 in Long Beach, California, USA[14] and initially operated as B-16106 by EVA Airways from 22 June 1995. Next it was operated as N106BV by Wells Fargo Bank Northwest from 14 May 2008 for just 2 weeks before they sold it to Shanghai Airlines, where it was operated as B-2179, before being transferred to China Cargo Airlines on 1 June 2011. It was stored at Mojave Air and Space Port (California) on 17 November 2013 before being sold to Western Global Airlines on 15. Aug 2014. WGA flew it to Oscoda–Wurtsmith Airport (Michigan) and stored it there from 17th August 2014 to 26. Mar 2015, when it resumed flying.[14]

Movements

Planespotters' sitings indicate it seems to pay regular visits to Liege, Munich and Stanstead airports.[14][15] 5 days before this event, on Feb 8, 2016, the plane was videoed making a hard landing in strong winds at Stansted Airport.[16]

Concerns

This story raises a number of concerns. Many of those questioned changed their stories or just refused to provide any explanation. The "emergency landing" for example was later being described as a "routine fuel stop". The Aviation Herald published a report on 16 February 2016 which remarked that they "met this story with disbelief. Blood dripping off the aircraft after so many hours of flight? This detail alone shot the story down at an instant." Their report contains little interpretation but plenty of useful details.[5]

Cause of death

Markus Schwab's photo appears to support the claim that Munich ground staff noticed blood stains.[5][17] Daniel Hopsicker reported the blood stains were reported as coming from the severed arm of a dead man.[8] Various sources report the body in an advanced state of decay - so much so that fingerprints could not be taken[18] and that his age could not be estimated.[9] This cannot be easily reconciled with the Zimbabwean police narrative of a stowaway dying from a simple lack of oxygen.

CIA involvement

Daniel Hopsicker writes that "“Western Global Airlines” was once known as “Southern Air Transport.” The same management that brought Southern Air out of bankruptcy back in 2002 still owns it today (August 2016).[19] So the plane belongs to a CIA contractor. When Western Global started service, the airline announced - probably not tongue-in-cheek - that it would:

“serve the major cargo centers of South America, where they will be flying from Colombia to Miami carrying cut flowers.” But there’s another reason that’s the real clincher: The crisis PR firm the airline hires to release the press release did PR for the Minnesota dentist who killed “Cecil the Lion.”"[8]

Other Unanswered Questions

As IOL, a South African website, summarised:

"What is the identity of the dead man; why would anyone stow away on an Africa-bound aircraft in Germany; where did he come from; and how did he end up on the large cargo aircraft?"[18]

One might also wonder whether central banks often move cash like this, and if so, whether any controls or written records exist? Is there any kind of oversight?

Rating

5star.png 19 August 2016 Robin  67 tons of cash and a body found on a CIA plane. Western media uninterested.
This is, particularly in light of other CIA plane events linked to the global illegal drug trade, not a story which should not be allowed to slip down the memory hole.


References

ConstitutesFlight + and Money laundering? +
Display date13 February 2016 - Present +
Display docTypeWikiSpooks Page +
Display imageFile:CIA_MD11_cash_and_body_plane.png +
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Has perpetratorWestern Global Airlines +
Has revisionSize9,625 +
Has revisionUserRobin +
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Start13 February 2016 +
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