Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 Cover-Up in F

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 Cover-Up

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:29 pm

CHAPTER SEVEN: MOHAMED ATTA'S SECRET WORLD

If the media had just treated Mohamed Atta like they do any other celebrity, like O.J. writ large ... If Entertainment Tonight had just taken viewers for a sneak peek backstage into the private life of one of history's greatest villains ... If Mohamed Atta had only gotten the media spotlight accorded J-Lo's latest boyfriend ... 9/11 might not remain such a near-total mystery.

The reason they didn't is simple. They couldn't. They weren't allowed to. But if they could ... If they could, reporters would still be camped out on Amanda Keller's doorstep, the way one New York Times reporter was, until the FBI ordered him to go home.

We finally found Amanda. Overall, she was not a happy camper ...

About press harassment, she said, "A New York Times reporter named Chris -- young, tall, kind of heavy, dark hair and a dark goatee -- came to my house. And he was mad because I wouldn't talk to him. But I was still reeling from Garret dying, and this dude would NOT leave me alone. I stood outside arguing with him forever, and he was trying to trip me up, get me to say something, and I said, I don't know what the hell you're trying to do," she said.

"And I called the FBI agent that had been calling me -- right while this reporter guy was standing there -- and said, this guy won't leave me alone. The FBI agent said let me talk to him, so I handed him the phone. And I don't know what was said, but after that he left me alone."

Amanda Keller may have had 'scorching-hot' details of life with a terrorist ringleader ...

But the FBI had other ideas.

***

When we met Amanda Keller, she didn't look at all like what we'd been expecting. While she and Atta lived together she was moving in pretty fast company, so we'd been expecting -- maybe not a pink-haired stripper -- but still, someone who chewed gum and had a really really short attention span.

Instead, the now 22 year-old Amanda Keller looks just like what she is today: a young mom, raising three small children and living with a man with a day job.

She was dressed in a pullover sweater and jeans, with natural light brown hair framing an attractive face. She even wore glasses, which made her blue eyes look a little watery.

In short, it was hard to visualize how she could ever have been wild enough to attract the jaded Atta's attention. Compared to what we'd heard about her, she looked positively matronly.

Only later, after she pulled out photographs taken two years ago, posing with the boyfriend for whom she'd left Atta without a backward glance, did we begin to understand what Atta must have seen in her ... a 20 year-old hottie.

She didn't look like that now. It was a composed young woman who came to our hotel to meet us. She even brought her sister.

Amanda Keller said she's suffered the same bullying harassment from the FBI that the other intimidated witnesses at the Sandpiper Apartments were forced to endure. Even after she left Venice, she said, FBI agents called her every other day for several months after the attack, just as they had with Stephanie Frederickson.

"There was a police car constantly watching the house," she said.

***

"When we burned some leaves in a burn barrel, a police officer came over and told us we weren't allowed to burn anything because we were on some FBI list, and they were afraid we might be burning documents or something."

Pretty serious surveillance for a girl who lived with some other Mohamed ... Was this why she recanted her original statement?

"Because of the intimidation by the FBI," she replied. "They told me not to talk to anybody, to keep my mouth shut. The newspaper quote was accurate: 'I can't say anything because I'm afraid I'll get in trouble."'

The FBI nearly convinced her that she didn't know who she'd been living with for two months, Amanda said. It was easier just to go along with what she was being told.

"When I saw Charlie (Grapentine) talking in the newspaper I knew they were going to jump all over him. I thought, "Charlie, no! Can't you just wait?"'

We were hearing way too many stories from eyewitnesses of FBI intimidation and harassment for it to be blamed on a few over-zealous agents, or a couple of 'bad apples.'

Something weird was going on in Southwest Florida ... Something -- dare we say it?

Something un-American.

***

Whoever Mohamed Atta ultimately turns out to have been, meeting Amanda brought us a huge step closer to the truth. Still, as we began to listen to her tell her story, we were mentally assessing the believability of what she was saying, until we had arrived at our conclusion.

We think a reader should be able to do the same. So we'll let her tell her story in her own words, as much as we can, just as she told it to us, in a three-and-a-half hour interview we filmed with her at a secret location. The only condition she set on our interview was that we not reveal where she is living today.

We agreed.

We began by asking her how she came to be in Venice in the first place. Frankly, we had wondered if she had been some kind of 'perk' of Atta's 'job.'

But the story she told was virtually identical with what we'd heard from the Lady Lake detective, featuring youthful immaturity compounded by casual drug use, along with big dollops of domestic violence. Meeting Atta was an accident.

Amanda was just 19 when she moved to Venice, but she already had two children. Her recently- divorced husband had "pulled a fast one on her," she said, and was granted custody of the kids.

In the aftermath, she felt bereft, devastated ...

Pink hair was on the horizon.

She moved to Venice with her boyfriend-of-the-moment, who was from nearby Port Charlotte. "Robert liked to move around a lot," she explained.

He also liked to beat her. While looking for a way out, she worked an assortment of jobs. At one of them, in early February, 2001, she met Mohamed Atta.

"I worked as a manager at Taco Bell and McDonalds in Port Charlotte, then got hired at Papa John's in Venice," she said. "I'd worked there for 2-3 weeks before I met Mohamed."

Atta came in with people whose names she learned later: Peter, Stephan & Juergen, none of which sound Arab, oddly enough.

Her account of meeting Atta jibes with the September 14, 2001 Charlotte Sun report: "Keller, who allegedly met Mohamed while working at Papa John's Pizza in Venice ... A Papa John's employee confirmed that Keller was a manager there, but has not been to work for some time."

Her emotional state at the time could be described as fragile.

"I was at an ultimate low, living with a guy I wasn't happy with, abusive, and missing my two kids. I wanted to figure a way out without getting hurt," she explained.

"Mohamed comes in, I'm standing there covered in dough, baseball cap, hair pulled into a pony tail, looking my ultimate worst."

"Mohamed asked one of my employees to have me come over and wait on him, and so I did ... I said can I help you?"

"Mohamed said, 'Do you know how pretty you are?' And I just looked at him kind of funny and said "Are you going to order a pizza or what?"'

"So Mohamed said, how would you like to go out for dinner. I declined, and went and made them their pizza. I can remember their pizza cause it was weird; it was like every single thing you can put on a pizza, all at one time. It was disgusting."

"After that they came back every day," she continued. "Some times a couple of times a day. And they ordered the same nasty pizza over and over again."

Many of Mohamed Atta's close associates while he was in Florida weren't Arab, apparently. They were German.

"Peter and Stephan were from Austria, Juergen was German, they had nice (German) accents, yah, yah ... Peter asked me if I had any girlfriends he could introduce me to, and at that time I didn't because Robert didn't allow me to have any friends."

"And Mohamed would tell me how pretty I was, and he compared me to a flower that was still closed up, and a bud that hadn't yet bloomed. He told me I had a natural beauty about me."

This sounds like flowery Islamic rhetoric, or maybe the words of a practiced seducer. Spies learn that sort of thing, we've heard.

"I had a cell phone," Amanda continued, "Mohamed asked for my phone number, he'd come in every day for two and a half weeks, and I gave it to him. Then he called me one day and said he'd just gotten evicted from this house he lived in with seven other guys in North Port, which I saw later when I helped him move out."

This was a major clue ... If Mohamed Atta was not in Miami in February of 2001, where the FBI says he was, but on the Gulf coast, in North Port, just south of Venice, then something was well and truly rotten in the state of Denmark ...

"He (Atta) asked me if 1 knew of another apartment he could rent," she continued. "He said he didn't care if it even had a bed as long as it had a desk. He told the lady there that too."

This matches a detail in the Charlotte Sun: "The only request Atta made to the couple, the LaConcas said, was that they provide him a desk in which he could do his aviation homework. 'He didn't even care if the house had a bed, all he wanted was a desk,' said Tony LaConca."

Atta and Amanda's doughy courtship proceeded apace, until one day she came to be with Atta when he rented from the LaConcas.

"I helped him move from a house in North Port, and he asked me to talk to the landlady, because he didn't like American women, and she (Vonnie) happened to be the one renting the apartment," Amanda said.

"'How can you like me if you don't like American women?' I asked him. 'I'm as American as it gets!"'

Mohamed replied that he didn't 'translate' well with American women.

"So I talked to the landlady for him," Amanda said. "He was curt and rude with her, so she told him when it was time to pay the rent just to stick it (the check) in the freezer, so she wouldn't have to deal with him."

At right about this time she decided to leave Robert, she says. Just days later, after her and Atta's three-day party in Key West, she agreed to get a place with Atta. She remembers the date, probably from repeating the story over and over to the FBI.

"So on February 25,2001 we went to Key West for 3 days ... It was me, Mohamed, Peter, Stephan and Linda. Linda knew the owner (of the newly-rented house) and told me she was a stripper."

Linda, who the Sun-Herald reported got a phone call from Atta during the week before the attack, is the woman later characterized as unhelpful with the FBI.

That was when we realized that Amanda Keller didn't have to be a rocket scientist to help unearth information about the terrorist conspiracy. And the first case in point is that the terrorist ringleader was about to party for three days with people whose names do not appear to be Arab.

Based on her descriptions, we will later be able to positively identify at least five of Atta's close German associates during the time he was in Florida. They were not fellow student pilots, but individuals with whom he appeared to have long-standing relationships, said Amanda, and with whom he attended 'meetings.'

Our thoughts were racing as we listened to Amanda tell the story of their Key West excursion ...

"I had a beat-up '81 Ford Granada, and he (Atta) asked me to meet him," Amanda began. "He was driving a rented white Grand Am. The place he lived in, in North Port, wasn't too far from where I was living."

"We went to Key West, and he took this long, out-of-the-way route. He was really familiar with Florida. He knew a back way to Ft. Lauderdale on the way back. He drove to Daytona Beach and Naples and Fort Myers all the time. He always rented cars out of Tampa. A red Pontiac, a green Pontiac and a white one, all Grand Ams."

"I slept most of the way, he and Linda stayed awake."

Mohamed Atta cruised towards Key West accompanied by two girls who knew how to party. Amanda remembers thinking Atta may have even met Linda before ...

"Linda instantly latched onto him, at Vonnie and Tony's, when we went to move his stuff into Vonnie's place," she explained.

"She had black hair, mid-twenties, said she was a stripper in Sarasota. Her and Mohamed acted like they knew each other." On the car ride down they acted like they were old friends. She sat in the front seat, I was in the back to stretch out because I knew I was going to end up falling asleep."

She dismisses whatever suspicions she had with a wave.

"Linda was kind of easy, sort of, just open for business. She was really clingy with me too, though. It was kind of uncomfortable."

Before reaching Key West, they rendezvoused with Atta's German friends.

"We met with Peter and Stephan, at one of the first islands before you get to Key West, Largo. They had already been on their way down. Then we stopped at a Bell's outlet on Largo, and we went crazy and bought a bunch of clothes."

The original Sept. 14, 2001 Charlotte Sun article confirms, in a backhand way, Amanda's account of a shopping spree:

"While he was writing the checks, the couple noticed Mohamed had brand new clothing, all still with tags on them from a local mall, the couple remembered."

Peter and Stephan were the two German men that Atta's North Port landlord said the girls met on the trip. "The two girls were introduced to two men from Germany that they said were Mohamed's friends, Tony LaConca told the Sun."

"I thought it was strange, because Mohamed didn't appear to be French-Canadian or German."

When the group checked into a hotel in Key West, there was also something odd about the room assignments. "We rented 3 different rooms in Key West," Amanda said.

"In one room nobody slept. It was where they put their flight bags. Then they locked the room down. Peter and Stephan slept in one room. And me, Mohamed and Linda slept in the same room."

She adds immediately, "But nothing happened, no threesomes, cause I'm not a lesbian."

Amanda may have been a 'private dancer,' but she wasn't terribly worldly otherwise. She was from a small town in North Florida, and hadn't traveled much. The free-wheeling Key West made quite an impression on her.

"It was my first time ever in Key West and I was shocked -- there were naked people everywhere! We walked out on this pier and there was this naked guy right in front of me, and I freaked."

"Mohamed said this was normal for where he was from, France, where there were nude beaches everywhere. But I looked down and I was mortified."

So Amanda did think Atta was French. In her defense, when we hear more about Atta's claimed French connections later, there are details which make her belief seem slightly-less hopelessly naive.

Another big surprise: their trip to Key West mixed business with pleasure. Atta and his German pals had a dinner meeting which Amanda said she wasn't allowed to attend.

"We went to Sloppy Joe's, went to Rick's Rooftop Bar, and took a boat ride to see the dolphins, me and Linda did, while Peter, Stephan and Mohamed went to the Hard Rock to meet some people for dinner. They just said they had to meet with some people at Hard Rock. They didn't tell me who it was."

Who was Mohamed Atta meeting in Key West? All Amanda knows is that they flew in just to meet Atta ...

"Somebody had flown in to meet with them in a single-engine plane -- to come speak to them. When they came back, they met up with us on the dock, and everybody was somber-looking and kind of quiet."

Amanda's description of their demeanor when they returned from the meeting make's it hard not to conclude that it had involved discussion of actions that would leave thousands dead.

"Later we were walking through some shops, a chapel by the sea, looking at some necklaces and Mohamed turned to me and out of the blue said, 'Why don't we get married?"'

"And I said, 'What the hell are you talking about? I just met you!"'

"And he said, 'Well this way I can have my visa and I can stay here.' Peter and Stephan started laughing, and told him, 'You're not in the right country.' And Mohamed got really mad at me."

"And I said, 'How the hell can you get mad at me for not wanting to marry you? I just met you, plus I just got out of a bad marriage.'"

"Pointing at Peter and Stephan, Linda said, 'I'm getting ready to marry one of you two."'

"So we went by Diva's, and it was the first time I ever saw a drag queen, and I was standing there talking to them. They had their pictures taken with a drag queen. Peter, Mohamed and Stephan were all standing next to the drag queen, who stuffed his hand down all their pants in the pictures, and Peter and Stephen both laughed it off, but Mohamed got really angry," said Amanda.

The truth is always stranger than fiction. Somewhere there are photographs of terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta being groped by a drag-queen in Key West. This is startling, and not a little surreal.

But given numerous accounts of Atta's proclivities, which included frequent visits to strip clubs, it's not at all unbelievable.

"He (Atta) was mad because 1 was standing there talking to the drag queens," she continued. "So he stopped at this store, a Cuban cigar shop, and they bought big fat cigars and began smoking one which smelled really really bad."

Perhaps Atta was used to being fawned over. He had, after all, a full-time bodyguard (Marwan), acolytes, and minions. But in Key West he was forced to play second fiddle to his young blonde companion, who was clearly the center of attention. Getting a big fat Cuban Cigar must have been small compensation.

"And we walked past Sloppy Joe's and the bartender -- I was wearing a purple top that tied around my neck in three places and came down my back in a v-shape, and a khaki skirt, and chunky shoes -- and the bartender called me into the bar, saying, "Hey Blondie! Come in here! Shots are on me!"'

Blonde babes get treated different. Stop the presses. Atta would have to learn to cope. "He (the bartender) lined purple hooters down the bar, and there was a drag queen and Linda and me drinking shots with him. And Mohamed got really mad at this, and told me I shouldn't be drinking in public. And I said 'I don't know who the hell you are, you're not my father!"'

There was, already, trouble in paradise.

"This was where it first started. I was telling him, 'You're not going to run me.' But I was also trying to be nice about it, because I was looking at him (Atta) as a way to get out of my relationship with Robert," explained Amanda.

"After that we went to Rick's Rooftop bar, and I didn't see the sign cause someone was standing in front of it, but it said 'clothing optional,' and Linda and I went first and we got up there and there were just naked people standing everywhere! The one that sticks out in my mind was a woman who must have been 80 years old, dancing in nothing but a tattooed thong."

An 80 year-old woman wearing nothing but a tattooed thong is exactly what an Islamic fundamentalist would expect to find in America. If Atta minded this display of Western decadence, he kept it to himself.

Then, again, he'd probably seen it before ... Amanda says she was surprised to see how well Atta and his chums knew their way around Key West.

"We went back to the hotel, and I couldn't find my way, but the guys knew exactly where they were going, and I said, 'how did you guys remember?' And nobody answered me."

Again the next day Atta had a business appointment. But this time Amanda got to ride along.

"Next morning we went to the Key West Airport, and they pulled over at a beach nearly, and there were flight students from the airport, and Peter, Stephan and Mohamed talking with the flight students, and they introduced me, and I remember one guy said he was from Africa. They were all talking in a language I couldn't understand," she said.

An aviation executive in Venice who'd recently flown into the Key West Airport filled us in on its colorful history.

"For a long time down in Key West, the Sheriff's Department was under orders to keep all the dope sniffing dogs out of the airport," he said.

"At one time the Sheriff would even send patrol cars to escort the dope going up the road to Miami. At least they aren't doing that any more.

"But after the World Trade Center attack, it was only 4 hours before the FBI showed up at Big Pine Key. There were a bunch of Arabs on Little Pine Key," this executive said.

"They were gone three hours before the FBI got there."

***

Amanda said something which may be important about the curious hotel room that Atta rented but nobody slept in, vacant except for the men's flight bags.

"They were drinking the whole time we were there," she said. "And they were doing drugs, but not in front of me. They would go into the locked down room where no one slept, saying they needed to look at their manuals, and when they came back you could tell their jaws were locked, and they started chewing gum like there was no tomorrow."

"They didn't do drugs in front of me until after I had met everyone back at the apartment in Venice, at the Sentinel Apartments," Amanda stated. "Once I had met everyone these they felt comfortable with me and pulled out the coke."

Atta was a juiced-up Islamic fundamentalist.

Atta was coke-head Wahhabi.

We've never heard of anything like that.
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Re: Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 Cover-Up

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:30 pm

CHAPTER EIGHT: MOHAMED ATTA, CYBER-TERRORIST

After their non-stop three day Key West bash, the revelers headed back to North Port in Atta's rented white Grand-Am.

Having decided to move in with Mohamed, Amanda now faced the difficult hurdle of retrieving her clothes and other possessions from the apartment she shared with soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend Robert. As she suspected, Robert turned out to not be a very good sport.

"Mohamed asked me to get an apartment when we got back from Key West," she explained. "He asked if I would find an apartment and split rent with him. He was an option for me to run and never look back, so I said OK."

What happened next culminates in a twist of fate so cruel and ironic -- or cruelly-ironic -- that it should be in the dictionary.

After listening to North Port landlord Tony LaConca describe what he knew about Atta, FBI agents wanted to know more about Amanda.

So LaConca took them to see the local police. From the September 14, 2001 Charlotte Sun: "In an effort to locate Keller, the agent accompanied Tony LaConca to the North Port Police Department to pick up a Feb. 25 police report in which Keller had called police about harassing cell phone calls," the Sun reported.

The 'harassing phones calls' were from boyfriend Robert, who was threatening her with physical violence if she left him, she explained.

"The night we came back from Key West I got arrested right in front of Vonnie and Tony's apartment. Mohamed bailed me out of jail. It was $150 bucks."

"What happened was Mohamed drove me to pick up my stuff," she recalled. "And Robert came out and hit me. I had told him I was leaving him before leaving for Key West, and he said he would 'fucking kill me.' He started wailing on me, and I was bloody. I had cuts on my arms and everything," she said. "And Mohamed did nothing, just sat there in the car. He was a big pussy."

It was strange to hear this young American woman coolly describe a man responsible for 3,000 deaths as 'a big pussy.'

But maybe he was. We'll soon hear more tales portraying him in a less than manly light. Back in North Port, what happened next isn't the cruelly-ironic thing yet. But it is ironic:

"So I called the police in front of Vonnie and Tony's apartment." Amanda told us. "And the police came out and arrested me!"

"According to the police report, after Keller called police about the calls, a computer check was conducted and showed an outstanding warrant from Marion County on a worthless check charge," the Charlotte Sun reported.

"The police ran my name, and a check I'd written at an animal shelter had bounced, so they arrested me," Amanda explained.

So instead of her ex-boyfriend being arrested for assault, it was Amanda who got popped and had to 'go downtown.'

"Mohamed bailed her out of South County Jail," Vonnie LaConca had told reporters. "We told agents this because we thought they (FBI) might be able to get his last name from the reports."

That must have been what the FBI wanted: the bail document which Atta had to sign to get Amanda released. They were erasing any paper trail.

Her bounced check was for a small amount, to the Humane Society in Bradenton, for charges incurred when she went there to adopt a cat, she stated.

Amanda said the checking account Atta used to bail her out was in the name of Mohamed Arajaki.

Now here's the cruelly-ironic part.

Mohamed Atta bailed Amanda Keller out of jail for bouncing a check which she wrote to the Humane Society to adopt a cat ... Two months later Atta dismembered that same cat and left it gutted on her kitchen table during his rampage through her apartment.

***


Atta rented the LaConca's place in North Port for a week, just the time it took Amanda to find the apartment at the Sandpiper across the street from the Venice Airport.

At this point in telling us her story, she made a chance comment which turned the direction of our investigation southward from Venice to North Port and neighboring Charlotte County.

Amanda had helped Atta move to the LaConca's rental house from the house where Atta and six other men were being evicted, both in North Port, she said. But something about where Atta had been living didn't add lip.

"The house was huge inside," Amanda said. "It was immense and beautiful, nicely and very expensively furnished. Their landlady was kicking them out, Atta said, because she wanted the house back. She was getting $300 a week from seven different people."

Seven guys paying 300 apiece is $2,100 per week, which may not be much in L.A. or New York but is virtually unheard of in an area which caters, as we've seen, to seniors.

Why was the rent so high? Another 'terrorist surcharge?'

Atta told Amanda, when they 'hooked up' at the end of February, that he had lived in the "immense and beautiful" North Port home for just two months.

So we now know that Mohamed Atta didn't move to Miami when he left Huffman Aviation in December of 2000. He shuffled down the block to nearby North Port, still on Florida's Gulf Coast, and still near Venice.

If he had rushed off to a place filled with tall European models, like South Beach, it might make sense.

But he didn't.

His appetite for infidel pleasures was certainly a healthy one. It took him from the Cheetah Club to the Pink Pony to Harry's Bar in New York So why was he still hanging around Venice? What was he doing?

Here's the answer: Mohamed Atta was going to flight school at the Charlotte County Airport, just a short drive from the "immense and beautiful" North Port home he was renting.

And once again we have a local official to thank for knowing about it. "Sheriff suspected terrorist may have lived in Charlotte County" was the headline of the September 21 story.

"Sheriff Clement told the Charlotte Sun-Herald that Atta had lived in the area and attended a flight school at Charlotte County Airport," the paper reported.

Clement told reporter Christy Arnold that the Sheriff's Office had forwarded several tips to the FBI about Atta, who used an alias in Charlotte County, but he would not discuss specifics.

"Gathered intelligence and a recently obtained e-mail contain ing a photo of a dead child may link suspected terrorist Mohamed Atta to Charlotte County and Punta Gorda, said Sheriff William E. Clement."

"'It gives me a bit of chill knowing they were here. Atta may have, at one time, resided in the Punta Gorda area, and may have attended flying lessons at Charlotte County Airport."'

"It looks like some of these terrorists were here and then went to Venice," Clement told reporters.

Whoa ... How could Atta have been in Charlotte County before moving to Venice, supposedly his first residence in the U.S.?

Local reporters understood the significance of the revelation. They asked the FBI to confirm or dispel reports about terrorist sightings in Charlotte County. The FBI's non-response was, as usual, non-instructive: "The FBI has information but the FBI cannot disclose the information because the investigation is pending," said Sara Oakes, the FBI's Tampa spokes woman. "I can confirm to you that the FBI has followed thousands of leads and interviewed people across the country."

We've heard them give this same speech several times already. When the FBI starts quoting statistics about how massive their investigation is, they're almost always hiding something.

When we interviewed Sheriff William Clement of Charlotte County, the source of the initial reports of Mohamed Atta having lived in Charlotte County, he was no more happy to see us than Longboat Fire Captain Mooneyhan had been.

Apparently there had been some serious thought given, locally, to the proposition that instead of talking about Mohamed Atta having lived in his jurisdiction, the Sheriff should have kept his mouth shut. Although Clement is a big man, as Southern Sheriff's tend to be, he appeared somewhat chastened by the experience.

But real Americans won't be silenced. And so he matter-of-factly confirmed to us that Atta had been in Punta Gorda in the Spring. The reports had it right: terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta had been living under an alias "in rural Charlotte County, just south of Venice on Florida's Gulf Coast."

That's a geographical description of North Port.

The Sheriff said right after the attack he began receiving phone calls from local business owners in Punta Gorda -- Charlotte County's only town -- who recognized Atta from his photograph in the newspaper. Soon he had learned enough to tell reporters that Atta had been in flight training at the Charlotte County Airport.

The owners of the flight schools at the Charlotte County Airport denied it, including David Byers, owner of Professional Aviation, where Atta was suspected of attending. The school had served an international clientele, including dozens of Tunisians, before suddenly going bankrupt at the end of February, 2001, the exact same time Amanda said Atta moved back to Venice with her, right across from the Venice Airport.

"He may have had friends here," Byers said. "Perhaps he was visiting, but he was not at our school as a student."

Byers was whistling in the dark. A little more than 48 hours after the attack, the school received a visit from the FBI.

"FBI agents seized records from a financially-troubled flight school at the Charlotte County Airport, Professional Aviation, that recruited students from Tunisia and went out of business in the spring of 2001, after tipsters said they saw Atta there late last year or early this year," the Sun reported.

Brian Ross of NBC News knew something was going on in Charlotte County. "And yet more evidence of the overseas money trail has been found at a flying school in Punta Gorda," he reported. "The owner says FBI agents seized records relating to at least 12 foreign students whose tuition was paid with foreign wire transfers."

"They were very interested in the German transfers, and they were very interested in the Middle Eastern transfers," Byers told him.

Byers' pupils soon became a focus of intense scrutiny from the FBI. At least eight of them were questioned at least several times each.

But what of the strange report of a "recently obtained e-mail containing a photo of a dead child?" What had that been about?

The e-mails, at least five, written and sent by Mohamed Atta, first came to light after being reported to authorities by Jim Kantor of Eastern Avionics at the Charlotte County Airport, we learned.

Kantor had corresponded by e-mail with Atta, who purchased some pilot gear from the firm. Another employee told local re porters they received e-mails from Atta containing Arabic writing with references to Allah.

Kantor turned the e-mails in to the police.

"The sheriff said he thought the e-mail was a political article written in both Arabic and English. He said it showed a photo of a dead child killed in a riot in the Middle East. He would not elaborate," the Sun-Herald reported.

The Sheriff told reporters that the names on the e-mail list of some 40 individuals would be the focus of intense scrutiny from the FBI. He was careful to point out to us that, for the record, his local law enforcement agency's investigation had ended when they turned over the e-mails to the FBI.

Later we came into possession of Atta's e-mail correspondence from a source close to the case, and immediately discovered that the names on Atta's e-mail list should receive intense scrutiny ...

Some of them work for U.S. Defense contractors.

The e-mail addresses of several of the names on Atta's 'terrorist e-list' appear to have been, or still are, employees of U.S. defense contractors.

One name on Atta's e-mail list, for example, apparently works at a Canadian company called Virtual Prototypes. The firm's web site says the company helped prototype the avionics instruments in the F-15 jet fighter, the F-22 Raptor, the B-2 bomber and the Apache Longbow.

Another address on the list, paradisehasaprice@hotmail.com, may be that of a female suicide bomber in Chechnya.

The correspondence contains information of a relatively mundane socio-political nature. In one, he bemoans the passing of a Muslim figure and asks for prayers. Another of Atta's e-mails reads today like a non-negotiable demand from Paradise ...

"I demand the decision-makers in the American University in Cairo withdraw their threats of dismissing a Muslim female student who refused to take off the Niqab ... and adhere to their claimed 'non-discrimination policy' printed in their catalogue," Atta wrote.

A "Niqab" is a face veil, according to Islamic sources, and a 'Niqaabi' is "a sister who covers her face and hands when in public or in the presence of any man outside her immediate family."

After verifying the authenticity of the Atta e-mails with local officials, we shared them with a reporter from a local news channel who had helped break the story of their existence. Amy Ochier's subsequent report led the local news that night on NBC's Charlotte County affiliate.

What was it about Charlotte County, and the Charlotte County Airport, that attracted the terrorists? When we asked one well- placed local official, the answer was a shock. The Charlotte County Airport and surrounding area were teeming with international activities of a distinctly 'spooky' kind, he said.

We get an inkling of how much strange activity goes on at the Charlotte County Airport when the Sheriff told us, a little sheepishly, that 23 helicopters have been stolen there in the last several years ... Stolen from the Sheriffs Department. Later, wags at the airport told us that the helicopters hadn't really been stolen ...

They'd just been "released on their own recognizance."
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Re: Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 Cover-Up

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:31 pm

CHAPTER NINE: THE SECRET HISTORY: ATTA IN FLIGHT SCHOOL

The story of Mohamed Atta's stay in the U.S. has not yet begun to be told, but remains shrouded, deliberately hidden, part of this country's secret history, that history, in other words, in which lone gunmen play no role.

Nowhere is this more visible than in the official story about Mohamed Atta at American flight schools which is an exceedingly simple one: he went to Huffman Aviation for six months. Period.

Following that experience, the FBI says his only additional train ing was in flight simulators, where he supposedly got the 'feel' of piloting an airliner

But the real history of Atta as a student pilot at U.S. flight schools is an altogether more elaborate tale than that. For example, Atta's first flight school in the U .S. has never been named. It's identity remains a mystery.

We're not sure why, but it does. After that he attended Huffman Aviation in Venice. Jones Aviation in Sarasota was next. Then Huffman Aviation again.

After leaving Huffman for the second time, Atta and Marwan trained during January and February of 2001 at Professional Aviation at the Charlotte County Airport.

When that school went suddenly and mysteriously bankrupt at the end of February 2001, Atta and Marwan returned to Huffman Aviation ... for the third time.

We discovered where Atta went after leaving Venice (and Huffman) at the end of December, 2000 when we learned of a post-9/11 investigation into suspected espionage by students at Professional Aviation which left a paper trail subsequently uncovered by reporters.

That's the big picture. Here's the big question: was Atta actually undergoing flight training at all of the flight schools he attended?

Whether Atta was actually a student pilot during all of the time he spent at the just-mentioned flight schools is still unanswered.

But the reason for its importance is because there is another plausible explanation for how Atta spent his time in flight school. Instead of pilot training, Atta's status as 'foreign flight student' may have merely been a ' legend,' or 'cover' story, that allowed him to move freely around the United States while engaged in activities not limited to coordinating and readying the 9/11 attack.

Whatever he was up to while attending U.S. flight schools, learning to fly could not have been his only -- or maybe even chief -- motivation, because Mohamed Atta was already a licensed pilot when he arrived in the U.S., Amanda Keller told us. An experienced licensed pilot.

One day while Atta was rummaging through his flight bag -- the same bag important enough to warrant its own room in Key West -- Amanda got a look inside.

"The thing the FBI was most interested in was his pilot bag," she told us. "They asked about it a lot. He kept it locked, and they wanted to know whether I had ever seen anything in it."

"I told them 'yes' one day he opened it briefly, and there were a lot of papers in it, and there was a blue log book in a different language. Mohamed was fluent in almost any language you can think of," she continued. "He had a kind of Day timer in there, too. And a folder with all these different I.D.'s in it. And that's when I saw one -- because it fell out -- a little blue and white thing the size of' a drivers license. It had his picture on it, and it looked like a mug shot, or a prison shot. And it didn't look like him, and I asked him, 'Who is this?"'

"And he said, 'that's me.' He told me it had been taken back when he was in some kind of militia- type deal, like a military-type deal, he said. He compared it to our military only they teach you different tactics. He didn't elaborate."

"He didn't say where it was from, either" she said. "But the writing looked like a cross between Hebrew and Arabic, those little frilly lines. He told me he spoke Hebrew. I said bullshit. So he started speaking it, and I guess he did."

We longed for a fuller explanation of the "militia-type deal" to which Mohamed Atta belonged, and wished he had dropped the I.D. in front of an eyewitness who might have recognized the is suing organization.

Still, this is crucial information. What Amanda said next shed even more light: "He told me that he went to different countries and studied. He had pilot's licenses from several different countries. But all the pictures looked different. All the names were different. He had a license to fly from just about every country he had been to. He went to pilot's school in all these countries."

"He said no matter where he decided to live, he could always fly," she said, "because he said it was his path, he had always wanted to be a pilot."

"I asked him, and he told me his last name was spelled different in different languages, but he always kept the first name Mohamed. There was one (pilot's license) from France, one from Germany ... He also had one in the Homeland, he called it," she said.

'Homeland' is a word we've all grown used to since 9/11. But it was strange to hear that Atta used it too.

What Mohamed Atta told Amanda Keller about himself was what a spy tells a civilian: a cover story, a legend. He probably had a number of them ... "He said his father was a commercial jet pilot from France," said Amanda.

***

"His mom was from the Homeland. He said they ran from there, moved to France, and that he went to Lebanese private schools."

"I didn't know what to think," she said. "I don't know what countries connect to what other countries. If you were to show me a globe, I could pick out the U.S. and Canada, but not much more. I never paid any attention."

That Amanda believed his story wasn't too surprising. Most of us accept other people at more or less face value. Amanda wasn't trained to spot spies, and she clearly wasn't a geography major.

And there's another thing worth mentioning ... Keller wasn't all that interested in Mohamed Atta while she knew him, she told us candidly. He was a very brief way station on her own personal journey, her time with him had been a matter of convenience. If he hadn't become instantly infamous after the 9/11 attack, Amanda told us, she would probably have never thought about him again.

***

The official story of Mohamed Atta's progression through American flight schools in the run-up to the Sept. 11th attack begins when he and Marwan Al-Shehhi arrived at the squat beige hangar of the Airman School in Oklahoma early in July of 2000, and asked to take a look around.

Although Venice would receive most of the media spotlight, two days after the attack a school official in Oklahoma confirmed that Atta and Al-Shehhi had first visited their school, the Airman Flight School, staying overnight at the school's dormitory in the nearby Sooner Inn, before deciding to train at another facility.

The school's admissions director told reporters she gave them her standard half-hour tour: the six flight simulators, the classrooms, the airfield. The two men then thanked her and left.

"They did a school visit in July of 2000 but went elsewhere for whatever reason.

After this brief mention of the terrorists visit, media interest in the Oklahoma flight school quickly waned. This is strange because -- just like Huffman Aviation -- the Airman Flight School in Norman, Okla. was something of a magnet for associates of Osama bin Laden.

The most famous of the terrorists who have been identified as having trained there is Zacarias Moussaoui, the French national and so-called "20th hijacker" accused of conspiracy in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, who spent three months there during 2001. Yet the Oklahoma school's involvement with Al Qaeda terrorists begins much earlier than that ...

At the trial of four men charged with the 1998 bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, prosecutors introduced evidence that an Orlando, Florida, cabdriver named Ihab Ali, bin Laden's personal pilot, trained at Airman Flight School in the early 90's. Ali was indicted for refusing to answer questions about his ties to the bin Laden organization, including his "pilot training in Oklahoma," according to court papers.

There is something strange about the FBI's relationship with Airman Flight School. It provides a striking example of what looks like willful failure -- despite specific warnings -- to detect the terror threat before it happened.

Since the FBI was aware that a number of suspected terrorists had attended the Oklahoma facility, a reasonable assumption would be that agents must have taken extra-special interest in the school, and especially its Arab students.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

"Two agents were sent to Moussaoui's Airman Flight School in Oklahoma to investigate," said a September 25, 2002 story in the New York Daily News, "including one who had been sent to the same school two years earlier, to check on someone identified as Osama Bin Laden's personal pilot. The agent said he had forgotten about the connection."

Two weeks before the 9/11 attack, an FBI agent arrived at Air man Flight School to investigate Moussaoui. The same agent had been to the school two years earlier on a case involving Osama bin Laden's personal pilot, but claims to have forgotten when visiting the school the second time.

Does this pass the 'smell' test? If your answer is "no, it does not," join the growing ranks of those who doubt the government's explanations for the 9/11 disaster.

It is arguably the biggest "dropped ball" in American investigative history. Even the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Com mittee felt the stirrings of something otherworldly going on.

Calling for hearings to look into whether U .S. intelligence missed warnings that could have prevented the attacks, Republican of Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby told reporters, "You go back and see what was the evidence ... that maybe we missed."

"Maybe they didn't miss it. Maybe they didn't go after it."

This is shocking stuff. Shelby appears to be suggesting deliberate malfeasance.

During the emotional chaos in the aftermath of the attack, no one noticed that the Airman Flight Schools director gave a description of the so-called 20th hijacker which used the same verbiage Huffman Aviation's Rudi Dekkers used when speaking to reporters about Mohamed Atta.

"He was pretty bad in the plane. He was just difficult to teach," she told reporters. "Every conversation with him was difficult. He was demanding and arrogant -- not a nice guy."

Both Dekkers and his Oklahoma counterpart stressed that their terrorist students had a bad attitude. Their message seemed to be "terrorists are not nice people."

No one questioned why these two particular flight schools had done such land office business with Osama bin Laden's henchmen.

***

Whatever their reservations about Oklahoma, Florida would offer an inviting welcome and prove to be a congenial place for terrorists to learn to fly, and Atta and Al-Shehhi signed up for flight training at Huffman Aviation in Venice in early July.

But between their visit in Oklahoma and when they showed up in Venice three weeks later is a span of time that is a real mystery.

That's because the flight school Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi first attended in the U.S. has not been named.

It is unknown. It is a mystery flight school.

The name of the first school Atta attended would seem to be one of the first facts uncovered in the 9/11 investigation. But it hasn't been.

Although the FBI said Huffman Aviation was the first flight school Atta attended, the owner of Huffman Aviation, Rudi Dekkers, denied it. He declaimed responsibility for the terror ists having been allowed into the U.S., passing any blame onto the flight school the terrorists first attended. It was this school, Dekkers said, which held responsibility for Atta's INS paperwork and visas, not his.

On the morning after the disaster anchor Jane Clayson of the CBS Morning News asked Dekkers: "How was it that they (Atta and Marwan) could gain access and admittance to your school?

"Well, they didn't came through our paperwork," Dekkers replied. "Like if they were calling from Europe and we know two months ahead and we know they are showing up. As I say, they came from another flight school out of Florida. Probably that flight school did all the INS paperwork with them in their country."

"Another flight school out of Florida." He was equally vague later that day on ABC's Good Morning America, except he had changed the location of the unnamed first school. Correspondent Jim Mora asked Dekkers: "Now, how did they get to you? Did they apply to the school? Did they just show up?"

"No, they just walked up into the front door," Dekkers replied.

"Apparently they were flying at another school -- I've heard Tampa; I can't confirm that."

This is a really obscure flight school. It has no name. Its located somewhere out of Florida near Tampa. Strangely, Dekkers' reference to Atta's first flight school -- attended before he came to Huffman Aviation -- went completely unremarked upon in the national media.

Dekkers didn't just mention the mystery flight school once or twice. He did it numerous times. "The two men were clearly from the Middle East," he was quoted as saying in the September 13 New York Times. "They complained that they had begun instruction elsewhere but didn't like the school."

Did the New York Times ask Dekkers where "elsewhere" had been? They did not. The Washington Post reported a similar story on Sept. 19, quoting Dekkers saying Atta and Al-Shehhi showed up complaining about the experience at "another school."

"Another school elsewhere."

Did the Post ask for the name of this flight school located elsewhere? They did not. Or if they did, they're not letting us in on it. The Washington Post, like the New York Times, forgot to ask.

Making this omission seem even more sinister is the Posts own headline: "Hijack Suspects Tried Many Flight Schools" promising, at a bare minimum, a story containing a list of the flight schools "tried."

When two of the largest and most respected newspapers in America are both guilty of an omission this glaring, what other conclusion is there than that a massive cover-up is in progress?

Even in his sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on March 19, 2002, Dekkers is vague about the earlier flight school attended by Atta and Al-Shehhi. This time he places it 'up North.'

"They had stated they were unhappy with a flying school they attended up North," Dekkers told the Committee. None of the members of Congress in attendance asked about this first school.

It's as if the Warren Commission had said Lee Harvey Oswald lived some place before moving to Dallas ... and left it at that.

What remains unclear is how Atta and Al-Shehhi qualified for flight instruction in the first place. As foreigners, while studying at Huffman Aviation the men would have been required to obtain student visas.

Dekkers said the school helps students obtain the visas. "We send them the paperwork and they go to their embassies."

Richard Nyren, a British classmate of Atta and Marwan, told a reporter that it's not easy to get a student visa, even with the help of the school. He said he had to provide bank statements to show he had money to cover his lessons and living expenses and a house mortgage to prove he would return to the United Kingdom. His student visa was rejected the first time he applied because he hadn't submitted enough information, he said.

Yet Mohamed Atta and Marwan A1-Shehhi, who Dekkers identified as being from Afghanistan, waltzed right in.

Imagine that.

From July through December they were at Huffman Aviation, with a brief three-week stint at nearby Jones Aviation in Sarasota. Then in December the terrorist duo moved 40 miles south to Professional Aviation at the Charlotte County Airport, where they underwent flight training the FBI has chosen not to tell us about.

Atta's sojourn in Charlotte County is not in the official story, which is really strange, because it is the FBI itself which is the source of this knowledge, in a memo from the Bureau to the INS introduced in court during the deportation hearing of a Tunisian student suspected of espionage. (If they had known we would be paying attention, they'd have probably used a military tribunal.)

Professional Aviation at the Charlotte County Airport catered to a student body consisting mainly of foreign nationals from the small Mediterranean country of Tunisia, considered a moderate Arab state.

There were so many Tunisians at the school that it made the news well before the 9/11 attack.

"From the steady hand on the throttle to the aviator sunglasses, Mariem Ezzahi looked every bit like the experienced pilot she hopes to be back in her native country of Tunisia," reported the Char lotte Sun-Herald in a feature story. "Mariem's goal is to become a commercial pilot like her late father, who flew jets for Tunis Air, the country's national airline."

Alas, Mariem would get stiffed by the owners of the school. So would dozens of other Tunisian students left stranded by the bankrupting of a flight school there.

Local news was filled with accounts of the scandal at the Charlotte Airport. Some foreign students had lost their life savings. Amid a flurry of media attention, students picketed the company's offices and staged a sit-in. Television news crews from Charlotte County and Fort Myers broadcast their plight.

The students claimed that they had paid more than $170,000 for flight training and received virtually nothing.

"With the promise of quicker, cheaper training, Florida flight schools recruited students from the Arab nation," reported the Charlotte Sun-Herald in March 2001. "But what a group of young Tunisians ended up with was an education in far more than fly ing. Many of them lost tens of thousands of dollars each when the school they paid to attend, Professional Aviation in Punta Gorda, closed."

"Many of the students had given its owner, David Byers, thousands of dollars in advance to cover training and housing costs," the paper reported. "Now their money was gone."

Students protested for days outside Professional Aviation's offices, holding signs with messages reading, "Where is our money, what about our future?"

The story of Zouhiaer Sdiri, a Tunisian student, was typical, said the paper. He left his wife and job in Tunisia to acquire his pilot's license in Charlotte County in the hope of someday flying commercially. But he received little instruction for the amount of money he paid.

"I have built so many dreams on this endeavor," Sdiri said. "I have only had 3-1/2 hours of flight time and a headset to show for the $7,000 I paid."

"He (Byers) thinks because I am not from this country, I don't know the law," former student Fares Smaoui told reporters. "But I know what fraud means."

"I paid $17,000," said another Tunisian student. "They stole it from me. I lost my future."

The story of stranded and bilked Arab student pilots received extensive local coverage. But in the days after the 9/11 attack when national reporters asked questions about reports of numerous foreigners training at the Charlotte County Airport, an airport official there had the presence of mind to cover it up.

"I don't think either (school) had international students," said airport director Cindy Anderson.

If the stakes are high enough, and the press docile enough, you can get away with almost anything in 21st century America. Cindy Anderson did.

While Mohamed Atta and his band of terrorists were making themselves at home in Florida, some of their American 'hosts' were preying on the flood of Arab flight students turning up in large numbers, joining the ranks of German and Dutch flight trainees.

When Professional Aviation went bankrupt a number of Arab student pilots there, including many of the dozens of Tunisian students who had paid as much as $25,000 upfront for flight train ing, moved up the road to begin attending flight school in Venice. Mohamed Atta was one of them. It marked the third occasion he and Marwan returned to Venice.

The FBI says they were only there once.

***

So Amanda Keller's testimony that Atta was living for two months in North Port, close to the Charlotte County Airport, before moving into the Sandpiper Apartments across from the Venice Airport in early March with her, dovetails perfectly with these accounts of Arab students moving up to Venice in March 2001 after Professional Aviation ceased operations.

In the flush of full disclosure Sheriff Clement had told reporters that Atta had been in flight training at the Charlotte County Air port. Though news accounts noted the flight schools denied he had been there, the connection had been made.

Atta and Al-Shehhi, the Sun-Herald reported, "often flew to the Charlotte County Airport where Professional Aviation was located, and authorities have linked some of the e-mail sent by the two hijackers to a Professional Aviation computer."

In an attempt to pin the blame for the bankruptcy on the students' shoulders, a mechanic at the defunct school told reporters that one student was involved in an incident at a local dance club that Amanda told us she and Atta had frequented together.

"One of the students damaged a school car in the parking lot of Area 51," the mechanic said.

News accounts also contained what is likely a direct reference to Atta's eviction from the "immense well-furnished house" which Amanda said he was living in when she met him.

"Students also claimed they have received an eviction notice at one of the homes where they reside in Deep Creek," reported the Sun-Herald.

Three of the Tunisian students who had attended Professional Aviation were taken into custody during the week after the attack.

One of them was 21 year-old Mariem Bedoui. Bedoui had been one of the Tunisians who moved to Venice when Professional Aviation went under. There she studied at Dutch national Arne Kruithof's Florida Flight Training Center, a block from Huffman Aviation.

During a deportation hearing in Bradenton, Florida, three months after the attack, Bedoui told the Judge that she was friends with one of Atta's roommates, but she denied knowing Atta, and denied as well any involvement or knowledge of the 9/11 plot.

However, the FBI noted in a letter to the immigration judge about the case that Bedoui attended flight schools in Punta Gorda and Venice, Florida, at the same time that hijackers Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi trained at a nearby flight school, inadvertently revealing information indicating they have knowingly fabricated their own chronology of Atta's time in the U.S.

Presenting evidence for why Bedoui should be deported, the FBI's letter stated Bedoui had attended Florida Flight Training Center in Venice at the same time that Atta and Al-Shehhi were just blocks away at another school.

But Maryem Bedoui didn't enter the U.S. until 2001. And ac cording to the FBI's chronology Atta and Al-Shehhi were at Huff man only from July to December 2000.

So according to the FBI's own reckoning, Atta was in Venice months after they say he left for good. The Sun-Herald reporter noted the contradiction, and went to federal authorities seeking answers to give their readers.

"FBI spokeswoman Sara Oakes declined to comment Friday about the discrepancy," reported the paper.

Why had the FBI shown their hand? Probably because they didn't think anyone would catch the slip. And they must have been a little anxious about Bedoui, who, during a solo flight two weeks before the attack, made an unauthorized nighttime landing at a Lockheed Martin airstrip near Orlando. The site is the headquarters for Lockheed Martin's Missiles and Fire Control Division, which develops advanced combat, missile, rocket and space systems, all of which are deemed somewhat sensitive to national security.

Bedoui told the judge she had run out of fuel and landed rather than risk crashing.

"I was out of fuel," Bedoui said. "If I don't land, I crash.""

Since the facility was closed, Bedoui said she spent the night there in her plane.

An immigration judge ordered her to return to Tunisia.

"In ordinary times," the judge told Bedoui, "that may not be a big thing. But these are not ordinary times."

Federal authorities never made public any details of the arrests of the three Tunisians. The matter was cloaked in such secrecy that two federal agencies were fighting over who was in charge.

Each pointed the finger at the other. FBI spokeswoman Sara Oakes in Tampa said the FBI had only assisted the INS in making the arrests.

"They were not arrested on FBI violations," Oates said.

But in Miami, regional INS spokesman Rodney Germain told reporters: "We are assisting the FBI. Because of the sensitivity of the investigation and the importance of the information, we can not release any information."

In the end, the big losers were the flight students, who were out large sums of money. Some of the students filed a criminal complaint against the company with the Charlotte County Sheriff's office, after trying to question Professional Aviation's owner, David Byers, about flight time and a refund of their money.

"We were supposed to meet with David this morning at 8 a.m., but he did not show up. He told us not to worry, that he wasn't going out of business," Youssef Abdelkrim told reporters.

Byers did not return phone calls or requests to answer the door at his Port Charlotte home. Maybe that was because the situation involving the Tunisian students was not the only problem Byers faced ...

"David is past due on the rent at the Charlotte County Airport for January, February, March and April, so we are in litigation on that matter," said Fred Watts, Charlotte County Airport executive director.

Was this just a case of a hard-working small businessman who couldn't make it work? Not to the local paper, it wasn't. They smelled fraud.

"The records imply that Byers simply did not pay his bills or taxes. Among other creditors are phone companies such as Sprint, MCI Worldcom and Qwest Communications, utilities such as Florida Power & Light, Charlotte County Utilities and the Charlotte Harbor Water Association, and cable company Comcast, Florida's Department of Revenue and Department of Labor, as well as the Internal Revenue Service."

"Among the rest of the 116 people and businesses who have claims against Professional are services such as gas companies, exterminators, air conditioner repairmen, body shops and aviation companies such as national giant Raytheon and Punta Gorda's Mod Works."

David Byers, owner of Professional Aviation, slipped out the back door with a lot of foreign student's money. In a later chapter we will see an Orlando flight school do the exact same thing. Although on the surface the two flight schools are not in any way related, we believe both will be shown to have been covertly associated with each other ... and to Huffman Aviation in Venice as well.

There are strong similarities between Professional Aviation in Charlotte County and Huffman Aviation in Venice, each supposedly a free-standing business in competition with the other.

Professional Aviation had been going bankrupt at exactly the same time that Huffman Aviation's Rudi Dekkers was generating embarrassing coverage in the local press for his inability to pay his rent at the Venice Airport.

Numerous witnesses at the Charlotte County Airport had confirmed reports that Mohamed Atta was there during a time when the FBI says he was somewhere else.

What was going on? Why didn't the FBI just quietly change their chronology to accommodate the facts? Why were they ignoring an elephant in the living room? What were they trying to hide?

We discovered that they weren't trying to hide an elephant. That would be silly.

They were trying to hide an Ark.
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Re: Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 Cover-Up

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:31 pm

CHAPTER TEN: 23 MISSING HELICOPTERS

What the FBI is trying to hide, through the simple expedient of lying about Mohamed Atta's U.S. chronology, ironically sits in plain sight today at Charlotte County Airport.

It's the first thing Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi saw every time they drove into the Airport, after exiting Interstate 75 onto the county road running alongside.

It's an Ark. A Flying Ark.

Tied down at one corner of the Charlotte County Airport is a vintage DC-3, garishly painted to look like an airborne Noah's Ark. Hippos, giraffes and elephants adorn the silver sides of the plane, climbing towards the cockpit. The colorful oddity, the most conspicuous plane at a small rural airport, has been parked there since being seized by law enforcement two years ago.

It belonged to Frank Moss, a notorious 80's-era drug smuggler who briefly achieved a certain notoriety during the Iran Contra Hearings, after it was revealed that Oliver North knew that Contra supply planes from Moss's Hondu Carib airline were also being used for drug runs into the U.S.

North was, no doubt, shocked. But despite the unfortunate publicity, Frank Moss has apparently soldiered on, and the airborne Ark isn't even the first plane of his seized there.

That honor belongs to a DC-4 which the U.S. Customs Service was chasing off the west coast of Florida in the mid-'80's, while it was busily dumping what authorities drily noted "appeared to be a load of drugs."

When it landed at Charlotte County Airport on March 16, 1987, it was seized by the DEA. An address book found aboard contained the Virginia telephone number of Robert Owen, Oliver North's courier. In a memo to North, Owens said that Moss's "DC-6 which is being used for runs [to supply the Contras] out of New Orleans is probably used for drug runs into the US."

Moss had been under investigation for narcotics offenses since 1979, it turned out, by no less than ten different law enforcement agencies. But America is the land of the second chance, and thus Moss was one of the first pilots chosen to fly Contra supply missions. He was there at the inception of the "contra cocaine" business run with the tacit approval of shadowy government figures like then-CIA Director Bill Casey.

Moss also regularly dropped duffel bags -- military issue, natch-filled with contra cocaine onto the Louisiana 'farm' of Barry Seal, the biggest drug smuggler in American history, according to the U.S. Government. Besides being big in the drug business, Seal was a life-long CIA operative, something which quickly became 'inconvenient knowledge' during Iran Contra and, later, the Clinton scandals, where the Wall Street Journal called him the "ghost haunting Whitewater."

Both Charlotte County Airport, and Venice 40 miles to the north were unlikely hotbeds of covert activity, and it is no doubt just an other 'freak coincidence' that Barry Seal's Iran Contra buddies have their fingerprints all over operations at two tiny airports frequented by the terrorists. Still, Atta had hung out in both places ...

What was up with that?

Late one afternoon we met with two County law enforcement officials in the area. They told us that the somnolent west coast of Florida has been teeming with activity of a turbulently spookish kind for as long as some in local law enforcement can recall.

"You know, of course, that there is at least a 40-year history of covert training in this area," the older official stated. "They used Useppa Island just off-shore to train for the Bay of Pigs." Actually, we hadn't known.

"The only city in Charlotte County, Punta Gorda, was pretty much founded by a group of 'former' CIA agents," said the second official, a little wearily, we thought. "They built Punta Gorda Isles, a big upscale development on Charlotte Bay."

How much strange activity went on at the Charlotte County Airport where Atta and Marwan trained and spent time?

Well, for starters the airport is currently home, the officials told us, to major intrigue involving the disappearance of at least 23 helicopters ... from the County Sheriff's Department.

The helicopters had been procured through a General Services Administration Military Surplus program, and then spirited out of the country, to exotic and faraway destinations where the Charlotte County Sheriff has no apparent law enforcement jurisdiction.

"Right now the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office has a flyable helicopter in Chile," the current Sheriff told us mournfully. "But we can't get it back. We've had absolutely no cooperation from the feds."

The program under which the Charlotte County Sheriff's Department procured their helicopters is the same one that resulted in felony convictions of 'former' CIA agents in Arizona in the Forest Service C-130 scandal in the mid-90's. There a C-130 military cargo plane loaned to the U.S. Forest Service to fight wildfires in the West also went missing ...

When it was discovered, on a runway at the Mexico City Airport, there was a billion dollars worth of cocaine aboard.

So it's not as if local law enforcement doesn't have a pretty good idea of who's been swiping helicopters in Charlotte County, we were informed. But knowing it and being able to do anything about it are apparently two different things.

The helicopters were 'misplaced' over a period of three years, said the Sheriff, beginning in 1996. The thieves had pretty ecumenical tastes ...

"We've lost all kinds: Hueys, Bell Jet Rangers, Hughes 500 helicopters. When we discovered it we took it immediately to the State's Attorney. They locked up the local force captain. But the FAA has never prosecuted anybody, and they show zero interest in helping us get our copters back."

"You wouldn't think Charlotte County would need 23 helicopters," laughed Coy Jacob, an aviation business owner at the Venice Airport. "They'd be bumping into each other in the air."

"Charlotte County has always had kind of a shadow," he explained. "There's a fellow who rebuilds helicopters who has always been in quasi-problems with the FAA with his helicopter parts. Jamie Hill."

Jamie Hill had been a target of the Charlotte County Sheriff investigation, we'd learned. "He's got seven helicopters sitting on his property today that don't belong to him," one local law enforcement source stated. "He's got millions of dollars of aircraft parts with the numbers filed out. "

Jamie Hill's partner in the company strongly suspected of having been a conduit for the disappearance of 23 helicopters from the County Sheriff's Air Wing turns out to be another notorious covert operative with a significant presence at the Charlotte County Airport. Dietrich Reinhardt's name, which could have been lifted straight out of transcripts of the Iran Contra Hearings, had also been linked with Barry Seal's infamous Mena, Arkansas cocaine smuggling.

We discovered that one of Reinhardt's companies active at the Charlotte County Airport, Caribe Air, had been doing business with Rudi Dekkers' Huffman Aviation.

Caribe Air was an especially notorious CIA proprietary whose past included 'blemishes' like having all its aircraft seized at Mena, Arkansas after government prosecutors accused the company of using its planes to transport cocaine worth billions of dollars into the U.S.

It was beginning to feel like Old Home Week in Charlotte County. Reinhardt -- apparently not content with the distinction of being business partners with a man suspected of making helicopters disappear -- was linked to the man who trained both pilots who crashed airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

Dekkers had had a 'maintenance contract' with Reinhardt's company. This is no doubt just another freak coincidence.

Why would Dietrich Reinhardt know Rudi Dekkers? What would they have to talk about? Maybe Dekkers' 'maintenance contract' involved vacuuming out the planes.

You wouldn't want to trust that kind of job to just anybody.

***

Reinhardt had also operated the now-defunct St. Lucia Airways, referred to as a CIA proprietary company in a Senate intelligence committee report. Reports in The Washington Post linked St. Lucia planes to the delivery of Hawk and TOW missiles to Tehran, Iran in 1985 and 1986 as part the covert arms-for-hostages deal between the United States and Iran.

But busy guys like Dietrich are hard to get on the phone. The Post reported, "Attempts to reach Reinhardt by telephone in Frankfurt, Germany, were unsuccessful. His telephone had been disconnected."

Was Dietrich Reinhardt German?

Reinhardt's St. Lucia flew a C-130 military cargo plane often seen delivering arms to a remote airstrip in Zaire in 1986. The New York Times reported the weapons were on their way to Angolan rebels. But Reinhardt denied any involvement in arms shipments to Angola, saying the cargo was relief goods for Zaire.

Zaire is one of the African countries said to have been involved in blood diamonds, supposedly a bin Laden organization specialty.

Is it just coincidence that the Florida airports where Mohamed Atta spent the most time are both linked to American covert operations? We remembered a question we'd asked in a conversation we'd had just a week after the attack with a gentleman who was 'sort of retired' after spending 35 years working for something 'very much like' the CIA.

Nine days after the attack, we told him, we'd read reports saying that 15 of the 19 hijackers in the far-flung network of terrorist pilots and thugs got their money from the same source.

We were incredulous at this news, and asked, "How could the Agency not have known about 15 foreign pilots all paid from one source?"

He answered carefully, speaking to us kindly, the way you would to a child not terribly bright.

"I would assume that they did know," he told us. "It would be almost impossible for them not to."

Of course. They must have. They must have looked "the other way," just as somebody -- the previous Sheriff -- had to have been looking the other way while 'somebody' slipped away with 23 helicopters. He had to have known what has happening. Helicopters make noise taking off.

We had begun to discover that local law enforcement officials in South West Florida weren't stupid, or unobservant. But there was a limit to their powers, especially when faced with federal operations.

When we interviewed the former Venice Chief of Police, for example, he seemed a little embarrassed, even apologetic, about what he had been forced to allow at the airport in his town. He asked that we not judge city officials too harshly. They had little or no control over what went on at the Airport, which was a federal jurisdiction.

"The Venice Airport is the kind of place where it's not unusual to see a military Blackhawk helicopter touch down at three in the morning and then take off again 30 seconds later," said the Chief, shrugging. "Or the airport can be quiet and deserted one minute, and the next have 5,000 paratroopers landing. That's just the way it is here."

What we discovered at Atta's home port in January and February of 2001, the Charlotte County Airport, was shocking, and where our investigation was headed was beginning to become plain.

One of the most disturbing moments of our time in South West Florida came when we sat down with two local law enforcement officials who could be considered fairly typical Southern Sheriffs, both of whom ventured the opinion that -- based on what they had witnessed of a 40-year long history of CIA-connected covert operations in their area -- they believed that the CIA was somehow involved in, if not responsible for, the World Trade Center attacks.

We expect talk like that from wild-eyed 'conspiracy theorists,' but not law enforcement officials, who say they've spent their careers watching questionable activities with which they could not interfere.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the FBI has been as silent as Mullah Omar about the milieu which Atta and his Hamburg cadre slipped into as smoothly as a harem girl into pajamas. And it wasn't just these two S.W. Florida locations, we soon hear; instead, the entire stretch of coastline from Naples in the south to Sarasota in the north on close examination looks like some kind of international pirate's domain, filled with men flying the jolly roger.

We were alarmed at how many of the people in Florida's 'cowboy flyboy' world that the terrorist ringleader moved in had also been shadow players in a spook-filled world, whose lives and careers seemed to be bound up in an awful lot of America's recent secret history.

Were they bound up with Mohamed Atta's as well?
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Re: Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 Cover-Up

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:31 pm

CHAPTER ELEVEN: 'SAUDI PRINCE' MOHAMED ATTA?

To pierce the veil of the official story about the terrorist conspiracy and arrive at something better resembling the truth required a little understanding about what it is that spies do. They do a lot of things, but one of the things they do, before going out to do those things they do, is to create for themselves a 'legend,' a cover story. A lie that holds together long enough to let them slip away.

Saying spies create legends is just a polite way of saying that they lie. Habitually, regularly, reflexively and for a living. It is a craft. They are professionals. They do it well.

This creates a bit of a problem for us civilians. No one likes to think of themselves as someone who can be successfully lied to. A sucker. But we all can, and we all have been. So it's important that we admit the possibility that when it comes to Mohamed Atra, as the Firesign Theater put it memorably, "Everything you know is wrong."

The government's explanation of Atta as a 'fanatic Islamic fundamentalist' was, as we've seen, fraying at the edges. So just for a moment we're going to assume that we've been successfully lied to about Arta, and put aside everything we've been told. We're going to pretend Mohamed Atta wasn't the wild-eyed religious zealot we've been told he is, and see if that clears up any of the many 'anomalies' about the official explanation of who he was.

What if, instead of a xenophobic Islamic fundamentalist, Mohamed Atta had been a Prince. A Saudi Prince. If that idea makes you feel you've slipped down the rabbit hole, don't worry.

You've got company.

Before we'd finished tracking down people who we discovered had been close to the terrorist ringleader in the U.S., we'd been continuously amazed at the sheer rich pageantry of corruption, criminal activity and deviant behavior they exhibited ...

Busy with everything from smuggling aircraft into the U.S. over the Arctic to sabotaging planes and helicopters to crash. We met ex-KGB Colonels in Miami working for the Russian Mob; heard about a Saudi Prince and his entourage at loose ends at an Air Force base near Pensacola while a helicopter that President Roosevelt gave his father, King Faisal, was repaired; we learned of wineries in South Africa owned by members of the family of the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, and million dollar 'loans' to televangelist Jerry Falwell that he'd forgotten to repay. Bugged phones, double agents, a mysterious Pakistani with State Department connections flying daily to Havana, and an ex-CIA pilot who used to fly U-2s over Russia ...

Atta's U.S. associates were responsible for or involved in a Lear jet seized in Orlando by Uzi- toting DEA agents with 43 lbs. of heroin onboard with it's pilot talking unconcernedly on his cell phone while agents leveled their guns; suspected skullduggery in the Mormon Temple in Orlando; a gold mine in the Caribbean; high technology smuggling out of southwest Florida; missionary flights to Havana carrying -- not the word of God -- but bag-fulls of gold Rolexes for sympathetic Cuban officials who already had Bibles; the interesting part-time job of the chief pilot for Venezuela's Air Force One; robot planes at the Venice Airport; and a "really tall blond woman whose parents were KGB."

***

For somebody looking to go unrecognized, Atta knew a lot of people. Far from being the secretive ringleader of a 'lone cadre' which slipped through Europe and America unnoticed, Atta moved in some pretty interesting circles.

Compared to some of the bizarre lives we will soon be witnessing, the idea of Atta as a Saudi Prince doesn't seem too over the top. There is even evidence that he may have been using it as one of his cover stories, or legends.

Atta's flight instructor at Huffman Aviation told another student pilot, Dr. Anne Greaves, an English osteopath, that Mohamed Atta had connections with the Saudi Royal Family, and that Atta's status as a member of the Saudi elite warranted him having a full-time bodyguard (Marwan) with him at all times in the U.S.

The revelation was buried in the news right after 9/11. It resurfaced later in an Australian Broadcasting Corp.'s investigative program, "4 Corners," a Down Under 60 Minutes.

Anne Greaves lifelong passion for aviation led her into pursuing her dream of learning to fly at Huffman Aviation. She was there at the same time as Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi were there.

"When I checked with my instructor on one occasion about their (strange) habits," she told 4 Corners, "I was informed that the men we now know as Mohamed Atta and Al-Shehhi actually had royal connections with a Saudi House and that Al-Shehhi was his bodyguard."

Australian TV correspondent Liz Jackson attempted to pin down details: "This story about Mohamed Atta being royalty and Al-Shehhi being his bodyguard, was that something just that Huffman's told you? I mean do you think that was something that they even believed or ..."

"It was my impression that it was generally believed," Greaves said. "Because it was my instructor who told me this at the time so I had the impression that, that was generally believed, yes."

"That Mohamed Atta was royalty?"

"That he had some connection of the Royal House of Saudi, yes."

"And Al-Shehhi was his bodyguard?"

"That is what I was given to understand. So in a way it made sense to me that there were always two because I never saw Al- Shehhi take the controls of the aircraft. It was always Mohamed Atta but nevertheless Al-Shehhi always accompanied him on his flying lessons."

This is amazing testimony from an eye-witness with no visible ax to grind. If a student pilot at the school had had a bodyguard flying with him at all times during flight training, this detail could not have been missed by the school's owner.

The show's host asked Rudi Dekkers, "Now there have been stories that he presented himself as an Arab prince, is that correct?"

"Well, no," Dekkers replied. "If he was a prince, yes or no, I can't state that because we never heard them talking about that, we never heard anything, we have heard that one of my students who was here in the same time that Atta and Al-Shehhi was here, and I think it was Miss Greaves, that she stated in the London newspaper that he was a prince, that their clothing was expensive and that Al-Shehhi was his guard."

"Nothing of that we have seen here in the five months they were here," continued Dekkers. "They were absolutely low profile, they clothed themselves like we all do. They were just there in jeans, sneakers, regular American."

'Jeans, sneakers. Regular American.'

It sounded nice. But it wasn't true. Numerous witnesses said otherwise, like Bob Gaff, a Huffman flight instructor, who told reporters in interviews the day after the attack what a sharp dresser Atta was.

"You see how we're all dressed?" asked Gaff, who was clad in a T-shirt and jeans. "This guy used to show up in leather shoes, shined shoes, dress slacks, silk shirts, all the time."

But neither said, 'Jeans, sneakers. Regular American.'

Brad Warrick, who rented three cars to Atta during the last six weeks before the attack, told us, "Mohamed dressed to the nines. You know, nice. Nice pants and shirt. Just business like. Nice clothes, business like. He carried a briefcase."

***

'Jeans, sneakers. Regular American.' It doesn't even sound like Dekkers is talking about the same guy.

A restaurant owner in Nokomis who had a memorable encounter with Atta and his terrorist compatriots, described in a later chapter, was asked how Atta had been dressed when he came into her restaurant.

"They were dressed in Florida type shirts, the silk, you know, with the pattern, that kind of thing, lots of jewelry. Lots of jewelry. I thought they were Mafia," said Rene Adorna of the Pelican Alley.

All of these descriptions are a long way from "jeans, sneakers, regular American." It's a small point, but telling. Did Dekkers lie in an improvised on-camera attempt to discredit Anne Greaves' account? It raises a red flag about his veracity during his innumerable television appearances in the wake of the disaster.

Another comment by flight student Greaves seems clearly prescient in light of what we would soon discover.

"I just thought it very strange that two Arabs had selected an airfield or a flying establishment that was really very quietly situated," she said.

"I remember thinking at the time I found this very strange, because normally royalty learn at military establishments for security reasons alone."

Atta had learned at U.S. military facilities, we discovered. As many as seven of the hijackers were in this country at the invitation of the U.S. Government. Keeping this knowledge secret has been an objective of the cover-up currently in progress.

On the Saturday following the Tuesday attack, the Los Angeles Times broke the story in a long article on their front page ...

"A defense official said two of the hijackers were former Saudi fighter pilots," reported the paper, "who had studied in exchange programs at the Defense Language School at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama."

The story went wide the next day, Sunday, September 15th. Newsweek, the Washington Post and the Miami Herald all reported as many as seven of the terrorist hijackers in the September 11th attacks received training at secure U.S. military installations.

Two of 19 suspects named by the FBI, Saeed Alghamdi and Ahmed Alghamdi, have the same names as men listed at a housing facility for foreign military trainees at Pensacola. Two others, Hamza Alghamdi and Ahmed Alnami, have names similar to individuals listed in public records as using the same address inside the base," the Washington Post reported.

"In addition, a man named Saeed Alghamdi graduated from the Defense Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, while men with the same names as two other hijackers, Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari, appear as graduates of the U.S. International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and the Aerospace Medical School at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, respectively," the Post said.

According to the Post, seven of the suspected hijackers had been in the U.S .receiving military training. Newsweek said U.S. military officials gave the FBI information suggesting that five of the alleged hijackers received training in the 1990's at secure U.S. military installations. Three of them listed their address on driver licenses and car registrations as an address on the base of the Pensacola Naval Air Station which houses foreign-military flight trainees.

"Pentagon spokesman, Colonel Ken McClellan, said a man named Mohamed Atta had once attended the International Officer's School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama," reported USA Today.

Mohamed Atta attended International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. An Islamic fundamentalist learning snappy salutes in the Officer's Club?

This is a huge chunk of inconvenient knowledge. There were going to be a lot of questions. Someone was going to have to answer ... for a lot.

"But Atta is a fairly common surname in the Middle East," the Post quoted Laila Alquatami of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimnation Committee as saying, and the suspected hijacker's first name is "probably the No.1 name that is given to babies, in honor of the prophet Mohamed."

The Boston Globe reported the Pentagon's denial: "Some of the FBI suspects had names similar to those used by foreign alumni of U.S. military courses," said the Air Force in a statement. 'Discrepancies in their biographical data ... indicate we are probably not talking about the same people."'

How easy was it to tell the Pentagon was lying? Think about it. It is neither plausible nor logical that the reports were false because of seven separate cases of mistaken identity. One or two, maybe. But seven? No way.

Still, after this vague and perfunctory Pentagon denial, the story had an exceedingly short half-life. The Pentagon denied it. The media dropped it. It went away. There was no follow-up.

Had the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, Newsweek, the Miami Herald all been wrong?

None of the papers offered a retraction.

How could a story as major as this -- that many of the terrorists, including ringleader Mohammed Atta, had been in the U.S. to receive training at U.S. military facilities -- have gotten lost?

It wasn't lost, we discovered. And it wasn't wrong, either ...

It was suppressed.

***

The first thing we noticed in the Pentagon denial was that "probably not talking about the same people" doesn't strike quite the right tone of specificity one might expect of an investigation into people responsible for vaporizing 3,000 human beings.

It's not just vague. Given the circumstances, it's almost criminally vague.

When the Pentagon unveiled their big new bunker-busting bomb in Afghanistan, they didn't describe it as being a "kinda big" bomb, did they? No, they called it a "satellite-guided, two con bunker-busting bomb known as the EGBU-27."

Yet now Air Force spokesmen were persuading Newsweek, the Washington Post and the Knight Ridder newspapers to drop an immensely important revelation on the basis of statements like "name matches may not necessarily mean the students were the hijackers."

What if Nixon's press secretary Ron Ziegler had been able to wave Woodward and Bernstein off as the Watergate scandal came to light, by saying the burglars 'probably didn't have' White House ties?

The only answer we could see was that the initial press reports, while true, were also inconvenient, and were deliberately suppressed. Could America's vaunted free press be involved in an ongoing cover-up of something of this magnitude? We tried to find out. But we were stonewalled every step of the way.

We weren't the only ones being stonewalled. When Newsweek reported that three of the hijackers received training at the Pensacola Naval Station in Florida, home state Senator Bill Nelson fired off a fax to his friend, Attorney General John Ashcroft, demanding to know if it were true.

The Senator has still not received a reply, we heard from his spokesman, when we called his office eleven months later.

"In the wake of those reports, we asked about the Pensacola Naval Air Station but we never got a definitive answer from the Justice Department," stated the Senator's press spokesman.

"So we asked the FBI for an answer 'if and when' they could provide us one. Their response to date has been that they are trying to sort through something complicated and difficult."

"Speaking for Senator Nelson," concluded the spokesman, "we still do not know if three of the terrorists trained at one time in Pensacola or not."

From the spokesman's somewhat wry tone, we understood that he didn't expect Attorney General Ashcroft to respond to Senator Nelson's request until hell freezes over and Ashcroft skated down from Heaven to test the ice.

If a home state Senator couldn't get a response, there was little chance we could. Still, we called the Pentagon and spoke to a Major in the Air Force's Public Affairs Office who had been involved, she said, in crafting and disseminating the original Pentagon denial to the press.

She was the Public Information Officer who read the Air Force denial to the media, so she was familiar with the question, she told us, and she offered to help us achieve clarity.

"Biographically, they're not the same people," she explained patiently, using the same language contained in the Air Force's press release. "Some of the ages are twenty years off."

'Some' of the ages?' Could she be, perhaps, just a little more precise?

Negative.

Let's make this real simple, we said. We were only asking about one of the seven purported terrorists reported to have received military training in the U.S.

Mohamed Atta.

Was she saying that the age of the 'Mohamed Atta' who had attended the Air Force's International Officer's School at Maxwell Air Force Base was different than that of 'terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta?'

Not exactly, she admitted. She could not confirm that -- in this specific instance -- they had different ages. What she could do was once again deny that the International Officer's School attendee named Mohamed Atta had been the Mohamed Atta who piloted a passenger plane into the World Trade Center.

However, she could offer no specifics for her assertion, and repeatedly declined requests for biographical details about the Mohamed Atta who had trained at Maxwell Air Force Base. None of this kept her from shamelessly soldiering on.

"Mohamed is a very common name," she said.

It was indeed, we told her, making one final effort. We said we would be happy to help the Pentagon's investigative effort, especially since they were busy with other concerns. We offered to take it upon ourselves to track down the Mohamed Atta who had attended the Air Force's International Officer's School to confirm, once and for all, that he was not the Mohamed Atta said to have flown a jetliner into the side of a skyscraper in Manhattan.

All she had to do was tell us where the Mohamed Atta who had at tended International Officer's School at Maxwell AFB was from.

We would take it from there. Solve the mystery at no cost.

"I don't think you're going to get that information," the spokeswoman stated flatly.

Still, we pressed her again, and probably to the point of rudeness, to provide a few lonely specifics, and we were rewarded when she finally said, in exasperation: "I do not have the authority to tell you who (which terrorists) attended which schools."

It was hard to read this as anything other than a back-handed confirmation. When she said that she didn't have the authority, the clear implication was that someone else does ... Somewhere in the Defense Dept. a list exists with the names of Sept. 11 terrorists who received training at U.S. military facilities.

She just didn't have the authority to release it. End of story.

One obvious reason for this cover-up would be sparing the Pentagon the embarrassment of having to admit that some of the terrorists -- including ringleader Atta himself -- had only been in the U.S. to begin with to receive U.S. military training. But this may not be the most important consideration, which is why we've placed the story of Atta as Saudi Prince alongside reports that the terrorists received military training at secure U.S. bases.

Anyone receiving training in U.S. military programs, we learned, would not fit the portrait of a fanatical Islamic fundamentalist that's been painted of Mohamed Atta.

Gaining admittance to the International Officer's School at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery would have required Atta to be extremely well-connected with a friendly Arab government.

We learned just how well-connected and well-placed foreign nationals who attend International Officer's School are after finding the resume of Colonel and Staff Pilot Mohammed Ahmed Hamel Al Qubaisi, an International Officer's School graduate from the United Arab Emirates, posted on the Internet.

Currently, his resume stated, he was a Defense Military Naval & Air Attache at the United Arab Emirates embassy in Washington, after serving stints in his country's Embassy & Security Division as Chief of Intelligence, and in the UAE's Security Division/Air Force Intelligence & Security Directorate as Security Officer.

It's safe to say that Mr. Al Qubaisi is pretty dialed-in in the UAE, and the furthermost thing from a terrorist. He's a member of the Arab elite. It even looks like he's a spook.

So was Mohamed Atta.

And because he was, we're in a whole different ballgame than the one they've been announcing from high overhead in the Pentagon booth.

We heard from someone who works on Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, the former wife of a CIA pilot. "I have a girlfriend who recognized Mohamed Atta. She met him at a party at the Officer's Club," she told us.

"The reason she swears it was him here is because she didn't just meet him and say hello. After she met him she went around and introduced him to the people that were with her. So she knows it was him."

Saudis were a highly visible presence at Maxwell Air Force Base, she said. "There were a lot of them living in an upscale complex in Montgomery. They had to get all of them out of here."

"They were all gone the day after the attack."
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Re: Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 Cover-Up

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:32 pm

CHAPTER TWELVE: THE SAUDI COVER

Within minutes after Mohamed Atta's name was identified as W the main suspect in the 9/11 attack, reporters began digging through newspaper archives for anything that might have been printed about him in the past.

What turned up was reflected in a question on the morning after the attack that Jane Clayson of the CBS Early Show asked of Rudi Dekkers, the Huffman Aviation co-owner then in the midst of his whirlwind round of media appearances ...

"Let me ask you this," Clayson began. "One of these men is widely considered to be responsible for a bus bombing in-in Israel. How was it that they could gain access-admittance to your school?"

Authorities immediately denied that the Mohamed Atta who masterminded the demolition of the World Trade Center was the same Mohamed Atta who, fifteen years earlier, had blown up an Israeli bus. There were two separate Arab terrorists named Mohamed Atta, they said, one who bombed a bus in 1986, and a second who flew a commercial airliner into the World Trade Center Towers.

We found a May 21, 1987 story from Damascus on the Chinese Xinhua Overseas News Service with a headline reading "SYRIA ACCUSES U.S. OF DETERIORATING BILATERAL RELATIONS."

"Abu Nidal, head of the Fatah revolutionary committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization threatened to sabotage American interests allover the world if Washington decided to hand over Mohamed Atta, a Palestinian arrested in New York, to the Israeli authorities on trial for murdering a bus driver in Israel."

The context was a recently announced U.S. decision not to send back its ambassador to Damascus unless Syria's Hafez Assad took steps first to prove that his government was no longer supporting terrorism. "American accusations of Syrian support for terrorism were baseless," declared the Xinhua report.

La plus ca change.

'Future terrorist ringleader' Atta was eighteen at the time of the bus bombing-an age when youthful idealism is often perverted into violence-but a quick search through newspaper indexes revealed that 'bus bomber Mohamed Atta,' also known as 'Mahmoud Atta,' was indeed much older, thirty- three in '86. He'd be fiftyish today.

"Mahmoud Mahmoud Atta, 33, charged in the firebombing of a crowded bus on Israel's occupied West Bank on April 12, 1986, that killed one civilian and injured three others, was held Thursday without bail until the policy issues can be addressed," UPI reported on May 8, 1987.

That seemed to settle the question: Bus bomber Atta is a much older man than the terrorist hijacker.

Smoke. No fire. It happens.

By pursuing the story we'd gained a little incidental knowledge: "Mahmoud" is another was of saying "Mohamed," the same way men named 'John' are sometimes called 'Jack.'

Interestingly, 'bus bomber Atta' felt there was some confusion as to his identity: "Atta, also known as Mahmoud El Abed Ahmad, claims he is not the' person authorities were looking for," UPI reported.

So at a minimum we have two Arab radicals with the same admittedly not-uncommon name. Probably just coincidence... unless the name "Mohamed Atta" was used by numbers of Arab terrorists.

'Bus bomber Atta's globe-trotting ways were also eerily similar to 'terrorist hijacker Atta's peripatetic movements. Newspaper accounts said the bus bomber fled from Israel to Athens, and then on to Venezuela, where he was arrested. When he arrived at JFK Airport, after flying from Caracas 'accompanied' by FBI agents, the U.S. Prosecutor in the case said Atta's passport showed "numerous trips around the globe."

Terrorist pilot Atta got around a lot too. Prague, Madrid, Miami, Manhattan. Maybe being a spy hasn't changed that much.

But there's something big and important to understanding 9/11 here. Because there had been a 'Bus bomber Mohamed Atta,' the name " Mohamed Atta" was on a special CIA -FBI federal watch list, which should have red-flagged the terrorist ringleader to authorities on numerous occasions.

In fact, an NBC report the day after the attack attributed the FBI's quick zeroing in on Atta to the simple fact that they already knew who he was. They'd seen his name before, linked, said NBC's Kerry Sanders, to the bus bombing in Israel.

"Agents were in Hollywood, Florida serving search warrants inside an apartment complex," Sanders reported. "They left with several boxes of evidence. The attention was really focusing on one person, Mohamed Atta, 33 years old, somebody who they know, because they've seen his name before, linked to a bombing of a bus in Israel in 1986."

"Atta, 33, who was born in the United Arab Emirates, was listed as a suspect in a bus bombing in Israel in 1986. That landed him on a CIA-FBI-Immigration & Naturalization Service watch list," reported NBC's Sanders.

Here's the Big Question. If the name "Mohamed Atta" was on a federal watch list of people tied to terrorist activity because of 'bus-bomber Atta,' why didn't this fact get 'hijacker Atta's' ass caught before the attack?

Were they that incompetent? NBC anchor Brian Williams-he of the oft-remarked unnatural tan -- gave voice to it first, the night after the attack. "There will be many people asking tonight," he said, right over the public airwaves, "just what it is we are getting for all those tens of billions of dollars being spent on intelligence."

Could that be it? Simple incompetence? Why didn't they catch Atta if he was running in and out of the country with a notorious name? They had ample opportunity. For example, the terrorist ringleader had had police on his tail late on the night of April 26 in Broward County, Florida. Red and blue flashing lights and a police siren beckoned him to pull over. Atta pulled his red Grand Am to the curb, and was arrested during the traffic stop for not having a driving license, but he easily bailed out and drove away.

Street cops aren't looking for international terrorists during routine traffic stops. Not before 9/11, they weren't, anyway.

But what explains the fact that Atta was able to fly from Miami to Madrid and back, with no hassles ... despite the fact that he had overstayed his visa.

"At least one of the Boston hijackers, Mohamed Atta, was able to enter the United States despite having been implicated in a 1986 bus bombing in Israel, according to federal sources," the Boston Globe reported three days after the attack.

Officials said Atta's name was on a federal watch list. Yet the INS readmitted him with no problem upon his return to the U.S. Simple incompetence? Or something more sinister ...

"In interviews with the Globe yesterday, flight instructors in Florida said that it was common for 'students with Saudi affiliations' to enter the United States with only cursory background checks, and sometimes none."

Ah-ha. Gotcha. Students with 'Saudi affiliations.' This was new, or new to us: students with Saudi affiliations were accorded special treatment in Florida, said flight instructors there, that allowed them to enter and leave the U.S. more easily.

Saudis were getting special treatment in Florida from our government. That much seemed clear, even though we weren't sure we had a working definition yet of what 'special treatment' meant. And it wasn't just Saudis who got special treatment, reported the Globe, but students with "Saudi affiliations" as well. Saudis had a lot of juice in Florida.

Chuck Clapper, owner of an air charter company in Lantana, Florida, told the Globe that several Florida flying schools had contracts with Saudi Arabian Airlines that enabled them to bypass much of the red tape involved in obtaining visas for their students.

Saudi Arabia had authority to 'pass through' anyone they wanted. They didn't even need to be Saudi. They just needed 'Saudi affiliations.'

"The Saudi cover may have enabled one of the dead hijackers, Mohamed Atta, to deflect attention from the fact that he was wanted in Israel in connection with a bus bombing in 1986," the paper reported.

'The Saudi Cover.' It sounded like the title of a Robert Ludlum novel. Because he had 'Saudi cover' Atta got special treatment in Florida. Atta's passing himself off as a Saudi Prince made more sense.

Indeed, the benefit of having 'Saudi Cover' goes back some time. The former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah from 1987 to 1989, Michael Springman, told BBC News Night: "In Saudi Arabia I was repeatedly ordered by high-level State Department officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants."

"People who had no ties either to Saudi Arabia or to their own country. I complained there. I complained here in Washington... to the Inspector General and to Diplomatic Security, and I was ignored. What I was doing was giving visas to terrorists-recruited by the CIA and Osama bin Laden-to come back to the United States for training to be used in the war in Afghanistan against the then-Soviets."

'Forced to give visas to terrorists' sounds like a good headline. Too bad we'll never see it. It pretty much capsulates American diplomat Springman's story. Was it a method still in use to bring Saudi- affiliated individuals into the U.S. when Atta arrived?

When Atta arrived a dozen years later, were 'special people' still getting in and out of the U.S. this way?

In passing, it should be noted that the 'Atta was a bus bomber' story was also twisted and used in some pretty sophisticated disin formation, when a broadly-based e-mail campaign started fingering 'tar baby' Bill Clinton for being responsible for releasing Mohamed Atta from jail.

The Oslo agreement between the Palestinians and Israel had required release of so-called "political prisoners," explained the disinfo. However, the Israelis would not release any with "blood on their hands."

That's where that dastardly Clinton comes in. As American President he supposedly "insisted" that all prisoners be released, even those with 'blood on their hands.' Some people thought it sounded like our Bill. At any rate Atta was freed, and came back to thank the U.S. by flying an airplane into Tower One of the World Trade Center.

There was not a shred of truth to the story. But it obviously took someone some little time and effort to first package the lie so cleverly, and then disseminate it widely, during a confusing and uncertain moment in our national life when news accounts actually said that U.S. intelligence agencies were recruiting psychics to help predict future attacks. (The FBI and CIA refused to comment, except to confirm investigators had been told to "think outside the box.")

The national mood was dicey. Enough to warrant the Washington Post to gushingly report that the FBI, "after decades of pursuing gangsters and drug kingpins to great acclaim, was rush~ ing to remake itself as the nation's primary line of defense against terrorism."

'Great acclaim' was a little rich. 'Decades of great acclaim' is rich enough to give the flack who wrote it gout. The only 'acclaim' for the FBI we'd heard came from those who want to see it abolished for a long and sordid history distinguished by scandal, incompetence, and worse.

Sometimes much worse. Remember? "Atta, 33, an Egyptian, was on the FBI's master list of suspected Arab terrorists, specifically as a possible operative of bin Laden, " reported the Sept. 13, 2001 London Daily Telegraph.

"Federal authorities have known for at least three years that two associates of bin Laden had trained in the United States as airline pilots," reported the Boston Globe, citing an FBI memo dated May 18, 1998.

The Globe doesn't say why the FBI did nothing about it. Neither does the memo, we'll wager. Not since the days of J. Edgar Hoover and Efram Zimbalist Jr. have the American people believed much in this particular Federal institution. Congress has rumbled with murmurs that it is beyond reform and should be abolished.

All of which makes it all the more puzzling when the FBI turned up so Johnny-on-the-spot at Huffman on the day of the attack. After spending decades not being able to find their ass in the dark with both hands, the beleaguered FBI shows up at Huffman Aviation in Venice less than eighteen hours after the attack. It usually takes them that long to have lunch.

This is one of the most remarkable facts about 9/11 -- remarkable in the sense that it should receive close scrutiny. It looks like the FBI already knew who he was, as well as where he was, or would have been, if he hadn't vaporized himself and thousands of others. They had known who Atta was.

Here's a newsflash: The FBI got to Venice a lot sooner than has been reported. Instead of piling out of cars during the middle of the night 18 hours after the attack, they had Huffman Aviation employees in Venice under surveillance just a few hours later. A former Huffman Aviation manager told of a car filled with FBI agents pulling up and parking right outside his house during the middle of the afternoon on the day of the attack.

"They ( the FBI) were outside my house four hours after the attack," this still-shaken aviation professional stated. Like many eyewitnesses we spoke with, this longtime aviation executive spoke of being intimidated and harassed by FBI agents. They didn't strong-arm him to make him think harder and cough up some useful leads, but to ensure he kept his mouth shut.

We've heard about this already from other people, too, haven't we? Its becoming a refrain. Hide the children honey, here comes the guy in Florsheim shoes bouncing a sap off his thigh again.

***

My phones have been bugged, they still are," the former Huffman executive said. "I thought these guys (Atta & Co.) were double agents. Why is that so incriminating?"

'Double agents.'

He'd said it. We had wondered as much ourselves. He said no more, except to indicate that he has lived in some fear for his life since the 9/11 attack, which is why he'd be very obliged if we didn't use his name.

"I gleaned early on that the operation I was working for had government protection," the Huffman executive stated. "They (the terrorists) were let into this country. How did the FBI get here so soon? Ask yourself: How'd they got here so soon?"

Let into this country? By whom? To do what?

Later we learned of a conversation this former Huffman executive -- who was at the school the whole time Atta was -- had with another aviation executive at the Venice Airport, who had asked him: Why'd he quit working for Rudi?

His response was a little frightening. "I had to leave and get out" said the former Huffman exec. "I wish I didn't know as much as I know. I told them they had nothing to fear from me. I had a contract to get paid and expected them to pay me."

Asked why he stopped cooperating with our Venice investigation -- he stopped talking to us after just a few conversations -- he said, "I've got a family to worry about."

The aviation executive he was talking to operates a maintenance facility right next door to Huffman. So he was naturally curious. What was going on at Huffman that made it so difficult to talk about now?

"You don't want to know," replied Dekker's former manager. "I've got a family, you've got a family. My wife doesn't want to know any of this stuff and if you're smart, you'll do the same."

Whoa, now! We haven't heard any voices like that on Larry King Live! At the time of this conversation we'd been poking around in Venice for a year. It wasn't long enough to have figured things out much, but it was apparently long enough to have warranted mention at the Airport.

"He made it crystal clear that Hopsicker knows far more than he thought he knew," the second aviation exec told us. "He said, 'I know more about Wally (Hilliard) than I want to know. But I can't talk to Hopsicker any more. I can't do that to my family."'

***

Maybe this is why, or partly: "FBI Knew Terrorists Were Using Flight Schools," headlined the Washington Post on September 23, 2001. "The FBI has been aware that four or five groups linked to Osama bin Laden have operated in the United States, and known for years that suspected terrorists with ties to Osama bin Laden were receiving flight training at schools in the United States," the paper reported.

"Federal authorities have been aware for years that suspected terrorists with ties to Osama bin Laden were receiving flight training at schools in the United States and abroad, according to interviews and court testimony."

"A senior government official acknowledged to the Post that law enforcement officials were aware that fewer than a dozen people with links to bin Laden had attended U.S. flight schools," the paper said. "However, the official said there was no information to indicate the flight students had been planning suicide hijacking attacks."

Here's a more important question: if the FBI knew that a dozen Al Qaeda terrorists were attending U.S. flight schools, why didn't they do anything about it?

'The Saudi cover?' The explanation was growing increasingly plausible. Saudis had been running loose in Florida, we will soon hear, privileged and protected. Some make it sound as if somebody sold the Sunshine State to the Saudis.

From Amanda Keller, we learned that even if Atta wasn't a Saudi Prince, he had a big Saudi connection. They were having an argument about religion one day, she said. Provoked by a comment that Islamic customs like stoning were barbaric, Atta extolled some of the virtues of Islamic life as he saw it.

"Mohamed said, 'You American people are so stupid. You think you're so great and powerful, but you wouldn't even know if something was happening."'

"I said, 'Please. You people are over there killing each other for no damn good reason," Amanda told us. "What makes you think you're so fucking great? What are you fighting over? Its just ignorant.'"

"And he got mad at me, because I told him ignorance wasn't bliss. I said, 'You treat your women like shit.' And he said that's how women were meant to be treated. And I'm like, 'oh really?"

Even as she talked we thought: We would have paid to watch this scene play out.

"He would make fun of how we believe in God," she stated. "He said 'What do you people do for your god? You don't do anything for him.'"

"And I just looked at him. He was talking to me about how American women are free to choose abortions if they want, like that was immoral, and I said, 'You guys stone people to death if they get pregnant and they're not married.' I said, you want to talk about barbaric? Tha'ts barbaric. Stoning somebody to death, what does that accomplish? You guys are so damn crooked that you would stab your brother in the back and not think anything about it."'

'He said, 'You don't know what you're talking about,"' she continued. Atta told her there were many rich people who funded what he did.

"He said that there was someone in Florida -- some rich Arab -- who had a lot of money. He said, are you aware that when we come over here, your people pay to have us set up businesses?"'

"Eventually, he told me, his people were going to try to take over this country. He said, 'I've been in this country many times before. I can come in and go out of America and no one ever knows."'

This is a side of Atta we haven't seen before. Arrogant, but with a reason. He's not an infidel. He's styling. He's got 'Saudi Cover.'

Atta wasn't the only one in Venice with Saudi Cover.'

He had 'friends' at Huffman who were covered too. Saudi links to the owners of Huffman Aviation began to be uncovered shortly after the attack, in a story in the Tampa Tribune about bin Laden family members in the U .S. flying out of the country while all other aviation except military traffic had been grounded.

"The twin-engine Lear jet streaked into the afternoon sky, leaving Tampa behind but revealing a glimpse of international intrigue in the aftermath of terrorist attacks on America," the paper reported. "The federal government says the flight never took place. But the two armed bodyguards hired to chaperon their clients out of the state recall the 100-minute trip Sept. 13 quite vividly."

The paper's headline was "Phantom Flight from Florida," maybe because the federal government says the flight never took place. It carried a Saudi Arabian prince, the son of that nation's defense minister, as well as the son of a Saudi army commander, from Tampa to Lexington, Kentucky, where other Saudi princes had been purchasing racehorses in Bluegrass Country. From there, they flew a private 747 out of the country.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration's regional office in Atlanta told reporters, "It's not in our logs ... it didn't occur."

No one in the government would acknowledge to the Tampa Tribune what had happened. The White House referred questions on the trip to the State Department, which denied involvement, the paper reported, and the National Security Council, which did not return messages.

But two armed bodyguards hired to get their clients out of the state remembered the trip vividly: Dan Grossi, a retired Tampa cop who had worked in internal affairs and homicide, and Manuel Perez, a retired FBI agent involved in counter-terrorism. The men also provide security for the National Football League at Raymond James Stadium.

'They said it was happening," Grossi told the Tribune "This was out of a Tom Clancy movie."

Grossi said he was told that clearance for the flight came from the White House after the Prince's family pulled a favor from former President Bush.

Grossi and Perez recalled the strange feeling of flying in the near-empty sky, knowing of the ban on private flights. "My first reaction to the pilot was, 'We're not going to get shot down are we?'" Perez said.

The enforcement of the empty skies directive was so stringent that even after the United Network for Organ Sharing sought and gained FAA clearance to use charter aircraft on September 12 for critical deliveries of organs for transplant, one of its flights carrying a human heart was still forced to land in Bellingham, Washington.

But apparently the Saudis all got home okay, so that's some relief.

***

The Tampa Tribune report offered tantalizing glimpses of privilege accorded Saudi nationals denied to American citizens.

We figured the evacuation of the Saudis to have been accomplished through the CIA, and tried to track down the owner of the Lear in question. Since the plane took off from a private hanger at Raytheon Airport Services in Tampa, we contacted them first.

Raytheon is a major defense-intelligence industry player which spent the past decade expanding, purchasing notorious E-Systems and then merging with Hughes Electronics' defense operations (Hughes Aircraft).

When we asked who had owned the Lear that took off from their facility that morning, we learned that Catch-22 is still alive and well. Raytheon said we would have to ask the owner of the plane to tell Raytheon they could tell us who owned the plane.

"I checked our policy on disclosing owner/customer information and we decline to do so unless that owner requests that we release the information," a Raytheon spokesman told us with a faint smirk.

Since we didn't know who the owner was, how could we first ask them for permission to release their names?

Later a knowledgeable aviation source told us that the Lear jet in question had come from a Naples, Florida charter service.

"Wally Hilliard owns the only charter Lear service in southwest Florida," said the source. "If a Lear was flying that day, it would have been his."

Hilliard of course is the financier who purchased Huffman Aviation for Rudi Dekkers, and it had been the terrorist's American beachhead. So not only had Hilliard financed the operation which trained Mohamed Atta and assorted other members of his terrorist cadre to fly, but he apparently also owned a Lear jet used to extricate Saudis from the Raytheon facility in Tampa.

Tampa, of course, is also home to the Pentagon's Central Command (CentCom). It was the place from which the war in Afghanistan was run.

"Everyone's got deals with the Saudis," protested a retired Special Forces Commander at McDill AFB pressed back into service for the Afghan war, when we brought the Lear flight up to him.

"Why point a finger at this one incident?"

***

The FBI pointedly stated -- early on -- that they knew about terrorists rotating through flight schools like Rudi Dekkers' in Venice, Florida. But they always left hanging the question of why they did nothing about it. Why so reticent?

***

Was there a covert operation being run by another branch of the government that was using the Venice flight schools as a 'portal' into a military training network that didn't check I.D.'s real hard?

Was that why the FBI left the operation alone?

A longtime Florida observer told us bluntly that what we were dealing with was "market forces." It was the climate of intrigue created by the commodities that were being traded on Florida's overactive black market that created conditions which allowed Arabs from desert kingdoms to wander around the state as easily as if they'd been listening to Tom Petty albums all their lives.

What commodities? What black market? What had been going on that we were missing down in Venice, Florida?

As they say in TV-Land, "Let's take a closer look".
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Re: Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 Cover-Up

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:32 pm

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: "EVIL IN OUR OWN BACKYARD"

On the morning of September 12, 2001, a small unexceptional town tucked into an out of the way corner on the off the beaten path Gulf Coast of Florida awoke to find itself the center of the world's attention.

Reporters arrived in waves at the tiny Venice Airport after the identity of the terrorist pilots from the World Trade Center attack and their relationship with the local flight school became known.

NBC's Kerry Sanders' report was typical: "Thirty-three-year-old Mohamed Atta, on the flight manifest of one of the suicide flights, one of those who the FBI suspects took the controls of the hijacked jet. Where did he learn to fly? Venice, Florida."

Venice, Florida where answers to some of the most important questions about what had happened were sketched-in, at least in pencil, combining to form what would rapidly become the government's official explanation for the attack.

We want to revisit a few of the key moments of that 'morning after' which helped shape our perceptions. But instead of the dumbfounded shock through which we initially watched what happened that day, this time we're fortified with some hard-won knowledge.

We've all had time now to deal with the shock. The plain fact was that, like most people, we had never seen anything so horrific as what we saw on September 11th. Our critical faculties had been swept away by it. There were too many poignant details filling our hearts which none will ever forget. Nor should we.

Like the chilling phone call from a flight attendant aboard American Airlines Flight 11 detailing the frantic struggle on the doomed plane as hijackers slit a passenger's throat and stormed the cockpit. Madeline Amy Sweeney's last words to her ground manager in Boston were to tell try to tell him where the hijacked plane seemed to be headed: "I see water and buildings. Oh my God! Oh my God!"

Or the stark terror faced by hundreds of men and women stranded a thousand feet in the air above a raging inferno burning on the floors below them: They had two choices, die in the fire or jump into the void and plummet for nine seconds before hitting concrete.

There was no Door Number Three.

The scenes of chaos and terror in New York were coming to us live. Those people leaping out hand-in-hand. That woman's dress billowing as she fell. A bare-chested man tumbling end over end.

Awful things were happening -- live -- that human beings should never have to witness, much less endure. We felt it deep. Chaos had been loosed upon the world. Upon our world.

Bodies littered the plaza, but we didn't see any of that until later on. Arriving at the scene, the chief of police and the Mayor saw a pair of feet in their shoes laying unattached to a body. The head of a middle-aged man went rolling down the street. A woman was sliced in half by a large sheet of glass falling out of the Towers.

Then came the stories, like Jeremy Glick's, who called his wife to tell her to lead a full life, that were almost ineffably sad.

The wisest words we heard came from New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, asked in a news conference to estimate how many lives had been lost.

It was too early to know, he told reporters. He said, "The number of casualties will be more than most of us can bear."

He was right.

***

It was in this state of shock and mourning that most of us first heard and let uncritically wash over us explanations for who had committed this unspeakable crime.

But now, with the passage of time, we can take a more clearheaded look at some of what was happening in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

The FBI first went to Huffman Aviation at 2:30 Wednesday morning. Sue DeSantis, the office manager, let them into the darkened flight school. They returned at 11 a.m., seized files, and carted away at least eight boxes of records.

On television, Rudi Dekkers was everywhere being interviewed. What the designated hitter is to baseball, Dekkers was to sound bites about the terrorists who had been living among us.

Dekkers was the designated "interview-EE."

At Huffman Aviation the parking lot quickly filled with satellite news trucks from all the major networks. Reporters from all the major newspapers and news magazines were hanging out in the lobby. Some were watching the story unfold on the TV in the reception area; others were standing outside smoking and trying to chat up employees.

Everyone was there to talk to Rudi Dekkers. He was on the Today Show, ABC's Good Morning America, the CBS Early Show, the Dan Rather CBS Evening News, Larry King Live, CNN LIVE with Greta Van Sustern, Peter Jennings on ABC World News 7Onight. He even entered Bill O'Reilly's No Spin Zone.

Rudi was doing a lot of fast talking, a talent which local news papers had already noted he possessed. Waiting for interviews, reporters exchanged ironic side-bar items so bizarre you knew they were true. One of Flight 11 hijackers left a Koran in a strip club in Daytona Beach. The coffee shop at Huffman Aviation gave its entrees aviation-related names. The bacon cheeseburger was known as the "Emergency Descent."

While Al Gore and George W Bush had been fiercely contesting an election allover the state in the biggest news story of the previous year, Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi had been buzzing up and down the coast of that same state in Cessnas.

Who knew?

Standing under the glare of TV lights on the apron of the Venice Airport the day after the attack, Rudi Dekkers told us what he knew. Or at least he seemed to ... in retrospect, as we'll see, it looks as if he may have been making up big chunks of it up as he went along.

Over and over, Dekkers denied any responsibility for the terrorists being in our midst. "They came in through the front door," he told reporters. He said they claimed to be Mghans who had entered this country from Germany.

"They were normal students and worked very hard. They lived nearby and bicycled here every day," said Dekkers.

At 46, Rudi Dekkers was a round, middle-aged, unprepossessing and slightly florid man who nonetheless spoke and answered questions with what one reporter noted was a "clipped Dutch accent and a tone that suggests he's used to barking out orders."

If a global network had assisted the development of the terrorist conspiracy which led to the operation, Rudi Dekkers would be the first place to look. Both before and after the attack, an unexplained element of intrigue was swirling around him.

Yet Dekkers seemed free with advice, both to law enforcement and Congress, about preventing future attacks. He had saved the day, he said, when those slackers at the FBI were about to leave his flight school without all of the pertinent records.

"It was yesterday, 2:30 a.m. they called my managers here in Venice and wanted the C-2 files," he explained on CBS. " I came in at 7 :00 in the morning, they were still there, I talked briefly with them. They told me they were ready to go. I told them that we had more customers, clients from the Middle East and I thought it was a good idea to gave them all my files. So I gave them a couple of hundred files from the last years."

One of his staffers set up a press conference in what looked like a classroom. Some rolled their eyes at the idea that this man was holding a news conference, wrote one reporter who was there. There was talk that Dekkers was a media hound. As it turns out, the talk was correct.

"I asked him why he was doing so many interviews," his office manager Sue DeSantis told us months later. "Rudi said because it was the best free advertising we would ever get. "

Mr. Dekkers was, apparently, not one to waste time on remorse when there was a buck to be made.

The beefy Dekkers was at times a little difficult to understand. He spoke defensively through a thick European accent, but his defensiveness was easier to understand than his accent. Who wouldn't be defensive in such an intense media spotlight over such a numbingly horrific event?

Yet, and this is important, despite all his 'face time,' his testimony was surprisingly devoid of revelations or insights. We didn't learn much, except that he didn't like Atta.

"If you see the picture in the newspaper, you see the face, tell me what you think," he said. "I just didn't like the face. I have no explanation."

He did, however, sort of like the chubby one. "The other guy," said Dekkers, referring to Al- Shehhi, "was the teddy bear. He was friendly. I have found out, in my life, that chubby guys are always a little bit more friendly."

The day after witnessing 3,000 vaporized bodies, Rudi Dekkers holding forth on Larry King on his theory about the jolly nature of chubby guys seemed more than just a little beside the point.

But, they let him get away with it.

Dekkers insisted to all who would listen that, where the terrorists were concerned, he was filled with an unspeakably murderous rage:

"This morning at 7:00 I heard what happened, and the first thing I questioned myself was, if I would have known, I would kill them with my own bare hands. If I have a Muslim coming in right now I think I'm going to be a human being and tell them get the hell out of my property here."

In another interview he said, "We feel awful that we had these awful men, no, these monsters, in this school. If I saw them now, I would want to murder them, kill them, like every other American at this moment."

His reassurances may have had a purpose. Tensions were running high.

About 3 p.m., officers from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and the Venice Police Department arrived at Huffman Aviation, saying they were looking for a suspicious blue Toyota that reportedly was on the premises.

"I hope they're not going to plant a bomb here, if they're really here," said an employee behind the desk who did not want to give his name.

Several minutes later, the law enforcement officials left the building, saying there was no danger. The vehicle had belonged to a Brazilian news crew.

"A couple of people called and said, 'How could you do this?"' explained Greg Woods, a flight instructor at Huffman. "Emotions are very high. "

Earlier that day, the Venice Gondolier ran a huge black headline across the top of the paper: "Evil in Our Back Yard." Underneath was a picture of Rudi Dekkers facing a phalanx of TV cameras, speaking into a forest of microphones.

The irony of the juxtaposition did not go unnoticed.

"At first everyone just thought it was kind of funny," said a family member of a Huffman employee, "because it made Dekkers look like he was the 'evil' in our backyard, which the newspaper probably didn't mean."

"Ad then it hit me that he'd started his flight school not long before those two terrorists moved into town. And it gave me the chills."

Less than 24 hours after the Sept. 11 attack, Rudi Dekkers, whose school will eventually be shown to have trained a veritable squadron of terrorist pilots, seemed impervious to suspicion.

What suspicion? He was schmoozing with the King himself on Larry King Live.

"Were they of a nationality other than American?" King asked.

"No, they were-my people took copies of their passports when they came in, because they need to show a I.D. And, apparently, they were -- one of them was an Afghanistan. I don't know what the other one was," replied Dekkers.

"I don't see the files myself because I have my managers taking care of that. I have spoken with one of them in several occasions. And Mr. Atta, I spoke to him one time five minutes."

Larry King showed why he is famous for never preparing for an interview, asking Dekkers, "That's Mohammed Atta, right?"

"Mohamed Atta, that's correct."

Hard-hitting American journalism is the envy of the Free World.

Larry King's sign-off with Dekkers was love and kisses:

"Rudi, thank you," King murmurs. "I know how tough this must be for you."

Tough for the rest of us maybe. Not tough for Dekkers. CBS's Jane Clayson on the CBS Morning News asked him: "And I know it is difficult, because you in some sense feel a little bit of responsibility, don't you?"

"No, we don't feel responsible for what happened at all," Dekkers replied. "No. Not nothing."

He was just running a business. There was a mercantilist approach to much of what he said.

"I don't need anything from you, just a check to start flying."

He likened flying lessons to shopping for groceries.

"We're just a business."

The stream of Middle Eastern men who walked up to his counter, thrust out cash money -- ten thousand dollars at a time -- what did we expect him to do? Not take it?

It had not registered on him as a source for concern. All he did was take their money, and then teach them to fly.

But he didn't teach them to fly into anything.

Most took his point. But for Dekkers' school, at a tiny airport located on a former military installation, the connection to terrorists Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi prompted troublesome questions about his operations.

Dekkers said his school was typical of what existed in Florida and the rest of the United States. For years, he said, flight schools have been advertising on the lucrative foreign market. More than two- thirds of Huffman's students were from overseas. He owned another flight school further south in Naples, Florida, that also catered to foreigners. In a wire service report three days after the WTC disaster, Dekkers was quoted saying, "I can tell you that there's definitely some flaws in the system."

Later we would realize it had been one of his few truthful statements.

"The day that all this occurred, we felt very, very sad like all the other Americans," he said, on the CBS Morning News.

Expressions of sympathy are clearly in order. But Dekkers isn't American, he's Dutch.

His flight school offered instruction in light single-engine aircraft, he said. But not in commercial jetliners. He insisted the terrorist pilots couldn't have learned to hit skyscrapers with 757's merely from enrolling in his school.

He had followed the law. He repeatedly stated the terrorist pilots -- Atta and Marwan -- were people who basically walked in off the street into his school at the Venice Airport.

Dan Rather, the only newsman in Dealey Plaza during the Kennedy Assassination, didn't see anything then and not much has changed. Rather asked Dekkers, "Is this unusual for someone to come from Afghanistan or, for that matter, anyplace overseas, show up at the door and say, 'OK, I'll pay you the $10,000. Train me to fly.' Is that unusual?"

"If-if we call that 2 or 3 percent of the business is that way and it's unusual, yes," Dekkers replied. "But there are numerous students who are not happy with the flight school where they are and they just are already in the United States and they go to another flight school where they're happy. They told us they were flying in -- in another area where they were not happy and they wanted to change flight schools."

There had been 'another flight school.'

***

Federal investigators returned to Venice Municipal Airport late the day after the attack and combed through records at the Florida Flight Training Center, owned by Arne Kruithof.

Like Dekker's, Kruithof was a Dutch national. His doors were closed while federal investigators, who declined to say what they were looking for, worked inside.

A sign on the door read: "Due to a national emergency, we will be closed until further notice."

Kruithof said he couldn't talk about the federal investigation that had shined a spotlight on the small airport and the two Dutch-owned flight schools. "All our records were sacrificed yesterday (Wednesday) as part of that investigation. I can't release any information about what was taken."

In all, 27 terrorists were trained to fly, the LA Times reported. Among the four hundred foreign nationals who rotated through Dekkers' two flight schools -the second down the road in Na ples -- an as yet undisclosed number had been terrorists. While the number remained undisclosed in the months ahead it was nonetheless slowly growing.

There was no speculation in the media, however, about why young men with a pronounced weakness for lingerie models and strippers had chosen a sleepy enclave filled with widows with blue hair, so far from the pleasures of infidel flesh.

Take this pop quiz. Multiple choice. You've only got a year to live. Would you go move to Leisure World? Or head to Vegas?

While Dekkers insisted the terrorist pilots had only the most fleeting of associations with his flight school, and hotly denied being anything other than a victimized businessman, questions remained. There were over 200 flight schools, just in Florida alone.

Yet somehow the hijackers leaned towards one or the other of the two schools in Venice. The twin Venice flight schools were the terrorist's American beachhead. Rudi Dekkers' Huffman Aviation was the terrorist's Omaha Beach. What had made these two schools so popular with the terrorist cadre?

No one asked.

The only investigation being conducted pointed a finger directly at an obscure outfit most had never even heard of called Al Qaeda, The Base.

While the FBI was, presumably, actively looking for any international networks that might have assisted the terrorists, were any likely suspects overlooked? Maybe even protected from scrutiny? Maybe the FBI should have taken a peek closer to home.

Because it did not seem like the FBI was looking too deeply or too hard. We interviewed numerous material eyewitnesses with important information who were never contacted by the FBI, which supposedly fielded 400 agents in Florida until the anthrax attack changed their focus.

"The FBI came down almost immediately after September 11," said Huffman office manager Sue DeSantis, the employee who let the FBI into the school at 2.30 in the morning. She later told us. "It just totally amazed me that they took everything Rudi said as the truth."

Could the FBI be, somehow, institutionally incurious? Or maybe they didn't need to investigate Rudi Dekkers because they already knew who he was.

Danielle Clarke was the office manager at Ambassador Aviation in Naples. "The first thing I noticed on Sept. 11 when I walked into Ambassador was they had all these TV's on, one big one in reception, and another in the student room, and they had never been on before," she told us.

Clarke said she noticed something strange about the way the FBI agent who was there talked to Rudi. "I could hear them in the other office. The FBI agent was coaching Rudi on what to tell the reporters outside."

For some reason, a lack of enthusiasm permeated the FBI's investigation of Rudi Dekkers, the man who ran the FBO (fixed base operation) at the tiny airport as well as the flight school.

Forty years ago, the Bureau displayed a similar lack of enthusiasm in investigating another man who ran an FBO, CIA agent David Ferrie in New Orleans.

A researcher called to say that Dekkers sounded phony to her when she'd seen him on TV.

"The single biggest weak link in the current case is Rudi Dekkers of Huffman Aviation in Venice Florida, just minutes away from where the President was when the attack occurred," she wrote. "He's the guy that trained the pilots. Look at his corporate records, they're on file -- 0n the Net even. Look at his links to companies that claim they're leasing 757's and 767's from an airline that doesn't own any. Look at how many businesses he's involved with. Look at who flies in and out of the airport where he operates. Find out why he hasn't filed his required annual reports with the Florida Secretary of State's office listing his officers."

We found it bizarre that no one in the media questioned Dekkers publicly about what role he may have played, or what he may have done to facilitate what happened on September 11.

If the FBI was buying his explanations, however, it wasn't on account of his sterling reputation.

Two weeks before the World Trade Center attack, Nicole Antini, an employee of Dekkers, filed suit to enforce settlement of a sexual harassment suit against him. "I tolerated Rudi's advances because I needed to keep my job," said the former Dekkers' employee in court documents.

"As long as I have worked at Huffman Aviation, I have been subjected to sexual harassment by Rudi Dekkers," she stated.

Court documents revealed that this wasn't just garden variety sexual harassment. No inadvertent touch or misunderstood word. The employee was eighteen. Her employer, Rudi Dekkers, had apparently gotten a thrill from sticking broom handles up the back of her dress when she wasn't looking. Several months later, he would be invited to testify before the Congress of the United States of America on preventing future terrorist attacks.

We still find this odd.

Amanda Keller knew Rudi Dekkers. "I saw Rudi Dekkers. He's a total pervert. A nasty, nasty man," she told us.

"He said to me one time, 'What would it take for me to have a piece of you?"'

"I looked at him and said, 'You're lucky I don't hit you.' and his secretary applauded me. He told her to sit down and shut up."

So Dekkers wasn't being shielded from serious scrutiny because he sang loud in church. What, then? Why was Rudi Dekkers protected? And by whom? Flight school owners don't have juice like that.

Where did he get his stroke?

Rudi Dekkers was covered, we discovered, by the same umbrella his flight student Mohamed Atta huddled under. Rudi was a grateful beneficiary of 'Saudi Cover.'

While Dekkers had been minimizing his involvement with the terrorists in front of reporters in Venice the day after the attack, across the state in Vero Beach, CNN reported, FBI agents were searching houses occupied by Saudi pilots they found suspicious who said they were on a 15-month pilot's course at Huffman Aviation.

News accounts reported the same thing. One said, "Some of the kamikaze pilots had pilot licenses that indicated they were sponsored or employed by Saudi Arabian Airlines, which is owned by the Saudi government."

Not a single reporter pressed Dekkers on his Saudi connections, He got a pass.

The story of his cozy Saudi relations doesn't end there. It goes right to the bin Laden family itself.

By three weeks after the attack, people were standing clear of Rudi Dekkers on the tarmac at the Venice Airport. Former associates pled ignorance. Key employees declined comment, saying they were "no longer with the company."

Late at night in Venice, when it got really quiet, you could almost hear the mournful sound of people whistling past the graveyard. Some seemed already to be constructing a defense. Venice Airport Manager Larry Heath told reporters the city's relations with Huffman hadn't been the same since Dekkers took over, as if he weren't one of the city officials responsible for approving his presence at the Airport.

Airport Manager Heath allowed that the revelations about Venice's connection to the terrorist attacks were "absolutely amazing."

He said: "I hope it doesn't give us a black eye."
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Re: Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 Cover-Up

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:33 pm

CHAPTER FOURTEEN: THE VENICE 'MAGIC DUTCH BOYS'

One of the most puzzling questions about 9/11 has to do with the competency and skill displayed by the terrorist pilots. What's curious is that Atta and Marwan's flight school instructors in Florida said they were poor students and poor pilots. The impression created was that the duo were zealots, brand-new commercial pilots on a misbegotten mission.

Despite this testimony, numerous observers cite the pilots at the controls of the hijacked jets for a cool efficiency which provoked a grudging respect for their 'professional' talents.

Was Atta a better pilot then they let on?

"Their capacity to operate the aircraft was substantial," said Attorney General Ashcroft. "It's very clear that these orchestrated, coordinated assaults on our country were well-conducted, and conducted in a technically proficient way."

An ex-military pilot told us: "They swooped down on the World Trade Center like a pair of fighter jets. The terrorists were flying bulky 200-ton Boeing 767 jetliners so smoothly they obviously had considerable flying skills."

"The hits on all three 9/11 buildings were damned difficult, and not at all the 'stuff' of new commercial pilots," he continued. "It's possible they were former fighter pilots, cycled through Florida flight schools used as a 'cutout."'

Investigating the large-scale training of possible terrorist pilots would become a crucial law enforcement concern. An FBI list of more than 220 people wanted for questioning as possible associates of the hijackers contained at least 32 pilots, five student pilots and 12 aircraft mechanics. Dozens of those sought for questioning were trained as pilots.

Remember: "Your 'legend' is your cover story, the lie that holds together long enough to let you slip away." Mohamed Atta's "Islamic extremist" legend had begun falling apart in South Florida's bars and strip joints, just as Lee Harvey Oswald's 'communist' legend did when news of his presence at anti-Castro paramilitary camps in Louisiana came out.

Let's take a look at the legend of Rudi Dekkers as 'flight school owner,' to see if it, too, is beginning to fray around the edges.

For his part, Dekkers professed no concern over his role in the tragedy. Summing up his sentiments about it, he said, "At the beginning, it was bad. We had some death threats. Now, basically, all we hear is good news. People come up and say, weren't you the guy who owns Huffman Aviation?' And they shake hands with me."

Just as the 'Magic Bullet Theory' -- one bullet passing through multiple bodies, intact and unharmed- as the only way the Warren Commission could sell its lone gunman story, the FBI's version of what happened in Venice relies on similarly-twisted logic.

Its called the 'Magic Dutch Boy Theory,' and it's required to explain how all those terrorist pilots could have been at two separate Dutch-owned flight schools and have it all just be another freak coincidence.

Dekkers, who is, of course, Dutch, had purchased Huffman in the year before the terrorists began to arrive. While everyone else was pondering the Internet bust, Atta and Marwan spent their days in small Cessnas, building time.

The terrorist duo practicing touch and go's in the humid September air on Florida's Gulf coast were joined by a third terrorist, Siad Al-Jarrah, who moved in next door to Huffman at Kruithof's Florida Flight Training Center.

Like Dekkers' school, this second Venice flight school had also recently changed ownership. The new owner was -- of all things -- another Dutch national. Arne Kruithof was from Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Other members of the Hamburg cadre came too. Bald-headed Zacarias Moussaoui was in Venice, and Ramzi bin al-Shib paid money to attend as well as others we will hear of later.

Dutch national Kruithof's purchase of the second of the two Venice flight schools while countryman Dekkers purchased the other has led to the two being dubbed the 'Magic Dutch Boys.'

But they've got more than a nickname. They've got a whole theory named after them. The notion that it is just coincidence that almost all of the key members of Atta's Hamburg cadre came to Florida to learn to fly at two separate recently-purchased Dutch-owned flight schools at the tiny Venice Airport is called the 'Magic Dutch Boy Theory.'

Someday, perhaps, it will be taught in college, in the history of the 21st Century. The chief tenet of the 'Magic Dutch Boy Theory' is: "Two foreign nationals purchasing flight schools at the same airport at about the same time which are soon hubcap-deep in Arab terrorist pilot-wannabees is just a magical, or freak, coincidence."

It is the official position of the chief investigative agency of the United States Government, the FBI.

***

Others disagree.

"Two Dutch boys buying adjacent flight schools which shortly thereafter get 'overrun' by terrorists is one damn Dutch boy too many," growled one nationally-known law enforcement figure.

"Its untidy."

"It seemed kind of odd when Dekkers bought his flight school here," said Coy Jacobs, owner of Mooney Aviation, "because the only other flight school in town is owned by Arne Kruithof, and he's Dutch too and the odds of that are pretty slim."

Bob Mudge is the genial editor of the local Venice Gondolier. He told us: "I've heard a lot of rumors that I haven't been able to substantiate about connections between them and other businesses here and entities and agencies outside the area. It's certainly something you have to say is a very interesting coincidence. "

***

If the appearance of two Dutch nationals purchasing flight schools months apart isn't just a freak coincidence belonging in Ripley's Believe it Or Not, then the FBI is covering up something in Venice.

Were Rudi Dekkers and Arne Kruithof acting as 'cut-outs' in an effort to provide that ever-popular 'plausible deniability?' Was Huffman funneling their trainees into further training?

Could the CIA have been running a covert operation in Venice? Training pilots for Osama bin Laden, in an effort to penetrate his organization that somehow had gone horribly wrong?

***

Someday they'll be adding a 'Magic Dutch Boy Wing' next to the 'Magic Bullet Wing' of the Secret History Museum.

We came across a business profile written about Rudi Dekkers months before the 9/11 attack. The two flight schools at Venice Municipal Airport catered almost exclusively to international students, said the Sarasota Herald.

Rudi Dekkers had trained some 800 foreign students at his school during the past two years. Dekkers told reporters he had 200 students at this facility at any given time, and estimated 80 percent were foreign.

Venice residents said Florida Flight Training also had numerous international students.

Dekkers, 44 at the time of the attack, was born in Holland, and began flying in 1981, in between working as a computer salesman and real estate broker.

In 1985, he earned his European commercial pilot's license and left Holland for the warm beaches and pretty blue waters of the Florida Gulf Coast, where he settled with his wife Astrid in Naples, and 'quickly fell in love with the States.'

"Dekkers does have some financial support from sources other than customers," reported the paper, citing a retired Naples insurance magnate as one big backer. Dekkers also owned Ambassador Airways in Naples, the story said. He had been operating charter flight services for nine years.

That "financial support from sources other than customers" the article references is Wallace J. Hilliard, a 70 year-old 'retired' insurance executive originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Even before the tragedy of September 11th, both men's dealings had lifted eyebrows at the Venice Airport.

Though they got a free ride from the national media, that was not the case with people at the airport, where, among their aviation peers, a cloud of suspicion hung over their operations.

***

Arne Kruithof was expected to testify at the trial of the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, we learned; where he would also presumably be grilled about his relationship with Rudi Dekkers, as well as his partner Pascal Schreier, a German national living in Munich.

Their joint company, Aviation Aspirations, provided both financial assistance and also what the company called a "Mentor Programme." About their 'mentoring programme,' their literature said: "The help is both financial and practical. We now provide one- to-one practical assistance from experienced Professional Pilots (our Mentors) whom we have established throughout the world."

The company's motto was "Better training because we care."

We wondered what they meant by 'special mentoring.' Was a 'mentor' the same as a 'handler?' Was Aviation Aspirations a front for recruiting intelligence assets in the guise of training people to fly?

Dekkers and Kruithof insisted they had never met each other until they separately decided running a flight school in Venice seemed a good idea. The truth, however, would turn out to be an altogether different proposition.

"I knew Rudi Dekkers," said Tom Hammersley, former chief flight instructor at Kruithof's school. "My former employer, Arne Kruithof, and Rudi Dekkers, they are both Dutch. They go back a long time."

So Dekkers was lying. When people lie, its usually for a reason.

Another odd link between Dekkers and Kruithof was a German named Pascal Schreier, who had recruited students for them in, among other places, Hamburg, where Atta's Hamburg cadre was based.

Probably just a freak coincidence.

"I know Pascal Schreier, too," Hammersley told us, when we asked about him. "I worked with him as part of Florida Flight Training Center. He's a German boy, and he did a lot of recruiting of students over in Europe, sending them over to Arne."

Although the two Venice Dutch Boys ran what were supposedly competing flight schools, strangely, Pascal Schreier appears to have been in business with both of them. He was an officer of a company called Florida Sunrise Aviation at the Venice Airport. Dekkers was an officer in a company at the same airport called Sunrise Aviation.

Another freak coincidence?

Rudi Dekkers said Atta and his sidekick just showed up at his facility one day. He had, instead, been actively marketing his flight school in Germany at the exact time Mohamed Atta and his terrorist cell left Hamburg and moved to Florida.

Dekkers began an aggressive European marketing campaign right after purchasing Huffman, said a story headlined "New owners of Huffman Aviation have global presence," in the Venice Gondolier.

Dekkers talked to the paper about his plans for the newly-purchased company. "The world is my working place," he boasted.

"I won't forget Venice, but I'm going to market throughout the world, Germany, France, Belgium. That's our goal, to get people to come in here from all over the world."

***

His plans were apparently successful. They soon changed the makeup of his two flight schools. Foreign nationals came to account for over 80 per cent of the student pilots enrolled with him.

His two schools were training four hundred foreign nationals a year, said the paper.

After Atta moved from Germany to train with Dekkers' flight school in Venice, at least four other members of the same terrorist cell moved there to train as pilots as well, according to German prosecutors.

We met a wizened old pilot who's flown in the area for over 15 years. Two years ago, said Danny Schultz, he'd noticed a change in the type of pilot trainees. "Many times I went to lunch with these folks, and some of them could hardly speak English, from various countries in the Middle East. There was a recent influx of these types of trainees. Before, you'd never seen much Middle Eastern traffic. Then one day, all of a sudden they're marching across the tarmac."

What if Mohamed hadn't gone to the mountain, but, instead, the mountain -- in the guise of the portly Dekkers -- had come to Mohamed?

If Atta was in contact with Dekker's recruiters while still in Hamburg, instead of just showing up in Venice, that could explain statements by officials early on that the key to unraveling the plot might not lie in the United States, but in Germany.

***

Rudi Dekkers, as we've seen, had 'Saudi Cover.' But it went well beyond a contract with Saudi Arabian Airlines. The French newspaper Le Monde reported that Osama bin Laden's Geneva, Switzerland-based brother Yeslam had also been sending student pilots to Venice for training.

Yeslam bin Laden is one of three half brothers of Osama bin laden who head the Saudi Bin Laden Group, the parent company of the family's far-flung business ventures, which include construction, telecommunications and finance. He has been called a key figure in the family's business empire.

***

Swiss police questioned Yeslam because one of his companies, Avcon Air Charter, had offered flight training to clients at the Venice flight school attended by some of the hijackers. As a result of what Le Monde called "a still unexplained coincidence," the pilots of Yeslam bin Laden's company trained at Huffman Aviation in Florida, the paper stated.

"I didn't chose that flight school," Yeslam protested. "I don't have contact with my half-brother since over 20 years ago."

Swiss magazine L'Hebdo reported that Swiss federal inspectors were seeking information on the activities of several bin Laden family companies, including Geneva-based Saudi Investment Company, a financial clearinghouse for the family's international investments, and Avcon Business Jets SA, which owned a fleet of private jets which it leased to clients.

In a rare public statement, the head of the bin Laden family business explained that he had only invested in aviation "because I am passionately fond of flying."

But, he said, he was also passionately fond of "tennis, skiing and the cinema." Yeslam said that Avcon "rents planes, provides services to clients, but didn't participate in the instruction of pilots."

Yet Mohamed Atta and his sidekick bodyguard Marwan had told the chief flight instructor at one of their schools that their future plans were with the nationally-owned Saudi airline.

"I asked them (Atta and Marwan) specifically about what their goals were, and they said they wanted to learn to fly so that they could go fly for 'Saudi.' For people coming from that part of the world, 'Saudi' would be the premier airline of the Middle East," stated Tom Hamersley, the terrorists duo's chief flight instructor at Jones Aviation.

Then we learned that, incredibly, four additional 9/11 terrorist suspects at Dekkers schools had fled the U .S. in haste just days before the attack. Three of the fleeing students were Saudi nationals. All four had been training at one of Dekkers' two flight schools. Aviation observers at the airport shook their heads. It heightened the sense of intrigue which swirled around the con troversial Dekkers.

***

News of the additional terror suspects schools broke in accounts of FBI raids on a house in the Miami area.

FBI agents spent two days in South Florida searching an unoccupied Palm Beach County home which had been hastily abandoned by a Saudi family just two days before the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Saudi Mohammed Almasri and his family had first moved into the home in question in July 2000, the FBI said. His son was a student at Huffman Aviation at the same time hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi studied there.

The other three new terror suspects had been training at the Dekkers-owned Ambassador Aviation, in Naples, 100 miles south of Venice.

One of the three fled the U .S. in haste just days before the attack. The sad story of 22 year-old Marwan Mohammed Shemina provides a glimpse into the intrigue going on at Dekkers' schools.

Shemina, who told school officials his father worked for the United Nations in Rome, abruptly ceased training and disappeared under mysterious circumstances days before the 9/11 attack, stated Danielle Clarke, a former flight training executive at the school.

School officials spoke with the FBI about Shemina's sudden departure, she said, as well as the departures of two other Saudi student pilots just before the attack: Kamran Hussain, traveling on a UK passport, and Ahmad Badri, who had a Swedish passport.

Unlike most student pilots, who are enthused to learn to fly, Marwan Shemisa was an extremely reluctant 19 year-old student pilot, said Danielle.

He holed up in his hotel room and wouldn't emerge to begin flight lessons until after his mother had been dispatched from Rome to buck up her son.

"Marwan didn't want to be here," Clarke said, "He arrived two weeks late, took two lessons, and then took sick and stayed in his hotel room for 10 days. When his father called the school, I asked him if we should ship him back."

"Absolutely not, he said. 'He's over there to achieve something and he's not coming back.'

Shortly thereafter his mother arrived, a Libyan woman wear- ing traditional Arab clothing who lived in Rome, and Marwan began taking flight training again, but without any enthusiasm, said Clarke.

"He didn't look at all happy. He appeared very depressed, and only brightened up when talking about playing football (soccer) in the streets of Rome. So one day I asked him, 'what is it with you?' I said 'You don't know how lucky you are to have your parents paying for flight training!"'

"I want to be a football player," he told her.

She asked him if he would like her to relay his desires to his parents. "No. They want me to be a pilot," he replied, "You don't understand, I don't have any say in the matter."

Then, the week before the attack, and just two days shy of com pleting his courses and getting his multi-engine license, Marwan Shemina's father -- who had previously been insistent his son stay and take lessons-abruptly commanded him to leave.

"It's ridiculous, like dropping out of college a few days before the end of your last semester," she explained.

Danielle implored the father to let his son finish his courses. "Couldn't you extend his stay by just two days so he can finish his multi-rating license?" she asked.

His reply: "Absolutely not."

On the unhappy youth's final day at the school, Danielle asked if he was looking forward to going back to Italy.

Even today, Marwan Shemisa's reply is chilling. He had had another change of plans he told Danielle. He was headed for what authorities later called the assembly point for most of the hijackers.

"I'm not going back to Italy," Marwan said. "I'm going to Boston."

"What? Why are you going to Boston?" she asked.

"Because I have to," he said. "You don't understand, 1 don't have a choice."

Several days after his sudden departure the hotel he'd been staying at called the school, asking what they should do with his clothes and several very large trunks, all of which he'd left behind, as if in haste.

Marwan Shemisa disappeared on September 6, 2001, taking a flight to Boston. It is not known for sure if he was on board any of the hijacked planes. The school has not heard from him.

But he was telling the truth about one thing: His father did work at the U.N.

"Eighty per cent of his tuition was being paid for by the United Nations, which was where he said his father worked," said Danielle. "I took it to be a perk of his father's job at the U.N."

There was something else strange, too ... The FBI had been more interested in the two Saudi students that disappeared. They had not appeared concerned with Shemisa.

"But when they returned the school's records to us, there was only one file missing: Marwan Shemisa's," said Danielle Clarke. "That file never reappeared, although we are supposed to have it by law."

***

We were able to get a brief interview with the financier whose money purchased both of Dekkers' flight schools, 70 year-old Wallace Hilliard, of Naples, FL. One of the things we asked him to explain was the large number of Arab students in his flight schools 'marching across the tarmac.'

Hilliard angrily denied reports of the number of Arab students with a terrorist bent who had flocked -- so far inexplicably -- to his and Dekkers' flight schools. He said: "I'm sorry, what you are say ing is grossly untrue. I believe that there were two Arab students, not 22, only two. There were two, period. Two total."

In point of fact, news of the four additional terror suspects brought the current total of 9/11 cadre terrorists known to have been enrolled at flight schools owned by the 'Magic Dutch Boys' to eight.

Rudi Dekker's figure alone stood at five.

We also asked Hilliard about his associations with persons of clearly dubious repute, Dekkers among them.

"I've done some stupid things," Hilliard replied. "I have done some very stupid things with airplanes, and it has cost me lots of money."

One of the 'stupid things' Hilliard is referring to was the seizure of a Lear jet he owned, on the tarmac of Orlando Executive airport in early July of 2000. DEA agents brandishing automatic weapons surrounded the plane before discovering 43 pounds of heroin onboard.

That deal had cost somebody lots of money. We hoped it wasn't Hilliard.
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Re: Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 Cover-Up

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:33 pm

CHAPTER FIFTEEN: CHALK & CHEESE

The world would have little need to take note of Wally Hilliard and Rudi Dekkers were it not for the fact that their purchase of Huffman Aviation, for an undisclosed sum in June of 1999, set in motion a chain of events that ended in tragedy.

It was their business decision which sixteen months later resulted in people hanging at dizzying heights out of windows high above New York.

Atta's Hamburg cadre, and the Arab terrorist bombers of the early 1990's-several of whom also attended flight schools in the U .S.-clustered in a handful of flight schools. The terrorists didn't have complete and unfettered access to any U .S. flight school they pleased. They were funneled through only a few 'special' schools: the Magic Dutch Boys, Airman in Oklahoma, and a couple in Arizona and California. The so-called 20th hijacker, Zacharias Moussaoui, who also has links at the Venice Airport, spent three months at Airman and everything was cool. When he showed up at a flight school in Minnesota not in this "special category," flight instructors at the school called in the FBI the very next day.

Wally Hilliard and Rudi Dekkers weren't even in the flight school business, we slowly discovered. These were not two guys forming a partnership to make a profit selling goods or services.

The Dekkers-Hilliard partnership lost money from the first day it began. There was no hint it mattered to either man.

It is widely known-and confirmed by Hilliard himself in filings at the Sarasota Courthouse -- that the Naples financier lost between five and seven million dollars in his aviation partnerships with Dekkers.

But that was clearly all right with him, because when they bought Huffman Aviation, they were already losing sizable amounts of money every month at the first flight school they'd purchased, in Naples.

"When they bought Huffman, they were already losing $40,000 a month on the Naples school," said Stuart Burchill, a former Hilliard accountant. "It was ridiculous. No one could understand why they'd want to double the pain."

Their decision, to their own accountant, made no business sense. Whatever Dekkers and Hilliard were doing together during the two years and six months between the purchase of Huffman and the 9/11 attack, had nothing to do with prospering in business.

Nor were Dekkers and Hilliard diehard aviation enthusiasts using the flight schools as playthings, or a hobby. Dekkers was far too busy with a variety of illegal ventures to have been any sort of connoisseur of flight.

And while the 70 year-old Wally Hilliard is a pilot, he has an unfortunate 'tic' that would seem to indicate that he could find a more suitable hobby than flying ... He suffers from a narcoleptic condition which causes him to fall asleep at irregular intervals- while at the controls of airplanes he is flying, for example.

So whatever their motivation for turning up at the Venice Airport as new owners of Huffman Aviation, they weren't just two entrepreneurs looking to share in the glorious promise of free enterprise.

The fact is, Rudi Dekkers never made a dime teaching people to fly airplanes, and the 'legend' of Rudi Dekkers as 'flight school owner' is a sham.

This is important information in any real understanding of what happened on 9/11, because the controversial Dekkers is not just a run-of-the-mill con-man and quick-fading historical footnote. Dekkers was at the critical nexus of the terrorist conspiracy.

When Atta and Marwan made their fateful journey to America, when they arrived in Venice it was Rudi Dekkers assigning bunks on this side of the Big Pond.

Records from his flight school were deemed sensitive enough to have merited being escorted back to Washington by Florida Governor Jeb Bush aboard a C-130 cargo plane which left Sarasota less than 24 hours after the September 11 attack.

***

So, if Hilliard and Dekkers weren't in the flight training busi ness, what business were they in? What kind of business were they transacting while terrorists practiced touch and go's on the runways at the Venice Airport?

And why would someone go through the motions of pretending to be in a business they really weren't in?

The answer is simple, straightforward, and, we think, ultimately inescapable: Rudi Dekkers and Wally Hilliard used owning the two flight schools as cover for their other activities.

The first person we asked about Dekkers when we first arrived in Florida was a man who had just recently been pressed back into service, out of nearby McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, because his experience in the early 'SO's running 'Northern Alliance guys' in Afghanistan was deemed useful. He had also been a 'trouble- shooter' during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan. What he told us was chilling.

"Rudi's greedy, and when you're greedy you can be used for some- thing," he muttered darkly. He would offer nothing further.

Charlie Voss put it into perspective, in an interview on his front doorstep six months after the attack. Voss was the former Huffman Aviation bookkeeper who provided a place for Atta and Marwan to stay when they got: to Venice. His house had been surrounded by reporters the day after the attack.

Now things were quieter, and Charlie had some surprising things to say. Clearly, he'd been mulling over the same things we had.

"When something doesn't make obvious business sense," he said, "sometimes it's because things are being done for another reason that doesn't have a lot to do with dollars and cents."

When we asked for a comment on his former boss Dekkers, he said, "His business did not add up."

***

The "business" begin with an article in the June 15, 1999 Sarasota Herald-Tribune announcing the take-over of Huffman Aviation:

"Venice Municipal Airport's flight school and charter and aircraft maintenance services have swapped hands among Naples owners, who own a similar operation called Ambassador Airways at Naples Airport," said the paper.

"They bought the Venice business from Stanley Huffman of Naples, who founded the company 25 years ago."

There were some odd 'anomalies' in the circumstances surrounding the purchase of Huffman Aviation that occasioned comment out at the Venice Airport. When Hilliard and Dekkers arrived brandishing a big roll and proceeding in short order to purchase the flight school, they paid such an inflated price for the business that it appeared to local aviation observers that money was no object.

There was talk. Rumors flew.

"They made the deal overnight," explained Coy Jacobs, who owns Mooney Aviation, a sales and maintenance facility right next door to Huffman Aviation.

"They just blew into town. They did no due diligence to the best of my knowledge. That's a cardinal 'no-no.' I mean, you don't just come in and buy a business like that overnight."

He painted a picture of conditions at the time of the sale.

"Huffman was not for sale three days ago," said Jacob, "and then Rudi shows up with Wally, who owns some Lear jets. They were here a day or two ... met with Stan Huffman, he named a number, they said yes and wrote him a check, and then they notified the City of Venice of what they had done ... after the fact."

"And that's a criteria," explained Jacob. "You cannot transfer properties at this airport, and most federally funded airports, without the governing authority's approval."

"It (the sale) was a shock to everybody at the airport. In fact, the City Council, the City Attorney and I think even for that matter the manager of the airport weren't even aware of it until well after the fact."

If the city of Venice didn't approve the purchase the two were stuck owning a business they couldn't run. They were taking a big financial gamble. What made the two men so confident that local officials would bless the transaction? What had made them sure of getting government approval?

When the sale was announced, Venice City Manager George Hunt told the Gondolier he had not been officially notified of the purchase. "We wish Stan (Huffman) well, and we would welcome Ambassador Airways. They have a fine reputation in Naples."

These are the first words out of Hunts mouth about Rudi Dekkers, and they're wrong. The only reputation Rudi Dekkers enjoyed in Naples was as a deadbeat and occasional scumbag. Rudi wasn't an unknown quantity there at all. He had a tarnished history, which the Venice City Manager could have learned by picking up the phone and asking a few questions, as we did.

Time after time, we discovered that government entities had inexplicably smiled on the fortunes of Dekkers and Hilliard's aviation partnership, until it began to seem as if they had a 'rich uncle' in government somewhere.

The FAA, for example, protected Dekkers on a number of occasions. An aviation mechanic who worked for him told of criminal acts Dekkers committed which the mechanic had been forced by law to report to the PM eighteen thousand feet in the air, safety is an important consideration...

At least its supposed to be.

"Rudi Dekkers did an import of an airplane," the mechanic explained. "We found dents on the front of a wing and replaced sheet metal, and then we found ribs that were crushed. This renders an airplane un-airworthy. And yet he still sold the plane."

"I turned Rudi Dekkers into the PM. They didn't do a damn thing. "

Another aviation mechanic who worked for Dekkers over a period of years, Dave Montgomery, laughed when we asked him if this story could be true. Montgomery said when he found something wrong with an airplane Dekkers bought, Dekkers had fired him. Adding insult to injury, Dekkers then bounced his last payroll check.

John Villada, who managed Wally Hilliard's huge jet fleet, confirmed Montgomery's story. "Dave Montgomery worked for Rudi for three years as his Chief Mechanic till he found something wrong with an airplane Rudi bought Rudi fired him, and then bounced his last payroll check."

Rudi Dekkers reputation at the Naples Airport got so bad, we learned, that he couldn't even buy gas there ... for cash.

"When he bought Huffman Aviation for big bucks he couldn't even pay his rent at the Naples Airport," said a Naples aviation executive, "His reputation as a deadbeat was so bad that the local Fixed Base Operator refused to sell him aviation fuel, even for cash."

Dekkers' reputation in Naples preceded him to Venice, except with government officials like Venice City Manager Hunt. Aviation business owner Coy Jacob said people there knew he had been basically run out of the Naples Airport.

"All we knew was that he was operating a flight school, an unsuccessful flight school in Naples. He had some run-ins with the PM, I think he had lost his license, or had been reprimanded," said Jacob.

A Naples aviation observer, Rob Tillman, confirmed Dekkers record of illegality there. "They got busted by the PM, crashed some airplanes, violated air space enough to get grounded, chartered airplanes with no license ... you name it."

And then there's the problem of Dekkers' 'extensive business aviation experience' cited by newspapers.

Dekkers didn't have any.

"I've always had some suspicions about the way he breezed into town out of nowhere," said someone close to the scene at Huffman. "Just too many odd little things. He has, for example, absolutely no aviation background as far as anyone can tell."

'Breezed into town out of nowhere' and 'no aviation background' were not comments that square with portrayals of Dekkers in news accounts about the purchase of the flight school, which stressed his broad aviation experience.

"Ambassador Airways owners Rudi Dekkers, 42, Naples, president, and Wally Hilliard, 67, also from Naples, are both experienced pilots. Their Ambassador Airways owns several jet aircraft including Lear jets," read one local news account.

Owning a fleet of Lear jets may bestow a certain 'je ne said quoi' but that hardly erases a colorful history of unscrupulous and illegal business practices. Dekkers crossed the line with aviation professionals we spoke to ...

He put lives at risk to make a buck.

"He would take in people's planes to rent out while they were idle," one aviation mechanic who worked for him stated.

"Then he would come to me and want me to put switches on the Hobbes meter. It's like disconnecting an odometer on a car. Its a direct PM violation and an extremely dangerous practice, because you can no longer tell when the plane is due for service," the mechanic explained.

"But he wanted to do it because it let him rent out planes without having to pay the plane's owner their cut."

Huffman was the only full-service fixed base operator, or FBO, at the Venice airport. An FBO sells gas, provides mechanical services and otherwise caters to private aviation, and is usually a center of activity at the airport. In other words, something of a CIVIC resource.

"When Wally found Rudi Dekkers, Dekkers had already been thrown out of Naples as a con artist," said Naples aviation observer Rob Tillman. "Plus he had tax problems. He didn't pay tax on shit. And this is the guy to whom Wally sold Florida Air."

"Who approved Dekkers buying the FBO in Venice?" asked an irate aviation insider at the Venice Airport. "He'd been thrown out of Naples ... how come they let him buy the 'diamond' of Venice?"

Rudi Dekkers literally arrived with a bang at the newly-purchased Huffman Aviation's headquarters, according to Charlie Voss. "On his first day running the company, he took a girl into his office and noisily copulated with her on his desk, just to let everyone know that he was the new rooster in town. Everybody could hear them. It was disgusting."

We found a number of people willing to talk about Dekkers on the record.

We heard from numerous sources that Rudi Dekkers had been the object of a serious multi-agency federal investigation during the mid-90's. Apparently authorities found a number of fruitful investigative leads to pursue...

"Rudi owned a computer business doing illegal activities at the Naples Airport," explained Tillman. "When Wally and Rudi were romancing, Rudi was smuggling aircraft back into the U.S. over the Arctic. "

International Computer Products was the name of Dekkers' computer firm, active during the 1990's, we learned.

Naples aviation executive John Vellada confirmed the accounts. "There was a warrant for Rudi's arrest for smuggling computer chips," he told us. "Both the DEA and u.s. Customs were interested in him back in '93 and '94."

"Everything he ever did, from A to Z, was illegal."

***

A major source of conjecture around the airports in both Naples and Venice was what were the two partners doing together. They were considered an Odd Couple-universally, so far as we can tell-by observers at both airports.

***

Danielle Clarke was a French pilot who moved to Florida after spending twenty years as a flight instructor in Britain. She became Dekkers' and Hilliard's flight manager at Ambassador Aviation.

"It was an unholy alliance, unless there was a reason for that alliance to be," she told us. They were just so incongruous. It was like watching the Pope and Saddam Hussein together."

"One of the big topics of conversation around the Naples Airport was 'what do you think about the Wally situation?"'

"We were all trying to figure out Wally's relationship with Rudi. They were like 'chalk and cheese.' Nobody ever understood how they came together, but they were always together," said Clarke.

Amanda Keller used an American equivalent of 'chalk and cheese' when she described seeing the corpulent Dekkers and the slight Hilliard together at Huffman.

"It was funny to see the chubby guy and the little guy walking together. They were like Abbott and Costello or something."

Rudi Dekkers had an erratic sense of cash management, that often led to speculation among aviation observers. He went from dead broke to flashing a Big Roll in the blink of an eye.

"Rudi would write a lot of bad checks, disappear for a while, and come back with lots of cash," an airport observer recalled.

"Huffman Aviation was a little jewel when he bought it, and it had a really good reputation," another aviation executive told us. "He took a profitable business and ran it right into the ground. So he's got a business that's losing money hand over fist, and yet he was awash in cash. It just doesn't add up right."

"I can recall times when Dekkers owed money to everyone at the (Naples) airport," said a business owner there. "And then he would leave town for three weeks or so in the Lear, and come back flush."

Rudi Dekkers' financial profile changed overnight, said Coy Jacob in Venice. "Just about a year before he bought Huffman, he asked me for a ride from Venice to Naples, an airplane ride, which is maybe a 20 minute flight. I said yeah, sure, I'll take you down there with one of my pilots if you buy the gas," Jacob related.

"He didn't even have the money to buy gas for an airplane to go down and back, and yet a year later he shows up and plops a million seven, a million eight or two million dollars on the table as if it were paper money."

People who work in general aviation in Venice and Naples have a seemingly unlimited supply of stories portraying Dekkers as a shady character.

"I spent 5 years working at an avionics shop in Naples," one aviation mechanic told us. "There were a lot of things about the guy that just did not add up. He's claimed to me, for instance, that's he's a New York cop. He's even got a plaque on his wall, with words to that effect."

"A New York cop? You tell me: How does a Dutch con artist get a plaque claiming he's an officer with the New York Police Department?"

His question has been ringing in our ears for a long time. It was also, perhaps just coincidentally, the second reference to the NYPD we'd heard recently in South West Florida. The first had been when Amanda Keller recommended someone who could confirm a story about Mohamed Atta harassing her at work.

"The bouncer at Fantasies & Lingerie was a big bald guy named Nick, a retired NY City detective," she said. "You could talk to him."

But, Rudi Dekkers was not the only Dutch national flight school owner at the Venice Airport with curious and unexplained associations. The second 'Magic Dutch Boy' could be equally mysterious, according to Coy Jacob.

"Arne Kruithof sat across from my desk one day and told me he had trained at a U.S. military installation in southeast Missouri," said Jacob.

"I'm from Missouri, and there aren't any military bases there training foreign nationals that I know of. But the thing I kept wondering was" 'What's a Dutch national doing training at a secure U .S. military facility?"'

Dekkers had a specific objective in mind when he came to Venice, witnesses said. He wanted to operate in complete privacy ...

"I know that he (Dekkers) wanted to buyout everybody on the block, so to speak, and he wanted to have a monopoly on the airport," chief flight instructor Hammersley told us. "That was one of his goals. Then, I just saw it as a short Dutch man with a French complex, called a Napoleon complex."

Dekkers and Hilliard exhibited a peculiar secretiveness, unusual in small town businessmen.

"I flew down to Naples one day, and the deputy in charge of airport security said something funny," Coy Jacob told us.

"He said, 'Wally and Rudi never talk inside a building, they go out to an airplane and talk inside the plane."'

***

But it was Rudi Dekkers we heard came from people aware of his penchant for sexually harassing young female employees, some as young as eighteen, that removed any doubts about his character for us.

"I personally witnessed him sneak up behind this kid that worked for him and stick something that looked like a broom handle up the back of her skirt," stated one eyewitness angrily. "And Dekkers is a fat slob of a middle-aged guy. It was sick."

"Even though he's married he was always after the young girls who worked for him to take little 'rides' with him in his helicopter, always for a half an hour or so at a time."

Dekkers settled one lawsuit brought by Nicole Antini, an 18 year-old girl who used to work for him, the Gondolier reported. Records were sealed, and the settlement enjoined the girl to keep silent, which she did.

But when the beefy Dutch national tried to renege on the set tlement's terms, the young girl's attorney filed a motion to enforce the settlement agreement, and the sealed complaint became public information for the first time.

It included contemporaneous notes taken by Nicole and painted a vivid portrait of life at Huffman Aviation during the time Atta and Marwan were there.

"As long as I worked at Huffman Aviation I have been subjected to sexual harassment by Rudi Dekkers," the girl told the court.

"Can I bite into you?" Dekkers asked her on one occasion, stated her notes. Told that he was 'sick,' Dekkers' replied, "I know, I just can't help it. Look at you: your hair, your face, your ass ... you're a hot girl!"

On another occasion the middle-aged Dutch national asked his young female employee, barely out of high school, if he could "buy her."

"Buy me what?" she responds.

"You know, just buy you. It should be like in the olden days. I should be able to just buy you," Dekkers replied.

In the same conversation, Dekkers wondered aloud what the reaction would be if someone walked into his office while he was tucking his shirt back into his pants.

"Wouldn't that be funny if somebody walked in now as I'm putting my shirt away? They would think I was fucking you!"

Once Dekkers asked her, "Did you see that Russian girl I had in here? I couldn't hire her, because she's Russian. But I did tell her I had a job for her."

"In the pilot shop?" the young employee asked.

"No, I told her she could give me a blow job," Dekkers replied.

Dekkers, the girl wrote, told her, "You're beautiful when you're mad."

To which she replied, "You have no right touching my pants."

***

The young woman's allegations were confirmed by numerous other women who had close contact with him, including Amanda Keller, Mohamed Atta's former live-in girlfriend, who knew Dekkers from waiting in the flight school lounge for Atta to land.

"Rudi Dekkers ... He's a total pervert," she said. "A really nasty, nasty man."

"He said to me one time, 'What would it take for me to have a piece of you?' I told him I didn't know what he was talking about. He said, 'Oh come on you know what I mean,"' Keller told us.

"He's lucky she (Nicole) was the only one with enough nerve to sue him," said a woman close to a Huffman executive. "He sexually harassed nearly every girl there, including the young 18 year-olds working in the restaurant."

Almost everyone at the small Venice Airport was aware of numerous allegations of sexual harassment against him. "Yeah, I heard that," Coy Jacob said. "That was the rumor around the airport."

"The airport is a small community. It's like a microcosm of society, most airports are. People- women leave, and I've heard that there have been problems down there."

His former office manager in Venice, Sue DeAngelis, wouldn't be specific with her complaints about sexual harassment from her boss. She said she was thinking of suing him herself. But she did say, a little grimly, "I put up with a lot of stuff from him. It was ugly. My experience with Rudi was unbelievable."

***

One of Mohamed Atta's flight instructors at Huffman, Greg Woods, wrote to us about how hellish an experience it had been awaiting "the biweekly arrival of a depraved cuckoo bird in his private helicopter, screaming insults at various employees, sexually harassing the purposely chosen young and unsuspecting office workers and leaving everyone dazed and unbelieving at the upheaval of their routines."

The man whose glib tale about the terrorist hijackers walking in his front door was the foundation for the FBI's story about them in this country is a liar, a cheat and a thief, yet the FBI expected the American people to believe him, because without Rudi Dekkers' testimony the official story was back at Square One.

Maybe that's why although he was interviewed by every 'news- hour journalist' in America, there was nary a hardball question from the lot of them.

Local newsmen observed that, through it all, Dekkers had been acting as unconcerned as a diplomat with a parking ticket.

"He acted like he had some kind of diplomatic immunity," Gondolier Editor Bob Mudge said, shaking his head at the memory.

Maybe Dekkers did.

Former bookkeeper Charlie Voss told of hearing him talk with his bankers in ways ordinary people wouldn't, for example. "I've heard banks call him up 'cuz he's bouncing checks in his accounts, and heard him say to them, 'I haven't got time to keep track of that."

***

The character -- or lack of same -- of Rudi Dekkers matters for only one reason. If Dekkers is lying about being an innocent and victimized business owner, then Mohamed Atta didn't 'just happen' to stumble into his Venice, Florida flight school, and, in Dekkers we would be looking at the 'Southeast Regional Manager' for the global network said to have assisted the hijackers.

With what we've already learned about Rudi Dekkers, we didn't expect that his track record for telling the truth would be all that great ... And we were right. He was the opposite of a 'straight- shooter', said people who know him well.

"I've certainly had occasions when Mr. Dekkers had told me something that turned out not to be true," said Venice Gondolier Editor Bob Mudge with a smile.

"It's common knowledge around the airport," said Coy Jacob. "In fact the phrase you hear a lot of times is 'you can't believe what he says.' He doesn't have a lot of credibility."

Former employee Charlie Voss was "not even a short-time friend of Rudi's," he told us. "I don't have too much to say about him. But if his lips are moving, he's lying. And if he's not lying, his lips ain't moving."

From the day of the attack until now there has been an un spoken question hanging in the air at the Venice Airport, said a flight instructor who knew both Dutch national flight school owners well. "To what extent he would go to succeed?" asked Tom Hammersley.

He shrugged. "I don't know his character well enough to comment on it. I think in a lot of ways he's very ambitious."

Over the placid golf courses and shuffleboard courts dotting the Florida Gulf Coast during the year before the attack, the clock was ticking. But on the ground the only sound was the noise made by Dekkers himself. Well before the 9111 attack he was being characterized in the local Venice Gondolier as a fast talking con-man of dubious repute. A headline from the day after the attack read: "Huffman Aviation no stranger to headlines."

"Huffman Aviation Inc. has had problems in the last few months with the city of Venice, Sarasota County and the state of Florida, but the school keeps flying," the paper reported.

Huffman Aviation wasn't paying its rent out at the airport. Dekkers was a deadbeat.

"I don't think I knew anything at all about Rudi, even his taking over of Huffman, until April or maybe early May of last year when he missed a rent payment -- right after I found out he was behind on several months rent," said Bob Mudge, editor of the Venice Gondolier.

"The only fixed based operator at the Venice Municipal Airport was I think at that time three months behind in his rent and had gotten a demand letter being threatened with eviction."

Dekkers was receiving a rolling drumbeat of bad press. "Huffman Rent Is Late Again," ran the paper's May 12, 2001 headline.

"When Huffman Aviation paid three months of overdue rent, company president Rudi Dekkers said the rent wouldn't be late again. 'No, we won't have this any more,' he said during an interview," the paper reported.

Coverage got even less flattering as time went by: "City Threatens Lessee With Eviction, Again," was the embarrassing headline on June 9, 2001, just three months before the terrorist attack.

Not threatened with eviction. Threatened with eviction again.

"Huffman Aviation, Inc. is again on notice from the city to catch up on its rent payments or face eviction from the airport," said the paper.

Nothing about Dekkers' rent status had changed by mid-summer. The continuing saga made Huffman Aviation a regular item in local coverage.

"Huffman Rent Late Again," headlined the Gondolier in late July. "For the sixth straight month, Huffman Aviation, Inc. has failed to pay its rent to the city on time," read the account.

***

When, less than a month before the September 11th tragedy, Rudi Dekkers finally paid Huffman Aviation's rent, even that was considered newsworthy.

"Huffman pays rent," the paper headlined.

It must have been good for a chuckle. But back when the Gondolier was highlighting Rudi Dekkers' shortfalls, it wasn't of interest, except locally. No one thought to question Dekkers about how he came to be suddenly flush with cash. He wasn't notorious, yet.

But when we first learned the 'news' -- months after 9/11 -- that he had finally managed to pay Huffman Aviation's rent on time, our blood went cold. Because where did he come up with the money?

If something changed in Rudi Dekkers financial condition just three weeks before the attack, we wanted to see him hauled in for questioning.

Another question was why Dekkers, whose 'clients' were forking over more than double the going rate for flight training, had always been late paying his rent.

Even after collecting a 'terrorist surcharge, Dekkers came up short. We weren't the only ones who wondered. Bill Warner, a private investigator in Sarasota probing so-far unpublicized connections there to the terrorist conspiracy, said he couldn't believe what he was seeing.

"General aviation has been in serious downturn since the attack. At the Venice Airport, it's been -- understandably -- even worse ... Remember the stories about how Rudi Dekkers had so much trouble coming up with his rent at the airport?" he asked.

"Rudi Dekkers isn't having trouble paying his rent anymore," he said, a little in awe of the implications of what he was saying.

Less than a month before the September 11th attack, things changed for the better for 'flight school owner' Dekkers.

Rudi finally got caught up on his rent. Imagine that.

***

In the aftermath of the attack, while general aviation suffered, every aviation concern at the Venice Airport was late at least once with their monthly rent.

***

Every business but one...

Before the attack Rudi Dekkers' Huffman Aviation became a standing joke in Venice, Florida because he couldn't pay the rent on time. But after the attack?

Even with the disastrous affect 9/11 had on general aviation, with every aviation concern at the airport missing payments, one business paid on time each and every month, like clockwork.

Huffman Aviation.
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Re: Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 Cover-Up

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:34 pm

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: "RUDI THE CROOK"

Since terror flight school owner Rudi Dekkers was not in any regular sense a businessman, we began to entertain slightly-darker scenarios for what he was doing and how he 'just happened' to be in such close proximity to Mohamed Atta's terrorist cadre.

Dekkers repeatedly evinced lack of interest in running the business side of Huffman Aviation, the Venice FBO, the bread and butter of the operation, and this fact was noted by the Venice aviation community.

"People with helicopters at FBOs are generally looking to defray their expenses by renting out things like helicopters. That's what they're in business for," explained Danny Schultz, who's been fly ing for fifteen years in the skies over Southwest Florida. He said he's still puzzled at the lack of interest shown by Dekkers in his nominal business.

"I needed to rent a helicopter for a property appraisal a while back," he continued, citing an example. "I called his (Dekkers) office several days in advance, because he was the local chopper supplier, he's got the FBO in Venice. And they told me he would call me back. It was a sizable usage of the chopper, which would be very financially rewarding. But he never got back to me. He didn't even give me the courtesy of a reply."

"All I can say is that, at the time, I thought it was odd," stated Schultz, shaking his head. "And this was long before Rudi became famous after 9/11."

Whatever Rudi Dekkers was about, it wasn't making a buck in general aviation. Longtime local pilot Schultz described abrupt changes in the aviation 'scene' once Dekkers took over at Huff man ...

"We have a designated flight examiner at our small airport, he was one of the few in this area," explained Schultz. "He stayed busy most of the time with foreign students, giving them their FAA check-rides. I often went to lunch with him, and these folks would come too, and some of them could hardly speak English. They were from places like Libya; various countries in the Middle East."

It hadn't always been that way in Southwest Florida.

"This was a recent influx of this type of trainee," said Schultz.

And that's why understanding the true identity of the Dutch national who in 1999 purchased Huffman Aviation is so important: Rudi Dekkers was responsible for the flood of Arab student pilots that began "marching across the tarmac."

Mohamed Atta and his Hamburg cadre were part of that 'flood.'

So, who is Rudi Dekkers?

We interviewed a number of people who worked with or for Dekkers in the last few years, they were unanimous in the opinion that Dekkers is a highly dubious character.

Danielle Clarke has observed Dekkers close-up at the Naples Airport since the early 1990's. Born in Lyons, France, she was pas sionate about flying since girlhood. She moved to Naples, Florida a decade ago, after a long marriage to an English flight instructor, during which they taught flying in Britain. When he died, she told us, it was time for a change of scene.

And Florida had a reputation as a sunny place.

"Rudi was a wheeler-dealer back to 1990 in Naples," she recalled. "First time I saw him I said to myself, 'There's a crook! Never get associated with him. He'll be bankrupt before the end of the year.' Then, after I'd seen him for a while, I'd say to myself, 'There goes Rudi the Crook."

Danielle was a shrewd judge of human nature, apparently, because Rudi is a crook. He's wanted in his native country. We learned from a law enforcement source in Venice that after Dutch authorities recognized him during his many appearances on CNN, he was re-indicted on financial charges in the Netherlands. The cop credited 'Larry King Live' with performing a function usually reserved for America's Most Wanted.

Even in the U.S., ordinarily such a friendly and forgiving place for him, Dekkers' legal troubles were mounting. By the end of 2002 he had also been indicted on a charge of criminal fraud by the state of Florida. When we called Dekkers for comment on his indictment, he professed to be unaware of any pending charges.

"My lawyer in the Netherlands has said nothing to me about any indictment," he said. "I can't imagine that I could have done anything wrong."

The Florida State's Attorney was telling a different story. "Dekkers owes $3 million to the government of the Netherlands, from the mid-1990's, we discovered," stated Florida State's At torney Jonathan Greene, leading the prosecution of Dekkers in Sarasota.

Dekkers owed $3 million in the Netherlands as the result of pledging assets he didn't own to secure loans he had no intention of repaying, the same crime for which he'd just been charged in Florida.

After a judge in Sarasota signed a warrant for Dekkers' arrest, the local Gondolier called him for a comment.

Dekkers said: "Wow, I'm surprised."

Florida State's Attorney Greene sounded faintly amused at the intrigue swirling around Dekkers.

"I knew nothing about Rudi Dekkers, except the particulars of this one charge, but I've learned more," he said, figuratively rolling his eyes. "I've gotten at least 15 to 20 calls, for example, just to congratulate me for charging him."

"There was also a Federal investigation alleging illegal ex portation of technology against him a while back, " Greene told us. "They're working on some Federal stuff on him now."

This confirmed a big piece of the 'Rudi Dekkers puzzle.' We'd been hearing, from numerous sources, that Dekkers had been the subject of a multi-agency federal investigation in the mid-90's. An investigation in which several federal agencies pool resources must have indicated some strong federal interest in Rudi Dekkers' activities.

John Vellada, the tanned and smiling son of an expatriate Cuban family who came to America in the early '60's, knew Dekkers when he was exciting all that federal attention. He was also, until recently, the jet manager for Wally Hilliard's fleet of planes.

"There was a warrant for Rudi's arrest for smuggling computer chips. Both the DEA and U.S. Customs were interested in him back in '93 and '94," he said.

"What I heard was that he was buying the chips, taking boxes and putting a certain amount of chips in, and then hiding the rest underneath to evade customs."

"He has a warrant in Holland for smuggling in chips," Vellada said. "He's not allowed back in Holland. He got busted for smug gling chips and money fraud. I remember when DEA, Customs, everyone was after him over here."

To have aroused the interest of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Dekkers must have been involved with smuggling some thing besides computer chips ...

"Why was the DEA interested in Rudi? Nobody ever knew. That was everyone's big question," Villada replied. "All I know is the DEA was here, US Customs, Holland officials ... That's when I learned he had had to flee Holland."

We had confirmation from Florida State's Attorney Jonathan Greene that it was true. Dekkers had been under suspicion of il legal exportation of high technology, Greene had said. So a man wanted in his home country, and also the target of a multi-agency federal investigation, was invited to testify in front of the Congress of the United States of America, where he was free with tips on preventing future terrorist attacks.

How was this possible?

Even more importantly, after the 9/11 attack Rudi Dekkers had been seemingly instantly relieved of suspicion. No journalist inquired about whether he had been engaging in illegal activity at the same time the terrorist conspiracy was making use of his facilities.

We called the Netherlands Embassy, Washington, D.C.. Was it true Dekkers was a wanted man in Holland?

"We don't give this information out to journalists," explained Embassy spokesman Harry De Witt, who nonetheless said "you can make what you will of the fact that I am referring you to the Min istry of Justice for an explanation. I've been told to say nothing."

The man at Huffman Aviation standing in front of the TV cameras, Rudi Dekkers, was a linchpin in the official story. His testimony had shaped the initial accounts of the hijackers.

Why had Dekkers been anointed designated Interview-EE? Didn't the U.S. know Dekkers was a crook before he went on television? There is only one answer, we think. Rudi Dekkers was one of their own, or he belonged to them, at least. He said what they wanted him to say ... because he had to.

He was a criminal. He had been caught by federal authorities back in the mid-90's. But he had never been charged. Why not?

The answer is simple, and yet stunning: Rudi Dekkers had 'rolled," and become a government 'confidential informant.' He was, in criminal parlance, "working off a beef."

In the dozens of sound bites he fed to the world's media about Atta and Marwan in the days after the attack, he lied, and lied effectively ... for the people for whom he worked. They even coached him on what to say.

***

This explains how two Dutch nationals, Kruithof and Dekkers, could each buy flight training schools at the off-the-beaten-track Venice Airport, and not face questioning about it later when three of their students are found to be piloting planes used as guided missiles on a September morning.

There were people taken into Federal custody whose connections with the terrorists were far less suspicious than theirs.

Plus, both men were foreign nationals presumed to be flight risks as a matter of law.

Yet neither was being held.

***

While dozens of journalists milled aimlessly at Huffman Aviation in the frenzied days after the attack, only one noted that Dekkers' story kept changing. Reporter Rochelle Renford expressed her suspicions about Dekkers on September 29, 2001, in the Sarasota Weekly Planet. "Would it be reasonable to expect Dekkers to give the same information to every news outlet?" she asked.

"Perhaps. But that was not the case. When Dekkers first appeared before the press on the day after the attack, this is what he said; He didn't know the suspects. He wasn't the one who took their money so he was unsure how they had paid for their training. He didn't see their passports so he wasn't sure where they were from. He denied having had many interactions with them at all."

"On Wednesday, he told some reporters, including me, that his interaction with the two suspects came from a couple of brief conversations when he passed them in the halls," Renford wrote. "His employees had dealt with their enrollment."

"But by Sunday's reports, Dekkers was serving up anecdotes about the two men, telling one reporter, 'He sat right there last year when he came to talk to me about taking lessons here."'

According to Renford, on the day after the attack a reporter from the New York Times asked Dekkers about reports that the two men (Atta and Al-Shehhi) were from Germany.

"Didn't it strike you as odd that they were from Germany? They didn't look German, did they?"

"Don't tell me what people tell you," Dekkers barked in response. "I have never heard that they're from Germany. I have never heard that they speak German." Renford wrote.

***

"Dekkers gave a different answer on Larry King Live. Now he did know where they were from ... Dekkers now recalled that Atta told him he had come from Germany. But when Dekkers, a Dutch native, began speaking to Atta in German, the Middle Eastern man just got up and walked out of his office. Dekkers said he found it odd."

"Whereas on Wednesday he'd blasted a reporter for asking about a German connection," wrote Renford, "on Thursday he told me an anecdote about one of the suspects saying he was German."

"Dekkers wasn't just remembering new details," she concluded. "He was learning how to tell a story."

Because national reporters apparently had no clue about his shady local reputation, and his inability for six months straight to pay his rent on time, no one questioned how Dekkers had come to be so flush with cash just three weeks before the attack.

But it did strike some people as strange, like Bill Warner, a private investigator in Sarasota who made it his business to delve into Rudi Dekkers' financial affairs to explain his sudden pre-9/11 change in liquidity.

"Rudi Dekkers somehow came up with $10,000 in late October (2001)," he told us, "to finally pay off the woman's (Nicole Antini) sex ual harassment suit. He also came up with $56,000 in early November to pay off another law suit with FH1100 Manufacturing Corp."

"But he had filed a UCC with M&I Bank Northeast for all inventory of Huffman Aviation way back in March of 2000. So he appears to have had no source of additional financing for this $65,000 cash outlay in late October and early November 2001."

"There are enough judgments in his name and his companies name to paper his office walls," said Warner. "How do you obtain that much cash under such severe conditions?"

If somebody had been 'protecting' Rudi Dekkers from financial harm, all that changed with 'the INS thing' six months after 9/11, said airport insider Max Burge.

"Rudi got indicted because he embarrassed the President of the United States with the INS bullshit."

The "INS bullshit" refers to Rudi Dekkers' return to the national stage exactly six months to the day after the attack. He'd gotten a second 15 minutes of fame and made headlines again when he called in reporters to reveal a government bungle when he received in the mail, on the six month anniversary of the attack, INS approval of visas for Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi.

It had been a very bad day for the INS. In addition to provoking "outrage" on Capital Hill, the hapless INS's bungling was said to have made even President George W Bush "pretty hot."

The CIA and FBI had been taking all the post-9/11 heat.

But suddenly the tide of public opinion turned against the lowly INS, and a finger of blame began to be pointed towards what was no doubt a swell bunch of guys forced to spend their time standing around in the hot sun at border crossings doing their best to look the other way. It didn't seem fair.

Dekkers displayed the INS letter to reporters. He said the arrival of the yellow INS forms had come as a shock.

"We thought we had put this behind us," he said. "And it had to happen right on the six-month anniversary."

"Poor Rudi" caught the public relations break of the new century. The cameras were rolling again, and he was back in the limelight -- jetting to Washington, D.C., this time to advise the INS on how they might improve their system.

Even The New York Times raised an eyebrow. "The error seemed particularly difficult to explain, because Mr. Atta and Mr. Al-Shehhi were among the most infamous of the 19 hijackers," said the Times.

It was a triumphant performance for Dekkers, who said he viewed the INS mistake as long-sought vindication. He told re porters, "When they hit the buildings they were approved to be here. I could not show (until now) that we applied for the right paperwork. "Therefore I am happy that I can do that now."

A reporters asked: "So you feel vindicated?"

"Yes," Dekkers replied. "I don't expect when I get in on Monday morning to get two permits for Atta and Al-Shehhi. I thought they were behind me already and my life goes on."

When we saw him speak these words on camera, we thought: Not so fast, pal.

He was clearly enjoying the moment, however, and dispensed some advice to the American government. "The flight schools didn't do anything wrong. The government needs to look at itself and look at procedures and see what they can change so this will not happen again. "

Dekkers, at that point, seemed to need some kind of turnaround in his fortunes to alleviate all the bad publicity he had been getting locally. A Gondolier editorial even suggested, for the first time, that it might be time for Dekkers to go. "If he won't be more helpful, the city should re-examine whether it wants Dekkers' business to remain at the airport," said the editorial.

When we originally asked people in Venice how they had felt on learning the news that the terrorist pilots had trained right in their town, a woman in the deli of Publix market echoed widespread community sentiment when she told us, "They wanted to go burn down the airport."

So, slipping quietly out of town would have seemed the outcome the Dutch national would be desperately seeking. But Dekkers called attention to himself just when he should have been laying low. And now the President of the Unites States himself was pissed. Certainly no one enjoys being left hanging, twisting slowly, slowly, in the wind.

We remembered that budding screenwriters are taught that sometimes the best thing that could possibly happen to your character turns out to be the worst thing. Because that's the way life is.

Rudi's second moment in the headlines would come back to haunt him. Aviation consultant Max Burge told us, "He hasn't been protected for at least a month."

It was a measure of revenge for Burge. Rudi and Max had crossed swords in an aviation deal. Dekkers had looked at him, Max said and sneered: "You're not a player."

Now Max Burge was returning the favor. He said, proudly, "I made sure that the indictment developed. I made sure Wally had the right attorney."

The first time we met him, Max Burge had identified himself as a business consultant for the American government. He was a square-jawed, no-nonsense, former Marine and riverboat pilot from Mississippi, in Venice to broker the sale of Huffman Aviation to new owners. It appeared he might be playing an unofficial role at the Venice Airport; a position that might, in hindsight, have been filled a little sooner.

Max had had business at the Venice Airport with some of the 'players' involved, he told us, so after 9/11 he had checked "with some people" to ascertain if any of his business associates at the Airport had any culpability in the attack.

"I was told that Rudi doesn't check out clear," he said. "When I asked about Dekkers, I was told, 'He's bigger than national. He's transnational.' And I was warned to stay away from him."

Something had now changed, apparently, because Burge was talking about Dekkers.

"In the drive to indict Rudi," he told us, smiling, "virtually every branch of the U.S. government lent a helping hand. Everybody offered to help in any way they could. The INS was especially helpful."

"I hear Rudi owes $5.5 million to Wally," he tossed out casually. "I hear Rudi's helicopter has a stolen government engine in it."

"His indictment opens up Pandora's Box," Burge concluded. "If he runs, you'll have it. It's also about getting a hold of him. And it opens up a big can of worms."

We couldn't believe it. There it was. The can of worms we'd been waiting for.

Burge made a prediction. "If he doesn't flee, he'll be arrested in the next couple of weeks."

He was.

When Rudi Dekkers tried to use the INS snafu to his public relations advantage, even as he was claiming to feel "vindicated," new details were being released that showed he was nothing of the kind.

Dekkers shared the now-famous INS form with the Associated Press, which noted that, on the visa application, Atta's name is misspelled "Mohomed." It was an understandable mistake, since the Huffman Aviation assistant who filled them out, 18 year-old Nicole Antini, was just then being sexually harassed by a middle-aged Dutch boor.

We saw something else important; the AP said that the INS documents indicated the academic term cost each of the two terrorist pilots $27,300. This was now the third, and highest, figure that had come out, since somehow the exact amount Dekkers charged the terrorists was one of those things that never gets pinned down.

Dekkers had changed his story twice. And now it was revealed that Atta and Al-Shehhi had paid nearly $30K each, almost $60,000 between them.

Dekkers had been quoted in numerous places saying that be tween his two schools he had been training 500 foreign nationals a year. And 500x $30,000 is a fairly significant 7-figure number. So how come, out at the Venice Airport, Dekkers had been unable to pay his rent?

It was clear that Rudi Dekkers was more than an innocent business owner victimized by wily terrorists. There was a darker reality lurking behind his widely-promoted public persona.

For example, we learned to our amazement that at the same time Dekkers had been unable to pay Huffman Aviation's rent for six months in a row, he had been launching an airline.

We weren't the only ones taken aback at this development. There had been amazement at the Venice Airport as well ...

"When we heard that Hilliard and Dekkers were starting an airline by early 2001, everybody at the airport's jaw dropped," Coy Jacob told us. "When someone walked in my office and told me Dekkers was starting an airline, I told him 'Sure, and I'm build ing a shuttle launch facility here at the Venice Airport. That's how ridiculous it was."

***

Yet, we found a glowing paean to Dekkers' business acumen in a Sarasota Herald Tribune article on Rudi's new airline, called Florida Air, or FLAIR.

"Run by an ambitious, optimistic and fast-talking Dutch citizen named Rudi Dekkers, the airline, using 11-seat Cessna Grand Caravans it borrowed from Alaska Air subsidiary Harbor Air, opened for business February, 15. By March, it added Jacksonville to its route list, and if the airline catches on with Florida travelers it might expand to other cities, including Pensacola, Atlanta and Savannah, Ga."

And right about then was when we learned that Dekkers' partner in his new airline was in business with the Mob.
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