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 9:34 pm

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: SECRETARY'S DAY

In the history of crime in America the golden age of bank robbery was supposedly the 1930's, a decade that spawned the legends of John Dillinger, Bonnie & Clyde, and Willie Sutton, famous for robbing banks because "that was where the money was." But perhaps the real Gilded Age of Crime will someday be recognized as having been our own ... After all, more cash just disappeared at Enron than has ever been stolen in all the bank robberies in America put together. And Enron is just one example, and may just be the tip of the iceberg ...

In the Spring of 2001 -- while Mohamed Atta was at his school -- Rudi Dekkers did something so incredible that we spent over a year examining it in befuddled amazement. At the same time he was receiving the most painful kind of humiliating coverage in the local press ("Huffman Rent Is Late, Again"), Rudi Dekkers and Wally Hilliard blithely launched an airline.

They called it Florida Air, or FLAIR.

We were not surprised to discover no one in the local aviation community thought the move made any business sense. All agreed that FLAIR was a doomed venture from day one. Once again, the question was why were they doing it. If both had not had business with Mohamed Atta, it might not have mattered.

But they had.

They chose, as partner, a man named Rick Boehlke, who owned an air carrier called Harbor Air, in Gig Harbor, Washington. Boehlke was also, just then, a participant in Portland, OR., in the $340 million looting of pension funds of mostly Mob-led unions, like the Laborers Union.

We wondered: who had the temerity to steal pension money from Mob-led unions? Then we learned newspapers were calling the looting "Mob-led", too.

What were the odds that Rudi Dekkers and Wally Hilliard would go looking for a business partner and come up with a guy with Mob ties who's helping pull off a spectacular $300 million heist?

Was this just wretched bad luck, on top of the misfortune they'd already experienced because their flight school had become a magnet for terrorists?

Wally and Rudi must have been two really star-crossed dudes ... Because if they weren't, then something sinister was going on.

***

Florida Air, the new airline, used Rick Boehlke's Harbor Air license to fly. Boehlke also ended up supplying the new airline with both planes and pilots. What Dekkers and Hilliard were bringing to the party was an open question. Meanwhile, Mohamed Atta was still at Huffman Aviation, doing no one knows quite what.

Was it outside the realm of possibility that all three men -- Dekkers, Boehlke, and Hilliard -- worked for the same company?

A company, or network, specializing in 'niches' like looting pension funds and training terrorists to fly?

Or ... was this just another freak coincidence? What are the odds, that the men who helped terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta establish his American beachhead would be in business with a partner who robs banks ... from the inside?

However it played out, our understanding of what the terrorist conspiracy was doing in Florida would be shaped by what it was Rudi Dekkers and Wally Hilliard were discovered to have been doing -- and with whom -- while Mohamed Atta practiced touch and go's at their facilities in Venice and Naples.

Florida Air launched with great fanfare in the Spring of 2001. Dekkers and Hilliard had started another aviation business that did not make business sense.

During its brief two-month existence, Mohamed Atta may well have flown for the airline as a co- ilot. No one will admit it, but there were terrorists inside the cockpit of an American airline plane during the year 2001 who didn't need box-cutters to get there.

We discovered that the chance to fly as a commercial pilot with Florida Air, after taking flight training at "sister company" Huffman Aviation, had been a big part of Rudi Dekkers European sales pitch, and was played up in the company's advertising.

"I kept ads from flying magazines from 2000," said Bill Bersch, a former manager at Huffman. "'Come to Huffman to train, and then fly with our Florida Air airline."'

"The flight school was advertised as a feed into Florida Air as future employer of Huffman's flight school students. Florida Air put the ads in everywhere, but when it came down to it they couldn't offer flying jobs, because there wasn't an airline for very long."

While this would seem to be a pretty serious crime, there had been no FAA investigation, which isn't surprising. During the course of his 'aviation career' in Florida, Rudi Dekkers received so many free "passes" from the FAA that they should enshrine it with an exhibit at the Air & Space Museum.

When Dekkers and Hilliard's short-lived airline became germane to the 9/11 investigation, Rick Boehlke and Rudi Dekkers competed to see who could heap the most scorn on the other, attempting to divert attention from themselves. As someone once said, there's no honor among thieves.

Boehlke accused Dekkers of not having any experience running a commuter airline and training facility. "He (Dekkers) was an oxymoron the day I met him," Boehlke told Portland, Oregon KABC reporter Eric Mason. "I can't believe anyone handed him millions of dollars to run a business he had no experience in."

Boehlke also charged that Dekkers suggested his Huffman Aviation students hone their skills by acting as co-pilots on FLAIR's commuter routes in Florida, urging him to allow student ride-alongs on scheduled airline flights.

"That's illegal," said Boehlke. He left no doubt as to where he came down on the proposition. He said he had rejected the idea at the time.

Looking back, Boehlke said he was alarmed that Dekkers' desperate attempt to save his failing airline could have had dire consequences. "Having a student without enough hours or that type rating as a co-pilot is not legal," an FAA spokesman said about Dekkers' scheme.

Boehlke demonstrated an eye for a good headline.

"There could have been terrorists on a ride-along!" he told reporter Eric Mason. He said a 'chill' runs through him when he thinks about it.

"1 was amazed knowing how close we'd been to that training environment. It would have given them legal access to cockpits and other secure areas in airports across the country," he exclaimed.

As we learned more about Rick Boehlke's checkered past, his claim to be "amazed" would begin to sound like the French In spector in Casablanca who tells Bogie he's shocked -- shocked -- to find gambling going on at Rick's ... while at the same time pocket ing his winnings.

Reporter Mason had been interested in Boehlke for obvious reasons. "The financing that had gone between Mr. Boehlke and Florida Air, which was a sister operation to the flight training center which trained Mohamed Atta, was murky."

'Murky' is not a word you want to see applied to people who trained Mohamed Atta to fly.

We needed to take a closer look at Rick Boehlke, at Florida Air, and at Rudi Dekkers and Wally Hilliard's motivations for starting it. How many businessmen behind on their rent for six months in a row have the gall, or chutzpah, to at the same time start a new airline? Was it not enough for Rudi and Wally that they were already losing money hand-over-fist in their flight school venture, that they decided they might as well be losing millions in an airline as well?

Bill Bersch, a longtime aviation professional with experience as senior pilot for a regional air carrier, rues the day he hired on to help launch Florida Air. When he checked-in to start work at the airline's Venice headquarters, he was surprised at what he found.

"I functioned as the director of operations," Bersch said, "which meant my job was to decide which flights to cancel every day. I used to look at Wally and Rudi and wonder whatever made them think they could start an airline."

Flying the friendly skies for fun and profit played no apparent part of Dekkers and Hilliard's motivation that he could discern, Bersch said. It had all left him feeling baffled.

"I mean, I was on the executive team and here they were, trying to start an airline, and from August 2000 to the present we had all of four business meetings."

Bersch's professional frustration showed. "Wouldn't you think you would have at least weekly meetings if you were trying to start an airline? And then when you could get a meeting scheduled, somebody would tell you that it had been canceled, because Wally was in Havana."

Why "Wally was in Havana" would become a focus of our investigation, but at that time we hadn't any idea what it meant. Bersch passed on another big clue a moment later, while speaking of how poorly the company was managed.

"It was just ridiculous," he said. "For the better part of a year, we were paying eight pilots to do nothing."

"Paying eight pilots to do nothing" must have raised suspicions, we figured, around the Venice Airport. It had.

Coy Jacob said suspicions about Dekkers and Hilliard had been widespread, since well before Mohamed Atta came to town. Since 9/11 it had only grown more intense.

***

"When people operate suspiciously at airports around here, people start investigating," he told us. "I mean law enforcement hovers around most airports in the Southeast United States. They hover around airports around here, obviously. And they were told to stay away from that operation."

'Told to stay away from that operation?'

We had already discovered that, whatever else he was, Rudi Dekkers wasn't a businessman or flight school owner in any conventional sense, illustrated by the fact that at the same time he was launching a commuter airline he was thought of as a deadbeat in Venice and Naples. So he wasn't a "flight school owner."

Now we heard he hadn't been an "airline owner" either.

"The whole thing was strange as hell to me," said Bersch. "Here we had a business to run, but only a couple of times over the years did we even have staff meetings. The business didn't make any sense."

The airline made no more sense than the flight school.

What, then, had been its purpose? Had it served as 'cover' for other activities?

"When something doesn't make business sense," former Huffman bookkeeper Voss said, "sometimes its because it does make sense ... just in some other way."

***

"FLAIR started out of here (Venice) which was a Dekkers-Hilliard thing which, again, just never made sense," Coy Jacob stated. "That airline startup thing was ... the chances of that working were slim and none. It was a joke around here."

But after 9/11, this particular joke was no longer funny.

Bill Bersch's bad experience with Florida Air began as soon as he was hired. "Rudi hired me, August 2000, and shortly after, in October or November 2000, I met Wally," he said.

"We flew a Lear up to North Carolina to see people at Corporate Express, where Wally was looking to use other peoples' Certificates. They were always trying to run an angle around the regulations. The Department of Transportation doesn't like it when they find someone doing what Rudi and Wally were doing."

***

"They nearly crashed the Lear in a hard landing," continued Bersch. "Earlier I had told Dale (Kraus) that the tires were bald. Now we were landing in North Carolina in a rainstorm, the tires were bald, there were crosswinds, the plane spun 90 degrees, and from a passenger window I found myself looking straight down the runway."

Welcome aboard Florida Air.

Florida Air's first CEO, said Bersch, was Ian AIexander, whose business performance was somewhat hampered by the fact he was drunk most of the time.

"He used to live in Atlanta, came to work for FLAIR, and has since fled to Canada," said Bersch. "Wally and Rudi both directed him; Wally would tell Ian to do one thing, Rudi would tell him the opposite, or to do something else. I heard Rudi tell Ian to 'fudge numbers, shift them around.' Rudi would do this, Ian said, when ever Rudi had to show the numbers to an investor," said Bersch.

We wanted to know why Ian "fled to Canada."

"It was rumored Ian tried to take $90,000 using a company credit card," said Bersch. "FLAIR was like a money spigot. Ian never accepted responsibility and was drunk all the time, even in the morning ... Is this any way to run a business?"

The long-suffering financier behind all these inexplicable money-losing aviation ventures, Wally Hilliard, was in the midst of taking yet another financial bath.

"The airline lost $800,000 in two months," said Stuart Burchill, Hilliard's former accountant. "All together, the airline ended up costing Wally almost $8 million."

Bersch's puzzling tale was typical of experiences we heard from a number of former employees of how Dekkers and Hilliard ran their new airline. "We were going to use Sarasota as a hub, fly state people up to Tallahassee, fly to Jacksonville with military people," he explained.

"Then they had to get Rudi out of the picture because he wasn't an American citizen. And so Rudi told them to name Doug Hilder brandt to run it, who until two years ago was just a mechanic for Huffman Aviation who worked on Rudi's helicopter. What Doug really wanted to do was to be an airline pilot, but Doug has never worked for an airline in his life," continued Bersch.

"Yet in the business plan next to his name, it says he has 18 years of airline experience. And six months later, when they updated the business plan, it now said he had twenty years of airline experience. And when they introduced the management of the airline, Doug was listed as Director of Safety, an important job for a carrier."

"But Doug was just a Navy mechanic."

Florida Air's history was nasty, brutish, and short. Danielle Clarke, who has been around general aviation much of her life, says she had no idea what the two were doing.

"I like to think I'm pretty smart," she told us. "But Rudi and Wally would discuss Florida Air in front of me and I would never understand what was going on."

"They were losing absolutely horrendous amounts of money and I often wondered why Wally bothered to work."

Although Rudi Dekkers was listed as the airline's CEO, he wasn't even supposed to be an officer, we learned. Once again, his Dutch Uncle, "Uncle Sugar" was protecting him.

"Rudi, is not a U.S. national, I don't believe he's a U.S. citizen," explained Coy Jacob. "And historically the FAA is pretty picky about who they allow to even own U.S. registered airplanes. Non-US citizens cannot register an airplane in the United States, let alone own an airline."

"Rudi was involved in the start-up of FLAIR, I think it was called, which was Florida Airline, simply," recalled Gondolier Edi tor Bob Mudge. "And I know he had a lot of problems with that. I think he was briefly in service, but FLAIR's period of service was real brief."

Mudge shook his head in mock disbelief.

"I've heard a lot of things about why that airline went into trouble, there were a lot of financial problems and I've heard problems with people not getting paid, and I had discussions with Dekkers about that at some point and he was blaming it on ... I forget who."

Illegality was not just rampant at the airline; it was de riguer.

***

"Rudi and Wally were running a whole bunch of companies as if they were just one entity," Bill Bersch explained. "They had Florida Air, Dekkers Aviation Group, Florida Air Holdings, LLC, and even Florida Air Holdings, Inc. But since they intermingled funds all the time, I just thought of them as one company. They all had the same personnel and the same management, and they were all the same company."

So commingling funds was the preferred way of doing business for Wally Hilliard. We'd thought it was illegal. This became more important when we learned that Hilliard was involved with another flight school bankruptcy, in Orlando, where hundreds of students at Discover Air were ripped off when Hilliard's partner, the schools owner, skipped town.

"Nobody will ever know the extent to which these guys engaged in underhanded business deals," said Bersch. "They didn't pay state taxes, they didn't pay employee taxes."

No matter how many aviation observers we spoke with about Rudi and Wally, they were uniformly incredulous at the pair's actions. Longtime airline professional Bill Bersch, while ruminating out loud one day, may have put a finger on it.

"Rudi's name was popping up everywhere in DOT (Department of Transportation) or FAA records," said Bersch. "He was trying an angle with Air Tahoma, an Ohio and San Diego-based operation -- it would shift locations as business arose. Rudi's name was associated with it. I have never seen a business run like that in my life. It was like they were only pretending to run a business."

His words rang in our ears.

"They were only pretending to run a business."

"Just a guess, but FLAIR probably lost $7 million," he continued. "There were other investors, this wasn't all Wally's money, but still ... You have to wonder why Wally kept giving Rudi money. It didn't make any business sense."

***

Rick Boehlke, their new partner in FLAIR, was also in the business of general aviation. And he owned Harbor Air, called the "Navy's airline" because it serviced the big Whidbey Naval Air Station in Oak Harbor, Washington. Boehlke was as controversial in his hometown of Gig Harbor, Washington, we learned, as Rudi Dekkers was in Venice. How had Rick Boehlke 'got in for a piece' of the massive looting of workers pension funds in Portland?

Hardest hit ($60 million) by the theft were secretaries and laborers from the Laborers Union, called the biggest Mob-run union in America. To make up for the money stolen from their pension funds, analysts said, some of the unfortunate secretaries would have to spend an extra decade working.

Happy Secretary's Day.

The looters not only got away clean, they even managed to keep it from making big headlines. If someone broke into Citibank over Labor Day and made off with $300 million, we're pretty sure it would lead the Evening News.

This appeared to be a classic inside job. Just as in the half-trillion lost in the Savings and Loan Scandal, almost no one was going to jail, and no one was offering to give any of the money back. The local Portland newspapers just claimed to be sort of puzzled by it all.

We asked ourselves: How much clout does that take?

Dekkers' partner, Richard Boehlke, was one very fortunate man. He got $26 million in pension funds to build a high-rise condominium which he had only budgeted at $12 million. So Boehlke pocketed $14 million before he even broke ground.

We wondered: Where do you go to apply for that kind of work?

Boehlke participated in what the Securities & Exchange Commission called "the biggest fraud by an investment manager in U.S. history." This would be newsworthy all by itself. But he did it while simultaneously being involved in still-more funny business with Wally Hilliard and Rudi Dekkers, who were at that same time "in business" with Mohamed Atta.

This could be construed as one major fraud too many for coincidence.

It reminded us of what our Southern lawman friend said when we told him about two Dutch nationals owning terror flight schools in Venice. It was one damn Dutch boy too many.

Two words you hope you never hear applied to your retirement plan are 'Ponzi' and 'scheme.' Clearly, Jeff Grayson, the pension manager who helped Richard Boehlke and numerous others get rich for free, had experienced more than just one or two weak moments.

To give away $340 million dollars, you'd almost have to experience weak moments from dawn till dusk.

For years ...

Yet that's just what thousands of union members and their beneficiaries from Portland and elsewhere began hearing had happened to their pension and 401 [k] retirement plans invested by Capital Consultants LLC, the Portland investment management firm headed by Jeff Grayson.

"There was a 'consultant' problem with Capital Consultants," someone close to the case said delicately. "The people he loaned money to were fast-talking sleaze-bags."

"Ex-money manager charged with fraud" read the October 6th 2002 headline of the Associated Press coverage of the looting.

"A federal grand jury indicted Jeffrey Grayson whose firm 'collapsed' losing hundreds of millions of pension investments. Grayson was charged with mail fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, witness tampering and paying a former union chief union trust funds in a scheme that cost Grayson's clients over $355 million in failed and fraudulent investments," said the account.

Moreover, the disgraced firm, Capital Consultants, had been instrumental in giving Richard Boehlke his business start. According to Boehlke they had underwritten Crossings International, his development company founded in 1984. With Grayson's backing, Boehlke got into the assisted living business, a hot market catering to America's growing population of senior citizens, and made a killing.

By 1995 Crossings International owned or operated 15 health care facilities on the West Coast, and was valued at more than $100 million. The money allowed Boehlke to indulge in his passion: fly ing. In 1987, the avid pilot started Crossings Aviation, a series of aeronautic-related businesses at the small Gig Harbor airport.

Amazingly, while supplying both the planes and the pilots for the new Florida Air, Boehlke's Harbor Air, like Florida Air, had also been going bankrupt. So were two other of Boehlke's companies, Crossings Aviation, and Crossings Development, the Portland entity which Boehlke used to build his condominium project.

Counting the number of bankruptcies associated with Rudi Dekkers and Wally Hilliard, we realized, would require both hands, and our toes would be on-deck.

One last Boehlke note: his condo project was called "Legends Condominiums." Remember what your legend is?

Probably another freak coincidence. Or maybe somebody's sick joke.

***

Somebody said the 'M' word. We almost wished they hadn't.

"Boehlke would do anything for money, he was so desperate," an aviation executive in Gig Harbor Washington who had witnessed Boehlke's descent told us.

"I'm surprised he hasn't skipped the country by now, what with all the trouble he's gotten himself into farting around with those Mafia boys down in Portland."

Word of the 'M' word's use somehow got back to Boehlke ...

"I've known Jeff Grayson (Capital Consultants' former CEO) for 12 years," Boehlke huffed.

"I have never known him to have any shady or, you know, some have asked me about ... Mafia affiliations."

When reporter Eric Mason first met him, Richard Boehlke told him he was someone else. Spies do that sort of thing, don't they? Lie about who they are?

"It's interesting, in the first conversation that I had with him he denied being Richard Boehlke," Mason told us. "I asked him, from the description I'd gotten, I said, 'Mr. Boehlke, can I get an interview with you?'

And he said, 'Mr. Boehlke isn't here."'

"When I saw him again later, I said, 'Mr. Boehlke, I think you really need to speak to me. I've got some important questions for you.' He finally said okay, come on upstairs."

Rick Boehlke sounded like Rudi Dekkers in a Pendleton shirt.

"Boehlke owed retirement homes, pulled shenanigans, and got sued a lot," said Mike Picket, who owns an aviation business at the same small airport as Boehlke's bankrupt Crossings Aviation.

"He owned Crossings retirement homes. He got in trouble about something to do with a woman who passed away. He would do a lot for money."

Boehlke and Dekkers seemed too similar for it to be just a coincidence ... For example, Boehlke's aviation company was evicted from its terminal at Sea-Tac International for failure to pay back rent. And Boehlke's aviation-related businesses didn't make business sense, either. "Richard Boehlke's former employees always wondered what the aviation business was really doing," reporter Mason told us.

"From the beginning they felt that the finances flowed from the real estate holdings and the retirement home into this aviation company, and that there was really no way this aviation company was really making money. So the question about what this aviation company was really all about still remains to be seen."

We have seen quite a bit of wondering about "what this aviation company is all about." About Dekkers and Hilliard as well. Then, too, Boehlke also was said to have often and inexplicably received blessings from the US government.

Did Boehlke have a 'Dutch Uncle', too?

Mike Pickett, of PAVCO Flight Center, owns one of the oldest aviation firms at the airport where Boehlke went bankrupt, and was very familiar with Boehlke's operation.

"The city gave this guy all sorts of favors," he told us.

Just like Rudi Dekkers.

We wondered why.

***

Boehlke's Harbor Air had invested $8 million in new planes to accommodate more passengers in 1999, for example, and company officials said 2000 was a profitable year. But the firm's debts had already mounted to the point where management just cashed out and split.

A Harbor Air employee could only speculate as to why the airline was going under. "Mismanagement of funds," said the employee. "(Passenger) loads have picked up tremendously. We have five or six flights in and out a day. "

"Mismanagement of funds."

"Only pretending to run a business."

***

Was Rick Boehlke an innocent businessman having a horrible string of bad luck? Or had he been feathering a bank account in the Caymans? Like Rudi Dekkers, all his companies were losers ... even his 'flagship' assisted living company.

"Even Boehlke's Alterra Health Care went sideways," said an aviation observer in Tacoma. "The stock went from $38 three years ago to 22 cents."

The 'cover' story we heard was Boehlke lost $40 million in the stock market. We thought, yeah, right. Boehlke lived in the San Juan Islands. Like Rudi, he owned a helicopter. He would use it, sources told us, to blow the leaves out of the yard of his house in Gig Harbor, on the Puget Sound. Boehlke had an expensive yacht. So did Rudi Dekkers ...

"Rudi has a $500,000 boat in Naples supposedly bought with Florida Air stock which is worthless, several planes, a helicopter grounded by the FAA for illegal parts and maintenance, a million dollar home, fancy cars, and lots of other toys," one scandalized Naples, Florida resident told us indignantly.

"Somehow he has all of these things and yet everyone of his businesses is a loser. He took cash from Huffman to pay the girl in the law suit. He intermingles funds between all of his businesses. He reportedly screwed Dale Krauss, former owner of an FBO at Venice airport which Rudi bought, out of 100K. He may even be in this country illegally."

It appeared that, for both of these men, crime had somehow been made to pay.

One difference was that Rick Boehlke was gay. We thought, at least we won't hear any stories about broom handle parties on his boat.

Then we learned he held orgies on his seaplane.

"For the 53 year-old Boehlke, the sun-drenched parties aboard his personal Grumman Albatross with friends in the San Juan Islands were supposedly over," reported the local paper in the San Juan Islands.

"His huge flying boat sits for sale at the Tacoma Narrows Airport in Gig Harbor, along with other assets from his bankrupt aviation company. Observers in Washington noted that he was not, however, running noticeably short of cash."

An aviation source in Tacoma told us, cryptically, "Money was being provided by the Mafia to smaller operators willing to do what needs to be done."

Speaking of the Mafia, the Mob, the Syndicate, and/or organized crime: Another grateful beneficiary of the money they were giving away in Portland from the retirement pension funds of the little people was a Boca Raton lawyer whose complex web of international connections was legendary.

Rick Boehlke's friend Jeff Grayson had made a $6 million investment with Title Loans of America, a Georgia company that lends to individuals with low credit ratings at extremely high interest rates. The loans are secured by the titles to the borrowers' cars.

Some call it legalized loan-sharking, which is pretty accurate, because Georgia Title is owned by Alvin Malnik, the man labeled in print as "Meyer Lansky's heir" so often he should put it on his business cards.

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission found Malnik to be a "person of unsuitable character" to have any role in the industry. Malnik was so intimately associated with organized crime figures that they denied licenses to two businessmen who had done deals with him. But it wasn't Malnik's gangster ties that made our jaw drop ... It was his connection with the Saudi Royal Family.

Alvin Malnik, who admits only to being a Jewish lawyer from Miami, has extremely close ties -- family ties actually -- to a leading prince of the Saudi royal family, King Fahd's brother, Prince Turki Al-Faisal.

Malnik's son, Mark, converted to Islam, changed his name to Shareef, and married the daughter of Sheik Al-Fazzi, whose other daughter is married to Prince Turki.

"The Saudi Prince not only blessed the marriage, but regularly works with the US organized crime associates," read one account.

"The Saudi King would frequently send his private 747 to Florida to pick up Malnik and his associates, so they could conduct business on the plane away from prying eyes."

In Miami, Malnik owns the Forge, a restaurant law enforcement sources call the biggest mob hangout south of New Jersey, attracting what one account called "men with big cigars and women with tiny resumes."

We wondered if Mohamed Atta ever smoked cigars there. As we have already seen, he and Marwan had been hanging out in the Miami area with women known to "consort regularly with high rollers."

An Islamic fundamentalist high roller sounds like a contradiction in terms.

We have been looking for evidence of a global network which authorities, early on, said must have been aiding the terrorists while they were in this country.

Boehlke, because of his proximity to terrorist flight school owner Dekkers and his concurrent participation in what the Securities & Exchange Commission has called "the biggest fraud by an in vestment manager in U.S. history," seemed to offer some clues.

Might the same "international network" responsible for stealing $340 million have been simultaneously training a terrorist air corps in Southwest Florida?

Reporter Eric Mason was thinking about it too.

"Boehlke received financing from Capital Consultants," he said, recapping. "And the financial officers of Capital Consultants, have been indicted on a number of charges, including fraud. Some labeled it a Ponzi scheme, and I think the prosecutors have made the case that there was a major fraud being perpetrated."

"And you have to ask yourself: where did all this money go? How much money can you lose and not have anything to show for it?"

Perhaps Rudi Dekkers, Wally Hilliard, and Rick Boehlke worked for s single unnamed airline, devoted exclusively to a very large client, a client -- after the pension fund scam -- more than $300 million dollars richer.

Call it 'Global Network Air.'

***

Lurking just beneath the surface of American life, it seemed, was massive corruption on an unheard of scale, presided over by modern-day Untouchables, members of an organization -- a global network -- operating well outside the law.

And getting away with it.

Tracking this enterprise, we sometimes felt as if we were watch ing the spotlight on a bathysphere playing across the dark shape of a giant octopus in the inky depths of the ocean, 20,000 leagues beneath the sea. It was fascinating, but also a little scary.

Of course, as with an iceberg, the real action's always down below the waterline ... Seafarers say the truly dangerous part of an iceberg is the unseen part.

And that's the part where the crimes of 9/11 reside ...

When President George W Bush said all evidence pointed to bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda organization as being responsible for the attacks, he equated the Islamic group to the Mafia. He said, "Al-Qaeda is to terror what the Mafia is to crime."

Said Naples jet manager John Villada, about Rudi Dekkers: "Everything that guy ever did, from 'a to z,' was illegal."
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29959
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:35 pm

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: A BASTARD NAZI, A FLAMING GAY MAN & JACKSON STEPHENS

An investigation into the terrorist conspiracy's movements and activities led to an inquiry into the backgrounds of the people with whom Atta did business. So far we'd focused almost exclu sively on Rudi Dekkers, the man who assigned the bunks when they arrived in Venice.

As we've seen Dekkers, a Dutch national, was a fugitive from justice in his native Holland. After fleeing to Florida, he became the subject of a multi-agency federal law enforcement task force during the mid-90's, which investigated him for smuggling restricted high technology out of the U.S.

Unless smuggling high technology was just a crazy idea Rudi dreamed up one day -- unlikely -- Dekkers probably had so-far unrecognized ties to international organized crime.

And he ran a flight school in Venice, Florida, with the distinction of having trained-for sums far in excess of normal-both of the pilots crashing airplanes into the World Trade Center. At a time when Rudi Dekkers couldn't buy gas for cash at the Naples Airport, he had fronted for the purchase of Huffman Aviation in Venice.

By early 2001, it was now his rent at the Venice Airport that Rudi couldn't pay. Then, while Mohamed Atta was still in residence in Venice, Rudi launched an airline.

His airline partner was active at that moment in concert with the Mob in the massive looting of union pension funds controlled by an investment firm in Portland, Capital Consultants.

Somehow no one mentioned any of these connections to Larry King, or Dan Rather, or Bill O'Reilly, or Jane Clayson, or Greta Van Sustern, before they put Rudi Dekkers on the air, where he was instrumental in creating the 'official story' of Atta's time in Florida.

None of these fine journalists, working for esteemed major media organizations, had seen fit to do the tiniest bit of due diligence on a man who had been the terrorist ringleader's first major contact in America, contact which continued, as we'll soon see, until less than two weeks before the attack, although Dekkers testified it ended in December of the previous year.

We'd slipped down a rabbit hole. And we were mortally offended, on behalf of the entire American nation, at a government that was manifestly lying to us about important matters concerning 3,000 deaths.

***

We were examining the possibility that both men belong to a shadowy 'global network' which aided the terrorists while they were in this country, so Dekkers and Hilliard's connection with Rick Boehlke was of immediate interest.

Boehlke was going bankrupt at the exact same time as Professional Aviation in Charlotte County, while Atta was there, taking innocent people's dreams along with their money.

Some of them later wrote about it.

"The office is a ghost town and my phone calls are not being returned," wrote one disgusted student, in a discussion among bilked students over how to get their money back. Unfortunately these people got my block time money and ran away."

"Crossings Aviation took my money also and ran, does anyone know of a class action suit being filed? If so, please contact me," wrote another.

***

Rick Boehlke was bilking his flight students in Oak Harbor, Washington at the same time David Byers was slipping away with his student's money in Charlotte County, Florida, at the same time Rudi Dekkers couldn't, or wouldn't pay his rent at the Venice Airport.

The three supposedly unrelated flight schools were all on the ropes during the Spring of 2001. Boehlke's Crossings Aviation and David Byer's Professional Aviation at the Charlotte County Airport went under; Huffman Aviation wasn't bankrupt but they couldn't pay the rent. Maybe they couldn't let Huffman go bankrupt because the school was still training terrorists to fly, and would be, right up until days before the attack.

Like the other two schools, Boehlke's flight training school, Crossings Aviation, received a visit from the FBI, we learned. Investigators were looking into the background of a Federal Avia tion Administration electrical engineer who took flight classes with Boehlke in 2000, reported local papers. Moulay Lalaoi denied any wrongdoing, but said he'd also been interviewed by the Secret Service.

Are these similarities just coincidence? If not, we've located the 'global network' British Prime Minister Blair spoke about.

But, what was the name of the enterprise we had stumbled on?

Who had Rudi Dekkers and co. been working for? We didn't know anyone you could just walk up to and ask.

We maybe got a clue from Mike Pickett, the aviation executive who had watched Rick Boehlke with the same amazement with which aviation professionals in Florida watched Dekkers.

"When Boehlke came in he was just a restaurateur at the Gig Harbor airport," he said. "Then he became the General Manager for a German named Folker, a German industrialist buying up all the land in that area."

More Germans.

Jessica Daley, an attractive airline professional in her late twenties, worked for Rick Boehlke at Harbor Air and later transferred and worked for Rudi Dekkers at Florida Air. While Harbor Air was going under, Boehlke told Jessica to fly down to Florida and see Rudi.

"When I walked into his (Rudi's) office he was yelling and screaming at people," she recalled. "He said, 'People call me a bastard Nazi because I'm loud and I'm German. And I'm very demanding."'

Dekkers told her he was German, not Dutch, Jessica said.

"When I flew down to Florida from Portland during the first week of March, 2001, Rudi didn't even want me to go back, " she told us.

"He said, 'sit down.' He said, 'I want you to work for me. Make it feasible. What would it take to get you here?"'

Despite having reservations, she was immediately and enthusiastically hired by Dekkers to work Florida Air's station in Tal lahassee.

"He offered me $2,000 to stay, and said he'd have people move my things down from Portland. He was in such a hurry for me to come work for him that he burst into a pilot's meeting and had someone fly me round-trip up to Tampa to change my ticket."

Jessica soon was sorry she'd come. Conditions were chaotic. Employees began comparing notes ...

"All we knew was that Rick and Rudi had worked out some kind of sleaze deal," said Jessica. "Rudi had written a check for $500,000, and Rick was keeping it, no matter what. They were screwing each other so bad it was almost comical."

"Rudi came in with a lot of money, but he didn't know the first thing about running an airline. And Rick was a pilot, and he knew nothing about it either. At that time he owned the Oak Harbor, WA. Airport FBO. It: was weird."

"What I could never understand was Rick was in so much debt: it wasn't funny, yet he still flew up to Sun Valley, Idaho in the Albatrossalmost every weekend," she said. "He didn't seem to care."

Boehlke was never shy about exhibiting his ostentatious lifestyle, said Jessica. "You have to understand: Rick is a flaming gay man who, even though he was in desperate financial trouble, was having all the upholstery torn out of one of his planes because he didn't like the color."

Both Dekkers and Boehlke were devotees of the high life. What the kids call 'living large.'

"It was the need for cash that brought: Florida Air and Harbor Air together, and it was the lack of it that caused both to flounder in the months that led up to the terrorist attacks," reported the Tacoma News-Tribune, in a story on twin failed airlines.

"But former employees of Harbor Air said Boehlke mismanaged the company long before the deal with Florida Air. Keith Chvatal of Gig Harbor said Boehlke 'promised Dekkers the farm but had already slaughtered the cows and shut the doors on the barn.' He and one other former employee, who spoke privately, said extravagant parties and spending preceded financial troubles at Harbor Air," said the paper.

"Chvatal said he's owed $400 by Harbor Air. He also wants his former boss t:o be made accountable for the losses. 'It's time (for Boehlke) to tell everyone where all of the money went."'

If people like Boehlke ever tell people where 'all the money went,' we've missed it.

"The business had been there for thirty years and he had run it into the ground in less than three," said Jessica. "I remember taking a foreclosure notice on the FBO that came in the mail over to him one day. And when I handed it to him, all he was concerned about was whether the wine cellar on his yacht was stocked for his next weekend excursion."

"Rick owned a huge hangar at the Gig Harbor, WA. Airport where he would keep his 'toys,"' she continued. "We called the hangar 'The Toy Box.' He had two yachts in the hangar, the Grum man Albatross seaplane that he used a lot, a 'little' Lear jet, and a couple of 'tail-draggers."'

'Tail-draggers,' she explained, were old-style antique airplanes. Boehlke collected them.

"Things began disappearing from the toy box one by one," said Jessica. "First a Cessna, then the Lear. Things kept getting worse. Everything Rick touches that has to do with money ends up disappearing."

This we were able to verify for ourselves. Boehlke became wealthy when, in 1996, he sold his retirement home business to Alterra and cashed out. Then the rest of his businesses went under. And then Alterra tanked, too, someone that followed the stock told us.

"Even Boehlke's Alterra Health Care went sideways. The stock went down three years ago from $38 to 22 cents."

Somebody lost $37.78 a share. We're sure it wasn't Boehlke.

"Finally, just as they were about to be repo'd, they sent the rest of the planes down to Florida," said Jessica. "And then Rudi found out that Rick had let the insurance on the planes lapse. They were flying uninsured."

"When Florida Air folded several months later, I'd seen a lot of things I didn't like," she told us, "and I wasn't going to do anything illegal for them. Doug Hildebrandt (the then-President) called me and wanted me to get a U-Haul and go out to the Tallahassee Airport, after it closed, and get out all of the company computers and security badges and stuff. But I didn't want to be involved."

"They sent out some guy in a Suburban. When he tried to snag the airport security badges I got suspicious, and had one of my employees go tell the airport manager what was going on. The airline was out of business, so why would he need the airport security badges?"

"The airport manager came over in a hurry with security. He said 'Oh, no! This airline owes the city a lot of money.' And the guy in the Suburban just took off:"

Florida Air's attitude towards airline safety was as brazenly-casual as the ad hoc raid on the shut- down Tallahassee airline counter would indicate. In retrospect, some of this is more than appalling.

It's chilling, to borrow Rick Boehlke's phrase, to consider that Mohamed Atta continued to be active at the Venice Airport and was around the operation.

Jessica was getting her first tour of Venice, she said, when they passed a room where a security training class was underway for a roomful of Florida Air pilots. The class is required before airline personnel are issued the security badges they must have to pass through airport security, she explained.

***

"The guy teaching the class didn't have the 'SIDA badge' that said he was qualified to teach the course. And he wasn't. I had a SIDA badge from Seattle, so I ended up teaching and certifying the class for the course," she said. "What I remember about the 30 or so pilots was that so many of them were foreign."

"That was very unusual. I'd never seen that many foreign pilots in the same room. There was several French guys, a Russian guy, several Brits. It's incredibly difficult for a French pilot to get a work visa to fly for the airlines in the U.S. When I asked about it what they told me was that 'restrictions were looser in Florida."'

***

Two years later, Jessica Daley is still paying for her stint with Rick Boehlke and Rudi Dekkers. "Just a few months back I heard from a hospital I'd gone to after a horseback riding accident in 1999," she said.

"They wanted me to pay the insurance portion of my bill. That's when I found out that they had been taking money out of my paycheck for medical coverage, but then not buying the coverage. Isn't that amazing?"

What did it mean that Rick Boehlke operated his aviation business with as little regard for employees and the law as Rudi Dekkers did? Boehlke's Harbor Air's sudden halt to operations left customers without connecting flights, employees without paychecks, and creditors without payment. Dozens of lawsuits and liens were filed.

Dekkers had an interesting and fairly extreme managerial style, said John Villada, a jet manager in Naples. "He got in a minor dispute with a mechanic over something, and Rudi was interested in going out and burning this guy's house down. He was serious. I couldn't believe it."

Like Boehlke, Dekkers thought nothing of stiffing someone leaving his employ by stopping payment on their payroll check. His Florida Air ran aground when pilots refused to fly because they hadn't been paid.

"A Harbor Air pilot, who had gone to Florida for the airline, said the company not only issued him bad checks for his pay, but also failed to pay him the living expenses it had promised," reported the Tacoma News Tribune on May 26, 2001.

Seeking comment from Boehlke, the paper came up with an unintentionally funny line which perfectly describes the attitudes of men who routinely get away, for whatever reason, with breaking the law: "A house sitter at the Gig Harbor home of Harbor Air President Rick Boehlke said Boehlke was in Europe."

"Rudi acted like he had diplomatic immunity," the managing editor of the Venice Gondolier had told us.

Perhaps he did, because, in another freak coincidence, some impressively well-connected people are involved from both sides of the political aisle.

Capital Consultants, later taken over by Mobsters, had been founded by Charles J. 'Butch' Swindells, an Oregon financier and philanthropist who helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect President George w: Bush. In April 2001 Swindells was said by the Portland Oregonian to be waiting "in line to become the next U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand."

He wouldn't have to work an extra decade before retiring.

And the Laborers Union, whose pension fund money was still supporting Rick Boehlke in the style to which he had become ac customed, long after his businesses went bust, was led by Arthur Coia, a man who curried and got Bill Clinton's attention, and was often invited to official White House events and personal dinners with the Clintons.

Coia and his union were longtime big players in the chase for campaign money. The union's various political committees con tributed more than $2.6 million in regulated and unregulated, so- called "soft money" donations in the 1996 election cycle.

When Coia was indicted under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act, he told his compatriots: "I talked to Bill Clinton ... don't worry."

And indeed, the complaint had been quashed. Coia was only tripped up by the same ostentatious style which made John Gotti so eminently expendable.

***

"Arthur Coia's love of Ferraris, including one that cost more than $1 million, proved his undoing," reported the January 28, 2001 New York Times. "Until recently the president of the national laborers' union, representing workers at the bottom of the con- struction pecking order, Coia has agreed to plead guilty to fraud charges for failing to pay about $100,000 in taxes on the purchase of not just one Ferrari, but three."

In a spasm of truthfulness, the Times said, "There could be any number of other questions it might be interesting to ask of a Fer rari-collecting union official, but not in this country."

***

The chief and, indeed, only accomplishment of Boehlke and Dekkers unsuccessful airline was that it provided a rationale for the presence on the tarmac of the Venice Airport of a half dozen British Aerospace Jetstreams poised within easy reach of Caribbean hot spots.

Well, the airline did have one other accomplishment: it was publicly endorsed by than then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris.

"As one of Florida's top politicians, Katherine Harris doesn't have much time to do a lot of personal traveling," reported the April 16, 2001 Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.

"But twice in the past month or so, the secretary of state -- who received national attention for her role in the November presiden tial election -- has taken the 75-minute plane ride from her current home in Tallahassee to her old stomping grounds in Sarasota. Her choice of airline? Florida Air, a start-up commuter airline based here, grasping to be an air-taxi for the entire state."

"'She has taken the airline twice,' Harris spokesman Ben McKay said. 'She appreciates the convenience that Florida Air offers."'

When we discovered this, it seemed innocuous. But then We thought: does Katherine Harris seem the kind of gal who goes around endorsing businesses run by guys who can't pay their rent?

"Sometimes when things don't make business sense," ex-Florida Air exec Bill Bersch told us, "its because they do make sense ... just in some other way."

Even in newspaper profiles of Dekkers new airline in its hope ful pre-launch phase, aviation executives said they found it to be a highly dubious enterprise.

"Other start-up commuter airlines have run into problems in the past trying to serve Florida, including Air South and Air Florida," the paper reported.

"Quite a few airlines have tried to make money serving an intra- Florida market,' said Bill Pet tit, head of marketing at Jacksonville International Airport, 'but they have all found it to be very difficult.'"

How did Rick Boehlke and Rudi Dekkers know each other? Who brought them together? Dekkers claimed he met Boehlke through a mutual friend in Ohio.

He's lying.

Portland reporter Eric Mason explained. "Richard Boehlke started in business creating freestanding retirement homes, and he at one point had the largest company, the largest holding of these freestanding retirement homes in the country."

"One of the retirement homes that belongs to the company that Richard Boehlke once held was just a stone's throw from the airport where Mohamed Atta was trained. You have to ask yourself, there's a lot of coincidences here. Are they just coincidences, or is there something more to it?"

The official story provides an answer. They are just coincidences. Or they are 'freak' coincidences.

But, just a few hundred feet down the block from Huffman Aviation in Venice, Boehlke's company, Alterra, built a gleaming new assisted living facility during the 1990's. Surely there couldn't be any connection between the assisted living industry and covert operations? Could there?

There could. We needed to look no further than a round-up of the usual suspects. A block away from the Venice Airport, on the opposite side of the street from Boehlke's assisted living home facility, is a large and stately colonial building which looks eerily like the plush digs of the law firm in the Tom Cruise movie "The Firm".

The elegant building certainly seems out of place alongside the weed-strewn airport perimeter. It was built, we learned, to house the national headquarters of nursing home giant Beverley Enter prises, which was owned at the time they built it by a name almost synonymous with American covert operations.

Gleaming like a movie set in Florida's sunshine, the opulent three-story red brick building is a monument to the rivers of money which have flowed through the financial empire of Jackson Stephens, whose name has been linked with every major Ameri- can scandal of the past generation, from BCCI to contra cocaine through Mena, Arkansas.

Today the stately building still houses Stephen's former law firm, local political powerhouse Boone Boone & Boone, a firm which worked so closely with client Stephens that at least one of his executives was permanently housed there. Some credit the Boone law firm with running the town of Venice still.

"I don't think you could safely say that they (Boone & Boone) run everything in town," one local journalist told us. "But you could safely say they run almost everything. They exert a strong influence here, including out at the airport."

In an ironic twist worthy of the spy fiction of John LeCarre, the very thing that made Venice seem to us such an unlikely desti nation resort for Arab terrorists-its elderly population-attracted the home office of a nursing home company controlled by a man whose name is synonymous ith American covert operations during the past several decades.

The name of Jackson Stephens, though rarely the man himself, made appearances in all the most whispered-about scandals and cover-ups in America. He was named in the BCCI criminal bank scandal, figured somehow in the story of the death of Vince Foster, was linked to the stolen Promis software scandal of the Justice De partment, as well as the 1996 campaign finance scandal involving allegations of Red Chinese money.

Most notably, Jackson Stephens was a figure in the huge scandal -- involving gun-running and cocaine smuggling at Mena, Ar kansas during the 1980's -- that was behind both the Iran Contra and Whitewater Scandals.

Were Stephens to be implicated in another intelligence-related scandal, it would be, for him, something like three or four in a row.

Stephens' colorful curriculum vitae also included having been the college roommate of President Jimmy Carter at the US Naval Academy. Interestingly enough, the U.S. intelligence agency to which Jackson Stephen's name has been persistently linked, the National Security Agency, was accused by furious government in telligence officials with destroying data pertinent to the Sept. 11 probe, meaning that possible leads stemming from the Sept. 11 attack weren't being followed because of the NSA action, reported the Boston Globe.

The founder of Stephens' law firm in Venice, Dan Boone, we discovered, was no slouch in the college roommate department. Back when both were Florida Gators his roommate had been former Florida Governor Lawton Chiles.

Bringing things full circle, Lawton Chiles, although a Democrat, had given Republican Katherine Harris her start in politics, naming her to the Board of the Ringling Art Museum in Sarasota.

Small world.

Stephens was the chief domestic campaign contributor to both George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton, in, of course, different campaigns.

"At first glance it might seem curious that former President George Bush would attend an event honoring Jackson T. Stephens, the biggest Democratic power broker in Bill Clinton's home state," read a typical report in the Arkansas press. "But Mr. Stephens, a self-made billionaire investment banker and philanthropist, is financing a cause that transcends politics: golf."

When not occupied with enough philanthropic activities, Mr. Stephens found time to later be fingered as the "Old Man," as Barry Seal called him, behind the Mena, Arkansas cocaine smuggling scandal which dogged Bill Clinton throughout his time in office.

***

The Venice Airport also surfaced briefly in the news at this time. During questioning of Oliver North during the Iran Contra hearings, a man with an aviation business at the Venice Airport named Joe Duncan was alleged to have run guns to the Contras from the Venice Airport.

What are the odds you'd stroll down the quiet streets of your retired parent's retirement community, which just happened to have trained a bunch of terrorists, and stumble onto a gated palace stuck out in the boondocks, looking like Emerald City?

'1 think it is a crying shame that Dan Boone and his crowd can raise obscene sums of money to control the election and make it impossible for a candidate without great resource to run for city council," read an angry letter to the editor in the November 7th Venice Gondolier. "We might as well cancel future elections."

Jackson Stephens had been an influential presence for several decades in the tiny town of Venice, the Hamburg cadre's portal into the U.S.

Chances are, he still was.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29959
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:35 pm

CHAPTER NINETEEN: A LEAR TOO FAR

As far as intelligence or drugs, I am more willing to think this is drugs-related -- but I am only looking at this different now ... Before, when I worked with FLAIR, I was threatened not to talk to anyone about FLAIR or about people there. But now I don't have a job and they owe me $8,000."

Less than three weeks after Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al- Shehhi began flying lessons on July 6, 2000, a Lear jet be longing to the true owner of Huffman Aviation, financier Wallace J. Hilliard, 70, of Naples, Florida, was seized by Federal Agents at the Orlando Executive Airport after they discovered 43-pounds of heroin onboard.

In the drug trade, 43-pounds of heroin is known as "heavy weight."

We first learned of the heroin seizure during an interview with John Villada, an aviation executive in Naples who was intimately associated with Dekkers' and Hilliard's various aviation businesses. He managed the firm's dozen or so jets, he told us, and he, too, had been shocked and amazed at the casual and arrogant way the two men dealt with various federal officials and agencies, like the FAA.

Dekkers forged Villada's signature on a repair order, he told us, stating required repair work on the helicopter had been completed. When he discovered it, Villada said, he was legally compelled to report the violation to the FAA.

"When Rudi was reported to the FAA for violations, an FAA guy came out and sat us down and said: 'I suggest you back out of this.' I couldn't believe it. I called the FAA to report a violation and was warned to leave him alone."

"Villada dropped a bombshell. "After Wally's plane was impounded with the heroin and his pilots had machine guns stuck in their faces, the DEA came to visit our maintenance facility and Wally shouted out to me -- right in front of the DEA guy -- 'Make sure all the heroin and cocaine gets hidden!"'

"That was in August of 2000. When I found out later that the DEA wouldn't let him have his plane back, I knew why."

Hilliard's mock warning to hide the drugs, explained Villada, had been Wally's way of telling the DEA how little he thought of them. The DEA hadn't forgotten. Villada seemed surprised we hadn't heard of the bust of Wally's plane. Not for the first time we realized how puny our investigative resources were before the immensity of the story of Atta and his cadre in Florida, itself just a part-though a crucial part-of the true story of 9/11 that has not yet been told or written.

We had soon confirmed Villada's assertion: Hilliard's Lear jet had been involved in a major bust in Orlando. Authorities called it the biggest seizure of heroin ever found in central Florida. Had Hilliard been an unwitting victim? Like Rudi, an innocent business owner victimized by a world he never made?

Financier Hilliard ran money-losing flight schools. Now we discovered he leased jets to drug smugglers too. Major drug smug glers. A story in the August 2, 2000 Orlando Sentinel called the bust "the largest find of its kind in the southeastern United States m recent years."

We had thus far been preoccupied with Wallis less camera-shy partner Rudi Dekkers. The "front man." When we asked ourselves what it is 'front men' do, we realized the answer was: deflect at tention. It was time to turn our attention to the other half of the "Wally-Rudi" equation.

Because while Dekkers busied himself training young Arab men to fly, his partner Wally Hilliard had been running a charter service providing jets used to carry heroin, not a line of work you'd expect a "retired Midwestern insurance executive" to take up as a hobby on retirement in Florida.

The city where the heroin bust occurred, Orlando, will figure more heavily in our story. Mohamed Atta used Orlando as a transportation hub.

Bob Simpson, a Yellow Cab driver in Venice, took Atta by cab from Venice to Orlando several times. The FBI asked him about ferrying the terrorist ringleader, Simpson told us. They'd identified him from the number of his cab, caught by a surveillance cameras at the Orlando Airport.

Orlando's growing importance as a major trans-shipment point for heroin prompted Congress to officially designate Central Florida a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Heroin overdoses, we learned, killed more people in Orlando each year than anywhere else in Florida.

The investigation which resulted in the seizure of Hilliard's Lear jet began after a Colombian national, Nassar Darwich, was arrested in Orlando with 1.3 kilos of heroin in the soles of shoes he was carrying, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Busted, Darwich promptly 'rolled' on his bosses and cut a deal.

As a result, DEA agents were waiting two weeks later when the Lear jet landed at the airport on July 25. They swarmed the plane, according to eyewitnesses, brandishing machine guns.

The flight originated in Venezuela and then made a stop in Fort Lauderdale before landing in Orlando, with New York as its final destination, the paper reported. Passengers Edgar Valles and Neyra Rivas, both of Caracas, Venezuela, were arrested. Most of the heroin was found hidden in the soles of tennis shoes stashed in their luggage. Eventually five people in Orlando were convicted in connection with the seizure, including the two Venezuelans.

"The -pilot was not arrested, according to a DEA spokesman, because of a lack of evidence," said the Sentinel.

More on this sad fact in a moment. The DEA had a sad fact of their own...

"It confirms the sad fact that a massive amount of heroin is coming through Central Florida," U.S. Drug Enforcement Ad ministration special agent Brent Eaton told the paper. "It's very disturbing to the DEA that more and more high quality heroin is coming from Colombia and at a cheaper price."

The DEA had been "very disturbed" enough to look more closely at Wally Hilliard's jet charter operation. The result was their firm opposition to returning the Lear to Hilliard, even though no one from Hilliard's company, Plane 1 Leasing, had been charged with any crime.

"DEA would not return it, they auctioned it off; they told Wally they had 'reasons,"' said an aviation source in Naples. "It was the first seizure in history for a so-called 'innocent person' where they took and kept the plane."

It appeared there was strong evidence pointing to the conclusion that -- at the very least -- Hilliard's company knew what was going on. Affidavits later filed by the machine-gun toting DEA agents who surrounded the Lear jet indicated Hilliard's company's involvement went much deeper than anyone was willing to acknowledge publicly.

"It was just blatant," said a manager who worked there at the time. "That same plane flew that same run thirty or forty times, ferrying the same people. And they always paid cash for the rental! The red flags could not have been raised any higher."

We confirmed that Hilliard's Lear jet made frequent round-trips to South America with an official at Executive Jet Service, the facility which serviced it at Orlando Executive Airport. He said the plane made weekly down-and-back runs to Venezuela. It was what's called a 'milk run.'

Three weeks after the Lear was impounded by the DEA, Hilliard asked for it back. In a motion filed in the U.S. District Court in Orlando, he argued that he was an 'innocent owner' unwittingly duped by a known individual.

"Plane 1 and its officers shareholders and directors were not aware of the identity of the passengers utilizing the Lear 35A on this trip other than Mr. Valles," stated Hilliard's motion. The company had been "unaware that the individuals chartering the plane were engaging in criminal conduct." Company executives were also "not aware of any facts from which they should have been aware that individuals leasing the plane were engaging in criminal conduct."

A few facts about Lear jets: it's the most popular of private jets, the ultimate accessory for celebrities, and dates back to the late 1950's, when they were designed by American entrepreneur and inventor William Lear. The first Lear took off in October, 1963. Today, Lear jet is owned by Bombardier, and the planes are built in Kansas. They range in price from five to twelve million dollars new. The plane which golfer Payne Stewart was aboard when it crashed was a Lear 35A ... And Wally Hilliard wanted his Lear jet back.

The U.S. Attorney's office opposed the plane's return. Their motion said, "because the property was used or acquired as a result of a violation of the Controlled Substances Act."

The Justice Department, through the U.S. Attorney's Office in Orlando, declined to prosecute the pilot of the plane, even though affidavits filed by the plane-side DEA agent in charge revealed the pilot of the plane, Diego Levine-Texar, who worked directly for Hilliard, the Lear's owner, had guilty knowledge and should have been charged.

Even while machine-gun toting DEA agents swarmed the plane, the affidavit stated, "The pilot of the aircraft, DIEGO LEVINE- TEXAR, frantically attempted to make a telephone call using a cellular phone. LEVINE-TEXAR ignored agents and police officers who repeatedly ordered him to drop the telephone."

"Agents had to physically remove the telephone from LEVINE-TEXAR'S hands," the affidavit continued. "Based on my experience I know that narcotics traffickers maintain frequent contact with one another while transporting narcotics and currency, I believe LEVINE-TEXAR attempted to contact other accomplices as to the presence of agents and other law enforcement officials."

Picture the scene at Orlando Executive Airport. DEA agents are storming the plane brandishing sub-machine guns, but the pilot won't get off his cell phone. Agents have to "physically remove the phone from his hands."

Pretty ballsy. Or pretty blase. We wondered: Who is Diego Levine? We discovered that knowledge about Diego Levine was considered, at least in some quarters, highly sensitive. But even tually, from aviation sources in southwest Florida, some information surfaced ...

Like Dekkers and Wally, Diego Levine had a 'hall pass' from the FAA, which might explain his casual attitude while being busted.

"One time in Miami, Diego got busted because he had no pilot's license," related a Naples aviation insider. "He was a terrific pilot, but he just hadn't ever bothered to get his license. He should have been in trouble. But he said, 'the FAA lost my file,' and -- as a courtesy -- the FAA administered a 4-hour test on the spot and let him go on his way."

Diego had some juice.

What we heard about Diego: He flies a huge Gulfstream jet that looks like the interior of a Ritz Carlton Hotel. .. His father owns a big furniture manufacturing plant in Venezuela ... Diego was trying to buy a Cheyenne (airplane) for the Venezuelan Air Force ... Diego's day job was chief pilot for Venezuela's Air Force One.

When he wasn't arrested flying Hilliard's Lear jet, was it just dumb luck?

That's too absurd. No, what we are looking at is protected drug trafficking. CIA-approved. Probably dressed up as a 'controlled delivery.'

No wonder information about him was considered 'sensitive.' Whoever he was, Diego Levine was no amateur free-lancer. Diego's calls to the FAA got promptly returned. Diego is "home team."

Space does not allow an adequate discussion of the concept that the narcotics which are distributed in the U .S -- with the same precision and re-shelving as any other commodity -- are imported through the good offices of this nation's "clandestine services." There are a shelf-full of books (one is ours) which explain this connection, and how it is that the world's largest consumer market for one of the world's largest industries can remain hidden from federal law enforcement authorities. (It can't.)

***

Here's why:

The DEA affidavit confirmed the frequency of Hilliard's Lear's trips to South America. It said pilot Levine "stated he had known (Venezuelan) VALLES-DIAZ for approximately nine months. He has flown VALLES-DIAZ to New York and Fort Lauderdale approximately 30 times during that time."

"LEVINE¬-TEXAR said that he and his company were paid a total of $600,000 for those trips, and that he was going to be paid $80,000 for the current trip after arriving in Orlando," the affidavit continued.

Thirty flights in nine months -- a weekly 'milk run' down and back to Venezuela -- would have ignited grave suspicions at any legitimate charter jet company, said aviation observers. But the discovery that Hilliard's operation was paid in cash for each of the 30 flights removes any question about the enterprise's legitimacy, in the unanimous opinion of aviation observers in southwest Florida.

It wasn't.

Wally Hilliard was involved in two ways, Florida records showed, as the principal of Plane 1 Leasing, which owned the Lear jet in volved, and as a partner in American Jet Charters LLC, the charter company that leased the Lear from Plane 1 Leasing. Hilliard was a partner and co-owner, along with Diego Levine and a man named Mark Shubin.

"They obviously weren't even bothering to hide what they were doing," noted one observer. Yet despite being caught red-handed Wally Hilliard claimed in court filings to have been an "innocent owner."

On November 3, 2000, Federal Judge James Glazebrook denied Hilliard's motion. Yet there are no public documents explaining why.

"Wally took a big hit on that one," stated someone at the Naples Airport. "The DEA was not going to let him have that plane back."

"The DEA was planning on adding it to their Border Patrol fleet," confirmed a spokesman for the Lear jet's current owner, East Coast Jets of Allentown, PA. They bought the plane, he told us, after an insurance company, which insured it against seizure for the lender, successfully wrenched it back from the DEA after Hilliard had been removed from the picture.

***

Then we made an amazing discovery. Wally Hilliard got his Lear jet from the same people who supplied the Lear jet -- two decades earlier -- flown by famous drug smuggler and CIA agent Barry Seal.

Federal records showed Hilliard got his Lear jet from World Jet, Inc., owned by the drug smuggling Whittington brothers, Don and Bill, of Fort Lauderdale, FL, who in their heyday in the early 1980s had been historic figures in the rise of the trade, commanding fleets of fishing trawlers, sailboats, power boats, and jets.

The Whittington Brothers were among the handful of major smugglers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when tons of marijuana, and the oceans of cash it created, flowed freely through the streets and canals of Fort Lauderdale.

When their prized Lear jet was seized -- after their indictment for smuggling and tax evasion -- it went to the man then on his way to becoming the biggest drug smuggler in American history, Barry Seal. Nor was this by accident. Here we were on familiar ground. Seal was the subject of our book "Barry and the Boys: the CIA, the Mob, and America's Secret History."

Until his assassination in 1986 at the reported behest of then-Vice President George H. w: Bush, Barry Seal was a close associate of Iran Contra figures like Frank Moss and Dietrich Reinhardt, who, as we have seen, are still "active," in the middle of all kinds of intrigue at the Charlotte County Airport.

***

The Lear jet confiscated in Orlando didn't 'get to' Hilliard by accident either. The man who owned it, Gary Levitz, 61, was killed in 1999 when his modified P-51 Mustang crashed during the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada. Levitz, grandson of Levitz Furniture Corporation founder Richard Levitz, was an avid pilot and member of the Confederate Air Force, an organization of pilots whose members fly vintage war planes... and sometimes other things as well.

"Gary was a pretty amazing man," one of his managers told reporters. "He was a larger-than-life character. He would run the company day to day, and he flew warplanes and was a big-game hunter."

Gary Levitz was also a big-time drug smuggler. Back in the early '80s he was convicted of money laundering with the same Whittington brothers who sold his Lear to Hilliard.

***

Court documents said Levitz deposited large sums of money into bank accounts in Nogales, Mexico, and "helped disguise William Whittington's narcotics profits by investing into legitimate business ventures."

What we were seeing were clues left behind by a vast but hidden and still-unnamed global network.

The recently-deceased Gary Levitz also had ties in Venice, Florida, with a man whose name we'd heard whispered about.

"Ben Bradley's a DEA informant at the Venice Airport who got arrested for beating his wife," one aviation source in Venice told us bluntly, when we first asked around about Bradley.

"He set people up in Fort Lauderdale and was given some of their toys. Gary Levitz got in the drug trade. He rolled on the Whittingtons and so did Bradley. His life was threatened, he went to Polk County, and ended up mooring his boat in Venice."

Small world. Barry Seal got a Lear jet after a small-time informant 'snitched out' the Whittington brothers, making one available. Wally Hilliard's Lear jet came from a guy who got busted with the Whittingtons twenty years ago and died in a crash, making one available. We were looking at institutionally-deep corruption -- what sociologists call 'elite deviance' -- on a scale so massive that the only rational response is a boogie board, some suntan oil, and an extra large pitcher of margaritas.

***

Maybe that's where the FBI's been all along on 9/11. And maybe that's why FBI agents drink so much. Its hard to do your job with a straight face when you know the fix is in.

As early as a week after September 11 the FBI was pointedly stating that they had known about terrorists rotating through flight schools like Rudi Dekkers in Venice, Florida.

"The FBI Knew Terrorists Were Using Flight Schools," said a Washington Post headline one week after the attack.

"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," the article stated.

What the FBI left unanswered was why they had done nothing to shut it down. But if what we were witnessing was some kind of CIA-protected drug trafficking operation, then the FBI's failure to take action against terrorists which the Bureau has acknowledged knowing were flight training in the U.S. can be explained by the Bureau's historical reluctance to meddle on another Federal Agency's turf.

"Early on I gleaned that these guys had Government protection," said a former Huffman executive. "We heard that 16 of the 19 terrorists had been on Interpol's Most Wanted list. They were let into this country for a specific purpose. It was a business deal."

The new information added to long-standing suspicions of drug trafficking voiced by local aviation observers in Venice. One told us he had learned that Dekkers and Hilliard's operation had what he termed a "green light" from the DEA at the Venice Airport.

"They were told to stay away from that (Dekkers) operation."

"Who was told?" we asked.

"The Sarasota County Drug Interdiction people," came the response. "They were told that they had a green light to operate and that they were to stay away from them, that they were some type of ... alluded to the fact that they may have some type of government protection. And the local Venice Police Department were also warned to leave them alone."

Government protection of Rudi Dekkers would explain his sweetheart coverage in the major media. The notion of a Federal "hands-off" policy towards the Venice operation would also ex plain another suspicious circumstance provoking speculation: how Rudi Dekkers, whose various businesses were all utter and abject failures, managed to live in a $2.5 million mansion in a private gated community. The rumor was that Dekkers had other sources of income.

Which part of the government was he being "protected" by? Who employed his services? As we've seen, the FBI was only one of several federal agencies that had pursued an interest in Dekkers. While still in Naples, Dekkers stirred the interest of the DEA as well.

The question of the extent of Wally Hilliard's charter company's involvement in trafficking needs to be asked by someone with the authority to compel answers.

"I used to ask myself: Why is Wally doing business with all these foreigners?" said jet mechanic Dave Montgomery, Hilliard's former chief aviation mechanic. "There was Diego Levine, Alfonso Bowe, Mark Shubin, Pervez Khan ... It didn't make sense."

Alfonso Bowe, we will learn, is a black South African, and also a former high-ranking Jamaican military officer. He runs Hilliard's FBO in Nassau in the Bahamas. Mark Shubin is Russian, and once flew for the Israeli air force. And Pervez Khan is Pakistani, and is one of only two people in the entire world with the State Department's permission to run regular flights to Havana.

Hilliard's business associates are the very definition of a 'motley crue,' and we'd barely scratched the surface. An air of mystery sur rounded the activities of Wallace J. Hilliard as well as unanswered questions about the terrorist conspiracy's activities in Florida.

Wally Hilliard is not a peripheral character in the story of the terrorist conspiracy in Florida. He denied it, but at least one eye-witness says he knew Mohamed Atta.

***

During one of his periodic visits to Venice, Amanda Keller said she stood beside Hilliard, looking out the window at Huffman Aviation. Hilliard only came around, she told us as an aside, "to meet the newer jets, it seemed."

"What's a pretty girl like you doing with a guy like Mohamed?" Hilliard asked her.

We would all, I'm sure, love to know what he meant by that.

***

"I know more about Wally Hilliard than I ever want to know, said a former Huffman Aviation executive. "Why do you think the u.s. military didn't close the passes into Pakistan during the Tora Bora bombing? This all goes far deeper than you think."

Like many others, this executive demanded anonymity.

He explained: "I've got a family."
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29959
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:36 pm

CHAPTER TWENTY: WALLY WORLD

Although in his many media appearances Rudi Dekkers portrayed himself as both president and owner of Huffman Aviation, this claim, like so many other of Dekkers' pronouncements, was untrue.

"We all knew that the money he (Dekkers) flaunted was not even his money," stated Tom Hammersley. "What we heard was that he (Dekkers) had somebody in Naples backing him financially, that he was just a 'front' man for the man who had the money."

Dekkers never actually owned the flight school, we discovered. It was a ruse, a paper agreement which was never executed, or meant to be. Wally Hilliard owned Huffman Aviation. He was the sole owner, and had been all along.

We discovered this only after Hilliard sued Dekkers, his erstwhile partner. Hilliard was in the midst, in fact, of suing a number of his employees and business partners.

He sued Stuart Burchill, his accountant, and he sued business partner Mark Shubin. If it came to it, his defense was going to be that he had been victimized by unscrupulous employees. A lot of unscrupulous employees.

Court documents filed at the Sarasota Courthouse in Hilliard's suit against Rudi revealed that Dekkers never completed the terms of the Huffman sale with Hilliard. Rudi 'neglected' to pay for his shares of stock in the resulting corporation, said Hilliard's filing.

In the suit, Hilliard accused Dekkers of failing to pay for 1,000 shares of Huffman Aviation stock called for in their partnership agreement, as well as failing to repay loans he'd made to Dekkers since 1999.

Hilliard's lawsuit said that, as a matter of contract law, he had been Huffman Aviation's true owner ... at exactly the same time a Hilliard-owned Lear jet was involved in narcotics smuggling.

This is probably just a coincidence.

Still, it was time to take a closer look at 70 year-old financier and multi-millionaire businessman Hilliard, the linchpin to the 'goings-on' in Venice when the terrorists came to town.

***

When we finally met him, Wally Hilliard turned out to be a slim, well-preserved 70 year-old man, with thinning reddish hair and still-bright blue eyes, impeccably attired in slacks and a gray golf sweater affixed with the insignia of the Augusta National Country Club.

As Huffman's Aviation's secretive owner you're well-known in southwest Florida aviation circles, we began, as the 'money man' and deep-pocketed financial backer of Rudi Dekkers. So, just who is Wally Hilliard, the 'man who had the money?'

He refused our offer to tell. We'd have to find out for ourselves.

***

Wally Hilliard is the founder and former president of several Green Bay, Wisconsin-based health insurance companies. At the age of 65 he'd retired to Naples, Florida, in 1996. He was described in local newspaper articles as "a Florida businessman who made his career as an insurance executive in Green Bay, Wisconsin."

How did a bland Midwestern 'insurance executive' get involved in major intrigue in Florida? Even among those who work with him, few professed to have a clue. He was considered in aviation circles to be something of a mystery.

***

"I was Wally's jet manager. My office was next to his. I could overhear everything he said. I still don't know who he is." John Villada stated flatly.

Hilliard's business partners professed to be mystified, as well. "Nobody knows for sure who Wally works for," said Mark Shubin, himself a bit of a mystery, as well as a partner of Wally's several aviation ventures.

Wally was colorful as well. Not many business execs can boast a 21 year-old secretary who gets arrested for trafficking heroin while she's working for them. Wally (and Rudi) can.

Summer Jeffries worked in Hilliard and Dekkers' Naples office.

"Summer was street smart but had a coke problem," said Villada. "She was busted for 10 bags of heroin."

Summer's bust revealed the level of surveillance Hilliard's operations were receiving ... before 9/11.

"She told me that when they brought her in for interrogation," Villada said, "that they showed her dozens of surveillance photos of her, with Wally and Rudi. And she said there was even one of me getting in a Lear jet with Wally. When I asked the FBI later why they had so many pictures of me, they said 'Just be careful, because you've got your name on a list."

"Summer was busted for trafficking. Not possession. How does a 20 year-old girl get involved trafficking heroin?"

The question hung in the air.

***

Rudi Dekkers didn't impress locals as a budding James Bond. But Wally was a different story. Some in aviation at the Venice Airport thought it conceivable that Wally might be -- of all things -- a spy.

"You think of these guys looking like James Bond, or, you know, wearing flowered shirts and carrying Walther PPK's," said Coy Jacob. "It seemed like he (Rudi) wasn't quite as astute as I would have thought someone in the intelligence community would be."

"Wally certainly could be, though ... I mean, Wally was unassuming, a nice guy, had a cell phone ringing all the time, and had an affinity for Lear jets."

Wally may have been a man with a busy cell phone and an affinity for Lear jets, but he wasn't a businessman anymore. His aviation businesses weren't designed to make money, we heard over and over.

When we learned of the staggering sums Hilliard has invested in aviation after supposedly 'retiring' to Florida, we were stunned.

"Wally's lost $40 million in the last 3 years, which is easy to do if you are spending $14 million on jets in one year as he did," explained jet manager Villada.

How does a retired insurance executive from Green Bay, Wisconsin, 'lose' $40 million? Whose money was Hilliard throwing around?

"I managed all of his jets. And I said to him, 'you have people flying all over the world and you don't know where they are, and where they are going.' This is crazy. Wally's planes went all over the free world, flying wildly," Villada said.

"How could you have a fleet of jets and not even know what they're doing?' But the pilots' attitude was always: 'I'm not telling you where I've been and I'm not telling you where I'm going."'

***

Whatever Hilliard was doing cost lots of money ...

"The man quickly bought -- in very short order -- a fleet of 12 to 15 jets. He spent between $30 and $40 million on planes and he still has 20 very expensive airplanes left, including Lear 35s, and Gulfstreams."

Flight manager Danielle Clarke in Naples told us Hilliard liked to portray himself as a 'pious man.'

"Wally came in quite a bit, seemed very compassionate, made a lot of references to God," she said. "You'd be talking about business and all of a sudden he'd mention the good Lord, and it got to be a bit much."

As a man of God, Hilliard's taste in secretaries was fairly un-Godly.

"Summer was 5'7" with long blond hair. She wore exceedingly short skirts and very low cut tops. You were struggling to find a bit of cloth on the woman," said Danielle tartly.

***

Another odd note was that Hilliard also hobnobbed with characters you might not expect a Midwestern insurance executive to come across.

Aviation mechanic Dave Montgomery, known as "Jet Dave" at the Naples Airport, told of witnessing a secretive meeting between Wally and Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga, for example, who choppered in on a large helicopter with the Dolphins logo emblazoned on the side.

Hilliard got into the helicopter, and the two men held a meeting that lasted almost an hour, before Hilliard exited and the helicopter took off.

Almost 40 years ago Wayne Huizenga was a founder of Waste Management, we learned, which grew to become the nation's largest trash hauler. As anyone who's ever watched The Soprano's can tell you, garbage is a big, big business.

Hilliard flirted with disaster in ways more staid executives avoided. He was recently subpoenaed by a Federal Court in Denver, for example, in a case in which he bought a plane from a man with connections to a Colombian drug cartel.

We wondered: How does a Midwestern insurance executive get connected to a guy fronting planes for drug kingpins from Colombia? Had he sold Group Health to the Medellin Cartel? Maybe Green Bay Wisconsin had a sister city somewhere in Colombia.

"Why Wally went to Colorado (to testify)," said the source, "was because years ago Wally bought a King Air B-200 from the Colombian mafia."

According to Stuart Burchill, Hilliard's former accountant, "Donald Pritchard was taking deposits on planes and then not producing the planes. He called Wally and told him he had a plane in South America and said he was going to ship it up. He (Pritchard) would advertise a plane for sale, do a contract, wire a deposit, then he'd start stalling and would never deliver the planes."

Why would a retired insurance executive be dealing with an international thief?

"Everybody knows a general in South America who they can get really good deals from on planes," replied Burchill. "You can get a jet in Mexico for a million less than its invoice. Pay $1.5 mill instead of $3 mill, and people do it, it's greed. I just don't get it. He (Hilliard) had some mysterious understanding about the deal that I didn't see. I saw him throwing money away."

Why was Wally "throwing money away?" Did he suffer from premature senility? Had he fallen prey to people who took advantage of old men?

If he was such a sucker, how did he get so rich?

Not too many suckers are friends with the President of the United States. Hilliard was friends with Bill Clinton. He kept a picture taken of himself with Clinton prominently displayed in his $3 million Naples, Florida home.

"Wally knew Clinton well," confirmed a former employee. "Clinton called Wally a couple of times when I was there."

Hilliard had been in business with an international cast. We recalled the doubts expressed by jet mechanic Dave Montgomery. "Why is Wally doing business with all these foreigners? There's Diego Levine, Alfonso Bowe -- a black South African who runs Wally's FBO in Nassau, Bahamas ... Wally went to South Africa with him to 'see the vineyards' ... And Pervez Khan, Pakistani, and Mark Shubin, who's Russian, and used to fly for the Israeli Air Force ..."

Mark Shubin was Hilliard's business partner in a number of airplanes, including a $35 million Gulfstream.

Shubin lived in Miami. We had heard a number of different stories about him, each more lurid than the next.

"Mark Shubin is a KGB agent married to an American woman," said one usually reliable aviation source.

"Mark Shubin is ex-Jamaican military in his 50's and ex-KGB Colonel," said another. "His family was in the trade for the pilot who got shot down over Russia in a U-2. Shubin's an ex-CIA pilot who also flew U-2's over Russia. He's also flown for the Israeli military. He's also connected with the Russian mob."

A third source said: "Mark Shubin used to fly for the KGB. He used to fly the President of Russia, Putin. And he still has one of Wally's Falcon 10 jets."

If only one-tenth of this was true, it was quite a curriculum vitae.

We were anxious to meet Mr. Shubin. He sounded like a swash-bucklingly-interesting character.

If Wally Hilliard, the man who owned Huffman Aviation, was in business with a KGB agent -- even a former KGB agent -- it would be pretty big news. We figured news that big would have already been on CNN. On the off chance it hadn't, we traveled to Fort Lauderdale to meet the man himself.

***

In his office in a hangar at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, Mark Shubin came across as a pleasant and highly intelligent man in his later fifties, who carried, or so it seemed to us, an aura of authority. The first thing we noted when we arrived was that the offices of his company, Sky Bus, Inc., were located in the same hangar as the Whittington Brother's company, World Jet.

Somehow it seemed prudent not to mention it. At least, not right off the bat. We told him what we'd heard about him. He smiled a little in bemusement as we spoke. Then he nodded, and said, "You know more about me than the FBI."

The true story was that Shubin's father was indeed a KGB Colonel imprisoned after being caught by his own government spying for the United States. He and his family, including young Mark, had been 'traded out' of Russia in the spy exchange involving Francis Gary Powers, the pilot of a U-2 shot down over Russia in a famous incident in 1960.

After settling in America, the KGB Colonel's son grew up to become a CIA pilot flying U-2's over Russia, where his native Russian language skills proved useful.

We were already well into spy lore, and we'd barely sat down.

"Wally was manipulated by somebody with a lot of power," said Mark Shubin. "He was blackmailed. Rudi was the one person who knew what was going on."

***

Shubin had quite a bit of business with Wally Hilliard, we learned. He had a company, Sky Bus, Inc., whose planes were shared in common with Hilliard's Plane 1 Leasing. Three of Skybus's four planes moved from Plane 1 Leasing to Sky Bus between March and August 2000. Plane 1 Leasing remained an 'owner of sorts.'

Two of the planes that flowed from Hilliard's Plane 1 Leasing, tail numbers N 11 UN and N 111 UN, were listed as being owned by both Plane 1 Leasing and Sky Bus.

We thought the "UN" designation on the tail number might be a clue. We were right. We discovered Shubin had established a company called "International Diplomatic Courier Services," on August 28, 2001.

We asked an aviation business owner about the planes with "UN" numbers. Coy Jacob said the last letters in an 'N' number are picked by the individual plane owner. So Shubin and Hilliard's two planes either flew for the UN or were trying to look like they did.

Then we recognized the name of another business partner of Shubin's, a man who gained a bit of fame during the Savings and Loan Scandal of a decade ago. Mark Shubin was in business with the notorious Ken Good.

Kenneth Good was a big part of the Silverado Savings and Loan collapse. He was in business with Neil Bush. In fact, Ken Good had been so clearly a Bush family retainer that it strained credulity to think that Shubin -- and Wally Hilliard-- now were not similarly connected.

In 1983 Neil Bush, President George H. W. Bush's son, and our current president's brother, became partners in an oil venture with Ken Good and William Walters, a Denver developer.

Two years later Bush joined the board of Silverado, a Denver S&L to which Walters and Good already owed more than $100 million that was never to see the light of day again.

Neil Bush received a $100,000 'gift' from Good, as well as other major financial assistance. Yet he was pressing Silverado's management -- without mentioning these favors -- to let Good off the hook on his debts.

There was no conflict of interest. It was all just a coincidence.

***

By the late summer of 1988, examiners made ready to seize the company. But then they got a phone call from the White House, according to TIME magazine. The election was too close; Silverado's collapse would inevitably have spotlighted the Republican candidate's son, whose conduct had certainly been unethical and possibly illegal. So the bank board's seizure of Silverado was delayed.

When Silverado finally collapsed, it cost U.S. taxpayers over $1 billion.

But it hadn't been anybody's fault ...

***

The Houston Posts Peter Brewton, who broke the CIA-Mob Connection to the Savings and Loan Scandal, said Neil Bush's Silverado partners "all had connections to individuals or S&Ls in Texas that did business with organized crime figures or CIA operatives. Good is one Silverado borrower who got a large loan at a Texas S&L connected to (Herman) Beebe, allegedly connected to the underworld."

Herman Beebe was an intimate, as they say, of New Orleans 'Mafia Kingfish,' Carlos Marcello. So Ken Good hung with both the Bushes and the Mob.

Ken Good cost Americans over $132 million, just from loans from Silverado.

He was destitute, said Bush. Yet the very next year, the supposedly destitute Good donated $100,000 to the Republican Party.

Shubin's former partner Kenneth Good was an example of a certain type of rich person who is bankrupt for purposes of paying their bills, yet remains a fat cat when it comes time to buy political influence.

Sociologists call them 'elite deviants'. They think of themselves as Masters of the Universe.

When Neil Bush was called before Congress to defend himself against charges he'd failed to disclose potential conflicts of interest as a director of Silverado, he conceded he was a go-between with Silverado and his partner Kenneth Good.

But although the disclosure wasn't reflected in documents provided to Silverado directors, Neil Bush insisted he'd told Silverado officials that he was involved in an Argentina oil venture with Good. When a government attorney asked him whether he should have corrected the document, Bush said: "Well, yeah, I would have, if I were a real technical, nit-picky guy."

How strange to find ourselves, while profiling Atta's American associates, right back in the realm of spectacular and unsolved crime. Mohamed Atta's American connections were with people who were crooks. But a certain kind of crook ...

The well-connected kind.

***

Shubin and Good's partnership seemed to share a lot in common with Hilliard-Dekkers and Richard Boehlke's. Good's airline, Express One International, supplied both aircraft and crews to Sky Bus, the way Boehlke had for Dekkers and Hilliard. And Shubin's Fort Lauderdale based carrier was soon-to-be-bankrupt, a fate which Atta's Florida associates seem to face with an awful regularity. Good's Express One -- drat the luck -- will itself soon be bankrupt, and in bankruptcy proceedings the company's leading lessor will be revealed to be Fillova Capital, a Canadian company 'linked' to the CIA, and which also financed Iran Contra-era proprietary airlines like Richard Secord's Southern Air Transport.

Mark Shubin was every bit as fascinating a character as we'd been told. Shubin told us much we didn't know about Wally Hilliard's international 'associates.'

"Wally owns an FBO in Nassau called Executive Jet Support with a guy named Alfonso Bowe," stated Shubin, "whose sister is married to the Prime Minister of the Bahamas. He (Bowe) also runs a flight school he started with Pervez Kahn."

Alfonso Bowe we'd heard about. P.J. Kahn, we knew, had crashed one of Wally's Lear jets in September of 2002, with eight doctors on board. All eight needed treatment. Other than that, he was a mystery, a Pakistani national who had somehow ingratiated himself with southern Florida's movers and shakers.

"Hilliard signed a contract with P.J. Kahn, who bought the old Air Florida Certificate," said an aviation observer. "P.J. Kahn moved in with Mr. Hilliard's backing. He's an Arab operator with a license to fly (an airline). Kahn's got a contract with the U.S. Treasury Foreign Assets Control to fly directly to Havana. He has special permission as an authorized carrier to fly direct to Havana."

We were puzzled. Foreign nationals aren't allowed to own U.S. air carriers. Also, U.S. air carriers aren't supposed to be flying to Havana. Puzzlement turned to incredulity when we heard from several people that P.J. Kahn had disappeared.

"I heard he has to flee the country for some reason," shrugged an aviation insider in Naples, who would say no more.

***

Another of Hilliard's executives in Naples was Chuck Hathaway, the VP of Ambassador Charter. We discovered a police report in Naples about a stolen Lear jet Hathaway had supposedly flown in from Canada in 1999. Eventually no charges were filed. Still, it was interesting enough. So we asked around about it in Naples.

"Chuck Hathaway flies for Continental Aviation," said John Villada. "The Lear in Canada that Hathaway was suspected of stealing -- Kevin Frater talked this Canadian guy into buying the Lear. Kevin Frater is involved in this."

Frater, we were informed, had also disappeared recently, after a partner was arrested with 400 pounds of heroin. He, too, had been in business with Mark Shubin, in a $25 million company they jointly owned.

Heroin seemed to be a leitmotif running through many of Wally Hilliard's business connections. But these weren't dese-dem-and-dose kind of guys.

We'd already heard that the pilot on Hilliard's seized Lear jet doubled as chief pilot on Venezuela's Air Force One. Now we discovered that the co-pilot, conspicuously unnamed in court documents, had an interesting second career as well.

He's a DEA agent.

"Mike Brassington was co-pilot with Diego Levine on the heroin runs on the Lear jet," an insider in Naples said. "He is DEA, assigned to Guyana."

***

Several people told us that Hilliard's former accountant, Stuart Burchill, had intimate knowledge of what was going on. So we set out to find him, after hearing several versions of what was obviously an incredible story. According to some, Wally Hilliard's operation was penetrated by the KGB.

"Stuart ran all of Wally's businesses," Danielle Clarke began. "Wally said he wasn't happy with Rudi. Rudi said he would have his own accountant to do the books. Enter Stuart. Stuart was very efficient."

"Then one day we heard Stuart was going to Russia, he'd found someone on the Internet," said Danielle. "So Stuart went to Russia. And I'll never forget the day he came back with Anna, his new bride. She was about 6'3" and looked like Bridget Nielson, Sly Stallone's ex-wife."

"She was just like a Barbie doll, and I thought, 'Why does somebody that looks like this have to advertise on the internet for a friend?' She had a 6 year-old daughter and when they were together they looked like big Barbie and little Barbie. She was a very spectacular looking woman."

"And Stuart is rather slight, you know," recalled Danielle with a smirk. "He was for a while at quite some risk of domestic violence."

Mark Shubin got Stuart involved with Anna, said John Villada. He compressed the story this way:

"A really tall blond woman got deported. Anna's parents were KGB. Stuart brought a Russian girl back from the KGB, married her, and brought her here.

"Stuart was warned that if anything ever happened to Anna, he was dead. Then Wally started wondering how Stuart knew so much all of a sudden. And that's when it came out that Stuart's new girlfriend was involved with the KGB."

"Stuart went from a little rinky-dink apartment to a brand new million dollar home, with all new furniture, maids, the whole bit. And that's when Wally started getting suspicious and went through the roof."

Hilliard expressed his disappointment by having employee Burchill charged with embezzlement. "Rudi and Stuart embezzled $500,000 from Wally," said another former Hilliard employee. "Then Stuart took the rap. Nobody knows why."

"Stuart took the rap for Rudi in the embezzlement case," confirmed a source. "Wally turned him in. And then Wally sued him. But ... he kept Stuart working for him. And I said to him, 'How can you sue Stuart and still have him working for you at the same time?"

Hilliard's response had been non-committal. At least he was consistent.

After a brief search, we found Stuart Burchill, still in Naples, and still working occasionally for Hilliard.

"I am still friendly with my ex-wife today," Stuart told us. "Anna is haughty and egotistical. Her uncle was a big businessman in aviation over in Russia -- in the Russian mob."

"I met her on the internet at Russianbride.com. Anna's father's name is Boris Georgeva. He's a former Russian Olympic gold medalist in the shot-put."

When we questioned Wally Hilliard about Stuart Burchill, a guy he had busted for the embezzlement of $500,000, we asked if his displeasure with Burchill owed anything to his Russian bride's curious connections.

"I don't know anything about a Russian bride," Hilliard replied blandly. "I don't know anything about her connections. All I know is that he started writing checks a week after he came to work for me, and never stopped, and so that is why he got charged with embezzlement. If he doesn't do a couple of years, I'll be disappointed."

"I'm not mad at him," Hilliard explained. "I'd just be disappointed."

Someone still working for Hilliard explained the Burchill imbroglio this way: "Wally's accountant, Stuart, discovered that money for Wally's flight schools was really being used for something else."

***

All of this might be of nothing more than anecdotal or even prurient interest, but for the fact that there were so many important and unanswered questions about the man who financed Rudi Dekkers' terror flight school.

One of Hilliard's ventures, for example, is called Oryx, LLC. An "Oryx" is a kind of African gazelle, we learned. And a British mining company in Africa named Oryx was accused by the BBC of having links to Al Qaeda and trading blood diamonds.

We asked Hilliard to tell us how he had come to name a company Oryx. He declined. "There is a company called Oryx," said Hilliard. "If I thought it was germane to anything I would tell you, but I don't see it is germane to anything."

We persisted. "It is a strange name, I just wanted to know why you named the company Oryx?"

"I didn't," replied Hilliard. "There's no relationship. My relationship with them is small, there are other people involved and therefore I'm not going to talk about a company that is owned by others."

Whoever Oryx is, and whatever it was incorporated to do, Wallace J. Hilliard most assuredly owns the company, according to filings with the Florida Department of Corporations and FAA.

We always get intrigued when we discover we've been lied to.

When people lie, its always for a reason. Did diamonds fit into Wally's South African dealings? Was that where the name Oryx comes from?

When we finally got the chance to ask Hilliard about Mark Shubin, his reply was, "Another name I wish I never heard of."

"How do you meet these guys; especially since you look like you should be playing golf?" we asked.

Hilliard used an aphorism to describe his version of the series of seemingly-inexplicable business decisions that ultimately had horrifyingly tragic results. "I have done some very stupid things with airplanes, and it has cost me lots of money," he said, pausing before delivering the punch line:

"Brilliance has its limitations, but stupidity has none."

It sounded like a line scripted by one of Bob Hope's writers, but he kept coming back to it to answer our 'specific' questions. Hilliard actually used it so frequently that it got to the point where he just alluded to it in shorthand:

'The difference between brilliance and stupidity,' he'd say tersely. It developed a rhythm; Hilliard began to sound like somebody practicing pleading the Fifth: 'I refuse to answer that question, Senator.'

'The difference between genius and stupidity.'

Sadly for Hilliard, however, we don't think 'stupidity' -- should it ever come to it -- is a valid legal defense. And even if it were, the slim and sharp-eyed man lounging elegantly across from us in a gray golf sweater affixed with the insignia of the Augusta National Country Club would have a difficult time convincing a jury that he was in any way mentally challenged or impaired. Why?

The thought came unbidden: Very few "stupid" people ever own that many Lear jets.

Or get near that much heroin.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29959
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:36 pm

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: LIVING WITH MOHAMED

Revelations about "shadowy financier" Wally Hilliard had been coming fast and furious. They were frankly more than we'd bargained for. While interviewing Wally's partner Mark Shubin we'd realized we were overmatched, never a happy conclusion.

We'd never met anyone who'd allegedly worked for both the CIA and the KGB. How do you ask somebody about something like that? We didn't know where to start.

And we still couldn't figure out Wally Hilliard, a retired-to-Florida insurance executive now living like a Midwestern James Bond. Maybe not as much razzle-dazzle, but owning twenty jets was Impressive.

We had no idea what made Wally so ... different. A lot of people retire to Florida. But most retired men settle for hobbies like woodworking. Boating. Golf. Shuffleboard. We'd never heard of anyone retiring to Florida to pursue espionage and drug trafficking. Worrying that your organization's been penetrated by a foreign intelligence service cuts down on hammock time.

So we turned our attention back to Mohamed Atta's activities in Venice, to see if his behavior offered any clues to the riddle of Wally Hilliard's motivation. Since they knew each other, we thought maybe we'd find a common thread. We re-visited our interview with Amanda Keller.

We have to admit we weren't immune to the tabloid aspects of the story of her living with a terrorist ringleader. We'd wondered what terrorists like to do for fun, during the odd hour when not planning mass murders. If America had a free press anymore, we figure we would already have seen headlines like "Terrorist's Stripper Girlfriend Bares All: The Mohamed no one knew."

But of course we haven't. It's a puzzlement. Had good taste suddenly become fashionable on the networks?

Maybe we missed it.

***

"When they first mentioned Venice on the news," Amanda Keller told us, "I went, oh my god, what if I knew one of them? Then they mentioned the name Mohamed, and I was like, oh my god."

We sympathized. If the FBI called and told us we were buddies with a major terrorist, we'd be like, 'oh my god' too.

"Then the FBI started calling. They asked me what I knew, I told them, and they told me not to talk to anybody, to keep my mouth shut."

We asked her: "When you first saw his picture on TV afterwards, how did you know that, that was the guy you'd been living with?"

"It was that look on his face. That was the look he kept on his face most of the time," she replied. "Very moody, somber, but he had a little goatee, very close-shaven, when I knew him. So he looked a little different too."

Amanda's sister Tammy met Atta when he drove up to her mother's house in Lady Lake. Looking to her sister for confirmation, she told us, "It was in March that you brought him up to Lady Lake, remember?"

"I waited and waited for them to get here, and then finally took my lunch break, and that's when they showed up," explained Tammy.

"He got pissed off and told me I was a rude bitch for not waiting for him. He smelled of patchouli oil."

***

We'd heard this patchouli oil story from several people. Amanda confirmed it. "He had a very intimidating look about him. He smelled like patchouli oil, wore a foreign cologne every day," she said. "And it stunk."

Almost by accident we learned from Amanda that two other of the nineteen terrorists -- the less publicized ones -- also lived in Venice. 'Majed Moqed' moved in to the Sandpiper, she recalled. Also 'Ahmed Alghamdi' (another Alghamdi). "I recognized his picture," she said. "He used to come to the beach, and hit on my friend Tania."

***

Atta's two months with an American girlfriend went as badly as you'd expect. And his American girlfriend, as American girlfriends do, let him know about her disappointment in him ... a lot.

"After I lived with him, I noticed he was an asshole," Amanda stated flatly. "He called me an infidel all the time. But I was working nonstop at Tampico Bay (a nursing home in Venice) and Papa John's because I needed to buy a car."

What she meant was she wasn't yet ready to lower the boom on Mohamed. But it was coming ...

She ticked off a litany of his irritating qualities. "Mohamed was really anal," she explained. "Very anal about the way he hung his clothes. He ironed everything, and got mad at me because I didn't iron. So he bought an ironing board and an iron. He would sit there and press his pants. He had to have perfect creases in his pants. He had a particular way he hung everything. He was very anal retentive."

"Even his bathroom routine was exactly the same every day," she continued. "Exactly. He would go in, shave his goatee, trim his hair, wash his face, brush his teeth, go to the bathroom, then take a shower."

"I remember lying in bed listening to the different noises he made, and they were always exactly the same ... exactly. Every single day, same order, the same time."

She made him sound like a dripping water faucet. The litany continued ...

***

"He didn't like animals. Charlie (Grapentine, the apartment manager) had a great big dog, a puppy, and he would paw on my door, come to our door, and I would let it in. And I would give him lunch meat, and that pissed Mohamed off to no end. He said, 'You let that dirty beast in here?"'

"So I said, 'Well, I let your ass in here. What's the difference?"'

"Then there were always dirty dishes in the sink," she continued. "He said, 'Aren't you going to do the dishes?' I said 'You made the mess, you clean it up.' He said, 'That's your role.' I said 'No, you're in America, and its my name on the lease. This is my house."'

A moment of truth was approaching. Mohamed Atta's last girlfriend on Earth, (that we know about), was getting ready to do him wrong.

"See, I had talked him into using his money to get the apartment, but it was in my name," she said. "Basically, I was just using him."

It was, ironically, Amanda's new job at Fantasies & Lingerie that led to the split. We'll let her tell it:

"As soon as I started making good money there, I kicked him (Atta) out," she said. "I was pulling like three grand a week. You wouldn't believe how many doctors, lawyers, judges, came in there. All high profile people. To spend money there you had to have money. They sucked me in."

"I started working there, and Mohamed called me a whore, cause I was stripping. He started cussing at me. Either Harley or Page drove me to work. And Mohamed would start arguing with him, (the driver) and Page once said to him, 'I wear 6-inch stilettos, and I'll kick you right in your head."'

"Page had a crush on me," Amanda explained, "they were all lesbians that worked there, and she was the one that picked up my dead cats."

We heard another anecdote casting Mohamed Atta in a less than manly light. "We went to a club called "In Extremis" one night in Sarasota," Amanda explained. "They have a fight night on Wednesday night with a wet T-shirt contest afterwards, which I had talked my friend Tania into joining."

While waiting around for the T-shirt competition, someone in the ring pointed to Atta. "Some guy called him up to fight, they were in the same weight category, and Mohamed wouldn't do it."

This was not considered good form at 'fight night.'

"The dude totally punked him out," Amanda said disgustedly.

"Right in the middle of the club, with 1,400 people in it, the dude punked him out. It was awful. My trainer was in there, and all these people that I knew, and I just sort of walked off to the side, because I didn't want to be seen with him."

***

We heard more about the social set in Venice.

"Angelina knew Mohamed too, through Olivia, who knew the big Dutch guy that lived in the apartment at the Sentinel," she said. "Angelina was a nanny, and Olivia was working at Publix, then Denny's. She designed lingerie on the side, that was her passion."

"Me and Angelina were looking for new jobs; I was sick of working at the nursing home. I didn't like the way they treated the patients. We looked in the paper. Saw an ad: 'Lingerie models wanted.' I said 'Coo.'"

By way of explanation, she says, "My hair was hot pink at the time."

Life at 'Fantasies & Lingerie' provided Amanda an education into the colorful strains of 'elite deviance' which flourish in southwest Florida. Amanda told of Nick, a bald former N.Y. City cop who worked security, and protected them. She said all the girls had stage names: Alexis, Harley, Faith ...

"Joy was my stage name," she explained. "Richard (the owner) named me Joy. They made me keep my hair hot pink, down to my ass. He owns Extremis boat racing. Extreme boat racing. Owns the boat racing franchise."

"For a half-hour session I made $600, that was just my money. In the dungeon it was $1000 a session."

There was even a whiff of blackmail wafting over the scandalous proceedings.

***

There was one politician in Florida who came in there, Lexi told me about it. He liked his penis to be downgraded, got off on us telling him how small it is and stuff. That's how Richard made his money," Amanda alleged.

"They have cameras and monitors set up in those rooms, and they blackmail people. When I left, Richard threatened to blackmail me. He was pissed, 'cause a lot of customers would ask for me, and I was embarrassed about having worked there and he knew it, and he threatened to give pictures of me to people that knew me."

Blackmailing politicians in Florida appeared to be a growth industry. Presumably the FBI is on top of the situation.

Although they've released nothing to the public which pays for all their long lunches, the FBI must know that Atta frequented places like 'Fantasies & Lingerie.' In fact, it was the last place Amanda Keller ever saw him, when he stumbled in late one night after they had broken up, shouting her name.

"I was in a session one day and Mohamed and a bunch of his cronies, drunk and stoned out of their minds, came in screaming his head off. 'Where's Amanda! I want to see Amanda!"'

"And none of the people I worked with knew my real name, because it was all supposed to be confidential. And he was throwing a fit. They had to get security to throw him out. Security stuck around and walked me out to my car at 5 a.m.," she said.

"I was in a session, and Bobbie wouldn't let me come out, cause they were drunk and hopped up on whatever, and she wouldn't let me come out. She chased them out as quickly as possible. But I had to pay a fine for that cause they thought it was my fault. And that pissed me off even more."

"And that was the last time I saw him."

Did he have any good points?

"He was somewhat decent at some point. He had a gold necklace with a figure on it, and I asked him what it was. He told me it was Palestine he wore around his neck. He called it the home country. He told me his father was a pilot, he wanted to be like his father, he'd gone to private school in Lebanon, he spoke highly of his mom, cause she was obedient," Amanda explained.

Here's a newsflash we don't know what to do with: Atta listened to the Beastie boys, non-stop.

"One time I got mad cause he broke one of my knick-knacks, so I snapped his CD's in half," said Amanda. "I broke all of his CD's, cause they drove me crazy, he played the 'Beastie Boys' nonstop."

In the aftermath of the argument, Atta told her why he was such a big Beastie Boys fan.

"He told me about this girl he'd dated in France, that had his son. He didn't tell anyone else about that, for some reason he felt he could spill his guts to me. His son was like nine, he said. He said his son was the reason he liked the Beastie Boys so much, cause they were his son's favorite band."

Did Mohamed Atta have a nine-year-old son in France? Or was this just part of Atta's 'cover story?' We didn't, and still don't, know.

But consider: we can imagine a spy making up a nine-year-old son as part of a cover story for 'civilians.' But we have a harder time envisioning that spook going to the trouble of inventing for his phantom son a favorite band, which then becomes his own.

Amanda confirmed that the story we'd heard from Stephanie Frederickson about beatings, and her throwing his clothes out was true.

"Mohamed hit me, threw stuff at me, hard, left bruises. We had three very nasty arguments. The first was over the way he talked to me, the second over religion, and the third one ... that one came after I had slept with Garret. After the last one, I threw his shit over the railing onto the parking lot below. He was gone at the time."

"We argued a lot over how I dressed when I went to work or to go out to a club," she said. "I was thin, I wore little bitty clothes, And I was gonna wear what I wanted to wear."

Amanda described the arc of the relationship as not having a favorable trajectory. But it had had it's moments.

"He did have some good points. When I first met him, he knew exactly what to say to me, 'cause I guess he could see. He talked in French all the time, saying little sweet things ... But then he turned into a wicked monster. After that he was an asshole, always downgrading me."

"After I met Garret, I guess I did flaunt Garret in his face," she admitted. "I used to have Garret spend the night with me, and I'd make Mohamed sleep on the couch, for the last week before I kicked him out."

They fought over Garret, not surprisingly.

"And Mohamed said, 'You are a typical American bitch, fickle and an infidel.' He also called me infantile. 'You American women are all alike, all you want is money."'

"And I said, 'What the hell else do you have to offer?"'

Things were going more than slightly downhill.

Amanda called her sister Tammy for advice. "I told my sister he had called me an infidel, and she said you must mean 'infidelity,' and I said, no, that's not it."

We asked Amanda: What was he like in bed? We didn't have to, but we did. And when we did, Amanda's sister Tammy giggled and went into convulsions, and then held up her pinky finger and wiggled it in the universal symbol for the under-endowed.

"His dick was like, almost invisible, it made my skin crawl," said Amanda. Her sister interrupted excitedly. "What did you tell me about him?" she asked.

Amanda remembered: "God gave me hands for a reason, so I could do it better myself ... Seriously, sex with Mohamed was terrible. He wasn't passionate. The most passionate thing he did was when he molested my foot while I was sleeping."

This was 'sticky wicket' territory. We scolded ourself for asking such a shameless question. Then we motioned to Amanda to -- please, by all means -- go on ...

"I was sleeping, and I had already met Garret," she began, "and I sleep on my stomach, and I can't stand my feet to be covered, and I woke up from a nap one day because my leg was shaking, and I'm all, what the hell?"

"And I looked down, and he was standing at the foot of my bed with my left foot in his hand, and rubbing it against himself. And I kicked him as hard as I could -- just reared my leg back and just clocked him right in his stuff. I just got him. Right there. And I said 'What the hell are you doing?"'

If Atta had a ready answer, Amanda didn't tell us what it was. But for a guy with a foot fetish, he prayed a lot, Amanda said. He prayed in the morning, and later in the afternoon, and then after he got back from flying. One of their three big fights had been (ostensibly) about religion ...

"He would make fun of how we believe in God. He said 'What do you people do for your god? You don't do anything for him.' And I just looked at him."

"I pray sometimes, too. I was sitting at the table reading my bible and he came in and snatched it out of my hands, and tore it in half. And he broke the crosses I had on my walls. He was mad cause I had interrupted his prayer session ... he had two candles around a little gold something, had his head down and was praying."

"I lived with him almost two months. He was gone for two weeks in the middle, to New Orleans, he said. When he got back, he was more moody than before."

"I don't remember him saying anything about Mardi Gras when he got back, though. I figure if they would have gone to Mardi Gras, they'd have come back with beads. But he didn't."

This would have been the early April time frame, when Atta is reputed to have gone to Europe, and met in the south of Spain with fellow conspirators.

***

Amanda had noticed discrepancies in Atta's 'flight student' cover story. Mohamed wanted his commercial license really bad, she said. But that never made any sense to her.

"It doesn't make any sense because he was allowed to fly students at that airport ... He was allowed to fly new students. He flew to Tampa with Timothy. But Timothy was flying and Mohamed was in the co-pilot's seat, telling Timothy what to do, just like an instructor."

'Timothy,' we later discovered, is Timothy Hupfeld, a German friend of Atta's from Hamburg, about whom we have heard nothing from the major media. Timothy had a sister, Sabrina, who was close to Atta as well. Amanda had a nickname for Timothy Hupfeld. She called him the 'Ice Man,' she said. He reminded her of Val Kilmer in Top Gun.

All of Atta's friends already had pilot licenses from other countries, she said.

"This is what I don't understand," she continued. "He (Mohamed) said he was a student, yet he was allowed to fly other students, he was allowed to go off on his own, and he had the privileges of an instructor, which is why Mohamed didn't fly the plane when I went up (to Tampa) with him, he just sat there and told (Timothy) what to do."

This is crucial information. It clearly indicates that the government and media have not come anywhere close to clean about the status of Mohamed Atta in the United States.

***

And then Amanda started to tell us about the drugs. Atta's one-time girlfriend had a ringside seat to the debauchery.

"In Key West, they were doing drugs, but not in front of me," she explained. "They would go into the locked-down room where no one slept, saying they needed to look at their manuals, and when they came out you can tell their jaws were locked, and they started chewing gum like there was no tomorrow. They would go brush their teeth, wash their faces."

"They didn't do drugs in front of me until after I had met everyone at the apartment," she said. "The Sentinel Apartments. After we got back from Key West, Mohamed introduced me to everyone in the apartment, the first time I went over there."

On the FBI's Suspects List, 400 E. Base Avenue in Venice, the address of the Sentinel Apartments, is given as the address for a number of the terrorists, but not Atta.

"I met Angelina and Olivia and a big Dutch guy who was like almost seven feet tall. Peter, Stephan, Timothy, and Juergen were there too. And a guy with dark hair who looked kind of like Mohamed but had real long hair, moody, said he was from France."

"Frank said he was from France, he and Mohamed acted like they knew each other for a long time," she said. "I drove Frank to Tampa. He was dressed in a pilot's uniform, looked like a pilot, said he had a job interview there. He was one of the top flight instructors (at Huffman)."

This would be Francois Nicolai, a French flight instructor, who we heard was today flying for a living in Saudi Arabia.

"They were always drinking. Beer or wine, or liquor. Always. Once I met everyone there (at the Sentinel condominium) they felt comfortable with me and they pulled out the coke."

The first time we heard this we'd been flabbergasted. We made her repeat it: "You saw Mohamed Atta do coke?"

She nodded. "The first time I saw him use it, he borrowed a dollar from me to roll up as a straw, and then asked me if I wanted to do a line laid out on a glass table in the living room they used to cut it on. I said no. To me it was like something you'd see in a movie. It was the first time I'd ever even seen cocaine."

"These guys had money flowing out their ass," she said. "They never seemed to run out of money. And they had massive supplies of cocaine. Whenever they'd run out, they'd go over to the flight school."

"I followed them one day with Sabrina (Timothy's sister, from Hamburg) to see where they were going, and saw them go into Florida Flight Training."

That's the Florida Flight Training Center, owned by Arne Kruithof, which also maintained a condo at the Sentinel, right across the hall from that used by Atta and his crew, which belonged to Rudi Dekkers.

***

Amanda described a typical night out with Atta when nothing much seemed to happen at all.

"Area 51 club was another place we went, sink or swim night," she said. "Mohamed didn't like the music, which was all rap. And Juergen had to take Sabrina home, cause she was epileptic, and there were strobe lights, and it was causing her to have a seizure."

"Me and Olivia stayed, and also Timothy (Hupfeld), the outgoing one of the bunch, a real nice guy, younger than the others. We met more pilots, from Africa, Germany, and Arabs."

"Marwan was in the reggae room drinking with a bunch of women at the bar, there were a lot of women around him, and he was just flaunting money."

It's one thing to hear Atta described as living it up with wine, women and song. But Marwan flaunting money at the bar pretty much puts the lie to the 'Islamic fundamentalist' tag.

In conversation with Amanda we were amazed at the number of associates of Atta's whose names didn't sound Arab.

"Him and Wolfgang drove around in the red convertible a lot," she said. "Their favorite place to eat was Hooters in Sarasota. They got kicked out of Hooters for grabbing their boobs."

"He spoke German with Wolfgang, who was in his thirties. Wolfgang was with Mohamed when he came by the nursing home to see me one time. They told me he was here. When I saw him I said: 'What are you doing here?' He said 'I wanted to make sure you were at work.'"

Not a very trusting soul, apparently.

More puzzling was learning of Atta's deep ties with a number of Germans. "Mohamed called certain people -- Arabic people -- 'my brother.' And I was wondering how he had so many family members. Like gang members do, 'this is my brother,"' she said.

"But not all Arabs. So it wasn't like anyone Muslim was his brother. He called Wolfgang and Juergen 'my brother,' too. He and Wolfgang were very tight, they went everywhere together. When he came into the picture they were together all the time."

"Him and Juergen acted like they had known each other forever. He told me he went back and forth to Germany, but lived in France."

"Juergen was a pervert, straight out," she said. "Every woman that walked by, he had something to say to them, commenting on their butt or whatever. He would go up to a woman, say I'm from Germany, and I want to touch an American woman's butt. He was a lush, mid-30's."

Who was this 'Wolfgang?' Who was this 'Juergen?'

Why have they not stepped forward to explain themselves? Even as these questions rolled around in our head, Amanda plunged forward with her narrative, to the all-time low moment in her romance with Mohamed Atta.

"I made him cry one time," she said, with some satisfaction. "So he obviously thought more of me than I did of him. He asked me how come I wouldn't sleep with him anymore, and I said, you don't want to know. And he was like, 'yes I do,' and I said leave it alone, you don't want to know."

"And he kept picking and picking at it, and so I finally looked at him and said, "because my pinky is bigger than your penis."

Well into the last year of his life, Atta may well have been reaching out for a little human comfort. That he so clearly picked the wrong girl is small compensation. But small compensation is better than none.

For Amanda Keller, summing up her brief brush with a terrorist -- with a terrorist ringleader -- will always be difficult. It would be hard to remember the good times, even if there'd been any.

"There were moments he'd be laughing and joking, then the next minute angry and violent, in 2.5 seconds. Then, as soon as you'd blink your eye, he'd change." she said.

"Although he did like pork chops."
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29959
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:37 pm

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO: THEY'RE TRYING TO KILL THE 'MAGIC DUTCH BOYS'

Half-way through our investigation into the people and organization operating at the Venice Airport, our efforts took on a certain urgency, after it became apparent that somebody was trying to kill the 'Magic Dutch Boys'.

Rudi Dekkers and Arne Kruithof the targets of our investigation; had also been targeted in ways less benign.

Less than five months apart, Kruithof and Dekkers were involved in separate air accidents. Kruithof in a Cessna on his way (supposedly) to Cancun and Dekkers in his helicopter on his way to a showdown meeting with his now-estranged partner Wally Hilliard. Aviation observers said the crashes could have-or should have-killed both men.

Neither man had any history of air crashes. It was enough to remind some -- certainly the conspiracy-minded -- of the suspicious deaths of Kennedy assassination witnesses, who no longer had any comment on what they'd seen, because they were no longer with us.

"Paging Miss Dorothy Kilgallen."

So even though we'd made some headway in understanding what was going on, and in the process unearthed evidence of a large and on-going 9/11 cover-up in Florida, it might not be enough to meet our unstated goal: aiding a successful effort to compel sworn testimony from people assisting the terrorist conspiracy while they were in this country.

Because if there was a 9/11 clean-up crew at work in Florida, its activities could instantly make all our efforts unavailing.

We were playing Beat the Clock with the Grim Reaper.

***

Dekkers' brush with death happened with such inauspicious timing that eyebrows were raised allover Florida.

On Friday morning, January 24, 2003, Rudi and his helicopter 'splashed down' at the mouth of a river spilling into the Gulf. He had been en route to a showdown over Huffman Aviation with his erstwhile partner Wally Hilliard, with whom he had been publicly feuding.

Just a few short months earlier it had been fellow Magic Dutch Boy Arne Kruithof's turn. Kruithof was one of three men who barely survived the crash of their Twin Beech D-18, which plummeted from 100 feet in the air to a runway at the Venice Airport. The men were able to drag themselves out of the mangled fuselage and dash to safety moments before the plane's 300 gallons of fuel exploded in a fireball.

It made for a great picture in the next-day's Venice Gondolier.

***

When the tumultuous Dekkers crashed his helicopter into the Caloosahatchee River, his latest misadventure made the news everywhere from Sarasota to South Africa. The coverage revealed an abiding and continuing public curiosity about him, even in the face of the official blackout.

What was most revealing about Dekkers' crash was that before he took off for what was to be a showdown with Hilliard, he had been seriously worried about having an in-flight 'mishap.'

Although the flight from the Naples-Fort Myers area to Venice takes barely half an hour, Dekkers prevailed on another helicopter pilot headed in the same direction, Tony Douangdara, to fly along side him in an effort, as he explained it, unconvincingly, "to stave off boredom."

Either Dekkers was psychic, or he was afraid someone might want him dead. Something clearly was going very wrong for Rudi Dekkers even before his chopper began experiencing difficulties.

The first sign of trouble-to-come came when one of the helicopters began pulling away. When his more powerful helicopter surged ahead, pilot Tony Douangdara told the Venice Gondolier; Dekkers seemed remarkably upset.

"He was calling me on he radio saying 'slow down, slow down!"' said Douangdara. "Then, just a couple of minutes later, I heard him say 'I'm going down!"'

Douangdara seemed to be suggesting he'd been recruited to be nearby if something went wrong. He circled back to see what had happened.

"'Oh, shit! I'm going down," Douangdara heard Dekkers cry out over the radio. "I thought it was a joke at first," he told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. "But when I couldn't hear the motor or any rotor noise, I knew he was in trouble. He was in bad shape and in no condition to swim. He was just hanging onto (his craft's) skid to stay afloat."

"The helicopter he (Dekkers) was in flipped over and crashed into the Caloosahatchee River near downtown Fort Myers at 7:25 a.m.," reported the January 25, 2003 Miami Herald.

"Dekkers climbed on part of his helicopter that had not sub- merged. He then grabbed the landing runners on Douangdara's helicopter and was pulled from the river."

Once ashore, Dekkers hopped into a nearby swimming pool to warm up, said news accounts. "After Douangdara took Dekkers to a nearby home (actually someone's back yard in a quick drop) he went into the pool to wash off the fuel that was stinging his skin."

Startled at the sight of a fully-dressed Magic Dutch Boy floating in his pool, the homeowner called 911. Strangely, by the time officers arrived, Dekkers had left. "The sopping wet Dekkers braved the 30-degree weather, wandering down the streets in search of help," said the Sarasota paper.

Odd. He'd been trying to flag people down to take him to the hospital, he said later. But he had a hard time getting people to believe his story. Because if Dekkers was seeking medical attention, he didn't tell the people who owned the oil-slicked pool. He was clearly in a hurry: taking a dip in a pool, then disappearing. Was he worried about compensating the homeowner for the cost of having jet fuel sopped from their swimming pool? He went wandering down the street, soaking wet...

"Dekkers received another lucky turn: Rescue crews, on their way to the crash scene, spied him and rushed him to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers," said the Tribune. "Dekkers was treated and released about 11:30 a.m. By early afternoon (he) was apparently feeling well enough to hold business meetings at Huffman Aviation."

***

Rudi Dekkers' unexplained helicopter crash came while he was on his way to a Venice meeting to sign papers relinquishing control of terror flight school Huffman Aviation to Wally Hilliard.

The two simultaneous events -- the crash, and being forced out of business by his partner -- weren't linked by law enforcement. But the strange timing added another bizarre twist to the saga of the 46 year-old Dutch national, who had already achieved international notoriety.

When we checked both men's FAA records for previous crashes, they hadn't shown any. But the search proved fruitful anyway: records obtained from the Naples Airport Authority reveal that Rudi Dekkers has received numerous citations for negligence, non- payment of bills, leaving a helicopter running with no one at the controls, numerous noise complaints, and a lot of suspicious low flying well-below safe limits.

But no previous plane crashes.

Dekkers was in the middle of a fairly rough patch. In the space of little more than a week he learned he would be arrested on felony fraud by the state attorney's office, crashed his helicopter into the Caloosahatchee River, and signed over the flight school that gave him his 15 minutes of fame.

Told he was about to be arrested for fraud, Dekkers told the Venice Gondolier, "Wow, I'm surprised."

After overcoming his incredulity, however, he called the charge "political," heaping some thinly- veiled scorn on the man prosecuting him, State's Attorney Jonathon Greene, for not knowing that everything had been taken care of already.

"We're drawing the paperwork as we speak that resolves the deal," Dekkers told reporters defiantly. "We have a deal, we know about it. Everybody knows about it except the state attorney."

He said: "We don't have problems anymore."

Wally Hilliard, present at the contract signing the afternoon of Rudi's crash, was agreeable to dismissing the suit, confirmed Jim Beach, director of operations for Triple Diamond Jet Center, the new owners of Huffman Aviation.

Image
One of Hilliard's ventures, for example, is called Oryx, LLC. An "Oryx" is a kind of African gazelle, we learned. And a British mining company in Africa named Oryx was accused by the BBC of having links to Al Qaeda and trading blood diamonds.


Not so fast, said State's Attorney Jonathon Greene.

"Wally Hilliard called me and asked for a waiver of prosecution," he told us. "But I told him that nothing has changed on our end. We're going forward with the charges."

The charges would keep Dekkers in the U.S. for a year, preserving the hope that investigators will have the opportunity to question him.

We asked about Rudi's 'rap sheet.' We'd wanted to know since our first day in Venice, when we were told his police file had been confiscated by the FBI. State's Attorney Greene indicated Dekkers' prior record included a number of 'blemishes;' like owing $3 million in the Netherlands, for example, the result of the same criminal activity he'd just been charged with again -- pledging assets he didn't own to secure loans he didn't plan to repay.

A Dutch court had adjudged him guilty of acting "in a manifestly improper fashion," according to documents we had translated. They said his "manifest failure to properly manage the company was an important cause of bankruptcy" of an Ede, Netherlands-based company Dekkers had stripped of its assets before fleeing to the U.S.

Rudi Dekkers was a repeat offender. Not just a fraudster, but a professional fraudster. Many people with his history are assumed to be working with organized crime.

When he completed the sale of Huffman, Dekkers expected his problems to go away, he'd indicated. His legal woes would end when Hilliard dropped his lawsuit, an action he believed would trigger the dismissal of the criminal fraud charge, which concerned a $200,000 loan from a crony of Hilliard's in Wisconsin 'secured' with a mortgage on property in the name of a company which didn't own the property being used as security.

This must be what people mean when they say, "Nice work if you can get it."

Yet despite settling his lawsuit with now-former partner Hilliard, his woes appeared to be just beginning. Now someone in the government was saying 'wait a minute.' In the two years since the 9/11 disaster, it was the first time officials had taken action that wasn't designed to pass over 'inconvenient details' of the 9/11 attack.

***

The second Magic Dutch Boy, Arne Kruithof kept a much lower profile. So it was somewhat surprising to discover that his plane crash was even more life-threatening than Dekkers'. Arne and two others barely survived the crash of their private plane on Wednesday, June 26, 2002, when it nose-dived to earth after a troubled take-off from the Venice Airport.

From over a hundred feet in the air the plane plunged onto the runway of the Venice Airport. And subsequent events left aviation observers wondering if Kruithof's near brush with death was an accident ... or something more sinister.

Onboard, along with co-pilot Kruithof were the pilot, Glenn Goodman, and a passenger, John Mills. The men told investigators they were on their way for a pleasure trip to Cancun.

They were "shaken up, but essentially without injuries," according to a Venice Police spokesman, who also said: "They were really lucky to walk away from this."

Coming just months after Rudi Dekker's helicopter crash, Kruithof's plunge had observers wondering out loud if the crash was just an accident. Local observers were skeptical. While 'mechanical failure' was believed to be responsible, there were suspicions the plane had been sabotaged.

Citing a commonly used method of provoking plane crashes, one wag at the Airport asked: "Did they check the fuel tanks for rubber balloons?"

And that was before the plane's wreckage was towed out of the Airport and destroyed in an unseemly and possibly criminal haste, before investigators had even determined the cause of the crash.

If someone were attempting to ensure Kruithof's ultimate silence in front of Congressional investigators, a plane crash, historically, would be the way to go.

Did someone want the Magic Dutch Boys dead?

***

Glenn Goodman's plane was uninsured when it went down, supposedly on the way to Cancun ferrying parts for another plane that had broken down there. But one of the men, John Mills, was wearing his mechanic's coveralls in the cockpit of a plane flying to Mexico in sweltering late June. It was like flying to Hawaii wearing a three-piece suit, someone told us.

Then, too, going to Cancun to spend a weekend in July is like taking a three-day vacation in February in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

We could hear in our head the slow drawl of our friend the Southern lawman, who sometimes spoke so slow he made two words out of one. When he said, "Its un-tidy," you could drive a truck between "un" and "tidee."

There were suspicious irregularities in the official investigation into Kruithof's plane crash that observers at the airport said had never before happened. Without any finding on the cause of the crash ... before investigators were even able to get a look at the downed plane, the wreckage was gone.

Things like that weren't supposed to happen.

***

"Even though the FAA hadn't yet determined the cause for the crash," said one shocked observer, "the plane was almost immediately dragged off to be compacted."

He looked stunned. "That's not just irregular. It's highly irregular. We're all kind of wondering just what the hell's going on."

***

Though both Dekkers and Kruithof got a free ride from the national press, they didn't get one from their aviation peers; in the community of aviation professionals in southwest Florida, there was a cloud of suspicion hanging over them already, even before their near-disasters.

One concern we heard voiced was that the two schools had catered almost exclusively to international students. Dekkers told reporters he'd trained more than 800 foreign students during just the past two years. And Venice residents said the city's other flight school, Florida Flight Training, had numerous international students as well.

Speculation about Kruithof centered on his relationship with Rudi Dekkers, and also to another partner, Pascal Schreier.

A German national living in Munich, Schreier and Kruithof had a co-venture, called Aviation Aspirations. According to its literature the company provided financial assistance and a "Mentor Programme."

About their "mentoring programme," the company's 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."

'Mentor' sounded a lot like 'handler' to us. Were we being too cynical? French newspaper Le Monde had reported that Osama Bin Laden's brother Yeslam sent student pilots to Venice for training. Nothing more about this mechanism has surfaced. Was Aviation Aspirations the vehicle that had been used to insert Yeslam bin Laden's pilots into the Venice flight schools?

Schreier's job was recruiting flight students from his Munich base. Had he recruited in Hamburg? We didn't know. We did know that the company's motto was "Better training because we care." Who was Pascal Schreier, and why did he care?

"Pascal Schreier has an inferiority complex," Venice Airport insider Max Burge told us. "He's 6'2" blond, good-looking, German, and you could see it in him. Rudi and Arne, too."

We didn't get to meet him, but we learned a few interesting tidbits to share. "Pascal Schreier is married to a lady who took over the 135 School at Port Charlotte," said one aviation source.

We checked it out. It was true. Small world.

Pascal's wife, Sandra K. Hamouda, who was half-French and half-Tunisian, now owned the flight school in Punta Gorda once known as Professional Aviation, the one which went bankrupt in February 2001, while Mohamed Atta and all those Tunisians were there.

Now it appeared that they'd kept the school in the family.

Later we learned that the new owners of Huffman Aviation were from the largest flight school in the Netherlands, which used to train up in Lakeland, Florida. It was near Rotterdam, the city from which Arne Kruithof hailed.

Pascal Schreier was also apparently involved with Wally and Rudi's failed aviation ventures. The true name of their flop airline, which flew as Florida Air, was Sunrise Airlines. And Pascal Schreier owned a company called Florida Sunrise with an address at the Venice Airport. It was too close for coincidence.

Kruithof's plane crash also threw a spotlight on the pilot of the downed plane, Glenn Goodman, the pilot at the controls of the downed Beech D-18. Goodman and Kruithof were partners in Arne's flight school at the Venice Airport, just like Rudi and Wally were in theirs.

Goodman received praise for controlling the crash, and keeping the plane from flipping end over end down the runway. Some credited his skillful flying for the three men still being alive.

Who is Glenn Goodman? Goodman, we learned, is the scion of the Budweiser distributor family in nearby Tampa. His family also owns the Sarasota Yacht Club, which attests to a certain level of attainment. Glenn, however, lived on the floor of a cabin out at Eagle's Point Landing, we were told.

***

We asked someone who knew him to describe him. Was Goodman eccentric? "Glenn Goodman has a gold mine in the Caribbean, and owns a sailboat he sometimes lives on at Marathon Key," said the source. "He looks like Howard Hughes with a ponytail."

We took that for a 'yes.'

Kruithof and Goodman formed "Florida Flight Maintenance," in July of 2000, just as Mohamed Atta and Marwan began training at the Venice Airport. Goodman also owned a DC-3 that sat at the Venice Airport for two years before being donated to an air museum in July, 2000, called the "Florida Military Aviation Museum."

This was a major red flag. Donating planes and then getting them back from air museums is a ruse which has been used to provide planes over the years to a rich and colorful crop of elite deviants with intelligence connections.

A Military flight museum was the same venue used by the CIA in the past to 'liberate' military planes and helicopters in various sordid paramilitary schemes. It was being used right next door in Charlotte County, we remembered, to "re-assign" 23 helicopters to new billets.

Also troubling was the fact that Goodman's company was closed involuntarily by the State of Florida on September 21, 2001.

Was it's closure 9/11-related?

Known as N90079, Inc., the company was named for the "N-Number" of the business's sole asset, the aging DC-3. Because the company never filed an annual report, much about it remains a mystery.

When we ran the plane's registration, or "N" number, we discovered that the plane's colorful history has included long stints in exotic locales. It spent quite a bit of time, for example, back in the 80s, in Manuel Noriega's Panama.

The DC-3 could be traced back to an infamous South Florida Customs airplane 'bone yard,' where 'planes with checkered pasts' sit in a fenced storage yard, like the sister ship to the famous C-123 shot down over Nicaragua in 1986 with Eugene Hasenfus aboard.

***

Probably just a coincidence.

We heard a funny 'only in Florida' anecdote about another proud local owner of a DC-3, a man reputed to be in the 'import-export business' and apparently as colorful as Goodman's impersonation of Howard Hughes with a pony tail. 'Any time I need cash," said this aviatior, "I go out in the back yard and dig up a Mason jar."

***

The most interesting thing we heard about Glenn Goodman was that the DEA -- surprisingly active at the tiny Venice Airport -- had asked a local Confidential Informant of theirs to follow him around.

Maybe the aborted Cancun trip had something to do with it. Even more incredible was that the DEA informant being asked to keep an eye on a guy walking around looking like Howard Hughes with a ponytail was involved in other events in our story as well, and had his own colorful history ...

"He set up people in Fort Lauderdale and was given some of their toys," said an airport insider. "He rolled on the Whittingtons."

The Whittingtons? Those Whittingtons?

We were momentarily speechless. We thought: wow. Who knew?

Small world.

***

When we finally interviewed Wally Hilliard, it came after we'd dropped into his offices unannounced. It got us an audience.

We began by asking him to explain the numbers of Arab students 'marching across the tarmac at his flight schools.

"I'm sorry, what you are saying is grossly untrue," Hilliard stated, angrily denying reports about the number of suspected terrorists who had flocked to his two Dekker's-run flight schools.

"I believe that there were two Arab students, not 22, only two," Hilliard told us, dismissive and emphatic. "There were two, period. Two total."

If we were speaking of Dekkers, we'd say he was lying. But Mr. Hilliard, as an elder, deserves a touch more respect, we figure.

Hilliard wasn't lying. He was just mistaken.

***

In point of fact, the revelation of an additional four terror suspects (in Chap. 14) had brought just the already-known total of 9/11 cadre terrorists enrolled at flight schools owned by Dutch nationals Rudi Dekkers and Arne Kruithof to eight.

Rudi Dekker's toll alone was five. And counting.

What made Dekkers more than a run-of-the-mill con man and quick-fading historical footnote is something which remains unacknowledged, except obliquely, by U.S. officials.

When the Hamburg cadre made their fateful leap across the Atlantic, it was Rudi Dekkers assigning them bunks on the Left Side of the Big Pond. Dekkers sat at the critical nexus where the terrorist conspiracy met the United States of America.

If Dekkers had been lying while claiming to be an innocent business owner victimized by wily terrorists -- an action we've documented him taking with an awe-inspiring regularity -- the conclusion is unavoidable that Mohamed Atta didn't 'just happen' to stumble onto Venice, Florida.

And if Atta didn't 'stumble' on Venice, then we have stumbled ... onto the fabled Global Network, and flatly contradicted the FBI's scenario that the terrorists received no outside help while they were in the U.S. ... a position they have held tenaciously during the two years since the disaster. Even though it's wrong, the position has allowed the Bureau to discourage speculation about the anomalies visible in the terrorists' workplace. In their milieu.

The FBI probably figures -- and rightly -- that when you're playing for time, every little bit helps.

***

Within spitting distance of communities of 'retired' CIA agents, large numbers of Middle Eastern men were enrolled as students at flight schools operated by people reeking with shady and clandestine connections.

In the indifferently-motivated September 11th investigations so far, the one really burning question hasn't even come up ...

"What's been going on in Florida?"

***

When Rudi Dekkers turned himself in to be arrested on the fraud charge, local observers said they were disappointed that there hadn't been a 'perp walk.' It would have been, all in all, small satisfaction.

But then, small satisfaction is better than none.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29959
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:38 pm

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: ANATOMY OF A COVER-UP

By this point in our investigation we had proved to our satisfaction that it was not mere happenstance that led Mohamed Atta and his Hamburg cadre to Huffman Aviation in Venice. Things were not what they seemed in Florida. And the FBI's full attention seemed to have been engaged -- not in investigating what had happened -- but in suppressing evidence and even intimidating the witnesses who had seen and heard things that fly in the face of the 'official story,' everyone from Mohamed Atta's American girlfriend to the Sarasota Fire Captain who witnessed four Arab men attempt to get close to President George W. Bush on the morning of September 11, have been subjected to sometimes ham-handed efforts to keep them silent.

There is a demonstrable, provable, and massive federally-supervised cover-up in place in Florida. But the real question, of course, is: What are they covering up? What's the reason for it?

Late in our investigation, we found a piece of it.

On at least three occasions during the last six weeks of his life, terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta left the jazzier precincts of Miami to travel across the state to the retirement community of Venice.

The FBI has said nothing about this. The FBI says Atta didn't live there anymore. The FBI says Atta was nine months gone.

The FBI is lying.

Who was Atta meeting with in Venice? We realized that this is one thing the FBI might be eager to hide. Because this discovery would lead inexorably to identifying the organization, or global network, that so clearly smoothed the progress of Atta's Hamburg cadre through America.

And then ... then we would know just who in the United States was doing business with Osama bin Laden's thugs -- on this end, the U.S. end -- while they were here.

That this knowledge "might could" prove highly explosive was driven home to us with a vengeance when, by lucky accident, we stumbled onto a piece of what the FBI is covering up in Florida, evidence which indicates that -- whatever the reason for the attack on America on September 11, 2001 -- the enemy is still inside the gates.

During the month before the 9/11 attack, Mohamed Atta was seen meeting in Venice with 'flight school owner' and international con man Rudi Dekkers, who has sworn in testimony before Congress that he never saw Atta again after he 'left' his flight school nearly nine months earlier, in December, 2000.

This awful truth should have come from our taxpayer-minded federal investigative agency, the FBI, charged with the responsibility of solving the mass murder of 3,000 people on American soil. The conclusion is unmistakable: Somebody is 'protecting' Rudi Dekkers.

Sadly, it appears the FBI's investigation was slanted -- or jimmied -- in the same way U.S. intelligence estimates were twisted in the run up to the war in Iraq, in order to present the American people the idea that it was the next logical step in America's 'War on Terror.'

For what's it worth, we feel that America's "War on Terror" is wholly-justified. Lying to the American people in matters pertaining to the deaths of 3,000 people, on the other hand, is not.

We found numerous credible eyewitnesses to Atta's presence in Venice in the final days of the terrorist conspiracy: a rent-a-car agent who took a call from Atta from there ... a deli clerk who served him a sub ... the owners of a restaurant just a half block from Atta and Marwan's rental home ... a cab driver who had him as a fare ...

Their eyewitness testimony is clear proof of a massive government 9/11 coverup in Florida.

Becky Cover works in the deli of Publix supermarket, a mile from the Venice Airport. She says Mohamed Atta was in Venice just one week before the attack.

"On September 11, I was on the phone with my mother-in-law the time the buildings got hit," she told us. "They showed pictures of three different guys -- Atta was one of them -- on TV. And immediately I recognized the faces and I told my husband, 'My God, those are the three guys! They were just in the store a week ago! The week before, they were in the store. They got subs."'

The FBI never spoke with her.

Tom and Rene Adorna also saw Mohamed Atta in Venice -- along with Marwan Al-Shehhi and a third, unidentified man -- just a few weeks before the attack. For reasons which will soon become clear, they have vivid memories of his visit to their eatery a month before the attack. So when reporters showed up the day after September 11, Rene Adorna says she immediately knew why they were there ...

"Right after the incident happened, we had newspapers come down, and right away I knew what it was about, because I remembered the table. Tommy knew, Jeff knew, and we said right away, and they showed us one picture and we knew immediately."

Why did she vividly remember Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi? Because they caused a scene in her restaurant, she told us. "They were loud, making comments, one was pounding his hand on the table, saying: 'We're talking $200,000! We have to answer to the family!"'

"There were three of them," Rene recounted. "And they all looked of the Egyptian persuasion, dark skin, dark hair, lots of jewelry, lots of jewelry. They were dressed in Florida type shirts -- the silk, you know, with the pattern, that kind of thing -- and I could have sworn there was a cross, the one guy had a big cross, the big gaudy gold cross thing, I thought, but you know, I'm not sure now, but I know he had the big watch on."

Gold jewelry, expensive watches, and silk shirts. Not exactly a description of Islamic fundamentalists.

"I thought they were Mafia," said Rene.

This comment may not be too far afield, either. What they were arguing about -- the disposition of a 'loose' pile of nearly a quarter million dollars -- not the proper interpretation of the Koran.

She confirmed what numerous other women who we met who knew Atta had said about him. Atta wouldn't talk to her, Rene said. "He barely spoke a word to me, but when I'd come over I'd feel like, jeez, what's his problem, because he had that really mean, mean look on his face all the time, like he was very unhappy."

Marwan, as always, served as buffer and go-between. "Then there was the other guy, the heavier- set guy, he did all the talking, with me, anyway. He was very outgoing, very pleasant actually."

It was Marwan loudly arguing with Atta, we learned to our surprise. "The big guy ... actually he, the big guy, was yelling at the other guy (Atta). I tried to stay away from the table pretty much, and then went and told the owner and the manager, 'you better watch his table, they're getting a little out of hand."

Her husband Tom came out front to see what the trouble was about. "He (Marwan) was a pretty big guy," he said. "And he was doing most of the talking. He kept saying stuff to them, about money, we kept hearing about money. The other guy (Atta), I guess, was the main guy, but he wasn't saying a word, he just sat there with a look on his face and he didn't say anything."

Their restaurant, the Pelican Alley, is a block from the rented home which Atta and Marwan supposedly vacated the prior December. Both Tom and Rene Adorna remain surprised that the FBI hadn't bothered to interview them. When we told them they were in good company, they sounded slightly mollified. "Two newspapers came by," said Tom. "That was it. And they (the terrorists) were living right down the street, right down the block. But they (the FBI) never came over here to see us."

"I did think it was strange," added Rene. She shrugged. "We thought like they might want some information. But maybe they had everything that they needed."

Brad Warrick, owner of Warrick's Rental Car in Pompano Beach, also knows that Atta was in Venice in the weeks before the attack because he says they used his rental car to drive there. Warrick said he called the FBI on Wednesday afternoon, the day after the attack, after he recognized a picture of Atta on television.

"They rented two cars over three different contracts, a total of about five weeks," Warrick told us. "They picked up that car at about closing time, and that one was going to be for two weeks, he told me it was going to be for two weeks. And he told me he had to go over to the west coast of Florida and he wanted to know if that would be a problem."

"While he was gone during those two weeks he called me from Venice, I saw it on the caller ID," stated Warrick. "I thought oh, wonderful. I've got a car broke down over on the west coast of Florida. He had called because the service engine soon light was on."

During his questioning by the FBI, Warrick said he learned details of the attack which the Bureau has chosen not to tell the American people. "The FBI told me that Marwan almost missed the building. Marwan was flying one hundred miles per hour faster than Atta, they said. And that's why he flew into the building deeper and that's why that building came down first, because there was so much fuel deeper into the building."

"Their explanation was Atta was very cool, calm, collected, just zeroed right in on it, just bingo. And Marwan on the other hand, ten years younger, was just scared to death and he flew erratic, and at the last minute nearly missed the building."

This illustrates how little we have been told about what really happened.

Brad Warrick's description of Mohamed Atta makes him sound like a perfect spy. "He had Allstate Insurance," said Warrick. "The address on his insurance card matched his drivers license. He was a perfect customer."

"Mohamed dressed to the nines," said Warrick. "Nice, nice pants and shirt. Nice clothes, business like. He carried a briefcase and he had all the credentials he needed ... credit card, drivers license, and proof of insurance and he had that, everything matched."

When they returned their last rental car days before the attack, Atta and Marwan exhibited behavior at his rental agency when they showed up to return the car, Warrick said, that seems flatly inconsistent with two men on their way to meet their fate.

"If they were on a suicide mission, and knew they were going to be gone in a couple of days, why did they go to the trouble to return their rental car to us two days before? Why didn't they just leave the car at the airport? Why would they care?"

But not only did Atta and Marwan politely return the car, they engaged in a contest to see who would pay for the rental. "On the last contract, we already had a signed credit card slip for Mohamed, " Warrick explained. "But Marwan said no, don't put it on his credit card. 'Here, put it on mine."'

"Well in order to take it on somebody else's credit card for the contract, you have to be on the contract. So that means he had to give us his drivers license, and he had to sign everything. We had to tear up the contract and write out a new one," stated Warrick.

"He (Marwan) gave us his drivers license, got on the contract. We tore up Mohamed's credit card slip, and charged it on Marwan."

Warrick paused, looking pained, then said, slowly, "Why go to all this trouble? What difference does this make if you are going to be dead in a couple of days?

It was a question he has contemplated often since.

***

We learned that Mohamed Atta was meeting with terror flight school owner Rudi Dekkers in Venice in the month before he crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center through a lucky cab ride in Venice taken by a friend and associate who had come down to spend a few weeks assisting the investigation.

Lois Battliello, a researcher whose considerable assistance can be seen throughout the pages of this book, was spending an extended fortnight in Venice, when one day she needed to take a cab across town.

And that's how she met 'Bob the cabbie.' Her cabdriver, who she got to know over the course of a week, was a retired Navy man named Bob Siropson, who had seen duty during the '80s off the coast of Libya, among other places. Simpson comes from a law enforcement background: his father was Chief of Police in a mid-sized town in California, his brother is a cop, and an uncle works for the DEA. He appears neither mentally disordered nor suicidal. These factors will be important in evaluating his report of what he saw.

"Bob asked me why I was in town," Lois explained, telling how their conversation began. "And I said to probe around a bit into September 11. I said I was helping someone who was writing a book."

Bob said, "Atta was here, he was right in this cab, and so was the other guy, Marwan, and right here is where I would pick them up." He indicated a convenience store, then across the street, the apartment building where he was dropping her off to come and meet us. We live there. It was the building we have lived in for over a year in Venice. Atta had been a frequent visitor to our apartment building in downtown Venice, Burgundy Square.

"I had the FBI come over and question me about them," the cabbie continued. "They (the FBI) had videotape of me with them (Atta and Marwan) taken at Orlando Executive Airport; they said they went through the film on security cameras at the Airport and saw my cab number. That's how the FBI knew to contact me and they let me know that I was just an innocent cab driver even before they asked me questions."

"That apartment where you're staying, their best friend used to live upstairs on the second floor," stated Simpson. "I saw Atta and Al-Shehhi there. Most of the time, I'd be called by their friend, who owned the convenience market across the street, or they would call saying pick them up there at the market."

The owner of the convenience store was "their best friend here," he said. "They were always hanging out together at the store." He knew this, he said, because he would stop in his cab and give Atta and Al-Shehhi a lift to Huffman, during the time they were students at the flight school.

Atta's friend, the man who owned the market across the street, a KwikChek, disappeared immediately after the attack, we learned, and has not been seen since.

According to Venice Yellow Cab employees interviewed by the FBI three days after the attack, Atta took numerous cab rides in August 2001 to and from Huffman Aviation as well as other locations in Venice.

Yellow Cab driver Bob Siropson, who was the only cabbie on the day shift in Venice, stated that on two of these occasions Atta was accompanied by Rudi Dekkers. "They knew each other well, really well. They were friends. They were going to a nightclub in Sarasota, talking and very sociable with each other. He and Atta were friends, you could tell."

Could Simpson be mistaken in his identification? Not likely; he knew Rudi Dekkers well, he said, from numerous trips to Huffman Aviation to pick up arriving flight students.

"He (Dekkers) would walk them out to the cab, and give me the address to take them to," states Siropson. "Then a lot of times, with a new flight student, Rudi would take them over to Sharkey's for lunch, and I'd get the call to pick them up. Dekkers also regularly used our cabs to do things like go to lunch, because he usually flew in by helicopter and didn't have a car at the Venice Airport."

Simpson said he first took Atta and Dekkers from Huffman Aviation to James' Place, a restaurant in downtown Venice. Then on a second occasion he picked the two up at the Pompano Road residence of former Huffman employee Charlie Voss, and took them to a Sarasota nightclub Atta is known to have frequented. It was Voss, we recalled, whose home was made available to Atta and Marwan when they arrived in Venice.

The Yellow Cab office manager in Sarasota confirmed that the trips were recorded in the firm's cab logs, and said the FBI had also expressed a keen interest in cab rides Atta had taken with the company's other driver, who worked nights.

***

Atta's presence in Venice during final preparations for the attack directly contradicts the FBI's official chronology of his movements in the month before September 11, and totally contradicts numerous statements made by Dekkers to the news media.

In sworn testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee in March 2002, Dekkers insisted his relationship with the terrorist ringleader had been distant, and ended the previous December, nine months before the attack.

Dekkers told the hearing about complaints from his staff that Atta and Al-Shehhi had behavioral problems, that they were not following instructions, and that they also had bad attitudes. "On December 24th, 2000, Atta and Al-Shehhi rented a Warrior (N555HA) from Huffman Aviation for a flight," the Dutch national stated, telling of his last encounter with Atta.

"Atta and Al-Shehhi returned to Huffman Aviation to make final payments on their outstanding bills. Because they were not taking any more flying lessons, they were asked to leave the facility due to their bad attitudes and not being liked by staff and clients alike. Huffman never heard about or from them again until September 11th, 2001."

Speaking with reporters, he had been more colloquial. "They did not socialize with anyone," Dekkers said three days after the attack. "They did not go to the bar with us. That Atta guy was an asshole."

***

On Friday, Sept. 14, three days after the Sept. 11 attack, cab driver Simpson was contacted by the FBI, who questioned him closely about an associate of Atta's, a Middle Eastern man who owned the convenience store across the street from the apartment building where Simpson said he picked him up. Simpson elaborated:

"I heard a voice say 'this is Special Agent Joe Anderson from the FBI calling,"' remembers Simpson. "My heart sort of skipped a beat. Then he said, 'don't worry, you haven't done anything wrong,' and asked if I'd seen pictures of the terrorists, and if I had, wanted to know if I recognized any."

"I said yes, I recognized Mohamed Atta,"' Simpson continued. "I'm the day driver for Yellow Cab in Venice, and he was in my cab a bunch of times in August, 2001. The night driver had him even more than I did."

So the FBI clearly knew -- much earlier than we -- that Atta was in Venice just before the attack.

"They were especially interested in a rich Saudi guy that I'd been sent to pick up at the Orlando Executive Airport. They said they already knew that he'd ridden in my cab because they'd gotten my cab number from a surveillance camera there."

The FBI agents asked specific and direct questions focused on several trips to the Orlando Executive Airport beginning in December 2000, said Simpson.

Simpson told the FBI he had been asked to drive to Orlando by a convenience store owner in Venice, a Middle Eastern man who was an associate of Atta's, and who left town shortly after the attack.

"I took the store owner, and when he got to Orlando Executive Airport, we waited together for a flight to come in. Then out comes this really wealthy Saudi businessman, dressed in Armani and shades, as well as his wife, who was wearing traditional Arab clothing."

"The store owner knew him really well. They hugged, and I am sure he was bringing the store owner a lot of money, because you could tell that he had a lot of money. The first thing they wanted to do was go to a good restaurant, so there we were, steak, lobster, everything. The guy had a lot of money. I just know this meeting had to do with this wealthy Saudi businessman bringing him money."

After dinner they proceeded back to the Venice apartment of the convenience store owner, the one where Simpson said he picked up Atta several times. "I took them back to Venice, and to the apartment, where I had to carry in luggage. I guess this wealthy Saudi businessman stayed there at the apartment too, at least that's where I left him."

Six weeks later, Siropson said, he drove the wealthy Saudi's wife back to the Orlando Airport, once again leaving from the convenience store owner's Venice apartment. When he arrived to pick up the fare, he was asked to help carry a chest down to the cab.

The chest was so heavy, he said, it took two people to carry. The man who helped him carry it down the stairs to the cab, says Siropson, was Zacharias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker. "He was a big bald guy, and he helped me with the chest."

Simpson's identification of Moussaoui in Venice added confirmation to the story we'd heard about the second "Magic Dutch Boy," Arne Kruithof, being grilled for two days at the Sarasota, Florida, Courthouse about his connections to Moussaoui by a Justice Dept. Asst. Attorney General and top-level officials from the FBI, there taking depositions from potential witnesses in Moussaoui's upcoming trial. So Moussaoui was in Venice too. The FBI has said nothing about it.

Also of major significance was Simpson's statement that on several occasions he drove Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi from Venice to the Orlando Executive Airport, a considerable distance, on one-way trips. This places the two men at the same scene where Huffman Aviation's true owner, Wally Hilliard, lost a Lear jet after it was discovered to have 43 pounds of heroin onboard. Hilliard also owns a flight school and commuter airline in Orlando as well.

***

Was Mohamed Atta flying out of Orlando Executive Airport for Wally Hilliard? Dekkers' partner in their failed airline venture, Richard Boehlke, told a reporter that Dekkers proposed using flight students to ride along as co-pilots as a way to save money.

"The thought that terrorists might have been allowed access to secure airport facilities is chilling," said Boehlke.

As we've seen, in the official chronology of this period January to April, 2001 -- FBI investigators state they are not sure where Atta and Al-Shehhi were, suggesting they may have traveled back to Germany, since Atta reportedly received a visitor's visa in Hamburg and reentered the United States during this time.

Once again we have heard eyewitness testimony which indicates the FBI is lying. So is Rudi Dekkers. If Dekkers is lying about his relationship with Mohamed Atta, this concerns material evidence in the deaths of 3,000 people. Why hasn't he been arrested? Why have federal authorities as yet done nothing about it? Why is he still walking the streets a free man?

When we called a man we know who used to work at something like the CIA, to ask him what could have been in that chest that was so heavy, his reply was swift and immediate, and seemed to put everything going on in Florida in its proper perspective ...

"Gold," he said firmly. "There was gold in that chest."

Who deals in heroin? Who deals in gold?

Islamic fundamentalists?

Or Islamic spooks.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29959
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:39 pm

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR: "GUNRUNNERS, DRUG SMUGGLERS & SUITCASE SALESMEN"

If the FBI was 'covering' for Rudi Dekkers, it wouldn't be out of love for the chubby flight school owner, universally loathed. No; they would, instead, be shielding the involvement of the entity, or organization, for whom Dekkers toiled. If the entity being shielded was, say, another Federal Agency, the FBI might have a lot of incentive to cover-up.

The task of identifying the organization being shielded by the FBI's incompetent and indifferently- motivated 9/11 investigation was made easier by events which played out right in front of us in Venice, which clearly demonstrate the scope and reach of the organization involved, and which seem to point a finger towards, in all likelihood, the CIA.

Surprised? We weren't either.

There is even historical precedent for the FBI covering up for the CIA. During the investigation into the Kennedy assassination, the Bureau flatly refused to investigate a CIA covert operation just outside of New Orleans, a training camp for Cuban exiles where CIA agent and all-around freak David Ferrie rubbed elbows with Lee Harvey Oswald at a camp which provided personnel and logistics support for the assassination conspirators.

The camp was studiously ignored by the FBI's New Orleans office, which again covered up for the 'renegade' camp a dozen years later in testimony in front of Congressional committees looking into the assassination.

But it will take more than historical precedent to level accusations against the CIA of involvement in Wally Hilliard and Rudi Dekkers' misbegotten Arab training operation. There needs to be hard evidence. And hard evidence is a difficult thing to find in professional intelligence operations. A parking permit from a CIA parking lot in Langley was not going to be discovered on the dashboard of one of Rudi Dekkers' many expensive cars. There wasn't going to be any sort of obvious paper trail. At best there might be some bread crumbs pointing towards what used to be a paper trail.

We recalled a recent conversation we'd had with a man who had been the personal pilot for famed CIA pilot and operative Barry Seal for several years before Seal was assassinated in 1986.

Phil Marshall flew Barry Seal's Lear jet for two years. Yet when we asked him what Barry Seal did for a living, Marshall said he'd been kept in the dark about the nature of his boss's business. Still, he said, after a certain amount of time watching Seal move in and out of countries and capitals all over the Western hemisphere, he concluded that his job had something to do with selling guns and drugs. It also involved a moderate amount of heavy lifting: carrying suitcases bulging with money and drugs up and down the steps of the plane.

"I decided that Barry must have been a gunrunner, a drug smuggler, or a suitcase salesman," laughed Marshall.

It was an apt, if wry, description of the world of the covert operative, and we have seen quite a bit of just that kind of behavior in the world inhabited by Mohamed Atta, Rudi Dekkers, and Wallace J. Hilliard.

Then something happened involving Hilliard and Dekkers, not in Venice or Naples, but up in Lynchburg, Virginia, at the Lynchburg Regional Airport, which revealed the two men's connections to American intelligence.

We got a letter from a reporter in Lynchburg, Virginia, telling us that a recent government move out at the Lynchburg Airport had a strange Venice, Florida twist to it that had left aviation observers in Virginia scratching their heads.

"Hello sir," the letter began. "My name is Chris Flores and I'm the business reporter at the Lynchburg News & Advance, a 40,000 daily in Lynchburg, Virginia."

Flores was writing, he said, because an unknown company called Britannia Aviation had just been awarded a five-year contract to run a large regional maintenance facility at the Lynchburg Virginia Regional Airport, over Virginia Aviation, a much better-qualified local firm, in suspicious circumstances that hinted at the involvement of a very influential, if invisible and mysterious, 'presence,' with the ability to directly affect government decision-making in Lynchburg.

"Virginia Aviation was really pissed that they lost the bid to a little company in Florida for this large facility," explained the reporter. "Right away, Virginia Aviation's VP Jim Lampmann started questioning this company's credentials, to the point where I'd be setting the paper up for liability if I printed it. It seemed like the talk of a monopolist who doesn't want more competition. However, he did point out that Britannia did not have an FAA license to work on planes; (yet) Britannia plans to set up a large operation here to work on regional carriers for Delta and U.S. Air (Express)."

"Lampmann said, 'I would hope the city would do due diligence before they turn over a major facility.' And he was right. They didn't have the FAA license. Paul Marten, the Brit who is VP of the company, said he didn't have the license because they were just working out of a small hangar on planes for Huffman Aviation under Huffman's license," Flores wrote us ...

"Which goes back to your boy Dekkers."

Someone behind the scenes had been pulling strings in Virginia to win a government contract for a company housed in a hangar at Huffman Aviation in Venice. Nobody in Virginia could figure out why.

And that's when the CIA's links to Rudi Dekkers and Wally Hilliard finally began to come into focus. At a Lynchburg City Council hearing on the dispute, we learned there had been vocal objections from local aviation observers baffled at why a company with no qualifications was being awarded a contract over a much better-qualified local Lynchburg aviation company for a large regional maintenance facility designed for major carriers.

"It was as if someone with a learner's permit from the DMV got picked to drive Richard Petty's car at Daytona," explained one Lynchburg aviation executive. "It made absolutely no business sense that anyone could see."

Ah, we thought. Maybe we can help here. We had begun to feel comfortable in the mysterious but increasingly familial realm of things which make "absolutely no business sense."

***

When Britannia was chosen for the contract in Lynchburg, local Lynchburg news reports on the controversy questioned why the tiny unknown firm from Venice was being shoe-horned in at the Lynchburg Airport. "Some commission members were concerned that they hadn't seen details of Britannia's bid until this past Wednesday, and that the company's un-audited finances weren't given to commissioners until some had asked for it," the Lynchburg News and Advance reported.

The city's response was not to worry about it, as if it were only a question of collecting the rent. "As a result of the questions raised concerning financial fitness," said Airport Manager Mark Courtney, "we put a clause in requiring Britannia to put down the first six months of rent."

Folks in Lynchburg were hardly reassured, and aviation executives began voicing their concerns to reporters at the local paper. They pointed out that Britannia's financial statements, released only after prodding by the local aviation community, showed the "company" to be worth less than $750, with virtually no assets, employees, or corporate history. In fact, it had only recently incorporated.

If ever there was a transparent dummy 'front' company Britannia Aviation was it. It didn't even possess the necessary FAA license to perform the aircraft maintenance services for which it had just been contracted. Yet it had been chosen over a respected and successful local Lynchburg company which boasted a multi-million dollar balance sheet and more than 40 employees.

No one knew anything about Britannia Aviation, other than that it had been housed at Huffman Aviation. Still, the airport manager, who had recently moved over from the FAA, greased the way for the company, and the City Fathers of Lynchburg agreed. Out at the Lynchburg Airport, everyone wanted to know what gave Britannia its 'stroke' with government officials.

What was it about Huffman Aviation that prompted government officials to so consistently strew rose petals in its path? Recall that Wally Hilliard and Rudi Dekkers' hasty purchase of Huffman without prior government approval had exposed them to serious business losses if they didn't receive quick government approval for a lease at the airport. What made them so certain that the City Council of Venice would rubber stamp their deal?

What was it about these guys that made government officials go out of their way to smooth their progress at every step?

***

The U.S. Government loves Rudi Dekkers ... The man who trained both pilots who hit the World Trade Center was getting a cool million in government cash. The government was giving away money to Dutch national Dekkers ...

"Rudi was going to get an SBA loan when he was indicted," Venice Airport observer Max Burge told us. "He had a letter of approval for an $800,000 loan."

In light of such massive malfeasance, we thought business reporter Chris Flores struck the right tone of ironic understatement. "There was some sentiment that there might be something suspicious about Britannia Aviation," he wrote us. "There was a clear feeling that nobody knew who these guys were, or where they were coming from."

What began as a purely local spat has clear national security implications.

The connection between Hilliard, Dekkers, and the CIA was inadvertently revealed during a raucous Lynchburg City' Council meeting over citizen complaints about the City awarding a $5 million contract to a company worth less than a typical business lunch. A Lynchburg city official used a little humor to try to wave aside objections that Britannia was insolvent.

"At least they have more on their balance sheet than Enron," joked Lynchburg City Councilman Robert Garber.

The Britannia executive in attendance, Paul Marten, who is British, rose to angrily protest that it was untrue his company was worth less than $750 ...

Britannia's assets, he felt sure, amounted to more than that. How much more was a question he left unanswered.

To illustrate the company's solidity and reassure those in attendance, Marten boasted that his company had already and for some time been successfully providing aviation maintenance services at Huffman's hangar at the Venice Airport, for a Caribbean carrier called Caribe Air.

"Marten has said in the past that he works on planes in a hangar in Venice for Huffman Aviation," reported the Lynchburg News-Advance. "Marten also said Britannia does a similar service to what it wants to do in Lynchburg at the Venice Airport with Caribbean airlines, including Caribe Air."

And that's how we learned that under Rudi Dekkers' FAA license Paul Marten's little dummy front company worked for a notorious CIA proprietary air carrier.

"You might want to look at the history of Caribe Air," said reporter Flores drolly. "I think one of the original co-owners was some huge drug runner for the Medellin Cartel."

Even by the standards of a CIA proprietary, Caribe Air has had a particularly checkered past, including such 'blemishes' as having its aircraft seized at the infamous Mena, Arkansas airport in 1990, after being accused by government prosecutors of using as many as 20 planes to ship drugs worth -- get this -- billions of dollars into the country.

Caribe Air also made headlines during the Iran Contra scandal after one of their planes, a C-130 military cargo plane, was shot down over Angola with the loss of everyone aboard.

Unfortunately for Caribe Air, the "everyone on board" included a US Congressman's nephew. In the resulting publicity it was let slip that the plane, laden with a cargo of whiskey and cigarettes, had been on a mission for the Angolan government.

Observers at the time had noted this fact with some surprise, since the CIA had been for years covertly supporting the Angolan government's opposition, Jonas Savimbi's UNITA rebels. The death of the Congressman's nephew revealed the Agency to once again be playing both ends against the middle ... at least when it came to planeloads of swag.

Although the Congressman with a dead nephew was unamused, the matter was quickly dropped.

Today Caribe Air is controlled by an offshore bank located on the Caribbean island of Dominica, Banc Caribe, a private bank which is being investigated by authorities pursuing Enron's secret offshore partnerships, some of which have the name "Caribe" in their title.

This is probably just coincidence.

When details of the Lynchburg controversy reached Venice, local aviation executives professed amazement. "No one here had ever heard of Britannia Aviation before," Coy Jacob told us. "And this is a very small airport."

Someone had decided there was too much heat on the Venice Airport for a covert operation housed at Huffman Aviation to remain there, observers speculated. So they moved it to Lynchburg.

Intrigued, Venice aviation business owner Coy Jacob called a DEA source he knew at the airport and asked what he knew about Britannia Aviation.

"This guy got all excited as soon as I asked," Jacob told us later. "He immediately wanted to know why I was so interested in Britannia. Finally he reluctantly told me that Britannia had a 'green light' from the DEA at the Venice Airport, whatever that means."

"He said the local Venice Police Department (which mounted round-the-clock patrols at the Airport since September 11, had been warned to leave them alone."

Rudi Dekkers was in trouble with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) while still located at the Naples Airport in the mid-1990's. But things had changed.

There were some sinister currents swirling around the aviation scene in Southwest Florida. But the notion of a Federal "hands-off" policy towards the operation at Huffman helped explain what it means to have a "green light from the DEA." It certainly sounded like an impressive credential. So one day we wandered in to see Paul Martens -- unannounced of course, as he would never have spoken to us otherwise -- at his office in a Huffman Aviation hangar at the Venice Airport.

Martens refused to comment on the reports of covert influences having been responsible for winning the Lynchburg contract. He was just an honest British businessman, he protested. He had ties to Lynchburg, Virginia. He met his wife there, while she was a student at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, he said. Her father had been a pastor for the Reverend Falwell.

Was there an evangelical Christian connection to our story? We had earlier noted that many of the flight trainers who trained the Arab terrorists moonlighted by flying missionary flights out of the Venice and Sarasota Airports for Christian missionary services like televangelist Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing.

"Islamic fundamentalist" Osama bin laden reportedly cloaked his covert activities under the cover of religious charities. Were our own government intelligence agencies using the same ruse?

"Jerry Falwell got bailed out in the early '90's by a local Lynchburg businessman with interesting associations," one Lynchburg observer told us. "Since then Falwell runs a missionary service called World Help, which flies all over the world."

Pat Robertson, we recalled, made the news after 9/11 when he invited Jerry Falwell onto his 700 Club to point a manicured finger at segments of American society both men felt were responsible for 9/11. Falwell surmised out loud that the horrors of 9/11 indicated God had lifted His "veil of protection" from the United States be- cause of various transgressions, including attempts to "secularize" the nation by pagans, abortionists, feminists, homosexuals, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

"The pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle," decreed Falwell. "The ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped make this happen."'

"Well, I totally concur," responded Pat Robertson, who went Falwell one better by adding that "rampant Internet pornography" was also to blame for God's anger.

"If we don't repent, then more events might happen in the future," Falwell chimed in.

Venerable CBS news-anchor Walter Cronkite expressed his disgust at the duo to TV Guide. "It makes you wonder if Falwell and Robertson are worshipping the same God as the people who bombed the Trade Center and the Pentagon."

Meanwhile, the consternation in Lynchburg did not diminish in the months after Britannia moved in. Instead, suspicions grew even greater, Lynchburg aviation observers told us, because of the "secretive nature" of the operations going on at the facility.

"No one knows anything about this group," Virginia Aviation's Jim Lampmann said.

"They took over a sizeable maintenance facility and all they're doing is working on a few old, broken-down Jetstreams. But they keep their hangar doors down and closed. They stay strictly to themselves and keep their shades pulled down. Their activity consists of one plane coming in and one plane going out every few weeks or so."

We knew what he was getting at: the "no business sense" thing. He said, "There's no way they can be making any money in an operation like that."

Christian-linked or not, a transparent dummy front company had a 'green light' from the DEA. So it was natural to wonder whether Robertson and Falwell were part of some as-yet unrevealed U.S. covert operation.

Our suspicions grew when we discovered one reason Britannia was able to move so smoothly from Venice to Lynchburg. Huffman Aviation's shadowy financier, Wally Hilliard, loaned Jerry Falwell a million bucks which the televangelist has shown no indication of repaying.

Only a cynic would suggest Falwell may have spread some of the money around town. But then, a million bucks does buy a lot of "looking the other way."

Falwell certainly needed the money. He was being foreclosed on -- in a supreme irony -- by a creditor who chose to place business before sentiment when Falwell couldn't repay his debts: Stephens, Inc., the Arkansas financial institution run by Jackson Stephens, who has been so influential, as we've seen, in Venice. In 1991 Stevens, Inc. foreclosed on the North Campus of Jerry's pride and joy, Liberty University.

That Jackson Stephens was also a generous patron of that minion of Satan, Bill Clinton, didn't stop Falwell from taking his money.

Business is business.

***

Financier Wallace J. Hilliard, 70, managed to avoid being caught in the glare of publicity surrounding his partner Dekkers. But that changed when Britannia Aviation became embroiled in controversy in Falwell's Lynchburg, Virginia.

The revelation of Hilliard's ties with Falwell shed light on things.

The Lord works in mysterious ways; but this was clearly no coincidence. Was Hilliard a representative of a large and powerful but largely invisible Company?

Had he been tasked with the covert flight training operation in Florida?

So, what did we really know about Wally Hilliard? The answer was not enough. A successful entrepreneur from Green Bay, Wisconsin, Hilliard supposedly retired to Naples, Florida, in the mid-'90s, only to go on a buying spree of aviation assets in southwest Florida that ran into the tens of millions of dollars with a partner, Rudi Dekkers, who had been the subject of a recent multi- Agency Federal investigation and whose reputation as a deadbeat was so bad that no one would sell him aviation fuel at the Naples, FL. Airport ... for cash.

As we learned more about Hilliard, a picture of the shadowy financier began to slowly fall into place. We discovered, for example, that the health insurance company he founded had a highly unusual corporate motto:

"Hate Sin, Fight Communism, and Back the Pack!"

While this may cover a lot of bases, motivation-wise, with insurance salesmen, it is way too odd for a regular health insurance company.

We learned more odd facts about Hilliard from Stuart Burchill, his former accountant. We virtually staked out Burchill's house in Naples after hearing several aviation executives close to Hilliard's operations in Naples state emphatically that Burchill didn't just know where all the bodies were buried, he also knew where they were sent to be cut up before they were buried.

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Burchill told us that at one time Hilliard had assigned him the task of dunning deadbeat Falwell, the founder of Liberty University and Pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, to repay the money Falwell owed his boss.

"The Falwell note was an outstanding receivable I was assigned to collect," Burchill explained.

This was almost too rich. As always, truth is stranger than fiction. But it got even better. In the course of trying to get Falwell to address the unpaid debt, Burchill said, he learned details of the Reverend's accounting practices upon which the Almighty Himself would presumably frown.

"I talked to Falwell's accountant, who was very apologetic," said Burchill. "He said there was plenty of money to pay off the loan. Except any time there was money left in the account at the end of the month, Jerry always stripped it out."

At this point we admit to being slightly giddy with glee. If the avuncular Southern Baptist minister had been "stripping out" his church's bank account at the end of the month, his pastoral image might suffer.

Burchill said: "Falwell's accountant told me, 'if I can pay you in chunks off the books so Jerry doesn't see it, I can get it handled.' So we worked out a payment schedule. And after that checks drawn on Liberty University came in for a few months, until Falwell figured out what was going on and put a stop to it."

Hilliard also had other ties to the Evangelical Christian milieu. Ties that -- given his involvement with Atta's Hamburg cadre -- were frankly disturbing ...

In addition to the loan to televangelist Falwell to bail out his failing religious enterprises, he served on the board of an avowedly Christian aeronautics company planning to manufacture a new business jet in Israel.

He was a Director of a company in St. Louis, VisionAire Corp., an aircraft developer attempting to attract funding to manufacture a six-seat business jet in Israel.

Like Hilliard's failed airline, which announced new service between Orlando and Daytona Beach and failed to attract a single customer, VisionAire spent millions developing a business jet ...

But they never sold a plane.

The company's CEO and head "VisionAire," Jim Rice, was a former religious fundraiser who ran the business as something of a religious crusade. When Rice was asked why he founded the company, for example, he credited divine inspiration. "I had been wondering what God wanted me to do next," he said in an interview. "When I pray, it's more listening than asking. The more I listened, the more I felt this is what He wanted me to do."

VisionAire's headquarters at Spirit of St. Louis Airport was described by the St, Louis Post-Dispatch as having an "undercurrent of spirituality," with one employee telling the paper she was attracted to working at the company by the "strong Christian faith" of top management.

Faith must have been sorely tested, however, during the brouhaha surrounding a $30 million civil lawsuit filed against the company by two former officers. After they complained to CEO Rice that he had misled investors about the company's prospects for FAA certification, they alleged, all -- forgive the expression -- hell broke loose.

The two had been having an illicit affair. In retaliation for their allegations, the company "caused video recordings to be made of plaintiffs' private activities," and then "unreasonably publicized private and personal details of plaintiffs' lives."

Ouch! That must have hurt. How Christian is that?

VisionAire Corp. officials eventually won dismissal of the suit, but it was a Pyrrhic Victory, since they never won FAA approval for their plane. As the company's finances worsened, some "enraptured" employees ended up working for free, or even subsidizing their employer by using their personal credit cards to pay for company expenses.

One former employee told a reporter, "A lot of us felt the company let us down. Not intentionally, but we felt bitter and kind of stupid for listening to Jim Rice in the first place."

CEO Rice was confronted by one investor who angrily told him, "My investment isn't worth anything now!"

Yet another company connected to the people connected to Mohamed Atta suffering the cruel indignity of forced bankruptcy.

In a bid to keep the company and plane alive, Rice solicited Israeli involvement. A July 3, 2001 press release from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) describes Israeli plans to help the manufacturer attract funding to manufacture the six-seat business jet in Israel.

Wally Hilliard's political connections continued to surprise us. He has ties extending well into the upper reaches of American political circles. These ties hold the answers to questions about how sophisticated operators like Hilliard and Dekkers could have been hoodwinked and taken in by foreign student pilots who demonstrated none of 'the right stuff.'

At the same time his Venice flight school was training dozens of terrorists to fly he was involved with Truman Arnold, a multi-millionaire Texas oil-man who played a prominent role in the Whitewater Scandal.

Arnold, chief fundraiser for the Democratic Party in 1995 when the scandal broke, was investigated for a variety of dubious money-raising schemes ranging from renting out the White House's Lincoln Bedroom to selling tickets on Air Force One. And he was fingered for procuring cash (read hush money) for convicted Clinton friend Web Hubbell.

Arnold, who played golf with Clinton regularly, coordinated payments to Webster Hubbell from businesses controlled by old friends of the President's, as well as campaign donors that included the Lippo Group, in business with (who else?) Jackson Stephens, and organizers of a multibillion-dollar development in China that had received the endorsement of the Clinton administration.

Truman Arnold's name surfaced in connection with our investigation into the Venice, Florida, flight schools in a curious aircraft transaction we unearthed while probing into Hilliard's tangled business affairs.

Arnold, it appears, 'loaned' Hilliard -- for a dollar -- a Beechcraft King Air 200 worth over $2 million. It wasn't until almost a year after the airplane sale that Hilliard got around to arranging financing to pay for the plane.

Truman Arnold engaged in his act of munificence in December 2000. So Wally Hilliard had a benefactor at the heart of the American political process, again raising the question of whether the appearance of Mohamed Atta and his terrorist buddies in Venice, Florida, was -- as the official story has it -- a matter of mere happenstance.

Truman Arnold's lawyer during the Whitewater Investigation was Democratic power-broker Richard Ben-Veniste, who is currently serving on the official 9/11 probe. So if Ben-Veniste's client Truman Arnold's business dealings with terror flight school owner Wally Hilliard come under scrutiny, the slick Washington lawyer will find himself playing two different angles in a major American scandal for the second time!

Richard Ben-Veniste has been a player in major American scandals, in roles that are often not clearly-defined, going all the way back to Watergate. Now serving on his third major national investigative panel (Watergate, Whitewater, and 9/11), he may be about to face the same criticism all over again.

Ben-Veniste already served as Majority Counsel to the Congressional Whitewater probe investigating Truman Arnold. He went on to defend Arnold before Ken Starr's Whitewater grand jury, an action for which he was roundly criticized.

Observers tarred the Democratic super lawyer, claiming Ben-Veniste, while serving as Democratic counsel to the Whitewater Committee, blocked inquiries about Webster Hubbell's hiring by the Lippo Group, and then turned around and defended a man, Truman Arnold, whom he had just been investigating.

"Truman Arnold's name never came up during the Whitewater investigation," Ben-Veniste wrote, addressing his critics, "because of the entirely collateral nature of the inquiry about Hubbell and Lippo ... And given Arnold's total lack of involvement in any aspect of the matters before the Whitewater Committee, no honest argument can be made that my representation of Arnold transgresses professional guidelines."

But Ben-Veniste's turning up at the 'scene of the crime,' is by no means the oddest thing about Truman Arnold and Wallace Hilliard's aviation transaction ... That distinction would have to go to the aircraft bill of sale which conveyed the plane from Arnold to Hilliard.

Dated December 10, 2000, it was not submitted to the FAA until almost a year later, January 31, 2002. While the purpose of this arrangement is unclear, one reason, aviation sources indicated, might be that had the plane come under law enforcement scrutiny during this interregnum, the person coming under suspicion would have been -- not Wally Hilliard, the man using the plane -- but Truman Arnold, still the owner of record.

Considering that the December 10, 2000 transfer date for the twin-engine King Air came right after Hilliard had lost his bid to retain possession of his Lear jet confiscated by the DEA, this is no small benefit. Because after the "blemish" of having a plane he owned found with 43 pounds of heroin, Mr. Hilliard's name, understandably, was 'mud' for a while with federal authorities.

Nonetheless, Hilliard continued putting together a company, Florida Air Holdings, which again was bravely planning to offer commuter air service in Florida. After briefly flying in the Spring of 2001, when it was touted by Florida political luminary Katherine Harris, Hilliard was no doubt eager to lose some more money.

We could hear it in our head, like a mantra. "When things don't make business sense, sometimes its because they do make sense ... just in some other way."

Hilliard's latest ill-starred aviation enterprise also offered commuter service under the name Discover Air. After not one ticket was sold on its inaugural route, it went -- almost immediately -- out of business.

Notwithstanding this uniquely dismal record, for reasons un-known, Florida political luminary Gov. Jeb Bush stepped forward to tour its facilities and praise its completely un-praiseworthy management.

***

One of the first decisions of the current U.S. Administration was, strangely enough, a change in drug policy. After President Bush's swearing-in in January 2000, the State Department announced the change of policy, instructing the U.S. Ambassador to Columbia, Anne Hamilton to "stop its opium eradication activities in favor of eliminating coca."

When he found out, Republican Dan Burton was livid, and brought the matter before his House Government Reform Committee. "In 2000 we saw initial success with the heroin strategy," Burton stated in the hearing. "Our allies and the Colombian National Police eradicated 9,200 hectares of opium poppy plants in Colombia's high Andes Mountains. This put a serious dent into the supply of heroin coming into the United States."

"It was then that the State Department chose to stop opium eradication," fumed Burton, "to, as Ambassador Patterson put it, 'take advantage of a historic opportunity to eradicate coca."' "Eradication of opium with the new Black Hawks that we gave them last year was stopped -- stopped while the coca eradication in the south took a priority," Burton said during the hearings.

"And the only problem is Colombia's cocaine is now increasingly headed in another direction: to Europe. And the opium poppy used to make more deadly Colombian heroin is almost exclusively headed to the United States of America and our East Coast."

***

The Truman Arnold Company today tops the Arkansas Business list of that state's largest private companies. It unseated -- you can't make this stuff up -- Jackson Stephens Inc. of Little Rock, long unchallenged as the state's largest private company.

No doubt all of this is mere coincidence, without the slightest relevance to an understanding of what happened in America on September 11th, 2001.

Because, according to the FBI, which should know, the 19 hijackers had no help from any outside organization while in this country. They were a Lone Cadre.

***

Wally Hilliard and Rudi Dekkers' purchase of Huffman Aviation in 1999 set in motion a chain of events that led directly to people hanging out of 100th story office windows in New York and asking themselves whether it would be less painful to jump.

Like the Arab terrorist bombers of the early '90s, some of whom also attended U.S. flight schools, Atta's terrorist cadre clustered around a handful of flight schools, leading to speculation that the hijackers may not have enjoyed completely unfettered access to any flight school in America they pleased. They appear to have been siphoned into only a few. It is not clear to us that if Hilliard and Dekkers had not teamed up in their unholy alliance that the terrorists would have just gone to another school.

Do the political connections of the owner of the flight school Mohamed Atta called home provide a rationale for questioning the official story told by the U.S. Government about the terrorists being in this country on their own and receiving no outside help?

Hell yes.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29959
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:39 pm

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE: THE EUROPEAN CONNECTION

So Mohamed Atta's American hosts -- Rudi Dekkers and Wally Hilliard -- are not who they pretend to be.

But the same could be said of Atta, as well. As we've seen, he exhibited behavior which is totally inconsistent with that of an "Islamic fundamentalist," however broadly defined. But his behavior was consistent with that of a member of his society's -- Arab society's -- privileged elite, who also happened to be a spy.

The people he consorted with in Florida, his Florida associates, were not exclusively -- perhaps even predominantly -- Arab.

From information gleaned first in interviews with Amanda Keller, Atta's one-time American girlfriend, and corroborated by independent sources in Venice and Naples, we confirmed that at least seven of Mohamed Atta's close associates in Florida during the year leading up to the 9/11 attack were European: German, Swiss and French.

Today we know at least something -- but by no means enough -- about the identities of each. Their names haven't surfaced in any press accounts about Atta's stay in the U.S., nor has their existence been mentioned or alluded to in official statements.

We know they were all pilots.

According to Amanda, all of them already had pilot licenses from other countries when they arrived in the U.S. Traveling with Atta, or meeting him around the state. Atta's European friends appeared to share relationships with him of long-standing. Their meetings were serious business; when they returned, said Amanda, Atta and his German associates "always came back glum."

Only one of the seven still resides in the U.S.; five live in Germany or Switzerland. The seventh has a criminal record in his native Germany, and today lives in Saudi Arabia.

Cabdriver Bob Simpson referred to Rudi and Mohamed as "partners in crime." He thought the two men shared both social and business connections. He said they were very close socially. As we've seen on one pickup during the summer of 2001, Simpson drove them to Sarasota to a bar on Main Street.

Amanda had made frequent references to a close friend of Atta's named 'Wolfgang,' a friend so close Atta called him 'my brother.'

"He called certain people, Arabic people, 'my brother,' Amanda said. "And I was wondering how he had so many family members. Like gang members do, you know, 'this is my brother.' But not all Arabs. So it wasn't like anyone who was Muslim was his brother."

"He called Wolfgang and Juergen 'my brother,"' she said. "He and Wolfgang were very tight, they went everywhere together. When he came into the picture they were together all the time."

Keller said Atta always spoke German with Wolfgang, which contradicts the testimony of Rudi Dekkers to a Congressional Committee that when he addressed Atta in German, Atta merely looked at him strangely.

Wolfgang's story, according to people we spoke with who knew him, includes a life studded with things like sailing around the world on a 47-foot yacht, on a trip where he met his wife Sujita, a native of Bombay. But when we went looking for Wolfgang, we found him through records of his scrapes with authorities in Florida. In airport records in Naples he was referenced in Aero Jet/ Ambassador correspondence. A letter was sent by a former employee soliciting to offer private flight instruction without authority and in violation of FAA rules.

Wolfgang Bohringer is a pilot in his thirties. In Spring 2002, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen. He was one of the first of the 'German element' to arrive in Florida, in 1996, when he opened a flight school in Naples. Prior to arriving in Naples he was associated with an organization called "The Flying Club of Munich," in Augsburg, Germany.

Like Rudi and Wally, Wolfgang was notorious in aviation circles for bad behavior. "Wolfgang showed up from Munich in the mid-1990's and immediately began operating a flight school illegally," stated Marcus Huber, a flight instructor in Naples. "He's half Swiss, half German."

Also like Rudi and Wally, Wolfgang seemed to have a "hall pass" from federal authorities. This embittered other foreign flight trainers not similarly well-connected. "When Wolfgang applied for an E-2 Visa, he made up a fake company, a cleaning service," Huber told us. "Sometimes it makes me mad that a criminal gets preference."

Welcome to Terrorland.

Wolfgang was instrumental in bringing another of Atta's German associates to Florida, a pilot named "Stephan," who has done jail time in Germany, was on parole when he came to the U.S., and thus not supposed to be flying. But "being connected means never having to say you're sorry," and while regular German flight students struggle to obtain the necessary visas, Wolfgang and Stephan had inside connections which smoothed their progress. Stephan purchased Wolfgang's flight training business.

Two other close German associates of Mohamed Atta's in Florida were brothers, Peter and Stephan Verhaaren. "Stephan did eight months of jail time," Huber told us.

"He was convicted October 1, 1997 and released from parole in Nov. 2000. Wolfgang signed off on Stephan's books, and so Stephan also got in on a fraudulent business investor's visa."

Yet Stephan was running a Florida flight school, although there are more than a few laws that say he shouldn't have been. Presumably the FAA was "looking the other way."

Stephan today reportedly flies in Saudi Arabia for a Swiss carrier, Farnair.

Atta also was often seen with Rudi's head flight instructor, Francois Nicolai. "He's another guy with no papers," an aviation source told us, "but at least he's an excellent pilot. He's French, and Swiss."

From what she saw, Amanda said that all of Atta's friends, with the exception of Marwan Al- Shehhi, were either German and Dutch, including Dutchmen Rudi Dekkers and Arne Kruithof, and another man from the Netherlands named 'Paul.' There was also Arne Kruithof's "agent" from Munich, as well as his business partner in Aviation Aspirations, Pascal Schreier. Pascal was close to Bohringer, Atta's closest friend among the German nationals.

Pascal Schreier is married to a woman named Sandra Hamouda, French Tunisian, who as we have seen bought the bankrupt flight school in Punta Gorda where Atta hung out early in 2001. She is an executive with a Florida flight school called Pelican Flight Training Center, a fact we might have overlooked except for a curious 'coincidence' ...

When the New York Times did a two year anniversary story on 9/11 called "Hard Times Are Plaguing Flight Schools in Florida" (September 14, 2003) focusing on the fact that pilot-training schools in Florida have been struggling since 9 /11, the two schools profiled in their story are Magic Dutch Boy Arne Kruithof's ... and Pelican Flight Training Center, where Pascal Schreirer's wife works.

There are over 220 flight schools in Florida. That the New York Times profiled these two "well- connected schools" is no doubt just a freak coincidence.

Another "old friend" of Atta's was a German named 'Juergen,' who was not the smoothest of operators. "Juergen was a pervert, straight out," Amanda had said "He was a lush, mid-30's. Every woman that walked by, he had something to say to them, commenting on their butt or whatever. He would go up to a woman, say 'I'm from Germany, and I want to touch an American woman's butt."'

We may have found 'Juergen,' working as a realtor in nearby Sarasota. Amanda recognized him from the picture in a YAHOO swinger's profile. Kurgus Juergen is the owner of Europe One, a company whose Florida incorporation papers lists the phone number of The Continental Cafe in Sarasota, a fictitious business name of Casablanca Rose Inc., whose two directors are Abeltif Mamdouh and Mustafa Ettaki.

Although he did tell us, unprompted, that he knew many people in the FBI, Juergen denied knowing Atta. And because we don't have a second source for the identification, we have to leave open the possibility that Amanda's photo confirmation was in error.

But not everyone has business partners named Abeltif and Mustafa.

***

The fact that Atta was being subsidized by U.S .taxpayers while he was in Hamburg hasn't been played up anywhere that we know about. But its true ...

For at least four of Atta's seven years living in Hamburg he was part of a 'joint venture' between the U.S. and German Governments, an elite international "exchange" program run by a little-known private organization which has close ties to powerful American political figures like David Rockefeller and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

This fact has escaped notice as well.

Before becoming a terrorist ringleader, Atta enjoyed the patronage of a government initiative known as the "Congress-Bundestag Program," overseen by the U.S. State Department and the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the German equivalent of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The jointly-funded U.S.-German government effort picked up the tab for Atta on sojourns in Cairo, Istanbul, and Aleppo in Syria during the years 1994 and 1995, as well as employing him as a "tutor" and "seminar participant" during 1996 and 1997.

Atta's financial relationship with the U.S.-German government program probably extends back to his initial move from Egypt to Germany in 1992.

The news that Mohamed Atta had been on the payroll of the elite international program only surfaced in a whisper, just as quietly as news that Venice flight schools had trained a third terrorist pilot. It was in a brief seven-line report by German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Oct. 18, 2001, under the headline "ATTA WAS TUTOR FOR SCHOLARSHIP HOLDERS."

The story quoted spokesmen for "Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft," described as a "German international further education organization," as having admitted paying Hamburg cadre principal Atta as a "scholarship holder" and "tutor," between 1995 and 1997.

When we found it, what seemed to make this story especially curious is that the German paper concealed the truly shocking implication of their story: that Mohamed Atta had been on the payroll of a joint U.S.-German government program. They did this through the simple expedient of neglecting to mention in the article that the "Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft" was a private entity administering the 'exchange' initiative of the two governments.

Maybe they forgot.

The U.S. end of the program, we discovered, is run out of an address at United Nations Plaza in New York, by the U.S. arm, called CDS International. The letters stand for Carl Duisberg Society, also the name of its German counterpart in Cologne, the Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft. They are named for the German chemist and industrialist who headed the Bayer Corporation during the 1920's.

The list of elite power brokers backing CDS International ranges from the aforementioned Kissinger and Rockefeller to former President Bill Clinton, and other Democratic heavyweights like former First Lady Hillary Clinton, and Clinton adviser Ira Magaziner. Kissinger showed his support by addressing over 100 international business leaders at an anniversary dinner organized and celebrating CDS International held at the River Club of New York, June 2, 1987, where he congratulated CDS International on its 20 years of service in keeping close business ties, not only between Germany and the United States, but more recently through career development programs for participants from "other countries" as well.

Five years later, Mohamed Atta became a participant from one of these "other" countries.

Then-President Bill Clinton also found a lot to like about CDS International. During his visit to Germany to commemorate the Berlin Airlift, he noted that the United States "will be working hard to expand our support" for the "Congress-Bundestag" exchange which "has already given more than 10,000 German and American students the chance to visit each other's countries."

Were he to give the same speech today, he would no doubt amend the wording to read "visit and vaporize".

CDS International, states the organization's literature, provides opportunities for young German engineers. Mohamed Atta wasn't, strictly speaking, a "young German engineer;" but apparently Kissinger's praise for "career development programs for participants from other countries as well" had been taken to heart.

"These young German engineers earn real world experience and are given assignments to contribute from the start," a program spokesman enthused in a newspaper interview.

The organization is today understandably shy about mentioning that their most famous recent graduate's "real world experience" included murdering almost 3,000 people in New York City in slightly less than two hours.

A financial relationship between the terrorist ringleader and the U.S. and German Governments has not previously even been hinted at in America's major media. The conspiracy-minded might conclude that this may owe something to the program's raft of politically-powerful boosters, giving it "big juice."

We prefer to think of it as an oversight.

***

Having "big juice" may also explain omissions in the story about Mohamed Atta's time in Germany in the March 7, 2003 Chicago Tribune.

Under the headline "9/11 haunts hijacker's sponsors; German couple talks of living with pilot Atta," the article described the 1992 meeting in Cairo between Atta and a German couple running an "international student exchange program."

Atta was recruited in Cairo by this mysterious German couple, dubbed the "hijacker's sponsors." It was this meeting, said the Tribune, which led Atta to move to Hamburg.

But although Tribune correspondent Stevenson Swanson cites this German couple for "having played such an important role in Atta's move to Germany," he never gives their names, nor that of the organization they worked for.

We thought good journalism was all about ... you know. Who. What. When. Where. Why.

The Chicago Tribune got unaccountably stuck on "Who."

During a visit to the Egyptian capital in fall 1991, the Tribune reported, the German couple stayed with friends who knew Atta's father, a Cairo lawyer, and his father's friends had then introduced the German couple to Atta.

"Atta, who had recently graduated with a degree in architectural engineering from the University of Cairo, told the couple he wanted to study architecture in Germany, but he had no particular idea where he should go," the paper reported.

Though the article neglects to mention it, the reason Atta found himself with "no particular idea where he should go" was that although he'd studied engineering at prestigious Cairo University, he hadn't done well enough to gain admission to its graduate school.

The paper quotes the German wife telling investigators: "In this first conversation, we suggested he continue his studies in Hamburg and offered him a place to live at our house."

Atta, she states, accepted their offer right away.

This magnanimous gesture by the German couple to an undistinguished young man they have just met may be normal behavior for this couple. Perhaps their gesture was just the very milk of human kindness.

Then again, perhaps it is something else. Why did this German couple leap at the opportunity to help a young man not considered promising enough to gain entrance to graduate school in Cairo? Offering him a place to live at their own home? The Tribune doesn't say. It also fails to identify either the couple or the "international" program they ran.

The story is 1,200 words in length. So its not as if they didn't report the names for space reasons. "Jane and John Doe from Help-A-Student International" would have sufficed. Just an extra ten words and they would have had it. You know: Who, What, When, Where and Why.

Either the Tribune just forgot the 'Who.' Or something more sinister occurred.

***

After studying German in Cairo, Atta arrived in Germany on July 24, 1992, according to investigator's records, and then lived rent-free for at least the next six months in the couple's home in a quiet, middle-class neighborhood.

Since just three years later Atta was on the payroll of the "Congress-Bundestag Program" it is reasonable to conclude -- no thanks to the Chicago Tribune -- that this was the "exchange program" responsible for bringing him to Germany in the first place.

CDS International's elite sponsors are apparently influential enough to have kept their organization's name out of the newspapers. Or, at any rate, out of the Chicago Tribune.

Here's something else we found curious about reports of Atta's time in Hamburg ... When he returned home for a three-month visit to Cairo in 1995, it was just as the Egyptian government was beginning to crack down viciously on Islamic fundamentalists.

Yet, strangely, Atta chose this exact time to grow a beard, traditionally a sign of a devout Muslim. It is assumed that Atta did this as a defiant political gesture to register his disgust at the secular elite that ruled his homeland.

At least, that's the way they tell the story ... Atta's two German traveling "companions" report that Atta said he would not be cowed by his home country's "fat cats," who he believed were criminalizing religious traditionalists while bowing shamefully to the West in foreign and economic policies.

At least that's what they say he said.

A more plausible explanation might be that growing a beard and assuming an "Islamic fundamentalist" pose was the act of a man "singing for his supper," by going undercover on behalf of people who were paying his room and board in Hamburg.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29959
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:39 pm

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX: THINK, IT AIN'T ILLEGAL YET

Actions have consequences. At least they're supposed to.

But the people, forces, and institutions in the U.S. before 9/11 that were dealing with, and doing business with Mohamed Atta and Osama bin Laden's terrorist thugs have yet to be named and identified, let alone face justice.

Why was training narco-terrorists to fly, a growth industry in Southwest Florida a few short years ago?

Even the FBI admitted knowing about it.

"The FBI Knew Terrorists Were Using Flight Schools," read a Washington Post headline one week after the attack.

What the FBI left unanswered -- both in the Post article and since -- is why they did nothing to shut it down.

Maybe it was business. Maybe it was too lucrative to shut down. One former Huffman aviation executive said, "Early on I gleaned that these guys had Government protection. They were let into this country for a specific purpose. It was a business deal."

Purchased in haste for top dollar and with no due diligence just a year before Arab terrorists began arriving, Hilliard and Dekker's flight schools, Huffman Aviation in Venice, and Ambassador Aviation in Naples, made "no business sense."

So they must have made sense some other way ... Was there an officially-sanctioned drug trafficking operation run out of Venice, Florida concurrent with Mohamed Atta's presence?

There has been a big taboo surrounding some of the most obvious questions. 9/11 has been treated as if it were an event that occurred in a vacuum, instead of in time, in a specific set of circumstances known only to the participants in the negotiation then said to be transpiring.

9/11 happened in a world in which Osama bin Laden controlled one commodity on this planet, a strategic one: opium.

He was the King of Heroin.

***

With the capture of Kandahar in October 1994 the Taliban gained command of the southern gate of the vast smuggling empire built during the Soviet war with assistance from the Pakistani ISI and the CIA. Later that same year Afghanistan scooted past Burma to become the world's leading producer, and the narcotics industry in Afghanistan continued to grow enormously, serving the interests of the new masters of Kabul and their "fundamentalist" friends.

They were the world's only Islamic drug cartel.

If its the end of the week, and George W. Bush announces its Friday, there are lots of people who'll still say he's lying. Yet some of these same people naively or disingenuously believe at face value Mullah Omar's pronouncement on July 27, 2000 'banning' the growing of opium in Afghanistan.

Mullah Omar was lying.

Satellite surveillance carried out for the United Nations revealed that the surface area devoted to growing opium poppies in Afghanistan had just grown by half, in one year.

After the Soviet war, poppy growing in Afghanistan began to take on the characteristics of modern agro-business, according to professor Alfred McCoy's The Politics of Heroin (second ed., 1992).

Opium production in Mullah Omar's home district doubled after the Taliban take-over, said Amnesty International in a November '96 report.

What Mohammed Atta was really up to while he was in the U.S. can be seen in court documents and testimony concerning the transactions being engaged in by other bin Laden terrorists at the same time, doing business in the U.S. in a murky netherworld where government and organized crime intersect.

In a New Jersey Stinger missile case, for example, Arab terrorists got caught trying to buy Stinger missiles from the Mob. The deal they got caught doing was typical, according to government prosecutors ...

It involved oil and heroin for guns and training.

Osama the Heroin King would definitely have been trading heroin into the U.S., the world's richest market. Wouldn't he? There always seems plenty of heroin on U.S. 'heroin store' shelves, which are probably re-stocked quicker than any convenience store. So somebody in the U.S., just logically, was doing business with him.

America's heroin supply has to enter the U.S. someplace. Traffickers look for someplace congenial, someplace cozy. Someplace where they could do business ...

Someplace like Florida.

***

We've heard nothing about this from the FBI. It is a big taboo. Yet the pilot of Wally Hilliard's 'Heroin Express' told investigators he'd flown the exact same flight 30 times in the previous nine months, a weekly 'milk run' down and back to Venezuela.

Hilliard's operation wasn't legitimate. They got paid after each flight in cash.

Getting paid in cash by a Latin male for a once-a-week round-trip charter jet to Venezuela, in the unanimous opinion of law enforcement and aviation observers in Southwest Florida, is not a fact that will look very good at trial.

"It's just blatant," said one aviation executive. "They obviously weren't even bothering to hide what they were doing."

So the outlines of a case for a Continuing Criminal Conspiracy are visible to any prosecutor. Any courageous prosecutor, that is.

Learning that Mohamed Atta was a coke-head had put the permanent kibosh on notions of Atta as any sort of recognizable "Islamic fundamentalist." Even if Al Qaeda's training manual urged them to blend in, that would mean having an occasional beer. Snorting cocaine was not part of Mohamed Atta's 'cover' ...

It was part of his lift, or, if you prefer, his lift-style.

Drug smugglers live that kind of life-style. Maybe spies do too. Do spies trade in drugs?

***

Watching the Venice Airport for a year and a half felt like seeing the movie 'Casablanca' playing over and over. Apparently the DEA felt the same way we did. "The DEA rolls videotape from an apartment across from the Venice Airport," a business owner there informed us.

Hell will freeze over before those DEA tapes ever become public.

***

When Bill Clinton was elected President in 1992, his campaign stressed at every opportunity the message: "It's the economy, stupid!"

When all of the nationalistic and "fundamentalist" jingoism is stripped out, we think the 9/11 attack will ultimately prove to be about what most wars are about: Money.

Maybe the secret history of 9/11 is: "It's the drugs." A falling out between two business partners. A double-cross. A deal gone wrong. Wally Hilliard's own pilots talked freely about the nature of the endeavor going on around them.

"I flew Wally's Turbo-Commander to Venezuela and then got detained in Haiti on the way back, because both U.S. Customs and the DEA wanted to inspect the aircraft," said one pilot who flew for Hilliard. "When I asked them what was up, they said the plane you are flying is known to be smuggling drugs in and out of the country."

"Another time, one of our planes was being serviced in Jamaica, and they called and said 'You need to pay us $10,000 to get the log books back," recalled the pilot and aviation executive. "There's a fee involved.' When I asked why, they said, 'Because the plane was supposed to fly a drug run and something had gone wrong and it hadn't kept its commitment."

***

U.S. officials spoke of the drug connection to 9/11 only in the immediate aftermath of the attack. "Frankly, we can't differentiate between terrorism and organized crime and drug dealing," Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff told a Senate Banking Committee hearing about the terrorists' money trail.

Osama bin Laden controlled the heroin trade in Afghanistan. And Afghanistan controlled the heroin trade worldwide, producing as much as the rest of the world combined. His organization was said by officials to derive much of its funding from heroin and opium.

Even today, two years after being deposed, the Taliban are said to be deeply involved in a trade which last year generated sums said to be at least equal to the amount being spent on reconstruction aid for the country.

Today we think back to a comment made to us by a Special Forces Commander who was working out of McDill AFB in Tampa, and who'd just returned from Afghanistan. He offered an off-the-cuff but candid assessment of the reasons for the hostility between the U.S. and the "Evil Ones" that led to the heinous September 11 attack.

"The Taliban were launching an effort to take over the worldwide heroin trade," stated this grizzled veteran of recent rescue missions behind enemy lines matter-of-factly. "They were going to use that as a basis to move into cocaine distribution as well. They were planning on supplanting the Cali Cartel."

We Wondered: Whose nose might have gotten bent out of joint over that?

***

Nothing better illustrated how pathetically-little we know about the circumstances surrounding the 9/11 attack than the fact that Rudi Dekkers and Wallace J. Hilliard, whose Florida flight schools were "marching Arabs across the tarmac," are not who they pretend to be. We have seen through each man's 'cover.'

Who could have guessed that the man who owned the school where Mohamed Atta hung out was at the same time pursuing a diplomatic opening to Fidel Castro's Cuba?

"While Wally was supposedly flying Missionary flights to Havana, he was passing out Rolex watches instead," explained John Villada, Hilliard's former jet manager. "And somebody turned him in to the State Department for flying illegal charters to Cuba, and the State Department seized his account."

We heard the same story from four separate sources, each of whom added colorful detail. Those weren't just any ol' Rolexes Wally was handing out in Havana, either ...

They were Presidential Rolexes.

"Did you know that Wally Hilliard went illegally over to Cuba providing money and Presidential Rolex watches?" asked an indignant aviation exec in Naples. "He said he was going over there to do a missionary job for his church, but nobody knew what he was doing."

Hilliard knew people in Naples politically well-connected with Fidel Castro. "They got Wally involved in Cuba," confirmed another source. "Rob has a DC-3 at the Immoklakee Airport. They're the one's who got Wally involved in Cuba. They got busted for running illegal charters to Cuba."

Odd behavior for a 'retired Midwestern insurance executive.' "Somebody turned him in to the State Department for flying illegal charters to Cuba," stated one source. "How he got caught was one of his pilots turned in an expense report, and Wally's accountant, Stuart Burchill, actually wrote on the expense report: Expenses for Cuba."

Then this source, a man involved in aviation in Naples for several decades, spent a long moment looking down at his feet. When he lifted his eyes he asked: "Can you believe this shit?"

Our sentiments exactly.

The evidence added up. Testimony from our eyewitnesses corroborated that of others. For example, from one source we'd learned, just in passing, that Wally and Rudi had formed a fictitious company to keep Rudi in the U.S. back in the mid-90's, and that Wally also had an aircraft maintenance facility in Nassau in the Bahamas, run by a South African man named Alfonso Bowe.

"Nobody knows for sure who Wally works for," the source had said. "He owns an FBO in Nassau called Executive Jet Support with a guy named Alfonso Bowe, whose sister is married to the Prime Minister of the Bahamas. He (Bowe) also runs a flight school he started with Pervez Kahn."

We filed this away. We didn't need to go to the Bahamas to find the story. It was all around us in Venice. Then months later someone told us something Bowe said about Rudi Dekkers.

"When Alfonso Bowe heard that the terrorists had trained at Rudi Dekkers' flight school, he said, 'It figures that out of all the flight schools in the nation the terrorists would go to Rudi."'

Nothing could be more clear. Wally Hilliard was not who he pretended to be.

"I think common sense should prevail," said Coy Jacob. "And I think if you are a thinking person and you have common sense I think that you examine the person making the statement and see if there is any reason for falsehoods."

"It all looks pretty suspicious to me."

***

It appears increasingly likely that one of History's Greatest Crimes -- the September 11 terrorist attack -- is being followed by one of History's Greatest Cover-Ups. We don't even have the satisfaction of having brought to justice the killers of our 3000 dead. Although President Bush is careful to avoid mentioning his name these days, Osama bin Laden is still on the minds of Americans, whose thinking is Biblically-simple.

They want his head.

As I write these words it's been almost 800 days since hundreds of millions watched 3,000 of our number perish in gruesome and terrible ways. Late on the day of the attack, NBC anchor Brian Williams opined: "There will be many people asking tonight just what it is we are getting for all those tens of billions of dollars being spent on intelligence."

Almost 800 days later, the question still seems valid. And now we have others as well.

***

The brutal reality of American life at the beginning of the 21st century seems to be the same as that faced by the citizens of Rome 2,000 years ago, as they looked with despair at the swaggering and corrupt Praetorian Guard which had made a mockery of their once proud Republic, and asked out loud the question which echoes down to us across the centuries:

"Who will guard the guards?'
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29959
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

PreviousNext

Return to Political Science

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests