"The thing the FBI was most interested in was his pilot bag. They asked about it a lot. He kept it locked, and they wanted to know whether I had ever seen anything in it. I told them yes. One day he opened it briefly, and there were a lot of papers in it, and there was a blue log book in a different language. Mohamed was fluent in almost any language you can think of. He had a kind of Daytimer in there, too. And a folder with all these different ID’s in it. And that’s when I saw one – because it fell out – a little blue and white thing the size of a driver’s license. It had his picture on it, and it looked like a mug shot, or a prison shot. And it didn’t look like him, and I asked him, 'Who is this?' 11. Atta, Keller, a stripper named Linda and two Germans partied for three days in Key West. Atta paid for everything. Rented three rooms, one just for the men’s luggage, which Keller says contained drugs. The men had a business meeting the women were not permitted to attend. Met with people, Keller says, who flew in just to meet Atta. Somber and quiet after meeting. (Key West Airport a known drug transit point. The Sheriff used to be under orders to keep the dope sniffing dogs off airplanes, and at one time even sent patrol cars to escort the drugs to Miami.)
The German revelers in Key West were a brother team - two pilots from Munich who had known Atta for some years. They were Stephen and Peter Verhaaren. Amanda had been led to believe Stephan and Peter were Austrian. She only knew these European friends of Atta by first names. Through records from the various airport authorites Lois Ann Battuello, a researcher working with Hopsicker stumbled onto Wolfgang's last name; and through his sale of a business to Stephan, was able to identify these two, for example. With the last names in tow, Daniel then began making contacts at the Naples Airport where these individuals were well known.
12. Atta was a licensed pilot at least during the months of March and April 2001 when he lived with Amanda Keller. He had the privileges of an instructor while he was at Huffman Aviation, and may have helped pilot South American drug runs.
13. The FBI timeline says Atta left Venice Florida in December 2000 after completing his flight training. But he didn’t. Dozens of locals say different – his landlord, neighbours, cab drivers, restaurant employees and his girlfriend, for a few instances – and have been told not to talk about it by federal authorities. The FBI publicly sought information regarding Atta’s time in various US locations, but not Venice Florida, where he spent most of his time in the US. Why the intentional misdirection? What are they trying to keep hidden?
14. Under pressure from the FBI, and despite numerous witnesses who had known them together, Keller publicly retracted her story of having lived with Atta, saying he’d been another hijacker named Mohammed, no last name, who seems to have only existed to get Atta out of this story that didn’t fit the official version.
15. On September 8th, 2001 --the Saturday before the 9/11 attacks, at a bar called Shuckums in Ft Lauderdale, Atta and two companions got drunk. The FBI showed up at the bar just 12 hours after the attack with pictures of two of them, one Atta, saying only “they were on the plane and passed away.” Manager Tony Amos and bartender Patricia Idrissi identified both. Manager Amos said they’d gotten "wasted," Atta drank Stoli vodka for three straight hours. Atta blasphemed: "F*ck God!" he’s said to have cursed.
16. The witnesses then retracted the story of Atta being drunk. They now said he’d only drank cranberry juice the entire evening. Both Amos and Idrissi have gone, no one knows where, but the current bartender says she believes their leaving was somehow 9/11 related.
17. Fourteen of the 9/11 hijackers made Florida their base of operation, and clustered around two flight schools. What is it about Florida, and these flight schools, that drew them?
18. Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi paid $28,000 each to Rudi Dekkers’ Huffman Aviation for flight instruction that, the chief instructor of a neighbouring school said, was available at dozens of other nearby locations for a fraction of the price. Why did they pay an inflated price to Dekkers?
19. Dekkers’ and his financier, Wally Hilliard, purchased the flight school just months before Atta and the other hijackers began arriving. Before their purchase, the flight school catered to largely American students. After, student body became 80% foreign, mostly Middle Eastern. Yeslam bin Laden, Osama’s brother, sent students there for his business.
20. Atta also frequented Arne Kruithof's Florida Flight Training Center, a block away from Huffman Aviation. Amanda Keller says it is where he would go to replenish his cocaine stash.
21. Though Dutchmen Dekkers and Kruithof claimed they had not known each other before each coincidently purchased flight training schools in Venice shortly before terrorists began arriving for training, witnesses claim the two had known each other well for years before.
22. Wally Hilliard is a supposedly-retired, born again insurance executive from the Midwest (motto for his insurance company had been "Hate Sin, Fight Communism, Back the Pack!"), who upon arriving in Florida entered into aviation businesses with an assortment of criminal and covert intelligence elements.
23. Dekkers and Hilliard had not been in the flight school business before they made the purchase. They paid an inflated price for the school, and did no due diligence before the purchase. They lost millions, but this was apparently not a problem. Charlie Voss, former employee of Dekkers and an Iran/Contra pilot who’d also flown "Northern Alliance guys" in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and who had given Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi a place to stay for a few weeks when they first arrived in Venice Florida: "Rudi’s greedy, and when you’re greedy you can be used for something.... When something doesn’t make obvious business sense, sometimes it’s because things are being done for another reason that doesn’t have a lot to do with dollars and cents. His business did not add up."
24. Dekkers went from broke to flush very quickly, without having business success with the flight school. One observer said “He didn’t even have the money to buy gas for an airplane… and yet a year later he shows up and plops a million seven, a million eight or two million dollars on the table as if it were paper money.”
25. The deputy in charge of Venice Fl airport security: "Wally and Rudi never talk inside a building, they go out to an airplane and talk inside the plane."
26. Dekkers’ claimed he had very little interaction with Atta, and that he never saw him again after December 2000. But numerous witnesses in Venice claim Dekkers and Atta were close, and were seen at a restaurant together just two weeks before the attack.
27. Hilliard denied knowing Atta. Keller recalled, on a visit to the airport, having Hilliard ask her, "What’s a nice girl like you doing with a guy like Mohamed?"
28. Before the attack, Dekkers was having trouble paying rent on flight school. It was so bad, it was a story in the Venice paper when he paid rent. One month before attack, he stopped having trouble. Since attack, every aviation concern at Venice airport has been late at least once with their monthly rent, except for Dekkers’.
29. Both the DEA and US Customs had been interested in Dekkers as far back as 1993. He was suspected of smuggling drugs and computer chips.
30. In early July, 2004 about the same time as Atta and Marwan Al-Shehi began flying lessons at Huffman Aviation, a Lear jet owned by its financier, Wally Hilliard, carrying 43 pounds of heroin was seized by the DEA. In news reports later that month, authorities called it the biggest seizure of heroin ever in central Florida.
31. The passengers, Venezuelan nationals, were arrested, but the pilot wasn’t charged, said a DEA spokesman, "because of lack of evidence." This, despite the fact the pilot, Diego Levine-Texar, ignored agents demands that he drop his cell phone, which had to be pried from his hand at gunpoint. Affidavit of the DEA agent: "Based on my experience I know that narcotics traffickers maintain frequent contact with one another while transporting narcotics… I believe Levine-Texar attempted to contact other accomplices as to the presence of agents and other law enforcement officials." Information about Levine-Texar is considered "sensitive."
32. But the DEA refused to return the plane to Hilliard. The DEA wanted to use the plane for drug interdiction. The lender took possession of the plane and sold it. Unusual for a so-called "innocent man" to be denied the return of his possession, or compensation.
33. After Hilliard lost his plane to the DEA auction, he was loaned a plane worth $2 million for just one dollar by Truman Arnold, former chief fundraiser for the Democratic Party, who figured in the Whitewater investigation.
34. John Villada, an aviation executive in Naples Florida: "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!'" Hilliard's mock warning seemed to show the DEA how little he thought of them, and how well he was protected.
35. The paperwork showed the same plane had made approximately 30 weekly round trips to Venezuela with the same passengers, and they always paid cash. “They obviously weren’t even bothering to hide what they were doing,” said one observer.
36. Hilliard had got his confiscated Lear jet from World Jet Inc, owned by drug smuggling brothers Don and Bill Whittington, who had supplied a Lear to CIA drug smuggler Barry Seal that they took back before his arrest and murder. The Whittington Brothers are now in Club Fed and have been for years since their trials in the mid-1980s.
37. The Sarasota County Drug interdiction people were told that Dekkers and Hilliard had a green light to operation and that they were to stay away from them, that they... may have had some type of government protection. And the local Venice Police Department were also warned to leave them alone.
38. A former Huffman executive, speaking about the hijackers: "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."
39. The FBI visited the home of this executive just four hours after the attacks. The purpose has been not to investigate, but to intimidate him into silence. The man says his phones were bugged, and thinks pilots were "double agents." He quit the flight school fearing for his life, and claims he knows too much about Wally Hillier, saying he "has a family to think about."
40. The FBI removed the flight school records on the early morning of September 12. According to Venice Police officers, they were taken in two Ryder trucks from Venice that drove to the Sarasota International Airport and these trucks were driven onto a Florida Air National Guard C-130 transport that was greeted by Jeb Bush who hopped on board.
Jeb had signed an Executive Order the morning of Sept. 11 declaring a state of emergency based on terrorist attacks. This allowed that Florida Air National Guard planes could land at public vs. military airports. Furthermore, Jeb immediately placed his Florida Department of Law Enforcement "in charge" of an investigation into the terrorist presence in Florida. MOST of the witnesses intervewied were NOT interviewed by the FBI, rather they were interviewed and likewise threatened by members of Jeb's Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
41. Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris have flown and endorsed Hilliard’s air carrier.
42. In the days following 9/11, a number of Saudis fled the country from Florida after the attacks. They flew on Wally Hillier’s charter aircraft to private fields of military contractor Raytheon, and departed on a 747.
43. After the attacks, a virtually non-existent company that operated out of Venice Airport under Huffman’s license called Britannia Aviation was awarded a five-year, multi-million dollar contract to run the maintenance facility at Lychburg Virginia Regional Airport. (FYI, Lynchburg is the home of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Baptist University.) Britannia did not have an FAA license to work on planes and showed assets of only $750. It was chosen over Virginia Aviation, which showed a multi-million dollar balance and boasted more than 40 employees.
44. Britannia executive Peter Martens boasted that his company had been providing maintenance at Venice Airport for "Caribe Air," which is a notorious CIA proprietary carrier.
45. A source at the Drug Enforcement Agency says that Britannia has a "green light" from the DEA, and that local police had been warned to leave Britannia alone.
46. Martens also has ties to Falwell, having met his wife at his university in Lynchburg.
47. Many of the Venice flight trainers moonlight by flying "missionary flights" to Central and South America, for such organizations as Pat Robertson’s Operation Hope. (Are mission groups being used as fronts for covert ops?)
48. Most of Atta's closest associates in Venice were not Arabs, but Europeans with connection to the drug trade.
49. Though flight school owners Dekkers and Kruithof had before crashed, within weeks of each other in 2002, both had near fatal crashes. Wreckage was destroyed before it could be examined.
50. According to his girlfriend, Atta was a big Beastie Boys fan.
The above article has been slightly corrected from the original
Minstrel Boy article, with assistance from Lois Ann Battuello
a researcher working with Dan Hopsicker. [BFN]
Here are some archived threads that touch on similar material:
"Jeb Bush seized flight school records at 2 AM on September 12"
"Heroin, Al Qaeda and the Florida Flight School"
|Home Last 5 Days NewsBytes Archive Links|
Original Content Copyright © BreakForNews.com 2004