Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #483 2nd Interview with Daniel Hopsicker

Dave Emory’s entire lifetime of work is available on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books available on this website.)

Recorded October 31, 2004
REALAUDIO

Introduction: The second of an initial series of three interviews Mr. Emory did with Daniel Hopsicker (the author of Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta and the 9/11 Cover-Up in Florida), this program highlights the extraordinary irregularities in the business operations of Wally Hilliard, Rudi Dekkers and Arne Kruithof, as well as Hilliard and Dekkers’ airline partner Rick Boehlke. Recall that these were the people at whose “flight schools” many of the 9/11 hijackers enrolled. These schools were the hijackers’ conduit into the United States. After detailing the extent to which Dekkers could break every rule of business and aviation with impunity, the program highlights Florida Air—a dummy airline that Hilliard and Dekkers ran in partnership with Rick Boehlke. Boehlke’s operations in the Pacific Northwest mirrored the stunning irregularities that characterized Dekkers’ activities in Florida.

In addition to setting forth the suspicious air crashes that almost claimed the lives of Kruithof and Dekkers within a few months of each other, the broadcast presents information about a wealthy Saudi who worked with Atta, a convenience store owne, and alleged 20th hijacker Zacharias Moussaoui in Florida.

Program Highlights Include: Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris’ endorsement of Hilliard and Dekkers’ dummy airline Florida Air; the fact that Dekkers’ suspicious crash occurred as he was on his way for a showdown with Wally Hilliard; an apparent attempt on the life of President George W. Bush on the morning of 9/11/2001; disclosure of the fact that Dekkers is still entering and leaving the U.S. illegally (in partnership with some Germans with whom he is apparently undergoing jet training in Tennessee); the presence of covert operations luminary Jackson Stephens in the Venice (Florida) area; Rick Boehlke’s involvement in the managed care industry and the extraordinary irregularities in all aspects of his business activities; Boehlke’s involvement with Mob looting of union pension funds.

1. The program begins with discussion of an apparent attempt on the life of President Bush on 9/11. Apparently modeled after the successful attempt on Ahmed Shah Massoud (the head of the Northern Alliance) who was killed on 9/9/2001 by Islamists pretending to be reporters, this attempt has gone almost unreported in the U.S. news media. It should be noted that the persons involved in this apparent attempt were allegedly from a group opposed to the Islamist government in Sudan (the former protectors of Osama bin Laden). Among the possibilities to be considered is that the would-be assassins were actually pro-Islamist and, possibly, infiltrators into a CIA guerilla training program for the opponents of the Islamic fundamentalist government of Sudan. “ . . . We did our job by piecing together two separate news reports from Sarasota—one a local television newscast, the other a town newspaper—that together lead to the inescapable conclusion that during the intrigue which was swirling in Sarasota before dawn that day, terrorists were looking to kill George W. Bush. The first report stated that a pre-dawn warning of imminent attack had been delivered to President Bush’s Secret Service detail in Sarasota, and aired on the Sarasota ABC affiliate’s evening newscast.”
(Welcome to Terrorland Mohamed Atta & the 9-11 Cover-Up in Florida; by Daniel Hopsicker; Madcow Press [HC]; Copyright 2004 by Daniel Hopsicker; ISBN 0-9706591-6-4; p. 40.)

2. “ ‘The warning of imminent danger was delivered in the middle of the night to Secret Service agents in Sarasota guarding the President,’ reported Monica Yadov of ABC’s Sarasota affiliate, ‘and it came exactly four hours and thirty-eight minutes before Mohamed Atta flew an airliner into the World Trade Center.’ The second story is a chilling eyewitness account of the attempted assassination in progress. It came from the Longboat Observer, which literally covers the waterfront in upscale Longboat Key, where Bush spent the night before the attack.” (Idem.)

3. “ ‘At about 6 a.m. September 11, Longboat Key Fire Marshall Carroll Mooneyhan was at the front desk of the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort as Bush prepared for his morning jog. From that vantage point, Mooneyhan overheard a strange exchange between a Colony receptionist and security guard,’ the paper reported. ‘A van occupied by men of Middle Eastern descent had pulled up to the Colony stating they had a ‘poolside’ interview with the president, Mooneyhan said.’” (Ibid.; pp. 40-41.)

4. “Neither of the two reporters knew of the other’s report. But both had covered different angles of the same story. . . .a concerted attempt by four Arab men posing as journalists to gain access to President George W. Bush at 6 a.m. on the morning of September 11th, for the purpose of ending his life. Here’s how it went down:” (Ibid.; p. 41.)

5. “Zainlabdeen Omer, a Middle Eastern native residing in Sarasota, contacted Sarasota police in the middle of the night to tell them a friend of his, who had made violent threats against President Bush in the past, had just shown up—and unexpectedly—in Sarasota, ABC’s Yadov reported. The man who Omer warned authorities about was identified in the Sarasota police report of the incident only as ‘Ghandi.’” (Idem.)

6. “Omer said ‘Ghandi’ told him he was in town to get a friend out of jail . . But Omer had heard ‘Ghandi’ make violent remarks about Bush in the past, and since the President was in Sarasota at the same time, Omer feared his friend might be in Sarasota to kill the President. The warning was initially given to the Sarasota police, who called in the Secret Service. Within hours Secret Service agents were searching an apartment in Sarasota. Turns out, Omer was right. They arrested three men, all from the Sudan, and took them in for interrogation. The questioning lasted, according to one of the three, Fathel Rahman Omer, for ten hours. ‘The police came and arrested me and three other people,’ Fathel Rahman explained in the ABC interview. Rahman said he couldn’t help the Secret Service. . . .” (Idem.)

7. “ . . . Moving quickly, the Secret Service next swooped down on a local beauty supply store, whose owner had been fingered by Omer as being a close associate of ‘Ghandi.’ . . . Agents detained and questioned the owner of the beauty supply store, a Muslim named Hakim. Hakim, too, had disturbing information for the Secret Service about Ghandi, reported Yadov. He told agents Ghandi was a member of the SPLA, or Sudanese People’s Liberation Army, a Christian and animist guerilla group fighting the fundamentalist Muslim government in Sudan. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 42.)

8. “ . . . Maybe they had been receiving covert training in the swamps, which is a southwest Florida tradition. Bay of Pigs invaders stormed the beaches here practicing for Cuba, a local Sheriff told us. And why would operatives of a guerilla organization fighting against a government of Islamic fundamentalists closely allied with Osama bin Laden want to assassinate, of all people, George W. Bush? It didn’t make sense. . . .” (Idem.)

9. “ . . . Until reporter Yadov went looking for Hakim, the owner of the raided beauty supply store, and discovered that Hakim’s beauty supply store wasn’t there anymore. Hakim was missing, too. He left in something of a hurry after being released by the Secret Service, Yadov learned. Gone. No one knew where. And Hakim wasn’t the only witness to disappear in Sarasota. Zainelabdeen Omer was missing too. The man whose warning of imminent havoc had been right on the money was now unavailable for comment. He
quit his job and left town, just ahead of reporter’s questions. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 43.)

10. In a digression from the subject of the 9/11 hijackers, the discussion turns to a picture that Daniel Hopsicker obtained of a meeting in a Mexico City nightclub in January of 1963. In addition to CIA operative Barry Seal, Oswald double William Seymour; Iran-Contra operative Felix Rodriguez, and Watergate Burglar Frank Sturgis, the picture appears to show Porter Goss, a longtime CIA officer and recently name by Bush to become Director of the Agency. The soiree is a gathering of Operation 40 personnel. Operation 40 was a no-holds-barred guerilla campaign waged against Castro’s Cuba. Many JFK assassination researchers suspect a link between Operation 40 and Kennedy’s murder. As discussed in Guns of November #3, Sturgis’ name also crops up in connection with the investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy.
(“CIA Nomineee in Pic of Agency’s 60’s Assassination Squad” MadCowMorningNews.com.)

11. Next, the program focuses on the extraordinary fiscal and aeronautical irregularities that characterized the operations of Rudi Dekkers and Wally Hilliard—at whose “flight schools” several of the 9/11 hijackers trained. It appears that the schools and their owners enjoyed high-level protection. There was seemingly no rule that “the Magic Dutch Boys” and Hilliard couldn’t break with impunity. “ . . . Time after time, we discovered that government entities had inexplicably smiled on the fortunes of Dekkers and Hilliard’s aviation partnership, until it began to seem as if they had a ‘rich uncle’ in government somewhere. The FAA, for example, protected Dekkers on a number of occasions. An aviation mechanic who worked for him told of criminal acts Dekkers committed which the mechanic had been forced by law to report to the FAA eighteen thousand feet in the air, safety is an important consideration. . . At least it’s supposed to be.” (Ibid.; p. 187.)

12. “ ‘Rudi Dekkers did an import of an airplane,’ the mechanic explained. ‘We found dents on the front of a wing and replaced sheet metal, and then we found ribs that were crushed. This renders an airplane un-airworthy. And yet he still sold the plane. I turned Rudi Dekkers into the FAA. They didn’t do a damn thing.’ Another aviation mechanic who worked for Dekkers over a period of years, Dave Montgomery, laughed when we asked him if this story could be true. Montgomery said when he found something wrong with an airplane Dekkers bought, Dekkers had fired him. Adding insult to injury, Dekkers then bounced his last payroll check.” (Ibid.; pp. 187-188.)

13. “John Villada, who managed Wally Hilliard’s huge jet fleet, confirmed Montgomery’s story. ‘Dave Montgomery worked for Rudi for three years as his Chief Mechanic till he found something wrong with an airplane Rudi bought. Rudi fired him, and then bounced his last payroll check.’ Rudi Dekkers reputation at the Naples Airport got so bad, we learned, that he couldn’t even buy gas there . . . for cash. ‘When he bought Huffman Airport,’ said a Naples aviation executive ‘His reputation as a deadbeat was so bad that the local Fixed Base Operator refused to sell him aviation fuel, even for cash.’” (Ibid.; p. 188.)

14. “ . . . He put lives at risk to make a buck. ‘He would take in people’s planes to rent out while they were idle,’ one aviation mechanic who worked for him stated. ‘Then he would come to me and want me to pout switches on the Hobbes meter. It’s like disconnecting an odometer on a car. It’s a direct FAA violation and an extremely dangerous practice, because you can no longer tell when the plane is due for service,’ the mechanic explained.” (Ibid.; p. 189.)

15. “ ‘But he wanted to do it because it let him rent out planes without having to pay the plane’s owner their cut.’ Huffman was the only full-service fixed base operator, or FBO, at the Venice airport. An FBO sells gas, provides mechanical services and otherwise caters to private aviation, and is usually a center of activity at the airport. In other words, something of a civic resource. ‘When Wally found Rudi Dekkers, Dekkers had already been thrown out of Naples as a con artist,’ said Naples aviation observer Rob Tillman. ‘Plus he had tax problems. He didn’t pay tax on shit. And this is the guy to whom Wally sold Florida Air.’” (Idem.)

16. “Who approved Dekkers buying the FBO in Venice?’ asked an irate aviation insider at the Venice Airport. ‘He’d been thrown out of Naples. . . how come they let him buy the ‘diamond’ of Venice?’ . . . We found a number of people willing to talk about Dekkers on the record. We heard from numerous sources that Rudi Dekkers had been the object of a serious multi-agency federal investigation during the mid-90’s. Apparently authorities found a number of fruitful investigative leads to pursue. . . ‘Rudi owned a computer business doing illegal activities at the Naples Airport,’ explained Tillman. ‘When Wally and Rudi were romancing, Rudi was smuggling aircraft back into the U.S. over the Arctic. International Computer Products was the name of Dekkers’ computer firm, active during the 1990’s, we learned. Naples aviation executive John Vellada confirmed the accounts. ‘There was a warrant for Rudi’s arrest for smuggling computer chips,’ he told us. ‘Both the DEA and U.S. Customs were interested in him back in ’93 and ’94. Everything he ever did, from A to Z, was illegal. A major source of conjecture around the airports in both Naples and Venice was what were the two partners doing together. They were considered an Odd Couple—universally, so far as we can tell—by observers at both airports. . . ” (Ibid.; p. 190.)

17. “ ‘Rudi would write a lot of bad checks, disappear for a while, and come back with lots of cash,’ an airport observer recalled. ‘Huffman Aviation was a little jewel when he bought it, and it had a really good reputation,’ another aviation executive told us. ‘He took a profitable business and ran it right into the ground. So he’s got a business that’s losing money had over fist, and yet he was awash in cash. It just doesn’t add up right. ‘I can recall times when Dekkers owned money to everyone at the (Naples) airport,’ said a business owner there. ‘And then he would leave town for three weeks or so in the Lear, and come back flush.’” (Ibid.; p. 191.)

18. “Rudi Dekkers’ financial profile changed overnight, said Coy Jacob in Venice. ‘Just about a year before he bought Huffman, he asked me for a ride from Venice to Naples, an airplane ride, which is maybe a 20-minute flight. I said yeah, sure, I’ll take you down there with one of my pilots if you buy the gas,’ Jacob related. ‘He didn’t even have the money to buy gas for an airplane to go down and back, and yet a year later he shows up and plops a million seven, a million eight or two million dollars on the table as if it were paper money.’” (Idem.)

19. Exemplifying the extraordinary operations of Dekkers and Hilliard was their initiation of an airline—called Florida Air—at the same time as their other businesses were hemorrhaging money, aircraft and personnel. Again, it appears that the protection they enjoyed ensured that they could break any and all rules with impunity. “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.” (Ibid.; p. 213.)

20. Dekkers and Hilliard’s partner in Florida Air was Rick Boehlke, whose aviation and managed care businesses in the
Pacific Northwest mirror the unusual activities of Hilliard, Dekkers and Kruithof in Florida. Boehlke was involved with the mob-led looting of union pension funds in the Pacific Northwest. “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. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 213-214.)

21. “ . . . 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? . . . Florida Air, the new airline, used Rick Boehlke’s Harbor Air’s 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.” (Ibid.; p. 214.)

22. “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.” (Ibid.; p. 215.)

23. “During its brief two-month existence, Mohamed Atta may well have flown for the airline as a co-pilot. 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. . . .” (Idem.)

24. It appears that Florida Air was a major promotional element in Dekkers’ luring of Arab and European pilots from Germany and Europe to his school in Florida. “ ‘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.” (Idem.)

25. “ . . . 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 month 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, they decided they might as well be losing millions in an airline as well?” (Ibid.; p. 217.)

26. “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. . . . 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.’” (Idem.)

27. “ ‘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.’” (Ibid.; p. 221.)

28. “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 school’s 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.’” (Idem.)

29. Although Florida Air was, to all appearances, a phantom entity, it did garner the endorsement of the Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Harris, of course, presided over the electoral irregularities that gave Florida to Bush in the 2000 election. “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 then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 239.)

30. “ . . . 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.’” (Ibid.; p. 225.)

31. “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.’” (Ibid.; p. 226.)

32. As mentioned above, Boehlke was involved with managed care facilities. They, too, were conducted in an altogether irregular fashion. “ . . . 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. . . .” (Idem.)

33. “ . . . ‘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.’” (Ibid.; p. 227.)

34. “ . . . 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?’” (Ibid.; p. 240.)

35. One of Boehlke’s Alterra facilities was located right near Dekkers’ Huffman Aviation in Venice, Florida. “ . . . 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.’” (Ibid.; p. 241.)

36. Interestingly (and perhaps significantly), a nursing home owned by Jackson Stephens was right across the street from Boehlke’s Alterra facility. Jackson Stephens’ name has been linked with covert operations and scandals for the better part of the last two decades. “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 Beverly Enterprises, 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 American scandal of the past generation: from BCCI to contra cocaine through Mena, Arkansas.” (Idem.)

37. “Today, the stately building still houses Stephens’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.’” (Idem.)

38. “In an ironic twist worthy of the spy fiction of John LeCarre, the very thing that made Venice seem to us such an unlikely destination resort for Arab terrorists—its elderly population—attracted the home office of a nursing home company controlled by a man whose name is synonymous with American covert operations during the past several decades. . .” (Ibid.; pp. 241-242.)

39. Next, the program details two suspicious air crashes within a space of a few months that almost claimed the lives of the Magic Dutch Boys—Arne Kruithof and Rudi Dekkers. Dekkers apparently anticipated trouble—he asked a colleague to fly alongside him. That colleague apparently saved his life. It is worth noting that Dekkers was on his way for a showdown with his boss Wally Hilliard. “ . . . 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.” (Ibid.; p. 288.)

40. The aircraft that almost claimed the life of Arne Kruithof was compacted before the FAA could examine it. Another extraordinary circumstance surrounding the Magic Dutch Boys. “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 Venice Gondolier.” (Idem.)

41. “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.’” (Idem.)

42. “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 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.” (Ibid.; p. 289.)

43. “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 the 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. . . .” (Idem.)

44. “ . . . 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.” (Ibid.; p. 290.)

45. The program notes Mohamed Atta’s “Saudi Cover”—his links with the Saudi power elite. A cab driver who had picked Atta up on a number of occasions related Atta’s links with a wealthy Saudi and a convenience store owner. One of the p

eople apparently involved with this group was Zacharias Moussaoui, the alleged 20th hijacker. “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. . . . ‘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.’” (Ibid.; pp. 309-310.)

46. “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.” (Ibid.; p. 310.)

47. “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.’” (Idem.)

48. “ ‘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.’” (Ibid.; pp. 310-311.)

49. “Six weeks later, Simpson 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 Simpson, was Zacharias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker. ‘He was a big, bald buy, and he helped me with the chest.’” (Ibid.; p. 311.)

50. “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 Mousaoui by a Justice Department 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.” (Idem.)

51. “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.” (Idem.)

52. One of the striking aspects of Hopsicker’s narrative is the fact that many of the people he interviewed would speak only on condition of anonymity. They apparently feared for their lives or the lives of their families. “ ‘I know more about Wally Hilliard than I ever want to know, said a former Huffman Aviation executive. . . .Like many others, this executive demanded anonymity. He explained: ‘I’ve got a family.’” (Ibid.; p. 256.)

53. One of the startling revelations in this interview—repeated in FTR#484—concerns Daniel’s assertion that Rudi Dekkers, and some German and Egyptian associates are still able to enter the country. Furthermore, Daniel maintains that Dekkers and company are taking jet training in Tennessee. This would indicate that the operations in which the hijackers were taking part are ongoing!!

54. In both FTR#’s 482 and 483, Daniel reveals that one of the Germans associated with Atta had threatened to sue the German publisher of Welcome to Terrorland in order to maintain his anonymity.

Discussion

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