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FTR #516 Interview with Daniel Hopsicker About the Venice, FL Cover-up

Record­ed June 26, 2005

Lis­ten:
MP3 Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]
RealAu­dio [3]

Updat­ing the hero­ic 9/11 research done by Daniel Hop­sick­er, the pro­gram sets forth details of a low-lev­el cov­er-up oper­a­tion in Flori­da, as well as evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries con­nect­ing GOP lob­by­ist Jack Abramoff, the Sun­Cruz casi­no boats in Flori­da, the gang­land mur­der of Gus Boulis (SunCruz’s pre­vi­ous own­er), and a vis­it to a Sun­Cruz ship made by Mohamed Atta and oth­er 9/11 hijack­ers. Hopsicker’s ground-break­ing research into the Flori­da activ­i­ties of Atta and oth­er 9/11 hijack­ers is at vari­ance with the offi­cial ver­sion of events. Recent­ly, a man claim­ing that eye­wit­ness­es had mis­tak­en him for Atta has come for­ward, in order to impugn infor­ma­tion from Daniel’s book. The “sec­ond Mohamed” looks noth­ing like Mohamed Atta and is sev­en inch­es taller. Arti­cles with infor­ma­tion dif­fer­ing with the FBI’s ver­sion of events have been delet­ed from the Lex­is-Nex­is data­base relied on by jour­nal­ists and inves­ti­ga­tors. Both the Con­gres­sion­al and “inde­pen­dent” Kean Com­mis­sion relied on the FBI as its sole inves­tiga­tive resource. One of Atta’s Ger­man asso­ciates has filed a nui­sance law­suit against Daniel, in what is prob­a­bly anoth­er attempt at under­min­ing Daniel’s work. An asso­ciate of the elder George Bush, the late Gus Boulis’ gang­land style slay­ing was sim­i­lar to that of anoth­er Bush associate—the late Don Aronow. The vis­it by Atta and com­pa­ny to a Sun­Cruz gam­bling ship just before 9/11 also sug­gests that Atta’s Flori­da activ­i­ties were con­duct­ed in con­junc­tion with a crim­i­nal milieu.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Refu­ta­tion of the “sec­ond Mohamed’s” claim that Aman­da Keller delib­er­ate­ly con­fused him with Atta when talk­ing with jour­nal­ists; attempts by oth­er Ger­man asso­ciates of Atta at dis­cred­it­ing Hopsicker’s work; GOP lob­by­ist (and Sun­Cruz vice-pres­i­dent) Jack Abramoff’s links to the Chris­t­ian right; checks writ­ten by Abramoff’s part­ner to a mob enforcer in the run-up to Gus Boulis’ mur­der; Boulis’ fears for his life, expressed before his mur­der; fears of oth­ers around Boulis that they might be killed.

1. One of the cen­tral ele­ments of dis­cus­sion con­cerns a low-lev­el dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tion appar­ent­ly direct­ed against Daniel Hopsicker’s inves­ti­ga­tions into the milieu of Mohamed Atta and the mys­te­ri­ous flight schools in the Venice, Flori­da area. (For more about this, see—among oth­er pro­grams—FTR#’s 482, 483, 484 [4].) One ele­ment of this appar­ent dis­in­for­ma­tion effort is an attempt by a French-Arab man named Mohamed Ara­ja­ki to pass him­self off as the “Mohamed” that Aman­da Keller knew in Flori­da. (Ms. Keller is Mohamed Atta’s for­mer girl­friend.) In addi­tion to the obvi­ous fact that this “sec­ond Mohamed” looks noth­ing like Atta, Mr. Ara­ja­ki is 6’ 2” tall—Atta is 5’ 7” tall. Be sure to con­sult the pic­tures of Ara­ja­ki in Daniel’s arti­cle [5]. “More than three years after the 9/11 attack, intrigue con­tin­ues to swirl con­cern­ing knowl­edge of the ter­ror­ist hijack­ers move­ments, activ­i­ties, and asso­ciates while in the U.S. prepar­ing the assault. A mys­te­ri­ous French-Arab man resur­faced last week who author­i­ties had dubbed the ‘5th ter­ror­ist pilot’ and a ‘Sec­ond’ Mohamed in Venice, FL. In an email, he alleged that a num­ber of eye­wit­ness­es, includ­ing the girl who had lived with him, had all mis­tak­en him . . . for Mohamed Atta.”
(“‘Dis­ap­pear­ing’ the News: The ‘Sec­ond’ Mohamed in Venice” by Daniel Hop­sick­er; Mad Cow Morn­ing News; 5/3/2005; p. 1.) [5]

2. In addi­tion to the sud­den appear­ance of the sec­ond Mohamed, news­pa­per arti­cles about Atta’s activ­i­ties in Venice are being removed from the Lex­is-Nex­is data­base used by jour­nal­ists world-wide. The arti­cles in ques­tion con­tra­dict the “offi­cial” ver­sion of Atta and company’s activ­i­ties in Flori­da. “It was HE they’d known in Venice, not the ter­ror­ist ring­leader, he assert­ed. And he sug­gest­ed the con­fu­sion might owe some­thing to their com­mon name, ‘Mohamed.’ Before dis­miss­ing the claims of this sup­posed ‘Sec­ond Mohamed,’ we must first con­sid­er a curi­ous sto­ry from the Sara­so­ta Her­ald Tri­bune, which seems to back him up. It was while review­ing his alle­ga­tions that we dis­cov­ered that cru­cial ear­ly news reports filed in Venice dur­ing the week after the attack in the local Sara­so­ta Her­ald Tri­bune have been removed from the news­pa­per data­base Lex­is-Nex­is, relied on by jour­nal­ists and inves­ti­ga­tors world­wide.” (Idem.)

3. Anoth­er ele­ment of the appar­ent attempt at sup­press­ing incon­ve­nient truths about Atta’s activ­i­ties in Flori­da is a law­suit filed against Daniel Hop­sick­er by “Stephen”  (last name with­held by request), one of Atta’s numer­ous Ger­man asso­ciates in Flori­da. He claims he did not know Atta. Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, oth­ers of Atta’s Euro­pean asso­ciates have also con­tact­ed Hop­sick­er to deny hav­ing asso­ci­at­ed with Atta in Flori­da. (For more about Atta’s Ger­man asso­ciates, see—among oth­er pro­grams—FTR#477 [6].) “Miss­ing are sto­ries report­ing that Mohamed Atta was liv­ing across from the Venice Air­port at the Sand­piper Apart­ments dur­ing the spring of 2001, with Aman­da Keller, a pink-haired Amer­i­can strip­per. Also at this time, as if the air was not already filled with enough intrigue for sev­er­al spy nov­els, two more alleged Euro­pean asso­ciates of Atta chose this pre­cise moment to step for­ward and deny hav­ing asso­ci­at­ed with the ter­ror­ist ring­leader, includ­ing a Ger­man pilot named “Stephan”, who recent­ly filed a law­suit against us in Kather­ine Harris’s home­town of Sara­so­ta, Flori­da. There’s noth­ing like hav­ing a home court advan­tage.” (Ibid.; pp. 1–2.)

4. “So . . . if the Sep­tem­ber 11th attack is a dead issue, as some allege, why the con­spic­u­ous flur­ry of activ­i­ty? Per­haps it’s a sig­nal that there remains some­thing of major val­ue still hid­den and wait­ing to be found beneath the gar­bled offi­cial account of the chronol­o­gy and move­ments of ter­ror­ist ring­leader Mohamed Ata.” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

5. Arti­cles about Atta and company’s activ­i­ties in Flori­da have been delet­ed from the Lex­is-Nex­is data­base. “The series of events which led to the dis­cov­ery of ‘dis­ap­peared’ news about Atta in Venice began with notice that we were being sued—again—this time by “Stephan” , who accord­ing to Aman­da Keller was one of a hand­ful of Atta’s Euro­pean asso­ciates in Flori­da. Stephan, appar­ent­ly, begs to dif­fer. One clear mes­sage seems to be that the Mad Cow Morn­ing News will need to place the bud­get line for ‘Defense attor­ney’ under ‘re-occur­ring expens­es.’ (See relat­ed sto­ry on how to get our new video free as a pre­mi­um for a con­tri­bu­tion to our free press fund.)” (Idem.)

6. “Today the miss­ing sto­ries can only be found in one place we’re aware of: the micro­fiche record kept of the paper-as-print­ed in the Sara­so­ta Library. What this means is that—unless you already knew about them—these sto­ries effec­tive­ly no longer exist. Just to make sure they nev­er go away, we are mak­ing them avail­able here. Both con­tain most­ly unre­mark­able inter­views with numer­ous local eye­wit­ness­es whose paths crossed with those of the ter­ror­ists. Their tes­ti­mo­ny mat­ter-of-fact­ly con­tra­dicts the FBI’s offi­cial account, which states Atta moved to Venice soon after arriv­ing in the U.S., and left for good in Decem­ber of 2000.” (Idem.)

7. “ ‘FBI Links Third Ter­ror­ist to Venice [7]’ was the head­line of the first, on Sept. 16, writ­ten by Her­ald Tri­bune staff writ­ers Robert Eck­hart and Michael Wern­er, in which law enforce­ment offi­cials mat­ter-of-fact­ly con­firm to reporters that before mov­ing to Venice, Mohamed Atta lived 30 miles to the south in rur­al Char­lotte Coun­ty. ‘Atta lived for sev­er­al months in rur­al Char­lotte Coun­ty before mov­ing to Venice Sher­iff Bill Clement said at a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day. Clement said the Sheriff’s Office had for­ward­ed sev­er­al tips to the FBI about Atta, who used an alias in Char­lotte Coun­ty.’” (Ibid.; pp. 2–3.)

8. “Atta had gone to flight school at the Char­lotte Air­port, local author­i­ties dis­cov­ered, when a local busi­ness own­er took advan­tage of one of Atta’s few slip-ups. . . The ter­ror­ist ring­leader had inad­ver­tent­ly for­ward­ed a five-page screed which includ­ed the pic­ture of a dead Mid­dle East­ern child to an avi­a­tion busi­ness at the Char­lotte Air­port. The hor­ri­fied own­er imme­di­ate­ly passed it on to the Coun­ty Sher­iff. So local law enforce­ment got it before the FBI. Then the well-mean­ing Sher­iff released it to the media, much to the sub­se­quent dis­plea­sure of the FBI. He must have thought he still lived in a coun­try where there is some­thing called the ‘people’s right to know.’” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

9. Hop­sick­er notes that the FBI account, at vari­ance with ver­i­fi­able facts about Atta’s Flori­da activ­i­ties, is the sole inves­tiga­tive source relied on by both the Joint Con­gres­sion­al Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee and the so-called “inde­pen­dent” Kean Com­mis­sion. “This infor­ma­tion con­tra­dicts the FBI’s account. But it also throws into ques­tion the entire chronol­o­gy of the crime, from Atta’s arrival in the U.S. to his sub­se­quent move­ments, which is dis­turb­ing because the FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tion was the sole inves­tiga­tive source relied on by both the Joint Con­gres­sion­al Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee inquiry and the lat­er ‘inde­pen­dent’ 9/11 Com­mis­sion. Both ‘inves­ti­ga­tions’ knew only what the FBI told them . . . a tru­ly chill­ing prospect.” (Idem.)

10. “The sec­ond account was pub­lished two days lat­er with the head­line: ‘Fourth Ter­ror­ist Sus­pect May Have Ties to Venice.’ It too quot­ed cred­i­ble wit­ness­es whose tes­ti­mo­ny is almost laugh­ably at odds with the FBI’s ver­sion of events. Reporter Ear­le Kimel not­ed the dis­crep­an­cies: ‘Huff­man flight instruc­tors have said they believe Atta left the area short­ly after receiv­ing his pilot’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion,’ he report­ed. How­ev­er, Atta may have been in Venice as recent­ly as April. Charles Grapen­tine, the man­ag­er of Sand­piper Apart­ments on Air­port Avenue in Venice, said he remem­bers see­ing Atta at the com­plex for about three weeks in April. He said Atta was liv­ing in the apart­ment of Aman­da Keller.’” (Idem.)

11. “Here’s a taste of what they are try­ing to hide. If these wit­ness­es tes­ti­fied before cam­eras in front of some­thing like Sam Erwin’s Water­gate Com­mit­tee, we would live in a bet­ter world than we are appar­ent­ly allowed. For exam­ple, the apart­ment manager’s wife Paula Grapen­tine, told the Char­lotte Sun that Atta had had ‘a lot of vis­i­tors.’ That could have opened what leg­endary Sen. William Ful­bright used to call, ‘an end­less can of worms.’ And the own­er of the Sand­piper Apart­ments, Vicky Keyser, told author­i­ties the stu­dents smoked a strange tobac­co, which smelled like mar­i­jua­na. This is far from only ref­er­ence we will hear con­cern­ing the ter­ror­ist hijack­ers and drugs.” (Idem.)

12. “And here’s an inter­est­ing find: One week after the attack, Bri­an Ross of NBC News report­ed a curi­ous dis­cov­ery with pos­si­ble sig­nif­i­cance to the sto­ry of Mohamed Atta’s sup­posed Ger­man asso­ciates: ‘And yet more evi­dence of the over­seas mon­ey trail had been found at a fly­ing school in Pun­ta Gor­da. The own­er says FBI agents seized records relat­ing to at least 12 for­eign stu­dents whose tuition was paid with for­eign wire trans­fers. They were very inter­est­ed in the Ger­man trans­fers, and they were very inter­est­ed in the Mid­dle East­ern trans­fers,’ Byers told Ross. But. . . .the FBI says the hijack­ers received ‘no out­side help.’ So why were they inter­est­ed in ‘the Ger­man trans­fers?’ We’ll have to remem­ber to ask Ger­man pilot Stephan” when we dis­pose him dur­ing our law­suit.” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

13. “Any ordi­nary mor­tal who starts talk­ing about things like ‘A Sec­ond Oswald’ is labeled a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist. But some­how when the FBI con­jures up a ‘Sec­ond Mohamed’ no one even blinked. The sole sur­viv­ing report men­tion­ing Atta at the Sand­piper in the Lex­is-Nex­is news­pa­per data­base is a Sept. 23, 2001 arti­cle in the Sara­so­ta Her­ald Tri­bune, in which author­i­ties take plans to refute the ear­li­er reports. Iron­i­cal­ly this only serves to call atten­tion to the fact that the ear­li­er sto­ries are no longer there.” (Idem.)

14. “Under the head­line ‘Fifth Pilot Trainee Van­ish­es’ on Sep­tem­ber 23, 2001 the Sara­so­ta Her­ald-Tri­bune pair reversed itself, and now report­ed author­i­ties were say­ing Aman­da Keller had not lived with Mohamed Atta, but with anoth­er Mohamed. ‘He told the peo­ple he lived with in Venice ear­li­er this year that he was mov­ing to Paris,’ read the report. ‘The man, known as Mohamed, stayed at Aman­da Keller’s unit in the Sand­piper Apart­ment com­plex on Air­port Avenue in April.’” (Idem.)

15. “This ‘Sec­ond Mohamed,’ who had until then com­plete­ly escaped men­tion was a man about whom author­i­ties oth­er­wise knew lit­tle. . . . ‘Inves­ti­ga­tors have iden­ti­fied a fifth man of Mid­dle East­ern descent who trained to fly in Venice, but they don’t know if he was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks because they can’t find him.’” (Idem.)

16. “While they may not have known if he was involved with the 9/11 attack, author­i­ties were com­plete­ly sure about one thing . . . The numer­ous eye­wit­ness­es told police, reporters and the FBI that ter­ror­ist ring­leader Atta had been liv­ing at the Sand­piper Apart­ments dur­ing the Spring of 2001 had not in fact seen the ter­ror­ist ring­leader. . . They had seen this man. He was the ‘sec­ond´ Mohamed. No snig­ger­ing was appar­ent­ly allowed. Accord­ing to state­ments the FBI made to Aman­da Keller while ques­tion­ing her, ‘Mohamed Ara­ja­ki’ was an alias of Atta’s. And the FBI Ter­ror­ist List—mistakenly released to the pub­lic a month after the attack by the Finnish Gov­ern­ment, to the Bureau’s consternation—also list­ed ‘Mohamed Ara­ja­ki’ as one of Atta’s numer­ous alias­es.” (Idem.)

17. Incred­i­bly, the “sec­ond Mohamed” claims Aman­da Keller sim­ply fab­ri­cat­ed her sto­ry about asso­ci­at­ing with Atta in order to gain pub­lic­i­ty. In fact, she was fright­ened and actu­al­ly shunned pub­lic­i­ty, until Daniel Hop­sick­er tracked her down! “But Aman­da Keller was far from alone in iden­ti­fy­ing Mohamed Atta as the man she had lived with for sev­er­al months. In the days after the attack every one of the local news­pa­pers in the area—the Sara­so­ta-Her­ald Tri­bune, Chrlotte Sun, and Venice Gon­do­lier—ran eye­wit­ness accounts of Atta at the Sand­piper, across the street from the Venice Air­port. ‘Charles Grapen­tine, the man­ag­er of Sand­piper Apart­ments on Air­port Avenue in Venice, said he remem­bers see­ing Atta at the com­plex for about three weeks in April. He said Atta was liv­ing in the apart­ment of Aman­da Keller. In a tele­phone inter­view late Fri­day, Keller said she met Atta through a friend and let him stay in the apart­ment with her and her then-boyfriend, Gar­rett Metts, because she felt sor­ry for him. She said author­i­ties told her not to say any­thing at all about Atta,’ the paper report­ed. ‘I can’t real­ly dis­cuss any­thing,’ she said. ‘I’m afraid I’ll get in trou­ble.’” (Ibid.; pp. 4–5.)

18. “Anoth­er sto­ry just three days after the attack report­ed: ‘Flight School May Have Charged Sus­pect­ed Ter­ror­ists Extra Rent.’ The local Venice Gon­do­lier report­ed Huff­man Avi­a­tion rent­ed an apart­ment for $550 a month at the Sand­piper, and then turned around and sub­let it to stu­dents at an out­ra­geous­ly high markup. Rudi Dekkers had been goug­ing the ter­ror­ists. We couldn’t muster any indig­na­tion over it.” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

19. “The secret his­to­ry of 9/11 con­tains items like the one from the Char­lotte Sun stat­ing Aman­da had been intro­duced in Key West to two men from Ger­many who said they were Mohamed’s friends. ‘FBI agents seized records from a finan­cial­ly trou­bled flight school at the Char­lotte Coun­ty Air­port, Pro­fes­sion­al Avi­a­tion, that recruit­ed stu­dents from Tunisia and went out of busi­ness in the spring of 2001, after tip­sters said they saw Atta there late last year or ear­ly this year,’ the Char­lotte Sun-Her­ald report­ed. The FBI in Tam­pa would nei­ther con­firm nor deny that any agents were inter­view­ing peo­ple in the North Port area,’ Char­lotte Sun reporter Elaine Allen-Emrich wrote. Asked for more infor­ma­tion about Atta’s wild week­end, an FBI spokesper­son iden­ti­fied only as Pam stat­ed ‘We rec­om­mend that you check in with CNN for cur­rent infor­ma­tion. Any press state­ments can be found on tele­vised sta­tions like CNN.’” (Idem.)

20. “Yet ‘Mohamed Arajaki’s’ email naive­ly assumes he has only Aman­da Keller to ‘dis­cred­it’ to make the sto­ry go away. ‘The only com­mon points between Atta and myself are that I am from an Ara­bic back­ground, I was in Venice at the wrong time at the wrong school . . . (And) I for­got, my fam­i­ly name starts with an ‘A’ as well,’ the email stat­ed. ‘It is true that she met a cer­tain Mohamed but it was not Mohamed Atta, but myself. The only per­son to blame is Aman­da as she knew she was lying. Do a lit­tle bit of inves­ti­ga­tion and you will find things about Mohamed Arakji, because I am the Mohamed she knew, not the oth­er one.’” (Idem.)

21. Note also, that the sec­ond Mohamed claims Keller fab­ri­cat­ed her Atta sto­ry in order to sell it to Hop­sick­er. But Hop­sick­er paid her noth­ing, and she actu­al­ly was afraid for her safe­ty. “Upset about what he termed ‘the enor­mous lies you have been pub­lish­ing about Aman­da and Mohamed Atta,’ he wrote, ‘Unfor­tu­nate­ly for you and myself, we had to deal with this ser­i­al liar psy­cho.’ She took facts and turned them to sell a sto­ry. I hope it did not cost you too much to buy noth­ing but lies.’ In point of fact, we paid Aman­da noth­ing. We’d been puz­zled about why her sto­ry hadn’t already been told in the tabloids. . . ‘Terrorist’s Girl­friend Bares All’ would sell a lot of papers in the check-out line.” (Idem.)

22. “Aman­da Keller nev­er went look­ing for pub­lic­i­ty. We went look­ing for her. We didn’t feel like ‘check­ing with CNN.’ The accu­sa­tion that Keller was a gold-dig­ger look­ing for a pay­day in the deaths of 3000 peo­ple is a lie. As if antic­i­pat­ing it might not fly, the email offered a sec­ond expla­na­tion for how a half dozen ordi­nary cit­i­zens had mis­tak­en him for Mohamed Atta. . . . ‘Also you must know that it is very easy to mis­take one Arab guy for anoth­er.’ We were glad we hadn’t said that.” (Ibid.; p. 6.)

23. “ ‘Aman­da men­tions trans­ves­tites in Key West, my friend got grabbed by a group of them in the street, as it was fun­ny, I took a pic­ture as well,’ stat­ed the email. We dug out Amanda’s com­ments about the trip to Key West: ‘So we went by Diva’s (in Key West) and it was the first time I ever saw a drag queen,’ she told us. ‘And I was stand­ing there talk­ing to them, so they had their pic­tures tak­en with a drag queen. Peter, Mohamed and Stephen were all stand­ing next to the drag queen, who stuffed his hand down all their pants in the pic­tures, and Peter and Stephan both laughed it off, but Mohamed got real­ly angry,’ said Aman­da.” (Idem.)

24. “Some­where there are pho­tographs of ter­ror­ist ring­leader Mohamed Atta being groped by a drag queen in Key West. The truth is always stranger than fic­tion. Still, giv­en the numer­ous reports of Atta’s un-Islam­ic pro­cliv­i­ties, it’s not at all unbe­liev­able. Mr. ‘Mohamed Ara­ja­ki’ sent along sev­er­al pho­tos of him­self . . . Some­times a pic­ture is worth a thou­sand words. We nev­er believed any cred­i­ble wit­ness would mis­take ter­ror­ist ring­leader Atta for any­one else, and see­ing this man’s pho­to only rein­forced the con­vic­tion. . . Could you mis­take this man for Mohamed Atta? We couldn’t either.” (Idem.)

25. Turn­ing to anoth­er of Daniel Hopsicker’s ground-break­ing sto­ries, the pro­gram high­lights the links between GOP lob­by­ist and king-mak­er jack Abramoff and a casi­no boat oper­a­tion in Flori­da. In addi­tion to the fact that the pre­vi­ous own­er of the casi­no boat oper­a­tion was mur­dered in Feb­ru­ary of 2001, the broad­cast notes that almost six months to the day lat­er (Sep­tem­ber 5th of 2001), Mohamed Atta and some asso­ciates appar­ent­ly vis­it­ed one of the Sun­Cruz ships. “The Mad Cow Morn­ing News has learned exclu­sive new details about the gang­land-style hit in Flori­da of Gus Boulis, whose mur­der fig­ures promi­nent­ly in lob­by­ist Jack Abramoff’s rise to pow­er. The ‘secret world’ of Jack Abramoff being probed by inves­ti­ga­tors today has def­i­nite con­nec­tions and unmis­tak­able links to the one inhab­it­ed dur­ing their final year in the U.S. by Mohamed Atta and the oth­er hijack­ers. So as the scan­dal embroil­ing House Major Domo Tom Delay and Repub­li­can lob­by­ist Jack Abramoff grows hot­ter, there may be new rev­e­la­tions about the 9/11 attack”
(“The Secret World of Jack Abramoff: Ter­ror­ists, Tor­pe­does, & Repub­li­can ‘Mus­cle’” by Daniel Hop­sick­er; Mad Cow Morn­ing News; 6/21/2005; p. 1.)

26. The pur­pose of Atta’s appar­ent vis­it to the Sun­Cruz casi­no boat is unclear. It may have been to obtain or laun­der funds. “One of the most amaz­ing things about this most amaz­ing scandal—hundreds of mil­lions in slush funds beats Oval Office blowjobs by a mile—is that some of the same names in the Abramoff scan­dal also sur­face in con­nec­tion with Mohamed Atta’s. Less than a week before the 9/11 attack, for exam­ple, Atta and sev­er­al oth­er hijack­ers made a still-unex­plained vis­it onboard one of Abramoff’s casi­no boats. What were they doing there? No one knows. [Empha­sis added.]” (Idem.)

27. “There remains a strong sus­pi­cion that Atta’s ter­ror­ist cadre-sup­pos­ed­ly unknown and friend­less and bur­row­ing into the woodwork—was able to call on the assis­tance, when nec­es­sary, of a friend­ly glob­al net­work. Could it be that this net­work is the same one being probed so gin­ger­ly today by inves­ti­ga­tors look­ing into Jack Abramoff? What could a scan­dal involv­ing Indi­an casi­nos and gam­bling boat ‘cruis­es to nowhere’ & pay-for-play gov­ern­ment offi­cials have to do with the sto­ry of 19 hijack­ers plan­ning a mass mur­der in sup­posed iso­la­tion in Flori­da? Let’s take a look. While Abramoff’s Indi­an gam­ing trou­bles may be get­ting the most pub­lic­i­ty, his oth­er major ‘area of con­cern’ is where the real scan­dal resides. Involve­ment with Mob-run casi­no boats may turn out to be a faux pas, even for Repub­li­cans. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

28. “ . . . What the Abramoff scan­dal is about at the core can be sim­ply stat­ed as: Vegas with­out rules. And what the politi­cians are argu­ing over is the biggest slush fund in the his­to­ry of the world. Democ­rats don’t want to elim­i­nate it. They just want in on the action. Who owns Florida’s gam­bling boats? No one is cer­tain. There is vir­tu­al­ly no state or fed­er­al over­sight. No one licens­es the oper­a­tors. No one ensures that the games aren’t rigged. No one ensures that the boats aren’t used to laun­der mon­ey. No one inves­ti­gates whether orga­nized crime is involved.” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

29. “And while ex-felons can’t vote in Flori­da-as many became aware dur­ing the mem­o­rable pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in 2000-this dis­ad­van­tage is more than off­set, for some, by the fact that an ex-felon can run a gam­bling boat in the state with no fear at all of flunk­ing the back­ground check. The rea­son? There is none. This sit­u­a­tion clear­ly suits some peo­ple just fine. . . While Gov­er­nor Jeb Bush may be minute­ly con­cerned with what hap­pened to Ter­ry Schi­a­vo fif­teen years ago, on this issue of real interest—massive corruption—he phones in his regrets. Just why might that be? . . .” (Idem.)

30. “ ‘There is a weird report just a day or two after 9/11 that some­one report­ed to the FBI that three of four of the hijack­ers were seen gam­bling on a Sun­Cruz boat,’ wrote a source in Mia­mi. ‘The FBI inter­viewed every­one who might have seen them, that very day by all reports.’ Sure enough. We found an Asso­ci­at­ed Press sto­ry [8] on Sept. 26, 2001 head­lined ‘Sun­Cruz Casi­nos Turns Over Doc­u­ments in Ter­ror­ist Probe.’” (Ibid.; pp. 3–4.)

31. “ ‘Sun­Cruz Casi­nos has turned over pho­tographs and oth­er doc­u­ments to FBI inves­ti­ga­tors after employ­ees said they rec­og­nized some of the men sus­pect­ed in the ter­ror­ist attacks as cus­tomers. . . . Names on the pas­sen­ger list from a Sept. 5 cruise matched those of some of the hijack­ers. . . . Two or three men linked to the Sept. 11 hijack­ings may have been cus­tomers on a ship that sailed from Madeira Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast.’” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

32. In addi­tion to their vis­it to the Sun­Cruz casi­no boat, Atta and oth­er hijack­ers also vis­it­ed Las Vegas. Were they laun­der­ing mon­ey dur­ing these vis­its? (Anoth­er pos­si­bil­i­ty con­cerns the pos­si­bil­i­ty that neo-fas­cist ele­ments involved with anthrax were active in the Hen­der­son, Neva­da area. Hen­der­son is out­side of Las Vegas. For more about the anthrax con­nec­tion, see FTR#419 [9].) “Less than a week before the 9/11 attack, Atta and sev­er­al oth­er hijack­ers were aboard one of Abramoff’s casi­no boats. What no one seems able to answer is this: What pos­si­ble thrill could gam­bling offer men get­ting ready to die in less than a week? To this date, their Sept. 5 vis­it to a gam­bling ves­sel over­run with retirees remains unex­plained. The gam­bling motif in the terrorist’s time­line doesn’t end there. The hijack­ers had no appar­ent rea­son to vis­it Las Vegas. . . so why did they?” (Idem.)

33. “On June 28 at Boston’s Logan Air­port, Mohamed Atta board­ed a Unit­ed Air­lines flight and flew first class non­stop to San Fran­cis­co. He bypassed the bohemi­an North Beach dis­trict, and didn’t take the cruise to Alca­traz. . . . Atta head­ed for Vegas. On Aug. 10, Hani Han­jour and Nawaf Alhaz­mi used first-class tick­ets for a Unit­ed flight from Dulles Air­port near Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to Los Ange­les Air­port near Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to Los Ange­les Inter­na­tion­al Air­port, then on to Las Vegas. The sto­ry of the ter­ror­ists’ Las Vegas con­nec­tion may nev­er be known, admit­ted the Las Vegas FBI.” (Idem.)

34. “ ‘Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ist’ Atta may have felt right at home in the world of fast cash and unli­censed gam­bling boat ‘cruis­es to nowhere’ of Repub­li­can lob­by­ist (and obser­vant Jew) Jack Abramoff. He would almost cer­tain­ly have been com­fort­able with the ‘gang­land-style hit straight out of Good­fel­las’ that cement­ed Abramoff’s promi­nent posi­tion in that indus­try. At the time of the Sept. 11 attack one of Abramoff’s chief claims to fame was as the proud own­er of the Sun­Cruz line: a dozen unli­censed gam­bling boats ply­ing the waters off the Flori­da coast in a fash­ion which in any oth­er state would have been con­sid­ered crim­i­nal.” (Idem.)

35. “How did Jack Abramoff get lucky enough to be the guy pass­ing out all that long green? Where did Jack Abramoff get his ‘juice?’ Short answer: Not every­one is savvy to oppor­tu­ni­ties pre­sent­ed by rid­ers in obscure leg­is­la­tion. Not so the con­nect­ed, the covert, the—dare we say ‘blessed?’ ‘Elite deviance’ is a soci­o­log­i­cal term for a con­di­tion in a soci­ety in which the elite in the soci­ety come to believe that the rules no longer apply to them. Casi­no boats turned out to be a elite deviant’s dream. One time-hon­ored way to get rich is to mar­ry mon­ey. Anoth­er is to kill some­one that has it . . . In Abramoff’s case, it appears that Gus Boulis, the own­er of the lion’s share of the casi­no boats in Flori­da, had to die first.” (Idem.)

36. The three-man con­sor­tium of which Abramoff was part secured Sun­Cruz from Gus Boulis, who was mur­dered gang­land-style. There is more about Boulis’ mur­der below. “Three men formed an own­er­ship group that appar­ent­ly made Boulis the prover­bial offer he couldn’t refuse. They bought Sun­Cruz from him, even though it wasn’t for sale. When Greek tycoon Gus Boulis was gunned down in his BMW on Feb­ru­ary 6, 2001 Fort Laun­derdale police inves­ti­ga­tors imme­di­ate­ly began scru­ti­niz­ing Sun­Cruz Casi­nos. Sus­pi­cion focused on the recent sale of the fleet. Boulis and one of the three men had been car­ry­ing on a very pub­lic feud. ‘We cer­tain­ly aren’t lack­ing in sus­pects,’ said a homi­cide detec­tive drol­ly.” (Ibid.; pp. 4–5.)

37. “Less than two months lat­er, Sun­Cruz announced plans to move a 150-foot, $10-mil­lion float­ing casi­no to the North­ern Mar­i­anas. Almost every arti­cle we’d read cites Abramoff & Delay’s inter­est in the Mar­i­anas being sweat-shop relat­ed. Mean­ing they’re in favor of them. Their pri­ma­ry focus wasn’t sweat­shops. It was gam­bling.” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

38. “ ‘Read about Sun­Cruz and it sounds like a South Flori­da ver­sion of ‘The Sopra­nos,’ report­ed the South Flori­da Busi­ness Jour­nal. ‘Feds go after own­er Gus Boulis. For­mer Mia­mi Subs king­pin forced to sell. New Sun­Cruz chair­man says Boulis threat­ened him. Boulis whacked.’ As if to con­firm the account, oth­er news­pa­per reports men­tioned a cli­mate of fear after the Boulis mur­der. ‘The shoot­ing death. . . cast a pall of fear over the peo­ple who knew him, with some of his clos­est asso­ciates admit­ting con­cern at being con­nect­ed with a man tar­get­ed by a hit man,’ the local Sun-Sen­tinel report­ed the day after the hit.” (Idem.)

39. Note that peo­ple famil­iar with details about the Sun­Cruz case declined to dis­cuss it, out of fear. In FTR#’s 482, 483, 484 [4], we not­ed that the same cli­mate of fear sur­round­ed many who had known details of the bogus flight schools used by Atta and com­pa­ny to infil­trate the Unit­ed States. “ ‘There are a lot of peo­ple who aren’t talk­ing for rea­sons of per­son­al safe­ty,’ said Fort Laud­erdale Police Detec­tive Mike Reed. Anoth­er asso­ciate declined to dis­cus any­thing about Boulis with the paper. . . ‘I’ve got my fam­i­ly to wor­ry about,’ he said, on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty. Even a cur­so­ry look at the exec­u­tive man­age­ment of the cruise-to-nowhere com­pa­ny that Boulis found­ed turns up vio­lent thugs and orga­nized crime fig­ures. But that’s pret­ty typ­i­cal of South Flori­da. . . What is unusu­al are that in with SunCruz’s mobbed-up crew are promi­nent Repub­li­can Par­ty mem­bers with long-stand­ing, deep ties to the reli­gious right.” (Idem.)

40. In addi­tion to Abramoff’s ties to the GOP, he has strong ties to the Chris­t­ian right. Abramoff’s links to both orga­nized-crime relat­ed ele­ments and to the Chris­t­ian right is rem­i­nis­cent of Jer­ry Falwell’s finan­cial links to Wal­ly Hilliard, who co-owned Huff­man Avi­a­tion with Ruki Dekkers. (For more about the Falwell/Hilliard rela­tion­ship, see FTR#’s 482, 483, 484 [4].) “Two Sun­Cruz exec­u­tives, Jack Abramoff and Ben Wald­man, are walk­ing exam­ples of the strange alliance between the fam­i­ly-val­ues par­ty and the gam­bling indus­try. Both men have strong ties to Pat Robertson’s Chris­t­ian Coali­tion, which is adamant­ly opposed to gam­bling; Wald­man was Robertson’s top aide in the televangelist’s run for the pres­i­den­cy. Abramoff, who per­haps wise­ly only took the title of vice pres­i­dent (less heat) has been con­nect­ed to the Chris­t­ian right since a stu­dent at Bran­deis Uni­ver­si­ty, where as head of the Col­lege Repub­li­cans he enlist­ed Top Chris­t­ian Ralph Reed as his top deputy. The two have remained close friends ever since.” (Idem.)

41. The pro­gram notes that Abramoff’s part­ner in the Sun­Cruz oper­a­tion was no stranger to the world of gang­land vio­lence. His moth­er was mur­dered in a gang­land-style hit. A for­mer boyfriend of Madonna’s was con­vict­ed in that case. “A man named Adam Kidan became SunCruz’s new chair­man. Kidan’s moth­er had been mur­dered in a gang­land-style hit in New York. Madonna’s one-time boyfriend and South Beach restau­ra­teur Chris Paciel­lo, was even­tu­al­ly con­vict­ed in the case. Today he is in Fed­er­al Wit­ness Pro­tec­tion, and word is there are sev­er­al movies about him in devel­op­ment. Just anoth­er Amer­i­can suc­cess sto­ry.” (Idem.)

42. “The Semi­nole Tribe of Flori­da led the way in par­lay­ing mom-and-pop bin­go par­lors into today’s $19 bil­lion a year Indi­an casi­no indus­try. Along with leg­endary chief James Bil­lie (Wres­tles with Alli­ga­tors), Rob Tiller was sem­i­nal fig­ure in this growth. Tiller is also a South Flori­da avi­a­tion insid­er and for­mer busi­ness part­ner of ter­ror flight school own­er and secre­tive financier Wal­ly Hilliard. He even met Atta and Mar­wan one day after a meet­ing with Hilliard, he says, with whom he was work­ing on an air­line start-up called Havana Air. Small world.” (Ibid.; p. 6.)

43. Boulis feared for his life in the run-up to his mur­der. “A week before Gus Boulis was mur­dered, Tiller was called to take a meet­ing with him. Tiller says Boulis was scared. Boulis hadn’t want­ed to sell. Now he was wor­ried he’d be whacked. ‘He called me to a meet­ing at the Ocean Reef Club. Very Snooty. You can’t even land there with­out per­mis­sion. I flew my air­plane down to meet him,’ Tiller recalled. ‘He said, ‘I want out. Peo­ple think I make a lot more mon­ey than I real­ly do. I don’t need the headache any­more. I want to sell my casi­no boats to the Semi­noles.’” (Idem.)

44. Boulis’s sub­ma­rine sand­which shops were appar­ent­ly fronts for mon­ey-laun­der­ing. “What was Tiller’s response? ‘I said, ‘Gus, you’re sure rock­ing a lot of people’s boats here.’ A cou­ple days lat­er, I hear he’s been blown apart dead. See, Gus want­ed to mus­cle his way into the casi­no busi­ness in a real bad way. His Mia­mi Subs were every­where. He was using them to laun­der mon­ey, big-time, for some­body.’ Who might that be? Even ask­ing the ques­tion brings a shiv­er. At the time Boulis was mur­dered, sus­pi­cion focused on com­pa­ny chair­man Adam Kidan, also an active Repub­li­can and cam­paign con­trib­u­tor. He had been in Israel at the time of the mur­der. His ali­bi held.” (Idem.)

45. Before Boulis’ mur­der, Abramoff’s part­ner Adam Kidan had writ­ten $30,000 in checks to a Mob enforcer who had worked for John Got­ti. “But then news sur­faced that just before Boulis’s death Kidan had writ­ten at least $30,000 in checks to a reput­ed Mob enforcer named Antho­ny Moscatiel­lo, a one-time asso­ciate of crime boss John Got­ti. Moscatiel­lo is appar­ent­ly what is known in crim­i­nal par­lance as a ‘tor­pe­do.’ (We’re not quite sure what that means, but it doesn’t sound good.) This is a paper trail some U.S. Attor­ney (in Man­hat­tan, per­haps) would describe as ‘to die for.’ But things work dif­fer­ent­ly in South Flori­da. To date no one has been charged in the mur­der of Gus Boulis.” (Idem.)

46. “The offi­cial back-sto­ry on Boulis is he left his native Greece as a teenag­er and came to North Amer­i­ca, bought a Toron­to sand­wich shop and turned it into a suc­cess­ful com­pa­ny with fran­chis­es all across Cana­da. After his Cana­di­an suc­cess, he moved to Flori­da in the ear­ly 1980’s (to retire to the Keys, he said). But Florida’s mon­ey-mak­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties over­rode his desire for shuf­fle­board, and soon he was build­ing anoth­er suc­cess­ful fast-food chain, Mia­mi Subs, and then build­ing and deploy­ing the crown jew­els in his empire, his Sun­Cruz Casi­no fleet.” (Idem.)

47. “What explained Boulis’ suc­cess in a restau­rant busi­ness where fail­ure is far more com­mon? The ques­tion strikes some as naïve. ‘Mia­mi Subs was the first take out place ever to serve Dom Perignon through the take­out win­dow,’ snick­ered Tiller. ‘Word was he had made his mon­ey in Cana­da in the sub busi­ness. But I learned lat­er it was noth­ing but a Laun­dro­mat.’ We were once more back in the precincts of mon­ey laun­der­ing, which seems more and more like one of Florida’s major indus­tries. We pic­tured dol­lar bills dry­ing in the sun all over the state, after being washed through the Ever­glades.” (Ibid.; p. 7.)

48. Boulis’ mur­der was rem­i­nis­cent of the gang­land-style mur­der of Don Aronow. Like Aronow, Boulis was an asso­ciate of the elder George Bush (accord­ing to Rob Tiller). (For more about Aronow, see FTR#512 [10].) “No doubt this is all just freak coin­ci­dence. Still, even with our sus­pi­cious minds, when we learned who Tiller thought was respon­si­ble for Boulis’ death, we were shocked. Tiller referred us to the man­ner of the Boulis hit. . . A man in a BMW was dri­ving down a qui­et side street after an evening meet­ing at his Fort Laun­derdale office when a car slowed to a stop in front of him. A sec­ond car boxed the BMW in from behind, then a dark Mus­tang appeared from the oppo­site direc­tion. The Mustang’s dri­ver pulled along­side and pumped three hol­low-point bul­lets into the BMW driver’s chest. ‘Boulis was mur­dered in the exact same way as Don Aronow, Bush’s oth­er part­ner,’ he stat­ed. Bush’s oth­er part­ner? The ques­tion hung in the air. Some­thing is real­ly going down bad here,’ Tiller stat­ed. ‘Don Aronow. Gus. Jim Shore . . . All tied in to Bush.’” (Idem.)

49. As not­ed in FTR#512 [10], the world of ter­ror­ism and Al Qae­da sig­nif­i­cant­ly over­laps that of orga­nized crime.“When NBC’s Date­line did a sto­ry recent­ly about sources of ter­ror­ist fund­ing right here in the U.S., they made bold to announce ‘the emerg­ing threat of a new alliance between al Qae­da and com­mon crim­i­nals.’ But it was hard­ly time to stop the press­es. . . .” (Idem.)

50. At the begin­ning of the pro­gram, Daniel informed the audi­ence about a death threat that had alleged­ly been made by Sam Koutch­es­fa­hani against Joe Chic­ch­ese, a for­mer busi­ness asso­ciate. (Koutch­es­fa­hani is dis­cussed in FTR#507 [11].) More can be found about this in a Mad Cow Morn­ing News arti­cle [12] pub­lished after this pro­gram was record­ed.