Flight School Flew Saudis On Unsupervised Flights
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Terror Flight School Owners' Flew Saudis on "Unsupervised Flights" All Over The Country
May 3--Venice, Florida
by Daniel Hopsicker
A MadCowMorningNews World Exclusive!
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A federal complaint filed April 5 in Ft. Myers, FL. accusing flight school owners Wally Hilliard and Rudi Dekkers of flying numerous "unauthorized and unsupervised flights" during April and May of 1999 makes no mention of the clients on the illegal flights, who, the MadCowMorningNews has learned, were Saudi nationals.
“They were flying for the Saudis,” said an aviation executive familiar with the operation. "They were ferrying Saudi princes all over the U.S."
The unauthorized flights took place on three separate Lear jets owned by Wally Hilliard of Naples, FL., the self-same ‘retired’ 71-year old Midwestern insurance executive who bankrolled the flight school attended by both Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi.
Also named in the complaint is "Magic Dutch Boy" Rudi Dekkers, whose criminal activities, according to court documents filed in his native Holland, once put him at the center of "a web of intrigue," from which he has not since emerged.
The federal complaint reveals that the flights took place during April and May of 1999, raising questions of whether the two men had still-undisclosed ties with Saudi nationals before terrorists began arriving at their two hastily-purchased flight schools.
Saudi Princes "not germane" to 9/11, Say Feds
“You can go to jail for the kind of things they’re charged with," said the aviation executive. "But all they're getting is a slap on the wrist. What they were doing is blatantly illegal. Without a Federal Aviation Administration air carrier operating certificate, the Government has no idea where those planes went, or even who was on board. Whoever they were flying for didn’t want anyone to know.”
Any move by the FAA to curb the suspicious aviation activities of Hilliard and Dekkers at this late date raises a question.
“Why start now?”
“Because they’re back in business,” explained a source at the Naples Airport. “They could become a major embarrassment.”
Federal officials declined to discuss the case, other than to say it was a civil matter unrelated to 9/11.
Thank god for that bit of reassurance, some felt. Without it questions might be raised about the thoroughness of the FBI's investigation into the terrorist conspiracy's activities in this country. Or even about whether there was ever any investigation of the two men at all.
"Sabotaged fuel lines, death threats, & fire-bombed planes"
Hilliard's Lear is apparently still be flying illegal flights. Even though the FAA license under which it was flying, that of Air Florida, belonging to Pakistani Perez Khan, has been suspended, the plane (see photo:N35NK -1983 Learjet 35A) is still flying, as this photo taken two weeks ago in Rum Cay attests, for clients involved in what appears to be a titanic struggle for control of the isolated island, amid rumors that a principal in the struggle has financial ties to Saudi arms merchant (and Iran-Contra middleman) Adnan Khashoggi.
According to Georgia real estate developer Billy Davis, one of the participants in the fight, the Lear serves as a backdrop in a colorful saga seemingly ripped from a Tom Clancy spy thriller, including sabotaged airplanes, death threats, and the recent fire-bombing of a brand new private plane at the airport in Rum Cay.
As we've already seen Wally Hilliard's impressive Rolodex contains an eclectic mix of names; from a former CIA U-2 pilot to a Texarkana money-man to a famous right wing televangelist to whom Hilliard loaned millions which the "Servant of God" feels no special calling to repay.
Hilliard's taste for questionable business associates continues unabated to the present day, the MadCowMorningNews has learned.
Of course, as Federal officials have indicated, none of this has anything to do with 9/11. The associates of Dekkers and Hilliard, the two people documented to have been doing business with Osama bin Laden's terrorists while they were in this country, have nothing to do with the 9/11 attack.
Even so, we decided to take a look... just in case.
Dead men tell no tales
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Ft. Myers, FL. had accused Wally Hilliard and Rudi Dekkers of using three separate Lear jets in 26 unsupervised passenger flights from Naples, Florida to numerous locations around the country during April and May of 1999.
What were Hilliard and Dekkers up to in early 1999?
Whatever it was proved more than a little dangerous to one of their pilots, we discovered; a six-passenger Cessna 210’s belonging to the men crashed in the Gulf two miles off the Naples Pier in early February, resulting in the death of the pilot.
The cause of the deadly crash remains unclear. And not by accident, either...
“A federal investigation into a fatal plane crash offshore from Naples may be hampered because the aircraft's owner has suspended salvage operations,” reported the Feb 9, 1999 Fort Myers News-Press. "AeroJet Service Center called off the salvage operation, apparently because it was costing more than the aircraft was worth."
No doubt this news didn't make the dead pilot’s mom feel any too swell.
The Boys' Are Back in Town
Notice of Hilliard and Dekkers involvement in “current operations” came from Billy Davis, a former Republican state senator from Arizona who we were to learn has traveled under something of a cloud for a number of years. He wrote us that a Lear jet owned by Hilliard has been flying regularly for the past few months to Rum Cay, an off-the-beaten-path island in the Bahamas, for a client involved in what he termed “suspicious activities.”
Davis’ interest in imparting this news to us was entirely self-serving, we learned. He is a principal in one of two factions—Hilliard’s Lear jet clients are the other side—fighting for control of the island.
It seems there’s never a dull moment, where Hilliard and Dekkers are concerned. Previously, of course, their clients and partners have included thugs and assassins from Osama bin Laden’s Hamburg cadre, as well as drug smugglers busted with 43 pounds of heroin onboard one of his Lear jets (which the DEA subsequently forced him to cede).
The Orlando Sentinel called it "the biggest drug seizure in Central Florida history.”
"Gun runners, dope smugglers, & suitcase salesmen."
The first thing we discovered about Rum Cay is that it is the very definition of 'secluded.' Located 375 miles to the southeast of Ft. Lauderdale in the remote southeastern Bahamas, the island once served as a refuge for pirates, was a center of gun-running during the American Civil War and grew to full prominence during Prohibition as a port used for boot-legging.
No doubt Wally and Rudi would feel right at home.
Bob Little Jr. is the owner of the plane that was fire-bombed on the island three weeks ago.
“Rum Cay was the largest privateering island back in the 1700’s,” he told us. “Some say the pirates never left.”
The two competing groups involved in the current struggle are contending over a large chunk of the island’s real estate. The faction using Hilliard's Lear jet, Davis told us, “have been after a tract of land that I have title to since the early 80's. Prior to that deeds going back to 1700's. To date I have spent over $300k for legal fees in a number of courts in Florida, Georgia, Arizona and The Bahamas. Five different law firms are working for me."
All of the battles, apparently, haven’t been in court...
"My plane had a fuel line sliced, after which the cockpit filled with gas,” said Davis. “Thankfully we got down without further problem and had the hose fixed in Nassau. Then last week another aircraft was burned (arson) on the ground in Rum Cay.”
"I believe that some of these people are connected with those you write about,” Davis wrote. “At least their aircraft is involved, and flying weekly to Rum Cay.”
Whatever the merits of Davis’ other charges, a quick check of FAA records reveals that the Lear jet in question (N35NK - 1983 Learjet 35A) is indeed registered to Plane 1 Leasing in Naples, FL, owned by Wally Hilliard.
"Location, location, location"
What was going on Rum Cay? Well, for one thing, they've just built a new runway which now allows private jets like Hilliard's Lear to land. And local newspapers seemed to run a number of items like this one: "COPS SEIZE $50 MILLION IN DRUGS."
"Bahamian and U.S. drug-enforcement officials confiscated $50 million in cocaine that was being smuggled aboard an unlicensed catamaran in Bahamian waters, officials said. Acting on police intelligence, authorities seized the 2,190 pounds of the drug aboard an unnamed 44-foot catamaran less than two miles off Rum Cay."
Some news accounts attested to the more grisly side of the trade:
"Mr. Thompson's body was found in ignominious circumstances, dumped in the ocean after having been missing for three or so days. The head and much of the body was wrapped in duct tape, which strapped the arms to the sides and the legs together, and bound with a chain fastened by a large lock and weighted by a cement block tied to the legs with a rope."
"Once it was retrieved, dog bites were discovered all over the body. It appears that the person was killed by attack dogs and then dumped."
It has long been well-known, of course, that the Bahamas offer a strategic location convenient to Florida, and is used as a staging post to smuggle cocaine and marijuana into the US. DEA officials state that as much as two-thirds of all cocaine entering the US transits the Bahamas.
Even travel writers know Rum Cay is in the middle of the action. “Today the islands serve as airstrips to refuel light aircraft flying in from Colombia en route for southern Florida, or as transshipment points from aircraft to high-speed motor boats,” reads a yachting guide to the region around Rum Cay.
"The operation is swift and simple. All the drug-traffickers need are a few willing hands to work for as little as 15 minutes, and for someone in authority to look the other way.”
More of “The Usual Suspects”
Would the identity of Hilliard's’ current client shed any light on the milieu in which planning for the 9/11 attack occurred, which have come to think of as “Wally World?”
Who was Wally Hilliard doing business with in the Bahamas?
"They have been after a tract of land that I have title to since the early 80's, prior to that deeds going back to 1700's. To date I have spent over $300k for legal work in a number of courts in Florida, Georgia, Arizona and The Bahamas by five different law firms working for me," Billy Davis told us.
"I have learned that the original conspiracy for the things involving me where put together in Tallahassee at the Federal Prison. Those involved at prison were Leslie S. Greyling, F. Lee Bailey, Raymond MacDonald and others.
What was this? F. Lee Bailey?
We will come to Bailey. But the reputed head of the operation, Lesley Greyling, caught our interest almost immediately.
Stories about him relied rather heavily on the "M" word.
Like this one: London's MAIL ON SUNDAY on August 26, 2001 headlined: "Mafia cloud over web domain operator." The paper reported, "AN international financier charged by police in America in connection with a Mafia-related extortion scheme on Wall Street has emerged as the key figure behind Britain's biggest web domain name business... Greyling has managed to avoid extradition to America on charges filed against him last year alleging that he participated in a Mafia scheme to extort money from investors."
Or this one: “FAMILIAR NAMES IN SECURITIES FRAUD BUST” read the headline of a June 17, 2000 Palm Beach Post story on a recent Greyling arrest.
“A federal bust Wednesday of 120 people on investment fraud charges reacquainted veteran law enforcement officials with some familiar faces. Some of them have been around for so long they're considered part of the "old school" of investment con men, officials said.”
The paper continued, "The securities fraud crackdown Wednesday was billed by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White as "the biggest dent we've ever made in the mob's influence on Wall Street." Each of the five chief Mafia families was represented in the arrests, which followed charges that the defendants had engaged in Internet-based fraud schemes as well as old-fashioned violence."
"Greyling, 48, a South African national and a one-time habitué of Palm Beach, was arrested in London and is awaiting extradition to the United States."
Greyling was running a stock swindle out of Vancouver, Canada, dubbed the "scam capital of the world" by Forbes magazine. The Vancouver Stock Exchange checkered past has seen stock offerings floated for plastic zip on snow tires, a cone-shaped headpiece designed to cure baldness, and an archeological expedition to find King Solomon's mines...
"The white-collar translation of omerta" -- the mafia code of silence -- is the description of Vancouver Stock Exchange offered by a securities analyst who testified in a recent case there."
But Lesley Greyling isn't a mobster of the 'dese dem & dose' variety. He had helmed a Palm Beach company, Members Service Corp., we learned. It had been chaired by former Republican Governor of Florida Claude Kirk, which used Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi as an "international consultant."
Greyling's company was even said to be considering helping the Saudi arms merchant and Iran-Contra middleman build a casino on the Gaza Strip.
It is a Strange Brew... Saudis and the Mob and terror flight school owner Wally Hilliard all bumping chests together in the world's Bermuda Triangle of narcotics trafficking.
What to make of all this? We didn't know, but one thing seemed certain, thanks to vigilant Federal officials:
None of this has any bearing on 9/11.
to be continued.
- Daniel Hopsicker is the
author of Barry
& 'the boys: The CIA, the Mob and America's Secret
History. About the author. - Email the author.
STANDARD DISCLAIMER FROM UQ.ORG:
UnansweredQuestions.org does not necessarily endorse the
views expressed in the above article. We present this in
the interests of research -for the relevant information we
believe it contains. We hope that the reader finds in it
inspiration to work with us further, in helping to build
bridges between our various investigative communities,
towards a greater, common understanding of the unanswered
questions which now lie before us.
IMAGE: Welcome To Terrorland - A NEW BOOK BY DANIEL HOPSICKER
PRE-ORDER YOUR SIGNED COPY TODAY, RECEIVE IT BEFORE THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH
- Daniel Hopsicker is the author of Barry & 'the boys: The CIA, the Mob and America's Secret History. About the author. - Email the author.
STANDARD DISCLAIMER FROM UQ.ORG: UnansweredQuestions.org does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the above article. We present this in the interests of research -for the relevant information we believe it contains. We hope that the reader finds in it inspiration to work with us further, in helping to build bridges between our various investigative communities, towards a greater, common understanding of the unanswered questions which now lie before us.