Daniel Hopsicker: The Covert Op That Ate The World
The Covert Op That Ate The World
January 4,2005 -- Venice, FL
by Daniel Hopsicker
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While both of the terrorist pilots who crashed into the World Trade Center were students at Venice Florida’s Huffman Aviation, the flight school's owner Wallace J. Hilliard, 72, of Naples, FL., was simultaneously pursuing his own diplomatic opening to Fidel Castro’s Cuba.
A photograph (above) recently made available to the MadCowMorningNews shows a smiling Hilliard strapping a Rolex with the must-have diamond beveled-face onto the presumably grateful wrist of one of Fidel Castro’s top aides, Guillermo Garcia Frias, known in Cuba as "the Commandante of the Revolution."
For Hilliard, portrayed as a retired-to-Florida Midwestern insurance executive-turned-befuddled investor after the 9.11 attack, the new evidence confirms he had been doing considerably more ''moving and shaking' than is customary for seniors in the Sunshine State.
Former employees confirmed Hilliard's curious Cuban venture. All expressed puzzlement, even after working with him closely, about who Hilliard really worked for and what he had been up to while Mohamed Atta frolicked on the tarmac at the Venice Airport in front of his hanger.
'Use Airline start-up for 'cover:' Check."
“I used to look at Wally and Rudi and wonder what made them think they could start an airline,” said former Director of Operations Bill Bersch. “I mean, I was on the executive team, trying to start an airline, and from August 2000 to the present we had all of four business meetings...”
“Even when you could get a meeting scheduled, somebody would tell you that it had been canceled... because Wally is in Havana.”
Hilliard was looking to cut a deal with Castro, said Rob Tiller, who provided the photograph, to buy a 10,000 acre cattle ranch on the island for the Mormon Church in Utah, reportedly in anticipation of the resumption of normal diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.
"Wally was AARP's Very Own James Bond"
Tiller, a colorful Florida entrepreneur who felt unfairly cut out of the deal, responded like untold colorful Florida entrepreneurs before him.
He's not getting mad. He's getting even, providing still-more evidence that when the terrorists roamed Florida things were not at all as they have been described to be by the FBI.
While most retirees move to Florida to play golf, when Hilliard alighted in Naples, Florida from Green Bay, Wisconsin, he almost immediately purchased between 30 and 40 jets... and then began courting Communist dictators reshaping the Caribbean Basin. This colors our understanding of the nature of the 9.11 attack just a bit...
Still, we don’t imagine there was much testimony before the 9.11 Commission along these lines at all.
News of Hilliard’s highly-curious mission again raises the question of whether he was an innocent flight school owner victimized by wily terrorists, or James Bond with an AARP card, an international operative flitting around the globe at whim.
And the answer is important… For two crucial years Mohamed Atta’s Hamburg cadre frolicked on the tarmac at the Venice Airport… right in front of his hangers.
When we first saw the incriminating new photo of Hilliard, we wondered what had possessed him to be indiscreet enough to allow himself to be caught on camera strapping diamond-beveled Rolexes onto the wrists of Fidel Castro’s top aides in Havana Cuba…
Hilliard had a bag-full of them, we heard from one of his ex-employees. He was passing them out in Havana as tokens of his and his client’s esteem.
One again we asked a crucial question: Who is Wally Hilliard?
“Wally was manipulated
by somebody with a lot of power,” international
jack-of-all-trades Mark Shubin had said to us, in an
interview at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.
“He was blackmailed. Rudi was the one person who knew what was going in.”
Was that true? And if it wasn't... what was?
"Marx, Moroni... We're all just people, right?"
After attention was drawn to his flight school, and eventually to Hilliard himself, he portrayed himself as an innocent business investor, a retired-to-Florida businessman whose only link to the 9.11 tragedy was a purely incidental one…as an investor.
If you’ve read "Welcome to TerrorLand" you know different…
During an interview recently promoting the book we tried our best to convey the enormity of the discovery to Court TV’s Catherine Crier.
While Atta was at his flight school the retired Hilliard had amassed a fleet of between 30 and 40 jets. We wondered what was really going on: Keeping track of that many planes struck us as seeming to cut down on your hammock time.
We viewed Hilliard with suspicion… even before discovering the heroin bust: that, during the same month Atta and Marwan had arrived in Florida to attend his flight school, Hilliard’s Lear jet had been confiscated at Orlando Executive Airport by DEA Agents who found 43 pounds of heroin onboard.
When news broke last week that European authorities suspect Yeslam bin laden has been lying about his supposed lack of contact and involvement with his famous terrorist brother…
We immediately thought of Wally Hilliard, who’d been doing business with Yeslam bin Laden as well. Yeslam has admitted funneling an unknown number of Arab pilots to Huffman Aviation in Venice, supposedly for pilot training.
But its Hilliard’s involvement with ADNAN KHASHOGGI, THE SAUDI BILLIONAIRE and international fugitive, which is most intriguing. We learned of it from a business rival of the two men, both vying for rights to build a casino on a remote island in the Bahamas.
"A reputation for corruption to be proud of."
Like a 'bandit cab' in the air, Hilliard's Lear jet was flying without any apparent official sanction. Though the FAA license under which it operated has been suspended, (that of Air Florida, belonging to Pakistani Perez Khan) the plane was making regular runs to the Bahamas.
We received a photo taken in Rum Cay attesting to its presence bolstering one side in a struggle for control of the isolated island and its coveted runway, which had recently been upgraded for jets.
Located 375 miles to the southeast of Ft. Lauderdale in the remote southeastern Bahamas, Rum Cay, we soon learned, is the very definition of 'secluded.'
In fact, that’s its charm.
The island once served as a refuge for pirates, and had been a center of gun-running during the American Civil War before growing to true prominence during Prohibition as a port used for boot-legging.
What was going on Rum Cay was that there was a new runway, which now allowed private jets like Hilliard's Lear to land on the island. Local newspapers were running regular items with headlines like "COPS SEIZE $50 MILLION IN DRUGS."
The reputed head of one group vying for control was a South African named Lesley Greyling, reportedly fronting for Khashoggi. News accounts about Mr. Greyling relied rather heavily on the "M" word… Mobster.
But not a mobster of the 'dese dem & dose' variety…
Greyling helmed a Palm Beach company, Members Service Corp., whose chairman was former Republican Governor of Florida Claude Kirk, and included noted attorney F. Lee Bailey, and Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.
Greyling was said to be also considering helping the Saudi arms merchant and Iran-Contra middleman build a casino on the Gaza Strip.
Saudis and the Mob and terror flight school owner Wally Hilliard all bumping chests together in the world's Bermuda Triangle of narcotics trafficking. It’s a Strange Brew.
None of this has anything to do with 9/11.
(More) Democratic Weak Tea
The troubling and sometimes criminal associations revealed in recent weeks about the shady pasts of the big election companies counting America’s vote can be seen to overlap with the cast of characters in the saga of the 9.11 terrorist hijackers associates while in America.
But what makes the Hilliard revelation particularly interesting are his associations with figures involved, not in 9.11, but in the current election intrigue.
Hilliard is in business, to cite one example, with Saudi billionaire arms dealer and international fugitive Adnan Khashoggi, whose name has now surfaced in connection with at least one, and possibly two, American election companies mired in controversy.
The story which follows is of vital current interest only for what it reveals about the milieu in which the 2004 election was fixed.
But first a word about methodology…
When the Cleveland Plain Dealer reluctantly concluded “System to Blame for Ballot Debacle” in a recent headline, the ‘system’ they chose to ‘blame’ was one which mis-handled provisional ballots.
Nothing about allegations that one of the major election companies responsible for Ohio’s ballot debacle, Diebold, was being run by a handful of convicted felons!
Similarly, when Democratic Party leaders recently announced the launching of an investigation into the 2004 elections in OHIO, they referenced faulty machines, ballot shortages, polling place changes, understaffed polling places, untrained personnel, voter intimidation, misinformation and other anomalies.
At the MadCowMorningNews, we’ve been all over the “other anomalies.”
The idea of widespread vote fraud in the U.S. presidential election became vastly more plausible when one considers how easily the ‘macro’ mechanisms of vote fraud were put in place before the election.
What would those “macro mechanisms” have been? If you were going to fix an election, what would you do? From this simple query we have been able to identify two “macro” mechanisms: First, go right to the source…
1. Buy up the companies which count the
Its simple. Its clean. Its neat. And it works. And the second macro mechanism we will be examining works hand-in-velvet glove with the first…
2. Bribe Anything
Bribery is a time-honored technique: a simple but trusty old standby. Its a universal language… If we found wholesale bribery of public election officials it would be a big clue that something really was wrong in the state of Denmark.
Three words: Spooks,Saudis,Florida
If you were to tell a friend that the same network doing business with the terrorists in Florida before the 9.11 attack three years ago was helping to count American votes three years later, they’d look at you like you were crazy.
So we strongly suggest you keep it to yourself.
Still, anyone interested in who attacked us on Sept 11 must feel curious just a little to learn of Hilliard’s association with Khashoggi... Is this the connection which led to the federal complaint accusing him (and Rudi Dekkers) of numerous "unauthorized and unsupervised flights" during 1999?
“They were flying for the Saudis,” said an aviation executive familiar with the operation. "They were ferrying Saudi princes all over the U.S."
“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.”
Of course, any move by the FAA to curb the suspicious aviation activities of Hilliard and Dekkers must answer the obvious question.
“Why start now?”
So just why is it that that everything about Khashoggi seems to reek, even if unintentionally, of intrigue?
Even a recent (Nov 20, 2004) trashy British tabloid story headlined “ERIC CLAPTON: Our stormy affair and the day I saw our son plunge to his death,” where Clapton’s girlfriend and the mother of the dead baby was identified, when she met Clapton, as “a 26-year- old model and TV presenter - and former girlfriend of Adnan Khashoggi.”
According to a recent story in the Dec 10, 2004 London Evening Standard, he still owns a home in glitzy Aspen, where Khashoggi joined Jack Nicholson, Goldie Hawn, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, Hunter S Thompson, and the Donald, who has a personal history worth noting there.
“On New Year's Eve 1989, Ivana Trump confronted Marla Maples at Bonnie's restaurant. In front of Donald, she demanded, 'Are you the witch who's been screwing my husband?' That night Trump took Marla, not Ivana, to a house party of a billionaire friend. The Trumps divorced shortly afterwards.”
Adnan moves in some interesting circles…
When a huge ranch in Kenya which used to be owned by Khashoggi changed hands recently, purchased by a British NGO whose patron is Queen Elizabeth II of England, an article about the sale noted “When Khashoggi owned the property, he would fly in his private jet directly to the airstrip, and the customs officials would drive there from Nairobi to clear him and his entourage.”
Cloak & Dagger in Green Bay
A world away in Packer Country, the story of Hilliard’s involvement with Khashoggi remains to be written.
But when Hilliard's home-town Green-Bay Press Gazette did a front page review of "Welcome to TerrorLand" they had noticed the same thing we did:
"Terrorists, drug runners, cover-ups, CIA, KGB and shady characters are the cloak-and-dagger kinds of elements that make for a riveting spy novel or action thriller. It's hardly the place you'd expect to find retired Green Bay businessman Wally J. Hilliard."
Was Adnan Khashoggi a principal in a company which has been counting the votes of American servicemen overseas? Answer: highly likely.
Both Election.com, and Triad, the election company cited for causing most of the problems in Ohio, should receive close scrutiny for evidence of Khashoggi involvement.
While there has been no suggestion of it anywhere in the media, the name “Triad” was used extensively by Khashoggi at exactly the same time (the early 80’s) and in exactly the same place (Palm Beach, Florida) as the “Triad Governmental Systems” involved in Ohio’s current election “difficulties.”
Khashoggi owned a number of companies named “Triad.”
Khashoggi owned “Triad International Marketing.”
“Northrop, the Los
Angeles-based aircraft and electronics manufacturer, owes
Triad International Marketing, S.A., a Liechtenstein
corporation controlled by Khashoggi, $31 million in
commissions on sales to the Saudi air force,” reported the
L.A. Times on August 29, 1987.
Khashoggi owned “Triad America.”
“Creditors claim they are owed more than $100 million by Triad America and its subsidiaries… in Salt Lake City. Leonard Gumport, the court-appointed examiner, also is recommending that Triad America seek repayment of the $189.2 million loaned to companies controlled by the Khashoggis,” reported the Salt Lake Tribune.
From the company’s literature: “TRIAD Governmental Systems, Inc., is a nationally recognized corporation that is committed to providing quality, computer based systems for governmental voting units. Incorporated in 1982, TRIAD GSI was founded to provided quality support and services for Rapp Systems' Election products, with election experience that spans a quarter of a century.”
In 1982, Khashoggi owned Triad Farms in Kentucky.
In "The Blue Grass Conspiracy” by Sally Denton, she revealed that the large drug smuggling operation called “The Company,” headquarters were near Lexington, Kentucky, at Triad Farms, owned by Khashoggi.
That’s just about the same time (1983) that TRIAD Governmental Systems was founded…
“Lightning Strike, Computer Glitch... Whatever.”
We also discovered that a strikingly similar allegation of Triad employee tampering was lodged against the company all the way back in 1988…
According to Jackie Beville, a former employee of the Supervisor of Elections in Hillsborough County, Triad workers adjusted the software to clear up a ballot-counting problem shortly before the election, and the machinery should then have been recertified following the work.
When questioned, she was told that Triad workers were just fixing problems caused by a lightning strike.
Beville disputes that the weather had anything to do with the repair work.
But even it if did, "My question is, why was it a secret? The party chairmen were not called in. The canvassing board was not notified. The Division of Elections was not notified.
"Why was I forbidden to mention it? If the party chairmen and division had been notified, it may not have been a big deal. But it should have been made public. Everyone has a right to know."
Triad manufactures punch-card voting systems, and also wrote the computer program that tallied the punch-card votes cast in 41 Ohio counties last November. The company is owned by a man named Tod Rapp, who has donated money to the Republican Party as well as the election campaign of George W. Bush.
the broad distribution of Triad voting systems in Ohio, the
allegations that have been leveled against this company
strike to the heart of the assumed result of the 2004
And not just Triad…
Election.com should be
examined for the invisible hand of the Saudi financier and
News reports stated Election.com was owned by an offshore Saudi front company in Bermuda consisting of five unnamed Saudi billionaires, until scrutiny forced a sale to Accenture, the remnants of the disgraced and disbanded Arthur Anderson, the accounting firm which made Enron possible.
From a recent Federal lawsuit involving
Khashoggi: “Ultimate Holdings Ltd., a Bermuda investment
company owned by Adnan Khashoggi, the company's largest
Election.com was also involved in the U.S.’s big democracy push into Eastern Europe…in Estonia, just a stolen vote’s throw away from the Ukraine.
NOSTALGIC LONGING FOR LAND OF THE BABUSHKAS
Implausibly, Americans have began to have longing thoughts they never thought they’d have…
“If only we could be as free as the Ukraine!”
For one thing, in the Ukraine soldiers don’t have to rely, like our overseas military has had to, on election companies like election.com, an offshore shell company owned by a group of anonymous Saudi billionaires suspected of including arms merchant and international fugitive Adnan Khashoggi.
feel sure that there really shouldn’t be any dummy front
companies counting the vote.
The Ukrainians also voted using a new medium which is suspiciously unavailable to American voters… a new miracle invention which allows for accurate counts and recounts done in plain sight for all to see…
They call it paper.
Those innovative Ukrainians!
Who knew? There’s a lot we can learn from studying the glorious democratic traditions of the Ukraine…
If our own country ever decides to turn democratic, maybe they’ll offer to help.
The deposition of Michael Roy Fugler grows in importance with word that Adnan Khashoggi is currently in Florida.
- Daniel Hopsicker is the author of Barry & 'the boys: The CIA, the Mob and America's Secret History. About the author. - Email the author.
Welcome To Terrorland - A NEW BOOK BY DANIEL HOPSICKER
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