UQ Wire: Coke Bust Connection To 9.11 Attack
5.5 Tonne Cocaine Bust Reveals New Details Of 9.11 Attack
May 16 2006--Venice,FL.
by Daniel Hopsicker
A MadCowMorningNews World Exclusive!
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A MadCowMorningNews investigation into the ownership of the DC9 airliner caught carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine in Mexico last month has uncovered explosive new details about some of the many lingering mysteries still surrounding the 9.11 attack.
San Diego defense contractor Titan Corporation, already implicated in the fraudulent bankruptcy of a shadowy St. Petersburg FL company which owned the DC9 "Cocaine One" flight busted in Mexico, employed a Lebanese contractor who assisted Mohamed Atta and other terrorist hijackers in Venice, Florida.
For Titan, the revelation marks the latest in a remarkable series of recent scandals, including employees charged with torture and rape at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, a record $26 million fine and conviction for fixing a Presidential election in the African nation of Benin, and growing infamy for being the biggest money backer of disgraced and soon-to-be-jailed former Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham.
The story begins when, while researching “Welcome to TERRORLAND” three years ago, we discovered that Makram Chams, a Lebanese national, had provided significant logistical support for Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi.
Chams, we learned, had even entertained recently-convicted Zacharias Moussaoui in his apartment in Venice.
Breaking news from the forest where no one's around
Makram Chams owned a Kwik-Check convenience store in Venice, where the biggest overseas money transfer to the terrorists, $70,000 from the UAE., was sent, according to the testimony of FBI agents during the 9.11 Commission hearings.
Actually the FBI testimony never mentioned Chams, or his store.
They did however show the receipt for the money order at the final hearing of the 9.11 Commission, which we attended. And we were already familiar with the address where the money order went: 201 Nokomis Avenue.
Makram Cham's Kwik-Chek... Strangely, Chams left town soon after the 9.11 attack, abandoning a thriving convenience store which has stood vacant ever since.
In a story in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, reporter Earle Kimel, who first broke the story of Mohamed Atta’s American girlfriend, Amanda Keller, called Chams' abandoned store “A pocket of urban blight in the otherwise smartly tailored suit of downtown Venice.”
Just another freak coincidence?
An understanding of what Makram Chams had been doing while in Venice--and for whom--had eluded us, and been one of our biggest unanswered questions, one which might shed light on whether the U.S. Government possessed guilty foreknowledge--or even culpability--in the 9.11 attack.
Our search for Chams had been unsuccessful. No one knew where he was, or why he'd left. But now Chams has re-surfaced in Saudi Arabia, where he worked in an unlikely capacity: as a contractor for American defense firm Titan Corp.
News of Makram Chams' current whereabouts came to us when a researcher recently sent this addendum to Titan Corp’s 2005 SEC filing:
“On March 14, 2005, Makram Majid Chams, a former consultant of Titan filed a claim with the Preliminary Committee on Labor Disputes Settlement in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Chams alleges that Titan wrongfully terminated his consulting agreement and that he was defamed by Titan's publication in a local newspaper of a mandatory notice that he is no longer representing Titan. The plaintiff is seeking approximately $21.9 million in damages. We intend to defend our position vigorously.”
Was the man suing Titan in Saudi Arabia, “Makram Majid Chams,” the same "Makram Chams" who'd lived in Venice?
Only a dunsky could doubt it
The answer was 'yes.' A marriage announcement in the Sarasota Herald Tribune from January of 1998 gave us the full name of the Makram Chams who'd lived in Venice, identical to the name of the man suing Titan in Saudi Arabia.
“Makram Majid Chams,” said the announcement, had married “Rim Ghazi Abou Zein, both of Venice.”
The news was nothing short of astonishing. The man who'd assisted terrorist hijackers in Venice...working for an American defense contractor in Saudi Arabia? What was Chams doing for The Titan Corp? What made him think they owe him $22 million dollars? And most importantly...
Was Makram Chams already working for Titan while in Venice?
While we didn’t know the answers to any of these questions, one thing we did know was that Bob Woodward would not be on the case. The major media steered completely clear of stories about what was clearly the biggest 9.11 crime scene that wasn't reduced to rubble: Venice, Fl., home to three of the four terrorist pilots.
We decided to take a closer look at Makram Chams.
Hangin' with the 'Mak Jack' Attack
A Venice Yellow Cab driver, Bob Simpson, first told us that the Middle Eastern man who owned the convenience store had been close to the hijackers, and that Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi frequently met at an apartment in Venice which he rented. (Watch him talk about it.)
Simpson had been questioned closely by the FBI three days after the Sept. 11 attack. “I heard a voice say ‘this is Special Agent Joe Anderson from the FBI calling,’” he told us. “My heart sort of skipped a beat. Then he said, ‘Don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong.’”
“He asked if I’d seen pictures of the terrorists, and if I had, wanted to know if I recognized any. I said yes, I recognized Mohamed Atta. I’m the day driver for Yellow Cab in Venice, and he was in my cab a bunch of times in August,” cabbie Simpson explained. “The night driver had him even more than I did.”
Simpson picked up Atta at the convenience store owner’s apartment on several occasions. He told the FBI he had been asked to drive to Orlando by a relative of the Middle Eastern man who owned the convenience store.
“Their (the terrorists) best friend used to live upstairs on the second floor,” stated Simpson, pointing to the Burgundy Square Apartments in downtown Venice. I saw Atta and Al-Shehhi there.”
“They were always hanging out together at the store. Most of the time, I’d be called by their friend, or they would call saying pick them up there at the market.”
Dead eyes then, Dead everything now
That the terrorist hijackers spent much time hanging out in Makram Chams' Kwik-Check was independently confirmed by numerous observers, including a local psychiatrist who contacted us recently.
“Nokomis Ave runs right behind the hospital in Venice,” stated the psychiatrist. "Each day as I left the hospital for the office I'd head north on Nokomis. At the corner of Nokomis and Miami there was this little (Kwik-Chek) convenience store run by middle-eastern types.”
“Half the time I'd be late for the office and I'd stop in there and grab something awful for lunch. A woman and a large man were usually behind the counter. Some days I'd go in there and no one would be behind the counter but there would be loud talking in the back.”
“A few times I saw Atta in there, hanging around. Once I made eye contact with him—dead on! Emphasis on "dead" because when we locked eyes a chill went through me and I thought: "He's got 'dead' eyes."
“When you become a shrink you sometimes get attuned to what might be going on with a person just from seeing how they look—their faces and eyes—on the street or in public. The chill I got when I saw Atta was not the chill of fear. It was a chill about how sick he looked. He looked to be one of the most depressed persons I'd ever laid eyes on.”
“He looked so depressed that it was as if he was already gone. In retrospect I feel he may have been just as happy to die for the sake of ending it all as he was to die for Allah.”
“A couple of weeks after 9/11 the convenience store closed up,” stated the psychiatrist, who has since moved out of state. “I was down there last summer visiting the old psych unit crew, nurses and staff, at a yearly reunion at Sharkey's, and the store was still closed up. I found a reference to the store on the TERRORLAND website, and it got me thinking.”
“I wish I'd paid more attention back then… but who knew?”
Who was the Saudi in Armani and shades?
Cabbie Simpson told of how he had picked up a wealthy Saudi businessman at the Orlando Airport after picking up the convenience store owner at the apartment in Venice. The FBI expressed interest in the rich Saudi, he said.
“They were especially interested in a rich Saudi guy that I’d been sent to pick up at the Orlando Airport. They said they already knew that he'd ridden in my cab because they’d gotten my cab number from a surveillance camera at the airport.”
“He flew in on a private jet, and was dressed in Armani and shades, with his wife, who wore traditional Arab clothing. After clearing international customs, they proceeded back to a Venice apartment rented by the convenience store owner.
Six weeks later, he drove the wealthy Saudi's wife back to the Orlando Airport, Simpson told the FBI. Again they left from the convenience store owner's Venice apartment. When he arrived to pick up his fare, Simpson was asked to come up to the apartment to help carry a chest down to the cab.
“The chest was so heavy it took two people to carry,” Simpson said. "A big bald guy who was there helped me carry the chest down.” The man who helped him carry the chest down the stairs to the cab, said Simpson, was Zacharias Moussaoui.
A fungible commodity useful everywhere
Cabbie Simpson had been so clearly impressed with how heavy the chest had been that we too were intrigued. We called a man we knew to have worked for many years in American intelligence to ask what he thought made the chest so heavy.
“Gold,” he replied immediately. “There was gold in that chest.”
The identification of Moussaoui in Venice confirmed what we had reported exclusively nearly four years ago, when we learned that the second Dutch national flight school owner at the Venice Airport, Arne Kruithof, was questioned for two days by officials taking depositions from potential witnesses in Moussaoui's trial.
Further confirmation of Moussaoui’s presence in Venice came much later from an unlikely and usually highly-dubious source: Rudi Dekkers.
Continuing the FBI cover-up about the terrorist’s activity in Venice, jurors in the trial of Zacharias Moussaoui were never told that Moussaoui had been there.
They did however, hear testimony which confirmed the allegation in “Welcome to TERRORLAND,” of a systematic cover up by the FBI of the fact that Venice was the terrorist’s main base of operations.
In February 2001, the jurors were told, Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi had been spotted in Clearwater Florida flying a single-engine plane registered to Huffman Aviation...almost two months after the FBI’s official chronology states Atta left Venice and Huffman for good.
Ask Jack how Gus Boulis became "Abramoff-impaired"
We had initially thought that Makram Chams was probably an Arab operative sent in early to smooth the way for the hijackers.
Then we discovered that Chams had been a PARTNER in 1997 and 1998 in a gambling boat called “Vegas in Venice,” which cleaned up in Venice for two years.
This information only added to our puzzlement. We wondered: Where does an immigrant, bootstrapping himself up in America through the time-tested method of owning a convenience store, get the JUICE to be a partner in a gambling boat?
People kill to get jobs like that in Florida.
Just ask Jack Abramoff.
The controlling partner in the gambling ship in which Makram Chams was a partner is Ian Goldfarb, from Gladwyne, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia.
The only other local partner in the casino ship, we were shocked to discover, was Max Burge, who we’d interviewed during research for “Welcome to TERRORLAND,” because Burge owned the planes used at Huffman Aviation.
Small world. But it soon got even smaller…
Frederic Geffon from “Royal Sons,” the aggravated part-owner of “Cocaine One,” told us that he had done business with Burge.
The San Diego FBI: Confidential informants you can trust!
Royal Sons had used the address of Huffman Aviation’s hanger at the Venice Airport in a few airplane ads. This is inexplicable, at least it is to Royal Son's Frederic Geffon, who denies ever placing plane ads with a Venice Airport address. His denial rang a little hollow with his claim that anyone could have placed ads claiming to be him.
Possible, perhaps. But also, we think, highly unlikely.
We finally found someone who knew what had happened to Makram Chams. It was his sister, May Chams. She was then working at the same pharmacy in Venice where we discovered, much later, that Mohamed Atta had brought his father, less than two weeks before the attack. We persisted in questioning May, in the face of her obvious hostility, and were finally rewarded.
“Mak is in San Diego," she told us,"helping the FBI.”
Only now does her statement make sense to us. But, if Makram hotfooted it to San Diego on “business” after the 9.11 attack, it would be a strong indication that he had a relationship with Titan Corp... while he was still in Venice.
Compromise current operations at your peril
It has since been revealed that Titan trains mercenaries, and provides mercenaries for operations. Current operations. Ongoing operations...
Disclosures in the Duke Cunningham scandal lead directly to Titan. Before it is done, this may present someone with some very thorny problems.
As a result of our investigation so far, for example, we will be reporting in our next story that by delving into the relationships between the corporations involved in the 5.5 ton cocaine caper we have been able to uncover evidence of the unmistakable presence, behind the scenes in the scandal, of Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi...
The U.S. military has 1200-man psychological warfare battalion, we learned recently. They probably aren't all working in Iraq. In all likelihood, a psy-op has been waged against the American people to draw attention from questions about who the terrorists were associating with--and what they had been doing--while they were in the U.S.
Questions with answers.
Someone would prefer they not become public.
But you won't find much about any of this on the innumerable websites of the “9.11 Truth Movement." Most seem to be utterly fascinated currently with speculation about materials which might have been secreted inside the Twin Towers which could have made them collapse.
They used to utterly fascinated with proving that no plane hit the Pentagon. Before that there were utterly fascinated with the idea that the planes were flown by remote control. And on and on.
Controlling the debate is easy when a billionaire is footing the bill.
But it ain't over till its over... And there's a DC9 sitting in Mexico tonight whose anxious owners know something about this powerful truth:
It ain't over.
"Threats of law suits against journalists have become the hallmark of the Bush administration in their not-too-clever tactic to silence the independent media in the United States." --Wayne Madsen Censorship by lawsuit happens if we can't stay current with our ever-growing legal bills. And probably we will always be being sued...at least if we're doing it right. Please help us continue by making a donation directly into our defense fund.
- Daniel Hopsicker is the author of Barry & 'the boys: The CIA, the Mob and America's Secret History. About the author. - Email the author.
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