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Flight School Owner Changes Story Again

Flight School Owner Changes Story Again

by Daniel Hopsicker
March 15--Venice Florida
Mad Cow Morning News

While the media spotlight was on the mis-cues at the perennially "troubled" INS, the real news this week was that Rudi Dekkers was telling reporters a significantly different version of his relationship with terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta than he gave in the wake of the September 11 disaster.

Several key details in Dekker's public account of Mohamed Atta's stay in this country changed, even as, claiming to feel "vindicated," Dekkers tried to use the INS snafu to his public relations advantage.

"When they hit the buildings they were approved to be here," Dekkers insisted, indicating himself to be a man of principle who would never teach people to hit buildings with airplanes until they had been vetted by the proper authorities.

Anyway, that's his story. But it is one he is having an amazing amount of difficulty sticking to.

"Sometimes we all feel the heat"

Dekkers was not the only one trying to get some public relations mileage from the INS debacle. In addition to provoking "outrage" on Capital Hill, the hapless INS's bungling was said to have made even President George W. Bush "pretty hot."

And suddenly it seemed the tide of public opinion was turning against the lowly INS, America's Slacker Guardians of our Porous Borders, and a finger of blame began to be pointed towards an otherwise swell bunch of guys who spend most of their time standing around in the hot sun at border crossings doing their level best to look the other way.

Nobody ever said life was fair.

More importantly, while speaking with reporters after receiving the now-famous letter in which the INS cordially invites two dead terrorists to stay, Dekkers’ cast further doubt on his own credibility by blithely changing his testimony on key points like when Atta started flying lessons, or how much he paid for them.

Perhaps it is only of interest to (Anderson?) accountants, but we have found ourselves fascinated as Dekkers' has so far told three different stories about how many pieces of silver he collected per terrorist.

At first, Atta and Marwan each paid $10,000.

That figure was later quietly revised to $20,000 apiece.

Finally, this week, the Atta-Dekkers "contract" grew once again, to almost $30,000 for each.

Nobody has mentioned it so we will:

This totally negates the stated purpose for the terrorist presence in Venice, which as you'll remember was to save a buck on flight training.

According to aviation training experts we spoke to for half of what Rudi Dekker's was charging you can become a flight trainer yourself.

Moreover, the chief flight instructor at neighboring Jones Aviation in Sarasota, where Atta and Marwan trained for six weeks, insisted in an exclusive interview with the MadCowMorningNews that Dekkers was flat out wrong when he told reporters that Mohamed Atta already had a private pilot's license when he entered the U.S.

That's pretty basic information.

How can so many crucial facts be in dispute?

The question underscores how little has been made public about the subjects of the biggest American criminal investigation since the Kennedy assassination.

"Lone nut cadres always act alone."

In the days immediately after the Sept 11 tragedy Dekkers was quoted in numerous news accounts saying that Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi began flight training at Huffman Aviation in early July of 2000. Some published reports gave the date of Atta's first lesson at Huffman as July 3rd

After this six month sojourn spent learning to fly in this quiet retirement community located midway between Tampa and Naples on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Atta and his cadre moved on to more advanced training on Florida’s east coast around Miami.

So, at least, goes what remains of the official story of Mohamed Atta, Islamic Fundamentalist.

But even Rudi Dekkers himself--one man who should know for sure--contradicted this generally-accepted chronology of Mohamed Atta’s stay in the U.S.

While fielding questions about his role in the INS flap Dekkers told the Associated Press that "Atta and Al-Shehhi had completed their immigration paperwork on Aug. 29, 2000, just before they began their six-month flight instruction program at the school."

Just before.

"Its my party, and I'll scowl if I want to."

Was Dekkers now saying that Atta and Marwan didn't start flight training until August 30 at the earliest, seven weeks later than he stated in the aftermath of September11th?

And if Mohamed Atta wasn't scowling at his flight instructors and everyone else at the Venice Airport for seven weeks that summer, who had he been scowling at?

And where?

Atta's flight records, obtained by the MadCowMorningNews, clearly show Atta's flying history with Huffman commencing July 6.

So Dekkers has once more been caught lying. And its his story of Mohamed Atta & the Venice Flying Circus which we're meant to believe?

Today Americans can learn more about a story like "Local man attempts to avoid arrest by forging another man’s name on traffic ticket," than we can about the biggest crime against humanity of the still-young 21st Century.

As for the question of who ultimately is to blame for the tragedy?

Today's best guess seems to be the INS.

Could they be the "global network" we keep waiting to see?

Not unless the swells start hanging out in Laredo, they're not.

What does that leave?

Precision timing when you least expect it

In an operation nearly the equal in pin-point accuracy of Atta's own swan dive into the World Trade Center Towers the INS letter was mailed on March 6 and scored a bulls-eye five days later, arriving in Dekkers’ inbox on precisely the six month anniversary of the disaster.

Consider: at some point fairly recently, the INS letters, containing the names of the most heinous villains in living memory, had been stuck into an envelope, and sent out...

Even the New York Times raised an eyebrow. "The error seemed particularly difficult to explain, because Mr. Atta and Mr. Shehhi were among the most infamous of the 19 hijackers," said the Times.

"We don’t understand why this came in today, and why this was not done a year go," said Dekkers.

The answer to the question of why two INS letters inviting dead terrorists to stay showed up in Rudi Dekkers mailbox on precisely the six month anniversary of September 11 is, sadly:

"We may never know."

It was a triumphant performance for Dekkers, who was widely portrayed as feeling "vindicated."

"I could not show that we applied for the right paperwork. Therefore I am happy that I can do that now."

"So you feel vindicated?"


Not widely disclosed even today is the fact that that not two, but three of the four planes commandeered by the terrorists were piloted by people who "just happened" to have learned to fly at the tiny off-the-beaten-path Venice Airport.

Left out of most news accounts is the fact Siad Al-Jarrah learned to fly next door to Dekker’s operation at a second flight school, that of Arne "one damn Dutch boy too many" Kruithof, also like Dekker's a native of the Netherlands.

In fact, a veritable squadron of terrorist pilots trained in Venice, including several "America's Most Wanted" Hamburg cadre guys still eluding capture.

Also eluding capture, though we have no evidence they have been to Venice Florida, are , of course, Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar.

Mullah Omar! Now there's a real blast from the past!

He's been heard from about as much as a one-hit television actor who makes a really bad career move.

Mullah Omar is the Philip Michael Johnson of international terrorism.

Mullah Omar has been disappeared.

Sinking into deserved obscurity does not, however, seem to be what fate has in store for Rudi Dekkers. He and his Venice flight school students—Atta and Marwan—have received so much attention since 9/11 that Rudi thinks we should begin to think about "Movin’ On."

"I don’t expect when I get in on Monday morning to get two permits for Atta and Al-Shehhi," Dekkers said. "I thought they were behind me already and my life goes on."

"Not so fast, bub, is what we want to tell him."

There is another story still to surface, a so far secret story, a story which began unraveling this week and is not about inept federal agencies like the INS...

There is another Agency of the Government of the United States whose good offices, apparently, resulted in Mohamed Atta and his terrorist cadre finding themselves in Venice, Florida during the summer of the year 2000.

Usually reliable sources have confirmed to the MadCowMorningNews that this agency is not the INS.

Dekkers, who said he faced scrutiny in the media after the attacks for admitting the students, said the INS forms showed he had followed the law.

"The forms, filled out by an assistant at Huffman, indicated that both men met the English language requirements to study at the school," stated the AP story. "Atta listed his nationality as Egyptian, while Al-Shehhi said he was from United Arab Emirates."

The AP story said, "On the form, filled out by a Huffman assistant, Atta's name is spelled "Mohomed."

What the AP failed to note is that the mis-spelling might have owed something to the fact that the 18-year old Huffman Aviation assistant who filled them out, Nicole Antini, was just then also being sexually harassed by Rudi Dekkers, her beefy middle-aged boss, according to a lawsuit for sexual harassment which Dekker’s was forced to settle recently for an undisclosed sum.

The AP also let slip that the documents filled out indicated the terrorists academic term at Huffman was for up to 12 months, and would cost $27,300.

What no one has noted till now is that this is the third mutually-contradictory account Dekkers has given so far on the simple question of how much the two paid for their flight lessons.

As we begin to follow the money we recall some cop wisdom we once heard from a grizzled detective, about how to take down a criminal when all else fails...

"Al Capone murdered over 500 people," this investigator told us. "You know what he went to prison for? Tax evasion."

- AUTHOR NOTE: Daniel Hopsicker is the author of Barry & 'the boys: The CIA, the Mob and America's Secret History. He can be contacted at This story is republished by Scoop with his permission.

© Scoop Media

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