The crash of the Challenger 600 in New Jersey on Feb 2 2005 has exposed a criminal organization which was engaged in drug trafficking nine years ago in close proximity to Mohamed Atta's terrorist hijackers, and which continues to operate today.
The Challenger, which overran the runway during takeoff from Teterboro Airport and ploughed across a six-lane highway before diving nose-first into a warehouse, was owned by Platinum Jet Management, and run by former Guyanese military pilot Michael Brassington.
Brassington had also been the co-pilot nine years ago on the Lear jet belonging to 75-year old Wally Hilliard, owner of Huffman Aviation, seized by federal agents at Orlando Executive Airport carrying 43 lbs. of heroin.
On July 3, 2000, hijackers Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi began flying lessons at Huffman Aviation.
Less than three weeks later, on July 25, Brassington co-piloted Huffman owner Wally Hilliard's Lear jet as it was busted with 43 lbs. of heroin.
The vast majority of the world's heroin comes from Afghanistan.
So did Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, according to early interviews with Rudi Dekkers.
Demands from "The Man Behind Loophole Air"
Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael Moulis, described in an article in this space yesterday as “The Man behind Loophole Air,” is threatening to sue your present correspondent, Daniel Hopsicker on behalf of Michael Brassington, the pilot arrested two weeks ago in a 23-count federal indictment for the crash of a corporate jet in New Jersey.
Brassington is also linked to a massive corruption scandal roiling South Florida, over the sale during the past few years of as many as one hundred American-registered planes to Mexico’s dominant Sinaloa Cartel.
According to a high-ranking DEA official in Miami, a corrupt U.S. Customs operation is to blame.
The fact that more people are not aware of these facts owes something to the many forms of intimidation practiced against independent journalists. Such intimidation takes many forms.
Some would say lawsuits, and threats of lawsuits, are one of its milder manifestations. Such people probably haven't been sued for libel recently.
But attorney Michael Moulis didn’t stop with just offering to sue for libel…
He threatened criminal prosecution in Federal Court.
"Slap the chains on him. He's a writer."
“Fraudulent representation/ Libel/ Defamati0n/ Cease and Desist/ Our client Michael Brassington.
“We hereby demand that Mr. Daniel Hopsicker desist in any further defamation of our client. We are aware of several specific blatant fraudulent misrepresentations including, but not limited to:
False representations concerning our client’s involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the world Trade Center in New York.
Statements that our client is a known CIA agent.
Statements that our client has a current financial relationship with Wally Hilliard.
Statements that my client operates with a wink and a nod from corrupt Government officials.”
How or why you assert any of the above is beyond comprehension.
Moreover, the general nature of your articles can be described as, at best, sporadically professional, somewhat dimwitted, and completely imagined nonsense.”
An attorney with a vivid imagination.
Moulis neglects to cite where he wishes to allege we stated that his client "was a CIA agent, or “was involved in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center"
The reason is simple: He can't. We never did. Several of his other 'points" are made up as well.
But we did—and do!—assert that Brassington had, and may still have, a financial arrangement with Wally Hilliard.
And we did—and do!—assert that Michael Francis Brassington operated with a wink and a nod from corrupt Government officials.
Wally Hilliard & the "Alfonso Bowe Smuggling Group"
"Brassington flew in while I was working at the General Aviation Facility in Ft. Lauderdale,” former Customs Agent James Sanders told us. “The charter company Brassington was flying for is controlled by a family suspected of running an organized drug ring.”
“And without a doubt he had some kind of financial relationship with Wally Hilliard. I was given a manifest for his flight labeled “Executive Flight Support,” which was owned by Wally Hilliard, and managed by Alfonso Bowe.
“According to the terminology used in our Customs computer systems, Bowe heads up a criminal organization the computer labeled “The Alfonso Bowe Smuggling Group.”
In fact, an unusual relationship between Brassington and certain U.S. officials is openly hinted at a key Government document in the case.
In the NTSB decision affirming an emergency order of revocation of his pilot’s license, NTSB administrator Debbie Hersman found Brassington's punishment by the FAA to be so remarkably light that she voiced her suspicions:
“My expectation of the Administrator in pursuing egregious safety violations of this nature is that she would pursue every violation demonstrated by the evidence. (Yet) for reasons not explained in the record, (italics ours) the Administrator chose to allege a violation of the safety check requirement for only the flight on January 2, 2005.”
"A formal request for your head."
Fort Lauderdale attorney Moulis saved his best thuggish threat for last…
“Because you made assertions concerning illegal activities of the United States Government, we are considering filing a formal request to the U.S. Justice Department to open an investigation concerning the matter.”
“If you continue your bizarre assertions to the Justice department, you will no longer be liable for civil defamation, your liability will likely rise to the level that would sanction criminal obstruction of justice charges against you personally.”
Be advised that if you do not retract the libelous statements against my client within five days, we will have no alternative but to file suit in Federal court in the Southern District of Florida.”
We refuse his offer to retract.
Being sued is always a daunting prospect. But we believe in a better future, and refuse to be cowed.
There are very real costs involved in what we are attempting to do, which is nothing less than to help bring real journalism back to the United States of America.
And although its usually also a back-handed compliment, as well as a sure sign of deepening scandal, the threat of being sued (again) has clearly affected our reporting of this story, in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
If you’ve read this far—and support what we’re doing—I urge you to make a significant donation today.
Without a sizeable infusion of money and professional assistance, we may not be able to continue to hold out against continuing attempts to silence honest inquiry.
A sincere thanks for your support and encouragement.