9/11 Flight School Figure a “Deadbeat Dad”

Young DekkersThe reputation of Huffman Aviation principal Rudi Dekkers, whose dozens of television appearances in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack shaped the public perception of Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi, took another big hit recently when a Dutch television profile of him came to light.

Since the 9/11 attack Dekkers has been charged with criminal fraud in Sarasota, been accused of ferrying Saudi princes on illegal unsupervised flights by the U.S. government , and even had an attempt made on his life—which he blamed, to universal amazement, on Al-Qaeda—after the helicopter he was piloting went down enroute to a show-down meeting scheduled with Huffman Aviation owner Wallace J Hilliard.

None of these blemishes on an already-tarnished character, however, has dealt Dekkers’ as grievous a blow as his appearance on a popular reality TV show in the Netherlands, “Spoorloos,” or “Vanished,” which travels the world locating missing relatives and reuniting them with worried family and friends back in Holland.

Rudi Dekkers abandoned his young wife in the Netherlands while she was three months pregnant, the show reveals, and then emigrated to America, never to be heard from again.

Months later his wife bore him a son, who today is known as Patrick Scheur.

Patrick stated on the show that he discovered in the late 90’s through the internet that Dekkers’ was running a flight school in Florida,  and attempted to contact him on numerous occasions to arrange a meeting. 

"Deadbeat Dad" & an international web of intrigue

Patrick’s attempts to establish contact with Dekkers, the father he never knew, were repeatedly rebuffed.  Dekkers never replied.

“The curiosity about my father started when I was around sixteen, I also told the parents of a boy I was seeing at that time and they were so touched that they were prepared to pay for a trip for their son and me, so that we could look for him.”

“When I told my mother, she replied, “Do you realize that if you do this, Rudi might slam the door in your face and you'll left standing there?”

“So instead I just sent him an email, stating who I am, who my mother is, where I am and how old I am. Then I sent another email. I tried to more or less force him to get in contact. But I never got a response.”

 The show’s host sounds shocked. “He never reacted to the emails?” 

“No, he never answered.”

About this time he also discovered, Patrick said, that his father had a far-from-sterling reputation in his native Holland. 

“I read several very negative stories about him in the Dutch press about things he’d done in Holland before leaving. His name was closely connected to certain fraudsters on the internet, for example. And he had stolen money from a soccer team, and owed money to business partners, and was wanted by the Dutch government for back taxes.”

"Not exactly boiling over with enthusiasm"

rudi & katia quintana leather deakkersAccording to court documents filed in cases against him in his native Holland, Dekkers was at the center of "a web of intrigue."  

Since then not much appears to have changed.

Then several days after the 9/11 attack, Patrick said he got a shocking phone call from his mother. She had unexpected news.

“Turn on the TV,” she told him. “ Your father is  on.” 

Patrick looked with astonishment at the drama unfolding live on television.

 “I had never before seen my father. Now I was about to see him for the first time.  It was a shock. And it felt like I was watching a movie. The image of those planes, that skyscraper…And the Dutchman that gave training to the hijackers that flew into the World Trade Center was my father.”

After arriving in Florida to track down Dekkers’, the show contacted him by phone. 

“Dekkers isn't exactly boiling over from enthusiasm about his son Patrick,” states the show’s host. “Maybe it's because of his young Cuban wife.  The two just got married and she doesn't know anything about a son in the Netherlands.”

At least he's not in prison… yet.

dekkershollander120Dekker’s was apparently every bit as callous, negligent, and unfeeling–the very embodiment of a  "deadbeat dad–" as we have heard he was. But we were not alone in reporting this about him. From the St. Petersburg Times"

"Even before 9/11, Dekkers had a long history of troubled businesses, run-ins with the Federal Aviation Administration and numerous lawsuits, including one in which he paid $15,000 to a female employee who accused him of "severe" sexual harassment.

It is the kind of checkered history, experts say, that should have raised questions both before and after the 9/11 attacks about Dekkers' fitness to run a school that trained pilots."

"You would think that everyone surrounding that should have been scrutinized," says Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank. "A flight school, unlike a beautician, represents a problem in that you have technical training that facilitates terrorism. You want to make sure that it is well run, so you look into the backgrounds of people."

The severe sexual harassment, as we reported back in 2003, involved sticking a broom handle up the back of the dress of an 18-year old receptionist.

What a guy.

Making it up as he went along

dekkers today“Dekkers got ‘tarred and feathered’ after 9/11,” stated the show’s host.  

“There were wild stories about his involvement with the terrorists, according to him it was complete nonsense. But  it did cost him everything he had.  The flight schools were sold, on top of that came a divorce and starting a new business wasn't going well.” 

“It obviously gave me a tremendous stress level,” said Dekkers, of the aftermath of the 9/11 attack. “And I still have some of it. I became a diabetic. Nine months after 9/11 I got high blood sugar and I still have it. You can't get rid of it. It’s pure stress.”

Dekker's description of events leading up to the 9/11 attack were uncritically received on network and cable news shows in America and around the world after the 9/11 attack.

Except for the fact that Dekker’s testimony was received so uncritically on network and cable news shows after the 9/11 attack,  the discovery of yet-another unflattering portrait of Rudi Dekkers—which certainly comes as no surprise— might be of nothing more than prurient interest.

Only later did it became painfully obvious that Dekkers, during his frequent television appearances, had been making it up as he went along.

In one interview, for example, Dekker’s explained his lack of knowledge of the particulars of Atta’s arrival at Huffman Aviation, saying Atta and al-Shehhi showed up from a flight school in Tampa.

Later that same morning Dekkers stated Atta and al-Shehhi arrived from a still-unnamed flight school, which Dekkers now stated was somewhere “out of Florida.” 

By the second day Dekkers’ memory had definitely improved. Now he remembered…he hadn’t much cared for Mohamed Atta.  

It wasn’t exactly time to stop the presses.  Yet the media accepted everything Dekkers said at face value.

And to this date, he has never been forced to face critical questioning under oath before the American people.

How many people would place any credence in the testimony of a man who walked out on his wife when she was three months pregnant with his child, and even 20 years later refuses to meet his own son? Why did the United States Congress?

The mainstream press,  and the American Congress tossed him nothing but marshmallows during their lackluster “questioning.”  

 Why? Because he’s such a likable fellow? Hardly.  But the organization he worked for has a stranglehold on what passes for public discourse in this country.

An Oliver North for our times

dekkers looks sheepish--as he shouldThe tiny Venice Florida airport was a nexus between the Establishment, organized crime, and international drug  trafficking, and played a significant role in the story of how the hijackers came to be in the U.S. in the first place. And it also laid bare, more starkly than ever before,  the reason we haven’t long ago read about these connections on the front pages of the New York times and the Washington Post.

According to the various indifferently-motivated federal investigations, none of this has anything to do with 9/11.

Even though the two men were doing land office business with Osama bin Laden's organization before the 9/11 attack, the business associates of Rudi Dekkers and Wally Hilliard, were of no interest to their  investigation.

The FAA went out of its way to protect terror flight school honcho Rudi Dekkers, for example. An aviation mechanic who worked for Dekkers said he'd been forced by law to report criminal acts which he witnessed Dekkers commit.  

"Dekkers did an import of an airplane," the mechanic explained. "We found dents on the front of a wing and replaced  sheet metal, and then we found ribs that were crushed, which renders an airplane un-airworthy. Yet Dekkers still sold the plane!" 

"And when I turned him in to the FAA, they didn’t do a damn thing." 

A second example also involves Rudi Dekkers. Dekkers' forged another aviation executive’s signature on a repair order to indicate required repair work on a helicopter had been completed. When that executive discovered it, he told us, he too was legally compelled to report it to the FAA. 

"I couldn’t believe it,” said the Naples FL aviation executive indignantly. "I called the FAA to report a violation and was warned to leave Dekkers alone. An FAA guy came out and sat me down and said: ‘I suggest you back out of this.'"

“National security” has always been the excuse used to keep safe the cadre of “elite deviants” at the top.

Stay tuned.

A translated except from the program is part of the just-released second preview of the upcoming “The New American DrugLords” documentary danielhopsicker.tv

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Daniel Hopsicker

Daniel Hopsicker is an investigative journalist and the author of two books on transnational crime, Welcome to Terrorland and Barry & the Boys.