Rudi Dekkers and the American Oligarchy

If you’re the kind of man who occasionally relinquishes the remote and “watches what she wants for a change,” you may already understand that there are strange and valuable truths which conjoin very different worlds.

One day you're in…

The world of drug kingpins has something important in common with that of the fashion designers struggling to stay alive on cable TV’s “Project Runway.” 

“In Fashion,” intones Supermodel host Heidi Klum, on every episode, "One day you’re In, and the next day…You’re Out!”

Huffman ‘henchman’ Rudi Dekkers, in Houston, and former Turks & Caicos Premier Michael Misick, in Brazil, were busted within hours of each other last December.

When two famous but seemingly-unrelated high fliers get sent to the 'penalty box' at the same time, it’s usually an indication that both were playing for the same team.

The biggest historical example is, of course, the Medellin Cartel.

Minions of the Millenium

A little digging yields the conclusion that both Rudi Dekkers and Michael Misick have firm connections with what might once have been called the ‘Huffman Aviation Crime Family', named for the drug trafficking organization which as a sideline ran a flight school training terrorists to fly.

Their infamy is such that each man deserves a moment in the spotlight.

Michael Misick’s Huffman Aviation Crime Family pedigree is through his partner, the currently-incarcerated Michael Francis Brassington, a pilot who was a favorite of Huffman Aviation front man Wally Hilliard.

Brassington's introduction to Hilliard and the Huffman Crime Family came though another Hilliard employee, Kevin Frater, who spent several years on the DEA's Top Ten List.

Brassington was flying co-pilot on Hilliard's Lear jet one day when it was busted carrying 43 lbs. of heroin onboard.

A few weeks after his Learjet was busted, Huffman Crime Family jefe Wally Hilliard applied in Federal court to get his Learjet back, claiming to be an "innocent owner."  His request was vigorously opposed by (of all people) the DEA. In a hearing on November 3, 2000 Federal Magistrate Judge James Glazebrook denied Hilliard's motion.

Hilliard lost his Lear jet. "Wally took a big hit on that one," stated an aviation executive who worked for Hilliard at the Naples Airport. "The DEA was not going to let him have that plane back."

During much of the first decade of the 21st century, Michael Misick and Michael Brassington ran amok across the Caribbean, flying luxury Gulfstream jets funded by silent partners in Miami, and smuggling enough drugs into Florida for Misick to be able to brag to his Hollywood starlet girlfriend (who quickly thereafter became his wife) that he went from nothing to being worth more than $180 million in the virtual blink of an eye.

Misick will be remembered in history books as the man who was so corrupt that Great Britain was forced to resurrect the British Empire for a day, and take back a former colony that had already been granted independence, just to save it from his clutches.

If anything, the truth about Rudi Dekkers is even more astonishing.

A total dereliction of journalistic duty

An important fact about the major media's lack of investigative zeal after the 9/11 attack that has never appeared anywhere before:

The official explanation of the 9/11 attack, the most spectacular crime of the still-young 21st century, relied heavily on the eyewitness testimony of a man who had been convicted just a few years earlier of embezzling $30 million.

That man's name is Rudi Dekkers. Dutch prosecutors called his 1993 conviction in the Netherlands for embezzlement "the handiwork of organized crime."

Was this inconvenient knowledge something of a sticky wicket to mainstream journalists like Tom Brokow or New York Timesman Hedrick Smith?

Did his increasingly-elaborate stories about Mohamed Atta, who on the day after the 9/11 attack he claimed to have seen only once, arouse suspicion?

Were his obvious lies treated with even the tiniest pinch of salt?

They were not. Worse, during the literally thousands of interviews Dekkers did with network news anchors and newspaper reporters, his checkered past was never mentioned. Not even once.

Can you imagine the American mainstream media treating anyone else with such kid gloves on a matter of such critical national importance?

So where did Rudi Dekkers get his juice?

According to his own testimony, when Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi arrived at Huffman Aviation, it was Dekkers who was there to greet them and assign them bunks.

His eyewitness account immediately became the primary source for the official story for the time Mohamed Atta spent under the tutelage of the American aviation industry. 

It was given instant credibility in the mainstream press, which then turned around and began pooh-poohing anyone with contradictory information.

"But what if he's lying" was a question considered beyond the pale.

"Still Lying After All These Years"

It's not as if Rudi Dekkers' penchant for lying wasn't already well-known. Yet not one mainstream media journalist bothered to scrape the surface to reveal the hidden horrors  underneath.

Huffman Aviation's bookeeper, Charlie Voss, who housed Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi for a week after they arrived, said bluntly about his former boss, "If his lips are moving, he’s lying."

Interviews with aviation executives at  the Venice and Naples Airports in Southwest Florida revealed that those who worked with him were unanimous in stating that Dekkers is well-known for playing fast and loose with the truth.

“He doesn’t have a lot of credibility,”said Coy Jacob, who owned an aviation dealership next door to Huffman Aviation at the Venice Municipal Airport. “It’s common knowledge around the airport that you can’t believe what he says.”

His well-known difficulties in telling the truth were catalogued ( “Why Rudi Dekkers Can’t Stop Lying,” ) in this space. What he did next in Houston  is still shocking…

Dekkers has such obviously sociopathic tendencies that he even thought he could get away with lying in written responses he gave under penalty of perjury to a Federal Court Magistrate in a hearing to determine whether he qualified for bail.

Turns out, when 9/11 took place, Rudi Dekkers wasn’t even in the US legally.

U.S. Magistrate George C. Hanks’  noted that Dekkers’ US residency status was “unclear”  and he was subject to deportation.

Moreover, the judge’s order went on to state that Dekkers “lacks any real financial assets and lacks gainful employment.” 

In applying for bail, Dekkers asserted he was living with his wife and son. The judge didn’t think so. “Although he told the court he lives with his wife and their 4-year-old son in Florida,” Magistrate Hanks noted, “evidence indicated that his  wife was actually living in Cuba.”

But, in fact, it now appears certain that when he applied for bail, Dekkers and Katia, his Cuban-born wife, had already divorced.

For some time, her Facebook page has indicated her status as “divorced.” Moreover Rudi Dekkers’ own Facebook page indicates that he re-wed (to a person or persons unknown) last October, several months before he was busted.

At the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse in Houston, the same place where another crook named Allen Stanford had his 'get out of jail free' card revoked several years ago, Dekkers was denied bond with a resounding “no,” from Magistrate Hanks. That was mid-December.

By the first of the year he was out on bail.

Where did Rudi Dekkers Get His 'Juice?'

Rudi Dekkers is scheduled to go on trial in Houston next month for cocaine and heroin trafficking, unless, that is, something happens between now and then.

Courthouse observers suggest the trial will never take place.  They note that Dekkers’ defense lawyers continue to attempt to hammer out a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office before he goes on trial.

Will Dekkers—facing as long as 20 years in Federal prison—get a sweetheart deal? And if he does, will it be in exchange for his testimony…or his silence?

Hanging in the balance is the answer to one of 9/11’s biggest mystery: Where did Rudi Dekkers get his "juice?"

Who is responsible for this abject failure of the democratic ideal of an informed citizenry, of what Walter Cronkite called “the public’s right to know?” 

The answer is clearly illustrated in the unlikeliest of places: The New York Times, in an op-ed piece headlined “Greece’s Rotten Oligarchy” about a journalist in a country whose oligarchy decides what is—and what is not—news.

Greece’s rotten oligarchy, writes Kostas Vaxevanis, is a “tiny elite of business people who live off the Greek state while passing themselves off as “entrepreneurs.” They bribe politicians to get fat government contracts, usually at inflated prices. They also own many of the country’s media outlets, and thus manage to ensure that their actions are clothed in silence.”

Several years ago, Christine Lagarde, then the French finance minister (and now the head of the International Monetary Fund), gave the Greek government a list of roughly 2,000 Greek citizens (called the Lagarde List) with Swiss bank accounts, to help uncover tax fraud.

“Rich people were evading taxes while their desperate fellow citizens were searching the trash for food. But when Hot Doc, the monthly magazine I edit and publish, made the list public in October, I was arrested and charged with violating personal privacy, but was acquitted,” Vaxvenis wrote.

“The result didn’t please those in power. So I am being brought back for a second trial. Throughout the entire process — the publication of the list, my arrest, my acquittal — the Greek media were absent."

"The case was a top story in the international press, but not in the country where it took place.”

In Greece, a courageous real journalist went up against the oligarchy. The result was not very  pretty.

Alas, it is a country that is not altogether different from my own.


Daniel Hopsicker

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

4 Responses

  1. April 29, 2013

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