Firm has 'green light' from local DEA.
February 25--Venice, Florida
New evidence linking the
owner of the Venice Florida flight school which trained Mohamed Atta to
the Central Intelligence Agency surfaced earlier this month.
The new evidence adds to
existing indications that Mohamed Atta and his terrorist cadre's flight
training in this country was part of a so-far unacknowledged U.S. government
intelligence operation which had ultimately tragic consequences for thousands
of civilians on September 11th.
Far from merely being negligent
or asleep at the switch—the thrust so far of allegations expected to
be aired at joint Senate and House Select Committee hearings next month—the
accumulating evidence suggests the CIA was not just aware of the thousands
of Arab student pilots who began pouring into this country several years
ago to attend flight training, but was running the operation, for still-unexplained
During a controversy over
the awarding of a bid for an aviation maintenance facility in Lynchburg,
Virginia, what had begun as a purely local spat took on national importance
when it unearthed connections between Rudi Dekkers—the Dutch national
whose Huffman Aviation trained both of the pilots at the controls of the
airliners which crashed into the World Trade Center—and the CIA.
"Good-by Magic Dutch Boy;
Hello Jerry Falwell"
The CIA's links to Dekkers
surfaced when an unknown company called Britannia Aviation was mysteriously
awarded a five-year contract to run a large regional maintenance facility
at the Lynchburg Virginia Regional Airport.
At the time of the award
virtually nothing was known about Britannia except that the company worked
out of a hangar at Rudi Dekker’s Huffman Aviation at the Venice, Florida
But when Britannia was chosen
over a respected and successful Lynchburg company boasting a multi-million
dollar balance sheet and more than 40 employees, aviation executives there
began voicing concerns to reporters at the local newspaper...
"There was some sentiment
that there might be something suspicious about Britannia Aviation," stated
business reporter Chris Flores of the Lynchburg News-Advance. "There was
a clear feeling that nobody knew who these guys were, or where they were
The suspicion deepened when
it was discovered that Britannia Aviation is a company with virtually no
assets, employees, or corporate history. Moreover, the company did not
even possess the necessary FAA license to perform the aircraft maintenance
services for which it had just been contracted by the city of Lynchburg.
At a Lynchburg City Council
hearing on the dispute there were vocal objections from observers baffled
as to why a company with virtually no qualifications was being awarded
a contract to take over a large regional maintenance facility designed
for major carriers like Delta and USAir Express.
"It was as if someone with
a learner’s permit from the DMV got picked to drive Richard Petty’s
car at Daytona," explained one local aviation executive and NASCAR fan.
"It made absolutely no business
sense that anyone could see."
"Be True to Your School."
When Britannia Aviation’s
financial statements were released after prodding by the local aviation
community they revealed Britannia to be a "company" worth less than $750.
Paul Marten, a British aircraft
mechanic who was the Britannia executive in attendance, rose to say it
wasn't true. Britannia’s assets, he was sure, amounted to more than $750,
though how much more was a question he left unanswered.
A Lynchburg city official
attempted to wave aside objections that Britannia was insolvent with
a joke. "At least they have more on their balance sheet than Enron," said
Lynchburg City Councilman Robert Garber.
Trying to save further embarrassment,
Britannia executive Marten reassured those in attendance that at Huffman’s
hangar at the Venice Airport they had for some time been successfully providing
aviation maintenance services for Caribe Air, a Caribbean carrier.
And that is how the world
learned that under Rudi Dekker’s FAA license Paul Marten's little dummy
front company worked for a notorious CIA proprietary air carrier which,
even by the standards of a CIA proprietary, has had a particularly checkered
Caribe Air's history includes
'blemishes' like having its aircraft seized by federal officials at the
infamous Mena Arkansas airport a decade ago, after the company was accused
by government prosecutors of having used as many as 20 planes to ship drugs
worth billions of dollars into this country.
"What a coincidence, eh?"
Ironically, the company also
made headlines a dozen years ago in a scandal in which one of the principals,
Angolan rebel Jonas Savimbi, was reportedly killed just this past weekend.
A Caribe Air C130 had been
shot down over Angola with the loss of everyone aboard, including a US
Congressman’s nephew. The plane was on a mission for the Angolan government,
it was discovered, laden with a cargo of whiskey and cigarettes.
Observers at the time had
noted wryly that, while the CIA had for years been covertly supporting
the other side in the Angolan conflict, Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA rebels,
it now appeared to be playing both ends against the middle.
At least when it came to
planeloads of swag.
Though the Congressman with
a dead nephew was not amused, the matter was quickly dropped.
Curiously enough, Caribe
Air is today controlled by an offshore bank located on the Caribbean island
of Dominica, Banc Caribe, a private bank that may be being investigated
currently by authorities pursuing the names involved in Enron's secret
offshore partnerships, many of which have the name "Caribe" in their title.
When four offshore bankers
were arrested by United States law enforcement agencies in November and
charged with money laundering, Banc Caribe Ltd., of Dominica was named
in one of the affidavits filed.
This is no doubt merely the
sheerest of coincidences.
When details of the Lynchburg
controversy first reached Venice aviation executives they professed
amazement. "No one here had ever heard of Britannia Aviation before," one
told us. "And this is a very small airport."
After our inquiry he called
a DEA source of his at the airport, this aviation executive told us, to
ask what he knew about Britannia Aviation.
"This guy got all excited
as soon as I asked," this executive stated. "He immediately wanted to know
why I was so interested in Britannia. Finally he reluctantly told me that
Britannia had a 'green light' from the DEA at the Venice Airport, whatever
that means. He also said the local Venice Police Department (which has
mounted round-the-clock patrols at the Airport since Sept.11) had been
warned to leave them alone."
had no comment on the report when we dropped in on him at his office in
a Huffman Aviation hangar at the Venice Airport. He was just an honest
British businessman, he told us. He had ties to Lynchburg Virginia. He
had met his wife there, while she was a student at Jerry Falwell's Liberty
Her father was a pastor for
the Reverend Falwell.
"Jerry Falwell got bailed
out in the early '90's by a Lynchburg businessman whose son is married
to Billy Graham's daughter," a Lynchburg observer told us. "Since then
he runs a missionary service called World Help, which flies all over the
Many of the flight trainers
who had trained the Arab terrorist pilots had also flown missions out of
the Venice and Sarasota Florida Airports for such Christian missionary
services as televangelist Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing.
It was "Islamic fundamentalist"
Osama bin laden who cloaked his covert activities under the cover of religious
charities. Were we now discovering that our own government intelligence
agencies used the same ruse?
What was going on here?
Christian-linked or not,
why did a transparent dummy front company like Paul Marten's Britannia
Aviation have a 'green light' from the DEA?
A green light for what?
NEXT: CHARACTER IS DESTINY:
THE REAL RUDI DEKKER'S