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Mohamed Atta and Rudi Dekkers Seen Together in Venice in Weeks Before Sept. 11 Attack

by Daniel Hopsicker

(reprinted with permission, Mad Cow Morning News,

[Since a week after 9-11 FTW has been saying repeatedly that Osama bin Laden would never be captured because of the long-term business relationships he and his family had enjoyed with the Bushes and the CIA; and because his family - from which he has never been estranged - is a part of the Saudi government. If and when Osama bin Laden is killed it will be the equivalent of a declaration of war on Saudi Arabia – a statement that Osama's and the Saudi regime's services are no longer needed. As the Administration now congratulates itself over the alleged capture of the 9-11 "mastermind" Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, in spite of the fact that stories from last year reported that he had been killed or captured, and even as it can't seem to figure out whether he's being held in Pakistan or Diego Garcia and as it won't show a video of a living body, a whole new wrinkle surfaces.

Investigative journalist Dan Hopsicker - author of "Barry and the Boys" and the producer of "Mohammad Atta and the Venice Flying Circus" - has a damning new revelation. In direct contradiction to statements by the FBI and by flight school owner Rudi Dekkers that Atta had left long before 9-11, we now have witnesses confirming that Atta was in Florida until August of 2001 traveling as a friend with the man who denied knowing him more than casually. This is a great bit if investigating by Hopsicker and a momentary diversion from the building tension over a war that may tear the planet apart. Laugh or cry as you read this. Either emotion is appropriate. – MCR]

Feb. 17, 2003 - Mohamed Atta was twice seen with flight school owner Rudi Dekkers in Venice, FL. during the final month before he crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, directly contradicting Dekker's account of his relationship with the terrorist ringleader.

Atta took numerous cab rides in August 2001 to and from Huffman Aviation as well as other locations in Venice, according to Venice Yellow Cab employees interviewed by the FBI three days after the attack.

In an exclusive interview with the MadCowMorningNews one Yellow Cab driver stated that on two of these occasions Atta was accompanied by Rudi Dekkers.

"They knew each other well--really well--they were friends," said long-time Venice resident and Yellow Cab driver Bob Simpson. "They were going to a nightclub in Sarasota, talking and very sociable with each other. He and Atta were friends, you could tell."

Simpson said he first took Atta and Dekkers from Huffman Aviation to a restaurant in downtown Venice; on a second ride he picked them up at the Pompano Road residence of former Huffman employee Charlie Voss (in whose home Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi lived for a week when they arrived in Venice) and took the two to a Sarasota nightclub Atta is known to have frequented.

Simpson said he has no trouble stating categorically that it is Rudi Dekkers who was with Mohamed Atta in his cab, since he knew Dekkers from numerous trips to Huffman Aviation to pick up arriving flight students.

"He (Dekkers) would walk them out to the cab, and give me the address to take them to," states Simpson.

"Then a lot of times, with a new flight student, Rudi would take them over to Sharkey's for lunch, and I'd get the call to pick them up. Dekkers also regularly used our cabs to do things like go to lunch, because he usually flew in by helicopter and didn't have a car at the Venice Airport."

Has official story been 'rendered inoperative?'

Simpson, a U.S. Navy veteran who saw duty off Libya and Iran during the early 1980's, comes from a family steeped in law enforcement. His father is a police chief in California, his brother is a cop, and an uncle works for the DEA. He appears neither mentally disordered nor suicidal.

The Yellow Cab office manager in Sarasota confirmed that the trips were recorded in the firm's cab logs, and said the FBI had also expressed a keen interest in cab rides Atta had taken with the company's other driver, who worked nights (Simpson worked days).

News of Atta's presence in Venice during final preparations for the attack directly contradicts the FBI's official chronology of Atta's movements in the last month before Sept. 11. It also contradicts numerous statements made by the controversial Dekkers to the news media.

In sworn testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee in March 2002, Dekkers, recently charged with criminal fraud in Florida, insisted that his relationship with the terrorist ringleader had been distant, and had ended the previous December, nine months before the attack.

"On December 24th, 2000, Atta and Alshehhi rented a Warrior (N555HA) from Huffman Aviation for a flight," the Dutch national stated, telling of his last encounter with Atta.

Dekkers told the hearing about complaints from his staff that Atta and Alshehhi had behavioral problems, that they were not following instructions, and that they also had bad attitudes.

"Atta and Alshehhi returned to Huffman Aviation to make final payments on their outstanding bills. Because they were not taking any more flying lessons, they were asked to leave the facility due to their bad attitudes and not being liked by staff and clients alike. Huffman never heard about or from them again until September 11th, 2001."

Speaking with reporters, he had been more colloquial. "They did not socialize with anyone," Dekkers said three days after the attack. "They did not go to the bar with us. That Atta guy was an asshole."

The Sarasota FBI office, responsible for the Venice airport investigation, has still not offered their version of what-all Rudi Dekkers was up to.

Long cab rides to Orlando Executive Airport

The new information first came to light during interviews with two Venice Yellow Cab drivers being questioned by the FBI. On Friday, Sept. 14, three days after the Sept. 11 attack, cab driver Simpson was contacted by the FBI, who he says questioned him closely about an associate of Atta's, a Middle Eastern man who owned a local convenience store.

"I heard a voice say 'this is Special Agent Joe Anderson from the FBI calling,'" remembers Simpson. "My heart sort of skipped a beat. Then he said don't worry, you haven't done anything wrong, and asked if I'd seen pictures of the terrorists, and if I had, wanted to know if I recognized any."

"I said yes, I recognized Mohamed Atta,'" Simpson continued. "I'm the day driver for Yellow Cab in Venice, and he was in my cab a bunch of times in August. The night driver had him even more than I did."

"They were especially interested in a rich Saudi guy that I'd been sent to pick up at the Orlando Executive Airport. They said they already knew that he'd ridden in my cab because they'd gotten my cab number from a surveillance camera there."

The FBI agents asked specific and direct questions focused on several trips to the Orlando Executive Airport beginning in December 2000, said Simpson, who told them he had been asked to drive there by a mysterious Middle Eastern convenience store owner in Venice who was an associate of Atta's, and who left town shortly after the attack.

A relative of the convenience store owner rode along in the cab to the airport, where they picked up a wealthy Saudi businessman, dressed in Armani and shades, as well as his wife, who was wearing traditional Arab clothing.

After clearing international customs, they proceeded back to the Venice apartment of the convenience store owner, where Simpson said he picked up Atta several times.

Zacharias Moussaoui in Venice

Weeks later, Simpson said he drove the wealthy Saudi's wife back to the same Orlando Airport, leaving from the convenience store owner's Venice apartment. When he arrived to pick up his fare they asked him to help carry a chest down to the cab so heavy it took two people to carry.

"A big bald guy who was there helped me," Simpson said, identifying Zacharias Moussaoui, the so-called 19th hijacker whose trial may be transferred from Federal Court to military tribunal, as the man who had helped carry the chest.

The positive I.D. of Moussaoui in Venice confirms a MadCowMorningNews report from last Sept. 9 stating that Arne Kruithof, one of the two 'Magic Dutch Boys' at the Venice FL Airport, had been grilled for two days at the Sarasota FL court house about his connections to Moussaoui by a Justice Dept. Asst. Attorney General and top-level officials from the FBI taking depositions from potential witnesses in Moussaoui's upcoming trial.

Simpson also spoke of several occasions around this same time when he drove Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al Shehhi from Venice to the Orlando Executive Airport on one-way trips.

In the official chronology of the period, from January to April, 2001, FBI investigators state they are not sure where Atta and al-Shehhi were, and that they may have traveled back to Germany, since Atta reportedly received a visitor's visa in Hamburg and reentered the United States during this time.

Orlando Executive Airport is also where Huffman Aviation's owner Wallace J. Hilliard's Learjet had been confiscated just months earlier, by DEA agents with guns drawn, after 43 pounds of heroin was found aboard. Hilliard also owns a flight school and commuter airline, Discover Air, there as well.

Was Mohamed Atta flying out of Orlando Executive Airport for Wally Hilliard?

In interviews after Sept. 11, Richard Boehlke, Dekkers' partner in a failed airline venture, told a reporter for ABC News in Portland that Dekker's had proposed using flight students to ride along as co-pilots on their flights as a way to save money and also give the students cockpit experience, which Boehlke said is patently illegal.

"The thought that terrorists might have been allowed access to secure airport facilities is chilling," said Boehlke.

Here's another thought even more chilling:

If Rudi Dekkers has been lying about the nature of his relationship with Mohamed Atta, as now seems likely, why have federal authorities as yet done nothing about it?


Daniel Hopsicker is the author of Barry & 'the boys': The CIA, the Mob and America's Secret History.

Why is President Bush, "Poppy" Bush (and Prescott Bush)
part of this Secret Society? Is this driving U.S. Policy?

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Truth And Lies About 9-11