Issue Number 24 - Daniel Hopsicker for Madcow Morning News
July 4--Venice Florida
The owner of one of the two Venice, FL. flight schools at which Mohamed Atta and his terrorist cadre learned to fly barely survived the crash of a private plane last Wednesday when it nose-dived to earth after taking off from the Venice Airport.
The MadCowMorningNews has learned that subsequent events have left local aviation experts wondering if Arne Kruithof's near brush with death was just accident, or something more sinister.
Arne Kruithof, owner of Florida Flight Training, was one of three men who dragged themselves out of the mangled fuselage of a Twin Beech E18 and dashed to safety just moments before the plane's 300 gallons of fuel exploded in a fireball.
Onboard along with co-pilot Kruithof, whose school trained Siad Al Jarrah, the terrorist at the controls of the plane that went down in western Pennsylvania, were the pilot, Glenn Goodman, and passenger John Mills.
The men, who told investigators they were on their way for a pleasure trip to Cancun, were "shaken up, but essentially without injuries," according to a Venice Police spokesman.
"They were really lucky to walk away from this."
While 'mechanical failure' is believed to be responsible, the precise cause of the crash remains unknown.
"Did they check the fuel tanks for rubber balloons?"
The MadCowMorningNews has learned that Kruithof's near brush with death has local aviation experts wondering if the crash was just an accident.
Could someone now be attempting to ensure Kruithof’s silence in the so-far anemic Congressional 9/11 investigation?
Does someone want Arne Kruithof dead?
This notion was bolstered late this week by the unseemly haste with which the plane's wreckage was destroyed... well before an FAA finding on the cause of the crash.
"The plane was almost immediately dragged off to be compacted even though the FAA hadn't yet determined the cause for the crash," one local aviation observer told us.
"That's not just irregular. It's highly irregular. So we're all kind of wondering just what the hell's going on. And besides... isn't it a little warm in Cancun in July?"
Magic Dutch Boys Two by Two
It was Dutch national Kruithof's purchase of one of the two Venice flight schools, at the same time fellow countryman Rudi Dekkers purchased the other, that led to them being dubbed the Venice 'Magic Dutch Boys.'
("Two damn Dutch boys training terrorist pilots is one damn Dutch boy too many," growled one famous Southern lawman to us last fall. "It's untidy.")
Even before the tragedy of September 11th, both men's dealings had lifted some eyebrows at the Venice Airport... And though both have gotten a free ride from the national press that has done nothing to lift the cloud of suspicion hanging over them locally among their aviation peers.
The two flight schools at Venice Municipal Airport cater almost exclusively to international students. Huffman President Rudi Dekkers has trained some 800 foreign students at his school during the past two years.
Venice residents said the city's other flight school, Florida Flight Training, also had numerous international students.
Kruithof is expected to testify at Congressional Hearings at some point both about his relationship with Rudi Dekkers--the other Dutch national flight school owner at the Venice Airport [and today a convicted drug trafficker]--and partner Pascal Schreier, a German national living in Munich.
"Say, didn't the terrorists come from Hamburg?"
Their company, Aviation Aspirations, (Kruithof is VP) provides both financial assistance and a "Mentor Programme."
Schreier recruited students in, among other places, Hamburg. The company's motto, somewhat ironically, is: "Better training because we care."
About their "mentoring programme," the company's literatures says: "The help is both financial and practical. We now provide one-to-one practical assistance from experienced Professional Pilots (our Mentors) whom we have established throughout the world.
Could 'mentor' be just a cute way to say 'handler?'
Do good recruitment prospects require special mentoring?
French newspaper Le Monde has reported that Osama Bin Laden's brother Yeslam sent student pilots to Venice for training.
Is Aviation Aspirations a front, being used as a vehicle to recruit and assess potential intel assets like terrorist pilots?
Birds of a Feather
The crash also threw a spotlight on some of Kruithof's curious associations.
Glen Goodman, the pilot of the downed Beech craft and Kruithof's partner in Florida Flight Maintenance, for example, incorporated a business in Florida in July of 2000, just after the terrorist pilots began training at the Venice Airport.
Named for the "N-Number" of the business's sole asset, an aging DC3, it never filed an annual report and was subsequently closed by the State of Florida--like many other companies related to the Venice 'Magic Dutch Boys--on September 21,2001.
When we ran the N number we discovered that the plane's colorful history includes long stints in exotic [CIA drug trafficking] locales like Manuel Noriega's Panama, Costa Rica, and Fort Lauderdale, and is now resting in a military flight museum, exactly the same kind of venue from which the CIA has 'liberated' military planes in the past for use by foreign drug cartels.
Known as N90079, Inc., the company was set up as a "for profit" corporation, not as a "fund-raising sponsor or non-profit" that might otherwise associate with a program to raise money to restore planes for a museum.
In fact, the plane can be traced back to an infamous South Florida Customs airplane "boneyard," where "planes with checkered pasts" in a fenced storage yard... like the sister ship to the Fairchild C-123 shot down over Nicaragua in 1986 with Eugene Hasenfus aboard.
Goodman has apparently allowed a certain Christian missionary organization named Missionair to use the DC3 to ferry around the Caribbean something called the "Living Water Teaching Ministry."
Could the CIA be using Christian operations like Missionair, and Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing at the nearby Sarasota Airport, for cover in the Caribbean, just as Bin Laden's people use Muslim charities?
It is all probably just coincidence.
It is probably also just coincidence that the sister company to Magic Dutch Boy Rudi Dekkers' terrorist training school, a failed airline had in its brief lifespan just one celebrity endorser...
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
"As one of Florida's top politicians, Katherine Harris doesn't have much time to do a lot of personal traveling. So she appreciates the convenience that Florida Air offers."
In the indifferently-motivated September 11th investigations so far, the one really burning question hasn't even come up. It is this:
"What's been going on in Florida?"
One Florida law-enforcement official involved in the probe of the Sept. 11 attacks shakes his head ruefully.
"First we couldn't count votes. Now we're training terrorists."
We think the state should post signs at all of its borders:
"Welcome to Terror-Land."
"Remain seated at all times."