A MadCowMorningNews investigation
into the ownership of the DC9 airliner caught carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine in
Mexico last month has uncovered explosive new details about some of the many
lingering mysteries still surrounding the 9.11 attack.
San Diego defense contractor Titan Corporation, already implicated in the fraudulent
bankruptcy of a shadowy St. Petersburg FL company which owned the DC9 "Cocaine
One" flight busted in Mexico, employed a Lebanese contractor who assisted
Mohamed Atta and other terrorist hijackers in Venice, Florida.
For Titan, the revelation marks the latest in a remarkable series of recent
scandals, including employees charged with torture and rape at Abu Ghraib prison
in Iraq, a record $26 million fine and conviction for fixing a Presidential
election in the African nation of Benin, and growing infamy for being the biggest
money backer of disgraced and soon-to-be-jailed former Congressman Randy “Duke”
The story begins when, while researching “Welcome
to TERRORLAND” three years ago, we discovered that Makram Chams, a
Lebanese national, had provided significant logistical support for Mohamed Atta
and Marwan Al-Shehhi.
Chams, we learned, had even entertained recently-convicted Zacharias
Moussaoui in his apartment in Venice.
Breaking news from the forest where no one's around
Makram Chams owned a Kwik-Check convenience store in Venice, where the biggest
overseas money transfer to the terrorists, $70,000 from the UAE., was sent,
according to the testimony of FBI agents during the 9.11 Commission hearings.
Actually the FBI testimony never mentioned Chams, or his store.
They did however show the receipt for the money order at the
final hearing of the 9.11 Commission, which we attended. And we were already
familiar with the address where the money order went: 201 Nokomis Avenue.
Makram Cham's Kwik-Chek... Strangely, Chams left town soon
after the 9.11 attack, abandoning a thriving convenience store which has stood
vacant ever since.
In a story in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, reporter Earle Kimel, who first
broke the story of Mohamed Atta’s American girlfriend, Amanda
Keller, called Chams' abandoned store “A pocket of urban
blight in the otherwise smartly tailored suit of downtown Venice.”
Just another freak coincidence?
An understanding of what Makram Chams had been doing while in Venice--and
for whom--had eluded us, and been one of our biggest unanswered questions,
one which might shed light on whether the U.S. Government possessed guilty foreknowledge--or
even culpability--in the 9.11 attack.
Our search for Chams had been unsuccessful. No one knew where he was, or why
he'd left. But now Chams has re-surfaced in Saudi Arabia, where he worked in
an unlikely capacity: as a contractor for American defense firm Titan
News of Makram Chams' current whereabouts came to us when a researcher recently
sent this addendum to Titan Corp’s 2005 SEC filing:
“On March 14, 2005, Makram Majid Chams, a former consultant of Titan
filed a claim with the Preliminary Committee on Labor Disputes Settlement
in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Chams alleges that Titan wrongfully terminated his consulting
agreement and that he was defamed by Titan's publication in a local newspaper
of a mandatory notice that he is no longer representing Titan. The plaintiff
is seeking approximately $21.9 million in damages. We intend to defend our
Was the man suing Titan in Saudi Arabia, “Makram Majid Chams,”
the same "Makram Chams" who'd lived in Venice?
Only a dunsky could doubt it
The answer was 'yes.' A marriage announcement in the Sarasota Herald Tribune
from January of 1998 gave us the full name of the Makram Chams who'd lived in
Venice, identical to the name of the man suing Titan in Saudi Arabia.
“Makram Majid Chams,” said the announcement, had
married “Rim Ghazi Abou Zein, both of Venice.”
The news was nothing short of astonishing. The man who'd assisted terrorist
hijackers in Venice...working for an American defense contractor in Saudi Arabia?
What was Chams doing for The Titan Corp? What made him think they owe him $22
million dollars? And most importantly...
Was Makram Chams already working for Titan while in Venice?
While we didn’t know the answers to any of these questions, one thing
we did know was that Bob Woodward would not be on the case. The major media
steered completely clear of stories about what was clearly the biggest
9.11 crime scene that wasn't reduced to rubble: Venice, Fl., home to
three of the four terrorist pilots.
We decided to take a closer look at Makram Chams.
Hangin' with the 'Mak Jack' Attack
A Venice Yellow Cab driver, Bob Simpson, first told us that the Middle Eastern
man who owned the convenience store had been close to the hijackers, and that
Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi frequently met at an apartment in Venice which he
rented. (Watch him talk about
Simpson had been questioned closely by the FBI three days after the Sept. 11
attack. “I heard a voice say ‘this is Special Agent Joe Anderson
from the FBI calling,’” he told us. “My heart sort of skipped
a beat. Then he said, ‘Don’t worry, you haven’t done anything
“He 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. I’m
the day driver for Yellow Cab in Venice, and he was in my cab a bunch of times
in August,” cabbie Simpson explained. “The night driver had him
even more than I did.”
Simpson picked up Atta at the convenience store owner’s apartment on
several occasions. He told the FBI he had been asked to drive to Orlando by
a relative of the Middle Eastern man who owned the convenience store.
“Their (the terrorists) best friend used to live upstairs on the second
floor,” stated Simpson, pointing to the Burgundy Square Apartments in
downtown Venice. I saw Atta and Al-Shehhi there.”
“They were always hanging out together at the store. Most of the time,
I’d be called by their friend, or they would call saying pick them up
there at the market.”
Dead eyes then, Dead everything now
That the terrorist hijackers spent much time hanging out in Makram Chams' Kwik-Check
was independently confirmed by numerous observers, including a local psychiatrist
who contacted us recently.
“Nokomis Ave runs right behind the hospital in Venice,” stated
the psychiatrist. "Each day as I left the hospital for the office I'd head
north on Nokomis. At the corner of Nokomis and Miami there was this little (Kwik-Chek)
convenience store run by middle-eastern types.”
“Half the time I'd be late for the office and I'd stop in there and grab
something awful for lunch. A woman and a large man were usually behind the counter.
Some days I'd go in there and no one would be behind the counter but there would
be loud talking in the back.”
“A few times I saw Atta in there, hanging around. Once I made eye contact
with him—dead on! Emphasis on "dead" because when we locked
eyes a chill went through me and I thought: "He's got 'dead' eyes."
“When you become a shrink you sometimes get attuned to what might be
going on with a person just from seeing how they look—their faces and
eyes—on the street or in public. The chill I got when I saw Atta was not
the chill of fear. It was a chill about how sick he looked. He looked to be
one of the most depressed persons I'd ever laid eyes on.”
“He looked so depressed that it was as if he was already gone. In retrospect
I feel he may have been just as happy to die for the sake of ending it all as
he was to die for Allah.”
“A couple of weeks after 9/11 the convenience store closed up,”
stated the psychiatrist, who has since moved out of state. “I was down
there last summer visiting the old psych unit crew, nurses and staff, at a yearly
reunion at Sharkey's, and the store was still closed up. I found a reference
to the store on the TERRORLAND website, and it got me thinking.”
“I wish I'd paid more attention back then… but who knew?”
Who was the Saudi in Armani and shades?
Cabbie Simpson told of how he had picked up a wealthy Saudi businessman at the
Orlando Airport after picking up the convenience store owner at the apartment
in Venice. The FBI expressed interest in the rich Saudi, he said.
“They were especially interested in a rich Saudi guy that I’d been
sent to pick up at the Orlando Airport. They said they already knew that he'd
ridden in my cab because they’d gotten my cab number from a surveillance
camera at the airport.”
“He flew in on a private jet, and was dressed in Armani and shades, with
his wife, who wore traditional Arab clothing. After clearing international customs,
they proceeded back to a Venice apartment rented by the convenience store owner.
Six weeks later, he drove the wealthy Saudi's wife back to the Orlando Airport,
Simpson told the FBI. Again they left from the convenience store owner's Venice
apartment. When he arrived to pick up his fare, Simpson was asked to come up
to the apartment to help carry a chest down to the cab.
“The chest was so heavy it took two people to carry,” Simpson said.
"A big bald guy who was there helped me carry the chest down.” The
man who helped him carry the chest down the stairs to the cab, said Simpson,
was Zacharias Moussaoui.
A fungible commodity useful everywhere
Cabbie Simpson had been so clearly impressed with how heavy the chest had been
that we too were intrigued. We called a man we knew to have worked for many
years in American intelligence to ask what he thought made the chest so heavy.
“Gold,” he replied immediately. “There was
gold in that chest.”
The identification of Moussaoui in Venice confirmed what we had reported exclusively
nearly four years ago, when we learned that the second Dutch national flight
school owner at the Venice Airport, Arne Kruithof, was questioned for two days
by officials taking depositions from potential witnesses in Moussaoui's trial.
Further confirmation of Moussaoui’s presence in Venice came much later
from an unlikely and usually highly-dubious source: Rudi Dekkers.
Continuing the FBI cover-up about the terrorist’s activity in Venice,
jurors in the trial of Zacharias Moussaoui were never told that Moussaoui had
They did however, hear testimony which confirmed the allegation in “Welcome
to TERRORLAND,” of a systematic cover up by the FBI of the fact that
Venice was the terrorist’s main base of operations.
In February 2001, the jurors were told, Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi had
been spotted in Clearwater Florida flying a single-engine plane registered to
Huffman Aviation...almost two months after the FBI’s
official chronology states Atta left Venice and Huffman for good.