Colombia plane crash on the 'Mena' Tom Cruise movie set

Discussion in 'Tom and Katie' started by The Wrong Guy, Sep 18, 2015.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    First, here are a few of the many articles that have been published about the plane crash:

    Pilot on Tom Cruise movie crew dies in Colombia plane crash | The Guardian

    Two killed and one injured as light aircraft involved in shooting of Mena – a film in which Cruise plays a drug runner pilot – comes down in the Andes

    Two crew members of Tom Cruise die in crash | The Associated Press

    Alan Purwin dies at 54; copter pilot in breathtaking Hollywood stunts | Los Angeles Times

    There's a lot more to the story surrounding this, thanks to Daniel Hopsicker, whose writing I've been following since 2001.

    He describes himself as "an investigative journalist dubious about the self-serving assertion of U.S. officials that there are no American Drug Lords".

    He is the author of Barry & 'the Boys': The CIA, the Mob and America's Secret History. Here's a description:

    "If you want to learn about Barry Seal, Oliver North and GHW Bush, then read this book by Daniel Hopsicker. The author concludes that Oliver North murdered Barry Seal and that friction with the Bush family was a big reason. Seal was a threat to plea bargain and expose Iran-Contra."

    - Robert Morrow

    If you'd like to learn more about him and that book, you could do a bit of reading here: "the Mob and America's Secret History""Daniel Hopsicker"

    With that, here's his article:

    Did Tom Cruise’s Helicopter Clip Doomed 'Mena' Plane?

    By Daniel Hopsicker, MadCowNews, September 14, 2015

    Both men who died in the crash of a twin-engine plane in Colombia last week on the shoot for Tom Cruise’s new “Mena” movie have backgrounds more like those of spies, spooks, drug movers or clandestine agents than pilots on a film shoot.

    One owned offshore entities in the Netherland Antilles that controlled even more offshore entities, very useful for money laundering; owned a $2 million home on the Intracoastal Waterway with a dock handy for unloading knick-knacks and bric-a-brac from cruises in the Caribbean; and once lived in a small town in Texas next to a secret CIA base.

    The other was even more mysterious. He owned a company selling black helicopters and aerial surveillance packages to urban police departments and military clients around the world.


    "Mena" the movie had originally been announced as a biopic. “Ron Howard to Direct MENA, Based on the True Story of Gun-Runner and Drug Trafficker Barry Seal.”

    Directed by All American boy Ron Howard, it was to be the story of lifelong CIA pilot Barry Seal, who became America’s most infamous drug smuggler during the cocaine-fueled Iran Contra era, the go-go '80’s.


    Later that changed. The film would now become a collaboration between so-called “Edge’ Guys” Tom Cruise & Doug Liman, based on a million dollar spec script by a virtual Hollywood unknown.

    When the plane crashed, production was just wrapping in… Medellin Colombia? Who shoots major motion pictures in Colombia? Nobody, till now. "Mena” was the first international production to tap film incentives offered by the city of Medellin, which offered cash rebates of up to 15%.

    Even this became controversial. “The savings were to avoid (God forbid) using California union workers, and paying for California salaries, taxes and permits,” wrote an industry worker in Los Angeles. "The only people to benefit will be hotels in the wealthy Poblado neighborhood."

    For whatever reason, instead of filming in Baton Rouge, and Mena, Arkansas, where much of Seal’s story took place, the Limon-led project shot in Medellin, as well as tiny Ball Ground, Georgia, where Cruise charmed local residents.


    But the real reason the production couldn't bring themselves to shoot on locations where Seal's story was known first-hand can be gleaned from this sad comment:

    "Just hope the truth comes out once and for all. He was my brother-in-law."


    It wasn’t bad weather that caused the aircraft to crash. According to eyewitnesses, the plane was already on fire, or at least smoking, when it went down.

    It came out of the clouds into the clear,” said dairy farmer Jairo Munoz, who witnessed the accident in a mountainous rural village outside Medellin. “My wife saw the plane flying low. It was smoking.”

    ”Then we heard the crash.”


    Said farmer Munoz, “The plane circled over a mountain, just as a helicopter flew by.”

    That would have been Tom Cruise in the helicopter. Munoz's wife agreed. “I thought they were looking for something because they were flying very low."

    There is nothing to indicate Cruise’s helicopter had anything to do with the plane crash. So, why were news reports insisting on specifying, while remaining vague on everything else, that Cruise took off ten or 15 minutes before the doomed plane?

    The answer may be that the "first responders" — not emergency personnel responding to the crash site, but the public relations crisis responders — were unaware there were eyewitnesses that saw the helicopter and the plane flying together. Or were worried there might be.


    The second area where the truth appeared to be suffering a bit in the aftermath of the crash was in the matter of — not just the men's names — but their identities. Two men — Alan Purwin and Carlos Berl-not-Brel — were dead. The third, the plane’s pilot, a Georgian named Jimmy Lee Garland, received multiple serious injuries in the crash, but survived. He was rushed to a hospital in Medellin, where he is in intensive care.

    One owned an aviation company that sold black helicopters crammed with state of the art aerial surveillance gear to the military. Since he was in Colombia, a U.S. (or CIA) client state with lots of drug-related intrigue, he "might could" be there on more than movie business.


    "Alan Purwin was described by friends as "one of the top film pilots of his generation" with a list of credits from television and major Hollywood movies such as "Transformers," ''Pearl Harbor" and "Pirates of the Caribbean," reported the Associated Press.

    Less visibly — and no doubt more lucratively — Purwin founded Los Angeles-based Helinet Technologies. The company features black helicopters on its website.

    They've helped entities like the Swedish National Police to, in their words, "Implement Airborne Law Enforcement and Counterterrorism Solutions."

    Purwin's company is involved in aerial surveillance “for law enforcement, government and military markets.”


    Jimmy Lee Garland, the American who had been the the pilot on the downed plane, is a partner in S & S Aviation,which runs the FBO at the tiny Cherokee County Airport in Georgia.

    S & S was founded and owned by Coleman Sutton, a retired – what's this? A retired United States Air Force pilot. He flew fighters, bombers, and transport aircraft.


    The third man, the mysterious chap identified (eventually) as Carlos Berl, is still identified only as "a Colombian," as if that information speaks — at least resume-wise — for itself.

    Poor Carlos Berl has not just robbed by his unfortunate premature death. He's also lost his (posthumous) 15 minutes of fame, his brief moment in the international spotlight ruined by people who couldn't spell his name. There were no prayer vigils announced. No encomiums from former employers or employees. Even four days later, there have been no tentative attempts to explain who he was, and what he was doing in Colombia. The reason cannot be because Berl is uninteresting.


    Berl owned offshore entities in the Netherland Antilles, including Aruba Management Co. N.V., and Berinvest N.V. which were themselves owned by other offshore entities, Paramo Enterprises and Vagon Enterprises, also in the Netherland Antilles.

    He and wife Alice used to live in a six-bedroom, five-and-a-half bathroom home at 1585 Windjammer Way on the Intracoastal Canal in Hollywood, Florida worth $2.3 million. More recently home was a pleasant $1.3 million split-level in Dobb’s Ferry New York.


    Before that, in what surely must just be a coincidence, he kept a residence in Boerne Texas, the town of 15,000 adjacent to what was only recently been revealed to be the CIA’s largest base domestically, Camp Stanley.


    But the truly most unpleasant news account surprise after the plane crash were the absolutely uniform news media explanations of the movie Cruise was shooting in Medellin.

    The film, accounts agreed, was about famous drug smuggler and CIA pilot Barry Seal, who was assassinated for helping the DEA try to capture cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.

    “Called 'Mena,' the film stars Cruise as American pilot Barry Seal," the AP reported, "a drug runner recruited by the CIA to try and capture the late cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. Seal was shot and killed in 1986 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, allegedly by assassins sent by Escobar's Medellin cartel.”

    "Actor Tom Cruise is filming in several regions of Colombia his film "Mena", which focuses on the character of Barry Seal, DEA informant killed by Pablo Escobar.”

    Nobody even blinked, even though that's been conclusively proven to be a lie ( by me! shameless plug: See Barry & the boys.)


    I already knew of the production's deep flaws. I took an hour-and-a-half meeting with director Doug Limon and screenwriter Nicholas Spinelli, where I gladly let them pick my brain for information about Barry Seal.

    At the end, Limon, to his credit, paid me the courtesy of being honest about where the movie was going. They would not, he told me, be assigning any blame for the climactic moment in their film, the assassination of Barry Seal. He said, "We're leaving it deliberately ambiguous."

    Oliver North need not worry. Nor George Herbert Walker Bush.

    I was talking to two guys who can't wait to make a buck off the lurid and bloody assassination of Barry Seal, while at the same time deliberately keeping their audience — the American people — in the dark about who murdered Barry Seal and why. It doesn't get any sleazier than that.

    Their movie will leave undisturbed America's notion about who the real drug lords are, which is the Big Lie of all time. Because characters like Limon and Spanelli (or what ever his name is) care nothing for the human misery caused by an obscene 40-year long war on (other people's) drugs.

    Theirs is a plan so vastly self-serving as to defy comprehension. It could never happen… anywhere but here. They are shooting a Holocaust movie that forgets to mention the Nazis.

    Hooray for Hollywood.


    Those responsible for Seal's assassination were long ago fingered, with irrefutable evidence, in Barry & the boys. So "deliberately ambiguous" doesn't cut it.

    "Deliberately ambiguous" is a lie. And a lot of people know it. The January 2017 release of Doug Limon’s paean to disinformation will prove that, and turn into a “teachable moment.”


    The investigative reporting on the impact of drug money on US political life and our economy found here are taboo subjects in the mainstream media. Without your help the effort cannot continue.

    Order our books and documentaries, and donate what you can!

    The full article is here:
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  2. GibbousWaxing Member

    Kinda reads like a dead-agent pack, doesn't it?
  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Family of Baton Rouge drug smuggler Barry Seal sues to put the brakes on Universal and Tom Cruise's 'Mena'

    By Mike Scott,, October 15, 2015


    Almost 30 years after he was gunned down in Baton Rouge by hit men allegedly hired by the Medellin drug cartel, Barry Seal is heading back to court. What's more, he's bringing Universal Pictures with him.

    One Seal's children filed papers this week in state court in Baton Rouge seeking to halt the production, release and advertising of the Universal-backed feature film "Mena," based on the life of the former drug smuggler turned federal informant whose violent 1986 death made headlines.

    Directed by Doug Liman and produced for Universal by Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment, the project filmed this past summer in Georgia and Colombia with Tom Cruise portraying Seal. It is scheduled for release in January 2017.

    But in papers filed Wednesday (Oct. 14) in Baton Rouge's 19th Judicial District Court, Lisa Seal Frigon, who is a child of Seal's from the first of his three marriages, said the Seal estate -- for which she is administrator -- was never contacted by the production to secure the rights to his story. Rather, the filing says, producers improperly struck a deal paying Seal's third wife and their three children $350,000 in exchange for his story.

    None of that money was given to the Seal estate, which Frigon's lawyers claim has been diminished in value by what they say are inaccuracies in a script for "Mena" obtained via deposition.

    Among the alleged accuracies, the filing says the film "(1) misrepresents (Seal's) marital history; (2) portrays him as the father of three children, not five; (3) misrepresents his work history; (4) falsely portrays him as a drunkard; (5) misrepresents his relationship with his two oldest children; (6) falsely portrays him as a wreckless (sic) pilot; (and) (7) falsely portrays his place and manner of death."

    In addition to an injunction halting the production, release and advertising of "Mena," Frigon is seeking additional relief, including unspecified monetary damages, and "all further legal and equitable relief as the court deems necessary and proper."

    In addition to Universal, Debbie Dubois Seal of Slidell, Seal's third wife, is named as a co-defendant in the case, along with her three children, Aaron Seal of Baton Rouge, Christina Seal of Slidell, and Dean Berriman Seal of Gonzales.

    Adler "Barry" Seal was a former commercial airline pilot who turned drug smuggler for the Medellin cartel after losing his airline job following an arrest in New Orleans for smuggling plastic explosives for an anti-Castro group. He was arrested again in 1984 and charged with smuggling Quaaludes, after which he became an undercover CIA and DEA informant for investigators targeting key cartel figures.

    Although he had moved his home base from Baton Rouge to Mena, Ark. -- the city after which the film takes its title -- Seal ended up living in a halfway house on Baton Rouge's Airline Highway as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. It was outside of that facility that he was gunned down on Feb. 19, 1986.

    Colombian hit man Luis Carlos Quintero-Cruz was convicted in Seal's murder in 1987 along with wheelman Miguel Velez. A third man, Bernardo Vasquez, was convicted of helping to plan the crime, although he wasn't present at the shooting.

    The court filing is the second time in recent weeks that "Mena" has made headlines. Last month, two people were killed and a third person seriously injured when a twin-engine Piper Aerostar-600 carrying members of the "Mena" crew crashed shortly after takeoff from Medellin, Colombia.

    Source, and open comments:
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  4. The Wrong Guy Member

    Slain drug smuggler Barry Seal's daughter sues to halt movie on her father’s life | The Advocate

    The estate of the drug smuggler-turned-federal informant Adler “Barry” Seal did not agree to sell the movie rights to his life, and his oldest daughter wants a state judge to block Universal Pictures from moving forward with an upcoming film that has actor Tom Cruise set to play the lead role.

    Lisa Seal Frigon, who was born of Barry Seal’s first marriage and now administers the estate, claims in a lawsuit that her father’s third wife and three children born of that marriage sold Seal’s life story rights to the movie studio for $350,000 without court approval or the estate’s consent.

    None of the proceeds from the agreement went to the estate, according to the suit filed in the 19th Judicial District Court.

    Baton Rouge lawyer Roy Maughan Jr., who represents Frigon, alleged Thursday that Deborah “Debbie” Dubois Seal and the three children she had with Seal “acted independently” of the estate in entering into an agreement with Universal and essentially stole money that belongs to the estate.

    “The estate is still under administration,” Maughan stressed.

    The suit, filed Wednesday and assigned to state District Judge Don Johnson, also contends the movie script contains “many factual inaccuracies and thus falsely portrays” Barry Seal as, among other things, a drunkard, reckless pilot and father of three children, not five.

    The suit claims the commercial value of Seal’s persona has been damaged, which diminishes the value of his estate.

    Continued here:

    Family of murdered drug smuggler sue Universal over Tom Cruise film Mena | The Guardian

    Daughter of Medellín cartel pilot turned informant Barry Seal says studio made deal with the wrong family members
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  5. RightOn Member

    Cruise pulled it in!
    He is PTS from his daughter's wedding PR flap!
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Ogsonofgroo Member

    Hm, what's the old adage about sleeping with dogs?

    Space cooties... Tom has 'em I r sure... Wonder what Miscasvige's cartel buddies in Colombia think of all this? And do I even care?

    Probably not.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. BigBeard Member

    Blasted internet's been up and down all day here.

    Spoke with my estate lawyer about this situation this morning, and if the estate is in fact still under "administration" and does hold the rights to Seal's story, it could be a real 'Hill 10' situation for Cruise & Co.

    The 3rd wife could be in the deep stuff too. Selling rights you don't legally own is considered fraud. And if the film folks didn't do their 'due dilegence' regarding who actually owns the rights, they could be culpable too.

    Tsk, tsk.

    • Like Like x 3
  8. The Wrong Guy Member

    The story of 9/11 is a story about Saudis in Florida

    By Daniel Hopsicker, April 28, 2016


    Islamic fundamentalist or lieutenant in an Arab drug cartel?

    In 1999, there were a handful of Arab flight students in SW Florida. In 2001 there were thousands. At a big AFB base in the Panhandle, a trainer told me, "It used to be Iranians. Now its all Saudis."

    Were they there by themselves? Hell no. Did the CIA know? Hell yes. I asked an old hand, in a highly irate tone of voice, how could the CIA not have known blah-di-blah blah. His answer was mild. Why, I’m sure that they did know. He said, “It would have been impossible for them not to.”

    Venice and the surrounding region was teeming with spooks. The Sheriff in nearby Charlotte County—where Atta lived for a time, though you won’t find that in the 9/11 Commission Report—told me that, because of the 40-year history of covert activity that he had seen been run through Charlotte County, which he and everyone else in the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department had been powerless to stop, he believed the CIA was responsible for 9/11.

    Was one of the bigger shocks of my life. A Southern cracker Sheriff telling me he thought the CIA was responsible for 9/11. And hey. Maybe he’s right. But I couldn’t go there. I might believe that. But I never had proof.

    Despite that, I heard a lot, saw a lot, and learned a lot in Florida. For 18 month Venice Florida was the home base of the terrorist hijackers. It was the biggest 9/11 crime scene that wasn’t reduced to rubble. And I uncovered more evidence about the terrorist conspiracy's activities there than anyone, more than every other reporter in America… combined.

    Because there were no reporters or investigators or researchers in Venice. Except me.

    I drove 1000 miles in the dead of winter in a 15-year old car with a faulty heater to find and interview Mohamed Atta’s girlfriend. Nobody else knew he’d even had one. Except three tiny local newspapers in SW Florida. I posted the entire interview.

    The complete article is here:

    Saudi officials were 'supporting' 9/11 hijackers, commission member says

    By Philip Shenon, The Guardian, May 12, 2016

    A former Republican member of the 9/11 commission, breaking dramatically with the commission’s leaders, said Wednesday he believes there was clear evidence that Saudi government employees were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers and that the Obama administration should move quickly to declassify a long-secret congressional report on Saudi ties to the 2001 terrorist attack.

    The comments by John F Lehman, an investment banker in New York who was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, signal the first serious public split among the 10 commissioners since they issued a 2004 final report that was largely read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

    “There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” Lehman said in an interview, suggesting that the commission may have made a mistake by not stating that explicitly in its final report. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”

    He was critical of a statement released late last month by the former chairman and vice-chairman of the commission, who urged the Obama administration to be cautious about releasing the full congressional report on the Saudis and 9/11 – “the 28 pages”, as they are widely known in Washington – because they contained “raw, unvetted” material that might smear innocent people.

    The 9/11 commission chairman, former Republican governor Tom Kean of New Jersey, and vice-chairman, former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana, praised Saudi Arabia as, overall, “an ally of the United States in combatting terrorism” and said the commission’s investigation, which came after the congressional report was written, had identified only one Saudi government official – a former diplomat in the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles – as being “implicated in the 9/11 plot investigation”.

    The diplomat, Fahad al-Thumairy, who was deported from the US but was never charged with a crime, was suspected of involvement in a support network for two Saudi hijackers who had lived in San Diego the year before the attacks.

    In the interview Wednesday, Lehman said Kean and Hamilton’s statement that only one Saudi government employee was “implicated” in supporting the hijackers in California and elsewhere was “a game of semantics” and that the commission had been aware of at least five Saudi government officials who were strongly suspected of involvement in the terrorists’ support network.

    “They may not have been indicted, but they were certainly implicated,” he said. “There was an awful lot of circumstantial evidence.”

    Continued here:
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  9. The Wrong Guy Member

    28 Pages | CBS News

    Former Sen. Bob Graham and others urge the Obama administration to declassify redacted pages of a report that holds 9/11 secrets.

    The following script is from "28 Pages" which aired on April 10, 2016, and was rebroadcast on June 19, 2016.

    Quotable |


    Rep. Stephen Lynch:

    “Once a member reads the 28 pages, I think whether they are Democrat or Republican they will reach the same conclusion that (Rep. Jones) and I reached, which is that Americans have the right to know this information. These documents speak for themselves. We have a situation where an extensive investigation was conducted, but then the Bush [administration] decided for whatever purposes to excise 28 pages from the report. I’m not passing judgment. That was a different time. Maybe there were legitimate reasons to keep this classified. But that time has long passed.” Source

    “It gave names of individuals and entities that I believe were complicit in the attacks on September 11. They were facilitators of those attacks. They are clearly identified…how people were financed, where they were housed, where the money was coming from, the conduits that were used and the connections between some of these individuals.” Source

    “Twelve years after the horrific September 11 attacks, unanswered questions still remain. These pages contain information that is vital to a full understanding of the events and circumstances surrounding this tragedy. The families of the victims and the American people deserve better; they deserve answers, they deserve a full accounting, and that has not happened yet.” Source

    Sen. Bob Graham, co-chair of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11:

    “I was stunned that the intelligence community would feel that it was a threat to national security for the American people to know who had made 9/11 financially possible.” Source

    “At the time that we heard that it was being censored, Senator Dick Shelby, Republican from Alabama who was the vice chair of the Senate committee and myself as (Democratic) chair, both agreed that there was no reason to censor that 28-page, important chapter.” Source

    “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11 and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.” Source

    More at

    Confused about the US response to Isis in Syria? Look to the CIA's relationship with Saudi Arabia | The Independent


    In the 20 years between 1996 and 2016, the CIA and British security and foreign policy agencies have consistently given priority to maintaining their partnership with powerful Sunni states over the elimination of terrorist organisations such as al-Qaeda and Isis.

    In 1996 the CIA set up a special unit called Alec Station with the aim of targeting Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network. It was headed by Michael Scheuer who found the Saudis less than cooperative. “When we set up the unit in 1996 we asked the Saudis for some basic material on bin Laden, like his birth certificate, his financial records – obvious stuff,” recalled Mr Scheuer many years later. “We got nothing.”

    The CIA unit pursuing bin Laden kept on requesting this mundane but necessary information about their target from the Saudis for the next three years but got no reply. “Finally in 1999, we get a message from the [CIA] station chief in Riyadh, a Mr John Brennan,” Mr Scheuer said in an interview published in Kill Chain: Drones and the Rise of High-Tech Assassins by my brother Andrew Cockburn. “He said we should stop sending these requests as it was ‘upsetting the Saudis’.”

    The story is important because John Brennan has been director of the CIA since he replaced David Petraeus in 2013 and last week he was once again avoiding any upset to the Saudis by telling the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television station that the 28 pages in the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry relating to Saudi Arabia that have never been released contain “no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government as an institution -- or as senior Saudi officials individually -- had supported the 9/11 attacks."

    This is not the impression of others who have read the report and dodges the question of indirect Saudi support for or tolerance of al-Qaeda in the past. But the important point is that in the 20 years between 1996 and 2016, the CIA and British security and foreign policy agencies have consistently given priority to maintaining their partnership with powerful Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, Turkey and Pakistan over the elimination of terrorist organisations such as al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, Isis and the Taliban.

    Continued here:
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  10. The Wrong Guy Member

    Saudis bribed their way into the heart of U.S. Government

    By Daniel Hopsicker, July 15, 2016


    Leading up to today’s release of the redacted 28 pages from the Intelligence Committee Report on the 9/11 Attack, national security officials have beat out a steady drumbeat proclaiming “conspiracy theorists” would be sorely disappointed by the “inconclusive evidence” long-rumored to implicate Saudi Arabian government officials in the 9/11 attack.

    Nothing, as it happens, could be further from the truth.

    And no bigger Big Lie in recent memory has issued from the mouth of an official representative of the U. S. Government as that which White House press secretary Josh Earnest uttered today.

    “The release doesn’t shed any new light or change any of the conclusions about responsibilities for the 9/11 attacks,” Earnest dissembled.

    “It should put to rest longtime speculation that the Saudi government had a role.”

    Were that in any way true, the pages would not have been slipped out the door late on a Friday afternoon. And certainly not in the middle of summer, days before the two parties begin holding their conventions.

    Whistling past the graveyard has long part part of any White House press secretary’s role. But Earnest’s performance today — given the tremendous loss of life America suffered that fateful day — seems particularly shameless.

    In fact, the inescapable conclusion from a first reading of the pages is that to get the kid glove treatment they were afforded at every step of the way, the Saudis must have passed out billions of dollars — that’s billions with a ‘b’ — in baksheesh, or bribes, up to and including the President of the United States of America, who obligingly classified the 28 pages.

    The reputations of both former President George W Bush and Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia were irrevocably shredded today, and now lie in tatters.

    No wonder Bush refused to give testimony alone, or under oath, to the 9/11 Commission. He might have been forced to plead the Fifth.

    In fact, in a better word than this, The United Kingdom’s embattled Tony Blair might soon have some company in the dock.

    Read the 28 redacted pages here: declasspart4

    Then see our full story tomorrow morning.

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  11. The Wrong Guy Member

    Saudis stonewalled US terror probes before, after 9/11: report | New York Post


    Saudi Arabia was so uncooperative in US terror investigations before and after 9/11 that one New York FBI investigator slammed the kingdom as “useless and obstructionist,” according to 28 pages of newly declassified documents released Friday.

    The documents suggest the ultra-conservative Islamic theocracy regularly lied to American investigators and that its status as a key US ally in the Middle East helped shield Saudi Arabia from becoming the focus of terror probes.

    “Prior to September 11th, the FBI apparently did not focus investigative resources on [redacted] Saudi nationals in the United States due to Saudi Arabia’s status as an American ‘ally,’ ” states the document, part of a 2002 congressional joint inquiry into the 9/11 attacks that had been kept secret until now.

    The papers also allege the Saudis hampered US efforts to investigate al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

    Continued here:

    Release of 9/11 report could strain US relationship with Saudi Arabia | The Guardian

    The ‘28 pages’ suggest larger connection between al-Qaida and Saudi royal family than previously reported as $89,000 was deposited to family of suspected spy.


    Perhaps the most explosive passages in the 28 pages, part of a larger, otherwise unclassified congressional report on American intelligence blunders before 9/11, offer previously unknown information about the actions of a powerful figure in the Saudi royal family. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who was his country’s ambassador to Washington for several years before and after 9/11 and was a close friend of Bush.

    According to the report, at least $15,000 went directly from Prince Bandar’s bank account in Washington to the family of a Saudi expatriate suspected of being a Saudi government spy, who organized a support network in California for two of the 9/11 hijackers while they were living in San Diego in the year before the attacks.

    The report also reveals that a phone log maintained by Abu Zubaydah, a senior al-Qaida operative captured in 2002 in Pakistan, included the unlisted phone number for a Colorado company that managed affairs at Prince Bandar’s home in the mountain resort city of Aspen, as well as the phone number for a bodyguard who worked under Bandar at the Saudi embassy in Washington.

    Saudi Ties to 9/11 Detailed in Documents Suppressed Since 2002 | The Intercept


    The suppressed pages, redacted in parts, detail circumstantial evidence of ties among Saudi government officials, intelligence agents, and several of the hijackers.

    “While in the United States, some of the September 11th hijackers were in contact with or received assistance from, individuals who may be connected with the Saudi government,” reads the report, which added that FBI sources believed at least two of those individuals were Saudi intelligence agents.

    The report also mentions that numbers found in the phonebook of Abu Zubaydah, a detainee currently held in Guantánamo, could be traced to a company in Denver, Colorado, connected to former Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

    One of the most notable figures mentioned is Omar al-Bayoumi, alleged by the report to have likely been a Saudi intelligence agent. Al-Bayoumi was in close contact with hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, providing them financial assistance during their time in the United States and even helping them find an apartment. Bayoumi in turn is believed to have been on the payroll of the Saudi Ministry of Defense and was regularly in receipt of large lump sums of money from the Saudi Ministry of Finance and other undisclosed arms of the government.

    Another figure highlighted in the documents is Osama Bassnan, a Saudi citizen who was an associate of al-Bayoumi and lived in an apartment nearby al-Hazmi and al-Midhar. According to the report, Bassnan “made a comment to an FBI source after the attacks suggesting that he did more for the hijackers than al-Bayoumi did.” Bassnan and his wife received regular payments from the wife of Bandar bin Sultan. On one occasion, Bassnan is said to have received a check directly from Bandar’s account.

    Fahd al-Thumairy, a former Saudi consular officer in the United States who served as an imam at a mosque attended by al-Hazmi and al-Midhar, is also mentioned briefly, as is Saleh al-Hussayen, who is described in the report as a “Saudi Interior Ministry employee/official.” Al-Hussayen stayed at the same hotel as one of the hijackers in the days before the attack. While being interviewed by FBI agents after the attacks, al-Hussayen “either passed out or feigned a seizure,” causing the interview to be terminated. He later managed to successfully flee the country.
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Quentinanon Member

    I don't think the U.S. State Department has any effective criteria in determining which governments really are allied with the U.S. and which are not. I also don't think they have any established protocol for dealing with those who are allies other than attempting to bully them when they don't conform to the State Department's de jure norms.
  13. Quentinanon Member

    I could not find an online biography of the Mena screenwriter, Gary Spinelli. The screenplay appears to be a whitewash of history and I wonder what motives Spinelli would have in fabricating it. So, right now, Gary Spinelli is a mystery man.
  14. The Wrong Guy Member

    Why were Saudis "bulletproof" even AFTER the 9/11 Attack?

    By Daniel Hopsicker, July 16, 2016


    The big question is not whether the pages “prove” or “disprove” Saudi government involvement in the 9/11 attack, but what — absent massive bribery — explains what made the Saudis “bulletproof” from investigation for so long, even after the attack?
    • Like Like x 1
  15. 911

    911 investigation reveals:

    gore deleted
  16. The Wrong Guy Member

    Bush Did 911: George Bush's Instagram Gets Trolled | We Are Change


    2 Years, 11 Months, 2 Weeks, 6 Days, 3 Hours, 53 Minutes and 19 Seconds ago, George W. Bush jr. joined Instagram. Now trolls are spamming George Bush’s posts with comments such “Bush did 911” and other less opaque statements with some surprising amount of factual information.

    The hilarious comments can be seen all throughout Bush’s Instagram feed; but below you will see some some of our favorites. You got to love the trolls(Got to!), but trolling or not, there are some serious questions left unanswered regarding 911….. like why did George W. Bush and Dick Cheney testify in secrecy off the record? The 911 Commission report (that was just now released) proved Saudi’s funded the hijackers. Why have we made a government that perpetrated 911 into our greatest ally of all the arab nations? Why do we keep such close ties with a government that has the most extreme doctrine of the Arab world in regards to Shari’a law and other oppressive laws.

    The plot of 911 mirrors a proposed “false-flag” plot by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of staff which was stopped by John F. Kennedy, called “Operation Northwoods”. Documents prove that they wanted to bomb U.S. cities, fly planes into buildings, make the terrorist attacks out to be the Cubans, and then address all of which in a justification to go to war with Cuba. They also proposed a plan similar to Hitler’s “Operation Himmler”, when Hitler had German soldiers dress up as Polish to orchestrate the war against Poland. He Then blamed Poland for starting the war with Germany. The U.S. joint chiefs of staff proposed in Operation Northwoods a similar plot to dress U.S. soldiers up as Cubans, then have them shoot at each other and blame Cuba for the provocation. Literal treason. So while reading these mostly senseless and uninformative messages about how Bush did 911…just remember that Operation Northwoods existed and was derived by and highly advocated to the president by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Here’s the full documents that were handed to James Bamford, who also broke the rumor about how large the surveillance apparatus was prior to when NSA whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, had proven the claims to be factually true.



    One user, “Little Frichola”, posted on every single Instagram photo, “Bush did 911”. Others chose to use Bush’s Instagram account wall as a chance to educate others about the unaddressed anomalies surrounding 911- such as the demolition of building 7. Another user, “Bobert997” wrote, “no plane hit world trade 7”. Many others corroborated the claims. “Omqitselias” used the chance to make it known that Bush lied about WMD’s in Iraq. Fun fact about Iraq’s alleged WMD’s: The report was forged by Downing Street on a bunch of academic papers plagiarized. Additionally a whistle-blower retired Navy Lt Commander Nelda Rogers claimed the CIA was trying to implant WMD’s in Iraq and failed.

    Continued here:
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Quentinanon Member

    Additional questions would be:
    Why didn't President Kennedy remove those on the JCS who planned Operation Northwoods?
    Did Dean Rusk, the Secretary of State know about and support this?
    Was the Cuban Missile Crisis the Soviet response based on their military intelligence to Operation Northwoods?
    Why did the Reagan administration exclude this material from declassification in 1984?
  18. The Wrong Guy Member

    9/11 widow files lawsuit against Saudi Arabia | CNN


    Stephanie DeSimone was two months pregnant when her husband, Navy Cmdr. Patrick Dunn, was killed at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

    Now, 15 years later -- and two days after Congress legally paved the way -- she's filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia, claiming the kingdom is partially responsible for his death.

    In court documents filed Friday in Washington, D.C., DeSimone alleges Saudi Arabia provided material support to al Qaeda for more than a decade and was aware of the terror group's plan to attack the US.

    "Absent the support provided by the Kingdom, al Qaeda would not have possessed the capacity to conceive, plan, and execute the September 11th attacks," the documents say.

    The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs -- which include DeSimone's daughter -- suffered "severe and permanent personal injuries" and are seeking unspecified compensation.

    The documents go on to allege Saudi Arabia, through agents and purported charities, provided al Qaeda members with financial and other logistical support to carry out the attacks.

    Continued here:

    Widow of man killed in 9/11 attack on the Pentagon files lawsuit against Saudi Arabia | Daily Mail Online

    Widow of man killed in 9/11 attack on the Pentagon files lawsuit against Saudi Arabia... just TWO DAYS after Congress overrides Obama's veto of bill allowing victims' families to sue Middle Eastern country
    • Stephanie DeSimone is the widow of Navy Cmdr. Patrick Dunn
    • Dunn was killed in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon
    • DeSimone filed a lawsuit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Friday
    • Claims the kingdom gave al-Qaeda support and knew about the al-Qaeda terror plot against the US
  19. 261

  20. The Wrong Guy Member

    Tom Cruise's 'American Made' Producers Hit With Another Lawsuit Over Deadly Plane Crash

    The family of Carlos Berl, a Colombian pilot killed in the September 2015 crash, filed a wrongful death suit against Imagine Entertainment and other production companies.
  21. 100

    The lawsuit claimed that the crew members were rushing to get back to Medellin due to filming delays. "The terrain over which the Subject Aircraft would fly in order to reach Medellin was unsuitably difficult for such an instructional flight, especially one conducted in a rushed and unscheduled manner in an aircraft with limited flight data and weather instrumentation," stated the complaint.

    In a statement, Berl's attorney Daniel Hode claimed that producers were aware the pilot was unprepared. "Even prior to traveling to South America, Carlos repeatedly informed the production companies that he had insufficient flight experience in that particular aircraft and required flight instruction prior to flying. His requests were completely ignored," he said.

    The family were seeking damages which include loss of inheritance, loss of earnings, property damage, prejudgment interest, loss of comfort, costs of the suit and such other remedies as may be permitted by law. The complaint added, "Plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for the decedent's burial and funeral expenses and other damages."

    Back in April, the estate of Alan Purwin, the stunt pilot who also died in the crash, sued Cross Creek Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, Vendian Entertainment and Quadrant Pictures. The complaint read, "Defendants knew that the Accident Aircraft would be flown over rugged, mountainous terrain and in the Republic of Colombia, and yet failed to ensure that Carlos Berl was competent, qualified, rested and sufficiently informed for the flight."

    The September 11 deadly crash happened when the twin-engine Aerostar Berl and Purwin were flying in, with pilot in command Jimmy Lee Garland - the lone survivor who is also named as defendant, crashed in the rugged Andes near Medellin. Meanwhile, another helicopter carrying Cruise had traveled the same way ten minutes earlier and safely arrived.

    Read more:
  22. If only Tom Cruise had taken the plane with his friend and fellow pilots...............he could have used his OT abilities to prevent the crash!

    Tom Cruise never expressed any condolences for the death of his friends.

    David Alan Purwin, deceased pilot, with Tom Cruise. (Photo by Instagram @apurwin)
  23. The Wrong Guy Member

    Two Dead on a Tom Cruise Movie Shoot: A Plane Crash in Colombia, Lawsuits and a Survivor Speaks Out

    Was a tragedy during the production of Cruise's 'American Made' preventable? Conflicting accounts and a pilot in a "death pool" raise questions about safety and the filmmakers' role in it all: "Hollywood cut corners."

    By Scott Johnson, Hollywood Reporter, July 20, 2017


    The villagers saw lights flashing through thick clouds. Then they heard a sound like an explosion. When they stumbled upon the wreckage of a small plane close to a dairy finca near the village of La Clarita, in the Colombian province of Antioquia, there were three men inside, trapped in the fuselage and badly injured but alive. The plane's tail had sheared off, and the cockpit was a mangled lump of glass and metal. The fuselage and wings were warped and bruised, covered by fallen branches, just a hundred yards below a ridgeline. The villagers ran to get help. When they returned with rescue workers, only one of the occupants was still breathing. He flashed them a thumbs-up sign and even talked. The other two had died.

    Plenty of planes go down each year in the mountains and jungles of South America. This one, a twin-engine Piper Smith Aerostar 600, had been ferrying three pilots who were working on a film: Alan Purwin, 51, one of Hollywood's most sought-after helicopter stunt operators; Carlos Berl, 58, a well-qualified airman who knew how to navigate the red tape of the plane import-export business; and Georgia native Jimmy Lee Garland, 55, who could fly and repair just about anything. The flight took off after a long day of filming for American Made, a Doug Liman feature starring Tom Cruise, 55, as a drug smuggler turned CIA pilot, which is set to be released by Universal Pictures on Sept. 29. Filming had been underway for weeks in the hills in northeast Colombia, near the border with Panama. But the filmmakers were based in Medellin, 35 miles to the southeast. This early-evening flight on Sept. 11, 2015, was supposed to be a short taxi ride home.

    American Made depicts the intricacies of flying small airplanes in dangerous conditions, and so in a strange life-imitates-art moment, the crash highlighted one of the film's central themes. The tragedy since has shifted to a wider set of questions about what happened and who is responsible. More broadly, the crash has raised new concerns about the adequacy of industry standards governing aerial work, including pilot safety. Berl and Purwin are dead, while Garland has been left without feeling across much of his lower body. The families of Purwin and Berl are suing producers Imagine Entertainment, Vendian Entertainment and Cross Creek Pictures for wrongful death and other damages, alleging that, in a rush to wrap up filming and save money, production and aviation companies ignored basic safety considerations. The families of both dead men also are suing each other, and Berl's family is going after Garland, the survivor, alleging negligence.

    To complicate matters, Great American Insurance, which initially indemnified the production companies, recently filed suit in a federal district court in California to disclaim responsibility and look for relief from having to pay under the $50 million general coverage policy, alleging that the flight in question, as well as other flights conducted during the course of production, may have been performed illegally. As each party scrambles to assign blame about what happened in Colombia, allegations suggest that the process to ensure pilots were properly trained and licensed may have been flawed. A judge has placed a gag order on the ongoing legal proceedings, and multiple attorneys representing different parties declined to speak to THR. But in court records, the litigants accuse the production companies and other parties of behaving "unlawfully and carelessly."

    Meanwhile, interviews with those involved and an analysis of court and FAA documents have revealed other troubling developments. The Federal Aviation Administration frequently conducts "surveillance" of movie sets and pilots, which often amounts to routine pilot checks, equipment installations and protocol issues. But federal documents show that Purwin and one of his companies, Helinet, were on the FAA's radar often. In 1996, Purwin was the pilot in command of a helicopter when it crashed, killing his fellow pilot and business partner. And Purwin had a broad restriction on his Airline Transport Pilot certificate that would have prevented him from piloting any fixed-wing aircraft in some of the weather and regulatory conditions encountered during the filming of American Made. Several pilots and safety experts with entertainment industry experience say Purwin was one of a handful of maverick Hollywood pilots known for taking unnecessary risks and being "dangerous." Three people in the Hollywood flying community say in interviews that Purwin had been placed into what a group of pilots casually referred to as a "death pool," a group of risk-taking pilots who were deemed to be the next ones most likely to perish in a crash.

    What this means for the rash of lawsuits ramping up in court is unclear. Jeff Korek, a New York-based attorney representing the Berl family, argues his client's suit is an attempt to hold the industry responsible for its poor safety standards. "The impact of the loss of their father and only real parent simply cannot be overstated," says Korek. "We hope to put a dent in the pocketbook of the motion picture industry. We want the industry to understand and practice one concept, which the Berl family would expect to be put ahead of all other considerations in the making of a film, namely, safety before profits at all times."

    In many ways, working on American Made was a pilot's dream. Based on real events, the film is set in the 1980s drug-smuggling era, when Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar and others were funneling tons of drugs north via mules, boats and maneuverable twin-engine planes. The movie follows the true story of Barry Seal (Cruise), a drug runner recruited by the CIA to go after Escobar. The production called for plenty of flying in remote, dramatic landscapes over jungle canopies or a few feet off the ocean. And the pilots would get a chance to fly a plane that other pilots often view as racy and daring, the airborne equivalent of Formula One race cars. The Aerostar 600 was designed to be light, very fast and able to carry large payloads. But the plane had a poor safety record and, among many pilots, a reputation as a "widow-maker."

    Carlos Berl grew up in a family of pilots in Venezuela, where his parents had settled after fleeing Austria and the Nazis after World War II. The perils of piloting small planes in South America during the 1980s became evident when traffickers stole the Berls' twin-engine Turbo Commander. The Berls bought another one, but the cartel returned and said they would take it if the family didn't sell. Carlos, the second of the four brothers, eventually moved to Florida and later New York. He kept flying, racking up an array of licenses. The rules guiding airplane licenses and certificates are complex; pilots need different licenses to pilot various types of planes, and those certifications require maintenance, medical checks and frequent training. By 2015, he had a G-IV, one of the most difficult licenses to obtain, usually reserved for corporate jet pilots. That year, Javier Diaz, a family friend who lived not far from Berl's home in Dobbs Ferry, New York, approached Berl with a proposition. A former investment banker, Diaz had parlayed his passion for flying into a gig as a helicopter pilot and ran a company in the area. Diaz told Berl he wanted help with some routine flying on the set of a movie starring Cruise about drug smuggling in South America.

    Berl's family says he placed a premium on safety, and FAA records appear to support that claim. Between 2008 and 2015, Berl voluntarily took 12 classes and seminars from the FAA's Safety Team programs, where he received online training and attended in-person courses with certificated instructors. His younger brother Andres, who learned to fly at Carlos' side, says his brother always used instrumentation meticulously and participated in annual factory training sessions. On paper at least, Berl seemed to be a pilot's pilot.

    Still, Diaz's offer initially didn't excite him. He told his family he was worried about getting dragged into a contractual relationship that might hinder his life. But Diaz persisted. Berl had long experience bringing airplanes in and out of South America; he knew the regulations well; he spoke Spanish. Eventually, Berl agreed to help with some initial flight plans and with ferrying a plane from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Colombia. Eventually, he grew excited, says Jenny, Berl's 24-year-old daughter. The first trip to South America went well. Berl stayed in swanky hotels, ate meals and snagged pictures with Cruise and flew home without incident. (The actor, through a spokesman, declined comment for this story.)

    Then in September, Diaz called again. He told Berl that producers wanted Berl to return to Colombia for more work. Specifically, they needed someone to fly the Aerostar 600 home to Florida. Designed in the late 1960s, the plane was known among pilots as "the world's fastest piston twin." It was a sleek model prized for its speed, even if it sometimes came at the expense of safety. There have been more than 260 deaths involving the plane in 191 accidents around the world since 1969, according to the Aviation Safety Network. A 1998 review published by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association concluded Aerostars had "a clear-cut distinction as fast and alluring airplanes that will eat you alive at the maintenance shop or at the slightest hint of relaxed vigilance on the controls."

    In other words, piloting an Aerostar wasn't for the uninitiated. "Pilots often call that plane the Death Star," says Chris Palmer, a safety and risk assessment consultant who has worked on hundreds of Hollywood productions. "You had better be darn good in that craft if you're going to fly it." But Berl, an expert in so many planes, had never stepped foot in one. Andres Berl says his brother wasn't interested in flying it without advanced training. He says Berl asked Diaz repeatedly whether he could get some training, but it never materialized. "It's not like a car," says Andres. "Unless you've flown it before, you need a certificate with a trained pilot who signs your logbook."

    As Berl waited for word in New York, he ordered the Aerostar manual with a map of the instrument panel and began to study. In the meantime, he asked Diaz to prepare paperwork to legally import the plane back from Colombia to the U.S. A few days later, Andres says Carlos discovered that Diaz hadn't prepared that paperwork. Furious, Berl told his brother he would cancel the trip to Colombia. (Diaz declined repeated requests for an interview.) That night, Sept. 9, 2015, the two brothers parted ways at a train station in Westchester County. They agreed to see each other the next day. But a day later, Carlos was gone. "I guess Diaz convinced him," says Andres, shrugging his shoulders during an interview. Later that day, Berl called daughter Jenny and told her he was going to be on set. "I told him to give me a call when he was done," she says. It was the last time they spoke.

    Like Berl, Jimmy Lee Garland didn't have any experience with Hollywood. But he knew planes, and he knew how to fix them. Soft-spoken and polite, he had grown up in Georgia and spent most of his adult life there flying planes. He was pleasantly surprised when movie producers showed up one day at the Cherokee County Airport, where he ran S&S Aviation. Garland had licenses to fly many types of planes. He also taught aviation, and before he knew it, he and Cruise were soaring and floating in Garland's Cessna 414, a twin-engine transport aircraft that would become one of two planes Cruise flies in American Made. Garland worked as Cruise's double in the film. (FAA records show that Cruise first got a private pilot's license in 1994 and obtained his commercial license in 1998.)During filming, Garland gave him lessons specific to the Cessna, sitting by his side while Cruise manipulated the controls. He noticed that Cruise "liked to participate in the stunts." Eventually Cruise was doing all the flying himself, says Garland. "He's a very good pilot."

    Toward the end of August, says Garland, the producers asked him to return to Colombia to fly the Cessna and help as a mechanic on that plane and the Aerostar. For the next few weeks, he flew all over the country, down to the edge of the Amazon jungle and along the borders of Peru and Brazil. He'd never done anything like it before, and it struck him as a "once-in-a-lifetime adventure." By September, after long days of shooting in Santa Fe de Antioquia, Garland was commuting regularly back to Medellin, where he and a business partner stayed in a plush hotel. To kill time, they ate steak dinners and played blackjack at the local casino, where the dollar was worth 3,200 pesos. The flight back to Medellin on Sept. 11 was a routine part of that week's work.

    Dawn in the farming region of Llano de Ovejas had been clear, and villagers had reported stars visible in the sky in the morning. After filming had wrapped for the day, the Aerostar took off around 5:30 p.m. and headed south. Without any radio contact or communication with air traffic controllers, it rose to 8,500 feet, following in the path of two helicopters that had left minutes earlier, one of which was ferrying Cruise home for the night. As the plane picked up speed, tracing lush mountainous ridges, a cloud bank was settling in on the summits that circle the valley where Medellin sits.

    Garland blacked out when the plane crashed. Colombian media reports indicate that he spoke to his rescuers, but Garland claims not to recall any of it. He says his first memory is waking up in a hospital nine days later trying to rip a respirator out of his throat. The crash left him with a shattered vertebra, collapsed lung, herniated diaphragm, 10 broken teeth, broken ribs, a broken jawbone and a cracked skull on both sides of a dislodged eye socket. His body veered close to sepsis in the hospital, but he recovered. A small piece of steel keeps his skull together. He's undergoing extensive physical therapy. "It took me about a month to gather my wits," he says. Liman, 51, has stayed in touch, sending him articles about spinal injuries, emails and a Christmas card. (The director declined comment for this story.)

    Berl's lawsuit states unequivocally that Garland was piloting the plane when it crashed, with Berl as his co-pilot. But Garland, in two interviews, categorically denied piloting the craft that day. "I was there as a mechanic," he insists. The Purwin family suit claims Purwin was along in a passenger seat to provide additional instruction, but Garland says he can't recall, so it's impossible to say with any certainty. Of the three men, Purwin was the only one with a Hollywood résumé. He had worked on blockbusters and tentpole franchises, including Tropic Thunder, Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers, along with about 100 other movie and TV productions. Early in his career, he had put together elaborate helicopter stunts for The A-Team and Airwolf. With his wife, Kathryn, Purwin had founded Helinet Aviation, and the company was a successful industry go-to for high-end aerial and camera work. He had donated a helicopter to Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and he had worked with rescuers after Hurricane Katrina, providing medical transport to hospitals and patients free of charge.

    But Purwin's death has led to a quiet reckoning among pilots and safety experts who are closely examining his record. In 1996, during filming for a commercial directed by Michael Bay, Purwin was piloting a Bell/Tsirah Cobra helicopter when a rotor blade clipped a boulder, resulting in a crash that killed his fellow pilot and business partner Michael Tamburro. Tamburro's wife, Tammy, sued Purwin and received a $7 million settlement. One aviation expert with decades of experience in Hollywood says that Purwin, whom he knew personally and professionally, was "frankly, a terrible pilot, and it was his incompetence that killed his partner." In a recent interview, Tamburro's widow declined comment on the 1996 crash and said Purwin was a "dear friend." An FAA spokesman, Ian Gregor, said that an examination of Purwin's records found mostly run-of-the-mill reviews and complaints. There were a few "actual problems," says Gregor, but most of it was "routine." FAA records show that some of these "actual problems" involved accidents and complaints from the public. The regulatory agency issued Purwin warnings after breaches in standard protocol. In 2010, the camera ball on Purwin's helicopter broke when it struck an electrical power wire. In 2012, Purwin was cited for flying too close to the Malibu Pier. In that case, the FAA reported that "enforcement" began in January, and the next month Purwin received a "warning notice." All told, dozens of incidents (which the FAA defines as potentially hazardous situations) go back several years. FAA authorities say that incidents on a pilot's record are expunged after five years or less, which could explain why the FAA had no record of Purwin's 1996 helicopter crash in its files.

    Meanwhile, since the crash in Colombia, Purwin's licensing has come under added scrutiny. According to publicly available FAA documents, he had what's known as an Airline Transport Pilot license. It's one of the highest ratings a pilot can get. However, FAA records show that Purwin's ATP was specific to helicopters and did not apply to fixed-wing aircraft. Mark Nathan Boss, a designated pilot examiner who tested Purwin and issued him a commercial license, says Purwin's ATP "doesn't transfer to airplanes." FAA records show that Purwin's ATP license came with an officially noted limitation that read, "The carriage of passengers for hire on airplanes on cross-country flights in excess of 50 nautical miles or at night is prohibited."

    That particular clause may not be relevant to the crash in Colombia because flights and crashes in foreign countries are adjudicated by different agencies with different rules. But Purwin's ATP limitation would have applied to any flight originating inside the U.S. On Aug. 19, 2015, three weeks before the Aerostar crashed in Colombia, a flight-tracking website shows that the same plane filed another flight plan. It originated in Clearwater, Florida — where Cruise maintains a personal home and the Church of Scientology has a major base of operations — and ended in Kingston, Jamaica. Berl was elsewhere on that date. Garland denies that he ever piloted an Aerostar from Florida to Jamaica. But that flight may be relevant to the litigants in the case, including Great American Insurance, because it originated on U.S. soil and appears to have been conducted during the production window of American Made. An FAA official says that the flight would have been illegal if Purwin was acting as the pilot-in-command because of the limitation on his ATP. Of course, Cruise could have been piloting the plane, but because the FAA does not keep records of past flight plans longer than 15 days, the full picture remains incomplete. But even if Cruise was properly licensed, there still could be a legal issue. FAA regulations state that any plane used for carrying passengers for hire must be listed on what's called a 135 certificate, and several aviation experts who work regularly in Hollywood say that flights conducted during paid film projects often require that designation. An FAA official confirms that the company that owned the Aerostar did not possess that 135 certificate for fixed-wing planes. Answers to questions regarding who piloted the plane and whether it was properly certified may emerge during the ongoing litigation.

    Great American initially indemnified the studios after the crash, to the tune of $50 million. But in May, in a rare reversal, the company filed a complaint in a federal district court against the producers, as well as Berl and Purwin, alleging that multiple flights conducted during the filming of American Made were "unlawful." The policy stipulated that the choice of pilots for flights made during filming was to be "at the discretion" of Fred North, the film's aerial flight coordinator. Great American argues that the plane may have been used for an "unlawful purpose," though it doesn't specify what that could be. It also points to the ambiguity about who was piloting the plane, or whether that person was "properly certificated, qualified and rated under the applicable law for the operation involved." If, as the Purwin suit suggests, Berl was piloting the plane at the time of the crash, the insurance company claims the flight would have been unlawful because a passenger was in the aircraft without a properly certified flight instructor giving lessons.

    The Berl family is alleging that the movie's producers, Garland and Purwin hurried Berl onto the Aerostar in Santa Fe de Antioquia at the last minute before the flight took off for Medellin and then told him that the short flight south would be considered his training, even though Berl had requested extra training on the aircraft before agreeing to take the controls. The Berl suit says the terrain of the flight path that night was "unsuitably difficult for such an instructional flight, especially one conducted in a rushed and unscheduled manner in an aircraft with limited flight data and weather instrumentation." In interviews, several people have alleged that the crew was "rushing" to get back to Medellin that night in order to keep ahead of delays that had plagued production. One aviation expert who agreed to be interviewed on the condition of anonymity says that FAA officials with direct knowledge of the crash later told him that a dispute of some sort took place just before the three men boarded the plane. "Apparently there was an argument about needing to leave immediately, even though they had some information about the weather that they should have stayed behind," says this source. "But it was the jungle, and they wanted to get out of there. I was just told there was intense pressure to get out as soon as possible. That causes shortcuts." And one lawyer familiar with the details of the case claimed that Cruise had been on the plane "just moments before" it took off. It was not possible to verify that claim. (Garland declined to comment.) The Berl lawsuit alleges that this apparent rush to save time and money "compromised safety." Andres Berl is more blunt: "Hollywood cut corners."

    The Purwin suit echoes many of the same charges but makes the parallel accusation that as a passenger, he died because the men in the cockpit, including Berl, shouldn't have been piloting the plane. All of which raises the question of what role North, the aerial coordinator for the movie, may have played. Through an attorney, North declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation. The production companies also are keeping quiet for now, citing the judge's gag order. One experienced Colombian pilot who is knowledgeable about the details of the Aerostar crash agreed to share his thoughts about the ill-fated trip on the condition of anonymity. "I fly there regularly, and I would have stayed on the ground that day," he says. "You have to have experience to fly in Colombia. You cannot fly here like you fly in Miami, where there's not a mountain anywhere. If you fly in South America, you have to be very trained in the conditions." The Colombian authorities still are investigating the crash, and their report is expected soon.

    Whatever final thoughts the three men shared in the cockpit that day likely never will be clear, unless Garland recovers his memory and decides to speak. From his years of flying in Venezuela, Berl would have recognized the sudden inclement weather patterns that could abruptly emerge. For years, Escobar had used these hills, the fog, the slipstream and the presence of multiple, identical small planes in the ether to great advantage in his rise as the continent's most prolific drug trafficker. The moviemakers no doubt had wanted to capture that sense of elusive beauty, the thrill of flight, escape and maybe even freedom. It wasn't yet 6 p.m. when the plane arced high, made an attempt to cross a ridgeline — and failed. The small craft dropped, smashed into a tree and began to splinter, carving a violent path through the fields on a steep hill, coming to rest, finally, in tatters on a terraced hillside, under a grove of chestnut trees. Eventually, Garland made it home alive. Purwin and Berl never did. The question now is whether it was a tragedy that could have been prevented.

    Source, with photos and open comments:
  24. The Wrong Guy Member

    Tom Cruise Partially Blamed for Crash That Killed Two People on Film Set | The Blast


    The families of the two people who died in a plane crash on the set of the film “American Made” are placing some of the blame for the crash on Tom Cruise himself.

    According to court documents obtained by The Blast, the estates for Alan Purwin and Carlos Berl claim that Cruise and director Doug Liman contributed to the circumstances that led to the fatal on-set crash on September 11, 2015.

    The lawsuit describes the film as a “high-risk, action-packed motion picture” and claims “the demands of filming in Colombia, together with Cruise’s and director Doug Liman’s enthusiasm for multiple takes of lavish flying sequences, added hours to every filming day and added days to the schedule.”

    The lawsuit claims one of the executive producers complained to the insurance company about Cruise and Liman (who are not named defendants in the lawsuit), writing, “DL [Director Liman] and TC [Cruise] [are] adding entire scenes and aerial shots on the fly. Had to bring in Uni Safety to help wrangle them. In the last 48 hours this has become the most insane shit I’ve ever dealt with.”

    Purwin emailed the same executive producer a few weeks before the crash, saying, “You have no idea the exposure TC and the entire Aerial Team is realizing every time we get in the air. There’s a very ‘thin line’ between keeping all aerial activities safe and having an accident. Trust me on this!”

    Later in the email, Purwin called the film “the most dangerous project I’ve ever encountered.”

    The plaintiffs go on to call the fatal flight “a spontaneous, rushed, ad hoc mission over unfamiliar terrain, in unfamiliar weather, from a small jungle airstrip.”

    In listing all the ways the crash could have been avoided, the families argue that Cruise himself could have piloted the plane, calling him “a well-qualified pilot very familiar with the Aerostar and the routing.”

    The original lawsuit was filed in April 2016 and is still ongoing.

    Continued at

    Everything We Know About the Fatal American Made Plane Crash That Tom Cruise Is Being Partially Blamed For | People
    • Like Like x 1
  25. Litigation is a word I hope to hear a lot of in the near future along with TOMS CAREER IN THE TOILET.
  26. WWP is unfunded right now

  27. The Wrong Guy Member

    Lawsuit by slain drug smuggler Barry Seal's daughter over movie deal dismissed | The Advocate


    Adler "Barry" Seal's third wife and the three children she had with him did not violate the slain drug smuggler-turned-government informant's privacy rights when they sold the story of his life to a major motion picture studio in 2014, a state appellate court has decided.

    The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit that Seal's oldest daughter, Lisa Seal Frigon, who was born of his first marriage and now administers his estate, filed in 2015 against Barry Seal's widow, Deborah “Debbie” Dubois Seal, and her three children.

    Frigon’s attorney, Roy Maughan Jr., said Friday he’ll ask the appellate court to rehear the case, then seek review at the Louisiana Supreme Court.

    Universal City Studios turned Barry Seal's story into the 2017 film "American Made" starring actor Tom Cruise as Seal, who was assassinated in February 1986 outside a Salvation Army halfway house on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge.

    Frigon alleged in her suit that Seal's widow and her children sold Barry Seal's life story rights to Universal without court approval or the estate's consent.

    Frigon claimed that action violated the right of publicity, or her right as administrator of Seal's estate to control the commercial appropriation of her father's identity or public image. She also claimed a violation of the right of privacy.

    The 1st Circuit, however, said the right of privacy is “strictly personal” and, as such, died with Barry Seal when he was killed Feb. 19, 1986.

    “As observed by the Louisiana Supreme Court,” Circuit Judge John Michael Guidry wrote for the appeals court, “the right to privacy as recognized under Louisiana law `protects the individual.’”

    Universal, Deborah Seal and her children argued in the case that they merely exercised their free speech rights in an issue of public interest.

    The 1st Circuit found "that the challenged actions of Universal and the Seal defendants were in the exercise of free speech."

    The appeals court noted that films about historical events, whether involving famous people or notable events involving relatively unknown people, have proliferated in movie theaters in recent years.

    As for Frigon’s right of publicity argument, the 1st Circuit said the Louisiana Legislature has not put such a right into state law.

    “Judicial decisions are not intended to be an authoritative source of law in Louisiana; they are secondary to legislation,” the court said. “Hence, for us to hold … that a right of publicity exists would constitute an unwarranted intrusion into an area in which the legislature has not seen fit to act.”

    Maughan said he disagrees with the conclusion that all rights flow from legislation.

    Mary Ellen Roy, an attorney for Universal, declined comment Friday.

    Drug traffickers tied to the Medellin Cartel in Colombia arranged for the machine-gun slaying of Seal, 46, who was born in Baton Rouge. Three Colombian men were convicted and sentenced to life in prison in Seal's killing.

    Two years before his death, Seal was indicted for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 462 pounds of cocaine with a street value of $168 million. He was fined as part of his plea deal and ordered to serve time at the Salvation Army halfway house. He was expected to be a key witness in a case against Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, among others. Escobar was killed in 1993.

    Seal had infiltrated the Medellin cartel and agreed to cooperate with U.S. authorities after his own 1983 arrest on drug charges in Florida.

    In addition to “American Made,” Seal was portrayed by actor Dennis Hopper in the 1991 television movie “Double-crossed.”

    Seal served in the U.S. Army Special Forces and also was the youngest U.S. pilot to fly 707 and 747 jets. After was fired by Trans World Airlines for his involvement in a scheme to smuggle guns and explosives to Mexico, Seal turned to drug smuggling.

  28. The Wrong Guy Member

  29. The Wrong Guy Member

    Somewhat related:

    In Colombia, Scientology’s ‘Casa Hubbard’ has a pretty interesting neighbor | The Underground Bunker


    A check of Scientology’s website confirms that the Scientology Mission in Medellin is, in fact, located right next door to the Pablo Escobar death house.


    Scientology’s choice of location for a mission is, in our view, a perfect metaphor: Scientology is a transnational criminal syndicate run by a crime boss with an army of enforcers and paid thugs.


    ...looking at the most recent Google streetview of the location, taken in July 2017, you can see on the left the low rooftop where Escobar came to rest, in the middle the two-story-turned-three-story hideout (now a “Spanish School”), and on the right the building no longer has its Casa Hubbard signage. As so many other Scientology missions around the world, this one appears to exist only in a church website directory.

    More at

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