2001 Sun Media Corporation
9, 2001 Sunday, Final Edition
News; Pg. 4
DIPLOMAT'S DEATH REMAINS UNSOLVED;
KILLED HIM: A THIEF, NATURAL CAUSES, OR CLOAK-AND-DAGGER?
KATHLEEN HARRIS, OTTAWA SUN
and RCMP major crime investigators are probing
the death of a young Canadian diplomat in Moscow
-- a puzzling case with hints of foreign espionage,
drug-assisted robbery and sealed government information.
Bastien, a 34-year-old Ottawa computer analyst
working for Foreign Affairs at Canada's embassy
in Moscow, was found dead in his apartment a year
ago. Russian police and Canadian officials initially
reported that Bastien died of natural causes the
morning of Dec. 12, 2000.
the Sun has learned that investigators are exploring
other explanations for the mysterious death of
the vibrant, healthy Hull-born man.
source close to the criminal investigation said
police are hunting for a woman suspected of drugging
Bastien in order to rob him. A combination of
alcohol and a drug administered to him likely
caused his heart to stop, the source said. A cleaning
woman found his body lying on his bed.
a jailed American who claims to be an ex-naval
intelligence agent is spinning another story about
the death. Part of his fantastical conspiracy
theory is that Bastien had been working as an
intelligence agent and was murdered because he
knew too much. Delmart Vreeland, 35, has sworn
information in a Toronto courtroom that suggests
Bastien obtained highly sensitive information
about terrorist plots -- including foreknowledge
of attacks that took place Sept. 11 on U.S. targets.
year after their son's death, Monique and Gaston
Bastien don't know what to believe. They are still
waiting for answers from officials.
Bastien, a handsome, outgoing, compassionate man
described as a "young Mel Gibson," had always
dreamed of seeing the world.
the last two years of the seven he worked with
the federal government, he had been employed with
the Department of Foreign Affairs and International
Trade (DFAIT), a job that afforded him the opportunity
to travel to faraway destinations.
as a well-grounded man, Bastien had prepared for
his career with a business administration degree
at the University of Quebec followed by a private
program in computer technology. He coupled a dedicated
professionalism with an adventurous spirit and
travelled to foreign destinations.
had done short stints throughout Europe and in
Japan, China, India and Pakistan, but Moscow was
his first long-term posting. He left Canada on
Sept. 7, 2000, excited but with some trepidation
about leaving his close-knit family for a two-year
months later, he was delivered home by military
aircraft, his body wrapped in a blanket inside
a steel box. A half-full bottle of beer -- apparently
forensic evidence -- was shipped back with the
goes through your head. Was it murder? Was it
poison?" says his father, Gaston Bastien. "It's
pretty tough on all of us. Anything is possible.
It will be a year on Dec. 12 and we still don't
have an answer."
of Foreign Affairs spokesman Reynald Doiron said
while exact circumstances have not been determined,
the cause of death was established through a coroner's
examination. Citing the privacy act, he would
not disclose the "protected" findings of the pathologist,
but said they had been communicated to the Bastien
the only written report the family has came from
the Quebec coroner's office in Montreal, dated
Dec. 19, 2000.
'probable cause of death,' it states: "To follow."
Under probable circumstances of death, it states:
family was advised the coroner is awaiting findings
of the Russian police investigation before making
a more definitive report.
have no written record of toxicology results,
but have been told verbally that Marc's body contained
a small amount of clozapine, an anti-depressant
used to treat schizophrenia. One side-effect of
the medication is that it can cause drowsiness.
all accounts the athletic Bastien, who had undergone
scores of tests before his foreign deployment,
was in perfect health physically and mentally.
father said his only complaint was of mild diarrhea
in the days before his death.
RCMP investigators travelled to Moscow this fall
at the request of DFAIT and the Bastien family,
to make sure the Russian police had conducted
a "thorough, professional investigation."
was to make sure no stone was left unturned, and
that was the case," Doiron said. "The general
framework is known, but the investigators would
need further, additional evidence and this cannot
be obtained easily."
documents relating to the investigation and the
death are confidential, but Doiron said suicide
and illness have been ruled out. The death was
initially thought to be of natural causes because
everything in the apartment appeared intact and
there were no signs of a struggle, he said.
Crime RCMP Sgt. Kevin Simmel of Edmonton, one
of two officers assigned to the Moscow trip this
fall, was unwilling to discuss specifics of the
mission and their findings.
would say only that he was there "in a capacity
to assist Foreign Affairs." Russian officials
were co-operative and he submitted a written report
to the federal department upon his return, he
were very open with us and we were able to get
what we needed," Simmel said.
to a source, the investigation is stalled because
police have been unable to find the strange woman
who was allegedly last with Marc in his apartment.
The last night he was alive, he was reportedly
celebrating at a Moscow bar.
Monique Bastien questions the theory that her
son was the victim of a drugging and robbery,
since his belongings were returned to her a month
ago with every item intact and accounted for.
His wallet still contained cash and credit cards,
and his jewelry, watch -- even his family's Christmas
presents -- were returned.
only thing missing was a camera, but that was
later found to be with Marc's former girlfriend
robbery theory also raises questions about why
investigators would be incapable of tracking down
officials were reportedly in Moscow primarily
to interview two British men who may have been
the last people to see Bastien. One had returned
to England and the other was apparently not fully
Bastien's official title was systems administrator,
working with classified information.
had high security clearance. Stephane Bastien,
who also works for the federal government, knew
his older brother handled "top-secret stuff,"
but said he never disclosed details of his work.
believed that his brother's work sometimes involved
co-operation with American counterparts.
he's heard a number of theories, Stephane is baffled
by his brother's murder.
don't believe anything right now," he said. "And
sometimes I think that even if they know something,
they won't tell us."
family members aren't the only ones looking for
answers. A former colleague at Foreign Affairs
in Ottawa, who did not want his name published,
said co-workers are still reeling over the sudden
circumstances surrounding their friend's death.
is asking the same questions," the friend said,
adding that one co-worker in Moscow had heard
Bastien died from a gas leak. "His body was flown
back for the autopsy, then we never heard anything.
It's all pretty mysterious."
embassy worker in Moscow reached by telephone
declined a request to put the Sun in contact with
it is highly sensitive, you must go through the
proper channels," she said.
telephone inquiry was referred back to DFAIT headquarters
longstanding hush over the Bastien case was lifted
this fall when RCMP questioned some embassy employees
in Moscow. One worker said they asked a lot of
questions, but weren't willing to share any information.
in Canada, Bastien's unexplained death was brought
up again in the fall -- this time as a suspected
murder -- when a bizarre story unfolded in a Toronto
news reports have described Michigan native Delmart
Vreeland as a major fraud artist with an extensive
criminal record who had managed to elude police
in several states. He claims his criminal record
and record of service with U.S. naval intelligence
have been doctored in order to silence the truth.
35, filed an affidavit in Toronto that claims
that on Sept. 4, 2000 he was asked by the U.S.
Navy intelligence to go on a "covert-directed"
mission to Moscow. His objective was to obtain
Russian military documents and secret information
with respect to anti-"star war" technology relative
to the proposed American Star Wars satellite program.
says his mission was to obtain the documents and
deliver them to CSIS. His contact in Moscow, he
claims, was a Canadian by the name of Marc Bastien.
a telephone interview from jail in Eastern Ontario
where he is fighting extradition to the U.S.,
Vreeland claims he picked up two "pouches" but
instead of delivering them to their proper destination
in Canada, he opened them.
claims one set of documents, when translated,
contained information about plans to attack several
buildings, including the World Trade Center, Pentagon
and other U.S. sites, as well as buildings in
Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.
was found dead within days of Vreeland's return
to Canada. He is convinced it was murder.
death is bad, but this whole thing is much more
than that, much worse," he said.
a letter to RCMP dated Oct. 5, 2001, Vreeland's
Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati confirms "head-bashing
attempts" to convince RCMP and CSIS officials
to put his client in police custody since June
2001 so that he could convey "vital information
about national security" to Canada and the U.S.
letter also states that on Aug. 11 or 12, Vreeland
sealed a list and notes containing possible targets
of violent attacks, which were unsealed on Sept.
14 by senior jail officials.
have been told that additional information exists,
including forensic testing to prove that the list/notes
referred to was made prior to Sept. 11, 2001,"
lawyer claims that refusals by both the U.S. and
Canadian governments are based on the "absurd
conclusion" that Vreeland is a nutcase or lacks
credibility. A sober review of evidence and the
extradition proceedings against him show that
conclusion is "incomprehensible, irrational and
irresponsible," Galati said.
IMPOSSIBLE TO VERIFY
of Vreeland's claims are impossible to verify,
and DFAIT dismisses them. Bastien was never involved
in any intelligence work for CSIS, the department
spokeswoman Chantal Lapalme cited the policy of
not discussing operational activities of the service,
and passed the inquiry about Bastien over to DFAIT.
being told Marc's body was in "bad shape," no
member of the Bastien family made a positive identification
when he was returned to Canada. They left the
job to a funeral home worker who knew their son.
regret that now," said dad Gaston Bastien, who
has grown increasingly skeptical with the passage
Marc's death, the family was flooded with warm
letters of condolence from around the world. Monique
and Gaston have carefully stored them in a binder,
along with a collection of documents related to
Marc. Photographs of him with relatives and friends
fill albums and frames around their home.
the one-year anniversary of their son's death
nears, the Bastiens are left with memories, gnawing
frustration and many questions.
Marc Bastien murdered? Was he killed by a strange
woman who only intended to knock him out and rob
him? Or is there some other explanation for his
have nothing. No answers," said his father.
FILE PHOTO; MARC BASTIEN left for the Canadian
embassy in Moscow on Sept. 7, 2000, to begin his
first long-term posting with the DFAIT. Three
months later, the 34-year-old returned home in
a steel box. His death is still under investigation.
Illness and suicide have been ruled out.
December 11, 2001
3 of 4
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Inc. All rights reserved.
2001 Sun Media Corporation
10, 2001 Monday, Final Edition
News; Pg. 3
'I DON'T TRUST ANYONE';
FOREIGN AFFAIRS WORKER EXPRESSED MISGIVINGS ABOUT
KATHLEEN HARRIS, OTTAWA SUN
THE weeks before his mysterious, sudden death,
Marc Bastien told a close relative he felt he
could trust no one.
didn't come out and say it, but I think he was
starting to realize something was going on," said
his uncle Denis Richard.
a 34-year-old Ottawa computer systems specialist
working for Foreign Affairs at Canada's embassy
in Moscow, was found dead in his apartment almost
a year ago. Russian police and Canadian officials
reported that Bastien had died of natural causes
the morning of Dec. 12, 2000, but the Sun has
learned major crime investigators are exploring
other explanations for the death. Richard said
his nephew -- who was godfather to his own son
-- usually kept quiet about details of his job,
which he says involved dealing with high-security
communications between foreign embassies. But
before he departed for Moscow, Bastien told his
uncle he was briefed by RCMP and told to "watch
out for" three men.
did not say who the men were, or whether they
were Russian, Canadian or other foreign nationals.
one of his last e-mails, Bastien sounded as if
he was having second thoughts about his Russia
posting, Richard said.
said, 'It's different here, I don't trust anyone,'
" he recalled.
was also puzzled when an e-mail to Bastien containing
a picture of his son and his report card grades
went unanswered. It was highly unusual, given
Bastien's close relationship with the boy.
more questions we have, the more confusing it
gets," Richard said.
official source close to the criminal investigation
said police are hunting for a woman suspected
of drugging Bastien in order to rob him, but relatives
insist it would be out of character for him to
bring a stranger home to his apartment. His parents
question the robbery motive because all of Bastien's
belongings were returned to Canada a month agao,
including jewelry, a watch and his wallet with
cash and credit cards intact.
think he was set up," the uncle speculated. "Then
it was that he knows too much, let's get rid of
unexplained death has also been the subject of
speculation by Delmart Vreeland, a jailed American
who claims to be a former navy military intelligence
believes Bastien was murdered because he had obtained
highly sensitive information about terrorist plots
-- including information about planned attacks
on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and other
sites, including Ottawa.
has confirmed that two RCMP investigators travelled
to Moscow this fall to make sure Russian police
had conducted a "thorough, professional investigation."
official cause of death has never been given to
the family by the coroner's office, which is awaiting
results of the criminal investigation.
family has been told there were traces of clozapine
in the body, a medication used to treat schizophrenia
that can cause drowsiness.
photo of MARC BASTIEN; Died in Russia
December 10, 2001
2 of 4
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Inc. All rights reserved.
2002 Stern Publishing, Inc.
14, 2002, Friday
Features; Pg. 30
TO PROTECT AND TO SPIN
L.A. cop meets a beautiful and mysterious dame.
He falls hard; she lets him. They move in together,
but she takes him for a ride, disappearing evenings,
gallivanting about. She has no obvious source
of income. But she's deep in-the-know about mobsters
and guns. One day there's a bullet hole in her
'65 Ford Comet; 48 hours later she dumps him.
He chases her to New Orleans, where she's hanging
with Mafiosi and military men. The cop is shot
at. Back in L.A. he is followed. It gets to him.
He checks into a psychiatric hospital for a spell.
But he starts to figure things out. It's 1978,
and his ex, he believes, is somehow hooked up
with U.S. intelligence and the mob in a plot involving
Iran, where radical clerics are threatening the
regime of the Washington-friendly shah. And someone
is worried this cop knows too much. He's being
tailed, his home is broken into. He tells his
superiors at LAPD. They do nothing. Fearing for
his life, he retires from the department. The
story's not over. Years later, he cracks the case.
His girlfriend, he concludes, was with the CIA,
and her mission was to work with organized-crime
lieutenants assisting Kurdish counterrevolutionary
forces in Iran in return for access to Mideast
heroin. The old guns-for-drugs business. In 1981,
he gets a newspaper to print his tale. But his
ex-lover-the-spy denies all and says he's nutso
-- which, of course, is what you would expect
a wily CIA operative to say. So the CIA gets off.
The ex-cop's career is in the toilet. He takes
a job at a 7-Eleven and is busted on his first
shift for selling alcohol to a kid. A setup, right?
For a while, his parents have to support him.
Then in 1996, when his old nemesis, the CIA, is
accused of scheming with L.A. crack dealers, the
ex-cop has another chance to take down the Company.
He tells the world the CIA in the late 1970s attempted
to recruit him to protect its drug racket in South-Central.
But his claim draws little attention; again, the
CIA skates. But this former cop doesn't quit.
He starts a newsletter, opens a Web site (www.copvcia.com
-- get it?), and keeps pursuing the gang that
wrecked his life. And then -- finally -- he unearths
the CIA's most damaging secret, the ugliest truth
imaginable about the Agency, information that
could bring the CIA to its knees and topple an
entire government. He's got the CIA by the short
hairs. There's only one question: Can he get people
this the latest Mel Gibson vehicle? No, it's all
true. Sort of. This is the self-proclaimed autobiography
of Michael Ruppert, who was indeed a cop who got
messed up over a relationship with a woman and
who, 24 years later, has become a king of conspiracy
theories, operating out of Sherman Oaks. He maintains
that his research shows the CIA knew the 9/11
attacks were coming and that the U.S. government
probably had a hand in executing the assaults.
Why would the government do that? The short answer:
so Washington, ever subservient to Big Oil, would
have an excuse to bomb the hell out of the Taliban
and make way for a regime in Kabul that would
say yes-sir to U.S. oil transnationals eager to
use Afghanistan for a pipeline from the oil and
gas fields of Central Asia. He's been pushing
this notion in speeches across the country, on
radio, on his Web site (buy the video!) and in
interviews with other Web sites. And he has found
an audience. In February, he packed a theater
in Sacramento. Recently, he spoke at a conference
in Australia. He repeatedly has been on Pacifica
radio, and KPFK, the Los Angeles Pacifica station,
has used his 9/11 video as a premium when fund-raising.
the alternative 9/11 crowd, this once down-and-out
cop reigns as the No. 1 conspiracy theorist, a
man who preaches the real truth for the thousands
prepared to believe the absolute worst about the
government. I first took note of him several months
ago, after I began receiving e-mails from people
claiming Ruppert could show that the Bush administration
had committed a most foul act: It had either been
aware of the attacks and did nothing to stop them,
or worse, it had helped orchestrate them. I wrote
a column for two Web sites dismissing this and
other 9/11 conspiracy theories. I expressed doubt
that the Bush administration would kill or allow
the murder of thousands of American citizens to
achieve a political or economic aim. Having covered
the national-security community for years, I didn't
believe any government agency could execute a
plot requiring the coordination of the FBI, the
CIA, the INS, the FAA, the NTSB, the Pentagon
and others. And -- no small matter -- there was
no direct evidence that anything of such a diabolical
nature had transpired. I questioned Ruppert's
research and challenged one of his most significant
pieces of evidence: the case of Delmart "Mike"
Vreeland. An American who was jailed in Canada,
Vreeland claims to be a U.S. naval-intelligence
officer who tried to warn the authorities before
my article appeared, hundreds of angry e-mails
poured in. Some called me a sophisticated CIA
disinformation agent. Others attacked me for being
hopelessly naive. (Could I be both?) I discovered
Ruppert and Vreeland had a loyal -- and vocal
-- following. Because there had been such an avalanche
of support for Ruppert and Vreeland, I decided
to take a second and deeper look at Ruppert and
his chief witness. The picture got worse.
has long been a purveyor of amazing tales. In
1981, he told the Los Angeles Herald Examiner
that bizarre story about himself and his former
lover, and the paper ran a two-part piece on him.
Whatever the truth of this romantic encounter,
the relationship apparently exacted a toll on
Ruppert. In 1978, he resigned from the force,
claiming the department had not protected him
when his life was threatened. According to records
posted on Ruppert's site, his commanding officer
called his service "for the most part, outstanding."
But the C.O. also said Ruppert was hampered by
an "overconcern with organized-crime activity
and a feeling that his life was endangered by
individuals connected to organized crime. This
problem resulted in Officer Ruppert voluntarily
committing himself to psychiatric care last year
. . . A ny attempts to rejoin the Department by
Officer Ruppert should be approved only after
a thorough psychiatric examination."
1996, Ruppert showed up at a community meeting
in Los Angeles, where then--CIA Director John
Deutch was addressing charges that the CIA had
been in league with crack-cocaine dealers. Before
television cameras and national reporters, Ruppert
said the Agency had tried to sign him up in the
1970s to "protect CIA drug operations" in Los
Angeles -- an allegation missing from the guns-for-drugs
story published in 1981. In 1998, he launched
his From the Wilderness newsletter, which examines
what he considers to be the hidden currents of
international economics and national security
untouched by other media. On March 31 of last
year, for instance, he published a report on an
economic conference in Moscow that featured a
speaker who worked for Lyndon LaRouche. "I share
a near universal respect of the LaRouche organization's
detailed and precise research," Ruppert wrote.
"I have not, however, always agreed with its conclusions."
Ruppert maintains that 20 members of Congress
subscribe to his newsletter.
the most part, Ruppert does not uncover, he compiles.
That is, he assembles facts -- or purported facts
-- from various news sources (some more credible
than others) and then makes connections. The proof
is not in any one piece -- say, a White House
memo detailing an arms-for-hostages trade. The
proof is in the line drawn between the dots. His
masterwork is a time line of 58 events (at last
count), which, he believes, shows that the CIA
knew of the attacks in advance and that the U.S.
government likely had a hand in them. Ruppert
cheekily titled this document "Oh Lucy! -- You
Gotta Lotta 'Splaining To Do."
the time line, he notes that between 1991 and
1997, transnational oil companies invested billions
of dollars to gain access to the oil reserves
of Central Asia and that these firms -- particularly
Unocal -- expressed interest in a trans-Afghanistan
pipeline and wanted a compliant government in
Kabul. Ruppert lists trips made to Saudi Arabia
in 1998 and 2000 by former President George Bush
on behalf of the Carlyle Group investment firm
(without noting what actually transpired on these
visits). On September 7, 2001, Florida Governor
Jeb Bush signed an order restructuring the state's
response to acts of terrorism. There's a German
online-news-agency report from September 14 claiming
an Iranian man called U.S. law enforcement to
warn of the attack earlier that summer.
list cries out, "Don't you see?" Oil companies
wanted a stable and pro-Western regime in Afghanistan.
Warnings were not heeded. Daddy Bush had dealings
in Saudi Arabia. Brother Jeb was getting ready
for a terrible event. It can mean only one thing:
The U.S. government designed the attacks or let
them happen so it could go to war on behalf of
prevents a complete dissection of all Ruppert's
dots. But in several instances, he misrepresents
his source material or offers unsubstantiated
reports as the almighty truth. Item No. 10, based
on a Los Angeles Times story, says the Bush administration
gave $43 million in aid to the Taliban in May
2001, "purportedly" to assist farmers starving
since the destruction of their opium crop. Purportedly?
Was the administration actually paying off the
Taliban, perhaps trying to gain an opening for
oil companies? That is what Ruppert is hinting.
The newspaper, though, reported the U.S. funds
"are channeled through the United Nations and
international agencies," not handed to the Taliban.
Unless Ruppert can show that was not the case,
this dot has no particular significance.
No. 23 -- an explosive charge -- states that in
July 2001 Osama bin Laden was admitted into a
hospital in Dubai and met with a CIA officer.
The story of this alleged meeting first appeared
in Le Figaro, a French newspaper, last October
in an article by freelancer Alexandra Richard.
Citing only an unnamed "partner of the administration
of the American Hospital in Dubai," she maintained
bin Laden was a treated at the hospital for 10
days. Her story also asserted "the local CIA agent
. . . was seen taking the main elevator of the
hospital to go to bin Laden's hospital room" and
"bragged to a few friends about having visited
bin Laden." But she provided no source for these
details. The hospital categorically denied bin
Laden was there. The meeting's existence -- unattached
to a single identifiable and confirmable source
-- can, at best, be regarded as iffy.
also makes much of the fact that before September
11 parties unknown engaged in a frenzy of short-selling
involving the stock of airlines and dozens of
companies affected by the attacks. But does this
mean the U.S. government ignored a clear warning?
Ruppert assumes the U.S. and Western intelligence
services "monitor stock trades in real time to
warn of impending attacks." But he offers no evidence
of that. Ronald Blekicki, who publishes Microcap
Analyst, an online investment publication, says
most of the short-selling occurred overseas --
which could well have escaped notice in the United
States -- and was probably conducted by bin Laden
backers and intimates.
is curious is that news of the investigations
into the short-selling has taken a quick-fade.
The Securities and Exchange Commission will not
say whether it is still investigating this trading.
Suspicious minds, no doubt, can view the public
absence of government interest as evidence of
No. 12 on the Ruppert time line is one of the
most popular among the 9/11 skeptics. Here Ruppert
references a book, Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth,
written by two French authors, Jean-Charles Brisard,
a former intelligence employee, and Guillaume
Dasquie, a journalist. The pair maintain the 9/11
attacks were the "outcome" of "private and risky
discussions" between the United States and the
Taliban "concerning geostrategic oil interests."
They claim that during the course of secretive
international talks concerning Afghanistan, the
oil-hungry United States in July 2001 threatened
the Taliban with a military strike. Brisard and
Dasquie suggest that in response to this threat,
bin Laden and the Taliban decided to hit first.
But their thesis makes no sense. Did bin Laden
pull together the 9/11 plot in two months? Or
did bin Laden have all the elements in place but
was not about to proceed with this horrific plot
until the Bush administration pushed him too far?
The authors do not prove their case, and what
they dubbed "private and risky discussions" were,
in reality, a laudable United Nations multilateral
initiative to settle the political and military
strife in Afghanistan.
book -- the basis of one of Ruppert's most important
time line entries -- is a shoddy piece of journalism,
most of it completely unsourced. But Ruppert's
task is not evaluating data; it's manipulating
selected pieces of information that exist in the
public record. If it's in print -- or on the Web
-- it's good enough to use. Certainly, it is a
public service to highlight material that may
have slipped through the cracks of the mainstream
media. For instance, Ruppert is right to wonder
about a brief story that appeared on September
12, 2001, in Izvestia, the Moscow-based newspaper.
Citing unnamed sources, the paper reported Moscow
had warned Washington of the 9/11 attacks weeks
earlier. Was such a warning actually transmitted?
If so, who issued the warning and who received
it? But a four-paragraph overseas-news item, pulled
together in the frantic hours after the 9/11 strikes,
is a starting place for investigation, not proof
the Bush administration permitted or abetted the
attacks. Ruppert does not know the difference
between a lead and evidence -- an odd quality
for a former police officer.
his time line, Ruppert implies far more than he
proves. It is a document for those already predisposed
to believe world events are determined by secret,
mind-boggling conspiracies of the powerful, by
people too influential and sly to be caught but
who leave a trail that can be decoded by those
brave outsiders who know where and how to look.
his 9/11 "research," Ruppert can claim one truly
original find: Delmart "Mike" Vreeland. He is
the flesh on the bones of Ruppert's the-dots-show-all
time line. And thanks to Ruppert, Vreeland has
developed his own devotees who believe Vreeland
is the key to the mysteries of 9/11. Is Vreeland
Ruppert's silver bullet against the CIA? It seems
more likely he is a skilled but low-rent con man
who seduced the ex-cop. On December 6, 2000, Vreeland,
then 34, was arrested in Canada and charged with
fraud, forgery, threatening death or bodily harm,
and obstructing a peace officer. At the time,
he was wanted on multiple warrants in the United
States -- for forgery, counterfeiting, larceny,
unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, narcotics,
reckless endangerment, arson and grand theft.
Months earlier, the Detroit News, citing law-enforcement
authorities, had reported that Vreeland was an
experienced identity thief. While Vreeland was
in jail in Toronto, law-enforcement officials
in Michigan began extradition proceedings.
October 7, 2001, Vreeland, who was fighting extradition,
submitted an exhibit in a Canadian court that
he says shows he knew 9/11 was coming. The document
is a page of handwritten notes. On it is a list
that includes the World Trade Center, the Sears
Tower and the White House. Below that, a sentence
reads, "Let one happen -- stop the rest." Elsewhere
is a hard-to-decipher collection of phrases and
names. Vreeland claims he wrote this in mid-August
2001, while in prison, and had it placed in a
locked storage box by prison guards. He says the
note was opened on September 14 in front of prison
officials. Immediately, his lawyers were summoned
to the prison, according to one of them, Rocco
Galati, and the jail officials sent the note to
Vreeland is one man who, in a rational world,
could totally expose the complicity of the U.S.
government in the attacks," Ruppert wrote in January
2002. He argues Vreeland's document is proof U.S.
intelligence was aware of the coming attacks,
and he refers to the note as a "warning letter."
is no such thing, and though tantalizing, it provides
no specific clues to the 9/11 assaults -- no date,
no obvious reference to a set of perpetrators.
In a telephone interview with me, Vreeland said
that in the summer of 2001 he was composing a
37-page memo regarding his exploits as an intelligence
operative, and that this page contains the notes
he kept during this process. What of the memo?
Vreeland won't share it. Who can confirm the note
was indeed what he had placed in storage prior
to September 11? Is it possible a switch was pulled?
Vreeland maintains that during court proceedings,
five Canadian jail officials affirmed he passed
this document to the guards before September 11.
When I asked for their names, Vreeland said the
judge had sealed those records. Kevin Wilson,
a Canadian federal prosecutor handling the extradition
case, and Galati, Vreeland's lawyer, say no seal
note is a small piece of Vreeland's very big,
alias-like story. He claims he was a U.S. naval
intelligence officer who was dispatched to Russia
in September 2000 on a sensitive mission: to obtain
design documents for a Russian weapon system that
could defeat a U.S. missile-defense system. He
swiped copies of the records and altered the originals
so the Russian system wouldn't work. As one court
decision states, "According to Vreeland , he was
sent to Russia to authenticate these documents
because he had originally conceived of the theory
behind this anti--Star Wars technology, when working
for the U.S. Navy in 1986." While in Moscow, he
also snagged other top-secret documents that,
he claims, foretold the September 11 attacks.
And now the U.S. government, the Russian secret
police, organized crime and corrupt law-enforcement
officials are after him.
and Vreeland assert that Canadian court records
support Vreeland's account. But court decisions
in his case have questioned his credibility. In
one, Judge Archie Campbell observed, "There is
not even a threshold showing of any air of reality
to the vast conspiracy alleged by the applicant."
Judge John Macdonald wrote, "I find that the applicant
is an imaginative and manipulative person who
has little regard for the truth." This judge declared
Vreeland's testimony "simply incredible." He did
not believe that Vreeland was a spy or that he
had smuggled documents out of Russia.
Canadian judges had good reason to doubt Ruppert's
primary -- and only -- witness. After I first
wrote about Vreeland, I received an e-mail from
Terry Weems, who identified himself as Vreeland's
half brother. He said Vreeland was a longtime
con man who had preyed on his own family. Weems
sent copies of police reports his wife had filed
in Alabama accusing Vreeland of falsely using
her name to buy office supplies and cell phones
in August 2000. Weems provided a list of law-enforcement
officers pursuing Vreeland in several states.
I began calling these people and examining state
and county records. There was much to check.
to Michigan Department of Corrections records,
Vreeland was in and out of prison several times
from 1988 to 1999, having been convicted of assorted
crimes, including breaking and entering, receiving
stolen property, forgery and writing bad checks.
In 1997, he was arrested in Virginia for conspiring
to bribe a police officer and intimidating a witness,
and failed to show up in court there. In Florida,
he was arrested in 1998 on two felony counts of
grand theft and sentenced to three years of probation.
He then skipped out. In 1998, he was pursued by
the Sheffield, Alabama, police force for stealing
about $20,000 in music equipment. In the course
of that investigation, Sheffield Detective Greg
Ray pulled Vreeland's criminal file; it was 20
pages long. "He had to really try to be a criminal
to get such a history," Ray says. A 1999 report
filed by a Michigan probation agent said of Vreeland,
"The defendant has nine known felony convictions,
and five more felony charges are now pending in
various courts. However, the full extent of his
criminal record may never be known, because he
has more than a dozen identified aliases and arrests
or police contacts in five different states."
Judge Campbell called Vreeland a "man who appears
on this evidentiary record to be nothing more
than a petty fraudsman with a vivid imagination."
Ruppert dismisses Vreeland's past, noting, "Vreeland
has a very confusing arrest record -- some of
it very contradictory and apparently fabricated."
When I interviewed Vreeland, he said, "I have
never legally been convicted of anything in the
United States of America." And he added that he
has never been in prison. In March, the Canadian
criminal charges against Vreeland were dropped,
and he was allowed to post bail. Paul McDermott,
a provincial prosecutor, says his office considered
the pending extradition matter the priority. Vreeland's
extradition hearing is scheduled for September.
And his story recently became even more incredible.
On June 1, Ruppert posted a dramatic e-mail on
a private discussion list, reporting a phone conversation
in which Vreeland said he had just become violently
ill after drinking from a bottle of wine sent
to him by Alan Greenspan. "He didn't sound like
he was faking at all," wrote Ruppert, who maintained
Vreeland had been "poisoned." By the Federal Reserve
Chairman? In a later e-mail to me, Ruppert said
he had not published this report on his Web site,
explaining, "since all of the information received
was solely from Vreeland -- who was obviously
disoriented and ill -- I couldn't go with a news
believe Vreeland's scribbles mean anything --
as does Ruppert -- one must believe his claim
to be a veteran intelligence operative sent to
Moscow on an improbable top-secret, high-tech
mission (change documents to neutralize an entire
technology?) during which he stumbled upon records
(which he has not revealed) showing that 9/11
was going to happen. To believe that, one must
believe Vreeland is a victim of a massive disinformation
campaign involving his family, law-enforcement
officers and defense lawyers across the country,
two state corrections departments, county-clerk
offices in 10 or so counties, the Canadian justice
system, and various parts of the U.S. government.
And one must believe that hundreds if not thousands
of detailed court, county, prison and state records
have been forged. It is easier to believe that
a well-versed con man either wrote a sketchy note
before September 11 that could be interpreted
afterward as relevant or penned the note following
the disaster and convinced prison guards he had
written it previously. Michigan detective John
Meiers, who's been chasing Vreeland for two years,
says, "The bottom line: Delmart Vreeland is a
con man. He's conned everyone he comes into contact
with . . . He doesn't want to come back here.
He knows he's going to prison, and he's fighting.
In the interim, he's coming up with a variety
is correct to remind people that official accounts
must be absorbed with scrutiny. Clandestine agendas
and unacknowledged geostrategic factors -- such
as oil -- may well shape George W. Bush's war
on terrorism. And there are questions that have
gone unanswered. The CIA and the FBI possessed
indications, if not specific clues, that something
was coming and failed to piece them together.
Why did U.S. air defenses perform so poorly on
September 11 -- even though there had been signs
for at least five years that al Qaeda was considering
a 9/11-type attack? But questions are not equivalent
to proof. As of now, there is not confirmable
evidence to argue that the conventional take on
September 11 -- bin Laden surprise-attacked America
as part of a jihad, and a caught-off-guard United
States struck back -- is actually a cover story.
Ruppert, who has been chasing CIA ghosts for over
20 years, offers innuendo, not substantiation.
The former cop hasn't made his case.
this just in: At the end of May, the interim government
in Kabul announced it was reviving plans to build
that trans-Afghanistan pipeline. Did this mean
Ruppert was on target? Did this pipeline revival
mark the culmination of Bush's secret 9/11 plot?
Not exactly. Unocal, the U.S. oil company that
led the old pipeline consortium on whose behalf
the U.S. government supposedly allowed the 9/11
attacks to occur, declared it was no longer interested
in the pipeline. That hardly fits with Ruppert's
they-let-it-happen-for-oil theory. No doubt, Ruppert
has an explanation for this. And that explanation
likely will supply one more reason for this ex-cop
to continue his hell-bent crusade against the
spies and thugs who two decades ago broke his
heart but opened his eyes to a secret world that
he, among only a few, can see.
of this article appeared in the online edition
of The Nation.
ILLUSTRATION BY ALISON ELIZABETH TAYLOR
June 18, 2002
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