Chapter 5 from The Big Wedding
Down the Rabbit Hole with the Man Who Predicted 9/11
It’s August, 2002 and I’m in Toronto.
Delmart Vreeland wants to meet me in the parking lot of the Loblaw grocery store on Lake Shore Drive. I arrive as a silver Lincoln circles the parking garage. I park and the car silently glides to me. The passenger door opens. Vreeland is sitting in back, hair cropped short into a Caesar cut, wearing a tight black ribbed t-shirt and black parachute pants. He looks like Eminem. He leans forward and says, “Lock your car. Get in.”
As a black storm builds out in the harbor, we head to a big tourist restaurant called Docks. Vreeland buys us two beers each; we drink and talk outside on the deck. He wonders aloud if anyone is tailing us. Suddenly, everyone around me is middle-aged, dressed inconspicuously, and wearing sunglasses. The storm breaks and we run inside. The middle-aged men follow us, still wearing their sunglasses.
That night, the Lincoln takes me, Vreeland, Vreeland’s son, and the son’s best friend up north to a resort lodge. Vreeland feels safer there. He says he’s buying a condo for $600 thousand in one lump sum to be wired over. From where? He won’t say. Does it have to do with his work with former U.S. Treasury operatives, people who claim to be attempting to recover over $27.6 trillion lost in 1993 when a secret Israeli/Palestinian peace deal went awry? (Yes, that’s right, $27.6 trillion.)
Vreeland’s story begins in December 2000, when he was arrested in Toronto and charged by Canadian authorities with fraud, obstructing a peace officer, and making a death threat. The Canadian charges were soon dropped to speed his extradition back to the U.S., where he was wanted in numerous states on charges that include identity and financial fraud, forgery, and battery to an officer. It’s a long list, but in person, Vreeland is unfazed.
“I’ve seen other lists, with even more, hundreds of them, and then I’ve also seen them disappear. Remember, the FBI/NSIC fingerprints came back negative.” It’s true that when he was arrested in Canada, according to the arresting officer’s notes, the FBI said they had no fingerprints on the guy.
Vreeland told Canadian authorities he was a spy for the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), one of the oldest and most powerful intelligence arms of the U.S. government. He also claimed that, if he were extradited to the US, he would be killed. Why? Vreeland appears to have been exposed to some level of government foreknowledge about 9/11.
While in prison during the summer of 2001, Vreeland and his attorneys repeatedly attempted to warn the world about imminent terrorist attacks. Vreeland’s then-attorney Rocco Galati, a respected former Canadian prosecutor known for his support of progressive causes, made what he called “head-bashing attempts”48 to have Vreeland put in touch with the proper authorities, to pass on “vital information about national security”49 to the governments of Canada and the US. Sometime around August 11 or 12, Vreeland wrote a set of notes. They listed a number of potential terrorist targets including the Sears Towers, World Trade Center, White House, and Pentagon. The notes included the language, “Let one happen. Stop the rest!!!”
The name “bin Laden” appears at the top of the central paragraph. It mentions a list of targets: “White House...World Trade Center...Pentagon...let one happen, stop the rest...prob. they will call me crazy.”
click on image to see hires image of note
Vreeland sealed these notes in an envelope and handed them to his Canadian jailers. His lawyers, Galati and Paul Slansky, another well-known former Canadian prosecutor, introduced the documents into court that October. For their efforts, they were harassed with dead cats hung on their porches and smashed car windows. Galati later bowed out of all cases having to do with international figures linked to terrorism.
News of Vreeland spread quickly when alternative 9/11 journalist Mike Ruppert began sending back dramatic dispatches from the courtroom in Toronto. Recalling Jefferson Airplane’s hallucinogenic visions, Ruppert called Vreeland a “white knight talking backward”50 in articles published on his site, Copvcia.com, and on GNN.tv. To Ruppert, Vreeland’s story became something of an Internet phenomenon, with thousands of readers around the world tracking every dramatic twist and turn. His long, colorful list of outstanding warrants in the U.S. was released to the public, and the international man of mystery was dismissed by some as a two-bit con man who had concocted an elaborate yarn to avoid prosecution. Leading the charge was Terry Weems, Vreeland’s vindictive half brother. Canadian authorities dropped their charges against Vreeland on March 14, 2002, and he was paroled to house arrest, waiting for an extradition hearing.
His case might have slipped off the radar completely, but in March, 2002, The Nation’s Washington correspondent David Corn published an article entitled “September 11 X-Files.”51 The article lumped Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, the French book that claimed a plane didn’t hit the Pentagon, and Vreeland supporter Ruppert into the same “kook” category. Corn claimed that their “misguided” efforts to look for a conspiracy at the top distracted the public from the more important work of analyzing the Bush administration’s real “political” misdeeds, as if 9/11 was an apolitical event. Corn wrote that Vreeland “was no spy, he was a flim-flammer,” and characterized Ruppert as a web surfer with a vivid imagination: “Ruppert is no journalist.” Ruppert fired back, and hundreds of his supporters wrote Corn and The Nation in protest. Corn’s response was to intensify his attack, publishing “To Protect And To Spin,” a scathing profile of Ruppert full of personal details, including romantic affairs gone awry and other personal nadirs.
Partly in response to what he felt were threatening attacks from Toronto radio hosts on CKLN, in the spring of 2002 Vreeland developed his own site, ltvreeland.com. He posted information about his case, court documents, and records of financial transactions involving a certain former Reagan White House operative named Leo Wanta. (The site disappeared in December 2003.)
On May 21, 2002, the plot thickened, when the FBI’s Coleen Rowley publicly accused FBI director Robert Mueller of hampering crucial investigations into alleged 9/11 conspirators. There was a “delicate and subtle shading/skewing of facts by [Mueller] and others at the highest levels of FBI management...The term ‘cover-up’ would be too strong a characterization, which is why I am attempting to carefully (and perhaps over-laboriously) choose my words here.” Rowley pointed out that FBI headquarters’ refusal to approve a FISA warrant to search the laptop of Zacharias Moussaoui was unprecedented.
Around the same time as Coleen Rowley’s story broke the news, the “Phoenix Memo” came to light. It had been authored in July 2001, by Arizona-based FBI Special Agent Ken Williams and it called on FBI leadership to investigate potential terrorists training at U.S. flight schools. The Rowley and Williams memos appeared as German, Egyptian, Russian, and Israeli intelligence services claimed they had warned the White House that a specific attack was imminent.
The allegations of Russian intelligence foreknowledge is especially relevant to Vreeland’s case. Vreeland got his information about 9/11 on a trip to Moscow, working as an armed courier of diplomatic documents. According to a September 12, 2001 story by Russian newspaper Izvestia, “Yesterday at the headquarters of Central Intelligence Service in Langley, a confidential meeting between one of the Deputy Directors of CIA and a special messenger of Russian Intelligence Service took place. According to NewsRu sources, he delivered to his American colleagues some documents including audio tapes with telephone conversations directly relating to terrorist attacks on Washington and New York last Tuesday. According to these sources, Russian Intelligence agents know the organizers and executors of these terrorist attacks. More than that, Moscow warned Washington about preparation to these actions a couple of weeks before they happened.” [italics mine]
The last two sentences of that lead paragraph were later deleted from the Izvestia website, but not before they were archived by Mike Ruppert’s staff.
If Russian intelligence knew of 9/11 beforehand, then it’s possible Vreeland did run into that information in Moscow. On September 18, Eleanor Hill, staff director of the Joint Inquiry into 9/11, testified that there were no less than twelve separate warnings about terrorists hijacking planes in the last four years, including, contrary to the Bush administration’s previous statements, at least one that specifically involved crashing a plane into the World Trade Center.
Could Delmart Vreeland, extensive criminal record and all, be another U.S. intelligence operative who blew the whistle before the 9/11 tragedy? When you place Vreeland next to Randy Glass and consider the startling similarities to their cases, you realize that it’s the guys from the street, the guys who have been raped and discarded who are the ones with nothing to lose. This is no hyperbole; Vreeland was literally raped in prison. He and Glass were blowing the whistle on 9/11 throughout the summer of 2001.
I spent six months researching Vreeland. I went where the investigation lead me. At the end, the story included top Clinton White House intelligentsia, late-White House lawyer Vince Foster, pardoned arms dealer Marc Rich, “Reagan’s junkyard dog” Ambassador Leo Wanta, a shady Russian tycoon, and a country-western musician half-brother of Vreeland’s with a seemingly inexhaustible vendetta to have Vreeland sent to prison.
Delmart Vreeland is a liar and an accomplished con man, adept at spinning tales and manipulating allegiances to further his own goals. His critics were half right: Vreeland is crooked. In other words, he is the perfect candidate for work in U.S. intelligence.
DISSECTING THE NOTE
Vreeland claims the now-infamous notes were part of a thirty-seven-page memo to Admiral Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations. Although they fast developed a reputation as a “warning letter,” Vreeland says this wasn’t his intention. As Vreeland told me in our first interview on April 6, 2002, “These are my own personal notes...The only way to understand the whole thing is to read the whole memo. We have not made that public yet. A big YET on that.”
I asked Vreeland about the exact contents and codes of the note:
What were you trying to do in August 2001?
“I wanted to avert 9/11.”
If you had five minutes with President Bush what would you say?
“I could not tell you what I would say to him. I am forbidden from telling you. I am not suspecting him. I am not making a statement...I am not doing any Bush-bashing.”
Are you afraid?
“I’m surprised I’m still here. I got too many people wanting me dead. If I was after me, I would kidnap me, I would drug me, I would get the info I wanted, and then I would kill me.”
If you were after you, do you think you could get you?
“Absolutely! I can get anyone if I wanted them badly enough.”
What information would you shake out of yourself?
“I’d want to know where the Wanta money is right now. Who in the Pentagon has done wrong? Who killed who...black ops...illegal arms trades, where are blueprints, the docs you brought back from Moscow? Where’s Susanna at? Was it her or Oleg who poisoned Bastien? And did McComb County give up Bobby Moore intentionally? Who shot Foster? Canadian spy Marc.”
“Susanna” and “Oleg” may be references to the Russian contacts Bastien was known to have in his hotel room shortly before his body was found. “Bobby Moore” we will meet below, and “Foster” is a reference to Clinton White House attorney Vince Foster.
According to his sworn affidavit, when Vreeland was arrested in Canada on December 6, 2000, he contacted the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canada’s equivalent to the CIA. When the CSIS didn’t respond, his claims about being ONI were laughed off by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The laughter stopped that summer when he was able to shed light on the mysterious death of Marc Bastien, a Canadian “diplomat” in Moscow. Vreeland wrote Bastien a letter in June 2001, but when CSIS informed him that Bastien had died six months earlier in December 2000 from “natural causes,” Vreeland started making noise. The official explanation soon changed. Bastien didn’t commit suicide. Vreeland was right. Vreeland claims Bastien was the Canadian intelligence contact he met in Moscow. “I knew stuff about Bastien that no one else did.”
When did you leave Office of Naval Intelligence?
“The opportunity came, I was getting old, I don’t like getting shot, getting stabbed.”
Vreeland’s note contains the scrawl “Dr. Haider-> who’s his contacts?” According to the L.A. Times, Dr. Haider is an alias of Amar Makhnulif, a.k.a. Abu Doha, a key Al Qaeda figure accused of being part of a plan to blow up the Los Angeles airport on New Year’s Eve 2000. Abu Doha was arrested in London by British authorities in February of 2001, but was then mysteriously released.
In April, Vreeland told me, “I don’t believe Osama had a fucking thing to do with 9/11. I don’t believe he set it up. I don’t believe it was his people.”
In our interview in September 2002, Vreeland’s beliefs hadn’t changed. He asked, “Why would an agent of the U.S. government blow up the WTC? You’ve got Putin pissed off at Afghanistan, you’ve got the U.S. training Osama...the document in Russian talks about blowing up things in the U.S.” Earlier, in an April 17 interview with popular Yahoo! radio host Jeff Rense, Vreeland said that in Moscow he had read “a letter from Iraq to Moscow detailing what would happen.” Rense asked him “How specific was that letter?” Vreeland responded evenly, “Quite specific. Except for the day. It said September, World Trade Center. It specifically named that target. Then it identified what was to happen after.”
THE WORLD’S BEST CON MAN
It’s Saturday morning in “cottage country” at a lodge about one hundred miles north of Toronto. The lake is as big as the sky and opens up right under my window. I go down to Vreeland’s room for bagels and talk about his criminal past.
“If you’re the world’s best con man, you’re not going to work for yourself, are you?” he says. “That would be stupid. Who would you want to work for? Someone who can protect you.”
Discussing his extensive criminal record, he repeatedly claims, “I’ve never been legally convicted of anything.” The vocal emphasis is on “legally,” by which Vreeland seems to mean “legitimately.” The alleged crimes were just part of his cover, “I played the criminal. Like taking down [a] drug dealer...we needed information, I would get arrested and put in the same cell as him. I needed to have a criminal record...it’s easy to make someone your friend. I can become friends with suits, punkers, rastas, anyone.”
Although he is accused of credit card fraud in Michigan, Vreeland’s credit report states that he never had a credit card.
The Nation’s Corn called Vreeland’s note “a hard-to-decipher collection of phrases and names” that “holds no specific information related to the 9/11 assaults. There is no date mentioned, no obvious reference to a set of perpetrators.”
The distortion Corn is guilty of here is right out of the tactics of his disinformation-master hero, Ted Shackley. Shackley was the CIA station chief who ran anti-Castro terror operations into Cuba in the early ’60s and presided over CIA-approved heroin trafficking in Laos during Vietnam. Corn wrote a generously admiring book about Shackley called Blond Ghost.
According to Greta Knutzen, reporting from Toronto for FromTheWilderness.com, “Vreeland requested that his guards seal the note and register it in his personal effects, which they did.” As of her report several months ago, “The fact that the note was written and sealed a month prior to the violent attacks of Sept. 11 has not been disputed.” However, a phone call to the Canadian prosecution team resulted in new, somewhat murky results. When I asked Assistant DA Dorette Hugins to confirm that the prosecution didn’t dispute that the note was handed to the jailers in mid-August 2001, she immediately said, “Yes, it is true.” A minute later, after speaking with someone in her office, she changed her answer to “No, the prosecution now thinks he got the notes to the jailers after 9/11.” A forensics test would have answered this question in court, but the Canadians didn’t want to keep Vreeland around that long.
The prosecution had their hands full trying to negate strong evidence that Vreeland has some kind of U.S. intelligence connection. On January 10, defense attorney Paul Slansky called the Pentagon from a speakerphone in court, and was able to receive Lieutenant Delmart Vreeland’s office number and phone extension. The prosecution desperately tried to explain that one by claiming Vreeland is a hacker who discovered a way to access the Pentagon’s mainframe from jail. Discussing this that morning at the lodge, Vreeland was incredulous: “You can track an IP [Internet Protocol address] in a heartbeat. Why haven’t I been prosecuted for this? That’s so stupid.”
Vreeland and I are sitting out on the balcony of his hotel room in the crisp Canadian sunshine. This trip is showing me a side of Vreeland that I hadn’t seen. He has a seventeen-year-old “son” he is very protective of. For this article, I promised to change his name. Call him “Joey.”
Joey is a punk raver in bellbottoms with millions of pockets. He chain-smokes, and talks incessantly about being drunk and how dad’s connections are going to get him into Harvard Law School. Vreeland and Joey are endlessly bickering and scrapping, and then bumming Players Navy Cut cigarettes off each other. Just as often as smoking them, Joey will throw the cigarettes at his father in exasperation. Vreeland claims to never have hit Joey, but he does often grab him, and is extremely physical with him, a strange, uncertain mix of roughhousing and desperate attempts at disciplining an uncontrollable kid.
Or maybe there’s something going on between Vreeland and Joey.
Later, the guys at CKLN radio disputed that the thirty-five-year-old Vreeland really had a seventeen-year-old son. Reflecting on Vreeland three years after I first met him, it’s becoming more likely that Vreeland may have been the victim of childhood sexual abuse. And CKLN might have been right about something they suggested when I met with them in Toronto: Vreeland may be a pedophile.
Vreeland’s slippery psyche seems to be suffering from a split personality disorder, a fugue state eerily similar to that of Paul Bonacci, Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, and Mohamed Atta. Three years after originally reporting on Vreeland for the upstart Guerrilla News Network, I’ve been exposed to some of the most “out-there” data on GOP tactics and sexual behavior. Vreeland’s story may be a part of that larger story. Although it’s not normally discussed in “respectable” circles, there’s a documented history of a program informally called the “Monarch Program.” It is something of a descendent of the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind-control experiments in the ’50s and ’60s. The Monarch Program seeks to create assassins, covert operatives, and sexual playthings out of society’s most vulnerable individuals. It seeks to study how victims of childhood sexual trauma are then manipulable.
In 2005, the Bush White House suffered a scandal when it was discovered that credentialed White House Press Corps guest reporter Jeff Gannon was actually a hired call boy.
The scandal broke, dissipated, and the mass media never really understood its implications.
Savvier researchers thought that the Gannon scandal might finally expose the GOP-linked pedophilia cult lurking in the shadowier circles of both Bush presidencies and the Republican Party since June 1989. In 1989, a call boys ring in the Bush White House made the front page of the Washington Times, and then disappeared. It’s one of the unreported realities of the Bush world that exposes a lot of deep, repressed homosexual energy. But the feasting on young children is the unforgivable part. It’s the ultimate abuse of power and it smacks of a deep, fascistic, pagan brutality. Locked inside the Bush family’s heart of hearts there lies this little scandal that so far the handlers have been adept at covering up. The exception is an
excellent, self-published book called The Franklin Cover-Up, by former Nebraska State Senator John W. DeCamp. In 1993, a BBC-affiliated team made a serious TV documentary, based on original research and DeCamp’s book. The documentary was titled “Conspiracy of Silence.” Due to mysterious political pressure, “Conspiracy” was never broadcast, despite its scheduled debut May 3, 1994, which had been announced, and advertised on the Discovery Channel.
Long-term observers of Vreeland think that he was abused as a child, perhaps programmatically. His multiple-reality mix of truth and lies is something akin to the multiple personality disorders of the victims of childhood sexual abuse like Paul Bonacci. In Franklin Cover-Up and “Conspiracy of Silence” we met the personable Bonacci, a former Boys Town, Nebraska orphan. Bonacci relates how he was forced to be a hustler/plaything at GOP parties in Georgetown frequented by the Washington elite throughout the mid and late ’80s. Bush White House aide Craig Spence arranged midnight tours of the White House for the boys. At the parties in Georgetown, they were forced to allow older Republican men to put heated gourds up their rectums. At parties in the woods, boys were shot in the head and then sodomized. Needless to say, when the story broke in the cagey Washington Times, the Bush White House’s Craig Spence feared a “doublecross” by the CIA. He was soon found dead in a DC hotel room.
In the midst of an unsuccessful attempt to get the rambunctious Joey to respect his authority, Vreeland comments, “I don’t know which is worse, getting shot at or being a dad.” It’s sounding more and more forced. He says “dad” like he is selling me a story. I look up at the hotel TV and a video by Nickelback comes on: “Father is a name you haven’t earned yet. Kicking your ass would be a pleasure.”
Among his Internet pals, Vreeland’s code name is “Wildcard.” Vreeland would like people to think that he can transform into anything and become as powerful as he wills, like the wild card in an amateur poker game. The nickname is apt for another reason. Vreeland’s speech patterns are untamed, and he seems to be in a constant state of chemical imbalance. He drinks like there’s a fire in his brain. He claims to have been given Clonapin for fifteen years by the Navy (Clonapin is a strong anti-seizure drug sometimes used to treat anxiety). He jumps from topic to topic like he’s on a mix of acid and speed. In the hotel room, he tries to convince me to get people to wire over five hundred dollars so that he can go to Radio Shack, buy parts, and build us a replica of a missile defense weapon he once developed for the Navy’s Nuclear Training Command.
The next day at the lodge, Joey is still trying to get his Dad’s attention by trashing hotel property. He has to be rescued by a nautical patrol while kayaking with his pal, Jacob. The boys rent bikes, and ride them around inside the hotel. Vreeland yells at them. Joey drinks a beer in the hotel bar with the ID Vreeland got him so he could jet-ski. Vreeland is pissed off, and announces that we will all be leaving that night, our trip cut short. Vreeland’s “Dad Story” includes a kid that has obviously not been around a parent in a long, long time. It’s beginning to feel like Joey knows the story is an act, as he flaunts his ability to chain smoke and drink around his “dad.” I ask Vreeland about his own drinking habits. It’s fine, he says, with Joey. “I get totally trashed twice a week—we have an agreement.”
Vreeland was trained to be an assassin, as was “Conspiracy of Silence” star witness Paul Bonacci, the White House hustler. They both were given high-end sniper target training. Jane Woodbury, Vreeland’s mother, testified during the trial that she remembers Delmart repeatedly warning her not to fly, especially not to New York, throughout August 2001. Immediately after the September 11 attacks, she claims that she was visited by a U.S. Secret Service agent named Mitchell Szydlowski, who asked the bizarre question, “Do you believe Delmart is psychic? Did he ever predict 9/11 to you?” Jane Woodbury said no to both questions. In Canadian Court, the Secret Service confirmed that the visit took place. Jane Woodbury’s current husband, Tony Matar, remembers her stating in the fall of 2001 that her son had predicted the attack. I called Secret Service agent Mitchell Szydlowski several times but my calls were not returned. Vreeland’s attorneys submitted evidence that Jane’s shop in Michigan was burglarized three times in recent months. The break-in artists were only interested in taking Vreeland’s military records.
At 3:26 pm, hotel security calls. They want both boys off the property by sundown. Joey tells security he will have them all fired. The plan to leave that night is cemented. The silver Lincoln arrives and we all pile in for the trip back to Toronto.
I asked Vreeland, “You claim to have left the ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) in 1998, returning in 2000. Why did you come back in 2000 and go to Moscow for ONI?”
“I knew the system,” Vreeland said.
Vreeland says that, upon being pulled into the Navy in 1984, he helped develop technology related to Star Wars strategic missile defense technology. Ruppert believes the Star Wars stuff is a cover story. After all, according to Vreeland’s public records, he did not attend college. But then, his habeas corpus application contradicts itself about where he graduated from high school. Have Vreeland’s education records been doctored? When pressed about his background in science, he answers that his reading habits consist of “Asimov, physics, whatever.”
Looking over my notes from our interview three years after our 2002 interview, I notice that Vreeland boasted, “I could build a model of the Stealth Satellite System with five hundred dollars in parts from Radio Shack.” In August 2002, this seemed unverifiable and a little silly. But then three months later, on December 4, National Security Archive’s Jeffrey Richelson
published a book, titled The Wizards of Langley: Inside the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology that broke news on the ONYX stealth satellite program. The high-end reconnaissance weapon made the front page of the Washington Post and the New York Times in 2004 when Senator John Rockefeller complained of the Senate’s inability to kill the program, despite having voted against it for two years.53
In September 2000, Vreeland claims he was sent by ONI to Russia to act as a courier for documents regarding the “Stealth Satellite System Terminator.” But something went wrong for him in Moscow. Part of this mission was to break into the apartment of Chalva Tchigirinski, the Russian oil mogul.
On Vreeland’s old website, audio files of old voicemails left for him at the time of his arrest leave behind an interesting trail: “Lt. Commander Tom Welsh from JAG”, i.e. the military court, “Captain McCarthy,” and various top brass, media, and law enforcement personnel. Then there’s John Criminaro, with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Criminaro “tried for two hours” to send that fax. On January 7, 2001, Criminaro called Vreeland several times, but did not return multiple messages I left for him on his voice mail in Moscow. John Criminaro is with the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Environment, Science, and Technology.
THE MAN FROM MICHIGAN
Delmart Vreeland was born March 20, 1966, near Grosse Pointe, Michigan, outside Detroit. He and his half-brother Terry Weems counted Steve Tocco among their close family friends (Tocco is related to Jake Tocco, the famous Detroit mafia leader.) Vreeland was not close to his father, Delmart Sr., a chef who was in prison briefly for embezzlement from the Big Boy restaurants he managed. Delmart’s stepfather, Bob Woodbury, was a Detroit cop who got the thirteen-year-old Delmart part-time work for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, busting “party stores” along Whittier Ave. that sold liquor to kids. The only problem with this arrangement is that the ATF required the arrests go on Delmart’s juvenile record.
From there, Delmart Vreeland joined the Navy. The official Navy records entered into Canadian Court (and in Vreeland’s habeas corpus application) claim that Vreeland was admitted on November 14, 1985, and was discharged only five months later. On March 7, 1986, it appears he was kicked out after repeated write-ups for insubordination and an unwillingness to do push-ups. But the Navy’s claim about a 1986 discharge is suspect for a number of reasons. In an LA Times story dated October 2, 1986, “Mike Vreeland” appears as a friendly witness in a story about a massive cocaine seizure. Confidential sources within LAPD (contacted through Mike Ruppert) have confirmed that this was indeed Delmart “Mike” Vreeland, in training as a special agent of the ONI. The Times states that the cocaine raid was headed up by the LAPD’s Lt. J.R. Schiller, long believed to have intelligence connections.54
On August 21, 2001, Vreeland’s note was sealed and in the hands of his jailers. Vreeland knew the attack was happening some time in the next month. He called the U.S. Navy Office of Personnel Service Detachment in Norfolk, Virginia. He spoke with Petty Officer Terry Guilford. Through a three-way connection with his attorneys, he was able to make an audio recording and transcript of this conversation, submitted to court as an exhibit.
The petty officer cheerfully helped Vreeland confirm that the records did show him joining the Navy in 1985, only to be kicked out five months later in 1986. The records also showed Vreeland’s rank as “Lieutenant,” a rank that usually takes years to obtain. Petty Officer Guilford admitted that something smelled funny. Guilford suggested that perhaps Vreeland was in a “low-key type field” or got his rank through unusual means. “You’re a fishy guy, sir,” said Guilford, who agreed with Vreeland several times throughout the conversation that the records appeared to have been tampered with. When Vreeland confirmed Guilford’s name, Guilford said, perhaps only half joking, “I don’t know if I wanna tell you my name now.”
I confirmed this conversation with Petty Officer Guilford on June 12, 2002. On the phone, Guilford remembered Lieutenant Vreeland from eleven months earlier. Although all of Vreeland’s records came up blank on almost all of the Navy’s databases, when Guilford checked Vreeland with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), he was able to view a “read only” record that confirmed that Vreeland joined up in November 1985. But this time Guilford read out loud that the DEERS record showed that Vreeland was in the Navy’s employ until December 9, 2000. Someone in records-keeping had changed course. Suddenly the record read closer to what Vreeland originally claimed. I double-checked this DEERS record at the local Navy/Marines recruiting station, and the exit date of year 2000 was still there.
All other medical and personnel records in the DEERS, including Vreeland’s blood type, were blank. Officer Guilford found the blood type record especially odd. “It’s not just that it’s unknown, it just says ‘blank.’ That’s not unusual for someone who just joined up, but it’s weird for someone who’s been with us for a while, fifteen years...I thought I would be able to print that, but it wouldn’t print.” According to the U.S. Navy’s Rockie Beasley, head of the Personnel Support Department at the Norfolk Naval Base. It is not easy to modify a DEERS record. You need a special access card, “You have to be authorized. You need a background check and a password.”
THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE USS VREELAND
“Vreeland’s an extremely intelligent man,” recalls Assistant District Attorney for McComb County Eric Kaiser. “He weaves truth and fiction so well, it’s difficult to sort out.”
Vreeland’s own website proudly displays a photograph of the USS Vreeland on the home page, a battleship named for Charles E. Vreeland, one of the first directors of ONI. Delmart has claimed on his website and in interviews to be the great-grandson of this Charles E. Vreeland. However, a couple of days’ research into Vreeland’s heredity shows that his great-grandfather is actually Charles R. Vreeland, a railroad worker.
Vreeland’s half-brother Terry Weems, a country-western guitarist who lives in Alabama, has given numerous interviews and popped up on various websites to discuss his brother. Weems seems to possess a feud-level obsession to discredit Vreeland’s connections to intelligence. “He shoves out a lot of B.S. and people like you swallow it down like your favorite drink,” he wrote.
During Vreeland’s early Naval career, Weems remembers, he watched his half-brother, “yelling at an admiral over the phone and being AWOL. He was arrested in the credit union. I was there also for that. He was on crack really bad during that time.”
Weems also claims that Vreeland stole and illegally used his Social Security Number, but was unable to provide proof. In an interview on Toronto radio station CKLN, Weems said Delmart is the “luckiest criminal I’ve ever known...He’s very good at identity theft, and, after a lot of them years, he was probably wanted, but he was able to elude police using a fake ID.”
Vreeland reportedly scammed a furniture store in Michigan of forty thousand dollars worth of goods using an American Express card that AmEx later claimed wasn’t properly authorized. The merchant got stuck holding the bag.
There’s something askew with that AmEx bill. Vreeland’s official criminal records say he wasn’t there. While he was ripping off the Scott Shuptrine Furniture store on December 21, 1999, he was simultaneously in New York, where he was arrested for Grand Larceny Auto. Vreeland claims he was in jail in New York City around this time from a drunk driving incident on December 17. He also says that his friend, Josh Emley, was approved to use his AmEx card in Michigan.
In interviews, the only conviction Vreeland will admit to deserving is the December 17, 1999 drunk driving arrest, the one in New York. As detailed in his Canadian affidavit, he had been at a party at the United Nations with military friends from Naval Intelligence. After some serious boozing, Vreeland drove a limo the wrong way through Times Square and collided with another car. Since an arrest record would probably list all the passengers, the arrest, bail, and court records of the incident could help substantiate Vreeland’s alleged Navy connections, if these records still exist.
Searches at the New York City Office of Court Administration, as well as the Clerk’s office at the New York Criminal Court, came up with zero records of an arrest, a pending prosecution, or a conviction in NYC, at any time. The searches used all five of Vreeland’s aliases and each came up empty. Vreeland says that he was released December 21, 1999, “at the Navy’s request. They got me out of there quick.”
Speaking of quick exits, a search of Vreeland’s arrest records in South Bend, Indiana is also insightful: on February 7, 2000, Vreeland violently resisted arrest, after being suspected of stealing a red Porsche. As the Mishawaka Police Department records show, he was charged with burglary and battery to a police officer after he punched and kicked an Officer Kasznia. Yet, the case ended abruptly. The police report ends with, “the suspect [was] released without any identification.”
ONI AND CIA
Al Martin, a Vietnam veteran and author, is a former member of the ONI. He believes that Vreeland is also ONI. Martin’s memoir of the Iran Contra scandal, The Conspirators, is based on his five years in Latin America. He describes ONI as possessing “a mechanism before the CIA even existed. They had contacts in foreign intelligence services and in foreign governments that the CIA never could have hoped to obtain...The CIA can’t control any of its own assets domestically because it’s against the law for it to do so, thus the ONI is obviously in a superior position. ONI is where the real deep control is. It’s where the real deep secrets are kept.”
According to A Tangled Web: A History of CIA Complicity in Drug International Trafficking, an independent report read into the Congressional Record in 1998 by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ONI has been dealing with criminals and shady characters since the end of World War II. ONI worked with the U.S. Italian Mafia, including S. C. Luciana, a.k.a. Lucky Luciano, to fight communism in Italy, gather intelligence for the Allied Invasion of Sicily, and control the ports in the U.S. during wartime. After Luciano was pardoned from jail for his work with ONI (and CIA precursor, the Office of Strategic Services), he went back to Italy and became a kingpin in the heroin trade. Around this time, ONI also worked with Chinese mafia to take control of the opiate trade, helping to form the “Golden Triangle” which traded heroin and various forms of currency and contraband between Thailand/Burma, Laos/Vietnam, and China’s Yunnan Province.
In Al Martin’s experience with the Iran/Contra operation “Black Eagle,” crooks and highly intelligent con men were always part of the team. “Black Eagle” was “narcotics trafficking, massive fraud, and weapons deals” with con man extraordinaire Lawrence Hamil at the center. Martin remembers, “Hamil [was] not just a simple con man, a government-connected swindler and money launderer, as people seem to think. He was very deeply involved in all sorts of political deals at the same time.”
THE JUNKYARD DOG
“There were certain things in the note...clues to get people to contact others to contact me.” Vreeland says, as he orders a double Bacardi and Coke.
“I mean, like the reference to the ‘M-234 RAGS.’ Those weapons were sold to Malaysia. I wrote that to get Eva Teleki to contact me. She had been involved in the sale. She contacted Leo Wanta and said, ‘This guy needs our help.’”
Wanta is a former U.S. Department of Treasury operative and former Somali Ambassador to Switzerland, among other things. The M-234 Ring Airfoil Grenade is an attachment for an M-16 machine gun that creates an anti-riot, crowd-control stun effect. I contacted Teleki, who denied selling anything to Malaysia. But she did speak highly of Vreeland, confirming that he is a former officer of the ONI. Both Teleki and Vreeland have formal business relationships with Leo Wanta.
On February 13, 2002, a former U.S. Attorney named Tom Henry wrote Vreeland a letter. Henry, who is Leo Wanta’s legal advisor, put Vreeland through a series of tests attempting to see if he could recognize certain “passwords or security code names.” Vreeland aced it. Henry’s letter concluded, “On best information and belief I am of the opinion that my clients would endorse that you gathered the information that you have shared with my client while acting in the capacity of an ‘intel op’ agent of the U.S. Government.” In the past, Henry has worked with the Department of Justice in the Ford Administration before moving on to become a consultant on business matters in China.
Wanta describes himself as Ronald Reagan’s former “taskmaster” and has an extensive resumé of his own. It includes work for the CIA, Department of Treasury, and the NSC, as well as deals involving foreign currencies, arms, and precious metals. Wanta worked on the 1988 Bush Presidential campaign. His collected correspondence includes notes from George Herbert Walker Bush, the Nixon White House, and various senators. After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, it was Wanta who was sent in to repossess Stinger anti-aircraft missiles from the Mujahedeen. According to Claire Sterling’s book Thieves’ World, Wanta was the central figure in an operation to destabilize the Russian Ruble with White House approval in the late ’80s/early ’90s. The attack on the currency hastened the crumbling of the Soviet Union. In our original April interview, Vreeland quipped, “I know people who know George Bush Sr. personally.” He was talking about Wanta. Tom Hanneghan, a powerful Los Angeles Democrat and commodities trader speaks of Wanta with both criticism and credibility, “He worked for the U.S. intelligence agencies. He helped bring down the Soviet communist government. He’s a brilliant engineer, lots of technical skills. He did a great job. He probably gathered too much knowledge for his own sake.”
Wanta told me he was Ronald Reagan’s favorite “junkyard dog.” He remembers, “Reagan had no faith in DC politicians, he liked his ‘junkyard dogs.’” According to Wanta, Reagan praised him for his ability to get special tasks executed quickly, without going through normal channels.
In 1988, Wanta was in the news for trying to sell thirty thousand automatic pistols to Manuel Noriega. Wanta explained to me that this was a part of a scheme to enable the U.S. to identify every member of the Panamanian military. Shortly thereafter, on December 20, 1989,56 Bush invaded Panama, swiftly arrested Noriega, put a pro-U.S. regime in control of the Panama Canal, and left an estimated three thousand civilians dead.
Wanta’s net worth in 1992 was $432 billion, according to tax documents prepared in anticipation of Wanta’s plans to move back to the U.S., pay federal income taxes from offshore business deals, and retire. This $432 billion was not exactly all cash, according to Wanta—a lot of it was tied up in “prime bank guarantees,” a kind of certified deposit that Wanta would purchase from top “credit-worthy” banks and trade at a profit, on behalf of the U.S. Treasury Department. Under the aegis of Aneko Credit PTE, LTD, in Singapore, Wanta engaged in a complex form of private banking, comparable to arbitrage but cash-based, high-speed, and highly volatile. Wanta accumulated $22 million each day that a prime bank guarantee was purchased at a par value of $100 million. When Wanta wanted to retire, it was not to be. In early June of 1993, Leo Wanta was appointed the Somali ambassador to Canada and Switzerland, in what he says was an effort to help make Somalia a safe launching ground for the U.S. military. According to reports from Wanta, Henry, and Vreeland, Wanta traveled to Switzerland with notorious financier Marc Rich between June 30 and July 3, 1993. According to Wanta, during their trip to Switzerland, Wanta helped to negotiate the financing for “UN Contract 4,” a back channel deal that he claims worked with various sources of international capital to funnel funds to buy peace in the Middle East. Each side of the Rabin/PLO Agreement would get $5 billion. (Although UN Contract 4 was not ratified, it was a precursor to the Oslo Peace Accord that was signed in a dramatic White House ceremony in September, 1993.) According to Wanta, the Clinton White House, acting through attorney Vince Foster, asked that $250 million be placed into the Swiss account of the Children’s Defense Fund as a charitable byproduct of the deal.
When Marc Rich received a controversial pardon from President Clinton, it was widely reported that Rich had worked as a spy for Israel. Articles in the LA Times and the New York Post cited evidence from the House Oversight Committee that claimed Rich performed numerous secret missions for the Israeli government, including helping secure back-channel financing for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Wanta remembers that Rich was also looking out for number one. “Marc Rich was doing a tremendous amount of things against what we were doing in Russia and Switzerland. He was doing deals with Iraqis, Iranians, Swiss banks.” In 2001, Marc Rich was living in exile in Switzerland, facing American charges for racketeering, wire fraud, illegally selling oil to the Iranians, and owing $48 million in back taxes. On January 20, 2001, hours before he would leave office, Clinton pardoned him. Israel’s then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak had called Clinton the night before asking for the pardon and stating it was “important...financially.”57
Back in 1993, in Switzerland, Wanta says he had orders to arrest Rich, and, if that failed, to assassinate him. According to the story from both Vreeland and Wanta, the ONI had snipers nearby when Wanta and Rich were on a ferry to a casino in France, traveling across Lake Geneva from Lausanne. The sniper from ONI couldn’t get a clear shot off, and was told to stand down. According to their story, that sniper was Delmart Vreeland.58
Something went awry after Switzerland. Three weeks later, Vince Foster was found dead in Fort Marcy Park, just outside DC in Arlington, VA. The death was swiftly ruled a suicide by the park police, despite their paltry experience with suicide investigations. (And as I’ll point out below, the anomalies in Foster’s death were glossed over by future 9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste, and future Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.)
The day prior to the discovery of Vince Foster’s body, FBI director William Sessions was fired. His temporary replacement, Floyd Clarke, let the bumbling park police run the non-investigation of Foster’s death, despite the victim’s being the First Lady’s best friend and confidante. Sessions later stated outright that he believed he was fired so as to hamper a Foster death investigation. Three independent criminal evidence experts hired by Strategic Investor newsletter studied the Foster suicide note and declared it a forgery.
Wanta was arrested by Swiss authorities and deported on the flimsy pretext of State of Wisconsin tax evasion charges. Wanta was extradited without a warrant and flown from Switzerland in leg, arm, and neck shackles. The Wisconsin prosecutor levied tax evasion charges for 1989 through 1991, although Wanta had not lived in the U.S. since 1985. He was convicted and imprisoned after a swift trial, despite the fact that the IRS stated he did not owe any federal taxes from the same period.
When Wanta’s case came before Wisconsin court in Madison, there was outright ridicule of him in the media. Dennis Ullman, the lead tax collection agent for Wisconsin on the case, was friendly with Cliff Miller of the Appleton Post, according to sources close to the Wanta case. Miller’s stories treated Wanta like a lunatic with delusions of a glorious past. But any journalist with a Lexis/Nexis account could see that Wanta actually was the “global businessman” he claimed to be. The older news clip about Noriega and the arms deal were all part of the public record. But in 1993, consistent jabs in the Madison newspapers destroyed Wanta in the court of public opinion. Wanta was not allowed to hire his own attorney, and his court-appointed one, John Chavez, didn’t believe his story. Leo Wanta’s sanity was often questioned in court, but he was never found incompetent to stand trial. Wanta’s international friends relate that the experience took its toll on him, both mentally and physically.
Right before his trial, Wanta was denounced as a “snake oil salesman” and an “egregious thief” in Thieves World by Claire Sterling. The problem is, the late Claire Sterling was closely connected to the CIA, according to multiple sources. Sounds like the ambassador pissed off somebody at the top. Maybe it has something to do with the two thousand tons of Soviet gold he was attempting to move on international markets, right after the fall of the U.S.S.R.
Today, Ambassador Wanta remains under house arrest in Wisconsin. Wanta claims that when he was arrested, he was forced to leave behind about $200 billion in prime bank guarantees. “Lawfully earned funds,” Wanta says, that international banks and governments have been allowed to “use free of charge” since he’s been detained (when you total up the interest and the capital that can accumulate through smart use of $200 billion, Wanta says, it comes out to about $27.6 trillion). After Wanta and his counsel, Henry, confirmed to their satisfaction that Vreeland was in fact an intelligence operative, they hired Delmart Vreeland to help recover some of the money.
In a late night, three-way conversation between us in 2002, Vreeland blurted out to Wanta, “Who has controlled me in the last eight months?”
Wanta gruffly stated, “ONI.”
“Where would they get orders from?”
If that’s true it might help explain why the vice president has never rescinded his claim that Iraq was involved in 9/11. Maybe he got it straight from Delmart Vreeland. Or vice versa.
Admonished later by Vreeland for saying too much about Switzerland, Leo Wanta replied, “I’m in constant pain; rheumatism, arthritis, I have not received proper medical care. I’m not afraid anymore.”
AWOL IN WONDERLAND
Mike Ruppert was also present at this radio interview, and added some big picture analysis: “None of us are saints, but all of us have moments in which we try to do the right thing, and that’s when we need to be supported. This is not over yet.”
On August 13, 2002, a death certificate with Vreeland’s name and details on it showed up on the web. Apparently, he shot himself in the back of the head. The Internet was abuzz with the rumor. I called the dead man. He was unfazed, “We used to do this all the time. It’s a way to let someone know they are after you.”
Vreeland had an extradition hearing on Monday, September 9, 2002, but he didn’t show. He had spent the entire day before with his attorney, Paul Slansky, who later told the Toronto Sun that Vreeland had been concerned that certain forces “were going to shut him up and do something to him.”
The next day, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. That night, Slansky entered Vreeland’s apartment with the police. It looked like a cyclone had hit it. It was ransacked, but without signs of bloodshed. If Vreeland had left town of his own free will, it didn’t show. Slansky stated, “Everything is there, his toothbrush, his underwear, his shaving gear, everything.”
His attorneys speculated that Vreeland had been killed. However, on Wednesday, October 20, 2004, Delmart Vreeland was arrested in Hampton, Iowa. Police traced him when he used a gas station credit card linked to his name. Vreeland was extradited back to Colorado, where, using the identity of “Clayton Steeves” he had skipped out on child prostitution charges two weeks earlier. As of this writing, he’s in Colorado, awaiting trial.
Seven months after extradition, he was still being kept in the local county jail.
I tried to get documentation on Vreeland’s case but I ran into a firewall. Douglas County officials refused because the case was “an open investigation.”
Vreeland then called me on Saturday night, June 11, 2005—our first conversation since 2002. For some reason, he couldn’t talk about certain things, or people like Ambassador Wanta. I asked about the child sex charges and he gave me a Federal case number for a case that hadn’t been sealed yet. In those Federal District Court documents Vreeland made reference to a “Federal Non-Disclosure Agreement” he had signed with the U.S. Government. “The USG is not attacking me nor helping me, that is the agreement.”
Vreeland said he had seen the film, “Conspiracy of Silence,” and he indicated that speculation about his past along those lines was fair game. When I asked directly about the pedophilia charges, Vreeland implied that the charges were false because they came from someone with “twenty-seven arrests” on their record. Not exactly a straight answer. In fact, submission of extraneous information tends to indicate discomfort with a question, in the parlance of professional lie-detectors. In the documents Vreeland submitted to court, he no longer made reference to Joey as his “son“ but as his “roommate” or “adopted son.” Thanks to a legal maneuver from Tom Henry, Joey, a Canadian citizen, was deported back to Canada.
According to his Federal District Court complaint, Vreeland “has been in maximum security since October 20, 2004—denied counsel, medical treatment, due process, bail, witnesses and physical evidence has been lost….” Vreeland has thirty-eight cents in his prison account.
Reading his 178-page court file was like returning to the abyss: the handwritten, amateur legalese, the passionate arcane excuses. But one thing jumps out—Vreeland tells the court the entire story about his 9/11 note, spying in Moscow, etc. The story hadn’t changed. The details were identical to the story he told four years earlier. There was even more information there, now that Vreeland himself was writing it.
The question now becomes: who is listening?