UQ Wire: Wildcard, Who is Delmart "Mike" Vreeland?
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SPECIAL REPORT: Wildcard
Who is Delmart "Mike"
Down the Rabbit Hole
the Man Who Says He Tried to
Warn the World About 9/11
Who is Delmart "Mike" Vreeland?
The question has beguiled thousands since the shady, self-proclaimed operative for the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence says he tried to warn the world about 9/11 while sitting in a Canadian jail in the summer of 2001. Vreeland, who is now a fugitive from both Canadian and American justice, claims to have written a set of notes that listed potential terrorist targets, including the World Trade Center. The notes were eerie. But were they real? Is Vreeland a con man, or is he really a spy whose government has turned on him?
His story has largely been discredited by numerous news outlets, most notably The Nation. But six months ago, GNN teamed up with Soft Skull Press founder Sander Hicks to find some answers for ourselves. It is a bizarre tale, part Bourne Identity, part Miami Vice, and part Jerry Springer, in which facts, disinformation, and delusion all seem to intersect in the dark underbelly of black ops, geopolitics and family dysfunction.
Read GNN’s exclusive nine-part investigative report:
“The question of could [9/11] have been prevented will haunt us as long as we exist as a country.” - Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.)
Delmart "Mike" Vreeland wants to meet me in the parking lot of the Loblaw grocery store on Lake Shore Drive in Toronto. 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 on the waterfront called "Docks." Vreeland buys us two beers each, we drink and talk. 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 in, still wearing their sunglasses.
That night the limo takes me, Vreeland, a 17-year-old boy he calls his 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 $600,000, 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) Perhaps . . . or perhaps it’s just another Vreelandism: a wild story that dissolves in the waters of scrutiny.
This story begins in December, 2000, when Vreeland, an American citizen, was arrested in Toronto and charged by Canadian authorities with fraud, obstructing a peace officer and making a death threat (really, the last one he says was for cursing his betrayers while being arrested). 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.
Despite his impressive litany of warrants and heavily tattooed body, Vreeland was no ordinary jailbird. He told Canadian authorities he was a spy for the Office of Naval Intelligence, one of the oldest and most powerful intelligence arms of the U.S. government. He also claimed if he was extradited to the U.S. he would be killed. Why? Vreeland claimed to have some very sensitive information.
While in prison, during the summer of 2001, Vreeland says he 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"(1) to have Vreeland put in touch with the proper authorities, to pass on "vital information about national security"(2) to the governments of Canada and the U.S.
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 also included the phrase, "Let one happen. Stop the rest!!!" [see the notes here] He sealed them 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, arguing that Vreeland’s life would be in danger if he was sent back to the U.S. The lawyers were harassed with dead cats hung on their porches, and smashed car windows. Galati has since bowed out of the case.
News of Vreeland’s case spread quickly when alternative 9/11 journalist Mike Ruppert began sending back dramatic dispatches from the courtroom in Toronto. Ruppert called Vreeland a “White Knight Talking Backwards," in articles published on his site, copvcia.com, and here on GNN.tv. To Ruppert, Vreeland's story, combined with his lawyers’ testimony, proved that elements within the U.S. government knew 9/11 was coming and did nothing to stop it.
The story became something of an Internet phenomenon, with thousands of readers around the world tracking every dramatic twist and turn. But just as Vreeland's star began to rise, it came crashing down. His long, colorful list of outstanding warrants in the U.S. was released to the public and the international man of mystery was quickly dismissed as a two-bit con man who had concocted an elaborate yarn to avoid prosecution. Canadian authorities dropped their charges against Vreeland on March 14, 2002, and he was paroled to house arrest to await an extradition hearing.
His case might have slipped off the radar completely, but on March 30, The Nation's Washington correspondent David Corn published an article entitled “The 9/11 X-Files." 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 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. Corn wrote Vreeland, “was no spy, he was a flim-flammer,” and characterized Ruppert as little more than 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: romantic affairs gone awry among other nadirs.
Vreeland's most vocal critics could be found on Toronto's alternative radio station CKLN. DJs Ron Aninich and Greg Duffel interviewed numerous people associated with Vreeland, including alleged victims of his scams, and the man himself, in the end, concluding he was little more than a common criminal. They also built an exhaustive Vreeland web site listing interviews, articles and every court document they could find on his case. They even composed a Negativland-esque, anti-Vreeland reworking of the disco hit "In the Navy." Partly in response to what he felt were brutal attacks from CKLN, in the spring of 2002, Vreeland developed his own site, www.ltvreeland.com. He posted information about his case, court documents and records of financial transactions involving a former Reagan White House secret operative named Leo Wanta (more on him later). The site is about as organized as a shotgun blast and did little to help his cause.
Then, on May 21, 2002, the plot thickened. A devoted, lifelong-career FBI agent from Minnesota named Coleen Rowley publicly accused FBI director Robert Mueller of hampering crucial investigations into alleged 9/11 conspirators, charging there was a "delicate and subtle shading/skewing of facts by you [Mueller] and others at the highest levels of FBI management." In July, Arizona-based FBI Special Agent Ken Williams wrote the now-famous Phoenix Memo accusing the FBI of ignoring a call to investigate potential terrorists training at flight schools. In the international press, German, Russian and Israeli intelligence were quoted as claiming they had warned the White House that an attack was imminent. More recently, many family members of 9/11 victims have joined the call for answers. Kristin Breitweiser lost her husband Ronald in the World Trade Center. She told Phil Donahue on MSNBC recently, "At this time of year, everyone is asking us … what can we do to memorialize, what can we do to memorialize. And you know what? An independent investigation. Let’s make sure our husbands, our loved ones did not die in vain."
On September 18, Eleanor Hill, the staff director of a congressional intelligence inquiry into 9/11, testified that there were no less than twelve separate warnings about terrorists hijacking planes in the past five years, including, contrary to the Bush Administration’s previous statements, one that specifically involved crashing a plane into the World Trade Center.
As serious doubts about Bush's official story become more accepted, maybe the idea of an American intelligence officer having foreknowledge of 9-11 is not so far-fetched. Could Delmart Vreeland, extensive criminal record and all, be the one U.S. intelligence operative who blew the whistle before the 9/11 tragedy? Or is his story just the Robert Ludlum fantasies of a low-life military con man, as so many have concluded?
It is a bizarre tale, part Bourne Identity, part Miami Vice, and part Jerry Springer, in which facts, disinformation, and delusion all seem to intersect in the dark underbelly of black ops, geopolitics and family dysfunction. The story includes alleged ties to the late-White House lawyer Vince Foster, pardoned arms dealer Marc Rich, a mysterious international financier who calls himself “Reagan’s junkyard dog,” a restaurateur accused of smuggling cocaine inside live elephants, the Iraqis, a shady Russian tycoon, and Vreeland’s country-western musician half-brother, who has a seemingly inexhaustible vendetta to see Vreeland sent to prison.
In the end, this six-month investigation for GNN confirmed what many already know: Delmart Vreeland is a liar and an accomplished con man, adept at spinning tales, and manipulating allegiances to further his own goals. In other words, he is the perfect candidate for work in U.S. intelligence.
DIRECT LINKS TO SUBSEQUENT PARTS
Part Two: Dissecting the Notes
Part Three: The World's Best Con Man
Part Four: Moscow Nights
Part Five: The Man from Michigan
Part Six: The World's Worst Liar
Part Seven: ONI and CIA
Part Eight: The Junkyard Dog
Part Nine: AWOL in Wonderland
(c) Sander Hicks, 2002. Reproduced here with the permission of the author.
Since co-founding the antiwar newspaper New Xaymaca in 1991, Hicks has made his life mission to surpass the mediocrity and fear that brands the corporate-owned media. Hicks' goal is to provide the American people with better information, reporting and research, so that we can truly perceive the injustice in this world.
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