By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
After 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.
RUPPERT 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."
In 1996, Ruppert showed up at a community meeting in Los Angeles, where thenÂCIA 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 Wildernessnewsletter, 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.
For 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."
In 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.
Ruppert's 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 oil interests.
SPACE 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.
Item 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 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.
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