By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
"Mike 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."
It 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 was ordered.
The 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 [antiÂStar 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.
Ruppert 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.
The 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.
According 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."
But 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 story."