Tuesday, April 30, 2002

The 'leftist' writers have been attacking Vreeland's story, first David Corn, and now Norman Solomon (and
Vreeland's reply). My first conspiratorial question is to wonder whether Corn and Solomon might not have something better to write about than an obscure story from Canada covered only by some conspiracy nuts. What is so threatening about Vreeland's story that people like Corn and Solomon feel they have to attack it? I agree that Vreeland's famous note is very vague, and contains a list of possible targets. On the other hand, if his information comes from Russian sources, who got it from Iraq, who presumably got it from Iraqi intelligence sources, it might just be that the information would be a little vague. The key of the Vreeland story is his attempts in August, 2001 to bring this warning to the attention of his Canadian jailers, and his making the point of sealing his information in an envelope and handing it to the jailers. What were Corn and Solomon doing in August, 2001? Were they so concerned about an imminent terrorist attack on the U. S. that they would have taken the kind of steps that Vreeland did? Do they think he did this just on the off chance that one of his listed targets would be attacked, and then he would be a hero? Do they think he has ESP? When you add to his actions his prediction that the authorities would find that Marc Bastien had been murdered, and the phone call from his trial which seemed to confirm his connection with the Pentagon when American authorities vehemently denied such a connection, you just have to wonder. His shady background means nothing, as intelligence agencies pick people from this type of background because they are the types who will do the illegal or questionable but adventurous jobs that intelligence agencies need to do, and because if something goes wrong the agency can disclaim the agent and use his shady background to show that he is the sort that would lie about his connection to the government. If there is any untruth in Vreeland's story, my guess is that it would be his claim to be a Naval Intelligence officer, albeit a low-ranking one. He is more likely to be a contract operative with no official connection to the government except for a phone number and perhaps a temporary office. It is also possible that he has embellished his story, particularly if he did indeed refer to 'red mercury', a substance that only exists in spy novels (and the kind of person who does this kind of work is probably a great reader of spy novels). However, nothing can detract from what he did in August, 2001, when a terrorist attack on the United States was the last thing on everybody's mind. The Corn and Solomon attacks also raise the interesting question of why progressive writers hate conspiracy theories so much (you can see the same thing in Chomsky's attitude towards the JFK assassination).