Wednesday, June 19, 2002

The Delmart Vreeland case is getting stranger and stranger. He has always had a tendency to add unbelievable details to his story, a tendency that has not served his credibility well when he has appeared in front of Canadian judges. In fact, he seems to lack the normal ability that good liars have of knowing how far to go before the elaborations destroy the credibility of the whole story. Recently, his additions to the story are completely beyond belief. Three possible reasons come to mind: 1) he simply lacks the ability to distinguish between truth and lies, or doesn't care; 2) he has decided to make his living as a conspiracy lecturer, and believes, not without some justification, that the people who support such conspiracies require a constant stream of new 'information' to continue to be interested; and/or 3) someone has told him that his continued good health may depend on his scuppering his own credibility. While not forgetting that credibility is important, we have to remember that Vreeland has three parts to his story that have outside support:

  1. His claim to have an association with the U. S. military is backed up by the famous phone call to the Pentagon made from court. Efforts have been made to counter this by claiming that Vreeland was able to have himself inserted in Pentagon phone records by sending an e-mail, but when you think about this for a moment it is even less credible than Vreeland's story. Do you think you could get your name inserted in the Pentagon phone records by sending an e-mail? To start with, who would you send it to?

  2. Vreeland correctly told the RCMP that Marc Bastien had been murdered at a time when the RCMP was not investigating the Bastien death as a murder. We still don't know if Bastien was murdered, but his death is very suspicious, and Vreeland's suspicions about Bastien help Vreeland's general credibility, especially since Bastien lived and died in Moscow.

  3. Of course, Vreeland's ace is his note showing that he had foreknowledge prior to September 11 of some large attack on a possible number of targets, the first of which was the World Trade Center. No one has as yet showed that his general story of giving this note to his jailers prior to September 11 is false.

There have been a lot of efforts to attack Vreeland's credibility using, among other things, the fact that he has a substantial criminal record. As I have written before, it is likely that the kind of person that would be picked to do some rough-and-tumble intelligence work would be the kind of person with such a record. Besides demonstrating a tendency for the kind of violent adventure that this type of intelligence requires, the criminal record provides a perfect method for the agency hiring the operative to destroy his credibility should he decide to talk. I fact, I would not believe anyone with a Vreeland-type story who did not have at least some kind of criminal record. Having said all that, I admit I find the massive elaborations on the Vreeland story very troubling, troubling to the point where it seems to me we have to be very skeptical of the details of Vreeland's account, including how it was that he came by the information. If we consider the history of this whole terrorism story, Vreeland's part in it was historically important as his was one of the first indications that the Bush Administration had some foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks. Remember that evidence of this type of foreknowledge was hard to come by, in no small part due to the fact that the Bush Administration outright lied about how much it knew (Fleischer lied about the issue almost immediately, claiming there were "no warnings" - this has turned out to be such an outright lie that it is amazing Fleischer is still around as Press Secretary). Since then, we have amassed ample evidence that the Bush Administration had complete foreknowledge of an attack exactly like the September 11 attacks, and, in light of the warnings given to Pentagon officials not to fly on September 11, may have even known the timing of the attacks (the only thing we're still not sure of is whether they were completely aware of the identity of the specific targets, though given that al-Qaeda had already taken a stab at the WTC, it wouldn't take a rocket scientist borrowed from the 'Star Wars' program to figure it out). The odd thing about it is that if much of Vreeland's story is disproved, the result may in fact be more damning for the Bush Administration. Say Vreeland didn't work as a U. S. Naval Intelligence agent, and was never in Moscow, and never obtained his foreknowledge in the way he said he obtained it. How did he obtain it? Say he had done some work for Naval Intelligence at a very low level (which would explain his being in the Pentagon phone records). Say, as an example, he sat down at a bar in a strip club in Toronto beside a guy crying in his beer about the death of his friend Marc Bastien. Say the guy turns out to be a Canadian intelligence operative who, in a drunken state, spills the whole story of Bastien's murder and the reason he was murdered. I'm obviously making all this up. The point is that a September 11 type of attack on major targets, particularly in the United States, was common knowledge among intelligence people all over the world. A smart operator like Vreeland, if he kept his ear to the ground, could have picked up enough information to create an elaborate story if it should turn out he needed something to help him out of a legal scrape. The ease with which someone like Vreeland could obtain foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks demonstrates the weakness of the Bush Administration's claim that it didn't do anything to prevent 9-11 because no one could have predicted it.