In 1993 Mr. VanDerZalm traveled to the Middle East as a financial consultant. He intended to return to the U.S. in five weeks. When the principals of the firm suddenly departed, he was held liable for their debts and subsequently sentenced to two years in a high security Arab prison.
While in jail, he learned of plans for the simultaneous bombings of two US Embassies in Africa and future plans of the bombings in the USA. After risking a telephone call to the U.S. Consulate his reward was an admonishment from the vice consul to “keep [his] mouth shut” and an intense interrogation by UAE secret service.
After his fourth imprisonment, he learned from a judge that there was an order issued that he would never be allowed to leave the UAE; that judge allowed him 30 days of freedom to get his affairs in order. Mr. VanDerZalm then disappeared and escaped the country.