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The Nathan Comp piece "They Believe: Why Some People Are Convinced That 9/11 Was an Inside Job" (7/14/06) got so many things wrong I despair of addressing them. First, "they" don't "believe." It is those who accept the 9/11 Commission Report, which cites no reliable evidence whatsoever to support its comic-book, seventh-grade-reading-level fantasy, who "believe." The 9/11 truth movement is made up of skeptics, not believers.
Likewise, it was Bush crony Philip Zelikow, whose training is in mythology, not history, who "spun shadowy conspiracy theories" in his official comic book version of 9/11. The 9/11 skeptics' movement is made up of people smart enough to notice that Zelikow's official version of 19 Arabs with box cutters led by a guy on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan is a ridiculous fairy tale backed by zero evidence.
Their speculations about what may have happened are just that ' speculations. But, unlike the 9/11 Commission Report, many of them, including my own, are based on a careful and thorough examination of the relevant evidence.
Skipping over the many other things Comp got wrong about 9/11 skeptics in general, we arrive at two libelous statements about me personally: "Barrett purportedly accused Ruff of being part of a local Jewish conspiracy to suppress the truth." No such words were ever uttered; Ruff is a lone nut in his crusade against anyone who questions 9/11, and I have never in my life used the phrase "Jewish conspiracy."
Comp quotes an e-mail out of context: "Israeli involvement in 9/11 is well-documented" without mentioning that I always also state that so is involvement by the Pakistani ISI and Saudi intelligence.
In an even more blatantly libelous sentence, Comp writes: "Like Barrett, Hammond believes that modern human history, dating back to the Roman Empire, has been dominated by an elite lineage known as the Illuminati." I no more believe such a thing than I believe that Nathan Comp is the Easter Bunny, and I never said anything remotely like this.
The publication of this ludicrous and false sentence, which, along with other false and misleading statements, wildly misrepresents my beliefs, is likely to have a strong negative impact on my ability to earn a living in my chosen profession. I will be informing the many pro bono attorneys who have been lining up at my doorstep that Isthmus is ripe for the picking.
Nathan Comp replies: Kevin Barrett has a point: It was a mistake to assume he shares the same view toward the so-called Illuminati as David Hammond ' namely, that it is an elite lineage that dates back to Roman Empire. But Barrett did use this term, saying, "I think [9/11] was a premeditated New Pearl Harbor, and it certainly looks like it was under the command and control of Dick Cheney. That's who planned it and gave the order to get it done. Maybe it wasn't Cheney, who knows? Maybe it was an Illuminati-esque cabal that operates above the law." Barrett also made reference to "the people who did this, this elite cabal of Illuminati-type figures." As for Barrett's involvement with Allen Ruff, please read Ruff's account.
Nathan Comp reported that as a staff member at Rainbow Bookstore, I denied Kevin Barrett's request that the store carry David Ray Griffin's 9/11: The New Pearl Harbor and that Barrett then purportedly accused me of being "part of a local Jewish conspiracy to suppress the truth."
Rainbow never refused to carry the book. Actually, we've stocked it since it came out. Already aware of Barrett's anti-Semitic views, however, I found myself reluctant to have any dealings with him. He eventually went on to tell others that I was a "deep-cover" Mossad agent planted in Madison and that I was on a mission to prevent the "9/11 Truth" from getting out.
Comp states that until he "latched onto the truth movement in early 2004, Barrett wasn't yet 100% convinced blame rested on the government." Before then, I've learned, Barrett had another "theory" that he publicly articulated. Regurgitating a lot of Internet noise, he asserted that Mossad was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center and, significantly, that the American people didn't know that "truth" because of "Jewish control of the media." (He since has gone on to claim that even the alternative media, including WORT and "Democracy Now!", are part of the "Jewish plot" to conceal the "truth" about 9/11.)
Regarding Barrett's academic freedom in the wake of State Rep. Steve Nass' call for his dismissal from a teaching slot at the UW: Clearly, the university should be protected from illiberal politicians. But Barrett and Nass, fellow travelers on a flat earth, were made for each other.
If Dr. Kevin Barrett truly does not believe that "any reasonable person" might be capable of looking at the evidence of the World Trade Center attacks and reaching a conclusion other than his own, how can we hope that he might deal fairly with a student who, as UW-Madison Provost Patrick Farrell apparently expects, chooses to "challenge his viewpoint" in class?
Furthermore, in an introductory course on Islam, is it really necessary to make it clear to your students that you expect all "reasonable" people to agree with your opinion of a conspiracy theory only obliquely connected to the subject matter in the first place?
I submit that Dr. Barrett's use of the word "reasonable" here is definitional; specifically, only those people who agree with him are, by his definition, reasonable, and thus he may freely and without guilt or fear of intellectual challenge automatically discard any arguments presented by "unreasonable" people. In this way, he is able to preserve a personal worldview in which his own opinions are unassailable.
Kevin Barrett's conspiracy theories are aptly described as "a mind-boggling matrix of wild speculation, logical fallacy, runaway rhetoric and...a smattering of facts," ' in other words, irrational ' yet the UW considers him fit to teach.
Let us remember that the courts have consistently ruled against the teaching of Creationism and Intelligent Design in public schools on the grounds that these "theories" are not based on reason and science, but on faith. This is exactly the ruling Barrett should receive for peddling his version of religion at a public university.
Rationality is the basic method and prerequisite to any sifting and winnowing (and to knowledge as such). Allowing blatantly irrational methodologies, such as Mr. Barrett's, to masquerade as knowledge may be appropriate for a church, but not a university.
Since your paper capitulated its responsibility to do basic fact-checking, here are several facts out of thousands that every American should know within a sampling of your writer's idiotic assertions.
No steel-framed building in 100 years of construction has ever catastrophically collapsed before or since 9/11 as a result of fire, despite the fact that there are numerous examples of fires in steel frame buildings that were hotter and longer lasting than those in the World Trade Center.
Building 7, which was not struck by a plane and had only small fires on two of its 47 floors, collapsed at roughly the speed of gravity within its own footprint.
There is no explanation that fits these facts except controlled demolition. The official account doesn't even attempt to explain what happened to Building 7.
Truthers want to know how the basic laws of physics, the conservation of energy and momentum could be overturned by Muslims. For example if you dropped a ball from the top of the trade towers (in a vacuum), the ball would reach the ground in about nine seconds. The official conspiracy theory notes almost correctly that the buildings came down in "about 10 seconds" (actually it was 14 seconds).
So how does a building "pancake" through 110 floors of concrete and steel? Even if each pancaked floor only stalled the collapse by a second (a preposterous assumption), the collapse would have taken around 100 seconds. Of course demolitions which destroy the supporting structures below the collapsing floors achieve this rapidity and symmetry on a routine basis.
Also note that the president's brother Marvin Bush was a director of the company in charge of security for the World Trade Center, and the president's cousin Wirt Walker III was the company's CEO.
Isthmus, along with the rest of the mainstream media, has never mentioned this fact about the towers' security, but shouldn't everyone know this?
James F. Yockey
What happened on 9/11 is in the running for "most complicated crime ever committed." Amateur investigators with limited resources might very well go barking up the wrong tree, but at the core we have some very serious questions that need to be answered:
How could the 9/11 Commission fail to comment on a 47-story building with small controlled fires on only two floors, collapsing in classic controlled-demolition fashion?
How does it account for pockets of molten steel still being uncovered into October?
Bottom line, check out the video of Building 7 going down. You tell me why the government's so-called investigation didn't want to talk about it.
In this age of raging terrorism, I cannot help but recall working as a 90-pound starving slave laborer alongside tens of thousands of Jews rebuilding a synthetic gasoline plant in Zeitz, Germany, in the winter of 1945.
The terrorism of that day was locked in the history of the Holocaust. After many years of debate, German laws were passed which forbade public denial of the existence of the Holocaust.
Perhaps Madisonians should think carefully about the Barrett incident and its relationship to the Holocaust. Will any reasonable person deny that the Holocaust was directed by the Nazi Fascists under the leadership of Adolf Hitler? Similarly, will any intelligent rational person deny that 9/11 was directed by al-Qaida and performed by Fascist Moslem terrorists?