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Kevin Barrett Responds to Capital Times story on the 8/2007
Madison Conference
 

Ben Popper’s story on the recent Scholars for 9/11 Truth conference “9/11 Doubters Doubt Each Other Too” (8/7/07) was so distorted and pejorative that if I were a paranoid conspiracy theorist, I would suspect Popper of working for Project Mockingbird. (Google the term to see what I mean.)

Out of almost twenty hours of presentations, Popper focused on the ten seconds during which one presenter, Dave Von Kleist, expressed his fear of government infiltration of the 9/11 truth movement. And out of the many dozens of hours of informal conversation, Popper chose to highlight one in which similar fears were expressed.  

I participated in many conversations throughout the weekend and can testify that all were convivial and concerned the science and politics of 9/11, not fears of government infiltration.  Popper’s aim in offering such a wildly distorted view of the conference can only have been to libel 9/11 truth seekers as “paranoid”—a task that Isthmus already accomplished last summer, to its eternal shame and perhaps its eventual prosecution.  This libel, like the 9/11 blood libel against Muslims, dehumanizes its victims and makes its author, editor and publisher complicit in the holocaust of the 9/11 wars—a holocaust that has already killed more than 650,000 people in Iraq alone, and destroyed the lives of more than 6 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan by making them refugees. 

As the example of Nuremburg suggests, journalists who act as propagandists for war crimes may one day find themselves on the scaffold. You would be well advised to strive for more balanced and accurate coverage in the future. 

Sincerely, 

Kevin Barrett 

 * * * 

http://www.madison.com/tct/news/204531 


THE CAPITAL TIMES 

9/11 doubters doubt each other, too 

Ben Popper

Correspondent for The Capital Times

August 7, 2007 

Dave Von Kleist has the look of a showman. Tall and lean, he wears a leather cowboy hat with his business suit, and from behind the podium at the west side Radisson he commands full attention. "Some folks say if you can't explain what something is, well then shut up about it!" he told a crowd of around 60 people. 

"There are folks out there who will try and discredit you," Von Kleist continued, "and if anybody in this room thinks we don't have infiltrators, well you are probably still waiting for the Easter bunny." 

A nervous murmur ran through the audience. "As a matter of fact I know for certain," said Von Kleist, hardening his voice, "that one of them is in this room right now." 

Von Kleist's comments may seem a little strange, even paranoid, but then again, this is not your typical conference. The Madison event, billed as "The Science and Politics of 9/11: What's Controversial, What's Not," dealt over the weekend with quite a few contested theories surrounding the events of 9/11, although it had a little trouble finding uncontested ones. 9/11 doubters, it seems, have trouble trusting the official theory, and each other. 

The movement has proven to have a wide hold on the general populace. A 2006 Scripps poll found that 36 percent of respondents suspect that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them. While denying the viability of the conspiracy theories, Time magazine declared, "Thirty-six percent adds up to a lot of people. This is not a fringe phenomenon. It is a mainstream political reality." 

This conference was organized by the Scholars for 9/11 Truth, or at least one version of them. The Madison event at the Radisson hotel was orchestrated by James Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer with a Ph.D. in the philosophy of science. 

Six months ago, Fetzer parted ways with Steven Jones, the man Fetzer asked to co-chair the organization, who accused Fetzer of allowing the group to wander into the realm of science fiction. Jones now maintains his own group, which vehemently denies any association with Fetzer's methods. 

"I consider myself to be in the mold of Sherlock Holmes," Fetzer told the crowd. "When you've eliminated the impossible, whatever is left, no matter now improbable, is the truth." 

One of the participants trying to keep things calm was Kevin Barrett, whose inclusion of 9/11 in his curriculum on Islam in a course he taught at UW-Madison caused quite a controversy. Barrett, who no longer teaches the course, took the stage to try and express his concerns about the public image of the movement. 

"I think we need to focus on conviviality in this movement," he declared. "We 're not the miserable paranoids people think." 

"Oh yes we are!" someone shouted back from the crowd, drawing a large laugh. 

While the speakers battled it out on stage, the average attendee was left to bask in the wealth of often-conflicting information. "It's just nice to come to something like this and reconfirm you're not the only one," said Rick Farlow of Columbus, Ohio. "We believe they are out to get us, I think that's the common denominator." 

Saturday's lunch included a free sandwich bar and warning about the dangers of the media. Bill Boshears, host of the radio program SciZone, explained to the crowd that the most important stories would not always make it to the mainstream media. 

"I remember hearing some of my stories reported on TV for the first time," said Boshears. "It stopped me in my tracks, a little program called The X-Files.'" 

Omar Farooq, an elementary school teacher who drove down from Indiana, felt the conference reflected a growing sentiment in America. As a Muslim, Farooq feels especially concerned that the truth of 9/11 be exposed. 

"I'm always looking to plant some seeds," he says, "although if I was trying to convince the average person, I wouldn 't use what I'm learning here." 

Farooq has a point. Saturday focused on many of the more popular theories, beginning with inconsistencies at the site of the Pentagon crash and moving on to a controlled demolition of the towers. By Sunday the conference had covered weather control, weapons from space, and the idea that the planes that struck the towers never existed at all. 

Fetzer, in his closing remarks before lunch, declared the conference a sterling example of open scientific discourse. "I feel as though we 're right back at JFK," said Fetzer. "We're down the rabbit hole again." 

In a hushed meeting in the hallway, Von Kleist and another speaker, Doug Rokke, commiserated as the conference came to a close. "It's just counterproductive," said Von Kleist. "We've only added to the division this weekend." 

Rokke, leaning in, expressed his sympathies. "I know what you mean," he said, "and as for the infiltrators, there isn't one." Glancing around, he continued, "There are two." 



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