Friday, July 10, 2009

Kevin Barrett

Kevin James Barrett (born February 1959) is a former university lecturer and 9/11 conspiracy theorist.[1] He is a member of the Scholars for 9/11 Truth[2] and is a founding member of the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance (MUJCA), established October 30, 2004 [3] with the stated aim of improving "interfaith dialogue, coexistence, and understanding" in light of the events of 9/11.[4] Barrett first received national attention when he introduced Dr. David Ray Griffin at Griffin's lecture in April 2005, in Madison, Wisconsin to 450 people. The talk was shown on C-Span's Book TV. [5] Barrett became controversial in 2006 when he held a one-semester appointment as an associate lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.[6]

In the fall of 2006, Barrett taught an introductory class called "Islam: Religion and Culture", an undergraduate course for which he had formerly been a teaching assistant since 1996. Before the semester began, he announced his plans to devote a week or two of the sixteen-week class to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attackWar on Terrorism. Controversy erupted when it became known Barrett was planning to discuss conspiracy theories in his lectures.[7] An internal university probe of his performance as a teaching assistant found that "although Mr. Barrett presented a variety of viewpoints, he had not discussed his personal opinions in the classroom" and that the department-approved syllabus, which included a section on the war on terror, had been followed.[8] and the

After leaving the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Barrett operated around Madison as an increasingly vocal activist on 9/11 truth issues. In the 9/11 truth movement, Barrett is known for flamboyant self-promotion, frequently immoderate statements, and his inclusive "big tent" philosophy on 9/11 theories, which some researchers consider irresponsible and harmful to credibility.[weasel words] On October 22, 2007, Barrett disrupted a talk by conservative pundit David Horowitz for several minutes. Before the lecture, dozens of UW students protested Horowitz’s visit, wearing green shirts to encourage unity amidst their cause and chanting “Racist, fascist, anti-gay, right-wing bigot go away.” towards Mr. Horowitz[9] After that, Barrett was met with the “asshole” chant and booed out of the room.[10]

A few months later, Barrett resigned as head of MUJCA.



[edit] Early life

Barrett was born in 1959 to Peter Barrett, an Olympic athlete (sailing: silver medal in Finns in 1964, gold medal in Stars in 1968), one of the founders of North Sails (then and now a world leader in sail-making technology) and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professor in business and accounting.[11] In 1988, says Barrett's book "Truth Jihad," while living in Paris, Barrett hoaxed the French press by posing as a nonexistent Hollywood film director, "Christopher Maudson," for the benefit of some wannabee rock stars. In the early 1990s, Barrett received master's degrees in both English literature and French from San Francisco State University and married a Moroccan-born Muslim woman.[12] He converted to Islam in 1992, having been a former Unitarian.[13][14]

Barrett returned to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995. The United States State Department gave him a Fulbright Scholarship in 1999 to study a year in Morocco. He received a Ph.D. in African languages and literature with a minor in folklore from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004, focusing his dissertation on the topic of Moroccan legend.[6][12] [15] Barrett has taught English, French, Arabic, American Civilization, Humanities, African Literature, Folklore, and Islam at colleges and universities in the San Francisco Bay area, Paris, and Madison, Wisconsin.[13]

[edit] 9/11 Truth

Barrett first drew attention to his views by publishing guest op-eds in the Madison Capital Times, in which he claimed that Muslims had nothing to do with the attacks: "As a Ph.D. Islamologist and Arabist I really hate to say this, but I'll say it anyway: 9/11 had nothing to do with Islam. The war on terror is as phony as the latest Osama bin Laden tape."[16] Barrett has also claimed the 2005 London bombing[1], and the 2004 Madrid bombing, appear to have been committed by U.S. or western military intelligence and not Islamic terrorists.

Following a June 28, 2006 talk radio segment on WTMJ, Barrett's views came to the attention of Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, U.S. Representative Mark Green, and State Representative Stephen L. Nass. After conducting a 10-day review of Barrett's past teaching and plans for the class, UW-Madison Provost Patrick Farrell determined that Barrett was fit to teach. Barrett told the Provost that his course will spend one week examining current issues, such as viewpoints on the war on terror which will be based on the discussion on readings representing a variety of viewpoints.[6]

On July 11, 2006, Barrett appeared on the television show "The O'Reilly Factor". Host Bill O'Reilly said Barrett "would have been gone at Boston University, my alma mater, in a heartbeat. The Chancellor there, John Silber, would have--would have--this guy'd be in the Charles River floating down, you know, toward the harbor." Barrett filed a complaint with the FCC. Barrett has written a largely autobiographical book covering the controversy, entitled "Truth Jihad: My Epic Struggle against the 9/11 Big Lie," published by Progressive Press in early 2007. The book is the only humorous nonfiction work to come out of the 9/11 truth movement. He also edited "9/11 and American Empire" (vol. 2) from Interlink Books, published in Dec. 2006.

Barrett taught the Fall 2006 class he'd been hired for. Comments in students' class evaluation forms were 73% generally favorable, and Provost Farrell said he'd mostly heard positive comments about the class. [17]

In Fall 2006 Kevin Barrett began hosting an internet talk show weekly on Republic Broadcasting Network, titled "Truth Jihad Radio." Twice a week he had another internet talk show on the Genesis Communications Network called "The Dynamic Duo," (hosted on other days of the week by Dr. James Fetzer). Fetzer was by this time becoming controversial in the 9/11 Truth movement because of his conflicts with Dr. Steven Jones, and Barrett's continued loyalty to Fetzer would come to hurt Barrett's prestige in the movement. The topic of both shows is mainly conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11.

Barrett's views on Jews and Zionism came under focus in late 2006 when statements from an email exchange were documented in which he stated, "As a rational person who is not a specialist in the subject of WWII, but who has studied the history of Zionist Big Lies vis-a-vis Palestine, I cannot possibly dismiss the arguments of people like Green, Irving, and even Zundel."[18][19]

Toward the end of the Fall 2006 semester Barrett said he would not teach the following spring due to conflicting plans. [20] He applied to teach "Canterbury Tales" during the Fall 2007 semester, but was not hired. [21] After his old lecturer position went to another applicant and Barrett was not hired for another position, Barrett alleged that he had been discriminated against for his political beliefs. [22]

[edit] Recent History

In April and October 2007, Barrett did a series of speaking engagements in Michigan, Chicago, and Wisconsin with William Rodriguez. The month after this tour, Barrett announced to the press his intention to fly to Morocco to "apprehend accused 9/11 hijacker Waleed al-Shehri." [23] Unable to locate his quarry, Barrett had to content himself with penning dispatches from cafes, and a humorous airport story. Barrett began promoting Captain Eric May and his numerological predictions of upcoming "false flag" (faked) terrorist attacks, none of which ever came to pass. In early August Barrett spoke at a conference in Madison, "The Science of 9/11: What's Controversial, What's Not" that featured the notion that TV reporting of the World Trade Center attacks was faked. [24]

In early October, Barrett started the website " — Confronting the elite and their agents WHERE THEY LIVE" which stated as its mission the publishing of home addresses of evil-doers. [25] Though the website espoused nonviolent principles, Barrett's simultaneous promotion of the "War on War Week," [26] a series of demonstrations that were to feature firecrackers and "V for Vendetta" disguises, led some activists to express concern about the vigilante overtones involved, and after a west-coast 9/11 group voted to deny funding, [27][28] [29] the project flopped. Barrett expressed a fascination with the V for Vendetta movie in an interview on internet radio, adding the claim that apartheid had been ended in South Africa through threats of violence, and stating that political power grows from the barrel of a gun.

Later that fall, Barrett resigned as head of MUJCA.

On May 22, Barrett published confidential email correspondence with the left icon Noam Chomsky, after Chomsky had asked him to keep the emails private and after Barrett had promised he would do so. Barrett's reason for doing this, he said, was because Chomsky had implied that he was a liar and because Chomsky had backed out of an agreement to appear on Barrett's internet radio program. [30]

Barrett introduced architect Richard Gage at Gage's presentation of "9/11: Blueprint for Truth" at the University of Illinois Chicago campus on May 30, 2008.[31]

Barrett's "Truth Jihad" internet radio program on Republic Broadcasting Network was cancelled some time in 2008. As of December the program no longer appears on RBN's schedule [32] and is omitted from RBN's list of archived programs. [33][34] The last available archives are from mid-July, 2008.

"The Dynamic Duo" radio program on Genesis Communications Network ceased to broadcast after the November 21, 2008 show. Barrett's final live broadcast on that show was on November 7. [35]

[edit] Congressional campaign

Barrett announced in May 2008 his plans to run for Congress as a third-party challenger to incumbent Rep. Ron Kind in the November 2008 election. On May 14, 2008 Barrett sent an email to supporters claiming to have received the endorsement of WTDY talk radio show host John "Sly" Sylvester. Questions were immediately raised about this claim, which Barrett was never able to prove. Some said Sly was joking. [36] Also on May 14 Sean Haugh, the Political Director of the National Libertarian Party, asked the Wisconsin Libertarians not to nominate Barrett, and stated that he (Haugh) would "go out of my way to disassociate him from the national LP." [37] Michael Badnarik, Libertarian presidential candidate in 2004, has signed the 9/11 Truth Statement, [38] and Haugh said he had no problem with 9/11 Truthers in the Libertarian party, but Barrett's "calls for mass murder" and "qualified statements of support for the preeminent Holocaust deniers in North America" put Barrett "beyond the pale." [39] Barrett won 59% of the Libertarian vote in the primary September 9. [40] In the general election in November Barrett got 2 percent of the vote. The incumbent got 62 percent. [41]

Wearing a V-for-Vendetta mask, Barrett visited Rep. Kind's office in La Crosse, WI on October 2 to deliver a "pink slip" symbolic of Kind's imminent removal from office in the election November 4. [42] A poll sponsored by the La Crosse Tribune, Wisconsin Public Radio and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and released a couple of weeks later showed Kind could expect 63 percent of the vote and Barrett 3 percent. [43]

Barrett received the endorsements of 9/11 activists Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Carol Brouillet, Dr. David Ray Griffin, and Kevin Ryan in late October. [44] On election day Barrett received 2.3% of the vote. [45]

[edit] Arrested for alleged domestic abuse

According to the Wisconsin State Journal and the Associated Press; Kevin Barrett, 49, was arrested in Madison on Tuesday afternoon September 16, 2008 after police said he violated a Sauk County court order forbidding contact with his family. He reportedly turned himself in and was released from the Dane County Jail after posting $500 cash bail. On Friday September 12, Barrett had been charged with disorderly conduct in Sauk County Circuit Court after being accused of hitting his 13-year-old son at home on the morning of the Sept. 9 3rd District Libertarian primary, which he won. His wife, Fatna Bellouchi, had obtained a temporary restraining order against Barrett. [46]

In October when Barrett appeared in court on the charges, prosecutors filed additional charges alleging that he had violated a restraining order by sending roses to his wife on her birthday. "When roses are outlawed, only outlaws will send roses," Barrett said. [47]

In December Barrett pled not guilty to charges of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and bail jumping. He claims his wife invented the disorderly conduct story as part of a scheme to extort money from him. [48] Barrett's campaign manager, Rolf Lindgren, had earlier declared Ms. Bellouchi's story to be a publicity stunt. [49] [50] [51]

[edit] Quotes

Of Noam Chomsky Barrett wrote: "If he convinces even one person to do something other than work for 9/11 truth, he may as well have personally murdered all 6 billion people on earth."

Of Amy Goodman, Barrett wrote: "Amy, you will one day find yourself on the scaffold, condemned to hang alongside the other Goebbels-style traitors and mass-murder-coverup-conspirators from the corporate media you pretend to criticize...."

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