University of Wisconsin lecturer Kevin Barrett again used the UW campus as a platform to express his view that the U.S. government was behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Thursday.
Barrett, for the second time this week, shared the stage with University of Minnesota-Duluth professor James Fetzer, a fellow member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.
Thursday's event, held on the fifth floor of the Humanities building, was sponsored by UW's Undergraduate History Association.
UHA President Eli Persky said his intention in inviting Barrett and Fetzer to the meeting was to put them in a debate against UW political science and history professors. But the plan fell through, he said, because the other professors were unable to attend.
"We contacted more [professors] than we normally would have needed to," Persky said, guessing he had invited "more than half a dozen" faculty members.
"There were lots of previous engagements," UHA Vice President Sandra Brasda said.
In place of the planned debate, Barrett and Fetzer made a presentation and then accepted questions from students in an open discussion about their theory.
Throughout the two-hour appearance, Barrett and Fetzer reiterated their beliefs that the attacks of 9/11 were orchestrated by George W. Bush's administration as a means of furthering political goals, namely war in the Middle East.
Barrett's opening comments focused on the historical context for the group's claims, namely "false flags" throughout United States history, from the beginnings of the Spanish-American War through nearly every major U.S. military conflict since.
Barrett said throughout history, America has taken military action against weaker countries and then blamed the subsequent conflict on the weaker nation. Barrett added that is exactly what the United States is doing in today's conflicts with the Middle East. UHA members cited academic motivations for inviting the two controversial speakers, hoping to focus on the historical nature of the 9/11 attacks.
"We wanted to consider the topic," Persky said. "But we didn't want it to be biased. We didn't want to say it absolutely happened that way."
Barrett also commented on the psychological basis for the 9/11 attacks, focusing on what he perceives to be the technique of coercion employed by the government, similar to that employed by salespeople and interrogators.
"I think, psychologically, the way 9/11 worked was as a shock-and-awe operation," Barrett said. "The key is to shock people from their previous moorings."
Fetzer elaborated on the theories held by Scholars for 9/11 Truth, focusing especially on alleged contradictions to the laws of physics present in the government's official explanation of the attacks. He also claimed gross inaccuracies and inconsistencies throughout the 9/11 Commission Report.