Kevin Barrett, a University of Wisconsin-Madison lecturer and Sept. 11, 2001 conspiracy theorist, laid out his views on why officials accounts of the terrorist attacks are incomplete during an event Thursday at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh that drew interested listeners and protestors.
Barrett came to UWO as part of an event held by the Campus Greens about Sept. 11, 2001 and academic freedom.
Barrett said in his address that Sept. 11, 2001 was the catalyst for both the war on terror and the on-going war in Iraq, the USAPatriot Act and domestic spying.
"9-11 was the excuse for all this," Barrett said. "It behooves us to make sure this story merits this response."
Throughout Barrett's presentation, and before he even arrived on campus, the College Republicans held a rally to protest Barrett's views and his teaching appointment at Madison.
Barrett's presentation focused on why academia is the place for questions to be raised about what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 because scholars are trained as critical thinkers. He urged students to read the officials 9/11 Commission Report and read books that explain the problems with that report.
Barrett then began laying out his case for why the official account of the Sept. 11 attacks is wrong. Barrett claimed that Sept. 11 was a false flag, or war trigger event.
He offered examples of decisions made before Sept. 11 as evidence for why it must be such an event; he did not offer citations for many of his points.
Barrett also talked about the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7, which was not hit by a plane and appeared to be an intentional demolition. He also talked about the lack of fighter jet scrambles or intercepts for the hijacked planes.
Over the summer, a group of state legislators called for Barrett to be terminated from his part-time teaching position at Madison because of his views about Sept. 11, 2001.
Barrett is one of the members of the Scholars for 9/11 Truth and a founding member of the Muslim Jewish Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth.
Many of those in attendance at the event came to hear Barrett's presentation before making a decision on whether they agreed with him.
"You can't just make a judgment before you are informed," said Sean Michel, a freshman.
Dan Curran, a sophomore, said before the presentation he didn't know what he thought about Barrett's ideas.
"I think it's important he should be able to say what he wants to," Curran said.
The presentation was almost full. Andrew Sabai, student chairman of the Campus Greens said all 160 tickets for the event were given out or sold. Some people were waiting outside the event hoping to get tickets.
Before Barrett spoke, there was a showing of the independent film Loose Change 2, which also claims that a government conspiracy could be responsible for Sept. 11, 2001.
University police and other officials monitored access to the theatre in Reeve Union where Barrett spoke.
One group of students who were standing up with their backs to Barrett during his presentation were asked by university police to either sit down or leave because they were blocking the views of others. The students left.
"I hope I've convinced you by now to look at the events of 9-11 proper," Barrett said. "The key thing here is … my evidence that the official story is not just a little wrong, but extremely wrong."
Bethany K. Warner: (920) 426-6668 or firstname.lastname@example.org.