Nobody wants to be a Holocaust denier, not even a Holocaust denier like Eric Williams, author of The Puzzle of Auschwitz, and formerly the head of the 9/11 Accountability Conference. Same goes for Kevin Barrett, the controversial 9/11 conspiracy theorist and sometime lecturer in Islamic studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He doesn't want to be tagged as a Holocaust denier either, though some of his statements regarding the Holocaust that have been making the Internet rounds lately are unsettling, especially considering the whole scandal involving Williams allegedly dropping out of the 9/11 Chandler powwow. (I say allegedly because there are indications he may still be active behind the scenes.) The conference is to be held a week from this Friday, and Barrett's scheduled to participate.
As I mentioned in my Saturday post concerning Loose Change director Dylan Avery dropping out of the conference, Avery cites the involvement of Williams and "off-color" statements by Barrett about the Holocaust as being behind his decision. As revealed by ScrewLooseChange, Barrett's Holocaust commentary came in the following e-mail:
Begin forwarded message: From: Khidria
However one feels about Green's perspective, and whatever the facts about WWII, it seems tragic that systematic Zionist Big Lies (we just want a homeland, not our own state; the Arabs started it; it was a land without people for a people without land; the Germans hated Jews for no reason whatsoever, just like the Arabs do now; the Palestinians left voluntarily in 1948 under orders of the Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem; most of the so-called Palestinians were not really from Palestine; the Arabs started the 1967 war; allegations of disproportionate Jewish influence in the American academic, media and financial sectors are false and anti-Semitic; the attack on the Liberty was a mistake; the Iraq war is about democracy or Saddam or US security or Peak Oil or anything except Israel, etc. etc.) have cast legitimate doubt upon ANYTHING Jews say about Jews and their recent history, including the Holocaust. 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. And even if the 6-million-deliberately-murdered-for-purely-ethnic-reasons figure is correct--which it very well may be; I have grown agnostic on that after studying the Big Lies of Zionism-- I would still have to characterize the Holocaust as it is taught in the US as a hideously destructive myth. (A myth is a sacred, worldview-inaugurating story its users believe to be true.)
The upshot: nobody in the debate should be boycotted or vilified; nobody should be arrested for expressing honestly-held opinions; all voices should be heard; and the destructive myths and mind-numbing censorship imposed by Zionism must be swept clean so an honest assessment of history can emerge--at which point the Holocaust revisionists may very well be proven incorrect. And even if they are, they obviously should not be harassed or vilified, much less jailed!!In the meantime, voices like Green and AFPN should be heard and subjected to rational criticism, not vilified or silenced. And the use of state power to enforce Holocaust Fundamentalism must end!
Note the words in bold, which should either make you think, "WTF!" or "Deja vu all over again." This e-mail was first published on the Web site Oilempire.us, apparently by Mark Robinowitz, with whom Barrett was carrying out a heated e-mail exchange. I didn't want to republish these comments myself until I had a chance to speak with Barrett, which I did over the weekend. After much back and forth, he finally copped to writing the e-mail, but he objected to being labeled a Holocaust denier, saying that the missive was written during a vigorous debate, and that he does not stand behind what's said in it.
"I think I did write it, as 2 things actually," explained Barrett. "It was an attempt to ventriloquate (sic) the Arab-Muslim position in the face of this idiot. I was really trying to pull his chain because he's been pulling mine. Basically the same way you would disallow angry words aimed at pulling somebody's chain for getting an effect, I guess I would do that with these too. There are several parts of that that simply don't work for me as a statement of how I feel personally."
He continued, pointing out that as a Muslim himself, he has worked for Jewish-Muslim dialogue, and that he accepts the Holocaust tale as told by the West. He also defended the use of the word "myth," stating that he was using the word in a broad, academic sort of way, a myth as a "sacred story" mentioned above.
I replied that I found the use of the term "myth" for the Holocaust, even in the rarefied air of academia, to be particularly repugnant, a word that devalues the horror of 6 million dead. I mean, maybe a roomful of wide-eyed 19-year-olds will buy that bullshit, but don't try to sell it to me, pallie. Barrett accepted that criticism gracefully, and asked me not to judge him based on this one e-mail.
"What people write in personal e-mails to other people when they're involved in polemical chain pulling is hardly representative of how they think," he insisted. "Private conversations and private e-mails. You should probably treat me with this one the way you'd like to be treated yourself."
Maybe, 'cept that I wouldn't be caught dead espousing this tripe any more than I'd seriously argue that the 9/11 conspiracy theorists are correct, the moon is made of green cheese, or that Anna Nicole Smith was Bigfoot's love slave (though Howard K. Stern could have a really hairy bod for all I know). I think I could understand something said or written in jest, an ironic, un-PC observation. But Barrett dwells in a realm where ideas and words are nearly as powerful as handguns, and his statements were not meant as humorous. Was this an e-mail he regretted the morning after? Or is it an e-mail he only regrets after it was brought to light?
All this talk of the "Zionist Big Lies" veers a little to close to The Protocols of the Order of Zion, if you get my drift. And this need for conspiracy where more rational explanations are available is what causes me to regard the 9/11 "troofers" like Barrett as howling moonbats. The parallel between Holocaust denial and 9/11 denial is difficult to ignore. The two camps share a very, very similar m.o.: They pick and choose the evidence that suits them. A gap in their knowledge is explained by cabals and hidden hands. Lies are readily repeated. When these prevarications are disproved, the debunkers themselves become suspect, and the falsehoods continue to be repeated. It takes a real expert in their canards, someone who has devoted him or herself to the task, to expose them, though common sense can often defeat them as well.
Take the lie that the Pentagon was not hit by Flight 77, that it was hit by a missile or a smaller drone plane. When I asked Barrett about the Pentagon, I got a reply I've heard before -- that he wasn't really concerned with the Pentagon. He was concerned with the WTC. Uh, OK, but wasn't it all part of the same attack, even if you swallow Barrett's b.s. that the 19 highjackers had nothing t0 do with the attacks on 9/11? What about all the eyewitnesses who saw a plane hit the Pentagon? Their testimony is dismissed. What about the remains of those present on the plane identified by DNA? Well, there's something shady about the way the evidence was handled, and so on.
Similarly, Holocaust deniers are not very interested in the testimony of eyewitnesses. The evidence that contradicts the deniers is ignored. Even photographs, showing brutality and inhumanity on a scale unimaginable are called into question. Is that really a Jew being shot? Are those piles of dead bodies? They must've died of typhus. Anne Frank's diary? An obvious forgery. Etc., etc. No mendacity is too great. They have no shame.
Barrett is part of a pattern. He states the outrageous and is rewarded with media attention. The opportunism is palpable. A middling academic who otherwise would've made no mark -- he rattles off bizarre claims and becomes a cause celebre. In the petri dish of 9/11 denial, his fungus grows free. People pay attention to him. Conferences like the one in Chandler become a way of shilling for a book, or just name recognition.
The actions of the 9/11 deniers are grotesque, disgusting: profiting from the half-truths and outright fantasies in which they deal. The profit is not always monetary. Sometimes it's just the minor fame or infamy they crave. "We're the real patriots," Kent Knudson told me once. They validate their egos on a pile of 3000 bodies. Just as the Holocaust deniers validate theirs on backs of 6 million dead.
I'll leave you with this quote from Popular Mechanics' Debunking 9/11 Myths. Of course, Popular Mechanics is part of the conspiracy as far as 9/11 deniers are concerned. But a quote like this one makes the 9/11 "troofers" seem especially self-serving and despicable:
Structural engineer Allyn E. Kilsheimer was one of those first responders [to the Pentagon crash]. His reaction to doubters like Meyssan is visceral. "It was absolutely a plane, and I'll tell you why," says Kilsheimer, CEO of KCE Structural Engineers in Washington, D.C. "I saw the marks of the plane wing on the face of the stone on one side of the building. I picked up parts of the plane with the airline markings on them. I held in my hand the tail section of the plane, and I stood on a pile of debris that we later discovered contained the black box...I held parts of uniforms from crew members in my hands, including body parts. Okay?"
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.