I finally made the slow-fly list
Tue, 18 Sep 2007 19:37:48
By Kevin Barrett, Mujca.com
What does it take to get on the no-fly list?
I've got all the qualifications and then some.
I'm an Irish Muslim anarchist -that's three strikes against me already.
I think the two worst terrorist groups in the Middle East are the Israeli Defense Forces and their US military proxy-and I do not hesitate to voice that opinion, including under FBI interrogation.
And I devote most of my time and resources to spreading the news that 9/11 was an inside job.
For more than a year, I have been flying all over North America lecturing on 9/11. I usually wear the 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB t-shirt Alex Jones gave me when I go through airport security. I tip the security people in deception dollars, and sometimes give them DVDs. I always make a point of urging the pilots and stewardesses on my flights to check out http://pilotsfor911truth.com
Despite all this, I somehow failed to make the no-fly list, or even the slow-fly list...until now.
Yesterday I flew home from New York, where I had spoken at the conference sponsored by http://ny911truth.org and participated in the ground zero events organized by http://wearechange.org.
At the Newark Airport ticket counter I saw the clerks' eyes widen as they saw me come up on their computer screens. They called their manager over. It took them twenty minutes instead of the usual two to get my baggage checked.
At the security checkpoint, my name was flagged and I was body-searched while they went through every inch of my carry-on bag.
Then while dozing at the gate I was awakened by a slightly gruff voice: ”Are you Kevin Barrett?” I opened my eyes and found myself surrounded by three people, two men and a woman, flashing FBI badges. ” Would you mind coming with us for a few moments?”
At the security room the lead agent said “I've checked out your stuff on the web and saw you on Fox.”
My response: ”So you're just bringing me here to get my autograph, right?” All three of them cracked up.
Then the lead agent pulled himself together. “Is this your?” he said, brandishing a beat-up spiral notebook. I admitted that it was.
“Do you know where we got it?”
“I must have forgotten it on the plane when I got off last Friday.”
“Why is there Arabic writing in it?”
I explained that I had grabbed an old notebook as I left the house with the intention of writing my New York speech on the plane. The old notebook happened to be one I had used during Arabic classes a decade ago.
The lead agent showed me a page of my own Arabic writing in the notebook. “Why is that word circled in red ink?”
I told him that maybe I had made a mistake in grammar or wording, and that either I or my teacher had circled it. I read the sentence aloud and translated it for him: “One day long ago, before the modern age had begun…” The word for modern, asri, was circled with red ink. I admitted I had no idea why. It looked fine to me. Maybe the problem was that the expression 'modern age', al-asr al-asri, was not idiomatic.
The agent ended the Arabic lesson and asked about the other strange stuff in the notebook. I sheepishly remembered that it included some bizarre little cartoons I had drawn, along with a draft of an unfinished play about the death of Vincent Van Gogh, A Murder of Crows. An extract:
ARTAUD: And what is the earth below complaining about under the wings of the splendid crows? Splendor for Van Gogh alone, no doubt, and on the other hand the splendid augury of an evil that can no longer touch him? The sky is low, brooding, purplish shoulders bruised by lighting. The weird gloomy fringe of the void surging up after the flash.
ACTOR: Van Gogh had a lot of doubles-doppelgangers. He had a brother, also named Vincent, who was born exactly one year to the day before he was.
ARTAUD: Yes, but did the brother die exactly one day to the year after Vincent was born? Van Gogh released his crows, black microbes of suicide spleen, a few centimeters from the top and the same at bottom of his canvas.
ACTOR: But Sweetman thinks all this Freudian b/s about his dead brother...
ARTAUD: ...following the black gash of the line where the flapping of their rich feathers threatens with suffocation from on high the re-swirling of an earthly storm.
ACTOR: Is just a cheap romantic legend, built on the idea of the artist-as-martyr, nailed together with psychoanalytic claptrap.
ARTAUD: In every psychiatrist there lurks a revolting and sordid atavism that makes him find an enemy in every artist, in every genius...
It goes on and on like this. I wondered whether the FBI had analyzed my unfinished play for hidden messages. 'A murder of crows' does sound kind of fishy...maybe the crows, those proverbial death-birds, stand for airplanes...and they're jet black, like Osama's new beard...maybe 'Van Gogh' is really Osama, and the 'murder of crows' will be death flights into US targets...the whole play could be one long coded message, left in an airplane magazine holder to be passed on to a courier headed for Osama's cave in Afghanistan. What else could explain these pages and pages of impenetrable drivel? Too bad the FBI doesn't train its agents in literary criticism, they'd find all kinds of great stuff in my unfinished play that even its author never realized was there.
After remarking on the suspicious stuff in the notebook, the agent changed tack. Gruffly, he announced that he was disturbed by some of my internet essays. I explained that I was just doing my patriotic duty to expose the 9/11 coup d'etat and re-establish constitutional rule. He asked whether I flew around the country saying these things. I said yes. He asked if anyone accompanied me on my travels. I said no, I usually travel alone to speaking engagements. He asked me where I had been staying in New York. I told him I stayed with fellow 9/11 activists. He said “We know you were at St. Mark's church.” Then he asked me point-blank: “Are you a terrorist?”
My response: “To answer that, we have to agree first on what terrorism is. Let's define it as 'killing or hurting civilians for political or military purposes.' Well, the biggest terrorist group right now is the US military, and the nastiest one is the Israeli IDF-they kill children by sniper fire as a matter of national policy. (2) Don't forget that a million people have been murdered in Iraq, most of them civilians.”
That wasn't the answer he wanted. “Do you belong to any terrorist group? Have you been to Iraq?”
I explained that I was working against terrorism and had never been to Iraq. I told him I oppose hurting or killing people except in the most clear-cut cases of self-defense. I told him I was working to catch the terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center and murdered 3,000 people, and that he and his FBI colleagues might want to consider joining me in that effort. ”You guys must know this stuff, if you've looked into it at all,” I said. They didn't deny it. In fact, they looked slightly uncomfortable. I urged them to visit http://patriotsquestion911.com and see what some brave former FBI, CIA, NSA and military people had to say about 9/11.
I asked them what they thought of Osama's fancy new beard, and they just sort of shook their heads. I said that as an Arabist-Islamologist, my professional opinion is that 'religious' Muslim men, especially self-styled extremists, are unlikely to dye their beards. As I understand it, dying the hair or the beard is pretty much a no-no in serious Islam, at least for men. Like tattoos, gold jewelry, and silk clothing, hair-dye for men is considered vain, and, in most varieties of Islamic law, either discouraged or prohibited. For this and other reasons, the latest video, like all the others since 2001, is almost certainly bogus.
Hitting my stride, I explained to them that Philip Zelikow, the main author of the preposterous 9/11 Commission Report, is a self-described expert in 'the creation and maintenance of public myths'. I pointed out that Zelikow co-authored a 1998 Foreign Affairs article on the likely political and cultural effects of a massive Pearl Harbor style terrorist event such as the destruction of the World Trade Center. In that article, Zelikow noted that such a mythic event would split time into a before and an after. The after, of course, was the 'whole new world' of post-9/11 terror hysteria. ”That's why we're here in this room right now,” I said. “We're living in Zelikow's 'after'.”
I told them it was ironic that they were interrogating me about the notebook I had used to write a speech entitled 'It's the Constitution, stupid!' I summarized my speech for them: The Constitution is under attack by neocon fascist madmen, and the prime political task of this election season is to save it. All of us who have signed oaths to 'defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic' had better start taking those oaths seriously. I summarized Bush's recent executive orders giving himself absolute power in the event of an emergency that he himself can define in any way he wants. “This country is on the wrong road,” I concluded, “and we've got to turn things around.” I didn't sense all that much disagreement from my audience of FBI agents.
The lead agent asked me about my teaching situation at the University of Wisconsin. I told him that I had been turned down for a tenure-track job at UW-Whitewater, even though I was the only qualified candidate, purely because of my political views. I added that I might be back at UW-Madison in the spring, but that it would be a tough choice for the university, given all the pressure they've been under.
On this issue the FBI team seemed sympathetic. They ended the interview by thanking me and wishing me luck in my academic career.
I, too, wish them good luck in their efforts to prevent terrorism and bring terrorists to justice-starting with the true perpetrators of 9/11.
On the flight home, I reflected that my encounter with the FBI had been a classic 'teachable moment'. Maybe 9/11 truthers should leave Arabic writing in airliner magazine pockets more often. But if you do, you'd better remember to give yourself an extra half hour next time you need to catch a plane.
Pick Up Teaching English as your Career
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I finally made the slow-fly list