Monday, November 20, 2006
Wisconsin academic: 9/11 report a fraud
When I first said "hello" to Kevin Barrett, I was somewhat taken aback. The tall, bearded lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was seeing students in his office and struck me as soft-spoken, almost laid-back. He just didn't "seem" controversial.

But there is no doubt he has attracted a fair amount of controversy. Sixty-one Wisconsin legislators have said he should stop teaching. So has the governor. The university has received more than one thousand emails from alumni, many saying they'll stop donating unless Kevin Barrett goes.

Barrett belongs to a small but vocal group of academics who are writing and publishing ideas which charge the U.S. government played a role in the 9/11 attacks. He argues that members of the Bush administration knew about the attacks ahead of time, and at the very least, allowed them to occur. The purpose -- to give the United States an excuse to go to war, or as he has written, " found a new imperial 1000-year Reich like the ones the Nazis dreamed of."

"It's now very clear," he told me. "The official 9/11 report is a complete fraud." Barrett says a close examination of the twin towers falling shows puffs of smoke, a sign the buildings were pre-planted with explosives, and the collapse of the towers was a controlled demolition.

"It's offensive, not only to America, but offensive to the victims of 9/11," said Scott Suder, one of the Wisconsin legislators calling for Barrett's ouster.

Somewhat to my surprise, I learned that Barrett wasn't bringing a whole lot of his own conspiracy ideas into his lectures. His semester-long course -- "Islam, Religion and Culture" -- spends a week on conspracy theories about 9/11, but Barrett said he doesn't introduce any of his own written work. He said he cites other academicians with similar ideas, such as Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed of the University of Sussex, Brighton, in the United Kingdom.

Students I spoke to were skeptical about what Barrett believes, but felt the controversy has been overblown. Sophomore Aaron Zwicker told me, "It's scary we could lose a professor like Professor Barrett, who I consider to be one of my best lecturers right now, because of stuff he hasn't realy talked about that much in class."

University officials we spoke to clearly wish this story would go away, but they have stood behind Barrett, saying that he's not teaching a political ideology and that feedback on his course has been positive.

While university officials are standing for academic freedom and independence, the political tension shows few signs of dissipating. Barrett, who holds a temporary appointment at the school, told me he plans to re-apply to teach similar classes in the future.

"I hope to be back in the fall, and as Douglas McArthur said, 'I shall return,'" Barrett said with a smile.
Posted By Keith Oppenheim, CNN Correspondent: 2:56 PM ET
Remembering the McCarthy hearings, the Kennedy assassination and its sealed findings, Watergate, Iran-Contra, Savings and Loan Scandal, the War on Drugs, the aluminum tubes, Curve Ball, Chalabi, Dubai Ports deal, Halliburton-KBR, Abramoff, DeLay, Lay, Foley, Judith Miller and a never-ending list of my governments lies and subversion of the press including the 'warping of education', I say this guy has as much credibility as anyone else.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista,ar : 3:35 PM ET
Hi Keith~
I think we have all heard this theory that our government was somehow involved in the 9/11 attacks so the U.S. would have an excuse to go to war. Personally, I would love to read or hear Barrett's evidence. I shutter to think that our government would be involved in such an attack that killed so many Americans. If indeed our government was involved it is imperative that we have that information and not be in denial. Bring it on! I am stil stratching my head as to why the focus of war was slyly shifted from Osama in Afghanistan to Saddam in Iraq. Inquiring minds want to know! I am anxious to see the interview and learn more about Barrett's theory. Thanks so much.~
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 3:49 PM ET
"He argues that members of the Bush administration knew about the attacks ahead of time, and at the very least, allowed them to occur. The purpose -- to give the United States an excuse to go to war, or as he has written, " found a new imperial 1000-year Reich like the ones the Nazis dreamed of.""

Pearl Harbour anyone?

It's de ja vu all over again.
Posted By Anonymous Em, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 3:57 PM ET
His ideas are a bit extreme, but isn't that what free speech is all about? It shows our country has independent thinkers, that we don't just accept anything that's shown on TV or printed in the paper. Free speech (if the person exercising it has proper motivation) keeps people honest, helps to maintain checks and balances, and stimulates progress in the free world. The recipient of the information can make up their own mind as to whether to accept or reject the information.
Posted By Anonymous Lilibeth, Edmonds, WA : 4:12 PM ET
This story has echos of Pearl Harbor in it. Back then, US intelligence had broken the Japanese secret code six months prior, but yet, no one saw the attack coming. The radar station on the north end of Oahu saw the incoming attack formation. The radar officer (who just recently passed away) was told 'to shut up, you don't know what you're seeing' by a superior officer. Lastly, it's no secret the US war machine was already in high gear producing arms prior to the attack. Washington knew war was coming, but the general public was against it. An attack is the only way to change the public's mind...

So the question is, why did our modern day, multi-billion dollar funded intelligence services fail to see 100% of this? Or did they know something was up?
Posted By Anonymous Rick Cavaretti, Simi Valley CA : 4:24 PM ET
He first needs to read up on the fundamentals of physics and demolition. Sure, there were "puffs" of smoke in the collapsing towers, but that was caused by the cascading effect of floor after floor falling upon each other, blowing out windows, and forcing air, debris, and smoke through the open windows. Nothing else, nothing sinister. These attacks were planned and carried out by a group bent on hitting the U.S. from within and they succeeded. In a tactical sense, it was a well carried out, if not cowardly, plan. Stop with the conspiracies already. You shame the memories of those who gave their lives.

Bruce Stratton

PS Oswald acted alone. Sirhan Sirhan did it. There are no UFOs and bigfoot is a guy dressed in a hairy suit. Haven't we got enough to worry about?
Posted By Anonymous Bruce Stratton, McKinney, Texas : 4:35 PM ET
Note to all legislators and officials and private citizens raging for Barrett's firing:
There are plenty of places you can go and live where ideas and opinions contrary to the majority are never allowed to be expressed and people are removed from their jobs for expressing them.
These places have names like North Korea, Iran, and China.
Interested in moving there?
You would all fit right in.
Posted By Anonymous Danny Casolaro, Martinsburg, VA : 4:44 PM ET
I first heard about Prof. Barrett 6 months ago and decided to read some of the 9/11 theories that he, and others he quotes, are putting out there.

Interesting stuff, but so are Alien technology locked away at Area 51, Spontaneous Combustion and the DaVinci Code. All seem plausible while immersed in them but once you're back in the light of day any thoughtful person begins to see the disconnects and how improbable these theroies really are.

It is easy to get caught up in circular truths ie; "Demolition charges being set off inside the tower would show puffs of smoke shooting out the windows and here is a picture of puffs of smoke shooting out of the windows". This type of reasoning has always been used by conspiracy theorists. Very entertaining but as usual missing the primary components that prove the theories; testimony from the actual conspirators themselves, Lord knows to carry off the 9/11 deal would have required 100's of people, tons of equipment and paperwork up the wazoo. Surely someone or something would have blown the whistle by now.

My rule of thumb on conspiracy theories is that if it takes more than an hour to explain and ten minutes to rebut then it's probably a crap theory, but then that's just my theory.

Sorry professor Barrett, you can call it Chili but without the sauce it's just beans.

By the way professor, great self-promotion. Your publishing and paid appearance schedule should be guaranteed for years to come.
Posted By Anonymous Lou M., Lake Forest, Il : 4:44 PM ET
I see no wrong doing here as long he he is teaching this as a theory,..not as fact. The FACT is that noone really knows. However, knowing that the average young liberal arts student is very impressionable and often takes his or her professor's words as gospel, there is danger here. I would like to sit in on one of his classes and see how he responds to opposing view points. If he reacts to students who oppose his theory with rancor or condescending clap-trap,..then he must be removed from academia.
Posted By Anonymous Kyle McCreary, Odenton, MD : 4:48 PM ET
A very large part of Kevin Barrett's conspiracy theory involves scientific principles. He parrots statements about how it was impossible for the twin towers to collapse the way they did without controlled demolition. The theories get completely ludicrous when they say things like the Pentago was hit by a cruise missile. Why not have a public forum where both sides of the issue can have their views aired?
Posted By Anonymous Dave Dill, Madison, WI : 4:51 PM ET
Wisconsin politicians ought to leave Barrett alone. He's what academic freedom and freedom of speech are -- and should be -- all about. For elected state officials to find him "offensive" is one thing. For them to try to shut him up is another.
Posted By Anonymous Carol, Rio Rancho, NM : 4:52 PM ET
15 minutes of research on the web would show all the "inquiring minds" why this type of 9/11 conspiracy theory crud is just that Crud. These people should be lumped in with the flat earthers and people who think that the moon landings were faked.Or that the Holocaust never happened. There is a large group of left wing individuals that see conspircay and black helicopters everywhere. Why? Because they simply can not accept the fact that people hate us that badly.
I would imainge if these people were serioulsy investigated you'd find they have a history of bucking the "establishment" and fighting "the man", I would put money on the fact they all have problems with "authority figures". Most of them were probably lied to by adults as children and have never goten over it. So now they see conspiracy's where none exist. Because "They are all in it together."
The idea that the war was Slickly changed from Osama bin laden to Saddam in Iraq, is so ridiculous, that I can't even begin to comment on it. Maybe if those "Inquiring minds" spent less time reading shopping mart Tabloids" and more time doing legitimate research, They would know already that there exists not ONE SCRAP of evidence to support any of thier ludicrous claims, and there are already a host of Reliable websites dedicated to debunking the spurious claims of these "conspiracy theorists".

A thousand year reich? Please. Bush will be out of power in two years. His party has already lost the mid term elections.
"Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed of the University of Sussex, Brighton, in the United Kingdom.", thinks its a conspiracy? Really? I'm sure that AHMED is comletely neutral when it comes to the US.
The bottom line is simple, these people will never believe the truth of what happened because they hate thier country and they hate their goverment. No matter how much real evidence is piled up in front of them from whatever source they will always claim that the information was doctored, one delusion feeds on another. Anyone who sides with the facts is either part of the conspiracy or they "were goten too." As long as he dosn't pose a threat to anyones safety let him preach his nonsense. No one with half a brain over the age of thirty, who dosn't see UFO's and Big foot on a regular basis is really listening to them anyway.
Posted By Anonymous Chris Keith Buffalo New york : 5:00 PM ET
To me it comes down to one of two choices in regards to 9/11: either the US government did indeed know and chose to let it happen to advance a specific agenda OR (and I think more likely) there was so much posturing for position within certain areas of the intelligence community and the White House that pertinent facts were not communicated because someone would trump someone else's ace. In the know or incompetent.Take your choice. Both are scary. I'm just not sure which one is more so.
Posted By Anonymous Maryann Mercer, Champaign Illinois : 5:02 PM ET
This conspiracy-mongering idiocy is just that, whether it's about 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. Some of the made-up "facts" quoted above have been discredited so many times it's getting to be hilarious.
Posted By Anonymous Mark C, Morehead City NC : 5:02 PM ET
There are countless numbers of theories on just about everything. If I had a problem with everything I find offensive, I imagine it would be hard to function in everyday life.
It seems like this guy is exercising his freedom of speech. Aren't we allowed to do that? People have issues when they are prompted to think about things they'd rather not think about. Most people also like to cut and paste the First Amendment when it behoves them. I don't know if this theory is true or not but I don't think we need a witch hunt, either.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie Darby, Denham Springs, LA : 5:13 PM ET
As a university student, I think it's absolutely important to have professors and scholars within our classrooms with different ideas. The important fact and amazing thing about university education is our access to such a wide variety of information. Professors like Barrett are vital to our education system because they teach us to think with different perspectives and teach us that it is okay to challenge beliefs or the status quo! And governments can clearly (example: look at history books!) do anything they please and have been proven to not be compassionate on a range of issues.

As for his "controversial" teaching, people need to get over it and read a REAL world history book and then talk about controversial! If disgusting terrorist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan can exist within this country, a professor should be able to teach another perspective on September 11, 2001!
Posted By Anonymous deepa, Buffalo, NY : 5:13 PM ET
Mr. Bruce Stratton:

The only way to "shame" peoples memories is by saying you will go to war to "honor" their death and taking "revenge" by murdering thousands of people and then also, to try to act like God is on your side and has made you the "decider" !!

That is shaming!

A professor teaching a different perspective and challenging students' mind - now that is education my friend!
Posted By Anonymous dee, Buffalo, NY : 5:19 PM ET
I think this is so stupid and shouldn't even be brought up. It can cause so much more damage then it already has.
Posted By Anonymous John, Plant City, Fl : 5:25 PM ET
A similar situation happened to a 20-year physics professor at Brigham Young University in Utah..and that professors ideas were not nearly as controversial. His theory is that planes alone did not bring down the towers. He was concerned no other theories were examined and felt it was possible that explosives had been pre-positioned in the towers for a greater impact. This theory became so controversial that he was placed on administrative leave and has since decided to retire. I am very concerned that college-level educators are being censored for asking their students to consider the possibilities. Prior to attending college, I was educated in a small, narrow-minded community. I only learned to examine situations, think critically, and develop my own worldview when I attended college and was exposed to wonderful innovative professors. Even then, those professors faced opposition when they asked us to consider the possibilities. One of the most controversial professors I had was actually asking for a Women's Study program..what a scandal!! Can you imagine a college opposing a women's study program today? Were it not for professors who challenged me to think for myself, I would still be following along like a blind little sheep. Whether or not I think Professor Barrett's theory holds water, I firmly believe we should keep this type of censorship out of the classroom (especially at the collegiate level). Good luck Mr. Barrett, I hope you fair better than Professor Jones did in Utah.
Posted By Anonymous Em Brown, Salt Lake City, Utah : 5:25 PM ET
I don't care if this clown continues to teach.

But if I was a student at that school, I wouldn't sign up for his classes.

If his thinking is that stupid, just imagine how bad his teaching is.
Posted By Anonymous James, Chicago, IL : 5:28 PM ET
I don't care if this clown continues to teach.

But if I was a student at that school, I wouldn't sign up for his classes.

If his thinking is that stupid, just imagine how bad his teaching is.
Posted By Anonymous James, Chicago, IL : 5:28 PM ET
Well then I guess it is ok for him to teach that the holocaust never happened. That would be a different perspective and you would love that too, I guess.
Posted By Anonymous Bubba, Bloomington IL : 5:30 PM ET
Asking questions does not shame anyone, burying your head in the sand does. To have these people die in vain, without the thought to delve into the circumstances is more than shame, it is a slap in the face.

I applaud the University for not backing down! The pure definition of a University is the free and open exchange of ideas. I for one would not want anything less for the young men and women who are America's future. I'm sorry that I could not see Professor Barrett speak when he was at Oshkosh.

Conspiracy theory or not, our government has done some pretty "out there" things to it's people. Infecting soldiers with diseases, using LSD to find out effects, and who knows what else. All I can say is grow up. It's a cruel and ugly world, and sometimes even the good guys do some pretty ugly things, for a "good" cause. Each one more urgent and deserving than the last.
Posted By Anonymous Renae, Appleton, WI : 5:31 PM ET
Hey Dee,

"A professor teaching a different perspective and challenging students' mind - now that is education my friend!"

Teaching fact is for an education. Teaching this fiction is like teaching the holocaust never happened.
Posted By Anonymous Martha, Evansville IN : 5:33 PM ET
hey martha,

"Teaching this fiction"?! There is no evidence that concludes the theories of the government on 9/11 is 100% completely true, so, NO, this is not fiction, it could very well be, factual. And he has a right to teach it.

And there are many holocausts throughout history, including now unfortunately, that are being treated like they never happened and are not happening...

And yes, teaching a different perspective and alternative theories is education!
Posted By Anonymous deepa, Buffalo, NY : 5:54 PM ET
If there was professor who said "slavery was good thing" or suggested women "should obey their husbands without question", I suspect they would not be allowed to remain on the faculty. Why is this America-hating kook given a pass. He is free to believe what he wants but he doesn't deserve a taxpayer funded platform.
Posted By Anonymous Rob Davis, Washington, DC : 5:54 PM ET
Everyone dies in vain... or maybe no one does. Either way, nothing said after they die is going to change it.

Wanting to bring troops home doesn't mean we don't support them. Wanting the war to end doesn't mean we are unAmerican. This teacher is expounding someone's theory. If others are so stupid they think it is fact, they are in the wrong, not the teacher.

Since when do we sack people from their jobs because we disagree with them? This is one pathetic topic.
Posted By Anonymous Margaret, Thousand Oaks CA : 5:57 PM ET
I have read and believed a lot of negative things about the Bush Aministration but this is going too far. The mistakes made by Mr. Bush are one thing but this is an insult to the country. It would mean thousands were involved in a cover-up and I refuse to believe that.
This professor really should be fired for even putting such an idea in the minds of his students.
Posted By Anonymous Bev Ontario Canada : 6:09 PM ET
"He first needs to read up on the fundamentals of physics and demolition.

You might want to look up the definition of resistance, which is exactly what the floor above would have encountered as soon as it hit the floor below. The cascading "effect of floor after floor falling upon each other" that you describe is physically impossible when you consider they took no more than 15 seconds to collapse. These were once among the tallest buildings the world has ever seen, and they perfectly collapsed in less than 15 seconds after burning for less than an hour (WTC 2). This just isn't possible by the laws of physics, and it defies basic common sense.

Based on this, I'm fairly sure the professor has at least grasped basic concepts of high school physics.
Posted By Anonymous John Campbell, Montreal, Canada : 12:31 AM ET
Why doesn't CNN investigate, consider and present some of Barrett's evidence instead of covering Barrett himself? This is not about Barrett, or Stephen Jones, or David Ray Griffen, or Charlie Sheen. This is about what really happened on September 11, 2001. CNN should run its own investigation and not simply categorize the brilliant and brave people struggling to bring truth to the masses via the Internet as "controversial" and "offensive". CNN misses the point completely. Perhaps by design. Shame on you. You are part of the problem.
Posted By Anonymous Kenneth F. Eichler New Rochelle, NY : 1:31 AM ET
I think the critics of what Professor Barrett has said should investigate this matter for themselves. A good start is one of the three books on 9/11 by Professor David Ray Griffin. There are several good books, and also free movies on the Internet to show the evidence that 9/11 has been covered up and there is a real need for a new, independent, thorough investigation.
Posted By Anonymous J. Schwartz, San Francisco, CA : 1:41 AM ET
Explain the streams of yellow-orange molten metal in the wreckage of the towers and Building 7 if explosives weren't used.
Posted By Anonymous Jeremy Oakland, CA : 1:43 AM ET
As a political science major and avid follower of all types of media, I am stuned that this topic has not been #1 on America's media agenda. I was so compelled that I even traveled to New York City on the fifth anniversary of the attacks to hear numerous journalists speak (including Barrett), as well as a sickened firefighter gasping for breath through a respirator (he trusted the EPA report), who demanded a reinvestigation of 9/11. What I witnessed was a group, speaking out in the mode that CIA hero Ray McGovern already has, effectively addressing the media blackout and suggesting conclusive government complicity and negligence beind 9/11 with the support of a brilliant panel.

There is a reason why NORAD did not follow standard procedure and scramble jets in time, why there were government war games simultaneously taking place on that day, why the hijackers trained on US miliary bases, why a 47 story tower (WTC 7) collapsed allegedly after small fires (even though landlord Silverstein says in a PBS documentary it was 'pulled' with explosives); And why heroic janitor William Rodrigues, praised by President Bush as a national hero, makes claims of odd activity in the towers that day...and blames the government. When the firefighters and families get involved, you know that somethoing is up.

Even in the hot, new James Bond movie, the insider trading on 9/11 was mentioned (and it really happened!) Please, please do the reserch on 9/11, and you will be horrified with what you find. Censoring speakers like Kevin Barrett will do nothing for America, but rather restrain a powerful American movement from true justice.
Posted By Anonymous John B., Madison, NJ : 2:27 AM ET
- 9/11

- Afganistan

- Iraq

Now that the Republicans are sitting in the Minority with their faces in their hands, I just got one question:

Was it worth it?

Was it worth our Sons and Daughters lives?

Was it worth all of our Tax Dollars waisted?

All we ask for is good Government.

That's all.

Just good Government.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Katy, TX : 2:31 AM ET
As the great journalist Izzy Stone once said, "Governments lie." The fact that there are so many blatantly obvious oddities around 911 and its aftermath puts the onus of responsibility on the government, not the truth seekers like Barrett. For example, as far as I know, the government has never presented any evidence that Osama bin Ladin and Al Queda members actually carried out 911, but they are constantly blamed for it in the media. This was decided by the major media the day after 911! And still no evidence! Why were all the materials from the twin towers shipped away after the clean up? In a normal arson case there are teams of investigators to go through the rubble to find the cause. In this case the NIST report relies on computer modeling to speculate why the towers collapsed. We need an honest investigation of the facts, please.
Posted By Anonymous Richard Wilcox, Tokyo, Japan : 4:51 AM ET
Any sane rational and patriotic American who has read ANYTHING about 9-11 has long ago come to the conclusion that the Commission Report is a fraud of monstrous proportions. That Bush and his gang of criminal traitors is involved seems indisputable, but to waht extent will not be known until a Democratic investigation, rather than a Republican coverup, has neen initiated. It is little surprise that the fascists who have wanted to exploit 9-11 to create a GOP-Reich want to silence those who seek the truth, but eventually this conspricacy will be "outed." I have nothing but praise for the many academics who have the courage to stand up to the fascist state. God belss America and down with Bushian Tyranny!
Posted By Anonymous Hardy Campbell, Houston, TX : 8:19 AM ET
I don't think that our Gov't carried out 9/11 and I think people get caught up in this stuff to make a buck, however, there are serious legitimet questions that need to get answered and there are serious people who have questioned the veracity of the 9/11 commision report, inlcuding members of the commission itself. The Longer the government goes without answering serious anomalies from that day in an open and transparent way the more anger will build. I think Prof. Barret is correct in bringing this up in the context of his class due to the fact 90% or so of the Arab community believe 9/11 was an Inside Job, that statistic is remarkable, getting into the mind set of that thinking will help students understand the environment inwhich Arab people are in. I think he (Barret) should be commended for exercising our democracy to its fullest extent. Our founding fathers would be proud. Let the Man Teach, don't give in to majority rule or big money influences, this is America!!
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Medford NJ : 9:14 AM ET
Why are Americans so obsessed with large scale conspiracy theories? They are too complicated to carry out, too likely to get caught, have large traceable paper trails and someone is bound to talk.

My rule is simple. If it can be conspiracy or incompetence, pick incompetence every time. Anyone who works in a large corporation or organization knows how hard it is to get people to work together, but how easy it is to have incompetence.
Posted By Anonymous DAve Morristown, NJ : 9:26 AM ET
It has long been argued that the primary reason the U.S. won World War II was because our soldiers, by their upbringings, were more apt to think for themselves and thus able to adjust to situations without waiting to be told what to do.

Controversial ideas have always threatened more fundamentally-minded peoples' notion of how the world functions. Yet, most of our greatest thinkers throughout history have been shunned or killed by their contemporaries and revered by their descendents. We are no different.

I used to believe that with billions of peoples' eyes trained on such an event it would be impossible to fake anything, but then I stumbled on another seemingly ludicrous conspiracy: that the 2004 U.S. presidential election was rigged and stolen. The evidence is overwhelming, even if public opinion is not.

I say let the free thinkers debate. At worst, it demonstrates that we are humble enough to know we may not have all the answers wrapped up in a 30 second soundbite.
Posted By Anonymous Ian Leahy, Marquette, Michigan : 9:27 AM ET
I always find it interesting when those who have no professional knowledge or skills in something attempt to provide some sort of theory on how something happened. If the professor in this case were a structural engineer or had actual first hand knowledge of demolition operations I'd be more willing to listen. However, what he has is what someone's opinion, an opinion which fit what he was looking for, of what happened. The true danger here is the corruption of academia into that which no longer seeks out all information to disprove a hypothesis, but rather academia which only finds information which supports their hypothesis.
Posted By Anonymous Geoff, Grandview Ohio : 9:55 AM ET
I can only think that if this prof isn't teaching his beliefs to be rock solid facts, then what exactly is he doing wrong?

He has a set of beliefs about an issue, he isn't failing students for disagreeing and he doesn't seem to be using his authority in a classroom to manipulate his students. In my eyes, this is nothing different than believing the Warren Commission is BS.
Posted By Anonymous Mimi, London Ontario : 10:00 AM ET
I don't think it was a conspiracy. Does anyone really think Bush could carry on such an elaborate plan? Maybe others, but no, I don't see it. As for Barrett, he's in title to his opinion, so are we. I don't think he should loose his job. Maybe if he was teaching primary school or highschool. But not at college level. Students are old enough to make up their own opinions. Sure, some might be impressionable, but come on! I studied in political sciences. I had some weird teachers( the weirdest as been on the front scene of our political life for years now). We took what we needed, the rest, we were old enough to take it or leave it. Freedom of speech guys. It's a great thing and of course we will not agree with everybody. But to censure someone for a theory that he has?? Grow up!!

Joanne Ranzell
Laval Quebec
Posted By Anonymous Joanne Ranzell Laval Quebec : 10:47 AM ET
This isn't some isolated conspiracy theory, this is a common theory in the U.S. Those building were designed to withstand the impact of a 707.

Witnesses heard the explosions, then the buildings fell. Firemen, policemen, reporters heard the explosives, but the media doesn't report it.

Building 7 was obviously destroyed by demolition. The 9/11 report offers no reasons why it fell perfectly into it's own footprint.

If you don't know, demolition by explosives is illegal on long island. Why not just blow'm up and make an insurance claim worth 2x the building's values.

The official report and the scientific facts don't necessarily go together. The World Trade Center buildings fell in 7 seconds...a near free fall. ....the supports were cut.

Fire burned under the rubble for over 3 months...thermite used to cut beams.

The evidence goes on and on. The real question isn't how it was done, it's who did it, and the government isn't looking for the real culprits.
Posted By Anonymous Brian, Omaha, NE : 10:53 AM ET dare this guy even suggest that our beloved President Bush would have either sat by and let something like this happen or actively seek it out. Next thing this guy will start spouting is the Big Bang Theory and the Theory of Evolution!

It is amazing that in this so-called information age, people can be so afraid of ideas contrary to their own. So what if this guy believes that our government may have had some sort of role in the 9/11 attacks? It says right in the article:

"Somewhat to my surprise, I learned that Barrett wasn't bringing a whole lot of his own conspiracy ideas into his lectures. His semester-long course -- "Islam, Religion and Culture" -- spends a week on conspracy theories about 9/11, but Barrett said he doesn't introduce any of his own written work. He said he cites other academicians with similar ideas, such as Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed of the University of Sussex, Brighton, in the United Kingdom."

One of the students interviewed calls the Professor one of his best lecturers. Is exposing people to new and different ideas than the "norm" a bad thing? Equating Barrett's theories with Holocaust nay-sayers and slavery apologists is silly. One does not lead to another. In fact, Trent Lott, one of the highest-profile segregationalist has now been elected to serve as Senate Minority Whip.
If I had to choose between Professor Barrett and Senator Lott to teach my children, I would choose the Professor every time in a heartbeat.

Take off the rose-colored, "everyone hates us because we are wonderful" glasses America. The world is a much more complex place than is painted by the Bush adminstration and Fox News.
Posted By Anonymous Todd Dover,NH : 10:59 AM ET
WOW, glad to hear that those calling for his removal, including the gov?, are such huge fans of the First Amendment. Especially odd given the reputation of UW/Madison.

Glad to hear that everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if seemingly a bit goofy!
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Arlington Heights, IL : 11:00 AM ET
Why would the U.S. Govt go to the extreme of pulling off a high-profile crime, live on TV, that would involve hundreds of accomplices, require the cooperation of the CIA, FBI, DOD, Air Force, Air Traffic Control, WTC Security, Demo Teams, NYPD, NYFD, etc, and require them all to keep quiet? I think the CIA would have been smart enough just to plant a couple WMD's in the Iraqi desert.
Posted By Anonymous Tim Schmidt, Newbury Park, CA : 11:10 AM ET
My husband was on his way to work in Georgetown, and SAW the plane hit the Pentagon. So much for the missile theory. And if that theory isn't true, how many of the other "theories" aren't true, either?
Posted By Anonymous JDSNE, Springfield, VA : 11:13 AM ET
A great man once said "while I may not agree with what you're saying sir, I will fight to the death for your right to say it." That's what this country is about. While I can't believe the teachings of this man, no one is being forced to take this class. Let him teach!!!
Posted By Anonymous Jake, Hartford CT : 11:28 AM ET
Simple physics: The towers above the planes impact points were in neighborhood of 100 million tons. When that begins to fall where's it going to go? Straight down of course, that's gravity. Nothing's going to deflect that much mass.
Posted By Anonymous john, porter ranch,california : 11:30 AM ET
Kevin Barrett has Sir Isaac Newton's work backing him up. Find another MODERN steel framed building that has collapsed to the earth at the speed of gravity (9/11) and that might explain some of it. But how do you explain 3 buildings (wtc7 was not struck by an aircraft) collapsing at the speed of gravity and two big jets "evaporating" (no black boxes!) all on the same day. Then throw in the exit polls being so wrong in 2000, Private Jessica Lynch and the Football player, Weapons of Mass Destruction, the secret Cheney energy meetings, Enron, California energy ripoff and govenor recall, fake news reports by the Rendon group, . . . I mean come on SHEEPLE . . wake up!

Brooklyn Bridge anyone?
Posted By Anonymous E Rynearson, Chicago IL : 11:36 AM ET
"It would mean thousands were involved in a cover-up and I refuse to believe that."

Here's your problem. Stop being offended by what you fear. It may be true, it may not be true. But please let us point out once again he does not teach his own writings in class. What did you think a class called Islam, Religion, and Culture would discuss?
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth Hartman, Travelers Rest, SC : 12:27 PM ET
Nobody's saying that this clown can't exercise his right to free speech, but when it comes to teaching nuttiness like this at a state-sponsored university, that's a different matter. Would anybody be standing up for his right to teach, say, 1+1=7?
Posted By Anonymous Brainster, Phoenix, Arizona : 12:32 PM ET
Barrett makes some good points, and our duty as American citizens is to demand an independent investigation. What do we have to fear?
Posted By Anonymous M Etheredge, San Francisco, CA : 12:53 PM ET
This article isn't about whether or not one should believe what this professor believes. It's your right in this country, at least for now, to beleive as you wish. The question is whether the man should teach. My question is, why shouldn't he? He admits to barely bring up the topic in class and only does so by quoting other authors. He doesn't harrass his students to believe his theory. He's just a man with his own idea, true or not. Why should you be fired from teaching because you believe something the majority doesn't believe?

And as for the commentor that said this man's class must be awful because of his theory, I really hope you never went to a credible university in this country. Some of the most brilliant professors are those that force you to think. One of my teachers believes Bush was never elected and Christianity is the worst thing that ever happened to America, but he doesn't bring it up, and I've never learned so much, either!

Lastly, are liberal art students supposed to all be idiots or something? We have reasoning skills. We don't need to be coddled because of how "impressionable" we are. Really, it's insulting.

Freedom of speech is for everyone. That includes both this professor and anyone that wishes to attack him. Just notice that this professor was calm and polite while those here are rude, obnoxious, and downright insulting.
Posted By Anonymous Bekah, Coral Gables, Fl : 12:57 PM ET
I cannot believe that Mr. Barrett used a quote by Gen. Douglas McArthur. He should not be allowed to come back. He should not be allowed to teach. If he is so enamored of the Islamic Fundamentalists who are spreading this kind of misinformation, he should move to Iran, Syria, Arabia, etc. I will pay for a one-way ticket for him. Heck I'll even help him pack.
Posted By Anonymous E Connelly, Lincoln, NE : 1:11 PM ET
Once again, individual comments have degenerated into ad hominem attacks and the uneducated American populace seeks to sound knowledgable without even bothering to research the facts. According to a recent NY Times/CBS News poll poll only 16 percent of the population still believe the government's "official" 9/11 conspiracy theory. Those who still accept the government's lies need to wake up and do a little research.
Posted By Anonymous James Austin, Texas : 1:13 PM ET
As a Wisconsin resident, I can tell you it was announced this week Barrett, who rents a classroom at UW Madison and is not a part of the teaching staff, will not be returning. My grandson is a student at UW Madison. I can understand the faculty frustration over this guy. With all the excellent professors on staff, this guy gets the spotlight. Most of the students have never even heard of him. As for me, I cannot even imagine what General Mac Arthur would have said if he heard his name being mentioned in the same sentence as Mr. Barrett. These men are 100% completely opposite.
Posted By Anonymous Linda Elsen, Kenosha WI : 1:55 PM ET
I think this teacher is wacked, but this is what freedom of speech is all about. If students want to pay money to take this class let them.
Posted By Anonymous Brian Lajewski, Bolingbrook- IL : 2:21 PM ET
I would love to see CNN dig into this topic further.. not the Professor but rather what he is talking about. Let's get someone to seriously look at the FACTS. The PHYSICS. Etc.

How about building 7? Everyone take a moment to google that. No airplane hit it, minimal damage, minimal fire... dropped like a Las Vegas casino in 7 secs at about 5:30 on 9-11.
911 commission report doesn't even address it. Hmmmm.

How about the FACT that over 14 million dollars was spent impeaching Clinton for his 'business' but the 911 commission (after initially being fought against by this administration)was given only 14 million dollars to investigate the murder of 3000 of our citizens.

How about the FACT that Mayor Giuliani destroyed the largest crime scene on American soil by loading the evidence on trucks and shipping overseas?

I voted for Bush twice and no one could call me a liberal. But since the inital shock of that day, I have become more and more suspicious of the dozens and dozens of inconsistencies.

Come on CNN.... DO YOUR JOB!
Posted By Anonymous diana nickel, oshkosh, wi : 2:23 PM ET
Why does asking questions seem to bother so many people? Independent thinkers need to know how a 757 fit thru a 15 ft hole in the pentagon, how an 1800 degree jet fuel fire can melt structual steel, how explosives were planned and placed in building 7 so fast, who shorted the airline stocks the day before and too many more to list here. Gullible Americans that buy any and every lie put forth simply because it comes from a source they trust is the reason for so much ignorance and deception in this country. Do your own thinking, research and "the google" and you will probably come to the same conclusions that the professor has.
Posted By Anonymous K D Smyrl, Conroe, TX : 5:07 PM ET
A guy in a cave directed these
attacks is a conspiricy,governments
lie all the time.Operation NORTHWOODS.
Posted By Anonymous uk : 5:16 PM ET
The stupid line continually repeated in this false conspiracy allegation is that the US Gov't somehow could plan to place explosives on the exact floors to be hit by the airplanes.

Common sense tells you a) why bother and b) the initial impact of the planes hitting the buildings created an inferno that would detonate any pre-placed explosives on impact. Why was their a time delay.
Posted By Anonymous B Hall, Carlsbad CA : 5:26 PM ET
Just go back to sleep sheeple... everything is OK. Bush will take care of you. Be afraid of terrorists with liquid explosives... not governments that control every aspect of your life.

"None are more hopelessly enslaved then those that falsely believe they are free"
Posted By Anonymous Azazel, PHX AZ : 5:32 PM ET
good job cnn. but rather than question kevin, lets question our government. lets ask the questions the commission never did. for example, why and who was the head of ISI meeting with in washington during the week of 911. and why was a 100K money tranfer approved by him to atta while he was in washington. or, what proof is there that these 19 "hijackers" were actually on the planes. anyone seen any manifests, autopsy reports, etc. there are many unanswered questions that the media tries to hide.

Posted By Anonymous andres, los angeles, ca : 8:25 PM ET
How should a conspiracy theorist look? What are Dr. Barrett's qualifications for judging the causes of a building collapse (hint: he has a PhD in folklore)? Is he a professor (hint: this question can be answered in 2 letters)? How credible is he (hint: he claims that al Qaeda doesn't, and never did, exist)? How large is this "small but vocal group of academics" (hint: smaller than the membership of the US Senate)? How many are architectural or civil/structural engineering professors (hint: fewer than the number of fingers that it takes to make an obscene gesture)?
Posted By Anonymous Jeff Smith, Denver, CO : 9:15 PM ET
What could be more disturbing to an American than knowing people in our government (predominently Republicans) are trying to silence a credible critic of the most important issue of our time?
Posted By Anonymous Cole K ~ Boston : 10:12 PM ET
Wow, I can't believe I share a country with so many paranoid idiots. Two large planes hit the World Trade Towers. The impact of the planes and the heat generated by 1000s of gallons of buring fuel weakend the building, and the buildings fell down. That's it. I know it's hard for you to understand, but that's it. Sometimes horrific things happen and there's nothings you can do about it.

As for the government cover up... Are you trying me that the Republicans mananged to keep a giant government conspiracy hidden from the Democrats, every free news organization and spy agency (enemy and friendly) in the world!? The government can't keep secrets it should keep, how could it keep that secret?

As for Kevin Barrett, he is allowed to spew any theory he likes, but Wisconsin shouldn't have to pay him to do it.
Posted By Anonymous Nathan Wright Ealy, Claysville PA : 11:33 PM ET
It would not take "thousands" in our govt to pull off 9/11. It would not need to involve the ENTIRE Army General Staff and the CIA, for example: a small, secretive and dedicated elite WITHIN those organizations, could do it. Certain groups within the Army Corps of Engineers are experienced with doing Demolitions.
NOT ONE publication of any professional standing, the kind of publications that are reviewed by their peers, NOT ONE publication in the fields of Engineering, Military Science, Architecture, or Physics, has come out and endorsed the Bushco fairy tale.
On the other hand, the FOREIGN PRESS has published MANY articles and pictures, even, that DISPROVE the Bushco allegations entirely. The German ex-defense minister, is only ONE distinguished and experienced person who SUPPORTS THE PROFESSOR AND OTHERS WHO HAVE QUESTIONED THE OFFICIAL VERSION. Read the FOREIGN press and not just Fox Faux news! for the real TRUTH; not Bushco nonsense propaganda.
Posted By Anonymous Barbara T, Seattle, WA : 5:06 AM ET
Government's don't do things like they?
Posted By Anonymous Jon Drake, London, England : 8:10 AM ET
Just because he knows how to promote a point of view by not directly writing it doesn't mean he doesn't agree with that view. Freedom of speech should be observed in this case too but why the University didn't come up with another educator to debate and debunk that far out view. It's not just by banning him that the University would succeed but by documenting his false ideas. It might be that he wanted to stand apart and be noticed in this way too.

Posted By Anonymous Ann Eau Claire Wisconsin : 9:22 AM ET
What a fuss! Since when did we start denying university students the privilege of hearing unpopular ideas? And let's not forget that these students have the ability and the right to accept or reject Barrett's thesis. Those who would deny one the ability to earn a living because his or her rhetoric and ideas strike a discordant note have always been with us. Scientists, well before our time, who espoused a spherical earth that was not the center of the universe were condemed by the Church and faced severe penalties. If you don't like Barrett's ideas, then combat them with better ones.
Posted By Anonymous Pete, West Bend, Wisconsin : 10:32 AM ET
If there was no lie regarding 9/11,why the big cover-up? Of course the government had a hand in the whole thing. For those who believe the 'official' accounting, better read up. You've been lied to.
Posted By Anonymous Chris Noth Davenport Iowa : 10:38 AM ET
Perhaps everyone should take ALL reports from ALL news sources with a grain of salt, as NO news source is unbiased anymore.

It is a widely known fact that the media is biased towards the liberal side. This has been reported many times. It has been backed by both domestic and foreign studies into our political commercials aired/printed and our color commentaries by charismatic newsmen/women.

Of all the American news corporations, the most Conservative I know of is Fox. I trust no news source completely. Rather, I will browse to several sites and look at the story from different views to get a better picture.

So think for your self, do your own research, and take ALL news reports with a grain of salt. There is always some bias there somewhere.
Posted By Anonymous D.J. , Atlanta, GA : 12:45 PM ET
Why are Americans so obsessed with large scale conspiracy theories? They are too complicated to carry out, too likely to get caught, have large traceable paper trails and someone is bound to talk.

My rule is simple. If it can be conspiracy or incompetence, pick incompetence every time. Anyone who works in a large corporation or organization knows how hard it is to get people to work together, but how easy it is to have incompetence.
Posted By DAve Morristown, NJ : 9:26 AM ET

ABSOLUTELY brilliant. Couldn't have said it better myself. ;o)
Posted By Anonymous TomT, Atlanta, GA : 1:20 PM ET
Why is it that when a university professor teaches about some conspiracy theory, we say he is challenging his students and is opening the door to new ideas; but when someone says the same things on the street, he is considered crazy?
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Cary NC : 5:14 PM ET
To everyone who believes our own government is behind these attacks -

How do explain the phone calls from the Americans on the flight that crashed in Penn.? They said there were Arab terrorists. Did Bush hire those Arabs to kill themselves for his own sick pleasure?

Our own government planned for a plane to destroy the Pentagon?

You're all whacked.
Posted By Anonymous Dave, St. Paul, MN : 12:56 PM ET
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