by Jim Fetzer
An unprecedented conference entitled, “Academic Freedom: Are there Limits to Inquiry? JFK, 9/11 and the Holocaust”, was held at the University of Illinois UC, Illini Union, Room 314A, from 9 AM-6 PM/CT on 26 April 2014.
The idea for this conference originated with Stephen Francis, who also organized The Midwest 9/11 Truth Conference, which was held at the Urbana Free Library on 22 September 2013, featuring as speakers Kevin Barrett, Jim Fetzer and Wayne Madsen. See “The Complete Midwest 9/11 Truth Conference” on Veterans Today.
While there have been many conferences on JFK and 9/11, including the Holocaust in this one was adopting an original approach to a subject that has typically been regarded as “taboo”.
Registration was held from 9 AM-10 AM/CT, with Kevin Barrett presenting the first lecture from 10 AM-11:00 AM/CT, followed by David W. Robinson from 11 AM to Noon/CT. The lunch break from Noon-1 PM/CT was followed by a presentation by Nicholas Kollerstrom from 1-2 PM/CT. Since Nick resides in London, he joined us via Skype. Stephen Francis then spoke from 2-3 PM/CT, followed by Winfield Abbe from 3-4 PM/CT. Jim Fetzer was the final speaker from 4-5 PM/CT, with a informal discussion and questions and debate from 5-6 PM/CT.
Three of the speakers–Barrett, Kollerstrom, and Fetzer–have had experience as faculty with complex and controversial issues, while three of us–Robinson, Abbe and Francis–have long been involved with academic freedom issues in relation to both faculty and the public. By focusing on three “hot” topics, JFK, 9/11 and the Holocaust, their presentations aim at sharpening public understanding of what should be expected of colleges and university. In particular, they addressed the question, “Are there limits to what faculty can research?”, and “Are there limits to what they can teach?”, where these speakers appear to be especially well-positioned to address these extremely important but themselves sensitive subjects.
Kevin Barrett, Ph.D.
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist, is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror. In the early 1990s, Barrett received master’s degrees in both English literature and French from San Francisco State University. He received a Ph.D. in African languages and literature with a minor in folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2004.
He has taught English, French, Arabic, American Civilization, Humanities, African Literature, Folklore, and Islam at colleges and universities in the San Francisco Bay area, Paris, and Madison, Wisconsin. He is co-editor of 9/11 and American Empire: Christians, Jews and Muslims Speak Out (2007) and the author of Truth Jihad: My Epic Struggle Against the 9/11 Big Lie (2007) and of Questioning the War on Terror: A Primer for Obama Voters (2009). Among his recent articles is“Holocaust History Denial: A Clear and Present Danger”.
Click here: Kevin Barrett, “Facts, Insults and Academic Freedom”
Dr. Barrett has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications. He ran for Congress in 2008. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, author, and talk radio host. His web sites include VeteransToday/Barrett, TruthJihad, TruthJihadRadioand MUJCA (Muslim Christian Jewish Alliance for 9/11 Truth).
David W. Robinson, Ed.D.
David W. Robinson, Ed.D., received a B.A. from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, went on to an M.A. in Teaching (Social Studies) from Lewis and Clark College, and an Ed.D. in Educational Foundations and Leadership from George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. He has taught courses in history, the humanities, and the social sciences at both the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as graduate courses in higher educational teaching, course design, assessment, and administration. Additionally, he has served as Department Chair, Program Chair, Vice President of Information Technology, and Vice President of Academic Affairs at several colleges. This has made him well acquainted with the practical and complex issues of academic freedom in action.
Currently, he serves as an adjunct professor on three different university faculties, teaching graduate courses in education, information technology and e-commerce, and doctoral course work in educational foundations and leadership. His scholarly writing includes books and articles on the history of higher education, specializing in academic industrialization in America, as well asProtestantism’s role in the history of universities and schools.
Click here: David W. Robinson, “The Strange Case of Edward A. Ross and the Incredible Shrinking Faculty”
As a long-time student of American history, David has a strong interest in academic freedom, liberty of conscience, open access to historical evidence, and the implications of America’s loss of free inquiry in national discourse. It is his conviction that our current national-security state civilization is the main by-product of the loss of the checking-and-balancing power of reasoned dialogue in academic life. David is looking forward to further exploration of these themes at the conference.
Nicholas Kollerstrom, Ph.D.
Nicholas Kollerstrom, Ph.D., has two history of science degrees, one from Cambridge 1968, plus a PhD from London, 1995. He was an honorary member of staff of UCL for 11 years. He co-organized the Belgrano Inquiry in 1986, publishing The Unnecessary War (1998) as its proceedings and co-edited The Case Against War (Spokesman, 2004) comprising the CND legal arguments against the Iraq war).
In 2008 he received widespread publicity and ethical damnation for his interest in studies of the residual cyanide levels found in walls of the WWII labor-camps. Articles about the violations of his academic freedom have appeared elsewhere, including “ISIS trips, stumbles and falls” and “The War on Truth: Research on the Holocaust can end your career”.
Click here: Nicholas Kollerstrom, “Research on the Holocaust can be hazardous to your career”
His recent book, Terror on the Tube (3rd ed., 2011) is the most comprehensive account of the 2005 London bombings. It supports the conclusion that this was a “false flag” attack.
Stephen Francis was born and raised in Fresno, CA, and volunteered for the draft in 1969. At the time, he was a conventional youth who supported the main stream’s political views. These opinions dramatically reversed after entering the service; and he was jailed for various antiwar activities, including disobeying direct orders to get on a bus during antiwar protests at Fort Ord, CA.
Due to stockade overcrowding, he was released and spent the next one-and-a-half-years as a fugitive in Canada, eventually receiving an Other-than-Honorable Discharge, of which he remains proud to this day. He returned to college when he was 34 years old, earning an AA degree in Business Administration at Parkland College in Champaign, IL, and a BA in Sociology from the University of Illinois UC. He spent the next 12 years or so employed by a number of different companies, including a multi-national, mid-level accounting-consulting firm as a network administrator/accounting-software specialist.
Click here: Stephen Francis, “Getting history right: There should be no limits to inquiry”
Stephen was able to semi-retire in 2000 because of successful investments during the stock-market boom of the late nineties. For over thirty years, he was also a semi-professional musician playing the electric-violin and keyboards. He has since reinitiated his efforts as an antiwar activist out of concern for world events surrounding the invasion of Iraq. From 2002 to the present, he has continued pursuing his activist efforts, including editing NewsFollowUp.com, in the hope that he might make an ever-so-slight positive impact on the future course of civilization.
Winfield J. Abbe, Ph.D.
Winfield Abbe received an A.B. degree in physics from the University of California Berkeley, M.S. in physics from California State University at Los Angeles and Ph.D. in physics from the University of California Riverside. His main areas of research are low temperature solid state physics and theoretical elementary particle physics.
He has also spent some time working on the long standing problem of Fermat’s Last Theorem which was recently solved, but the esoteric solution is known and understood by only a handful of people in the world. Dr. Abbe was a faculty member at the University of Georgia, Athens and an Institute of Science and Technology Fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Click here: Winfield Abbe, “Violations of Academic Freedom at the University of Georgia”
During his career in academe, he has observed gross abuses senior faculty have administered to junior and the deterioration of the practice of academic freedom, including at the University of Georgia, which he looks forward to addressing at the conference. He was recently interviewed by Jim Fetzer on “The Real Deal” on such issues.
James H. Fetzer, Ph.D.
A former Marine Corps officer, Jim Fetzer has published widely on the theoretical foundations of scientific knowledge, computer science, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and evolution and mentality.
Distinguished McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth, he has also conducted extensive research into the assassination of JFK, the events of 9/11, and the plane crash that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone. Among his recent articles is “Anti-anti-Semitism and the Search for Historical Truth”.
Click here: Jim Fetzer, “Are there limits to inquiry? JFK, 9/11 and the Holocaust”
The founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, his latest books include The Evolution of Intelligence (2005),The 9/11 Conspiracy (2007), Render Unto Darwin (2007), and The Place of Probability in Science(2010). Since his 2006 retirement, he has devoted himself to dealing with the most complex and controversial events of recent history on “The Real Deal” and in his articles on Veterans Today.
Jim Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer, is McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth. [This article reprints the original, which was initially published on veteranstoday.com in 2013 shortly after the conference.]