More on Ward Churchill

by Henry on February 8, 2005

Via Cliopatria, Thomas Brown, an assistant professor of sociology at Lamar University, has posted an essay that accuses Ward Churchill of having committed fraud in his research. I know nothing about the historical issues at stake, so can’t comment on the truth of the allegations – however, if the accusations have merit, they transform the case from one of free speech and academic freedom, to one of whether or not Churchill has lived up to the minimal standards required of a tenured academic.

Also, see this Timothy Burke essay which responds gracefully to my (and apparently others’) criticism of his lumping Glenn Reynolds and Ward Churchill in together.

Update: Inside Higher Ed has a follow-up story, with some interesting quotes from people on both sides of this issue.

{ 76 comments }

1

Josh Narins 02.08.05 at 8:24 pm

Thanks good Joyce Kearns Goodwin, Stephen Ambrose, and Joseph Ellis have been barred from lecturing.

Ann Coulter, as we all know, has never even tried perpetrate fraud.

2

Josh Narins 02.08.05 at 8:29 pm

Perjury has to be both a conscious act and material to the case. Brown alleges perjury without having come close to establishing either point.

I’ll grant that Churchill probably believed it was material to the case, and I am not a legal expert.

3

jet 02.08.05 at 8:34 pm

Josh,
If you read what he’s being accused of, it has more in common with Bellesiles than with Ambrose. This isn’t cutting corners he’s being accused of, but flat out making history up.

When you were running through you list of academic muck ups, why did you leave out Bellesiles? Just in a hurry and his name didn’t quite make the list? ;)

4

rea 02.08.05 at 8:38 pm

Perjury has to be a false statement under oath. False statements in trial briefs are arguably contempt of court, but not perjury, because trial briefs are not made under oath.

5

Donald Johnson 02.08.05 at 8:41 pm

If Churchill is guilty of fraud then it’s just another academic dishonesty case–kind of interesting to academics, I suppose and a reason to fire him if true. But that’s not why he’s being discussed. Not to compare Churchill to MLK, but someone told me once that King was guilty of plagiarism in his academic life. Well, I have to say that even if true it didn’t alter my opinion of MLK as one of the 20th Century’s greatest Americans.

Churchill, though sharing MLK’s views on US foreign policy, is an insensitive loudmouth who thought the proper way to make his (largely correct) point about American atrocities is to be as offensive as possible about 3000 murder victims. You expect this from someone who is around 14 years old and has just discovered that America does Bad Stuff. Meanwhile, back in polite society I think I remember seeing in the TV section that Madelaine Albright and Henry Kissinger were on one of the Sunday talkfests a few days ago.

6

roger 02.08.05 at 8:43 pm

Surely the path is clear. Leave the pistols in the faculty meeting room. A nice pat on the back from the Department head, keeping a stiff upper lip as he walks down to supervise the grad student who is writing his next book. And of course, the mystery of the end, before the shots come. Does Churchill look back with intense regret on blotting the only republic on earth, since Joshua’s time, to receive the Good Housekeeping metal from God almight himself? Or is it his unmerited advance, propelled by nihilists who, as soon as they finish writing those deconstructive papers, are gonna get out, get airplane pilot licenses, and plow into various sky scrapers?

Oh, the shame! It’s good to see CT jointing the lynch mob. Wouldn’t do to let some worm like Churchill crawl upon the earth. He’s a terribly icky man and… oh, there’s the shot!

We can all breathe so much easier now. Get out the port, boys.

7

jet 02.08.05 at 8:44 pm

Oh, I see the Timothy Burk piece doesn’t cover this: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/news_columnists/article/0,1299,DRMN_86_3530404,00.html

Thomas Brown, a professor of sociology at Lamar University, has written a paper that outlines what looks like a more conventional form of academic fraud on Churchill’s part.One has only to read the sources that Churchill cites to realize the magnitude of his fraudulent claims for them.

8

jet 02.08.05 at 8:49 pm

Let me clarify that last post. What the good professor is claiming is that Churchill’s one redeaming point, his scholorship, namely “A Little Matter of Genocide” should have qualified him for tenure in the Literature department as a creative work of fiction.

9

Louis Proyect 02.08.05 at 8:51 pm

As far as I can determine, Ward Churchill’s falsification of Mandan history is far less serious than what Mike Davis was accused of a few years ago. As Jon Wiener pointed out:

“Mike Davis provides a second example of a media spectacle around a historian targeted by the right for his politics. Davis, a leading Marxist historian, won a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant and an appointment as a Getty Institute scholar for his book on Los Angeles, City of Quartz, after which a Malibu realtor launched a campaign in 1999 charging that his footnotes in a new book, Ecology of Fear, were fraudulent. The charges mushroomed and were featured in the New York Times, the Economist, and on page one of the Los Angeles Times; neither UCLA nor USC would hire him; he ended up leaving Los Angeles, for a job at SUNY-Stony Brook. Evidently, the search committee and administration at Stony Brook concluded that the errors in his footnotes were minor and that he met the requirements for appointment to a tenured position.”

It is obvious that people like Henry Farrell and Timothy Burke want Ward Churchill to meet the same fate as Mike Davis. It is also obvious that mediocrities like the unpublished Farrell and the amazon.com #375,000 listed Timothy Burke would rather tear somebody else down than figure out a way to attract a broader audience. I guess that a blog is a poor substitute for writing something compelling.

It is also obvious that Thomas Brown is up to something much more sinister when he calls for Churchill’s criminal persecution for perjury and that Farrell is a “useful idiot” for giving him a wider hearing.

10

dsquared 02.08.05 at 8:52 pm

Mate, this does not look like fraud. It looks like, at worst, a case of “propagating urban myths”. It’s a case of picking up on the views of the Mangan tribe, mismangling them with a documented case of smallpox-as-weapon-of-genocide (the Amherst case) and not checking the refs properly. Which is to say, sloppy, but not the sort of thing people resign over, outside the context of a political witchhunt (btw, am I the only one to think that Churchill’s essay was pretty bad, but the time to get angry about it was three years ago, not now?)

If this is fraud, then everyone who has ever written “Orange juice futures provide a better forecast of the weather in Florida than the National Weather Service (Roll, 1984)” has committed academic fraud, and that is half our blogroll.

11

jet 02.08.05 at 8:52 pm

Let me clarify that last post. What the good professor is claiming is that Churchill’s one redeeming point, his scholarship, namely “A Little Matter of Genocide” should have qualified him for tenure in the Literature department as a creative work of fiction.

12

jet 02.08.05 at 8:54 pm

Cancle posts, cancel posts, I’m just repeating Henry. Yes…..I do indeed feel more than a bit silly.

13

Josh Narins 02.08.05 at 8:55 pm

Honestly? Ambrose and Ellis, rightists, are constantly around, as is pseudo-leftist, Johnson-enamored, Goodwin.

Bellesiles is small potatoes, barely registers on the public radar.

Compare C-SPAN appearances.

14

dsquared 02.08.05 at 9:19 pm

Louis, mate, whatever the point about Ward Churchill (and I personally think that you have a point here), it’s got nothing to do with Henry’s publications or anyone’s Amazon rankings. And there are about a million more pleasant ways to suggest to someone that they’re being manipulated than to use Lenin’s phrase. Do things really have to get so bloody unpleasant, so quickly? I swear that Ward Churchill’s case will not be helped even a tiny bit by us having a flamewar on CT.

15

Henry 02.08.05 at 9:38 pm

dsquared – I dunno. The Thomas Brown essay reads a little breathless to me (and the perjury stuff definitely sounds overhyped) – but if Brown is right on the facts of it, then I’d have extreme difficulty in buying this as careless ref-checking. I’m agreed that there’s a witch-hunt going on here, and that if Churchill goes down on this or something else, it’ll have more to do with his opinions than his research standards – but I’m with Timothy Burke on this – there’s an entirely separate issue here, which is whether or not unsourced or incorrectly sourced guff should be treated as scholarship. A hack is a hack is a hack, whether he’s a leftwing hack or a rightwing hack. And if he’s making shit up on the basis of his reputation as an academic (I stress again that I can’t judge whether this is true or not; I’m not a US historian) then he should be held to account for it. Clearly, the pompous condemnations from Reynolds and his mates are ideologically motivated (and hypocritical in the extreme) – I reckon I’ve laid out my stall on this in the first post I wrote on the topic. But entirely apart from the attempt to use this to demonize the left, there’s a secondary issue that has to do with the politics of truth-telling and truth-seeking within the academy – and that’s what I (and, I presume, Tim) are trying to get at. Nor do I think it’s easy for frothing loons like Reynolds to use my post or Tim’s as ammo in their broader fight – we’ve made it quite clear that Reynolds’ blogging (if not perhaps his scholarship) is every bit as disreputable as Ward Churchill’s essays (and in my opinion, perhaps rather more so).

16

David Salmanson 02.08.05 at 9:43 pm

Look, as one of the few people around who has a) read some of Churchill’s actual academic work b) cited some of it, and c) works in a related field the rest of you guys need to shut up for a moment. To the people attacking Tim Burke, reread Tim’s post, what Tim is arguing is that Churchill became a parody of himself years ago and that his particular brand of identity politics may backfire if his identity is a fraud. Second, to the people who are attacking Churchill’s scholarly work. His best work has been on the nuclear west and Cointelpro, both of which have held up close scrutiny by other scholars. I’ve checked some of those footnotes myself. When the guy writes outside of his field of primary research, his work isn’t so hot. Well, duh. Anybody who knows jack about the UC system (that’s University of Colorado) knows that he ain’t got a research assistant writing his next book, they don’t pay near enough. His speaking fees may pay his morgatge if he bought property in Boulder, cause his salary sure don’t. Finally, the guy is a jerk. Many people don’t like him, inside the field and out. Taht’s not firable. If he gets fired for having lied about being Indian, well that I’d call comeuppance for playing nasty identity politics (which his best work avoids, btw. For example, he has very nice things to say about the UCAW).

The question isn’t is he worth defending. The question is, is tenure worth defending.

17

Louis Proyect 02.08.05 at 9:46 pm

To Daniel Davies,

Oh please. I have been the subject of much worse abuse on Crooked Timber already–all of which I revel in. The day people stop reacting to me as if I were Howard Stern is the day that I will pack it in. Plus, I drew blood from Timothy Burke as should be obvious from his latest musings. In any case, why is considering flaming if I refer to Burke and Farrell as mediocrities? They don’t strike me as people who will rack up the kind of credentials that Arno Mayer or Stephen Cohen have. When they go for Ward Churchill’s jugular, calling him a hack and a liar, they are obviously spoiling for a fight. Speaking as somebody who has had a fairly amicable relationship with Ward, as difficult as that might seem, and who has spent time on Indian reservations, I believe that I am being rather restrained in light of Farrell crossposting material that implicitly amounts to holocaust denial.

When Ward spoke at a Brecht Forum in NYC a few years ago (I chaired the meeting), he pointed out that it is very difficult to document *deliberate* smallpox blanket type killings. But he said that Europeans understood that when they went among Indians, epidemics ensued. If you kept doing that, despite understanding the consequences, you were a party to homicide.

Finally, on Thomas Brown’s scholarship. He writes, “Given this Congressional mandate to protect Indians from smallpox, given the lack of hostilities between the U.S. military and the Mandans or any other Plains Indians at that time, and given the military’s lack of presence in the area of the Mandans at the time, Churchill’s version of events does not seem at all plausible, even in the context of counterfactual speculation.”

Now this is very interesting. Brown says that there was “a lack of hostilities” between the US Army and Plains Indians in the 1830s.

I really don’t have the time to get into this question right now, but I would say that this statement is a far worse falsification than anything Ward Churchill has written.

18

Ted Barlow 02.08.05 at 9:46 pm

D^2,

It’s a little worse than passing on an urban myth, isn’t it? When Lileks writes a Washington Times column that repeats the fake rumor that Germany forces women into prostitution to avoid losing benefits, that’s embarassing. But we understand that it’s a just a tossed-off column for a toy newspaper.

This was Churchill’s trial brief, later republished (and embellished) as academic work. It deserves to be held to a much higher standard than our blogroll.

If this story is accurate, then responsible historians probably shouldn’t cite Churchill without double-checking each of his sources first. Witchhunt or not, surely that’s unacceptable. I don’t see how Henry’s being too harsh here.

19

Anderson 02.08.05 at 9:52 pm

Note that one of the “scholarly” works on which Burke rests his more positive estimation of WC is the one that includes the allegedly bogus genocide essay.

As an ex-academic, I’m very leery of any commenter who thinks that the conduct alleged by Thomas Brown is acceptable. If WC did what Brown said, he needs to be out on his ear, or U-CO needs to have its accreditation revoked.

As a lawyer, I can tell you that lying in a trial brief ain’t perjury, but it will get you fined or worse by the court, depending on the judge’s mood that particular day.

20

David Salmanson 02.08.05 at 9:55 pm

Thomas Brown doesn’t understand the difference betweeen inoculation and vaccination, off with his head! He claims they were vaccinating when the source he cites clearly says inocculating! Off with his head! Off with his head! Research fraud, research fraud!

To Louis Proyect, try replicating Tim Burke’s output while teaching at Swarthmore, try it, I dare you. Except output here refers to “what your students go on to do” not “what you write.”

21

Norman Bates 02.08.05 at 9:56 pm

“The day people stop reacting to me as if I were Howard Stern is the day that I will pack it in.”

Remember, folks, he made it perfectly clear. If you ignore him, he just might go away.

22

dsquared 02.08.05 at 10:06 pm

Lou: I’ve said my piece and I don’t think I want to add anything to it, other than that I like and respect both you and Henry and I wish this wasn’t happening.

Ted: We only have this guy’s word for it a) that Churchill said what he said that he said (in context) and b) that he was wrong. Even assuming he was, it’s venial rather than mortal. The (Roll, 1984) shenanigan has certainly gone into trial briefs, and academic work as well. The underlying point that white people used smallpox as a weapon of genocide in the USA is not in dispute, if I read the linked article correctly. There are all sorts of disagreements about the precise details of the 1934-45 Holocaust, but scholars in the area don’t usually drag them up to attack each other.

In general, my feeling on this is similar to my feeling on the subject of Theo van Gogh and very similar to that of David Salamanson’s (I think). Ward Churchill appears to me to be an unpleasant loudmouth (as did van Gogh), but Mill’s On Liberty[1] reminds us that free speech isn’t just there for the nice things in life. It really does stick in my craw to see so many people who were staunch defenders of free speech when it was Muslims, Sikhs or Christians on the receiving end turn nasty now that it’s our ox being gored. The simple fact of the witch-hunt makes me more inclined to defend Churchill, on charges which I might have been more receptive to if they had been brought by people with clean hands.

[1]I hope I don’t have to remind CT’s erudite crowd of readers that Mill’s version of free speech is rather more expansive than that guaranteed by US constitutional case law, and certainly includes the hounding of a man out of his job.

23

Henry 02.08.05 at 10:09 pm

Louis – I’m not particularly perturbed at being described as a mediocrity, but just to make clear, we’ve worked fairly hard at creating a space for conversation here that we don’t want to degenerate into mutual flaming and faction fighting. As you’ve acknowledged yourself, flame wars aren’t especially conducive to good discussion – and the standards for robust debate are different here than they were on the old Spoons Collective list (which I used to subscribe to back in the day). I’m happy to have you in the debate – we could do with some old fashioned Trotskyism to liven things up – but I’ll ask you to keep to the house rules when commenting on my posts (different CTers may have different levels of sensitivity, so I’m only speaking for myself). This means _inter alia_ not deliberately doing your Howard Stern impression to get people flaming you, and not tossing around accusations of Holocaust denial except in cases of extreme need and urgency. You may find this tone of reason boring, symptomatic of the decadence of the soft left etc – but I don’t see that you actually need to call people names to make the substantive points that you want to make.

24

rea 02.08.05 at 10:49 pm

“Now this is very interesting. Brown says that there was “a lack of hostilities” between the US Army and Plains Indians in the 1830s.

“I really don’t have the time to get into this question right now, but I would say that this statement is a far worse falsification than anything Ward Churchill has written.”

Show us some evidence, please, of hostilities between the US Army and the Plains Indians in the 1830’s.

The major Indian wars of the 1830’s were the Second Seminole War fought in Florida and the Black Hawk War against the Sac & Fox in N. Illinois and Wisconsin. The Old Northwest–Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois–was still the the process of being settled by whites. The Mandan, out in what is now N. Dakota, were trading partners, not enemies, because they were well beyond the frontier. The US didn’t want their land–yet–so there was no occasion for conflict.

Like the administration teling us about Saddam’s WMD, you, and Prof. Churchill, are letting your politics lead you into making shit up in service of what you believe is a larger “truth.” Shame!

25

Ralph Luker 02.08.05 at 11:09 pm

I want to identify myself with the rebuke by my friend, David Salmonson, to Louis Proyect for his vicious remarks about Henry Farrell and my colleague at Cliopatria, Tim Burke. Who is Proyect to say such things? What has he done? Or is he merely a troll? Chun the Unavoidable Redivivus, perhaps?

26

Sebastian Holsclaw 02.08.05 at 11:38 pm

“I hope I don’t have to remind CT’s erudite crowd of readers that Mill’s version of free speech is rather more expansive than that guaranteed by US constitutional case law, and certainly includes the hounding of a man out of his job.”

I don’t really understand what you mean. I presume you are alluding to something like this from Chapter 2 of “On Liberty”:

There is the greatest difference between presuming an opinion to be true, because, with every opportunity for contesting it, it has not been refuted, and assuming its truth for the purpose of not permitting its refutation. Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right.

or

First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.

Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any object is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.

Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds. And not only this, but, fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good, but cumbering the ground, and preventing the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience.

Speech can have consequences in how people treat you, right? And certainly if we are allowing vigorous speech we need to allow vigorous speech against the stupid ideas of Mr. Ward Churchill. But we can’t drive him out of his office….just like you would say about the tragically wrong Intentional Design proponents….

27

Ben Alpers 02.09.05 at 12:55 am

Without in any way getting into the specifics of the case (it’s not my field, or at least my sub-field, and I don’t know Churchill’s work well), just a few general observations:

1) Shoddy scholarship is not the same thing as fraud. I don’t think anyone would argue that shoddy scholarship is grounds for removing someone from a tenured position. If you think it is, your beef is, as someone has already noted, with the tenure system itself.

2) Good scholars occasionally write bad books and articles. So long as those bad books and articles are the product of honest effort (i.e. they are not fraudulent) the “punishment” for writing them ought to be bad reviews, rival books or articles by others that disprove the theses of the shoddy work, and perhaps an attendant reduction in the reputation of the producer of the shoddy scholarship. Nothing more, nothing less. (Obviously the situation is more complicated if the shoddy work dominates the scholar’s output, and that scholar is untenured or up for tenure. If one’s scholarship is generally shoddy, that is clearly a reason for denial of tenure.)

3) Even if all these new accusations against Churchill are entirely true — and I’m certainly not at all prepared to say they are — they do not “transform the case from one of free speech and academic freedom.” They would, instead, raise a quite separate, second case against him (suspiciously timed and motivated though it might be). The initial accusations, which are 100% about Churchill’s politics and rhetoric, are a total affront to academic freedom. Nothing that someone else subsequently accuses Churchill of, true or not, changes that fact.

28

Paul Orwin 02.09.05 at 1:45 am

According to Google, Mr (perhaps Dr? it wasn’t clear) Proyect works in AIS (some sort of computing services) at Columbia University. He is not on the faculty, from what I can tell, but he is very involved in Marxist politics (I guess, from the website). None of this in the least disqualifies him from making comments about the subject at hand, but it does suggest an unfamiliarity with the common methods for measuring “productivity” in academia, whether by student outcomes (yay!) or by publications (errr…)

29

roger 02.09.05 at 1:48 am

Ben, you are totally right. In fact, accusations of scholarly sloppiness are par for the course, and the penalty is answering countering papers in a journal, not being kicked out on your ass.

Actually, I’d go further than say that this is an issue about guarantees under tenure. Your right to labor under contract shouldn’t preclude your right to free speech, period. I thought the National Review was wrong to fire Ann Coulter, and the same is true with the New Republic and Gregg Easterbrook.

30

Louis Proyect 02.09.05 at 2:28 am

To Henry Farrell:

I see, it is okay to label Ward Churchill a hack and a liar and to circulate calls for his jailing, but when somebody who is sympathetic to Ward uses the same kind of language with you, it is a no-no.

Very revealing.

31

Louis Proyect 02.09.05 at 2:54 am

To Rea:

As somebody pointed out, I am not an academic so I don’t have countless hours to spend in the library. But I will tell you this, if you define the Plains states as Montana and the Dakotas, then you are right. The assault on the Indians came later, in the 1860s in 1870s. But if you consider Ohio to be a Plains state–as I do–then you have to include the Ottowas. In 1831, the government demanded a forced sale of Indian livestock and agreed to indemnify the Ottawa for improvements on their land only after they had arrived at a new residence west of the Mississippi. In other words, they were kicked off their land under the cover of legality–just as what would happen to the Blackfoot 40 years later.

32

rea 02.09.05 at 4:20 am

Mr. Provect, the Ottawa in Ohio are generally considered to be Woodland Indians, not Plains Indians. About 30 seconds on Google will tell you that.

Your example of coercion of the Ottawas in 1831, moreover, helps to prove my point. The US was still moping up Ohio–the notion of an 1830’s genocidal plot to conquer N. Dakota is just nonsense.

33

Noah Schabacker 02.09.05 at 6:40 am

This “essay” by Prof. Brown is flat out false. Which is to say, Mr. Brown falsifies or deliberately misreads at least two notes in Ward Churchill’s work in order to accuse Churchill of academic dishonesty.
Specifically, Brown accuses Churchill of misrepresenting sources in A Little Matter of Genocide (among other places). However, by simply looking at Churchill’s footnotes, one finds that the sources Brown attributes to Churchill and the sources Churchill actually cites are not the same at all. Churchill describes the incident on page 155 of A Little Matter…; Brown asserts that Churchill’s source is Russell Thornton’s American Indian Holocaust and Survival. Churchill’s description is tied to endnote #136; note #136, on page 261, reads thusly: “Stearn and Stearn, The Effects of Smallpox, op cit., pp. 89-94; Francis A. Chardon, Journal at Fort Clark, 1834-39 (Pierre: State Historical Society of South Dakota, 1932).” Nowhere is Thornton cited as the authority for the Mandans and the smallpox blankets.
As a nod to “peer review” (if such a thing exists on the internet), I invite (indeed, request) other readers to look at the sources I’ve referenced here.

It is 11:30 PM. I have a BA in History, a copy of A Little Matter of Genocide, and an internet connection. If I can find the relevant information in the relevant book in less than ten minutes and write a detailed post on it, it would seem that Dr. Brown, with the resources of Lamar University behind him and his years of training in reading academic sources, should be able to do the same thing. I haven’t seen the trial brief, but the preceding information would seem to discredit the entire sorry exercise.

As an aside to Henry Farrell, who originally linked to this hit job, I must say that it seems the height of irresponsibility to link to work accusing an academic of falsifying his sources and committing perjury without actually evaluating the accusing work first. This is not hard to do, requiring only a copy of A Little Matter of Genocide, available at fine bookstores everywhere. As a professor, you of all people should know the harm that can result from even mendacious claims of academic dishonesty.

34

ogmb 02.09.05 at 9:32 am

His speaking fees may pay his morgatge if he bought property in Boulder, cause his salary sure don’t.

His salary was given as $97,000. Is Boulder real estate even more expensive than in the Bay Area?

Btw, the University of Colorado system is, for whatever reason, called CU. UC is the University of California system (and probably a couple of others).

35

Ajax Bucky 02.09.05 at 10:01 am

That Ralph Luker seeks to impugn Louis Proyect with a comparison to the sorely-missed Chun is most telling.
Reading the apt and cogent comments of Ben Alpers and Noah Shabacker, on the other hand, is very gratifying and, I have to say, a little surprising in this venue.

Quibbling, even relatively genteel academic quibbling, about the specifics of what was, and remains, a campaign of naked murderous greed that violated every statute and moral principle the United States and its representatives purport to espouse, is disheartening to read – when it isn’t infuriating.
Rea, who obviously has a sold grounding in 19th century American military pursuits, betrays no more outrage than a lab-coated scientist examining research data on the subjects of someone else’s Mengelian experiments in human endurance.
How can anyone see that history for what it is and not be made cold?

Ward Churchill, according to a tribally-registered politically active Indian of my acquaintance awhile ago, was possibly an FBI snitch-provocateur. The debate now is whether he’s a plagiarizing fraud. But the only reason he’s under discussion at all is that three-year old essay he wrote, and the only reason that’s under discussion is…what? Right-wing catharsis.
As both Alpers and Schabacker point out, his credentials as an academic have nothing to do with his appearance in the cross-hairs of the media at this time.
It doesn’t matter who he is or what else he’s done. What matters is what he said in that essay.
Along with a few others Donald Johnson calls Churchill a loudmouth, but that’s at least a little because Johnson is afraid of contamination. Because he believes that calm reason may yet carry the day. An awakening populace, an enlightened leadership, and all the horrors of the past safely tucked away from the kids in hard-to-read books. Because like so many other sort-of progressives he wants to ease this whole thing back toward a moral compass, without rage and all the danger passionate resistance brings rocking the boat. That’s going to require the forgiveness of a saint. And remorse.

36

x 02.09.05 at 11:02 am

“if the accusations have merit, they transform the case from one of free speech and academic freedom, to one of whether or not Churchill has lived up to the minimal standards required of a tenured academic.”

Er, no it doesn’t, because that’s not the reason of the outraged reactions. It wasn’t about standards, it was about political opinions.

You and others are choosing to transform this into a question of academic standards, but that’s definitely not what people who protested at his comments had in mind.

Why did no one raise the specific objections and allegations of academic fraud before, independently of his political views? A university hires a professor and they and everyone else question his academic credentials only after his political stance gets him into trouble, years later?
As long as no one objected to the essay, it was all fine? Or there was just not enough attention to bother? Now, suddenly everyone is on the case and the case is arbitrarily turned from the freedom to speak controversial opinions to the requirements for tenure. Fascinating process.

Obviously that question of standards is valid anyway, on its own, regardless of how long this person has ben teaching, but don’t conflate it with the political issue. It’d be like raising the question of plagiarism only after, say, a playwright was brought to trial for communist sympathies in the fifties. Not making any literal comparison with the witch hunts of that golden era, also, incidentally, because of the higher relevance, talent and popularity of those targeted back then, and the different field they operated in. But, you know, it’d be a bit of a devious way of conceding a point to the witch hunters, who certainly weren’t and aren’t after plagiarism, fraud, artistic quality or standards of academic research.

37

x 02.09.05 at 11:07 am

donald johnson – If Churchill is guilty of fraud then it’s just another academic dishonesty case—kind of interesting to academics, I suppose and a reason to fire him if true. But that’s not why he’s being discussed.

That’s exactly what I meant.

I completely agree with the rest of your comment too. Many things that are inherently offensive are considered acceptable as long as they fit in the prevalent mentality.

38

David Salmanson 02.09.05 at 12:46 pm

Calling CU UC is an inside joke in Western History circles (albeit a very small circle of my friends). And Boulder is very, very expensive due to anti-sprawl building restrictions.

And Ralph, you really need to start spelling my last name correctly.

I wish Noah Schabacker didn’t own a copy of A Little Matter of Genocide. Not only is not Churchill’s best work, but it is pretty shoddy compared to even other polemical stuff in this area. There is a fascinating article that traces how a guy like Churchill became “the guy” on this topic when there are lots of other authors (many who are women, Paula Gunn Allen, Leslie Marmon Silko) who are equally polemical but better at it. Or better at more specific studies (Al Hurtado’s Indian Survival on the California Frontier comes to mind) that aren’t being assigned. Churchill is a low-wattage Gerald Vizenor at best. How did he get to be “the guy?” The Indian Country today editorial was very interesting on this topic. And it is particularly ironic given that some of Churchill’s best stuff is on White Shamanism that he himself maybe a White Academic Shaman (that is, trading on an invented Indian persona to separate fools from their money).

39

Louis Proyect 02.09.05 at 2:51 pm

I want to thank Rea for the correction. I am really not that familiar with how anthropologists classify various Indian tribes, etc. In any case, we seem to agree on the political substance–namely that the capitalist killing machine was moving eastward historically in the 19th century. After the Indians in Illinois, Missouri and Ohio had been taken care of, the Lakota would be next. I was also pleased to discover Noah Schabacker’s clarification on the Mandan issue. I myself discovered that on the bus coming to work this morning and am glad that he saved me the trouble of making an identical point.

40

Louis Proyect 02.09.05 at 3:16 pm

Thomas Brown, the Lamar professor cited by Henry Farrell, charges Ward Churchill with faking his Indian ethnicity. Ajax Bucky tells us, “Ward Churchill, according to a tribally-registered politically active Indian of my acquaintance awhile ago, was possibly an FBI snitch-provocateur.” It is important to make the point that these charges have been raised continuously by the Bellecourt brothers, who were involved in a bitter fight with Churchill and Russell Means. Here’s a reply on these questions from Bob Robideau of the New Mexico AIM.

http://www.coloradoaim.org/history/1994RobideauslettertoPaulDemain.htm

Here’s what Leonard Peltier has to say about the Bellecourts:

Most people who know anything about AIM know I have no feelings for or connection to the Bellecourt brothers or the stupidity of their claim to own AIM. When they were rejected by the vote of the people of AIM for their continuing cowardice they quickly formed the phony “Grand Governing Council” and made themselves its leaders. I wrote an essay last year called “Warrior Stories” (see below) that explains how they and the other “chickens of the Knee” have falsely lived on the blood, sweat and tears of real warriors while they made themselves rich.

41

Ralph Luker 02.09.05 at 3:54 pm

Salmanson.

42

BruceR 02.09.05 at 6:16 pm

D-Squared writes:

“The underlying point that white people used smallpox as a weapon of genocide in the USA is not in dispute, if I read the linked article correctly. There are all sorts of disagreements about the precise details of the 1934-45 Holocaust, but scholars in the area don’t usually drag them up to attack each other.”

The exact Churchill statement in question: “The result [of the Fort Clark blanket distribution] was a pandemic among the Plains Indian nations which claimed at least 125,000 lives, and may have reached a toll several times that number.”

Given that the second-largest (and more accepted) historians’ estimate is lower by a factor of four from Churchill’s lowball number, and the intentionality is in dispute, and the documented case was by a different country (Britain) against wholly different Indian tribes 70 years previously, I’m not sure this is comparable to “quibbling.”

Would it be valid if the statement had been instead, “the underlying point that a lot of people in Europe died when Hitler was in power is not in dispute: any discussion of the specifics about exactly which kinds of people, how many, and how they died is just quibbling”? That’s a hole you could drive a Holocaust-denying truck through.

43

Timothy Burke 02.09.05 at 6:46 pm

On Noah Schabacker’s observation above, I have to note that things are even more complicated than either he or Thomas Brown make out.

Brown’s essay makes a historiographical claim that Churchill’s sourcing on Mandan genocide evolved over time. So the point that Brown makes about Churchill’s use of Thornton as source for his claim on Mandan genocide appears to have been somewhat misunderstood by Schabacker, if you read Brown’s essay carefully. Brown is observing that Thornton is Churchill’s source for the first time that Churchill made his claims about deliberate US Army genocide of Mandans, which was, as Brown notes, not in the essay “A Little Matter of Genocide”, but instead in an essay published prior to “A Little Matter of Genocide”, entitled “Bringing The Law Back Home”.

In this respect, Schabacker’s claim about Brown’s essay is premised on a misreading of the fairly precise historiographical claim that Brown is making, and a careless response to Brown’s footnoting. Brown’s claim is that by the time Churchill published “A Little Matter of Genocide”, he had (to quote Brown) “invented new details” about the smallpox outbreak of the Mandans. It is at this point that Churchill’s work, according to Brown, cites Stearn and Stearn and Francis Chardon inaccurately. Schabacker and Brown actually therefore agree that Churchill cites these sources in “A Little Matter of Genocide” (rather than Thornton); Brown’s argument is that Churchill’s citation does not correspond with the content of these sources. (Something I cannot myself judge without doing the comparison myself.)

So I don’t think Schabacker’s reading is terribly careful: he makes the same mistake in connecting footnotes to claims that he accuses Brown of.

However, my general feeling about the claims in Brown’s essay is that they are overly strong in qualitative terms, that the slippages that Brown describes are small and interpretative rather than the kind of gross misrepresentation that I personally need to see in order for me to feel comfortable saying there has been academic dishonesty. If you read Brown’s essay, I think you can see that Churchill might be justified in arguing for the possibility of organized intent or at the least depraved indifference in the spread of smallpox among the Mandan. Churchill’s rhetoric, especially in “A Little Matter of Genocide”, gets well out in advance of the messier reality, but I don’t think in such a way that there is fraud or dishonesty. That I think his interpretation here and elsewhere is driven by polemical goals that I am critical of is already well-known in this case, but I would make a distinction between my criticism and Brown’s assertions. What Brown describes is a legitimate issue but not yet cause for the kinds of very strong descriptive language that he employs.

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Giles 02.09.05 at 7:00 pm

The whole affair seems to me a bit more of an indictment on the system than the person.

Both things Chruchill is being bashed for are from the past; if they are wrong now why weren’t they wrong then?

On the first issue, the eichman comparison, I’d have thought that if a precedent was set for comparing people you don’t like to a Nazi then most of the commentators on this board can kiss their job goodbye. It was boorish and inappropriate, but then again who isn’t occasionally.

On this academic fraud business, the difficulty with the fraud accusation is that I’m not sure that there is any direct financial gain. More particularly, if it was published, who was the referee and if it was patent rubbish where were the rebutting readers? I mean if were honest, virtually all not brilliant academics have a tendency to maker type 1 (accepting the theory you want to prove when it is in fact wrong) as opposed to type 2 errors. We have here just one case of a type 1 error, which, if it is a sack able offence, would pretty much clear out the halls of academia. I’d have thought that given that the probability of making type 1 errors in history is much higher than the hard sciences, it would be highly dangerous to set the precedent of one mistake and your out. Damage to reputation yes, but a series is really needed to prove fraud.

The only real fraud issue is the race one – but as I feel the whole issue of affirmative action resides in the cesspool of human history alongside aptatheid etc, I can only hope for a pox on both him and UC on this one.

45

Dan Simon 02.09.05 at 7:17 pm

You and others are choosing to transform this into a question of academic standards, but that’s definitely not what people who protested at his comments had in mind.

Actually, the entire controversy, understood correctly, has always been about academic standards.

Imagine, if you will, that Churchill’s essay, or something very much like it, had been written by a renowned professor in a serious field–say,linguistics–at a prestigious university–say, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (I know–it seems implausible. But stranger things have happened.) MIT’s reaction would no doubt be something along these lines: “we don’t really care what political screeds he writes as a hobby. He’s a distinguished linguist, has contributed greatly to his field, and has maintained the [regrettably] minimal level of scholarly activity required of a tenured professor in his field. That is why we continue to employ him.”

The problem with Ward Churchill is not that he’s written appalling things during his tenure at Colorado University. The problem is that these appalling things are, as far as anybody can tell, part and parcel of his scholarly work. The question thus arises: what kind of field is this, where the line between Churchill’s scholarly work and his nonsensical, offensive rants is so fine? What kind of standards, really, does his discipline enforce? Suppose his footnotes were all correct–would that make his work worthy? According to whom, and why?

Scholarship is not primarily about “academic freedom”, much less “free speech”. It is about producing useful, valuable ideas through the application of one or more forms of rigorous intellectual discipline. Scholars who continue to live by such standards of discipline almost never need to resort to “academic freedom” or “free speech” defenses–their work speaks for itself. Churchill’s work, to say the least, does not. And in today’s academia, he’s hardly alone.

(More here.)

46

Gar Lipow 02.09.05 at 7:25 pm

Regardless of whether Churchill’s essay is wonderful or appalling is this the right time to launch blistering attacks upon it – when the worst of the right wing are trying to escalate their attacks on academic freedom by forcing him out of his job ?

It is one thing to say, as Voltaire may have said “I disagree with
everything you say, but will defend to your death the right to say
it.”

It is quite another to shout out (in the midst of a howling mob
attacking some unfortunate soul) “YOU UNSPEAKABLE LYING SCUMBAG! HOW COULD YOU SAY SUCH A THING! of course you have the right to freedom of speech and what this mob is doing is wrong EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE AN UNSPEAKABLE LYINGS SCUMBAG WHO DESERVES NOTHING BUT CONTEMPT FOR SAYING WHAT YOU SAID.” To choose that moment to launch or reemphasize your critique does not strike me as a robust defense of freedom of speech.

Similarly in terms of the Brown essay; most of the people spreading it themselves admit they don’t know whether the critique is correct or not. So why spread it at JUST THIS MOMENT when you don’t know the truth of falsity of it?

If you seriously oppose the howling mob out to weaken or end what remains of academic freedom, it seem to me you are showing extremely poor judgement in the timing of your critiques, especially in spreading allegations you admit are unproven.

47

Louis Proyect 02.09.05 at 7:48 pm

Timothy Burke:
“However, my general feeling about the claims in Brown’s essay is that they are overly strong in qualitative terms, that the slippages that Brown describes are small and interpretative rather than the kind of gross misrepresentation that I personally need to see in order for me to feel comfortable saying there has been academic dishonesty.”

What a remarkably bland reaction to a truly poisonous attack on Ward Churchill that climaxes with a demand that he be jailed for perjury.

Well, at least it indicates a glacial-like motion away from the lynch mob atmosphere.

48

Noah Schabacker 02.09.05 at 8:13 pm

I must sincerely thank Timothy Burke for doing exactly what I requested; he is correct in his reading Prof. Brown, while I am incorrect. I respectfully withdraw my charges pending further review of Brown’s sources. At the same time, I can only amplify my aside to Henry Farrell that it is irresponsible to link to accusations of perjury and academic dishonesty before verifying their accuracy.

49

abb1 02.09.05 at 8:36 pm

Yeah, what Ajax and others said – the target of a witch hunt might’ve been a bad academic! Whoa!

I once worked for a start-up and then they hired a CIO. The new CIO wanted to bring his people aboard and he told me to hit the road. Well, I didn’t want to leave, I was getting stock options, tens of thousands dollars worth of stock options every month. So, I kept ignoring the hints and clues. They were giving me tons of crap, moved me from my nice office to a cubical – I didn’t quit. And then, within the next few weeks it turned out that everything I was doing was stupid, unprofessional and plain wrong; all my outrageous errors of judgment were documented and sent to the personnel. And so I quit, just before all my perjuries would come to light, I guess.

Now, do I make mistakes at my job? Hell, of course I do. Did any that have anything to do with my mistakes? Well, what do you think?

50

jet 02.09.05 at 9:15 pm

abb1,

Totally off topic but this is incredible. You were getting “tens of thousands dollars worth of stock options every month” and you expect anyone to take your anti-free market rhetoric pro social democracy shit seriously? Oh yeah, we all feel sorry for people who were making over $100K a year just in stock options. Hell, I was up all last night at the town vigil for Ken Lay.

51

abb1 02.09.05 at 9:37 pm

Jet,
I am all for regulated markets and social democracy, reforming crony capitalism into more equitable socially responsible system. Just like everybody else, including you. I don’t know what rhetoric you’re complaining about.

52

Donald Johnson 02.09.05 at 10:02 pm

Totally irrelevant, Jet. Engels was a capitalist, if my rather feeble grasp of Marxist history is correct on this point, but that’s no reason to discount his sincerity.

To Ajax–I called Churchill a loudmouth because it’s extremely insensitive and basically juvenile to talk about “little Eichmanns” in connection with the terrorist murder of 3000 people. He was going way out of his way to shock people when large numbers of innocents had just been murdered and if people react with outrage, he can blame himself. But America has quite a large population of little Eichmanns these days, and always has, so I don’t object to that portion of Churchill’s rant. People who defend torture, for instance, or people who make money selling weapons to countries that will (surprise, surprise) use them to bomb civilians. Little Eichmanns and Big Eichmanns all over the place, in government, in major corporations, and on the internet comparing Abu Ghraib to a fraternity prank. If he’d just compared Osama bin Laden to Henry Kissinger or Ronald Reagan, no reasonable person could possibly have objected, IMHO.

53

jet 02.09.05 at 10:12 pm

Oh, well cool then.

54

Dan Simon 02.09.05 at 10:59 pm

But America has quite a large population of little Eichmanns these days, and always has, so I don’t object to that portion of Churchill’s rant. People who defend torture, for instance…

Well, I suppose I’ve been warned, then. Would you prefer that someone crash a plane into my office, or just abduct me, try me for my crimes against humanity, and execute me?

The kicker, of course, is that this little remark was tossed out in a thread about “academic freedom”, and I’m sure nobody would even have noticed anything wrong with it, had I not bothered to call attention to it. Just more evidence for my thesis that defenders of so-called “academic freedom” are spouting self-important nonsense–and pernicious nonsense, at that.

55

Thomas Brown 02.10.05 at 5:14 am

Louis Proyect writes: “What a remarkably bland reaction to a truly poisonous attack on Ward Churchill that climaxes with a demand that he be jailed for perjury.”

Louis, there is nothing of the sort in my piece. Please be honest in your criticism.

I agree that Churchill will generally not be guilty of perjury–in the strict legal sense–on the basis of his dishonesty in a trial brief, unless he swore an affadavit. He could, however be guilty of contempt of court. But I thought it was obvious that this is going nowhere as a legal action some fourteen years after the fact.

I wrote that sentence because I wanted to point out that Churchill presented fiction as fact as part of his legal defense. Call it what you will–it’s still dishonest and unethical by any standard.

To the conspiracy theorists who ask why Churchill’s dishonesty has never been brought forward until now–it has. John Lavelle published an extensive exegesis of Churchill’s fraud in 1999. My piece was never published before because a) it’s not finished; and b) I found thinking about Churchill any more than I have already to be extremely distasteful, which inhibited me from finishing it.

56

ogmb 02.10.05 at 8:14 am

For some reason it seems to have been ignored that the “firestorm” over WC’s comments do not exactly counter his interests. Notoriety is what he sought, notoriety is what he is getting now. To his supporters he’s a esus figure now, threatened by an angry lynch mob of rightwing politicos. Add to that that he’s pretty secure in his tenure, so I don’t see how he could be any better off than now.

57

Louis Proyect 02.10.05 at 2:18 pm

To Thomas Brown,

When you accuse Churchill of perjury at a time when he is under intense scrutiny from the ultraright and when lawyers are discussing how sedition laws may be used against hime, what do you think your article is being used for? Rightwing professors at the U. of Colorado are circulating it at this very moment. When you lie down with dogs, you get fleas.

58

Thomas Brown 02.10.05 at 4:29 pm

Louis wrote: “When you lie down with dogs, you get fleas.”

Yes, that does concern me. But CU has ignored Churchill’s dishonesty until now. It should never have taken a right-wing firestorm to get them to move on this festering problem.

I have already gotten some fleas, but they will wash off eventually.

59

ogmb 02.10.05 at 4:46 pm

Thanks louis proyect for making exactly my point. And of course the -esus was missing a leading J-.

60

Louis Proyect 02.10.05 at 7:19 pm

After having had a chance to review all of the material cited by Ward Churchill in relation to the Mandan smallpox outbreak of 1837, I am now persuaded that none of it supports his allegation that the US military conspired to infect them. In other words, the model of Lord Amherst, who did use smallpox blankets as a military weapon against American Indians in 1763, does not apply.

My interest in this is not as somebody trying to defend the integrity of Ivory Tower, since Churchill’s sins pale in comparison to what I have seen around me since my undergraduate days. I am far more concerned about the impact this has on American Indian activism, because it is essential that movements for social change be beyond reproach when it comes to such matters. Our exemplar should be somebody like Howard Zinn, who despite being criticized often for matters of interpretation (see Michael Kazin’s assault in the Spring 2004 Dissent), has never been challenged when it comes to matters of fact.

It would appear to me that Churchill was driven to invent a conspiracy where none existed because it served his overall interpretation of the American Holocaust, to use David Stannard’s term. Since he has so much invested in a comparison between Nazi Germany and the USA, he was tempted to posit the sort of conscious and deliberate extermination that took place at Auschwitz on American soil. In this scenario, smallpox blankets occupy the same place as Zyklon B. A genocide did take place, but it did not follow the same pattern as in Nazi Germany.

But before I go into this, I want to turn my attention first to an article by Thomas Brown, a Lamar University sociology professor, whose debunking of Churchill on the Mandan epidemic has been circulated widely on the Internet by individuals who want to see him fired. Some of these individuals also seek to see him prosecuted for treason, which carries the death penalty. Although it is unfortunate that Thomas Brown, (who would seem to be satisfied with Churchill only being prosecuted for perjury–a mere slap on the wrist by comparison) has seen fit to publish his findings during such a hysterical atmosphere, it is incumbent on the left to address these questions right now.

One thing that Brown shares with Churchill is the framing of the question. For both professors, genocide involves deliberation. It would also seem to involve motive, since economic motives surely drove openly genocidal attacks on Indians in the past. When Andrew Jackson coveted land in Georgia and adjoining states for cotton production, he expelled the Cherokees in what can only be described as a genocidal attack. But for Brown, no such parallel obtained in the Dakotas in the 1830s:

“What if the U.S. Army had been active in the region? Given the opportunity, would Army officers have had any motive to use biological warfare against the Mandans? Five years earlier, in 1832, Congress passed an act and appropriated funds to establish a program for vaccinating Indians on the Missouri River. Given this Congressional mandate to protect Indians from smallpox, given the lack of hostilities between the U.S. military and the Mandans or any other Plains Indians at that time, and given the military’s lack of presence in the area of the Mandans at the time, Churchill’s version of events does not seem at all plausible, even in the context of counterfactual speculation.”

While it is true that there was a “lack of hostilities” in the sense of Little Big Horn, etc., there were inexorable economic processes taking place that were destroying the way of life of the Plains Indians. If today we can hold capitalist corporations responsible for threatening Indians in the Amazon Rain Forest with genocide through the mere profit-making, then there should be no problem looking back at the 1837 period from the same perspective. Sometimes you can kill people with Zyklon B, but you can kill just as easily by forcing them to adopt a mode of production that is inimical to their existence.

“The High Plains Smallpox Epidemic of 1837-38” was written by Clyde D. Dollar for The Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Jan., 1977). I doubt if anything more probing has been written elsewhere. Dollar rejects conspiracies and instead describes the outbreak as an epidemic that was waiting to happen.

Drawing up the journals of Francis A. Chardon, who ran the trading post at Fort Clark, Dollar describes a pathetic scene of rat infestation and hunger. In the month of May 1837, Chardon killed 108! This suggests that trading post living engendered an accumulation of trash and filth that was one of Western Civilization’s dubious benefits, along with Rattus norvegicus, which came off the boat with other Europeans in 1755. The Mandan villages were also gripped by near-famine conditions, which Dollar attributes to “prolonged and promiscuous hunting of Buffalo, and other game.” In other words, it should come as big as a surprise that such villages suffer from a smallpox (or cholera, etc.) outbreak as in any other country that suffers from economic dislocation and poverty.

Although it would be another 30 years before the openly genocidal attacks on the Plains Indians, the 1830s were marked by the growing dependency on such peoples for goods at outposts like Fort Clark that were traded for hides. Rudolf Kurz, an employee at nearby Fort Union in the 1830s, wrote: “Now that he is acquainted with articles made of steel, such as knives, axes, rifles, etc., with tinder boxes, blankets, all sorts of materials for clothing and ornamentation, and with the taste of coffee, sugar, etc., he regards these things as indispensable to his needs; he is no longer content with his former implements, but regards ours as incomparably more comfortable to him.”

With the introduction of horses, the slaughter of Bison accelerated. With the sale of hides in exchange for such goods, you saw an upward spiral of hunting for trade rather than for sustenance. It also led to stepped up hostilities between different Indian groups. All this for coffee and sugar.

In other words, the same exact threat that exists today with respect to people like the Yanomami existed back in the 1830s. Today, we have both the benefit of hindsight and the organized presence of groups dedicated to indigenous rights. Back in the 1830s, we had neither. We had instead a frontier capitalism that would go to any lengths to produce profits.

In a December 6, 1813 letter to Alexander von Humboldt, Thomas Jefferson concluded that Indian support for Great Britain would “oblige us now to pursue them to extermination, or drive them to new seats beyond our reach.” Andrew Jackson made good on that promise.

The American genocide combined open and deliberate attacks of the sort Jefferson was alluding to, as well as the kind of indirect onslaught that accompanied the accumulation of capital. If we look solely for confirmation of a genocide in the first case and deny the reality of the latter, we will be no better than the David Irvings of the world. Whatever Ward Churchill’s sins as a scholar, he can not be accused of this. It would be most unfortunate in the backlash attending his remarks on 9/11 that elements in the academy opportunistically seek to advance their own “revisionism” on American history.

61

Donald Johnson 02.10.05 at 9:41 pm

To Dan Simon–

Do you support torture, Dan? Your question makes no sense if you don’t. Supposing you do, and many Americans are in that category these days, I’d say you are just another person who holds morally disgusting views and that’s not a capital offense. If you are actually involved in torturing someone (either directly or by writing memos proposing this as a policy), then perhaps you should be tried for crimes against humanity or whatever the appropriate charge would be. This is how we deal with criminals, Dan. This is really sort of elementary, unless you think that criminals should be dealt with by flying planes into buildings where they might work and it hasn’t occurred to you that there might be other options. You and Churchill both seem a little confused about this.

62

Donald Johnson 02.10.05 at 9:42 pm

To Dan Simon–

Do you support torture, Dan? Your question makes no sense if you don’t. Supposing you do, and many Americans are in that category these days, I’d say you are just another person who holds morally disgusting views and that’s not a capital offense. If you are actually involved in torturing someone (either directly or by writing memos proposing this as a policy), then perhaps you should be tried for crimes against humanity or whatever the appropriate charge would be. This is how we deal with criminals, Dan. This is really sort of elementary, unless you think that criminals should be dealt with by flying planes into buildings where they might work and it hasn’t occurred to you that there might be other options. You and Churchill both seem a little confused about this.

Server error, it says. Blame that if this appears twice.

63

Dan Simon 02.11.05 at 12:08 am

Do you support torture, Dan?

I have–on Crooked Timber, in fact–defended, under very limited circumstances, the use of interrogation techniques that some have defined as “torture”. According to your previous comment (although you might now be backtracking), that makes me a “little Eichmann”. We know what Ward Churchill was willing to see happen to “little Eichmanns” (according to remarks that you defended), as well as what happened to the original Eichmann. I drew the obvious conclusion.

Of course, if you’re now withdrawing your remarks lumping me (and, earlier, those “on the internet comparing Abu Ghraib to a fraternity prank”) together with all the “Little Eichmanns and Big Eichmanns”–i.e., the people whose targeting as non-innocents Ward Churchill justified, with your apparent approval–then I’m very glad. But the deafening silence from the Crooked Timber crowd when you openly called for anyone who defends torture in public to be treated like Osama bin Laden, speaks volumes about how seriously anyone here (or pretty much anyplace else in academia, for that matter) takes the concept of “free speech”.

64

liminal 02.11.05 at 6:14 am

What would General Churchill say about this?

Just in case you didn’t catch the website on the photo of the banner in the original post:

Check out this short animation, with sound effects of machine guns even, advertizing the “Men’s Night Out” where that insane pictoral account of military recruitment in a Kentucky church that I caught on Fark.com via locomono (see screenshots if you missed it).

65

Dan Hardie 02.11.05 at 4:17 pm

Dan Simon today:
‘I have—on Crooked Timber, in fact—defended, under very limited circumstances, the use of interrogation techniques that some have defined as “torture”.’

Dan Simon on 3rd December 2004, on the K. Healy CT thread ‘Freedom on the march’:
‘Americans have no interest that I can see in restraining their use of torture against non-American suspected terrorists. The organizations to which these terrorists belong would not hesitate to use torture on Americans—or, for that matter, kill them outright at every opportunity—so there’s no prospect of a mutual agreement that would trade away the use of torture in return for greater protection of Americans. And as long as a clear distinction is made between American citizens and non-Americans, the risk of torture being used on any of the voters to whom the torturers are accountable is negligible. Thus for Americans to give up the use of torture against non-American detainees captured by the American military would be, as a matter of cold calculation, highly counterproductive.

‘Even more counterproductive, then, would be the deliberate refusal to use evidence already gathered via torture.’

I see no evidence that Dan defended torture ‘under very limited circumstances’. As to his comment that he has defended ‘the use of interrogation techniques that some have defined as “torture”’- that wins some kind of prize for lying. Dan, *you* defined those techniques as torture. Read your own prose, quoted above- which is, I know a pretty cruel and inhumane thing for me to say, but I’m doing this reluctantly and for the greater good.

By the way, I now intend, on the strength of the two quotations from Dan above, to refer to him in future as ‘the liar Dan Simon’. Can anyone tell me of a good reason why I should not do so?

66

Donald Johnson 02.11.05 at 5:16 pm

Dan, I wasn’t aware of your existence until you said you defended torture. Now you seem concerned for the honor of those who equated Abu Ghraib with fraternity pranks and Dan Hardie’s quote of you, if accurate, is pretty damning. “Suspected terrorists” can be tortured, it says. Yeah, that’s Eichmann territory. Don’t worry about what I think about you–take a good long look at yourself and the people you defend and see if this is who you want to be.

I’ve been pretty clear what I think about 9/11 and Churchill’s morally indefensible remarks, so either you didn’t bother to read what I said before attacking or were only pretending to believe I endorsed his comment about 9/11 despite the fact that I said precisely the opposite in this thread. Since I spent much of 9/11 wondering if any friends or loved ones had been killed, and not in a calm frame of mind either, I can safely say I didn’t appreciate his attitude.

People who hold morally abhorrent positions are a dime a dozen. In the Arab world many think suicide bombing is okay, and in America it’s torture, along with a number of other morally disgusting policies we’ve pursued. In case you missed my previous point, I don’t think people who hold morally abhorrent views are guilty of a crime that mere humans have the right to punish. (If you’re religious, you might want to worry about the standards of a higher authority, though). People who act on their beliefs and write legal defenses of torture or set policies for torturing people or who actually practice torture are, of course, guilty of crimes and should be tried in court and if found guilty, sent to prison. But not tortured or killed or assassinated.

67

Dan Hardie 02.11.05 at 5:21 pm

Donald, Dan Simon, the liar, is indeed a morally disgusting human being. Anyone wishing to check whether my quotation of Dan is accurate should go to this link: http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002944.html

The liar Dan Simon’s first pro-torture post on that thread comes at 8.04pm on 4 December.

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Dan Simon 02.11.05 at 10:44 pm

I see no evidence that Dan defended torture ‘under very limited circumstances’.

In fact, the quotation you snipped was from a comment I made disputing the claim–repeatedly made in that comment thread–that an American policy of torture would be, in strictly pragmatic terms, counterproductive. (Hence my use of the phrase, “as a matter of cold calculation.”) I stand by my argument. However, it is not, and clearly was never meant to be, a moral defense of torture.

As to his comment that he has defended ‘the use of interrogation techniques that some have defined as “torture”’- that wins some kind of prize for lying. Dan, you defined those techniques as torture.

Anyone to cares to follow the link Dan Hardie was gracious enough to provide, will also find the following quotation from a later comment of mine:

I could have been coy, and claimed to be against “torture”, intending to distinguish between the infliction of severe pain and other forms of harsh treatment. However, since I myself don’t know where exactly the line should be drawn, nor whether the most effective information extraction techniques ever cross it, I deliberately chose not to take that escape route. Instead, I’ll just reiterate my points:

1) Under extreme circumstances, it might well be necessary—even morally so—to inflict very harsh treatment on detainees, (only) for the purpose of extracting their cooperation. Depending on the defintion of “torture”, it might (or might not) apply to some of these forms of harsh treatment.

2) In contexts where such harsh treatment is already commonplace, its relatively indiscriminate use on detainees most likely has negligible direct, negative practical consequences. However, there still are obvious moral arguments for restricting its use to a (hopefully) very few extreme cases, even in those contexts.

3) Because the gradations of severity of treatment and necessity of its imposition are arbitrarily fine, distinguishing among them requires extremely careful examination and discussion of the moral and practical consequences of of any particular choice of distinction. It only hinders such careful consideration simply to proclaim all harsh treatment to be torture, and all torture to be so unthinkable that anyone who is willing even to contemplate its use must therefore be subhumanly evil.

Now, some readers may find my position wrong, or even morally reprehensible. But I’ve never misrepresented it.

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Dan Simon 02.11.05 at 10:46 pm

I see no evidence that Dan defended torture ‘under very limited circumstances’.

In fact, the quotation you snipped was from a comment I made disputing the claim–repeatedly made in that comment thread–that an American policy of torture would be, in strictly pragmatic terms, counterproductive. (Hence my use of the phrase, “as a matter of cold calculation.”) I stand by my argument. However, it is not, and clearly was never meant to be, a moral defense of torture.

As to his comment that he has defended ‘the use of interrogation techniques that some have defined as “torture”’- that wins some kind of prize for lying. Dan, you defined those techniques as torture.

Anyone to cares to follow the link Dan Hardie was gracious enough to provide, will also find the following quotation from a later comment of mine:

I could have been coy, and claimed to be against “torture”, intending to distinguish between the infliction of severe pain and other forms of harsh treatment. However, since I myself don’t know where exactly the line should be drawn, nor whether the most effective information extraction techniques ever cross it, I deliberately chose not to take that escape route. Instead, I’ll just reiterate my points:

1) Under extreme circumstances, it might well be necessary—even morally so—to inflict very harsh treatment on detainees, (only) for the purpose of extracting their cooperation. Depending on the defintion of “torture”, it might (or might not) apply to some of these forms of harsh treatment.

2) In contexts where such harsh treatment is already commonplace, its relatively indiscriminate use on detainees most likely has negligible direct, negative practical consequences. However, there still are obvious moral arguments for restricting its use to a (hopefully) very few extreme cases, even in those contexts.

3) Because the gradations of severity of treatment and necessity of its imposition are arbitrarily fine, distinguishing among them requires extremely careful examination and discussion of the moral and practical consequences of of any particular choice of distinction. It only hinders such careful consideration simply to proclaim all harsh treatment to be torture, and all torture to be so unthinkable that anyone who is willing even to contemplate its use must therefore be subhumanly evil.

Now, some readers may find my position wrong, or even morally reprehensible. But I’ve never misrepresented it.

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Dan Simon 02.11.05 at 11:26 pm

“Suspected terrorists” can be tortured, it says. Yeah, that’s Eichmann territory. Don’t worry about what I think about you—take a good long look at yourself and the people you defend and see if this is who you want to be.

I’ve been pretty clear what I think about 9/11 and Churchill’s morally indefensible remarks, so either you didn’t bother to read what I said before attacking or were only pretending to believe I endorsed his comment about 9/11 despite the fact that I said precisely the opposite in this thread.

Yes, Donald, you made it clear that you don’t consider the 3000 victims of 9/11 to be “little Eichmanns”, and that you don’t approve of Churchill’s saying so. What you haven’t been clear on is exactly who the “little Eichmanns” are, and what should be done with–or to–them. At times, you draw a clear line between those who commit what you consider to be horrible crimes, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, those who simply advocate or support such misdeeds. At other times, though–as above–you lump them all together as “Eichmanns”, implying that you consider them equally worthy of punishment.

Frankly, it appears you want to have it both ways: vigorously defending everyone’s right to say even the most terrible things, while at the same time scoring rhetorical points by equating the opinions you abhor with actual criminal acts–without considering the implications of such an equation.

Now, let me be the first to concede that dishonest rhetoric is not a crime, and shouldn’t be punished (except perhaps by ridicule). But it’s not a great credit to the perpetrator, either. And in a comment thread about “free speech”, fudging the distinction between supportive expression and action is particularly suspect.

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Ajax Bucky 02.12.05 at 5:53 am

dan simon-
We might agree that any discussion about “free speech” centering, as this one does, on a particular speech by a particular individual, should have to concern itself with what was actually said in that speech.
The disdain for Churchill you share with so many others left and right proceeds from his assertion that the people who died in the WTC towers on September 11, 2001 had it coming.
But he didn’t say that, or anything even near it.
What he did say, essentially, is that among those who died there there were men and women responsible for suffering and death in other parts of the world, and that the truly innocent who died there could legitimately have their deaths described as “collateral damage” – as so many other innocent deaths have been.
It’s dangerous ground to impute sentiment to anyone else’s speech, especially someone as intentionally controversial as Churchill is; but my reading of the essay in question, and his subsequent responses to the outrage and clamor for his head, is that he was not saying those collateral deaths were a good thing, and excusable, but the opposite.
What I hear him saying is: “Here. This is what it is. This is what it’s like. This is what they’re doing, and have been doing for years, in your names.”
And that’s what’s most dangerous about what he said. Because it’s true, and it’s incontrovertibly true. That is exactly what it’s like.
Lt. General “Killing Can Be Fun” Mattis, in response to the massacre of men, women, and children at a wedding party in Iraq last May, said, “I have not seen the pictures but bad things happen in wars. I don’t have to apologise for the conduct of my men.”
More specifically his defense was that there were “more than two dozen military-age males” killed –
being military-aged and male and Iraqi being enough to justify execution in that context – and the rest of the people that died were simply written off as collateral damage.
That one incident of course happened two and a half years after the WTC attack, but it fits seamlessly into a timeline of official and covert American actions that are impossible to reconcile with the self-image of violated innocence that’s the source of the public’s outrage at Churchill’s essay.
The more private outrage, that sees the threat in Churchill’s truth, is a different story.

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Dan Simon 02.12.05 at 5:23 pm

What he did say, essentially, is that among those who died there there were men and women responsible for suffering and death in other parts of the world, and that the truly innocent who died there could legitimately have their deaths described as “collateral damage” – as so many other innocent deaths have been….

And that’s what’s most dangerous about what he said. Because it’s true, and it’s incontrovertibly true.

Well, I’ll believe it might conceivably be “incontrovertibly true” if you can do the following:

1) Identify specific people–even a small number of them–among those killed in the WTC on 9/11, who were provably “responsible for suffering and death in other parts of the world”.

2) Present even a shred of evidence that the intention of the 9/11 conspirators was to target those people, rather than to sow fear among all Americans and spark a financial crisis in America.

3) Demonstrate that the 9/11 conspirators applied even the slightest effort (let alone the US military’s level of effort) to limiting “collateral damage” to innocents.

If you can do all of these things, then I’ll concede that Churchill’s point, as you interpreted it, may have a grain of truth in it. Otherwise, I would consider it quite appropriate to replace your phrase, “incontrovertibly true”, with the phrase, “a steaming pile of dung.”

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William C Carlotti 02.13.05 at 12:29 am

the “little Eichman’s”

In reading the various comments regarding Ward Churchill’s work examining the matter of genocide that included that of a particular group of Native Americans, I am reminded of some comments made by Kirk Douglas when he was made aware of comments by Rabbi David Wolpe, spiritual leader of Conservative congregation Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, and the author of numerous popular books on Judaism.

According to the Rabbi, “…virtually every modern archaeologist who has investigated the story of the Exodus, with very few exceptions, agrees that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all.”

It was an opinion duplicated by Ze’ev Herzog, Professor of Archeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, which created considerable controversy amongst many of his colleagues in the archeological scientific community. According to Herzog, ”This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: The Israelites were never in Egypt, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel.”

Kirk Douglas’ response was, “The story of the Exodus, as an actor, I find interesting and dramatic. I am not concerned with the archaeological authenticity of the story: I am interested in what the metaphor teaches me about my own spiritual journey. And Judaism is the language I speak, the path I walk, the origin and the destination of that journey.”

So, to make the matter clear, the genocide of the Native Peoples that were the indigenous occupants of the lands of the United States was the deliberate and intended consequence of the invasion, occupation, and expropriation of the land and its resources and, for me, one detail more or less, one footnote more or less, one split hair more or less, is inconsequential in the mass of the real and substantive evidence of the genocide.

What really interests me is Ward Churchill’s use of the term “little Eichman’s” in his analysis of the consequences of United States operations in the Middle East and elsewhere. I don’t know if Professor Churchill came to the concept independently of Hannah Arendt, but it is clear to me that he has either embraced or independently arrived at her clear exposition of the “banality of evil” in her book “Eichman In Jerusalem, A Report On The Banality Of Evil”. She portrayed Eichmann as a bureaucrat who did his duty, followed orders, and was part of the matrix that consummated in the nazi atrocities, rather than a raving, vicious, ideologically, and philosophically driven, demonic anti-semite.

It is a portrait that is uniquely insightful. Instead of the personification of “evil”, Arendt argued, Eichman was the icon for the “banality of evil” and consequently represented a danger that was not only applicable to the political confines of the Nazi era but could extend beyond its borders.

Professor Churchill makes the assertion that the clandestine operatives, technocrats, bureaucrats of the CIA operating in the World Trade Towers were of the ilk of the “banality of evil”, little Eichman’s engaged in a multiplicity of tasks in support of the United States involvement in the Middle East.

From my point of view, Professor Churchill’s characterization is as viable a concept for discussion and evaluation as the notion put forward in some quarters that the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq has increased the volume and intensity of the opposition to the United States. It is certainly a concept deserving more than a knee-jerk reaction.

Bill

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Louis Proyect 02.13.05 at 2:55 am

Apparently there’s a professor named Ralph Luker who is kind of upset because I have not given the proper respect to Henry Farrell and Timothy Burke at the Crooked Timber and Cliopatria blogs. These are group blogs run by left-leaning academics, with at least one non-academic on Crooked Timber.

Luker himself is the author of “The Social Gospel in Black and White: American Racial Reform, 1885-1912,” which is ranked #694,883 at amazon.com. I am not sure whether he reaches a bigger audience through book sales or though visits to the Cliopatria blog, but we are not talking public intellectual in the Edmund Wilson or Manning Marable sense.

In any case, I wasn’t aware that Luker was aware of my existence until I noticed a bunch of referrals to my blog from the Cliopatria website. Usually the referrals are from Ken McLeod or Lenin’s Tomb, so I was curious to see why people would be going to Unrepentant Marxist via Cliopatria. It’s not as disconcerting as the referrals I get from http://www.navy.mil, etc., but I had to wonder what was up.

After strolling over to Cliopatria, I discovered that Luker was raking me over the coals, which I really don’t mind. I rake people like him over the coals nearly every day, but at least I have the common courtesy to cc them when I do.

Luker wrote this:

But there are Lefty trolls, too, of course. David Salmanson and I ran into one – Louis Proyect – at Crooked Timber the other day. Proyect is an obscure former Troskyite, a computer technician at Columbia University, and the manager of a Marxist listserv. When Henry Farrell criticized Tim Burke’s critique of Ward Churchill’s work and cited Burke’s response to that criticism and Thomas Brown’s essay criticizing Churchill’s claims about the Mandan Indians and the smallpox epidemic of 1837, Proyect trolled. Farrell and Burke were “mediocrities” and Farrell a “useful idiot.”

full: http://hnn.us/blogs/2.html

Luker feels that he and his co-thinkers are vindicated because I became persuaded that Ward Churchill had failed to back up his charge that smallpox blankets were used as biological weapons against the Mandan Indian in 1837. He is not happy, however, that I was far more disturbed by a kind of holocaust denial that is implicit in Thomas Brown’s attack rather than Churchill’s faulty scholarship.

He writes:

What interests me about the way Churchill, Malkin, and some of Churchill’s apologists use history is that if you can find a precedent for an action in the past (Malkin’s Japanese internment; Churchill on Lord Amherst’s use of smallpox) it becomes, on the one hand, a convenient excuse for similar action in the present; or, on the other hand, justification for blatant distortion of history because we know that there was holocaust intent anyway. Proyect makes his support of Churchill’s holocaust argument quite explicit here. If you doubt it, you are a “holocaust denier” and, yet, Proyect is finally persuaded that, in this case, the evidence denies it. Think about it. If past precedent justifies present action or blatant distortion of the historical record, we can repeat the 19th and 20th century’s horrors; and we have, indeed, bought the post-modern notion that all the world’s merely a text, to be construed as we will.

Trying to decipher such clumsy prose is a daunting task.

To start with, the opening sentence is typical overloaded academic prose that one scratches one’s head to make sense of: “What interests me about the way Churchill, Malkin, and some of Churchill’s apologists use history is that if you can find a precedent for an action in the past (Malkin’s Japanese internment; Churchill on Lord Amherst’s use of smallpox) it becomes, on the one hand, a convenient excuse for similar action in the present; or, on the other hand, justification for blatant distortion of history because we know that there was holocaust intent anyway.”

Whenever you see a 74 word sentence that tries to make a number of divergent points, you can only conclude that the author is struggling to make a point but lacks the command of the English language to accomplish. Or, you can also conclude that the author’s ideas are just half-baked. Finally, it may be the case that the author wants to conceal his true meaning. Luker seems guilty on all counts, but I would not recommend a jail sentence. I am really quite liberal on the topic of free speech.

For Luker, the criterion of intent is critical to people like Ward Churchill and me. But I specifically said that I come at the question differently from both Brown and Churchill, who both believe that intentionality is key. For me, it is not so important. As a Marxist, the question of what is in the mind of a particular colonist is not so important. I am far more interested in the objective, structural effect of certain virulent strains of colonialism than I am in what is in the mind of the colonizer.

For example, Gerald Colby and Charlotte Dennet’s “Thy Will Be Done: the Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil” makes clear that the genocidal attack on indigenous peoples who stood in the way of oil exploitation was based at least partially on liberal ideology. The Standard Oil family was liberal, but they made common cause with Wycliff missionaries. In other words, you had the same lethal combination of the dollar and the bible that was visited on people like the Mandan.

Now it doesn’t really matter what was in the mind of Rockefeller or the Wycliff missionaries. When you systematically destroy the means of reproduction of an entire people in the pursuit of profit, it is no excuse that you meant them no harm. Capitalism’s course among hunting and gathering peoples has been genocidal worldwide. In distinction to primitive accumulation among more advanced peoples (speaking strictly in terms of the means of production) like the Chinese or the Indians, the effect on the North American Indian, the South Pacific islanders, the native Australian, etc. has been genocidal. Among anthropologists on the left like the late Stanley Diamond, this is not controversial.

Among people who appear to have a commitment to denying that there was a genocide against American Indians, it is controversial. To repeat myself, I feel that 90 percent of the hatred directed toward Churchill is a function of this rather than a failure to adequately document events that took place in the Dakotas 168 years ago.

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Dan Hardie 02.13.05 at 12:25 pm

The liar Dan Simon:

i) claimed on this thread that he had defended ‘the use of interrogation techniques that some have defined as “torture”.’ When five consecutive sentences from a post by him are quoted in which he defines those techniques as torture, without the scare quote, he attempts to hide his lie behind verbiage.

ii)Omitted to mention that when he was directly asked by me on the previous thread whether he supported such ‘techniques’ as (among those I specified) whipping, beating, the use of dogs, or rape, he refused to say that he opposed the use of such techiques, merely expressing a pious wish that hooding, sleep deprivation etc would prove ‘most effective’, but not ruling out the use of the more extreme stuff if necessary.

iii) Tells another clear lie about Donald Johnson.
Simon writes apropos Donald Johnson:’*What you haven’t been clear on is exactly who the “little Eichmanns” are, and what should be done with—or to—them.* At times, you draw a clear line between those who commit what you consider to be horrible crimes, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, those who simply advocate or support such misdeeds. At other times, though—as above—you lump them all together as “Eichmanns”, implying that you consider them equally worthy of punishment.
‘Frankly, it appears you want to have it both ways: vigorously defending everyone’s right to say even the most terrible things, while at the same time scoring rhetorical points by equating the opinions you abhor with actual criminal acts—without considering the implications of such an equation.’

This is the Johnson point he was responding to:’In case you missed my previous point, I don’t think people who hold morally abhorrent views are guilty of a crime that mere humans have the right to punish…People who act on their beliefs and write legal defenses of torture or set policies for torturing people or who actually practice torture are, of course, guilty of crimes and should be tried in court and if found guilty, sent to prison. But not tortured or killed or assassinated.’

Johnson, unlike Simon, writes clear and comprehensible prose. He is saying, for the benefit of the semi-literate Simon, that if you say as a private individual, that the US should torture prisoners, you are expressing a morally repugnant view, but the expression of a morally repugnant view is not a criminal act and cannot be punished; if you are in a position of responsibility for prisoners and you either torture prisoners or facilitate their torture, then this is a criminal act under US and international law and you should be punished. Re the type of punishment, Johnson made it utterly clear for the ignorant Simon: People who act on their beliefs and write legal defenses of torture or set policies for torturing people or who actually practice torture are, of course, guilty of crimes and should be tried in court and if found guilty, sent to prison. But not tortured or killed or assassinated. Johnson supports lawful penalties imposed after a fair trial by a properly constituted court- he explicitly condemns the mass-murdering atrocities of nihilistic fundamentalist terrorists.

Simon claims that Johnson is conflating the legal status of those who express support of torture but can’t put their warped desires into practice with those who do actually torture or order acts of torture. That is a clear lie, by a man whose posts contain very little else.

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kstreetfriend 02.14.05 at 10:41 pm

Please note the following.

Introduction: In a Pittsburgh federal court a well connected corporate crony has suggested a novice “integrity” free speech argument and the legal question is waddling without any legal precedent in need of an activist court.

Creating the free speech crisis is a “red herring” to draw attention away from the plain and clear evidence of the Pittsburgh Federal Court proceeding (best example of the corruption).

Ward Churchill was a relatively unknown professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, until Bill O’Reilly reported a piece about him and requested his audience to make a fuss. His provacative essay was written more than three years ago.

The Western Pennsylvania connection:

Ms. ElizaBETH Hoffman, native of Bryn Mawr, is the President of Colorado University. Go to http://www.hss.caltech.edu/Photos/Alumni/HoffmanElizabeth.jpg and/or http://www.colorado.edu/Carillon/volume47/images/1.jpg to view her picture.

Ms. Mary BETH (Rue) Kotcella Buchanan, native of Roscoe, is the U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania. Go to http://www.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2002-02-26/PH_2002-02-26_iattorney-b.jpg to view her picture.

Background: I attended undergraduate school with Ms. Buchanan. At the Pennsylvania University I succesfully re-established (and served as president) the pre-law society and graduated in 1983. Here Ms. Buchanan would become interested in the law. She graduated after me in 1984.

In addition, I was listed in Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities, and given the 1983 Progressive Leadership Award, and 1983 Distinguished Honor Award.

Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1988 Ms. Buchanan secured a clerkship with U.S. District Judge Maurice B. Cohill, Jr.

Judge Cohill is the Western District Judge responsible for enforcing a consent decree governing United States of America v. Port Authority of Allegheny County, Docket No. 91-CV-1694. However, he turned a blind eye to my case Docket No. 95-CV-00339. I had organized (secure a union) a political sub-division.

During that same year members of the state judiciary were charged and convicted for violating my civil rights (fixing cases against me in retaliation of Docket No. 95-CV-00339).

In a case related to Docket No. 95-CV-00339, an alleged EEOC investigative file was prematurely purged and the U.S. Department of Labor refused delivery of its copy despite a subpoena, FOIA Request and Motion to Compel. See Docket No. 98-CV-230. That is, the Department of Labor closed its investigation based on the alleged EEOC decision. But, I had proffered to the court EEOC writings that demonstrated no investigation was conducted.

Discussion: At issue is the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The Bush administration is attempting to change the 50 percent rule. That is, financial aid is available for postsecondary education provided at a college or university that has at least 50 percent of its students campus-based.

Corporations have paid Senators and Congress men and women well, attempting to change the 50 percent rule. The rule is necessary to prevent fraud (absentee students and/or diploma mills).

It appears at least three corporations have abused the administration’s Distance Education Demonstration that wavied the 50 percent rule.

The Career Education Corporation of Hoffman Estates, Ill., has faced lawsuits, from shareholders and students, contending that, among other things, its colleges have inflated enrollment numbers. In addition, F.B.I. agents raided 10 campuses run by ITT Educational Services of Carmel, Ind., looking for similar problems.

Nonetheless, the S.E.C. and FBI investigation is just spin to make it appear the administration is doing its job.

The Pittsburgh case involves Kaplan, Inc., which is wholly own by the Washington Post Company. For-profit postsecondary education has turned the company around. Individuals far more powerful than Martha Steward have made millions.

Thus the current unexplained campaign against free speech appears to be little more than another Madison Avenue scheme to control any discussion.

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