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The Ward Churchill affair is no more about Free Speech than the war in Iraq is about Democracy.  My question is why are the American people so susceptible to fraud, lies and fabrications?

The responsibility for the Ward Churchill fiasco lies with the University of Colorado board of regents who hired him in the first place and built a department around him... the Department of Ethnic Studies at Colorado University.  

It is clear that Churchill's longstanding "pattern of behavior" was inventing research to suit his theories, even to invent his own ethnicity, the same way Bush "fixed the intelligence" to suit his policy/plan to attack Iraq.

Why do Americans buy into fraud/crap/lies?

Why were Americans willing to believe the lies that led them to support the war in Iraq?

Why did the regents at CU appoint WC the head of the department of Ethnic studies when it was a clear and plain fact that his claim to be Native American was fraudulent? AIM

Why did the American people vote for GWB?  (You can say, well, they didn't in 2000).... yet those who did vote for him in such great numbers... why?  Because of his father?  What record did GWB hold?  The most executions ever in Texas??  Was his military record true?  Was his educational record true?  Had he earned distinction in any field?

Not being able to earn the vote honestly in 2000 Bush went and stole it.  To create support for the war in Iraq, GWB manufactured intelligence and planted phony stories in the media.

Truth from These Podia
Summary of a Study of Strategic Influence, Perception Management,
Strategic Information Warfare and Strategic Psychological Operations
in Gulf II
Sam Gardiner1
Colonel, USAF (Retired)

Now those PsyOps were pretty well done.  That August "product" was rolled off the assembly line with some skill.  But that was five years ago... there is no excuse for anyone who is still buying this deadly line of bullshit.

50% of the American people believe up until this day that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9-11.
Half of Americans link Hussein and Al Qaeda
That's now in 2007... against all evidence and for no other reason than because the President said so.

Buying a Pig in a Poke

Same with Ward Churchill... not being a Native American, he went and stole an identity... completely phony.  Not being able to prove his historical theories Churchill manufactured phony citations.... he referenced articles he wrote himself under a pseudonym... he plagairazed others, and others he just plain made up.

Speech is Free, but lies are costly.

I think American people are the most intellectualy susceptible people on earth.  That's great for the advertising business, but when it comes down to foreign policy it's lethal and education it leaves little hope for the future.

The shame is not on Ward Churchill, the shame is on the University of Colorado.

Report of the Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct at the University of Colorado at Boulder concerning Allegations of Academic Misconduct against Professor Ward Churchill:

Thus the decision to hire, and especially to confer continuous tenure on, a faculty member is a deeply consequential one for the University, for by making this decision the University commits itself to the defense of the individual’s work, so long as he or she lives up to the University’s expectations. We believe that the University of Colorado may have made the extraordinary decision to hire Professor Churchill, a charismatic public intellectual with no doctorate and no history of regular faculty membership at a university, to a tenured position without any probationary period in part because at that moment in the institution’s history, it desired the favorable attention his notoriety and following were expected to bring. This notoriety was achieved to some extent by the publication of some of the very essays that have now come under scrutiny because of their scholarly shortcomings. The hiring was, in short, largely the consequence of Professor Churchill’s effectiveness as a polemicist.

In other words, they bought his bullshit.  The University hired Ward Churchill for his flamboyance, his notoriety, his showmanship, not for his credentials... and certainly not for his body of work.

I could paraphrase by saying:

The decision to elect, and to re-elect a President is a deeply consequential one for the country, for by making this decision the country also elects a Commander in Chief.  I believe the American public made the extraordinary choice to elect George W Bush, a charismatic figure with no outstanding credentials of leadership in government, in the military, or in education to a tenured position in American government (save impeachment) because at that moment in our nation's history it desired to elect a President based on name recognition and party affiliation rather than for any qualities of intellect, leadership or moral fiber.  Bush's notoriety was achieved in part from his term as Governor of Texas with Alberto Gonzales as his major domo then as now... during which tenure they held the record for the most execution of prisoners on death row without legal review.  This pattern of behavior has now been in constant scrutiny because of this administration's record of torturing prisoners of war,  the history this administration has of flaunting International and Constitutional law, rewriting or inventing law to escape the consequences of its criminal and unConstitutional policies.

The Bush years have been, in short, the result of a well orchestrated propaganda machine in combination with a gullible, susceptible and intellectually lax public, as well as elected officials who were willing to follow the President down any road, even to an illegal war, without questioning the "intelligence that was being fixed to suit the policy."

Senator Robert Byrd
Speech on the Senate Floor
"We Stand Passively Mute"
February 12, 2003

To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences.  On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war.

Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully silent.  There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war.  There is nothing.

We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events.  Only on the editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war.

This speech of Sen. Byrd is more than four years old, but reading the following passage it is clear that nothing has changed.

Here at home, people are warned of imminent terrorist attacks with little guidance as to when or where such attacks might occur.  Family members are being called to active military duty, with no idea of the duration of their stay or what horrors they may face.  Communities are being left with less than adequate police and fire protection.  Other essential services are also short-staffed.  The mood of the nation is grim.  The economy is stumbling.  Fuel prices are rising and may soon spike higher.

In the last days of the Bush administration, while it is clear that the duty of the citizens and members of Congress is to impeach, just as it was the duty of the Regents of the University of Colorado was to fire Ward Churchill, the legacy of the years during which the American public was manipulated by fear and propaganda is still ahead of us.  The American people have still not developed the means to critically evaluate their leaders or the media that is not free of the corporate agenda.  The American people are no better educated than they were three and seven years ago to distinguish between lies and truth, fraud and authenticity.  

Democracy itself is still in great danger, not from the enemy from without, but from the slow aggregated rot from within that began with the Nixon administration and continues until today.  Until we re-establish the Constitution and the three co-equal branches of government we will never be out of the woods, and what has happened in the last seven years can and probably will happen again.

Even though we are now attuned to orange alerts and the potential for terrorist attacks, our founders would almost certainly caution us that the biggest threat to the future of the America we love is still the endemic challenge that democracies have always faced whenever they have appeared in history - a challenge rooted in the inherent difficulty of self governance and the vulnerability to fear that is part of human nature. Again, specifically, the biggest threat to America is that we Americans will acquiesce in the slow and steady accumulation of too much power in the hands of one person. -- Al Gore

Originally posted to dgr on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 07:09 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  well (4+ / 0-)

    this is not the essay i wanted to write, that had 20 source articles, 2 books, and 400 pages of reports.

    but it'll have to do for now.

  •  One answer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronBa, dgr

    Why were Americans willing to believe the lies that led them to support the war in Iraq?

    The pessimistic answer is that Americans are narrow-minded, xenophobic, and, when in doubt, lean toward a racist "us vs. them" position.  We've done it throughout our history, and we continue to do it today.  And it's an attitude that's especially prevalent among those who tick of the "R" box under "political affiliation."

    "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

    by Jon Stafford on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 07:08:05 PM PDT

  •  Here comes the nuance on the "stolen identity" (3+ / 0-)

    IIRC, it was Churchill's contention that the notion of Indian identity that governs many tribes was like the Nazi laws on Jewish identity: so many "drops of blood" in the family tree created Jewishness.  And Churchill's contention is that the similar Indian criterion was initially foisted upon them by the U.S. government in an attempt to identify and ghettoize them.  This project of clear identity creation was then internalized by the tribes themselves.

    I'm not a supporter of Churchill, but his thoughts on identity are interesting, and I think it shows a bit of a tin ear to just reproduce the colonialist project of identity by claiming he's "stolen an identity."  At a minimum, the irony of that is terrific.

    •  Let me clarify "interesting" there (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bigjacbigjacbigjac, dgr

      His critique was color-by-numbers post-colonial theory.  His thoughts are interesting are only interesting to the extent that the discipline is inherently interesting.  I haven't seen any special insights he provides that are interesting over and above the interest level of the field in which he worked. (or "worked")

    •  Statement American Indian Movement (2+ / 0-)

      The American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council representing the National and International leadership of the American Indian Movement once again is vehemently and emphatically repudiating and condemning the outrageous statements made by academic literary and Indian fraud, Ward Churchill in relationship to the 9-11 tragedy in New York City that claimed thousands of innocent people’s lives.

      Churchill’s statement that these people deserved what happened to them, and calling them little Eichmanns, comparing them to Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who implemented Adolf Hitler’s plan to exterminate European Jews and others, should be condemned by all.

      The sorry part of this is Ward Churchill has fraudulently represented himself as an Indian, and a member of the American Indian Movement, a situation that has lifted him into the position of a lecturer on Indian activism. He has used the American Indian Movement’s chapter in Denver to attack the leadership of the official American Indian Movement with his misinformation and propaganda campaigns.

      The Churchill File

      •  Having known Ward Churchill for 30 years ... (10+ / 0-)

        ...and having left the American Indian Movement (after 16 years in the organization) in great part because of Ward Churchill, let me just say that the AIM Governing Council is only one of the three main factions of people who once made up the organization. To argue that the Governing Council is the true representative of AIM is to denigrate good people in numerous AIM chapters who disagree with both the GC's leadership and its divisive role in the pan-Indian movement that the organization was founded to build.

        The struggle within AIM has long been clouded by disputes of full bloods vs. thin bloods, urban vs. reservation, traditional vs. "modern," by tribal differences, by acts and failures to act after the Siege of Wounded Knee, by egos that got in the way of community good.

        •  a tangled web (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Old Left Good Left

          [ Denver Post Churchill 1987

          He has claimed to be a "Creek Cherokee (unenrolled) and enrolled Keetoowah Band Cherokee"
          yet he belongs to no tribe, the Keetooway was an honorary (Bill Clinton is an honorary member) and one Denver newspaper even went so far as to track down Churchill's ancestor's DNA.  Ward Churchill is not a Native American.... it's an identity he assumed sometime in the 80's.

          1980 resume

          AIM threw him out for these reasons:

          "A major agenda item was the need to deal with the wrath of 'wannabees', instant shake and bake shamans, phony medicine men and women, artists, writers, and self-proclaimed 'AIM leaders' who are really non-Indians masquerading as Indian people. These people for various reasons, whether it be romanticism, self grandeur, exploitation, greed, or possibly agents of Operation Cointelpro of the FBI and/or Operation Chaos of the CIA ... infiltrate the American Indian Movement and other organizations for the purpose of misdirecting, disrupting, and sowing division in order to discredit and neutralize the leadership of the American Indian Movement.

          Two persons whose method of opertations (MO) fall clearly within this description is, of course, yøurself Mr. Churchill along with Mr Morris..."

          Cherokee Wannabee

          Since Russell Means signed the statement AIM GGC statement above, then later appeared in Churchill's defence, you can see how it gets a little confusing.

          But yes, I acknowledge your point about AIM and its branches, since AIM Colorado has supported Churchill.

        •  His Native American Identity (0+ / 0-)

          In which Churchill admits he is NOT Native American.

          Churchill did address the issue of his ethnicity,
          admitting that he is not Native American.

          "Is he an Indian? Do we really care?" he said, quoting those he called his "white Republican" critics.

          "Let's cut to the chase; I am not," he said.

          His pedigree is "not important," Churchill said: "The issue is the substance of what is said."

          He went on to explain that the issue of whether he is Native American has been blown up by sloppy reporting and reporters quoting other reporters.

          Star Bulliten
          Wednesday, February 23, 2005

    •  Churchill has said nothing original about ... (5+ / 0-)

      ...the perniciousness of "blood quantum," the concept that spurred members of the Cherokee Nation to keep the Black Cherokee Freedmen from full participation in tribal affairs. Vine Deloria and others spoke against blood quantum politics long before Ward Churchill came on the scene.

  •  Right on the heels of the Norman Finkelstein (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Iranaqamuk, Rex Manning

    tenure denial too. It doesn't matter what the message was that got them out of favor. The message the administration wanted to get out was "academia - don't fuck with us"...

    There is a corporate dominance of "the national interest" that is completely at variance, 180 degrees contrary to "the public interest."

    by FakeNews on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 08:06:56 PM PDT

  •  Malcolm X got the same treatment... (3+ / 0-)

    ...because of his "chickens coming home to roost" comment.

    Revolutionaries who speak their mind and eschew being "nice" get the same treatment from so called 'liberals' and so called 'conservatives'. 'Liberals' and 'conservatives' quickly close ranks when they feel threatened by outspoken critics from a truly left perspective.

    Bobby Hutton, George Jackson, Angela Davis, Leonard Peltier...the list of revolutionary fighters who have paid either with their lives, their freedom or their careers is long indeed.

    I notice that world net daily, free republic and Bill O'Reilly all have the same attitude about Churchill as you do. Interesting alliance.

    Amy Goodman from 'Democracy Now' thinks Churchill is legit but what the heck does she know, right?

    •  Two comments ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee, Old Left Good Left, dgr

      ...Bill O'Reilly thinks the University of Colorado (my alma mater) should have fired Churchill because of his "little Eichmann" comments, not because of his scholarly misbehavior.

      Although she certainly had a rough time of it for a while, Angela Davis has a creditable post at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is widely respected even by many critics of her politics as being a deeply committed activist and brilliant thinker.

      •  With all due respect, (0+ / 0-)

        You have no idea what Bill O'Reilly thinks. One can only take his word for it which is a dubious leap of faith.

        As to Angela Davis, yes, she has good teaching job at a university today. That she had to have her career postponed and ruined for a couple decades and go on the run because of instituional opposition to her ideas is no less a tragedy and a crime against free thought and free speech.  

        •  If by "institutional opposition" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          you mean having owned firearms used in a murder.

          "This machine kills fascists"--words on Woody Guthrie's guitar

          by Old Left Good Left on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 08:53:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right. (0+ / 0-)

            If you're willing to take J. Edgar Hoover's word for it.

            Problem is, she was acquitted of all charges that were brought against her.

            Nice try.

            •  There was never any doubt in the trial ... (0+ / 0-)

              ...about who owned the guns. The Defense stipulated to that fact. The doubt came over whether the guns were purchased for the purpose of being smuggled into the prison. The jury, all white, IIRC, said they weren't.

              •  Which means she didn't commit a crime. (0+ / 0-)


                Which means she was innocent.

                Which means she was the victim of trumped up charges.

                In that period, who ended up on the wrong end of government persecution? "Law and order" representatives of the establishment or those who challenged the establishment?

                •  You implied that Old Left Good Left ... (0+ / 0-)

         a sucker for believing the FBI about who owned the guns when, in fact, there was never any doubt about who owned the guns. That was the purpose of my response.

                  There is, of course, no denying that politically left people, especially leftist people of color, have suffered considerable government persecution, particularly in the era in question. Those at Wounded Knee who didn't already have the bureau spending lots of time on us certainly did so after the Siege, and many of us got "visits" when the agents were killed.

                  I don't think anybody here would deny or justify that. Davis, of course, should never have been fired from her UCLA post for her CPUSA membership. That was a true freedom of speech breach. But the charges against her in relation to the Jackson case were not "trumped-up." Under California law, an accessory before the fact in a felony is as guilty of the crime as the direct participants. The question to be decided was whether she was an accessory before the fact. The jury said she wasn't.

                  •  I'll be happy to take that up... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...with 'Old Left Good Left'.

                    As to Davis being an accessory, the prosecution knew she wasn't even before they filed charges. They, obviously, threw the only charge they could at her hoping it would stick. It didn't. If the jury, made up of lay people, was smart enough to see that then clearly the prosecutors would have been too.

                    So what about the other victims of the system I mentioned? You picked one. How bout the rest? How about Peltier, Hutton and Jackson? Or how about Geronimo Pratt? Twenty something years in prison for a crime he didn't commit?

                    Is it a coincidence that so many left/revolutionaries ended up dead or behind bars?

                    •  Did you read my second paragraph? ... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      ...I was personally a target of Cointelpro. I faced hours of bureau questioning on several occasions after the FBI agents were killed at Jumping Bull Compound in '75. Because of FBI complaints, I was forced to stop writing columns about Leonard Peltier at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner in 1987. Friends of mine were imprisoned because of the acts of government agents provocateurs.

                      So, yes, of course, there are plenty of people - some of them revolutionaries, some of them bystanders - who were persecuted by the government.

                      But not every case in which a political person was brought up on charges was for political reasons.

                      •  Who were the bystanders... (0+ / 0-)

                        ...who were persecuted by the government?

                        Are you implying that Davis, for instance, was a bystander or just a "common criminal" who happened to be a leftist who was brought up on phony charges at a time that leftists were being killed, railroaded, or ruined by a corrupt system?

                        Your credentials aside, I find that to be a very strange notion.

                        What of Pratt? Was he a bystander or a victim of a corrupt system?

                        •  "Bystanders" were non-revolutionaries who ... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          ...happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time but got caught up in the government's web. Several people who were targeted by Cointelpro fall into this category.

                          As for Davis, she clearly was a political leftist, a committed revolutionary, and she suffered because of it. But I guarantee you that if you own guns that ever get used in a prison breakout, you will be prosecuted regardless of your politics unless you are one very rich fellow.

                          As for Pratt, he was framed. But the behavior of California leaders of the Black Panther Party in this affair was shameful, as they left him to serve his long prison term without providing the alibi they could have which would have kept him a free man.

                          Shall we go down the entire list of all the politicals killed or imprisoned in the 1960s and '70s? For example, there are many longtime members of AIM who think Peltier did the crime (I do not). But even if he did, does that mean that Indians at Pine Ridge and other Lakota reservations, and AIM members themselves, weren't targets government repression? Of course not.

                          As I said before, when this thread began, I do not believe that we on the left are well-served by supporting fraudsters like Ward Churchill. They weaken our claim on presenting an alternative to the master narrative of American history and an alternative future to the one the oligarchs plan for us. I also don't think we are well-served by claiming that any time a political person is charged with a crime they are automatically being persecuted, framed or set up.

                          We should be alert to those possibilities, even their likelihood, because, of course, our nation has a long history of doing exactly that. But we also should be scrupulous guardians of the truth, not dogmatists who lump into the category of politically motivated persecution every instance that someone on the left is accused of law-breaking or other misbehavior. Because, sometimes, it's not.

                          Was Angela Davis prosecuted because she owned guns used in a crime? Or persecuted because she was a self-professed revolutionary? Could it have been both?

        •  Obviously, we can only assume what someone ... (0+ / 0-)

          ...thinks based on what they say. But O'Reilly's column  on the affair specifically stated that Churchill should have been fired for his commentary. Perhaps O'Reilly was really thinking, "thank god, I didn't get nailed for lying about my c.v."

          As far as Davis is concerned, she did not go on the run because of institutional opposition to her ideas. And she began working as a lecturer at prestigious universities again in the mid-'80s, after a period of intense activism related to her incarceration.  

    •  amy goodman (0+ / 0-)

      where did she say she thinks WC is legit
      Bill O'Reilly is in that interview too...
      is he also legitimized by Amy Goodman?

      •  Not just Amy Goodman. (0+ / 0-)

        If you listen to 'Democracy Now' on a regular basis you'll hear that Amy is friendly toward Churchill and hostile toward O'Reilly.

        You have to listen to the show to know that though.

        Not just Amy anyway. Both Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky stand behind Churchill and they do so explicitly.

        •  where? (0+ / 0-)

          Both Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky stand behind Churchill and they do so explicitly.


          •  Here, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Carib and Ting

            From Zinn:


            Letters of solidarity from Howard Zinn and other distinguished professors:

            Statement in Support of Professor Ward Churchill
            by Historian Howard Zinn

            I have declared my support of Ward Churchill because to defend him is to defend the principle of academic freedom, the idea that no one should lose his or her job or status in education because of factors outside of teaching and scholarship.  Those factors — political, ideological — are evident in his case, and they are joined by a mean-spiritedness which does not belong in an academic or any other environment.  The attack on Ward Churchill comes at a time in our nation’s history when constitutional rights are under attack by the national government, when war threatens the lives and well-being of all,  and therefore we need the marketplace of  ideas to be as open as possible.  If we want to live in a democracy we must protect that openness. That is why defending Ward Churchill has an importance far beyond his particular situation.

            Howard Zinn

               I note that aside from the controversy over specific statements Ward Churchill has made with regard to 9-11, there have also been questions raised about his scholarship.  I am aware of his writings on native American history, and I have found them to be assiduously researched, making important contributions to a much-neglected part of this nation’s history. It is interesting that, with all his years of writing books and articles, it is only after his controversial statements about 9-ll, that there suddenly arise questions about his scholarship. Thissuggests political motivations rather than real concerns about the quality of his work.

            Blurbing Acts of Rebellion: The Ward Churchill Reader (2003), Zinn also says:

               Ward Churchill is one of our most powerful chroniclers of Indian history – both of the sorry record of the United States government and the extraordinary resistance of the Indian people to policies of removal and annihilation.  Each one of his books is an education in itself.

            From Chomsky:


            Noam Chomsky

            Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus at MIT, in e-mail correspondence with a CU employee, April 13, 2005, says:

               Without reservations, I support Churchill’s right to free speech and academic freedom, and regard the attack on him as scurrilous - and by now craven cowardice as well, as the state authorities and other critics pretend that the issue is (suddenly) his academic credentials and ethnic origins. That’s a real disgrace.

               As for his work, I’ve never read this article [on 9/11] and have no interest in doing so–in fact, would not do so as a matter of principle in the present context, for reasons that go back to the Enlightenment origins of defense of freedom of speech. I was interviewed by Colorado newspapers, and told them basically what I’ve just written. I was then asked what I thought of his earlier work, and told the truth: that I found it serious and important, stressing again that these comments have precisely nothing to do with the outrageous events now underway.

               I have no idea what the plagiarism and other issues are, [but] if the charges were serious, they would have been brought up before. For what it’s worth, there’s no indication of that in anything of his I read–that is, nothing more than is standard in scholarship. . . . . Such matters are sometimes raised in the context of political persecution, by cowards who are desperately seeking to conceal what they are really doing. Seems pretty transparent in this case. Why now and not before?

            •  chomsky (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              "I have no idea what the plagiarism and other issues are, [but] if the charges were serious, they would have been brought up before."

              the above statement clearly shows that chomsky never made any serious effort to inform himself about the facts of the case. he was understandably alarmed by the calls for his dismissal due to a poticaly unpopular stance. however, ward would have been fine if he did not have such a checkered academic record. the fact is that these issues had been brought up previously and were very serious indeed, but university administrators failed in their duty to fully investigate the charges.

              as to why now and not before, as chomsky says, it was clearly political. but the problem is that something SHOULD have been done previously.

            •  ok with chomsky (0+ / 0-)

              and with zinn as well:

              I have declared my support of Ward Churchill because to defend him is to defend the principle of academic freedom, the idea that no one should lose his or her job or status in education because of factors outside of teaching and scholarship

              and that's just what happened.  his free speech was recognized as protected, and he was fired because of scholarship.

              why it did not happen earlier is entirely the fault of the university of colorado

              Zinn says he is aware of Churchill's writings, not that he has read them:

              I am aware of his writings on native American history, and I have found them to be assiduously researched, making important contributions to a much-neglected part of this nation’s history

              Despite this, I still think Zinn's "People's History of the United States" is the greatest.  But because of this, I will add another source to my bookshelf.

  •  At first I thought you meant (0+ / 0-)

    Yeah, I can relate, we're all getting treated like Ward Churchill now in this country, until I read the diary closely.  For a while if you channel surfed it was gang up on Ward Churchill all the time on Fox.  I don't think anyone deserves all that.

    But what do I know.

  •  If Ward Churchill had not even existed (5+ / 0-)

    the right would have had to find someone like him, or invent such a person out of whole cloth.

    It is about free speech and academic freedom, in the sense that the larger story isn't about Ward Churchill at all, but about a mendacious political movement looking for a scapegoat to prove that the so called "far left" in their view is just as "extreme" as the far right, to divert attention from the sheer extremity and evilness of their own movement.  We must, after all, have fairness and balance.

    What spurred his investigation was not his ethnic claims, or his plagiarism, but his statements, which were a convenient foil to attack the entire American left, and liberals in general.  The right wing needed its witch, a little leftist meat puppet, and he was burned in effigy, which he would have been no matter the outcome of any "ethics investigations".  

    Nothing less would have ever been acceptable, and no other outcome was ever possible; he had been selected, accused, indicted, tried, convicted and sentenced in the right wing Colorado press before such things as plagiarism and ethnic claims were even at issue .. though I am sure the right made very sure to find the most ethically questionable "far leftist" possible before selecting its pinata.  They do their research when it's in their interest.  The little fascist morality play now stands complete.

    The right needed to prove that the left has its Ann Coulters, and Churchill just happened to be there.  Conveniently left behind as roadkill is the fact that people like Ann Coulter, Michael Savage and Michelle Malkin are respected celebrities and have open support and backing from an entire political movement that pays homage to open fascists, while people like Ward Churchill simply happen to exist, here or there.

    And the warning and the handwriting on the wall is clear, too.  If you want to be on the left and make provocative statements, much less be in academia, you must be holy and pure and not have anything in your background that is in any way "discrediting".  You better watch your back, because the left must be characteristically docile.

    •  Excellent comment. (3+ / 0-)

      I would only change one thing (not saying you should, just saying what I would)...

      What spurred his investigation was not his ethnic claims, or his plagiarism..


      What spurred his investigation was not his ethnic claims, or his "plagiarism"..

      As his lawyer said, Churchill has been tried in a kangaroo court and now it's time for his case to be heard in a real court.

      Should be interesting.

      •  Bullshit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I know some of the members of the committee who examined the evidence, and it was far from a kangaroo court.

        Also, the evidence is fairly clear on its face.  In addition, I don't think he was sanctioned for claiming he was Indian, although that appears to be a false claim as well.

        "This machine kills fascists"--words on Woody Guthrie's guitar

        by Old Left Good Left on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 08:43:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  WC press conference w/ lawyer (0+ / 0-)

        claimed the 125 page report (cited in diary)

        125 pages in length following citation trails
        trappings of scholarship
        façade pretension
        wholesale falsification
        omission of inconvenient evidence
        suppression of evidence
        fabrication of material
        serial plagiarism of the authors of the report
        as of Saturday that report is not subject to review or charges of academic misconduct
        there is no chance of scholarly rebuttal at this point
        I stand unconvicted of any single thing as it stands right now
        The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary

        they claimed it was scholarship up until the very moment they had to stand the test that they subjected me to
        that’s a farce, and more than that, it’s a fraud
        we will be going into court to expose the nature of that fraud

    •  Churchill and Coulter (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Albanius, dgr

      Both are jerks, but only one was a supposed academic.  I think the take away is if you want to keep your job in academia, it's best not to engage in academic misconduct and generally just make shit up but if that's what you want to do, get a job in the media.

      "This machine kills fascists"--words on Woody Guthrie's guitar

      by Old Left Good Left on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 08:40:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Much of what you say I agree with ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlanF, Old Left Good Left, 0wn, dgr

      ...most of it, in fact, especially the media's role.

      But leftists also have a responsibility not to support a fraud just because the fraudster's political points of view mesh with ours.

      I had long, wee-hours, alcohol-saturated conversations with Ward Churchill 20+ years ago in which he argued that actual facts didn't matter so long as the big picture depicted was true. I never convinced that the big picture can't be true if the facts making it up are fabricated.

      So, it is certainly true that Churchill would still be in his post today had he not exercised his free speech in a way troublesome to the powers-that-be. Because if he hadn't, his bullshit would not have been investigated. But if he hadn't invented his Indianness, if he had been a real scholar, there is good reason to believe that he wouldn't have been fired, or, at the very least that the academics who investigated him would not have made the recommendation they did, making the Regents' decision much harder to justify.

      •  I must admit, I never had any interest (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, AlanF, Carib and Ting

        in Churchill himself, his views, or his own failings, or purported failings.   So I didn't really follow the minute details of the other accusations, nor did I even really care.  I'm not really defending him per se, as a person.  Except to say his destruction was a foregone conclusion, to sate the right wing lust for leftist "blood".

        But the fact in my mind is, he was selected.  The right wing needed him.  They wanted to create a media circus and create a leftist terror.  And as we know all leftists are ethically moribund.  At least that is the message the right wants to convey.

        My question is, what about the next Ward Churchill?  What if they find out such a person likes porn, or has been known to smoke a doobie now and again?  Are those things not also justifiable excuses for destroying them, in the name of making the left just as "bad" as the right?

        Why does this country ignore the most bizarre and indefensible behavior from prominent people on the right, while people on the left are run over as if by a Mac truck, before they are even really noticed much by the broader public?

        The right made Ward Churchill (in)famous.

        •  he was selected all right (0+ / 0-)

          he was selected by the University of Colorado.  they are responsible for this mess, not Ward Churchill, who has not changed one jot...

          Ward Churchill was not created by the right.  He's a creature of his own invention.

    •  not a foregone conclusion (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Left Good Left, dgr

      it is certainly true that none of this would have been an issue if not for his politically unpopular comments. CU has largely known churchill to be disingenuous for a long time, but has largely chosen to ignore--but the calls from the right changed all that. that being said, it is simply untrue that once the investigation started there could have been no conclusion other than dismissal. if churchill did not have such a dubious record, this would not have made it past the first committee. it is very silly to argue that the various faculty committees were simply political puppets, especially when they were composed primarily of left leaning faculty members. academics simply take charges of academic conduct very seriously. now, many might have preferred a long term suspesnsion without pay, given the importance of tenure for the academy, but that is not to say they feel the charges are in any way bogus.

    •  Noam Chomsky MIT (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matthias, 0wn

      academics not celebrities... although by the report (125 pages) cited above the University hired Churchill for his star factor, not his academic credentials.  There's your chicken coming home to roost.  Ward Churchill is a victim of Ward Churchill, and the problem of Ward Churchill belongs to those who hired him, their hiring practices, and the fact that in 1987 they let those requirements lapse altogether for what they figured Ward Churchill could do for, not to, their university.

      We believe that the University of Colorado may have made the extraordinary decision to hire Professor Churchill, a charismatic public intellectual with no doctorate and no history of regular faculty membership at a university, to a tenured position without any probationary period in part because at that moment in the institution’s history, it desired the favorable attention his notoriety and following were expected to bring.

      this is the only place in the 125 page report that I've found the University takes responsibility for putting the guy in office.  I've yet to read any report where the American people take responsibility for putting Bush in office, although "Assault on Reason" goes a long way towards explaining it.

      •  responsibility (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        yep, cu is certainly culpable here, and while the hiring and his being awarded tenure certainly were unusual, what really needs more discussion is what were various university offcials thinking when they continually dismissed charges of fabrication and plagiarism. these are very serious charges, and when a pattern is evident, require very serious consideration. i doubt many other faculty members would have been so shielded.

        •  he did not become problematic for CU (0+ / 0-)

          until 2001 with "chickens" "little eichmanns" and then this essay was unearthed in 2005... then the University had to take the heat, so they had to make the move to get rid of him.  There was even a resolution passed in the Colorado house condemning him.

          his hiring was wrong, his being granted tenure in 1991 was wrong

          it took the university of colorado exactly 20 years to wake up to what they, not churchill, had done.  

          i've read the 125 page report, and as other academics have pointed out, the punishment seems disproportionate to the "crimes" churchill committed.

          i don't know of any other case where a professor was hired this way, but i think firings for plagairism happen, and professors lose their tenure for this.

          •  yes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            yes, i agree that he did not become problematic until this whole sordid episode occurred. most of the charges of academic misconduct predate this particular mess, however, and CU clearly did not take them seriously.

            as to whether or not the punishment is disproportionate to the crime, i'm pretty ambivalent. quite of few of the charges (those that are known publicly, there are lots of others that never made it into reports becuase people were scared to testify against him, including at least one graduate student i know personaly) are really grey areas. for instance, writing papers under an assumed name and then using that as a primary source. it is clearly unethical, but i've never actually heard of such a case before, nor have many of my colleagues. thus, churchill can no doubt claim that he was never told he couldn't do it, and he would undoubtedly be telling the truth. even some of the plagiarism charges are a bit grey.

            thus, given the evidence that has been adduced publicly, i feel he deserves at least a long-term suspension. i'm not sure i would have voted for dismissal from those charges and evidence alone. after all, he could be just a terrible scholar. however, given that i know quite a bit about other churchill irregularities and delusions, i'm not going to cry that he got what he got. and i have little doubt that he will get nowhere in court. they simply cannot make the case that he did not get due process. if one looks at what the committees did in detail, it is clear that this was all done very soberly and seriously.

            •  using his own ghostwritten sources (0+ / 0-)

              Were Professor Churchill a scientist, rather than a researcher engaged in social science research in ethnic studies, the equivalent would be (1) the misstatement of some underlying data (i.e., his mischaracterization of the General Allotment Act) and (2) the total fabrication of other data to support his hypothesis (i.e., the ghostwriting and self-citation of the Robbins and Jaimes essays). Clearly, ghostwriting the Robbins and Jaimes articles involved considerably more work than fabricating underlying scientific data, but that fact makes it no less a type of fabrication or falsification. The Committee is not claiming that Professor Churchill fabricated his general conclusions; rather, he fabricated the underlying data employed to support the insupportable details bolstering those conclusions.

              •  ghostwrite (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                i don't disagree, other than to say that it is not something we are told not to do in the academy. everyone knows about plagiarism from day one, but ghostwriting? i just think he does have a leg to stand on here as i know of nothing in writing in CU contracts that explicitly says this is an unacceptable practice, nor is it something that academics all necessarily know to begin with. the problem is that it is so bizarre. and as unethical as i feel it to be, i think that revoking tenure is such a serious business that there should be absolutely no question as to one's complete guilt. a 3 year suspension without pay though, i would have been very hapy with that.

                •  it's not ghostwriting (0+ / 0-)

                  it's using your ghostwritten stuff to back up your theories.  you can cite yourself as a source, but not pretend its not yours when citing as a primary source to back up theory.

                  •  sure (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    sure, but do you know of any precedent? i don't off hand, and i doubt ward did. don't get me wrong, i'm not actually defending him as i believe what he did was corrupt the very heart of the academic process. however, i can imagine a defense wherein he states that there is no rule, written or otherwise, prohibiting such behavior.

                •  i thought that, too (0+ / 0-)

                  that it was deserving of a suspension, not a firing.  until i read the 125 page report.

                  at some point they say if he had ever expressed any contrition about the many times he has been caught out, it would have been different.

                  there is a quote i can't find where he says facts don't matter... just make stuff up

      •  It seems he was hired because of (0+ / 0-)

        who he was ( a leftist of some note ) and not because of his academic accomplishments. So let me get this straight...they hired a known leftist without much comment of the right. Were there pickets against the hiring? Did students boycott his classes?

        Obviously he's been there awhile without much notice from the right. But as his academic flaws became more apparent, he put himself in the spotlight and made himself a target.

        Dubya: often wrong, but never in doubt.

        by auapplemac on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 11:41:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  he was hired because he was a star (0+ / 0-)

          and a cause celebre
          he was hired because of his cachet
          they thought he was a draw.

          it was a cynical move on their part, and objections were raised at the time, not because of his politics, but for his lack of qualifications.

  •  Nit Picking (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlanF, dgr

    There's no "Colorado University".  It's the University of Colorado, abbreviated CU (for no good reason I've been able to determine.

    In any event, Churchill was an apparent academic fraud and good for CU for giving him the boot.

    "This machine kills fascists"--words on Woody Guthrie's guitar

    by Old Left Good Left on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 08:35:11 PM PDT

  •  What I think of Ward Churchill aside (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Iranaqamuk, Rex Manning

    everything this diarist said is total bullshit. Literally everything.

    And, actually, no matter what conclusion you draw Ward Churchill is, at a minimum, worth reading.

    •  total 100% bullshit? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


    •  'COINTELPRO Papers' was excellent. (0+ / 0-)

      My best guess is that those here who condemn Churchill have never read what he's written or actually heard his lectures or speeches.

      •  read "chickens" (0+ / 0-)

        excerpts of his writings, and lectures... that's all i need.

        •  Are you referring to this?: (0+ / 0-)

          "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens"

          If so, what fault do you find with the essay?

            •  What fault do you find with the essay? (0+ / 0-)


              •  this (0+ / 0-)

                Churchill on the victims of 9-11

                Let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire – the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to "ignorance" – a derivative, after all, of the word "ignore" – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it.

                •  That's a long quote. (0+ / 0-)

                  Please, in your own words, tell me what you find wrong with what Churchill wrote?

                  •  how much churchill have you read? (0+ / 0-)

                    the above was written about the victims of 9-11.
                    can you not see what is so deeply offensive?

                    •  I'M ASKING YOU! (0+ / 0-)

                      I've read the piece. I read it way before this diary was posted. I'm asking you to critique it.

                      •  and i'm answering you (0+ / 0-)

                        the above passage is deeply offensive to me.
                        it says they deserved their death.
                        it says they were responsible for the attack.
                        it calls them "little eichmanns" and that the attack was well done:

                        If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it

                        •  My opinion. (0+ / 0-)

                          That's an extremely facile analysis.

                        •  Sorry I forgot to check back on this (0+ / 0-)

                          but its been three days so maybe you are done moralizing?  Maybe not.

                          I agree with every word of the Churchill quote you printed.  I could give less of a fuck what you think it says or if you are offended or not.

                          "Deserve" and "responsible" are open ended terms.  These things can be said though:

                          The people Churchill speaks of were certainly willfully oblivous to the great suffering and death and chaos they were abetting.  Secondly, if you'd tried to tell them about it, they'd have told you to fuck off.  Third, you can hardly call the attacks unexpected in light of the context provided above.  Nor can you say no one in the Middle East has any grievance against the United States.  Who's "responsible" and what's "deserved" are best left for historians to sort out.

                          You seem to be in the same ranks as the people being described actually.

      •  reading churchill (0+ / 0-)

        is reading churchill necessary? is it not enough to put some faith in the more than 20 faculty members who reviewed the case in remarkable detail? not a single faculty member on these committees felt that churchill had not committed some form of serious academic misconduct. that is not to say that all thought he should have been given the boot. some thought a suspension was more appropriate, especially given the political context that forced the investigation.

        •  No. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Carib and Ting

          It is not enough to rely on University bureaucrats who I don't know. I don't take anyone's word for anything. I read the source material for myself and make up my own mind.

          I don't let others do my thinking for me.

          •  reviews (0+ / 0-)

            first of all, these were not university bureaucrats--they were faculty members who had to more or less give up there regular research (temporarily) to work on the churchill case. certainly administrators were involved as well, but they were not on the committees i was referring to. also, how will simply reading churchill allow you to make up your mind? none of the charges would be apparent simply by reading churchill. one would have to read tons of other information to even begin assesing the veracity of his writings and the charges. i can also state that this is a job that takes many months full time--six months for the faculty that did the most exhaustive review. thus, any casual reading of several of churchill's books would be useless in this regard. this is not to say that i do not think people should read churchill, or not arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible, but only that doing so would prove extremely difficult in this case. especially when some of the charges at least, were so straight forward.

            •  the university panel concluded (0+ / 0-)

              that his speech was protected

              but plagiarism, fabrication, using his own ghostwritten articles as sources of his research... that was a violation of the university's academic standards

              another thing to point out, not to you, but to those who think that the right has silenced a leftist or a revolutionary... he hasn't lost a publisher, just a job with the university.  i doubt that anyone who reads ward churchill will cease to do so now that he's been fired.

            •  When university management... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Carib and Ting

              ...takes professors away from their teaching assignments and assigns them the duty of putting together a case against another professor, deputizes them to do that, they become de facto bureaucrats.

              I can make up my own mind because I have a good education, excellent skills in critical reasoning, and  I am historically literate.

              We'll see how "straight forward" the charges are after a full hearing in an open court. The findings of a Star Chamber don't persuade me.

              •  faculty (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                auapplemac, dgr

                well, one can understand your reluctance to take others at their word. that said, you seem to seriously misunderstand what happened in this case. the faculty members were not given the duty to put together a case against churchill. they sought to investigate if charges against him had any merit. if you kew most of the people involved you would also know that they are for the most part open minded and good people who would have been very happy to find him altogether innocent. it is very cynical indeed, however, to think that faculty members are so easily transformed into political stooges. the very fact that they all had tenure themselves meant that they could speak their minds on these issues.

                •  Were their deliberations open to the public? (0+ / 0-)

                  Was the accused allowed to examine the evidence against him and cross-examine those who accused him of wrong doing?

                  Who acted as an advocate for the accused?

                  Was there a judge?

                  Was the accused allowed to rebut the "evidence" against him and present evidence of his own?

                  If it didn't go down like that then it was a Star Chamber persecution.

                  What will you think if Churchill is vindicated in a real court and is reinstated, with restitution, to his teaching position?

                  •  answer (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    churchill had a lawyer who was innvolved in the proceedings. there was no cross examination of witnesses that i am aware of, but they were allowed to rebut every statement and piece of evidence. he was also allowed to present evidence of his own, which produced such gems as, to paraphrase {ghostwriting is a common practice], which is so bizarrely untrue it that it gave the whole proceedings an unreal feel. it is also extremely unlikely that churchill will find joy in the courtroom. this went through several committees, he was given every chance to defend himself, and every formal procedure was followed to the letter. he is making this a free speech case, but the fact is, even though the investigation started becuase of his unpopular statements, none of the years of deliberation thereafter even touched on matters of free speech. the proceedings were focused entirely on charges of academic misconduct.

                •  Faculty members don't need to be "transformed" (0+ / 0-)

                  into stooges

  •  Ward Churchill (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    auapplemac, dgr

    is a living example of how the ends, no matter how legitimate, can never justify the means.  Bush is what happens when you aren't held accountable for the means you choose.  

  •  I always said... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...Churchill was investigated for the wrong reasons, but ultimately fired for the right reasons.  

    Where's your crown King Nothing?

    by CO Democrat on Sat Jul 28, 2007 at 05:47:44 AM PDT

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