I write a monthly column in North Carolina entitled “Course of the Month”, which acts as a Golden Fleece Award for ridiculous courses taught in this state's colleges and universities. Sometimes I decide a course is too deserving of attention to keep it within the confines of North Carolina. The course I am about to describe is not only worthy of such an honor, but, in my view, it ascends to the top of all the crackpot courses I've written about since 1996.
If you think the Bush administration planned the 9/11 attacks to give it an excuse to wage war for global domination, that a Jewish cabal controls world events, that President Eisenhower was abducted by aliens, and that he, Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes go off to a remote California location to practice owl worship, then you'll disagree with my assessment. The rest of you, I'm confident, will say move over, “Canine Cultural Studies," -- and make way for North Carolina Wesleyan College's Political Science 495: “911 The Road to Tyranny,” taught by Prof. Jane Christensen.
Here is Christensen's description of her course:
“The events of September 11, 2001, indisputably changed the course of American politics and history. This course is offered so students may examine various events and policies leading to 911. In particular, this course will focus largely on the specific destruction in lower Manhattan and the Pentagon. We will examine the official story and analyze it critically. We will consider alternative explanations of what occurrred (sic) as well. 911 was a catalyst for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the attack on civil liberties in the United States. We will examine each of these with a critical eye. The goal of this course is to arrive at a solid understanding of how 911 has shaped our political future and to promote critical analysis by students of this catastrophic event and its aftermath.”
“This course is outside the scope of traditional 'political science' in many ways. First it is 'unscientific' in that it relies much on eyewitness accounts and speculation. Secondly, there is not yet a solid literature on the September 11 'attacks' or on the war on terrorism. This literature is emerging, particularly on the latter. Thirdly, this course will rely somewhat extensively on alternative news media accounts and a variety of films and videos in lieu of literature.”
That second paragraph reminds me of the “Brad Goodman” character on an old episode of “The Simpsons.” He was a feel-good self-help guru and charlatan who proudly told his audiences, “I don't have any credentials -- or training -- but I have a Ph.D. in pain.” By the same token, this course doesn't have political science -- or a scientific approach -- but it has a Ph.D. in kooky conspiracy-mongering.
For her “911 The Road to Tyranny” class, Christensen lists the following websites as “recommended reading” that “should be visited every day”: rense.com, www.libertythink.com, www.counterpunch.org, www.prisonplanet.com, www.wsws.org/index.shtml, www.globalresearch.ca, and www.copvcia.com. The day of this writing, for example, Christensen’s students would have “learned” the following:
● From rense.com: Israel is engaged in the “white slave trade”; Pres. Eisenhower signed “a formal treaty between the Alien Nation and the United States of America” and that “that aliens exist and control much of what happens on planet Earth,” a truth, incidentally, that's encoded within the Bible; the planes that hit the World Trade Center were remote-controlled; the U.S. Air Force's plan to “own the weather” by 2025; plus lots of neat stuff about alien abductions, UFOs, “aerosol crimes,” etc.; and (I'm not making this up) the U.S.'s chemical warfare against its children, flooding them with a dangerous chemical agent and the children are “forced to ingest it, inhale it, bathe and shower in it, whether or not they want or even need this toxic chemical in their bodies” -- fluoride.
● From libertythink.com: Agents of “a little-known private company known as MITRE Corp” had “agents embedded within the U.S. military and intelligence organizations [who] conspired to carry out the terror attacks” and is in cahoots with Israel and Britian, “supporters and beneficiaries of the Bush administration's 'war on terror'”; also, “Some persons unknown are trying hard, very hard, to convince you that the top of World Trade Center South Tower was intact and tilting as the building fell. Only thing is....These commonly referenced photos below are fakes. Clear evidence that the official story of 9/11 is not true. Otherwise, why bother to fake these photos?”; and “There is a very active male homosexual ring operative at the very highest levels of 'our government'; my guess is that this is the blackmail link that facilitates entry into the Council on Foreign Relations and that, once in, one can never leave—alive” (reported under the headline “Fags R US”).
● From counterpunch.org: George Bush and Condoleezza Rice slipped up and announced their marriage; Marxists need to ally themselves with the Muslim brotherhood; liberals and neocons are conspiring to reinstate the draft; and “We find ourselves at a perilous juncture for our Republic. There's a tidal pool of wet blood soaking the ground beneath our feet. There are puritan ghouls prowling our bedrooms, sniffing our garbage, scrutinizing the books we read.”
● From prisonplanet.com: “explosives, probably tactical nukes, brought down the towers” of the World Trade Center; the same story about MITRE Corp. as libertythink; video game manufacturers are secretly conditioning kids to “fight all those who would resist NOW [the New World Order]”; the election of 2004 was obviously “staged,” because the U.S. is a “dictatorship” where people are “slaves.”
● From the World Socialist web site: Jesse Jackson speaking in favor of Terri Schiavo was proof that “the Democrats have abandoned any pretense of being an 'opposition' party and joined forces with the ultra-right”; the “Bush administration and its policies of militarism, social reaction and state repression are the expression of a profound crisis of American capitalism”; Trotskyism is ascendant and has always “attracted the best and brightest, the most idealistic and committed.”
●From globalresearch.ca: the U.S. is responsible for the attacks of 9/11, it's a lie that they were by outside groups, and it's all a part of a massive plan to justify “global domination”; the U.S. plans to “annex Canada”; and the vote counts in the U.S. presidential election were “altered.”
● From copvcia.com: “Evidence of Bush Administration Foreknowledge and complicity [in the 9/11 attacks] is now overwhelming”; “the innermost core of the 9/11 attacks” was “a desperate new America” preparing for “Peak Oil: an economic crisis like nothing the world has ever seen,” thus the attacks required “an amazing orchestration of logistics and personnel” and involved “the highest echelons of American government” who “acted in concert to guarantee that the attacks occurred and produced the desired result”; the “state of the world” is that it's “on the brink of disaster”; a “decisive U.S. 'victory'” won't “win the war in Iraq”; and find out “Who's Who of the Elite: Members of the: Bilderburgers, Council on Foreign Relations, and Trilateral Commission.”
If Prof. Christensen's students were diligent in their “daily readings,” as of April 4, 2005, that is just a fraction of what they would have encountered. There is another website, however, that Christensen lists in a larger, bold-faced text and pronounces “one of the best on the web!: Alex Jones' Infowars.com.” What “collegiate” material does this website feature?
First, the ads: One carries a photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger with the text “Arnold Exposed: Actor Politician Megalomaniac Mysogynist Nazi Sympathizer Aspiring Dictator.” Another peddles a DVD entitled “9:11: Rise of the Police State” with the text “Terror Was the Pretext / For the Control / Of Our Entire Lives / Learn the Terrifying Secret / That Holds In Its Grasp / The Future of the World / MARTIAL LAW.” Another shows photos of George Bush and John Kerry accompanied by the text “Both Are Members of an Elite Secret Society / In a Dictatorship There Is No Choice / In a Dictatorship The Elections Are Staged / AMERICAN DICTATORS: Both Are Puppets of the New World Order.” A T-shirt advertisement reads “Hitler / Stalin / Mao / Mass murderers agree / Gun control works / Get the T-shirt” ‹ the photo accompanying “Mass murderers agree” is a photo of Bush in front of a banner reading “NWO" with the “W” far larger than the “N” and “O.”
And here are some of the headlines to be found on “one of the best” websites: “Screened Audiences, Fake News Promote Bush Agenda”; “Lies revealed: pretext for war fabricated, dead wrong”; “More Bio-Terrorism Fearmongering: Al-Qaeda 'making Agent X advances'”; “Special Video Report: America Is Now The Ultimate Prison State.”
This stellar site also has several issue archives; among them are: “Prior Knowledge: Sept. 11”; “The Globalists' Illuminati Language”; “Freemasonry”; “Gulags in America”; “New World Order”; and “Fluoride.”
Another issue archive is “Bohemian Grove,” which has corroborating DVD advertisements. One asks “WHAT IS BOHEMIAN GROVE?” to which it provides the answer: “Since 1873, the Global Elite Has Held Secret Meetings in the Ancient Redwood Forest of Northern California. Members of the so-called 'Bohemian Club' Include Former Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan. The Bush Family Maintains a Strong Involvement. Each Year at Bohemian Grove, Members of This All-Male 'Club' Don Red, Black and Silver Robes and Conduct an Occult Ritual Wherein They Worship a Giant Stone Owl, Sacrificing a Human Being in Effigy to What They Call the 'Great Owl of Bohemia.'" Alex Jones is also quoted; he says, “This is like something out of a Hollywood movie, where teenagers are out camping in the wilderness and come over a hill and witness some devil cult in black and red garb sacrificing some poor soul on a bloody altar.”
It bears repeating at this point that the quoted matter above is from a website listed as “required reading” and “one of the best sites on the web” in a college course at N.C. Wesleyan -- a course that takes its name from a title of film by the same Alex Jones, "911 The Road to Tyranny."
Christensen opens her course with readings from Marxist academic Michael Parenti's The Terrorism Trap: September 11 and Beyond, to answer the question “Why Study 9/11?” Perhaps the answer can be gleaned from a glowing review of the book on Amazon.com: “Parenti explains in plain language why the American government is so despised around the world. He shows that the U.S. kills civilians elsewhere on a regular basis (e.g. 30,000 in Nicaragua during the Reagan years, 2 million in Vietnam), but makes no apology for it. He shows that the U.S. government cares about oil, money, and corporate profits far more than about global problems such as AIDS, hunger, or deforestation.” The review concludes, “As a college instructor, I will surely assign this to my students.”
Next Christensen tackles the question “Who are the terrorists?” An Alex Jones film “Masters of Terror” (infowars.com says it "details the execution of the September 11th attacks and the ensuing whitewash, the cashless society control-grid, implanted microchips, mind-control, militarization of police, concentration camps, foreign troops massing on US soil, the USA Patriot Act, and Homeland Security taking over the states"), a globalresearch.com article about a "Mysterious Breakfast Meeting on Capitol Hill,” an article from a site called “freemasonrywatch.org” and a rense.com article about a “Treasonous Cabal” suffice to answer it.
Up next is “Official Lies and Conspiracy Theories,” which includes, among other things, a reading of “Barbara Olson's Call From Flight 77 Never Happened.” Then, “The Pentagon Optical Illusion” section views another film, “In Plane Sight,” and the class is directed to read a presentation made in Abu Dhabi arguing that the Pentagon was not hit by a jet airliner, but was possibly hit by a cruise missile to “give credence to the fable of Islamic terrorists.”
The following two class days are dedicated to watching another film, George Humphrey's “911 The Great Illusion,” with an accompanying text of the same name. On prisonplanet.com Jones calls the film “one of the best 9/11 films I've ever seen. It covers the broad spectrum of facts exposing the globalists' orchestration of 9/11.”
The final two days leading up to the mid-term involve viewing Jones' film (which “documents the ruthless history of governments orchestrating terrorist attacks against their own people to scare them into total submission”), reading “Select articles from Alex's 911 archive,” viewing Michael Moore's “Fahrenheit 9/11,” and reading a socialist's open letter to Michael Moore carping that he ought to work “to build a socialist alternative to the capitalist two-party system.”
After the mid-term students discuss a handout to discuss “H.R. 4079 and the Infrastructure of Control”; it is Chapter 6 of Behold A Pale Horse written by William Cooper, described glowingly in rense.com as the man “whose apocalyptic, constitutionalist shortwave radio programs were a major influence on Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.”
Then begins Part II of the course, “The 'War on Terrorism.'” First, students discuss “A Strategy for World Domination,” with links to antiwar.com, The Nation, and rense.com, discussing plotting by “neoconservative” and Jewish think tankers. Over a week of that and students are ready to discuss “The War on Terrorism USA,” relying on Jones' material to discuss how the Patriot Act has turned the United States into a “police state.” That segues nicely into “Police State USA,” relying on two counterpunch.org articles, two columns by Rep. Ron Paul – “It Can't Happen Here” on rense.com and “Police State USA” on antiwar.com, and something published in The Olympian under the given title “The CIA can kill Americans” but omitting the rest of the title, which was “in al-Qaida.”
Christensen takes a brief jaunt to discuss “The War on Iraq,” using a rense.com link entitled “The War on Iraq -- A War For Israel?” before she concludes the course on “More Police State USA (Where Do We Go From Here?).” This final section includes “More Alex Jones videos” and concludes with her asking the class, “What Have We Learned About 911? What Have We Learned About the War on America?”
Students who aren't satisfied with this offering of Christensen's can check out her other courses and links available on her home page. They wouldn't want to miss seeing her dressed as a masked terrorist, nor would they want to overlook her many links, such as to the Communist front group International A.N.S.W.E.R. and other Marxist groups, or to al-Jazeera, Pravda and other “alternative media,” or to the International Solidarity Movement for Palestine and many other anti-Israel links and quotations, or to EarthFirst!, or to news about the Zapatistas, or to the Irish Republican Webring.
N.C. Wesleyan should be proud.
Jon Sanders (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a writer living in Raleigh, NC.