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The Architecture of Intimidation, Pt. 1: Detained at O’Hare

The Architecture of Intimidation, Pt. 1: Detained at O’Hare

by Kevin Barrett,

It seems I am back on the slow-fly list.

Returning on Friday from my speaking tour of Belgium and Germany, I was detained by the US Immigration and Naturalization* (sic) Service for roughly two hours. My colleague Dr. Suleyman Kurter and I had our passports confiscated as we attempted to clear Customs at the O’Hare Airport checkpoint. We were forced to remain seated, under observation, without the right to make a phone call or even to use any electronic devices such as telephone or laptop. So we were unable to notify the person who was picking us up that we had been detained. When we asked our captors why we were being held, they told us that they didn’t know.

After about ninety minutes of false imprisonment under nonexistent pretext, we were summoned separately to submit to interrogations: What is your profession? Where do you work? How did you get that job? What were you doing in Europe? Where did you go? Who did you see? And so on.

There are basically two ways to deal with this situation. One is to say “Fuck you, this is the United States of America and I’m an American citizen who hasn’t done anything wrong, so either charge me with a crime or let me go and kiss my ass.” One drawback of this strategy, of course, is that the agents would undoubtedly decide to prove that they did indeed have the right to detain us as long as they wanted, and we’d probably end up sitting there till doomsday. The other strategy, the one I opted for, was to use the occasion as a teachable moment.

I told the interrogators that my profession is “currently unemployed college professor and 9/11 truth activist.” They wanted to hear the details, so I obliged. They grew fascinated by my story, which probably is more interesting than what they usually get to hear in the course of their duties. When I got to the part about how I discovered the clear and obvious evidence that 9/11 was an inside job, and faced the choice about whether or not to try to do something about it, they asked what evidence I thought was strongest. I told them about Building 7. One of the agents said he had heard that the owner of the World Trade Center was under suspicion. I gave them the rundown on Larry Silverstein, including his alleged mob connections, his close friendship with Netanyahu, his bizarre decision to buy the WTC just months before 9/11 when it was facing a ten-billion-dollar asbestos-removal court order, his doubling of the WTC terrorism insurance and changing it to cash-payout, his collection of five billion dollars from insurance companies and demands for over ten billion more, his apparent confession to demolishing WTC-7, and the fact that he and his family members always had breakfast at Windows to the World at the top of the North Tower except on 9/11, when Larry suddenly was reminded to visit his dermatologist…Meanwhile, I said, my friend William Rodriguez, the famous 9/11 hero and whistleblower, lost all his friends in Windows to the World that day.

The conversation somehow became exceedingly cordial, and I began to suspect that these guys were 9/11 truthers disguised as Customs agents! I ended up giving them DVDs of Blueprint for Truth and Sifting and Winnowing: Kevin Barrett at U.W.-Madison (the student-made documentary about my academic freedom struggle) and accepting their obviously sincere apologies. These guys, after all, were only doing their job. It was the higher-ups in DHS who had fingered us because we had been in Europe on a truth-speaking tour…and because we were Muslims. So much for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

As we left O’Hare, I remembered a similar experience on the first leg of our journey. As we were going through security at O’Hare en route to Brussels, I told the DHS cops – as I always do – that I am morally allergic to carcinogenic naked body scanners, so go ahead and give me an enhanced patdown…but please get it over with quickly, because I am exceedingly ticklish, and I would hate to start rolling on the floor screaming in hysterical laughter during such a serious national security experience. But before I could get halfway through my rap, the DHS interrupted me with, “Sssshhh, don’t tell anybody, the machines are out of order, just walk over there with the others.” And lo and behold, he was right — people were walking around, rather than through, the infernal machines!

Based on those two experiences at O’Hare, I think we are seeing a covert rebellion by ordinary low-level DHS and Customs agents, who are (understandably) tired putting up with the BS foisted on them by their superiors. The whole effort to turn airports into prison-like labyrinths of intimidation à la Piranesi, with multiple checkpoints, naked body scanners, mandatory partial disrobing (shoes and belts off — oops, there go my pants!), and PA systems blaring that the threat level has just been raised to orange may be finally wearing out its welcome.

 * * *

* The name suggests that immigrants can become “naturalized” citizens US. This is a very strange word to use in this context. What in the world is “natural” about this process or its result? Political borders themselves are entirely unnatural, as I learned at age four by crossing the border from Wisconsin into Iowa and discovering that there was no black line across the road and that even if Wisconsin was mostly green, Iowa was not as pink as the map would have you believe. And the idea that when people become US citizens they are “naturalized” — it’s almost as idiotic as believing that everything in Iowa is pink because the map says so! In reality, when people come to the land of the freeway and the home of the Braves, Indians, Redskins, and other athletic teams condescendingly named after genocide victims — the land of squalid shopping malls, paved earth and almost-identical mcmansions sprawling across what once were fruited plains — it would be more accurate to say they are becoming unnaturalized. That is, they are joining a culture that fears and loathes nature, including human nature, to the point that corpses are preserved semi-eternally in pancake makeup and formaldehyde, and the official national biological formation is the uniformly-trimmed lawn.

46 Thoughts to “The Architecture of Intimidation, Pt. 1: Detained at O’Hare”

  1. Anonymous

    Excellent article, Kevin.

  2. You rock, Kevin.
    Linking this entry to the CLG website.
    Lori Price
    Citizens for Legitimate Government

    SeizeDC – Starts September 10, 2011

  3. Anonymous


    Yours is a great voice. We're lucky to have you, and glad you are back stateside.

  4. Anonymous

    Great post!

  5. Lars

    Dear sir,
    You've given a very nice example on how to combat this lunacy. God bless.

  6. Anonymous

    Genuine positivity that made my day homie!

  7. I have the same here every time I travel… just mocking them with a big laugh and always asking their ID… give your ID…why is it that you afraid to give me your ID if I want take in a court for racism discrimination…never… they are afraid… so play with them and their nerves… I love that !!! 🙂

  8. one question they do not like… are you working of the mossad, do you have family living in occupied palestine… try this… with the french cops … it works they get excited … then if you are not mossad and non zionist why are you supporting his dictatorship ? … silence…. I love this

  9. Anonymous

    Excellent! I love that you were honest with your 9/11 and muslum viewpoints. Thank you that you were well informed on the issues. Please let there be a strong rebellion towards ending the hell the airports are now and let it begin with the TSA agents themselves getting paid to harass their fell ow countrymen. Why machinery to check people? Use people that read body language like they do for picking juries and even immigrations uses these options. Thanks again.

  10. Kevin, You have a genius for turning lemons into lemonade! The 9/11 movement could use a dozen more–even hundreds!–just like you.

  11. Superb article. More ideas for when I next travel.

  12. Anonymous

    Excellent job Kevin! You handled it right. You might have lucked out with the two agents you got. Could be two different agents may have behaved in a very different manner! Tom

  13. Hank

    I haven't had the cujones to wear a 9/11 TRUTH shirt through the screening process yet. Wear it everywhere else. Your story is inspiring, brother!

  14. Anonymous

    Good job Kevin!

    Hopefully the DHS & FBI "persons" will spread the word among their comrades.

  15. Anonymous

    Hey Kevin,

    Hopefully we won't have a cataclysmic and catalyzing "Terrorist Attack" anytime soon, or you, me and the rest of us on the 9/11 case will be on the no fly list. That list could easily turn into a "relocation/detention assignment" list.

    Sometimes I think you get unnecessarily cranky, but there is no doubt about the size of your brass ones, buddy.

  16. Anonymous

    I am so grateful for the 9-11 truth movement and wish you all the success that can only occur when those responsible are held accountable. That may never happen but it won't alter the facts.

  17. David H

    nice work, Kevin!

  18. Anonymous

    Hi Kevin,

    How wonderful that it worked as a teachable moment!

    I heard Helen Caldicott say recently that she also refuses to go through the x-ray machines, but her point is the radiation is slowly killing us, so best to limit your exposure. I love adding the ticklish bit!

    Welcome home!


  19. Kevin, your responses to all the un-American reality going on — and your writings about all that — make me laugh until I cry! Or sometimes I cry (or at least tear up a bit) until I laugh.
    I do SO admire the "teachable moment" response. When I would spout all this Truth to my mom over the phone, she'd say, "You'd better be careful, 'they' may be listening in on you!" And I'd say, "Well, I certainly hope so! These low-paid listeners need to know what's really going on!"

  20. Anonymous

    Very inspiring and sobering article Kevin.

    Adam Syed

  21. THAT's what travelers should do for 9/11/11: wear "9/11 Truth" T-shirts through airport security, and be prepared to give the rap Kevin just did. It could make the news.

  22. Best article Ive read in a long time, it was a page turner, so to speak.

    Funny and well written, and you turned a bad situation around and enlightened the the people who were persecuting you to see the truth.

    My hats off to you.

  23. We must use these situations as teacheable moments. I don't travel – too broke and won't work for gov so I won't run into this situ, but doing public speaking I have seen cops nod in agreement. I welcome the chance to talk with any of them.

    At the courthouse I went to file a claim and I wanted to explain the difference between the legal system and the law, but didn't have time, especially with a black robe hanging around listening. This took it as a "dis" to them. I need a few hours to explain Ch 11 & Ch7 bankruptcy to them and didn't have it..

    I'm a Canuck & 9/11 Truther and conspiracy theorist.

  24. John Hawk

    …there is no such thing as a 'conspiracy theorist' or a 'conspiracy theory'….! It is Orwellianspeak for 'hot is cold' and 'up is down'. Perjorative. Cowardly. Chicken-shit propogandizing. Ad nauseum…blah, blah, blah…

  25. Anonymous

    Anything requiring a portapass can kiss my A$$!

  26. Anonymous

    Telling people the plain reality, one at the time.

    Brilliant post Kevin. And thank you so much for your lecture in Brussels, Belgium.

    Best wishes
    Jean-Luc Guilmot

  27. Anonymous

    Kevin, we are glad that you are back home safe.
    As to your Truth Jihad on 9/11, I just found this at Mike Rivero's
    "The way I see it, the gate to first containing and then rolling back Israel, and thus helping Palestine, is not over there, it is in the US. The lock to that gate is not in Washington, it is in the heartland of America where the Zionists have as of yet remarkably little influence. And the key to that lock is the open wound today which is 9/11 and the wars it spawned. Nail them on 9/11 and the cover-up of it, nail them for the wars they contrived and the wars they want the US to wage on Israel’s behalf, nail them for the lives and treasure America has spent and the lives it has taken waging America’s Jewish Wars, nail them often and hard, and the Zionists may end up wishing Germany had won WWII."
    I could not say it any better. That is the only truth that can set us free.

  28. Anonymous

    $10,000,000,000 to remove asbestos? Where did this number come from?

  29. Anonymous

    Now I know why you are never inited on MSM.

    Such explanation, clarity, tranparency, …..
    would be too much for the presstitudes to understand.

    Love he simplicity and knowledge you have presented.

  30. you had a 911 t -shirt… which one ? Israel did 911 ? :)))) send me some I want have a good one with the french services in Paris CDG

  31. Abu-Suleyman,Hank & Evan,

    It was my What Really Happened shirt, with the two L's in "really" oversized & depicting the Twin Towers. The back side has a bunch of 9/11 truth websites.

    I've been wearing 9/11 truth T-shirts on flights for years now. "Don't leave home without it!" I also hand DVDs to security people (some take it, some don't) and pilots (they always take it, maybe because they don't want to stop and discuss things and create a traffic jam as people are leaving the plane). I highly recommend that all 9/11 truth advocates do this. It turns a disempowering experience (airport security hell) into an empowering one.

  32. I talked to a woman who went to Washington, DC to speak about 9-11 truth, and she said that the police (that were there that day) in the Capitol building told her that they listened to Alex Jones and they knew the truth about 9-11.

  33. Seeing problems as opportunities — great work.

  34. Anonymous

    I said years ago that I always cringe when I know you are flying somewhere as I fear your safety at the hands of the REAL TERRORISTS but that was before I came to know your intellect and your humor and your skill with both. The minds at DHS and TSA are no match for yours! This is a great post – keep up the enlightening work you do. Thanks for sharing.
    Best wishes,
    Martha Galep
    P.S. My 14 year old daughter did a book report on "Questioning the War on Terror" for her 8th grade reading assignment – the future of the 9/11 Truth movement is in good hands!

  35. Anonymous

    Dr Barrett:
    Am suffering from 9-11 Nausea Syndrome. Woke up from nightmares and nearly puked from the stench of death. The inescapable conclusion is that the 9-11 truthers are 100% correct.
    Is there medicine for this ailment? Perhaps fleeing the USA (ultra sick assholes) is the only cure.
    We must act fast before suspects and witnesses die…..Silverbehind is very old and if he.dies before being forced to testify we will have lost the Rosetta Stone for 9-11.
    You know, this is far from the first time the White House has ordered a wholesale slaughter. But it might be the first time the victims were Americans. Third World folks OK but not us!
    Like my pursuit of the You Know What, you are on the trail of a killer. Take a lesson from the Italians and armor plate your car.
    Why don't you go on a speaking tour of SF Bay Area? I can help publicize it. Maybe UCB will hire you. They are too conservative in the HEARTLAND, or should I say the Rectumland of America. Nobody in Berkeley will call you a nut or a screwball.
    Opinions like yours are taken for granted there.
    Why would Larry have said such a dumb thing? And what do his insurers have to say about it? Its surreal, his getting away with that.
    I actually already know the answer and for a consultants fee of one million dollars I will tell it to you. Order those ballistic clothes today before tomorrow fails to show up!

    Explosively Yours
    Larry Bluitte

  36. Just think, if you'd been paying attention, you could have been having puking stench-of-death nightmares for almost ten years! Anyway, better late than never ; – )

    But seriously…the only cure is, as the Qur'an puts it: "have faith and work for the good, and persist in truth, and persist in patience" (Surat al-Asr)

  37. Well done, Kevin, and welcome home!

  38. Thanks, Maturin and all!

    As to the 10 billion for WTC asbestos cleanup, Anonymous, I heard that figure from Dr. Eric Beeth in Brussels. A big skycraper there, with the same asbestos problem as the WTC, cost in the low billions to clean up. Adjust for the size, and you get a minimum of 10 billion for the WTC Towers — probably far more.

  39. And speaking of what to wear when you fly…

    Man flies US Airways in women's underwear (Photo)

    "Six days before a college football player was arrested at San Francisco International Airport in a dispute that began when a US Airways employee asked him to pull up his sagging pants, a man who was wearing little but women's undergarments was allowed to fly the airline, a US Airways spokeswoman conceded Tuesday."

    The drag queen in panties was white, while the sagging-pants guy was black. His lawyer said:

    "A white man is allowed to fly in underwear without question, but my client was asked to pull up his pajama pants because they hung below his waist."

    More evidence that white people can get away with just about anything. And that anybody, as long as they keep their pants pulled up, can get away with flying in 9/11 truth shirts.

  40. Anonymous

    You sound like soldier Schweik. Brecht lionized Schweik but I have never found him much of a model. It acknowledges that they have all the power and you have none. Schweik is the Czech response to tyranny, and good lord, that nation is not the model for authentic response to evil. I lived there, and I found a warped psyche.

  41. Soldier Schweik pretended to be gung-ho pro-war, but then undermined the war effort through (feigned?) stupidity. My truth jihad, while it includes elements of humor and self-parody, is very different. The core of the joke is that the simple truth is so devastating that by telling it one becomes a sort of pariah — in my case a wild-and-crazy extremist "truth jihadi."

    So while Schweik was humorously lying (by pretending to support a war he opposed and undermined) I am telling the truth — which opens up a gigantic chasm between the false world of the brainwashed sheeple, and the real world that I am describing so shockingly. The incongruity between those two worlds is the source of the humor.

    Schweik is a classic example of what Baudrillard called "hyperconformity" (protesting by conforming too much).

    Nobody will ever accuse ME of hyperconformity!

  42. Anonymous

    Thank you for spreading the truth. Keep on keeping on.

  43. Anonymous

    Circle Mirror Transformation

    This play is an interesting psychological drama, but it has a character at the beginning that makes a singular reference to the fact that the twin towers "didn't just fall down by themselves." No further discussion/mention was made.

    However, I found it striking that this reference was made, inferring controlled demolition, suggests that 9/11 Truth, and the idea of controlled demolition is becoming more commonly heard of.

  44. Well it's deja vu all over again, just like 2007. You go jet-setting for truth and all you've got to show for it when it's done is an airport story. You're repeating yourself. Where did the four years go?

    And how is it that a PhD seems to be the last guy in the world who can recognize Willie Rodriguez for an obvious con artist? Death statistics in the towers show that Willie's claim that he saved hundreds is a lie. If he saved hundreds on 39 floors, then thousands should have died on the 129 floors below the impact zone that he never reached. They didn't, he lied, it's that simple.

    Worse than merely lying, he appropriated the true story of Pablo Ortiz, who opened jammed doors and rescued trapped people on the upper floors of WTC1, and then died when the towers fell down.

    It was your job, Mr. tenure-track college Prof, to fact-check Willie's schtick before you took him on tour. But you don't care about truth. It was your job to convince him to use his 2 hours on C-Span wisely in 8/07, for the benefit of the movement. But you don't care about the movement, and his two hours wasted on bragging and lies killed our relationship with C-Span.

  45. Anonymous

    Excellent article, Kevin. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the laughs.

  46. Kris Knight

    Wonderful article. My only repeated challenge to you, Kevin, is to advocate for complete truth, and that includes crediting Dr. Judy Wood for her extraordinary investigative and teaching approach to the evidence she has pulled together from a multitude of events and consequences of same that I have rarely seen even meriting a mention by people who call themselves 9-11 Truthers.
    How many out there have literally studied her massive textbook titled WHERE DID THE TOWERS GO? It's a masterpiece, including huge amounts of evidence about the hurricane that day just off the shores of NYC.

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