Jonathan Kay over at The National Post wrote a column about a grant to a British graduate student, Joshua Blakeney, to pursue his crackpot 9-11 conspiracy theories. Blakeney is also a sometime correspondent for Mohamed Elmasry's Canadian Charger, as shown in a post from this blog back in August. (Check out the video in the link where Blakeney says that Michael Moore, of all people, is complicit in the 9-11 cover up!)
Kay wrote that:
the University of Lethbridge has awarded Blakeney a $7,714 Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship to pursue his research. (The scholarship is listed as being funded through the “ongoing financial commitment of the Province of Alberta.”) ..
In other words, the University of Lethbridge — and, through the province of Alberta’s funding arrangements, the taxpayers of Alberta — are paying a British graduate student $7,714 to pursue his conspiracy theory that the 9/11 attacks were staged by Washington.
Does anyone else see a problem with that?Well, Mohamed "Elmo" Elmasry's Charger not only doesn't see a problem with that, but is outraged; outraged to the point of grammatical and syntax errors, that Kay would challenge the academic freedom of having tax dollars subsidize theories put forward by people whose sanity could be questioned.
My favorite bit from the editorial in Elmo's Charger is the following, where he quotes Blakeney's thesis supervisor, University of Lethbridge Professor Anthony Hall, about Kay:
It seems to me that The National Post and Maclean’s are essentially trying to put a fatwa on higher level university studies on 9/11. Such a fatwa would clear aside empirically-based research so Jonathan can engage in his own spinning of public mythology posing as the psychoanthropologist who has penetrated the deepest cultural mores of the... ta daaaa... the conspiracy theorists. How pathetic!”
Dr. Hall said the website advertising the book lauds Mr. Kay's success in “infiltrating” the “Truthers”, language Dr. Halls said is probably an accurate characterization of “Mr. Kay's mode of doing journalistic business as an agent of espionage and counterintelligence for those above him in the chain of command. He and the promoters at Maclean's of a privatized higher education system for Canada are good embodiments of the unfolding operations of the privatized terror economy.”You know you have a credible, highly regarded academic when he uses phrases like "ta daaaa" in his interviews. But that's not nearly as fascinating as Hall's allegation that Kay is "doing journalistic business as an agent of espionage and counterintelligence for those above him in the chain of command."
This is what I'm having trouble understanding: Hall seems to be mocking Kay for characterizing him and his fellow travellers as 'conspiracy theorists'. And then in his next sentence, he alleges a conspiracy involving Jonathan Kay.
The extent to which a person making those remarks is completely unhinged is something people will have to determine for themselves.
But to give you another indication of the lack of intellectual rigour, or just plain lack of intelligence on the part of these people, Blakeney is quoted as saying, "Where are the Salman Rushdie defenders now? Or do such individuals only like free speech if it criticizes Islam rather than helps exculpate framed Muslims who probably didn’t plan or execute 9/11?"
Let's put this in terms that perhaps, just perhaps, Mr. Blakeney and Elmasry might be able to understand.
No one is denying Blakeney his right to speak his theories or to publish them. What is being questioned is whether crackpot theories should receive public funding. That is significantly different than Salman Rushdie being threatened with death for having written a satirical allegory about the founder of Islam.
In my opinion, only a person with a profound lack of intelligence and/or insight would seriously make that comparison.
And what is truly ironic is that the Canadian Charger's pretend defense of free speech is coming from someone who is so closely tied to attempts to repress free speech through the Canadian Human Rights Commission's notorious thought crimes provisions.
Of course, if it isn't yet apparent, irony is completely lost on the people at The Canadian Charger.