Controversial speaker James Fetzer made his appearance in Northfield Wednesday evening at the public library after the cancellation of the Cowtalks speaking series of which he was to take part.
The large audience approached 70 people and included members of the Northfield Community, students from Carleton and St Olaf, as well as Fetzer’s supporters.
The host of the evening, Kevin Barrett, a member of the Muslim Jewish Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth (MUJCA), introduced Fetzer as an individual who worked hard to “hammer at the explosively suppressed truth.”
The focus of the presentation was two of Fetzer’s most recent claims: the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax meant to promote an anti-gun agenda and the Boston Bombing was organized by the government.
He used photographic evidence of moss-covered walls, boarded up windows, and the absence of oil stains in the parking lot to argue that the Sandy Hook Elementary School had been abandoned since 2008.
Citing unnamed members of the community, Fetzer said the school was used at the time as a storage center.
The evidence relating to the firearms used and the death certificates of Adam Lanza have been described as inconsistent and even fake.
He also presented his view on the Boston Bombing having been organ- ised by the federal government.
His evidence included tweets from the Boston Globe about an alleged bomb squad drill, and audio from the event, which he argued purported the bombing having been a false flag operation.
To some members of the audience Fetzer’s presentation failed to convince. The passionate rhetoric was frequently accompanied with photographs without dates.
The presentation featured a questions and answers session on a variety of issues, including his views on the Holocaust. To some members of the audience he appeared to be defensive and aggressive, one audience member’s question on the evidence being presented resulted in a severe uproar in the hall.
Fetzer had been the centre of an ongoing controversy in the past few weeks.
Fetzer’s appearance had been the center of a controversy. The prolific author had been invited to speak at the Contented Cow as part of a series of presentations on conspiracy theories.
Fetzer’s presentations were to be part of a broader pattern of discussions called CowTalks.
However allegations of Fetzer as a holocaust denier, caused faculty and students to boycott the Cow and to urge Norman Butler, the owner of the Cow, to cancel the planned series of talks.
Some individuals sent letters and emails to Butler, who then sent these communications on to Fetzer. Fetzer replied to these criticisms in a series of articles in his column on his web- site Veterans today. One such article, “The Abdication of Reason and Rationality in Northfield,” posted im- ages of the communications and the author’s contact details. Those who wrote the original correspondences have allegedly received threatening letters from some of Fetzer’s supporters.
Fetzer himself claims that while one such aggressive letter was sent, the accusations were overblown.
The Cow decided to subsequently cancel the evening due to the contro- versies impact on its business.
In response Barret organised an evening at the Northfield Public Library, which as a public venue was required to host the event.
MUJCA argues that the official narrative of the 9/11 attacks was fabricated in order to justify anti-Muslim sentiment and start a religious war. MUJCA endorsed the event because it felt that Fetzer’s right to free speech was threatened by the cancellation of the CowTalks.
The most controversial aspect of James Fetzer’s work is his frequent claims about the Holocaust.
He himself claims that he is not a Holocaust denier, yet when asked about this at the event, he chal- lenged the official narrative. To him the Camps of Auschwitz where not death camps but rather work camps. His most assertive claim was that the purported use of Zyklon B in the gas chambers was false. He offered a much smaller figure of those killed in the Holocaust, estimating it to be around the 200,000 mark.
Fetzer adamantly denies that he is an anti-Semite, claiming that he does not show specific prejudice against individuals due to their background.
Although the presentation was not about the Holocaust, question about his views where hard to avoid with several members of the audience asking about his views on the subject.
To many members of the audience, Fetzer’s appearance was an interesting demonstration of alternative views and an exercise of free speech.
However, some members of the audience through his presentation did not convince them of his theories, included in this view where those who advocated other conspiracy theories, and felt that his lack of evidence betrayed their case.
Another criticism from the audience was that he was defensive and aggressive to some members of the audience who criticised his theories.
In his presentation Fetzer expressed his disappointment with the Carleton.
He argues that the opposition to his appearance in Northfield is a betrayal of the liberal arts traditions of the College. He has also alleged duplicity in the credentials of some Carleton staff. This has been expressed in an editorial included in this week’s edition of the paper.
In an interview with the paper, he admitted that if it weren’t for the protests of certain individuals from the college faculty, he would not have had the support he had. In spite of his anger towards those who opposed his appearance he admitted that he was “indebted” to them.
In speaking of one member of the Carleton faculty he alleged him to be a provocateur, yet claimed, “I would not have had 1/1000th the attention without him, to that I am indebted to him.”