Friday, July 20, 2007

Churchill spins

Slogging my way through part 2 (38 pages, 202 footnotes) of Ward's lies and obfuscations in his countercharges against the committee that investigated his scholarship, these concentrating on his assertion that there was "strong circumstantial evidence" that Captain John Smith intentionally introduced disease among the Wampanoag Indians. Amazingly, Churchill spends 11 pages on whether the epidemic[s] that nearly wiped the Wampanoags out 1616-1620 was smallpox or something else--a point rendered moot, the report notes (p. 34), because "there is no evidence that John Smith introduced any disease" in the first place.

Churchill does make a (strained, to say the least) attempt to conjure evidence that Smith might have done so even though he'd left New England in 1614: fomite (which expert-on-everything Churchill repeatedly calls "formite") transmission; Smith left crew behind with instructions to spread disease; the Indians killed another guy they might have suspected of spreading disease, and so on. All these, of course, completely contradicting his claim in the 2003 essay, "An American Holocaust," that an epidemic broke out "in the immediate aftermath of Smith's expedition."

Many typos, much sneering.

Update: PB notes Churchill's denial that he has ever written "an essay" on the 1837 Fort Clark epidemic among the Mandan, and asks Google if this is so.

Update II: Churchill does the same tap dance in discussing John Smith when he claims that committee member Michael Radelet relied on only a single sentence in the "An American Holocaust" essay, and on the separate essay "Nits Make Lice," for Churchill's contention that Smith intentionally spread smallpox. In fact, Churchill himself "invited" the committee (in "Submission G") to examine his treatment of Smith in the book, A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present.

Update III: Churchill directly quotes (p. 11) the report (i.e., Radelet) as saying, "Biard's estimate of 3000-3500 Micmacs living in 1611 represents, according to Dean Snow's estimate, about one-fourth of the population a century earlier." The quote is actually Salisbury in Manitou and Providence, whom Churchill's footnote claims Radelet was merely "citing," not quoting. Why?

Churchill also says Radelet made up a quote from Churchill that "there is no record of any disease epidemic occurring before 1614." Radelet is apparently referring, again, to the essay "Nits Make Lice." Can't find it on the interwebs, so don't know if he's directly quoting Churchill or not. [Update: according to PB, he's not. Probably not a good idea to put it in quotes then.] [Another update: I had a some crap here about Churchill's A Little Matter of Genocide which was, perhaps, wrong. I said that the book contained the "other" essay Churchill says doesn't exist, but which the committee examined for its claims about John Smith. It's confusing, as Churchill wants it to be.]

Update IV: As Noj points out over at PB, Churchill waits till the end of this section to compare the committee to the Nazis--but he does it. You lose, Ward.

Update V: Kos Kid "Hawksana" weighs in with informed analysis:

Although we are busy discussing Bush's ursupation of power and what this means for freedom and democracy and what can be done about it, it's worth taking note of what is happening to Professor Ward Churchill and academic freedom at the University of Colorado.

The right-wing has been calling for Professor Churchill's firing since 2001 for an Op-Ed he wrote after 9-11 that attributed Al-Qaeda's targeting of America and the Twin Towers to blowback from the Gulf War. It took them almost six years, but they hung on with pit bull ferocity and now seem to be about to achieve their aim. It's been pointed out to me that the "official" effort to fire him didn't begin until 2 years ago.

There is hope -- folks are organized, but it's a slim hope.

If Bush-Co has his way this will be the first of many such fights. Free-thinking academics have no place in the future the right-wing is preparing for America, so let's join the fight now!!

The comments are much more negative toward Churchill. Even moonbats gotta draw the line somewhere.

Update VI: Churchill's dog Benjie, on the almost uniformly anti-Churchill Kos commenters: "Who gives a shit?" Way to build support, Benjie!

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