There's been a horrific death in America-an assassination actually. But don't count on the assassins ever being punished, not in this world at least. Instead they are undoubtedly gloating, "high-fiving" each other, and laughing about the magnitude of their crime.
These criminals include mendacious officials from the University of Colorado (UC), judges that occupy, or have occupied, seats in the State of Colorado's corrupt legal system and the so-called "justices" on the equally corrupt United States Supreme Court. Together they have murdered one of the most precious commodities America once had to offer-academic freedom.
The U.S. Supreme Court joined this corrupt cabal when it recently denied certiorari (cert.) by refusing to hear Ward Churchill's appeal challenging his unjust firing from UC. Although I have written extensively about Churchill's case in several other Pravda.Ru articles-A Tale of Two Academics, Parts I and II (June 17 & 18, 2009); Boycott CU, TT & UCB (October 27, 2009); and Ward Churchill: The Lie Lives On (November 29, 2010), to name a few-for those who may have missed them, I will repeat the fundamental facts.
Churchill was a tenured professor of ethnic studies at UC. Academic tenure is (or more accurately "was") designed to protect professors from economic retaliation for engaging in controversial studies, or expressing controversial hypotheses, theories, opinions, and/or polemics.
In 2001, Churchill wrote a controversial essay that essentially blamed America's foreign policy, and the exploitative nature of global capitalism, for provoking the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. In doing so, he referred to some of the 9/11 victims as "little Eichmanns," a reference to the infamous Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann.
The essay remained largely unnoticed until 2005 when Churchill was scheduled to speak at a college in upstate New York. It was then that the self-serving right-wing media-who have no compunction about using the United States Constitution's protections of "freedom of speech" and "press" to promote their own agendas-demanded Churchill's firing. Soon opportunistic and demagogic politicians, like Colorado's then-governor Bill Owens, joined the chorus, with some Colorado lawmakers even threatening to withhold funding from UC.
Although UC initially responded to the media generated frenzy by asserting that Churchill was protected by his First Amendment right to "freedom of speech," as pressure mounted UC officials began a so-called "investigation" into allegations that Churchill had engaged in plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct.
After this "investigation" concluded, UC officials fired Churchill, and he subsequently filed a lawsuit against them in response. A trial, conducted in front of an ethically corrupt judge named Larry Naves, resulted in a jury verdict in favor of Churchill.
After this verdict was rendered, I wrote in A Tale of Two Academics, "Of course, anyone familiar with American jurisprudence knows that such victories are fleeting in a legal system that labors harder to rationalize injustice than it does to produce justice."
How prophetic those words were!
When Churchill returned to court to obtain reinstatement and/or damages for what the jury decreed had been an unjust firing, Naves overturned the verdict, and ruled that the officials who fired Churchill enjoyed "immunity" against his lawsuit.
A Colorado appeals court and the Colorado Supreme Court predictably upheld Naves' ruling, resulting in the aforementioned request for, and denial of, cert. by the U.S. Supreme Court.
At first glance it seems strange that America's legal system, which was supposedly created to protect the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, would be one of the primary instigators of their destruction.
But it is not surprising at all.
Many of my previous articles about Churchill's case underscored the fact that even as academic tenure, the United States Constitution, and America's so-called "justice" system were failing to protect Churchill for doing nothing more than expressing an opinion, these same protections were predictably, and zealously, being extended to John Yoo, a right-wing, tenured law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who, via his authorship of the now infamous "torture memos," once sought to destroy the very Constitution now being used to protect him.
But this disparate treatment of Yoo and Churchill is just one of the many machinations that makes Churchill's case a schematic of everything foul and duplicitous about America's so-called "justice" system.
Naves, the presiding judge at Churchill's trial, was a graduate of UC's law school and, after overruling the jury in Churchill's case, was even presented with its "Distinguished Achievement Award."
So the fix was in from the beginning. After all, if Naves truly believed that "immunity" insulated those responsible for Churchill's firing, why did he let the case go to the jury in the first place?
The logical answer is that Naves assumed the right-wing outrage generated over Churchill's essay would compel any jury to rule against him, thus sparing Naves from accusations of bias that would undoubtedly have erupted if he dismissed Churchill's complaint outright.
But Naves got fooled by a jury that actually believed in something most American judges do not-that the Constitution, and the protections it engendered, still live. So he reversed the jury's verdict, knowing that, thanks to UC's political and economic clout, Colorado's higher courts would readily rubber stamp his bias and corruption, and that Churchill's politics would be anathema to the myopic, right-wing "justices" that comprise the majority on the U.S. Supreme Court-a court that has repeatedly, throughout its sordid existence, been on the wrong side of history.
So when UC did not even bother to respond to Churchill's cert. petition until ordered to do so, it was a tacit acknowledgment that the U.S. Supreme Court's bias and ethical corruption predetermined a decision in UC's favor.
As a former attorney, I used to remark that there should be no such crime as "obstruction of justice," because one cannot obstruct something that does not exist, nor should anyone ever be held in contempt of court, because one cannot be contemptuous of something that is already contemptible. Even though America's legal system presents a convincing facade to those who do not labor in it, beneath this facade is a fetid cesspool of duplicity, bias, and hypocrisy that, on an almost daily basis, makes a mockery out of the very principles the system is supposed to protect. Truth, justice, human rights, and even the most rudimentary concepts of "right and wrong" have succumbed to a system that does nothing more than decimate the Bill of Rights and oppress the poor and working classes (and those who speak on their behalf), while giving "legal" blessings to almost every venality, every corruption, every crime, and every abuse committed by America's government and the wealthiest of its citizens and institutions.
Those who doubt this should remember that, just a few months ago, United States Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that some institutions in America are "too big to prosecute," which, in essence, means they are not only above the law, but also more powerful than the elected government.
Many critics of Churchill share in the U.S. Supreme Court's myopia and focus their ire on what Churchill wrote. But what he wrote is irrelevant. And while Churchill's case may seem to just be a labor dispute between employee and employer, to those with vision it has set a dangerous, and perhaps permanently damaging, precedent that should be vociferously condemned in every city, town, and village in America.
Throughout its history, the United States has progressed and prospered thanks to the Constitution's encouragement of a "marketplace of ideas." More often than not, this marketplace has been replete with the studies, hypotheses, theories, opinions and polemics of academics.
But today, thanks to UC's firing of Churchill, every tenured professor in America, but especially those labeled or considered to be "liberal" or "leftist," will be hesitant to express anything that could remotely be construed as "controversial." And the chances that non-tenured professors will fill this void have been significantly reduced by academia's increasing reliance on poorly paid adjunct (part-time) instructors. As I stated in my article Higher Education in America, Dream or Nightmare? Part II (September 26, 2012), since many of these adjuncts hope to eventually obtain full-time positions, there is an even greater reluctance for them to say or do anything that would impede their opportunity for advancement.
Perhaps the greatest hypocrisy in the Churchill case is-to express their alleged "outrage" over Churchill's "Eichmann" analogy-his opponents demonstrated little compunction about employing Nazi style tactics themselves: generating hysteria that favored emotion over reason; scapegoating Churchill to intimidate all academics labeled or considered to be "liberal" or "leftist"; and disseminating "great lies" to promote political agendas. It should come as no surprise that the people who present the greatest obstacle to the success of these tactics are the intellectuals, and thus there is the greatest incentive for a corrupt power structure to silence them.
As the diversity of hypotheses, theories, opinions, and polemics that once provoked intellectual thought and discussion vanish from America's marketplace of ideas, all that will remain are the regurgitations of whatever propaganda powerful corporations, university officials, and self-serving right-wing media choose to feed the masses.
And America will be weaker because of it.
It is tragic how in a country once as great as America, where countless lives have been sacrificed in the name of freedom, a corrupt cabal of university officials and judges can so callously and haphazardly destroy what so many died to preserve.
A little over two years ago, I closed my article Ward Churchill: The Lie Lives On with this quotation from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "No lie can live forever." Following this quote, I also wrote, "America's legal system, however, has proven, time and again, that the lies it propagates do indeed live forever."
Again, how prophetic those words were!
Hopefully one day, as has often happened in the past, the remedial eyes of history will comprehend the extent of the tyranny and injustice that UC and America's legal system unleashed upon the land, and denounce those responsible as the mendacious and myopic reprobates that they are. But by then the damage done to the people and the nation might never be undone.
And that's the worst tyranny and injustice of all.