Sunday, October 23, 2005

Going to College

I didn't get a whole lot of value out of my classes, but I did learn some valuable lessons by going to college.

Times have changed so much since I was a freshman at the University of Michigan in 1973, so the benefits I found don't necessarily apply anymore. One of the first things I did when I got to Ann Arbor was participate in a demonstration at the administration building. I don't even remember what it was about for sure, but I think it was a protest against a tuition hike or something like that.

Just being part of a huge demonstration like that gave me a feeling of empowerment. I really didn't start to question the government that much until the following year when I saw a flier posted on campus advertising a lecture on the JFK assassination. I had never even heard there was a controversy about it, so it kind of piqued my curiosity.

The whole idea of going to college was to have an open mind and learn new things, as far as I was concerned. So I went, and it changed my life. After seeing the Zapruder film, I realized the Warren Report had to be wrong, so I started doing research on it and writing papers for my history class.

When you discover your entire world is constructed with a house of cards at its foundation, it opens up a lot of new possibilities. One thing led to another, and that's how I ended up here.

It was an exciting time when I was in college, because Watergate started the ball rolling, and then we had Congress investigating abuses by the FBI and the CIA against the American people. There was real optimism about change. Journalism schools were filling up with idealistic young people who wanted to make a difference in the world. I was one of those naive idealists.

I knew I would never get rich in journalism, but I didn't care. I wanted to follow in the tradition of Woodward and Bernstein and see what I could do to clean up all the corruption in government. Unfortunately, I learned that far from being agents for change, mainstream daily newspapers are part of the power structure.

Nowadays, newspapers are all crawling with CIA operatives, so not only are you restricted from pursuing certain stories, your life could be endangered. Just ask Garb Webb, who was murdered for exposing drug running by the CIA in the San Jose Mercury News.

I myself have been under surveillance my entire adult life as a result of pursuing the truth, and it ruined my career. I cannot emphasize enough how disillusioned I am with the press. And academia is no different.

My history professor at Michigan all but forbade me to write a paper about the JFK assassination, but I did it anyway. Later on, I discovered he had an intelligence background during World War II, and I'm pretty sure he was an FBI informant.

College campuses were crawling with them in the '70s, and they probably are even more today. That's how I ended up being targeted.

Another good thing about going to college was having access to all kinds of independent films on campus. You could catch a film every night of the week for a dollar or two. But almost all the interesting ideas I was exposed to were outside the classroom, not in it.

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