Ian Lustick convicts himself with his confidential letter to the psychology department

Gil-White should be fired if he cannot be silenced, says Lustick


ANALYSIS by Francisco Gil-White

Ian Lustick's letter to the psychology department chairman Robert DeRubeis has been scanned so that you may examine it.[0]

The entire reappointment dossier was supposed to be secret but someone, I don't know who, anonymously deposited a full copy of the reappointment documents in my mailbox after I went public with the threats against me. This dossier included Lustick's letter, which is our focus here. I will analyze the text of this letter, and I will explain its meaning.

In his letter to Robert DeRubeis, the psychology department chairman, Ian Lustick establishes, in his opening line, what the official purpose of it was:

"Dear Rob,

You have asked me for my impressions of Professor Francisco Gil-White's teaching and research in connection with your consideration of his reappointment."

So, this letter was officially requested by the psychology department chairman as an official contribution to my reappointment process, whereby the tenured psychology faculty would decide whether or not to renew my Assistant Professor contract. Laypeople often confuse this with "tenure" -- it is not. However, reappointment has in common with the tenure evaluation that the assistant professor in question will either be promoted or get fired.

What was Lustick officially asked to do? His opening line says it unequivocally: to comment on my "teaching and research." This is stated so clearly and so prominently, in fact, that unless Ian Lustick is a creature of childlike innocence he must be a cynic, for he proceeds to explain that he doesn't know anything about my teaching, and very little about my research:

"I have not had a chance to see Francisco in a classroom..."

"I have read some of Francisco's published work...But I must confess that I more or less stopped reading his work altogether about a year ago."

But if all Lustick had to go on was some limited exposure to my published work, what did he have to say about it? That it was good, and one whole paragraph was expended on this. As concerns the proper purpose of Lustick's letter, then, which was to evaluate my teaching and my academic research, nothing negative.

And yet Ian Lustick's letter contains one criticism after another and goes on for two pages. How did he manage that? By concentrating on a topic that his first line rules out as having any business in his letter to the psychology department chairman: my public-service journalism. This is work that I publish in online magazines as an expression of my right to free speech, not unlike another politically active US citizen and UPENN professor: Ian Lustick. (Other than our policy preferences, which are opposite, and our preferred venues, which are not the same, the only interesting difference here between Lustick and myself is that my contributions to the mass media contain footnoted documentation).

Now, given that a university was evaluating a scholar for continued employment, and that Ian Lustick would base his recommendation, outrageously, on his complaints about this scholar's public service journalism, at least he could have said something about its quality. Yet there is not one claim in Ian Lustick's letter that my investigative work suffers from any scholarly weaknesses; his letter complains only about the positions that my accumulated facts have brought me to. For example:

"...[Gil-White] has maintained the thorough-going innocence of Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbs in general relation to events in the Balkans, and what he argues has been the fabrication of atrocities committed against Muslims in the former Yugoslavia."

And the problem is? Unless Ian Lustick is going to contest my documentation, which he still hasn't, he lacks any scientific grounds to disagree with -- let alone object to -- my conclusion that the Serbs have been lied about.[1]

But this wasn't the only thing that bothered Ian Lustick, and he proceeded to complain about the rest:

"[Gil-White] then expanded his argument, emphasizing the role of large-scale conspiracies by NATO, the CIA, and others to (falsely) implicate Milosevic and other Serb leaders in war crimes, blaming instead the Muslims of Albania and the former Yugoslavia for, as near as I can tell, all of the horrors that have occurred there in recent years. More recently he has extended this type of argument to Sri Lanka and to Israeli-Palestinian relations."

The above requires a correction. I have not blamed "the Muslims of Albania and the former Yugoslavia for...all of the horrors that have occurred there in recent years." Rather, I have blamed the KLA, a terrorist force with only minority support among Kosovo Albanians, for committing genocide against local minority Serbs in the Serbian province of Kosovo where Albanians are a majority.[1a] I have also accused the KLA of unleashing a campaign of terror against fellow Albanians.[2] I have accused the Bosnian Muslims followers of Alija Izetbegovic, a terrorist force with minority support among Bosnian Muslims, and enhanced with foreign mujahedin ("holy warrior") mercenaries, for committing genocide against the Bosnian Serbs. I have also accused Alija Izetbegovic's followers of terrorizing their fellow Bosnian Muslims.[3] Finally, I have accused the neo-Ustashe (Croatian Nazi) party of former Croatian president Franjo Tudjman of committing genocide against the Serbs in Krajina. And Tudjman’s followers, too, abused and persecuted any dissenters among their own people.[4]

But Lustick is right that I have "extended this type of argument to Sri Lanka and to Israeli-Palestinian relations." For I have argued that, as in the case of US support for the terrorist KLA against a benign Balkan state, Serbia (i.e. rump Yugoslavia), the US ruling elite has strongly supported the terrorist PLO against a benign Middle Eastern state, Israel.[5] Likewise, just as I blamed the KLA for violence against fellow Albanians, I have blamed the PLO not only for murdering innocent Israelis but also for oppressing West Bank and Gaza Arabs.[6] And I have pointed out that the same Norwegian diplomats who were deployed by the US ruling elite to support the KLA terrorists and prepare the ground for the destruction of Serbia, were deeply involved in the Oslo process that brought the PLO terrorists into the heart of the Jewish state, from which position these terrorists have been likewise steadily destroying it. These days, Norwegian diplomats are deployed also in Sri Lanka, where they have been enhancing the political position of the terrorist Tamil Tigers (LTTE), the same who oppress with unimaginable violence the Sri Lankan Tamils they claim to represent.[7]

In sum, it is clear that Ian Lustick was upset with my work, which exposes three terrorist forces, the KLA, the PLO, and the Tamil Tigers, and which embarrasses the US and Norwegian governments. He didn't complain, however, that there was anything wrong with my documentation. What was his complaint, then?

In part, he complained that I was supposedly impolite: "he began lecturing (and hectoring) about topics well outside his professional training." But I was not the one behaving impolitely. I was merely documenting facts. Professor Douglas Massey, who witnessed the manner in which I was treated at the Asch Center, and merely for contradicting the official NATO and mass media version of what happened in Yugoslavia, has testified that I was the one subjected to impoliteness.[8]

So what really bothered Lustick was this:

"...these matters are of direct concern to work done by me and my colleagues at the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict; ...Francisco regularly made these arguments at meetings and seminars at the Asch Center...caus[ing] considerable distress among fellows and visitors there from the Balkans and the Middle East..."

In other words, Ian Lustick was upset because my work contradicted work done by him and his Asch Center colleagues, and since there is little tolerance at the Asch Center for scholarly disagreement, my documentation produced "considerable distress." The proper course of action for such fragile human beings is to quit the academy or get immediate psychiatric help. But to conspire to fire a professor who does his best to tell the truth, and in whose documentation nobody, not even Ian Lustick, was claiming to have found one error -- this is by contrast not proper.

But is that really what they did? It is. Here is how Ian Lustick closes his letter:

“It will be, I’m sure, only too easy to misunderstand this letter. I would be the last one to object to professors at Penn taking controversial stands and pushing their ideas hard against recalcitrant audiences. I think that Penn professors have every right to engage in political activity and advocacy in areas both inside and outside their professional competence. But aspects of Francisco’s behavior have raised questions in my mind regarding his ability to contribute as a responsible member of our academic community, his respect for the rules of evidence, and his understanding of the difference between polemical disputation and scientific exchange. I would recommend that he be advised that his future at Penn will require him to remove such questions from the minds of his colleagues and I encourage all his colleagues in the Psychology Department to do what they can to help him harness his manifest talents for systematic scholarly work.”

When Lustick says it would be “only too easy to misunderstand this letter,” which part of his letter does he mean? Lustick himself explained that he could not evaluate me as a teacher and scientist, and focused instead on how much the exercise of my free speech “distressed” him. Obviously, then, he doesn’t really mean that “professors have every right to engage in political activity and advocacy in areas both inside and outside their professional competence.” No danger of misunderstanding him there.

However, the formulation, “I would recommend that [Francisco] be advised that his future at Penn will require him…etc.,” could certainly be misunderstood. For example, one could read it literally and think that Lustick is making a recommendation. But this is also how someone in power obliquely gives an order, so perhaps it is this that Lustick didn’t want anybody to misunderstand.

And what would Ian Lustick “require” of Francisco should he want to keep his job? This is clear: “aspects of Francisco’s behavior have raised questions in my mind,” says Lustick, so in order to keep his job Francisco would have to “remove such questions [Ian Lustick's questions] from the minds of his colleagues...in the Psychology Department.” But since Ian Lustick had had not found a single error in my documentation, and had criticized only the fact that I was doing research on “matters [that] are of direct concern to work done by me and my colleagues at the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict,” Lustick was saying this to the psychology senior faculty: Keep Gil-White off my turf -- if you can't do that, fire him.

Amazingly, rather than do the obvious and decent thing, which was to walk out in public protest from the faculty meeting in which Ian Lustick’s unbelievable letter was included as part of my reappointment dossier, the University of Pennsylvania senior psychology professors chose instead to participate in this charade. As a result, I was fired.



[0] Letter sent by Pr. Ian Lustick to UPENN psychology chairman Robert DeRubeis, officially to evaluate my performance, pursuant to the psychology department's decision whether or not to reappoint Francisco Gil-White to a second Assistant Professor contract:

[1] On the question of Milosevic, the piece that bothered Ian Lustick is the following:

"How Politicians, the Media, and Scholars Lied about Milosevic's 1989 Kosovo Speech: A review of the evidence"; Emperor's Clothes; 9 February 2002; by Francisco Gil-White.

[1a] Francisco Gil-White's articles on what really happened in Kosovo are the following:

THE ROAD TO JENIN: The Racak 'massacre' hoax, and those whose honesty it places in doubt: Helena Ranta, NATO, the UN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, The Associated Press, and Human Rights Watch"; Historical and Investigative Research; 16 April 2003; by Francisco Gil-White.

THE OSLO WAR PROCESS: Norwegians are the diplomatic 'advance guard' of the US-European empire. They helped destroy Yugoslavia. They set Israel on the path to destruction. Now they will finish destroying Sri Lanka. Next: India; Historical and Investigative Research, 29 October 2005; by Francisco Gil-White

“The Serbs Were Not Oppressing the Kosovo Albanians... Quite the opposite”; Emperor’s Clothes; February 2002; by
Francisco Gil-White.

“The Freezer Truck Hoax: How NATO Framed the Serbs”; Historical and Investigative Research; 2 December 2005; by Francisco Gil-White.

[2] “How to lie with (or without) statistics: An examination of Patrick Ball’s indictment of Milosevic”; Emperor’s Clothes; 28 August 2003; by Francisco Gil-White.

[3] The following is a three-part series entitled:

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN BOSNIA? Were the Serbs the criminal aggressors, as the official story claims, or were they the victims?; Historical and Investigative Research, 19 August 2005; by Francisco Gil-White.

It is in three parts, as follows:

1. Who was Alija Izetbegovic: Moderate democrat or radical Islamist?

2. "Painting fascists as victims, and their victims as fascists: The mainstream media turned Bosnia upside down."

3. "Who started the war in Bosnia? And who committed genocide? Was it the Bosnian Serbs, as NATO and the mass media alleged, or the Bosnian Muslim followers of Alija Izetbegovic?"

[4] “Croatia, the Vatican, and the Krajina Serbs”; Emperor’s Clothes; February 2002; by Francisco Gil-White

[5] “Is the US an Ally of Israel: A chronological look at the evidence”; Historical and Investigative Research; by Francisco Gil-White.

[6] In 1994 Yasser Arafat was given a Nobel Peace Prize, and the CIA trained the PLO, even though Arafat's henchmen were saying in public, this very year, that they would use their training to oppress Arabs and kill Jews; from “Is the US an Ally of Israel: A chronological look at the evidence”; Historical and Investigative Research; by Francisco Gil-White.

Why doesn’t Fadi El-Salameen complain that Abbas’s Fatah oppresses the West Bank and Gaza Arabs?; from "What is Seeds of Peace?:
Does this US Intelligence operation groom young Arab leaders who want peace with Israel, or who wish to destroy Israel?"; Historical and Investigative Research, 21 September 2005; by Francisco Gil-White.

[7] THE OSLO WAR PROCESS: Norwegians are the diplomatic 'advance guard' of the US-European empire. They helped destroy Yugoslavia. They set Israel on the path to destruction. Now they will finish destroying Sri Lanka. Next: India; Historical and Investigative Research, 29 October 2005; by Francisco Gil-White

[8] Professor Douglas Massey shares his recollections of how Dr. Gil-White was treated at the Asch Center.



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