[OPE-L] Dept. of Homeland Security investigates college student for ... !

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Sun Dec 18 2005 - 21:20:24 EST

Another ominous sign of the times --

The investigation was launched after the student, who was doing
research for a paper, requested a copy of 'The Little Red Book'
from a university library!

In solidarity, Jerry

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Agents' visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior 12- 17- 2005

       Agents' visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior
      By AARON NICODEMUS, Standard-Times staff writer

       NEW BEDFORD -- A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal
agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's
tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."
       Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and
Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book
through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.
       The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for
Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled
out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number
and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents'
home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland
Security, the professors said.
       The professors said the student was told by the agents that the
book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included
significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student
       "I tell my students to go to the direct source, and so he asked for
the official Peking version of the book," Professor Pontbriand
said. "Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security is
monitoring inter-library loans, because that's what triggered the
visit, as I understand it."
       Although The Standard-Times knows the name of the student, he is
not coming forward because he fears repercussions should his name
become public. He has not spoken to The Standard-Times.
       The professors had been asked to comment on a report that President
Bush had authorized the National Security Agency to spy on as many
as 500 people at any given time since 2002 in this country.
       The eavesdropping was apparently done without warrants.
       The Little Red Book, is a collection of quotations and speech
excerpts from Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung.
       In the 1950s and '60s, during the Cultural Revolution in China, it
was required reading. Although there are abridged versions
available, the student asked for a version translated directly from
the original book.
       The student told Professor Pontbriand and Dr. Williams that the
Homeland Security agents told him the book was on a "watch list."
They brought the book with them, but did not leave it with the
student, the professors said.
       Dr. Williams said in his research, he regularly contacts people in
Afghanistan, Chechnya and other Muslim hot spots, and suspects that
some of his calls are monitored.
       "My instinct is that there is a lot more monitoring than we think,"
he said.
       Dr. Williams said he had been planning to offer a course on
terrorism next semester, but is reconsidering, because it might put
his students at risk.
       "I shudder to think of all the students I've had monitoring
al-Qaeda Web sites, what the government must think of that," he
said. "Mao Tse-Tung is completely harmless."

      Contact Aaron Nicodemus at anicodemus@s-t.com

      This story appeared on Page A9 of The Standard-Times on December 17,

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Dec 20 2005 - 00:00:02 EST