It's been discovered that the following story was a hoax perpetrated by the Dartmouth senior:
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 further. "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."
Lest anyone on the right feel compelled to comment that they think Mao is harmless, I'd just like to add that it's a sad sad day when people feel they have to defend their choice to read a book. My guess is that part of the true intent of the Patriot Act and audacious violations of the Constitution such as the Padilla incarceration is to simply get the public to cower, to think that the government has some God-given authority to intervene in every aspect of their lives. They don't. I'd like to remind you all--we hire them. They work for us. We shouldn't be defending our reading choices to them. Quite the contrary. They should be up in front of us explaining what in the hell they were thinking. And instead of spending our tax dollars investigating college students and protesting grandmothers, more money and tax-paid labor should go to uncovering the seemingly endless crimes of this administration. Bush shouldn't simply be fired. He should be in prison.