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Feds visit student over communist book

Old 12-17-05, 11:01 PM
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Feds visit student over communist book

Holy christ, if true. Can anyone provide more info on the source.

Edit: This story is only showing up on, what appear to be, very very left-wing sites. Good, because if it was/is true, I'll be shocked. Sorry if I jumped the gun by posting it.

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/daily...5/a09lo650.htm

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."
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Old 12-18-05, 01:17 AM
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I call bullshit. This basically solidifies the arguement against the patriot act, "...see? He was just reading a book! FACISTS!!!" If this were true, anyone who checked/purchased the Communist Manisfesto or Mein Kampf would be flagged.

That, and I find it highly suspect that the "eavesdropping without warrants" was referenced, seeing as this was "revealed" in the last few days.
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Old 12-18-05, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MartinBlank
I call bullshit. This basically solidifies the arguement against the patriot act, "...see? He was just reading a book! FACISTS!!!" If this were true, anyone who checked/purchased the Communist Manisfesto or Mein Kampf would be flagged.

That, and I find it highly suspect that the "eavesdropping without warrants" was referenced, seeing as this was "revealed" in the last few days.
I agree and hope. (except about your thinking 'anyone' checking out commie stuff would be targeted. Re-read the article)

But WRT everything else, you are totally right. As I re-read it and further think about it (it's a second hand account) I am almost wanting to delete it. But, I'll leave it up just to let others chime in or let the mods make the decision.

Last edited by Ovid; 12-18-05 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 12-18-05, 07:02 AM
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I thought it was well known that the government was going to be monitoring things like this as part of homeland security. I specifically remember them saying they would have the ability to monitor book checkouts among other things. Therefore I don't find this surprising, but I do disagree with it in principal.
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Old 12-18-05, 08:27 AM
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who the hell still USES a library these days?
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Old 12-18-05, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
who the hell still USES a library these days?


As a library science student, I can say with authority that you suck.

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Old 12-18-05, 10:44 AM
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I think it's BS, but there is no need to delete the thread. There are thousands of students with "significant time abroad" who check out communist books every day. Hell, my school had about 20% foreign students, a very active study abroad program, and the #1 major was International Relations. If this story were true I suspect they must have rented the FBI an office on campus by now.

Also, as mentioned previously, it is very fishy that the student was not interviewed for the story. I think any legitimate news source would not have printed the article without talking with the student directly. Also, any legitimate news source would have at least attempted to contact agency that allegedly sent the agents, but the article doesn't even suggest such an attempt was made.

Last edited by wmansir; 12-18-05 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 12-18-05, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Sir Talos
I thought it was well known that the government was going to be monitoring things like this as part of homeland security. I specifically remember them saying they would have the ability to monitor book checkouts among other things. Therefore I don't find this surprising, but I do disagree with it in principal.
This provision was repealed on June 15. Something tells me the article author/professors don't read the news.
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Old 12-18-05, 12:43 PM
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The right wing freerepublic message board has a thread on the article:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1542637/posts
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Old 12-18-05, 01:01 PM
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The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism...

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.
"My dog ate my homework."
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Old 12-18-05, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
who the hell still USES a library these days?
I do. All the time.

I pay for it in property taxes, why not use it?
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Old 12-18-05, 10:42 PM
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Damn commie.
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Old 12-19-05, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by GFM
This provision was repealed on June 15. Something tells me the article author/professors don't read the news.
Really? I wasn't aware of that. Thanks for mentioning it! I'm glad to hear it.

Any proof of this story, or is a new urban legend? The lack of names in the article make me suspicious.
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Old 12-22-05, 04:49 AM
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Reports that a University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth student was visited by federal agents after requesting the Chinese communist manifesto through an interlibrary loan have sparked an international Internet war over freedom of speech and charges of planted stories.

The Standard-Times of New Bedford reported Saturday that a student, whom they declined to name, was visited at his New Bedford home two months ago after requesting Chairman Mao’s “Little Red Book.” Two of his UMass professors told the paper the agents told the student the tome was on a “watch list.”

The story quickly became Internet fodder, sending and army of bloggers into a frenzy and prompting reporters from all over the country to try to contact school and newspaper officials.

Complicating matters has been the student, who so far has refused to talk. Boston FBI spokeswoman Gail A. Marcinkiewicz said she has been unable to find evidence that FBI agents visited the student.

“We don’t have interest in what people read,” she added.

UMass-Dartmouth is investigating and has interviewed the student but denied in a statement having any contact with federal agents. The book was requested from UMass-Amherst.


http://news.bostonherald.com/localRe...ticleid=118168
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Old 12-22-05, 08:45 AM
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I think it's pretty safe to stamp this one with the BULLSHIT! stamp.
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Old 12-22-05, 09:38 AM
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I think Dimension X nailed it. Some kid didn't feel like writing his term paper and decided to blame it on the FBI.
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Old 12-22-05, 09:53 AM
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I better hide my copies of that "Little Red Book" I bought in Shanghai (both English and Chinese editions) as a tourist in 1983.
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Old 12-22-05, 10:22 AM
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“We don’t have interest in what people read,” she added.

BS. Certain books that are now out of print are still very valuable tools of information and the government IS interested in knowing who is reading these. Technology is many areas has not changed since the 50's and 60's and is still very useful.

And for Mosquitobite, just because you live in hicksville USA and probably don't have access to more than a mere hovel for your local library, there are some people out there who do have access and pay for impressivley large collections of materials in their libraries and make use of them all the time. Either that or you just don't read.
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Old 12-22-05, 11:13 AM
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I use my local library all the time, and recently checked out "The Little Red Train" for my son. I hope the FBI doesn't come for me too.
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Old 12-22-05, 11:24 AM
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"The Little Red Train"
Pinko!
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Old 12-22-05, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
who the hell still USES a library these days?
I do.
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Old 12-22-05, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by shifrbv
And for Mosquitobite, just because you live in hicksville USA and probably don't have access to more than a mere hovel for your local library, there are some people out there who do have access and pay for impressivley large collections of materials in their libraries and make use of them all the time. Either that or you just don't read.
was that really necessary?
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Old 12-22-05, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by shifrbv

And for Mosquitobite, just because you live in hicksville USA and probably don't have access to more than a mere hovel for your local library, there are some people out there who do have access and pay for impressivley large collections of materials in their libraries and make use of them all the time. Either that or you just don't read.
You did notice the smiley right? It's holiday time, let's try and be happy...
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Old 12-23-05, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by shifrbv
Either that or you just don't read.
Apparently you are the one that doesn't read because it is easy to tell she was being sarcastic.
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Old 12-23-05, 04:00 AM
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Complicating matters has been the student, who so far has refused to talk. Boston FBI spokeswoman Gail A. Marcinkiewicz said she has been unable to find evidence that FBI agents visited the student.
I'd like to point out that the original article did not say that FBI agents visited the student. It said agents with the Department of Homeland Security.

I still don't know if the article is true or not, but let's keep things straight.
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