Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Agents’ visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior

`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.’

Attempting to write a paper of fascism and have the government send agents to your house would probably be worth an A+, I reckon.

2 Responses to “Agents’ visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior”

  1. John McAdams Says:

    There is plenty of reason to doubt that this story is in fact true.

    Apparently Bogus: Homeland Security Visited Student Who Ordered Mao’s “Little Red Book”

  2. moonbuggy Says:

    Yeah, I’ve been vaguely following the story on BoingBoing. I decided, since they were waiting to hear back from a few people that’d been contacted to ask about it, that I’d wait until the story devolops a bit further before I put another post on the main page.

    The fact that the agents brought the book with them then took it away again seemed a bit dodgy, but the SSN thing could just be a simple mistake, the reported being confused over student ID’s or something.

    And I don’t know that I believe a government official saying “There is no watchlist”. Governments are generally not high on my credability list. 🙂

    With cooperating libraries, tracking certain books would be technically trivial. It could even be trivial without cooperation. [shrug]

    Maybe I’m paranoid, but with the Total Information Awareness type projects the US government has shown a desire to collect as much data as it possibly can about its citizens.

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