[Reader-list] reading mao in the US [u]

Geert Lovink [c] geert at xs4all.nl
Mon Dec 19 13:41:34 IST 2005


AARON NICODEMUS, STANDARD-TIMES - A senior at U Mass 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 U Mass 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. . .

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 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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