Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"semi-communistic ideology". I read it in the Times but I'd rather link to JB's commentary.

And here's another one for the archives of stupidity.
update: Laura Rozen has put up a link after recieving a note from one of those involved:
...Bob P. ...is teaching a senior seminar this semester on, off all things, totalitarianism and fascism. He encouraged his students to try to get primary resources and one of them, a 21 year old senior, used Inter Library Loan to get the official version of Mao's Little Red Book not the abridged one found in our library and on-line (he requested it from Providence RI, Brown Univ. I believe). Of course to get the book you fill out a form which provides your SSN address, phone no. etc.

A couple of weeks later two Homeland Security officers showed up on a Sunday morning (in late November) at his parents house to interrogate him. They informed him that the fact he had lived abroad in South America (he is the son of missionary) and had requested a book that was on a watch list led to their visit. They asked him to explain just what he wanted the book for, where he had lived abroad and for how long, asked him to prove he was a student with several forms of documentation, and when it was over refused to provide him with the book and left things up in the air. He was scared to death needless to say. The student reported the incident to Bob who shared it with me.

As I have had the student myself in class and consider him to be one of our brightest I met with him myself to get the whole story. I have no doubts whatsoever to its veracity by the way. He insisted on remaining anonymous, did not want his name published, and was told by his parents to keep a low profile. His uncle who happens to be an FBI agent subsequently took him to Boston to the local HQ to explore the whole issue and eventually got the case against him dropped. From what I understand he waited in a room for several hours with people such as himself who had been similarly investigated.

I passed on the story to a reporter from the New Bedford Standard Times who called me at home to talk about President Bush's surveillance activities and I directed him to Bob P. Since then it has been picked up by US websites and even some in Europe and ABC, CBS etc. have asked for interviews. I have been inundated with emails from around the world telling me not to give in to pressure and to go ahead and teach my course on terrorism. I
am touched by some of them and would hardly have expected so many people to be interested in this issue (one list also noticed that Mao's Little Red Book shot up in sales on amazon.com yesterday). ...

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