"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Monday, December 19, 2005
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."
The same e-mail also featured a reference to this New York Times piece from last week, in which it is revealed that the problem is not just curious college students per se, but also the librarians who harbor them. That's right - the terrorists and other enemies of our freedom have managed to secure the cooperation of an insidious cabal of information technologists:
Some agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been frustrated by what they see as the Justice Department's reluctance to let them demand records and to use other far-ranging investigative measures in terrorism cases, newly disclosed e-mail messages and internal documents show.
Publicly, the debate over the law known as the USA Patriot Act has focused on concerns from civil rights advocates that the F.B.I. has gained too much power to use expanded investigative tools to go on what could amount to fishing expeditions.
But the newly disclosed e-mail messages offer a competing view, showing that, privately, some F.B.I. agents have felt hamstrung by their inability to get approval for using new powers under the Patriot Act, which was passed weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
One internal F.B.I. message, sent in October 2003, criticized the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the Justice Department, which reviews and approves terrorist warrants, as regularly blocking requests from the F.B.I. to use a section of the antiterrorism law that gave the bureau broader authority to demand records from institutions like banks, Internet providers and libraries.
"While radical militant librarians kick us around, true terrorists benefit from OIPR's failure to let us use the tools given to us," read the e-mail message, which was sent by an unidentified F.B.I. official. "This should be an OIPR priority!!!"
You know that the unidentified author of the quoted e-mail is deadly serious, because he or she used three exclamation points!
As you know, 9/11 changed everything. If there was ever any doubt before, it can no longer be seriously debated whether reading is a revolutionary act. Real Americans know that libraries promote independent thought, and independent thought is something (like the Geneva Convention, say, or Fourth Amendment rights) which we can no longer tolerate in a free society. I say Godspeed to the loyal F.B.I. agents who are so diligent in their efforts to preserve our liberty by oppressing us and, furthermore, that hanging is too good for anyone who would allow - nay, encourage! - college students to study fascism and totalitarianism. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I call to you now: Today is the day to burn a library for freedom, and watch the radical militant librarians scurry like the cockroaches they are.
(The astute reader will notice that I have chosen to feature Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung on the sidebar to your left (my right) as my current featured print title. If you give generously through the PayPal button at the top of the sidebar, I can also spend significant time abroad, and thus accomplish my present goal of getting named on the DHS watch list.)
Apparently Bogus: Homeland Security Visited Student Who Ordered Mao’s “Little Red Book”