“Little Red Book” Library Research Flags DHS (Hoax)

This is the kind of crap the PATRIOT Act apologists don’t want to expire December 31st:

A UMass-Dartmouth senior, who has asked that his name be withheld for fear of further troubles, was recently visited by agents from the Department of Homeland Security after they learned he had requested a copy of Mao’s “Little Red Book” from his school’s library.

The student was researching a paper on Communism for his class on fascism and totalitarianism when he left his name, address, phone number and social security along with his request for Mao’s 1964 classic from the inter-library loan program.

“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 department’s interest in the student was heightened further by his having spent significant time abroad.

Come on, how can we not appreciate the irony in this happening during research for a class on “fascism and totalitarianism?”

Update: Ruh Roh, Boing Boing’s readers cast doubt on the story.

1. UMass Dartmouth does not use SSN’s for student ID’s. An interlibrary loan request by SSN would seem to violate the University’s own privacy policies (Link).

2. The reporter has not talked to the student. He has talked to the professors, who told him what the student claimed happened. The professors have no first hand knowledge of the incident.

3. It seems a little unlikely that UMass Dartmouth wouldn’t have the Little Red Book on Campus.

4. The professors only “went public” with the story in response to a query about domestic wiretapping.

I think it’s at least equally likely that the student made up an excuse for not doing some work, and that the professors bought into it enough to advance their own agenda.

Indeed, this may end up being a tall tale crafted by some college student.

Latest Update: One article now claims the whole story was bogus all along:

The UMass Dartmouth student who claimed to have been visited by Homeland Security agents over his request for “The Little Red Book” by Mao Zedong has admitted to making up the entire story.

The 22-year-old student tearfully admitted he made the story up to his history professor, Dr. Brian Glyn Williams, and his parents, after being confronted with the inconsistencies in his account.

Props.

16 Comments
  1. “Come on, how can we not appreciate the irony in this happening during research for a class on “fascism and totalitarianism?”

    The government hates competion, I imagine they investigated this for fear another commie would take their job.

    But why leave his social security number.

  2. “But why leave his social security number.”

    Probably because his school and library, like many others, use your SSN as your student ID number. In theory your student ID can be another number, but in every college context I’ve been in, it’s very difficult to use anything other than your social.

  3. Thanks Thomas.

    That is interesting, I know on the government tests I had to take at my high school they were trying to get me to give up my social security number but I had a few choice words for them.

    They use the ss number for everything and I don’t like that. I give it up for nothing.

  4. Know your enemy. I have a big problem with censorship. As most of you know, I am a strong supporter of taking the fight to the radical Muslims anywhere, anytime with no rules including in the US and territories.

    Our government spying on us or even attempting to gather intelligence on US citizens, is repugnent. However, if you are here and not a citizen, I don’t care. The same rules do not apply to you.

    It seems to me to understand your enemy, one must study them. Reading works by Communists, Facists, etc. seems fair game for education. I guess I’m next and am probably on a list somewhere within the government because I have been prolific in purchasing as many books and visiting as many websites as possible concerning radical Islam.

    Bring it on, Big Brother. Do I have a surprise for you. It is an illusion that I am a threat to the USA just because of my choice of reading material and websites.

  5. In other words, you are supporting a fight – with no rules – against the enemy of a regime whose policies you yourself call “repugnent” [sic]. Excuse me while I wrap my head around that.

    And you are demanding that you be afforded rights that “non-citizens” should not receive. Sounds pretty fascist to me. I hope at least you do not claim to be supporting democracy?

  6. Unpatriot

    I support democracy and freedom. Nothing in the Constitution says we must extend the rights of the citizens to noncitizens whether living in this country or elsewhere. Go read it.

    The only rule in war is there are no rules. Have you never heard of that? I believe we do whatever it takes against our enemies. I do believe that if a U.S. citizen takes up arms against us or aids and comforts the enemy in any way, then he/she deserves all the Constitutional protections. Read the Constitution. There are provisions for traitors.

    Being a veteran, I know first hand there is no clean and sanitary way to fight a war and kill people. The purpose of war is to kill more of the enemy and destroy more of their assets than they of yours until they are starving, and begging for mercy. Then you make them surrender unconditionally.

    The difference between us winning and them winning is if they win, we will either be dead or Muslims praying to Allah period.

  7. The difference between us winning and them winning is if they win, we will either be dead or Muslims praying to Allah period.

    The church wants to be the state.
    The state wants to be the church.

    So either way, looks like we’re in for a fun ride.

  8. Stephen

    The great debate continues. I agree there are some that would prefer Christianity be the official religion of the U.S. This will not happen because there are too many citizens opposed to that concept. We will not allow it in a free society.

    I do believe all religions should be free to practice freely without interference from the state.

    The radical Muslims believe Islam and the state are one of the same. That is the danger of Muslim radicals. Their belief system excludes any state or religion other than Islamic law. Islamic law says that (according to their interpretation) 1. All Jews must die. There are no exceptions. 2. Christians will be given a choice but only once; convert to Islam and renounce Christianity and you will live. Otherwise, punishment is immediate death.

    Islamic law (as intrepreted by the radical Muslims) says the preferred method of death is beheading by the sword.

    These people are the true facists.

  9. No offense, Julian, but calling Jihadists, fascists shows a complete lack of the political philosophy of fascism.

    On a side note, you said,,”Nothing in the Constitution says we must extend the rights of the citizens to noncitizens whether living in this country or elsewhere. Go read it.”

    Now, if you still support the deicision to invade Iraq (not sure if you do, but I get the feeling you do) can you explain why you think we should extend the rights of Americans to be defended to the Iraqis?

    If you don’t support the decision to invade Iraq, then this question was pointless. :)

  10. Well turns out the story is a hoax

    “The UMass Dartmouth student who claimed to have been visited by Homeland Security agents over his request for “The Little Red Book” by Mao Zedong has admitted to making up the entire story.
    The 22-year-old student tearfully admitted he made the story up to his history professor, Dr. Brian Glyn Williams, and his parents, after being confronted with the inconsistencies in his account. , , , ”

    See “Federal agents’ visit was a hoax” in The Standard Times, 12/24/05, at
    http://www.southcoasttoday.com/daily/12-05/12-24-05/a01lo719.htm

  11. “This is the kind of crap the PATRIOT Act apologists don’t want to expire December 31st:”

    Do you mean shoddy jounalism (your article) or kids looking for excuses on why they didn’t finished their homework?

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