Monday, December 19, 2005

Are you now or have you ever been...

From Chris comes this story about the UMass student who was visited by the Department of Homeland Security for checking out a copy of Mao's Little Red Book through interlibrary loan (the original Peking edition). Apparently he had to fill out a form including his social and whatnot to request the book, and it was delivered to him by the federal agents themselves. He let his history professors know, among other things, that he'd be unable to read the book because I guess it's scheduled for burning or something:
...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.
There's really so much to get upset about here that it's hard to know where to begin. But let's start with the ways that our administration's surveillance practices and fascist tendencies influence us in obvious and indirect ways. The idea that a history professor is thinking he shouldn't offer a course on terrorism because he doesn't want his students to end up on a watch list...

Just read a little history of pre-WWII Germany, that's all I'm saying.

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