South Coast Today: Agents’ visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior

NEW BEDFORD — 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.” . . .

Well I have to say that now I think I’m going to have to read the the Little Red Book if it is this controversial (oh shoot, I’m probably now on some kind of watch list for providing a link to the Little Red Book, even though I don’t think much of Mao. Oh well maybe the the federal agents might learn something useful if they read this blog. If they are reading this, here’s my message to them… READ THE CONSTITUITON! America was supposed to be a free country, and not a place where one is afraid of what the secret police will think of what you are reading or writing or thinking.)