Monday, December 19, 2005

"Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!"--Mark Slackmeyer, about John Mitchell*

Your government is working hard to protect you:

CIFA manages the Pentagon database that includes Talon reports, consisting of raw, unverified information picked up by the military services on suspicious activities that could involve terrorist threats. The Pentagon acknowledged last week that the Talon database contained reports on peaceful civilian protests and demonstrations that should have been purged long ago under Defense Department regulations.
Am I the only one here who remembers COINTELPRO?

And can anyone tell me what "suspicious activities that could involve terrorist threats" is, exactly?

This, apparently:

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.

My daughter spent 3 weeks in China this past summer.

Guess I'd better be careful what she checks out of the library now.

(*which premature announcement, ironically, got "Doonesbury" very publicly removed from the Washington Post, only to reappear on the op-ed page, later.)

Dartmouth story courtesy lavalamp.

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