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United States Privacy Education Government Politics

Little Red Book Draws Government Attention 1088

Posted by Zonk
from the they-have-nothing-better-to-do? dept.
narcolepticjim writes "An unnamed Dartmouth student was visited by Homeland Security for requesting a copy of Mao Zedong's Little Red Book for a class project." From the article: "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."
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Little Red Book Draws Government Attention

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  • by Cherita Chen (936355) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @05:45PM (#14281052) Homepage
    Are you lonely? Looking for some company this holiday season? Follow this link and you too can schedule a visit from Uncle Sam...

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/offer-listing/083 512388X/ref=dp_olp_2//102-9865629-6948961?conditio n=all [amazon.com]

    • by Krach42 (227798) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:03PM (#14281164) Homepage Journal
      Pff... you're probably getting referal credit.... I'll just search for it on my own, so you don't get credit for my order, you karma whore. ;)
      • by Hrodvitnir (101283) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:56PM (#14281514)
        Uh. Isn't that the referral system is for? He is, after all, providing easy access to something.
      • by fm6 (162816) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:34PM (#14281746) Homepage Journal
        I've actually done that. I even once managed to get my referal ID into a link in the main Slashdot story that I had submitted. Am I rolling in wealth? Not hardly. I got less than $10 from that one story, and about $25 for 3 or 4 years of link whoring. Curiously enough, most of the commissions I've gotten have not been for the books I linked to, but for other stuff people bought after following my links!
        • by shanen (462549) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @09:37PM (#14282289) Homepage Journal
          Well, I've searched quite extensively under most of the keywords I could think of, and not found any mention of this aspect, so I'll tack it in here.

          The real reason this kind of thing is stupid in general is because it prevents us from studying our enemies. If you can't understand what your enemies are thinking, then it is much more likely that they are going to be able to blindside you.

          I'll give a concrete example that is actually related to real threats. I have a number of friends and acquaintances of various Islamic persuasions. They would naturally have different perspectives on the real threats of Islamic-based extremism. However, given the ideological climate of America as exemplified by this kind of incident, I'm certainly not going to risk causing them any problems by asking them for their insights.

          On the other hand, worrying about potential communist sympathizers at this time is just plain stupid. You'd think the president who'd allow such a thing would have to be some kind of moron.

          Oh, wait...

          • by Gabrill (556503) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @11:30PM (#14282705)
            I agree with your point, and it is good and valid . . .

            BUT, to play the devil's advocate . . .

            Time has proven that the Department of Homeland Security, the regular milatary, and, heck, even the local police force do NOT appreciate help from citizens when dealing with "the enemy". In their perspective, you are just as much as a loose cannon as any terrorist when you show any interest in working around the official organizations.

            In other words, you're unnaccountable to your actions, and therefor may actually be breaking more laws than you're upholding.

            That having been said, a visit from the DHS was entirely innapropriate for this single action, and I hope they had other good reasons to put up and investigation.

            • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday December 18, 2005 @02:03AM (#14283255)
              That student just got a whole lot of first hand experience in totalitarianism. The kind that you just can't get from a book or a classroom.

              He even refuses to give his name now because he "fears repercussions".

              You just can't get that kind of gut-level understanding without a visit from the authorities. That is one kid who will have a deeper understanding of the material now than anyone else in class.
              • by TallMatthew (919136) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @07:41AM (#14284208)
                He even refuses to give his name now because he "fears repercussions".

                That was the whole point. You don't send agents to knock on the front door of potential terrorists. If someone is dangerous or is believed to be dangerous, they are put under surveillance to see what's going on.

                You send agents to intimidate. Apparently people interested in world views contradictory to our own.

                Yeah, it's almost time to go.

    • by wetfeetl33t (935949) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:12PM (#14281227)
      Hmmm... No one has shown up yet. Maybe they aren't actually watchi...
    • by dourk (60585) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:21PM (#14281283) Homepage
      Great, now the Amazon Page I Made includes various works by Lenin and Marx.
    • by Mad_Rain (674268) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:21PM (#14281675) Journal
      Heh. I'm going to be sending copies of the Little Red Book to all my friends and family for the holidays.
       
      That's what all you bastards get for putting me on your "naughty" list! ;)
  • by AEton (654737) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @05:45PM (#14281054)
    ...at least he got material for his research paper on fascism and totalitarianism.

    Thanks, I'll be here all day.
  • Wait, WTF??!?!?!? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Caspian (99221) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @05:46PM (#14281056)
    Why did he have to provide his "name, address, phone number and Social Security number" ... to read a book?

    Cue discussion of RMS's paper on "The Right To Read", but still. Is this just sensationalism, or does one actually have to give all one's personal information to read this [barnesandnoble.com]?
    • by Senjutsu (614542) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @05:59PM (#14281128)
      but he had to fill out a form because he was requesting an inter-library loan. I don't know how your school works, if the loan department can psychically detect what you want to request and save you the trouble of filling at a form or whatever, but obviously his school works the old-fashioned way.

      Not that this excuses the utterly retarded HomeSec nonsense, of course.
    • by billstewart (78916) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:05PM (#14281178) Journal
      For interlibrary loan, he presumably needed to leave his name, address, and student ID number with the library so they could contact him when the book arrived.


      There are way too many US colleges that routinely violate the privacy of their students and expose them to identity theft by using their Social Security Number as a student ID number, because it's ostensibly unique and they sometimes also need it if the student's an employee or has a government loan. Fortunately neither school I attended did that, but it's extremely common. Similarly, many US states use the SSN as a driver's license number, and all of them collect the SSN in keep it in their databases. And many medical insurance companies use SSNs as a customer ID number (HIPAA's changing that a bit, but Medicare's still based on SSNs so they usually need it anyway.) And too many companies use SSNs as an employee ID. It's appalling, but get used to it.

      • by Vilim (615798) <ryan@NOSpaM.jabberwock.ca> on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:36PM (#14281365) Homepage

        In Canada the equivalent of the SSN is the SIN (Social Insurance Number). In any case a few years ago it became law that you cannot be refused a service because you refuse to give out your SIN. The exception to this is that it has a valid use (Pretty well the only valid uses are ones that deal directly with taxation, for example you must give it to your employer so they can report income tax stuff correctly).

        That being said companies can ask you for your SIN but you are not obligated to give it to them. For me that meant waiting 3 weeks longer for a credit card, but at least VISA doesn't have my SIN

        The main reason why I am so paranoid about my SIN is I actually had mine stolen a while back. A company I used to work for outsourced their pension stuff. About a year ago the place got broken into and computers containing my SIN along with 30000 or so other people got stolen. The process of making sure that no one can apply for credit in my name is something I do not want to repeat.

    • Re:Wait, WTF??!?!?!? (Score:4, Informative)

      by bhsx (458600) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:06PM (#14281184)
      "the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program"
      He used the campus' library to request the book from another library.
      Not that that makes it right.
  • quick (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jay2003 (668095) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @05:47PM (#14281062)
    Everyone go checkout Mao's book from your local library. If enough people do this, the FBI will have to give up on this type of spying as I don't think they can visit 100,000 people.
    • Re:quick (Score:5, Funny)

      by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Saturday December 17, 2005 @05:49PM (#14281074) Homepage Journal
      I don't think they can visit 100,000 people.

      Not yet, but if your plan works the DHS will get increased funding for more agents to investigate the "epidemic of thinking".
    • not there! (Score:4, Funny)

      by tomcres (925786) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:01PM (#14281544)
      I can't.. The library doesn't have the book since the GOP Rally/Bookburning last month.. bummer!
    • by general_re (8883) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @08:22PM (#14281988) Homepage
      I realize that I'm apparently swimming upstream here, but I suspect that a lot of the people thundering about this are simply accepting it uncritically because they want to believe it, insofar as it confirms their particular worldview.

      So, to remind everyone, we have exactly one source for this, the professor, who is at best relaying the story secondhand to all of us - we do not have an eyewitness report, in that the student to whom this supposedly happened hasn't given his version to anyone else, including the paper in which this was reported. Hell, it doesn't look like the paper even bothered to contact DHS for any sort of comment.

      I dunno, I really think I'd like a little more info. More than just the say-so of some professor dude, who may or may not have a vested interest in telling tales.

      • PATRIOT Act (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gaijin99 (143693) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @11:08PM (#14282604) Journal
        The interesting thing is that under the so-called USA PATRIOT Act the library is forbidden from confirming that the incident took place. Not only do the police get to review your choice of reading material but the librarians will go to prison if they tell anyone that an investigation actually happened. That way people like you can say "well, there isn't any confirmation so it probably isn't true". Isn't that nice?
  • by nebaz (453974) * on Saturday December 17, 2005 @05:49PM (#14281072)
    Well, it's not as though this kind of thing is unexpected. Once the
    government is given power, it is human nature to abuse it. What I
    don't understand is why people fall hook, line, and sinker, for the
    same techniques throughout history over and over again.

    1) Instill fear in the population somehow, by either orchestating or latching on to
    a catastrophic event,
    2) Tell the population that you will take care of it, blame enemies of the state,
    3) Go to war, claim critics of the war are unpatriotic, out of touch, part of an "elite".

    This is all classic power grab politics, and yet it happens again and again in
    history.

    Why do people not learn from history? It is clear that those in power have a
    vested interest in having a sheeple populace. A critical thinking, well informed
    electorate, is the biggest enemy to would be dictators in a democratic society.

    Start with the children. I guess fear really is the mind killer. And, at the risk of
    pulling a Godwin, two quotes from Hermann Goering, leader of Hitler's Luttewaffe.

    "Education is dangerous - Every educated person is a future enemy"

    "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

    Finally, just a minor nit. The submitter claims the student was a "Dartmouth" student, whereas the article states that the student was from "U Mass-Dartmouth".
    • by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:11PM (#14281224) Journal
      Because people are stupid. Even the people on Slashdot will make stupid mistakes and instead of going "Hey, I sure fucked that up". We try to find some upside and convince ourselvs we're not as dumb as we truely are.

      Human nature wants someone to protect us, we want to believe the world is a happy place and all will be well. Because if we look in the mirror we see someone we don't like and a world we can't stand.

      It works the same way religion does. If you look at something else, you don't have to see the real world. It's the same reason so many body builders work so hard to get great bodies. They often hate the person inside so much they want to change it.

      People believe what they are told.. because if they don't, they end up broken..
    • by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:32PM (#14281348)

      Why do people not learn from history?

      Because they think of themselves as the "good guys", and the history they are taught (by school, Hollywood, the media, etc) portrays bad things being done by "bad guys". In reality, there is no good and bad, just a mixture of greys.

      How often is it that a movie about Nazi Germany includes the democracy that Germany had beforehand? How often do you hear about how Osama bin Laden called for jihad against Iraq for invading Kuwait? How often do you hear about how Saddam Hussein reformed Iraq into a secular state instead of a theocracy, or how he increased equality and women's rights?

      As long as people are taught that some countries are good and some countries are evil, so long as their enemies are demonised, the majority of people will continue to think of themselves as the "good guys", and therefore immune to committing atrocities and war crimes.

      • by Kurt Granroth (9052) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @08:31PM (#14282017)
        Because they think of themselves as the "good guys", and the history they are taught (by school, Hollywood, the media, etc) portrays bad things being done by "bad guys". In reality, there is no good and bad, just a mixture of greys.

        I completely agree that history as it is taught is a mostly worthless mess of "we are infinitely good" and "they are infinitely bad". However, to day that "there is no good and bad, just a mixture of greys" is ridiculous! There are many events throughtout history that are very clearly Bad and others that are clearly Good, regardless of your ethical background.

        Let's look at a few extreme examples:

        • 6 million Jews are murdered in German death camps during World War II
        • An estimated 20 million Russians are murdered in the Soviet Union during Stalin's reign
        • American slavery is an established institution for hundreds of years
        • Native Americans are nearly wiped out by small-pox infected blankets and through other genocidal actions

        There is no shades of grey in those acts. They were and are evil acts.

        Now the fact that American history books as taught in our schools will only go into detail on the first two (non-American "bad guys") and gives only token treatment to slavery and usually don't mention the Native American genocide is an entirely different problem...

        • by FleaPlus (6935) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @11:14PM (#14282630) Journal
          Now the fact that American history books as taught in our schools will only go into detail on the first two (non-American "bad guys") and gives only token treatment to slavery and usually don't mention the Native American genocide is an entirely different problem...

          I don't know if my experience is representative, but throughout my public middle school and high school history/English courses, we spent -much- more time being taught about slavery and the plight of Native Americans than the holocaust and Stalin.
  • Wrong School (Score:4, Informative)

    by dunelin (111356) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @05:50PM (#14281081)
    If you mean the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, you're right.
  • by craXORjack (726120) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @05:52PM (#14281086)
    I'm proud to be an American
    Where at least I know I free...
    • by zaphod8829 (754076) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:43PM (#14281416) Homepage
      And I'm proud to be an American.
      Where at least I'm told I'm free.
      I won't forget the third-grade class
      that ingrained it into me,
      and I'll proudly stand up,
      next to you, though I don't know what it means.
      Oh, there ain't no doubt who runs this land.
      God Bless the bourgeois.

      I wrote that in my head when I had to work at K-Mart the day after the 9/11 attack, telling people constantly that we were out of flags (what, you didn't care about them a week ago?), and hearing patriotic music blaring on the radio.
  • by pla (258480) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @05:52PM (#14281088) Journal
    Better Together
    Buy this book with Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler today!
    Total List Price: $33.95
    Buy Together Today: $23.96
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Saturday December 17, 2005 @05:58PM (#14281121) Journal
    "Fuck you, get a warrant".

    -jcr
  • by cagle_.25 (715952) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:08PM (#14281203) Journal
    Alright, I'm willing to give the story general credibility given the recent track record [cnn.com] of the administration.

    Nevertheless, I find the details fishy:

    1. Why would a student have to write down a SSN for a book loan, but not have to write down the class for which he is requesting the book?
    2. If he *did* have to write down his class, then why would the NSA waste resources on this case?
    3. Why would a book by Mao be on a watch list? Surely the NSA isn't having flashbacks to the 1950's!
    4. Why does it seem just a little too convenient that this unnamed student is being investigated by the NSA while doing research for a class on "fascism and totalitarianism"?
    5. Why are none of Robert PontBriand's classes [umassd.edu] (the professor in question, according to TFA) listed as "fascism and totalitarianism"?
    No doubt there are good answers to these questions ... but I'm not ready to believe the story just because it fits with my preconceived notions about the administration.
    • From a UMass alum... (Score:5, Informative)

      by TCQuad (537187) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:39PM (#14281765)
      1. Why would a student have to write down a SSN for a book loan, but not have to write down the class for which he is requesting the book?
      The UMass system when I was there asked for your SSID/student ID and the various other pieces of information, but not what class you were doing it for (you could include it as optional information). The reason is that they really don't care if you're reading it for a class, multiple related classes or for your own personal improvement.

      2. If he *did* have to write down his class, then why would the [DoHS] waste resources on this case?
      See 1

      3. Why would a book by Mao be on a watch list?
      The article mentioned that the student had been abroad for a significant amount of time; it was probably a totality of the evidence. (Note: not justifying the situation, just saying how it probably came about)

      4. Why does it seem just a little too convenient that this unnamed student is being investigated by the NSA while doing research for a class on "fascism and totalitarianism"?
      The course is Ideologies of Power, as has been pointed out. Fascism and totaliarianism might be part of the course or an Honors' Colloquium, which typically takes part of the course and creates a focused presentation, research paper or discussion group for an extra credit plus honors credit in the area of the course. This would also explain why a course text was not available in the UMass Library system.

      5. Why are none of Robert PontBriand's classes (the professor in question, according to TFA) listed as "fascism and totalitarianism"?
      See 4
  • by commodoresloat (172735) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:30PM (#14281339)
    I got paid a visit for reading material that was hardly "subversive" -- it was published by the U.S. military! Read all about it here [shockandblog.com] and here [shockandblog.com]... I was reading the literature on a plane, to be sure, but a home visit from the feds seemed way over the top. To their credit, however, the Marshals seemed to be nice enough and they didn't seem to think I was a threat to national security, and I haven't been bothered since the visit to my house. Though I wonder whether there are now federal files on me, and whether I'm being looked at funny at the airport.
  • by zymurgy_cat (627260) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:52PM (#14281485) Homepage
    Step 1 - Assemble numerous cells in the US.
    Step 2 - Have all but one or two act as decoy cells. Keep decoy cells separate from the real cells with no contact whatsoever.
    Step 3 - Members of decoy cells check out hundreds of books from librares, surf dozens and dozens of terrorist websites, etc., etc.
    Step 4 - While Feds waste time chasing down book readers and web surfers, the real cells continue on with their plans.
    Step 5 - As the US government expands powers and searches, create more decoy cells that create more needless searches and wild goose chases.
    Step 6 - Repeat steps 3 to 5 as needed.
    Step 7 - Obtain US citizenship and vote for politicians that expand the powers and searches in Step 5.
  • I am Spartacus (Score:4, Interesting)

    by overshoot (39700) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:21PM (#14281672)
    I profoundly hope that my ILL request for the Little Red Book takes a long time thanks to the thousands of others it has to compete with.

    On the other hand, the original student was extremely foolish to tell anyone this, since doing so is a Federal felony in itself. We won't be hearing from him again, I'm afraid.

  • by dlasley (221447) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:21PM (#14281674) Homepage
    ... the DHS to harass a college student working on a paper, especially when we have missing truckfulls of radioactive materials [news14.com], unchecked illegal immigration linked to terrorism [cbsnews.com], and gross negligence in disaster preparedness [washingtonpost.com]? (cause, you know, let's not forget that FEMA is in the DHS now)

    <sarcasm>I'm so comforted that a noticable portion of my paycheck gets usurped for such important security concerns.</sarcasm>

    If you are a taxpaying U.S. citizen, I advise you to see how your contributions to the government are apportioned and spent [natprior.org].
  • by perler (80090) <<moc.tenalpstap> <ta> <tap>> on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:22PM (#14281681) Homepage
    As the former governor of Louisianna Huey Long [wikipedia.org] in the 1930's said: "Of course we will have fascism in America but we will call it democracy!". [guardian.co.uk]

    Grown up in the eastblock I know a little bit about the USSR - believe me when I tell you how common this state was to the USA of today when it comes to ideology.

  • Feh! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@gmaCOWil.com minus herbivore> on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:39PM (#14281766) Journal
    Last summer, I was photographing old "fishbowl [google.ca]" buses in Ottawa, Ontario. Whithin minutes, I was hassled by transit security who were adamant that I identify myself. After telling them that they had no reason nor right to demand I identify myself, they told me that I could go, but not without calling the city cops on me.

    Within minutes, I was hassled by a very hot and loud bitch cop (120 dB of pure bitchery and 120 pounds of hot chick). Within minutes I was surrounded by 6 cops and transit security.

    During the ensuing shouting match, none was ever able to say what illegal act I had committed. I eventually gave my (cellphone) number to the bitch ;)

    6 months later, a "national security division" cop of the RCMP [rcmp.gc.ca] calls me on the cellphone and wants to talk to me.

    - This is a cellphone.

    - Oh. Sorry. Well, call me at 555-555-5555.

    Not being stupid, I make sure I don't call him from $ORKPLACE. They're the police, so they surely can find my home number in the phone directory, no? And if they check google with my name, they can find I'm a transit buff, no?

    Well, I guess not. And if they are doing "national security" investigations, 6 months later is pretty fast, I guess...

  • by Niet3sche (534663) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:55PM (#14281852)
    "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."

    What better way to learn about fascism and totalitarianism than to live under 'em, eh?

    Yes, I'm feeling sardonic today.

  • Peking Version? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @10:40PM (#14282493) Homepage Journal
    Ok, all my bullshit meters went off when I read this article. It might have happened, but I'm laying odds that it's either a hoax, or that the professor is studying to see how neo-anarchistic sites like Slashdot can uncritically accept stories about our government, or that the student successfully bullshitted the professor. Or it could be our government is actually somewhat retarded (Chairman Mao is a threat in the era of the War on Terror?) and somewhat fascist. I wouldn't be surprised either way.

    Random points, in no particular order:

    1) It's too coincidental. It happened (or was published) a day or so after secret eavesdropping policies from the administration made front page news in the New York Times.

    2) Why the hell would agents bring the book? Can you imagine NSA agents walking into a remote library (and not the local library, because he needs the extra-special "Peking" version of the world's secondly most commonly printed book) and checking out this "rare" copy of a book? *How* did they check it out? Do they keep library accounts with all the universities in the state? And, why? Just so they can wave it in his face? What did they do with it after? Just toss it in the mail? Drive it back across town or to another city to return it? It makes no sense.

    3) As best as I can tell, there's no such thing as the extra-special Peking Version of the book. My fiancee is Chinese, she's never heard of it (though she dislikes Communism, and isn't an expert on it either). Google '"Peking Version" Quotations of Chairman Mao' (or Little Red Book) and you get no results. Even the name is a bit suspect since Peking is the British name for Beijing, and the communists worked to change the name on everything to Beijing (via the uniform adoption of the standardized Pinyin system). But it's an older book, so it could be legit (the Pinyin reforms didn't happen for a while during Mao's reign). But neither does "Beijing Version" get any hits. Even the 1st edition was published in a variety of places, not just Beijing, so it would be a misnomer to call it a Peking Version.

    Here's quotes from the article:
    '"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."'
    and
    "In the 1950s and '60s, during the Cultural Revolution in China, it was required reading. Although there are abridged versions available, the student asked for a version translated directly from the original book." ...which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    There is a rare-ish 1st edition, but it's only two chapters shorter than the common 2nd edition, and the text isn't different in any meaningful way (I think there was a typo or two fixed.) Having the student request a rare 1st edition wouldn't make any sense since (beyond the obvious fact the English versions aren't rate), he doesn't speak Chinese, and there's no textual changes between the English versions based on the different editions (2 chapters were added for the 2nd edition, and one for the 3rd).

    4) The Little Red Book IS the bloody abridged version of the multi-volume Selected Works of Chairman Mao. But in the article it states the kid wanted the 'unabridged' version (of an abridged book??), and one that was "translated directly from the original version". Heh, I didn't know the Quotations of Chairman Mao (again, 2nd most published book in the world) was so rare that most American versions were, what... translated from the original Japanese? This request of the student's is nonsensical.

    5) The professor is up for tenure. Which may or may not make a lick of difference, depending on the professor. He seems cool enough, though, doing some sort of extreme history thing in Afghanistan.
    http://www.brianglynwilliams.com/ [brianglynwilliams.com]

    6) Another quote: "The professors had bee
    • Re:Peking Version? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShakaUVM (157947) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @07:41AM (#14284205) Homepage Journal
      The professor mentioned in the story (Dr. Brian Glyn Williams) took the time to answer these points. I'm pasting it verbatim here.

      -----

      Dear Bill,
      Delighte to hear from you and I hope my response is of service. If you could post it I would be most grateful.
      I am one of the professors mentioned in your 'conspiracy theory response' (Dr. Brian Glyn Williams)With all due respect I wanted to add a few comments. A. The incident with our Univ. of Massachusetts history student happened several weeks ago, I was asked to comment on President Bush's sweeping surveillance activities only yesterday. I cited this incident as an example of the White House policies' very real applications and how they trickle down to the university level. My description of the incident was in response to an inquiry from a reporter at the Standard Times, New Bedford who called requesting a commentary and I thought it was appropriate. B. There are several key sections omitted in the version here in the USA of the Little Red Book and we are proud of our student trying to search out the original. This is exactly the sort of primary document research that makes for good history!
      C. I have tenure and I do not know how you came to the assumption that I do not, my web page brianglynwilliams.com clearly states that I am Associate Professor of History. But I do appreciate your reference to the field work I do in Afghanistan and Central Asia in trying to understand the roots of jihadism and terrorism. It is precisely this sort of cutting edge research and teaching I hope to protect. One must go to the original sources to get the facts, wether it be jihadi webpages or Mao's Little Red Book. I am hardly a liberal firebrand, I just want to carry out my research unfettered by the fear of investigation and encourage the same in my students. D. I know this student well. He is the real thing, he is mature, honest, reliable, hard-working and genuinely interested in getting to the truth on issues, i.e. he is everything we train our students to be. The fact that Dr. Bob Pontriband who is by the way a passionate educator who seeks to instill just this sort of above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty research in his students also vouches for him lends two voices to his defense. I sincerely hope that your questions are meant to be the sort of critical inquiry we expect from our students and not some reflexive attempt to de-legitimize our reporting of what it is frankly a rather disturbing act of surveillance that does not seem to be an example of productive, preemptive counter terrorism. Sincerely,
      Dr. Brian Glyn Williams
      Associate Professor of History
      University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

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