Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sorry Professor, Homeland Security Ate My Homework

Who knew doing homework could get you on the suspected terrorists list? Apparently not this senior at UMass Dartmouth who was visited by the Men in Black after he did research for a paper in his history class.

The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism, totalitarianism and the Neoconservative Golden Age, filled out an inter library loan form for a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's "The Little Red Book." He was later visited by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security.

"They posed as delivery people from the local Chinese restaurant, but once in the house started asking him questions about his 'buddy Mao,'" said Pontbriand.

The professor 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 further. "I went to Canada. Twice," the student said.

"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. "That's what triggered the visit, as I understand it."

"Well, that and the fact that the requester was a student at one of those fancy pants eastern liberal colleges," said a spokesperson for the Homeland Security Department who asked not to be named. "You wouldn't find any real Americans asking for a book like that at the University of Alabama," he added. "Do they have a University in Alabama?"

The student told Professor Pontbriand and co-instructor Dr. Williams that the Homeland Security agents told him the book was on an "evil doers list." They brought the book with them, waved it in front of him while chanting "nyah, nyah, nyah, you ain't reading this," then left, the Williams said.

"One of the agents asked why I had to read books like that," the student said. "He said I should be reading good American books by people like Ann Coulter, or Bill O'Reilly."

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. When asked what caused him to come to the conclusion his calls were being monitored, he pointed to the large black van in his driveway. "Been there all year," 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. "I shudder to think of all the students I've had monitoring al-Qaeda Web sites, what the government must think of that," he said.

"So that's why we've got so many Gitmo detainees from UMass Dartmouth," said a spokesperson for the Homeland Security Department. "I didn't think those kids looked Middle Eastern."


John McAdams said...

It's more fun to parody things that actually happened, and this one likely didn't.

Apparently Bogus: Homeland Security Visited Student Who Ordered Mao’s “Little Red Book”

washingtonwaterwoman said...

Hilarious! I totally dig this genre.