Via Daily Kos, Another sign of creeping totalitarianism in the US: The Department of Homeland security is monitoring which books people read:
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.
Well, it looks like he got a first-hand lesson in what he was studying. But jokes aside, this is really rather frightening. What else are they monitoring? What other "suspicious" behaviour will get you a visit from the "defenders" of American "freedom"? And if they're already at this stage - something which would be decried as the height of totalitarianism if the story was told about Stalin's Russia or present-day China - what exactly are they supposed to be "defending"?
Update (24/12/05): The story was a hoax. See here for details.