Thursday, December 22, 2005

More Homeland Security Assaults on Academia

This hot off the presses from H-Asia

December 21, 2005

Timely concern: Challenges to research in the U.S.

From: Ryan Dunch

A couple of items following up on Vincent Pollard's disturbing post
of December 19 re. the student in Massachusetts reportedly visited
Homeland Security agents after he requested a copy of the "Little Red
Book" via interlibrary loan.

Further details of the story and debates about its veracity can be
read at, which I found
via the History News Network. A list member contacted me off-list to
say that she had been in contact with a senior colleague on the
faculty at the college in question, the University of Massachusetts,
Amherst, and that person believes that the student's account is

Also on the History News Network, Frank Conlon (still in India, and
still vigilant) alerted me to a related story, this time with fully
named sources, and involving an Asian studies colleague, the eminent
modern Japan historian Grant Goodman, professor emeritus at the
University of Kansas. A letter addressed to him from the Philippines
arrived having been opened, then re-sealed with green tape and with a
message from the Department of Homeland Security that it had been
opened by "Border Protection." The letter was from a "devoutly
Catholic Filipino history professor in her 80s," according to Goodman.

The HNN report is at:

The full original story can be read at
[this page].
It includes the further detail that the US Postal Service now sends
"all foreign mail shipments" to U.S. Customs and Border Protection
for examination. A spokesman for that agency is quoted as stating
with reference to this case, "Obviously, it's a security thing."

Ryan Dunch
University of Alberta

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