Lies and the Lying Liars

I didn’t think this Mao/Dartmouth student story was true. Looks like it wasn’t.

*** Update ***

Yep- Complete horseshit:

The UMass Dartmouth student who claimed to have been visited by Homeland Security agents over his request for “The Little Red Book” by Mao Zedong has admitted to making up the entire story.

The 22-year-old student tearfully admitted he made the story up to his history professor, Dr. Brian Glyn Williams, and his parents, after being confronted with the inconsistencies in his account.

Had the student stuck to his original story, it might never have been proved false.

But on Thursday, when the student told his tale in the office of UMass Dartmouth professor Dr. Robert Pontbriand to Dr. Williams, Dr. Pontbriand, university spokesman John Hoey and The Standard-Times, the student added new details.

It just sounded made up from the get-go.

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50 replies
  1. 1
    Mike S says:

    The story sounds fishy but I’m not sure why this article proves it wrong.

    Kirk Whitworth, a spokesman for the DHS—the U.S. cabinet department that oversees the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the Secret Service, and Citizenship and Immigration Services, among others—said in the December 21 Standard-Times that the story seemed unlikely. “We’re aware of the claims,” he said. “However, the scenario sounds unlikely because investigations are based on violation of law, not on the books and individual[s who] might check [them] out from the library.”

    The fact that they didn’t come out and say straight out that the story is false makes it seem less fishy. Jeff seems to be reaching hard to make his claim.

  2. 2
    capelza says:

    I hadn’t heard this but I do know that 2 DHS agents did visit a toy store in St. Helens, OR (where I am heading tommorrow for the family confab) and told the owner she had to remove the “Majik Cubes” from her store shelves because of a supposed copyright infringemnt with Rubik’s cubes. They watched her take them down, but did not confiscate them. She then called the manufacturer’s up in WA state who told her to put them back up on the shelves, that the copyright had expired.

    When a reporter contacted the DHS to ask about this, some rep there said protecting the economy was part of the war on Terror. Maybe…but if that is the case, why 2 agents, why that little bitty store in a little bitty town, why didn’t they confiscate the Terroristic cubes and why oh why didn’t they check to see if there was an actual copyright infringement before they showed up?

    It was completely a weird thing. So…sad to say, IF the college kid did get a visit like he purports to have it wouldn’t suprise me. :(

  3. 3

    I hadn’t heard this but I do know that 2 DHS agents did visit a toy store in St. Helens, OR (where I am heading tommorrow for the family confab) and told the owner she had to remove the “Majik Cubes” from her store shelves because of a supposed copyright infringemnt with Rubik’s cubes. They watched her take them down, but did not confiscate them. She then called the manufacturer’s up in WA state who told her to put them back up on the shelves, that the copyright had expired.

    When a reporter contacted the DHS to ask about this, some rep there said protecting the economy was part of the war on Terror. Maybe…but if that is the case, why 2 agents, why that little bitty store in a little bitty town, why didn’t they confiscate the Terroristic cubes and why oh why didn’t they check to see if there was an actual copyright infringement before they showed up?

    That honestly doesn’t make much sense. The Dept. of Commerce, who should be overseeing trademarks/patents is not connected to Homeland Security. There’s a possibility the FBI would investigate in lieu of Commerce agents checking it out, but issuing an order to have the items pulled? Very odd. Did they show ID?

  4. 4

    I didn’t think this Mao/Dartmouth student story was true. Looks like it wasn’t.

    If you read the article, all we have now are conflicting claims: the student and teachers claiming DHS agents questioned the student; DHS representative saying that they wouldn’t investigate check-outs, only violations of law.

    I do think it odd the student’s book request didn’t go through the appropriate channel by the sound of it (he directly requested it from a different library rather than use his library’s ILL… we librarians are taught to get the students to use ILL in those situations).

    For myself, I am not impressed with the DHS spokeperson’s non-denial denial. There was an earlier report of an FBI official complaining about militant librarian radicals preventing them from doing more thorough booklist checks, which makes me think this is something gov’t agents *want* to do…

  5. 5
    DougJ says:

    John, the whole thing is a lie — the student claimed he requested the Bejing edition when the fact is he requested the Peking edition. And he says DHS agents visited him — they were really FBI agents.

    This is a lot like the whole Joe Wilson thing. Joe Wilson said the vice president’s office sent him but in reality the vice president’s office asked the CIA to send someone and then the CIA sent him.

    Why does the left have to lie like this?

  6. 6
    John Cole says:

    DOugJ shows up, and just like that, the thread is dead.

    If it turns out to be true, I am not going to deny it, DougJ, but right now it looks like there are holes forming in the story, which is why I said it looks like it isnt true.

  7. 7
    Anderson says:

    Why does the left have to lie like this?

    Because all the good lies have already been told by the Republicans? ;)

  8. 8
    capelza says:

    That honestly doesn’t make much sense. The Dept. of Commerce, who should be overseeing trademarks/patents is not connected to Homeland Security. There’s a possibility the FBI would investigate in lieu of Commerce agents checking it out, but issuing an order to have the items pulled? Very odd. Did they show ID?

    Oh yeah, and it was confirmed that they’d had a tip into the copyright infringement dept of the INS Washington, DC office (??????) I mean it is very, very weird.

    You can look it up online, I’m a complete idiot when it comes to embedding links (yes, Mr. Cole, you told me how very nicely, but I am too lazy to go to my mailbox…or too drunk). Just Google “St.Helens toy store dhs” and quite a few articles will come up.

  9. 9
    DougJ says:

    We’ll see, John.

    Let me ask you this: was I right about Al Maviva’s BS story in defense of wire tapping?

  10. 10
    Perry Como says:

    The story sounded odd, but plausible. Bukkake Brilliance still makes a leap of logic by saying that “lying liars lie about what they are lying about”. There’s a questionable story and a “non-denial denial” (h/t PW) from the agency accused of being involved.

  11. 11
    Steve says:

    I see zero reason to conclude that the story is false when DHS hasn’t even denied that it happened. Surely DHS has records of where its agents go and they would have no reason to say “it sounds implausible” if the real answer is “it never happened.”

    Maybe it’s a hoax, I have no idea really. I do know the conservative blogosphere loves to declare something a hoax the instant anyone asks a question that can’t be immediately answered. I do know that Jeff’s chortling tone is very reminiscent of the bloggers who decided the Schiavo memo was written by Democrats.

  12. 12
    John Cole says:

    DougJ- I still have not made up my mind about the legality of the eavesdropping bit.

    I don;t like it, and it certainly seems to me that they could have simply applied for the 72 hour retroactive warrant, but when folks like Cass Sunstein and Richard Posner come out claiming it is not as cut and dried as ThinkProgress says it is, it gives me pause.

  13. 13
    DougJ says:

    I’ll make some predictions about this thing:

    (1) There are probably some “problems” with the original story. There are minor problems with any story because reporters just aren’t that accurate.

    (2) The gist of the story is correct.

    (3) Bush apologists will seize the minor discrepances, call the professor and student liars, and use it as an example of an anti-Bush bias in the press.

    (4) We will see commenters posing as UMass Dartmouth students who know the professor and student and think they are unreliable. Remember knayte, the “KU student”? We may not see these fakers here but they’ll be out there. (I have no problems with fakers, fool me once, shame on me, is how I see that issue).

    That’s what I predict.

  14. 14
    DougJ says:

    Cass Sunstein and Richard Posner come out claiming it is not as cut and dried as ThinkProgress says it is, it gives me pause.

    John, you know I respect your opinions, in general…but give me a fucking break. Posner gave it up faster than a 50 cent hooker. He thinks he’s getting a Supreme Court nomination out of this.

  15. 15
    John Cole says:

    SO that is it- respected legal scholars are now just ‘giving it up’ for a SCOTUS nomination if DougJ disagrees with them.

    You need the break, DougJ.

  16. 16

    In reference to Posner…he can kiss my ass. I seen him on hardball and he said this issue all comes down to whether you are outraged or not that the government is spying on you.

    Are you fucking kidding me? Being a judge, I would think he should have the knowledge that the 4th Amendment comes into play here. He did not once mention the 4th amendment.

  17. 17

    ” . . .the student claimed he requested the Bejing edition when the fact is he requested the Peking edition.

    “Peking” is how the AP used to spell what it now spells as Beijing. (At a yet earlier time, it was spelled “Peiping” or “Beiping”.)

    However it’s spelled, it’s the capital of the PRC. Tomaytoes, tomahtoes — what’s the significance?

  18. 18
    www says:

    John,

    Time to ban DougJ. I’ve already got him banned at JustOneMinute and ProteinWisdom.

    You can ban me as well, I suppose. Just make sure you get rid of that nauseating turd as well.

    Merry Festivus/Christmas!!

  19. 19

    “This is a lot like the whole Joe Wilson thing. Joe Wilson said the vice president’s office sent him but in reality the vice president’s office asked the CIA to send someone and then the CIA sent him.

    Why does the left have to lie like this?

    First, it’s a conspiracy designed to ruin the eyesight of fringe kooks, given the amount of extremely close work necessary to split hairs like these.

    Second, it’s a goodhearted attempt to provide comic relief from the kind of lies that wreck the nation’s finances and get people killed.

  20. 20
    Brian says:

    I thought for sure this story was true. I mean, c’mon, what about the story could anyone possibly question?

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go clean out my chimney so Santa can get my X-Box under the tree tomorrow night.

  21. 21
    Vladi G says:

    but right now it looks like there are holes forming in the story

    Says the man who titled this post “lies and the lying liars”. Seriously, John, why do you link to that shitbag Goldstein? You seem to generally measure your reactions until the facts come out, yet you always link to assholes like Goldstein who are always so sure of themselves, and often so wrong. It’s really beneath you.

  22. 22
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    ” I don’t like it, and it certainly seems to me that they could have simply applied for the 72 hour retroactive warrant, but when folks like Cass Sunstein and Richard Posner come out claiming it is not as cut and dried as ThinkProgress says it is, it gives me pause.”

    John, for God’s sake. I’ve discussed this with you via E-mail. Sunstein emphasized that there has to be some system to ensure that the executive branch only monitors such conversations if there is “reasonable” grounds to believe that the people involved might have al Qaida connections — which returns us directly to the need for some FISA-like oversight independent of the President’s one-man judgment. Posner, on the other hand, insisted with a straight face that such oversight is unnecessary because the government couldn’t possibly do anything really harmful nowadays against citizens it dislikes with the information it picks up from warrantless wiretaps. Good God!

    We now have confirmation from tonight’s NY Times that Kevin Drum’s guess was correct as to what Bush has really been up to: massive-scale computerized “data mining”, of thousands of calls — both international AND domestic — using computers to pick up intriguing catchphrases so that human overseers know who to home in on more specifically. As Drum says, it’s very likely to be a useful anti-terrorist technology, for obvious reasons — but it also happens to be currently illegal, and the White House’s solemn insistence that they couldn’t go to Congress to get it legalized and set up properly because crucial details would leak out (although Congress regularly holds closed sessions on classified military operations) is total hooey. Without some kind of FISA-like independent oversight, what is to keep an unscrupulous administration (do the initials “RN” wring a bell?) from using the gigantic amount of additional information scooped up, as a side effect, against its enemies — or secretly reprogramming the operation at a moment’s notice to monitor its citizens on other subjects?

  23. 23
    Pooh says:

    Posner’s comments have really confused me. First, WTF is he doing saying ANYTHING on the subject? He’s a sitting judge for chrissake. Second, I can’t quite articulate it, but this position just seems antithetical to his whole rational-choice theory, U of C, thing. That being said, I thought I’d link to a couple more learned than myself essentially saying “WTF, Richard?”… Dan Solove and Marty Lederman in particular:

    This is an important public policy debate to be having. I don’t know enough to have a view on whether and to what extent Posner’s proposal is wise — other than to say that he appears to be a bit cavalier about the Fourth Amendment implications of what he’s proposing.

    . . .

    But whether and to what extent Posner is right that data mining of U.S. persons should be legal is precisely the policy debate that ought to have had occurred in Congress in 2001 when the Administration felt the need to start down that road. Instead, this Administration — knowing that even a super-compliant Congress after 9/11 would be wary of going as far as Posner proposes — simply decided to break the law and do it anyway, citing a Commander-in-Chief override.

    What’s remarkable about Posner’s Op-Ed is that his whole point is that the FISA law on this presently is (in his view) woefully inadequate to the task. He never even mentions the serious implication of this point, namely, that if he is right that FISA currently prohibits this — and he is right — then the Administration’s data mining for the past four years has been a violation of criminal law. (No specious suggestions from Posner, who knows better, that this was authorized by the AUMF: He’s forthright that the law needs to be amended.)

    (emphasis mine)

    Enjoy!

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Perry Como says:

    The Disenfranchised Voter Says:

    The story was indeed a fake…

    See for yourself

    That’s the problem with the liberals. With overwhelming evidence of their misconduct, they give in.

  26. 26
    Pb says:

    www,

    Get a life.

    No, really.

  27. 27
    salvage says:

    “We’re aware of the claims,” he said. “However, the scenario sounds unlikely because investigations are based on violation of law, not on the books and individual[s who] might check [them] out from the library.”

    “Sounds unlikely” is a far cry from “It never happenened” and it seems odd to me that they don’t know for sure, they don’t keep track of where their agents go and do?

    I was uncertain before because it seemed such a stupid thing to do but this is such a classic non-denial denial it smacks of a confirmation.

  28. 28
    salvage says:

    Then I read The Disenfranchised Voter link and all is made clear.

    Should read the thread before commenting.

  29. 29
    DougJ says:

    SO that is it- respected legal scholars are now just ‘giving it up’ for a SCOTUS nomination if DougJ disagrees with them.

    I suppose I should believe what Victoria Toensing says about the Plame investigation too.

  30. 30
    John Cole says:

    DougJ- Check the update to this post.

    And there is a marked difference between Victoria Toensing and Richard Posner and Cass Sunstein.

  31. 31
    DougJ says:

    Okay, my predictions were completely wrong.

    And there is a marked difference between Victoria Toensing and Richard Posner

    That is certainly true.

    That said — that I was competely wrong about this story and that you’re right that Posner shouldn’t be lumped in with diToensinova — I think that the wire tapping story is very, very serious and I’m more than a little disappointed by how fast the so-called libertarians have let themselves get turned out by the Rove-Cheney machine. I don’t mean you, John — you’ve been a litle soft on the White House here, but that’s a quibble, you’ve been pretty good about the story.

  32. 32
    John Cole says:

    DougJ- I just don’t know what to believe about the wiretapping, and it is early yet in the story.

  33. 33
    chef says:

    I was working on the Hill when Ted Kennedy’s aid made up threats to his (the aid’s) life. A sad business.

    But that said, yikes, I still have a copy of Ghaddafi’s little green book!

  34. 34
    capelza says:

    Was reading about this kid somewhere this morning. Lordy, if you are going to concoct a story like this, why the “Little Red Book”? That is so yesterday…(you have to envision my kid saying this while rolling their eyes upward).

    Sad thing is, the government (and not just the Bush government) does do incredibly stupid things like this (see above for the Terrorisitc Cube story,which IS true)…or the terrible story of the young man in Mississippi one death row that JC posted several days ago.

    It wouldn’t have suprised me if it was true either, because just because someone’s from the government doesn’t mean they are smart…duh. Add an extra layer of government, like DHS, and you are bound to have a few more idiots running down a passe tome by a dead Chinese tyrant or agents keeping us safe from legal toys.

    What’s that old phrase? “We’re from the government and we’re here to help you.”

  35. 35
    Jim Treacher says:

    So I see they “convinced” the student to recant, eh? Waterboarding works!

  36. 36

    Stupid stories about stupid (and sometimes scary and stupid) government actions tend to circulate when really scary things are happening. Sort of a three-card monty.

    My guess is that the government, with the help of private entities, knows enough about any citizen to crush that person if they want. Total.

  37. 37
    Zifnab says:

    What bothers me in all of this is that I’m sure a number of right wing pundits are going to use the case of a student lying as an arguement FOR the legality of Presidental Wiretapping.

    “It’s clearly getting blown out of proportion.”
    “What’s so bad about wiretapping anyway?”
    “Anyone checking out Mao’s Little Red Book deserves to be investigated.”

    And so on.

    Stupid stories about stupid (and sometimes scary and stupid) government actions tend to circulate when really scary things are happening. Sort of a three-card monty.

    Any future fears of unconstitutional search and seizure, or actual cases of search and seizure will just give the pundits a chance to reference “that kid from UMass who made the whole thing up”, labeling everyone who’s ever had their liberties violated as a desperate college student looking to run an angle.

    Kinda like running “Rich White Blonde Teenage Girl Missing in Aruba” stories 24/7 before, during, and after a massive hurricane that displaced tens of thousands across multiple states rather than running stories that might actually confront the national controversies.

  38. 38
    Mac Buckets says:

    Stupid stories about stupid (and sometimes scary and stupid) government actions tend to circulate when really scary things are happening.

    Fake but accurate. The new motto of the leftians.

  39. 39
    DougJ says:

    Long time no see, Mac.

  40. 40
    Andrew J. Lazarus says:

    Please note that the story being faked is front page at DKos.

    I would wait a long time for similar honesty at Red State.

  41. 41
    Perry Como says:

    Fake but accurate. The new motto of the leftians.

    Versus “We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”

    Fake and inaccurate. The new motto of the so called conservatives.

  42. 42
    Joel says:

    Fake but accurate. The new motto of the leftians.

    Let’s see. Remember the “suicide bomber” in Oklahoma city or Jihad in New Jersey (the murder of an Egyptian family falsely attributed to Jihadists) or how about Annie “Terror in the Skies” Jacobsen? All of these stories were eagerly lapped up by large segments of the right-wing blogosphere. They were all BS. That ideologues of all stripes will eagerly embrace stories that reinforce their own preconceptions is hardly surprising.

  43. 43

    Andrew J. Lazarus Says:

    Please note that the story being faked is front page at DKos.

    I would wait a long time for similar honesty at Red State.

    hate to tell you, but NewsMax had this story on their site as well.

    I personally am outraged that I got my librarian outrage up on this story. Damn, now when the real FBI agents come aknockin for people caught reading “Grapes of Wrath” no-one’s gonna believe it… damn liberal college student…

  44. 44

    That’s the problem with the liberals. With overwhelming evidence of their misconduct, they give in.

    I know this what a spoof post but how the hell do you people know this guy was a “leftie”?

    Do you have proof? Do you even have evidence?

    You’re making complete assumptions about his motives. For all you know he could be a rapib Bush supporter who pulled this stunt to embrass “liberals”.

    We don’t know. So please, spare me.

  45. 45
  46. 46
  47. 47
    Al Maviva says:

    Homeland Security has jurisdiction over Customs violations. Importing patent, copyright, trademark or trade dress infringing materials (i.e. “knockoffs”) is a violation of the Customs laws.

    More here:

    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offic.....olicy.html

    Yeah, I know, it’s the Administration’s heavyhanded police state tactics once again, infringing on your right to buy Rodex watches and Rujik’s Kubes. Kneejerk right wingers like me, on the other hand, might argue that the anti-counterfeiting efforts are actually protecting the property rights of inventors, writers, and manufacturers.

  48. 48
    Jeff B. says:

    God Maviva, you’re such a fascist.

  49. 49
    Steve S says:

    So I wonder if this student is going to sue Sharpton for defaming him on his blog?

  50. 50
    BIRDZILLA says:

    Sounds like he wants to be a news reporter for the New York Times or for the broadcast news

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