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Spooked By His Sci Fi, FBI Looked Into Asimov As Possible Communist Tipster

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the state-wasn't-your-friend-then-either dept.

Sci-Fi 190

v3rgEz writes "By September 14, 1960, Isaac Asimov had been a professor of biochemistry at Boston University for 11 years, and his acclaimed "I, Robot" collection of short stories was on its seventh reprint. This was also the day someone not-so-subtly accused him of communist sympathies in a letter to J. Edgar Hoover. They ominously concluded that "Asimov may be quite all right. On the other hand . . . . ." The "tip off" wasn't given much credit, but it didn't matter since Asimov's science fiction writing alone was enough to warrant FBI monitoring, particularly as the FBI hunted for the mysterious ROBPROF, a communist informant embedded in American academia. MuckRock has Isaac Asimov's FBI files in full, and a write up of the more interesting bits."

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Used to this yet? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361057)

See this, then remember that the NSA is currently monitoring us all. Your phone is a gps tracker. They have access to your mail. They are reading your personal papers without a warrant (Google Drive). Orwell's vision of the future seems more accurate.

Re:Used to this yet? (4, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 10 months ago | (#45361221)

Yep. Today's NSA makes J. Edger look like an amateur.

Re:Used to this yet? (4, Funny)

meerling (1487879) | about 10 months ago | (#45361413)

At least J.E.H. wore relatively clean panties and garters.

Re:Used to this yet? (5, Informative)

mi (197448) | about 10 months ago | (#45362387)

Yep. Today's NSA makes J. Edger look like an amateur.

Compared even to his contemporaries — on the other side of the Iron Curtain — he has always been an amateur. Same goes for the much-despised Joe McCarthy as well.

Maybe, a total of 200 people (Asimov not among them) have lost their jobs unjustly because of those two gentlemen. Compared to the roughly 20 million losing their freedom and lives in USSR due to Stalin's (and post-Stalin's) repressions [wikipedia.org] , that is, well, incomparable.

Re:Used to this yet? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45363057)

Your point is both correct and of limited use.

First of all, we'll never know how many people were intimidated into silence by Hoover. It is widely believed to be a lot, and Hoover himself was virtually untouchable because of the dirt he knew about and the dirty tactics he was willing to employ. Even the President would have thought twice (or more) before tackling J. Edgar.

Second, the U.S. set a higher standard for itself. The consequences of McCarthyism and Hoover were more disappointing and jarring because that stuff wasn't ever supposed to get as far, rise as high, or last as long as it did. The Soviet Union had little illusion about itself and the thuggery and repression there wasn't terribly surprising.

Third, calling some of the worst-behaving government insiders in U.S. 20th century history amateurs, isn't just inaccurate. It belittles the threat they held to freedom, democracy and human rights. If they were 'amateurs', why take them on? The people who risked careers, futures, safety and security, did their actions mean so little?

Re:Used to this yet? (4, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 10 months ago | (#45363529)

Stalin's political repressions have a direct death toll of roughly 1 million. When GB archives were declassified with the fall of the USSR, the numbers turned out to be quite a bit lower that people who were all hyped up by Solzhenitsyn expected them to be. For the period of 1921 to 1953, the records show:

Total convictions for political ("counterrevolutionary" - Article 58) crimes: 3,777,380
- sent to prison or gulag: 2,369,220
- executed: 642,980

Quite a few of those send to gulags have also died - which is also recorded in the 1 million total figure that is the consensus at the time.

Of course, this does not count famines like Holodomor, and various other policies which resulted in deaths. But those were not witch hunts for "enemies of the proletariat", which is the Soviet analog to the activities of Hoover and McCarthy.

You obviously still have a point - a million is still a very large number compared to a few hundred - but it's worth putting the correct figures in place, now that we know them.

Re:Used to this yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45363353)

Fuck, today's NSA makes STASI seem like a bunch of rank amateurs by comparison.

Re:Used to this yet? (1, Interesting)

QRDeNameland (873957) | about 10 months ago | (#45362163)

I said it before, and I'll say it again:

If you have nothing to say, you have nothing to fear.

Re:Used to this yet? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45362423)

If you have no say, you're an indian, bloody indians.

Re:Used to this yet? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 10 months ago | (#45362433)

Actually, If you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to say.

Re:Used to this yet? (1)

phrostie (121428) | about 10 months ago | (#45363025)

there was a reason he wrote as Paul French

Typos (5, Insightful)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 10 months ago | (#45361071)

Typos in both headline and submission. Well done slashdot, well done.

Re:Typos (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361255)

It's timothy, what else would you expect?

All he does is drive traffic to the sites that allegedly pay him to do so.

Re:Typos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45363071)

It's timothy, what else would you expect?

All he does is drive traffic to the sites that allegedly pay him to do so.

And only so long as there's an Australian connection.

Slashdot editors do so love Australia.

Re:Typos (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361633)

What else did you expect from timmy? he's a fucking retard.

Re:Typos (3, Funny)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about 10 months ago | (#45361851)

Typos in both headline and submission. Well done slashdot, well done.

Bloody commies.

Steganography (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 10 months ago | (#45361937)

Subtle variations in spelling and grammar in Slashdot posts are the only means we have left to conceal communications from the NSA.

Re:Steganography (3, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | about 10 months ago | (#45362275)

Oh crap, you sent that in the clear! Erase! Erase!

Re:Steganography (1)

PPH (736903) | about 10 months ago | (#45362415)

Or just sit back and see how many data centers the NSA dedicates to breaking the 'timothy' code.

Same story, different time (5, Insightful)

surfdaddy (930829) | about 10 months ago | (#45361113)

In those days, everybody was in danger of being a "Communist" and the government went crazy against civil liberties.

Today, it's all about being labeled a "Terrorist", and the government continues to go crazy against civil liberties -- only with much more ability to snoop.

What the FUCK is going on with this country?

Re: WTF is going on with this country? (3, Insightful)

mmell (832646) | about 10 months ago | (#45361225)

Isn't it obvious?

Just do as you're told. We'll take good care of you.

Re:Same story, different time (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 10 months ago | (#45361235)

What the FUCK is going on with this country?

As much as we let them get away with.

Re:Same story, different time (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 10 months ago | (#45362445)

What the FUCK is going on with this country?

As much as we let them get away with.

... or quite a lot more.

Re:Same story, different time (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361239)

When I read stories like this, it's easy to imagine people from bygone eras to be not as educated or as informed as people are now, and this is why things like this occur. And then I'm reminded by the nightly news that human intelligence hasn't appreciably increased between now and then. Chances are that history is repeating itself today, and our descendants will eventually see some declassified documents about the stupdity of the current people in power. I wish there was a bug fix for stupidity and small mindedness.

Re:Same story, different time (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361933)

And then I'm reminded by the nightly news that human intelligence hasn't appreciably increased between now and then.

HUMINT may not have appreciably increased, but clearly ELINT, COMINT, and SIGINT have gotten better.

Re:Same story, different time (3, Insightful)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 10 months ago | (#45361243)

What the FUCK is going on with this country?

The simple answer is that you keep on electing complete fuckwits.

Re:Same story, different time (3, Insightful)

donaggie03 (769758) | about 10 months ago | (#45361429)

Nope, the simpler answer is that most Americans are completely ok with this shit.

Re:Same story, different time (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361661)

Nope, the simpler answer is that most Americans are completely ok with this shit.

Of course history doesn't repeat; but it rhymes. IMHO we've nailed down that aspect of the 1950s. Most Americans didn't care who got blacklisted; but there were rumblings beneath the surface. The 50s had "the beat generation". So far all we have is "occupy" on the Left and Tea Party on the right. There hasn't been any really interesting literature coming from the Left, no Ginsberg or Keroac; but it's a bit early to tell, or it might be missing this time. Those guys had the GI bill that allowed them to persue writing. This generation is coming back from war with debt...

Re:Same story, different time (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#45362317)

The TP is just a sponsored parody of political protest, like Libertarians are a parody of classical libertarianism.

Re:Same story, different time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45362121)

the correct answer is that most americans don't have a fucking clue or an ounce of common sense.

Re:Same story, different time (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45362447)

No they aren't. The trust and happiness in the US government with all its people is at an all time low. Its less than 10%.

Gerrymandering is what makes them get away with it. People aren't happy with the government, they are happy with the guy they elected. Why? Because the election zones aren't random or geographically divided, they are divided in such way to group up people that vote alike.

I highly, very highly, if you ever take advice from a stranger on the internet to take this one and not the one that tells you to strip in front of your webcam, to read http://www.amazon.com/The-Dictators-Handbook-Behavior-Politics/dp/1610391845 . It will help you understand the situation of why bad people are chosen over and over again pretty well. I won't claim its perfect, although I believe it explains politics very good and most likely correctly, but I am not sure.

Re:Same story, different time (5, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | about 10 months ago | (#45361457)

Not really. It's either elect fuckwit A or fuckwit B, or don't vote for any of them and let some deluded idiot choose the fuckwit of the term.

Blaming the person caught in that trap since before they were even born, is rather insensitive.
(There are other things I would say, but I'm assuming you just really haven't thought about what's actually going on. Here's your chance.)

Re:Same story, different time (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 10 months ago | (#45361607)

everyone's a loser in a two party system

Re:Same story, different time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45362603)

Clearly, not everyone. There's a reason for things to be like this. Follow the money.

Re:Same story, different time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361655)

Considering I've only been of voting age for the last 2 presidential terms I don't find "maybe next time" responses very useful. Those that have been around for decades won't be alive long enough to much practice whatever they may have learned.

Re:Same story, different time (5, Funny)

Aguazul2 (2591049) | about 10 months ago | (#45361251)

What the FUCK is going on with this country?

It has made so many enemies, it doesn't know where the next attack may come from. So universal surveillance is necessary. Maybe make less enemies next time?

Re:Same story, different time (3)

Huge_UID (1089143) | about 10 months ago | (#45361919)

Why is this moderated Funny instead of Insightful?

Re:Same story, different time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45362295)

It has made so many enemies, it doesn't know where the next attack may come from.

Even its allies are only so in the manner of those who put on a fake smile around the schoolyard bully in order to avoid getting beat up.

Re:Same story, different time (0)

mi (197448) | about 10 months ago | (#45362463)

When you are at the top, your enemies are all around you. We have not done any wrong to the French, for example, but they hate us more than the Germans, whom we crushed (or helped crush) in two wars.

Why? Because of the envy... Oh, they'll never admit it, but their spoken explanations for derision towards the yanks don't hold much water...

Likewise, all the other critics criticize us for doing things, they would've done themselves, if they could.

When we are dethroned (by China?), the new "king of the hill" will have to watch its back from all directions...

Re:Same story, different time (1)

Guest316 (3014867) | about 10 months ago | (#45363093)

>We have not done any wrong to the French, for example, but they hate us more than the Germans, whom we crushed (or helped crush) in two wars.
No, "we" didn't. The USA of the 1940s did.

Re:Same story, different time (1)

mi (197448) | about 10 months ago | (#45363261)

The USA of the 1940s did [wrong the French -mi].

By freeing them from German occupation in 1944? Indeed, such deeds are not soon forgiven...

Re:Same story, different time (5, Insightful)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 10 months ago | (#45361285)

Same thing that happens with any form of government. Freedoms and information begin to erode their grip on power (which is what the individuals in charge live for), and the government has to do what it can to limit the bleeding. Some governments will outright make the dissenters disappear, others just make sure that there are so many layers to the bureaucracy that nothing short of a concerted, long-term effort to bring about change will make a dent. Syria would be an example of the former, and the US (and many allies) the later.

Look back at any civilization throughout history and you'll see the same patterns. The tools may be different (money, oppression, religion, etc), but the results are always the same.

Re:Same story, different time (4, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#45361433)

It's all in the name of fighting evil.

Unless you're on the other side, then you are the evil.

If you ever find yourself uttering:

"We are the free ones."
"We are the good ones."
"We are the peaceful ones."

Remember that you're saying exactly what the other team believe about themselves. And I'm sure you'll be able to explain how that's not true, and in fact you REALLY ARE the Chosen Team. Just like the other team will be able to explain that. But you're wrong. Because it's the same as it's always been, no matter which side you're on: man exploiting man, with the powerful minority fucking over everyone else.

And, if you're part of the powerful minority, you're the problem, and you're the cunt - no matter where you are. No, being part of "this team" doesn't mean that your power is more legitimate than if you were part of "that team".

Re:Same story, different time (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 10 months ago | (#45362323)

> Remember that you're saying exactly what the other team believe about themselves.

Didn't the Nazi SS wear "Gott mit uns" on their uniforms?

Re:Same story, different time (2)

houghi (78078) | about 10 months ago | (#45362727)

You almost got it right. The minor mistake you (and many others) make is that you think in teams. In us and them. Left and right.
However the world is not just two things. It is not good vs. evil. It is not even all variations of gray. It is all colors combined.

You decide it is between the powerful minority vs. the powerless majority. By telling them THEY are the problem, you do exactly as you claim people should not do.

Those rich people ALSO believe they are the Chosen Team. And they are not even one team if you look closer to them as a group.

In the end, everybody is looking after his own ass.

Re:Same story, different time (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#45362899)

I'm saying that there is no distinction between people except in the amount of power they have.

Re:Same story, different time (2)

HiThere (15173) | about 10 months ago | (#45363197)

Ah. That's clear. And wrong. It is the action you take that say who you are. Power is an amplifier. Justifications are trash. It's what you do. If you spy on everyone, they you're a "nosey parker with no regard for privacy", and I don't care *what* your justification is, it doesn't change who you are. If you're a cop that pulls over black drivers for being black, then you are a racist abusing power under the color of authority. Etc.

Some people are assholes, some aren't. There *is* a difference.

In those days (1, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 months ago | (#45361451)

.. But today you are actually rewarded for being a socialist. ( which was what they used the term communist for back then.. not true Communism )

Re:In those days (4, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 10 months ago | (#45362307)

But today you are actually rewarded for being a socialist.

This is only true if you think the statement "The government should promote the general welfare" immediately makes you a socialist.

The number of people able to make a living because they are socialists is (being generous) around 1000, and most of them not a particularly good living. There are some people that hold good jobs and also are socialists, but typically they hold those jobs because of their skills unrelated to their politics. What absolutely doesn't exist is a well-established and well-funded set of organizations with media outlets, think tanks, etc hiring bunches of people making well over $250,000 a year promoting socialism, whereas such organizations do exist for movement conservatism (some talk radio, Fox News, Heritage Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, etc), libertarians (some talk radio, Cato Institute, some Tea Party organizations), and to a lesser degree for the Democratic Party (MSNBC, Brookings Institution, AFL-CIO). But there's a giant gap between the Democratic Party and actual socialists: The Democrats want to keep getting their nice big donations from big corporations, so they shy away from doing anything that smacks of bona-fide socialism.

If you're thinking that the people receiving welfare are being rewarded for being a socialist, that doesn't make any sense, because welfare recipients receive their benefits regardless of whether they're a socialist or not. They are arguably benefiting from the majority of voters believing that a bit of socialism in the name of preventing people from starving or freezing to death is a good idea, but that's different from they themselves being socialists.

What is true is that being a socialist no longer destroys your career like it did in the 1950's.

Re:In those days (1, Insightful)

mi (197448) | about 10 months ago | (#45362721)

This is only true if you think the statement "The government should promote the general welfare" immediately makes you a socialist.

It might, depending on what you think, the meaning of that phrase is. If "promoting general welfare" means — to you — people need to be subsidized to be "well", then, yes, you are a Socialist, willing to rob the productive Peter to console the idle Paul.

What absolutely doesn't exist is a well-established and well-funded set of organizations with media outlets, think tanks, etc hiring bunches of people making well over $250,000 a year promoting socialism

Not true. The apparatus you are talking about exists and is scary. I'm talking about all the federal and state bureaucrats working on dispensing the taxpayers' monies to the "less fortunate". Their comfortable jobs — which give them the pay, the benefits, and the daily reassurance, they are better than others (their visitors) — would all be at risk, if the number of recipients went down. Obama Administration, for example, goes to great length to sign-up new recipients of Food Stamps [cato.org] , spending millions of dollars per month just on the advertisements for the program [foxnewsinsider.com] — something unthinkable, when it was originated. Why, if you need to be "encouraged to sign-up", then you don't really need the assistance — it is only for the truly desperate. Are you going to pretend, it is done out of sincere concern for the poor? No, it is because feeding those people — at someone else's expense — is a source of comfy jobs.

Sadly, their efforts — in what FDR once called [albany.edu] "administering a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of human spirt" — are successful [zerohedge.com] .

If you're thinking that the people receiving welfare are being rewarded for being a socialist

No, not at all — some recipients are decidedly against the existing setup [dailykos.com] . (So much so, they are being ridiculed for "hypocrisy", when, in fact, it is just the opposite — their willingness to abolish the program that benefits them shows their sincerity.)

They are arguably benefiting from the majority of voters believing that a bit of socialism in the name of preventing people from starving or freezing to death is a good idea

The majority of voters are being tricked into thinking, the programs do good to people in real need. Yet, the stories of people selling their food stamps (including on facebook, which, BTW, reveals their ability to afford a computer and Internet-access) constantly give a lie to the lamentations about "food insecurity".

Simply put, a politician, who is elected on the promise to "fight poverty" has a conflict of interest — what is he going to run on next time, if he succeeds in destroying poverty today? The Military-Industrial Complex, at least, produces something. The Welfare-Industrial Complex is completely parasitic.

Re:In those days (1)

houghi (78078) | about 10 months ago | (#45362793)

Socialist: I don't think it means what you think it means.

Stop... Clenching, Err, Resisting (4, Funny)

Flere Imsaho (786612) | about 10 months ago | (#45361547)

Re: Stop... Clenching, Err, Resisting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45362667)

I think a straightforward, unapologetic anal probing by our alien oiverloirds would be quite refreshing by comparison, actually.

Re:Same story, different time (2)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#45361785)

I can tell you what isn't going on with this country: constitutional republic.

Re:Same story, different time (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 10 months ago | (#45361899)

People didn't read their history. Too busy playing sports or something I guess.

Re:Same story, different time (4, Interesting)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about 10 months ago | (#45362069)

What the FUCK is going on with this country?

"Communist" and "Terrorist" are just labels used as excuses to exert control over the population because the leadership is fundamentally afraid of the populace. The Nixon tapes clearly demonstrate Nixon's paranoid fear. Other leaders share the same fear, though not the same paranoia hence there is no public demonstration of said fear. The new leadership (the wealthy business oligarchs) are afraid because if people recognized the level of control under which they live, they would likely revolt.

The US has taken and used the Nazi propaganda model of polarizing the population in opposition to something and using this for the benefit of the nation as a whole. It was during the second world war that the US discovered the productive power of focussing the populace on a common enemy. The NEOCONs have just taken this to a whle new level by controlling all forms of mass media and religious discussion in conjunction with political ideology. By controlling the information, the terms "communist", "terrorist", "pirate" and hosts of others can gain traction as a mechanism for the production of fear driving the populace to fight in common need for a goal suiting those promoting the fear.

Ignoring the harm this causes to the global view of the propagandists, you can say that the mechnism is a sound motivator. What has happened in modern America (which has happened countless times previously in failed dictatorships) is that the wealthy continue to accumulate unreasonable amounts of wealth at the expense of the poor. The poor rarely notice the problem until they're unemployed, lost their homes and are starving whilst being increasing oppressed by unreasonable regulations imposed by the leadership.

Re:Same story, different time (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 10 months ago | (#45363263)

I challenge the assertion that "The US has taken and used the Nazi propaganda model of polarizing the population in opposition to something and using this for the benefit of the nation as a whole" I do not believe it to be a true statement. (Granted, the first part of the sentence is indeed correct.)

Re:Same story, different time (4, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | about 10 months ago | (#45362103)

What the FUCK is going on with this country?

Well, I believe nurb432 below [slashdot.org] summed it up best in his tag (emphasis mine):

---- Booth was a patriot ---- If you dont agree with me, dont bother replying as i dont care what you have to say ----

Politics in USA are based on the idea that those who disagree can always leave and go West to find a new community that embraces their ideas, rather than trying to negotiate a compromise that everyone can live with. Well, they can't anymore since that pesky Pacific Ocean blocks the way. So now you have people who's mythology prices independence and individuality forced to live and work together. It worked somewhat as long as the Soviet Union provided a boogeyman of external threat, but now that it's gone and Al-Qaeda being too pathetic to provide a serious threat it's breaking down.

So, what's happening is that US is finally being forced to confront the fact it has no frontier anymore. It has no land that could be settled or virgin resources to be tapped for quick economic growth. This also means that most people will never be economically independent, no matter how hard or smart they work. The political machine is breaking down as its assumptions break, the budget circus being a symptom of that, and everyone who can is trying to grap as much power as possible to control the direction the country takes. And of course there's always the possibility that the union falls apart entirely, which is reason enough for the federal government to grab as much power as possible.

It's just the death struggles of the American Dream. We shall see what replaces it, and whether the country can avoid a slide to either dictatorship or break-up. It's not going to be easy, and depends on how much shared culture still exists between the states - and the Federal government isn't exactly helping by constantly wiping its metaphorical body opening with the US Constitution, thus illegitimazing itself and discrediting the document.

Re:Same story, different time (1)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#45363021)

This also means that most people will never be economically independent, no matter how hard or smart they work.

Depends what you mean by "economically independent"? If it means, you personally make everything you ever need, then it's not a particularly useful definition since even in the hunter/gatherer days, some reliance on others was necessary. If it means that you can do work in exchange for the things you want and need, then almost everyone can be economically independent.

Re:Same story, different time (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 10 months ago | (#45363341)

I think a reasonable definition of "economically independent" would be that your economy doesn't depend on influence by the government. This is also something that only existed in history and myth, but it seems to be widely believed in, so it is a reasonable definition. (I don't think anyone believes, e.g., that Davy Crockett made his own rifle. OTOH, perhaps James Bowie did have his knife made by his brother. But do they believe that his brother dug the ore to make the steel? [Rural blacksmiths did that during the 1400's. Perhaps urban one's, too, but there weren't many cities.])

Re:Same story, different time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45362107)

What the FUCK is going on with this country?

Spare us the melodrama. The US federal government and state governments have a long history of suppressing the people. Usually to the benefit of monied interests. See Whiskey Rebellion, Ludlow Massacre, Homestead Strike, Great Railroad Strike.

The last ~100 years have been downright peaceful when you look at the previous ~100. Sure you have Kent St. and the 68 Democratic Convention riots in Chicago, amongst others. But the gap between violent assaults by government authorities in the US has widened quite a bit. From that perspective, things have gotten quite a bit better.

It would be great if people read a fucking history book once in a while. I'm not condoning the spying and paranoia, but this insistence that it used to be this utopia where the government was on our side 100% of the time and only recently has it gone sideways is fucking bizarre to me. The actions of the government today are no where near as vile as they have been in history.

Re:Same story, different time (1)

Guest316 (3014867) | about 10 months ago | (#45363237)

One of my favorite stories was from when the House Un-American Activities Committee was investigating alleged Communist infiltration of Hollywood after WW2. Peter Lorre was one of those interviewed by investigators, and asked to name anyone he thought might be suspicious. True to his character, he started listing every person he'd ever met until the Committee'd finally had enough and dismissed him. Unfortunately, I doubt current investigators would have enough sense of humor to respond as mildly to a similar stunt.

Re:Same story, different time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45363415)

The same shit that's been going on for two centuries. Everyone living today seems to think it was always better in the past. But it wasn't.

Read the United States of Paranoia.

He WAS ex-soviet (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45361119)

Being an expatriate of another country(especially a rival) is pretty much universal cause for suspicion by the CIA/NSA/FBI. Just try and get security clearance if you are one(it'll never happen).

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 10 months ago | (#45361253)

now that's funny. He came over to New York when he was three. His family was Jewish and only spoke Yiddish and some English at home; he never learned Russian because his family didn't speak it.

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45361317)

It doesn't matter, because if you have relatives in another country, they just assume that country has potential leverage over you.

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 10 months ago | (#45361473)

This is a bit off tangent, but IIRC Asimov was very loosely connected with the nuclear weapons program.

Towards the end of WWII he was drafted into the army. He was going to be shipped off to Bikini Island to help with the testing protocols but was demobilized just before being sent.

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (3, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 10 months ago | (#45361639)

Leverage over a SciFi author? Were they afraid he'd give them the secret launch codes to his imaginary alien super weapons?

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361825)

This is Asimov. He didn't have aliens. He had robots. GIANT KILLER DEATH ROBOTS.

Did you want the Soviets to get the remote controls?

Oh you did? COMMUNIST!

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 10 months ago | (#45362139)

On a tad slightly more serious note, the USSR did republish a lot of his work. They claimed they were not stealing his work. He could come to Moscow at any time to pick up royalties – in non-convertible rubles.

(Besides, his robots were governed by the 3 laws of robotics. Rule #1, unless overridden by Rule #0, would have prevented the robots from killing too many people.)

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 10 months ago | (#45362641)

If you want leverage over a SciFi author, make sure you get the right one [youtube.com] .

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361421)

That may be reality, but it's bullshit paranoia and simply shouldn't happen.

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361525)

He was born in the USSR. That makes him suspicious, not from Communist leanings, but from divided loyalties. Honestly, I wouldn't trust someone born in a different country who *doesn't* have divided loyalties.

However, in his writing, he is the furthest thing from a communist. See what he says about democratic and egalitarian movements in the Galactic Empire in his Foundation prequels. Of course, he was also not a fascist; he wrote several books about nationalist societies, such as Lucky Starr and the Moons of Saturn, and that story The Currents of Space, about the Empire of Trantor moving in on the nationalist backwater Sark and its slave world Florina and the silly trouble those planets cause.

He's really more of a royalist than anything else.

Also, he was the most prolific writer ever, save R.L.Stein, who wrote the same story over and over and over, and he wrote several science books as well, and was a biochemistry professor in his spare time. He died in the late '90s of AIDS that he contracted from a blood transfusion back before they figured out that they need to check for HIV and throw out donated blood that contains the virus.

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 10 months ago | (#45362611)

Honestly, I wouldn't trust someone born in a different country who *doesn't* have divided loyalties.

I don’t know about that. I am thinking about another Russian born writer Ann Rand. Her hatred of the USSR and Russia and love of America was pretty clear. Or maybe it would be better to say that I would trust Ann Rand to be Any Rand.

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361541)

Being an expatriate of another country(especially a rival) is pretty much universal cause for suspicion by the CIA/NSA/FBI. Just try and get security clearance if you are one(it'll never happen).

Former Navy linguist here. Many of my fellow cryptologic technicians - interpretive were born in another country, even still had relatives or property there, and nonetheless managed to hold the TS/SCI clearance required for the job. If your foreign origin has endowed you with a skill that the US needs, like mastery of a foreign language, then of course you can get a clearance.

The case of Wen Ho Lee [wikipedia.org] , a Taiwanese-born scientist who held a security clearance and was erroneously prosecuted for violating security norms, was a pretty public affair especially in places like Slashdot, so you should have been aware that your claim here is bogus.

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 10 months ago | (#45361883)

he had clearance to work at PNY Naval Air Experimentation Station for three years during WW II. then as other poster notes he then was drafting into US army right after war until his honorable discharge....good grief, guy helps out his country in time of need and afterward gets targeted with suspicion and stinky eye

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361961)

for three years during WW II.

The list of countries allied with the US changed somewhat afterwards.

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 10 months ago | (#45361997)

yes, and Asimov rose to rank of corporal in the Army afterwards

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 10 months ago | (#45363425)

You think that's bad, you should check out the history of (classical) Athens. Democracies have a poor record WRT rewarding people who help them. And Athens didn't even have a bureaucracy to blame it on.

Re:He WAS ex-soviet (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 10 months ago | (#45363455)

Don't want to give the wrong impression. Totalitarian states aren't all that hot either. Look up Belisarius of Byzantium.

Tipstes are notoriously Unamerican. (2)

ultraexactzz (546422) | about 10 months ago | (#45361135)

I mean, some of them might be alright, but.....

Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361139)

But now, thanks to the diligence of the NSA, writers such as Asimov can be scanned for their views with the very first controversial line written and the draft saved on Google Docs.

The FBI can then be dispatched posthaste, avoiding all the wasteful sympathizer-hunting time. Progress!

Your File At The F.B.I ( Score: +5, Seditious ) (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361185)

The F.B.I. has a file on EVERYONE. In most cases, they are NOT ACTIVE until there's an intercept.

Yours In Space,
Kilgore Trout

Stinkin reds took our r's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361197)

These tipstes were also polluting our precious bodily fluids when they wern't busy with the letter thievery and laws creation.

I'm thinking... (5, Funny)

the_skywise (189793) | about 10 months ago | (#45361265)

L. Ron Hubbard was the accuser...

Re:I'm thinking... (3, Funny)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 10 months ago | (#45361783)

Really? I was thinking Philip Dick.

Nothing new in the US (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361279)

The US citizens are always being told to be scared of somebody. The "Communist", terrorists, gays, etc. When would be the day that they are the true land of the free?

Who's betting the tipster was L.Ron Hubbard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361411)

He was a paranoid schizophrenic writing to the FBI about communism everywhere, and he was also insanely jealous of others' success, while he remained mediocre as a writer of sci-fi even as the basis for his Scientology cult.
Someone wrote on his FBI file: "Appears mental".

Russian origin (1)

green is the enemy (3021751) | about 10 months ago | (#45361549)

I would guess every person of Russian origin was a suspected spy. Granted, Isaac Asimov left Russia when he was 3. Even so, it may be possible to coerce someone like this into spying, for example by threatening some of his relatives still in Russia (if he had any). Using his Sci Fi work as some sort of evidence is far fetched, but the suspicions less so. One does not need to sympathize with the communist regime in order to spy.

Re:Russian origin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361667)

If you actually read the documents, it goes much further than that. They had a known but unidentified spy in academia, in a very similar field and location to him. Also, his name was on a list recovered from some political or revolutionary group or other; there was no note about whether he was a part of it, or even contacted by them, but that's certainly enough to start a non-invasive investigation on.

Why is this a story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45361801)

When now they have a file on every single person.

Privacy Irony (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 10 months ago | (#45361821)

Was this requested by his decendents? Or can anyone request FBI files on random people. Seems wierd that random info that FBI collects on people would be in the public interest.

FOI (1)

themushroom (197365) | about 10 months ago | (#45361873)

Welcome to the Freedom of Information Act. Making the formerly-secretive unsecret, which is a good thing.

Between the communists and the FBI (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 10 months ago | (#45361859)

I know which ones I'd prefer today.

Scary twist ending (3, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 10 months ago | (#45362003)

If you read the whole report, the most suspicious things they have on him are that he's an academic in biology like this spy they're looking for codenamed "ROBPROF," and he wrote reviews for a defunct magazine that had a similar name to a defunct communist publication.

Then in the last page they say that even though none of this really matches up, they should still consider that he could be ROBPROF and they should keep an eye on him because his "background contains information inimical to the best interests of the United States" 8-(

His biggest mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45362197)

was not working for the Nazis on some super-duper secret project. He would have been welcomed with open arms then

His Stories (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45362301)

I've read a lot of his books recently. When they were written there wasn't as much political bias in everything as there is now. With that being said.

Many of his stories are about comunist societies being the norm in the future. They are also all messed up and utterly unable to be fixed, requiring less of a central command and control structure and more localized governance to continue on. This seems to be one of about five common themes running through almost all of his stories. It may be because of his home country of USSR and how it failed and how he considered the US at the time better. Its almost as if he wanted communism to work in his books, but thinking about it he just couldn't imagine leaders not corrupt running it.

However, the end of the Foundation Series ends up in the most integrated communist inter-galatic society possible. I always wondered if he wrote more after that ending if it would end up being a failure and colapsing again. Maybe he did write something like that and I just don't know about it yet.

Wait, What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45363149)

I know that we're dealing with bed-wedding paranoids here (just substitute Communist for Terrorist) but how the fuck can you even be an "informant" in academia? I know things probably weren't quite as interconnected but I'm pretty sure they exchanged papers and research with Europe.

Was it a pretense for bashing those darn intellectuals for daring to point out that they're full of shit?

Communism and Asimov's Sf Club (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45363371)

To be fair, Asimov was one of the Futurians (if that was the name?), and a good chunk of the Futurians did attempt to distribute Communist pamphlets at the first Worldcon in 1939 (IIRC -- and the attempt was stopped by Worldcon organizers, who felt that non-sf politics had no place there). However, Asimov was also allegedly the Futurian who thought the pamphlets were a stupid idea as compared to Worldcon coolness, and quickly abandoned exile in the coffee shop across the street to return to Worldcon, hang out with non-Futurian friends, and watch Metropolis. Pretty soon they all trickled back across the street (IIRC).

(And strictly speaking, they weren't all Communists, but rather had some sort of idealistic idea about science fiction bettering world politics. But the group's "Cool Older Guy" was a Communist, so the club's politics ended up having a Communist and/or Trotskyist bent. At the time, Frederick Pohl and Donald A. Wollheim (later of DAW Books) were both Communist in their politics, among many others.)

However, it would appear that neither the FBI nor the informant knew about the Futurians thing. And a lot of sf fandom lost enthusiasm for Communism as history made it clear to them that Stalin was Not Good.

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