Political Science Professor Receives Odd Mailing



Slightly bloodied photocopies of a book on the Mossad, one of Israel's intelligence organizations, were sent to the home of a UB professor earlier this month.

The package did not contain any suspicious powders or threats and does not appear to be related to the recent terrorist attacks or anthrax mailings, said recipient Erick Duchesne, assistant professor of political science.

Duchesne is a public figure who often participates in media interviews and discussions on international relations. Since Sept. 11, he has participated in several television and radio discussions, as well as an interview with The Buffalo News.

The mysterious package contained 100 pages of excerpts from the book "By Way of Deception, the Making of a Mossad Officer" by Victor Ostrovsky and Claire Hoy, but did not contain any sort of note to Duchesne.

The Mossad, whose operations are criticized in the book, is the governmental organization in Israel responsible for intelligence gathering and covert political operations in foreign nations. America's support of the Israeli government has been cited as one of al Qaeda's main objections to the United States and one of the justifications behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

Duchesne reported traces of what appeared to be blood on the photocopies, but said he did not feel endangered.

"To me it is very, very minor," he said.

He did not report the mailing to the police or the university, because, Duchesne said, he does not want others to overreact to what he called an "isolated incident."

"The persons who sent it are not terrorists, they are just very opinionated," he said.

Duchesne said that such odd mailings are not uncommon for people who publicly address controversial issues. Previously, he has received letters and e-mails vehemently opposing his publicly stated viewpoints.

"Anyone who's got some sort of public life is facing those sorts of things," he said.

The package was postmarked Sept. 28, five days after Duchesne participated in a discussion panel relating to the terrorist attacks that aired on WNED-TV. The return address listed no name, only a street in Amherst.

University Police has not received any reports of threats to any faculty, staff or students in relation to the Sept. 11 attacks, according to Director John Grela.

Frank Zagare, chair of the political science department, was not aware of any other strange mailings or threats to his department members.