A subscriber list for a radical academic journal published at the University of Oregon has been subpoenaed by a grand jury as part of the Unabomber probe.
FBI officials may believe that the Unabomber - blamed for explosions that have killed three and injured 23 since 1978 - was a subscriber to the journal, The Register-Guard newspaper reported Thursday.
Oregon sociology professor Val Burris was served with the subpoena two weeks ago for the left-wing journal, “Critical Sociology,” which he edits.
Burris, contacted Wednesday, declined to comment on the subpoena or a story in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times that reported the FBI’s interest in the journal.
“I’d rather not comment on the subpoena, my reactions to the story or my feelings,” Burris said. “Since I haven’t even acknowledged the subpoena, I’ll stick with that answer.”
However, colleagues in Burris’ department confirmed that he was served with the subpoena in early July but said they didn’t know much else.
It is not known whether Burris responded to the subpoena.
FBI spokesman George Gortz in San Francisco acknowledged that the FBI Unabomber Task Force was interested in some work at the university.
The Unabomber has used advanced sociological words and phrases in the letters he has sent over the years claiming responsibility for bombings, leading to the theory that he may have an academic background in sociology.
“It’s really too bad that this is how ‘Critical Sociology’ is making the news,” Oregon associate professor John Foster said. “It’s not like Val (Burris) or anyone else who runs a magazine has control over who subscribes.”
The journal began as a newsletter called “The Insurgent Sociologist” in 1969 in Berkeley, Calif. Its goal then was to link far-left sociology students with like-minded sociologists in “advancing the contribution of social scientists to the transformation of capitalist society and building of socialism.”
By 1972, when the publication moved to Oregon, it had begun evolving into an academic journal. It published articles from Marxist or other left-wing perspectives, such as feminism or anti-imperialism, that wouldn’t be accepted by the mainstream sociology journals.