2) Why is the term “coercion” not defined in the bill? What is the purpose of leaving such open-ended interpretation to your terms “coercion”, “force” (not defined in the bill as physical force) and other matters? Doesn’t such non-definition lead to personalized interpretation “for other purposes“, designed to suit individual agendas? Such is the concern of The Center for Constitutional Rights, whose attorney/director Michael Ratner stated on public radio that “it’s so broad” and could be misconstrued to suit any particular agenda.
3) Does Merlyn the Wizard---ie any Government Official infiltrating our College campuses and studying “radical“ people---- hold a crystal ball, capable of mind-reading our College Students' and radical citizens‘ "violent radicalization" and "homegrown terrorist" intents? For crimes against the USA which, even if they do exist, are extremely rare to begin with?
4) Why are we all being coached to suspiciously eyeball each other, and to report each other’s radical ideologies? As if to be radical is not constitutionally protected, and as if radical people are necessarily and automatically planning to get violent? Come on!
5) The seeds of suspicion planted by this bill have already begun to grow, and the Grassroots is plagued with internal strife. One organization I contacted asking them to oppose this bill made the unfounded assumption that I back violent protest, and threatened to remove me from their email base. Is that the intended consequence of this bill? For the grassroots to break up in dissension, for people to argue needlessly amongst themselves, make accusations based on coached panic responses, and drop membership for no good reason other than suspicion? Is this a way you are trying to break up the powerful grassroots and to recruit neighbor to blow whistles against neighbor, as was the case behind the former Iron Curtain? Is this an echo of Ashcroft’s TIPS program, and a new way to introduce it into law?
6) What business do you have setting up government agents to study American thinking? You have sworn to uphold, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. Targeting thinking itself is Red China-like. Based on such targeting, your bill is too flawed to be amended, and must be tossed.
7) Question assumptions: Will the Commission’s “studies” be done quietly at a desk with a pen and ruler? Since that would hardly be possible when “studying” human interactive dynamics, and particularly as hot a topic as the thought patterns leading to “Homegrown terrorism and violent radicalization”, what precise forms would such “Studies” take? Those are not defined in your bill, apparently being subject to the individual discretion of Committee members.
8) You claim that this bill was passed by a 404-6 margin in the House. Yet, when an acquaintance of mine attended a house party with Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Payne present, Rep. Payne said that he knew nothing about the bill. Rep. Lee and Woolsey were “Very sketchy” about it, said my acquaintance. I have read about other politicians knowing nothing about the bill, as well. Rep. Lynn Woolsey was in a conference at the time the “Vote” for this bill occurred, while Ron Paul echoes that he too was out of town during the vote: How is it possible that bills are voted for when politicians are out of town? How is it possible that a bill “voted” by a 404-6 margin is unknown to a number of politicians?
It is not merely S.1959/H.R. 1955 acting alone, but the combination with it and the Patriot Act, working together as a pair, which are a deep concern:
http://www.gunowners.org/patriotii.htm Please see the websites of more than one dozen legal entities all across the partisan spectrum---ultra-conservative, liberal and inbetween--- and I am quoting every one of them when saying that under the Patriot Act, the FBI now has unilateral, secret arrest powers without a judge‘s review or any probable cause required for such arrests. So why would you introduce S. 1959/H.R.1955 and send government agents to our college campuses, knowing this fact?What of the fact that, according to the ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Center for Constitutional Rights, the definition of "terrorist" in the Patriot Act is "over-broad" and includes activists, religious and peace groups in its sweep? Is this the "terrorist" sector you are targeting in your bill?
Why discriminate against one particular social cross-sector and make “recommendations” based on that discrimination?
Let me further state that Al Gore writes in his book, “The Assault on Reason”, that laws prohibiting warrantless surveillance were based on the FBI’s infiltration of Martin Luther King’s religious movement. The FBI tracked King himself and “vowed to take him off his pedestal”, allegedly coerced him to commit suicide and finally he was murdered. This fact is echoed on the ACLU’s website and also is known to you, Ms Collins and Ms Harmon, because as Al Gore points out, it was based on this exact historical fact that laws prohibiting warrantless surveillance and spying were legislated.
At an ACLU town hall meeting in San Francisco, a member of the University of California Berkeley students against the Iraq War testified on TV that they have been called a “terrorist” organization, are being tracked by surveillance cameras, and queried by police about speakers on campus. Many of these students are “piping down” out of fear of being on some government list. If that is the scenario currently in post-911 American society, how much the more so will it be when government agents are on our college campuses, or even if there “only“ are “Studies” and “recommendations” being made about their selectively chosen social cross-sector?
Not only are students likely to be intimidated to freely speak when such agents are on campus, and when studies/reports nation-wide are made, but…. thanks to the Patriot Act, which according to retired FBI agent Ted Gunderson “is a giant step toward a police state”, they will be vulnerable to arrest too. Especially given the hypervigilance generated by your bill, in which terminology is so broad as to be misconstrued to suit individualized agendas and where coached suspicion is the governing dynamic.
Your use of the words “terrorist” and “terrorism” is of concern for several reasons:
A) To selectively choose college students and “radical” citizens for “study and recommendation” is to imply that they are automatically suspected of terrorist intent. This will in turn breed suspicion of vocal people, who may only be trying to uphold the Constitution. What a smear campaign! Radical citizens are not automatically violent! To set up a Committee to make recommendations based on these “radical” peoples’ thought patterns is a form of intimidation and an indirect attack on free speech, regardless of the claims your bill makes. By making “recommendations” to the government based on the “radical“ thinking of these people, this bill is clearly aimed at squelching dissent later on, in future legislation.