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The case of Brandon Raub: Can the government detain you over Facebook posts? “Without a warrant or recitation of his Miranda rights, Raub was handcuffed and taken into custody” (U.S)

WASHINGTON, August 22, 2012 — Brandon J. Raub, a 26-year-old  pro-liberty activist, former U.S. Marine, and Virginia resident, was arrested  after authorities deemed his Facebook posts threatening. Citing an obscure statute allowing the involuntary detainment of a  citizen for psychiatric evaluation, the FBI, Secret Service, and local  authorities swarmed Raub’s property to question and then seize him.

Without a warrant or recitation of his Miranda rights, Raub was handcuffed  and taken into custody. After a quick hearing, government officials confirmed  that Raub’s Facebook posts necessitated his detention, refusing to acknowledge  legal objections that the words were wrongly interpreted. The former Marine will  undergo 30 days of evaluation at Salem VA Medical Center.

Since the incident, Raub has become an online hero as the arrest video and Facebook pages teeter on the verge of going viral. Citizens  from all political persuasions, veterans, civil liberties advocates and the  generally curious are discussing the political manifesto and detainment of  Brandon Raub.


UPDATE: Judge orders Brandon Raub released from  hospital


So what did he post? A Facebook note titled “The Truth” lists grievances against the American ruling  establishment. Raub expresses his belief that the American principles of limited  government and personal liberty are expiring and that corporations and  international bankers run the state, not the people. Raub has directly called  for the arrest of bankers and politicians who consistently defy their oath to  the United States Constitution.

According to his supporters, Raub also believes the Iraq and Afghanistan wars  were sold to the American people under false pretenses to benefit the powerful  at the expense of military families, American treasure, and domestic security.  Raub served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Marine Corps from 2005 to 2011.

Many of Raub’s statements are typical among the politically active, but while  many fellow rebels support Raub’s statements, others stress that he did not stop  with simple dissent. Reciting popular conspiracy theories from the U.S.  government’s complicity in the 9/11 attacks to a scheme to consolidate the  world’s power into the hands of the few, it is clear Raub was frustrated, angry  and disappointed in his country’s trajectory.

Though his defenders claim he is a patriot meaning no harm, the former Marine  directly encouraged a popular revolution against tyrannical and  un-constitutional government, claiming he would “kickstart” resistance. No  direct threats were posted, and posts of this darker nature were a mixture of  statements authorities construed as incitements to violence and song lyrics from  heavy rock music.

Undoubtedly, these expressions concerned federal authorities, but was  detainment for “psychological evaluation” without respect for Raub’s rights to  Due Process warranted? Raub has no history of mental illness and a reputation  for organizing peaceful political demonstrations.

The consensus is divided. “After the recent shootings and the Virginia Tech  massacre, can the authorities really ignore threats that seem immediate?” a  contrarian posted on Facebook. “Their job is to protect us.”
Raub’s  defenders disagreed, citing a larger concern that federal authorities are  blatantly ignoring citizens’ rights. A former Marine who served with Raub has  been most vocal in his defense.

“I served alongside Brandon both in Iraq and in Afghanistan. He was in my  combat engineer platoon in Iraq in 2006 and in Afghanistan 2011. Brandon was the  man who opened my eyes to the slow hemorrhaging of civil rights in America and  the extreme and purposeful devaluation of the dollar.

“Whether you agree with his method or mode of expressing himself is  erroneous. He has broken no laws and hurt no one. He needs to be released  or charged with a crime. This is a very scary path to an extreme Big Brother  state. Please sign the petition to free Brandon,” posted Matthew Turner on a  Change.org petition.

The Oath Keepers, a non-partisan association of law enforcement, first  responders and veterans, are outraged. They plan to rally in Raub’s defense, calling his detention a “Soviet style pre-crime detention”.

Classifying dissidents as mentally ill is a timeless art. In the Soviet  Union, millions were condemned to “psikhushkas,” or psychiatric prisons, in  order to isolate, discredit and destroy dissent and activism. Even in the land  of the free, President Wilson sought to silence suffragette Alice Paul through  legal declarations of insanity, though thankfully the doctor refused.

With the current political climate increasingly hostile to constitutionally protected activism, activists worry that without public outrage,  pliable psychological professionals and unethical federal authorities could  resurrect this trend.

While some are concerned with ending Raub’s detention unless charges are  filed, the government’s justification and processing of Raub’s arrest concern  the American Civil Liberties Union and legal professionals.

Officials insist the seizure was not an arrest because there are no criminal  charges, but an ACLU investigator disagrees, “I have reviewed the video of Mr.  Raub’s arrest. According to federal statute, when the police restrained the  subject with handcuffs and stopped him from moving about under his own free  will, at that point the subject was, in fact, under arrest. The fact that he was  not read his Miranda Rights is another violation.”

A lawyer in Dallas is more concerned the incident is a harbinger of things to  come after recent constitutional abuses by the federal government concerning  due-process rights and domestic spying:

“In May, a U.S. Judge Forrest suspended the federal government’s new unconstitutional  power to indefinitely detain United States citizens based on mere suspicion of  being ‘terror-linked.’ Last week, Obama’s attorneys refused to define any terms,  including what constituted as ‘linked’ to a ‘terrorist.’

“They also refused to testify they were not in contempt of court  for denying due process for Americans even after the judge’s restriction. This  is a reckless abandonment of the American system and a violation of every  American principle.

“Arresting dissidents without calling it ‘arrest,’ which is in complete  violation of Raub’s civil liberties, combined with the insistence that the  federal government has a right to imprison anyone based on suspicion, should  scare every American. We are losing this republic and fast.”

Unless the Obama administration abandons the NDAA, it is reasonable to assume  that if Raub (or any other dissident) were deemed a “terrorist”, even before  manifesting intent to act, federal authorities could skip the entire judicial process and imprison him at the  pleasure of the President. Very few civilized nations allow unchecked power of  this magnitude in the 21st century.

Further, the language of the NDAA is so vague that Raub’s entire family,  friends or anyone who “substantially supported” him or “associated forces” could  also be indefinitely detained without trial. According to Obama’s lawyers, it is possible.

For John Whitehead, Director of the Rutherford Institute, a Virginia-based  civil liberties organization defending Raub, the larger concern is whether  government officials are monitoring citizens’ private Facebook pages for  dissent.

“For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing  more than exercising his First Amendment rights but to actually force him to  undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against  every constitutional principle this country was founded upon. This is a scary  new chapter in this nation’s history.”

According to FBI Spokeswoman Dee Rybiski, federal agents did not monitor  Raub’s Facebook page, but received “a few complaints about what were perceived  as threatening posts”. Whitehead doubts the FBI’s honesty, stating the page in  question was recently created and private.

Though the facts are unclear in this specific case, it is an unspoken  understanding of the politically aware that the federal government monitors  social media accounts of American citizens for political opinions.

Though the extent of snooping program remains classified, a Freedom of  Information Act release revealed that General Dynamics was awarded the $11.3 million dollar tax-payer funded  contract to stalk social media traffic. Keyword-generated status reports “capturing public reaction” and opinions that “reflect adversely” on the federal government were produced  weekly for the Department of Homeland Security.

Senior officials insist the government can be trusted and that citizens are  not tracked by their political views at this time, but Ginger McCall, director  of the EPIC’s open government program points out, “The language in the documents  makes it quite clear that they are looking for media reports that are critical  of the agency and the U.S. government more broadly. This [monitoring] could have  a substantial chilling effect on legitimate dissent and freedom of speech.”

Until Raub’s release, veteran activists and fellow Marines have organized  demanding full disclosure from authorities as to the exact posts that triggered  Raub’s detainment. They advocate that either charges be filed or he be released  immediately. They also remind one another to act with caution. Said one Army  veteran and Oath Keeper online:

“We understand more than federal agents and bureaucrats that protecting and  serving is not always easy. Marines and soldiers expressing themselves should be  careful to never give the impression we incite aggressive violence against the  government.

“The United States government is watching everything you post online. What  you say is not private. We may openly declare we will defend the American people  against domestic terrorism, including violent government aggression, but we are  the good guys. Act like it.”

Pending an announced release date, dozens of popular “Support Brandon Raub” Facebook pages have emerged as  citizens and veterans monitor the situation. To express your thoughts on the  arrest and detention of Brandon J. Raub, reach out to Senator Mark Warner, Senator Jim Webb, or Congressman Randy Forbes.

Read more: The case of Brandon Raub: Can the government detain you over Facebook posts? | Washington Times Communities Follow us: @wtcommunities on Twitter

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