More veterans being illegally detained for 'thought crimes'

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: veterans, thought crimes, illegally detained

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(NaturalNews) There is a saying throughout the military that goes something like this: "We're here to defend democracy, not practice it." It's sort of a tongue-in-cheek statement about the discipline and chain of command structure associated with military life, but in reality, the provisions of the U.S. Constitution do still apply to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. And that is especially true once men and women put away their uniforms and return to civilian life.

But that's not the case for veteran and former Marine Brandon Raub, 26, who has been "arrested, detained indefinitely in a psych ward and forced to undergo psychological evaluations based solely on the controversial nature of lines from song lyrics, political messages and virtual card games which he posted to his private Facebook page," according to the Rutheford Institute, a non-profit, legal organization that has come to Raub's defense. (Hat tip to Rep. Ron Paul's website for picking up the story).

According to the institute, authorities with the Chesterfield County, Va., police nor the FBI have charged Raub with a crime after initially arresting him Aug. 16 and transporting him directly to John Randolph Medical Center, a behavioral health facility located in Hopewell, Va., just south of Richmond. There, the institute says, Raub is being "held against his will" over concerns that his "Facebook posts were controversial and 'terrorist in nature.'"

In a hearing at the hospital (they couldn't even transport Raub to a courthouse, apparently), authorities rejected out of hand Raub's explanations that his posts were merely taken out of context, and sentenced him to 30 more days' of confinement in a Veterans Administration psychiatric ward. Attorneys from the institute are "challenging Raub's arrest and forcible detention, as well as the government's overt Facebook surveillance and violation of Raub's First Amendment rights," said a statement.

"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," said John W. Whitehead, Rutheford's president.

State law allows intervention, but...

"This should be a wake-up call to Americans that the police state is here," he added. "Brandon Raub is no different from the majority of Americans who use their private Facebook pages to post a variety of content, ranging from song lyrics and political hyperbole to trash-talking their neighbors, friends and government leaders."

The institute described Raub as a former Marine who did tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and who was detained by authorities simply based on the nature of his Facebook posts in recent months.

According to authorities, Raub was picked up initially and questioned over a series of ominous posts in which he talked about a coming revolution. In one post, according to police, Raub said, "Sharpen my axe; I'm here to sever heads."

Virginia law allows police to intervene, detain someone and place them under emergency, temporary psychiatric care upon the recommendation of a mental health professional.

"The bottom line is his freedom of speech has been violated," Cathleen Thomas, Raub's mother, told The Huffington Post in a telephone interview.

She went on to say her son, who served in both theaters overseas as a combat engineer, is "concerned about all the wars we've experienced" and that he believes the U.S. government was complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

On one of his Facebook posts, she said, was a picture of the charred hole in the Pentagon and asked, "Where's the plane?"

For his part, Whitehead said Raub's social media commentaries were not alarming to him.

"The posts I read that supposedly were of concern were libertarian-type posts I see all the time," he told Huffington Post. Rutheford said that Raub was cooperative with law enforcement authorities when they arrived to speak with him but police Col. Thierry Dupuis of Chesterfield County said Raub was handcuffed by officers because he allegedly resisted attempts to take him into custody.

Raub finally released

FBI spokeswoman Dee Rybiski said from the agency's Richmond office that no one was snooping on Raub.

"We received quite a few complaints about what were perceived as threatening posts," she said. "Given the circumstances with the things that have gone on in the country with some of these mass shootings, it would be horrible for law enforcement not to pay attention to complaints."

By press time; however, a federal judge disagreed, ordering Raub released after determining his detention was invalid.

The Washington Times reported that Raub's initial mental health evaluation - the one that authorities used to detain him - was "swift" and initially performed by social worker Michael Campbell, which led to an order of confinement from magistrate Michael S. Znotens the following day.

But state Circuit Judge W. Allen Sharret overturned the order, saying he was shocked that Znotens did not include any grounds for holding Raub in his order.

"The initial order was rubber-stamped," said Whitehead, who argued Raub's case before Sharret.


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