By Mark Anderson
Brandon Raub, a twice-decorated former Marine who was taken into custody in mid-August for posting messages on the Internet alleged to be “terrorist” in nature, was released on August 23 following a judge’s order. According to the civil rights watchdog group legally defending Raub, his arrest could be a foreshadowing of arbitrary detainment without criminal charges under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The happy ending involving Raub, 26, follows a brief but dark episode in which it appeared Raub was destined to be held without charges in a psychiatric ward near Richmond, Virginia.
Raub’s place of residence in eastern Virginia—a rental home owned by his mother, Kathleen Thomas—was reportedly swarmed around 7 p.m. on August 16 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Secret Service agents and Chesterfield County police. Speaking to Internet radio host Josh Tolley, Mrs. Thomas said, “He was questioned . . . he was very calm and not violent. He was handcuffed, and he was not read his rights,” though she did not witness the event. Raub, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, was reportedly taken away in his underwear.
Some of Raub’s messages were said to question the official 9-11 story, among other things.
Virginia’s “state law for civil commitment” [“Emergency Custody” Code § 37.2-808] had been cited to detain Raub, not the NDAA. The NDAA refers to the law signed by President Barack Obama on December 31, 2011, that codified indefinite military detention without charge or trial when based on national security concerns such as allegations of terrorism.
“In an unexpected ruling handed down [August 23] . . . Circuit Court Judge Allan Sharrett dismissed the government’s case against Brandon Raub . . .who was arrested by local police and FBI agents, detained in a psychiatric 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,” said John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, a civil rights organization in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Judge Sharrett dismissed the petition for involuntary commitment on the grounds that the petition ‘is so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy,’” Whitehead added in an announcement.
Whitehead, in a prior news release, added: “For government officials to not only ‘arrest’ [him] for . . . exercising his First Amendment rights [to freedom of speech]—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.”
Just after his arrest, Raub was taken to the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell, Virginia. But he was transferred to the Veteran’s Administration hospital in Salem, Virginia, for an expected 30 more days of mental “evaluation” on the order of a “special justice,” Whitehead said.
Whitehead told AMERICAN FREE PRESS: “If they would have searched his home they would have found he had no weapon. . . .This is what’s called ‘pre-crime’; they’re trying to ‘predict’ crime.”
Whitehead questions whether “probable cause” even matters anymore to law enforcement and believes this case is based on the wrongful premise of the NDAA and may be a sign of things to come.
“All they need is a statement you make. This is the only case I’ve had in my life that gives me the creeps, and I’ve done a ‘zillion’ cases,” he told AFP.
“Raub was not arrested and he faces no criminal charges in Chesterfield. As this is not a criminal matter, Chesterfield police have no further comment,” is all the police would tell AFP, in the form of a written statement.
Mark Anderson is the roving editor for AFP. Listen to Mark’s radio show at republicbroadcasting.org; email him at [email protected].