|Civil Commitment for Facebook Postings Critical of Government ... Not LOL!|
|Commentary/Politics - Editorials|
|Written by Kathleen McCarthy|
|Tuesday, 28 August 2012 16:38|
This is an important story that you may not have seen covered in any other local media. On August 16, Brandon Raub – a young U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Chesterfield County, Virginia – was forcibly taken from his home in handcuffs by his community’s police in cooperation with the FBI, ostensibly for criticizing the government on Facebook. His detainment was filmed and uploaded to YouTube shortly thereafter (RCReader.com/y/raub).
What is shocking about this event is that he was taken without a warrant, and he was not charged with any crime. The authorities repeatedly told Raub’s family that he was not being charged with a crime, even though they claimed his postings were “terrorist in nature.” Instead he was literally grabbed by Virginia law enforcement and the FBI using a little-known “civil commitment” statute, which allows a person to be forcibly detained and isolated for mental illness/disorder via the order of a single judge or health administrator. This detainment can be indefinite, and permits the state to administer treatment and/or drugs against the individual’s will, including vaccinations.
Civil commitment is part of a larger national-emergency health protocol that gives law-enforcement agencies, from local police to the FBI to the NSA, CIA, and the Department of Defense, authority over our physical persons and private property under largely arbitrary conditions, including presidential or gubernatorial declarations of emergency.
Couple this with the newly enacted powers of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism with no due process – including probable cause, the right to face his/her accuser, the right to a timely hearing, or even the right to an attorney – and you have an iron-fisted police state in the making.
Raub is a decorated Marine veteran, having served two tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a patriot, and makes no secret of his criticisms of the U.S. government’s abuse of its power, most of which he believes has been usurped without Americans’ consent. You can find links to his blog postings at RCReader.com/y/raub2 and screen shots of his Facebook postings at RCReader.com/y/raub3.
One of the Facebook postings that was ostensibly “terrorist in nature” was a song lyric from the band Swollen Member: “Sharpen my axe. I’m here to sever heads.” The world is full of provocative song lyrics, but reciting them out loud, or in print, is not an act of terror ... at least not yet. In other words, he freely and openly expressed himself via social media as a young American – one who loyally served as a dedicated Marine in two theaters of war.
Raub’s postings are no more “terrorist in nature” than millions of other postings that are exchanged daily on Facebook, not to mention across the Internet, or via text messaging, letters, articles, books, and countless conversations on TV, radio, and phones and in American homes, offices, and just about anywhere two or more people are gathered.
Putting the offending lyrics back in context, and just reading Raub’s posting wall – including his body of writings overall – it is obvious that Raub is no terrorist. He does not advocate violence, nor does he even own a gun. So why pick on Raub? Good question. Perhaps it is because he confidently articulates his viewpoints that range from spiritual purpose to economic postulates to affirming liberty as America’s core governing principle. He actually engages his brain by questioning the system, then connecting dots and arriving at rational conclusions that result in his condemning the status quo – which is his perfect right to do, and expressly protected by the Bill of Rights.
What Raub’s detainment has exposed is the government’s methodical intent to violate our rights with unconstitutional legislation and enforcement that pretend to have the consent of the American people under the guise of security.
Most members of Congress in both the House and Senate did not read the NDAA before they rubber-stamped it. This is a profound dereliction of duty, and a complete betrayal of their oaths of office. Obama publicly promised to veto it, so intense was the legislation’s controversy. Instead, he signed it almost immediately, with a glib promise never to invoke it.
Yet here we have it with a twist; rather than a jail cell, a hospital room is the prison of choice to detain a young Marine Corps veteran for Facebook postings the government is claiming are “terrorist in nature,” with language that could have belonged to any number of us at some point in time, especially if taken so blatantly out of context. It is outrageous and just proves how lawless the lawmakers have become.
Civil commitment is the side door for detaining increasing numbers of Americans. The National Emergencies Act gives the president the authority to invoke martial law, simultaneously suspending many protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. As an American, I can think of no circumstances that would require suspending the protection of my rights. In fact, in any emergency, I expect that my rights would continue to be rigorously protected.
The completion of the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA) in December 2001 by the Center for Law & the Public Health provides the model legislation for the states’ versions of civil commitments using disaster and health emergencies, which convey similar authority to each governor. These powers also allow for the suspension of protections of certain rights guaranteed in state constitutions during a declared emergency. All 50 states have such legislation in place, but to what degree each has the capacity to violate our rights varies from state to state. MSEHPA’s Legislative Surveillance Table will show how much or how little each state conforms to the model (PublicHealthLaw.net).
In Virginia alone, there have been more than 20,000 civil commitments. Most have not been for Facebook postings, but the sheer number of Americans being detained, and their property taken, under the umbrella of mental problems should be a bright red flag, especially considering it is estimated that one-third of all Americans have a mental illness/disorder.
Also shocking is the lack of evidence necessary to seize an individual, with virtually no due process that would normally attach under criminal law. Since these detainments are health-related, there is a whole different set of rules, mostly administrative, that apply – about which Americans are generally clueless. Forcible detainment of an individual can be triggered by someone maliciously suggesting he/she is mentally unstable and a potential danger. Depending on a law enforcer’s allegiance to his/her oath of office, an individual can be forcibly detained without remedy.
Raub was handcuffed and confined against his will for 48 hours before he was given a hearing, during which he had two 20-minute interviews with psychiatric-care personnel. It is important to note the YouTube video(s) confirm that throughout the ordeal of being forcibly taken from his home with no explanation, Raub remained calm, non-combative, and as cooperative as any person could possibly be under such stressful circumstances.
On Monday, August 20, Raub was given a 15-minute hearing before an administrative justice, who briefed the reports from the two interviews, along with cherry-picked Facebook postings taken out of context, then sentenced him to an additional 30 days at the John Randolph Medical Center, where he would be subjected to treatment and drugs against his will. This occurred in the presence of Raub’s attorneys, but the administrative justice subjectively dismissed any objections, constitutional violations, or attempts to explain the evidentiary malfeasance.
The Rutherford Institute (TRI) agreed to represent Raub. More information on this case can be found at Rutherford.org. (Founder and President John Whitehead is a frequent contributor to the Reader.) TRI has a strong reputation for providing legal assistance to folks whose rights are violated – especially by our own government – but who often don’t have the resources to hire topnotch attorneys versed in constitutional law. If you wish to contribute to Raub’s defense fund, you can do so at TRI’s Web site.
Raub’s attorneys appealed the detainment, and on August 23, Circuit Court Judge Allan Sharrett reversed the order, releasing Raub from custody. Judge Sharrett dismissed the petition for involuntary commitment, ruling that it was “so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy.” It is illuminating what a difference a judge can make.
It is important that you make yourself heard to your state legislators on civil commitment authorities. Investigate for yourself the emergency powers both Iowa and Illinois agencies have declared for themselves relative to civil commitment. These powers include forcibly detaining, vaccinating, and “treating” citizens individually and en masse based on rules that have virtually no due process or remedy. If these protocols cause any harm, physical or otherwise, there is complete immunity for the perps – our government.
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