It’s good for Americans to speak out on behalf of Pussy Riot. What they’ve done has certainly brought attention to the suppression of anti-government views in Russia. Now everybody has an opinion about the Putin regime, and consensus among free Americans seems to be well that he’s a bad man and Pussy Riot should be freed. At least I haven’t yet heard anybody from this country come out and say they SHOULD be in jail.
But there’s another less colorful name that is just starting to make the rounds for very similar reasons, a lot closer to home.
Former US Marine Brandon Raub didn’t invade a church with his punk rock band; he posted some stuff on Facebook. Not threats, but what appears to be run of the mill “the government has gone too far” type stuff. He also believes 9/11 being an inside job, the most vanilla of conspiracy theories. And he made a few vague statements about the possibility that people will rise up to stop this.
Here’s the most “damning” statement Raub made I could find in any of the reports to surface so far:
“I know many of you think I’m going crazy and are wondering just why I have been posting the things I have been posting…I don’t have the energy to explain. Just know that a new beginning is coming.”
For this, he was taken from his home.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Raub was released from custody today after having earlier this week been ordered to undergo a 30-day hospital stay for mental evaluation. The ruling judge stated that the order against Raub was “so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy.”
Thankfully, Raub is now out of the hospital. That makes him luckier than a lot of other people. Raub undoubtedly benefits from the shock felt by, let’s say it in so many words, white people when one of our own is rounded up by the cops for no reason. We don’t see it coming. And suddenly, there it is. Even we are no more than a few ill-advised sentences away from detention.
I think we all know that the government monitors us, and has virtually unlimited power to come get us. Had FBI interest in him gotten only as far as a couple of agents taking an interest and tapping his phone, before ultimately concluding he was harmless, we’d never have heard about it. Or, had their investigation turned up a credible threat, we know that they’d have had no problem getting a warrant to take him out.
But the idea of a US citizen being physically spirited away without due process for nothing more posting milquetoast conspiracy theories on Facebook is just chilling. The Writ of Habeas Corpus is one of the things we fought a revolution over, but that’s already been voided in the name of anti-terror.
What’s more terrifying than a government with limitless power to snatch people from their homes over a couple of Facebook posts?
It does, however, put an interesting twist on the widely held view that the government is not really that interested in pursuing homegrown terrorists, that Arab terrorists are pursued with a lot more zeal compared to their percentage of actual terror attacks. This appears to be a stunning over correction. Did somebody’s boss read one of these articles and say “Well, damn it, somebody round me up a right wing terrorist today” and that was the best they could do? Are there others being considered for “30 day mental evaluations” with the RNC and DNC coming up in the next few weeks?
Raub is out now. His supporters are claiming that widespread public attention was crucial to getting the case reviewed, leading to his release. It’s encouraging that Americans are as willing to speak out for an ex-Marine as they are for a Russian punk band.
Photo by Shelby A Steward via Flickr