Posts Tagged ‘civil liberties’

Brandon Raub, the 26-year-old Marine and Iraq war veteran who is currently being indefinitely detained because of inflammatory posts made on his Facebook page, faces yet another hurdle following a psychiatric “evaluation” on Monday.

Raub is being held against his will and without charges at John Randolph Psychiatric Hospital in Hopewell, Virginia, following an arrest (though some have challenged the technical accuracy of this word) by numerous FBI agents and the Chesterfield County Police Department on the 16th of August.

He was lead away in handcuffs without being read his rights, and it was only following his detainment that his mother received a call from FBI Agent Sherry Grainger, who informed her of the following:

“We have taken your son. He has been arrested by the Chesterfield County Police Dept because he assaulted an officer and resisted arrest. He has been arrested and taken to the Chesterfield Police Department.”

As was reported previously, the CCPD initially told  a different story, claiming that the arrest was spearheaded by the FBI, with Chesterfield officers only assisting the agents involved. Additionally, CCPD claims that Raub has not been charged with either resisting arrest or assaulting an officer, directly contradicting the claims of Agent Grainger.

Some have observed that one of the more disturbing aspects of this case is that neither the FBI, nor the CCPD, nor the Secret Service which assisted with Raub’s initial interview after he was taken into custody, seem to want to take responsibility for his detention. The Richmond spokesperson for the FBI stated unequivically:

“When we left we had not arrested him, we had not placed our hands on him, we did not detain him and we did not charge him.”

Brian Leary, Secret Service representative, released the following statement:

“The Secret Service assisted the FBI with the interview. He was not arrested by the Secret Service. The Secret Service will continue to monitor the situation. We have no further comment at this time.”

And the CCPD also effectively washed their hands of the matter, writing that:

“Raub was evaluated by a Chesterfield mental health official, who determined that he should be held under a temporary [detention] order and transported to John Randolph Medical Center for additional evaluation.

Raub was not arrested and he faces no criminal charges in Chesterfield.”

On Monday, Raub was forced to undergo a psychological “evaluation” at the psychiatric hospital where he is currently being held. According to his mother, the evaluation “was 15 minutes long, and basically the evaluator said that he was not ready to go back into society and he needed additional psychiatric treatment.” The evaluation resulted in Raub being sentenced to a minimum of 30 days in the mental hospital, despite the fact that no charges have been brought against him.

According to Russia Today, the government is utilizing state legislation (Virginia State Code §37.2-808) which states that authorities may indefinitely detain a person without charges in a mental institution upon obtaining a recommendation from a medic.

The Rutherford Insitute, a civil rights watchdog group, has begun to assemble a defense on behalf of Raub. A statement posted on their website from the executive director of the Institute, John Whitehead, reads as follows:

“For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than 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.”

Rutherford Institute lawyers decried the government’s decision to hold Raub without charges for the next month, saying that “government officials again pointed to Raub’s Facebook posts as the sole reason for their concern and for his continued incarceration.”

Raub himself, during a telephone interview with the Times-Dispatch, had the following to say:

“I really love America, and I think that idea that you can be detained and sent somewhere without due process and a lawyer … is crazy.”

The 2012 Olympics, to be held in London, have been the focus of increased scrutiny from civil liberties advocates around the globe, due in the main to the intense and, according to some, excessive security measures planned for the event.

A recent article in the Daily Mail points out that police officers in London are beginning to look more like soldiers than cops. In response to last week’s attempted suicide bombing, members of the police force turned out sporting firepower that would be more at home on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan than in the streets of suburban London. The Daily Mail reports:

In addition to a Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machine gun, [the police are] carrying not one but two Glock self-loading pistols and a CS gas grenade. It is difficult to imagine anyone further removed from the traditional bobby on the beat.

And this isn’t the extent of the security beef-up as the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics approach. It’s emerged that the UK government is seeking to install surface-to-air missiles on the tops of numerous high-rise residential buildings which surround Olympic Park, in case of an aerial terrorist attack. Again from the Mail:

Surface-to-air missiles may be stationed on top of flats as the last line of defence against a suicide jet targeting this summer’s Olympic Games…From there, they could use a multi-million-pound laser-guided system developed for modern warzones to shoot down a helicopter attack or suicide bombers piloting an aircraft. The range of the missiles is 3.4miles, which means they could reach St Paul’s Cathedral, Canary Wharf or parts of the North Circular from the flats in Bow, East London.

This is cause for concern in the minds of numerous residents whose homes would be occupied and turned into defensive bunkers by the UK military:

Resident Brian Whelan, 28, said his suspicions were raised when he saw soldiers examining [a] water tower a few weeks ago.

He said: ‘I don’t think in a democracy the military go round occupying private property and turning it into a military base without communicating with people.’

Local MP Rushanara Ali said she would be raising the matter in Parliament tomorrow. She said it was ‘unprecedented’ for missiles to be placed on residential buildings, adding: ‘This is a heavily built-up area. There has been no consultation – people have been told that this is what is likely to happen and people are very worried.’

All of this in a country that has already come under fire from civil libertarians for its Big Brother style surveillance of the English people. A report from The Guardian in May of 2011 stated that there are currently 1.85 million CCTV cameras in the UK, amounting to 1 camera for every 32 people living in the country.

Is this increase in security a sign that London expects terrorist activity at the 2012 games?

Perhaps the most chilling piece of information to emerge regarding the upcoming Olympics is a prediction made by the Rockefeller Foundation in a study entitled Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development, first published in May of 2010.

The study, which ostensibly explores the ways in which “technology could profoundly alter how we address some of the most pressing challenges in the developing world”, presents four “very plausible” visions of the future, each of which explore the positive and negative consequences of our increasing reliance upon technology.

In the third hypothetical narrative, entitled “Hack Attack”, described as a vision of “an economically unstable and shock-prone world in which governments weaken, criminals thrive, and dangerous innovations emerge,” the time in which we’re currently living (2010-2020) is labeled “the doom decade” due to all of the disastrous events that are predicted to unfold over that ten year period.

An earthquake in Indonesia killing 40,000, a famine in China and a tsunami off the coast of Nicaragua are among the grim natural disasters which the Rockefeller Foundation puts forward as part of their dystopian vision of the future.

And on page 34, specifically, they describe a horrific terrorist attack which will claim the lives of 13,000 people at the Summer Olympics in London. The report reads:

Devastating shocks like September 11, the Southeast Asian tsunami of 2004, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake had certainly primed the world for sudden disasters. But no one was prepared for a world in which large-scale catastrophes would occur with such breathtaking frequency. The years 2010 to 2020 were dubbed the “doom decade” for good reason: the 2012 Olympic bombing, which killed 13,000, was followed closely by an earthquake in Indonesia killing 40,000, a tsunami that almost wiped out Nicaragua, and the onset of the West China Famine, caused by a once-in-a-millennium drought linked to climate change.

Some have compared this to the infamous Project for the New American Century report, published in early 2000 and authored by numerous soon-to-be members of the Bush administration, that called for a “new Pearl Harbor” in order to facilitate the authoritarian changes the report’s authors desired.

Is the Rockefeller prediction simply hypothetical speculation? Or could this constitute a veiled warning regarding a terrorist attack planned for the 2012 games?

Whether or not an attack occurs, we can all be certain of one thing: that governments around the world will continue to use the threat of terror to further consolidate their power, and to strip the citizenry of their rights and civil liberties.

Senator John McCain has introduced a new cybersecurity bill that calls for the NSA and the military to actively monitor all levels of communication on the civilian internet with little to no oversight.

Under the McCain bill, data deemed “malicious” would be sent by Internet Service Providers to cybersecurity centers, including the National Security Agency’s Threat Operation Center and the U.S. Cyber Command Joint Operations Center, for evaluation.

The language in the bill is intentionally vague, which has led to concerns among civil libertarians that “malicious data” could eventually come to include emails and internet communications containing simple protest speech, which is protected under the United States Constitution.

Another concern is that the bill guarantees all ISPs that choose to submit suspicious network activity protection from lawsuits and other legal action, making it all but impossible for the average citizen to control or challenge the type of information being collected.

Michelle Richardson, of the ACLU, commented that “This is a privacy nightmare that will eventually result in the military substantially monitoring the domestic, civilian Internet.”

McCain, for his part, dismisses such concerns as nonsense. Brian Rogers, a McCain spokesman, stated that “Senator McCain’s priority in crafting this bill has been to make sure it strengthens our security while continuing to safeguard the privacy of consumers. He remains open to addressing legitimate concerns as this process moves forward.”

McCain’s track record on civil liberties has taken a negative turn, of late. Most recently, he co-sponsored the most radical provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, the indefinite detention of American citizens.

What is clear is that the McCain cybersecurity bill would dramatically extend the reach of government intelligence agencies, and include the military in a domestic surveillance role. It represents one more aspect of privacy stripped away from the American people in the name of national security.