Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

A former Marine and veteran of two wars, Brandon Raub was arrested late Thursday evening at his house in Virginia for inflammatory comments that he made on Facebook.

The arrest was made by numerous FBI agents in conjunction with the Chesterfield County Police Department. Raub was not read his rights, according to numerous witnesses, and was initially taken to an undisclosed location. It has since emerged that he is being held indefinitely and without charges at John Randolph Psychiatric Hospital in Hopewell, Virginia.

His mother, Kathleen Thomas, was reportedly contacted by 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.”

However, upon contacting the CCPD, Thomas was told that her son was arrested by the FBI, and that “[the arrest] was an FBI matter and [CCPD officers] were just there to assist them.” Additionally, the CCPD states that Raub has not been charged with either resisting arrest or assaulting an officer.

Agent Grainger went on to tell Thomas that the comments which appeared on Raub’s Facebook page had been deemed “terrorist in nature.” Thomas then asked the agent whether or not free speech still exists in the United States of America, to which Grainger responded: “Yes, we still have freedom of speech.”

Brandon Raub had been outspokenly critical of the US government’s official story surrounding the events of 9/11, and was a vocal advocate of what some have referred to as “the Ron Paul Revolution.”

His Facebook comments included references to the coming of a new American revolution, a 9/11 cover-up, and the necessity of honest government. Some examples of his more recent posts follow:

Courage. Loyalty. And Honor. [August 16th]

The Revolution will come for me. Men will be at my door soon to pick me up to lead it. 😉 [August 14th]

Do you know why the American people will win the civil war that is coming? Because we are Americans. [August 12th]

Whether or not one agrees with the sentiments expressed by Brandon Raub, his defenders are quick to point out that what he has said on Facebook is not illegal, nor do his comments justify his indefinite detention without charges at a mental hospital.

His mother reports that Raub is due to see a judge on Monday, but as of now still has no idea why he’s been arrested or held against his will.

Civil rights activists are concerned that this arrest may be a sign of things to come under the government’s seemingly limitless power to detain American citizens without charges, as specified by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law on New Year’s Eve 2011 by President Obama.

The Obama administration has been engaged in a fierce courtroom battle over the legislation since a May 2012 injunction against the “indefinite detention” provision was issued in federal court.

The injunction was issued after a lawsuit was brought against the federal government on behalf of such notable plaintiffs as Noam Chomsky and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, which argued that the NDAA was unconstitutional.

Judge Katherine Forrest agreed, saying that indefinite detention “failed to pass Constitutional muster” and issued an injunction barring the administration from arresting and indefinitely detaining American citizens without charges or trial. Judge Forrest stated:

“In the face of what could be indeterminate military detention, due process requires more. An individual could run the risk of substantially supporting or directly supporting an [anti-American] force without even being aware that he or she was doing so.”

The White House, however, is challenging the injunction and demanding that their power to indefinitely detain anyone they deem a “terrorist” be restored.

Worse, the Obama administration is refusing to disclose whether or not the government has abided by the federal injunction. Journalist Tangerine Bolen, a plaintiff in the suit filed against the NDAA, stated in an op-ed that:

“Obama’s attorneys refused to assure the court, when questioned, that the NDAA’s section 1021 – the provision that permits reporters and others who have not committed crimes to be detained without trial – has not been applied by the US government anywhere in the world after Judge Forrest’s injunction. In other words, they were telling a US federal judge that they could not, or would not, state whether Obama’s government had complied with the legal injunction that she had laid down before them.”

So despite a federal injunction prohibiting the Obama administration from acting upon the “indefinite detention” provision, could the arrest of Brandon Raub and others like him be the first sign of things to come in the new United States? And more importantly, what is our role now, as active and informed citizens of a democracy apparently under siege?

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Representative Walter Jones (R) of North Carolina has introduced a resolution in the House that calls for the impeachment of President Obama should he fail to obtain authorization for the use of military force from Congress.

The resolution is meant to prevent the President from involving America in further illegal military operations, as he did in Libya.

President Obama, on several occasions, dismissed the notion that he was required to obtain authorization from Congress for the use of military force during the run-up to war in Libya. He stated that the extent of America’s involvement in the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi did not require Congressional authorization: “So I don’t even have to get to the Constitutional question.”

The resolution introduced by Rep. Jones comes on the heels of a statement made by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on March 7th. In the following exchange, the Secretary was questioned by Senator Jeff Sessions as to whether the Obama administration would consult with Congress when considering further military action around the world:

Panetta was asked by Senator Jeff Sessions, “We spend our time worrying about the U.N., the Arab League, NATO and too little time, in my opinion, worrying about the elected representatives of the United States. As you go forward, will you consult with the United States Congress?”

The Defense Secretary responded “You know, our goal would be to seek international permission. And we would come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress.”

Sessions, taken aback, responded that he was “really baffled by the idea that somehow an international assembly provides a legal basis for the United States military to be deployed in combat. I don’t believe it’s close to being correct. They provide no legal authority. The only legal authority that’s required to deploy the United States military is of the Congress and the president and the law and the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, the United States, throughout its history, has only recognized international law when convenient. The entire Bush doctrine of preemptive war is testament enough to that. What Panetta is actually expressing is that the Executive Branch will do whatever it damn well pleases. Representative Jones and his H. Concurrent Resolution 107 represent an attempt at checking an Executive Branch that is operating completely outside of Constitutional law (note that this unlawful conduct is in no way limited to the Obama administration). Considering the fact that war with Syria and Iran are looming large on the horizon, we hope it’s successful.

The text of HCR107 is as follows:

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 7, 2012

Mr. JONES submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.

Whereas the cornerstone of the Republic is honoring Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.

Read the entire resolution here.