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Rick Jensen: Why was Raub held in a psych ward

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You come home from serving your country in Iraq or Afghanistan. You’re honorably discharged and considering your next job or career. Meanwhile, you also blog and post personal political views and song lyrics on Facebook. You have threatened no one, but that doesn’t stop the FBI and police from showing up at your door.

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You’re handcuffed, taken away, briefly interviewed by a psychologist and confined in a psychiatric ward against your will.

You’re not charged with any crime. Without legal representation, you disappear. Perhaps for a few months, maybe a couple of years. You could be administered drugs.

Attorney John Whitehead, a respected attorney who heads The Rutherford Institute, a nonpartisan civil rights organization he founded and operates with his wife, tells me this has happened to about 1.5 million Americans this past year.

How many Americans have been administered psychotropic drugs against their will?

"While we have assisted other veterans and been alerted to the fact that other veterans are being targeted, we cannot vouch for how many others, other than Brandon (Raub), have been faced with the possibility of forced medication."

John tells the haunting story of Brandon Raub, a former Marine who has served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan who was forcibly taken from his home on Aug. 16, 2012, by FBI agents and police in Chesterfield County, Va. and placed in a psychiatric ward against his will.

His crime?

Posting personal political views and song lyrics to his Facebook page. Outraged onlookers filmed the arrest and posted the footage to YouTube, which has since gone viral, and the public continues to clamor for his release (watch the video here: http :// tinyurl.com /lc9w6tj).

"Government officials disregarded Raub’s explanation that the Facebook posts were being interpreted out of context, sentencing him up to 30 days’ further confinement in a VA psych ward where he was forced to undergo psychological evaluations," Whitehead said.

"Fortunately, in an unexpected ruling handed down by Circuit Court Judge Allan Sharrett, the government’s case against Brandon Raub was dismissed on the grounds that the petition for Raub’s detainment ‘is so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy.’"

You are likely disbelieving this story. I would if I hadn’t interviewed Whitehead many times over the years concerning civil rights cases he has successfully litigated. He’s genuine.

John also warned that the psychiatric interview was only two minutes long. The psychiatrist claimed it was 15 minutes long.

Really? The government is sentencing former military men and women to psychiatric centers with no criminal charges based on two-minute or 15-minute interviews?

The psychiatrist said that it was Brandon’s long pauses between questions that compelled him to commit Brandon.

Fortunately, Whitehead was able to help Brandon and was informed by other veterans groups that other veterans are being targeted for Facebook posts.

How can they do this without arresting someone?

Involuntary civil commitment.

I asked John what can we, ordinary citizens do to stop this Orwellian torment.

He said, "Start local groups. Meet and share this information. Invite your senators and congressional representatives to your meetings and share this information with them. Ask them to help stop this government force against citizens legally expressing their personal views from the privacy of their own homes. Protest."

I will use this column to lobby my congressional delegation as well as all those who read this.

Rick Jenson can be contacted by emai at rick@wdel.com.

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