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Facebook Terrorism? Ex-Marine arrested, 9-11 conspiracy posts ruled ‘terrorist in nature’

Aug 19, 20127 mins
Data and Information SecurityMicrosoftSecurity

The FBI, Secret Service and the Chesterfield Police 'swarmed' Brandon Raub, a former U.S. Marine and decorated veteran, before Raub was allegedly arrested and taken to a psychiatric hospital. Raub believes 9/11 was an inside job and wrote about the coming 'Revolution.' An FBI agent reportedly claimed, 'The threats that he was making were terrorist in nature.'

There are conspiracy theorists who believe 9/11 was an inside job. I don’t really follow that news, but can people be arrested after saying so online, exercising their First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech? On August 16, the FBI, Secret Service and the Chesterfield Police arrested a decorated former U.S. Marine for “airing his critical views of the U.S. government on Facebook.” Is there such a thing as Facebook terrorism?

(See Raub’s posts on Facebook or click here to see larger.) According to Salem-News, an FBI agent claimed, “The threats that he was making were terrorist in nature.”

The Jeenyus Corner noted, “Brandon Raub is a former U.S. Marine, decorated combat veteran, and he founded the Richmond Liberty Movement, based in Virginia. Brandon was arrested by government officials last night over some ‘terroristic’ posts he made on Facebook. To be clear, he was arrested for speaking his mind about his opinions, which is supposed to be a constitutional right in our country. He is currently being ‘held’ at John Randolph Psychiatric hospital in Hopewell VA.” The site republished Raub’s ‘The Truth’ article from November 2011 which began with “America has lost itself. We have lost who we truly are. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

On Facebook, Raub talked about the Illuminati, a shadow organization in which “some of the leaders were involved with the bombing of the twin towers” and the “great amount of evil perpetrated by the American Government.” He said people may think he was going crazy, but a “civil war,” the “Revolution” is coming. “I’m starting the Revolution. I’m done waiting.” On July 24, he said he was at a “great crossroads. As if a storm of destiny is about to pick me up and take me to fight a great battle.” On August 9 he talked about severing heads and told the generals he was coming for them. On August 13, he wrote, “Sharpen up my axe; I’m here to sever heads.” On August 14, Raub wrote, “The Revolution will come for me. Men will be at my door soon to pick me up to lead it.” On August 15, Raub wrote, “And they will say he said it to the NSA first.” To know all that was said, please read it for yourself here or on Facebook.

In this video, Raub’s mother says the authorities showed up “in a swarm” to arrest him before taking him to John Randolph Psychiatric Hospital. She said her son does not suffer from PTSD. Raub allegedly was arrested by Chesterfield Police after he “assaulted an officer and resisted arrest,” but “Chesterfield PD said Raub has not been charged with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.” Here are links to many more videos regarding Raub. There are five articles written by Raub that were published on Don’t Tread on Me. Here, DeathRattleSports asked whether Raub was the NDAA‘s first victim.

Many times in the past, we’ve looked at ridiculous FBI or DHS you-might-be-a-domestic-terrorist-if lists which seem to indicate that otherwise innocent acts may flag you as potentially suspicious. Sadly, our nation’s veterans are potentially suspicious, according to some of these lists. To me, a terrorist is someone or a group who inflicts terror and is actually out to hurt us, the USA’s citizens or our critical infrastructure; terrorists who plot evil with intentions of killing people, blowing up or otherwise destroying things. However, I recently read about the Global Terrorism Database, which is “an open-source database with information on more than 98,000 terrorist attacks and terrorist events around the world from 1970 through 2010.” START is “tasked by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate” and defines terrorism as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.”

To better understand this, it’s important to look at “Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the United States (PPT-US) Codebook” as well as “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970 to 2008” [PDF] by START (Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism). The report lists the categories of ideological motivation in terrorism as:

Extreme Right-Wing: groups that believe that one’s personal and/or national “way of life” is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent (for some the threat is from a specific ethnic, racial, or religious group), and believe in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism. Groups may also be fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty, and believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty.

Extreme Left-Wing: groups that want to bring about change through violent revolution rather than through established political processes. This category also includes secular left-wing groups that rely heavily on terrorism to overthrow the capitalist system and either establish “a dictatorship of the proletariat” (Marxist-Leninists) or, much more rarely, a decentralized, non-hierarchical political system (anarchists).

Religious: groups that seek to smite the purported enemies of God and other evildoers, impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists), forcibly insert religion into the political sphere (e.g., those who seek to politicize religion, such as Christian Reconstructionists and Islamists), and/or bring about Armageddon (apocalyptic millenarian cults; 2010: 17). For example, Jewish Direct Action, Mormon extremist, Jamaat-al-Fuqra, and Covenant, Sword and the Arm of the Lord (CSA) are included in this category.

Ethno-Nationalist/Separatist: regionally concentrated groups with a history of organized political autonomy with their own state, traditional ruler, or regional government, who are committed to gaining or regaining political independence through any means and who have supported political movements for autonomy at some time since 1945.

Single Issue: groups or individuals that obsessively focus on very specific or narrowly-defined causes (e.g., anti-abortion, anti-Catholic, anti-nuclear, anti-Castro). This category includes groups from all sides of the political spectrum.

However, please note that the latest START report [PDF] from July states, “To be clear, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) does not classify individuals as terrorists or extremists based on ideological perspectives.” And “at no point has any START study defined persons ‘suspicious of centralized federal authority’ and ‘reverent of individual liberty’ as terrorists. Instead, we assigned ideological classifications only to groups that have already carried out completed or attempted terrorist attacks.”

If there were ever such a “revolution,” such as Raub supported, that caused riots like were seen in London, Public Intelligence previously posted the U.S. military’s plans for the “use of deadly force, detention and interrogation of U.S. Civilians” and alleged military plans to squash civil unrest in the USA. It might also be a good time to recall Social Media Monitoring on Gov’t Steroids: Anything might come back to bite you or the list of hot keywords monitored by DHS. Things are still unfolding in regards to Raub, but it is alarming if his constitutional right to free speech, his right to talk conspiracy theory smack, is considered potential terrorism.

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ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.