As you may know from some of my previous articles, one of the things that has really been concerning me recently is the growing trend of government forces in so-called ‘free countries’ arresting members of the public because of their social media posts. In Twitter: A Force for Freedom or a Boon to Censors I listed some examples of legal cases from the UK in which people were arrested for ‘terror threats’ and such like, which any reasonable person would instantly recognise as no such thing.
Today I came across a story from the US, in which a Virginia man Raub Brandon was arrested over his political posts on Facebook. Brandon Raub, a Marine from Richmond, VA, was arrested by FBI and Secret Service officers, and although the full details are not known, in an interview with talk show host Josh Tolley his mother Kathleen Thomans confirmed that Brandon was questioned about ‘terroristic’ Facebook posts before being taken away.
Although we do not yet know the specific charges being laid against Brandon, a look at his Facebook Page shows plenty of fringe political posts, certainly showing some real passion and definitely on the extreme end of the political spectrum, but nothing in the way of genuine evidence that he planned to commit a terrorist act. I suspect that there was never any such evidence.
Gather.com rightly contrasts this with the story of new Black Panther leader ‘The Blaze’, who has openly called for white babies to be murdered through attacks on nurseries, and has placed a $10,000 bounty on George Zimmerman – ‘dead or alive’. No legal action has been taken over these statements – perhaps because they were proclaimed in public to the nations media by an organised group, rather than posted on a social media site by an individual.
There is a real danger here – whether you agree with Raub Brandon’s sentiments or whether you think he was a nut job: The government are now watching what all of us say, and if they decide that they don’t like it, they will come for you.
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak out for me.