RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A civil liberties group filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of an ex-Marine who was detained in a psychiatric facility after posting anti-government messages on Facebook, using the case to criticize a program that looks for veterans who may have become extremists.
The 27-year-old veteran from Chesterfield was taken into custody last Aug. 16, after being questioned by local police and federal agents about strident Facebook posts against the government. The FBI said the interview was prompted by complaints from people who read his posts, including some that spoke of a pending revolution. One said "a day of reckoning" was coming, and another said: "Sharpen my axe; I'm here to sever heads."
A circuit court judge in Virginia's Prince George County ordered Raub released last Aug. 23 after the Rutherford Institute came to his aide. Judge Allan Sharrett said at the time that the government's case was "so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation launched "Operation Vigilant Eagle" in 2009 to target white supremacists and "militia/sovereign-citizen extremist groups," with a focus on veterans, according to memos obtained and reported at the time by The Wall Street Journal. A memo detailing the national operation was issued by the Department of Homeland Security later.http://specialoperationsspeaks.com/articles/the-war-on-veterans-has-a-name-operation-vigilant-eagle