This Thing Called Courage

Thursday, March 02, 2006

VA Nurse Charged With Sedition for Writing Bush-Critical Letter

Und yu vill anzer za question!

It's pathetic that this question is even being asked-- too bad they got rid of Civics classes, eh boys and girls? This is from a North Carolina Paper.

CITIZEN-TIMES.com
A recent case begs the question: When a government worker criticizes our leaders, is it sedition?
By Dave Russell
March 1, 2006 6:00 am
I have worked so many letters that I sometimes not only forget that people read them but that they can have consequences.
Laura Berg, a nurse at the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, N.M., got into hot water for writing a letter critical of the government that pays her salary. Like many, she fired off a missive disparaging the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.
Among other things, she wrote: “Bush, Cheney, Chertoff, Brown and Rice should be tried for criminal negligence. ... We need to wake up and get real here, and act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit. Otherwise, many more of us will be facing living hell in these times.”
Published in the Sept. 15-21 edition of the local weekly, “The Alibi,” it quickly led to the seizure of her computer at the VA. Officials alleged she had used that computer to write it and accused her of sedition.
Responding to her inquiry, human resources chief Mel Hooker acknowledged that Berg’s “… personal computer files did not contain the editorial letter written to the editor of the weekly Alibi.” But he didn’t apologize: “The Agency is bound by law to investigate and pursue any act which potentially represents sedition,” he wrote. “In your letter ... you declared yourself ‘as a VA nurse’ and publicly declared the Government which employs you to have ‘tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence’ and advocated, ‘act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit.’”
A group of politicians and lawyers have rallied around Berg, and if nothing else, hope to lay some ground rules for VA employees who feel like taking the First Amendment for a test drive.

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