Saturday, February 11, 2006

VA nurse accused of sedition for letter to the editor

(We interrupt this season's much-needed Academy Awards diversion/mental health politics break to bring you this news. . .)

Betcha didn't know you, right now, could likely be accused of sedition! Sure, you may have violated a few archaic state decency laws in your day, but sedition, you say? Can't be!

Apparently, you'd be wrong:


n. the federal crime of advocacy of insurrection against the government or support for an enemy of the nation during time of war, by speeches, publications and organization. Sedition usually involves actually conspiring to disrupt the legal operation of the government and is beyond expression of an opinion or protesting government policy.

Right now, a VA hospital nurse specialist in Albuquerque, NM named Laura Berg has been accused of sedition by her bosses. After Katrina, she wrote this letter to the editor (for which her superiors confiscated her work computer):

"I am furious with the tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence of this government," it began. "The Katrina tragedy in the U.S. shows that the emperor has no clothes!" She mentioned that she was "a VA nurse" working with returning vets. "The public has no sense of the additional devastating human and financial costs of post-traumatic stress disorder," she wrote, and she worried about the hundreds of thousands of additional cases that might result from Katrina and the Iraq War.

"Bush, Cheney, Chertoff, Brown, and Rice should be tried for criminal negligence," she wrote. "This country needs to get out of Iraq now and return to our original vision and priorities of caring for land and people and resources rather than killing for oil. . . . 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."

After her computer was seized, she wrote a letter of inquiry to her employers. It was responded to by Mel Hooker, chief of HR for the organization. His allegation in a letter dated November 9, 2005?


"The Agency is bound by law to investigate and pursue any act which potentially represents sedition," he said. "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.' "

Afraid yet? Good. That's exactly where the Bush administration wants you to be. Now shut-up and go shopping, you seditious creeps who dare to question or speak your minds.

(Thanks to for bringing the story to light.)
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