The Sound of Sedition

Does the following sound like sedition to you? It does to the VA Administration:

Wake Up, Get Real

Dear Alibi,

am furious with the tragically misplaced priorities and criminal
negligence of this government. The Katrina tragedy in the U.S. shows
that the emperor has no clothes! Bush and his team partied and delayed
while millions of people were displaced, hundreds of thousands were
abandoned to a living hell. Thousands more died of drowning,
dehydration, hunger and exposure; most bodies remain unburied and
rotting in attics and floodwater. Is this America the beautiful?

risk of hurricane disaster was clearly predicted, yet funds for repair
work for the Gulf States barrier islands and levee system were
unconscionably diverted to the Iraq War. Money and manpower and ethics
have been diverted to fight a war based on absolute lies!

As a
VA nurse working with returning OIF vets, I know the public has no
sense of the additional devastating human and financial costs of
post-traumatic stress disorder; now we will have hundreds of thousands
of our civilian citizens with PTSD as well as far too many young
soldiers, maimed physically or psychologically—or both—spreading their
pain, anger and isolation through family and communities for
generations. And most of this natural disaster and war tragedy has been
preventable … how very, very sad!

In the meantime, our war-fueled federal deficit mushrooms—and whither this debt now, as we care for the displaced and destroyed?

Cheney, Chertoff, Brown and Rice should be tried for criminal
negligence. 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.

Katrina itself was the
size of New Mexico. Denials of global warming are ludicrous and
patently irrational at this point. We can anticipate more wild,
destructive weather to occur as a response stress of the planet. 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.

Laura Berg


Shortly after this letter was published, this nurse’s computer at the VA was seized by VA officials and she was accused of ‘sedition’. It goes to show that people given a little authority in a time of anxiety with an example of abusive authoritarian leadership above them are likely to do very stupid and repressive things.

Mel Hooker, chief of the human resources management service at the
Albuquerque VA, wrote Berg back on November 9 and acknowledged that
“your personal computer files did not contain the editorial letter
written to the editor of the weekly Alibi.”But rather than apologize, he leveled the sedition charge:

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.’

Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, has taken up Berg’s case.

“I am writing to express my deep concern regarding news reports that
Ms. Laura Berg . . . was investigated for sedition after writing a
letter that was critical of the current Administration,” Senator
Bingaman wrote to R. James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, on
February 7. “In a democracy, expressing disagreement with the
government’s actions does not amount to sedition or insurrection—it is,
and must remain, protected speech.”

Berg remains at her post for now, caring for the casualties of Bush’s
glorious little wars, and scared shitless about her future. Welcome to
George Bush’s America.