VA Nurse in New Mexico accused of sedition

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Here is part of the text of a letter to the editor written by Laura Berg, a clinical nurse specialist in Albuquerque, New Mexico:

I 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!…The public has no sense of the additional devastating human and financial costs of post-traumatic stress disorder….

Bush, 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. . . . 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.

Berg, who works at Albuquerque’s VA Medical Center, wrote the letter to the weekly paper, the Alibi. When it was published in late September, VA officials seized Berg’s computer, accusing her of using it to write the letter, and accusing her of sedition.

The head of the human resources management services later acknowledged that Berg’s office computer hard drive did not contain the letter, but he defended the sedition charge.

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.”

The ACLU of New Mexico has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents relating to the incident, and is asking for a public apology to Berg. In the meantime, Berg has learned that the VA may have contacted the FBI about her, a charge the VA denies.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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