Awhile back, a nurse was accused of 'sedition' for writing a public letter criticizing the government for its handling of Katrina and Iraq. Today, she received an apology.
An Albuquerque Veterans Affairs nurse has received a bit of the vindication she sought for wrongly being accused of sedition: An admission from a top official that the agency was wrong, plus a private apology from her boss.
The admission, which was made public this week by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, comes in a letter dated March 14 from Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson to U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.
It regards a letter to the editor written by psychiatric nurse Laura Berg that was published in September in the Alibi, an alternative newspaper in Albuquerque.
In the letter, Berg criticized the federal government on several issues, including its actions in Iraq and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"I am furious with the tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence of this government," she wrote.
Berg identified herself as a VA nurse in the letter.
Within weeks of her letter's publication, Berg said Mel Hooker, Veterans Affairs Medical Center human resources chief, and other staff confiscated her work computer and later told her she was being investigated for possible sedition.
Nicholson's letter, however, states Berg's "letter to the newspaper did not amount to sedition."
Nicholson's letter was in response to one sent to him by Bingaman. The Silver City Democrat, in his Feb. 7 letter to Nicholson, wrote that "instituting investigation in these types of cases raises a very real possibility of chilling legitimate political speech."
It's kind of hilarious that the apology says that her actions do not amount to sedition, but hey, an apology's an apology. And kudos to Senator Bingaman for standing up with normal people getting crushed by petty tyrants. It's not as grandiose as matters of war and peace, but it is these 'little' fights and where we decide to draw the line that make up the tissue of our society. This time, fear and intimidation lost.