The National ACLU has launched a new online tool that allows individuals to send Letters-to-the-Editor directly to your local newspapers. It’s a handy, clickable system that lets you select your newspaper, write a letter online and email it quickly. National is encouraging folks to use this tool to write letters about domestic surveillance and abuse of power and provides talking points on two bills now before the Senate, S.2453, the “National Security Surveillance Act” and the S.2455 the so-called “Terrorist Surveillance Act.”
So, go forth and write, but remember that “letters to the editor can be dangerous.”
So says Bruce Schimmel, in this week’s Philadelphia City Paper article “Letter Rip.” Bruce tells the story of Laura Berg, “a nurse from Albuquerque” who wrote a letter to the editor “to denounce our government’s belligerence abroad and its indifference at home.”
“Berg’s letter… caught the eye of the FBI, who suspected her of sedition. The feds feared that the middle-aged nurse was beating the drums for violent revolution.
Berg’s computer was seized. Put on the watch list of the Patriot Act, she could be tailed and her phone tapped. Convicted of sedition-however unlikely-Berg could face time behind bars.
So when does the nurse get off the offical list of evildoers? Earlier this year, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information request on Berg’s behalf, which may provide a hint. “
So, go write your letters. And, if needs be, you can come back and file your FOIA…
Amy Laura in Philadelphia
Update- Sunday, 4:40pm: Here’s more on this story:
Albuquerque Tribune: VA apologizes to nurse who wrote letter
The Albuquerque Tribune columnist Kate Nelson
AP via Free New Mexican: NM ACLU wants apology to employee investigated on ‘sedition’
Democracy Now: VA nurse accused of sedition (audio, video, and transcript of interview with Berg available)