Sunday, April 13, 2008

a political prisoner speaks out

News today about a former politician who was prosecuted on trumped-up charges basically because the ruling party knew he was popular, and they didn't want to have to compete with him. So the ruling party used its personal connections with various prosecutors, handpicked a judge with a personal grudge against the dissident politician, had tried him for a "crime" that really wasn't a crime at all, and then the judge threw him into the slammer without even being allowed to remain free while appealing the conviction.

Now this political prisoner has been released and he is speaking out about his ordeal.

Some story from a banana republic in Latin America or a big-man ruled country in Africa?

Not quite. This is Alabama, folks. Alabama, USA. The ruling party is the Republican Party. And the political prisoner is former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, whose REAL crime* was being a popular Democrat who threatened to defeat current Alabama Governor Bob Riley in a fair election in 2006.

Released two weeks ago by a judge who recognized that he had been treated unfairly by being imprisoned immediately upon his conviction, Siegelman is now speaking out. And he's accusing Karl Rove and the Republican Party national leadership of being behind his incarceration.

It's a sordid tale. And before you go dismissing it as a conspiracy theory or sour grapes on Siegelman's part, make yourself familiar with the case - best bet is Scott Horton's reporting, his blog at Harper's has all the details.

And remember again the Great US Attorney Massacre was in part about Bush's Justice Department getting rid of federal prosecutors who were unwilling to indict Democratic candidates right before elections.** Siegelman's treatment is not an aberration in George Bush's Republican America.

It's a tactic.

*The "crime" was giving an unpaid part-time job to somebody who made a legal campaign contribution. The de facto Bush Administration has given paid jobs to hundreds of people who made legal campaign contributions, none of whom have been prosecuted. That's the best the Alabama/Rove vigilante gang could come up with.

**The other reason - failure to try to suppress the vote among pro-Democratic populations by seeking "voter fraud" cases to prosecute.

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