( – promoted by buhdydharma )
All roads lead to Rove. That was the message scrawled as an afterthought in the lower left-hand corner of the envelope I received in yesterday’s mail. It contained a letter from an old and dear friend of mine. His name is Don Siegelman. He is the former governor of Alabama and he is being held as a political prisoner of the Bush administration in a Federal prison in Louisiana.
They don’t allow Don the luxury of stationary so he must write his letters on whatever he can find. He wrote me on a xeroxed article he wanted me to see.
Here’s an excerpt from the article in Don’s letter in a more readable form.
The House Judiciary Committee voted in July to hold Mr. Bolten and Ms. Miers in contempt. The House’s Democratic leadership has been trying to figure out the pros and cons ever since. The public needs to hear the testimony of these officials (along with Karl Rove, who is also refusing to appear), and the full House should vote as quickly as possible to hold them in contempt.
The House should also approve a resolution authorizing the Judiciary Committee to go to court to enforce the contempt citations if the current attorney general, Michael Mukasey, as expected, refuses to do so. (emphasis Don’s)
The stakes are high. There are people in jail today, including a former governor of Alabama, who have raised credible charges that they were put there for political reasons. Congress’s constitutionally guaranteed powers are also at risk. If Congress fails to enforce its own subpoenas, it would effectively be ceding its subpoena power. It would also be giving its tacit consent to the dangerous idea of an imperial president – above the law and beyond the reach of checks and balances.
The founders did not want that when they wrote the Constitution, and the voters who elected this Congress do not want it today.
I met Don in Montgomery, the capitol of Alabama in 1978 shortly after getting out of prison. I was a prison reform and anti-death penalty activist. Don was a young mover and shaker in the Alabama Democratic Party sympathetic to my cause, and we were both martial artists. Another activist and mutual friend introduced us and we became instant friends. He was running for Secretary of State at the time and I ended up working on his campaign (in a minor role). He was successful in becoming Secretary of State, going on from there to have a truly brilliant political career.
Don Siegelman is the only person in the history of Alabama to be elected to serve in all four of the top statewide offices: Secretary of State, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor and Governor. He served in Alabama politics for 26 years. Until he won his last election, sweeping into the governorship with 57% of the vote, including over 90% of the African-American electorate, Don had never been accused of corrupt or criminal acts.
Don has always been committed to the general welfare of the people of Alabama and people in general. I was for a time the director of the Alabama Prison Project and an ardent anti-death penalty advocate. I devoted a lot of my time to making speeches around Montgomery about my issues, and there were many who could not be bothered to listen – but Don did. He not only listened, he heard, understood and actively supported me at a time when there was absolutely nothing in it for him. He is a remarkable guy. He’s never had a job outside of politics, he’s never been involved in business and he has never enriched himself in any way. Throughout his career he has been an honest public servant. A lot of people lay claim to that title but Don’s actually done it.
Don is as solid a progressive as I have ever known. For all the same reasons that I love him, the Republicans hate him – and they have gone after him with a vengeance.
I moved from Montgomery while Don was Secretary of State, and eventually moved out of state. I lost touch with Don and our Montgomery friends, but I followed his career and continued to support him at a distance.
When I first heard of Don being prosecuted for corruption my heart sank. I didn’t know what to think. It had been years since we’d spoken and the press made it sound awful for Don (what else?). Of course I had no idea what was really going on. Now that I do I am horrified…and furious.
Don is a formidable force in Alabama politics. His friends are loyal and his supporters enthusiastic. They re-elected him Governor in the midst of a bogus corruption trial engineered by the Bush Justice Department at the behest of Karl Rove who takes orders from you-know-who. Don campaigned for re-election throughout the early phases of the trial. On election night he was declared the winner, but Karl Rove’s minions stole the election overnight by manipulating the ballots in Baldwin County. It was classic Rovian/Republican election theft. They did it with computers and electronic voting machines. Don went to bed the re-elected Governor of Alabama, and woke up an unemployed defendant.
In case you missed the 60 Minutes piece about Don’s political persecution and wrongful imprisonment for being a progressive Democrat, here it is:
Here’s an excellent Dan Abrams piece about the Bush administration’s abuse of the Justice Department and how it was used to prosecute Don for political purposes.
A profoundly important interview with Don, Part 1:
A profoundly important interview with Don, Part 2:
Something that has not been reported is that they have been physically beating Don. I don’t know the extent of his injuries or exactly how many times it has happened – but it has been multiple times.
There are no words for the fury I feel. This is an outrage. And it is the most un-American thing I have ever heard. I cry bitter tears of frustration and rage.
Please everyone. We have to help Don, and we have to crush these thugs and put them out of the business of perverting our democracy. We must investigate and prosecute the responsible parties, not for political reasons, but to actually serve the interest of justice. The cause of justice calls upon us to hold these criminals accountable. We must bring them to justice and stop such travesties from ever again happening in our United States of America.
Please hear Don’s plea, and write Congress to encourage them to take the next important steps to the truth:
Ask for a full investigation by a Special Prosecutor.
Hon. John Conyers,
House Judiciary Comm.
Senator Patrick Leahy,
Senate Judiciary Comm.
As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
Justice William O. Douglas
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
As I said, Don has always been a man of modest means. He also needs our help to pay legal expenses. Please help if you can.
Donate to Don’s Legal Defense at the following site:
If We Must Die
If we must die–let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die–oh, let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe;
Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!