Apr 21, 201501:30 PMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Wisconsin’s shame: News media acquiesce in persecution of political speech
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The optimists here at the Blaska Policy Werkes believe those who make a living off the First Amendment retain some small respect for the freedom of speech of other citizens, even those they do not employ.
With that tender hope, the proprietor recently emailed a must-read article to 10 working journalists. It is the National Review’s account of police wielding battering rams in pre-dawn raids of private citizens, some with young children, in their homes to seize personal computers and files. These raids were apparently orchestrated in pursuit of prosecutors’ theories that one group of citizens was talking to another group of citizens about public policy issues prior to an election. Yes, America has come to that.
The piece, “Wisconsin’s Shame,” recounts a free-speech raid that occurred on an otherwise quiet street on the Madison isthmus:
Cindy Archer … was jolted awake by yelling, loud pounding at the door, and her dogs’ frantic barking. The entire house — the windows and walls — was shaking. She looked outside to see up to a dozen police officers, yelling to open the door. They were carrying a battering ram. She wasn’t dressed, but she started to run toward the door, her body in full view of the police. Some yelled at her to grab some clothes, others yelled for her to open the door. “I was so afraid,” she says. “I did not know what to do.” She grabbed some clothes, opened the door, and dressed right in front of the police. The dogs were still frantic.
“I begged and begged, ‘Please don’t shoot my dogs, please don’t shoot my dogs, just don’t shoot my dogs.’ I couldn’t get them to stop barking, and I couldn’t get them outside quick enough. I saw a gun and barking dogs. I was scared and knew this was a bad mix.” She got the dogs safely out of the house, just as multiple armed agents rushed inside. Some even barged into the bathroom, where her partner was in the shower. [Full story here.]
Three other raid victims also related their stories. No one has ever been charged. Police reportedly held the victims of this Orwellian nightmare incommunicado, ordered not to contact a lawyer –– so much for Miranda –– or even a friend, under Wisconsin’s unique John Doe proceeding, which more resembles the old medieval Star Chamber courts.
That didn’t stop inquisitors from apparently inviting a news reporter from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Indeed, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, an enthusiastic backer of this inquisition, has profited from selective leaks.
Reporter M.D. Kittle of Watchdog.org asks, who was the reporter outside Cindy Archer’s house?
Archer … “looked outside and saw a person who appeared to be a reporter. Someone had tipped him off.”
Supporters of the Democrat-launched political John Doe probes into conservatives have argued secrecy is key to its success, denouncing any leaks that undermine the prosecutors’ case. But Archer’s suspicion that a reporter was present was apparently right –– and indicates that secrecy is a tactic rather than a principle: a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article published on the day of the raid, Sept. 14, 2011, indicates that a Journal Sentinel reporter arrived in time to see “about a dozen law enforcement officers, including FBI agents” raid Archer’s home.