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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Abuse of power against a blogger

Not since Sheboygan's abuse of power against Jeni Reisinger of Sheboygan Shenanigans, have we seen a local governmental body in Wisconsin go after a blogger using law enforcement. But once again, it has happened, this time in Whitewater.

Free Whitewater is run anonymously by a citizen that calls himself John Adams, and he really knows his stuff about Whitewater politics. He has often been very critical about politicians and the chief of police, and everything he says is true and accurate (no libel, no crime). The Wisconsin State Journal has a great story about how Police Chief James Coan is using city resources to try to unmask this blogger. It seems that in Whitewater, the 1st Amendment doesn't have much meaning. This chief has directed two detectives, the city's director of public works, its information technology officer and the city clerk to try to identify this blogger. Coan calls him a suspect, but admits he hasn't committed a crime. He has even gone as far as to accuse someone else of being the blogger and attempted to intimidate him into silence!

The blogger was asked why he chose John Adams as his pseudonym:
Adams said he chose his alias to honor the country's second president, whose anonymous newspaper columns helped galvanize public support for independence leading up to the Revolutionary War.

"I'm a common man following the example of uncommon men," said Adams, naming Thomas Paine, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay as leaders who criticized government under pen names.

"I believe it's fundamentally American. That's the very stuff of which we're made and from which we've sprung."

Amen My Fellow American! We need a little more John Adams in this world.

Wisconsin State Journal: Whitewater police pursue anonymous blogger, critic

In an email, Detective Tina Winger said this blogger "Seems like an anti-government radical to me." So there you have it folks, all of us that criticize our local officials are radicals... Count me as Guilty!

“When even one American - who has done nothing wrong - is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth - then all Americans are in peril.”
--Harry S. Truman