With millions of blogs out in cyberspace, it's hard to say that any one blog truly is unique. But I've become aware of a new blog that I suspect deserves the title of unique. And it provides a unique glimpse into what it is like to be a victim of the Bush Justice Department and its selective-prosecution campaign.
The blog is called Gulf Coast Realist. And its author is former Mississippi chancery judge Wes Teel, one of three defendants who were convicted on corruption-related charges in the Paul Minor case. Minor, an attorney, already is in federal prison and has been shackled and muzzled and moved around, much like former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Teel and John Whitfield, a former Mississippi circuit judge, are due to report to federal prison in late December.
Scott Horton, of Harper's.org, has noted that extraordinary measures have been taken related to Siegelman's imprisonment, apparently to make sure he remains quiet. Similar measures appear to have been taken with Paul Minor.
But Wes Teel is not silent. And he provides an insider's view of what it is like to be on the wrong side of a vindictive and vicious Justice Department.
In the 20-plus segments of our "Mississippi Churning" series here at Legal Schnauzer (quite a few more segments are on the way), we have shown that both Teel and Whitfield made rulings in cases involving Minor that were supported by the law and the facts. Yes, both received loan guarantees from Minor, but such financial arrangements are allowed under Mississippi law (and Alabama law, for that matter). In order for Teel and Whitfield's actions to rise to the level of bribery and honest-services mail fraud, they would had to act "corruptly," making rulings that they knew were "unlawful" and actually depriving Mississippians of "honest services."
That simply did not happen in the two lawsuits--Archie Marks and The Peoples Bank--that were at the heart of the government's case. But Wes Teel and John Whitfield are about to go to federal prison anyway.
In blunt terms, they are about to become political prisoners--a status Don Siegelman and Paul Minor already hold.
"Political prisoner" is a term that Americans associate with Josef Stalin or Saddam Hussein or some tinpot dictator in South America. But it is happening now, in George W. Bush's America, and Democrats in the Deep South seem to be taking the brunt of what amounts to an organized terror campaign.
One such Democrat is Wes Teel. His is a voice worth hearing.
It should be noted that Teel's blog is not all doom and gloom. For someone who is about to go to federal prison for something he did not do, Teel seems to have done a remarkable job of maintaining his humanity--and his sense of humor. In a delightful November 4 post, Teel writes about Simone and Phil Simone, two of his cherished and somewhat loony friends.
Will we be able to hear Teel's voice come late December? I wouldn't count on the Bush federal prison system allowing it.
So I encourage Legal Schnauzer readers to check out Mr. Teel's blog while you can. And I don't mean to be melodramatic, but I have studied the Minor case intensely for more than two years, so trust me when I say that Wes Teel and John Whitfield are about to become political prisoners. They already are victims of an American-sponsored terror campaign.
Gives new meaning to the idea of George W. Bush as the "terrorism president."