Wayne Madsen has more than 20 years of experience with national-security issues, and his journalism has appeared in numerous daily newspapers, including The Miami Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is the editor of the online Wayne Madsen Report, and his work has appeared in a wide variety of political journals from both the left and right, including In These Times, CorpWatch, and The American Conservative.
Madsen minces no words about Riley's unlawful efforts to seek a preliminary injunction and contempt finding against me, my wife, and this blog. (Why are Riley and Ms. Duke, suing Mrs. Schnauzer? They claim she is "administrator" and "contributor" at this blog. Never mind that I am Legal Schnauzer's one and only author.)
Even though we have not been lawfully served with the Riley/Duke complaint, my wife and I have seen court filings that indicate they are seeking our arrest for . . . get this . . . practicing journalism. You can almost hear Madsen's eyes rolling and his teeth clinching as he writes about Rob Riley's antics. (Wayne Madsen Report is a subscription-only Web site, but we have received permission to reprint some of his material here. Madsen's full article about the Rob Riley injunction can be viewed at the end of this post.)
Roger Shuler, a veteran journalist with 13 years with the Birmingham News and a graduate of the University of Missouri's School of Journalism, one of America's top journalism education institutions, now knows what it's like to be a journalist in a Third World country like Sierra Leone or Honduras.
After writing a series of articles on his website Legal Schnauzer, Shuler has been hit with a "nuisance subpoena" by prospective GOP U.S. House candidate Rob Riley, the son of Alabama's former Governor Bob Riley, the man whose political chicanery and vote count rigging cost Democratic Governor Don Siegelman his job in the 2002 election and paved the way for Bob Riley to move into the Governor's Mansion in Montgomery for two terms. The younger Riley is planning to run for the seat of retiring Representative Spencer Bachus and is launching his bid by silencing Shuler, one of Alabama's most outspoken muckraking journalists bird dogging to Rileys and their nepotistic and kleptocratic political corruption.
Madsen is just getting warmed up with that blistering salvo. He goes on to note our recent reports about U.S. Judge Bill Pryor, a long-time ally of the Riley family and Bush-era political strategist Karl Rove:
Shuler's latest story concerns nude photographs of Pryor published by a gay porn website specializing in erotica featuring young males. So what's the problem if Pryor was of legal age at the time the photos were taken? Shuler nails it in one sentence: "In 2005, Pryor wrote a brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of the Texas anti-sodomy law where he argued that decriminalized gay sex would lead to legalized necrophilia, bestiality and child pornography." Well now. I guess the Eleventh Circuit should ensure that Pryor keeps his distance from funeral homes, barns, and day care centers.
Madsen has written extensively about Alabama's dysfunctional political culture. But even a veteran like Madsen seems taken aback by the absurdity of Rob Riley's recent actions:
WMR has been reporting on political and judicial malfeasance in Alabama for a number of years. Overall, Alabama Republican politicians and judges evoke memories of Al Capp's Jubilation T. Cornpone, Hee Haw's Junior Samples, and Green Acres's Eustace Charleston Haney, otherwise known as "Mr. Haney." Bumbling, goofball, ignorant, and corrupt vestiges of a bygone plantation-era South don't even come close to describing what passes for judges and political leaders in the state that refers to itself as the "Heart of Dixie."
The judge who has been assigned to hear the Riley/Duke complaint has a dubious past, Madsen reports. That would be the retired Claud D. Nielson, of Demopolis:
Rob Riley convinced Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore, of Ten Commandments-in-the-courtroom infamy, to appoint retired Alabama state judge, Claud Neilson, to act as a special judge to handle a lawsuit brought by Rob Riley against Shuler and his wife. Neilson is the man who, in 2009, dismissed remaining deadlocked counts after a jury voted not guilty on the majority of sexual abuse, sodomy, and assault charges brought against Mobile Circuit Court Judge Herman Thomas. After Riley Junior submitted a motion for all matters in his suit against Shuler to be sealed, Neilson agreed.
Only in Alabama could a journalist be enjoined by a judge not to write about a candidate for public office. This action by Neilson is a flagrant violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Alabama remains subject to the U.S. Bill of Rights, regardless of what the Tea Party and its ZZ Top- and Charlie Daniels-looking truckers and motorcyclists may believe.
Madsen finds a certain level of humor in Riley's actions. But he also notes their potentially serious implications:
Reporting on Alabama politicians is like taking a walk down nostalgia lane behind the "Kudzu Curtain"
The actions by Neilson raises the issue now being debated in Washington about media shield laws for journalists. A number of entrenched politicians, including Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas and Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, do not believe independent journalists with websites, blogs, or newsletters should be considered journalists under a federal shield law that would protect only corporate journalists from having to testify before juries and grand juries about their sources. . .
The Alabama nuisance subpoena, SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) suit, and court gag order against Shuler and his wife not only have repercussions for the press in Alabama but a finding against Shuler and Legal Schnauzer will definitely be used as cited case law for other corrupt politicians to bring legal action against independent journalists in other jurisdictions far beyond Alabama.