12 February, 2007

Josh Wolf — live from federal prison, Dublin, CA

broadcast 12 jan 2007 on Democracy Now!:

JOSH WOLF: . . . my fear is that instead of having the effect of making people wake up and realize that we need to do something about the impending police state that we're living in that will send a journalist to jail for six months, who was accused of doing nothing wrong, that instead of causing people to stand up, that it's scaring people into not speaking out at all, and that's a very frightening concept that reminds me of what happened during World War II or the lead-up to World War II in Germany, in that all these people saw what was coming their way and could have decided to react, to resist, but were too afraid. And I’m worried that America is too afraid, and even though maybe my situation has helped them realize what's coming down the pike, that instead of jolting them out of bed, it's just lulled them deeper into sleep and helped them pull the covers over their head in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, if they don't see it, it will all go away.
. . .

AMY GOODMAN: Do you plan to continue to be a journalist, Josh Wolf, once you are freed?

JOSH WOLF: Absolutely. This has just made me more determined to get the stories that are not being covered out than ever before, because someone needs to cover this. There's a lot of people that are, but we need more. Every single person that can stand up and document injustices they see around them is one more person that will help lead towards an understanding and enlightenment of our society about what's really going on.

AMY GOODMAN: If people want to reach you, where can they write? Can they email you? Can they write you letters?

JOSH WOLF: If they visit my website [. . .] my blog that they can read about what's going on, there's a resource page that explains the situation a little better. And at the bottom, it says, “mail me.” Right there is my address. And if you don't want to send snail mail, you can just click the email button and send an email to freejosh(at)joshwolf.net, and those will get printed and sent to me. But please do include your snail mail address, because I can't email you back.
. . .

AMY GOODMAN: When we interviewed you for the brief respite that you got out of jail in September, live in studio at the Link TV studios in San Francisco, we also talked to the San Francisco Chronicle reporter—two reporters there also face imprisonment for not revealing sources in exposing the steroid Barry Bonds case, what you were talking about, but they have not gone to jail. What's the difference?

JOSH WOLF: The legal difference is not much. It clearly shows how the government's deciding to deal with corporate media versus an independent journalist, is that they've said, well, we're not going to make you go to jail until the Ninth District rules one way or the other, and then the Ninth District's hearings have been pushed back and pushed back and pushed back. Mine, on the other hand—I was escorted into custody from the courtroom the day I was ruled in contempt. The Ninth Circuit ruled, while I was in custody—or actually the Ninth Circuit spent a month waiting to determine whether or not to grant me bail -- granted me bail, passed it on to the next panel. That panel ruled, and then immediately they said I needed to go back into custody while we still had another level of Ninth Circuit appeals pending. So it's definitely a divergence between how the government’s handled my situation as an independent journalist and how they've dealt with the corporate media, who has also been found in civil contempt.
. . .

Look around you. If they're sending me to jail for essentially no charges, what's next? We need to wake up. We need to come to terms with the government we have right now and demand a change, demand a free media that's not encumbered by interference, that doesn't force journalists to act as agents of the state, that truly is free, both in terms of corporate control and government control, and hopefully if we demand it, we'll have it.
. . .

MARTIN GARBUS (Wolf's attorney): I think that what he said, namely, that they're investigating what may have been an attempt -- may have been an attempt to set fire to a police car, you don't set up grand juries in order to see whether or not there was a crime or not. You have a grand jury to investigate something that is a crime. I think the significant thing here is that the grand jury subpoena has been issued by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, so I think that you should put the Josh Wolf stuff aside, in a way, namely whatever happened at that particular demonstration, I think it's an attempt to get at people who were critical of the Bush administration. There is no crime—there is no grand jury sitting right now in the state court. There is no crime being considered in the state court. The whole question of whatever happened to a policeman is a state court problem. You could not issue a subpoena out of the federal court to investigate what is a state court problem. There is no investigation of any kind going on, so far as we know, in the federal court. So there's no reason to hold him, and we have made this argument, and the argument has been rejected.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think is going on?

MARTIN GARBUS: I think basically it's an attempt by the government—the Joint Terrorism Task Force is controlled out of Washington. I think it's an attempt, as Josh said, to learn the identity of people who are hostile to this administration. And the people who were at the demonstration, in addition to demonstrating about the subject of the demonstration, also had anti-Bush signs, also had anti-Iraq signs. Now, this subpoena was issued, as we know, early last year. I think that what you see is an attempt by the Bush administration to crack down on its critics.


Anonymous brinn said...

damn I hate blogger -- awesome post A.


12:13 AM  
Blogger janinsanfran said...

Wonder if it will undercut MSM support for Josh now that Vincent Conte's lawyer has admitted being the source for the two Chron reporters. Story here. Also, Josh's judge has called for "a mediator" whatever that means.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Arcturus said...

o, thanks for those links! I hadn't heard either of these stories. I think the press realizes that relying on the '96 SC decision w/out a shield law will always leave them vulnerable. that no matter how much some might want to distinguish j miller's situation (she was part of the crime sorts stuff), the law the subpoenas draw on, that she submitted to, makes no such differentiation. ironic isn't it, that on a facts 'n principles basis, Josh's case is much 'cleaner' than either hers or teh chron guys?

1:22 AM  
Blogger Arcturus said...

I wonder if the Judge Alsop is feeling a little heat after the recent round of publicity? sending it down to a federal magistrate is odd (they usually handle pre-trial motions, procedural matters & other lowlevel stuff as far as I understand). creative way of getting it off his desk for the time being?

1:28 AM  

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