Today on Democracy now, Josh Wolf has his chance to voice his feelings on this issue.
Wolf’s imprisonment has prompted outcries by advocates for freedom of the press who say it is out of proportion to the scale of the investigation. Lucie Morrillon of Reporters without Borders has stated ''this is one more example of the increasing attacks on confidentiality of sources in the United States, one more blow to investigative journalism and, eventually, to the right for American people to be informed. This is a bad signal sent to the rest of the world.''
On Friday we spoke with Josh Wolf from his jail cell in Dublin California. I began by asking him why he was in prison.
Josh Wolf, independent journalist. For more information on his case visit Joshwolf.net
We asked a spokesman for the U.S Attorney's office to join us on the program today. They declined our invitation - but Luke Macaulay, spokesperson for the U.S Attorney's office for the Northern District of California sent a statement. It reads: "We have an obligation to the community to investigate and gather evidence of serious crimes. The incident is under investigation so that the grand jury can determine what, if any, crimes were committed. As our court filings state, Wolf videotaped a public demonstration where there may have been an attempt to set a police car ablaze, and where a San Francisco Police Officer's skull was fractured when he was hit from behind by a demonstrator. Six separate judges - one federal Magistrate Judge, two federal District Court Judges, and a panel of three 9th Circuit Judges - have now ruled that this office has issued a lawful subpoena for legitimate investigative purposes, and that the material and testimony in question should be provided to the grand jury."
The interview goes on to his lawyer, who states the obvious flaws in the federal courts argument and charges.
Martin Garbus is Josh Wolf's attorney. Time Magazine calls him "one of the best trial lawyers in the country," while the National Law Journal has named him one of the country's top ten litigators. He joins me in the studio today.
Martin Garbus , First Amendment lawyer and a partner in the law firm of Davis & Gilbert LLP. He is an attorney for Josh Wolf. He is also author of the new book, "The Next 25 Years: The New Supreme Court and What It Means for Americans."
MARTIN GARBUS: 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.
Josh Wolf's final statement was a plea to Americans to wake up and see what could happen to them even if they think they are immune to it.
JOSH WOLF: 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.
This is a long interview so please go to the site and read it.
Be afraid- be very afraid!