(Freelance journalist and anarchist Josh Wolf has refused to turn over videotapes of a protest being investigated by a federal grand jury. Online Journalism Review has written about his case; you can read more in Wikipedia. In December I promised to write about his case every Friday until he is freed. Spread the word. – Tom Abate aka MiniMediaGuy).
Last week hopes rose and fell after a court-ordered mediation failed to find a face-saving way for Josh to win his freedom. Supporters are now being urged to write to a newly-appointed federal prosecutor to give the case another look. Some folks have promised to hold vigils outside the federal court building in San Francisco where his jailers work.
Please click through for details. It’s time to end the most misguided act of prosecutorial zeal since Javert made Jean Valjean miserable for stealing a loaf of French bread.
Most of this information comes from Liz Wolf Spada who is Josh’s mom. I haven’t met the woman (or her son for that matter) but if I ever land in the pokey for a princpled stand, I think I’ll ask her to adopt me. She writes:
Josh has suggested that it might help if we all wrote letters to the new US Attorney Scott Schools, both email and followed by snail mail. I think it would be most effective for everyone to compose their own letter with these points in mind:
Urge him to drop the case as an assault upon civil liberties of free speech and free press.
The police car in question suffered very minor damage (a broken tail light) and Josh’s punishment is disproportionate to any minor crimes he could have filmed from the location he was at during the protest.
It sends a very harmful message to Americans and to the world about the state of press freedoms in the United States
He has support from professional journalist groups including the Reporters Committe to Protect the Press, Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalist, National Newspaper Guild, and two awards from Northern California Society of Professional Journalists
I’d add one other thing. Keep a level tone. It’s hard for people to focus on your words when you’re hurling verbal insults. Here are the addresses:
By snail mail: The Honorable Scott Schools, United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, 11th Floor, San Francisco, California 94102-3495
By email, send it to his assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org and she will refer it.
About the planned vigil: Wolf supporter Len Harrison (his website) plans to add the “Free Josh Wolf” banner to an Iraq War protest being organized by MoveOn.org on Monday, March 19. Harrison writes in part:
I will be there from 8 until the end of the MoveOn vigil. Please join me and leave as time and energy permits, although it would be great if some folks could try to make it for the latter part of things so that Josh Wolf is prominent within the MoveOn protest. At present I am uncertain of the schedule beyond Monday. At some point I will make this a five day a week thing, ten hours a day for myself . . . Down the road from that, I’ll go in the direction of 24/7 and eventually will begin a hunger strike. . . Please email me if you . . . are planning on taking part len (at) lharrison.net.