Longest jailed journalist in American history freed
Josh Wolf was jailed for protecting source materials (footage of an anti-free-trade protest) for longer than any other journalist in American history -- more than seven months. He was freed yesterday after agreeing to forfeit the video tape in question. But you don't have to wait for the feds to vet it. He posted the thoroughly uneventful footage on his blog HERE, stating:
I had wanted to reveal to you, the public, how ridiculous and without merit this matter is, but could not publish this tape until I had received assurances from the US Attorney that it would not be considered partial compliance and strengthen their claims that I might eventually be coerced.Here's his statement upon being released, delivered at San Francisco's City Hall:
In his dissenting opinion in the case of US v Coldwell (1972), Justice William O. Douglas wrote these prescient words which are not only significant to my case, but also reflect the greater state of affairs in the United States today: Ã¢â‚¬Å“As the years pass, the power of government becomes more and more pervasive. It is a power to suffocate both people and causes. Those in power, whatever their politics, want only to perpetuate it. Now that the fences of the law and the tradition that protected the press are broken down, the people are the victims. The First Amendment, as I read it, was designed precisely to prevent that tragedy.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Contrary to popular opinion, this legal entanglement which has held me in Federal Prison for the past eight months, has never been about a videotape nor is the investigation about the alleged attempted arson of a San Francisco police vehicle as the government claims. While it is true that I was held in custody for refusing to surrender the tape and that the justification for making a federal case out of this was the police car, things are not always as they appear. The reality is that this investigation is...