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Blogger Jailed Longer Than Any Other Modern Journalist

Posted on Feb 8, 2007
Josh Wolf
AP Photo / Benjamin Sklar

Josh Wolf speaks to the press last September in San Francisco.

Josh Wolf has been in prison for more than 170 days—longer than any other journalist in modern history. The freelance videographer and blogger has been held since he refused to hand over footage of WTO protesters to authorities because, he says, the precedent would make journalists “de facto deputies and investigators” for law enforcement.

Los Angeles Times:

In a statement posted on his blog Tuesday, Wolf—who sold some of his footage to San Francisco television stations—explained his decision not to comply with the grand jury’s request.

“If the U.S. attorney can compel journalists to testify about what they’ve learned through their work and to force them to turn over their unpublished materials, then not only will the public be unable to trust reporters, but journalists themselves will become de facto deputies and investigators,” read the message attributed to Wolf at

Supporters contend that his case is similar to that of two San Francisco Chronicle reporters, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, who face up to 18 months in federal prison for refusing to cooperate with subpoenas to name their confidential sources for leaked grand jury testimony about steroid use in major league baseball. Last month, two congressmen called on Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales to withdraw those subpoenas.

California, like several other states, has a shield law that protects journalists employed by news organizations from having to disclose unnamed sources or produce unpublished materials. That state law does not apply to Wolf, however, because his case is being tried in federal court.

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By Bob Gamboa, February 9, 2007 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You’re exaggerating when you say Wolf has been jailed “longer than any other journalist in modern history.” You’re forgetting Terry Anderson, the Associated Press correspondent who was held by Shiite Muslims in Beirut for six-and-a-half-years. You should qualify your statement by saying “longest held journo in a U.S. prison.”

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By Druthers, February 9, 2007 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
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While all our gouvernment officials are loud mouthing about “being an example” to the world, the real examples are given by Negroponte and Gonzales along with all the others who should have been put away long ago.  Instead they will retire, with pensions, healthcare and all the other necessities of life.
Will it be indicated if they move into your neighborhood?  I would not want one of them living next door to me any more than any other criminal predator.
Is there a committee to help Josh Wolf?  Who wiil be next?

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By LSI, February 9, 2007 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The grand juri requested the disclosure. What did they know that we don’t know? Are they completely at will of the government?
  The executive branch of the government acted as it should act. It is the other branches of government that failed us. Do we have sufficient protection of our rights? Does our government undergo consolidation, as our businesses do? 
  In any case, journalists have to be protected from the procecution while doing their job. It is a necessary condition for the society to be democratic.

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By JP, February 9, 2007 at 11:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You Jerry FoolAll, and all the rest of the worlds wacked out clerics, are thee ground zero force that is totally confusing the sensibility that we, citizens of the world, are capable of obtaining.

F Bush   F Cheney   and   F the right wing pricks and banks all across the world that have all of us by the nuts. This BS has gone on long enough.

And you know that this is barely the tip of the iceberg.
Do you think that if our systems, in the “land of the free”, are capable of the crimes committed against poor Josh, that we have a chance in hell of managing the issues coming down the pike?

We very much need some very fundamental change or we will not make it.
Keep bloging People. This is our only chance.

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By Frank Delgado, February 9, 2007 at 9:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

lets get behind him with actions to expedite his release.  Lets putting pressure are our ” elected officials” to call for his releases.

While we are bad mouth the govt he sits in Jail. Lets get him out then bad mouth the govt

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By Lefty, February 9, 2007 at 6:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is conclusive proof of the fascist dictatorship that the U.S. has become.  A journalist is in jail for failing to assist the U.S. government’s promotion of corporatism - the WTO.

The experiment has finally failed!  Thanks Bush, you miserable POS!

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By Jon Dee, February 9, 2007 at 6:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anoher proof that USA & its european allies are turning into police states just like Nazi Germany!

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By Outraged, February 9, 2007 at 3:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Does anybody realize just how “convienient” it is to scapegoat the “little guy”.  I think the current “authorities” (althougth what they’re an authority “OF” in any sense of reality is CRIMINAL at best) are just users and abusers of the systematic elimination of TRUTH and JUSTICE.  I believe this is the very enity Sen. McCain was targeting when he started targeting the internet for “misinformation”. Had I known he (Josh) was imprisioned I would have sent him some home-baked cookies.  GOOD FOR YOU JOSH WOLF!  I consider you a TRUE-BLUE AMERICAN HERO!  KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

To REQUIRE that the “little guy” nark out the “little guy” for ASSERTING THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS is a nazi/facist tactic through and through.


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By Bert, February 8, 2007 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess that’s the law of unintended consequences part, of all of this…with your jet packs and flying cars comes the digital democracy…digital law enforcement, 24/7/365 news, and and and…

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By RAE, February 8, 2007 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment
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Wolf is, of course, a POLITICAL PRISONER in the Land of the Free.

It’s such hypocrisy for the USA to attempt to lecture the Chinas and Russias on human rights, etc. American “authorities” are every bit as ruthless and thugish as those in these “foreign” regimes. Where they can’t get a law passed to allow them to trash individual rights, they become scofflaws and do whatever they want undercover. The average citizen doesn’t stand a ghost of chance against them.

It’s amazing that so few freedom-loving Americans just sit back and allow these fascists to shred their constitutional rights. I’m almost at the point of saying ‘if you’re that stupid and lazy then you deserve to lose your freedoms.’

I used to be dead against allowing citizens to own, let alone carry, guns. But I understand now that outlaw “authorities” leave them no choice. In the USA you NEED a weapon just to protect your basic human rights. Disgusting.

Enjoy the coming police state!

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