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Journalist Josh Wolf returns to federal jail

San Francisco holds fundraiser, tunes message of solidarity against Bush administration persecution

Josh Wolf spent his last few hours of temporary freedom at San Francisco's Crash Bar where a fundraiser was held to raise funds to help pay Wolf's rent while incarcerated. Wolf was ordered jailed August 1, 2006 by US Judge William Alsup for refusing to turn over videotape of a San Francisco G-8 demonstration turned melee in 2005, to a U.S. Federal Grand Jury. .
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

September 24, 2006

Journalist Josh Wolf, temporarily freed on bail from federal prison, spent his last few hours of freedom on Friday rallying for a call to action against the Federal Government's persecution of the very freedoms afforded the press by the forefathers of the great U.S. Constitution.

The fundraising event, held at the Crash Bar in San Francisco, was organized by several independent media organizations and attended by several San Francisco elected officials, concerned that Josh Wolf's incarceration is emblematic of a sinister motivation by the U.S. Federal Government to use members of the press as an investigatory arm for Bush-administration purposes; to identify, persecute and prosecute Bush administration policy foes.

In a short but eloquent speech Wolf implored, "The more of us that speak up the harder it will be for them to put forth their agenda.

"Look inside yourself and ask yourself, are we on solid ground? Are we doing and saying what we really believe?"

Wolf explained he is protecting the release of unpublished portions of his videotape because he believes the unpublished segments will be used by federal agents to identify demonstrators and to squash dissent.

Wolf also said he fears the federal prosecution of journalists will negatively impact whistleblower willingness to talk to reporters, further diminishing the effectiveness of a free and independent press.

Federal investigators have said they are interested in Wolf's videotape footage solely for the purpose of prosecuting protestors who may have committed acts of vandalism on federally funded property during a G8 demonstration turned melee, on July 8, 2005.

The federal property in this case is a San Francisco Police Department car that sustained minor damage to a tail light.

Bruce Brugmann, Publisher and Executive Editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper, began his speech asking the all ears audience to consider why the Federal Government has expressed aninterest in Wolf's videotape.

"I just met Josh Wolf in person tonight, and I can't figure out why he's so dangerous," Brugmann said.

"Can anyone tell me why he's so dangerous?"

Bruce Brugmann

Brugmanm has been a staunch supporter of civil liberties, freedom of the press, and free speech since the inaugural launch of the San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper in 1963.

"There's a hell-of-a lot more going on than putting Josh Wolf and the two Chronicle reporters in jail. This move by the US Attorney's Office, the Attorney General of the United States comes, I think, directly from the White House, the Pentagon and the nexus of power in Washington... to anaesthetize the movement here in San Francisco on the issue of war and the issue of beating Bush."

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, sponsor of a resolution in support of Wolf following Wolf's incarceration, said, "I am here tonight in support of Josh Wolf and everything this illegal incarceration represents. The incarceration and persecution of Josh Wolf could not be more un-American."

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi

"The issue here is certainly about the illegal incarceration of Josh Wolf and violating his protections as a member of the free press. But more importantly, we are witnessing the unraveling of the very fabric that made this country great."

Mirkarimi said when a government actively persecutes dissent, using all the branches of government to silence opposition; the citizenry will eventually rise up and be forced to consider civil disobedience to make their values and their voices heard. Mirkarimi went as far as to suggest, "Maybe it's time for a new revolution?"

Julian Davis, Josh Wolf, Frank Chu (with twelfth galaxy extra-terrestrial anagram) and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

San Francisco Entertainment Commissioner Terrance Alan.

Ed Jew, Richard Knee and Doug Comstock

Jane Kim, Josh Wolf and Kimo Crossman

Kevin Epps, author of Straight Outta Hunters Point

Supervisor Chris Daly and Josh Wolf




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