Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

Second Wolf mediation attempt fails

All are mum

Journalist Josh Wolf remains in federal prison following U.S. District Judge William Alsup's order that Wolf be detained. Wolf was ordered jailed August 1, 2006 by Alsup for refusing to turn over videotape of a San Francisco G-8 demonstration turned melee in 2005 to a federal grand jury.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Richard Knee

April 2, 2007

Freelance blogger/videographer Josh Wolf remains in federal prison after a second, three hour mediation session failed today to resolve differences with the U.S. Department of Justice over the latter's insistence that he let the federal grand jury in San Francisco have raw video footage of a July 2005 anarchists' demonstration, and that he testify before the grand jury about what he observed at the event.

All parties in the dispute remain under a gag order, so there is no telling what, if any, progress occurred during today's talks, or when or if further negotiations will take place.

Wolf has been kept in near isolation for all but three weeks since last Aug. 1 at the federal prison in Dublin, Calif., for upholding the principle of an independent Fourth Estate. No other journalist has ever been imprisoned longer in this country.

Only his immediate family and his attorneys are allowed to visit him, and he sits in a single-occupancy cell, permitted into the prison exercise yard for just one hour every other day. He has not been charged with a crime, yet his treatment is harsher than that meted out to violent felons.

The conduct in this case by the San Francisco Police Department, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, prosecutor Jeffrey Finigan of the U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco, the grand jury and U.S. District Judge William Alsup is outrageous. There is ample evidence that Wolf does not have on tape, or in his own memory, the information that they claim to seek.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup

Moreover, it is difficult to believe that undercover police and/or intelligence agents captured plenty of video footage and still photographs of the demonstration, and that the information purportedly sought from Wolf is not readily available from police and/or intelligence sources.

Then there is the overriding issue of whether journalists should be forced to become police or prosecutorial agents. First Amendment advocates continue to respond to that question with a resounding "No!"

The persecution of Wolf is an egregious misuse of taxpayer dollars, and it is for no other purpose than to make people afraid to talk to reporters, and to exercise their First Amendment rights of public dissent and peaceable assembly. It is also part of an effort by governments at all levels to control the volume, flow and content of information that reaches the public.

This poses a grave danger to our democracy, and it underscores the need for a federal shield law upholding the rights of journalists and news outlets to protect source identities and to keep possession of unpublished/unaired materials, and stipulating to a minimal role by government entities, officials and employees in determining who is or is not a journalist.

Unless the impasse is broken, Wolf will remain imprisoned until the grand jury's term expires -- in July, unless the panel's term is extended for six months.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa