Benefit for a journalist in jail (Josh Wolf)


Benefit for a journalist in jail (Josh Wolf)

By Bruce B. Brugmann (B3)

The item below was sent out by Riley Manlapaz, the Guardian’s ace promotions manager, to our email action list for a Saturday night benefit for Josh Wolf, who was jailed on Aug. l for refusing to honor a federal grand jury subpoena for the “out-takes” of his filming of an anarchist rally against the G-8 Summit Bush Administration economic and foreign policies.

I think Wolf’s arrest is a direct strike by Bush and the Attorney General against the City and County of San Francisco, the nation’s leading center of dissent and reportage critical of Bush and the Iraq war. The federal threat to jail the Chronicle reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, for their superb reporting in the Balco/Bonds case, only makes this point even stronger and more ominous.

If Bush can get away with putting reporters in jail in San Francisco, he can do it anywhere he wants with impunity and he can impose a chilling effect all across the land. His new weapon: claiming federal jurisdiction in a local case involving local law enforcement on the dangerous basis that a police car that was burned during the demonstration was paid for in federal money. (Actually, as the police report shows, only a rear tail light on the police car was damaged.) But the point is that, with federal money pouring into local communities all over the country, from Homeland Security money up and down, the feds can consider almost anything is under federal jurisdiction and they can move against reporters (and protesters) with federal muscle and jail power. From Hearst/Chronicle reporters to a 24-year-old freelance filmmaker, nobody in the media is safe for the duration, inside or outside San Francisco.

Go to the website of the California First Amendment Coalition ( for its resolution condemning the federal contempt sanctions against the reporters and for the full text of an amicus brief making the First Amendment arguments but also making a new and persuasive legal basis for a reporter’s privilege. See Sarah Phelan’s entry at the politics blog and our ongoing coverage. And much, much more!!! B3

Join musicians and activists to raise money for the legal fees of Josh Wolf, the journalist incarcerated for contempt of court for his refusal to hand over unedited video “out-takes” he shot of a anti-G-8 rally held in the Mission on July 8, 2005. Spoken word artist Diamond Dave Whitaker of Enemy Combatant Radio, Oregon-based musician John Staedler, and DJ Chuck Gonzalez perform. Admission is free but donations will be greatly appreciated. Speakers on Wolf's behalf include Liz Wolf-Spada, his mother; Krissy Keefer, the Green party congressional candidate in the Eighth District; and Harland Harrison, the Libertarian congressional candidate in San Mateo. 7pm-9:30pm. Can't attend? Please consider donating online at
August 19 @ Dance Mission, 3316 24th St