I just saw this really disturbing story about a journo/activista, Josh Wolf, who was just sent to FEDERAL prison because he refused to turn over video tape to a judge investigating alleged arson (attempt to burn a police car) that occured during an anarchist demonstration on July 8, 2005. Not just Journo Jail, not even "Double Jail", but FEDERAL PRISON:
And here's a link to the video that he has published online:
What exactly are the limits of what courts can request of journalists? Where are the lines being drawn? The judge, William Alsup, after the hearing (in which Wolf was found in contempt) had this to say:
Every person, from the president of the United States down to you and me, has to give information to the grand jury if the grand jury wants it.And he's right because the shield laws for jounalists in California do not apply to Federal cases (the police car is federal property because the city police receive federal funds).
Here is a Wikipedia link about Freedom of the Press (in case you were wondering).
What I want to know is, does the tape Wolf took actually show a police car being burned? If it does, should he turn it over or still refuse? Okay, here's my take on this: Videotaping your stupid anarchist pals attempting to shove a burning mattress under a police car is just plain stupid. You start the tape after the mattress is under the car and your friends are safely ensconced in the next county, okay? If you're going to be a g-d d'd anarchist activist journo at least have the sense to not implicate your friends. Also, if you're going to be on the other end of the camera and you are a naive anarchist activist protesting the G8 summit, here is a short list of things you should not do:
1. Throw things at businesses.
2. Throw things belonging to businesses into the street.
3. Break into businesses and steal things.
You see, following just these three things (and I could go on and on about things you shouldn't do at a protest march) will make your experience, and the experience of those around you, less hellish in the long run. Because, even though you are a 20 year old anarchist activist who hates corporations and/or massive government invading every facet of your life (and who doesn't?), doing the above three things will not only possibly land you in jail, but also enrage the businesses large and small and cause them to cement in their minds a very good reason why anarchist activists should be eradicated. Do you see the logic, idiot 20 year old anarchist activist? If you act like an a-hole in public (instead of in the privacy of your own commune, like lots of other rational folks do) people will naturally conclude that YOU ARE AN A-HOLE and deserve to be locked away.
And, if you are a anarchist activist journo who happens to be taping your friends being a-holes in public (are you getting tired of me saying "a-hole" instead of "asshole" yet? My posts are clean, okay?) then you will not only be locked away, but put in FEDERAL PRISON when you try to do your ethical journalistic duty by not revealing your sources -- in effect, living up to the ideal of Freedom of the Press which supposedly the first amendment guarantees for you and me.
The frightening lesson here, kids, is that unless you are just as devious and mean-spirited as the people who wish to jail and suppress your kind because you are essentially right about a lot of things, you will be neutralized.
Boy, I love being able to rant and only provide the least amount of anectdotal evidence I possibly can. Ain't America great?
*With apologies to all those who previously called a moratorium on play-ons related to the Three 6 Mafia fiasco by a similar name.