Tuesday, January 30, 2007  

The US Government v Sarah Olson, Independent Journalist

I am absolutely delighted to say that the US Government has dropped its decision to subpoena SF-Bay Area-based independent journalist Sarah Olson in support of its case against Lt. Ehren Watada who is due to be courtmartialed in early February.

In developing its case of "conduct unbecoming" against Lt. Watada who has refused to continue to serve in Iraq (in what he considers an immoral military action), the US Government subpoenaed Sarah Olson based on interviews of Watada she published. The US Government also threatened to do the same to independent journalist Dahr Jamail, despite his strenuous objections.

While the prosecution is within its rights to call various people, the act of calling journalists to testify to and comment upon material they wrote connected to the individual before the court (especially a court-martial) walks a very fine line between a free press and indirect censorship through legal intimidation.

In this case, it is/was the independent press which is secondarily on trial here. While the subpoena does not strike directly at the concept of a free press, it does cast a chilling pall over the whole process of independent reporting and the War on Terror, the War in Iraq and the upcoming War in Iran (don't think that's coming? Wait til we take out the wrong Iranian in Iraq). This is particularly insidious under this Administration which has sought to silence, intimidate and render inactive the alternative press through vicious anti-free speech propaganda to outright attempts at manipulation.

For more on this situation and to sign a few petitions directed at preserving freedom of the press (First Amendment), go here.

A free press is the hallmark of a healthy democracy.

Zazouster, thanks for writing this. I've been awol online a while and I had received an (I'm on the list)email from the Dahr Jamail site about this situation. Phew! I'm assuming that he's off the hook as well. So girl, I have been wondering, are you just a patron of sorts of artists, or are you an artist yourself? And which medium? (you're not allowed to be self depreciating)
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