[Ppnews] Help Journalist Fight Army subpoena

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 29 14:03:00 EST 2007

Hi friends and colleagues:
Please forgive this mass email, and self promotion. As
you may know, I've been subpoenaed by the Army to
testify about an interview I did with 1st Lt. Ehren
Watada, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy
to Iraq.

I have taken the position that it's not a journalist's
job to participate in the government prosecution of
personal, political speech, and that the subpoenas
erode the barrier between press and government, chill
speech, stifle debate and subvert the notion of a
press free of government meddling.

I've gotten really amazing and diverse support: from
the National Press Club issuing a release last week
denouncing the subpoenas, to antiflag posting a
message on their blog doing the same! I'm asking that
you all do two things, if you are willing to spend a
few quick minutes lending a hand.

First, go to the web site
http://www.defendthepress.org to send a letter to the
Army and the Pentagon asking that they drop the
subpoenas of journalists in the Lt. Watada
court-martial. Also, you can sign onto the journalist
open letter calling on the Army to "back off." :)

Second, please send an announcement/alert to your own
friends, colleagues, lists and networks. I would love
to be be able to deliver thousands of emails and
letters to the Army by the end of the week, and I
really need help getting that accomplished! I've
drafted up a sample alert below. Feel free to edit at
will and send out to whomever you'd like!

Also, free free to call or email off list if you have
any thoughts or questions.
Thanks so much for your help with this!
Sarah Olson
415 298 5573

In May of 2006 journalist Sarah Olson did an exclusive
interview with U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren
Watada, just before he became the highest-ranking
member of the military to publicly refuse to deploy to
Iraq. Now, Olson has been subpoenaed to testify as
an Army witness in the Lieutenant’s February 5th

Lieutenant Watada is facing 5 charges: one for not
going to Iraq, and four charges of “conduct unbecoming
an officer and a gentleman.” Each of the latter four
charges are based on statements he made regarding his
reasons for refusing to deploy to Iraq. To make these
speech related charges stick, the Army formally served
Olson and another journalist with subpoenaes, and
several other reporters have been placed on the
witness list.

Olson believes that journalists should not be asked to
participate in the government prosecution of personal,
political speech. Doing so erodes the barriers between
press and government, subverts the notion of a free
press, chills speech, stifles debate, and scares
journalists away from covering controversial topics.
And she’s not alone. Women In Media & News, The
Society of Professional Journalists, PEN American
Center, the National Press Club and the editorial
board of the Los Angeles Times have joined her in
protest. Scores of prominent journalists and authors ­
from Howard Zinn to Gloria Steinem, Barbara Ehrenreich
to Sydney Schanberg -- have decried the government’s
attempt to control the gather and distribution of

We are asking that you join the growing ranks of
protesting the Army’s attempts to use journalists to
silence the personal political speech of dissenting
members of the military. Go to
http://www.defendthepress.org today and send letters
to the Army and the Pentegon, asking  that they drop
the subpoenas of journalists in the Lt. Watada
court-martial. Tell members of Congress that all media
workers must be free to report the news, and that
people must be able to speak with journalists without
fear of retribution or censure.

To read more about Sarah Olson's principled stand
against government censorship of personal, political
speech, see:

Sarah Olson discussing her case on Democracy Now!:

Defend The Press:

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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