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Josh’s Benefit Speech Dec 7th

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 2 months ago

Josh’s Speech for his Benefit 12/7/06



The last time I was in San Francisco, I was transported in the back of a US Marshal’s van. Shackles bound my feet[ my wrists were handcuffed together; and a chain was wrapped around my waist and through the cuffs. Despite being tightly bound and crammed into a sweltering van, it felt refreshing to be back in the city. To be back home. Trust me on thus one, the Tenderloin never looked so good.


I’d been shuttled in to attend a hearing on my request for a Thanksgiving furlough and to offer Judge Alsup the opportunity to screen the complete video in his chambers. Both requests were denied. Before returning to my holding cell Alsup extolled America as having the greatest press freedom and described the US as “This great country which has allowed you to be a journalist”.’ As he continued he stated that “ Sometimes your country asks for something back”.


And so I ask each of you to consider the gravity of these words, delivered by a federal judge. Does a democracy allow me to be a journalist? Or is it my inalienable right to capture and describe the world I see around me?


By engaging in such pursuits should I become indebted to the government and forced to act as a de facto agent for the FBI? Is this the cost of committing journalism in a democratic country? I certainly hope not.


And yet I continue to sit in a Federal prison for refusing to engage in such an exchange. I’ve lost my appeals. My legal fight has come to a close and it is now up to each of you who value a free and independant press to step up and demand it.


The time has come to free the media. We need an inclusive federal shield law and we need it now. So call your friends, write letters to your congress people, and exercise your right to assemble. It’s not too late to turn the tide.


I look forward to joining this struggle when I get back to San Francisco as a free man and rejoicing with all of you in celebration of my release. Until then, goodnight and good luck.

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