From an email sent by John Stauber of Defend the Press:

Late tonight the US Army announced it has dropped its subpoena of Sarah Olson in the Ehren Watada court martial.

The news broke in an article in the Honolulu Advertiser.

This is a great victory for journalist Sarah Olson and our Defend the Press coalition. It is a testament to what one determined and courageous reporter can accomplish in the face of government intimidation. These subpoenas were quite simply an effort to harass journalists who are reporting on the growing anti-war sentiment among rank and file soldiers. It strikes a blow for press freedom and for free speech.

In a news release Sarah Olson made a statement which reads in part, "Personally, I am pleased that the Army no longer seeks my participation in their prosecution of Lieutenant Watada. Far more importantly, this should be seen as a victory for the rights of journalists in the U.S. to gather and disseminate news free from government intervention, and for the rights of individuals to express personal, political opinions to journalists without fear of retribution or censure. … Journalists are subpoenaed with an alarming frequency, and when they do not cooperate they are sometimes imprisoned. Videographer Josh Wolf has languished in federal prison for over 160 days, after refusing to give federal grand jury investigators his unpublished video out takes. It is clear that we must continue to demand that the separation between press and government be strong, and that the press be a platform for all perspectives, regardless of their popularity with the current administration."

"While I am glad to see the subpoena against me in this court-martial dismissed," Olson adds, "I still worry about the US military using this tactic to chill dissenting voices and whistle blowers from coming forward in the future. We need to be vigilant at this critical time in our country's history in order to push back against these tactics."

On Thursday, February 1st, the Defend the Press coalition and Sarah Olson will hold a news conference in Washington, DC, at The National Press Club to celebrate this victory and address the ongoing fight for press freedom.

The Center for Media and Democracy founded the Defend the Press coalition on January 24, 2007. Among its supporters are notable journalists, authors and free speech activists including Phil Donahue, producer and commentator; Sydney Schanberg, author; Linda K. Foley, president, The Newspaper Guild-CWA; Larry Gross, director, School of Communication, Annenberg School, USC; Tony Kushner, playwright; Robert McChesney, founder, Free Press; Geneva Overholser, professor, University of Missouri School of Journalism; Gloria Steinem, publisher, journalist; Jerry Zremski, journalist and president, National Press Club.

All this talk about escalation and withdrawal


I got this from a friend in Belgium.  The English translation has some issues, but you get the point.  Pardon my French, but this whole Bush plan for more US troops in Iraq is totally foutu!

What's with all this sexual imagery of "withdrawal" and "escalation."  Or as Condy Rice called it, "augmentation."  C'mon folks, this is a WAR here, we aren't talking about breast implants or lip injections.

2 Brilliant Articles About The New, Net-based New Left

Micah Sifry posted links on 19 January to 2 excellent articles about the "New New Left," its relationship with the Internet, and how it compares to the "Old New Left" of the 1960's and 70's:

Start with Matt Stoller's brave effort at a comprehensive explanation of the rise of the net-roots entitled "What is this New Movement?", and then turn to Mark Schmitt's amplifications and clarifications.

These two articles are a must-read for activists, anybody interested in the the relationship between technology and social change, and anybody who wishes to understand the MoveOn-phenomenon and the context for new, up-and-coming groups like, who want to make the MoveOn organizing model global.

The effectiveness of online petitions and emails to decision makers

From Click Here for Change: Your Guide to the E-Advocacy Revolution (pg 16-17):

A study conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation found that not all tactics for reaching out to legislators carry the same weight and that Internet communications, while easier to accomplish than other approaches, do not necessarily mean less impact. When legislative staffers were asked to rank the impact of different communication methods on the decision making of congressional members, they clearly indicated…that online and offline communications— particularly individualized emails or letters—do indeed have influence.

The study confirmed a principle that the receipt of 50 thoughtful email messageswritten in constituents’ own words would be more effective than 300 identical form messages, even if delivered via postal mail.  Moreover, congressional staff overwhelmingly felt that large numbers of email messages, which are easier to organize and respond to, are preferable to an unwieldy onslaught of faxes that are difficult to respond to and consume costly office supplies.

A key message of this study is that a mix of online and offline approaches, which are both targeted and strategic, provide a more robust approach to advocacy than a single approach. The key is to balance activities in the online and offline worlds that reinforce the campaign’s core strategy.  

Best Quote Ever