Dangerous Attack on Journalist in Lynne Stewart Case

Revolutionary Worker #1224, December 28, 2003, posted at rwor.org

Bill Weinberg, editor of the online magazine WW3 Report , has come under attack by the the federal prosecutor who is targetting the attorney Lynne Stewart. This attack stems from an interview WW3 Report did with Stewart. A formal letter was sent to Weinberg via Federal Express on November 14th, which, according to the online political newsletter Counter-Punch, demands that Weinberg turn over "the complete text" of an interview he did with Stewart as well as any other notes and material related to the interview.

The letter goes on to straight-up threaten Weinberg, "If you do not comply voluntarily, this Office may seek approval from the Attorney General for the issuance of subpoena to compel you to produce the materials and testify."

According to CounterPunch Weinberg has refused to cooperate with the request. Many other people need to step up--to have his back.

We do not yet have the full picture of what federal authorities are threatening to do to Weinberg. What is clear, however, is that such actions against a progressive journalist represent yet another precedent- setting maneuver by Ashcroft and Co. Government demands for the notes and materials of journalists are an outrage. And if they succeed it would have a dangerous impact on the ability of journalists --including especially those from progressive and revolutionary news sources --to bring out those truths the government wants to suppress.

This attack on Weinberg is all the more sharp and outrageous because it is being made in connection with another repressive and precedent-setting move: the prosecution of attorney Lynne Stewart.

Stewart defended a prominent Islamic cleric accused of "seditious conspiracy" and now finds herself legally charged with "conspiring to provide and conceal material support to terrorist activity." Threatening this prominent defense lawyer with prison for her work is clearly an attempt to prevent lawyers from defending people accused in this "war on terrorism."

Everyone, including other journalists, needs to work hard to make sure that these federal threats on Bill Weinberg are widely known. This cannot be allowed to be a new legal precedent restricting the freedom of the press. It simply must not be allowed to go down unopposed.