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Oakland freelancer gets military subpoena

Sarah Olson, an independent journalist and radio producer based in Oakland, says that she has been subpoenaed by the U.S. military to testify as a witness for the government in the prosecution of Army Lt. Ehren Watada, who is being court martialed for refusing to serve in Iraq. Olson interviewed Watada in May about his reasons for refusing to go to Iraq and she published her story on the TruthOut.org Web site.

“This morning at 8:45 someone came to my house and delivered a subpoena,” Olson told the Inter Press Service News Agency, or IPS. “It’s absolutely outrageous. It’s a journalist’s job to report the news. It is not a journalist’s job to testify against their own sources.”

Also subpoenaed were Dahr Jamail, a freelancer who also reports for Inter Press Service, and a reporter with the Honolulu Star Bulletin, whose name wasn’t mentioned in the IPS report.

Joe Piek, a spokesman for the Ft. Lewis Army Base in Washington state where Lt. Watada is stationed, told IPS that the military “does not seek reporters’ notes or original transcripts but simply wants to verify the accuracy of the story they reported.”

Olson tells IPS, “What is happening at this point is that the army is using journalists to build its case against Lt. Watada and build its case against speaking to the press. It’s very important to look at it in that light.”

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