Chronicle business writer Tom Abate, in his personal blog (MiniMediaGuy), quotes from a letter he got from Josh Wolf, who is in a federal prison for refusing to provide prosecutors with outakes of a video he shot of a political protest in San Francisco. The feds have said he was jailed because he allegedly shot video of anarchist protests torching a San Francisco police car. Wolf, himself an anarchist as well as a blogger and freelance TV photographer, told Abate:
- “This investigation is not about investigating a crime but is instead an attempt to gather information and the identities of those engaged in civil dissent in the Bay Area. Just as the FBI sought to catalog communists during the 1950s under the auspices of the Cold War, it is my suspicion that my jailing is part of a broad initiative to identify anarchists and intimidate both journalists and their contacts.”
Wolf also tells Abate:
- “I have not only been ordered to turn over my footage but have also been ordered to testify before the federal grand jury — a demand the U.S. attorney said he would not rescind (even) if I were to agree to turn over the tapes.”
On a related note, Tuesday’s “resignation” of the top federal prosecutor in San Francisco, U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan, was actually a firing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said yesterday in her questioning of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Ryan’s office prosecuted Wolf and the Chronicle reporters who got the grand jury transcript in the Balco case.