Dear Congressman Ryan, Senators Johnson and Kohl,
I am writing to you to ask that you help stop a campaign of intimidation and suppression of constitutionally protected speech on the Internet. Like many other politically engaged citizens, I am a blogger, and you can find my writings at my website, http://conservativecommune.com.
For a change, this letter, which is part of a campaign, is not going to focus on SOPA, though for the record I'm against it. SOPA and protections for professional journalists that don't cover bloggers put us one step away from government licensure of journalists, contrary to the intention of this country's founders. Many of the revolutionary pamphleteers and authors of broadsides who paved the way for American independence would not have been covered by such legislation, had there then been a US government to create it, and recognizing their debt to the citizen press, our nation's founders gave every person access to the free market of ideas. But, as I am sure all of you are aware, over time law can be perverted to an instrument of destruction, and that is part of what this story is about.
In 1978, a series of 8 bombings over 6 days rocked the town of Speedway, Indiana. In 1981, a young man by the name of Brett Kimberlin was convicted of those bombings and related charges, including impersonating a member of the military to acquire the explosives he used in his spree. Mr. Kimberlin had already acquired an extensive rap sheet. He had been convicted of perjury before he left high school, and he was also convicted of drug trafficking charges. One of Kimberlin's bombing victims, a Vietnam War veteran, was so shattered by the loss of a leg and other damage to his person that he suicided in 1983, leaving behind a wife and children. The bombs were placed in areas of public resort without any respect to whether their victims were particular targets of judge/jury/executioner Kimberlin, and many believe that the motive was to distract from an investigation into a the murder of an elderly woman that Kimberlin had procured, though he was never tried on charges related to her death.
Kimberlin was sentenced to 50-plus years in prison for his crimes, and served 17. Before he went into the brig, investigators believe, he attempted to have witnesses and the prosecutor in his case intimidated, injured or worse. While he was there, he became a jailhouse lawyer, arguing among other cases he brought against the state that he was being deprived of his right to free expression because he had been separated from his guitar. While in prison he endeared himself to certain sectors of the left by claiming that he had at one time in his criminal history sold Dan Quayle pot in a fast food restaurant parking lot. When wardens put him in solitary as a result of all the garbage he was feeding to credulous professional journalists, he claimed that his civil right (to defame, apparently) was being violated, and the New York Times made a cause celebre of it in an op ed, with Senator Carl Levin registering his outrage on the Senate floor. At PBS, Nina Totenberg was a frequent communicator with the convicted domestic terrorist and perjurer, now become (in the view of many leftists) a civil rights 'martyr.'
If Brett Kimberlin was deprived of his rights while in prison, that was certainly wrong, but what he seems to have learned there is that if you slander the right person you will find yourself friends in high places. In the intervening years, that lesson seems to have evolved to the point where Kimberlin has been able to make a living at not only slander and libel, but threats and intimidation. He has established two 501(c) organizations, one of which he calls the Justice Through Music Project, and the other called Velvet Revolution. Among the donors to these organizations one finds the Tides Foundation, Teresa Heinz-Kerry and Barbra Streisand, among others. Justice Through Music has been honored by the State Department, who have in the past invited it to participate in international initiatives highlighting non-profit charities. Though there is no money attached to such collaborations, it seems a strange place for the State Department to want to lend its credibility.
Emboldened by the support of such institutions and individuals, Kimberlin has made a career since the burgeoning of the Internet of trying to silence both critics of 'progressive' policies and tellers of truth regarding his own rotten past. Gentlemen, I believe in personal reformation and believe that there should be a pathway open to fuller citizens for ex-cons who have done their time, shown remorse, and gone about the hard work of recreating themselves as better men or women, but Mr. Kimberlin is none of those. What he is instead is a vexatious litigant. As far as people who have reviewed his supposed charitable work can tell, his tax-exempt charities exist principally to funnel money to Kimberlin so that he can wage campaigns of lawfare. I will spare you the information about his friends and associates online in the interests of brevity and clarity, but among them are some people less generally known than Ms. Streisand or Nina Totenberg, who nevertheless carry considerable clout in the left-leaning online political community, who lend a patina of legitimacy to Mr. Kimberlin's activities.
Several years ago, a liberal blogger by the name of Seth Allen began investigating and uncovering Kimberlin's activities. In 2010, Breitbart.com journalist Mandy Nagy (aka, Liberty Chick) wrote a seminal article on Kimberlin and his associates, as well. When Kimberlin sought to drag Seth Allen into court, a lawyer named Aaron Walker (aka, Aaron Worthing online) offered Seth Allen free legal counsel (though not representing him in court) he became another lawfare target of Kimberlin. In these cases, Kimberlin seeks to get 'peace orders' (a variety of restraining order) in Montgomery County, Maryland, barring people from writing about him and his shady history at their blogs. Via this variety of restraining order, Kimberlin has sought to expose the personal information of other bloggers who have not made themselves notorious in any way but by telling the truth about Kimberlin, so that it enters the public record, at which time his henchlings take over the harassment functions in order to provide plausible deniability to Kimberlin.
Aaron Walker decided to attend one of these court hearings, and afterwards had a confrontation with Brett Kimberlin. Though court cameras plainly show that it was not a physical confrontation, Kimberlin, unaware that the cameras were trained in the area, filed a criminal complaint against Walker claiming that Walker assaulted him, breaking his ribs and blackening an eye, and sending him to the emergency ward for treatment. Walker attempted to charge Kimberlin with filing a false report, but the State's Attorney's office in Montgomery County has refused to do so. In the interval, Kimberlin requested and was awarded (on the basis of still more perjury) yet another 'peace order,' on which he hailed Walker into court yet again. A judge, who wanted to hear nothing of legal precedent and spent no time at all ascertaining the facts of the case, and who was additionally woefully incompetent to pronounce on any matter of Internet communications, found Walker in violation of this 'peace order' on grounds of having written at his blog about Kimberlin during the time it was in effect. What the judge's ruling means in effect is that any person may have his First Amendment right to publish the truth abrogated on grounds that it causes a nuisance to the person being criticized.
More dangerous, though, is the practice of SWATting, which Saxby Chambliss has just agreed to take a look at. SWATting is a means of harassment and possibly worse that instrumentalizes police responders to target one's enemies. The perpetrator of a SWAT fraud calls an emergency response number in the target's area claiming that a violent crime has just occured in that person's home. The caller uses a method of anonymization, such as registering a new online VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) account so that the origin of the call will not be traceable. In the case of Patrick Frey, an Assistant District Attorney in Los Angeles who had written extensively about Kimberlin and Walker, the caller claimed to be Patrick Frey, gave dispatchers the address of his house, and claimed that he had shot his wife, with the predictable result that police descended on the Frey home at a little after midnight, weapons drawn, handcuffed him and put him in the police car as officers rousted his wife and children. Other victims of this abuse have included a man named Mike Stack, who seems to have offended Kimberlin and his supporters in the comments section of Frey's blog, and blogger/CNN commentator Erick Erickson. This technique is not a prank. One suspects that the optimal scenario in the eyes of the perpetrators is that one of these bloggers ends up dead at the hands of rattled cops.
One suspects. At the time that the police invaded Patrick Frey's home, one of Brett Kimberlin's known long-time online associates just happened to be on the phone with Patrick Frey on some pretext. One suspects that that person might have wished to experience the frisson of hearing a gunshot from a police revolver. I understand from his writings that Mr. Obama's appointee Cass Sunstein believes that the government ought to have a hand in anonymous pushback against what it deems to be conspiracy theorizing, but on occasion there are conspiracies, some of which the MSM has from time to time unmasked, and sometimes, in olden days, without the help of citizen journalists, though God knows I mock a lot of the (what I regard to be) crazy conspiracy theorizing that I see on the Internet. Now, if I were to register my Occam's razor belief that the timing of the phone calls to Frey and to 911 was not fortuitous, and that Kimberlin was fully apprised of the potentially deadly operation, I might have to respond to a 'peace order,' a variety of restraining order, lodged against me in Montgomery County Court by Brett Kimberlin in an attempt to shut me up.
Given Kimberlin's past history of violence, his career of threats has met with some success. When Aaron Walker revealed to the company for which he and his wife worked that they had become a target of Kimberlin, they were let go from their jobs out of an abundance of concern for the other employees. We know that Kimberlin has been less discrete in his target selection in the past. Likewise, when blogger and American Spectator journalist Stacy McCain's wife's workplace received a call from Kimberlin complaining about her husband's online activities, they were deeply concerned. In order to reduce the danger to his family (McCain has 6 children) they moved to an undisclosed location. This is the kind of havoc that Mr. Kimberlin believes is justified in order to protect the 'reputation' of lies that he has established. He continues a terrorist, though the methods have changed.
There are other victims of Mr. Kimberlin, convicted domestic terrorist and serial perjurer, lawfarer and leftist 'philanthropist,' whom I could name, but that would make this letter even longer and more complex than it already is. They all try to pervert the law by claiming that they are being harassed, while using the tactics spelled out here, depriving people of their livings and their property, and putting them in danger of losing their very lives. It must be stopped. Orrin Hatch has some experience in dealing with Mr. Kimberlin, as well.
We citizen journalists believe, however incumbents may view our activities, that we contribute to the political and other discourse of this society. Among other things, we are the ones who bring into larger public consciousness those important dispatches from your offices regarding pending or passed legislation, policy statements, and the like, while the MSM are focused on the latest fatal chinchilla attack in Peru, or the important social impact of some utterance from a pop star. All we are asking for is that you show a little reciprocity and a little bit of concern for the First Amendment rights of citizens. I respectfully ask that you do, beginning with an investigation into Kimberlin's tax-exempt 'charitable' foundations and their funders, most of whom (I imagine) have been duped into funding activities of which they would not approve, if they knew them.
District 1, Wisconsin
UPDATE and Note: Via Stacy, there is now a Memeorandum thread. If you're visiting here, please add your link in comments, as Paul has. I won't have time to do an aggregation today, but if any of the other authors wishes to append one, that would be fine. Thanks.
UPDATE 2 (Joy):
Michelle Malkin (with lots of great contact info)
Patterico [Scroll his front page; there are several pertinent entries there]
Day by Day [don't wait for it to load; it won't, and that's the point]
Yid with Lid has become a target, and has his own list of contacts, here.
If you're new to the story, or if you could use a refresher, LibertyNews has a good, fresh retrospective.
Obviously, Donald Douglas isn't shutting up.
UPDATE 4 (Joy): That brilliant Little Miss Attila person has more. Oh, how I love her!