Today, in protest of convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin’s abuse of the court system to quell speech, and in a call for action, Nice Deb and many other conservative bloggers are going dark.
Today will be a day in which people can get caught up on Kimberlin’s latest escalations and do what they can to help his victims, beleaguered bloggers, some of whom are friends. Free speech is under attack, and right now, the the enemies of freedom are winning.
Much appreciated help in the form of media coverage, congressional attention, and legal assistance has come in recent days, but more can be done.
Michelle Malkin writes:
On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) bravely stepped forward to press this vital issue. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Chambliss decried the “harassing and frightening actions” of Internet menaces who have recently gone after several conservative new media citizen journalists and activists. (VIDEO here.)
GOP Rep. Ken Marchant of Texas also added his voice, telling Holder in a statement that he is “very afraid of the potential chilling effects that these reported actions may have in silencing individuals who would otherwise be inclined to exercise their Constitutional right to free speech.” And the American Center for Law and Justice, a leading conservative free speech public interest law firm, announced it was providing legal representation to the National Bloggers Club – a new media association that has provided support and raised funds for targets of this coordinated harassment. (Full disclosure: I volunteer on the National Bloggers’ Club board of directors.)
The ACLJ described the importance of the case very simply: “Free speech is under attack.”
Sen. Chambliss and Rep. Marchant called specific attention to one terrifying tactic against these bloggers: SWAT-ting. These hoaxes occur “when a perpetrator contacts local police to report a violent incident at a target’s home.” Callers disguise their true identities and locations in order to provoke a potentially deadly SWAT/police response descending upon the targets’ homes.
Continue reading at Michelle Malkin’s blog for a a thorough rundown of Kimberlin and his cabal’s offenses against bloggers – offenses that have escalated in recent days – which include SWATting, making threatening phone calls to their places of employment, spreading false rumors about them on the internet, publishing their personal information online, including pictures of where they live – it goes on and on. John Hawkins also posted a Rundown Of Alleged Blogger Harassment By Brett Kimberlin, Neal Rauhauser, Ron Brynaert, & Nadia Naffe.
Never in the eight years that I have worked as an independent blogger have I seen such a concerted threat to the fundamental right of citizen journalists to speak their minds freely and without fear of bodily harm. As former Justice Department official Christian Adams points out, it is a federal violation of 18 U.S.C. §241 to conspire to deprive someone of his “free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”
Members of Congress swore an oath to uphold the Constitution — all of it. Who means it?
Here’s her handy-dandy list of contact info for elected officials who need to hear from you:
Who to call:
GOP Rep. Frank Wolf (Va.) – Ask him to investigate Kimberlin-related charities.
Phone: (202) 225-5136
Fax: (202) 225-0437
US Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General Public Comment Line – 202-353-1555
More people to call:
John McCarthy – Please ask for justice in Aaron Walker’s case
State’s Attorney for Montgomery County
50 Maryland Avenue, 5th Floor
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Assistant United States Attorney Robert Dugdale – Please ask for justice in Patrick Frey’s case
The United States Attorney’s Office
Central District of California
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Another way to help:
Grassfire Nation wants to deliver petitions to AG Holder and Sen. Chambliss in the next 10 days. Please sign and then alert your friends.
The Petition States:
To: Attorney General Eric Holder, Leaders In Congress
A dangerous pattern of personal attacks against conservative bloggers combined with government silencing of conservative speech has come to my attention. In response, I support Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ call for the Justice Department to fully investigate the alleged “SWAT-ing” bogus 911 attacks against conservative bloggers. This amounts to ideologically-motivated hate speech against conservatives and demands a full investigation with corresponding legal action.
In addition, an orchestrated strategy of intimidation and bogus legal action has led to conservative bloggers having their First Amendment rights threatened or taken away. I oppose any and all efforts by the Obama administration or the federal courts to silence conservative speech. In this politically-charged environment, Congress and the Executive branch must do everything in their power to uphold the free speech and free press rights of all Americans.
Suggestions via Ace on points to make in your phone call to your Congressman:
So here is something for the US Congress to consider: Given that a 501(c)(3) is not a “right,” but a creature of the tax code, with very persnickety rules about how it shall be operated and what its principals must do–
Should the principal of a 501(c) be permitted to file vexatious lawsuits which are really SLAPP suits (strategic lawsuits against public participation — lawfare against free speech)?
Or, rather, if someone is a vexatious litigant, should that person be permitted to hold a position as a principal on a 501(c) while continuing to abuse the legal system? Shouldn’t they have to make a choice — respect the legal system, or run a charity, but you can’t be a principal of a charity while engaging in serial abuse of process?
Considering all the rules that must be compiled with for a 501(c)- shouldn’t someone acting as principal for one be expected to comply with rules against harassment by meritless lawsuit as well?
And if they’re not doing the latter, what are the odds they’re scrupulously following the law as regards 501(c)’s?
Are those odds high? Or not so high?
Seems to me that you should choose whether you’re going to be a thug or run a charity.
You can be a thug if you like. But you can do it on your own goddamned dime.
One last thing we can do: We can urge/request/demand our representatives read Brett Kimberlin’s criminal history into the United States Congressional Record.
Why? Not for punitive reasons. Rather, to answer the question I posed in the headline.
Did the US Congress strip American citizens of their right to state demonstrably true facts without unending harassments? Did we lose that right simply because Brett Kimberlin has decided, as a Congress of One, that we should no longer have it?
If we have not lost that right — if it is still legal to say, in America, that Brett Kimberlin was convicted of planting eight bombs in Speedway, Indiana, one of which took a man’s leg, and then, distraught over his maiming, his life, via suicide — if it is legal to say this, can we have it stated by a US Congressman for the record that it is still legal to say this?
My interest in this matter is not over Brett Kimberlin’s criminal history as a bloody bomber. My interest in whose leg he amputated-by-explosive-force 34 years ago.
My interest is in what he’s doing today.
Either Americans have the right to state that Kimberlin was convicted of the Speedway Bombing Spree or they do not.
If I no longer have this right, I would like Congress to pass a law stating that I no longer have this right. If we’re repealing the First Amendment, let’s make it official.
If, on the other hand, I retain this right, I would like members of Congress to reassure me on this point, by stating so on the floor of Congress, and entering the long and sordid history of Brett Kimberlin, aka the Speedway
Bomber, into the Congressional Record.
And then let him try to claim that no one is permitted to mention this.
The One Angry Infidel blog wrote a letter to Montgomery County (MD) administrative judge John W. Debelius whom, he assumes, is responsible for the oversight of retired judge Cornelius Vaughey.
Mental Recession: Why the SWAT-ting of Conservatives is Dangerous – to Everyone
Film Ladd: National Day of Blogger Silence
Some people are heartened that this malicious ongoing to threat to society is finally getting some media coverage, and some United States government officials are now paying close attention.
I’m not. Because I know what happened last time Brett Kimberlin began getting some serious scrutiny: Bombs began going off.
I will be heartened when laws are passed to circumvent his freedom to destroy lives, and when FBI agents are closely monitoring him.
Until then, I’m terrified.
If you have an interest in championing free speech, please use this tool to find your congressman’s contact information, and write to him, or, preferably, call him.
Again, be polite; most Congressmen have not even heard of this issue yet.
However, in being polite, please also be insistent if your Congressman offers you what seems to be a blow-off letter — “you should contact the DoJ,” etc.
We have contacted the Department of Justice. We’ve contacted a lot of people.
We’re specifically asking for Congress to act, not to just provide the phone number of someone else to call.
Phone numbers we have. It’s action we seek.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer covered the SWATting incidents in The Situation Room. Video here.