via Commentary Magazine by Peter Wehner on 5/30/12
Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu does a fine job schooling CNN's Soledad O'Brien over Donald Trump and the so-called birther issue. In saying this, I should point out that I would go further than the Romney campaign in repudiating Trump, who is a noxious figure in American politics. What Trump is doing in calling into question Obama's citizenship is attempting to delegitimize the president, to argue that his presidency is unconstitutional and that he is alien. Crossing that line damages our political discourse and American politics more broadly.
There's of course no rulebook one can consult when it comes to the matter of repudiating supporters. It's a judgment call that has to be done on a case-by-case basis. In the case of Trump, who is a prominent Romney supporter, his attraction to conspiracy theories deserves a strong rebuke. When a political party gives a home to those who peddle in paranoia – a home to self-promotional cranks — it leads to an erosion of credibility. Romney ought to say so.
With that said, CNN is complicit in this political circus as well. My point isn't that the issue shouldn't be covered at all; it is that, as Governor Sununu points out, the network is fixated on Trump and the birther issue. It's drawn to it like a moth to a flame in a pitch-dark night. Here's the problem. Bill Maher donated a million dollars to a super PAC supporting President Obama, and to my knowledge Obama hasn't distanced himself from Maher's crude attacks on women. Yet CNN seems remarkably indifferent to this story. I wonder why.
Beyond that, it's worth pointing out the media's tendency to bemoan what it promotes. There are dozens of significant and complicated topics that CNN could explore with care. But it has decided to hyper-focus on Donald Trump and the birther issue. That's bad enough. But what makes it worse is when some in the media then saddle up on their high horses and lament that lack of seriousness in American politics. They pretend what they most want is a sophisticated and elevated conversation about the weightiest issues facing our nation and the world. They deride politicians for focusing on trivialities, even as they are the ones putting the spotlight on the trivialities and demanding politicians address them.
"We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise," C.S. Lewis wrote. "We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful." In our time, Professor Lewis could have added that the press gives a platform to stupid distractions championed by buffoonish figures — and then complains about the low state and childish nature of American politics.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
via Patterico's Pontifications by Patterico on 5/29/12
His column is here.
If you missed the blog this weekend, keep scrolling. There was a lot going on, including my likely swatter calling in to an Internet radio show and taunting me; Brett Kimberlin's Wikipedia page coming back after a long hiatus; and much more.
I was supposed to be on Laura Ingraham this morning but it was rescheduled.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
3. How Do Our Most Irrational Foes Get Formed?
I was actually thinking these thoughts before I heard the news that somebody "SWATed" Erick Erickson of RedState and CNN -- that is, anonymously called his local police with a false report of a shooting, to harass Erickson and his family and perhaps hope for some police raid to go . . . quite wrong.I think our culture's ratio of crazy-people-to-non-crazy-people is getting out of whack.There have always been crazy people in every society. And mind you, I'm not talking about psychosis or hallucinations. I'm just referring to people who develop an obsession and whose focus upon that obsession makes... public life more challenging for the rest of us.In the past, if you had a worldview that was far from the mainstream, you had to seek out people who agreed with you, and sometimes that was hard. There was a good chance that you would encounter lots of people who would say, "What on earth are you talking about? That's crazy! How could you possibly believe that?"Enter the Internet. The good news is, if you really want to talk about obscure bits of history, or political issues, or sports, or pop culture, chances are, there's some online community for you. Of course, this applies to every interest, including the bad ones -- hate groups, child pornographers, extremists of every stripe. (In the book about online social networks, Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky discusses anorexia support groups online where the anorexics encouraged each other to remain anorexic.) And of course, with the Internet, every conspiracy theorist can finds dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people who find their theory completely plausible and in fact convincing, and provide reinforcement. It's the Pauline Kael effect on a massive scale; everyone they know -- or more specifically, the majority of the people who they interact with online -- believe the government arranged 9/11 or whatever.(Walking through a Barnes & Noble this weekend, in the remainders bin I saw Jesse Ventura's latest, 63 Documents the Government Doesn't Want You to Read. Now . . . if a guy like Jesse Ventura can collect all of these documents in one book, and get that book published and distributed in every major chain bookseller in America . . . then our skepticism of the effectiveness of government bureaucracies is proven well-founded once again. Or the government doesn't really care if we read those documents. I'd like to think that if the documents really were the sort of thing the government didn't want us to read -- say, the NOC list -- the government would have a better method of keeping the information secret. Although having the documents published by Jesse Ventura could be a fantastic reverse-psychology method of making sure no one takes them seriously.)So I can't help but suspect that we have more crazy people walking around than in the pre-Internet days. Again, I'm not talking about hearing voices or the other off-the-charts categories of crazy. Just the all-consuming obsession with a particular topic: Since this is a political newsletter and chances are you're interested in politics, chances are we're going to encounter folks who just have some sort of unhealthy level of focus on a particular topic or political figure or belief that "they" are responsible for almost everything that goes wrong in this world.In a way, this kind of modern ease of slipping into an obsession is a luxury. You get the feeling that in past generations, perhaps there was some other all-consuming goal -- a societal one like avoiding the Black Plague, or westward expansion, or beating the Nazis and Japanese -- that occupied the minds of most of the populace. To be crazy meant you weren't dealing with this potentially life-threatening problem, and as a result, you would probably die earlier than normal.Modern life is safer and better, thankfully. We don't fear smallpox, an invading army, or rabid beasts; few of us fear dying from exposure or hunger. Making ends meet has become a bit more challenging, but even with the seemingly endless economic hard times, many places have 99 weeks of unemployment insurance. For the unemployed and under-employed, the lack of work means limited money but a surplus of time. Time easily spent online, and time spent alone: "Today, more than fifty per cent of U.S. residents are single, nearly a third of all households have just one resident, and five million adults younger than thirty-five live alone." Perhaps idle hands really are the devil's workshop.The computer -- the glowing screen that I'm typing these words on, and that I spend large chunks of every weekday and weeknight staring at -- is not great for reinforcing one's sense of reality. From my interactions online -- this newsletter, e-mail, the comments in response to the Campaign Spot, Twitter, etc. -- it would be very easy for me to conclude that the public at large is a) as interested in politics are I/we are and b) as conservative as I/we are. And then I finish writing the Jolt, go about the actions of daily life and child-rearing, go to get my morning coffee, and throughout my morning's travels, I encounter many, many people who appear to spend little or no time thinking about politics.
When we see people behaving in a way that seems so inexplicable to us -- political activists who seem consumed with vindictiveness towards those who disagree, and hell-bent on inflicting whatever misery they can upon those whose only sin is to express a contrary opinion -- it probably reflects a worldview shaped by words on a screen, and interaction with a very small and unrepresentative group, focusing on topics that are obscure and odd to most of the general public. (Yes, I realize about half of that description applies to all of us.) They wear the obscurity of their cause as a badge of honor; they are the few enlightened ones, while the rest of the "sheeple" sleepwalk through their lives. Those who express contrary opinions aren't just exercising their First Amendment rights; they're perpetuating the system of injustice. They cannot be permitted to continue doing such seemingly innocuous acts; only the harshest and most brutal retaliation will intimidate them into silence. After all, the end justifies the means. Everyone they talk to agrees. Well, everyone they type to, at least.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
So, here’s a question: Since you’re being programmed by outside sources on a day in, day out basis, why not run some of your own programming that’s designed to make your life better? There are a number of ways to do it.
via Patterico's Pontifications by Patterico on 5/27/12
[UPDATE: I have heard once again from the Wikipedia editor who removed Brett Kimberlin's Wikipedia entry. He refuses to tell me who claimed Kimberlin had been the victim of a harassment campaign. He evidently has no regrets about his decision even though Kimberlin has now been exposed as making repeated bogus claims of harassment.
Meanwhile, Wikipedia is moving to restore an entry after an absence of several months, and currently links Kimberlin to an entry on the Speedway Bombings. Over 700 versions of the article await review.]
I have described Brett Kimberlin's campaign of harassment against his critics as "brass-knuckles reputation management." The idea is to intimidate and harass anyone daring to bring up Kimberlin's extensive criminal history. There are other examples I'm aware of that can't be fully told for various reasons, although I hope the victims choose to tell them.
But one of the most concerning aspects of this reputation maintenance campaign is the way history is rewritten. And one example of that is the way that Kimberlin's Wikipedia entry was whisked away from view on September 14, 2011.
Let's look at the reason the editor gave for the deletion:
Oh, really? There was a harassment campaign against Brett Kimberlin, was there?
And here I thought it was the other way around. Here I thought he was the guy harassing others. Silly me!
And we certainly can't discuss in public the reason that accurate facts are being whisked away from a source that 4 out of 5 suckers consider reliable.
The idea that there is a harassment campaign against Brett Kimberlin is a reputation management theory that has been pushed for months by Brett Kimberlin, Neal Rauhauser, and Ron Brynaert — three people who engaged in the extraoardinary and very real harassment campaign against myself and other critics of Brett Kimberlin.
So where did the Wikipedia editor get the idea that there was a harassment campaign against Brett Kimberlin? In early May 2012, I decided to write the editor, Richard Symonds, and ask why the page was deleted.
Our dialogue follows.
Hello. My name is Patrick Frey and I operate a blog at patterico.com. I am interesting in knowing why you deleted the Wikipedia page on Brett Kimberlin. I have seen the deleted page and it was quite well sourced, with links to TIME Magazine and other news publications.Symonds responded (emphasis mine):
There was an entire book about this individual written by Mark Singer, a New Yorker writer. There is simply a wealth of reliable information out there about Kimberlin.
I read the reasoning for the deletion and did not understand it. I wonder if you could enlighten me. Thanks very much.
I deleted the article back in September as a volunteer, because it served as an attack page. It was sourced, but was also unduly negative, and written by people who "had an axe to grind". Although some of the facts were sourced, there was an undertone of maliciousness in the way that the article was written.
Mr Kimberlin was not a paragon of virtue, but the article as it stood simply painted him as a man with no positive qualities at all, which is obviously problematic in a neutral encyclopedia.
If the facts are sourced and accurate, perhaps the negative picture is accurate. Mr. Kimberlin is a man convicted of violent crimes. Portrayals of violent criminals tend to be largely negative, do they not? It sets a disturbing precedent to remove accurate facts from a neutral encyclopedia because those facts portray a violent convicted criminal in a negative light.Symonds haughtily blew me off:
Also, how do you know the authors had an "axe to grind"? Who made this claim to you?
And why would that matter if the facts are accurate?
Patrick,Note that he didn't explain who had complained about the entry. My response suggested that I planned to blog about this:
I've answered your questions and I have no real interest in discussing foreign politics with a blogger by email on my day off. The decision I made was backed up by others, the creators of the article were banned by the community, and I barely even remember the while episode. The whole event was entirely run of the mill, the sort of thing that happens on Wikipedia every day, and I have no real interest in left or right wing politics in North America.
All the best,
Politics? I did not say a word about politics. This has nothing to do with politics. I simply asked why a factual article was removed. I find it odd that you would bring up politics when that has nothing whatsoever to do with what I asked you.In response, this Wikipedia editor Googled me, found several false claims made about me — mainly from Kimberlin's band of defamers — and presented them as examples of "reliable" facts:
You say you answered my questions, but in point of fact you have not. I asked a couple of follow-up questions which were not answered at all: 1) who told you the authors of the article had an "axe to grind" and 2) why would that matter if the facts were accurate?
You're entitled to refuse to answer my questions, but please don't say you have answered all my questions when you haven't.
If you want to wait until it's no longer your day off, be my guest. I do not plan to publish anything about this today anyway.
You are a right-of-centre blogger who has an interest in a left-of-centre individual. You've also been threatened with legal action by him, it seems – in my opinion, politics, and general 'bad blood' is involved here. I am answering your questions below, although I do so as a volunteer, and you must be aware that my memory of this non-event is hazy at best:Again, emphasis is mine.
The community decided that the authors have an axe to grind due to their conduct. One of the authors behaved in a threatening manner towards a new editor. None of the editors showed any interest whatsoever in editing about other topics, even when asked to stop editing about Mr Kimberlin. Their interest in publicising their views about Mr Kimberlin (and his family) was more important to them than the general advancement of knowledge, ergo, they had a 'conflict of interest'.
Furthermore, their comments towards new users – described by an uninvolved administrator as 'truly chilling' – showed that they harmed our project, rather than helped it
The problem is, I would have thought, obvious. Let me give you an example, using phrases I've literally just picked up out of Google:
"John Patrick Frey is a blogger and LA city prosecutor obsessed with the liberal bias of the Los Angeles Times. He has a long memory, especially for all things LA Dog Trainer Times. He has been reported as having harassed Jamie Gold, and has been accused of running a "infamous right wing extremist hate blog"".
They're all facts that can be backed up by reliable sources, and they have a hint of truth about them, but they paint a biased and patently untrue version of events. The way that sentences in a neutral article are constructed is just as important – if not more so – as the facts out of which the sentence is built. The article, as written, had that sort of problem.
I'd be interested to know what version of the deleted article you have – there are two flying round, one of which is less 'problematic' than the other!
"Reliable sources," eh? I responded:
In your response, you construct a description of me that you say is composed of "facts that can be backed up by reliable sources." Yet your description is nothing of the sort. I am a blogger. I am not an "LA city prosecutor." [I am an L.A. County, not city, prosecutor, speaking in his personal capacity, as always. --ed.] Calling me "obsessed" is not a "fact" but a characterization. Calling my letters to the LAT Readers' Rep "harassment" is a tendentious characterization and not a "fact." Calling my blog an "extremist hate blog" is a tendentious characterization and not a "fact."Here is the screenshot I sent Symonds of a version of the Wikipedia entry I found on someone's Facebook page.
Please tell me what "reliable sources" you used to determine these "facts" about me.
There is a difference between tendentious claims and factual claims that can be supported by reliable sources in the media.
For example: one version of Kimberlin's Wikipedia entry said: "In 1981, Kimberlin was convicted of a series of bombings that took place in Speedway, Indiana in 1978." That is simply a matter of public record — as are his convictions for drug smuggling, perjury, and impersonating a federal officer. Yet you deleted these facts from Wikipedia.
If Charlie Manson were to file or threaten lawsuits against anyone who has ever written about his criminal history, that would not change the facts about his criminal history. I am not asking Wikipedia to rely on my blog for the facts regarding Brett Kimberlin. But there are numerous court decisions, articles in mainstream media, and even a published book by a New Yorker writer, testifying to the facts surrounding Kimberlin's record. For Wikipedia to whisk the facts regarding his record away based on the arguments you have made is Orwellian, and casts serious question on the reliability of Wikipedia as a source for information.
I am attaching a screenshot from one version of the Wikipedia article. It appears to be pure fact. It contains nothing about Kimberlin's family, just facts. The one opinion I see is that his claims about selling pot to Dan Quayle are called "false." That cannot be established as fact, and rather than deleting the article outright, editing out the word "false" would have been the truly neutral and factual action to take.
Have you ever heard from a fellow named Neal Rauhauser concerning Brett Kimberlin? Is he one of your "reliable sources" for information about me?
Once again, Symonds blew me off:
I'm afraid that our views on neutrality differ rather wildly. I'm not really sure that I can help you any further without inflaming something which, for me, is a non-issue. As a result, you should probably leave a note at the Wikipedia Administrators Noticeboard if you have serious concerns about the actions I took as a volunteer in this case.
I stand by the actions I took in my capacity as a volunteer administrator.
Nah, I'll just blog about it instead. I think people will find this "non-issue" very revealing indeed, as well as the questions of mine (like the one about Neal Rauhauser) that you have refused to answer.In his final email, Symonds claimed he had never heard of "Neal Rauthouser" — which is not how Rauhauser's name is spelled. (Was he seeking deniability or did he just not try to spell it accurately?) He also agreed that "facts are facts" but that "in this case we didn't think they were represented accurately."
In an odd twist, Ron Brynaert — who has furiously been portraying himself as an enemy of Rauhauser's and a critic of Kimberlin's, despite the similar nature of his tactics and theirs — wrote a post about the deletion of the Wikipedia article. He wrote his own version and submitted it. I don't recommend going to Brynaert's site, but here is a safe link to a Google cache of Brynaert's post, where you can read this amusing passage from Brynaert's submission:
Since October of 2010, conservatives have hounded Kimberlin about his bombing conviction, after articles were published at a website owned by Andrew Breitbart and other conservative blogs that questioned donations to his non-profit. Lawsuits and back-and-forth online battles have transpired between progressives backing Kimberlin and bloggers on the right ever since.Brett Kimberlin could not have written it better himself. According to Brynaert's submission, Kimberlin is being "hounded" by conservatives, and his extensive harassment campaign against us is really nothing but a blog war between the left and the right.
That's exactly what Kimberlin wants you to think. Also from Brynaert's entry:
During his imprisonment, one of the victims from the bombings killed himself, and Kimberlin was held liable for the death and a $1.61 million dollar judgment was awarded to the widow. An appeals court later ruled he wasn't directly responsible for the suicide, and the judgment was reduced to $360,000 but it's unclear if Kimberlin ever paid anything.Yeah, except that the judgment of that intermediate court of appeals in 1993 was itself reversed in 1994, by the Indiana Supreme Court.
In the present case, the complaint alleged intentional injury. Kimberlin's federal criminal conviction, through collateral estoppel, discussed in Issue 1(c), supra, establishes his conduct as malicious and thus intentional rather than negligent. Moreover, Carl's DeLong's death, although occurring more than four years after the explosion, was within the scope of harm intended by Kimberlin's intentional criminal conduct. Under such circumstances, we decline to treat suicide as independent intervening cause protecting a highly culpable defendant from liability for his victim's death. We hold that an action may be maintained for death or injury from a suicide or suicide attempt where a defendant's willful tortious conduct was intended to cause a victim physical harm and where the intentional tort is a substantial factor in bringing about the suicide.$1,250,000.00 plus $360,000 is $1.61 million. The state's highest court upheld that judgment. Once again Ron Brynaert is seen to be misrepresenting the facts in a way that benefits Brett Kimberlin.
[T]he jury finding of damages in the amount of $1,250,000.00 does not appear outrageous at first blush. The verdict does not indicate passion, prejudice, or partiality rather than reasoned assessment. We decline to find the wrongful death judgment to be excessive.
. . . .
As to the damages awarded for Mrs. DeLong's separate personal injury claim, the defendant asserts that the $360,000 verdict was approximately 18 times her special damages and therefore excessive. In response, the plaintiff notes evidence demonstrating the particularly painful nature of her injuries from the bomb blast and her ordeal during treatment, including multiple surgeries and permanent continuing pain and impairment established by medical testimony. . . . In the present case we find no basis for finding the verdict for Mrs. DeLong's injuries to be excessive as a matter of law.
It's almost as if Kimberlin's supporters tried to whisk away any mention of him on Wikipedia — and when they got caught, tried to replace the entry with something that sounded neutral, but actually benefited his point of view.
Anyway, since yesterday's blogburst, it appears that all of a sudden Wikipedia is taking a second look at Symonds's deletion. On Symonds's talk page, someone writes:
There's a lot of discussion about Brett recently, and it must be surprising for individuals to find no article about him.Symonds the Wikipedia editor responds in part:
That's fine, but I recommend you have a look at the related deletion review. The previous article was written by some people with rather a large axe to grind! I've had a couple of emails from right-wing bloggers, but nothing from anyone I'd trust to write a neutral article.Never mind that the original article was almost entirely accurate! Another person chimes in and says:
Going through the deletion review, I'm not seeing a clear cut consensus to support the deletion. It seems like the action primarily taken because of objections to the users who had created the article in the first place. Also, I think the condition to "start from scratch" is overly burdensome. Yes, the article is almost entirely negative, but there's nothing stopping someone from adding balance once the article is restored. Keep in mind that the behavior being alleged against Kimberlin involves inappropriate and extreme efforts to suppress negative but accurate reporting on his past. If you are in possession of ORTS information complaining about "harassment", please note that many have accused Kimberlin of filing bad-faith harassment claims in the past.No kidding!
By the way, I wrote Symonds again to ask him the question he never really answered: who told him about this supposed harassment campaign. Oddly enough, he has not responded.
It seems like our little blogburst might be working to get history re-rewritten to conform itself to the truth, rather than the "truth" as determined by a small band of thugs determined to intimidate anyone who tells the actual truth.
Who knew that telling the truth was so dangerous and so difficult?
But why is gay marriage inimical to the traditional matrimony? How does society suffer if it gives legal sanction to the cohabitation of gay couples and bestows upon them the rights traditionally granted to spouses? In short, an approach based on individual rights is a bum steer. Legalization of same-sex marriage compromises the institution of marriage and thus undermines the family built on the foundation of marriage.
Abraham Lincoln once asked how many legs a dog has if we call a tail a leg. The answer, he said, is four: calling a tail a leg does not make it so. We chuckle and move on.....
But what if people began to argue that a tail really is a leg? They might say that what defines the leg is that it is an appendage of the dog’s body, that it contains bone and muscle covered with skin and fur—just like a tail. Tails just happen to come out of the body at a different angle than other legs. When a tail hangs down low, who can tell the difference?
The call for same-sex marriage involves a similar misdefinition. Marriage is often characterized today as follows: 1) two people 2) who love each other 3) want to perform sexual acts together, so 4) they consent to combine their lives sexually, materially, economically 5) with the endorsement of the community. Since same-sex couples can meet the first four criteria, how can society refuse the fifth?And if he's wrong, and this is not a misdefinition, then we get to the question of why society should support an institution such as marriage. Why should it? Why do "really-close-friends-who-like-each-other-a-lot" enjoy special recognition of that fact from society and the government?
It is easy to see why this would be a cause of aggravation, not only for same-sex couples who wish community endorsement of their relationships, but for millions of others. If the criteria stated above actually define marriage—and in contemporary Western society, many have come to view marriage as no more than this—then refusal to acknowledge and endorse same-sex relationships is a rank injustice, nothing but an exercise in bigotry or stupidity.
Typically, marriage does in fact have these characteristics. But why does marriage have these characteristics? Remembering why will help us to remember how they show themselves in a relationship that has the essence of marriage—and how that is often different in other relationships.
If sexuality did not naturally bring us offspring, it is hard to explain why it exists, whether you believe in a purely material evolution or a loving designer of the universe, for it would serve no purpose. If sexual acts did not naturally lead to offspring, it is just as hard to explain how marriage would have appeared in human history, for it would serve no purpose.Stephen J. Heaney believes that reproduction is the key point of marriage. A tail is not a leg because it never serves to support or propel a dog. Same-sex relationships are not marriages because sex within one can never result in offspring.
Religions may bless marriage, but they did not invent it. Because it involves such profoundly important human realities, it is no surprise that sex and marriage have religious significance. But sex and marriage have existed as long as there have been human communities.
In previous articles, I have asserted that if sex did not naturally lead to children, no one would ever have conceived the idea of marriage.
But this is where it must be pointed out that the act in which opposite-sex couples wish to engage has a very public outcome: children. Let me put my initial assertion another way: if sexual intercourse between a man and a woman always and naturally led to the same outcome as genital contact between two people of the same sex—that is, pleasure, increased feelings of closeness, even affirmation and love, and nothing else—no one would ever have come up with the idea of marriage.
The best that can be said about the contemporary face of “marriage”—the deliberately childless union, or union built around the desires of adults, with children a secondary and dispensable characteristic—is that it is entirely parasitic on the proper idea of marriage. Impossible to imagine on its own, it takes real marriage and strips it of the thing that gives it meaning, yet continues to refer to it by the same name. That means that the notion of “same-sex marriage,” which relies entirely for its conceivability on the notion that marriage exists for the desires of adults, is by that fact two levels removed from reasonableness.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Convicted Bomber Brett Kimberlin, Neal Rauhauser, Ron Brynaert, and Their Campaign of Political Terrorism
You're about to listen to one of the most bone-chilling pieces of audio you will ever hear. At least, it was to me when I first heard it.
It's a phone call that could have gotten me killed.
In this post you will hear that audio clip. You will also read about a months-long campaign of harassment carried out by at least three individuals: Ron Brynaert, Neal Rauhauser, and Brett Kimberlin — much of it directed at critics of Brett Kimberlin. This harassment includes repeated references to critics' family members, workplace complaints, publication of personal information such as home addresses and pictures of residences, bogus allegations of criminal activity, whisper campaigns, frivolous legal actions, and frivolous State Bar complaints.
And finally, you will hear a comparison of one of those men's voices to that of the man who made the call that sent police to my home. And you'll read a declaration from a forensic audio expert comparing those two voices.
BREITBART TOLD THE STORY JUST BEFORE HE DIED
In the last radio interview Andrew Breitbart ever gave, on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, Breitbart talked about a new ruthless tactic used by thugs against political opponents:
[O]ne of the things they've done to people who have worked with me in the past, including an L.A. prosecutor, is to "SWAT." That means that they're spoofing phones, pretending to be somebody else's phone, calling 911, and saying "I killed somebody" and then the person's home is met with the guns drawn, the SWAT and the helicopters, in a horrifying act. It's happened twice: once in New Jersey, once in Los Angeles, with an L.A. County . . . prosecutor who [is] associated with me."I am that L.A. County prosecutor. And in this post, you'll hear the hoax call that sent police to my house, pointing loaded guns at me.
THE NIGHT I COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED BECAUSE OF MY BLOGGING
At 12:35 a.m. on July 1, 2011, sheriff's deputies pounded on my front door and rang my doorbell. They shouted for me to open the door and come out with my hands up.
When I opened the door, deputies pointed guns at me and ordered me to put my hands in the air. I had a cell phone in my hand. Fortunately, they did not mistake it for a gun.
They ordered me to turn around and put my hands behind my back. They handcuffed me. They shouted questions at me: IS THERE ANYONE ELSE IN THE HOUSE? and WHERE ARE THEY? and ARE THEY ALIVE?
I told them: Yes, my wife and my children are in the house. They're upstairs in their bedrooms, sleeping. Of course they're alive.
Deputies led me down the street to a patrol car parked about 2-3 houses away. At least one neighbor was watching out of her window as I was placed, handcuffed, in the back of the patrol car. I saw numerous patrol cars on my quiet street. There was a police helicopter flying overhead, shining a spotlight down on us as I walked towards the patrol car. Several neighbors later told us the helicopter woke them up. I saw a fire engine and an ambulance. A neighbor later told me they had a HazMat vehicle out on the street as well.
Meanwhile, police rushed into my home. They woke up my wife, led her downstairs and to the front porch, frisked her, and asked her where the children were. Then police ordered her to stand on the front porch with her hands against the wall while they entered my children's bedrooms to make sure they were alive.
The call that sent deputies to my home was a hoax. Someone had pretended to be me. They called the police to say I had shot my wife. The sheriff's deputies who arrived at my front door believed they were about to confront an armed man who had just shot his wife. I don't blame the police for any of their actions. But I blame the person who made the call.
Because I could have been killed.
The weirdest part of the whole thing was that I halfway expected this might happen. Because I was not the first one it had happened to.
I think it's about time you heard the call that sent police to my home.
"SWATTING" CAN KILL PEOPLE
What you just heard and read is no joke. It actually happened. The phenomenon is called "SWATting," because it can bring a SWAT team to your front door. SWATting is a particularly dangerous hoax in which a caller, generally a computer hacker, calls a police department to report a shooting at the home of his enemy. The caller will place this call to the police department's business line, using Skype or a similar service, and hiding behind Internet proxies to make the call impossible to trace. Anxious police, believing they are responding to the home of an armed and dangerous man, show up at the front door pointing guns and screaming orders.
That is exactly what happened to me. It is a very dangerous hoax that could get the target killed.
Above: an anonymous Kimberlin supporter mocks my swatting in August 2011, before it was publicly known. The reference is to an article about a 2008 swatting case in Dallas.
Although I am an L.A. County Deputy D.A., it is certain that I was "swatted" because of my blog and not because of my job. As Andrew Breitbart noted, this happened to two people within the course of a single week: a man in New Jersey and myself. Both of us had had contact with Andrew Breitbart. Both of us were writing about the same story. And both of us received email threats days before we were swatted. The threat to me said, in part: "Please think about your family. This story is not worth it. I can assure you that."
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
So who perpetrated this crime on me and my family?
I reported the crime to the FBI on July 1, 2011. (Obviously, the Sheriff's Department was already aware of it, since they had come to my house.) Unfortunately, law enforcement has not solved the case. Worse, they have failed to follow up on a number of leads I have given them.
But there is circumstantial evidence suggesting who may be responsible. I met personally with the nationwide experts on swatting in December 2011: the FBI office in Dallas, Texas. They told me that swatting is an extreme form of harassment — and that swatters typically combine swatting with other forms of harassment, including: complaining to the victim's workplace, defaming the victim online, "Googlebombing" the victim, publishing the victim's address online, filing phony reports of criminal activity by the victim, and so forth.
All of these things have happened to me and other critics of Brett Kimberlin since July 2011. The harassment has been relentless and has occurred almost every day. It would literally take a book to catalogue it all. What you read in this post, incredibly, is only part of it.
Why target me? Well, I first wrote about Brett Kimberlin in October 2010, after getting a call from Andrew Breitbart. Andrew told me that his site was going to publish a post about a domestic terrorist named Brett Kimberlin. The story sounded interesting, and I published a post about Kimberlin shortly after the Breitbart post (penned by Mandy Nagy aka Liberty Chick) was published.
The next day, Kimberlin threatened to sue me. He said: "I have filed over a hundred lawsuits and another one will be no sweat for me. On the other hand, it will cost you a lot of time and money and for what." I asked him to identify any specific falsehoods in my post and he did not. I published subsequent posts about topics like Kimberlin's alleged murderous plots to escape from prison and exact revenge on his enemies and an examination of his non-profits' tax returns. In February 2011, I talked about stalkerish intimidation tactics used by Kimberlin and his business partner, Brad Friedman of the "Brad Blog."
It's fair to say I have been one of Brett Kimberlin's least favorite people in the world for a good long time now.
THE RELENTLESS AND VICIOUS HARASSMENT OF CRITICS OF BRETT KIMBERLIN, BY KIMBERLIN AND HIS SUPPORTERS
Beginning about the time I was swatted in July 2011, the harassment I had already experienced from Kimberlin was stepped up several notches — and other Kimberlin critics were also targeted. Several anonymous accounts identifying themselves as supporters of Kimberlin's have participated in the harassment. These anonymous harassers go by names like @OccupyRebellion, @BreitbartUnmask, Gaped Crusader, and "Just Call Me Lefty."
But much of the harassment Kimberlin critics have experienced has occurred at the hands of three named individuals: Ron Brynaert, Neal Rauhauser, and Brett Kimberlin.
Meet Ron Brynaert
Ron Brynaert is a so-called "journalist" who last August threatened me and my wife in the most despicable manner possible:
References to my wife come completely out of left field. She is a Democrat and cancels out my vote in every election. The only reason anyone would bring her up online is to intimidate and harass my family.
Brynaert explicitly connected his desire to do violence to me to his defense of Brett Kimberlin. The night he threatened me and my wife, Brynaert defended Kimberlin in a long series of tweets pointing out alleged holes in the case against Kimberlin. Brynaert said I was slandering Kimberlin:
One of Brynaert's arguments was that certain of the witnesses against Kimberlin had been hypnotized. Apparently, it greatly upset Brynaert that I wasn't responding to this argument, and he threatened violence as a result:
Ron Brynaert has been a guest blogger at The Brad Blog, run by Brad Friedman, a business partner of Brett Kimberlin's. Brynaert has described himself as a friend of Friedman's. Brynaert was for years the editor of a Raw Story, a publication that has teamed up with the Brad Blog to put out Brad Friedman's radio show:
In 2008, during Brynaert's tenure as editor of Raw Story, Kimberlin was introduced as the "moving force behind Raw Story." (Hat tip to Seth Allen.) Kimberlin did not object to that characterization.
Meet Neal Rauhauser
Neal Rauhauser is a creepy far-left activist. There is evidence that, using the handle "Iowa Boy," Rauhauser has engaged in violent rhetoric, including calling for the public hanging of Republicans and the shooting of Dick Cheney. Rauhauser speaks regularly of the hacking group Anonymous and frequently suggests that his enemies are opening themselves up to Internet harassment.
Above: Writing at Daily Kos, Rauhauser suggests I should be harassed online.
Three days after I was swatted, Rauhauser wrote a post titled "Patterico's Penalization" that made bizarre accusations about me, and accused me of working with a "cyberstalker" named Seth Allen — a blogger who had criticized Brett Kimberlin so tenaciously that Kimberlin (frivolously) sued Allen for defamation. In that post, Rauhauser publicized a State Bar complaint that Kimberlin had filed against me, and asked readers to get a picture of my wife. Rauhauser also suggested that a private detective stake out Seth Allen's apartment:
Here is Rauhauser further publicizing Brett Kimberlin's State Bar complaint against me, and stating his belief that if enough such complaints accumulate, I will be fired:
And here is Rauhauser talking about how he wants to see me fired, prosecuted, and bankrupted — all for purely political reasons:
Rauhauser is a fan of abusive litigation for purposes of political harassment:
Kimberlin has described Rauhauser as an "associate" of his. Rauhauser has written of working with Kimberlin and meeting with him personally. They have appeared in court together. Rauhauser has spoken of working with Kimberlin's Velvet Revolution organization on Occupy events. In 2011, Rauhauser talked of a new job that he had, and of moving to Maryland — the state that is home to Brett Kimberlin and Velvet Revolution.
Above: as "WeOccupyAmerica, Rauhauser says he is closely connected with Brynaert, to his "chagrin."
HOW BRYNAERT, RAUHAUSER, KIMBERLIN AND ANONYMOUS INTERNET ENTITIES HAVE TARGETED KIMBERLIN CRITICS FOR RELENTLESS HARASSMENT
On many occasions, Ron Brynaert, Neal Rauhauser, Brett Kimberlin, and anonymous Kimberlin supporters have harassed me and other Kimberlin critics in a similar manner — using tactics that the FBI told me are characteristic of swatters:
- Harassment of wives and family members – As noted above, Rauhauser asked readers for pictures of my wife. He and Brynaert have spoken of investigating my wife's work as a Deputy District Attorney. Rauhauser and @OccupyRebellion have insinuated that my wife played a role in impersonating fake teens in the Anthony Weiner scandal. Kimberlin supporters @OccupyRebellion and @BreitbartUnmask have spoken of obtaining a picture of my wife. The Gaped Crusader constantly brought up my wife.
The Gaped Crusader wrote like Neal Rauhauser, talked about the same topics as Neal Rauhauser, and once left a comment on my site with the same IP address that Neal Rauhauser used to leave a comment on another site.
Brynaert has said my wife and I should be fired, and (as noted) has talked about taking a "shit" on my wife.
The obsession with family members recently extended to Stacy McCain, with Kimberlin apparently having contacting Stacy's wife's employer, causing McCain to flee his house. Kimberlin supporter @BreitbartUnmask has mentioned the names of Stacy's children online. @BreitbartUnmask has publicly outed a commenter of mine, discussed that commenter's divorce records, and named his father.
- Publication of home addresses – OccupyforAccountability.org, a site related to Kimberlin, published my home address, as well as a Google street view and Google aerial view of my home. The "Gaped Crusader" republished that address. Donations at OccupyforAccountability.org go to Kimberlin's Velvet Revolution. The same post published what the author stated was Andrew Breitbart's home address. Andrew later told me it was actually a home owned by Andrew's parents and rented out to others. Kimberlin later sent interrogatories to me at the address listed on OccupyforAccountability.org — and sent interrogatories to Andrew at the address the site had listed for Andrew. Andrew's interrogatories eventually made their way to him, and he told me about it and gave me a copy of them.
Kimberlin unnecessarily put Aaron Walker's home address in court documents. Kimberlin had a habit of putting information into court documents — information that is later disseminated by Rauhauser and Brynaert.
- Workplace complaints – Brynaert and Kimberlin have both filed complaints against me with my office. (Rauhauser and Brynaert have spoken of these complaints publicly.) When Brynaert contacted my office, he initially called the very same person Kimberlin had complained to — even though that person was no longer my boss. If Brynaert had simply called asking for my boss, the office would probably not have routed Brynaert to the same person Kimberlin had complained to. But if Brynaert asked for that same person by name, they would route the call to that person.
Kimberlin also spoke to at least two secretaries in my office, calling me a stalker, a racist, a homophobe, and saying he was going to have to get a restraining order against me. I had to explain to the secretaries that the man who called them had been convicted of setting off several bombs and had been sentenced to 50 years in federal prison — but was now free and harassing me.
Rauhauser has encouraged people to file complaints against me, as has anonymous Kimberlin supporter @BreitbartUnmask. The "Gaped Crusader" spoke of sending packets of defamatory material about me to candidates running in the election for District Attorney, as well as to defense attorneys on my cases. As noted, Brynaert has stated that my wife and I should be fired. Anonymous Kimberlin supporter @OccupyRebellion constantly talks about how I will be fired and disbarred.
Brynaert wrote to Andrew Breitbart defaming his employee Mandy Nagy (aka Liberty Chick), who wrote that comprehensive piece about Kimberlin in October 2010 I mentioned earlier.
Kimberlin put Aaron Walker's home and work address into court documents. The inclusion of the work address contributed to Aaron's being fired, due to the employer's fear that a convicted bomber might appear at their workplace.
Kimberlin contacted Stacy McCain's wife's workplace.
Brynaert contacted a man named Ken Ashford in an attempt to learn Aaron Walker's real name, and threatened to email every member of Ashford's firm claiming Ashford had harassed him. Brynaert later contacted the Human Resources Department at Ashford's firm to complain about him.
- Abuse of court process – Kimberlin has filed numerous frivolous court actions against Aaron Walker and Seth Allen. The details of the court appearances are frequently reported — with a pro-Kimberlin spin — by Rauhauser and Brynaert. In a blatant abuse of the court's process, Kimberlin served invalid interrogatories in the Seth Allen lawsuit on me, Aaron Walker, Mandy Nagy, and Andrew Breitbart. Rauhauser and @OccupyRebellion publicly referred to those interrogatories and asked when we were going to answer them.
When police gave Kimberlin a picture of Allen from his driver's license, that picture made its way into the hands of Rauhauser and Brynaert, who published it online.
Kimberlin threatened to sue me right after I first published my first blog post about him. He told Walker's pro bono attorney that he is planning a RICO lawsuit against me, Nagy, Walker, and Seth Allen.
Nadia Naffe's civil claim against me — Nadia Naffe has now filed a civil claim against me and my boss Steve Cooley — and the lawyer is Jay Leiderman, an online buddy of Neal Rauhauser's who put out a request on a defense attorney mailing list to investigate whether any defense attorneys don't like me. Although I have not seen the legal claim myself, excerpts of Naffe's legal claim have appeared at the web site of self-described Kimberlin supporter and Rauhauser friend BreitbartUnmasked.com. Before the claim was filed, Rauhauser and @BreitbartUnmasked encouraged Naffe to file the sorts of claims that appear in the civil claim.
Naffe has publicly said that she plans to use her lawsuit against me to ask questions in discovery about the value of my house — a topic in which Rauhauser and @OccupyRebellion have expressed interest in the past. According to a friend of mine, Naffe has also said that she plans to ask me and my wife under oath the true identity of conservative blogger Ace of Spades. Which is not something she ought to care about, since Ace had never said a word about her (although he has now).
You know who cares about Ace's identity? Brett Kimberlin supporter @BreitbartUnmask. He has written entire posts about Ace's identity. And before I was swatted, someone threatened me by email. That person threatened one other person the same night: Ace of Spades.
Additionally, Brett Kimberlin has used a subpoena in the Seth Allen lawsuit to subpoena James O'Keefe's stolen emails from Naffe — despite the fact that there has been a final judgment in that lawsuit.
- Outing – Ace has good reason to be concerned, as this group has a history of outing anonymous critics. Aaron Walker's identity was outed by Brett Kimberlin after he received an "anonymous tip." Seth Allen's identity was also outed by Kimberlin. In addition to furiously harassing Ken Ashford for Aaron Walker's true name, Ron Brynaert also wrote Yale alumni affairs officials asking for information about Aaron. Within a single day of Brynaert's failed campaign to learn Aaron's true name and location, Brett Kimberlin wrote Aaron demanding that Aaron disclose his true name and location.
- Whisper campaigns – Brynaert and Kimberlin have both contacted people that they identified as online "enemies" of mine to complain of alleged harassment at my hands. Brynaert has recently taken to contacting other major bloggers to defame me, Aaron Walker, and Mandy Nagy. I have been forwarded emails by Brynaert from several notable bloggers.
- Frivolous claims of criminal wrongdoing – I am told Kimberlin filed frivolous claims of stalking against me with an anti-stalking unit in my office. Rauhauser has encouraged people to report me to that same unit. Interestingly enough, the anonymous person who threatened me by email before I was swatted mentioned the very same unit. Brynaert has also constantly claimed that critics of Kimberlin have stalked him and Kimberlin. @OccupyRebellion has made the same claim.
I am told Kimberlin filed frivolous criminal charges against me with the California Attorney General. Rauhauser encouraged Daily Kos readers to file complaints against me with the California Attorney General.
Rauhauser compiled a large packet of defamatory material accusing me, Walker, Nagy, and others of participating in criminal activity, and said he had sent it to state police in New Jersey and the FBI in Baltimore. He made the entire packet available as a torrent.
Writing as Stranded Wind at Daily Kos (where he has since been banned), Rauhauser insinuated that I had obtained forged documentation during the course of my employment to support claims by shadowy Internet entity John Reid. @OccupyRebellion has made the same insinuations.
Rauhauser and anonymous Kimberlin supporters claimed that I criminally intimidated a witness by criticizing Nadia Naffe on my blog — an allegation that apparently has surfaced in her civil claim against me and my boss Steve Cooley.
Kimberlin claimed Walker assaulted him in a courthouse and made several claims regarding the incident that have been disproven by a video. Kimberlin's claims were repeated by Brynaert, @OccupyRebellion, and @BreitbartUnmask. Rauhauser and @OccupyRebellion falsely alleged that Walker had been arrested for this crime, and repeatedly asserted that he had beaten Kimberlin.
Brynaert has recently accused Aaron Walker of "extortion" for sending Brynaert a settlement demand letter in Walker's lawsuit against Brynaert. Brynaert accused me and Mandy Nagy of being part of the "conspiracy" to "extort" Brynaert. In fact, just yesterday, Brynaert used the threat of going to the NYPD as a way to deter me from publishing this post, saying that he was going to the police as soon as I published:
I'm waiting until a certain Deputy District Attorney – who has been enabling my blackmailer – to publish his lies, then I'm going to NYPD.
— Ron Brynaert (@ronbryn) May 24, 2012
Brynaert has accused me of criminal harassment. @OccupyRebellion has consistently accused me, Walker, and Nagy of being criminals.
Brynaert, Rauhauser, and @OccupyRebellion have insinuated or stated that I was not swatted, that I filed a false police report concerning that swatting, and that in fact I am the person who committed the swatting of the man in New Jersey.
- Frivolous State Bar complaints or threats to file State Bar complaints – Kimberlin filed a frivolous State Bar complaint against me, and has now filed a State Bar complaint against Aaron Walker. Kimberlin insinuated he might file a State Bar complaint against Walker's pro bono lawyer. Brynaert threatened to file a State Bar complaint against Aaron Walker and Ken Ashford (the man who refused to tell Brynaert the true name of Aaron Walker).
- General harassment – The "Gaped Crusader," published a picture of a naked man with his penis exposed, and claimed that it was Deputy District Attorney John Patrick Frey. Here are some Gaped Crusader screenshots:
The image above was not fuzzed out on the Gaped Crusader blog.
Kimberlin supporter @BreitbartUnmasked harassed Aaron on Twitter, and gave accurate details about Aaron's driving record that do not appear to be publicly available.
After a court appearance in which Aaron tried to get a peace order against Rauhauser, Rauhauser wrote an email to me and other friends of his which said, among other things: "Given Walker's state of mind I would say his wife might find him hanging in the garage tonight when she gets home from work."
Rauhauser called me at my office and left a message on my work voice mail, claiming that Aaron appeared to be suffering a psychological breakdown and needed help.
Rauhauser and anonymous Kimberlin supporters have consistently accused Aaron of being bigoted against Muslims. Rauhauser wrote Aaron mocking emails talking about how Muslims were likely to try to kill him because of his "Everyone Draw Mohammed" site. Kimberlin wrote Aaron's local police purporting to be concerned that, because Kimberlin had been "forced" (he claimed) to file a court document containing all Aaron's personal information, that Muslims would get hold of that document and put Aaron in danger. Even after Aaron lost his job, someone either arranged for, or pretended to be, a Muslim group that threatened to take protest and diplomatic actions against Aaron's workplace until they heard Aaron had been fired.
Kimberlin defenders took court audio of Allen and put it on YouTube, showing a graphic of Allen's face from his driver's license picture.
Mandy Nagy endured months of harassment from Rauhauser, @Occupy Rebellion, and others. @OccupyRebellion mocked Nagy's illnesses and personal tragedies. She told Nagy that she hoped Nagy died of cancer. She claimed that Nagy (a rape victim) had never been raped. She repeatedly called Nagy a "cunt." And she told Nagy that Nagy had put her own family's life in danger.
Nagy says she has been told by friends that people have been calling them asking questions about her, and that she has seen people seemingly staking out her residence in various vehicles.
Meanwhile, @OccupyRebellion and Rauhauser have incessantly accused Nagy of "baiting" Anonymous. This claim itself functions to stir up Anonymous accounts, in an apparent effort to get Anonymous to hack Nagy.
When I obtained the recording of my swatting, in July 2011, I thought I recognized the voice.
To me, it sounded like Brynaert. Specifically, it sounded like someone trying to disguise his voice at the beginning of the call, by talking in a monotone. Then, at the end of the call, when the dispatcher challenged the caller, the voice seemed to lose its disguised quality . . . and it sounded like Brynaert to me.
Here's the thing: Brynaert was talking to me on the phone when the police came to my house. That is something that the FBI in Dallas also told me fits the M.O. of a swatter.
Before that phone call, Ron Brynaert had told me that he had important information for me about the Anthony Weiner case. And that is how I ended up talking to him on the phone on the night of June 30, 2011, leading into the early morning hours of July 1.
And that is how it happened that he was on the phone with me when the police showed up to my door.
Let's listen to Brynaert's voice compared to that of the caller:
I pushed and pushed for law enforcement to do a forensic comparison of Brynaert's voice to that of the swatter. I found an interview of Brynaert online, so there was a ready sample for comparison. But they wouldn't do it. (I was constantly frustrated by the failure of law enforcement to follow up on what seemed like obvious leads. More about that at a future date.)
So I decided to hire my own expert.
Kent Gibson is a forensic voice identification expert. He has done work for the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, as well as the Los Angeles County Public Defender. He is court-qualified in Los Angeles Superior Court. He is a Yale and Stanford graduate who has had extensive experience in audio work. He is the expert hired by the mother of Mel Gibson's children to authenticate angry recordings that Mel Gibson left on her answering machine.
I first approached Kent in August 2011, but at the time I was still trying to convince law enforcement to do the comparison themselves. By January 2012 I had given up on law enforcement. I sent Kent my swatting call; the swatting call from New Jersey; a call to BlogTalkRadio that sounded like the swatter; and the Ron Brynaert interview.
The following quote is from Kent Gibson's declaration, sent to me on February 25, 2012:
In this case the following files were presented for evaluation: Tag names for these four recordings are shown in BOLD. The[y] represent calls from two Swat Hoax cases, one involving Patrick Frey and one involving Mike Stack [the man from New Jersey -- ed.].In other words, it is the opinion of an expert forensic examiner that Ron Brynaert's voice is probably the voice of the man on my swatting call. A call that could have gotten me killed.
G-8025959 FREY SWAT – Call made to 911 claiming a shooting at Mr. Frey's residence on 7/1/2011 at 12:16 AM. Caller impersonates Patrick Frey.
Stack Call – STACK SWAT – Call made to police dispatch in Readington, New Jersey. 6/23/2011 Caller impersonates Mike Stack.
Ron Brynaert Interview.mp3 – BRYNAERT KNOWN – an internet radio interview. This caller is suspected of being the Swat caller re: Frey.
Lee Call-in Radio Show – LEE KNOWN (Lee is interviewer's name, not caller.) This caller is suspected of being the Swat caller re: Stack.
. . . .
CONCLUSION: Considering all of the evidence presented, it is my expert forensic examiner opinion that it is probable that all voice samples come from the same person.
What you have just read is a summary. I have lived this daily — literally daily — for almost a year. There are pieces of evidence I didn't have room to include. There is so much evidence of harassment it would take you weeks to read about it all.
What's more, I know that this post is going to result in more harassment. I will almost certainly be sued, despite my careful efforts to stick to the facts. There will likely be more complaints to my workplace.
And I have a feeling they'll find creative new ways to try to rip my life apart.
As an aside, I have listened to Brett Kimberlin in court audio, saying he meets with Congressmen on a regular basis. I want to make sure these Congressmen know what he's doing.
I have appreciated the support I have felt in recent days, with people like Michelle Malkin, Instapundit, Stacy McCain, Ace, and many others stepping up and being willing to take on this topic.
It is my hope that the support of the blogosphere will not melt away after today. Because the harassment will almost certainly live on.
It's an important battle to take on. And I want to stress that this should not be a partisan issue. I believe Brett Kimberlin uses lefty politics as a tool — but he doesn't believe any of it in his heart. He is looking for a buck. I have been heartened to see left-leaning people of all stripes stand up to this guy in the past, from Mark Singer, the author of Citizen K; to Ken Ashford, who refused to give up Aaron Walker's identity; to the left-leaning lawyer who represented Aaron pro bono.
It is my hope that left-leaning blogs will recognize that this is not a partisan issue. It is a free speech issue.
Remember how I said one of my commenters was outed? And this crew started talking about his parents? And his divorce records? For being a commenter of mine?
What happened to me could literally happen to anyone. It could happen to you.
If you take nothing else from this post, remember that. It could happen to you.
As always, opinions on this site are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer. I speak in my personal capacity and not my official capacity, and do not intend to speak on behalf of my office in any way.
via Breitbart Feed on 5/25/12
The conservative blogosphere today launched a version of the Kony 2012 tactic, introducing readers to a man named Brett Kimberlin and his fellow far-leftists. The movement was sparked by several incidents, most recently the reported intimidation of Aaron Worthing and RS McCain, and the sensational story of the "SWATting" of Patterico.
There is an organizational effort by the institutional left--of which Kimberlin is a well-connected part--to silence conservatives, both in the "real" world and through social networks like Twitter. As these bloggers note, the best disinfectant is sunlight.
The story is complex and required reading. Settle in and check out the links below, including the fantastic work done by Breitbart.com's Liberty Chick.
More from Mccain
Meet the Soros-funded Brett Kimberlin
Hi: I had no idea that foul Brett Kimberlin was still around, causing trouble. Your posted info was quite a shock. That guy should still either be locked up, or he should have been pushed into a dark corner to slink away and stay hidden in the dark.- Swatting bloggers and other harassment
I lived in the county N. of Indpls when the "Speedway Bomber" was creating so much havoc in Speedway, which is a separate community surrounded by Indianapolis. His work was just that of a terrorist, because no one person or business was the point of his attacks; they were random, and that is why so many people were so upset.
To show how "smart" he was, at the time, he drove a used Mercedes sedan, and he was having trouble with it, so he took the car to the big Mercedes dealer in Indpls, and he just told them to fix all his problem, and he gave them the keys to everything. One of my friends at the time was about the best Mercedes mechanic there was, and I knew him through his sports car racing, in which many of my friends particpated. So he worked on the car, and he had to get into the trunk, and he had the keys and permission, so there was no legal question about his right to access. When he opened the trunk, he immediately saw explosive material and what looked like bomb making equipment. He and the dealership were so alarmed, they called the Indpls PD, who recognized some of the components as what they were looking for, so they contacted the Speedway PD. It took a lot of police work to make the case, but they finally did and got a conviction of Kimberlin. He was the crazy, irrational bomber who terrorized the entire area.
I also worked with the daughter of the man who was so seriously injured, and was in so much pain, that he killed himself. The daughter never got over it; the pain and loss of her father bothered her all the time, and she finally ended up quitting her job, saying she couldn't concentrate on her work anymore. The damage of such crazy people goes on and on.
Yes, our justice system let us down again. I can't believe that crazy guy is still causing trouble as was described. I believe it, but such should be impossible. Decent, normal-thinking people need to stick together.
Thx for info.
Bill [redacted] (former Indiana Circuit court judge)
- Top signs you are being harassed by the Speedway Bomber
- Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day
- Exposure Day for Brett Kimberlin
- Operation Brett Kimberlin
- New American terrorism: "swatting"
- Shining a light on Brett Kimberlin's tactics
- Standing with RS McCain
- What Brett Kimberlin did, according to the 6th circuit
- " ... journalist Stacy McCain was forced to leave the state due to threats to his family ..."
- "I don't scare easily ... but when Brett Kimberlin takes interest in you ..."
There are a ton of links. It's currently tops at Memeorandum.
This is the untold story of how a private citizen was nearly killed when someone set up a swat of his house, with audio of the fake 9-11 call.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Sent to you by Karl via Google Reader:
Before today, I'd been aware of Brett Kimberlin in only the vaguest possible way, since his name suddenly seemed to be popping on various sites I visit. Since his name didn't actually ring any bells, I didn't stop to educate myself about him. This morning, though, I've had a crash Kimberlin course and, friends, it's ugly. It's also something that requires action from as many people as possible in order to use the sunlight of free speech to bleach out the ugly and costly lies that Kimberlin is propagating against conservative bloggers.
First, a few facts.
Kimberlin is a convicted bomber. He even has a nickname: "The Speedway Bomber." Back in 1978, he set of a series of eight bombs in Speedway, Indiana, one of which blew the limbs off Vietnam Vet Carl DeLong, who later committed suicide because of his injuries. Kimberlin is also a convicted drug dealer. In 1988, he claimed that he sold drugs to Dan Quayle, but there was nothing to corroborate this claim. Given Kimberlin's far left politics, it's reasonable to believe that he was lying for political effect. Incidentally, you won't be able to discover any of this through Wikipedia — it's been scrubbed.
Kimberlin, who is out of prison, has now made it his life's mission to go after conservative bloggers to have had the temerity to mention him online. Michelle Malkin explains:
Over the past year, Aaron Walker (who blogged as "Aaron Worthing"), Patterico, Liberty Chick, and now Stacy McCain have been targeted by convicted Speedway bomber Brett Kimberlin because they dared to mention his criminal past or assisted others who did. The late Andrew Breitbart warned about Kimberlin and company.
I have spoken directly with both Patterico and Aaron about their ongoing battles.
The mainstream press, not just the conservative blogosphere, needs to hear and report their stories.
This is a convoluted, ongoing nightmare that combines abuse of the court system, workplace intimidation, serial invasions of privacy, perjury, and harassment of family members. McCain was forced to move with his family out of his house this week, and has just gotten a small taste of what Aaron and Patterico have been enduring over the past year. Aaron and his wife were fired from their jobs after their employer feared the office would be targeted next. Convicted bomber Kimberlin has filed bogus "peace orders" against Aaron, when it is the Walkers who are the victims, not the perpetrators.
And Patterico's plight will send chills up your spine when he is ready to tell it.
For more information about Kimberlin's behavior, Lee Stranahan put together a short video:
Kimberlin's legal actions are not intended to protect himself against unwarranted slander from conservatives. Instead, they are aimed at squelching free — and truthful — speech. His theory is that, if he makes free speech too costly, using a combination of physical threats and legal costs, people will stop speaking. He's not alone in this belief, since he's managed to fund his lawsuits with help from various far-left groups that are also deeply committed to ensuring that America's First Amendment protections are reserved only for pre-approved Leftist speech.
Lee Stranahan offers the best (indeed, the only) way to respond to someone who relentlessly abuses the Free Speech rights America grants — MORE SPEECH:
This is no war of words; Kimberlin is a serial litigator who has filed over 100 lawsuits by his own account and he takes people to court, claiming they are harassing him. He calls their employers. I stand with all these people, some of whom are my friends. I'm launching a new effort on my own that I hope will help.
The only effective way to fight Brett Kimberlin is for as many people to research and write about him as possible.
So I'm declaring this Friday, May 25th as Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day.
Here's what you do to take part…
- Research Brett Kimberlin on your own. Don't trust secondary sources; look for the orginal articles articles published about him, too.
- On Friday, May 25th — write an honest, factually accurate post about what you learned and what your OPINION is. Brett may try and sue you, so be accurate, factual and separate fact from opinion.
- The post doesn't have to be long — ANYTHING helps.
- After you post, Tweet, share, whatever — get the post out there.
As you can see, I'm doing my part right now, by getting the May 25 ball rolling. Indeed, the ball is already rolling, with sufficient numbers of people writing on this subject for Kimberlin's list of assigned targets to have grown exponentially. Eventually, there'll just be too many targets and, with luck, this guy will quietly slink away.
On May 25, of course, I'll write again about Kimberlin. Can you do something to help out too?
UPDATE OF OTHERS BLOGGING:
Instapundit Glenn Reynolds
The American Thinker
Walter Olson at Overlawyered
Blazing Cat Fur
Donald Douglas at American Power
The American Catholic
The Lonely Conservative
Kathy Shaidle at Five Feet of Fury
The Coalition of the Swilling
The Camp of the Saints
Wake Up America
Zilla of the Resistance
Lady Liberty 1885
Goldfish and Clowns
Small Dead Animals
Yid with Lid
Evil Blogger Lady
Day by Day
Kim Priestap (two links)
Bruce Kesler at Maggie's Farm
This enthusiastic participation, from bloggers (and cartoonists) whom you like and respect is a reminder that this is important. By creating an impossible broad target for Kimberlin and his ilk, we use speech to neutralize entirely his efforts to destroy speech. It's the wonderful opposite of a boycott.