Silence The Right
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The Progressive Push for Censorship
It all begins with a man named Brett Kimberlin. Around 30 years ago, Kimberlin was convicted and sent to prison for the Speedway bombings in Speedway, Indiana. In prison, he became a jailhouse lawyer, and has had quite the litigious streak since his release. He also gained some notoriety in the late 1980s and early 90s when he claimed to have sold marijuana to Dan Quayle - a claim that was never substantiated.
Today, Kimberlin works for two non-profit left-wing political organizations, "Justice Through Music" and "Velvet Revolution." While his name has popped up a couple of times over the past decade - primarily in protests against torture of prisoners of war - he has mostly stayed under the radar (there is much more to Kimberlin's story than this, but these are the highlights).
Kimberlin has re-surfaced in the public eye due to his attempts to silence bloggers who write about him. I don't know where it started, but I first heard about Kimberlin in his attempt to silence Aaron Walker. Walker, an attorney and right-wing blogger, had provided some free legal advice to a left-wing blogger who apparently had published some less-than-flattering truths about Kimberlin and found himself under legal attack. Walker then found his world turning upside-down, as Kimberlin went on a systematic mission both to reveal Walker's real name (he blogged under the pseudonym Aaron Worthing), and to prevent him from spreading the truth about Kimberlin. Through the course of Kimberlin's campaign against Walker, Walker and his wife lost their jobs, he has been accused of harrassment and assault, has had a restraining order (referred to as a "peace order" where Walker lives) filed against him to shut him up, and has been jailed. Walker has a well-documented account of Kimberlin's campaign against him on his blog.
And Aaron Walker is not the only one who has been targetted by Kimberlin and his associates. Blogger Patrick Frey, aka Patterico, details in his blog how he was SWATted. SWATting, if you are unfamiliar with the term, is a form of harrassment where the harrasser uses a VOIP phone and other means to make it appear as though he is calling from the victim's home, claims to be the victim, and then claims to have committed a vioent act. In Patterico's case, the SWATter told police he had shot his wife - and soon thereafter, Patrick Frey found himself staring down the barrel of a gun, with police surrounding his house and a helicopter circling overhead. While the case remains unsolved, Frey strongly suspects it was perpetrated by Kimberlin or one of his associates, as he had received threats about a story he had been blogging about...and both Frey and another blogger associated with Andrew Breitbart were SWATted in the same week.
And it seems that this kind of intimidation is par for the course for Kimberlin and his associates. Erick Erickson, CNN contributor and editor-in-chief of RedState.com, was SWATted shortly after he began writing stories about Kimberlin's harrassment campaigns. And according to Ericson, the voice on the 911 tape from his SWATting sounds suspiciously similar to the voice from Patrick Frey's SWATting.
Another right-wing blogger, Ali A. Akbar, president of the non-profit National Bloggers Club, had his mother's address and a picture of her house posted online shortly after he had the organization put together an assistance fund for Aaron Walker and other harrassment victims.
Obviously, SWATting is one of the most extreme forms of harrassment out there. I couldn't even imagine what it would be like to wake up in the middle of the night, as Patrick Frey was, or be sitting down to dinner with my family, as Eric Ericson was, and suddenly being confronted by police officers with drawn guns who thought I was a violent murderer. If this harrassment continues, it is only a matter of time before someone is killed - and for what? For exposing the truth about a convicted terrorist and perjurer.
With Ericson's SWATting, the incidences finally gained some national attention, with stories being run by FOX News and ABC News. Senator Saxby Chambliss sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that the Justice Department investigate the incidents - and now, it looks like 70 members of the House will follow suit.
We can only hope that Holder won't be too busy running guns in Mexico to get to the bottom of these attacks on the First Amendment.
It is about time that Kimberlin and his associates were brought out into the limelight and exposed for their attempts to silence their political opponents. Whatever your political persuasion, there is no excuse for this kind of flagrant abuse of the legal system - both in the form of frivolous legal action and the incidents of SWATting - to stop people from pointing out facts or voicing their opinion.
Robert Cleveland, Senior Conservative Editor: Robert Cleveland is the IT Director for a document management services company. When he isn't working on computers and scanners, he's spending time with his wife and kids, or writing about just how jacked-up Washington politics is. He is a strong believer that hard work and freedom are what make America the greatest nation on the planet, and it is of the utmost importance that we never lose those values. Robert's other writing can be found at his blog, more...)