Remember what I wrote on Wednesday and what more than 150 blogs and thousands of Twitter activists united behind on Friday?
This is literally a matter of life and death, freedom vs. terrorism. We side with life and freedom.
The massive blogburst about convicted bomber and online terrorist ringleader Brett Kimberlin ended on Friday, but this is an ongoing legal, financial, and emotional morass for the targets. And it has now entangled new victims. It is precisely because each and every blogger, Twitter users, activist, talk show host, and podcaster is potential new prey for sicko Kimberlin and his cabal that we must all stand together.
And it is imperative that we turn awareness-raising into action.
1. Tweet @CNN and ask if the cable news network will be covering the reported SWATting of RedState blogger and CNN contributor Erick Erickson today in the aftermath of the Everyone Blog About Brett Kimberlin event. For more on how Erickson and his family were subjected to the same terror tactic used against blogger Patterico, who exposed his plight on Friday on his blog and on the Glenn Beck show, see here, here, here, here, and Twitchy round-up here.
2. Courageous blogger Aaron Walker, who was fired from his job along with his wife after Kimberlin launched his vexatious litigation jihad, faces a hearing on Tuesday in Maryland over several speech-squelching “peace orders” filed by the convicted bomber. If you go show your support, here are cell phone/ electronic device rules.
Aaron, who blew the whistle in a blog opus more than a week ago, gave several concrete steps on how you can help:
First, please spread the word far and wide about this story. Tweet it, blog it, Facebook it, link it, whatever. If you are a reporter and would like to talk to me about this and even view the un-redacted documents, let me know at any of my emails, including [email protected] I will be happy to speak with you.
Second, you can write to the State’s Attorney of Montgomery County. I did not name the subordinate responsible for the inaction, but ultimately it is the responsibility of John McCarthy, the State’s Attorney himself. You might also consider writing to the Governor, or the Attorney General of Maryland. Be polite. You will not help me by being foul or insulting. Simply state that you believe a grave injustice has been done to me—if you happen to agree—and ask them politely to see to it that justice be done.
This is his office’s contact information:
State’s Attorney for Montgomery County
50 Maryland Avenue, 5th Floor
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Third, and importantly, I will be setting up a defense fund very soon. This will not be limited to my case, but to all victims of Kimberlin and his crew because there are more of them than I am disclosing in this post. Their goal is to get anyone who crosses them fired, impoverished by continual and frivolous legal actions and so on. They have already cost me $7,000 and my job. You can help make sure that this will not happen to others and, yes, help me pay my legal expenses.
Fourth, if you are hiring, I need a job. I can work as a lawyer, blogger, researcher or any number of things. Feel free to contact me by email if you think you can offer me something.
3. Hold the financial aiders and abetters of Brett Kimberlin accountable:
Action alert: Ask the State Department about its “partnership” with Kimberlin’s shady social justice music outfit, Justice Through Music Project.
Action alert: Press other JTMP donors — including Fidelity Investments, the Schwab Charitable Fund, the Tides Foundation, and Threshold Foundation — for answers about their relationship with JTMP.
Don’t take “no comment” for an answer.
4. As Breitbart. com lead investigative exposer and Kimberlin target Mandy Nagy (Liberty Chick) observes, the left has the National Lawyers Guild to defend progressives’ First Amendment rights.
#BrettKimberlin is THE example of why we need a “National Lawyers Guild” strategic infrastructure on the right.
— Mandy Nagy (@Liberty_Chick) May 25, 2012
A wide variety of conservative public interest law firms do the same. But we need the best legal minds united and organized in defense of online conservatives under fire from well-funded, vexatious litigants like Brett Kimberlin and his ilk.
They need to be talking to each other. And they need to be talking directly to the Kimberlin targets and bloggers’ groups.
5. Legislative and legal focus.
a) 18 USC 241. As noted on Friday, Christian Adams points the way:
The story about the SWATTING and intimidation is shocking. It might also be illegal.
18 USC 241 prohibits intimidation against Americans for exercising free speech rights. The statute says:
If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
b) State-level vexatious litigant statutes. Several friends and readers have e-mailed me about legislation to prevent systematic abuse of the court system by serial, frivolous pro se plaintiffs like Kimberlin. Here’s some background on California’s law.
Via Cynthia Yockey, Maryland does have a vexatious litigant statute as well:
*For an example of Maryland’s Rule 1-341 on vexatious litigants, see this article on James Riffin v. Circuit Court for Baltimore County, et al. Fore more on Maryland’s Rule 1-341 against vexatious lawsuits — see 0.2:250 Sanctions in Judicial Proceedings:
The Court of Appeals fashioned Maryland Rule 1-341 to protect civil litigants from certain types of improper conduct by an opposing party or attorney. As reflected in the title of Maryland Rule 1-341, “Bad Faith — Unjustified Proceeding,” in any civil action, a court may require a party, that party’s attorney, or both to pay reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by the adverse party if a proceeding was maintained or defended in bad faith or without substantial justification. This Rule applies to all civil proceedings in all Maryland courts, including the appellate courts. Allnut v. Comptroller of the Treasury, 77 Md. App. 424 (1988), cert. denied, 315 Md. 307 (1989). It is applicable to all attorneys practicing in the Maryland courts, including out-of-state attorneys who are specially appearing pro hac vice. Id.; Watson v. Watson, 73 Md. App. 483 (1988). However, it is not applicable to attorneys who fail to appear for court-ordered mediation sessions, Tobin v. Marriott Hotels, Inc., 111 Md. App. 566 (1996), or to conduct in federal court proceedings, Major v. First Virginia Bank, 97 Md. App. 520, cert. denied, 331 Md. 480 (1993), or to proceedings before the Health Claims Arbitration Office, Newman v. Reilly, 314 Md. 364 (1988).
Ace of Spades suggests there’s plenty of room for reform in Maryland because “the law permits the victim to recover court costs and such if he’s being abused by lawsuit. However, CA and other states maintain a *list.* And once you’re on it, you’re required to post a large bond (like 10 or 15K) before filing (which can reimburse the target if you’re found vexatious again) and [it requires] you to get a senior judge to sign off on your exiting new lawsuits…Something like that would be terrific. Indeed, not sure why every damn state doesn’t pass something like that now. If you press some number of suits deemed vexatious by a judge (like 5 or so), bam, you’re on the list, and now your right to sue is limited.”
6. Ace also spotlights what you can do to pressure Congress on this fundamental free speech issue (emphasis added):
And our representatives in the US Congress can act, too. 501(c)’s are nonprofit charities whose donors receive a tax deduction. That means Brett Kimberlin’s litigious lifestyle choices aren’t merely outrageous — they are subsidized by you, the taxpayer.
When the Barbara Streisand Foundation donates to one of Brett Kimberlin’s, uh, outfits, that’s deductible, baby!
When Soros’ Tides Foundation or Theresa Heinz’s Heinz Foundation writes a big check for Brett Kimberlin’s um, charitable endeavors, you kick in a little for that.
Now, the nation must perhaps tolerate some amount of harassment and abuse by convicted felons — but does it also have to subsizdize it?
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?
…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?
…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.
7. PLEASE remember the National Bloggers Club fund-raising drive for the targets of Brett Kimberlin’s online terror campaign. Give what you can. Help spread the word.
8. Don’t shut up. Don’t let this insane story of online terrorism, which transcends politics, die. Silence is complicity.
Et lux in tenebris lucet…
From Patterico over the weekend: Person claiming to be swatter calls into Lee Stranahan’s radio show.
I was on a podcast with Lee Stranahan last night about Kimberlin and the swattings. You can hear it here.
A person claiming to be my swatter called in twice to the show: once at 50:18 and again at about 65 minutes in. I was on the show and the person claiming to be the swatter addressed me directly, twice. He called me “buddy,” mocked me for having been swatted, laughed at me repeatedly, and mocked Michelle Malkin for the situation where her cousin is missing. He asked me what it was like to be swatted, and absurdly claimed that he was present that night, watching me led out in handcuffs.
It was like some awful B movie you see on the USA Network late at night…
Make sure to click on the link to listen to the sicko audio.
Christian Adams, former DOJ official and brilliant legal mind, shares his thoughts with radio host Tony Katz on fighting back against the swatters.
Adding Number 9 on the to-do list:
9. Make sure to read Stranahan’s post about a reward for info leading to identification of the swatter.
I’m personally offering $1000 and my friend Brandon Darby kicked in $1000 and thanks to people who have committed in, the reward commitment is at $1225 $2550! Over $8000! I still need to add up everything, but BlogWorldExpo has committed $5000! (See below if you want to help.)
First, Mike Stack was swatted last June. Then, Patterico was swatted a week later. Last night, Erick Erickson had an attempted swatting. And then on my podcast interview with Patterico last night, someone who seems to be the swatter called into the show, admitted to swatting Pat, laughed, and lashed out at Michelle Malkin.
I’m not a wealthy person but I can do something so I’m offering $1000 of my money to the person that supplies the piece of information that brings about the arrest and conviction of whoever is behind these behind these swatting. Call it my investment in the First Admendment.