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Overnight Open Thread (6-7-2012) | Main | Empty-Set Overnight Open Thread Thread
June 08, 2012

upsidedownflag

The upside-down flag is an unofficial symbol of distress, an SOS.

It's also a symbol of America itself turned upside down.

In the face of harassment and threats against the right to free speech, allies of liberty are fond of saying "We will not be silenced."

It's a statement that projects confidence, defiance, and vigorous defense of one's rights.

But, as noble as this declaration may be, it's not wholly true.

Because a sufficiently painful harassment, or a sufficiently grave threat, will in fact silence those who would otherwise enter the public square.

Two people have already been silenced. One man has been arrested -- arrested, for blogging about the criminal history of Brett Kimberlin, and for describing his ongoing ordeal at Kimberlin's hands.

Unless Congress acts -- and acts swiftly -- there will be still further innocent citizens subjected to Brett Kimberlin's lawless vigilantism.

Brett Kimberlin does not want people writing about his past -- a past that includes convictions for serial bombing, drug smuggling, perjury, and even impersonating a member of the military. (One of his ploys as a major narcotics trafficker was to avoid inspection of his drug-carrying planes when they were refueled by... dressing himself and his crew in fake military uniforms and flashing fake DoD credentials, telling ground crews that the plane was a top-secret flight and they were ordered to ask no questions about it. Citizen K., pages 94-95.)

Then-FoxNews reporter Ed Barnes filed this report in 2010, questioning whether Brett Kimberlin was a "political prisoner" turned self-styled activist, or merely a career criminal with a new scam.

Leftist Blogger's Criminal Past Raises Questions About His Real Intent

By Ed Barnes

Published October 19, 2010

Even before his release from prison 10 years ago, Brett Kimberlin had learned a lesson that has served him well: If you publicly accuse a well-known political figure of crimes or misdeeds -- even without proof -- publicity and money will follow.

Kimberlin, a convicted bomber and drug dealer, learned that lesson in 1988, when he claimed from his prison cell that he had been Dan Quayle's marijuana dealer in college. The claim got a lot of attention because Quayle was running for vice president of the United States at the time.

Now, 22 years later, Kimberlin has taken that lesson and made unfounded accusations a profession of sorts. Using two popular leftist blogs, the 56-year-old from Bethesda, Md., has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from the public and left-leaning foundations by promising to put conservatives he disagrees with in jail, often with offers of large rewards. So far -- without success -- he has called for the arrest of Karl Rove, Andrew Breitbart, Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue, Massey Energy Chairman Don Blankenship and other high-profile public figures.

A review of tax filings for Kimberlin's blogs, "Velvet Revolution" and "Justice Through Music," raises troubling questions about whether his "nonprofit" operations are dedicated to public activism -- or are just a new facade for a longtime con artist.

One person who doubts Kimberlin's credibility and intentions is his biographer, Mark Singer, who literally wrote the book on Kimberlin: Citizen K: The Deeply Weird American Journey of Brett Kimberlin. Although Mark Singer began the project as a believer, and a supporter -- he shared the advance for the book with Kimberlin, and had previously mainstreamed his evidence-free claims about Dan Quayle by reporting them in Tina Brown's very first issue of The New Yorker -- his entire book is a repudiation of his past credulity, and a refutation of nearly all claims of Brett Kimberlin.

Mark Singer's book is remarkable in as much as it is a book-length repudiation of his previous reportage, an extended exercise in self-flagellation for his gullibility, for his having been swindled by a narcissist with a talent for self-promotion and lies.

There are many books demolishing previous reporting on a subject -- but very few in which an author demolishes his own career-making earlier work.

While I, and Kimberlin's other targets, are heartened by Congress' letter to Eric Holder to look into the SWATting matter, what a reading of Citizen K demonstrates is that Congress itself needs to act in order to finally put an end to Brett Kimberlin's ongoing digital (and real-life) terrorism.

Because not even prison stopped Brett Kimberlin's crimes. While working as a prison clerk, Brett Kimberlin forged his own release order, forging all necessary signatures; he planned to release himself at 12:01 am on Memorial Day weekend. His plan is that no one would attempt to call the warden to confirm the release in the middle of the night on a holiday weekend; to make the process of confirming the strange midnight release, he also took the step of removing contact information from the office's Rolodex. This scheme was ready to be executed, but for a lucky break for justice: Kimberlin was unexpectedly moved to another prison before Memorial Day, and his forged release form was now useless.

Another job he was assigned to in prison was doing quality control for military equipment. Rather than ensuring that equipment used by the men and women of the armed forces were in proper working order, Brett Kimberlin gave the equipment a positive rating -- and then cut the wires himself.

This is not an allegation; this is an amusing anecdote he enjoys bragging about. From Citizen K, page 184, directly quoting Kimberlin from the many conversations the author had with him in preparing the book:

"I'd run the cables through quality control," [Kimberlin] said. "I'd check them. I'd sign off on them. And then I'd cut some of the damn wires."

Prison did not stop his crimes. Prison only taught him new skills.

As Singer says about Kimberlin's self-education as a jailhouse lawyer:

Jailhouse law suited all of Brett Kimberlin's aptitudes: It appealed to his peripatetic imagination and disciplined habits, offered rich opportunities for creative sophistry, and gratified his bottomless capacity for self-justification.

Citizen K, page 183.

Stopping Brett Kimberlin's remorseless war on civil society, on the freedoms of his fellow Americans, will not take a letter.

Stopping Brett Kimberlin will take an Act of Congress.

At his sentencing hearing for his conviction of the Speedway Bombings -- a week-long bombing spree in Speedway, Indiana, in 1978 -- Brett Kimberlin vowed to Judge Steckler:

"If I am sentenced to one day or one hundred years, to me it's a travesty and a tragedy and an injustice, and for that reason I would ask that I don't have an executed sentence. And furthermore, I have decided and am prepared to take this on appellate levels and do everything possible to vindicate myself, whether through the district court, appellate court, Supreme Court. If I have to go through the United Nations I plan on doing that, and I plan on going to the World Court. I plan on filing lawsuits against every person that I know that lied against me and any agencies that were involved with corruption and use of perjured testimony."

Citizen K, page 180. Emphasis added.

Brett Kimberlin was true to his word. As recounted in the biography for which he himself cooperated, Brett Kimberlin has filed 100 lawsuits or more on his own behalf. He has sued, or harassed, or both, judges, prosecutors, witnesses, wardens, reporters, and even, oddly, Senator Orrin Hatch (Orrin Hatch apparently joined the Conspiracy Against Brett Kimberlin at some point in his senatorial career).

He also sued a victim of his bombing, to escape the money judgement awarded to her for her husband's maiming by one of his bombs. That husband, Vietnam War hero Major Carl DeLong, eventually took his own life.

Carl DeLong had survived Vietnam, but he did not survive Brett Kimberlin.

Apart from the United Nations and World Court -- which, it turns out, do not have jurisdiction over bombing sprees in Indiana -- Brett Kimberlin has filed suit after suit protesting his perfect innocence in the Speedway Bombings and harassing and threatening those who say otherwise.

Released from prison in 2000, Brett Kimberlin has now turned his jailhouse lawyer skills on a new pool of victims: Bloggers who dare to publicly mention, on their small-scale electronic newspapers, Brett Kimberlin's criminal record. And the avalanche of frivolous, vexatious, and outright malicious lawsuits begins anew, as well as more alarming harassments.

I am writing to you, Members of Congress, to alert you of the full menace that Brett Kimberlin still poses to society. He should never have been let out of prison; having lived nearly the entirety of his life since high school as one-man crime wave, it can hardly have been believed that he had truly reformed by 2000.

That is a mistake which of cannot of course be cured. But Congress can act to limit Brett Kimberlin's ability to continue to wreak misery and fear upon law-abiding citizens in other ways, which I will propose at post's end.

It is a burden to live with a criminal conviction for a terrifying domestic-terrorism bombing spree, as Brett Kimberlin well knows.

However, Brett Kimberlin has decided that burden shall no longer fall upon his shoulders, but upon the shoulders of anyone who mentions his extensive, remorseless, relentless criminal history.

Brett Kimberlin has personally decided that it is society at large, rather than himself, who shall bear the burden of his crimes.

It is time for Congress to act.

Brett Kimberlin has litigated and re-litigated and sur-litigated his claims of innocence in every proper tribunal, and now has turned to litigating these matters as against private citizens.

He has decided that if he cannot get his criminal conviction overturned by the courts, he will do the next best thing: He will personally harass anyone who dares mention this conviction.

He may not get his conviction expunged, overturned, or pardoned, but by suing any American citizen who refers to the official court records of the Federal Courts of the United States of America, he will make sure no one breathes a word about it.

The United States government and court system have long been the targets of Kimberlin's relentless lawsuits, motions, appeals, complaints, filings, accusations, and calls for grand jury hearings into those who supposedly conspired with the government to frame him.

The State must bear such a burden -- after all, if the state intends to deprive a man of his liberty, it must entertain almost every legal filing the accused submits.

The State is obligated to do that. And the State has the resources to argue against such filings.

Private citizens do not. Private citizens, engaging lawfully in reporting on facts, should not be dragooned lawsuit after lawsuit, subpoena after subpoena, into Brett Kimberlin's hyperactive quest to sue anyone who writes about the Speedway Bombings.

If Brett Kimberlin seeks relief, he should direct his efforts to the courts which can provide a new trial or a vacating of the decision, or to the President of the United States, who can provide a pardon, and, if he sees fit, a full exoneration for his crimes.

But he should be foreclosed from continuing to seek such relief from private citizens, who cannot grant it, and who are only hailed into court to answer specious claim after specious claim to convince them that life would go better for them if they just stopped mentioning Brett Kimberlin.

We are citizens of the United States. If the court records of the United States say that Brett Kimberlin was convicted of, and sentenced to fifty years for, planting the bombs that terrified Speedway, Indiana, and maimed Carl DeLong, we ought to be able to rely upon that official ruling, and not be subject to endless harassments by a career criminal who has decided to live in a fantasy world in which he was a "political prisoner" and perfectly innocent of his crimes.

We ought not exist in a world of punishment by vindictive lawsuit for the crime of not indulging Brett Kimberlin's fantasy.

When I wrote of this several weeks ago, I asked, rhetorically, "Did Congress pass a law forbidding me from mentioning that Brett Kimberlin was convicted of the Speedway Bombings?"

Of course Congress had passed no such law -- but Brett Kimberlin is imposing his one-man private law that that is now the official policy of the United States of America.

Will Congress speak up and assure American citizens that it is not in fact illegal to make reference to the court records of the United States, and that any suit predicated on such a fact-pattern -- yet another minor variation of his claims that by referencing the court records of the United States of America, he is the victim of "harassment" and "conspiracies" against him -- is baseless?

Will Congress read his criminal record into the Congressional Record, to put beyond doubt that it is lawful to state his conviction for the Speedway Bombings openly, and without fear?

Will Congress consider enacting positive legislation to limit Brett Kimberlin's relentless determination to sue over any negative mention of his past?

For example: Will Congress act to pass a federal anti-SLAPP suit (SLAPP meaning "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation," i.e., "lawfare" to intimidate people from expressing their First Amendment rights), such that the victims of such suits can remove them to federal courts and have them quashed? And further providing for stiff punitive fines for those who file them?

Will Congress hold hearings -- conduct an investigation -- into the exact mission of Brett Kimberlin's tax-exempt, not-for-profit "charities," The Velvet Revolution and Justice Through Music, to ensure these organizations, for which donations are tax-exempt, are behaving in compliance with the public interest?

Will Congress provide for a federal vexatious litigant statute, limited, if need be, to only cases of cross-state-boundary suits (i.e., federal diversity) and, if needing further limitations, to cases in which the vexatious litigation seeks to stifle the constitutional right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment?

California's vexatious litigant statute, for example, states that someone who has filed a series of vexatious litigations shall be put onto a list, and once on that list, they must post large bonds before suing anyone else, and further, are requited to get a senior judge to sign off on any fresh litigation as having merit.

This seems like a model law for the United States-- does anyone favor vexatious litigation against the federally-guaranteed right to free speech?

How many Congressmen would rise to oppose such a bill?

Such a law would quickly put an end to Brett Kimberlin's jailhouse-lawyer conveyor belt of unending litigation. Perhaps there would be three, four, or five new victims... but then, the victimization would finally end.

At some point, the ongoing case of Brett Kimberlin v. The World At Large must finally, finally end.

At some point, the list of Brett Kimberlin's victims must be capped.

There are many things Congress can do to champion citizens' rights to free speech. A letter to the Department of Justice -- while welcome -- is unlikely to make the madness finally stop.

Brett Kimberlin had an interesting quote -- directly from his own mouth -- about his mindset.

I believe in this simple sentence, Brett Kimberlin encapsulates his worldview.

The context is that Brett Kimberlin was talking about other major narcotics-smugglers who found his tactics and schemes to be too risky.

"I've met smugglers who thought my methods were too ballsy. I looked at it as just the opposite. If you do something right out in the open, as long as you don't trip up and make a mistake, then nobody's going to suspect it."

Citizen K, page 57. Emphasis added.

A crime is in progress. It is ongoing. Will Congress please act to stop it?

A PLEA FOR ACTION, NOT WORDS

If you are reading this, please contact Congress to ask them to not only take an interest in this matter, but to seriously consider enacting positive statutory law to limit Brett Kimberlin's ongoing abuse of the legal system and corruption of justice.

Please be polite with them: As you will soon be hearing, Congress is in fact getting involved. Congress is decidedly not indifferent to the plight of ordinary citizens exercising their rights under the First Amendment.

However, I think Congress does not yet appreciate a few things:

Brett Kimberlin will not be stopped by publicity. He craves publicity. He's loved publicity since he first got a taste of media adulation with his "I was Dan Quayle's pot dealer" claims, which, you will not be surprised to learn, Mark Singer has found to be likely a fabrication.

Brett Kimberlin will not be stopped by scrutiny. Even when he was a suspect in the Speedway Bombings, and being followed by agents of the FBI -- and he knew he was being followed -- he continued to conduct his large-scale drug smuggling operation. While being investigated for the Speedway Bombings, he was arrested independently for procuring false military ID. And then, having been arrested (and released) for procuring false military ID, he was arrested for smuggling tons of marijuana into America.

The fact that the FBI was watching him didn't seem to matter. He considers them stupid; he always thinks he's one step ahead of them. The fact that he has frequently been arrested and caught does not seem to enter into his reasoning.

And, as he himself says: If you do it right out in the open, then who's going to suspect it?

Congress also doesn't appreciate the urgency of the situation. If there's one theme of Brett Kimberlin's life, it's escalating risk-taking when already in a risky situation.

The Speedway Bombings, of which he was convicted, were conducted even as he was under investigation for the murder-by-hire of an innocent grandmother. The theory was that Brett Kimberlin set the bombs to cause chaos and prevent a proper investigation of the execution-style murder of Julia Scyphers.

That was never proven; that is a suspicion the police and FBI held. Brett Kimberlin was never charged for Julia Scyphers' murder; the case remains open.

Officially-- no one knows who murdered Julia Scyphers, or for what possible reason a grandmother was executed.

The point is that he definitely was under investigation for the murder -- this is a publicly-reported fact -- and he knew that.

And yet even being under suspicion by police for a murder, he planted and detonated the bombs in Speedway. This is a fact.

Escalation.

The police and FBI don't know the motive for the bombings. They never suggested one in court, and Brett Kimberlin, who claims to be innocent, has never said why he planted the bombs.

But the theory -- again, not proven, not tested in court -- the police and FBI had was that the bombs were planted to divert resources away from the Julia Scyphers murder.

Escalation.

And this leads to the last point that I don't know if Congress is aware of: Brett Kimberlin is a dangerous man. That is not my opinion; that is the finding of the United States federal courts.

This is not some blogwar bullshit. This is not a case of "he called me a dirty name on the internet and I'm angry."

This is digital terrorism, straight up. With consequences that go far beyond what someone said about you on Twitter.

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.

Escalation.

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.

Michelle Malkin has provided the contact information for specific Congressmen she believes might be interested, or hold particular power over such matters. You can also contact them, in addition to your own Congressman.

By the way, I wouldn't necessarily assume that a liberal Congressman would not be interested in an ongoing abuse of the legal process for private vengeance. At the very least they should be apprised of the situation -- if they decide to do nothing, that's a matter for their own conscience.

I had hoped to write the definitive post on Brett Kimberlin. However, I am unable to finish this today; this is merely what I am able to write by close of business today.

Thus, I have not discussed Brett Kimberlin's actual crimes, both past and ongoing.

I will discuss these later.

TO BE CONTINUED....


digg this
posted by Ace at 03:41 PM





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