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Friday, June 08, 2012

Another Member of Congress Demands Investigation Into Attacks Against Conservative Bloggers

By Susan Duclos

[Update] Placing this update on top of the post because it is an absolute must-read by Ace of Spades. A teaser will not do the entirety justice so if you click no other link today, please click HERE.

Kudos Ace.

Original post below:

Note- Some Conservative bloggers, like Michelle Malkin, are joining Ace of Spades by going dark today in a protest over a 74-yr old retired Maryland judge, Cornelius Vaughey, who violated blogger Aaron Walker's First Amendments rights by issuing a restraining order against him which includes barring him from blogging about Brett Kimberlin aka the "Speedway Bomber."

The battle is being fought on more than one front though, as a different types of attacks against Conservative bloggers has come to light.

 Both Patrick Frey from Patterico's Pontifications and Eric Erickson from RedState were victims of what is called SWATting, where the police are called claiming their has been a violent crime committed  in their household and authorities rush over, guns drawn.

In Frey's case, police were told he shot his wife. Read that chilling account here.

In Erickson's, as his family was sitting down at dinner police arrived after a report came in that there had been a shooting at his home. Luckily he had warned local authorities about this type harassment prior to the actual call. Read his account here.

Robert Stacy McCain has had to pack up his family and leave his home, now blogs from an undisclosed location, and founder of National Bloggers Club, Ali Akbar, now represented by ACLJ, has been threatened and his own mother's home was photographed and put on the Internet. More here.

The examples listed above are just a small sample of the ongoing attacks and harassment campaigns that have been perpetrated against Conservative bloggers for blogging about a man known as the "Speedway Bomber", Brett Kimberlin, a convicted terrorist, who has filed over 100 lawsuits in a "lawfare" campaign to prevent the truth from being written.

Ace and Malkin and others are encouraging people to contact Congress and demand these attacks be stopped.

Contact Senators
Contact U.S. Representatives
Contact State governors
Contact State Legislators

Two members of Congress, one Senator and one Representative, have now stepped up to the plate.

The other day U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that Holder investigate the harassment of Conservative bloggers and today, Congressman Kenny Marchant, R-Tx., has also sent a letter demanding an inquiry into the situation.

Both letters below:

Letter to Eric Holder by U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss:

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I am writing with concern regarding recent reports that several members of the community of online political commentators have been targeted with harassing and frightening actions. Any potentially criminal action that incites fear, seeks to silence a dissenting opinion, and collaterally wastes the resources of law enforcement should be given close scrutiny at all levels.

According to these individuals' reports, these dangerous hoaxes, also known as "SWAT-ting," have a perpetrator contacting a local police department to report some type of violent incident at the home of the target. It is believed that these callers utilize some of the less traditional telecommunications methods, including voice over IP (VOIP) to make the call appear as though it is coming from the target residence and to better hide the true identity of the caller.

In response, a dispatcher then sends a large number of understandably anxious police units, in a heightened state of readiness, to the home of the still unsuspecting target. The first that the target or their unsuspecting family learns of this false report to law enforcement is when they are shocked to see an abnormal police presence descending on their residence.

The use of SWAT-ting as a harassment tool is apparently not new, but its use as a tool for targeting political speech appears to be a more recent development. During the last year, some of the more widely reported cases of SWAT-ting have taken place against blog operators across the country, including in Georgia. The emerging pattern is both disturbing and dangerous.

While these incidences are currently small in number, and have fortunately not led to any accidental physical harm, they are extremely concerning. The perpetrators appear to be targeting individuals who are vigorously exercising their First Amendment rights to political speech. As you know, these reported efforts to intimidate those who choose to enter the political forum and express their opinions are in conflict with the founding principles of our nation.

Regardless of any potential political differences that may exist, threats and intimidation have no place in our national political discourse. Those who choose to enter into that political discourse should not have to worry about potential threats to their or their family's safety.

While I am certain that local law enforcement is reviewing each of these instances, I am asking you to please look into each of these cases as well to determine if any federal laws may have been violated. Future targets of SWAT-ting, whether engaged in political speech or not, may not be so fortunate as to escape physical harm.

I appreciate your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your response no later than June 29, 2012. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or comments that you may have.

Letter to Eric Holder by U.S. Congressman Kenny Marchant:

The Honorable Eric Holder

Attorney General

Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Suite 5111

Washington, DC 20530-0009

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I am writing to you regarding my concern that several conservative bloggers have been the targets of significant harassment and potentially criminal violations. I am very afraid of the potential chilling effects that these reported actions may have in silencing individuals who would otherwise be inclined to exercise their Constitutional right to free speech.

It has been brought to my attention that many of these harassing actions are dangerous hoaxes popularly known as “SWAT-ting.” SWAT-ting involves someone contacting the police with a false report of a violent incident at the home of the target. It is further believed that perpetrators are using advanced telecommunications technology to mask the real location of their contact with police. Local police then respond to the target’s home under the false pretense that the call originated inside of the home which also hides the true identity of the caller. Victims are left with a significant police presence at their home which is not only embarrassing but could potentially be dangerous. I am asking the Department of Justice to immediately investigate this alarming trend of SWAT-tings.

In addition to causing significant unjust harm to the victims, SWAT-ting is a major drain on police resources that could be responding to actual crimes. Does the Department of Justice have an action plan in place to help local law enforcement reduce the occurrence of SWAT-ting? If there is no current plan in place, I strongly encourage the Department of Justice to create a plan and provide guidance to state and local law enforcement to greatly reduce SWAT-ting occurrences. Moreover, given the advanced use of telecommunications technology involved in many SWAT-ting incidents, do any of these actions potentially constitute federal crimes?

Though the practice of SWAT-ting may not be new, I am very concerned that it has now become an option for those who seek to do harm to those of differing political opinions. Is the Department of Justice aware of the recent reports of SWAT-ting being used to target political opponents? Are there any statutory or regulatory changes that you would recommend be made to improve the Department of Justice and/or state and local law enforcement’s ability to reduce occurrences of SWAT-ting and apprehend those responsible?

Thank you for your review of this correspondence and I look forward to your reply. Should you have any questions regarding this letter, please feel free to contact me, or my Legislative Director, Scott Cunningham, at 202.225.6605 or


Kenny Marchant

Member of Congress

Free speech is not a political argument, it is not a Liberal ideal or a Conservative ideal.  Free speech is guaranteed to all as a Constitutional right under the First Amendment.

Whether you choose to go dark as some bloggers are doing or to write about it as others like Wake up America, Instapundit, Sister Toldjah, The Camp Of The Saints, and Hot Air is doing, or leave comments, call, write  or email Congress, Tweet it out, put links on Facebook, etc.... whatever type of assistance you choose to avail yourself of to spread the word, is welcome.

Others fighting for Free Speech :

Dan Collins over at The Conservatory "My Letter to My Congressmen Regarding Convicted Domestic Terrorist and Perjurer Brett Kimberlin"

Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom "I stand with Ali'

DatechGuy's Blog "ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC PBS Intimidation of Black Activist, nothing to see here"

More links, discussions and different ways to fight for free speech, over at Memeorandum.

Previous posts from Wake up America on this issue:

Judge Cornelius Vaughey To Aaron Walker: There Is No First Amendment

Conservative Blogger Arrested For Blogging

Brett Kimberlin, Speedway Bomber: This Is Part Of THE Free Speech Blogburst- Hashtag- #BrettKimberlin

Friday, May 25, 2012, We Will Join The "Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day"

Convicted Terrorist Brett Kimberlin Threatens Blogger Robert Stacy McCain