View Full Version : Online Armageddon

06-10-2012, 06:12 PM
By Robert Stacy McCain on 6.8.12 @ 6:09AM

"An Army of Davids" unites against a campaign of intimidation.

Somewhere between the time in October 2010 he threatened to sue Patrick Frey and the decision last week to make a similar threat toward Ali Akbar, Brett Kimberlin crossed a Rubicon of desperation and burned the bridge behind him. In the past three weeks, Kimberlin and his allies have escalated their deceitful war against conservative bloggers to the point that it cannot be ignored, and must now be fought to a conclusion with the entire political world watching.

A convicted perjurer and drug smuggler, Kimberlin became infamous as the "Speedway Bomber" who terrorized an Indiana town in 1978. Kimberlin somehow managed to secure a well-funded role in the progressive movement after being released from federal prison in 2001. Ten days ago, when I covered Kimberlin's bizarre activities in an American Spectator column ("Terror by Any Other Name"), the director of the 501(c)3 non-profit Justice Through Music Project was just beginning to gain renewed attention. On May 25, a broad spectrum of conservative online activists joined together for "Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day" to call attention to Kimberlin's harassment and intimidation of bloggers who wrote about his criminal history.

During his 17 years in federal custody, Kimberlin became a skillful "jailhouse lawyer," filing more than 100 legal proceedings on his own behalf and, over the past two years, he has deployed those methods in a series of lawsuits and criminal accusations against his chosen targets. Another non-profit Kimberlin co-founded, Velvet Revolution, made headlines by offering rewards for evidence of wrongdoing by public figures including GOP strategist Karl Rove and U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue. And then a left-winger who used the alias "Socrates" began to speak out on a number of Internet forums, expressing his suspicion that Kimberlin and his Velvet Revolution partner, prominent liberal blogger Brad Friedman, were running a dishonest scam.

"Socrates," it turned out, was an eccentric young Massachusetts resident named Seth Allen. Believing that Velvet Revolution's frequent accusations of Republican election fraud and other right-wing crimes were a bogus fundraising gimmick, Allen started doing online research, discovered Kimberlin's infamous history and persistently wrote about it, getting himself banned from several progressive websites in the process. In October 2010, Kimberlin sued Allen for more than $2 million, charging him with "defamation, libel, cyberstalking, and tortuous interference with business." That lawsuit tipped the first in a series of dominoes that have been sequentially toppling with increasing rapidity ever since. The Kimberlin saga is a many-layered onion of a story, and attempting to peel the whole onion to explain it all in a single article presents an enormous challenge to any journalist. One liberal blogger this week called it "as densely peopled and subplotted as a 19th century Russian novel." But this complex tale recently took two dramatic turns that have made it much easier to understand:

At a May 29 hearing in Rockville, Maryland, a district court judge ruled in favor of Kimberlin in his dispute with Virginia lawyer Aaron Walker, who had provided legal assistance to Seth Allen. Not only did Judge C.J. Vaughey impose what amounted to a gag order on Walker -- who is apparently forbidden to write or speak publicly about Kimberlin -- but the police slapped the cuffs on Walker and hauled him to jail for having allegedly violated a previous court order. Within a few hours, Walker was freed on his own recognizance, but his arrest sparked widespread outrage.
Late last week, Kimberlin took aim at 26-year-old Ali Akbar, an influential young New Media professional who is president of the recently formed National Bloggers Club. Akbar pledged the Club's support in defense of Walker, and last week an attorney for Kimberlin's Velvet Revolution sent a legal notice to Akbar, evidently in anticipation of a planned lawsuit. The notice from lawyer Kevin Zeese was clearly written with publicity value in mind, and declared that Akbar and his organization were to blame for "countless death threats ... the release of massive amounts of false and defamatory information on to the Internet, and unleashed stalking and harassment" against "Velvet Revolution, Justice Through Music and their staff."

Such an accusation is ludicrous to anyone familiar with the attempt of Kimberlin and his surrogates to intimidate their chosen enemies. One of the weapons apparently employed by Kimberlin's operation is a website that was originally targeted at the late Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart but which, in recent months, has been used to smear Kimberlin's foes. While Kimberlin has denied any association with the site, its attacks on various individuals (myself among them) are so closely synchronized with Kimberlin's growing enemies list that no reasonable person could believe the pattern is coincidental. Many observers suspect that, if Kimberlin himself is not directly responsible for the site, it is operated by his hired associates, who include notorious Democrat Party operative Neal Rauhauser. In February, Rauhauser published an eight-page document that outlined a twisted conspiracy theory attempting to connect Breitbart and the 2011 Anthony Weiner scandal to a variety of unrelated phenomena -- but that's an onion layer of this weird story we'll leave unpeeled for now.

Monday afternoon, the website that I've ironically started calling "Not Brett Kimberlin" unloaded on Ali, publishing the address and a photo of his mother's home in Texas. Akbar lives in another state, but had listed his mother's Fort Worth home as the address of the fledgling National Bloggers Club on some business papers, and the "Not Brett Kimberlin" site's attack on Ali had consequences that were certainly unintended by his attackers. First, it got the attention of Texas law enforcement authorities, who don't like it when outsiders expose innocent citizens of the Lone Star State to potentially dangerous harassment. Second, this escalation sparked a scramble-the-jets alert among conservative activists, because Ali is one of the Right's best-connected young operatives. A web-page designer and consultant who worked on John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, Ali has demonstrated a remarkable flair for organizing Republicans and Tea Party activists through social media. His Twitter account -- simply @Ali -- has more than 11,000 followers, and his network includes scores of the most active voices online as well as powerful GOP operatives.
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