Kimberlin Update

I learned from R.S. McCain — blogging from an undisclosed location, I assume — that there will be a court hearing Tuesday regarding a peace order requested by Brett Kimberlin (background) against one of the rightie bloggers he allegedly has been terrorizing. I take it a “peace order” is something like a restraining order.

The part of McCain’s post that jumped out at me was the claim that Kimberlin’s alleged attempts at terrorism were intended “to suppress the truth about his violent criminal past.” This is the same criminal past prominently discussed in a 2007 Time magazine article.

In the belly of the voting-reform movement is a man who personifies this paradoxical lack of credibility in the service of a credible cause. Brett Kimberlin was convicted in 1981 of a series of bombings in Indiana. By his own account, he dealt “many, many tons” of marijuana in the 1970s. Most famously, he is the man who from his prison cell alleged that as a law student Dan Quayle bought marijuana from him. Quayle repeatedly denied the charge, and it was never substantiated. In e-mails and Web postings from Kimberlin’s two organizations, Justice Through Music and Velvet Revolution, he intersperses occasionally useful pieces of information about the problems of e-voting with a hefty portion of bunk, repeatedly asserting as fact things that are not true. Kimberlin, in short, is an unlikely candidate to affect an important issue of public policy.

So the criminal record wasn’t exactly hidden.

Time goes on to say that Kimberlin had been instrumental in the movement to stop Diebold electronic voting machines from being used in elections, and that Brad Friedman (of BradBlog) and Kimberlin had co-founded a “netroots voting-reform website”

Kimberlin may very well be as unhinged and dangerous as the righties are making him out to be. Or not. I don’t know the man at all. I haven’t seen anyone on the left blogosphere speak up for him, including Brad Friedman. This suggests that either he isn’t that well known in blogging circles (again, I don’t recall I’d ever heard of him) or that those who know him think he may be guilty as accused.

However, I noticed that commenters have been calling out Friedman’s alleged ties to Kimberlin for several years. For example, this is from 2008:

Search engine for Brett Kimberlin. Why no story on him, Brad? You don’t want your readers to know you are partners with a bomber and admitted drug dealer? He even had his own little tinfoil 15 minutes of fame when he said he used to deal pot to Dan Quayle.

This all suggests to me there was nothing hidden about Kimberlin’s criminal record. After Kimberlin was paroled in 1994 and until the current accusations against him there’s no indication I could find that he was doing anything illegal, which begs the question why it was so all-fired important to stir up hysteria about Kimberlin in 2012.

And the answer is that he got involved in leftie political movements and organizations, which means he can be connected by association to all kinds of people on the Left who hadn’t done anything wrong.

Essentially Breitbart et al. were waging a defamation campaign against anyone who could be tied to Kimberlin, directly or indirectly, through any leftie organization he was associated with. This is right out of Joe McCarthy’s old playbook and a blatantly unethical thing to do. It doesn’t justify violent retribution, but it certainly isn’t blameless.

Two other names that keep coming up in the word-salad ravings are Ron Brynaert and Neal Rauhauser. Google their names and you get page after page of right-wing blog posts accusing these two of terrorism and attempted murder (example). Otherwise, I have no idea who these guys are and what the evidence is against them. [Update: It appears that last November Rauhauser was promoting the Occupy movement.] They may indeed be very dangerous guys, or they may have done nothing more than speak up for Kimberlin. It’s a mystery to me.

But this all begs the question why these alleged terrorists’ victims are not the ones seeking restraining orders against Kimberlin et al. instead of the other way around, and why the criminal justice system isn’t being otherwise called upon to investigate and prosecute the alleged perpetrators and protect the allegedly innocent. Lynch mobs, even virtual ones, make me queasy.

25 thoughts on “Kimberlin Update

  1. “Lynch mobs, even virtual ones, make me queasy.”
    Well, for now anyway, until they can get the real thing, they’re settling for virtual ones.

    Now, Brett Kimberlin, Ron Brynaert, and Neal Rauhauser, might indeed be very dangerous men.
    But my money’s on them being the latest Frances Fox Piven – a distinguished older academic, brought out of obscurity by that round-faced loon and grifter, Glenn Beck, and was demonized by “The Prince of ‘Tides (Foundation)’.”

    They have nothing, so they have to pick some obscure lefty, and hold them up as an example of how evil and nefarious ALL we lefties are – See: Churchill, Ward, who said a not totally incorrect thing in a very stupid way. All of a sudden, everyone to the left of John Ashcroft was another Ward Churchill.

    Again, I could be wrong, but they make Himalaya’s out of anthills, and cry “WOLF!!” so often, when all anyone sees is a kitten, let alone a puppy, that I doubt it.

  2. When I started seeing Kimberlin’s name at Memeorandum, I said to myself, “Where have I heard this name before? It seems awfully familiar.” Then I learned that he was the guy who had claimed to be Dan Quayle’s former pot dealer a few days before the ’88 election. That was a huge story. (I was just at the tail end of my pot-smoking days, and was sick of the Republicans, so I remember being obsessed with it.) No Ministry of Truth ever tried to scrub it — you just had to go to Google News and search Kimberlin in the archive.

    • Steve M. — I can’t say I remember the pot-Quayle story, but I had a lot of significant personal stuff going on at the time and probably wasn’t paying attention to political news. I mostly don’t remember the 1980s, to tell you the truth.

  3. Oh, and I see from McCain’s post that Kimberlin was the subject of a 1996 book published by Alfred A. Knopf, which is part of Random House, America’s largest book publisher. Some suppression of the truth.

    • Steve M — I’ve seen several rightie bloggers cite the Mark Singer book in one sentence and then whine about how the truth is being suppressed in the next sentence. The illogic escapes them.

  4. The heirs of Breibart are ‘only’ conducting a rhetorical purge without any jusification, real or virtual justification. They are creating cyber targets, as the anti-abortion groups did as intimidation. The objective for the fetus people or Breitbarts is not to facilitate murder, but to force cyber opponents to remove themselves from the field of play. They want people like Barbara to quit.

    The problem is that there are a lot of kooks who believe the bile. (There are people who think pro-wrestling isn’t staged. *sigh*) Of the large number of deranged kooks, there is a small number who are violent. This is where there is a difference between the rightie and leftie noise machine. I don’t know of any elements of the left calling for violence, a purge, or a real war which means blood runs in the street. Writers like Barbara take seriously the effect and potential consequences of their statements.

    People on the right ARE calling for war. They are OK with threats, because they think it’s just a blog, and tbe threat is virtual, rhetorical and symbolic. Which may be true for the person uttering the threat. But for some readers the call to action is real and so are their violent acts.

    So you have the Norway shooter. If you want a closer to home example, check the Oklahoma City bomber. (not a liberal). The unibomber. (not liberal). Want more recent? Google the Hutaree and read about tbeir plan.If the political inclination of the shooter can be judged by the victim, Gabby Giffords was a victim of them. And where are the examples of liberal violence?

    Things are going to get worse BEFORE the election. The violence will be stupid and counterproductive, but faced with the prospect of a second Obama term, some deranged people will freak in advance of the election. Thats’s an opinion but I suggest you… Hold on to your hats. Fasten your seat belts. This is NOT a drill.

    • Several rightie bloggers also are complaining that Kimberlin’s Wikipedia page was removed by the editors. I take it that righties had repeatedly rewritten the page, leaving out “a rather large back story involving a harassment campaign against Mr. Kimberlin,” said a Wikipedia editor. To which Patterico responded,

      Oh, really? There was a harassment campaign against Brett Kimberlin, was there?

      And here I thought it was the other way around. Here I thought he was the guy harassing others. Silly me!

      And, of course, the laws of the universe don’t rule out the possibility that the harassment was going both ways. It would be quite astonishing if it wasn’t going both ways, actually.

      Righties challenged the Wikipedia editors to show how their version of Kimberlin’s bio was inaccurate The Wikipedia editors appear to have tried to explain that it was the stuff they were taking out, not what they were putting in, that was the problem. Also, the tone of the rewrites was not neutral, which made them inappropriate for Wikipedia. So the editors apparently became exhausted with trying to reason with a pack of hyenas partisan re-writers and took down the page entirely.

      [Someday I plan to write a post about the wikipedia bios of various spiritual leaders whose pages obviously were written by their most besotted devotees and are about as neutral as battery acid. I don’t trust wikipedia for much beyond dates and spelling of names. But that’s another rant.]

      What Kimberlin’s specific grievances are I do not know. His history doesn’t speak well for his character, so without knowing more I am not going to stick my neck out and defend him. I assume he might well have crossed lines.

      However, it’s also blatantly obvious that the Right stirred up this particular hornet’s nest by putting Kimberlin at the center of a nasty guilt-by-association defamation campaign that targeted several people and organizations connected to liberal politics. And I know from personal experience with them that righties are very capable of crossing lines also.

  5. maha,
    It was in a “book.”
    A B-O-O-K!

    First, books not written by Conservatives like Ann Coulter or Glenn Beck, all have a known Liberal bias.
    Books by Conservatives should all be in the “Non-fiction” section.
    All other books, are “Fiction.”

    Second, they don’t DO “books.”
    Talk-radio and FOX News – yes.
    But not books.
    Books are for Liberals and heretics (but they repeat themselves).

  6. i am unable and unwilling to sort thru all the rw bs to find out, so does any one else know: is kimberlin provably responsible for swatting patterico?

    • Skippy — This Patterico post is as close as I’ve seen to an explanation, and if you can stand to wade through it (a weedwacker is recommended) he admits in there somewhere that the evidence is circumstantial. Here’s the juicy bit:

      So who perpetrated this crime on me and my family?

      I reported the crime to the FBI on July 1, 2011. (Obviously, the Sheriff’s Department was already aware of it, since they had come to my house.) Unfortunately, law enforcement has not solved the case. Worse, they have failed to follow up on a number of leads I have given them.

      But there is circumstantial evidence suggesting who may be responsible. I met personally with the nationwide experts on swatting in December 2011: the FBI office in Dallas, Texas. They told me that swatting is an extreme form of harassment — and that swatters typically combine swatting with other forms of harassment, including: complaining to the victim’s workplace, defaming the victim online, “Googlebombing” the victim, publishing the victim’s address online, filing phony reports of criminal activity by the victim, and so forth.

      All of these things have happened to me and other critics of Brett Kimberlin since July 2011. The harassment has been relentless and has occurred almost every day. It would literally take a book to catalogue it all. What you read in this post, incredibly, is only part of it.

      Make of that what you will.

  7. He might also have run over someone’s dog in July of 2011.

    Was Kimberlin the cause of the effects?

    I don’t know.

    But if Kimberlin IS responsible, he needs to go to jail.
    Anyway, swatting is no joke, so SOMEONE needs to go to jail!

    What’s curious to me is the actions of the Sheriff’s Department.
    They couldn’t trace the call?
    Really? In this day and age?
    They didn’t follow-up on leads he’d given them?
    Why not?
    Maybe THEY made a mistake and sent a SWAT team to the wrong house, and don’t want to ‘fess-up?
    I’m not saying they did – most curious, though…

    Again, I don’t know, so I’ll keep my yap shut.

  8. Essentially Breitbart et al. were waging a defamation campaign against anyone who could be tied to Kimberlin, directly or indirectly, through any leftie organization he was associated with.

    Yeah? I’ll remember this the next time some totally lone wolf shoots a Congresswoman. Or some totally unconnected random nutjob blows up a Planned Parenthood. Or someone whose politics couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with it shoots a couple of cops or an immigrant family or …

  9. Pingback: The Mahablog » Speaking of Domestic Terrorism . . .

  10. heh, ” I haven’t seen anyone on the left blogosphere speak up…” Sorta like seeing that a swarm of ankle biters has went elsewhere for feeding and have run-in to another swarm of the same… living out the nasty, brutish and short alongside Breitbart.

  11. The founder of Google was the speaker at my granddaughter’s recent graduation from Berkeley. He strongly suggested to his audience that they turn off, put aside any and all electronic devices for at least one hour a day and start relating directly to people. Look them in the eye, listen to them, notice body language, use all five sense s to ‘get to know them.’ Realize that the only ‘thing’ you know about someone is the image you’re getting from the screen in front of you. You’re ‘relating’ to a screen – nothing else.

    This Kimberlin caper should remind us that it is a ‘baby’ of the blogosphere and as such has validity only in that sphere.

  12. Pingback: The Mahablog » Memorial Day Madness

  13. Eight years ago, you smeared me after I wrote a farcical email to Atrios, so I seriously doubt you forget who I am. I was the Executive Editor of Raw Story for four years, so it’s absurd that no liberal blogger will defend me against outrageous smears by bloggers linked to Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe.

    Please think carefully before libeling me as “dangerous,” since I will be suing every single blogger and media outlet who have the audacity to smear me – or link to absurd articles falsely accusing me of being a “terrorist” a “co-conspirator”, an “attempted murderer,” or any such nonsense, without even contacting me to get my side of the story.

    • Eight years ago, you smeared me after I wrote a farcical email to Atrios, so I seriously doubt you forget who I am.

      I have no memory of you or the farcical email whatsoever. It could have happened; lots of things happen that I don’t remember. But I honestly don’t remember. I’m surprised you would either, after eight years.

      I did do a google search for Brynaert, and I found I mentioned you once before, and not in a bad way. In this post I recommended a comment you wrote. That’s the only other time your name came up in a search related to my url. Are you sure you have the right blogger? And do you have any idea how many people I snarked about in the past eight years? No way I would remember all of them. I barely remember what I wrote last week.

      I was the Executive Editor of Raw Story for four years, so it’s absurd that no liberal blogger will defend me against outrageous smears by bloggers linked to Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe.

      Some of us might, if we knew your side of the story. I keep saying that I’m only hearing what righties are saying, and I assume there must be something else. As near as I can tell I’m the only leftie blogger writing about this at all, and I know nothing except what the righties are saying.

      Please think carefully before libeling me as “dangerous,” since I will be suing every single blogger and media outlet who have the audacity to smear me – or link to absurd articles falsely accusing me of being a “terrorist” a “co-conspirator”, an “attempted murderer,” or any such nonsense, without even contacting me to get my side of the story.

      I didn’t libel you as dangerous. I said I had no idea if you were dangerous or not. If that’s your idea of libel, you’ve led a sheltered life.

      As far as contacting you is concerned, on this site I do not play the role of journalist and rarely investigate anything, because I don’t have time. This site makes no money, and since I am poor I have to put time into doing things that earn me a living. On this site I comment on things that interest me, and I give people a forum to discuss issues as long as they obey the rules. But only once in a blue moon do I take time to investigate.

      But you know what? If you had asked me nicely, I would have been very happy to give you a forum for explaining your side of this mess. But you are coming across as a flaming out-of-control hothead, and if you don’t chill I’m putting you in the block filter. I put lots of people in the block filter, so you’ll have lots of company there.

      Now, do you want to calm down and tell your side of the story, or do you want to just throw hissy fits because people are being mean to you? Your choice.

    • I’m being smeared at a blog where Jerome Armstrong aka Vis Numar comments?

      No one is smearing you here, but you’re doing a damn fine job of smearing yourself, I must say.

  14. For an ‘Executive Editor’ of anything, you do manage more than the average share of incoherency. That’s not libel (I hope) – I have managed some fine irrelevance and contradiction in my comments, sometimes with the assistance of Southern Comfort (on the rocks or with collins mixer).

    But I don’t claim writing is my bread and butter job.

  15. One side smears me as a criminal, the other side pretends I’m incoherent and crazy.

    Are you having fun?

    How the heck am I smearing myself? Last time I checked I’m not relying on blogs from conservatives who cover up for James O’Keefe and get funded by the AFP, and 9/11 conspiracy wackadoos like Joseph Cannon.

    Last time I checked being an asshole, doesn’t mean I should be smeared.

    You don’t have a First Amendment right to speculate whether someone is a criminal or dangerous, without any evidence. And it seems to me that every liberal blogger is just avoiding the story, the same way that Brett Kimberlin’s name was avoided in articles about the HB Gary incident.

    I don’t want a “forum” here. And, again, the little egos of crappy partisan bloggers matter more than getting to the truth.

    I bet Vis Numar predicted I’d leave another comment here. But this is my last one.

    • How the heck am I smearing myself?

      Your responses are not rational, and that chronic anger is going to kill you if you don’t learn to let things go. I feel sorry for you, but there’s nothing I can do for you. Just turn the computer off and walk away from all this, and maybe in time the world will brighten up a bit for you.

  16. Eight years ago, you smeared me after I wrote a farcical email to Atrios, so I seriously doubt you forget who I am.

    Is this a joke?….And I thought I had a tenuous grip on reality.

    Slowly I turned, step by step… 🙂

  17. Ron, you’re the damned wackadoo. You stand exposed by your own words.

    Everyone knows that I am vehement n my condemnation of the 9/11 “truther” movement. On my site, I link to numerous pages debunking the “controlled demolition” nonsense.

    Look, I’m not saying this to be hurtful: You were once a fine writer. You could be again. Something happened to you. I don’t know what your problem is. But you need professional help.

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