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First things . . . Richard Falknor on 30 May 2012 05:39 pm

New Threat to Our Free Political Speech: “SWATTING” Bloggers

UPDATES June 7: “Saxby Chambliss Does the Right Thing, Re: SWATting (RedState)” here. Jake Walker: “I must admit, I’m happy my state has two Republican Senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson. It’s certainly better than the alternative, whether one or two Democrats. However, there are so many times that I wish they’d give us conservatives more than what they’d do. So, for once, I am happy to see one of my guys taking the lead on an issue, especially one as dangerous and pressing as SWATting.  Sen. Chambliss sent out a press release [click on foregoing link to read more].” Hagerstown, MD refugee Stacy McCain expands on latest developments. May 31: Senior CEI Attorney Hans Bader explains “why the restraining order and arrest of conservative lawyer and blogger Aaron Walker by a liberal judge for criticizing a convicted terrorist turned left-wing activist violate the First Amendment.  It addresses various arguments made by uninformed commenters who claim the Supreme Court’s Brandenburg First Amendment decision does not apply in civil cases or in disputes between private parties, and it explains why the appeals court must review the order without the usual deference to trial judges.”

* * * * *

We are seeing an outbreak of a new kind of lawlessness through the use of false reports to police — typically claiming some kind of domestic violence — fabricated alarms intended to intimidate bloggers and writers.

What exactly is “SWATting”?  Here is an explanation from the Patterico post also linked below —

“In the last radio interview Andrew Breitbart ever gave, on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Breitbart talked about a new ruthless tactic used by thugs against political opponents:

‘[O]ne of the things they’ve done to people who have worked with me in the past, including an L.A. prosecutor, is to ‘SWAT.’ That means that they’re spoofing phones, pretending to be somebody else’s phone, calling 911, and saying ‘I killed somebody’ and then the person’s home is met with the guns drawn, the SWAT and the helicopters, in a horrifying act. It’s happened twice: once in New Jersey, once in Los Angeles, with an L.A. County . . . prosecutor who [is] associated with me.’

I am that L.A. County prosecutor. And in this post, you’ll hear the hoax call that sent police to my house, pointing loaded guns at me.”

Patterico’s post is indeed a “bone-chilling” report from this established national blogger, who is in fact a Los Angeles County prosecutor.

Please read it all.

Another nationally-well-known blogger, Stacy McCain of nearby Hagerstown, reports here he left Maryland because of grave personal harassment.

Sunday evening we received a report here from Erick Erickson the chief of the widely respected RedState blog.

“Last week we spent a lot of time writing about Brett Kimberlin and the incident involving blogger Patterico where someone spoofed his phone number and told 911 he had shot his wife.

Tonight, my family was sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner when sheriffs deputies pulled up in the driveway.

Someone called 911 from my address claiming there had been an accidental shooting.

It wasn’t nearly the trauma that Patterico suffered, but I guess the Erickson household is on somebody’s radar.

Luckily it was two sheriffs deputies who knew me and I had already, last week, advised the Sheriff’s Department to be on the look out for something like this.” (Highlighting Forum‘s.)

Chief RedState editor Erickson’s example led us to notify our own local authorities in Virginia about this kind of outbreak. 

Readers might consider doing the same with their local authorities.

Will Assistant US Attorneys Stop Swatting

Meanwhile former senior U.S. Justice Department official and author J. Christian Adams has also been following this lawless outbreak here, and yesterday here with his “Obama’s Justice Department Could Stop ‘Swatting.’”

Declares Adams —

“The only reason Erickson and the others were attacked was because of their exercise of First Amendment rights.  The only reason they were targeted is because of their conservative political speech, speech with which the swatters disagreed.

I wrote in my book Injustice how this administration has ‘abandoned law abiding citizens and enabled the lawless.’  But even though Eric Holder has chosen to do nothing about New Black Panther Party threats, there are plenty of Assistant United States Attorneys who respect the rule of law and serve in local DOJ offices across the nation.  I worked with many of them while at I was at DOJ, and they could stop the swatting.

These DOJ lawyers can do something about this dangerous attack on free speech by the leftist swatters.  These DOJ lawyers can initiate FBI investigations which would quickly reveal the wrongdoers, then prosecute them.”

For very recent intimidation of bloggers in a Maryland court, readers are invited to consider Patterico’s post late yesterday — Aaron Walker Arrested for Blogging? Clearing Some of the Fog Surrounding Today’s Litigation.

Patterico suggests  —

“So Brett Kimberlin, knowing that Aaron was coming to court to defend against a civil ‘peace order,’ lay in ambush with a criminal charge, so that Aaron would be arrested.

One wonders if this is his new strategy: he sues you for your blogging, and simultaneously obtains a peace order saying you harassed him. If you blog about him again, he gets a judge to rubber stamp a criminal complaint for violating the peace order.

Now, if you don’t show up for the lawsuit, he gets a default judgment. If you do, you get arrested for blogging.

Catch 22. And a nice scam if you can get judges gullible enough to go along with it.”

Stay tuned — and vigilant!

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