Shut Up, They Explained: Another Blogger Threatened With Imprisonment For Writing About Brett Kimberlin

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68 Responses

  1. Bret says:

    The guy never stops. Ken – Thank you very much for all you've done to help folks entangled in Kimberlin's lawfare and for your continued efforts to explain and publicize whats going on.

  2. Scott Jacobs says:

    Before I finish reading, I just wanted to say that paul's PO seems to not be the bad guy (or gal) here. It seems that she was honestly warning him in an effort to not have him tossed back in prison. I don't think she was doing it out of malice or as part of some effort – I think it was more along the lines of "Dude, I've been hearing some shit, you need to be careful. I don't want you to end up back in prison."

    Just my $.02…

  3. Venusian says:

    Awfully long. I'm all for this post but it could have been 1/4 the length and made the same point.

  4. Paul Lemmen says:

    Excellent Ken, simply excellent. You have my deepest gratitude.

  5. Dustin says:

    How frustrating for this poor guy. To fear for his wife and his own health… just because he wants to blog.

    I agree he's made mistakes, but from reading his blog he clearly is aware of it as he notes he made mistakes quite often. His voice on redemption is important, and I really liked his point about his responsibility as a citizen to discuss these matters.

    I would have folded under the pressure he's facing.

  6. Dustin says:

    Scott, that's clear. The PO is doing her job. No doubt she understands the system and the risks in being tossed into it.

    It would be nice if she could help us understand who suggested Paul was defaming someone.

  7. Niedermeyer's Dead Horse says:

    I was one of the original skeptics when Paul showed up at AOSHQ but his right-back-at-ya post from a couple of days ago told the tale of someone feeling the breath of BK and Company down his neck.

    No person deserves the hell that is being dished out and now, with congress taking notice, and FNC and CNN covering the SWATting incidents, he and those who support them won't be able to hide much longer.

    BTW, Ken, in case you missed the tweet from Seth Allen from a few days ago, BK has now filed an order against another man, Martin Maher, for telephone harassment. It's easy to find the guy with a Bing search as he owns a software company in Miami. I wonder what the back-story is there.

  8. SPQR says:



    Great post Ken.

  9. AlphaCentauri says:

    It's not too long, and it needs to be read.

    Actions have consequences, and people who have lived by deception in the past will have a hard time regaining trust. But think what Kimberlin might have accomplished with his life if, from the beginning, he had been willing to accept consequences and move on instead of trying to cover it up. (How ironic is it that Barbra Streisand has contributed to his nonprofit, BTW?)

    People are willing to forgive. People derive satisfaction from forgiving. One of the greatest leaders of early Christianity was Saul of Tarsus, a terrorist who had participated in lynch mobs that killed Christians and who subsequently had to fight to gain the trust of those Christians.

    Kimberlin can't move on with his life until he is willing to acknowledge that someone with his past must work harder to gain trust. Trying to conceal the past instead of being open about it is just one more form of deception.

  10. John David Galt says:

    If it's that easy to get a paroled felon sent back to prison for little or no reason — why hasn't somebody done exactly that to Brett Kimberlin?

  11. John David Galt says:

    PS. I can't wait to see if Kimberlin's house gets "SWATted" when the police finally get their thumbs out.

  12. Scott Jacobs says:

    Because he isn't on Supervised Release.

    He got violated while he was on parole. By the time he got out, it sounds like it was after this reform BS. Five years and he's free, so he's free.

    A shame the system can't work for us just once in this whole sordid affair…

  13. First, an outstanding essay. You do Paul justice in this. I should add though that continued thinking on the partisan angle would be good. It is good that you see the value of it (in mobilizing support, etc.), but I'm thinking you might not understand that folks on the left don't view "free speech" the way most of us would. They view free speech as a right for those who uphold the progressive agenda. Those who do not are engaging in hate speech, or whatever, say defamation. When I see conservatives engaging in this kind of lawfare — and getting as much support from fellow partisans — I'll reconsider my argument on partisanship.

    But again, you're a mensch.

  14. Matthew Cline says:

    Indeed, the laws requires nut minimal scrutiny.

    The laws were written by squirrels?

  15. Scott Jacobs says:

    Donald, while maybe – MAYBE – the right isn't engaging in lawfare…

    But it could. It could very easily. And the right does try to stifle speech and free expression with things like obscenity laws.

    Free speech is something everyone should care about. If you can only get interested in the issue when your rights are being denied to you, you don't really care about the issue.

  16. flip says:

    But I'll wager many of you are having trouble with the next step.

    Nope. My first thought was "where's your evidence?" Isn't it possible that the probation officer read the blog and wondered if there would be defamation issues – especially if Lemmen wrote about other people having problems in regards to Kimberlin? Isn't it possible the timing issue is coincidence? Isn't it possible putting two convicted liars up against each other and calling one the bad guy merely speaks to your particular bias about the issue? (Ok, the last one is dealt with in your conclusions…)

    Don't get me wrong, I think Kimberlin's taking advantage of the law for his own ends, and Walker is clearly being harassed… I just don't see anything more than speculation on Lemmen's case.

    Having said that, thanks for introducing me to Lemmen's site. I find him to be very eloquent and I will enjoy reading what must be a very interesting blog.

    @Donald Douglas

    They view free speech as a right for those who uphold the progressive agenda. Those who do not are engaging in hate speech, or whatever, say defamation.

    Whoa… I'm on the left and I think free speech is a right that EVERYONE has. (And I'll point out I'm not American and in my country free speech is not a guaranteed right in our constitution; it exists basically in case law)

    Perhaps this is why I don't understand why there exists a right/left thing about this issue. Why is it even coming up? Free speech is something that isn't partisan. I may not like what is being said by the other side, it doesn't mean as a left-leaner I think conservatives should shut up. … In fact, I've had this kind of harassment – well, short of police anyway – occur to me. You think only left-leaning people accuse others of defamation just because they don't like criticism? No, it happens to everyone. There are nutters in every field, whether it's politics, crime, or medicine. (Maybe you should be looking at some of the crap that's happened in regards to discussing AGW.)

    I think the whole point of "it can happen to you" is that it doesn't matter about politics. What matters is the person who is using lawfare is doing so because they don't like being criticised. Green, left, right, WTF does politics matter to the person squelching criticism? All they care about is making sure the other person shuts up.

  17. Christopher Swing says:

    @Donald Douglas

    "They view free speech as a right for those who uphold the progressive agenda."

    That's news to me.

    And I have been threatened with a defamation suit by someone who's right wing. I never thought that person did it because of their political leanings, I think they did it because they were cowardly bullies.

  18. TJIC says:

    > Paul Lemmen knows enough about the system to know that legal merit doesn't matter much


    The system is corrupt from top to bottom and those who still labor for it are just following orders in a way that is familiar to everyone who has lived since 1946.

  19. TJIC says:

    @Christopher Swing:

    > And I have been threatened with a defamation suit by someone who's right wing. I never thought that person did it because of their political leanings, I think they did it because they were cowardly bullies.

    Only tangentially related: I've been attacked because my firm SmartFlix operates under the First Sale Doctrine which has been a Supreme Court approved detail of copyright law for over a century (in short: you can buy a copy of something then rent it without further royalties or payments being due). This has lead to several legal threats, and at least a handful of red state folks telling me that I was un-Christian and they prayed for my soul.

    I didn't realize that Jesus had such a strong preference for the European model of IP licensing.

  20. repsac3 says:


  21. creeper says:

    Why is no one even mentioning the possibility that Lemmen's PO was ordered to stifle him by someone higher up?

    I have said from the beginning that we need to keep pulling the thread. Speedway Bomber Brett Kimberlin's cocksure attitude may well stem from knowing someone powerful has his back.

  22. SarahW says:

    Re: "Swatting" – it isn't new at all. Swatters pick people at random or to punish, directly or by proxy, others who have dared to offend them.

    Another very non-partisan aspect of the crime is how helpless police and first responders are to deal with it, still, after hundreds of these false reports, which not only put the targets in danger, but the responders, neighbors, bystanders, pets, and also waste time, money, and resources of law enforcement and rescue agencies, diverting them from protection of those who are in actual need.

    It's almost impossible to identify suspect calls in real time, and that needs to change. Mandatory upgrades allowing agenciese to identify VoIP calls would be a good start and is possible now. The system ought to be hardened against this vulnerability, and no political outlook is a protection.

  23. Ken says:

    Pertinent comments are welcome, but please do not use this as a venue to carry on disputes from elsewhere. Thank you.

  24. Zilla says:

    Thank you so much for writing of Paul's plight and for helping him to get legal protection! He is a dear friend of mine and it grieved my heart to see someone who has worked so very hard to turn his life around and use the painful lessons that he has learned for good purposes be put at risk of losing his freedom and ability to take care of his wife. I know about his health issues, and his wife's and the thought of him being locked up (just for telling the truth) terrified me because of what the results of such an event would do to him & his wife. Thank God for Popehat!

  25. Ken says:

    Why thank you, Douglas. That's kind of you, and a pleasant change from the post telling me I should STFU.

  26. Patrick says:

    Did you ever consider, you know, banning him?

    Not all blogging platforms make that easy. Some very high profile bloggers have learned that to their chagrin.

    Tip to aspiring bloggers: WordPress may be a little harder to pick up initially, but there really is no substitute if you're serious about the hobby.

  27. Narad says:

    I'm thinking you might not understand that folks on the left don't view "free speech" the way most of us would. They view free speech as a right for those who uphold the progressive agenda.

    Go take that broad brush and poke yourself in the "most of us" fantasy eye with the pointy end. I'm sitting here in a freaking IWW T-shirt, and I'm perfectly cognizant of the gravity of this kind of harassment.

  28. En Passant says:

    Patrick wrote on Jun 11, 2012 @10:59 am:

    Not all blogging platforms make that easy. Some very high profile bloggers have learned that to their chagrin.

    I've also noticed that Volokh Conspiracy now seems to have no comment sections on all postings. The "comments" links just reload the page.

    At first I thought I had a browser problem. After all, in the fast moving world of browser and web platform development, stuff sometimes happens that makes good browsers go bad. Then I tried another browser with another OS and another ISP. Same result.

    Since Prof. Volokh last week began consulting in a case involving you-know-who, I immediately wondered whether some form of comment section attack might be the cause.


    Please note that I am not attributing that as the most likely explanation for Volokh's comment outage, just wondering what actually happened. The coincidence is striking, but VC has changed comment platforms in recent months, and legitimate technical bugs could be the actual cause.

  29. Whoopie says:

    I received an email from Paul last week after he caught someone taking photos of his apartment and his car. When he asked the guy what he was doing the guy fled the scene.

    As for defamation, everything I've read at various blogs about Brett Kimberlin's criminal history can be found at Wikipedia. It's part of the public record. Restating those facts is not liable.

  30. Whoopie says:

    Oops, I meant to say it's not libel (my bad).

  31. SPQR says:

    Whoopie, it took quite an effort to get the story of Brett Kimberlin restored to Wikipedia.

  32. AlphaCentauri says:

    "I have said from the beginning that we need to keep pulling the thread. Speedway Bomber Brett Kimberlin's cocksure attitude may well stem from knowing someone powerful has his back."

    Only if you understand that Brett Kimberlin is unlikely to be able to accurately assess how powerful someone is or how much they have his back. He's going to have fallings out with anyone who disagrees with him, so he's likely counting on people who aren't nearly as powerful as they say they are, or namedroppers who claim to have more influence than they really do. I'm thinking he's expecting Anonymous to back him, and I'm thinking he's going to be disappointed.

  33. Scott Jacobs says:

    I received an email from Paul last week after he caught someone taking photos of his apartment and his car.

    I would be quite interested in whether or not he got a pic of the lurker…

    Several of us would LOVE to compare the person against a short list of folks…

  34. repsac3 says:


  35. AlphaCentauri says:

    That link isn't about right wing vs. left wing, but it does illustrate a point: Censorious abuse takes different forms when a person hold real power. You don't have to SWAT someone if you are the chief of police and can send one of your officers over in the middle of the night without any need for a fake 911 call. So if by "left" or "progressive," you mean the type of folks sleeping in tents in the occupy movement, and by "right" you mean people who give massive amounts of money to political campaigns, you will see different types of abuses, and the abuses by those in power may be less obvious.

  36. Ken says:

    I asked people not to drag a dispute from elsewhere to here. Apparently people felt that I didn't mean it. They continued, and others engaged them in it.

    I've deleted the comments that were engaging in the dispute. If you have a problem with that, or will have difficulty not engaging in this any more, please go take a breather someplace until you are OK with it.

    For now, cut it out. Further persistence will be met with me editing comments to amuse myself.

  37. Jess says:

    No problem here Ken – it's your living room

  38. G Thompson says:

    Is it just me or are people talking in morse code on these comments.

    .. -. … .- -. .. – -.– .. … – …. . — -. .-.. -.– .- -. … .– . .-.

    (for those who are lazy )

  39. repsac3 says:

    "Is it just me or are people talking in morse code on these comments.

    I can only speak for myself… …but I ain't sayin' nothin'. 8>)

    (At first, I was stumped as to how I "selected all," hit that punctuation, wiping out my whole comment, and then hit "submit," all without noticing my screw-up… It quickly became more clear, once I noticed mine wasn't the only comment affected with this peculiar punctuation.)

    ((Of course, maybe yer supposed to read those comments like this: ))

  40. Narad says:

    for those who are lazy

    Um, I can still copy Cuban cut numbers and briefly could keep up with the 40 wpm FAPSI transmissions from (presumably) Lourdes. The autoconversion of double-dahs and triple-dits to HTML entities is not your friend.

  41. Goober says:

    Sorry, Ken, I kept your direction in the back of my mind when i wrote what i wrote, thinking that it tied back in to the overall concept of keeping this thing non-partisan in pointing out what I pointed out.

    I was obviously not as clever as I thought I was. Sorry for not playing nice.

  42. Austin says:

    You've done good. Thanks.

  43. Paul Lemmen says:

    For those enquiring minds: No photo. It was early morning and I had not even had my coffee. I was walking the dog and didn't even have my cell w/camera on me. Taking pictures while balancing with a cane is not an easy task even when properly caffeinated and fully awake. I am guilty of lack of situational awareness.
    I must note that there were several neighbors about and the landlord of the complex (a Vietnamese immigrant who is righteously suspicious of all) who made me aware of this persons activity. My unit was the only one photographed as well as the tag on our car was the only one photographed. Just who was behind it I don't know but their attempt was an epic fail when I pre-emptively posted the photos of my home, car, self and dog on my blog, thus making their efforts a waste of time and effort.

  44. Jess says:

    Paul, I must say I’m impressed with your very eloquent post and your focus of turning your life around.

    I would say the same about Kimberlin if he had ever shown any remorse or made any real attempt to change – but he hasn’t. Frankly I place a good percent of the blame on his mother for fostering and enabling his narcissism and lack of empathy. His special kind of self-centeredness is learned and reinforced in childhood. Those that simply went down the wrong path but have the basic sense of decency and empathy can turn their life around – those that don’t can’t. He can’t.

    I especially find ridiculous one of the latest postings on Breibart Unmasked (BU) the “not Kimberlin” site which seems clearly to be authored by Kimberlin or one of his sock puppets. As follows:

    “The high road is a very hard road to take, and because of that it is hard for either side in any debate to take it. BU has decided that the time has come to take this road in the hopes that the rhetoric will eventually be toned down where both sides can be free to discuss the issues of the day without fear that discussing those issues will cause them personal problems down the road. That being said BU will now move forward with the attitude that the stories we work on could have very real and potentially negative consequences for those individuals and companies being discussed. In that, we here at BU will strive to take those issues into consideration when reporting the issues and or stories of the day in the hopes that those we report on will not have to worry over personal or private information exposed by the staff here at BU. As of today June 12th 2012, all personal information, including but not limited to, addresses and or nonpublic pictures that were posted on various stories that we have done since the beginning have either been removed and or redacted from BU.”

    How nice, I suspect someone got a letter from someone else’s lawyer which prompted this or else the backlash from so many others on the internet has forced the owner of the Breibart Unmasked (BU) not Kimberlin site to reconsider how their tactics make them “appear” to others. I seriously doubt it was due to any serious conscience concerns. And the redaction of that content is poorly done – I can still see through some of it – and it comes at least a week after that content was posted. Seriously posting the house of Ali's mother even after admitting it was his mothers house? How fucked up is that?

  45. Deon Fialkov says:

    Mystified why they bother to arrest people for blogging…

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