Won’t back down: Amidst threats, National Bloggers Club announces Aaron Walker appeal; blogs to crank up pressure on Congress
When I asked Ali Akbar of the National Bloggers Club for help with a website/infrastructure to support the blogger targets of convicted bomber/online terrorist Brett Kimberlin two weeks ago, he didn’t hesitate or waver. He stepped up to the plate because he believes in free speech and new media. I knew and respected him from his past work on grass-roots conservative campaigns and online projects. I was honored to join the NBC board of directors when he asked me late last year. There is no vast, deeply-funded conspiracy behind how it all came together — as some deranged progressive operatives (who habitually indulge in such rancid psychological projection) are claiming. I simply asked for help with organizing/fundraising tasks that were way beyond my paygrade. Ali volunteered to help and hasn’t stopped. The blogosphere owes him bottomless thanks.
Despite threats made to Ali’s family by Kimberlin associates and new legal threats waged by one Kevin Zeese, he and the NBC are not backing down. They are standing with the Kimberlin targets who continue to fight these ongoing menaces. Joining the battle: many, many excellent First Amendment lawyers (including Eugene Volokh, who on Tuesday noted his pro bono involvement at his blog.)
Today, Ali and the National Bloggers Club announce the following important development in the Maryland case involving blogger Aaron Walker — who was gagged by an ignorant, free speech-trampling judge:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2012
Contact: Ali Akbar
firstname.lastname@example.org (888) 308-3606
NATIONAL BLOGGERS CLUB ANNOUNCES THAT BLOGGER AARON WALKER HAS APPEALED AGAINST CONVICTED DOMESTIC TERRORIST BRETT KIMBERLIN
WASHINGTON, DC — The National Bloggers Club, Inc. is announcing that it will continue to raise funds to provide financial relief to member Aaron Walker. An appeal to the peace order granted by Judge C.J. Vaughey was filed Monday.
Last week, the Maryland judge issued a 6-month peace order and jailed attorney Aaron Walker, preventing him from mentioning Brett Kimberlin in public. A blogger and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney wrote of the decision: “[T]his is a clear-cut case of a First Amendment violation — about as clear-cut as you’ll ever hear.” Since then, Walker has been working with a new legal team and the National Bloggers Club to legally restore his free speech rights.
“We’ve got over a dozen lawyers coordinating on this now, volunteering their time. Aaron’s First Amendment rights are being violated when he is barred from even being able to publicly mention the case or Kimberlin’s violent past,” said Bloggers Club president Ali A. Akbar.
Akbar continued, “Yesterday they came after the Bloggers Club and my family — my family. We’re not stopping. We’ve got to raise $5,000 more dollars to continue to stand with Aaron Walker and I’m positive supporters will continue to step up.”
The National Bloggers Club is working to promote KimberlinFiles.org, where supporters continue to give financial and written support to this cause.
In keeping with the ruling of the court, Walker’s response was simply: “Thank you.”
It appears that Judge Vaughey has had a respectable career. Moreover, I am sympathetic to the notion that everyone, including judges, makes mistakes. But I believe that Judge Vaughey’s behavior — whether it is based on hostility to free expression and modern technology or merely mundane black-robe fever — is so extreme that it should be his legacy. Judge Vaughey ought to be remembered henceforth as a lawless Luddite indifferent at best, and scornful at worst, to the most fundamental rights Americans possess.
…Aaron is not the only target of lawfare by the Kimberlin crew. The Examiner reports that a lawyer named Kevin Zeese — possibly the political activist of the same name — is now threatening Ali A. Akbar of the National Bloggers Club on behalf of “Velvet Underground,” a charity associated with Kimberlin. Zeese’s threats will sound familiar to people who follow this blog and read about legal threats calculated to chill speech:
According to Zeese, the information that has been provided by a number of conservative blogs regarding Kimberlin is false, but he would not elaborate what information, specifically, was incorrect.
He was also unwilling to state what threats had been made, and was unwilling to provide any documentation when pressed.
“Get your facts straight,” he said repeatedly.
When asked what, specifically, Akbar had done to spur the alleged threats, Zeese again responded by saying people should “get their facts straight.”
As I have said repeatedly in the context of many different threats, ambiguity in a legal threat is a hallmark of empty thuggery and bad-faith censorious aims…
*Ace of Spades has called for a National Day of Blogger Silence this Friday to focus Capitol Hill’s attention to this vital free speech fight. The idea is to use the day to press for action. I will join and I hope every participant in the Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin blogburst will urge their readers and commenters to bring both light and heat on their elected officials:
On Friday, this site will be absolutely dead-silent, which is what Brett Kimberlin and his stalker crew seeks, and what the media and our supposed Representatives in Congress would permit.
The only post on Friday will be a bold-faced Open Letter to Congress, urging them to act and not attempt to pass the buck to others.
They are our representatives; we would like some representation.
They vowed to defend and protect the Constitution; they can honor that vow now.
I will post links of Congressmen’s and Senator[s’] email addresses and offices and phone numbers, and urge every concerned American citizen to let them know, in no uncertain terms, that a crime in progress against the First Amendment (and people’s safety) is occurring, and we humbly request they take this seriously.
They are literally going to get someone killed. That is their endgame here.
Will the media and Congress pretend “we didn’t know” when this happens?
The Weekly Standard knows.
The Daily Caller knows.
And many, but not yet all, Congressmen and Senators know.
I encourage all bloggers and twitterers to essentially strike that day, or write nothing except your desire that you expect your Congressmen to take threats to your First Amendment rights seriously.
*In the Washington Times, CEI senior attorney Hans Bader weighs in on Judge Vaughey’s injudicious conduct:
In ordering Mr. Walker’s arrest, court officials in Montgomery County exhibited utter contempt for the Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court rulings. Repeatedly blogging against a public figure such as Kimberlin is protected by the Constitution under court rulings such as U.S. v. Cassidy.
Judge C.J. Vaughey issued a restraining order against Mr. Walker based on the blogger’s constitutionally protected speech. At the court hearing, the judge warned Mr. Walker not to blog about Kimberlin for the next six months, complaining that Mr. Walker’s blog posts had incited public hostility toward Kimberlin. When Mr. Walker pointed out that the Supreme Court’s Brandenburg ruling protected his blog posts about Kimberlin even if outraged readers reacted to them by expressing hostility or threats toward Kimberlin, the judge contemptuously told him, “Forget Brandenburg.”
More analysis from Bader here.
Kimberlin target and blog warrior Patterico: “The order prohibiting Aaron from blogging will, of course, be reversed. It’s just a question of when. What is needed is an immediate stay of the unconstitutional portions of the judge’s order, and an injunction against Kimberlin’s seeking another peace order based on public speech about a public figure.”
Lee Stranahan corrects a Kimberlin lie and issues a challenge.
And in case you missed it: David Hogberg at Investor’s Business Daily is doing the work the rest of the MSM won’t do —Parsing Brett Kimberlin’s Arrest Warrant Vs. Aaron Walker.
I will keep saying it:
This isn’t just a one-day commitment. It’s an ongoing battle for free speech. Every voice, every blog post, every tweet, every e-mail counts.
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