Hogewash! is participating the National Day of Blogger Silence to call attention to the harassment of bloggers by enemies of the First Amendment. There are no more posts scheduled for today beyond this open letter to the congressman in whose district I will reside following reapportionment:
Hon. Chris Van Hollen
1707 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20515
Dear Representative Van Hollen:
I am not yet one of your constituents. However, my Carroll County residence has been gerrymandered into the 8th District, so you will be on my ballot this November.
I am writing to you about the recent attacks on the First Amendment rights of bloggers. While one of the most prominent cases, Kimberlin v. Walker, has so far only been dealt with in the Maryland courts (Montgomery County District Court), there are a couple of possible federal angles to that case. In other instances, bloggers have been subject to harassment by SWATting, the practice of making false 911 calls that result in armed police response to someone’s home. Interstate phone calls may have been involved. I won’t go into further details in this letter, but you can find more information in posts and links on my blog at http://www.hogewash.com. Typing “Kimberlin” in the search box will bring up the appropriate posts.
Of first concern, of course, is the First Amendment protection issue. The individuals seeking to restrain bloggers from publishing may be violating 18 USC 241 (Conspiracy Against Rights), but no one seems to have the resources to investigate. I’m generally in favor of limited government, but protection of civil rights should be a basic function of the government. This week, Senator Saxby Chambliss and Representative Kenny Marchant asked the Attorney General to look into the possibility that federal crimes have been committed.
Second, Brett Kimberlin, the person who is at the center of the controversy, was convicted in the early 1980s of multiple federal crimes and given sentences lasting until 2031. He was first released on parole in the 1990s, but that parole was revoked in 1997. He was rereleased in 2001. Since his sentence is not up and since there are some questions about the truthfulness of some of his testimony under oath in recent hearings, shouldn’t the Parole Commission be looking into whether Mr. Kimberlin should remain on parole?
I believe that an inquiry from you or your staff would help focus the attention of the Department of Justice on these matters. I hope that you look into this situation.
Very truly yours,
/s/ W. J. J. Hoge