Friday, June 8, 2012

Open Letter To Sen. Kyl, Sen. McCain, Et Al.

An Open Letter

To: Senator John Kyl, Senator John McCain, Governor Jan Brewer, Candidate Jesse Kelly, Candidate Ron Barber, Arizona State Senator Frank Antenori, and all other legislators willing to read this;

Subject: Perceived Attacks Against the First Amendment

Governor, Senators, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

The "attacks" I refer to are not perceived. They are actual attacks. The perception is the the fact they are most likely intended to invoke the silence of outspoken citizens, political commentators, and members of the press. Among the attacks is a tactic that is labeled as "SWATting". Though the incidents may seem rare when you consider the number of vocal personalities on the radio and in the "blogosphere", the issue is an increasing problem.

If you are unaware of the issues at hand, please refer to the articles and OP-EDs circulating the internet, including my own. Michelle Malkin published this recent article in Town Hall Magazine. Senator Saxby Chambliss from Georgia is aware of the problem and, according to Breitbart.com, would like pressure on the US DOJ to investigate these incidents. I urge you to support Senator Chambliss in investigating these incidents.

Governor Brewer, you have held my regard and respect since you took office in the great state of Arizona. Since I was transferred to Fort Huachuca in 2005, I have adopted this great state as my home. I urge you in considering measures to mitigate any such incidents from occurring in this great state. Senator Antenori is a trusted American Hero, having retired from the US Military. I know he supports the phrase "I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". I ask both of you to use your influence within the state to make such acts punishable in the state of Arizona.

There are several acts taken by extreme political activists to silence their opposition. While most of my experience is with those among the TEA Party and conservative movements, this tactic is a threat to all political views regardless of where along the political spectrum they reside. SWATting is but one such tactic. Some of the others occur in private-sector social networks and website hosting companies. As a firm believer in property rights and the pursuit of happiness as described by John Locke, I feel those particular issues need to remain between the businesses and their clients unless actual laws are broken and people are threatened or assaulted. 

However, real threats are made. If you refer to my previous article linked above, I gave examples of such activity. Many of those who conduct these acts are allegedly linked to a small group of extremists. The actors are enticed, manipulated, paid, or otherwise convinced to threaten, blackmail (quite possible with manufactured and fraudulent materials) and conduct other actions upon private citizens who are politically active.

I'll call your attention to the link to my previous article "To Be Not Silent". A man once convicted of conducting domestic terrorist acts in and around the town of Speedway, Indiana, is upset that his conviction, a matter of public record, has made its way into recent news articles and commentary. This individual has compiled a collection of possibly fabricated or hyperbolic allegations against one journalist, Aaron Walker, in an effort to silence him through the court system. I am not a lawyer, and do not pretend to be an expert on the laws. I do find the arrest of Mr. Walker highly questionable. Mr. Walker was arrested for allegedly harassing this previously convicted felon because people talked or wrote about him.

Mr. Walker allegedly incited the "Tweets" on Twitter and blog posts. Mr. Robert S. McCain has openly admitted that Mr. Walker did not request such an action and that he, Mr. McCain, was the originator of what was deemed "Every Blog about Brett Kimberlin Day". I first heard about  it from Michelle Malkin. The article I published on May 25, 2012 was written prior, after much research and following aspects of  the story for months. Another individual suggested I hold off publishing it until that date. I did so from an individual decision believing my article would reach a wider audience if I did so. Mr. Walker, Mrs. Malkin, nor Mr. McCain had any influence in that decision.

I have read many plausible allegations that Mr. Kimberlin employs a tactic consisting of numerous legal actions against anybody with a political view that opposes his, reports about his well-documented past transgressions, or reports about the activities and actions of his affiliated NPOs with anything less than a perspective of glowing assent. While protections against slander and libel are more than necessary, one would think the courts would take the time to either investigate the validity of public records and information or at least accept into evidence any such proof. In the recording of the court appearance, after which Mr. Walker was arrested, it seems the judge refused to allow the defendant to enter any evidence or cite any legal precedence. The recording is available on multiple websites as are written transcripts. If true, this seems to be, from a layman's view, a miscarriage of justice.

As previously stated, currently one of the more dangerous tactics employed is this once called "SWATting". It knows no geographic boundaries. Of the three incidents Senator Chambliss referred to, I am most familiar with two. The first one was the attack against Patrick Frey, a District Attorney in California who writes articles under the pseudonym of "Patterico". The second was the "SWATting" of political commentator and radio talk show host Erick Erickson of Georgia. 

"SWATting" in short, is a fraudulent call placed to police regarding an incident at the home or business of the intended target. In reality, nothing illegal is going on. There is no incident of violence occurring on the property. However, the caller alleges the target is doing or has done some act that requires such a paramilitary response as a SWAT team, SRT, or HRT to deploy. The reports seem to involve mostly allegations the target has shot or is threatening to shoot their spouse or children. Doing their duty, these police assets respond to the 911 calls.

The tactic is perhaps the most dangerous for several reasons. First of all, it takes vital response units away from law enforcement and sends them on a "wild goose chase". If a real incident that required their special skills and equipment occurred in another location, those officers and their assets would be less able to respond. That presents one form of public endangerment. 

The second public endangerment occurs on the sight of the target. As I am sure Senator Antenori can attest, while these officers, like US Army Soldiers, are well trained and disciplined, the propensity still exists that an innocent person can be harmed. All it would take is one mistake and one innocent person to be harmed. The first order effects would be the harm or death of an innocent person. The second and third order effects are the "silencing" of somebody's voice through the use of force. That would be use of violence by a government asset to violate the First Amendment rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press, even if not intended by the government to do so. The third order of effects include the political exposure of alleged overreach of law-enforcement personnel.

The third danger in the use of this "SWATting" tactic is that it causes a violation of 4th Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure. The political spin about the importance of responding to these types of calls is obvious:  "We'd rather err on the side of caution in responding to such a report than have such an incident actually occur with no response". This is nothing less than moral relativism and an "End Justifies The Means" mentality. It undermines the ethics, morals, and values our country is built upon. In addition, there are political activists in our country who would like nothing less than an excuse to polarize our police and elected officials as tyrannical while systematically eroding our constitutional protections. In addition, this pushes the false narrative that the government grants rights to the people instead of the actual intents of our form of government. Our constitutions intend republics (federal and state) founded upon the principles that the individuals grant the governments, at appropriate levels, certain necessary authorities and responsibilities, the remainder (majority) retained by the individual citizens. 

I am sure that, having read this, you will investigate these types of activities. I am confident you will employ your staff personnel and gather your own facts and data. Once you have done so, I am also sure you will take appropriate actions in preventing these types of acts, especially "SWATting". 

Thank You.