This complex saga, as densely peopled and subplotted as a 19th century Russian novel, kicked off with Brett Kimberlin’s Maryland defamation lawsuit against the blogger known as Socrates (Seth Allen). It has since evolved to include the unsolved swattings of conservative bloggers Goatsred (Mike Stack) in New Jersey and Patterico (Patrick Frey) in LA. These swattings are suspected by the victims to be in retaliation for their involvement in blogging about Kimberlin’s criminal past, Weinergate and their close proximity to Andrew Breitbart, who helped bring Weiner’s wiener to public attention.
The story has its origins in Socrates’s blogging from 2008-2009 investigating connections between Kimberlin, Brad Friedman, election integrity, the death of alleged election rigger Michael Connell and the seemingly very intensive focus on gathering donations at the websites sponsored by Friedman and Kimberlin. Socrates’s court case, which occurred during and after the Weinergate saga was picked up and publicised and politicised by the Andrew Breitbart Empire as a way to fight back against their adversaries. Indeed, Kimberlin announced the lawsuit against Socrates on Patterico’s blog.
In reaction to Weinergate, the hoaxing of ACORN and Shirley Sherrod by dirty tricksters affiliated with Breitbart, Kimberlin and/or his associates began a site called indictbreitbart.org which linked a donation button to Velvet Revolution, another site affiliated with Kimberlin and Brad Friedman. This move, along with the co-optation of the Socrates v Kimberlin court case by both sides, formed the battle lines of the Troll Wars, with the combatants colloquially named by Socrates “Team Numbnuts” and “Team Breitbart.”
As an interesting and tragic side note, Breitbart dropped dead of an apparent heart attack a few months ago just after his burgeoning rightwing media empire had received a reported $10 million private equity investment, from a pair of unidentified investors. This money no doubt invested to grow the media maven’s profit-making activities, which included funding ever more creative hoaxings and media manipulations targeting progressives.
In the latest chapter, conservative blogger/lawyer Aaron Worthing (Aaron Walker), representing himself, was arrested in court last week for “incitement,” while arguing against a second degree assault charge pressed by Kimberlin from an earlier court incident when Walker was brought into the Socrates case by Kimberlin.
On May 25, the right side of the Whiteysphere put on the blogging equivalent of Shock and Awe called Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day.
You gotta love how crowd-based actions such as this one undertaken by the right, which contain slightly more than a faint whiff of vigilante hysteria, showcase differences between blogging ideologues and how one side can band together and rise to the level of mainstream media coverage (if you consider Fox News Channel mainstream) by way of rightwing apparatchiks Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin and legions of likeminded conservatives while the leftysphere remains a diffuse, disorganised bunch of bitter, hair-splitting individuals who are more interested in arguing about which hopeless third party candidates we will support in 2012. This is at least the third consecutive national election where progressives have dissipated our aged, weakening energy over the same fruitless pursuit, always expecting a different result but doing little to further third party organising besides blogging and voting (maybe).
Meanwhile, all this shiite is going on around us, and we haven’t a clue, or consider ourselves to be “above” such tabloidesque, ignoble political hack machinations, while we stay heads planted in the clouds of self-defeating idealistic delusions of political power and intellectual grandeur.
Unfortunately, the left side of the whiteysphere seems to be ignoring this story, with the rare exception of those who have been targeted in the backlash by the righties, including the aforementioned Kimberlin, and an alternative journalist, former Raw Story editor Ron Brynaert, whose recorded voice has been compared to the voice of the caller(s) on the 911 prank calls that brought the police state to the front door of Stack and Patterico. While many observers believe they hear certain similarities between the voices, it should be noted that the police apparently have not investigated Brynaert in these incidents and the authorities have not accused him or anyone of committing a crime in conjunction with the swattings. Voice recognition analysis itself is a dubious technology that can easily be abused when employed by police and prosecutors. Patterico, a deputy DA for LA County, surely is aware of the limitations of VRA as an evidentiary device but persisted in using an expert analysis that he purchased to smear Brynaert, even while he admits the police aren’t investigating the swatting incident at his house.
And of course, I am doggedly publicising the entire affair (when I feel like it) in a series of dairies posted here, known as the Troll Wars, as an Alternative Reality Game (ARG) between opposing sides that has played out mostly online, becoming noteworthy only when events have spilled over into the messy state of affairs AKA “reality”. It involves hoaxes, prankings, SLAPP lawsuits, lawfare, crowdsourcing, swattings, tweeted threats and other nouveau phenomena from the emerging Blade Runner society birthed online but now morphing dangerously (or should I say “profitably?”) into the real lives of a growing number of people.
But beware, progressive citizens of the net, for the viral meme spreading on the right is that not only are Kimberlin and Brynaert (and a shadowy hacker cum Democratic Party social media strategist named Neal Rauhauser) partners in this crime, but that swatting is now being defined as a leftwing tool employed to wage war against “innocents” on the right whom evil progressives desire to terrorise for our own ends.
The latest alleged swatting victim to break into MSM coverage, and whose swatting occurred conveniently on or closely after Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day is All-American Conservative Blogger, CNN contributor and fierce Norseman Eric “the RedState” Erickson.
This is a story that progressives should watch and study carefully, if not participate in, because no one who blogs or tweets should be ignorant of a spreading conflict which may someday bring the police state to our front doors, too.