I was flying to Alderaan when I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of web URLs suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced…

Actually, I was enjoying a Friday evening at home when suddenly Ken White, the blogging lawyer known as Popehat, started drunk-tweeting me about a story that he apparently wanted me to cover, but which he refused to specify. Spurred thusly to lean on my contacts for a clue to White’s…odd behavior, this week I encountered an unusual reticence to speak candidly, but I did receive one small hint in the form of a link that doesn’t work anymore.

In fact, as I realized yesterday, a bunch of my old, annotated, bookmarked links suddenly aren’t working anymore.

There’s this one, and this one, and this one, all of which were part of the right wing smear campaign against Brett Kimberlin. Remember how a large portion of the conservative blogosphere went nuts over an evidence-free conspiracy theory for ‘Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day’ in May of 2012? A rather large chunk of that peculiar online hysteria has winked out of existence during just the last few days at RedState.com and Ace.mu.nu, two sites that Kimberlin had sued as part of his omnibus litigation strategy.

A few weeks ago, Kimberlin’s legal efforts against the architects of the smear were pressing inexorably towards on-the-record disclosure of the real name of ‘Ace of Spades,’ potentially solving some long-running mysteries while dispelling Ace’s ‘air of mystery.’ It seemed to me then that the matter was all but finished, yet the now-missing URLs strongly suggest that the pseudonymous blogger has reached a settlement with Kimberlin, after all.

Contacted for this story, Kimberlin also declined to comment on either Ace, Erickson, or RedState, which is a good indication that nondisclosure arrangements now exist with those parties.

One source, who spoke off the record, also hinted at a substantial monetary settlement, but no details are forthcoming.

Erickson’s Red State website has also deleted at least five posts that mention Kimberlin or promote the blogwar waged against him. The post bandwagoning a congressional investigation of the hoax is gone; so is the triumphant post about GOP congressmen asking Attorney General Eric Holder to ‘investigate’ it.

Sources told BU some time ago that Erickson was eager to settle matters with Kimberlin in hopes of entering the 2016 election year without the baggage of ‘old business’ left over from the 2012 race. If true, it now appears that Erickson, who appeared on CNN to tout the ‘SWATing’ story which stood at the heart of the smear campaign against Kimberlin, has achieved the closure he reportedly wanted.

Ace of Spades has deleted his accusations that Kimberlin harasses conservative bloggers; removed his call to revoke the nonprofit status of Kimberlin’s Justice Through Music Project; snuffed his appeal for an unconstitutional bill of attainder; erased his endorsements of, and plugs for donations to, lunatic lawyer Aaron Walker; and axed all the articles where he uncritically deferred to the authority of Los Angeles Assistant District Attorney John Patrick Frey, better known as Patterico.

Frey still faces trial in Kimberlin’s federal ‘color of law’ suit for having used his office to lend public credence to the conspiracy theory — as well as lobbying the FBI to investigate it.

The last time a similar internet scrubbing occurred, the American Spectator deleted articles about Kimberlin by Robert Stacy McCain, whereupon Frey led the Kimberlin ‘scene’ in a collective spasm of outrage. This time, however, two men that Frey calls close personal friends are ending their electronic solidarity, but there is only resigned, quiet acceptance.

This time, the only noise is coming from Ken White, who has been a huge booster of Kimberlin hysteria and personally spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending Frey from people who sue him. Yet even he can’t seem to say exactly what it is that has him so upset, which just goes to show you how hush-hush this all is.

Was White gloating that the identity of Ace will remain unknown, after all? Was he under the impression that I kneel and take holoprojector calls from Kimberlin at his whim, and wondering why I had lagged in reporting the news? Although it’s not at all clear that details of any settlement will ever emerge, or that Ken White is entirely in his right mind, BU will most definitely stay on top of this story.