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Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2016 Week 14

Tour d’Horizon is that ancient Romance language, le franglais, for Hognose’s Data Compost File, into which all sorts of things are thrown.

It’s an interesting time. March just ended, and with it the 1st Quarter of 2016, and we’ve set a new record of readership every month, both year-over-year and relative to the previous month. We’re humbled and grateful.

This week’s installment includes:

Guns

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

An Overview of 7.62 x 54R ammunition

The world’s oldest round still in service has been made in many variations. Some of them are found in these pages at 7.62x54r.net: Master Cartridge Reference and Ammunition Identification. Lots more good stuff at the site, too; a mostly Western perspective on this Russian, Soviet, and Bloc/former Bloc caliber.

Do Cop Trade-ins Make Good guns?

Tim, writing at gunnuts.net answers, “It depends, but for the right purposes, yes.” Pretty much the same conclusion we came to independently, and he saved us from having to write this.

Tracking Point on TV

Clip from the show, showing a simulated view through he Tracking Point smart scope.

Clip from the show, showing a simulated view through he Tracking Point smart scope.

We were going to write “on the small screen” but — is your screen still small? A press release from TP tells us their Precision Guided Firearm was featured on NCIS, which they apparently see a great way to promote their brand. Not having seen the show, we can’t know, buy we’re skeptical.

So, how long until Schumer is on TV demanding it be banned?

For those who actually watch this, Tracking Point included a link to the episode featuring their firearm — the episode title is “Scope.” Link may or may not work from here, it hasn’t been checked.

Move Over, Copperhead

Here’s a conversion kit that smartens up dumb artillery rounds and gets them “close enough” — for artillery, anyway — at a fraction of the cost of previous smart shells or retrofit kits. They just screw in in place of the old fuze. Dean Weingarten has the story, and he worked on the project.

We think the shells are now officially smarter than the guys servicing the piece.

Not a Gun, Really…

But a lot of engineering goes into a nuclear warhead. Here, scientists test heat resistance of nose-cone materials, almost 60 years ago. The whole story’s at the IEEE Spectrum.

Cooking the reentry vehicleThe problem of orbital and near-orbital ballistic warheads burning up had to be solved and it turned out to be a little counterintuitive — the secret was making the reentry vehicles blunt. The same technology would be used in US manned spaceflight, with capsules re-entering broad butt first. (The Shuttle did something similar in its reentry, by altering its attitude to “flat plate” itself to the relative wind).

Operation Choke Point Never Stopped

The politicians said they defunded Choke Point, but it’s still choking off financial access to gun dealers and other lawful businesses. The Daily Signal’s Kelsey Harkness has a story of how anti-gun People’s United Bank in Connecticut cut off Rich Sprandel’s Blue Line Firearms & Tactical’s line of credit with a voicemail from a People’s United VP he’d been dealing with:

[We] no longer lend to firearms dealers… that’s a new thing for us.

Home Trust Bank in Asheville, NC cut off Luke Lichterman’s Hunting and Defense, saying they didn’t want to do business with criminals like “gun dealers and pornographers.”

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency spokesman Bryan Hubbard, one of the designated fielders for questions about his bosses’ anti-gun actions, gave a very precisely worded statement denying everything without denying what his agency is actually doing. The FDIC, the OCC, and the Justice department have all been working together to undermine the firearms industry.

Highly Recommended Ammo Books

If you’re interested in Russian ammo, this set of four books (in Russian) comes highly recommended by Max Popenker. We know you guys are going to wait for us to review it, bit we thought we’d put it out there. The four volumes are:

Book-1 “From the invention of gunpowder until the middle of the XX century”.
Book-2 “Modern foreign ammunition”.
Book-3 “Modern Russian ammunition, how legends were created”.
Book-4 “Modern Russian ammunition, chronicles of the creators”.

$200 for the set of four (presumably plus shipping — perhaps another $100). I wonder if there’s anything in there about Sylvestr Krnka, one of those interesting Czechs who worked for other nations when there was no Czech nation. His rifle was a single-shot rifle-musket conversion, used by Russia in the late 19th Century.

Usage and Employment

The hardware takes you only half way.

Representatives Concealed Carry, Others Wet Pants

In Arizona, a legal change allowed state reps to carry in the State House if they were licensed. Some did.

Rep. Randy Friese and five other Democrats sent a letter to Speaker David Gowan Wednesday…

Essentially, having a bedwetting breakdown over the thought that some other legislators were going to work armed.

Farewell to a Great Instructor

We should have mentioned this a week or two ago, but Todd Louis Green has passed away after a long illness. He was a happy warrior for better and more practical training, and the inventor of several first-rate drills, including Dot Torture.

Here’s some classic TLG: Trust No One.

Thoughts on the Reality of Self Defense

Rob Morse has a characteristically thoughtful post. Here’s two edited (for brevity) paragraphs.

We are most likely to be attacked when we are away from home.  That means the arsenal in our gun safe is useless most of the time. …  What we have on our body right now is what we will use to win or lose a self-defense encounter.  It is unlikely that we will have time to go to our car or safe room….  That is why criminals attack people … on jogging trails.

It isn’t a fair fight.  Criminals want to outnumber us and they come prepared to overpower us with knives and guns.  Unless we train, we suffer a huge disadvantage because we won’t believe this is happening when we’re attacked.

It’s a come as you are party. What are you armed with right this instant. (Eh, here? A .25. Seriously. But there’s a sword within reach, too). Do Read The Whole Thing™.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment.

Whodunit?

Here’s a recent mugshot of Keith Harward, imprisoned since 1982 or so after being convicted of capital murder and rape.

Harward mugshot

Most recent mugshot of Jerry Crotty, fingered as the actual rapist/murder by DNA evidence, finally analyzed after obstruction by the prosecutor’s office that jailed Harward. Crotty’s sample was on file because he was doing time for another rape.

Crotty mugshot

The key testimony that framed Harward was “bite-mark analysis,” a field of forensic “science” that has since been discredited as, essentially, fabricated.

33 years of life in prison… if those frauds of forensics clowns are still sucking oxygen, and haven’t perished in their sins like the late, unlamented Jerry Crotty has, they owe society 33 years in the jug. UK Daily Mail story. Richmond, VA Times-Dispatch story.

Death of a Drug

Remember the Flakka epidemic of 2015?

Last summer, [Broward County Sheriffs Office Lieutenant Ozzy] Tianga made frequent trips to this flakka hot spot as media from around the world descended on South Florida to document the synthetic stimulant’s devastating effects. Flakka addicts were everywhere. Running into traffic. Zoned-out on curbs. Sometimes naked. Sometimes in the grips of a drug-fueled psychosis.

It’s over. The Chinese government dropped the hammer on the producer of the synthetic drug last October, and by January, the supply line was empty of the cheap, destructive substance. Wish they were all that easy.

But that Old Drug, Marijuana?

Turns out our high school observations of the class burnouts were dead on. The more you smoke that stuff, the bigger a loser you turn into. The story quotes academics from Cal, Duke, and King’s College London, but they somehow missed the chance to pull an interview from the Dean of the University of F***ing Obvious.

How Nuts are New Jersey Gun Laws?

This nuts: a guy “shooting” a non-gun prop while filming an actual movie was arrested, spent four days in jail, and is now on trial because some Jersey goombah of a prosecutor wants to put him in prison. For ten years. For acting in a movie where a production company didn’t have a permit for its props. Read more from Ed Morrissey at HotAir.com.

But Sometimes an NJ Defendant would have been Arrested Anywhere

Restraining orders and unlicensed NFA weapons are a really, really bad combination.

It’s So Bad the Jersey Courts Have Noticed

nj_ag_idea_of_complianceAnd an appeals court ordered the Attorney General’s Office, a hotbed of anti-gun and pro-criminal lawyers, to pay over $100k to reimburse a gun-rights group for stonewalling a FOIA request, and to answer the FOIA request.

Which the AG did… with a document … well, observe the image.

We guess he wants the taxpayers to give another hundred grand to the cause of gun rights. And he thought not giving up that much black toner was worth $100k — of your money, Jersey chumps.

It’s so Bad Chris Christie noticed

Big Chris took time out from tilting at windmills last year to appoint a blue-ribbon commission, every executive’s favorite dodge when he’s hoping interest in a bad but politically expedient policy will blow over. Well, the windmills one, and Chris and Sancho and Rocinante are all back in the Garden State in time to get the commission’s verdict: “Yeah, our gun laws are ate up.” The recommendations are cautious: a little lightening up on the definition of “need” for a permit; some tweaks in the tourism-killing harassment of peaceable travelers; and, “increasing the transparency of the application process” — the very objective against which Christie’s own AG is waging a scorched-earth campaign against the courts, as noted above. Still, the longest journey — and to rejoin the United States on gun rights, NJ has the longest, longest journey — begins with a single step.

Sometimes the Cop might be a Crook, I

A few years ago, we covered a missing M16A1 that the Philadelphia PD had misplaced, and mentioned the embattled head of the department firearms unit, Lt. Vincent Testa. Testa, who had been in the legal crosshairs since 2011, was about to face prosecutors under oath this week. He didn’t. He shot himself to death Wednesday. One supposes the prosecutors can draw inferences from that.

So, Why is Mommy’s Little Angel an Angel?

mom-angelic-photoJeanie Ditty, a Fort Bragg soldier, had these pictures made with the “ghost” of her deceased daughter, Macy Grace, by a very kind Pennsylvania photographer who makes images like this, and goes by Sunny Jo.

Imagine Sunny Jo’s feelings on discovering that Ditty and her boyfriend, Zachary Keeler, are charged with murdering the two-year-old. Actually, you don’t need to imagine, because the deceived photog is quoted in the story.

NYC Shotspotter’s Big Catch

We’ve mentioned before that Shotspotter technology has bagged exactly one shooter in NYC, although really, it was the guy popping off where several officers happened to be right on top of him that did him in. Here’s his gun which he bought off the internet, er, uh, acquired through black-market means after someone stole it from the last lawful owner years ago:

shotspotters only gun catch nycAnd here’s the story, from last July.

Gun Back to Owner After 26 Years

Law-ScaleAndHammerAn angry, bitter anti-gun New Hampshire judge gave up his quixotic quest to have the deodand put to death, and returned Vance Lattime Sr’s revolver. Lattime’s son (Vance Jr.) had sneaked the .38 caliber Colt Detective Special away for a few days, and Vance Jr’s friend, William Flynn, with the help of Vance Jr. and two other high school kids, murdered Greggory Smart with it in Derry, New Hampshire  — whereupon Vance, Jr, snuck it back into its storage place. Smart’s wife Pamela, who worked at the local high school, had grown tired of the marriage; she seduced the boys and persuaded them to murder Greggory in “the perfect crime.” Vance Lattime Sr. actually broke the case when, tipped off by a third party that his Colt had been used, delivered it and that news to the police.

Judge Andrew R. Schulman wasn’t very interested in imprisoning the mudering boys — they’re all long since out, unlike Pam Smart, the mastermind of this conspiracy of numbskulls — but he really wanted the death penalty for the gun.

But, if released to the intervenor (Lattime Sr.), the ‘gun from the Pam Smart’ case will itself attain B-list status. To prevent that from happening, if the court could do as it pleased, it would forfeit the gun to the State and order it destroyed.

He’s very, very bitter that he can’t just do what he pleases. And what he did was walk the murderers and blame the gun!

And Sometimes the Cop is a Crook, II

The fallout’s still falling out in New York City, where four very senior police commanders have been “reassigned” — for two of them, the kind of reassignment that involves handing the Commissioner their guns and badges — amid a corruption probe that ties into a Ponzi scheme suspect and the Mayor’s office. A bunch of unusual suspects include a pillar of the Orthodox Jewish community, a Catholic cop who was caught taking cash and diamonds from a shady businessman and told a friend, “I’m bleeeped,” when he heard of the probe, and the bleeeped Deputy Inspector’s wife, a veteran of Reality TV on Oprah’s network.

The guys making the payoffs were friends of and supporters of Mayor De Blasio, and helped run his inauguration celebrations. One of them was connected to “a shadow government of lobbyists”. The payoffs included trips to China, Brazil and the Super Bowl.

So far, the department’s reaction has been muted, with Commissioner Bill Bratton demanding that all the captains-and-up who didn’t get busted attend “training on ethics and conflicts of interest.” We are not making that up. What does he think, that the guys getting payoffs thought it was all on the level, and they just need to be taught that it isn’t?

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields.

A Curious Frenchman

This story is generally reported in the US as a piece about foreign cluelessness about free speech: imagine, taking somebody’s liberty away because of this!

A 22-year old Frenchman has been sentenced to three months in prison for texting his ex-girlfriend an emoji in the form of a pistol, in the first such ruling of its kind in France.

The court in Valence in the southern Drôme département ruled that the gun-shaped character at the end of a mobile phone text message constituted a “death threat in the form of an image”, and handed the accused a six-month sentence, with three suspended.

Boy, that charge and sentence seems extreme, even though the girl was underage. What kind of Frenchman was this?

Bilal Azougagh….

Oh. That kind.

Cross Putin And…

…you just might be on Candid Kremlin Camera. As a porn producer, he’s a pretty good intelligence officer. As an intel officer, your porn doesn’t need to be in the running for an AVN Award, it just needs to star the designated marks.

Exit speculation prompt: what deal was offered, and declined, that got the blackmail video released?

The Administration’s Legacy

The Washington Post (admittedly, in the person of house conservative Jennifer Rubin) assesses the Administration’s foreign policy, beginning with this:

The plunge of Syria and Iraq into seemingly interminable warfare is the most long-lasting debacle of the Obama presidency.

We have to say we disagree. What about Libya? What about the consequences of the ill-planned, domestic-policy-driven bugouts from Afghanistan and Iraq? But we’ll let Ms Rubin continue. We just object to zeroing in on just one foreign-and-defense-policy debacle.

Despite a temporary cease-fire in Syria — which only cements Bashar al-Assad’s continued rule and Russia’s geopolitical victory — and some gains in Iraq, the facts on the ground have changed irreparably.

While subsequent presidents may be able to halt Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons (although thanks to President Obama, more likely through the use of force), genocide cannot be undone.

Of course, the Islamic State is responsible for only part of the mayhem. The continued rule of Assad — who has repeatedly used chemical weapons with no real or lasting consequences and has waged a bloody civil war taking the lives of more than 300,000 and turning millions into refugees — is a critical part of Obama’s legacy as well. In other words, the Obama team will leave behind more than a genocide.

…the administration seems to have learned nothing from a long, dreadful history of inaction in the face of genocide.

Hey, what’s more important, some stupid genocide or the NCAA bracket? This is one administration that is clear on its priorities.

Another Knucklehead Invades the White House

It may be extremely shorthanded — down 600 agents, and God knows how many uniformed officers — but the Secret Service can still field the loonies who pop-fly themselves onto the White House lawn.

An intruder late on Friday threw a backpack over the White House fence and then climbed over the barrier before being detained by Secret Service agents, a spokesman for the agency said.

The intruder was detained immediately after scaling the north fence at the president’s residence, Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said in an email.

The SS doesn’t need us to defend them, but seriously, crazies acting crazy are not the Service’s fault. They handled this clown suitably (he’s in jail with the other sweepings of Metro DC).

Veterans’ Issues

Look for Story or Stories this week

There’s a ton of stuff, not a ton of time right now, and this post is long enough, isn’t it? But yeah, the VA is still screwing up by the numbers. 

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.

It’s All Going Peer-Shaped…

…at the Real Peer-Reviewed Twitter feed, where some anonymous genius shows exactly how worthless most humanities and pseudoscience PhDs’ work is these days. Sample:

This is the picture, which we dunno how to embed like he does:

Peer Review

Here’s another one:

There’s a steady flow of them. The two responses that you likely will make to these tweets are:

  1. No $#!+, Professor?; and,
  2. I can’t believe anybody, however brain-damaged, believes this crap.

Possibly Related: Shrinking PhD job market!

The author of this piece is up in arms that even STEM grads can’t get jobs, but he uses a bogus alignment that classifies all the pseudosciences as STEM.

science and engineering Ph.D.s make up 75 percent of all doctorates awarded in 2014

He gets there by counting all kinds of new-agey types as life sciences, and calling the pseudosciences STEM. Sociologists? Anthropologists? Sorry, same critical-theory dullards as in the rest of the humanities.

And they’re unemployed? Well, would you hire the drones from Real Peer Review’s feed?

Exit Image: Peace Out!

Obama Peace Out

 

Life in the ‘Shire: Big City Police Blotter

thin_blue_lineJust a typical 24 hour set of shifts in Big City, population ~21k.

Just so some of you in actual, you know, big cities, don’t get the idea your #firstworldproblems are universal in the USA.

Of course, we could never live in that teeming metropolis. Way too much diverse vibrancy!

March 25

5 a.m.: Checked an open door at a Lafayette Road business. No problem was found.
8:55 a.m.: Checked a noise complaint on Court Street. Caller said someone was being hurt. The person was praying loudly.

That seems to be the theme of this installment — people calling the cops on things that the cops can’t really fix. Of course, how a man prays is between him and his God, but we were raised to be out of your face about it, and look askance on those who make more of a public spectacle of their piety.

But we don’t call the cops on them. What a waste of time! For the love of God (no humor intended), people, ring the doorbell and tell ’em if somebody’s noise is bothering you.

2:20 p.m.: Caller found a syringe on Middle Street. It was removed to the hospital to be disposed of.

Want to know a secret? Some orderly in the hospital is going to throw it in a sharps container, but you could have disposed of it yourself. Still… maybe the general public are better off not handling that stuff. It’s definitely an addict’s syringe, in the street like this, and addicts tend to have all kinds of microorganisms you’d rather not take on board.

2:52 p.m.: Responded to Banfield Road to take a report of a minor accident.

We’ll bet they shrugged it off, told the motorists the damage was under $1k, and didn’t write it. Thing is, do you know how big a ding has to be to run up a four-figure body-shop bill?

3 p.m.: Responded to Market Street for a report of an unwanted person.

We thought that was what Planned Parenthood was for?

4:10 p.m.: Did a well-being check downtown after a caller reported concern for her son, who is ill. She later said he returned home.

Mother’s little helper, that’s the PD.

4:59 p.m.: Checked a report of a suspicious van on Lafayette Road. Caller believed they were selling drugs. There was no problem, per the management of the complex.
5:56 p.m.: Responded to Middle Street for a person who had allegedly violated bail conditions.

It’s kind of amazing how many people in your community are out on bail at any given time… and how many of them have active warrants. (A lot of the time, out of state warrants that the guy gets lugged for, but then released because the state won’t spring to extradite him) But this individual didn’t have anything pending, because there’s nothing about an arrest in the log.

6:36 p.m.: Responded to the intersection of Junkins Avenue and South Street for a domestic disturbance.
7:28 p.m.: Responded to the intersection of Bridge Street and Islington Street for an accident, a car and a pedestrian. A report was taken.

That’s one more likely to require a report.

8:10 p.m.: Caller reported a dog had been howling for more than one hour. The owner said it was only 20 minutes and asked if she could file charges against her neighbor for harassment.

She-said she-said. It’s not like you an interview the dog. “How long you been howling, Rover?” One more call that would never have been made if people acted like grownups and didn’t use cops as their passive-aggressive stick to beat the neighbors with.

Note that we’re getting into the evening… the judgment juice levels are rising… the witching hour approaches.

8:12 p.m.: Did a well-being check on Islington Street from an earlier medical call.
10:20 p.m.: Gave a verbal warning for trespassing at Four Tree Island.

The mighty power of “don’t let me catch you here again,” backed by the magic of the badge. With most kids here, it actually works.

11:45 p.m.: Responded to Borthwick Avenue for an unwanted person. A patient who had been treated was refusing to leave the hospital. She had left when police arrived.

Everybody wants to be unwanted today.

11:46 p.m.: Responded to Codfish Corner Road for a possible overdose. The person was not overdosed.

No, seriously, lady, this is how they look on heroin even if they’re not overdosed.

March 26

12:25 a.m.: Checked a burglar alarm on Market Street. No problem was found.
2:39 a.m.: Checked an alarm on Islington Street. It was a false alarm.

What percentage of burglar alarms are false positives? We could tell you but we’re not sure you have enough decimal spaces.

 

The Video International Incident

This poppy little song is entitled “Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan” which is a play on the name of the Turkish prime minister and an older pop song that asked, “How, where, when?” or, “Wie, wo, wann” in German. (Actually, it was a 1980s[?] Nena tune that went, “Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann” — Anyhow, anywhere, anytime). The PM was not happy and has demanded of his nominal allies, the Germans, that they somehow exterminate this video from the net, and ideally, perhaps, lock up the makers.

He’s probably not going to get that, even from Mutti Merkel. But Turkish dudgeon over the video is really a thing. Therfore, even if you know nothing and care less of Turkey and Germany, you should watch it, if for no other reason than to irritate a censorious asshat, and perhaps to admire the craft that went into it.

As Erdogan has gotten more politically Islamist he has turned more dictatorial,

The translation in the subtitles misses some of the … precision… of the lyrics. And it’s the burn of those lyrics that may be why Erdogan made a formal diplomatic protest about the video, as if Germany was Iran or Turkey where an entertainer can be locked up (or worse) for lèse-majesté.

An example of what the translation misses, the song doesn’t just say he hates Kurds, he hates them “like the plague.” And the end is not just “and he rides off into the sunset.” Nope, he rides off into the sunset and goes down  (That, indeed, may be the part he found most vexing).

The Kurd verse is slightly better translated as:

He hates the Kurds like the plague
And he bombs them too
Much rather than his brothers in faith over there in IS.

If Erdogan objects to this song (and it’s clear that he does), it’s not because it’s an unfair portrayal of him and his Islamist AKP party.

Update

Here’s one totally unscientific example of German reax to Erdogan’s dudgeon:

http://www.dw.com/en/germany-unimpressed-by-anti-erdogan-song-outrage/a-19149049?maca=en-TWITTER-EN-2004-xml-mrss

Of course if he had his way they’d be in Erdo’s dungeon, which is a different animal entirely.

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2016 Week 13

It’s the 13th week of the year, but on the plus side, it’s not Friday the 13th. It’s Friday, April Fool’s Day, but we don’t have an April Fool joke for you all. Sorry about that.

This week’s installment includes:

Guns

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

Modular Handgun Boondoggle Moves Forward -or does it?

The guys running the Modular Handgun money pit selection process, alarmed by the Chief of Staff’s public comments that the whole thing is a Brobdingnagian waste of time and money, decided that they had better do something or they might have to face some calamity, like serving with troops. So they moved blindly fast and selected a caliber — .40 S&W, suggesting that they’ve decided accuracy in average soldiers’ hands doesn’t matter — and downselected several short-list firearms. Wait… H&K and Canik… this is from TFB… what’s today’s date? Fitch, you magnificent bastard, you almost got us.

Troll Level: Reserve Grandmaster.

The funny thing about the handgun program is that this report is perfectly believable, because it’s the same dumb-ass Army that looked at every world-changing bolt-action that would define warfare in the 20th Century, and bought the Krag; the same Army that took 12 years to add a box magazine to the M1, something Italian engineers did in a couple of months. And for all the money they’re blowing on it, it’s a pointless exercise. For the use a pistol gets, any of them will work. But the Army isn’t making a satisficing decision; the point of the MHS program is not to select a handgun, it’s to provide Good Jobs At Good Wages for the MHS team and their contractors for as long as possible. So it’s probably too early to expect a downselect.

Stop the Presses! Tasers Don’t Work Like in the Movies

The LA Times, hometown newspaper of the Hollywood myth machine, is shocked, shocked! to find that Tasers don’t automatically work. In one case, a cop chick wound up Tased herself, and it worked fine on her. (Her partner had to whack the criminal, literally). In a bunch of other cases they haven’t worked on criminals in baggy clothes, criminals hopped up on chemical courage, and criminals with mental illness so bad they’re experiences Taser 24/7. Color us amazed.

Any of you go to the class where they told you the Taser is magic and always works, even on hopped-up substance abusers and adrenaline-soaked violent crims?

Didn’t think so.

Usage and Employment

The hardware takes you only half way.

Cop on Trial for On-Duty Shooting

In Texas, of all places. (Well, in Austin, so near Texas). From the story, it seems that he responded to a domestic, being told enroute that someone was waiting behind the door, loading a gun. When he showed up, he shot the person who opened the door — the 911 caller, not the suspect. D’oh The stakes are high — the prosecution wants the cop jailed for 99 years, presumably pour encourager les autres.

Who’s Huntin’ My Bambi?

As this picture shows, Bambi won’t be down for breakfast. Well, not his breakfast, anyway:

bambi won't be down for breakfastTurns out, feral hogs are threatening the population of one of America’s most beloved game species, the whitetail deer.

Is there anything hogs can’t do? We mean, of course, anything destructive? They’re the TSA of the animal kingdom.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment.

She Did WHAT to the Dachshund?

hannah-marie-haynes-buggery-mugshotWell, Hannah Haynes here is charged with buggery, so you figure it out.

Deputies charged 23-year-old Hannah Marie Haynes of Chesnee with buggery.

Investigators say Haynes took the videos of herself and sent them to a man who then gave them to the North Charleston Police Department.

An investigation began after the North Charleston Police contacted Cherokee Co. Deputies about the videos.

The other star of the videos was a dachshund; its sex was not reported.

The doggie diddler is out on bail. Hopefully someone is looking out for the poor imperiled pooch.

He Shot an Armed Guard with a Toy Gun

Ruger pellet gun like Brenor shot Plein with. His was altered so as not to show the orange muzzle.

Ruger pellet gun like Brenor shot Plein with. They run on CO2 and are made by Umarex under Ruger license. His was altered; the orange muzzle was removed, to facilitate criminal use.

And it was the last thing he did. (Well, he did apologize. That was the last thing he did). The Lakeland, Florida (where else?) apartment complex’s managers knew there was a lot of gang activity troubling the decent tenants, so they hired armed guards. In the “early morning hours” (where, as any sergeant major will tell you, nothing good happens) the guard on duty was a 19-year-old named Shawn Plain.

Plain said that he felt stinging on his face and thought he had been shot. He also noticed several other men outside looking into the room, and some of them had guns. Plain told PCOS deputies that he was in fear for his life so he drew his weapon.

He was, indeed, treated for two pellet wounds to the face. But he wasn’t the only one to take a ride on the bo-lance:

The armed men started backing up into the parking lot. Plain said they were pointing their guns at him when he took cover outside the laundry room. ….

Plain hit one of them in the leg and the man fell on the pavement. A black replica handgun was near the wounded man. It was a Ruger pellet gun.

The others ran away.

Yep, nothing like counting on your gang to back your stupid play. (If you don’t know who the dumbest cluck in your gang is, it’s you). Turns out that his inconstant friends were the least of the kid’s problems, though.

in got back to the wounded man, who apologized for shooting at the guard and asked for an ambulance. Plain called 911. The wounded suspect was Stephen Brenor, 15, of Lakeland. Polk detectives said he was a documented associate gang member.

Apology. Nice. But Brenor wasn’t charged. Why not?

He died in the hospital from his injury.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. That’s first stupid prize, right there. Fifteen years old, death by exsanguination, and he had it coming.

It’s a little surprising that this hasn’t turned into a Black (Criminal) Lives Matter cause celèbre, but it’s possible that there wasn’t a white-shot-black dynamic here; news stories are silent on the race of the guard and the gang wannabe, although it’s a clue that one of the other gang members, apprehended after fleeing the scene, was gang member Javarius Ray’quann King, 16. King talked freely, perhaps thinking the cops were going to arrest Plein; instead, he’s getting a legal education on the quaint legal doctrine of “felony murder”; he’s charged with that and aggravated assault, to which he confessed.

When he gets out, he’ll commit more crimes. Why let him out? Why not life for any armed violent felony? It’s not like he’s ever going to cure cancer or win the Nobel Prize for Gangbanging. There’s nothing in his future but more crime and more prison, so why not just leave him in prison and prevent the crimes?

Brenor's actual pellet gun at crime scene. Compare to catalog photo above.

Brenor’s actual pellet gun at crime scene. Compare to catalog photo above.

Of course, back to the Black Lives Matter point, it’s also possible that anyone who looks at this will conclude that whatever his race, Brenor’s life doesn’t matter. King’s, either. Mad dogs get put down, sooner or later. Stephen Brenor went sooner. How’s that thrill of gang membership now, punk?

If there’s trouble for Plain in this, it’s in this sentence:

He fired several round [sic] after the suspects started to flee, deputies said.

Folks, you can’t do that. You can get away with it if you’re a cop. Sometimes. A private armed guard? No more right and authority than a legally armed civilian. He’s lucky Angela Corey and a TV camera weren’t in central Florida that morning.

The Knife from OJ’s House? Never mind.

It’s not the murder weapon, says the same LAPD that convicted him the first time. Oh, wait…

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields.

Everyone’s Favorite Surplus Government Agency…

tsa checkpointThe TSA is well known to readers of these pages, as is the fact that no one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed at TSA in any capacity whatsoever. At AmmoLand, Betsy Akers does a quick rundown on what taxpayers are getting for $7 billion squandered on the pedophiles, thieves, gropers and other complete rotters that comprise the TSA work force. She points out a salient fact that we have hertofore missed:

Never has any regime anywhere, at any time, no matter how brutal or totalitarian, groped its subjects wholesale.

You know, she has a point. Stalin shot the Polish officers in the back of their heads at Katyn; he didn’t stick his fingers up their nether regions (true, he might have been waiting for the 5-Year-Plan that finally produced a watertight rubber glove). Hitler had millions of Jews groped, but not, generally, molested; and its hard to deal with anyone at TSA and not come away with the sense that they are just waiting to let someone slip the leash, so that they, too, can let their inner NKVD flag fly. She suggests a four-point resistance plan:

  1. First, never for a moment swallow the TSA’s propaganda about its “mission.”
  2. Second, denounce the TSA to your acquaintances.
  3. Third, we should defend rather than revile our fellow gun-owners who fall into the TSA’s clutches.
  4. Finally, boycott commercial aviation.

We are on board with #s 1 and 2, have some problems with #3, and find #4 only works if you’re a homebody. We have, however, minimized our flying, and the TSA is definitely a factor.

Currently, $7B that could be applied to national security is being wasted on this jobs program for the corrupt and retarded.

Gee… the CIA Lied to Protect Security

CIA SealTwo gormless Washington Post reporters, Greg Miller and Adam Goldman, are up in arms that the CIA actually lies to its own less-trusted employees to protect highly secret stuff that’s kept within tiny compartmented teams.

This is nothing but action on the principle, stated by Ben Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanack, that “three can keep a secret — if two are dead.” But you can see why a couple of Post reporters, whose careers hinge on schmoozing information out of those less-trusted employees (explaining, perhaps, why the employees are less trusted in the first place), would get upset by that.

In one instance, leaders at CIA headquarters sent a cable to the agency’s station in Pakistan saying operators there were not authorized to pursue a potentially lethal operation against the alleged al-Qaeda operative known as Abu Zubaida . But a second set of instructions sent to a smaller circle of recipients told them to disregard the other message and that the mission could proceed.

“The people in the outer levels who didn’t have insider access were being lied to,” said a U.S. official familiar with the report. “They were being intentionally deceived.”

The CIA’s mission regularly involves carrying out operations that are designed to deceive foreign governments and other adversaries. But officials said that eyewashing is fundamentally different in that it is aimed at an internal audience — sowing misinformation among the agency’s rank and file.

Of course, the real problem here is that 90-95% of CIA, including 100% of potential for career advancement for the ambitious bureaucratic careerists that dominate the higher ranks, is at HQ and other assignments in the National Capital Area. (Most of the rest is in official-cover and liaison gigs overseas; the number of actual working case officers making worthwhile recruitments is vanishingly small). For much of CIA HQ, it’s better to be well-connected at the post, even if you get one of the working schlubs’ agents shot by leaking to your pet reporter. (The way so many HQ drones do in this article, actually).

Veterans’ Issues

When the Phony Rings, it’s PTSD he’s Calling

strait_jacket_obliqueChris Hernandez has a 100% dead on target post about PTSD, vets, and the VA. He calls it “Thieves and Liars: PTSD Fraud and the VA” and it’s from February… and the newest thing on his blog, so we hope he’s working his ass off on his next book (“Safe From the War” is a great cop story and his best since the incredible

It’s fair to say most of us combat veterans have suspicions about PTSD claims. We’ve been frustrated by stories of horrible, disabling PTSD from people we know were never in combat. We’ve heard of troops coming home from deployments to peaceful countries, never hearing a shot fired, but immediately claiming PTSD. We know that in the War on Terror only a small percentage of troops actually faced an enemy, and many of those relished the experience. We have the nagging feeling most PTSD claims are more about free money than healing and recovery. Some of us have become so skeptical, we automatically throw a mental BS flag when we hear someone talk about having PTSD.

Yeah, we resemble that remark.

John [pseud., a VA pshrink] has treated over 700 veterans for PTSD. He estimates 75% of his patients are either outright fabricating trauma, or twisting benign experiences into supposed trauma in order to qualify for disability benefits. “Of all patients referred to me in 2015 for PTSD evaluation, 25% (estimated generously) had a real trauma-related condition,” John wrote. “And the majority of the remainder were obviously feigning PTSD symptoms.”

Few of John’s patients were actual combat veterans. “Only 10% had documentation (CIB/CAB/CAR/Purple Heart/Bronze Star, etc.) indicating substantial combat exposure,” John said. “Yet just over half were receiving VA disability payments for PTSD. All who weren’t yet on disability for PTSD were applying for it, and most on disability were appealing to increase their disability rating.”

There are more eyewitnesses to massive fraud, in which the VA actually colludes with phonies to pay disability income to “vets,” some of whom never marched in a basic training graduation.  The consensus of the docs seems to be that three-quarters of PTSD claimants are shining the VA, and the taxpayers, on. It’s hard to pick items to excerpt, because the whole thing is that good, but here are some of Chris’s conclusions:

We should be the most honor-driven group of people in America. We should stand tall with the knowledge that our commitment to our country wasn’t hypothetical. We should be towers of strength, the quiet but proven men and women our fellow citizens turn to in times of crisis.

I think most actual combat veterans are those towers of strength. But that strength is being sapped by a human wave assault of liars, posers and thieves who see a PTSD diagnosis as free money. The public’s perception of rock-steady combat veterans is giving way to a fraud-driven caricature: the broken, pitiful, victimized veteran, so traumatized we can’t handle fireworks or the sight of a gun, dependent on a government handout, liable to explode in irrational violence or commit suicide at the slightest provocation.

He also concludes that the VA should be more generous with actual mental health treatment, and more stingy with disability income. Most vets never attend therapy again after they get their permanent 100% disability rating, and “most” really understates it: 82%.

If you spent your war on a big, big base and never had a round aimed at your personal pink (or whatever shade) body, your PTSD is phony. You know it, we know it, Chris knows it. No wonder the VA can’t treat actual vets, when a lot of the budget is squandered on phonies and posers.

Do Read The Whole Thing™, and you’ll thank Chris for writing it, and us for sending you there.

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.

All Dogs go to Heaven…

…And all crocodilians go back to Hell — where they came from. A nameless gator had his way with Kodah the husky, a beloved family pet. The gator had been fed by tourists at Hilton Head Island in the past. It wasn’t that much heavier than the dog — 7 feet, 100 lbs, and Kodah was a healthy 85; but a gator is a killing machine optimized by millions of years of relentless natural selection. Or an escapee from one of the creepier artworks of Bosch or Brueghel; pick one.

Kodah, recovered from the pond and cremated, rests in an urn, and in the memories of the family that loved him. The gator? He’s back in Hades where he came from, and bad cess to him and all his kin.

The Actual Mutiny of General Harbord’s Russians

Mutinous Russians, from a contemporary French paper (however, this may illustrate Russians in Russia despite the Western steeple. Note Maxim and Mosins).

Mutinous Russians, from a contemporary French paper. (However, this may illustrate Russians in Russia despite the Western steeple. Note Maxim and Mosins).

This post assumes you read yesterday’s, in which James G. Harbord met a near-mutinous Russian unit at an unnamed location in France, and was (to say the least) unimpressed with them.

It turns out, the French, desperately short of cannon fodder by 1916, had offered the Russians armaments — in a dope deal, for which the Russians would provide the cannon fodder. The professional officers were against it — Russia had a lot of manpower, but not so much that they could give it to the French to waste, as French generals had wasted their own. But the Tsar was in favor of the deal, and so it was concluded. In time, there were going to be around nine Special Brigades of Russians in France. The one concession to military professionalism was that the Russians would serve under their own officers to brigade level (what the French originally proposed to the Russians, and would propose again to the USA when America entered a year later, was to expend the Russians as individual replacements in French units. The war would have lasted to 1928 on those terms, unless the Germans made it to Paris again).

Monument to the Mutineers. The slogan is "Down with War" (or "with the War").

Monument to the Mutineers in the cemetery at La Courtine. The slogan is “Down with War” (or “with the War”). Source.

These Russians were not volunteers; they were draft levies, sent to fight on foreign ground for a foreign nation, in an era that can only be described as the very nadir of military leadership. The first two Russian brigades were armed and equipped by the French, and were thrown into the Nivelle offensives, and decimated just as the French were. This botched offensive is what led to the mutinies of 1917 in the French Army; the Russian units actually held together longer and more loyally, until they got word of the February Revolution. They formed soviets (committees) and took votes. (Surprisingly, one of the first votes was to participate in the next offensive, although it was a narrow decision; the offensive went the way of previous ones, lives expended for nothing). They did not so much overthrow their officers with this soviet structure, as they undermined them, by setting up a parallel, independent leadership cadre.

Ethnic tension played a part in the Russian units’ lack of cohesion. There were a number of ethnic Poles (Poland not existing at the time, but being divided between Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary), including some among the “Russians” in French military cemeteries (.pdf). And there were a significant number (several hundred in one brigade) of Estonians.

Russians at Courtine, June 1917. Source.

Russians at Courtine, June 1917. Source.

That was the chaos Harbord visited in late October, 1917, as described yesterday. It is uncertain what camp he visited, but circumstantial evidence suggests it was Camp Militaire at Courtine.  For example, a timeline of the Russian mutiny suggests that on December 20th the camp was occupied by American engineers. By then, the mutinous Russians had been divided and the volunteer Russian Legion departed for the Salonika front.

A VIP (who?) reviews the troops at Courtine. The Russians' French rifles are clearly visible. Source (same as above).

A VIP (who?) reviews the troops at Courtine. The Russians’ French rifles are clearly visible. Source (same as above).

Some timelines suggest that, the Russians mutinied days after Harbord’s visit, but most French sources seem clear that the mutiny happened and was put down earlier.  But the timeline also suggests that the Russians were disarmed and the ringleaders incarcerated, and that conflicts with Harbord’s eyewitness testimony that they were still armed, and truculent if not mutinous, in late October.

Of the Russian troops, some asked to be allowed to continue to fight. That’s the source of the Russian Legion; there was also an Estonian Legion formed. An attempt to form the surviving mutineers into unarmed labor units seems not to have been pursued in depth. Some former Russian soldiers opted to go home; and others opted to leave the Army, but remain in France. Quite a few Frenchmen today have a Russian-sounding last name thanks to these mutineers of a century past.

Harbord had at least one more encounter with Russians:

A day later we had General Gourko, of Russia. He is a small man, black mustache and goatee, otherwise cleanly shaven, where from the name I had looked for a bearded blond giant over six feet in height. He commanded a brigade of Cossacks in the war with Japan, a cavalry division just before the Great War, and has since commanded an ArmyCorpsandthenanArmy. Goodtastedidnotpermit that he be asked as to his views of his present government exactly, but I inferred that his sympathies are with Vancien regime. He spoke quite desparingly of present conditions in Russia and said a few weeks would probably either see the bottom absolutely touched and Russia gone entirely to pieces, or would see a betterment in conditions and the nation pulling itself together again.

His mission was to arrange for the entry into American service of some hundreds of Russian officers, regulars, professional soldiers, left stranded by unfortunate conditions in their native land, and judging from actual reports liable to assassination at any time by their men. Naturally, the matter of citizenship, language and other reasons bar this ambition to lead American troops in the Great War.

Still a day later we had General Zankevitch, another Russian general, the titular Chief of the Russian Mission in France, who came on the same errand as Gourko, and with the same result. The Russian Mission; was any other event in history so productive of Missions as this war? The Parsons Mission, the Baker Mission, the House Mission, the Mission with us, the French Mission to the United States, the British ditto to the ditto; a Mission at each Headquarters, the Mission from Bolivia which wishes to come to us, also the Japanese Mission, etc., etc. Our Mission to Russia last Spring; our present Mission there; all those Missions from the four corners of the earth trying to borrow money of the opulent and unarmed United States. “Mission” and “Liaison” are the two words which this war has immortalized, to which at these Headquarters may be added “Coordination.” Little Zankevitch had little chance to present his case for the Russian officers, for the C. in C. had to catch a train for Paris, which he did and took Zankevitch with him. NOTE Y

One of the Russian mutineers was a young sergeant named Rodion Malinovsky, who would be a Marshal and Minister of Defense of the USSR amidst the Cold War, in the 1960s.

And finally, perhaps this is why we feel such great affinity for Harbord:

Colonel Dawes, with whom I have many tastes in common, and I had decided to have luncheon together at the Tour d’Argent, eating Duck No. 48921, I believe, and then go to Brentano’s and pore over the old books. Dawes is fond of Napoleonana, as I am also. He is a man of great wealth, some millions I understand, and he bought what he saw that he liked. He tossed into a pile book values that would have been the earnest subject of prayerful deliberation with me for half a year, left a hundred dollars with Brentano for the afternoon’s work, and gave me about half the books he bought. Old rare editions, “History of the Bastille,” “Martyrs of the Bastille,” etc., etc. We went to his room at the Ritz and gloated a few gloats and then attended Mrs. Ambassador Sharp’s tea for the Army.NOTE X

Any man who gloats a few gloats with a friend over acquiring a few books is a friend of this blog, and perhaps on the astral plane where the long-gone General and the bon vivant Colonel Dawes find themselves now, will take some joy in knowing that we have gloated a few gloats over our venerable copy of the good general’s letters.

Notes

  1. Note Y. Harbord, pp. 204-205.
  2. Note X. Harbord, p. 199.

Sources

Harbord, Maj. Gen. James G. Leaves from a War Diary. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1925. Downloadable files available here: https://archive.org/details/leavesfromwardia00jame

La Courtine 1917. Multiple pages (French language). Retrieved from: http://www.lacourtine1917.org/

General Harbord meets the Russians, 1917

MG James Guthrie Harbord orihMajor (later Lieutenant) General James Guthrie Harbord was a career Army officer who entered the First World War as a Colonel on the staff of his mentor and great friend, General John J. Pershing. He served in important positions, as the commander of the 2nd Division briefly, but perhaps more importantly as the commander of the Marine Brigade during the bitter fighting at Belleau Wood. His most vital position, though, was as the chief of the Services of Supply, tasked with transporting, feeding, housing and equipping an Expeditionary Force that was intended to be 500,000 men — but came to be more nearly two million. They were supported mostly via steam power by ship and train, but sometimes by the newest and most venerable modes of military transport, the new motor vehicle and the ancient horse, and some cargoes even crossed the Atlantic under sail.

Fortunately for us all, at a century’s remove, Harbord was a firm believer that The Right Sort of People™ like himself ought not to be hampered by the censorship demanded by operational security, and he wrote copious letters home to his wife. (Emma Ovenshine Harbord was herself a general’s daughter, which might explain, beyond Harbord’s definite abilities, how a man who was not an Academy graduate reached such elevated positions in the Army of a century ago). Unwilling either to submit his letters to censorship or to leave his wife in the dark — he admired her sharp mind — he wrote her copious, long and frank letters, and sent them via the friends-and-family courier network, outside of channels. For her part, Emma Ovenshine Harbord saved the letters and the General was able to prepare and publish them in book form as Leaves from a War Diary in 1925.

Best of all, whilst we are working off the lovely-smelling vintage copy we found in an out of the way bookstore for little money, you may read this wonderful book — and it is a wonderful book, for reasons we will get to before we get to the Russians of the post title — at archive.org, or download it there in any of a number of ebook formats, including fascimile .pdf, .mobi (used by Kindle among others) or .epub (used by ibooks among others).

A Glimpse of Harbord’s Character

As Harbord was traveling around France — with General Pershing, who had just received a promotion — he had occasion to comment on the General’s loss of his campaign hat. The loss itself is fairly humorous, involving the language barrier, a portrait painter and a servant’s misunderstanding, but it is when the General seeks a new hat that the letters give a glimpse of two Harbord characteristics — a lively humor, which makes his letters a delight to read, and a strait-laced reserve:

After waiting a few minutes longer the concierge located the chauffeur who was supposed to have gone for the hat and belt, waiting at the corner. He had not gone for them at all, getting the idea in some way that the directions given him minutely by the General that afternoon were only intended to be acted upon when office was closed and that he was to drive the Chief around that way to get his property after he left the office. The General took the A.D.C’s hat and belt and we got away, leaving the latter to get his baggage and follow by the train next day.

St. Nazaire was reached next morning about seven, and after a breakfast in the station restaurant, and half an hour trying to buy a hat that would fit the Chief better than his A.D.C.’s, he pointing with evident satisfaction to the fact that his size was one- eighth larger than that of any member of his party,—to which I was tempted to reply that none of the rest of us had quite so much reason to have a large hatband, not having recently been made General of the Army, but I did not say it. He bought a Q.M. hat. I loaned him a gold hatcord, and we left St. Nazaire about nine for a run up through Brittany to one of our field artillery training camps, to return by a different road and another camp.1

And Let’s Meet the Russians

The First World War was a war of grand coalitions, in which the Russians, whose big-brotherhood to the fractious Serbs had produced German big-brotherhood to the obstreporous Habsburgs, which is to say, the whole war in the first place, did figure. And some Russian troops were present on the Western Front (by the time the US entered the war, France and England were bled white by trench war and dullard leadership; they needed warm bodies from anywhere). But by the American entry into the war, the Russian Empire had collapsed, and Soviet Russia had yet to take hold; we find ourselves in the chaos between two Russian Revolutions. The Russians show up, and this situation has had its impact on their discipline, as senior officers negotiate the politics of a Bastille Day parade.

The War Office asked originally troops for the Fourth of July and the Fourteenth, the latter the Day of the Bastille. Then they wakened to the fact that they had other allies who might wonder why Americans were invited on the Fourteenth and they not. The British, the little brunette Portuguese; the slippery and commercial Belgians; the Russians now in a state of discipline where they have had to be withdrawn from the front line, and a captain can enforce no orders until the president of the company has viséed them,—they are all Allies like ourselves, not to mention any wandering Cubans, Japanese, Liberians, Brazilians, Servians, Roumanians and Montenegrins that might blow along, and not omitting our ally that “sella de banan,” all of whom are enlisted in the sacred cause of Democracy like ourselves. So they decided to omit Allied participation in the Day of the Bastille, and invite US for our own Day.2

How Harbord formed this opinion of the Russians by June 1917 was unclear; it may have been by hearsay, rather than by direct observation. But by October, 1917 he was able to observe them first-hand, and his observations were, if anything, more negative than his prior opinion.

28 October 1917
To-day we ran out about forty miles from Bordeaux to a camp where we are thinking of putting one of our divisions if they get to coming fast. It is now occupied by a small French garrison and a brigade of Russians. When the Russian Empire fell Russia had a division of soldiers on the Western front,—good soldiers too, it is said,—but they raised the red flag, murdered some of their officers, and started the same idea of military command and administration by committees that has ruined their army at home, and had to be withdrawn from the lines. Withdrawn they began to murder, burn and plunder the surrounding country, General Petain told General Pershing that he had sent them away from the Zone of the Armies. We later heard of them as having been divided in two classes, the good and the bad. The former were sent to where we saw them to-day. The French officer in command has black Senegalese troops.3

OK, so these are what the French consider the good Russians that Harbord is about to describe.

We asked something about the Russians not working, the camp being in rather a low place with the drains stopped up and overflowing. He said they would not work, and could not be made to work. Starving them was suggested, which he said would not bring them to terms. It was then suggested that lining them up and shooting every hundredth man would probably bring the remainder to their senses. We visited the stables, for the Russian brigade has 900 horses with it, and found the horses poor and uncared for, standing in mud to their fetlocks. I never saw a dirtier place than that camp. Finally, in our conversation, it developed quite incidentally, in speaking of them, that they still have their rifles and ammunition, and that the French have never disarmed them. That put a different phase on why they will not work. No wonder, when they outnumber their guards and are armed with rifles, that they do as they please. It had never occurred to us, General Pershing or myself, that they had not been disarmed when they were sent away from the Zone of the Armies. It is something we cannot now understand. They are not only armed and refuse to work, but the French are paying them wages, their usual pay. We certainly do not see things from the French standpoint.

As we left the camp, two Russian colonels approached and introduced themselves, one being the Chief of Staff and the other a regimental commander. Both wore decorations given them by the empire, and the regimental colonel a Croix de Guerre bestowed by the French. The General, the staff officer said, had gone to Paris to see when they were going to allowed to go to the front. Our General asked if he thought they had discipline enough to be allowed to take over a secteur of the front, to which he replied yes. J. J. P. then delivered him a few remarks on a state of discipline which permitted a camp as filthy as that, and the reply was that it was just like that when they took it over from the French. They have committees to run the administration of the companies; dictate how much work if any shall be done; how much drill there shall be; the function of the officer being to command at drill, purely a tactical role. Drunk, absolutely drunk with liberty!4

He had one more Russian sighting, that very day.

We returned to Arcachon, a very attractive little summer resort city on an arm of the sea, and had luncheon. Several Russian officers, well dressed and prosperous-looking, and wearing empire decorations, were in the dining room. We had a fine luncheon and were about to go when the proprietor with much groveling and apologizing asked the General to write in his Golden Book. Then a very nice-looking girl who spoke English, and said her mother was English, asked if he would not write in hers, and he did: “To my fair Ally!!!!” Smooth!5

What became of these displaced Russians was not known to us. It seemed likely that most of them returned home, perhaps as individuals more than as units, and some stayed in France among the flow of White Russian exiles for which interwar Paris would be known. (We actually did find out, and we have the story for tomorrow).

The Russians made one more impact upon Harbord, when one of their officers proposed that the US Army take their officers on board. As this excerpt is already very long for a blog post, we’ll address that one tomorrow — at the same time, 1100 Eastern Daylight Savings Time.

After the war, Harbord served as President Wilson’s fact finder in matters of the Armenian genocide in Turkey, and after retiring from the military became President and later Chairman of the Board of the Radio Corporation of America, RCA, where he was succeeded by an engineer who would go on to have considerable military impact himself, David Sarnoff. He published a second book, and his Armenia report is an important primary source on a bleak moment in human history.

Notes

  1. Harbord, pp. 183-184.
  2. Harbord, p. 82.
  3. Harbord, p. 191.
  4. Harbord, pp. 191-192. As far as the suggestion of a reduced decimation goes, the French Army used similar measures on mutinous units that year, executing selected ringleaders or just random troops.  J.J.P., of course, refers to Pershing.
  5. Harbord, pp. 192-193

Source

Harbord, John G. Leaves from a War Diary. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1925.

Friday Tour d’Horizon, Week 12

This week, Tour d’Horizon plays the dozens. (Whatever that means). Or a dozen. Or a whole bunch of things we didn’t get to this week.

This week’s installment includes:

Guns

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

You May See More Colt Handguns at Your LGS

colts_top_non-custom-shop_1911Colt has come out of bankruptcy and shaken up its dealer network. Now, to buy direct from Colt or from a Colt distributor, and get the best wholesale price, you need to be a Colt Stocking Dealer. To be a Colt Stocking Dealer, you need to promise to have Colts in the shop: 4 handguns and a rifle on display, and 4+1 back in the stockroom.

Along with that, the company has trimmed its own margins on popular handguns like the 1911 and the Mustang. The MSRP for the base Government Model is now $799 and the base Mustang $499, which positions them closer to their competitors. The most expensive Colt auto pistol (outside custom shop models) is the M45A1, which has a list of $1,699, but it comes with Last Issue 1911 bragging rights. (Of course, Colt single-action revolvers are still premium priced). You’ve probably already noticed very competitive prices on Colt ARs; they have a base model for just $699 and AR tinkerers can get a stripper 6920 (no furniture) for $799.

What’s driving the changes is Colt’s recognition that it became overdependent on government business, and uncompetitive in the commercial market, even with markets it pioneered like the AR-15 and the 1911. Expect to see the company push hard throughout 2016.

Professor Wigs Out over Guns on Campus

Nope, not in the hands of an active shooter. Not in the hands of legal carriers. Not even in the hands of in-your-face Open Carry pushtards.

Who had the guns then? The college’s ROTC detachment. But Associate Professor Heidi Czerwiec is still all wigged-out, and demands that ROTC give up its guns, or… we don’t know what. Maybe she’ll hold her breath until she turns blue? As she wrote to the local paper:

I look up from my office computer to see two figures in camo with guns outside my window. My first thought is for my students’ and my safety: I grab my phone, crawl under my desk and call 911. The dispatcher keeps me on the line until someone can see if ROTC is doing maneuvers.

I can barely talk—first, with fear, and then with rage when the dispatcher reports back that yes, in fact, I’ve probably just seen ROTC cadets, though they’re going to send an officer to check because no one has cleared it with them. They thank me for reporting it.

A few minutes later, a university officer calls me back—not to reassure me, but to scold me for calling 911. He says ROTC has permission to do this exercise. When I tell him that this was news to 911 and that they encouraged me to call whenever I see a gun on campus, he seems surprised.

He also tells me that ROTC will be doing these exercises for the next couple weeks.

So I reply that I guess I’ll be calling 911 for the next couple weeks—and I will. Every time.

Safe bet: nobody has ever learned anything in this Unique And Special Snowflake’s® classroom. By the way, she’s allegedly a professor of English, recounting a past event in the present tense. Hemingway could get away with that, sort of, because he was Hemingway. Heidi, you’re not Hemingway.

By the way, this happened not in some effete Eastern greenhouse-of-goonery, but in freakin’ Grand Forks, North Dakota at UND.

(Hat tip, Blake Neff at the Daily Caller. Blake notes that a university spokesman noted that Heidi didn’t read the all-hands email that told faculty and staff of the drills, and the spox promises to personally email Heidi in the future, so she can clutch her pearls and retreat to her bunker, or whatever).

Usage and Employment

The hardware takes you only half way.

Put a heading here  << oops, we weren’t supposed to let this bit through.

Put a story here. <<< the layers and layers of editors have been sacked. -Ed.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment.

The Chief was a Poacher

chief_dana_lajoieThis is just sad, but a guy from South Berwick, Maine, a well-off community just on the Maine side of the Piscataqua River (piss-CAT-a-kwa), just was convicted of baiting deer. He denied the charges, but failed to beat the rap. The sad thing? He’s the Chief of Police in South Berwick!

…jurors on Thursday convicted South Berwick Police Chief Dana Lajoie of placing salt or food in a place to lure deer and hunting from an observation stand overlooking the bait. A judge imposed $900 in fines.

This may explain why he didn’t beat the rap:

Lajoie represented himself in court….

When lawyers advise you not to do that, they’re not just protecting the law cartel. They’ve seen what happens when some guy defends himself. (As well as the more common case, where he hires a lawyer and then doesn’t listen to the expert he’s paying).

He’s still the police chief, for now. The town has to decide whether to drop the other shoe.

Walked ATF Guns Still Killing Cops

They just keep turning up at the scenes of murders and other violent crimes. How many crimes have they been used at where the crims didn’t ditch the guns? They can’t really keep up, but 885 guns from Operation Fast and Furious alone, one of several ATF gunwalking initiatives, have turned up at crime scenes — 415 here and 470 south of the border. Fox story. USA Today story.  Hat tip, Bob Owens.

Judge Gives Career Crim a Break. What Happens Next?

corey_field_mugshotWhat happens when a sweet-on-crime judge lets a guy walk for blasting a neighbor with an ND, and then falsifying evidence? Corey Field got the first rap boiled down to misdemeanors and no time, because the bullet went through enough wall that when it hit neighbor Josh DeMeritt in the forehead, it only rang his bell instead of slabbing him. Now he’s indicted again, on drug charges this time, and, deja vu all over, charged with falsifying evidence. Again.

One of the indictments alleges Field was in possession of heroin on Dec. 17 in Portsmouth and has a prior drug-related conviction. The indictment states that Field was convicted for dealing prescription drugs in Dover on Nov. 5, 2010.
The second indictment, for falsifying physical evidence, alleges Field concealed a hypodermic needle in a trash bin outside a Portsmouth business, in a deliberate attempt to impair a police investigation.

Color us shocked. Wonder what he’ll be busted for in 2018?

In Deepest Canuckistan, the Chief of Police Goes to War with a City Councillor

Jody and one of the his-n-hers P320s.

Jody and one of the his-n-hers P320s. #pewpew indeed.

Sure, Jody Mitic is not the usual city councillor. He’s a retired Canadian Forces combat soldier, and quite a character. But he’s a pro-gun character, and that pains the police chief worse than his hemorrhoids. It all began, according to the Ottawa Sun, with a tweet:

“I got @ALANNAHGILMORE and I matching @sigsauerinc P320’s. Because 2 is 1 & 1 is none. #NoZombies #pewpew,” Mitic’s tweet read of the guns he bought for himself and his wife.

In Texas, the Chief of Police would probably have given them some ammo, or range time. Not in Ottawa.

And that worries Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau.

“There are laws that govern lawful gun ownership. There’s storage laws that exist. I’m not against legitimate collectors, but they’ve got to follow the laws and having firearms in your residence increases the likelihood of your house being targeted. If you’re advertising it, that’s probably not the best thing to do.”

Yeah, we see through that, Charlie. Nice concern trolling there. “I’m not against guns, but” (note the abnegatory but), “I’m worried that their guns might be burgled.” So they shouldn’t have ’em, or at least they should have the common decency to only do that stuff in the closet. Well yeah, stuff gets burgled, because your police force probably sucks lemons on property crime (they all do). Just get all the non-crims to stop owning stuff and your cops can go back to cooping in their patrol units behind the all-night coffee and donut shop.

Charlie’s concern trolling was pretty mild compared to the Sun writer, Susan Sherring. Along with lots more of her opinion that she thinks people need, she wrung a quote out of another anti-gun Ottawa pol:

“…[O]ne thing I know for sure, more guns never make anything safer,” said [Ottawa Police Services Board Chair Eli] El-Chantiry, also the councillor for West Carleton-March.

It’s not what you don’t know, knucklehead. It’s what you know that ain’t so.

The gun-grabbers at the Sun followed up with an editorial bashing Mitic for daring to own guns, and to disagree with the received wisdom of the Press about then:

Canadians, particularly urban Canadians, are often scared of guns. Many people feel gun culture in the United States makes violence worse. They worry about that coming to Canada.

“Gun Culture in the United States” (and in the parts of Canuckistan where those “scared urban Canadians” don’t visit) is one reason it’s not the Kaiser on Canadian coinage.

….And he could be a forceful voice against gun violence on our streets. Mitic knows what guns can do. He knows, in ways few of us can understand, what violence really is.

Mitic isn’t backing down at the attack of the psycho pit-poodles of the press.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields.

Chancellor Merkel Pledges, it says here…

merkel_pledges

Pledges to bring terrorists to what? So far, she’s been most effective at bringing them to Europe. 

This truncated headline from some European news website on Wednesday is one of those times when truth is spoken, only by purest happenstance.

If we were the Belgians, we’d say, “Thanks, but you’ve already helped quite enough.”

That’s How to React to Terrorists! Do the Wave.

Presidential MRAPISIL Islamic terrorists conducted a standard Koranic playbook terrorist attack in Brussels on Tuesday, in case you missed it. They set off bombs — at least one, apparently, a suicide bomb, although one other bomber fled and abandoned an undetonated bomb — at the airport and used AKs to murder assorted civilians.

Among the people who missed it was the President of the United States, who was in Cuba, attending a baseball game with Cuba’s ruling Castro dynasty, state sponsors of terrorism, and with members of the Colombian narco-terrorist group FARC. He arrived in the Presidential “limousine” which is more like a Presidential MRAP (above right).

But hey, they’re not out of touch in Washington. Would you have any Grey Poupon to spare for our bread and circuses?

Meanwhile, a Reformed Muslim Looks at the Administration’s Grasp of Terrorism…

… and throws the BS flag. Nabeel Qureshi, American, Muslim, and son of a Navy vet, reports in USA Today that when he heard this:

In February 2015, the U.S. State Department Acting Spokesperson Marie Harf suggested that a “lack of opportunity for jobs” might be a significant factor in radicalization and terrorism. Alternatively, Suraj Lakhani, a scholar of radicalization in Wales, suggested that the process is driven by religious concerns and a drive to bolster one’s personal identity. He implies that young Muslims ought not be allowed to hear ISIL messages or interact with their recruiters.

… his reaction was, essentially, to throw the BS flag. The problem, Qureshi says, isn’t in joblessness (and it isn’t in the State Department’s airheads’ latest explanation, “climate change.”) It’s in the Koran:

The Quran itself reveals a trajectory of jihad reflected in the almost 23 years of Muhammad’s prophetic career. As I demonstrate carefully in my book, Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward, starting with peaceful teachings and proclamations of monotheism, Muhammad’s message featured violence with increasing intensity, culminating in surah 9, chronologically the last major chapter of the Quran, and its most expansively violent teaching. Throughout history, Muslim theologians have understood and taught this progression, that the message of the Quran culminates in its ninth chapter.

Naw, it can’t be that these guys are killing for the religion they believe in, following the exact message of their holy book. It’s gotta be climate change, or maybe a lack of good locavore dining options.

Meanwhile, in the Russia/Ukraine Mess

Russia just upped the stakes by convicting and sentencing Ukrainian pilot and forward observer Nadiya Savchenko for the deaths of two “journalists” (actually, state propagandists) killed by artillery — even though she’d already been taken hostage by Russian forces and removed to Russia when the shells fell on the two unlucky Putin-peter-polishers.

The Stalin-style show trial was lacking only the bullet in the back of the neck in the Lubyanka. Instead, Savchenko has been sentenced to 22 years.

Judge Leonid Stepanenko, selected for the show trial for his Ukrainian name and servile character, was given the verdict and sentence before the trial began, and made a great show of being an unbiased jurist who just happened to constantly and invariably rule for the prosecution.

The black heart of Andrei Vyshinski still beats in the Russian simulacrum of a justice system.

Veterans’ Issues

More Suicidal Vets, More Lies from VA Bigs

Here’s the meat of a Jonah Bennett story at Daily Caller:

A newly-uncovered report from the Department of Veterans Affairs reveals that suicidal veterans fled the Phoenix VA and likely the emergency department, as well, even though management insisted that losing troubled veterans from the ED had ceased entirely.

In a past report, officially finished June 17, 2015 and made public March 16, the VA admitted that although 10 suicidal veterans had wandered out of the facility, not a single suicidal veteran had eloped from the emergency department since February 15, 2015. The newly-released report added that no suicidal veterans had eloped from the emergency department up to February 9, 2016.

Elopement is defined by the VA National Center for Patient Safety as a patient who knows that he or she cannot leave but does so anyway.

Whistleblowers deep inside the Phoenix medical center knew the assertion about losing zero suicidal vets just wasn’t true. First, it’s likely that suicidal vets left the ED, even though the VA refused to count them as eloping. Second, suicidal vets left other departments in the Phoenix VA. And third, the technical definition of elopement obscured the fact that suicidal vets often left the facility when staff should have assessed them at a higher risk.

Do Read The Whole Thing™, and if you’re really feeling froggy, Jonah has put the original report on Scribd for you to read, too.

Personally, if the vet fled the Phoenix VA, we don’t think he’s suicidal. If he stayed at the Phoenix VAMC? Now, that’s suicidal!

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.

Intelligence Indicator: Demographic Decline

The world has a surplus of… boats, mostly pleasure boats. Serviceable sailboats in Europe, where demographic decline and rising costs have hollowed out the next generation of would-be skippers. That’s the take-away from an article in the current (Apr/May) issue of Professional Boat Builder. A staggering 400,000 boats worldwide are suitable only for recycling; the well-off nations of Europe and Asia have not born and raised the next generation of yachtsmen, and rapacious taxation everywhere, to provide ever-more-comfortable situations to the work-shy and “needy” have put many a middle-class luxury on the chopping block.So the boats being scrapped are not bad boats… just unwanted ones.

A boat at the end of its life is not necessarily an unseaworthy boat. “You can put it in the water and sail away with it, but nobody wants to buy it,” says [Dutch boat breaker] Bram van der Pijll, while we look over the yard behind his shop to a small yellow sailboat tucked under a blue tarp on a rainy afternoon in November. “I hardly can sell a boat anymore. At the moment, there are too many private owners [with boats for sale].”

unwanted_boat_in_holland

But if he did find a buyer, how much would he charge for it? He answers at first with a loud laugh. “One hundred euros,” he says. “If I was 16, I would have been very happy with a boat like this, and now it’s thrown away.” The truth is, if the sailboat could be sold, it wouldn’t be here.

In Finland, Japan and Germany, there are massive (and expensive) government programs for locating, collecting, and scrapping boats. The “green” solution is to grind up the glass-reinforced plastic hulls and decks into very small granules, and then mix the near-eternal polymers into concrete aggregate.

Forty or fifty years ago, every shoreline had a few abandoned boats, gradually decomposing — which the wooden boats and metal fittings of that day could always do. Fiberglass, the first of the wonder composites, means that boats last longer… and they outlast their usefulness to their owners, and someone must be paid to dispose of them, whilst across town, a child draws a sailboat and dreams of a recreation he or she will never be able to afford.

Just because they call it progress, doesn’t mean you have to like it.

Expect your Enemy to be Daring

errol flynn captain bloodWhen one suffers from strategic (9/11, Pearl Harbor) or operational (Enigma/Ultra, Tsushima Strait, Eben Emael, HMS Royal Oak) surprise, a psychological autopsy and operational analysis of the failure often finds a dull, bovine complacency at work. Specifically, one gets surprised because one underestimated the enemy. Many senior officers are so socialized to a by-the-book, rules-first, procedurally-driven army or navy that they don’t appreciate (let alone encourage) imagination and daring in their own subordinates. They definitely don’t see it coming  from the enemy, until it’s too late, and they’ve been had.

The 9/11 strike is typical that way. Political micromanagers of the Washington bureaucracy had been more concerned with domestic political affairs; no one stopped the polyincompetent Jamie Gorelick from locking information unearthed by FBI criminal investigator away from even FBI CI/CT elements, let alone the other agencies into which Washington authority is near-randomly apportioned. (The agencies almost don’t matter because they all come to a point in the same tight circle of self-serving Harvard/Yale Law appointees, but the appointees are so smug in their Ivy Mastership that they generally take little interest in what their agencies actually do, except to the extent that they can help themselves and their fellow cabal initiates). Numerous CT practitioners had their eyes on one narrow-lens aspect of the elephant, but no one saw the whole beast until it arrived.

That the 9/11 hijackers were reprehensible is without doubt; but so it is, that they were daring. Theirs was a bold act, if a brutal one, inspired by nothing but a crabbed heathen god’s demand for human sacrifice.

No sea captain would have called the battleship, commissioned in 1916, "unsinkable." But none expected her to be sunk at anchor.

HMS Royal Oak. No prudent sea captain would have called the battleship, commissioned in 1916 and updated several times since, “unsinkable.” But no one expected her to be sunk at anchor.

Compare, for instance, the fate of HMS Royal Oak at anchor in “impregnable” Scapa Flow in the second month of World War II. Several things ought to have warned the British Admiralty about the vulnerability of the capital ships lying at anchor there: among other things, an engineer assigned to help secure the port, Chief Salvage Officer Thomas McKenzie of Navy contractor Metal Industries, thought the preparations incomplete. He wrote to Their Lordships at the Admiralty:

It is fully recognized that the navigation of the Sounds, even now, presents difficulties, owing to the strong tidal streams and the existing obstructions, but it is safe to assume that an intrepid submarine officer, in war time, would take risks which no discreet mariner would think of taking in peacetime.

… the fact that any such craft successful in passing through one of that the Sounds could be within torpedo range of Capital ships in 15 to 30 minutes, makes it of vital importance that this Sounds should be efficiently blocked.1

In fact, there were numerous places a full-sized sub could penetrate on the surface, and at least one where a submerged sub could squeak under the sub net — if the boat was a small one. (These would be thoroughly identified post-sinking).

But the command didn’t see it that way. In May, 1939, the harbor was surveyed by the officers of HMS Scott. Afterward, the Admiralty reported, in a report kept secret until 1971:

No risk at present exists of submerged entry of submarines by Holm or Water Sound and that entry on the surface would be extremely hazardous. Their Lordships doubt if further blocking measures proposed would be final or could be relied upon to provide 100% security against a determined attempted entry of enemy craft on the surface, other such an attempt is considered extremely unlikely. It has therefore been decided further expenditure on blockships cannot be justified.2

Among other indicators of complacency, this was in the Damage Control Handbook carried and used in Royal Oak as well as every other RN seafaring vessel in 1939:

STATE TO BE ASSUMED IN HARBOUR

III. In a defended port, the only form of surprise attack that need be anticipated is that from the air.3

Admirals Forbes and French agreed that the security of the sounds that provide access to the anchorage needed to be tightened up. “It’s complete rot talking about swirls and eddies putting you on the beach or sunken ships,” Forbes said, after seeing how easily a launch navigated the harbor. The sunken blockships actually provided a visual guide for a harbor pilot — or submariner.4

History, of course, records what happened next. While the Admiralty haggled with owners over blockships, the Admirals in Scotland and their contractor McKenzie worked hard to emplace the ones they had, Kapitän zur See Karl Dönitz sent a U-Boat on a lightning survey of the approaches to the anchorage, and then dispatched a combat boat, U-47, under the command of thirty-year-old Gunther Prien, to Scapa. At approximately 1 AM on 14 October 1939, a torpedo from Prien’s first salvo hit the bows of Royal Oak. The ship’s officers had a hard time trying to get a handle on the cause of the explosion — no one had seen torpedoes, and, of course, it was impossible for a submarine to get into Scapa, or an aircraft to approach without alerting the defenses. The working hypothesis was some sort of an internal explosion when the second salvo scored three hits just aft of amidships. (For decades the actual hits were debated, but divers surveyed the ship the next day and provided a report that matches exactly with this recently-generated image).

The wreck of HMS Royal Oak, from ScapaFlowWrecks.com.

The wreck of HMS Royal Oak, enhanced sonar image from ScapaFlowWrecks.com.

The night, the cold water, and a peculiar Royal Navy detail design of hatches — they slid athwartships, or left and right, and couldn’t be opened against a list — condemned most of the crew to drown.

While the sinking itself was a terrible disaster for the RN, with 833 officers and ratings lost, the enquiry afterward was a model of the British way of doing things, and a great boon to later historians. Unlike a typical American court of inquiry, the British were not seeking to fix blame or identify scapegoats; they were trying to understand the disaster and inform planners going forward. They went out of their way to both identify the errors made by the admirals on the scene and Royal Oak’s captain, and also by the ship’s captain, , but these officers were not excoriated or destroyed in the process, and the errors were understood in context.

If you were to do an Ishikawa or Failure-Tree diagram of the deaths of those sailors and the loss of that ship, the initial point would have to be the failure to properly estimate the enemy’s daring.

The Royal Navy honors HMS Royal Oak in a peculiar way. She was the eighth British ship to bear this venerable name, which refers to the tree in which King Charles II hid from Oliver Cromwell’s Roundhead would-be regicides after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

Notes

  1. Snyder, p. 38. (Another version of the McKenzie quote suggests a “daring” submariner, and inspired this post).
  2. Snyder, p. 37.
  3. Snyder, p. 28.
  4. Snyder, p. 38.

Sources

Snyder, Gerald S. The Royal Oak Disaster. San Rafael, CA: Presidio Press, 1978. (there is also a 1976 British edition published by William Kimber Ltd. of London). Many books focus on Prien and the U-47 but this is an important British look at the British side of things. Since 1978, more information has come to be released but Snyder’s analysis holds up well.

Uncredited. HMS Royal Oak. Scapa Flow Historic Wreck Site, n.d.. Retrieved from: http://www.scapaflowwrecks.com/wrecks/royal-oak/index.php

Rowlands, Peter. HMS Royal Oak. Retrieved from: http://www.hmsroyaloak.co.uk/index.htm

(Both of the latter sites include bibliographies, the Scapa Flow Historic Wreck Site’s biblio is the better of the two).

Verdict on Radovan Karadžić, Butcher of Bosnia, Tomorrow

The wheels of justice, internationally speaking, are an irregular polygon that’s nearer square than round; but sooner or later a case comes down to a verdict, and the late, unlamented Slobodan Milošević’s right-hand man Radovan Karadžić is about to face the music at the International Criminal Tribunal for (former) Yugoslavia tomorrow.

Two of a kind, 1985. Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić.

Two of a kind, 1995. Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić.

He’s charged on a superseding indictment to an original indictment issued in 1995, over 20 years ago, for crimes he was committing as far back as 1990-91 as he and Slobo bequeathed on a watching world the horrible neologism, “ethnic cleansing.”

Specifically, Radovan is charged with:

  1. Two counts of genocide (Counts 1 and 2)

2. Five counts of crimes against humanity

  •   Persecutions (Count 3)
  •   Extermination (Count 4)
  •   Murder (Count 5)
  •   Deportation (Count 7)
  •   Inhumane acts (forcible transfer) (Count 8)

3. Four counts of violations of the laws and usages of war:

  •   Murder (Count 6)
  •   Terror (Count 9)
  •   Unlawful attacks on civilians (Count 10)
  •   Taking of hostages (Count 11)

Nice guy, eh? Of course, he might be innocent. And other tales of porcine aviation.

The specific facts underlying those crimes include:

The killing of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, including the killing of at least 144 people in Biljani (Ključ municipality); over 200 detainees at prison facilities in Foča; approximately 150 people at Keraterm camp (near Prijedor); and up to 140 detainees in Sušica camp (near Vlasenica).

The detention of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats in detention facilities under conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction. The detention facilities listed are Manjača camp (near Banja Luka), Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje camps (near Prijedor), prison facilities in Foča and Batkovid camp (near Bijeljina).

The killing of over 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys of Srebrenica through both organised and opportunistic executions including the killing of over 1,000 men in a large warehouse in the village of Kravica and the execution of another 1,000 Bosnian Muslim men near the school in Orahovac.

The wanton destruction of private and public property including cultural monuments and sacred sites, such as a number of mosques across the country.

Acts of murder that formed part of the objective to spread terror among the civilian population of Sarajevo through a campaign of sniping and shelling, carried out between April 1992 and November 1995. This includes the shelling of “Markale” market on 5 February 1994, when 66 people were killed and over 140 wounded.

To put these crimes in perspective, Slobodan Milošević was the Serbian Communist Party official who uncorked the nationalist genie in the former Yugoslavia (with an assist from Croat Franjo Tudjman). Radovan Karadžić was the head of the rump Bosnian Serb state, and Ratko Mladić was his general and ethnic-cleanser-in-chief.

Some day, the story of the contribution of United States and Allied special operations forces to bringing these guys to the uncertain and glacial justice of Den Haag.1 Today is not that day, nor is tomorrow. Tomorrow is judgment day, with a small J and D., for our pal Radovan. The interminable trial, which began in 2009, will render its judgment at long last. (Closing arguments were over almost two years ago).

The court sat for 497 days of those 7 years, and heard 586 witnesses (337 called by prosecutors, 248 by the defense, and 1 by the judges).

Much like the post-World War II trials, this proceedings have been long, very entertaining and lucrative for the lawyers involved, and have been increasingly lenient as time has elapsed.

The judgment will be broadcast live at this link:

http://www.icty.org/en/cases/live-feed/courtroom-1

At 1400h Central European Time (Z +1). That is 0900 EDT, 0800 CDT, and a bright and early 0600 for you Left Coasters. (We leave Mountain Time as an exercise for the reader).

Note that this is probably just a judgment, not a sentence. The sentences are a bit fictitious because the court seems to relent and let the perp go in the end, always.

One exit thought: what do you think the trained profession of Radovan Karadžić, erstwhile Butcher of Bosnia, might be? You couldn’t make this up: dude’s a psychiatrist. Well, he was before he got caught skimming from the clinic. His 1984 mugshot:

Radovan_Karadžić_1984_arrestFrom that, to president of his rump country in 8 years.

Funny thing about revolutions and civil wars. They seem to unleash the criminals.

Update

How’s this going over in the Bosnian- and Croat-free Republika Srpska that our hero Radovan Karadžić left behind? Well, they named a building at the University after him. Not despite the genocide of Srbrenica, but because of that genocide, he’s a national hero.

Update II

A friend found this article by the guy who first discovered, and informed the world of, the Srbrenica Massacre. He assesses the pluses and minuses of the tribunal from the point of view of an interested party — he was a witness at many trials. He also reminds us that the Massacre never would have happened without UN European “Peacekeepers” who pulled out and left the villagers defenseless. (Can’t spell “eunuch” without EU).

Update III

Verdict: Radovan Karadžić guilty of 10 of the 11 counts. He was found not guilty of one count of genocide (the one relating to locations other than Srbrenica in 1992. He was found guilty of the other genocide count, with respect to Srbrenica in 1995).

He was sentenced immediately to 40 years. He has approximately 8 years credit for pretrial confinement since his arrest in 2008.

He’s a lucky man, to have committed these crimes in modern, indecisive, unconfident Europe. Amon Göth, Heinrich Himmler, and numerous other men historically positioned like Karadžić were hanged.

For more information:

Case Fact Sheet: http://www.icty.org/x/cases/karadzic/cis/en/cis_karadzic_en.pdf

Key Trial Information: http://www.icty.org/en/cases/radovan-karadzic-trial-key-information

Notes

  1. Here’s a somewhat fanciful story of the Bosnian HVT hunt.

Sunday Snowball

Today is a Sunday to enjoy. God is in His heaven and all is right with the world, or, close enough for those of us mortals who are here to count our blessings. And, perhaps turn our backs on that of which we might complain. For, really, who wants to hear a person complain? And what is the good of a complaint, if the locutor at whom the complaint is directed lacks the power of redress? It is not good at all; it serves only to diminish the complainer.

Does complaining, then, have an evolutionary purpose? It seems not to, to us. Perhaps it’s just an artifact of human social instincts.

Today, we have much on the agenda. The Blogbrother and his entourage are enroute back to the Northeast from a successful visit to Hogney World. We have three machines requiring maintenance (a mill, a 3D printer, and a pistol). We need to run some stuff into the scanner, and the problem we ran into with that is that we moved the book scanner to a new Mac and the software is keyed to the old Mac. (Ah, DRM. Digital Restrictions Managament. Mind you this is for software that is useless without the large, expensive piece of hardware it runs. What were they thinking? Somehow we suspect that the coders were being managed by MBAs).

We must render unto Caesar, meaning, they are dunning us for a rather stiff property tax bill we’re pretty sure we paid, so we’ve got to dig through checking records. We need to pay some routine bills, too, and then we need to ensure there is loot in the checking account to cover all this rendering-unto before the checks arrive at their various destinations.

And we have nothing ready to go for this coming blog week — usually we’re six to nine posts ahead by now — and didn’t get yesterday’s movie review and TW3 up, either.

Finally, we need to batten down the hatches because, after some spring weather that came suspiciously early, New England has one more snowball to throw at us tonight, fortunately after the relatives get home (it is cool but brilliantly CAVU right now, which makes a sunny outlook on the day automatic).