Category Archives: Don’t be THAT guy

BREAKING: Eric Frein in Custody

We went to the FBI Most Wanted website for another purpose, and the first man on the list — Frein — had a CAPTURED label on his photo.

Frein was caught by US Marshals, outside of his hiding-place in a hangar at the abandoned Birchwood-Pocono Airpark airstrip. The FAA forced closure of the runway in 1996 and the resort, which had been a honeymoon retreat with heart-shaped tubs, closed around the same time; it’s been for sale but the structures are not only dated but in poor, unmaintained condition. This aerial view, from Freeman’s Abandoned Airfields site, shows the hangar where Frein had nested.

Birchwood_PA_12Sep9_nw

He was on foot, outside the hangar, when the Marshals set upon him. He resisted briefly. His rifle and pistol were not on his person; they were found inside the hangar.

We have been in touch with some jubilant Pennsylvania law enforcement types, and they are as proud of the professionalism that brought this cop-killer in alive (albeit with a bloody, possibly broken, nose) as they are of anything else.

A Federal agent had one detail to share: Frein was hauled off to face the music, secured with Corporal Bryon Dickson’s handcuffs. Dickson was the state trooper shot dead by Frein on 12 September; Trooper Alex Douglass was wounded in the attack on the State Police barracks at Blooming Grove.

Frein evaded capture for 48 days, after gunning down the two Pennsylvania State Police troopers at their barracks at shift-change time.

The authorities have said little about Frein’s motivations and intent while the manhunt was pending, but now that he is in custody they may release more of the information found on his computer. The only thing they have said about their discoveries there, is that it provides evidence that Frein planned the attack for a very long time.

Oh, no, Bubba got hold of the SKS!

In the Continuing Adventures of Bubba the Gunsmith™, we’ve seen him savage Glocks (and more Glocks), Lugers (and more Lugers, en français aussi) and mangle 1911s and more 1911s. In long guns, he’s had his way with more ARs than we could count, like this one and this one (something about the modularity of the AR system is irresistible to slow minds and fat fingers), and solved the notorious “tight chamber” er, “problem,” of a National Match M1A barrel. Most recently, we saw his Century Arms International iteration hacking AKs with a Foredom tool.

With the entertaining website BubbaGun.com apparently paws up, we stand alone between the pipe wrenches and rattle cans on one flank, and the pool of remaining decent firearms on the other. And we seem to be constantly retreating. Take this SKS, for example.

Bubbas SKS overview

And take it, the Lewiston, Idaho dealer would like you to: he has it on GunBroker for $149 (+$37 shipping to your FFL). It’s an ordinary preban-import Chinese military SKS, the sort that sells in decent condition for $250 right now. Now, SKSes are great guns; they’re a blast to shoot, reliable as a shovel and forgiving of abuse, have an interesting military history (it was the main arm of many NVA units, and a sought after Vietnam souvenir). It fires common and inexpensive ammo, is small and handy, and looks like a real military weapon, if a dated one. It’s a great gateway drug to the world of military collecting, and you could always hunt with it (although many jurisdictions frown on 10-round magazines in the woods in deer season, and Elmer Fudd is not going to like seeing a bayonet).

But this one has lost its value, and its looks; Bubba has been at it with the usual tools of his trade. First, the rattle-can refinish job:

Bubbas SKS bad rattle can job

That’s not some crummy polymer stock; that’s the original Chinese hardwood. (It might even be laminate under there, but odds are it isn’t). But Bubba didn’t stop with spraying the stock. In Bubba’s trailer, if a little Krylon is good, the whole can is better. That’s why it has all the wrinkles: right on the can, it says something like, “apply in thin coats,” but that would require you to read the can. Or at least, to read. 

And we’re talking about Bubba here. So he not only went rattle-can, he chose from Bubba The Gunsmith™’s three-tone color pallette: Flat Black? Semi-Gloss Black? Nope, he went with the ever-so-tactical Feces Brown. Because, he’ll tell you, black is a color that does not occur much in nature, unlike feces. Er, we mean, brown.

He also sprayed, as you can see, the fittings and fixtures, like the sling swivel. And the sling. And, if you look, the receiver.

Let’s have a look at that receiver. Left side? Ow:

Bubbas SKS

It looks like sometime before or maybe even after the Krylon “refinish,” he took to the receiver with a stone. No, not the sort of stone we use on triggers, gentlemen: the sort of stone he finds between the cleats of the mismatched knobbies on his F-150. This is particularly sad if you’ve ever had the chance to handle one of these in new condition; the Chinese manufacturers put a pretty decent polish and blue on their firearms before sending them out to do their International Socialist Duty in the hands of some 17-year-old PAVN draftee.

Even the PAVN draftees, hiding in stinking bomb craters on the Ho Chi Minh trail, treated their rifles better than this poor thing. Well, maybe the right side of the receiver isn’t so bad?

Bubbas SKS sanding marks

Not really. There are gouge marks here, too.

Here’s what we suspect happened: after taking it out of the stock and nailing both assemblies with 1/8″ thick Krylon, it wouldn’t go back in. (Duh). So he then sanded the receiver until it fit, or stoned it, with, as we suspect, a random stone from the gravel road.

The Krylon alligator skin continues on the trigger guard and magazine, where it appears to have been applied over dirt and mung of all kinds, and probably some rust and/or pitting:

Bubbas SKS trigger guard

And on the barrel:

Bubbas SKS barrelAnd if we look at the other side of the barrel, we’ll see the ever popular improvised wire keeper on the spray-painted sling. At least the Krylon has been partially cleaned off the bayonet. Or, maybe, didn’t stick to its satin finish in the first ever-lovin’ place.

Bubbas SKS barrel leftSomewhere in China, a gun guy is shaking his head and saying, “For this, we went through the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward?”

But wait, we didn’t tell you the best part. Here it is, verbatim from the listing, emphasis ours:

You are currently looking at a Chinese SKS Type 56 serial # 10329. 20″ barrel with a post front sight & 1000 meter adjustable rear.
Wood stock & handguard have been hot glued to the metal. Handguard can be taken off & gas pistons work freely. The follower in the magazine keeps it from opening all the way
The trigger works correctly & bore is mirror bright with deep rifling. The entire rifle has been spray painted.

Hot glued to the metal. Or in Bubba’s shop, “custom bedded.” Lord love a duck.

Will need a little TLC and cleaning before firing

Gee. Ya think?

Now, it’s not our intention to bag on the dealer selling this firearm. After all, they took it in trade from someone, quite possibly the Bubba that did this number on it, and they’ve discounted it about $100 on what they could have charged for it, pre-Bubba.

Wait, just thinking that this was a trade, we shudder to think what his next project will be.

We are selling this rifle just the way we got it. Will make a fun winter project or shoot it just the way it is.

And they do have a point. This is a potential project gun for a patient non-Bubba. Most of what he has done this time is reversible. There are a few reasons not to take on that project:

  1. Even valuing your time at $0, it will cost more to restore than the delta between this gun and a good one.
  2. It’s going to be messy. All that toxic Krylon has to go somewhere.
  3. The same amount of effort can better be spent on a firearm that’s higher-quality and in higher demand to begin with.
  4. The resulting gun will never be original again.

…But there’s also the joy to be had in taking something Bubba the Gunsmite™ (sic) has applied his trademark smiting to, and repair the damage he has done.

We’re weighing a bid. If we do it’ll be a project in these pages. But we have a lot of SKSes already (all non import marked Chinese ones, actually). And oy, the mess….

 

 

Bubba the Gunsmith does an AK Trigger Job…

…or does a job on an AK trigger, actually. How do we know it’s Bubba? Well, we’re sure Winston Groom would agree that Bubba is as Bubba does. But also, we have other indicators. For one, the video is from Century Arms; if Bubbadom spreads like Christendom, Century’s Vermont warehouse is its St. Peter’s Basilica. For another, this is what Bubba is building:

70182-caicenturion39akstylerifle762x39milledreceiverdoublefingertriggerwoodstockusamfgnew-s1

 

What in the name of Niffelheim is that? An Americans with Disabilities Act accommodation for Apert Syndrome or some other syndactylic genetic aberration? It turns out to be available at J&G Sales. J&G is Century’s frequent partner in distribution of firearms with Century-Induced Firearms  Dysplasia, and has some quantity of these, as the bookmark on the page indicates. In fact, they seem pretty desperate to move them: not only does this model sell for less than the firm’s less-deformed AKs, they’ll throw in a drum mag, just so the boys in the warehouse don’t have to look at this horrible deformity any more.

Because our readers are made of sterner stuff, and can look upon this gorgonic beast without turning to stone, here is a close-up of the trigger:

70182-caicenturion39akstylerifle762x39milledreceiverdoublefingertriggerwoodstockusamfgnew-s4

And here’s another (all from the J&G website, obviously):

70182-caicenturion39akstylerifle762x39milledreceiverdoublefingertriggerwoodstockusamfgnew-s5

We suspect that Mikhail Kalashnikov would be spinning in his grave if he knew what they’d done to his rifle.

Now, these things may some day be collector items, like the hideous Fender paisley telecasters that came in as flower power was on the way out: so hideous when new they were desirable when old because of their rarity. No doubt some of them will be reconverted into AKs. It shouldn’t be too hard, with a trigger guard or a piece of sheet steel from which to bend one, and a couple of rivets. Just follow the video of Bubba below, in reverse.

True, he’s not trashing a rare or valuable gun for this, just one of Century’s canted-sightpost specials with tacticool furniture. But still, what’s with that trigger? In the name of all the saints, why? 

We first saw it on Max Popenker’s Russian-language blog, posted with a question: for weak fingers? If it stumped Max, who is from the land of Kalashnikov His Ownself, then it’s probably not anything from Soviet officialdom, or any of the usual satellite copiers. (The gun in the picture looks like a Yugoslavian parts kit with an aftermarket barrel and wood, but it turns out that this conversion was done on new Serbian AKs).

In a half hour of asking other experts in Soviet and bloc small arms, nobody had ever seen this thing. They were all willing to guess, though. A really ill-conceived cold-weather trigger (as ill-conceived as the absence of a trigger guard on the original Finnish M60, which the Finns repented rapidly), was the most common guess, but it doesn’t make sense. The Russians are scarcely ignorant of the fact that it gets cold in their country, and they have a perfectly suitable arctic-trigger system (and suitable gloves for firing in cold temperate-zone conditions) and have managed to run an army in their country without losing all their fingers yet.

Well, it turns out, this abortion has been offered on two Century AK variants at present. Anyway, you used to be able get this cool trigger on a black tacticool milled-receiver AK like the one in the video below, and can still order it in the sort-of-ordinary looking and rather inexpensive ($539 wholesale) AK that we and Max illustrated.

So Why So Serrated?

tipmann toy double grooved trigger

The Tippmann double grooved paintball trigger, from the Tippman Parts website.

Century is not forthcoming, any place we’ve seen, about why this trigger exists. But we were able to dope it out. Basic bottom line: it is for paintball choads coming over to real guns, who want to continue the paintball practice of firing high volumes of unaimed fire.  As Tippmann, a major maker of paintball toy guns, describes their double-trigger kit for their paintball launcher:

The added area allows two fingers to walk the trigger to a faster rate of fire. Double grooved for comfort.

The canonical name for this in the paintball world is somewhat unclear. Some call it the double finger grooved trigger, and others call it the double trigger. We call it Holy-Mother-Machree-that’s-Fugly.

And it seems to offer a false promise. On a semiautomatic AK clone, your maximum rate of fire is limited not by the speed of your human trigger reset, unless you have the reaction time of a three-toed sloth on barbiturates, or a former Disney Channel starlet on whatever they’re all on. It is limited by the mechanical trigger reset. Having two fingers rather than one to alternate pulling an unreset trigger seems futile. Given the physics of the trigger as a lever, the stronger finger has the shorter travel, and the relative travel of both is widely different, adding even more inconsistency. On the other hand, the safety hazard of exposure of a larger trigger inside the larger guard is real.

And in any shooting for any purpose other than noise making, maximum rate of fire is completely irrelevant. What you’re interested in is maximum rate of aimed fire, and that is limited not even by trigger reset but by time to bring the sights back on target.

Misses don’t count for anything except noise. We’d be willing to bet that we can take any of our rack grade semi AKs (including the Egyptian one, which has to make the Russians at Izmash weep; it brings the al-Bubba and is over 30 years old), and match the rate of fire of one of these paintball-poseur products, and beat the hell out of it when hits on targets at reasonable AK ranges (say 0-400m) are counted.

But for you completist collectors, here’s how they do it:

We were honestly surprised to see that Century’s smiths have some professional gunsmithing tools, like a Foredom (vs. Dremel) tool. The Lyman Revolution low-budget gun vise looks good and is adequate for this kind of work; all expensive Chinese-made gun vises are really suitable for cleaning and field-stripping, not for doing anything that will put more pressure on the action or barrel.

(PS. We were going to Max’s blog because we saw, from the new stats plug-in, that he linked to us. Spasibo bolshoi!)

He broke into whaaat?

Crime is what criminals do. And nothing much deters them, until they get religion (of the bible-thumping or, sometimes, 12-step kind), or they get religion (of the 124-grain, “You believe in Jesus? Say hello to Him” variety). Here’s an example of a target that would deter you or us from crime, but then, we’re not criminals, are we? It didn’t deter one young man, and now he regrets it, somewhat unconvincingly.

“What you did is absolutely intolerable in our community,” Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Marguerite Wageling told 30-year-old Ryan Mackenzie.

Cripes! What did he do? We’re a pretty tolerant community, especially the sort of nonjudgmental, “do your own thing” baby boomer hippies that are what we’ve got for judges these days. What could you do that was “intolerable?” Something really serious, like prayer in public? Well, not exactly.

Mackenzie’s vehicle was seized by State Police after he was stopped on Woodbury Avenue in Portsmouth on Dec. 29, 2011 for a traffic violation.
According to prosecutors, Mackenzie’s taillights weren’t working and it appeared he tried to evade State Police Trooper Tamara Hester when she attempted to stop him.
Hester noticed his dilated pupils and suspected he may be on drugs. A State Police drug-sniffing dog was brought in and the car was seized after the dog allegedly got a hit.
The car was impounded at in a garage at the State Police barracks on Route 125 in Epping. At some point later that night, Mackenzie showed up and broke in through the garage door.
Police had noticed what appeared to be a large white rock inside a tied off plastic baggie stuffed in a cigarette box between the driver’s seat and the center console, but Hester found it missing the next day before she had a chance to execute a search warrant.
Mackenzie pleaded guilty to breaking into the barracks, but did not admit to actually stealing the cigarette box.

So, now when this criminal makes the usual before-the-judge plea that he’s a changed man, yadda yadda, we need to bear in mind that the situationally remorseful criminal didn’t even come clean about his last caper.

Of course, if we were concerned about the “root causes,” like today’s judges, rather than simple stuff like applying the law to the set of facts before us, we’d probably want to know why he did it. Say, why did he do it?

A man who admitted battles with drug addiction

Translation: a bum who voluntarily dopes himself up, and now wants our sympathy. One word, sunshine: No.

Mackenzie, a Barrington native mostly recently living in Northwood, pleaded guilty to a felony burglary charge after the break-in on Dec. 29, 2011.

Here’s where the criminal starts to deploy the bullshit to hornswoggle the judge.

Mackenzie, who told the court that he’s no longer the “same person as the addict,” apologized to State Police for the burglary, which was discovered by a trooper and made other members of State Police potential suspects as they investigated the disappearance of a cigarette box suspected of containing drugs from Mackenzie’s car.

Consider the chutzpah of the claim that Mackenzie was “no longer the same person…” as Mackenzie. What does he think we are, dope-addled bums like he?

“I understand my actions are inexcusable and I accept full responsibility,” Mackenzie said moments before he was cuffed after being sentenced to a year in the Rockingham County jail with two months suspended.

Translation: “My lawyer told me to say this….”

After the potential drug evidence disappeared, State Police Lt. Chris Vetter told the court that anyone who had access to the evidence was considered a suspect.
“It was pretty unnerving and unsettling to all the troopers that we could be considered a suspect in this crime,” Vetter told the judge.
Assistant County Attorney Brad Bolton argued Mackenzie broke in to steal drug evidence in an effort to avoid drug possession charges.
He said it “appears that he was aware of what could happen if the drugs were found.”
But with the evidence gone, Bolton added, “The reality is we will ever know what he took out of the car. …We know what we think was in there, but we will never know.”

Well, everyone knows Mackenzie is a criminal. Crime is what he does. When he is released, does anyone think that Mackenzie will magically become an ordinary citizen, or will the centripetal force of the prison’s revolving door suck him back in?

Do we really gotta ask that?

Public defender Tony Naro argued there was more to Mackenzie’s story.
“This is a case, not just about avoiding responsibility, but also a case about addiction,” Naro said.

Well, at least the mouthpiece admits it’s at least partially about avoiding responsibility. That’s refreshing from a member of the bar. (Sigmund Freud, call your office).

Naro, who sought a sentence of 60 days in jail followed by home confinement, described Mackenzie as “someone who kicked a nasty drug addiction.”

He’s not in court for his drug addiction, but for his burglary. And whoop de do, he quit dope whilst in pretrial confinement. Frontiers in Recovery for $200, please, Alex.

Mackenzie, whose many successes as an Eagle Scout and other accolades were detailed in court,

What has that got to do with anything? He’s not in court for Scouting without a license or anything. He’s in court because he’s a thief, for Christ’s sake!

[Mackenzie] told the judge that he’s now overcome his addiction and that “it was a small part of my life” and something that he never thought could take over his life so quickly.
He said he lost the motivation to succeed as the drugs took hold.
“This has been one of the most difficult periods of my life,” he said.

via Man gets year in jail for break-in at State Police barracks – News – seacoastonline.com – Portsmouth, NH.

Translation of the last sentence in the quote above: “I didn’t like getting caught.” Give him some cheese with that whine. And process him in to his new cell without delay.

Breaking: Pol’s Kid Got a Navy Deal You Couldn’t, Blows it.

Er... yeah, in this post, that logo's sarcasm.

Er… yeah, in this post, that logo’s sarcasm.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that one of Joe Biden’s sons has come to the end of a rather brief Navy career, a piece of information the Navy and Blair House have been sitting on for most of a year. Hunter Biden was selected for a Navy  commission after a nationwide search, despite needing not one but two waivers, one of them for drug abuse.

How did his career end? Write this down: “The best guide to future behavior is past behavior.” Young Hunter was holystoned right off the decks, out the scuttles and overboard after a day-glo piss test. True, the ads used to say, “Things go better with Coke.”

But that was Coke a capital C, dumb-ass. Not Bolivian marching powder.

Hunter Biden, who is currently a lawyer for some former Soviet mafioso/plutocrat or other, wanted the Navy commission to burnish his resume for a future political campaign. Both of Biden’s sons (and his daughter) have naked political ambitions; both of them inherited their dad’s rather limited intellect, but they got “celebrity admissions” to top colleges. Biden’s other son, Beau, also served (after a nationwide search) in a zero-risk, resumé-polishing military job, as an Army lawyer. (That’s about the same thing as enemy forces; spending your time grilling firefight survivors to see if you can send one to Leavenworth).

Beau is the brighter of the two, which isn’t saying much, but at least he wasn’t doing lines the night before checking in to a new unit and being handed a plastic cup with his social security number on it.

WASHINGTON—Vice President Joe Biden ’s son Hunter was discharged from the Navy Reserve this year after testing positive for cocaine, according to people familiar with the matter.

Hunter Biden, a lawyer by training who is now a managing partner at an investment company, had been commissioned as an ensign in the Navy Reserve, a part-time position. But after failing a drug test last year, his brief military career ended.

Mr. Biden, 44 years old, decided to pursue military service relatively late, beginning the direct-commission process to become a public-affairs officer in the Navy Reserve in 2012. Because of his age—43 when he was to be commissioned—he needed a waiver to join the Navy. He received a second Navy waiver because of a drug-related incident when he was a young man, according to people familiar with the matter. Military officials say such drug waivers aren’t uncommon.

Mr. Biden was commissioned as an ensign on May 7, 2013, and assigned to Navy Public Affairs Support Element East in Norfolk, Va., a reserve unit, according to the Navy.

Well, easy come, easy go, kid. Anyway, that was last year, so he had a bit of a career, didn’t he? Eh, maybe not:

In June 2013, after reporting to his unit in Norfolk, he was given a drug test, which turned up positive for cocaine, according to people familiar with the situation.

So he peed hot reporting in to his first assignment. That’s stupid even by drug-user standards.

Wait, though: that was over a year ago. Did it take the Navy this long to outprocess this dopehead nepotism case and release the information?

Well, no on the “this long to outprocess” question:

Mr. Biden was discharged in February, the Navy said.

via Biden’s Son Hunter Discharged From Navy Reserve After Failing Cocaine Test – WSJ – WSJ.

And no on the “release the information.” Turns out, the Navy didn’t release the information, treating it with more security than communications intercepts or submarine patrol areas. Until the Journal had it, and the jig was up.

Well, maybe the Navy can be excused for not making a press release. They were shorthanded one public affairs ensign, after all.

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Satan

There are murders that are just the routine day-by-day slovenly lives of the ghetto. And there are murders that shock the conscience. And there are murders that make you wonder what the hell the Burger Court was thinking when they limited the application of the death penalty to people like these two pictured rotters who just. Need. Killing.

Algarad satanist and burch satanist

But let’s begin with a moment of silence for one of their victims, Josh Wetzler, and his mother, Martha, from WSOC-TV in Charlotte, NC:

Martha Wetzler… last spoke to her son in June 2009.
….soon after his disappearance…  police started looking into Pazuzu Algarad – a self-proclaimed Satanist.

Algarad’s home in Clemmons is painted with pentagrams, and his tongue is surgically forked.

Family members said he bragged about killing people and burying them in his backyard.

Boy howdy, is this guy sending all the signals of “I’m’a gonna get me SSDI for unemployability!” or what?

Neckbeard… check. Jobstopper tattoos and body mods… check. Phony-baloney name, “Pazuzu Algarad”… attention-whoring check. Bogus scary religion that says “look at me, I’m a unique and special snowflake”… check. Boasting about killing people, and boasting about where he buried them… freakin’ priceless.

Five years ago, police searched the backyard and found nothing.

Never underestimate the detective ability of PC Plod.

Recently, there was another murder investigation at the same home.

Meanwhile, five years of boasts about the deaders in the yard, so Plod comes back to look again.

This time, they found the remains of Joshua Wetzler and another man, Tommy Welch.
Algarad allegedly killed Wetzler, and Algarad’s wife, Amber Burch, allegedly killed Welch, according to arrest warrants.

Ah, so that’s where the body was… where the murderer said he left it! Imagine that. As Martha Wetzler notes, “They couldn’t have searched very well.”

Of course, imagine PC Plod finding poor Wetzler’s remains back in 2009. Algarad would be in Alcatraz (or the nearest thing NC has thereto) and Tommy Welch would not be any deader than the rest of us.

Algarad and Burch are each charged with one count of murder and one count of accessory after the fact to murder, police said.

Authorities believe the couple helped each other bury the bodies.

via Satanist and wife killed men, buried them in yard, police say | www.actionnewsjax.com.

Young romance, it’s so… special. How tragic that these two beauties will be confined in separate prisons.

Fortunately, the ACLU will help them get a Satanist chaplain (think we’re making that up?) and who knows, maybe they’ll be able to rack up a few more human sacrifices whilst they’re in the slammer.

Of course, don’t they need some test dummies for ebola treatments? What Would China Do?

One Thing Tells You how the Bergdahl Investigation Went

mad-magazine-trading-private-bergdahlOne thing reveals the truth of what the Army discovered during its investigation of the alleged desertion of SGT Bowe Bergdahl: the Army won’t be releasing the report.

You may rest assured that if the report reflected well on Bergdahl, his unit, or the Army in general, the politicians-in-uniform at the Pentagon would have released, or at least leaked, the results by now. The absence of reporting means it’s bad news for one or more of those. Our informed guess is, it’s bad news for two of the three, but whenever it does finally come out, it will be spun to deflect most of the blame onto Bergdahl’s non-deserting comrades.

The Hill:

The Army has no plans to release the results of an investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance and capture by the Taliban in 2009, a spokesman said Friday.

“We recognize the importance of the media and the public understanding of our investigative process, and look forward to future discussions on this issue. However, the Army’s priority is ensuring that our process is thorough, factually accurate, impartial, and legally correct,” Army spokesman Wayne Hall said in a statement.

via Army won’t release Bergdahl review | TheHill.

We’ve long suspected that Bergdahl deserted with some ill-formed or half-baked intent to collaborate, only to find that an infidel’s Taliban welcome — even a traitor’s — was less warm that Afghan hospitality usually tries to extend.

The swap for Bergdahl was a good deal for the Taliban. They got rid of a guy who was no use to them, and a hassle to feed and keep safe, and picked up five of their own guys who were in captivity. (From the Taliban point of view, it was a hostage rescue — their guys held hostage by us). It was a bad deal for the USA, unless you’re a closet Islamist or a peace-at-any-price white-flagger. Or Bowe Bergdahl’s mom, perhaps.

The Army, and Dahl, seemed to be trying very hard not to investigate Bergdahl.

This is not the first time. In the aftermath of the return of the Vietnam War, the military wanted nothing to do with prosecuting deserters and traitors among the prisoners, some of whom had gone over to the NVA for comforts or privileges or to get back at SROs in the camps. (SRO Ted Guy had brilliantly arranged for several loyal prisoners to infiltrate the Peace Committee, so the identities of the “ducks” or traitors were well known and there was a great deal of available evidence against them). The outrage of several of the loyal prisoners began to force the issue, and seven identified and named turncoats were selected for possible prosecution. Ted Guy filed charges, then another officer did likewise.

When it looked like a court-martial might actually happen, one of the guilty traitors, ex-Marine Abel Kavanaugh, spared the Corps a trial and shot himself in the left temple. Kavanaugh had made propaganda statements and broadcasts, and assisted the NVA in rooting out escape plans, in return for food and privileges. The Washington make-no-waves crowd was far more upset over this than they’d ever been about the torture and murders of prisoners. Then Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird (the same DC crapweasel who thought the Son Tay Raiders deserved no more than the Army Commendation Medal(!), at the time the service’s lowest award), quickly pulled the plug on the court-martials of the remaining seven collaborators.

Abel was one of only two former POWs to commit suicide in the five years following their release (the other guy was not one of the 8 collaborators).

After the Korean War, many more Americans had collaborated (two hundred-odd out of ~7,000 taken captive, of whom some ~2,500 were murdered in captivity) but very few were put on trial (the Army alone court-martialed collaborators, 15 of them, one of whom had murdered at least three fellow prisoners).  The other services dealt with a few cases of similar misconduct administratively.

In any event, it was always, and remains, extremely unlikely that the military would prosecute a prisoner/collaborator, no matter how egregious his misconduct. After all, in 1954, the court-martials of the Korean War collaborarors were expremely controversial; in 1973, court-martials were too controversial even to try; the nation is no more united, nor interested in martial values in 2014 than it was forty or sixty years ago.

So the fix is in for Bergdahl, but they won’t go public until after the election.

Breaking: Senator Loses War College Degree for Fraud

Face of a Thesis Thief

Face of a Thesis Thief — appointed Senator, and disgraced officer,  John Walsh.

Remember John Walsh? No, not the anti-gun TV celebrity who turned a dead kid into fame and fortune, but the anti-gun appointed Senator from Montana, Dishonest John Walsh, who was going to save Big Sky for his party because of his “great military career?”

If the name rings a bell, maybe it’s because we covered the Thesis Thief back in July as part of an omnibus on military phonies in Congress, noted that political appointees sidetracked an investigation into his plagiarism later that month, and followed up with news of his withdrawal from the increasingly lopsided race. As we wrote that last time:

Walsh copied large portions of his Master’s paper at the Army War College from a variety of published, academic and think-tank works. He is expected to lose his USAWC degree of Master of Strategic Studies when an enquiry is complete. The exposure of Walsh’s plagiarism caused reporters to look at his checkered military record, and torpedoed a candidacy that was entirely dependent on the legend of Walsh as military leader.

(Walsh had been reprimanded for corruption and denied Federal recognition of his promotion to two-star general in the MT Army National Guard, forcing him to retire as a colonel).

Well, Dishonest John gets the last of his fifteen minutes of fame today, as the USAWC did indeed revoke his fraudulently-obtained degree and his status as a graduate.

The board of the Carlisle, Pennsylvania-based college took less than a day to hear the case and make its findings Aug. 22. But the process of appeal and review wasn’t completed until Friday.

“The board found that then Colonel John Walsh did commit the offense of plagiarism and thus his Master’s Degree and status as graduate of the U.S. Army War College should be revoked,” War College spokeswoman Carol Kerr said in a statement.

The review board’s report found the plagiarism “egregious.” A review of Walsh’s paper by the school’s director of communicative arts found little, if any, original language or research and that it was “primarily composed of verbatim liftings from other sources” presented as if they were Walsh’s own work.

“In short, the paper was plagiarized and … the plagiarism was intentional,” the review board said in its report.

Walsh didn’t do much fighting in his Army career, but he sure fought the inquiry board.

Walsh spoke to members of the review board by phone the day before it convened in August. He admitted that he plagiarized the paper, but he said it was a mistake. Walsh also said he was taking medication for PTSD and that one of the soldiers he commanded in Iraq in 2005 had committed suicide in March 2007.

The review board noted Walsh submitted several drafts of his paper, including before the suicide, and later submitted a version of the same paper for another class with the plagiarized passages intact.

The board said in its findings that other students have had similar or more serious issues during their time at the war college, but they were able to do the work “without resorting to plagiarism or other cheating.”

In other words, a REMF playing the PTSD card is probably in the wrong AO to get sympathy, with the officers of the War College.

He still didn’t give up, and had to be shot down again last week.

Walsh appealed the decision on Oct. 6. War College Commandant Major Gen. William Rapp rejected the appeal in a letter dated Friday.

But plagiarist, fraud, corrupt officer… whatever. He still has his friends in politics!

Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who appointed Walsh adjutant general, was among those who wrote a letter of support to the college’s review board. Schweitzer told The Associated Press on Friday that Walsh should be judged on “a lifetime of leadership” based on his three-decade rise through the National Guard and service in Iraq.

“That was the John Walsh I selected, not the John Walsh that was a literary scholar or a person who understood the nuances of grammar and putting things in quotations,” Schweitzer said.

Just for the record, Walsh didn’t choke on some arcane and minute peccadillo of the secret rules of graduate-level scholarship. He copied the whole goddamned thing without attribution, which gets you a zero anywhere from middle school on up, except maybe among politicians and unethical crooks — pardon the repetition. And then he put the bogus paper in again for another class. 

A bitter Walsh made a statement to the Missoulian newspaper (of Missoula, MT, naturally) that he “disagree[d] with the findings made by the War College,” and he apologized for “the plagiarism in my 2007 paper,” which he seemed to think got there without agency on his part. (That is possible. Perhaps he assigned some underling to write his papers for him. Not at all rare among state AGs, who tend to be — like Walsh — political figures conditioned to life above the law).

Oddly enough, the caning of the Thesis Thief hasn’t shown up on the Official Happy Talk Page USAWC In the News official page.

More Evidence the Unguided Air Strikes are Failing

We told you they would fail. Then we told you they did fail. Now everybody, it seems, is going, “Wowzers, these strikes have failed?” No kidding, Mr Holmes.

First, CNN interviewed an ISIL spokesman. Never one to let distance stand in the way of getting the anti-American propaganda out to the masses, the network famous for its founding by Mr Jane Fonda and its cradling of serial fabricator Peter Arnett’s meteoric career gave the microphone (via Skype) and outsourced its reporting to one Abu Tahla. (Exercise for the reader: go on CNN as a spokesman for a government agency or some other force of world civilization, as opposed to a force against. See if they will accommodate your desire to use a pseudonym).

We’ve been ready for this for some time. We know that our bases are known because they’re tracking us with radars and satellites, so we had backup locations.

We have revenues other than oil. We have other avenues, and our finances are not going to stop just because of oil losses.

They thought they knew everything. But thank God, they don’t know anything. And God willing, we will defeat the infidels.

They hit us in some areas, and we advance in others. If we are pushed back in Iraq, we advance in northern Syria. These strikes cannot stop us, our support or our fighters.

Now, that is enemy propaganda, to be sure (we did give you the trigger warning that it was on CNN, after all), but it doesn’t sound like propaganda from an outfit that’s getting its ass kicked. It doesn’t sound desperate, like, for instance, President Obama’s insistence that the Islamic State is not Islamic. (Flashback: “I’m a better _____ than my _____s” hubriscade; is he a better mullah than their mullahs? He seems to think so).

CNN also did a smidgen of actual reporting, although it doesn’t show up until after 11 grafs dedicated to helping the enemy get his message out. They interviewed an ISIL quitter, also under a pseudonym, Abu Omar. AO agrees with his former co-beheader Abu Tahla: the strikes were telegraphed in advance, so ISIL prepared, and the strikes hit nothing of consequence:

They almost entirely emptied out the headquarters. Some equipment they hid in civilian neighborhoods. Some they hid underground.

No word on whether the CNN reporter that took those notes, Arwa Damon, is a real person or another jihadi pseudonym.

But we would note that eyes on the ground would have observed the conversion of the HQ to a decoy. Eyes on drone screens half a world away, or looking at SIGINT plots, wouldn’t. (At the very best, SIGINT tells you where an emitter’s antenna is, wait, was).

Business Insider notes that the actions of ISIL speak for something closer to Abu Tahla’s dismissive words than the Air Force, Navy, and Obama Administration’s vain boasting about the air and drone attacks:

Concerningly, Abu Tahla’s remarks are echoed by the situation on the ground. Despite airstrikes, ISIS has advanced almost completely to the Turkish border in northern Syria. Only the Kurdish city of Kobane remains defiant to ISIS aggression, although the Kurds defending the city are thoroughly outgunned by the recent jihadist advance.

There is also concern that US and coalition airstrikes against ISIS are legitimizing the jihadists since there aren’t simultaneous efforts to remove Syrian President Bashar Hafez Assad from power. Prominent analyst Hassan Hassan, with the Delma Institute, notes that the airstrikes are doing little actual damage to the militants while increasing their standing as a resistance organization.

via CNN Interviews ISIS Fighter Who Calls Airstrikes Ineffective – Business Insider.

So let’s have a shufti at what other Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant propaganda has said.

Meet John Cantlie

John Cantlie (pronounced “Cantlee,” not “Can’t lie” — he’s a reporter after all), a British celebrity reporter held hostage by the terrorists, has appeared now in three videos as a “news reader” in orange beheading-suit, reading ISIL propaganda messages purporting to be “news releases” written in unerring, fluent, idiomatic English, presumably by Cantlie himself. (We won’t post hostage videos here, you’ll have to content yourself with a twitpic from some terror symp, but they’re not hard to find).

John Cantlie propaganda

Cantlie’s third video was in response to Obama’s vain, boasting speech and he didn’t say much about it that Obama’s American critics missed. Cantlie noted, as did just about everybody but Obama and his retinue, the typical boast about the greatness of American leadership, meaning, of course, himself. (Maybe we should go back and capitalize that H). And Cantlie noted that ISIL was ready for “Obama’s under-construction army.”

It was all disappointingly predictable; America is good, the Islamic State is bad; and they will be defeated using aircraft and a motley collection of fighters on the ground.

It’s hard to see how this hotch potch army with a long history of under-performing is going to be any form of credible infantry.

One of the more interesting details in Cantlie’s latest video is his explanation, familiar to students of the region, that ISIL does not consider the religious minorities that they murder “innocents,” but “worse than Americans”.

[T]he Shia are … apostates claiming to be Muslims while worshipping the dead.

Cantlie, who has undoubtedly been threatened off-camera, was captured in 2012 but escaped, and remained in Syria, only to be captured again a few months later. Now he’s got the story of his lifetime, but he may not be around to write it. Journalists who did not cooperate with their ISIL captors, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, were beheaded; British aid worker David Haines has also been beheaded and another British aid worker, Alan Henning, has been identified as next up. For now, Cantlie signs off his videos: “Join me again, for the next program.”

The black background is in keeping with ISIL’s distinct visual style, but it is also meant to deny Allied intelligence agencies any information about his location. Extensive leaks from US intelligence agencies exposed how analysts have exploited details in earlier terrorist videos.

Sometimes the ISIL Propagandists Blow It

Now, ISIL is not always skilled at propaganda. They’ve released this video that purports to show a ineffictive strike on an artillery piece (Soviet M46 130mm gun, an excellent long-ranging piece that caused lots of trouble in the Vietnam war — Russia has always been great at artillery). The strike blows up the gun with a JDAM, but the enemy crew miraculously suffer no casualties.

Is it the protection of Allah? Don’t be silly; what it is, is an obvious fake. For one thing, a JDAM isn’t quite going to hit center of the gun barrel like that; for another, it’s not going to leave guys within 100 meters standing. But we don’t need to go to logic, we can see that  it’s a bad edit job on this video, or perhaps both are edits of an earlier parent video:

This video, in which the speaker identifies these guys as members of Jabhat al-Nusra (listen for it; the Al-Nusra Front is an Al-Qaeda affiliate that has fought both alongside and against ISIL) just shows an overloaded gun blowing, possibly being deliberately detonated. But then, this video appears to be propaganda, too, so who knows what it really means?

If you’re going to operate in the Middle East, get used to being lied to. These guys lie for advantage, and sometimes they lie even against their best interests because the habit is so deeply ingrained.

Heck, that’s why we don’t like ‘em. They’re just like our own politicians!

Guess What Happens Next?

So… what’s going to happen, if the unguided air strikes don’t work?

Guided air strikes. US, British, and Australian SOF are on the ground already.

PA State Police Medevac Two Troopers

Pennsylvania_State_PoliceWe heard about this early last evening as it came over the scanner. At first we did not want to publish it as it provides a data point for any hostile feeding information to fugitive Eric Frein, but  it was in the media by midnight1, so we might as well.

For reasons known but to the injured men and the PSP officials who have interviewed them (neither has life-threatening injuries), the two of them climbed up a single deer stand, as part of the operation whose leaders still seem to think that they have encircled Frein. We don’t know what the two troopers weighed, but we do know that cumulatively, it was too much. Down came the stand, troopers and all.

The troopers did their Wile E. Coyote plunge at about 1645, and over three hours later, at 1955R, the call for medevac aircraft went out over the air. The State Police initially were uncooperative with the media:

State police Trooper First Class Connie Devens in an email confirmed the injuries, which she described as non-life-threatening, and said a Medevac helicopter was requested for assistance.

She declined to release further information.

A log of emergency broadcasts obtained by lehighvalleylive.com shows the call for the injuries came in at 7:55 p.m. in Barrett Township, Monroe County….

The log indicates two injured parties were being flown for treatment, one to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township and another via a federally owned aircraft.

The PA media are saying that the two troopers fell through the floor of the stand. Reportedly, they climbed it to see if Frein was in the blind, and that’s why two of them were up there. Assigned to the Harrisburg barracks, they may have been city boys unaware of any of the 1,000 lists of tree-stand safety dos and don’ts that are out there. They were treated at Lehigh Valley Hospital and released.

Presumably they were heli-lifted because the difficulty of the terrain precluded ground evacuation; a night medevac in the mountains is a hell of a risk to be taking, for injuries that don’t even require hospital admission.

Where’s Frein2?

That’s the question on our mind as the manhunt for the cop-killer enters its 19th day — or is it the 20th? The police have found weapons, cigarettes, some rudimentary caches, and two improvised grenades. But they haven’t found Frein. There have been numerous Frein “sightings,” but the woods are teeming with cops from a variety of agencies, as AP photos show. And they’re all dressed differently. For example, when a stop line “anvil” is established, it tends to be manned by uniformed State Troopers like these:

PA State troopers

But the mobile “hammer” supposedly driving him through the woods tends to comprise younger, fitter officers and agents, organized into “squads” by contributing agency. These men are dressed in several different camouflage patterns, like these ATF Agents in multicam:

ATF Agents

Tentative conclusion: Frein is over the river and through the woods, and the “sightings” are cops seeing each other. Presumably the guys in charge have considered this possibility, and are exercising extreme control measures to prevent blue-on-blue shootings. But the long delay between the cops’ tree-stand plunge last night and the call for evacuation seems to suggest that their control measures might be deficient.

So what’s going to happen with Frein? Our guess is that 2 months, or 2 years, or 2 decades from now he’ll get pulled over for a bad taillight in some faraway state, and some road cop will be astounded to learn he’s just bagged a wanted cop killer.

The only question is whether the PSP will still be beating up the rugged hills where they last think they saw him, 2 months, or 2 years, or 2 decades from now when some other agency stuffs him in a paddy wagon and packs him up for the trip home to court and prison.

However it shakes out, it’s been a hard year for the troopers of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Update on the Range Accident casualty, Trooper David Kedra

Flags at the State Capitol and in Montgomery County, PA, are flying at half-mast in memory of Kedra, who was fatally heart-shot, according to our information, with a negligent discharge by a PSP instructor in the course of transition training onto the agency’s new SIG pistols. (Ironically, the PSP moved to the SIGs because of its inability to stem a tide of negligent discharges with its previous two service pistols, which were Glocks). They were not stacking-up, training force-on-force, or doing anything but introducing the new pistol, which the PSP has been rolling out at a much faster rate than any of its previous acquisitions (the Pennsylvania State Police probably has more experience changing pistols than any two agencies nationwide). Kedra was DRT, but they medevaced him out of pure hope. As we predicted, the PSP is releasing minimal information about the mishap.

“Preliminary evidence indicates that Trooper (David) Kedra was struck by a bullet accidentally discharged by another member of the Pennsylvania State Police,” [spokesman Capt. James] Raykovitz said in a news release. “However, more specific information regarding the investigation will not be released at this time.”

Well, we’re getting the information anyway. PSP Troopers talk, and they have friends, and instructors talk to instructors, and the DA’s office might as well be equipped with the Giant Voice from some Iraqi airbase. The decision has already been made not to charge the instructor — it was made before the “investigation” began, but will not be released until a decent interval has passed. Once that is complete, the kabuki dance of negotiating a reprimand or suspension will begin between the PSP and the union representatives or lawyers; most likely outcome is an “exploding” reprimand that will be in the instructor’s file for X years, and then be removed; and the instructor will return to routine duties, probably milking speeders for the Travelers’ Tax on the interstate.

That article linked above has only a couple lines of official information (which we quoted above), but it contains a lot of reminisces of unlucky Kedra. Here’s a couple if you don’t Read The Whole Thing™:

“He was extremely proud to be a Pennsylvania state trooper and he showed it,” said Trooper Derik Frymire, who worked on Kedra’s squad. “He wanted to see everything, he wanted to be a part of everything, he wanted to learn everything and those kind of qualities make an outstanding patrol trooper.”

Joe Alkus, a criminal justice professor at Temple, said his former student had visited to speak at one of his introductory classes. Alkus recalled once asking Kedra what he thought was the best day of his career.

“He says, ‘Every day is my best day because I love being a trooper,'” Alkus said.

Well, he died doing what he loved. We often say that about folks, whether it was some ill-fated climbercicle on Everest, the skydivers who just bounced on Cape Cod, or our bros who go down with their face to the foe. We are not out of place saying it over the memory off a young cop who died in what should be the safest place in the world; the saying is no less true for being commonplace. Last year we went to the wake of a young cop who died of a massive coronary due to an unsuspected congenital defect, on the way home from training. Like Kedra, he died at the cusp of what might have been a great public service career, doing what he loved, full of plans and hopes.

Like Kedra, he will be remembered forever by those who knew him, and those who did not will look at his picture, in the black border, on the academy wall and try to. That’s all the immortality you get on this side of the Choir Invisible, friends.

You can’t dwell on what might have been, you can only see what actually was, and say, “It was enough. Rest ye now, in comfort that others have taken up your watch. The watchmen pass, but the watch abides.”

Notes

1. They have scanners, too, damn their eyes.
2. Incidentally, the media are pronouncing him “Freen” but a lot of the cops are calling him “Frain” in their internal communications. What’s his name, really? To slightly misquote Willie Nelson in a not altogether bad movie, Barbarossa, “He’s Mr. Shit!” (Which is an old Spanish/Mexican expression translated figuratively into English: “¡Esta mu don mierde!” This concludes your Special Forces Functional Language Program enrichment session for the day).