Monthly Archives: January 2016

Subterranean Sunday

Later today, we expect life to take a troglodytic turn. No, we’re not returning to our universal or bears Neanderthal forbears (damnable dictation software! and double-damned careless editing -Ed.). We’re simply going to be busy in the workshop, which is in the basement.

Tasks for today:

  • Test the Ghost Gunner (now that it’s talking to our computer — a Windows 10 installation, in Parallels virtualization software, running on a current Retina iMac). We don’t have the right 80% lowers for the default setups, unfortunately.
  • Finish assembling another Craftsman toolbox and bring order to the tool chaos that now reigns unchecked in the shop. Well, bring some order; we don’t think absolute order is in the offing.
  • Start assembling the rear spars for the RV-12’s wings. All the rib work and bracketry is done, and everything’s primed, most of it with Stewart Systems Eko-Clean -Etch and -Prime, but some parts (including the rear and stub spars) with self-etching rattle can. It was too cold to do the Stewart stuff in our garage. (ETA: in our five-minute spray booth we set up and break down in the garage. And naturally, no sooner had we stunk up the shop with the rattle cans, probably killing as many brain cells as a week-long bender, than the weather broke unseasonably warm here. Feh).
  • There’s definitely something else we’re forgetting. Don’t you hate that feeling?

Assembling the Craftsman tool box, for us, isn’t simply a matter of following the instructions. We’ll also have to go around and debur all the corners and edges that the manufacturer didn’t take care of. And we’re going to have to cut and install our own drawer liners. We could avoid all that, and get a higher quality box of thicker gauge steel, just by going with a pro box like Snap-on or Mac. But those are so much more expensive that we can get a decent box by giving the Craftsman a little bit of extra attention, and putting some sweat equity into it (well, until the edges are deburred, blood equity), and be left with more money for higher priorities. Remember the post on satisficing, not maximizing? It works for this too.

Doing the rattle-can priming in the basement workshop was a profoundly bad idea, one that became clear when a half hour of monkeying with the GhostGunner produced a piercing headache. With the new windows, Hog Manor kind of sucks at air circulation, unless they’re open.

And naturally, the rattle-can session was followed by days of forty-ish weather — we could have done the spraying outside or built the Five Minute Spray Booth in one of the garage stalls.

Yes, the movie review and TW3 are not done yet from yesterday (and there was never a Friday Tour d’Horizon, either. Your refunds are in the mail). Should be up today. The movie? John Wick, 2014.

One interesting note: today is the last day of January, and we think we may have set an all-time readership record this month. Not by a huge amount, but we think we see slow and steady progress. We value every one of our readers, and especially one of the best and best-informed sets of commenters in the gunosphere.

That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 04

That was the week that was TW3So far, at least as far as the blog goes, we are loving 2016. We’re dictating this post into a new computer, because our arms are full of sleeping Small Dog. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Of course, it may not be that good for Small Dog, who, as we dictate this, is awaiting a appointment with the vet. There are many possible outcomes, including such undesirable possibilities as a splint, an overnight stay, or even the Cone of Shame.

Work has been chaotic with a project that we’ve worked on for three years coming to an unsatisfactory end. Sometimes that happens. And another door has hinted that it’s about to open. Isn’t that always the way of things?

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics are fairly normal for these days: 27 posts and about 20,000 words .  Our average post was 813 words long, and the median was 424, indicates that a few long posts blew that mean up. Post length ranged from 133 to 3296 words.

If we hit any milestones this week, we didn’t notice.

Comments This Week

Comments were above average at 414 by the much-delayed close of this post (The next Saturday. Queue for your refunds at the customer service window), but not the preceding week’s 470. Most commented post was Friday’s, The FBI Trickles Out Some Video from Oregon, with 90 comments, showing that a late week post can do well, or that doing this TW3 late lets late week posts catch up — pick one.

Runner-up was Tuesday’s Who Taught You to Walk?

We didn’t do a book review this week — too busy. So we can’t compare Book Review comments to When Guns Are Outlawed comments.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week: (links will be fleshed out and live later).

  • Sunday Sleeping In
  • Pistols & Optimizing vs. Satisficing
  • Just a Reminder: the VA Creates a Local Low-Pressure Area
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Fists
  • When the Cop is a Crim
  • The Czech “DUO” & Z Pistol, 1938-Present
  • Who Taught You to Walk?
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Gravity
  • Self Defense Case in Britain
  • How Can You Kill ‘Em When They’re Already Dead?
  • Bouncing the Gates
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Generators
  • The Limits of <i>Un</i>armed Self-Defense
  • Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: This Ain’t Hell.us
  • Range 15 Movie Trailer (NSFW Warning!)
  • The Fight that Ruined a New Weapon’s Reputation
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Wrenches
  • The USMLM and Soviet Technology
  • Hidden Camera: Automatic Weapons with No Background Check!
  • Homeland Security is in the Very Best of Hands
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Fear
  • The FBI Trickles Out Some Video from Oregon
  • Classification of Automatic Weapons Actions
  • The National Commission on the Future of the Army has Spoken
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Cutlasses
  • Saturday Matinee 2016 04: John Wick
  • That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 04

Going Forward

Be very quiet. We’re thinking….

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Cutlasses

cutlassThat is actually what the papers (here the Daily Mail) are saying was used on pediatric anesthesiologist Jessica Colker, although the press reports don’t entirely add up. She’s definitely dead, and it seems like the guy who killed her was a career violent criminal who was a very recent beneficiary of revolving-door justice.

David Benjamin was freed in December after serving 15 years.

He is suspected of killing Jessica Colker who died from extensive skull fracture and asphyxia, as she walked along a deserted beach with her husband on the first day of her holiday, autopsy results revealed today.

Colker, an anesthesiologist from Atlanta Georgia, is said to have been raped before being murdered.

There is no mention of rape in the autopsy report and the American embassy said today it had not been told by police if she was sexually assaulted.

Benjamin walked into a police station in the Parish of St David’s the day after Colker’s body was found in an area of mangroves near the La Sages hotel in St David’s where she and her husband were staying.

We’re not sure how they get from “asphyxia and skull fracture” to “cutlass,” but that’s what they’re saying in the news. Whatever weapon he used, Benjamin is a creep’s creep:

A police source told Daily Mail Online: ‘Benjamin was set free in December. He had been locked away for the rape of a young child.’

Benjamin, who has three teardrops under his left eye that in gang culture means he has killed or is prepared to kill, has not yet been charged.

via Ex-convict being questioned in connection with Jessica Colker’s murder | Daily Mail Online.

Not charged yet, but in that lovely British understatement that hangs on in the Islands, he is “assisting police in their enquiries.”

Dr Colker is the second lady tourist murdered on Grenada in about a month. The island has never really reached its tourist potential; most of the islanders are kind, sweet people, and the climate is superb. If it weren’t for the occasional outlying homicidal, horny ex-con, it would be a tropical paradise!

The police do what they can. A lot of the Caribbean islands still have no compunction about hanging guys like Benjamin, but Grenada hasn’t executed anyone since 1978 (we guess the death penalty statistics guys are not counting all the extrajudicial executions the New Jewel Movement and their Cuban enforcers did), and has a backlog of 10 deserving murderers on Death Row.

The National Commission on the Future of the Army has Spoken

"We're too broke for training ammo, but our graphics design budget is going strong!"

“We’re too broke for training ammo, but our graphics design budget is going strong!”

The what? Yeah, apparently Congress set up such a thing. A friend of ours was tasked to provide a report to it, and notes that after that, the Commission staff went radio silent; members were sworn to secrecy. At least, until their product dropped Friday.

Looking at their product, you have to wonder: sworn to secrecy, why? It would be hard to generate a more anodyne document, even with a larger and duller committee; this committee was clearly large enough and dull enough that it could scarcely be improved upon, at least, in those critical metrics. The commissioners junketed to sites where they could expect to find Army stakeholders, including Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and Hawaii. A plurality of its public meetings, though, were held in DC so that an army (no pun intended) of lobbyists could bill their clients.

The Commission was asked to address two big issues:

  1. How the Army should best organize and employ the Total Force in a time of declining resources.
  2. Whether the Army should proceed with the transfer of AH-64 Apache aircraft from the reserve components to the Regular Army, as directed by the Army’s Aviation Restructure Initiative.1

NCFA-COVERART

Its report is here and it’s a typical Beltway snore from typical Beltway trough feeders: three retired four-stars, one retired three-star, a few politicians in the form of former service secretaries, a guy who was a military officer for three years and had never held a job in the productive economy since, an Illinois lawyer-lobbyist representing whoever paid him, and a few other Beltway insiders.

Naturally, their basic conclusion is: don’t do much of anything. Fiddle around the margins, and cut a couple hundred thousand in end strength (active and reserve components total).

They do identify some challenges ahead, like demographics.

RAND Corporation projections show that by 2025, the military age population will decline by 2.1 percent for ages 17–24, and 3.1 percent for ages 23–27, even as the total population grows. This decline in the recruiting-eligible population is particularly concerning given that less than half of the military age population is eligible for military service due to physical, educational, or behavioral fitness (e.g. criminal records).

Increased disqualifications for health will overwhelm small improvements in educational attainment and aptitude (as assessed by the Armed Forces Qualification Test). The military’s recent decision to allow women into all combat roles may slightly increase the eligible population, but women might not voluntarily join direct combat career fields in overly large numbers.2

Gee. Ya think? Is it just occurring to these geniuses now that feminizing the combat arms is going to provide full employment for every Woman in Sensible Shoes® in America (at least, the subset of them that can meet a height/weight standard, as opposed to the usual Fireplugs in Sensible Shoes®), while making a large enough number of young men lose interest, that the math comes up short every time?

But that’s OK. they’re looking for ways to lower the bar to meet the recruit.

The military could relax some criteria (e.g. tattoo restrictions or body piercings) without harming the quality of recruited personnel, but significant changes in the standards for physical fitness will likely result in a less-capable force. However, there may be room for carefully considered adjustments to physical standards for specific career fields, such as cyberspace operations.

Ah, that’s the ticket; they’ll just drop the standards to zero for the Cheetos-powered specialties like cyber and drone operators.

Look, we’re already dropping the standards off a cliff to open everything to women. Why not just bin the height and weight standards, and then our recruiting pool opens up to the other 95% of Fireplugs in Sensible Shoes®. Heck, that could bring ROTC to Smith for the first time!

The Army will continue to have the most difficult recruiting challenge within the Department of Defense based on the volume of enlistments needed and public perceptions concerning risk to the force.3

Translation: The fact that a fellow can get himself killed doing this, kind of undermines the sales pitch.

And in Europe, where 90% of the Cold War USAREUR strength is gone:

europe_army_drawdown

Buy hey, we’ve got Smart Diplomacy™, although it does seem to be smart only in the Idiocracy universe.

There are some substantive reforms in the report’s dozens of recommendations, although many of the recommendations are empty pablum and others are just screwy (they’re pushing the Army’s latest personnel-mega-computer-system boondoggle, which promises that Army paperwork will still be all screwed up, but a huge array of beltway “facilitators” and lawyer-lobbyists will be making serious money. But recommendations to integrate the Guard and Reserve more closely would be something worthwhile to pursue.

Of course, the devil is in the details, which are sometimes contradictory.

On the Apache question, they may actually have come up with a good idea — a better idea than either the turf-grab proposed by the Active Army, or the turf-defense that the National Guard Bureau countered with — but it needs a little more reading before we can write up a post on that, if we ever do. Interested parties should read that part of the document with an open mind.

Their suggestion of a system in which individuals can go back and forth between active and reserve component system service according to their desires and service needs is utopian in all senses of the word. It just can’t be done in the Army’s antiquated and over-legislated personnel system. (Any reform of the system that does not cut personnel officer and enlisted billets by 90% and automate their jobs isn’t enough).

And finally, consider this small plug for the Surveillance State:

The Army does not gain or share information with other government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, to maintain contact information for IRR members.4

Uh, no thanks. The IRS is rogue enough without having it share its data with every other bureaucrat who thinks he’s been touched by the Good Idea Fairy™.

And then there’s all the knob-polishing for a feckless senior leadership. did you know that they’re not planning cuts? Oh, no, they’re “garnering efficiencies from a smaller force.” The parrot isn’t dead; he’s just meeting SECARM energy-conservation standards.

In the end, it probably doesn’t matter. Most of these recommendations will be stillborn; institutional DC couldn’t successfully organize a lemonade stand. But hey, a gang of retired generals and lawyer/lobbyists got a free all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii out of it. There is that.

Notes

  1. Adapted from p. 13.
  2. P. 72.
  3. P. 72.
  4. P. 80.

Classification of Automatic Weapons Actions

Chinn used this chart in 1942 (it’s in Part X in Volume 4, and can be read or downloaded at this link — warning, it’s a monster .pdf). In it, he classifies the actions of the machine guns he knew:

chinn_machine_gun_systems

His choice of classifications is interesting, and he includes some designs that are not machine guns (Webley-Fosbery, Williams floating chamber). But he doesn’t include everything, if only because he drew this up some three-quarters of a century ago, and designers haven’t been idle.

What’s missing, and why?

The first thing we note is that externally powered MGs are not on the list, but then, he does define “automatic machine gun” as “A weapon capable of sustained fire with its operating energy being derived wholly from the force generated by the explosion of the propellant charge.” That’s a reasonable definition, although we’d quibble about “explosion” and perhaps substitute “combustion,” and it excludes both the then-obsolete mechanical machine guns like Gatling, Nordenfeldt and Gardner, and the then-unimagined powered gatlings of the 1950s and beyond.

The next absence is the direct impingement gas system. At the time, it either had just gone into service, or was just about to go into service, in Sweden in the Ljungman AG42, which had been in development only for about a year before its issue. Of course, the direct-impingement system is best known to us today through the Stoner AR variant, which works completely differently (having a de facto gas chamber inside the bolt carrier), and secondarily through the French MAS-49 and MAS-49/56 rifles.

What else is Chinn missing? Is there truly nothing else new under the sun in threescore years and ten?

The FBI Trickles Out Some Video from Oregon

This is coming out selectively, and at a pace that indicates that they are basically happy with how this happened. However, the aerial video makes one thing clear: how eyewitnesses can claim that LeVoy Finicum was shot because he drew a gun, while other eyewitnesses can claim that he was shot while his hands were up. At different times in the video he has his hands up and appears to go for a gun, and it’s impossible to know — without information the FBI continues to withhold, if they have it — whether he decided to commit Suicide by Many Cops, or whether he drew his gun in desperate defense after they began shooting him.

Again, without knowing who said what, when, it’s impossible to say whether he became compliant with their instructions, whether their instructions (as so often in a police encounter) contradicted one another, or who fired first.

It’s a certainty that he and others in the truck were not, initially, compliant.

Our tentative conclusion is that both “sides” of this one-sided gunfight will continue to feel wronged by the other guys.

The “Highlights Reel” — about 1/3 of the duration of the whole thing. We watched the whole thing, which is embedded at the bottom of this post, and only sped through this clip.

Here’s the FBI comment:

This is a shortened and edited version of FBI footage showing the joint FBI and Oregon State Police traffic stop and OSP officer-involved shooting of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. This condensed clip was shown at an FBI press conference in Burns, Oregon on 01/28/2016. The complete raw footage is available here: https://youtu.be/aAGxDWKrjPQ. Note regarding date/time stamp in the left corner of video: Pilots use Zulu Time, also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), when they fly. Zulu time is eight hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). Therefore, although this footage was taken on January 26, 2016 in Oregon, the date/time stamp on the video shows just after midnight January 27, 2016.

Our comments:

  1. We have said several times before, when Officer Friendly decides you’re going downtown, you’re going downtown. Further resistance at that point is not only futile, it just means you’re going downtown with a few lumps at best, or at the worst, going downtown to the morgue instead of the jail — as Finicum does.
  2. Without the audio, we can’t be sure who fired first. It could be any of three men in the video, or someone off screen.
  3. We can’t be sure whether Finicum drew or moved to draw first, or whether he did that in reaction to being shot at or shot.
  4. His hands were up at first, they went down it seems to keep his balance, and that seems to be when the officers lit him up, but we can’t be sure. (To the officers, at the time, this may have looked like he was going for a gun. In the overhead video it doesn’t look like that, but the guys on the scene didn’t have eyes on the overhead video, they had eyes on Finicum a mere three or four yards away.
  5. We don’t know if Finicum fired, but it seems unlikely. Whether he took shots before he attempted to draw, once he starts he’s clearly taking hits.
  6. We don’t know how many agents or officers fired, and how many shots. For reasons known only to the FBI, they’re sitting on that information. (most likely working out whether it’s better to bury it for good, or if it will be released, how to spin it. One of their concerns here will be the criminal cases against the truck passengers, and the jury pool. The jury pool’s probably not much of a concern, because they’ve set it up that the jurors will be predominantly from metro Portland).
  7. It appears that two or three agents or officers engaged Finicum: one with a pistol who had been on the flank, one with a shoulder weapon who had come up onto the snow, and possibly one who was at the fender of one of the roadblock trucks. Others may have fired as well, but these three are the closest.
  8. The left-handed officer who had been on the flank and fired down the hill fired directly towards his own guys. This may have caused the guys at the truck to think Finicum was engaging them, and they were taking incoming. (Well, they were taking incoming, albeit from their own guy. Which they might or might not have noticed).
  9. The same officer fired from the move — in deep snow — with no attempt to take up a stance. Some may interpret that as reckless, but it could also be that he could see he was threatened and needed to react immediately.
  10. In the case of perceived threats, there are certain psychophysiological reactions, including a narrowing of perceptual field both in breadth and depth. Thus, for the uphill officer, the friendlies behind Finicum might have been functionally invisible.
  11. Because of the angle of the helicopter’s video, the carbine-shooting officer is sometimes masked by trees and sometimes has his back to the video viewpoint. From this video alone, you can’t see what he’s doing.
  12. Several officers move towards Finicum as he appears to be trying to escape with his hands up. In retrospect they might have held their positions, as they had him surrounded. But once again, we don’t know what was said here. Finicum could have been screaming, “Fill your hands, you son of a bitch!” — or worse — for all we know.
  13. When Finicum goes down, he doesn’t move subsequently. It seems clear from the overhead video that he was DRT.
  14. Like the Soviets with Maj. Nicholson, the FBI makes no attempt to medically assess or aid LaVoy Finicum for well over ten minutes after he was shot. This is probably because they still had unknown persons in the truck and an unsecure scene, and possibly because or also because they could see he had unsurvivable, immediately fatal wounds, but it looks bad, and can be spun by conspiracy theorists. If you see a claim like that, remember the FBI’s probable reasons for holding their doc back.
  15. After the others all exit the truck, one at a time, hands up, and are taken into custody, agents move forward cautiously and clear the truck.
  16. Then, as a K9 comes forward to further check the truck, an FBI medic moves to Finicum and kneels beside him. It’s not possible to tell what he’s doing, if anything, but he stays there for some time.

This could have gone another way entirely. Our impression is that the lack of further shooting after Finicum goes down is an indicator of restraint on both sides.

One is reminded of the rockets the FBI took (deservedly) for HRTs staggeringly and incompetent reduction of the Branch Davidians compound, when the ATF, who wanted Koresh, could have just stopped David Koresh and arrested him any time on his peregrinations about Waco. Clearly the errors then informed their approach now, and they stopped and arrested the takeover ringleaders on their rounds (they were going to speak to the media and public in a nearby town). Had Finicum done what the other truck passengers did, he’d be alive and in jail and everyone would be sending the Bureau a Bravo Zulu.

It’s clear that the folks in the truck were not complying with instructions. They just sat in the truck for 5-6 minutes after the first attempted stop (from around 2:30 in the long video). And the authorities just sat in theirs. We have no way of knowing what was said, but it’s unlikely the cops told the truck occupants to stay in the running truck that long, or to just take off.

After they attempt to run away, the driver (presumably Finicum) tries to run around the roadblock through a thick snowbank and, naturally, bogs down. With no delay, the driver’s door opens and Finicum exits. Seconds later he is dead.

If the others in the truck were attempting to escape or resist — there’s no sign of this either way in the release — there was no indication of it after Finicum is shot dead. It appears that the rest of them exit slowly and individually and comply with instructions.

Lessons Learned So Far

There are some lessons learned here:

  1. If you provoke an armed encounter with the authorities, you’re going to get an armed encounter with the authorities. They can’t and won’t back down; they understand that any loss of face risks a collapse in the social order, so they will meet such a challenge every time.
  2. Cue the late Bobby Fuller: LaVoy Finicum fought the law, and the law won. Regardless of who did what, he’s still dead, and there were many times he could have made a decision that would not have left him dead, regardless of what the FBI did or intended. (Except for the occasional sociopath who slips through, and contrary to what a lot of Bundy supporters seem to think about them, Special Agents are not fangs-out hoping to kill anybody).
  3. The FBI, and most agencies, need more post-shooting transparency. Don’t believe us? Mental exercise: this shootout happens in Chicago or NYFC, and LaVoy and his crew are black gangbangers. What would The Reverends be saying by now? How would the Post and the Times be covering it? In this case, the Bureau lucks out: the national media sympathize with the FBI because the criminals are the media’s favorite boogeymen. Ask Wilson Goode what the media does when the criminal movement (in his case, MOVE) are minority members and your cops whack ’em.
  4. Absence of information (and media fabrications to fill the 24-hour news cycle in this absence) is the fertilizer that makes conspiracy theories grow. Conspiracy theories lead to people’s estrangement from ordinary society. Estrangement leads to “compounds” and standoffs. If you’re The Law®. you should want to disincentivize that process of estrangement and incentivize normal, rational paths of dispute resolution.
  5. Administrative law is increasingly looking lawless, with its administrative “courts” a rubber stamp, not a normal, rational path of dispute resolution.

Some More General Thoughts

This whole mess began because a Federal prosecutor (like all of them an effete urbanite with many years in Eastern elite colleges) thought it would be amusing to make a felony out of some careless brush burnoffs by a couple of ranchers, and send the hayseeds to prison.

People in the East (ourselves included) have little appreciation for the degree to which the people of the rural West find themselves at odds with the managers of Federal agencies like the BLM and the EPA. Those agencies have eastern, urban, even Luddite values, values that are foreign and inimical to the agricultural and extractive industries on which so many Western livelihoods depend. The agencies’ managers, based always in the Imperial City of Washington and fully socialized to Washington values, radiate contempt for their de facto serfs.

It’s impossible how to predict how LaVoy Finicum and the Bundys will be remembered some decades or a century down the road. John Brown, a similar lawbreaker, still does not produce a consensus almost two centuries on: was he principled, crazed, or both?

But it’s disturbing the degree to which this feels like the period of Bloody Kansas and the John Brown Raid. People are divided, bitter, and bloody-minded. We know where the failure to find a political resolution to the widening schism in the 1850s wound up. Anyone who wants the current schism to go there is out of his ever-lovin’ mind. American deaths in the Civil War were 2.5% of the population, predominantly productive-age men; that proportion would be about 8.25 million today. Both sides committed the sort of bestial atrocities that always seem to arise in civil wars. And while the two big issues were resolved: Slavery; and who is to be master, Feds or States — the cultural issues still fester like an antibiotic-resistant abscess.

We’re at the cusp of a Century of Enlightenment, or a new Dark Age, made more monstrous than Churchill might have imagined by not only the black lights of perverted science, but the raw power of unaccountable authority.

After the jump, the full-length video (and an Update):

Continue reading

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Fear

Panic-Button

Panic is fear that rises to a level that can confound thinking and induce paralysis.

Everyone dies of something, but this old lady killed herself with nothing but fear. Too afraid to drive in snow, she sat through a multi-day blizzard, and sometime during the ordeal passed away.

What a sad end to a long life.

Lieutenant Justin Derevyanik of the Hackensack Fire Department says an engine company was called to respond at 8:23 a.m. to assist police and paramedics at the Burger King parking lot on Hackensack Avenue.

The body of a 78-year-old woman from Medford, N.Y. was found inside the Cadillac, which police say had been there since Saturday night.

According to police, the woman told employees of the Burger King that she would be parked there because she was afraid of driving in the snow.

Once the storm hit, though, the woman became trapped, and plow drivers further snowed the vehicle in without realizing it was occupied.

It is unclear when and how she died, but no foul play is suspected. The woman had not been reported missing.

via Body found in partially snow-covered car in Hackensack Burger King parking lot | abc7ny.com.

Lord love a duck. If there’s a purpose served by being afraid of one’s own shadow, we surely do not know what it is.

 

Homeland Security is in the Very Best of Hands

What do you do if you’re the federal police? And say, your general jurisdiction, “homeland security,” is mostly nonsense; and your specific jurisdiction, things like borders, immigration, and pursuit of criminal aliens, is unwanted by your Washington lords and masters?

If you’re a senior manager, you cover for your people when they lose what we called in the service, their “sensitive items.” You spend your time on social-justice “diversity” initiatives, and other partisan politics, including promoting partisan gun control groups and initiatives. And you offer your agents, who joined up to lock up bad guys, bread and circuses. The latest circus being the ICE Top Dog dog show.

ITEM: We Don’t Need no Steenking Badges!

Hey, maybe Gold Hat was a DHS agent. (Of course, "We don't need..." doesn't come from this movie. But people think it does).

Hey, maybe Gold Hat was a DHS agent. (Of course, “We don’t need…” doesn’t come from this movie. But people think it does).

Well, apparently the answer to that is DHS, because starting in Fiscal Year 2013, through the first half of Fiscal 2015, roughly one thousand three hundred DHS badges or credentials came up missing. If you want the approximate breakdown of bozosity, CBP lost 900, ICE lost 300, and USCIS lost 200. A local news site, Complete Colorado, got the records with a FOIA request.

If you want to average it out as a rate, that’ over 500 badge lost every year, over 40 a month.

But the badges are only part of what the agency loses track of: 165 department guns went walkabout in the same period — almost 70 a year, 5 or 6 every month. No word on whether any of the agents who lost their badges lost their guns, too.

The department also loses about 1,000 computers a year.

No word on whether anyone suffered any career consequences, but really, what do you think? People go to work for the government because they know they won’t have to meet standards or be responsible for what they do. Impunity? It’s an entitlement. 

The truth is out there, as some lame TV show said. You know what else is out there? A whole metric crapton of missing badges and guns.

But it thinks it’s doing a great job: it used to lose 300 firearms in about the same period, so losing a gun or two a week, every week, is an improvement. Bonuses all around!

And over the years, they’ve made one small change to their FOIA returns: they deleted the column showing the cost of the lost item. This particular marker of waste is no longer disclosable, which is to say, it is now a state secret.

Homeland Security’s in the very best of hands.

ITEM: Immigration and Customs Enforcement Diversity Initiative

This is what they are doing, instead of operations.

From: HSI OPS TASKING
 Sent: Friday, January 15, 2016 4:10 PM
 To: #HSI SAC OFFICES; #HSI Assistant Directors
 Subject: HSI Attendance at Diversity Events (311)
At the request of Assistant Director Dennis A. Ulrich, Domestic Operations, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the following message is being sent to all Assistant Directors and Special Agents in Charge. Please disseminate to all appropriate personnel.
The Office of Diversity and Civil Rights is in the process of preparing event packages for diversity related events.  The event approval process takes several months, and ICE is committed to preparing the packages well in advance to hopefully avoid approval delays.  For FY16, each HSI SAC and AD will be able to nominate two employees for attendance at an approved diversity event.  Travel for your two employees will be covered by a Headquarters centralized budget, and registration fees will be covered by your office purchase card.  HSI will focus on diversity events that have a law enforcement focus.  The list of approved events are as follows:
Diversity Event Dates Location Website
National Latin Peace Officers Association (NLPOA) May 15 – 28, 2015 Milwaukee, WI
http://www.nlpoamilwaukee.org/
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officers (NOBLE) July 16 – 21, 2016 Washington, DC http://noblenational.org/2016_washington_dc_conference.aspx
Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) July 18-22, 2016 Reston, VA http://www.wifle.org/leadershiptraining2016/index.htm
National Organization of Black Women in Law Enforcement (NOBWLE) August 17 – 20, 2016 TBD http://www.nobwlenational.org/events2.html
ICE Hispanic Agents Association (HAA) TBD TBD http://www.icehaa.org/
National Asian Peace Officers Association (NAPOA) August 15 – 18, 2016 New York, NY http://napoablue.org/
National Native American Law Enforcement Association(NNALEA) September 22-24, 2016 TBD http://nnalea.org/wordpress1/
Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) November 16 – 20, 2016 TBD http://hapcoa.org/
Asian American Law Enforcement Association (HAPCAO) TBD TBD http://www.aalea.org/events-3/
Each HSI Assistant Director and SAC are requested to provide two nominees and the diversity event he or she wishes to attend to HSI OPS Tasking atHSIOPSTASKING@ice.dhs.govno later than 12:00pm EST,  Wednesday, January 20, 2016.   The following information is requested:
  • Nominee name, office location, email address, and diversity event he/she would like to attend.
Please note that all diversity events will require approval at the ICE or Department level depending on the number of proposed attendees.  As a result,please DO NOT register any employee for an event until final approval is received.  Nominated employees will be contacted directly with a travel string once events are approved.

Many of the diversity-racket sponsors have integrated their messaging with The Party and the Bloomberg anti-gun groups. For example, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) displays the following banner:

diversity_propaganda_meets_gun_ban_propaganda

In other words, these are not apolitical groups intended to advance minority law officers; they’re partisan political groups and the HSI agents (and ERO officers, and CBP agents, etc. etc.) sent to these meetings are all part of the Party’s election-year messaging efforts.

Diversity! Diversity! Diversity is our Vibrancy!

Repeat as needed.

Homeland Security is in the very best of hands.

Item: The ICE Top Dog Contest.

You may recall, we’ve mentioned this before. As you might expect, most of the contestants are the Pekingese and Pomeranians of the headquarters staffers — the lapdogs’ lapdogs, if you will. But a few of the entries seem to personify the spirit of the line-dog 1811s, like amorous ol’ Bubba here:

ice_top_dog_bubba

Yes, Bubba is a real, ranked entry in the competition. You can see some more entries in this partial dump.

icedogsign

Actually, we could probably tie Sarah Saldanadanna in knots by sending in an anonymous tip that the Top Dog contest is haram because dogs are najis, unclean. She has offended against Islam!

If it were presented right, she just might behead herself.

Homeland Security? It’s in the very best of hands paws.

Hidden Camera: Automatic Weapons with No Background Check!

Steven Crowder goes undercover to find the “automatic weapons without background checks” at gun shows or dealers, that folks like Mike Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley (who’s he?) and some guy with the funny name Obama insist he can.

Oddly enough, Crowder does not succeed in his quest.

“I need a gun, like, now! Will you sell me one without a background check?”

“No way.”

“Sonofableeep.

Best part of the video is, in our opinion, some of the clips of politicians saying absolutely inane things about guns and the gun market.

It’s entertaining for how creeped out people get by his repeated requests that they break the law for him. At one point, he’s telling a woman that he can’t pass a background check because he… well, you gotta watch the video.

The USMLM and Soviet Technology

USMLM's ex-Keitel digs in Berlin.

USMLM’s ex-Keitel digs in Berlin.

Tank and AFV News has a great article, an extended version of one that author James Warford, an expert in Soviet tanks, published in the tankers’ branch magazine, Armor. We’ve always liked tanks, as very interesting weapons and technology in their own right, even though they strike us as a pretty awful place to die. Likewise, we’ve always been interested in espionage, and this is a story of a very peculiar kind of espionage that took place under an extremely strange and historically unique set of rules of engagement on all sides.

If the intel collectors stayed within the letter of the agreement, they had near-diplomatic immunity. But then, they couldn’t always get the access they wanted to the targets they were tasked with collecting on. If they bent the rules, immunity was gone, and they could (and did) get detained, threatened, beaten up, and shot.

usmlm_potsdam_house

USMLM Potsdam House, 1964. This originally belonged to a Hohenzollern prince.

You might say Big Boy Rules were very much in effect, in the heyday of the Four Powers Military Liaison Missions.

Under the postwar Huebner-Malinin Agreement, each ally maintained a “liaison mission” in the opposing side’s zone. In no time at all, these “liaison missions” became, primarily, sanctioned — but limited — spies. (Technically, the US could maintain one in the French or British zone, and vice versa, but in fact three missions were loose in the Soviet sector, and one — the Soviet Military Liaison Mission — in the three Western Allied sectors. Berlin had originally been divided into thirds for occupation, and the US and UK gave up slices of their zones so that the French could have a sector of their own. But the three Western allies cooperated and competed in spying on the Group of Soviet Forces Germany).

A Ford Custom Sedan was the usual vehicle in the sixties, and the drivers praised its off-road ability -- as modified.

A Ford Custom Sedan was the usual vehicle in the sixties, and the drivers praised its off-road ability — as modified.

The US mission was based in a compound in Potsdam in the Soviet Sector, and in what had been a secret command post of Wehrmacht Field Marshal Keitel in Berlin. Americans being car-happy, our effort was characterized by “tours” or patrols in modified sedans or SUVs, like the 1963 Ford seen here that was used in 1963-65. A tour may have seemed aimless to the Soviet counterintelligence elements tasked with thwarting it, but each one had specific targets and a concrete plan.

 

Early USMLM plate, and new 1964-89 version, right. Yes, the mission commander had one on his personal Corvette in '64.

Early USMLM plate, and new 1964-89 version, right. Yes, the mission commander had one on his personal Corvette in ’64.

Same style plate, a couple of decades later.

Same style plate, a couple of decades later.

The military liaison mission vehicles had distinct license plates. (NATO vets will remember their SMLM card, which described what to do and what to report if you saw the Soviet mission’s vehicles).

Flogged hard, a mission vehicle lasted some 25,000 miles. A mission team was two men, an NCO driver who was proficient (ideally, natively fluent) in German, and an officer LNO who had had an extensive course in Russian (fluency would have been nice but we’re unaware of any time this happened, while native-fluent German-American drivers were common).

Just one example of how successful the “Tri-Mission” (US, British and French) efforts were over the years, and the true depths that these dedicated and courageous team members would go to gather intelligence, can be seen in their response to the Soviet Army practice of “litter-bugging.” It seems that the Soviets were notorious for throwing away valuable documents and paperwork and leaving them in un-secure trash dumps when they moved from one location to another. Going through these trash dumps had been part of USMLM operations for some time but it wasn’t until 1976 that a more formalized and intensified effort was launched. It wasn’t long before these efforts were coordinated under a program called SANDDUNE. SANDDUNE produced a wide variety of intelligence including Soviet Army unit training schedules, tank firing tables, vehicle maintenance manuals, troop rotation plans, radio call-signs and frequencies and new equipment technical documentation, to name a few.

BRIXMIS had a very similar program to SANDDUNE called Operation Tamarisk. Tamarisk was equally successful and published accounts describe BRIXMIS team members not only digging through trash dumps but also through retired latrines and sites used for medical waste disposal. The examination of medical waste sites understandably proved to be challenging for mission members. “It was an extreme strain on the boys to do that job. But it did produce what might be called surgical memorabilia which linked the stuff to (Soviet) battle wounds.”5

The Holy Grail -- imagery of the inside of the highly secret T-64A was obtained by US and British missions.

The Holy Grail — imagery of the inside of the highly secret T-64A was obtained by US and British missions.

Perhaps the most significant find to result from SANDDUNE and Tamarisk efforts over the years was made near a Soviet Army barracks at Neustrelitz, in Northern East Germany in 1981. A Tamarisk operation conducted by three BRIXMIS team members “under the noses of sleeping (Soviet) sentries,”6 produced a personal logbook. The logbook was written in Russian and included technical drawings. According to a British Military Intelligence Officer who had knowledge of what the logbook contained and who subsequently debriefed the team that discovered it, “it was (at the time) the most important thing we have had from any source for ten years.”7 The logbook contained top-secret information detailing the composition of the armor and the strengths and weaknesses of the new Soviet T-64A. The logbook also contained the same type of information regarding the even newer and more mysterious T-80B MBT

via James Warford on the USMLM and the T-64 – Tank and AFV News.

You’ve probably heard of the greatest failure of USMLM, the incident in which the LNO was shot by a sentry, and then the Soviets denied him medical treatment until he bled out. (His driver subsequently went SF).

Soviet pass for a mission vehicle.

Soviet pass for a mission vehicle.

This story, because of its location and Warford’s interests, concentrates on technical intelligence about tanks. However, the USMLM, BRIXMIS, and the FMLM all collected military intelligence of all kinds: technical intelligence, imagery, and other disciplines, sources and methods that are best left in the vault, even though the military liaison missions are no more. And they did it against all arms and services. Mission-gained intelligence could often corroborate or leverage intelligence gathered through other means, and vice versa.

Interior of the pass. It is for a 1965 Ford Custom which was assembled in Mahwah, NJ with the 4-barrel 352 cid engine -- not, as frequently reported, a hi-po engine.

Interior of the pass. It is for a 1965 Ford Custom which was assembled in Mahwah, NJ with the 4-barrel 352 cid engine — not, as frequently reported, a hi-po engine.

Naturally, the Soviet Military Liaison Mission (SMLM) was doing the exact same to the West at the exact same time. Such was the Cold War!

The reason this report’s a bit schizophrenic, with Warford’s reports of 1980s effort and our comment on how they did it in the 1960s, is because we can also provide a 1964 historical report (the source of all these black and white pictures) which has been declassified. It was an interesting year, with the Soviets shooting down two US aircraft, casualties of the Cold War who are forgotten today.

USMLM 1964 Report.pdf

Very little seems to have changed in the practices and procedures of the USMLM, except that by the mid-80s they had American sedans and also West German vehicles, including Mercedes Geländewagen SUVs.

With the loss of the Soviet satellite/slave states in Eastern Europe, this mission came to an end, and both Western and Russian spooks had to find other ways to keep tabs on one another. Of course, they did. But during the Cold War of over forty years, they ran military liaison missions in each other’s back yard!