Mr. Rose has produced a brilliant video on how the Constitution enables the legalized theft of your time and wealth,  The former especially if you withhold the latter. -BB

See:

https://www.brasschecktv.com/page/900.html

This extractive power is UNLIMITED in the original document.  By the tenth anniversary of the ratification of this regrettable document, the taxes levied on excises, land, homes, slaves and document was well under way as established law.  Later to be rubber stamped by the “independent” Federal judiciary.

I urge you not to take my word for it nor that of the eminent Mr. Rose.  Read the Constitution.  Read the Anti-Federalist papers.  Read the Articles of Confederation.  Ignore anything you see on the television; as a matter of fact, cut off your cable or satellite immediately.

Here is my challenge to every one of my readers:  prove me wrong.  Show me that the Constitution lost its way and it was originally a blueprint for limited government.  Good luck, you will need it.

And as a a corollary to this investigation, answer this innocent question: what government in Western history has ever limited its power and grown smaller and weaker over time?

Government is never the solution, it is always the problem.  -BB

“…Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better– This is a most valuable, — a most sacred right — a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world…”

-Abraham Lincoln 1848

There’s been a stubborn paradox historically. It stands to reason that all nations as they perish and evolve from the ashes over time through their lifecycles are usually born out of separation and independence as secession movements to form their own aggregate nation-states.  Whether the bifurcation of the Roman Empire or the hundreds of other polities born of divorce, the paradox is that nation-states in their death throes (self-awareness of this is not always evident, witness the Soviet death in 1989) jealously and viciously fight the ability of subsidiary parts of their polity to have a peaceful divorce historically.  This has usually ended in bloodshed or enmity that has lasted for generations.  The states which fight the most vociferously have the most to lose.  In the case of these united States, the tax farmers in DC have the most lucrative protection racket ever devised in mankind’s history.  In addition to the tax revenues, they have ingeniously engineered a “fiscal debt” system which allows them to borrow enormous amounts of money with no intention of ever paying down the principle and servicing the deficit with a fiat currency largely “manufactured” out of thin air.  Its demise is economically imminent.

It appears the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that the 2008 secession of Kosovo from Serbia was perfectly justifiable. It was not a violation of any existing international law. While I think that the Serbians were certainly abused and maligned in the late 1990s during our unjustified and violent incursions against them by both the US and NATO, it provides a salutary lesson in independence and secession for all those who desire this watching from around the globe.  Jason Ditz wrote:

ICJ President Owada Hisashi declared that there was no part of international law that was meant to be a “prohibition on declarations of independence.” Serbia had refused to recognize the secession, as had a number of other nations with prospective separatist movements.

Though Kosovo’s declaration of independence is comparatively recent, the nation has been separated from Serbia in practice since 1999, and continues to be occupied by NATO troops to this day, though the exact purpose of the occupation at this point remains unclear at best.

The nonbinding opinion, passed in a 10 to 4 vote by court judges, sets the stage for Kosovo to renew its appeals for further international recognition. The tiny Balkan country has been recognized by 69 countries, including the United States and most European Union nations. It needs 100 for full statehood. I find it bureaucratically obnoxious that you would need 100 other nations to recognize you from a diplomatic and economic perspective in order to grant legitimate statehood in the international arena.  It appears to be an arbitrary standard cooked up by the worthies at the United Nations (UN).

(more…)

Ron Holland and I met at Freedom Fest 2010.  He was the moderator in the debate I had with Dr. Daniel Walker Howe. He and I got on famously and found that we had a lot in common as far as our perspectives on liberty and freedom and notably both the First and Second American Revolutions. He penned an interesting and well-crafted essay on LewRockwell today called Back to the Articles!

Here is an excerpt:

Finally, two key points about this proposal need to be discussed. First, it isn’t necessary for all 50 states to go through the state convention process and obtain the necessary majority support to secede from the federal government and then join a restored Articles of Confederation. In fact, it may not be necessary for even one state to actually secede from the current Washington-led forced political union.

Just the birth of a strong “Back to the Articles” movement and the creation of state independence groups with the avowed intention of repudiating the massive national debts placed on this and future generations by political and monetary elites against the will of the people could solve the coming debt and dollar problems. The threat of state independence and debt repudiation together with a new debt-free Articles of Confederation national government could be enough to force Washington and Congress to control the debt and dramatically cut spending themselves.

(more…)

For those interested, the debate has disappeared from the internet.

I just returned from Freedom Fest 2010 in Las Vegas from 8-10 July.  Well over 2000 attendees were there and I debated Dr. Daniel Walker Howe on the Articles of Confederation versus the Constitution on FRI afternoon.  The debate was quite cordial and I do not think that Dr. Howe had a good weather gauge of the audience or the focus of the entire conference.  He is an erudite and gentle man but he clearly thought that a conventional rendering of the benefits of Constitutional government and the usual bigger is better pep speech on the joys of Federal living would suffice.  Au contraire.  I get the sense now that libertarians and liberty-loving conservatives (what few there are) are losing patience with the usual arguments and rationales for better living through bigger government.

There were about two hundred folks in the audience and my arguments seemed to be well received.  I was asking for a complete change of perspective.  Not only was I actively criticizing a document that has an almost mythical reverence rendered to it across the political spectrum but I was plumbing parts of our history that have been willfully and actively been ignored and distorted.  Not only was I questioning the very legitimacy of THE Founding Document but asking people to examine its real effects over the span of time since its ignoble creation and adoption.  The Founding myth has so permeated our consciousness that it has created a practically indestructible meme that has penetrated from right to left.  Whether collectivist or individualist, all the usual suspects have been able to bend the document to their will whether to advance war, social programs or freedom.  This should have set off warning alarums long ago to show that the document is so flexible and malleable that it may have no substance which can actually liberate folks from government control.

I had the joy of seeing Tom Woods give what was the best speech of the conference on new book, Nullification, and bring the house down.  I have stated before that the Supremes and the entire fetid Federal judiciary serve only to rubber stamp the tyranny production emanating from every facet of the Executive Branch.  Woods opined that he discovered that between the years 1937 and 1995, the Federal Courts had not overturned a single US regulation.  Good God!  No surprise to the readers of this blog.

I got to see Thomas DiLorenzo give a great speech on the Lincolnian nightmare we presently live in and what got us here.  I also saw Larry Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education dismember and devour an unfortunate PhD Keynesian apologist who had deigned to defend the socialist policies of the RedDR machine in the 1930s and 1940s.  One almost needed an apron because of the intellectual blood spatter.

My wife and adult children had come with me but the wife and daughter had little interest in the conference.  I had strategically booked the Mandalay Bay to ensure my beloved bride would be amused while I was otherwise engaged at the festivities.   I had the fortune of both my adult children meeting us in Vegas and my son, Kyle, was really excited by the opportunity to get the intellectual shot in the arm that the conference always delivers on.  My favorite Congressional candidate, Brian Miller, was there and he got to meet some important folks like the future Presidential contender for the Grand Old Politburo, Gary Johnson, former two term libertarian governor of New Mexico.   Both are that rara avis in the political candidacy of early 21st century America – genuine lovers of freedom and liberty.  I am hoping that by 2012 their respective races will be confined to the west where they will run on new national tickets after America breaks apart and finally divides into its natural constituent parts.

All in all, a very satisfying opportunity to see the superstars of the liberty movement in America.  The show booths were a great time to see new books on the market and meet some of the authors.

I am now a confirmed speaker at the Freedom Summit in Phoenix, AZ 4-6 December 2010 helmed by the energizer bunny of libertarianism, Ernie Hancock.  My speech is entitled, “Secession and the End of America:  The Coming deSovietization of the West”.  This is the same weekend as the Small Arms Review Gun Show so the weekend will be the best combination of guns and freedom.

I will be posting the debate in audio as soon as I work through the technical issues of getting it posted for this very techie-challenged blogger.

My Editor-at-Large brought this to my attention and I would like to cover two issues.  He is dead-on with his assessment of the intelligence debacle we have from soup to nuts under the auspices of all the intelligence dynasties competing for monies at the trough.

There are several notions Steele advanced that made me pause and say BS but overall a sound synopsis of why intelligence is broken in the US and around the world in our alleged fealties.  I still don’t understand his admonition about Lincoln and Kennedy printing money and dying for it.  I wanted to briefly discuss why this is a major concern and something my readers have to get their head around.

The four reserve banks in America’s history were engineered from the beginning to finance a warfare/welfare state on the basis of interest payment service with no fiscal intention of paying on the balance – ever.  This is the grand strategic modus operandi of the Constitution and why despite the protestations of the usual suspects and the Tea Party movement, we cannot go back to our roots because WE NEVER LEFT THEM.  This bankrupt self-destructive system in place today is the continuing design artifact of the original authors tuned over time.  The year 1835 is the ONLY year in American history we have not had a national debt and you know how Andrew Jackson is treated by the court historians.

“I sincerely believe… that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

–Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816. ME 15:23

The state must make war on external enemies or enemies within at the Federal level because that is the basis of all fiat currencies.  The British Empire sustained itself through the imposition of a credit-worthiness which could only service the interest payments and NEVER the principle balance, it is a fiscal impossibility to service the debt and pay down principle without the imposition of a crippling tax burden which would destroy the system for the government tax farmers because their once compliant taxpayers would revolt or refuse to pay.  It is no coincidence that Washington was marching on tax protesters a mere four year after the adoption of the Constitution.  I repeat, the Constitution is an ingenious device designed to service an unlimited state and provide the means for a fiscal-military state to sustain itself over time.  It is impossible to pay down the current acknowledged debt and not destroy the vestiges of the productive economy at the same time.  The only avenue left for our rulers is to continue to print money with no value or baseline whatsoever and hope that the adequate job of government education has made most Americans too dull and insipid to notice.  They are banking on your intellectual ineptitude.

Greece paid Goldman Sachs 300 million to help it hide its debt from the EU.  That is why I use the term “acknowledged” because frankly, we have no accurate idea neither how much debt we have nor what the magnitude of money expansion has done to the valuations of these instruments such as Treasury Bonds.  We have yet to register the Alt-A resets and the implosion of the commercial real estate market which is artificially floated on a perverse tax system and depreciations which serve government accounting methodologies but would bankrupt companies competing in a truly free market.

We even see Jefferson starting to predate Lysander Spooner’s keen observations by decades.  To wit:

“Ought not then the right of each successive generation to be guaranteed against the dissipations and corruptions of those preceding, by a fundamental provision in our Constitution? And if that has not been made, does it exist the less, there being between generation and generation as between nation and nation no other law than that of nature? And is it the less dishonest to do what is wrong because not expressly prohibited by written law? Let us hope our moral principles are not yet in that stage of degeneracy, and that in instituting the system of finance to be hereafter pursued we shall adopt the only safe, the only lawful and honest one, of borrowing on such short terms of reimbursement of interest and principal as will fall within the accomplishment of our own lives.”

–Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 1813. ME 13:360

More on Steele:   https://www.echochamberproject.com/informationpeacekeeping

I have a confession.  I am a geardo.  I love kit in all its varieties from camo to bags to clothing to slings and everything in between.  I just upgraded my Level III EDC mag to a new Maxpedition Versipak EDC in Khaki.  I rely on two sites primarily as a community of interest to feed this addiction and they are linked on this site:

EDC Forums and Military Morons

Doug Ritter’s site at Equipped to Survive is also outstanding but not quite as comprehensive or exhaustive in the breadth of reviews and TTP (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures).

You never leave your house anticipating a head-on collision or an untoward event of any kind but you will discover that if you prepare ahead both mentally and materially, your chances of coming out ahead will increase exponentially.  It takes approx three thousand repetitions of a process to make it a battle drill which you don’t “think” through such as drawing and firing a handgun.  BUT…it takes approx ten thousands repetition to unscrew a bad habit of doing business.  Gear helps but don’t fall into the trap of thinking the gear will suffice without associated training and familiarity with equipment.

In the shooting community, a man’s ability to field a very expensive rifle in the field is inversely proportional to his ability to employ it with skill.  My lightly modified Glocks consistently outperform two to five thousand dollar 1911 pistols because I have invested the time in training and at the range to ratchet up my skill level to a higher standard.

Check out this example of either the pursuit of excellence or the height of geekdom.  A tip of the hat to ACHE over at EDC Forums who put together this absolutely exhaustive overview of building his Level III EDC bag.

Level I…..The smallest and lightest of all the kits with the least ammunt of capability.
Level II…..A modified version of what was my 2nd generation Level III. Similar in capability to my current setup but based on another bag which limits it’s size and it’s capabilities.
Level III….One could say this is my “true” EDC, since it’s the system I carry 95% of the time. Everywhere I go, it’s never more than an arms reach away and strapped to my back whenever I’m walking.
Level IV…This is my BOB/EVAC bag. It’s not an EDC since it never gets carried, but is always ready to be picked up on the run in case I need to abandon my home, it has equal capabilities to my Level III in many areas but with much more capable kits for the types of needs one could have in an evacuation scenario.

It is amazing the level of detail shown but it proves out one axiom I learned in the military:  meticulous preparation is a large part of good luck.  Over the next few months I would like to expand this series and approach the various “kits” one may need and some of the organizational schemes out there to make these functional and ultimately useful in a crisis if the need arises.keep in mind that it is simply the gear but your ability to employ it skillfully and effectively.

 

I have often thought that not only is dueling an unfairly maligned tradition but one whose application today could stiffen the spine of an estrogen-laden society and put more of a “point” to affairs of honor.  I can think of several instances in my own life where this would have resolved a difficulty.  Manners are the lubricant of civilization and alas, they are quickly perishing in America with the resultant coarseness, rudeness and cultural illiteracy that pervades the country today.  Part of this is a result of the loss of classical education, a complete lack of historical knowledge and the increasing prevalence of women of both sexes held high as the enviable male paradigm.  We are a nation with a surfeit of males but fewer men.  Men know what they are about and have an idea of their measure under arduous or dangerous circumstances.

Some have served in the military, some participate in adventure sports and some in dangerous professions (like firefighters not cops).  Being a cop is one of the safest occupations in America outside of the self-induced pathologies of over-eating, alcoholism and suicide.  Check the FBI statistics.

The concept of honor is a dying creed so I expect very few adherents will step forward to advocate for the renewal of dueling as a dispute resolution mechanism.  Honor would be a necessary preamble to even champion dueling.  Guns or swords?  Let’s make both available as a choice for consenting combatants.  I would again commend your attention to the excellent book – “The Compleat Gentleman” by Brad Miner.  While you are at it, take a look at the dozens of sword-fighting texts available from the Renaissance era in Europe during the high era of fighting salons.  The pity is there are hundreds more which have yet to be translated from the Latin, Italian, German or French into English. -BB

Charles Moore reviews ‘Pistols at Dawn’ by John Campbell.

This book gives an entertaining account of eight famous political feuds, starting with Fox and Pitt and ending with Blair and Brown. Other reviewers have compared one rivalry with another. I want to concentrate on the idea raised by the book’s title, that of the duel.

In only one of the eight stories (which also include Gladstone vs Disraeli and Heath vs Thatcher) were “pistols at dawn” literally employed. Exactly 200 years ago, in the middle of the Napoleonic wars, Britain launched a military and naval expedition to Walcheren in Holland. It failed. George Canning, the foreign secretary, sought covertly to blame his rival, Lord Castlereagh, and to have him removed from the War Office.

When Castlereagh discovered what was going on, he wrote to Canning: “You continued to sit in the same Cabinet with me, and to leave me not only in the persuasion that I possessed your confidence and support as a colleague, but you allowed me to… proceed in the Execution of a new Enterprise of the most arduous and important nature, with your apparent concurrence… You were fully aware that if my situation in the government had been disclosed to me, I could not have submitted to remain one moment in office, without the entire abandonment of my private honour and public duty. You knew I was deceived, and you continued to deceive me.” Castlereagh demanded “satisfaction”, by which he meant a duel. The two men met on Putney Heath. Both missed with their first shots, but Castlereagh insisted on a second round and wounded Canning in the thigh, without doing him serious injury.

There was a public scandal: duelling was against the law. Both men resigned, but both later returned to high office: Castlereagh’s career, which had been expiring, revived, while Canning ultimately, though briefly, became prime minister.

In the autumn of 2004, Tony Blair announced his intention to fight the next election as prime minister and, if victorious, to serve the whole of the subsequent term. Gordon Brown, who thought he had been told the opposite the day before, felt betrayed. The “understanding” that the two had sealed at the Granita restaurant in 1994 – that Brown would succeed Blair – had, he thought, been broken. “There is nothing that you could say to me now that I could ever believe,” the chancellor told the prime minister.

So for Mr Brown, as for Castlereagh, it was a matter of honour. But of course it did not occur to Mr Brown to challenge Mr Blair to a duel. Instead, the modern equivalents of the duellists’ “seconds” were the rival armies of spin doctors, and so the contest was carried on, at public expense, through the media.

The feud continued, despite a truce during the general election campaign, in which the two were filmed eating ice creams together. It resulted in a parliamentary coup against Mr Blair in the autumn of 2006 which, strictly speaking, failed, but which persuaded the prime minister (luckily, as it turned out, for him) to bring forward his date of departure.

John Campbell considers the Granita deal about the succession a “devil’s bargain”. He quotes the view of Thomas Grenville, in 1812: “When two men ride a horse, one must ride behind.” He is surely right, but the Brown/Blair story does illustrate the difficulties with which politics is saddled if there is no accepted code of honour.

The form of the duel – with its pointless deaths, inherent injustice and absurd pride – seems to us against reason and morality. But it did answer a problem that always confronts human society: how can one settle a dispute between essentially equal parties?

See the rest.

I read OSA in December of last year and it left quite an impression on me.  I considered myself well-versed in the potential of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) but had not thought though the implications for the new America.  An America in which the work ethic has perished and people have no idea where their food comes from.  I would suggest you pick this book up and read it.  It is a rather fast read and entertaining. Again, get your preps in order because there is nothing in the future of America that portends a land of milk and honey. -BB

Letter Re: “One Second After” — A Book Review with Some Advice

I have been reading the novel One Second After by William R. Forstchen. I just finished it. Whew, what a heavy book. I decided to write it up as a “lessons learned” book review. A couple of you may be wondering why I sent this to you. Well, I just thought of you and know you to be like-minded … I think. That is, concerned about what the future holds for us as a nation, as crazy and uncertain as things are getting in the world. I’ve been following the elctromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat for a couple of years now and regrettably, just now made myself purchase my own copy of this novel and read it.

My initial reaction, to get to the point, is that it is my hope is that each of you will buy a copy of this novel for your own personal libraries. It should go on the “Mandatory Reading” list, right next to “Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse” , by James Rawles.

EMP is a very real threat, as is the threat of a major economic collapse, as addressed in Rawles’ novel, “Patriots”.

Since I expect most all of you will acquire your own copy, I’ll spare the commentary of the characters’ specific experiences, and get to what I gleaned as “lessons learned.” I’d love to hear feedback from each of you and know your thoughts.

This is an insightful, well-thought-out and researched novel. Dr. Forstchen is extremely knowledgeable and is a respected subject-matter expert on the topic of EMP and has a web site dedicated to his research.

Also, consider checking out this video. There are lots of videos of interviews with Dr. Forstchen

Also, separate from the book and author, this piece on future weapons.

In my opinion, this author has a keen sense of human behavior, especially in stressful and traumatic situations; an acute sense of the sociological implications of an event such as an EMP attack. I think that he is extremely accurate in his assessment of what our culture could be reduced to in the event of this type of catastrophic event. The novel gives one a lot of food for thought regarding steps that could be taken to lessen the blow of such an event … at least, on a personal/family level.

Lesson 1: Never, ever, ever, if you have any choice at all become a refugee. Do everything within your power not to let your family become refugees. Remember the television series, Jericho? But we’ve seen it real world, in Sudan, Haiti, Chile, Mexico, Hurricane Katrina, and as far back as WWII, through Korea, Vietnam, and on and on. If you think you’ve got it bad in your hometown or neighborhood, you should count yourself lucky to have one (home or neighborhood).

Lesson 2: Have enough supplies stored up to last you and your family one year. That means food, water treatment capability, first-aid/medical supplies, toilet paper, .22 ammo, etc. Do not depend upon wild game (deer, elk, grouse, squirrel, etc.) in your survival plan. In a serious situation, such as described in this novel, 30,000 other people are going to have the same secret idea, and there will be no wild game to be had, and in short order.

Lesson 3: Be able to produce your own food when your food stores run out. Seeds, saws and knives for dressing game, chickens, rabbits, etc. The supplies are there to last until you can start producing your own. Be able to preserve it, as well. Learn about canning and preserving and stock up on the supplies.

Lesson 4: Security: Be able to defend your family if you have to. The ol’ lever action .30-30 is great for knocking down a deer. But have something serious on hand. Perhaps one of those kinds of firearms that make the uninitiated ask, “why would a civilian ever have a use for something like that?” Because when you do need something like that, there is no substitute. And then pray you never have use for it.

Lesson 5: Security 2: If you think you can make it on your own in a TEOTWAWKI situation, you and your family will die. That simple. The exception is some family living remotely in a valley in Alaska somewhere. Otherwise, better start figuring out now who you might want to band together with … friends, family, etc.

Lesson 6: Keep a survival kit in your vehicle. If for some reason you have to abandon your vehicle to get home, have the supplies to get there fast. Don’t forget loose, non-descript clothing and comfortable shoes. Food, water, shelter, tools, and a weapon of some sort. You can go to YouTube and look up keywords such as G.O.O.D. Bag, Bugout Kit, Urban Survival Kit, etc.

Lesson 7: As with many natural disasters in the past, and a worst-case scenario such as an EMP attack, computer banking systems go down and cash transactions will be the only transactions. Have cash on you at all times. At least $100 in small bills. ($1’s, $5’s, $10’s, and a $20 bill or two.) Never bring it all out at once. Make it appear that it’s the last of your money. If you know something bad went down, and you are safely able to, make a B-line for the store and stock up on perishable items that you couldn’t stock up on much, such as cooking oil, brown sugar, batteries, gasoline, medications, etc. Make a list of “grab from the store” items now. Purchase those items in the first minutes or hours while everyone else is still dumbfounded and trying to figure out what just happened.

Lesson 8: Try to protect electronic equipment now. Even if you purchase a couple of FRS radios just to stash away. A short-wave radio, a ham radio transceiver, or a scanner, etc. There is a ton of information out there about EMP hardening, such as Faraday cages to protect electronics from EMP. Those with communications will have huge advantages over those who do not. Do you have an old ([early] 1970s or earlier) car, motorcycle, mo-ped, etc. that does not have electronics built into it? Hang on to it, or get it running and stash it away. Mobility would be a valuable resource.

Lesson 9: Have a safe place to go to. If you have family or friends with property, or know someone who lives a self-reliant lifestyle, develop that relationship and learn from them. More importantly, it would be better if they would allow you to come there and use it as a sanctuary location if things got that bad. But be prepared to take care of yourself and them as well. In other words, bring something of value to the table. Don’t be a leech. The best bet is to have a huge store of supplies already there, just in case. Rawles’ novel “Patriots”, covers that in great detail.

Lesson 10: Learn! We all agree that things are getting volatile; in the world, in our country, economically, strategically, politically, socially. Get rid of distractions, such as television, sports, entertainment, and self-indulgence. At least for a season, prepare to be self-sufficient. Then, go back to all your “fun” stuff. Learn how to take care of yourself and your family if (when) things get worse.

This happens to be that rare event at the New York Times – pungent and accurate reporting that brings the issues alive.  This is one of a series.  Be sure to watch the accompanying video in this article.  It is a sign of the times when an Infantry organization has to use smoke to mark the marksman’s house for air support instead of the elegance of maneuver and fire to neutralize the threat.  I am looking FM 3-21.8, Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad at almost an inch thick on my library shelf.  The Bible for light infantry in the American armed forces.  It replaced FM 7-8 which I used to be able to put in thigh pocket on my uniform.  No longer, I could use this latest edition to augment my body armor.  While comprehensive, it could be distilled down to one page which reads “Call for Fire”. I grew up in the Army with John English’s book “On Infantry” and poring over the accounts of close combat in WWI and WWII, particularly the German lessons in Russia.

This fight will get worse if the Afghan resisters start to see that a 500m war is to their advantage and start employing the real cartridges like .308 and .303 instead of the 7.62×39 weapons they favor.  What is worse for the occupation forces is if the Afghans manage to get their hands on both the weapons and training in Western sniper technology like the .338 Lapua Magnum.

We should, of course, leave immediately and send Bush and Obama on a real apology tour all over the Afghan hinterland for the wrecking we have visited on the country.

Take notes because everything you see in these articles and video is going to be the same future footage in America in the recalcitrant and rebellious provinces that will break away from Mordor on the Potomac in the next ten years. -BB

The Rifles

rifles in marja
C.J. Chivers/The New York Times

Second, how are they equipped? Kilo Company’s battlefield collections, along with reviews of recent photographs of armed Taliban fighters and information shared by an officer who gathered data from across Helmand Province, offer insights. Among the captured rifles were two variants of the Lee-Enfield rifle line. These are bolt-action rifles with design roots reaching to the late 19th century, when conventional armies favored heavier, long-barreled rifles that fired more powerful ammunition than what is predominant in military use today.

C.J. Chivers/The New York Times

One of the rifles had been manufactured at the Long Branch arsenal in Toronto in 1942. The other was manufactured at the Government Rifle Factory in Ishapore, India; its date was not clear. Photographs of the Taliban have also shown a few of their gunmen carrying old Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifles. These were a similar czarist (then Soviet) arm of the same era.

These rifles belong to class of weapon often referred to as “battle rifles” and differ markedly from the assault rifles in widespread circulation today. They have longer effective ranges, are less concealable and fire heavier bullets than assault rifles. The shooter loads them manually, by manipulating a bolt that ejects the spent cartridge and then slides the next cartridge into place; they have no automatic or semiautomatic features.

Battle rifles have had their champions for decades, in part because their slower rate of fire keeps ammunition consumption low and encourages disciplined aiming, but also because they were manufactured for much of the 20th century in large quantities in several countries. Their abundance meant that after the shift by most conventional forces to assault rifles — which began on a small scale in Hitler’s army and by the 1960s and 1970s was spreading through conventional armies most everywhere — the old battle rifles, which gradually fell from service, became available in huge surpluses and at inexpensive prices. They are also well suited to desert fighting or any other shooting involving open vistas, because of their longer effective ranges. Not surprisingly, Lee-Enfields were distributed to the Afghan anti-Soviet resistance by the C.I.A., via the Pakistani intelligence service, in the early 1980s. They also can still be found on arms markets. In the opening of the Marja assault, it was clear on many days as bullets passed by that these kinds of weapons, or similar ones, were in use by the Taliban. The round makes a distinctly different sound. The battlefield collections then confirmed the hunch.

The Ammunition and the Shooting

Third, the ammunition. Caches in Marja turned up ammunition – dated Mark 7 British .303 cartridges from several different factories — that matched Lee-Enfield rifles. In two caches captured by Kilo Company, some of the British .303 cartridges dated to 1941.

ammunition captured from taliban
C.J. Chivers/The New York Times

Many held bullets that were jacketed in steel – which marked them as original British World War II-production ammunition from Churchill’s time. (The British used steel for bullet jackets to save copper and zinc for other wartime uses.) A small portion of the ammunition in the sample appeared to have been older still — a few cartridges were round-nosed Mark 6 rounds, which British forces were phasing out before the First World War.

ammunition captured from Taliban
C.J. Chivers/The New York Times

Last, several rounds were 7.62×54R cartridges, which match Russian Mosin-Nagant rifles or the SVD line, the Soviet-designed semiautomatic sniper rifles of the former Eastern bloc that were often used by insurgent snipers in Iraq. (Curiously, there are very few recent reports or images of SVD rifles in Afghanistan. They are not absent from the war. But they seem not to be widely used. This is in some ways surprising, considering the expansive distribution in Afghanistan of the standard arms of the former Eastern bloc – the AK, PK, DshK and Makarov lines, as well as 82-millimeter mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and F1 pineapple-style hand grenades.)

Fourth, the shooting itself. Often the Taliban’s snipers fired near misses, one after another, separated by 30 seconds or more. Mixed with the incoming automatic fire, the firefights in Marja would be punctuated by the occasional single round that would pass by just overheard, or thump into the soil or at a door frame or the surface of a wall beside a Marine. These rounds were attention-getting, to say the least. At times, and the video captures some of this, it appeared that more than one Taliban fighter with battle rifle was firing, which may have signaled not so much the presence of a single “true” sniper, but that some of these Taliban units had multiple fighters who preferred to carry Lee-Enfields. This might make them no different from the American grunts who prefer to carry M-14s, arguing that their larger cartridges have greater range and stopping power than the rounds fired by the M-4 and M-16 line, and thus have a real value in Afghan fighting.

But among whoever was firing on the Marines, there were several instances of skilled and accurate shooting. The officer who gathered data (and asked not to be named here) said there were times during the operation when a Taliban sniper killed a Marine, as well as instances in which Marines survived after being hit on their bullet-proof plates or, once, after a glancing shot that hit a helmet. In Kilo Company, the Marines present in several engagements also felt that at least one of the Taliban gunmen shooting at them in this particular area might have had a telescopic sight. Their feeling was that the distances were long enough that it would be hard to make shots like this with the naked eye. Moreover, the day after I recorded the video footage above, an Afghan National Army soldier was killed while walking in the open during a lull in fighting. He was felled by a single shot, at a range the Marines estimated at 500 to 700 meters, and the bullet struck his neck. Whoever made that shot was, absent extraordinary good luck, not the run-of-the-mill Taliban fighter.

What does it all mean? To gain some distance on this, broader casualty numbers are again helpful. But we’re out of space for today. Tomorrow we’ll publish data that put the snipers of Helmand Province in a fuller context. We’ll for now hint at what the statistics seem to show: Taliban fighters with traditional battle rifles have made Helmand Province more dangerous. They present an interesting phenomenon, and bear close watching. On the national level, they do not appear to mark a profound shift in the war.

That’s not to say that they do not create harrowing moments. As the video shows, Lance Cpl. Travis Vuocolo was a very lucky man.

Article here.

CLAIRE BERLINSKI writes a fascinating essay asking the epochal question:  why is not the entire world population interested in finding out why the intellectual pathogen known as communism is not dead and buried?  What made it tick and what are the details of how it sustained itself in spite of the enormous death toll and deadening and zombification of hundreds of millions of the living?  Those of us on the individualist antiwar right loathe the National Socialists who are always fashionable villains but speak ill of the Commies and plenty of folks in the American intelligentsia will get misty or even hostile at the notion that Communism is one of the worst plagues in humanity’s history.  I never thought I would have to say this but they are back and communism is gaining steam again in the near future in America and we have a President who has been reared, mentored and influenced by Communism and its offshoots.  His ambitions to be a Red Czar are only tempered by his apparent appreciation that the platform will succeed in a program of gradualism versus the instant boil of a sharp-edged coup and institution of Marxist-Leninist principles immediately.  The slow boil continues. -BB


In the world’s collective consciousness, the word “Nazi” is synonymous with evil. It is widely understood that the Nazis’ ideology—nationalism, anti-Semitism, the autarkic ethnic state, the Führer principle—led directly to the furnaces of Auschwitz. It is not nearly as well understood that Communism led just as inexorably, everywhere on the globe where it was applied, to starvation, torture, and slave-labor camps. Nor is it widely acknowledged that Communism was responsible for the deaths of some 150 million human beings during the twentieth century. The world remains inexplicably indifferent and uncurious about the deadliest ideology in history.

For evidence of this indifference, consider the unread Soviet archives. Pavel Stroilov, a Russian exile in London, has on his computer 50,000 unpublished, untranslated, top-secret Kremlin documents, mostly dating from the close of the Cold War. He stole them in 2003 and fled Russia. Within living memory, they would have been worth millions to the CIA; they surely tell a story about Communism and its collapse that the world needs to know. Yet he can’t get anyone to house them in a reputable library, publish them, or fund their translation. In fact, he can’t get anyone to take much interest in them at all.

Then there’s Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, who once spent 12 years in the USSR’s prisons, labor camps, and psikhushkas—political psychiatric hospitals—after being convicted of copying anti-Soviet literature. He, too, possesses a massive collection of stolen and smuggled papers from the archives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, which, as he writes, “contain the beginnings and the ends of all the tragedies of our bloodstained century.” These documents are available online at bukovsky-archives.net, but most are not translated. They are unorganized; there are no summaries; there is no search or index function. “I offer them free of charge to the most influential newspapers and journals in the world, but nobody wants to print them,” Bukovsky writes. “Editors shrug indifferently: So what? Who cares?”

The originals of most of Stroilov’s documents remain in the Kremlin archives, where, like most of the Soviet Union’s top-secret documents from the post-Stalin era, they remain classified. They include, Stroilov says, transcripts of nearly every conversation between Gorbachev and his foreign counterparts—hundreds of them, a near-complete diplomatic record of the era, available nowhere else. There are notes from the Politburo taken by Georgy Shakhnazarov, an aide of Gorbachev’s, and by Politburo member Vadim Medvedev. There is the diary of Anatoly Chernyaev—Gorbachev’s principal aide and deputy chief of the body formerly known as the Comintern—which dates from 1972 to the collapse of the regime. There are reports, dating from the 1960s, by Vadim Zagladin, deputy chief of the Central Committee’s International Department until 1987 and then Gorbachev’s advisor until 1991. Zagladin was both envoy and spy, charged with gathering secrets, spreading disinformation, and advancing Soviet influence.

When Gorbachev and his aides were ousted from the Kremlin, they took unauthorized copies of these documents with them. The documents were scanned and stored in the archives of the Gorbachev Foundation, one of the first independent think tanks in modern Russia, where a handful of friendly and vetted researchers were given limited access to them. Then, in 1999, the foundation opened a small part of the archive to independent researchers, including Stroilov. The key parts of the collection remained restricted; documents could be copied only with the written permission of the author, and Gorbachev refused to authorize any copies whatsoever. But there was a flaw in the foundation’s security, Stroilov explained to me. When things went wrong with the computers, as often they did, he was able to watch the network administrator typing the password that gave access to the foundation’s network. Slowly and secretly, Stroilov copied the archive and sent it to secure locations around the world.

When I first heard about Stroilov’s documents, I wondered if they were forgeries. But in 2006, having assessed the documents with the cooperation of prominent Soviet dissidents and Cold War spies, British judges concluded that Stroilov was credible and granted his asylum request. The Gorbachev Foundation itself has since acknowledged the documents’ authenticity.

Bukovsky’s story is similar. In 1992, President Boris Yeltsin’s government invited him to testify at the Constitutional Court of Russia in a case concerning the constitutionality of the Communist Party. The Russian State Archives granted Bukovsky access to its documents to prepare his testimony. Using a handheld scanner, he copied thousands of documents and smuggled them to the West.

The Russian state cannot sue Stroilov or Bukovsky for breach of copyright, since the material was created by the Communist Party and the Soviet Union, neither of which now exists. Had he remained in Russia, however, Stroilov believes that he could have been prosecuted for disclosure of state secrets or treason. The military historian Igor Sutyagin is now serving 15 years in a hard-labor camp for the crime of collecting newspaper clippings and other open-source materials and sending them to a British consulting firm. The danger that Stroilov and Bukovsky faced was real and grave; they both assumed, one imagines, that the world would take notice of what they had risked so much to acquire.

Read the rest.