We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Kristallnacht versus BLM

Goering (shouting): “Why did you not kill 200 Jews instead of destroying so many valuables!”

Heydrich (defensively): “36 Jews were killed.”

[Words uttered during ministerial discussion with a representative of the German insurance industry after Kristallnacht.]

Kristallnacht was pretty-well the last of the Nazi’s anti-Jewish exercises that were more incentivised than directly commanded and supervised. They had learned the habit in their pre-power days. As the party court (the Uschla) reported afterwards, old party comrades understood that “certain hints meant more than their mere verbal contents”, so when told that “von Rath’s murder was a crime of Jewry as a whole … every party comrade should know what to do”, they went out and – to the great annoyance of Goering when he realised the economic impact – did a fantastic amount of property damage while only killing, by later standards, a derisory number of Jews.

BLM operate the same way. The stormtroopers broke glass and smashed things up because fire could spread to ‘aryan’ properties, whereas BLM don’t care if black-owned businesses burn. But with the exception of that very peculiar way of not making racial distinctions, BLM have shown the same common tendency of an incentivised but loosely-commanded Western/European mob to do a lot of property damage for each life they take.

Inflation adjusted, I think the direct financial cost of Kristallnacht far exceeded that of all BLM’s destruction to date. On the other hand, by murdering the eight-year-old black girl Secoriea Turner, the black man David Dorn and various others, it looks like BLM can get into the ballpark of Heydrich’s figure just in killing ‘Lives That Matter (TM)’ – and if you also count lives that don’t matter then maybe they can compete with the higher number that were actually murdered during 9-10 November 1938.

However, BLM needed many nights of rioting to achieve this, whereas ‘Crystal Night’ was done in a day and a night. So I leave it to readers to decide “the point of precedence between a louse and a flea” – or to take Dr Johnson’s advice not to bother – as my focus here is on the specific similarities of technique I’ve mentioned.

(Just a ‘seasonal’ thought prompted by the time of year. I apologise to any who are distressed by the very dark humour of this ‘Godzilla versus King Kong’-style comparison.)

Read the story forwards, not backwards

The lie I hate most is the lie I once fell for.

When George Zimmerman was charged with murdering Trayvon Martin, there was much I did not know till later. But from the day the story broke, I could see cause to keep an open mind in the face of the narrative. There was more to the Ferguson story than I knew till much later. But I saw from the start that there was more to it than the media wanted me to know.

Not so with the Floyd story. If I’d seen Floyd being restrained by nurses in an emergency room, the idea that they could be trying to save him, not kill him, might have occurred to me. But everyone knows police and suspects are adversaries. The police arrived on the scene in the first place to arrest him, not hospitalise him. Who wants to watch a distressing video of a man dying? Surely the picture of Floyd on the ground under Chauvin’s knee was enough. So my mind confabulated a simple connection between the two.

So I accepted an incident-report from BLM!

I could see it was wildly oversold. I could see that BLM demanded we think it represented all police, all white people and above all Trump, although Mineapolis has not seen a Republican official for decades. I could see the same BLM demanded we think their ‘mostly peaceful’ gunning down of an 8-year-old black girl represented nothing at all. But I assumed the Floyd incident was what they said it was in itself, despite knowing who and what the overwhelmingly white marxists who run BLM were, and where they come from.

That’s embarrassing!

It was days later (prompted by a twin-cities-based web friend) that I woke up enough to watch the video – and to think about it. You don’t asphyxiate a man by pressing on the back of his neck – and you usually don’t murder a man under the eyes of hostile videoing witnesses when you could just put him in your car and drive off. Two-thirds of the way in, the video itself drops a unintentional hint that it may not be the whole story. A guy comes to the man videoing and says, “Let me help. I saw the whole thing”, whereupon the man swiftly gets very aggressive in his determination to make the unwelcome informant go away again. Very soon he is shouting “I know where you live. I know where your parents live.” to make the guy leave – a strange thing for someone concerned about Floyd to do.

So I began to try and learn more.

Many detective stories have plots that would be very straightforward – if they were told in order from start to end. Instead, the hero is introduced to some late side-effect of the crime, or to a crime with an obvious suspect, then gets (with the reader) a series of baffling shocks as they trying to unwind the hidden earlier history. Only at the end does the ‘great detective’ tell the story in order, from start to end, and then everything that puzzled us makes sense.

Let’s tell the George Floyd story in order, start to finish (as best we can for now). The police are summoned by a shopkeeper to an unusual suspect, who is still parked nearby, acting silly, when the usual passer of forged $20-bills would have driven off. As they go through the routine of questioning him, Floyd’s strange behaviour starts to get to them. They ask Mr Floyd “Are you on something right now? (See bodycam transcripts for Officers Kueng and Lane.) At first Floyd denies this, saying “No, nothing” but then Officer Koenig tells Floyd he is “acting real erratic” and asks Floyd why he is foaming at the mouth. “I was hooping earlier”, George explains.

(Hooping: street slang for absorbing drugs via the anus, believed by some to enhance their potency. The autopsy confirms George Floyd was telling the truth: the amount of fentanyl in his system was far above lethal dosage.)

For a while, the police try to stick to their script – to put him in their car and take him to the station – but it gradually (or fairly quickly, one could argue – the whole incident takes but a short time) becomes clear that things are serious. Foaming-at-the-mouth George starts to complain he can’t breathe – both directly and also indirectly (Floyd’s indicative fear of being in the closed police car, his begging them to “crack [open] a window”, appears even earlier than his first “I can’t breathe”). Floyd himself repeatedly asks to get on the ground rather than into the car – and repeatedly says he can’t breathe before he is on the ground. Chauvin puts him on the ground. By now, the police have abandoned the idea of arresting him and instead summoned an ambulance, at first because Floyd cut his mouth on the car door, but soon afterwards Chauvin tells Lane (who is handling comms) to call again and ensure the ambulance is high priority – which would be an odd thing for a would-be murderer to do.

Meanwhile, what do the police do with Floyd till the ambulance arrives (soon, they hope)? They do what they have been trained to do (by order of the left-leaning Democrats who rule Minneapolis). They restrain the suspect (the theory is his own struggles may otherwise exhaust him, especially if drug-induced Extreme Delirium occurs). They use the knee-to-rear-of-neck hold they’ve been taught to use (“the conscious neck hold”, their political masters’ manual calls it, because that hold should not make the subject lose consciousness, let alone face the dangers of a frontal choke-hold). “I can’t breathe”, yells Floyd yet again now he is on the ground. “Then stop talking and yelling.”, replies Chauvin, “It takes a lot of oxygen to talk.” But though the hold is designed not to take consciousness, let alone life, Floyd nevertheless passes out after four minutes on the ground (or at least, both Lane and the ex-wife who has been with him from the start, say at almost the same time, “I think he’s passed out”).

We know from the autopsy that Floyd’s lungs (two-three times normal weight when examined, because of all the liquid in them) must by now be dangerously full of fluid – probably already lethally so. Knowing what we know now, Floyd was most unlikely to resume struggling. Floyd is having an episode all right, but not of Extreme Delirium. The active restraint no longer serves its intended purpose.

But the police do not know this; they are still wondering whether Floyd is on PCP. Fentanyl has not occurred to them – and why would it? And if it had, would Floyd’s foaming lungs have had a better chance of draining if he were face up instead of face down? He was given CPR by Officer Lane and the ambulance crew when the ambulance arrived. The four officers would have done their own PR a favour if they had broken their training and started it four minutes earlier. But with flooded lungs between mouth and heart, would it have favoured Floyd’s survival at all?

Told in order from first to last, the story of how George Floyd came to die makes more sense than the start-at-the-end BLM narrative ever did. I guess if we could all have seen that right away then detective story writers would be out of business, which is a fate I would not want for them (for BLM, by contrast, … ).

Last Friday, a judge dismissed Derek Chauvin’s third degree murder charge over George Floyd. (Here is a critcal assessment of the charges written when they were made). Earlier this month, the same judge gave Chauvin monitored $1 million bail release from his high security ‘protective’ custody. The second-degree charges remain against him and his colleagues. Those charges must meet a higher standard of proof to convict. A matter so ‘tried’ in the ‘court of public opinion’ may benefit from the clarity of a real trial. The judge may be serving the truth as best he can.

One final question: why do BLM focus on cases like Zimmerman, Ferguson or Floyd instead of genuine criminal police shootings of blacks? In the brutally racist U.S. that BLM claim to believe in, there should be loads of strong legal cases to choose from – and in the real U.S they certainly happen. I think the marxist revolutionaries of BLM see no profit in highlighting a valid case – it may well end in evil oppressive America convicting the cop. Far better a case where there is a real chance of acquittal. If there is acquittal, they can have yet more riots. If there should be acquittal in honest law, but judge and jury are too fearful or propagandised, they’ve made a real advance towards their goal.

Taranto – a kick in the balls for Mussolini – 75 years ago tonight

I doubt that many realise that it was on 11th November 1940 that the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy struck a blow at Royal Fascist Italy’s Navy that may well have slowed the march of the Axis powers in the Mediterranean and marked the first check on their advance after the fall of France. The operation, called ‘Operation Judgment‘, involved two waves of Fairey Swordfish biplanes (almost certainly the slowest surprise air attack of WW2 apart perhaps from the springing of Mussolini) attacking the Italian fleet at Taranto harbour on the ‘heel’ of Italy. The outcome was that the Italian surface fleet was severely reduced in capability, and the remnants moved further up the peninsula to Naples, thereby limiting their capability to interfere with British shipping in the Mediterranean and to re-inforce North Africa. British casualties were 2 aircraft lost, 2 men killed, 2 PoWs. The Italians lost one battleship, and had 2 battleships and 2 cruisers heavily damaged.

The raid had been planned for Trafalgar Day, 21st October, but was put back due to a fire, fittingly enough to Armistice Day. A Swordfish also went on to cripple the Bismarck, and later in the War they accounted for 22 U-boats. Not a bad record at all.

It has been speculated that this raid inspired the Japanese to use air power at Pearl Harbor, but perhaps emboldened would be a better term, after all, it is not as if Japan wasn’t gearing up for something by this time. The anniversary of the raid has attracted some comment, a piece here in the American Thinker (an organ of which I know little), but pointing out that it actually makes sense to attack your enemies, not to wait for them to attack you. I particularly liked this part:

Third, fight to win, and winning means destroying the power of those who hate us. Had the Second World War been, instead of a continuous struggle, a series of peace talks and ceasefires and diplomatic pussyfooting, it is certain that Hitler would never have lost. Democracies naturally loathe war and yearn for peace, but evil regimes who control their subject peoples can maintain war fever indefinitely.

You might think that that author had some people from the present-day in mind.

And for those brave men of the Fleet Air Arm, flying in open cockpits at night against a major enemy harbour, I shall raise a glass of prosecco tonight, to sink something Italian.

Public Prosecutions protestations

We noted here earlier the controversial proposed appointment of a new Director of Public Prosecutions. Today’s Telegraph reports that Britain’s Conservative Opposition are continuing to making an issue of this:

The appointment of one of Cherie Blair’s “cronies” as the new Director of Public Prosecutions is a “matter of deepest concern” because of his work on terrorist cases, Michael Howard, the shadow chancellor, said yesterday.

Mr Howard suggested that Ken Macdonald was not fit to serve as the country’s top prosecutor because of his views on the motives of those charged with terrorism.

Mr Howard, a QC, singled out Mr Macdonald’s website at Matrix Chambers, where Mrs Blair works as a public law barrister, and his use of the phrase “political violence”.

A website? Yes, this one.

The website detailing Mr Macdonald’s work as a criminal lawyer says: “He is very well known for his work in cases where serious allegations of political violence are made against Irish republicans, Sikhs, Palestinians and Islamists. He is especially interested in fair trial issues arising out of recent anti-terrorist legislation in Britain and abroad.”

Although Mr Howard stopped short of suggesting that Mr Macdonald was sympathetic to the cause of terrorist groups, he said the concept of “political violence” was not recognised under English law.

This is an argument that will presumably divide White Rose readers along political lines. But it is very White-Rose-relevant, as I’ve been saying of a number of stories here.

Howard admits that if Macdonald hadn’t had that Blair connection he wouldn’t be making so much fuss. Fair enough. Neither would I. As it is, says Howard, the appointment should be closely scrutinised. Here’s what is probably Howard’s most telling punch:

“If you engage in that kind of scrutiny, you discover that this is a man who has no experience of prosecution at all. He’s never prosecuted a single significant case in his career.

If you want to get stuck into Michael Howard, the Telegraph also supplies the link to his website.

“The selection process was completely transparent and accountable”

Who makes the crucial decision about whether to prosecute in the first place? And who picks the person who does this? And who have they picked?

From today’s Independent:

The government was accused of “rampant cronyism” last night after a barrister from Cherie Blair’s law firm was named as the head of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Ken Macdonald, a founding member of Matrix Chambers, where the Prime Minister’s wife practises under her maiden name Cherie Booth, will become Director of Public Prosecutions in the autumn.

Doesn’t sound good, put like that, does it?

A spokeswoman for the CPS said Mr Macdonald had been appointed to the £145,000-a-year post by a panel of impartial senior civil servants and legal figures. She said: “The selection process was completely transparent and accountable. It was an open competition. The fact he comes from a distinguished chambers signals that he is a leading barrister, but the chambers he comes from had no other bearing on the appointment.”

I suppose that could be true.

Liberty appoints new Director

From Liberty’s press release:

Shami Chakrabarti is to be the new Director of Liberty. She succeeds John Wadham who has been appointed Deputy Chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Shami Chakrabarti joined Liberty in 2001 as the group’s ‘In-House Counsel’ and is now recognised as one of the UK’s leading authorities on anti-terror laws. She says that the measures adopted by the Government in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks have made her “ashamed to be a lawyer.”

Walking in Orwell’s footsteps

Simon Davies of Privacy International organised an event this evening here in London in order to honour George Orwell and hoist a drink or three to one of England’s greatest writers on the occasion of his birthday.

Now I know a lot of you have read Orwell’s sundry works… 1984… Animal Farm… etc… but how many of you have drunk a ‘Black and Tan’ at Orwell’s favorite pub, the Newman Arms on 23 Rathbone Street…

…followed by walk to the Elysee Restaurant, around the corner at 13 Percy Street, which was one of Orwell’s favorite eating places? The default dish here has to be Moussaka, as Orwell ate it on nearly every occasion that he visited this place.

A splendid evening was had by Gabriel Syme and myself (the wicked and iniquitous Johnathan Pearce was a no-show) amidst an impressive collection of privacy and civil liberties activists from across a .. ahem… wide range of the political spectrum.

Cross-posted from Samizdata.net