"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Goon squad tactics
Today's Japan Times has an interesting piece that is illustrative of what Americans probably have to look forward to. A group of native Taiwanese whose ancestors were conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army want their relatives names taken off the list of souls enshrined at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine - home to the souls of Japan's war dead, ">specifically all class A, B and C war criminals. The right in Japan are increasing trying to remilitarize the country and get rid of the pesky pacifist constitution. Scroll down the text on the Yasukuni link for an explanation of why Japan's brutal invasion of most of South-East Asia and attack on the United States was NOT a war of aggression, and note that the essay was not written by some half-bright nutjob, but someone considered a leading scholar at a top university. My own employer regularly runs editorials - which I often reproduce for the edification of the dozen or so of you who read this stuff - explaining historical "facts" such as the non-existance of comfort women, the fabrication of the Nanjiing Massacre and how the post-war tribunal on war crimes was fixed

But I digress

About 50 of the Taiwanese went to the shrine to protest and were greeted by about 100 right wing militants and 150 cops. They decided to cancel their protest rather than get beaten senseless. For those who are not familiar with Japan that assume the police were there to protect the protestors, think again.

Right wing militants in Japan serve a useful function in the power structure. They are answerable to no one but covertly controlled by both the Yakuza, who use them to launder money and make campaign donations (read bribes) to politicians, and right wing politicians, who use them to intimidate the press and political opponents.

There are numerous right wing groups. Many are made up of professional goons, working by day for mob-owned or organization-owned "security firms" and drawing a regular paycheque for their activities.

In the past, they have assasinated cabinet members and journalists and regularly roll around town in huge black buses blaring martial music and slogans urging people to "expel the barbarians (foreigners) and revere the emperor". They regularly surround the Chinese and Korean embassies and blast noise at earshattering levels. During the spate of antiJapanese demonstrations earlier this year, they fired bullets at several Chinese travel offices and firebombed the Bank of China branch in Tokyo.

Since the police and Yakuza have a sort of understanding not to get in each other's way and many in the police ranks sympathize with the rightist, arrests are rare. As with the Yakuza, if there is a death or a sensational crime the cops can't ignore, a patsy is usually surrendered.

Now imagine this sort of situation in the United States: Imagine a better organized group of Minutemen and Free Republic types with a few white power types thrown in for flavor, a budget provided by Richard Mellon Scaife and lots of sympathizers in government and the police.

Imagine the effect a group of only a couple of hundred professional activist thugs would have in a large city like Chicago or Detroit. Imagine the chilling effect on the media and judiciary. Imagine the fear they could inspire amoung the immigrant population. Imagine them breaking up demonstrations and routinely harrassing anyone seen as insufficiently supportive of the president.

The scary part is it doesn't really take very much imagination at all. I suggest my American friends start stocking up on canned goods and ammunition now, while they can still leave their homes without having to wear a big yellow star.

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