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

Saturday, June 04, 2005

When is a war crime not a war crime
when it's inconvienient for it to be a war crime, or when it undermines your arguement or when someone else accuses you of it, that's when. The Daily Yomiuri still doesn't archive its materials anywhere anyone can see them so I'm reproducing the whole thing here. Ten million people subscribe to the parent paper in Japanese.....

Govt must expedite new war memorial
The Yomiuri Shimbun
With what view of history has Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Yasukuni Shrine in the past?
Koizumi said Thursday at the House of Representatives that he understood the Class-A war criminals--those found guilty at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, also known as the Tokyo Tribunal--were war criminals.
The prime minister was speaking in response to a question asked by Katsuya Okada, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, at a session of the lower house's Budget Committee.
If this is the case, then Koizumi should not visit Yasukuni Shrine, which enshrines Class-A war criminals along with other war dead.
Criminality disputed
Critics both at home and abroad have cast doubts as to whether the Tokyo Tribunal, held on the basis of a court regulation stipulated by the Occupation authorities' GHQ, was justifiable in light of international law.
The case in point is the "Pal ruling," whereby Judge Radhabinod Pal, who represented India at the tribunal, acquitted all the defendants, saying that given the history of their own imperialistic adventures, the United States and European countries were not entitled to try Japan.
Moreover, following the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty, the death of Class-A war criminals by public execution has been treated as "death in the course of public duty."
Mamoru Shigemitsu, who was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment as a Class-A war criminal, became a deputy prime minister and foreign minister under the administration of then Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama in 1954.
Okinori Kaya, who was given a life term as a Class-A war criminal, served as justice minister under the administration of Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda.
As a result, a "criminal" became a guardian of the law.
Yet there were no particular objections made by other countries when these former "Class-A war criminals" had their lost honor restored by becoming cabinet members.
From such a historical context, many have argued strongly that the so-called Class-A war criminals are not "criminals," although they have to shoulder the guilt of recklessly dragging their country into a war.
It was in 1978 when these Class-A war criminals were enshrined, together with the war dead, at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine.
Although the enshrinement became public knowledge in 1979, then Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira and Zenko Suzuki, Ohira's successor, visited the shrine as their predecessors did.
Ohira said, "I think that the judgment on Class-A war criminals or on the Greater East Asia War will be made by history," thus declining to express his own opinion on whether they were criminals.
In response to Okada's question Thursday, Koizumi also said, "I'm not visiting the shrine as a duty of prime minister. I'm visiting due to my own beliefs," making clear that he is visiting the shrine as a private individual.
If his visits to the shrine are made as a private citizen, he should think of a better way to worship there. It is questionable for him to step into the holiest Shinto shrine and enter his name with his title of "prime minister" when making a private visit.
The issue of distinguishing between a visit to the shrine in a private or official capacity gained public attention after then Prime Minister Takeo Miki, on his visit to the shrine in 1975, said he went there as a "private individual."
Yet succeeding prime ministers visited the shrine without specifying whether their visits were in an official or private capacity.
Suzuki followed a policy of not answering questions as to whether his visit was in a private or official capacity.
Yet it is a different story when a prime minister clearly distinguishes his visit to the shrine, as when Koizumi says he is not visiting the shrine as part of his duties as prime minister.
Constitutional hurdles
One solution proposed to the problem of the prime minister's visits is to have the Class-A war criminals disenshrined and enshrined elsewhere.
But Yasukuni Shrine is a religious organization. If political leaders pressure the shrine to enshrine Class-A war criminals separately, they would be violating the principle of the separation of state and religion under the Constitution.
It is up to the shrine as a religious entity to interpret the contents of its rites, including whether it should enshrine the war criminals separately.
As there are various religions and sects in Japan, there are also many who oppose the prime minister's visits to the shrine due to religious reasons.
If it is difficult for Yasukuni Shrine to enshrine Class-A war criminals separately in light of Shinto doctrine, the only way to solve the problem lies in building a national memorial that is nonreligious.
In 2001, when the Koizumi Cabinet was inaugurated, a private panel to then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda discussed ways to mourn the war dead. It came up with a proposal the following year that a nonreligious national facility be built to commemorate the war dead and pray for peace.
The report lacked concrete ideas as to what sort of facility should be built or how to mourn the war dead. The government should put the finishing touches to the proposal as soon as possible and start building a new memorial facility.
At Arlington National Cemetery in the United States, there are tombstones for unknown soldiers as a central memorial, at which visiting heads of foreign states often lay a wreath of flowers.
A new national memorial can be built as an outdoor facility. One idea raised is for a monument to be established at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in central Tokyo. This is worth discussing.
The government-sponsored memorial service for the war dead, held every Aug. 15, could still be held at Nippon Budokan hall in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.
China ties unlikely to improve
Yet even if Koizumi stops his visits to Yasukuni Shrine, it will not necessarily improve Japan's bilateral relations with China anytime soon.
Even after the fact that Class-A war criminals were enshrined at the shrine was made known, China did not protest publicly when prime ministers Ohira and Suzuki made successive visits to the shrine.
It was after then Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone made an official visit to the shrine in 1985 that China began lodging protests to such visits.
In yielding to Beijing's protest, Nakasone discontinued his visits to the shrine in the following year. The action handed China a diplomatic bargaining chip that it has continued to exploit.
In later years, China, alarmed by the declining power of the Chinese Communist Party regime after the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident, intensified its policy of "educating people with patriotism and anti-Japanese sentiment," fostering a vast population with anti-Japanese sentiment year after year.
The slogans seen during the wave of anti-Japanese protests in April focused on the issue of Japan's campaign for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and on Taiwan.
When pondering future bilateral relations with China, the government must keep a close eye on the domestic situation there.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 4)

Come home Winston Smith, all is forgiven

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
George W. Bush
Doubleplus good leader of Oceania

And in other news, U.S. government scientists have announced that their research has revealed black to actually be white and up to be down.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Meals with militants reveal human face

Kevin Wood / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer

Dining With Terrorists
By Phil Rees
MacMillan, 395 pp, 18.99 pounds

While he has yet to lunch with Osama bin Laden, British journalist Phil Rees has sipped and supped with a lot of people whose names figure on the watch or wanted lists of security services around the world.

Dining With Terrorists is a record of Rees' work covering insurgents, jihadists, guerrillas, militants and mujahideen from Ireland to Afghanistan, but it is much more than a simple chronicle of a reporter's brushes with bad guys. Rees uses his extensive firsthand experience of dealing with armed militants to examine the use, misuse and various interpretations of the term "terrorist."

BBC correspondent Rees has covered conflicts hot and cold all over the globe for the past 20 years. While Dining With Terrorists has its share of war stories and detailed frontline observations, Rees' real focus is examining the root causes of militant movements and trying to accurately portray the opposing sides in the world's many asymmetric conflicts.

The notion that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter comes through clearly as Rees records the motivations and justifications given by Egyptian and Algerian Islamists fighting repressive regimes, Basque nationalists seeking their own state and Afghan mujahideen battling first the Soviet Union and later the Taliban and the United States.

Along the way, Rees shares rum with Colombian Marxist guerrillas, tea and cakes with Hamas jihadists and fruit brandy with Kosovar and Serb nationalists in Kosovo.

Rees illustrates how the heavy-handed "war on terror" and the Manichean pronouncements of the White House have been used by oppressive regimes to crush legitimate dissent, driving the marginalized and repressed to take up arms. Most importantly, Rees reminds us that those who take up the gun are not the faceless, raving maniacs that mainstream media and government propagandists often portray them as, but human beings with thoughts, feelings, memories and desires. To paraphrase cartoonist Walt Kelly, Rees has met the enemy, and he is us.

Copyright 2005 The Yomiuri Shimbun

"Do you like Kipling?" the bishop asked.
"I don't know, I've never kipled." answered the actress

Dang, them moonbats over at Eschaton is a literate bunch! Have a look at the Memorial Day poem posting and then check out the primo selection of war poetry in the comments - Sigfried Frickin' Sassoon and Rudyard Frickin' Kipling may be old, old school, but great googlymoogly could they frickin' write. And so can this guy:

There is no poem that will stop this war
This is not the one.
There is none.
There is nothing to be done.
We are not anything but the Hun
the fierce images in old textbooks
the Mongol horsemen rape and pillage
villages burning and the laughter of old men.

The radio and television prepare us
for the Super Bowl. But already in Ohio
we are number one. All of us better
than all of the rest of the world. Admit it
it was the perfect game. Allah praise Ohio State.
And admit this all who listen to NPR
the president is smarter than you.
He is riding the armored car of history
while you look for a refuge
some safe place for your children.

But there is no place to hide. We are the virus.
Everything that cannot be bought and sold
for a profit falls before us.
He knows this even if you believe he is a fool.
He lives and breathes Karl Marx
while you hold up a sign that says
Peace is Patriotic. The laughter of old men.

There is no image to stop the war.
No child with burned blacked skin like barbecued chicken.
The children waste away from bad plumbing and no medicine.
We pass along to each other the chips and organic carrots.
Bottled water.
There is no poem as good as government ensured bonds.
We are wounded with so little interest.
There is no poem that will pay us ten percent
and stop this war.
The Germans marched prematurely through history
never understanding the power of the dollar
never having heard of Lexus and SUV
never knowing anything about baseball
never knowing that the Yankees only lose enough
to make the game seem fair.
Vietnam is empty in the memory.
Cambodia fills with Wal-Mart and Burger King.
Bombs from 20,000 feet.

The first dictate of battle is to make sure
the enemy has no weapons to harm you.
Disable their best batter. Tonya Harding their best runner.
Then attack and wait for the parade.
But dont wait for the poem that will stop this war.
There is none.
The history of the empire has just begun.

Joe Napora

Monday, May 30, 2005

Happy Memorial Day America!

My son is about this age.
If I were to die he would have his family around him and live in a country with schools and governments, technology, money and enough to eat.
I feel very bad for this poor kid whose daddy isn't coming home. His dad was brave enough to join the U.S. military for whatever reason -maybe he wanted to save the world, maybe he wanted to shoot some of "them Eyeracki rhagheids whut flew them planes inta 9/11"- It doesn't much matter why now. What matters is that this poor kid is growing up without daddy, because daddy isn't coming home. I feel sick and very, very sad about this. Posted by Hello

As bad as I feel for the poor kid in the USA who lost his dad, I feel a whole lot worse for this little girl who is wearing a significant amount of her parents' bodies, because of a "smart" bomb.

Smart bombs are only as good as the guy that aims them where he is told to, and he is only as good as the information given to him by the "security contractor" who interrogated that 17 year old after the kid had been awake and without water or clothing for 75 hours. As the staff of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade know, the guy deciding where to drop the bombs may not have the best information.

"What's that you say? The house the insurgents spent the night in was on the other side of the street? Whoops! Better luck next time!"

She's growing up in a hellhole where bullets are flying and bombs are going off every day. Even if she lives long enough and the orphanage can afford it, she probably won't ever go to school, because even if western democracy takes hold in Iraq tomorrow, it's still gonna be a few years before there's money enough for schools to be built, staffed and ready to teach little girls without burkhas in a democracy dominated by strict Shiite Islamicists. She probably doesn't have clean water or enough food or adequate shelter, nevermind a school or parents. Oh, but at least she's "free" now.

It's unlikely she will ever forgive America, nor will her fifty'leven brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbours. Nor will the families and friends of the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have been wounded or imprisoned without cause.

Yes, it is tragic that 1844 coalition soldiers have died and more than 12,000 (mostly) young Americans have been wounded, but almost 25,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed during the invasion and occupation of their country and the ensuing civil war going on now. But I bet that little girl isn't eating hot dogs at a barbecue after watching the veterans' parade. She's probably going to be watching a different kind of fireworks this Memorial Day.

Print these two pictures.

Carry them around in your pocket and look at them from time to time.

And the next time some right-wing cement-head who thinks the sun shines out of George Walker Bush's ass and posted pictures of smiling young marines blowing shit up on his blog for Memorial Day tells you freedom is on the march , show him these pictures and see what he has to say.

And if he doesn't look at least a little sorry and won't admit that the whole thing has been a horrible, horrible mistake or says something smug about breaking a few eggs to make an omlette, punch the douchebag right in the mouth.

Twice. Posted by Hello

Torture? What Torture?

Meet Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers, the Woodshed's "wanker of the week."

Top general defends guards at Guantanamo

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Sunday strongly defended the military’s treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, calling the prison, which has been harshly criticized by human-rights organizations and others, a “model facility.”

Yeah, a model facility the Red Cross has expressed a few concerns about:

"International Committee of Red Cross charges in confidential reports to United States government that American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion 'tantamount to torture' on prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba...Red Cross has been conducting visits to Guantanamo since Jan 2002; this is first time it has asserted in such strong terms that treatment of detainees, both physical and psychological, amounts to torture; report says methods used on prisoners in latest visit are 'more refined and repressive' than those seen on previous visits; cites as examples 'humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions';'"
New York Times abstract of its November 30th, 2004 article on detainee abuse at Guantanmo

and this from Reuters quoting the NYT story

"The construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture," the Times quoted the report as saying."

Amnesty International had a few minor quibbles with the Gitmo resort as well:

Amnesty Takes Aim at 'Gulag' in Guantanamo
By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer

Wed May 25, 7:15 PM ET
LONDON - Amnesty International castigated the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay as a failure Wednesday, calling it "the gulag of our time" in the human rights group's harshest rebuke yet of American detention policies.

So in short, Gen. Myers is either a lying bastard who is intentionally trying to cover up torture or an incompetant fool who has no idea what is going on at Gitmo. Either way, while he may be an air force general, he's a major wanker