By Joseph Coleman TOKYO, AP
The scheme -- which was abandoned -- was concocted by militarists and suspected war criminals who had worked for U.S. occupation authorities after World War II, according to CIA records reviewed by The Associated Press. The plotters wanted a right-wing government that would rearm Japan.
The CIA files, declassified in 2005 and publicized by the U.S. National Archives in January, detail a plot to oust the pro-U.S. prime minister, Shigeru Yoshida, and install a more hawkish government led by Ichiro Hatoyama.
The CIA, in papers released under an act of the U.S. Congress to declassify documents related to Japanese war crimes, said the plotters were led by Takushiro Hattori, a former private secretary to Hideki Tojo, the wartime prime minister hanged as a war criminal in 1948.
Two CIA documents said the plot reportedly had the support of 500,000 people in Japan, and that the group planned to use a contact who controlled a faction inside the National Safety Agency -- a precursor to the Defense Ministry -- to help launch the coup. The files reviewed by the AP strongly suggest the Americans were unaware of the plot until after it had been dropped. The plot was developed after the U.S. postwar occupation of Japan ended in April 1952, and the CIA files say American financial support for Hattori's group had dried up by then.
Still, the documentary evidence of the plot illustrates the violent potential of the right-wing, anti-communist cabal that had worked under the U.S. occupation authority's "G-2" intelligence wing in the early days of the Cold War in the late 1940s and early 50s. The CIA operated separately from the G-2.
According to the document, Hattori colleague Masanobu Tsuji talked the group out of the coup, urging it to focus instead on countering the Socialist Party. The files say the group then decided it would not stage a coup as long as Yoshida's conservative Liberal Party remained in power.
However, the group still considered violence an option, the files say.
Hattori and others had worked under the aegis of Maj. Gen. Charles Willoughby, the anti-communist G-2 chief. During the occupation, Willoughby was considered the second most powerful American after his boss, Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
Some group members were considered choice war crimes trial targets after the war.
Tsuji had been wanted for involvement in the Bataan Death March of 1942, in which thousands of Americans and Filipinos perished. Another group associate was Yoshio Kodama, a war profiteer and mob boss who was deeply involved in procuring materials -- often illegally -- for the Japanese military machine.
Neither of them was prosecuted for war crimes.
The Japanese militarists joined U.S.-supported missions to spy on communists in Japan, infiltrate agents into Soviet and North Korean territory, and recruit Japanese mercenaries to protect Taiwan from communist forces in mainland China, declassified documents show.
The CIA files, however, say the operations were riddled with intelligence leaks, hobbled by a lack of competent agents, and deeply compromised by rivalries among the rightists themselves. The agents' top priorities, the documents say, were profits and an eventual resurgence of a militarist Japan.
The assassination plot detailed in the CIA files came at a difficult time for Hattori's group.
The departure of Willoughby from Japan in 1951 as the U.S. occupation wound down deprived the rightists of their leading American patron and paymaster. Meanwhile, Yoshida was openly hostile to Hattori's push for rearmament.
Yoshida was pushed out of office peacefully in 1954 and replaced by Hatoyama, but the ultrarightist dream of resurrecting a militarist Japan never happened. The 1947 pacifist constitution bars Japan from warfare and has never been amended.
By Jerry Meldon
Editor's Note: Over the years, we have written a number of stories about Rev. Sun Myung Moon's influence-buying schemes inside U.S. conservative political circles – and the federal government's odd refusal to aggressively enforce laws when Moon's operation is caught in legally questionable activities. [See, for instance, Moon/Bush 'Ongoing Crime Enterprise'.]
In this guest article, Jerry Meldon examines the mysterious roots of the money that has funded right-wing Asian politics since World War II and that has sometimes spilled over into the United States:
On Feb. 19, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso took exception to a U.S. congressional resolution introduced by Rep. Mike Honda, D-California, calling on Japan to “formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility” for coercing 200,000 Asian women into slavery as “Comfort Women” (wartime prostitutes) for 3.5 million Japanese soldiers. Mr. Aso said he considers the accusation groundless and extremely regrettable.
Six decades after World War II, can it really be that Japanese officials are still distorting history and insulting the Chinese, Koreans, Philippinos and others across Asia whom Hirohito’ s forces savagely brutalized and robbed?
And why does Washington turn a deaf ear?
The answers may be rooted in what transpired behind closed doors in Tokyo when Japan was occupied by the U.S. military in the post-war years .
Sterling and Peggy Seagrave suggest a motive in their eye-opening – and at times stomach-turning – 2003 book, Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold. In the war’s immediate aftermath, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander-in-chief of Allied occupying forces, secretly joined hands with Japanese war criminals.
Rather than convict, imprison and throw away the keys, MacArthur coddled those responsible for one of history’s bloodiest wars of aggression. When the U.S. occupation ended in 1952, he released all those who were still in custody.
And it may have gone a lot further than that.
According to Gold Warriors, even as the United States
Washington even had Article 14 of the 1951 Japan Peace Treaty state :
As historian Christopher Simpson put it , the United States thereby insured
Furthermore, according to the Seagraves,
The cover-up notwithstanding, the Seagraves somehow penetrated the veil of secrecy and reported that the source of the black money that MacArthur bestowed on the Japanese. They wrote that after arriving in Japan, the general’s aides located $100 billion in gold, platinum and other treasures that Hirohito’s forces had systematically plundered from occupied Asian nations and buried deep underground.
When MacArthur reported this to Washington, President Harry S. Truman’s brain trust – which included John McCloy, who as U.S. High Commissioner for Germany would authorize the early release of many Nazi war criminals – decided to devote the fortune to covert operations such as the bankrolling of rightist political parties and the recruitment of war criminals as U.S. intelligence agents for the Cold War that was just beginning.
One of the most notorious crooks MacArthur embraced was yakuza godfather Yoshio Kodama. With the exalted rank of rear admiral in the Japanese navy, Kodama had overseen the wartime looting of Asia’s criminal infrastructure. In the process, he stashed away a personal fortune estimated at $13 billion.
Arrested as a Class A war criminal, he made a deal with MacArthur’s intelligence chief, Gen. Charles Willoughby. Kodama handed the CIA $100 million in return for his release from Sugamo Prison. Returning to the underworld, he regained control of the Asian heroin traffic.
According to the Seagraves and others, he also remained a CIA asset until his death in 1984. It was apparently in that capacity that he became a major behind-the-scenes political force, primarily in Japan but, indirectly, across the Pacific as well.
Together with his fellow racketeer and Class A war criminal Ryoichi Sasakawa, Kodama underwrote the creation of two Japanese political parties that later combined to form the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Except for a brief hiatus when voters had had their fill of corruption, the conservative LDP has ruled Japan ever since. According to sources cited by the Seagraves, the LDP secretly contributed to the 1960 presidential campaign of Richard M. Nixon.
The LDP was not the only organization which Kodama and Sasakawa bankrolled, that lavished the gangsters’ ill-begotten wealth on American politicians. They also underwrote the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, which owns the right-wing daily, the Washington Times.
When Gen. Park Chung Hee staged a coup and installed himself as South Korea’s dictator in 1961, he designated the Unification Church to be his political arm. Successive South Korean leaders have used it to influence U.S. foreign policy.
A 1978 congressional inquiry found that Moon’s organization, in coordination with South Korea’s CIA-molded intelligence agency, the KCIA, paid off several U.S. congressmen. Rep. Richard Hanna, D-California, and Otto Passman, D-Louisiana, accepted approximately $200,000 each.
Hanna was slapped with a six-to-30-month sentence and spent a year behind bars. Passman managed to have himself tried in his home town and was acquitted. Fortunately for Reps. Cornelius Gallagher, D-New Jersey, and William Marshall, R-Ohio, the five-year statute of limitations ran out before they could be prosecuted. Three others congressmen were reprimanded for lying about their gifts.
Kodama and Sasakawa, together with followers of Rev. Moon, also underwrote the Asian People’s Anti-Communist League (APACL) as a propaganda mill for the dictatorships of Taiwan and South Korea. In 1966, the APACL expanded to become the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) . European neo-nazi terrorists and Latin American death squad leaders attended WACL conferences in the 1970s and 1980s.
Ronald Reagan – whose 1981 presidential inauguration was attended by the godfather of Central America’s death squads, Mario Sandoval Alarcon – sent the following message to the 1985 WACL convention in Dallas:
The previous year, Congress had blocked continued White House funding for the counter-revolutionary Nicaraguan contras. Undaunted, the Reagan administration solicited donations from private right-wing sources, including the two organizations that Kodama and Sasakawa had spawned. WACL and the Unification Church each obliged the Reagan team with generous donations that kept the contras afloat.
In that same period, WACL also contributed heavily in the United States to right-wing candidates running against progressive incumbents. One such beneficiary, WACL conferee Steven Symms, unseated the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Frank Church, D-Idaho. A prominent Vietnam War critic, Church had chaired a 1975 Senate investigation that uncovered CIA plots to assassinate foreign leaders.
Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, a picture emerges of CIA-controlled Japanese wartime loot being funneled by Japanese war criminals, via rightist Asian conduit organizations, to American politicians.
Maybe that explains why Washington turns a deaf ear when Japanese officials sanitize their country’s wartime atrocities. After all, the bruised feelings of a couple of billion Asian mainlanders is a small price to pay for keeping a lid on the truth.
Jerry Meldon is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. His e-mail is email@example.com /
These documents were declassified in 2005, 53 years after the fact.
by just wondering Friday, Mar. 02, 2007 at 7:15 AM
What do you suppose is happening today that will be declassified 53 from now?
by history buff Friday, Mar. 02, 2007 at 8:04 AM
By Alex Constantine
Major Gen. Charles A. Willoughby - real name: Adolf Tscheppe Weidenbach, born in Heidelberg, Germany in 1892, a Nazi agent in the Army Supreme Command; Army Intelligence chief under Douglas MacArthur in Korea; "security director" of the Shickshinny Knights of Malta. Willis A. Carto - Treasurer and founder. Major General Edwin A. Walker - US Army, John Birch Society. Lt. Col. Philip Corso (ret) - US Army Intelligence under Willoughby/Weidenbach. Robert Morris - Birch Society, American Security Council (ASC), Young Americans for Freedom. Senator Strom Thurmond (D-S.C.) - Since, a "defector to the Republican Party, still a Senator at the age of 94. Otto Etepka - Director of Security Evaluations, State Department. Senator James O. Eastland (D-Miss.) - Director of internal security in the U.S. Senate.
A profusion of bridges were erected by the Liberty Lobby to German Nazis. Edwin Walker, who once stated in a radio interview that "[Jack] Ruby's name was Rubenstein," was the coeval of Gerhard Frey, publisher of the Neo-Nazi Deutsche National-Zeitung und Soldaten-Zeitung. A bosom ally of Maj. Gen Willoughby/Weidenbach, Theodor Oberlander, was the German commander of the Ukraine's Nightingales during the war and wrote for Frey's newspaper. ...
by history buff Friday, Mar. 02, 2007 at 8:25 AM
by FRANK KLUCKHOHN
The Reporter (New York Journal) August 19, 1952
During a lecture, in the course of which Willoughby described Spain as "a cradle of supermen," he said, "I have come to Spain behind the Pyrenees than in Paris behind the Rhine." He neglected to explain why he wouldn't have felt even safer staying in New York behind the Atlantic, but the slur on NATO was obvious enough.
Those who knew something of Willoughby's background were not greatly surprised at his paying these sudden attentions to Generalissimo Franco. John Gunther has reported that while he was gathering material for his book The Riddle of MacArthur, he was at dinner one evening with Willoughby when the General suddenly proposed a toast to "The second greatest military commander in the world, Francisco Franco" (MacArthur obviously being the greatest). Willoughby told one Madrid audience that at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School he had lectured in favor of Franco as early as 1936. After he had given an impassioned account of his pro-Franco sentiments at a Falangist luncheon in Madrid, Willoughby was toasted by Fernández Cuesta, Secretary General of the Falangist Party, in these words: "I am happy to know a fellow Falangist and reactionary."
by history buff Friday, Mar. 02, 2007 at 9:32 AM
by Christopher Reed
In exchange for cooperation from the Japanese side, the horrific war crimes of Unit 731 were suppressed by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Not only were the unit's members not prosecuted for war crimes, they were rewarded and went on to occupy prestigious positions in postwar Japan's medical and academic communities. More recently, as in other reparations movements stemming from Japanese war conduct, Japan's courts have played the contradictory role of validating plaintiffs' descriptions of historical events but rejecting their claims to compensation on legal grounds.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted by Reuters on April 19, 2006, as saying:
This characteristic attitude toward its war responsibility places Japan yet again on a collision course with China regarding history. China's Unit 731 Exhibition Hall near Harbin announced in 2005 that it would seek UNESCO World Heritage status for the main BW and medical experimentation site. Last year 200,000 people visited the state-run museum, which is undergoing major expansion and restoration.
Critics accuse the Chinese government of manipulating historical issues to foster nationalism and bolster the regime's domestic legitimacy, while scoring easy points against Japan in the global arena of public opinion. But it was Japan, not China, which carried out the biological terror of Unit 731 and continues to evade accountability for it today -- with more than a little help from its American ally. -- William Underwood]
Everyone has heard of Auschwitz, but what about Pingfan? This Japanese germ warfare headquarters and laboratory in Manchuria, northern China, did not hold as many victims, but atrocities committed there were physically worse than in the Nazi concentration camp, and lasted much longer.
Many people know of Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi SS "Angel of Death" and a physician (though not chief medical officer) at Auschwitz from 1943-45. There, he deliberately infected prisoners with deadly diseases and conducted fatal surgeries, often without anesthetic. He escaped and lived in South America undiscovered until after his death at 68 in 1979 in Brazil.
But what of Army General Dr. Ishii Shiro? He was the chief of Japan's well financed, scientifically coordinated and government approved biological warfare program from 1932-45. Ishii rose to general and supervised deliberate infection of thousands of captives with deadly diseases. He also conducted grotesque surgeries, but the unique medical specialty of Ishii and his surgical team were dissections, without anesthetic, on an estimated 3,000 live, conscious humans. In 1959, Ishii, a wealthy man, died peacefully at home in Japan at the age of 67.
Why the discrepancy of knowledge about these two monsters? After so long, why does it still matter? The answer to both questions lies in policies of secrecy and complicity that continue today. They should concern Japanese, of course, but also Americans and many others.
It is because of U.S. connivance in Japanese secrecy that Tokyo's biological war has yet to be fully disclosed. An estimated 400,000 disease deaths, almost all Chinese, remain uncompensated. Japan, unlike Germany with its commendable atonement and billions of dollars in reparations, has yet even to apologize specifically to biological war victims, let alone pay compensation for suffering from its nationally driven medical torture program.
On my desk are two documents previously marked Top Secret and dated July 1947. They show not only full U.S. participation in allowing the Japanese medical torturers who escaped to Tokyo to go free in exchange for information, but that the Pentagon actually paid them. As General Charles Willoughby, chief of U.S. Military Intelligence (known as G-2) gleefully noted to his headquarters, these pay-offs were
Meanwhile, as Ishii and his cohort pocketed U.S. taxpayers' money, the Soviet Union was preparing a criminal court hearing for 12 Japanese biowar scientists they caught at Pingfan, just after its demolition by Ishii's men.
The trial in Khabarovsk resulted in all 12 being sentenced from 2-25 years. Three years earlier, in 1946, the Soviet prosecutor had given his U.S. equivalent in Tokyo the main evidence. But nothing happened. After the Khabarovsk verdict, the Soviet newspaper Izvestia demanded Ishii's arrest and trial. General Douglas MacArthur, Japan's occupation supremo, denounced Izvestia and the trial as "false communist propaganda". Docile Western media ignored the Soviet charges. Silence then reigned for decades.
Then in 1981 American journalist John Powell, who had obtained the Khabarovsk transcript, published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists details of open-air germ tests on captured Chinese and Russian men, women and children. Some were bound to stakes in a large field and bombarded with anthrax. Others were subjected to germs of bubonic plague, cholera, smallpox, typhus and typhoid, and women to syphilis.
And, in an excruciating irony, he told how Chinese captives had been killed by having their livers exposed to X-rays. The world's first use of radiation against a wartime enemy was carried out by... Japan. Its biological warfare (BW) was also illegal, since all such experiments were banned by the 1925 Geneva Convention, which Japan signed but did not ratify.
The media then headlined what it called Unit 731. This was the name of the commanding Pingfan imperial army group, and the one that became best known. But at least nine units functioned with apparently random numbers, dotted all across China and Japanese-occupied Asia. All came under the Pingfan headquarters, which had been specially constructed near the town of Harbin. Occupying 65 square kilometers, it contained 150 buildings with cinema, a swimming pool, Shinto temple, lounge, bar, and laboratories, operating theaters, and prison cells. It was serviced by its own rail branch line and had fleets of vehicles and airplanes.
During the 1981 burst of publicity, Justice B.V.A Roling, a Dutchman and the only surviving judge from the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo, Asia's Nuremberg, complained that no word about biological warfare had been offered in evidence. He wrote:
General Willoughby and officials of MacArthur's Supreme Command for the Allied Powers in Tokyo had succeeded in suppressing evidence from Ishii and colleagues, but separate inquiries were made by the International Prosecution Section (IPS). Its lawyers gathered evidence including detailed statements from defecting Japanese bio-scientists from Pingfan. The latter testified to human live vivisection, the dumping of lethal germs in Chinese water supplies and food stores, as well as aerial spraying. Yet all was silenced even though the information went to the top. IPS documents stamped "to be read by the Commander-in-Chief U.S. forces" were sent to President Harry Truman in 1947. No word has ever emerged on what Truman thought or said about this evidence. It is one of many still unknown facts about the Japanese-American conspiracy to conceal the complete account of the Japanese bio-warfare horror.
At Fort Detrick, Maryland, the main U.S. installation for BW, records remain on file of the thousands of tissue slides, preserved organs (some labeled "American") removed from living bodies, with medical schedules and reports on perverse surgical procedures on screaming and writhing human specimens.
General Willoughby listed the five most important items providing
The general's conclusion:
Next came the self-praise and grumbles in which military men like to indulge. The results, said G-2, "were only obtainable through skillful psychological approach to top-flight pathologists bound by mutual oath not to incriminate each other in these disclosures. They were assisted by direct payments, payments in-kind (food, miscellaneous gift items, entertainment), hotel bills, and board (in areas of search for buried evidence, etc.). All of these actions did not amount to more than 150/200,000 Yen." This amounted to only $2,000 at today's exchange rates, but substantially more in terms of its value in the Japanese economy of the time.
Then came the grumbles. The "pittance" in funds came from the military intelligence department's budget, but this was now restricted. Willoughby wrote to his boss in Washington D.C., General S.J. Chamberlin: "We shall find it successively more difficult to induce these people to disclose information" without more money. He mentioned "unanimous protests" from the spooks against "the absurdity of these restrictions."
Today those crimes live on. Meanwhile, Japan continues to conceal other details of its wartime research, the military having destroyed masses of documents prior to surrender. In 2002 in Japan, 180 Chinese victims and relatives from Hunan and Zhejiang provinces brought a court case. The Japanese judge agreed they had been infected by plague-carrying fleas dropped by Unit 731 planes during the Pacific War, but rejected their compensation claim on legal technicalities. The case continues on appeal.
Chinese anger against this and other unresolved Japanese war crimes increases as a new generation reviews the past. The issue will gain momentum so long as Japan continues to shunt aside its wrongs against Asian neighbors. The world should take notice. Why should Pingfan, Unit 731, and Dr. Ishii Shiro remain obscure names known mainly to historians?
Counterpunch editors' note: Under the overall codename Project Paperclip US intelligence agencies made similarly diligent efforts to acquire the research records of Nazi doctors working in the death camps. They also brought over several of the Nazi medical experimenters and set them to work in US military research centers such as Ft. Detrick. The Nazi research was quickly put into play in the field. In 1950, the CIA's Office of Security, headed at the time by Sheffield Edwards, opened a project called Bluebird whose object was to get an individual
Christopher Reed is a journalist, living in Japan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is an expanded and documented version of an article prepared for Japan Focus. The original article appeared in Counterpunch on May 27-29, 2006.
by just wondering Friday, Mar. 02, 2007 at 10:17 AM
Why should we believe that they did not also hire the German Mengele, and just haven't admitted it yet?
the dog that didn't bark
by investigator Saturday, Mar. 03, 2007 at 10:39 AM
It would be an inductive fallacy only if we believed that they did not also hire the German Mengele, and just haven't admitted it yet. That is quite a different thing from asking the question. In a very real sense, it is our duty, both to truth and to justice, to ask such questions. It is also the very essence of competent detective work.
Of course, we should believe nothing without proof, but it would be foolish not to suspect that Mengele was excluded from the long list of Nazi and fascist scientists who were employed by the US after the war, both in and out of the country. Since he was officially a war criminal, he couldn't be brought into the country legally, like the Paperclip crew. Nor could he have been brought in under under the legal loophole that allowed 100 war criminals a year to be brought in anyway, as was von Bolschwing, and under his own name.
Unlike von Bolschwing, Mengele was famous. Few people were truly outraged when the von Bolschwing case came to light. But had Mengele been brought in, and it had come to light, the public would have been outraged.
Mengele had come to symbolize the brutality of the Holocaust, even more than Eichmann. The main thing we all know about Eichmann's crimes is the utter banality with which they were committed. Mengele's crimes are perceived quite differently, if for no other reason than humanity's deep seated need to trust doctors. We expect a man like Eichmann to kill. Not only was he a trained killer, but he really was, just as he claimed, "only doing his job." If it hadn't been Eichmann, it would have been someone else. So we tend to think of the job as the evil, more than the man.
But we all agree a doctor's job is to heal, not to kill. So Mengele became more than just another banal man doing an evil job. Even though he killed fewer people, he is seen as a much more evil man than Eichmann. He personifies evil in so many people's minds because he was so enthusiastic about it. I'm not talking about "selection" here. As Lifton points out, none of the Auschwitz doctors liked doing selection. There is no reason to believe Mengele did either. But he did like doing his horrific experiments. He wasn't "just doing his job." He created the job, by designing those experiments. It is precisely what makes him "the German Ishii Shiro."
And he got away with it. There is no way in hell he could have gotten away with it without help. He was an active member of Die Spinne, and Die Spinne's actively overlap with US intelligence is long known and well documented. Researchers have accumulated a great deal of circumstantial evidence that Mengele entered this country on numerous occasion. Before dismissing circumstantial evidence, please recall that the proverbial "smoking gun" itself is circumstantial evidence by definition. But, lacking some future declassification of documents, it is all that Nazi hunters have to go on.
Of all the legitimate Nazi hunters, not even Weisenthal rivaled Mae Brussell for sheer relentlessness. Au contrair, Weisenthal made a career of hounding small time camp guards, while letting the bigwigs slip through his fingers. Many independent researchers believe Weisenthal was paid off. Not so Mae Brussell. She had it in for Nazis in a really big way, and for Mengele in particular. She pursued him relentlessly.
Page after page of FOIA documents in her Mengele file were partially or completely blanked out. One page showed field titles like , , , and
not blacked out, but the actual field contents themselves blacked out. To me this indicated that the US government new exactly where Mengele was and wouldn't tell, and rubbed Mae's nose in it. Why they wouldn't tell is a most intriguing question. We would be greatly remiss not to ask it."It would be an inductive fallacy "
by non sequitur Sunday, Mar. 04, 2007 at 1:47 PM
This refers to a comment that was hidden:
by history buff Sunday, Mar. 04, 2007 at 1:48 PM