31 January 2016

Atrocities by the Japanese

War History Online has an article (using a list by listverse.com) about some particularly ugly World War Two history:
On the eve of VJ Day, and with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressing ‘profound grief’ for World War Two, here are ten Japanese atrocities: 
Laha Airfield Massacre
February of 1942
This ghoulish event, which killed more than three hundred Australian and Dutch POWs, followed the Japanese capture of the Indonesian island of Ambon. Allegedly as an act of reprisal, after the Allies destroyed one of their minesweepers, the Japanese randomly selected prisoners and executed them via beheading and bayonet near the island’s airfield. They then repeated the process three more times during the month.
The magnitude of this atrocity was enough for an Australian military tribunal to prosecute more than ninety Japanese officers and soldiers after the war in one of the biggest war crime trials in history. The tribunal sentenced four of the accused to death and handed out a range of sentences for the others. Unfortunately, they never got to try the mastermind, Rear Admiral Hatakeyama. who died while awaiting his trial.

Alexandra Hospital Massacre14 & 15 February 1942
Just a day before the British surrendered Singapore, Japanese soldiers stormed the Alexandra Military Hospital and slaughtered its occupants, including the medical staff and patients. Even those undergoing surgery were not spared.
Following the massacre, the Japanese forced those left to clean up the mess and then herded them into cramped rooms. When morning came, the Japanese rounded up the two hundred survivors (some had died during the night) and bayoneted them in the courtyard. Only five survived the second massacre by hiding in a storm drain.
General Yamashita, upon learning of the incident, had the offending soldiers apprehended and executed. 
Palawan Massacre14 December 1944
In another case of POW massacre, the Japanese stationed on Palawan Island in the Philippines tried to kill all their American prisoners after wrongly assuming Allied forces had invaded. After driving the prisoners into makeshift air raid shelters, the Japanese burned them alive.
Those who fled the burning structures were bayoneted, shot, or bludgeoned to death. A few dozen managed to make it as far as the shoreline and hide there; the Japanese caught, tortured, and executed almost all of them. Of the hundred and fifty prisoners, less than a dozen survived to tell the tale, somehow finding the strength to swim across a bay to safety. News of this grisly massacre prompted Allied forces to embark on a series of raids to liberate prisons and camps held by the Japanese across the archipelago. 
Japanese occupation of NauruAugust of 1942 through September of 1945
Even the small South Pacific island of Nauru did not escape the horrors of the war. During their occupation of the island, the Japanese committed a string of atrocities, and a few stood out for their brutality.
After a raid on the island’s airfield by American bombers on March 1943, the Japanese beheaded and bayoneted five interned Australians in retaliation. That same year, the Japanese also forcibly deported more than a thousand indigenous inhabitants as labor to other occupied islands to conserve rations.
During their occupation, the Japanese singlehandedly exterminated the island’s leper colony. Stowing the island’s forty lepers on a boat, the Japanese led them far out to sea and out of sight. Afterward, Japanese gun boats fired at the vessel, sinking it and killing all onboard. 
Akikaze executions18 March 1943
In what could be argued as an uncharacteristic yet brutal incident, Japanese forces executed a boat of German civilians suspected of spying for the Allies.
The incident began after the Japanese destroyer Akikaze, en route to the Japanese stronghold in Rabaul, picked up German missionaries and Chinese civilians living in the South Pacific islands of Kairuru and Manu. En route to their destination, the captain of the ship received instructions to execute the entire group. To accomplish this quietly, the Japanese led their victims one-by-one to the back of the ship to a makeshift gallows.
After securing the victims’ wrists to a pulley, the Japanese shot and whipped the bodies, then sent them overboard. The sounds of the ship and the wind prevented further victims from suspecting anything until the last moment. After three hours, the Japanese successfully killed all sixty of their passengers, including two children whom they threw overboard while still alive. 
Indian Ocean raid massacre18 March 1944
In the final raid conducted by Japanese warships in the Indian Ocean, the heavy cruiser Tone sank the British merchant vessel Behar and captured a hundred survivors. Captain Haruo Mayuzumi relayed his ship’s success to his superior, Rear Admiral Naomasa Sakonju, expecting praise. Instead, the admiral berated the captain for bringing along useless prisoners. He ordered their execution.
Mayuzumi appealed to his superior several times to spare the survivors. The admiral did not relent, and Mayuzumi carried out his orders. He divided the survivors into two groups composed of 36 and 72 members. The first contained the Behar’s captain and other ranking personnel, and Mayuzumi transferred them to a second ship, setting them free. The second group was not so lucky. When darkness fell, the Japanese beheaded them all and threw their bodies to the sea.
Sakonju would be later hanged. while Mayuzumi received a seven-year imprisonment for his role in the incident. 
Sook Ching massacreFebruary through March of 1942
Following the fall of Singapore, the Japanese wanted to mop up all remaining resistance, especially among the Chinese living in the region. To accomplish this, the notorious Japanese secret police, the Kempetai, initiated Operation Sook Ching (“purge through cleansing”) in February of 1942.
Singapore was the first to be purged. After interning and interrogating the city’s entire Chinese population, the Kempetai herded those they deemed dangerous into military vehicles. They then transported them to the city’s outskirts and executed them all. This purging operation soon found its way into other parts of Malaya as well.
The manpower shortage and rush made the Kempetai especially merciless toward those in rural areas. They eliminated entire villages on mere suspicion of subversive activity. Although we have no official casualty figures, estimates range from five to six thousand (Japanese sources) to a high of thirty to a hundred thousand (Singaporean and Chinese sources). 
March 26 and July 2, 1944
One of Japan’s most notorious submarines, the I-8, is best remembered for sinking two Allied ships and for the crew’s terrible conduct in the aftermath.
On 26 March 1944, the sub spotted and sank the Dutch freighter Tsijalakhundreds off the coast of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Japanese took over a hundred survivors onboard and massacred them with swords and sledgehammers. They then bound those still alive and left them on deck as the submarine dove. Only five survived the ordeal.
Just a few months later, the Japanese destroyed the American cargo ship Jean Nicolet and subjected the survivors to the same brutal treatment. The Japanese tortured and killed their prisoners by making them pass through a gauntlet of swords and bayonets before throwing their bodies overboard. The Japanese later dove after spotting an Allied aircraft, with thirty prisoners still on the deck. Only two dozen of the hundred-plus prisoners survived. 
The Death Railway
June of 1942 through October of 1943
As their cargo ships were vulnerable to Allied raids, the Japanese sought an alternative supply line to maintain their forces in Burma. This culminated in the construction of a three hundred mile lone railway between Burma and Thailand. The railway used sixty thousand Allied POWs and two hundred thousand Asian conscripts for slave labor.
During the year-long construction, thousands died from the grueling working conditions and inhumane treatment. A total of thirteen thousand POWs, along with approximately eighty to a hundred thousand Asian laborers died constructing the railway. The plight of the surviving workers did not end with the railway’s completion. While the Japanese relocated some of the prisoners, they continued to keep a contingent to maintain and repair the railway in the face of Allied attacks. 
The massacre of Manila
February through March of 1945
Early in 1945, General Yamashita planned for his men to evacuate Manila and fight in the countryside. However, two Japanese admirals ignored his order and committed their men to a final stand inside the city. When the Americans arrived, the Japanese forces realized that they faced certain death, and vented their rage on the hapless civilians trapped inside their lines.
For weeks, the Japanese raped, pillaged, and murdered. Aside from the bayonetings and beheadings, they machine-gunned captives and set fire to buildings with people trapped inside. The Americans ceased artillery strikes so the Japanese could surrender, but the Japanese continued their rampage.
After the dust settled, all the Japanese defenders of the city had died, taking with them a hundred thousand civilian casualties. The incident left Manila as one of the Allies’ most damaged capital cities, second only to Warsaw, Poland.
War History Online has another article, this one about Japan's view of World War Two:
Japan’s revisionists are a driving force behind a different version of what happened during World War Two. Slave labor, torture, and sex slaves for Japanese troops are all versions of wartime Japan according to the rest of the world, except for a small but growing group of people in Japan itself.
One of the most prominent revisionists is Toshio Tamogami, who was chief of staff for the Japanese Air Force. Even though he is educated and civil, he believes in a version of Japan’s role and actions during the war that differs from the mainstream. What is interesting is that the rhetoric is becoming increasingly popular in Japan, and especially amongst its youth, who are getting feed up with their country constantly having to say sorry to China and Korea.
Tamogami isn’t just happy to sit silently either, he ran for the position of governor of Tokyo, and while he didn’t win, he came in fourth, with more than half a million votes. Nearly a quarter of those votes were from people under thirty years old.
Tamogami says that the Allies and victors of World War Two have forced a version of events onto the people of Japan, and says that Japan should stand on its own two feet and write its own history.
In his version of events, Tamogami says that Japan was not aggressive, but was instead fighting for freedom against white imperialists who had dominated the Asian region for hundreds of years. He talks of being proud of Japan’s role in fighting back and trying to evade rule by European nations. He also does not corroborate that Japan inflicted atrocities on its fellow Asian people. He calls Japan’s invasion of Korea as an ‘investment’ in Korea, along with Taiwan and Manchuria, according to BBC News.
When asked about Japan’s invasion of China and in particular the documented killings at Nanjing in 1937, Tamogami says that it is untrue, and that there are no eyewitness accounts. Further, when pushed on the use of Korean women as prostitutes for Japanese troops, he says it is a total fabrication.
Tamogami is not alone and many nationalists in Japan are joining up to this version of events.
Meanwhile Japan’s current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has been apologizing for the actions of his nation during the war. Although, when it comes to the Korean women, he says Japan’s military never recruited them to specifically service the country’s troops and that they acted of their own accord.
Rico says that, if Abe was a real samurai, he'd commit seppuku on CNN... (And we may have to re-nuke the Japs to remind them about losing the war...)

FW: 1950: Truman announces development of H-bomb


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Subject: 1950: Truman announces development of H-bomb

Truman announces development of H-bomb
U.S. President Harry S. Truman publicly announces his decision to support the development of the hydrogen bomb, a weapon theorized to be hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II. Five months earlier, the United States had lost its nuclear supremacy... read more »
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Teddy for the day

War History Online has an article by Barney Higgins about Teddy Roosevelt at San Juan Hill:
Roosevelt’s Rough Riders had been taking fire all morning. They were pinned down, lying flat in the negligible cover of the reeds, rushes and tall grass on the lush river bank at the foot of their objective. On the hill above them, the Spanish position was just visible through the haze. From that direction came the steady crack of rifle fire, punctuated by the deeper boom of artillery. This was Cuba on 5 July 1898.
The United States Army, under the command of General Shafter, was facing an entrenched Spanish position above the road to the city of Santiago: two hills which together were known as San Juan Heights. Away on the left, the main body of troops were preparing the assault on the larger of the two hills, but the Rough Riders, along with the 3rd and 10th Cavalry regiments, were facing the smaller rise which they had called Kettle Hill. All three regiments were steadily losing men, and they were becoming restive and eager for the order to attack.
The Rough Riders were officially known as the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. They had been raised for the conflict in Cuba, which would become known as the Spanish-American War. This was a relatively short campaign, ending with a United States victory over Spanish forces, the signing of the Treaty of Paris in December of 1898, and the direct United States control of Cuba for several years. The Treaty of Paris marked the end of the Spanish empire in the Americas and the beginning of the United States’ recognition as a great world power going into the twentieth century.
The Rough Riders were trained to fight from horseback with rifles and small arms. They were a mixed bunch of men from all walks of life: miners and prospectors, cowboys, college athletes eager to see the world, and older veterans of previous conflicts. Well armed and well equipped, they had already achieved some notoriety as a tough bunch by the time they found themselves staring up the long slope at San Juan Heights.
At the start of July of 1898, the Rough Riders were under the command of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt. He had already achieved a respectable military and political career; at the start of the war of 1898 he was Assistant Secretary to the Navy, but he resigned this job to fight on the ground in Cuba. Theodore was in his fortieth year, a bespectacled man with piercing, thoughtful eyes. He cared deeply about his men and bitterly regretted the fact that, due to inadequate transportation from the States, they had been forced to leave, not only their horses, but a full third of their strength of men behind. Roosevelt’s specialist cavalry regiment was forced to fight on foot.
By the time they faced Kettle Hill at San Juan Heights they were reduced to a force less than five hundred strong. Standing with the Rough Riders were the 3rd and the 10th Cavalry regiments, who were also obliged to fight as foot infantry in the campaign. They were in no better condition, steadily losing men both to enemy fire and to the intense heat. If action was not taken soon, it would no longer be possible to take the hill.
Roosevelt took charge of the situation. After repeated requests, the regiments received the orders they had been waiting for, and they began a slow, creeping advance up the hill. They returned fire toward the Spanish positions, but ineffectively. Theodore could see disaster approaching. It was plain to him that the only way the hill might be taken was in a fast, full frontal assault.
He was mounted on his great grey mare, Texas, and rode back to speak hurriedly with the platoon captain, whose job it was to enforce Colonel Shafter’s orders. Theodore urged for the charge. The captain hesitated. Theodore, recognising himself as the highest ranking officer nearby, took command. His horse’s hooves thundered and kicked up clods of mud and grass as he tore back toward the front of the line. He waved his hat in the air and gave a yell, and the cry was taken up by the men around him. They stood and began to run, dashing up the slope.
To the left, in the centre of the United States line, Lieutenant John Parker and his small group of volunteers were engaged in hauling three gleaming Gatling guns into position. These were brand-new machines, and it had taken a significant amount of work by Parker to make sure that they were included in the weapons being sent to Cuba.
He had overseen the entire organization of the Gatling Gun Detachment, trained the volunteers to operate them, and personally arranged the purchase of draft animals to make sure they were in place for the battle. As he and his men hurried to finish setting up the guns, Parker saw the waves of American soldiers begin to gain speed up both hills.
On Kettle Hill, Roosevelt rode back and forth along the line of his charging men, yelling encouragement to them. The rifle fire from the Spanish position had become intense, and more and more men were falling. Suddenly, the air was filled with a sound like a hundred heavy hammers. It was the Gatlings. Roosevelt cried out to his men, who had faltered for a moment, thinking that the noise was that of Spanish machine guns:“It’s our Gatlings, men!” he shouted, “Our Gatlings!”
The cry was taken up by the Rough Riders, and by the 3rd and 10th Cavalry. Men from all three regiments had become mixed together and charged up the hill side-by-side. The suppressing fire from the Gatling battery raked back and forth across the Spanish positions on both hills. The Spanish rifle fire dwindled, replaced by screams and yells of panic.
The Rough Riders gained the summit of the hill to find it almost deserted, the defenders having died or fled under the relentless fire from Parker’s battery. They engaged and quickly overcame the remaining enemy troops. On the left, on the crest of the larger hill, they saw the Spanish flag fall, replaced by the Stars and Stripes. From both hills a cheer went up, but the battle was not over yet.
The Spanish regulars had reformed, and a force of roughly six hundred men were now counter-attacking the severely reduced American forces holding Kettle Hill. Things might have gone badly for the Rough Riders, as the Spanish rifles were able to fire much faster than their American counterparts, but Parker had not been idle.
When the Americans had signalled to him to cease firing he had immediately begun moving his guns toward the summit of the larger hill, and now one Gatling, which was in range of the Spanish counter-attack and opened fire.
There was no hope for the enemy. Of six hundred men who joined the counter-attack, only forty made it within rifle range of the Rough Riders. San Juan Heights had been taken.
Rico says that Teddy has long been one of Rico's heroes...

30 January 2016

Classic comebacks

Rico's friend Kelley forwards these classic comebacks:















Rico says that great men (and women) say great things... 

1948: Gandhi assassinated

History.com has this for 30 January:

Born the son of an Indian official in 1869, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s mother was deeply religious and, early on, exposed her son to Jainism, a morally-rigorous Indian religion that advocated nonviolence. Gandhi was an unremarkable student but, in 1888, he was given an opportunity to study law in England. In 1891, he returned to India but, failing to find regular legal work, he accepted in 1893 a one-year contract in South Africa.
Settling in Natal, he was subjected to racism and South African laws that restricted the rights of Indian laborers. Gandhi later recalled one such incident, in which he was removed from a first-class railway compartment and thrown off a train, as his moment of truth. From thereon, he decided to fight injustice and defend his rights as an Indian and a man. When his contract expired, he spontaneously decided to remain in South Africa and launched a campaign against legislation that would deprive Indians of the right to vote. He formed the Natal Indian Congress and drew international attention to the plight of Indians in South Africa. In 1906, the Transvaal government sought to further restrict the rights of Indians, and Gandhi organized his first campaign of satyagraha, or mass civil disobedience. After seven years of protest, he negotiated a compromise agreement with the South African government.
In 1914, Gandhi returned to India and lived a life of abstinence and spirituality on the periphery of Indian politics. He supported Britain in the First World War but, in 1919, launched a new satyagraha in protest of Britain’s mandatory military draft of Indians. Hundreds of thousands answered his call to protest and, by 1920, he was leader of the Indian movement for independence. He reorganized the Indian National Congress as a political force and launched a massive boycott of British goods, services, and institutions in India. Then, in 1922, he abruptly called off the satyagraha when violence erupted. One month later, he was arrested by the British authorities for sedition, found guilty, and imprisoned.
After his release in 1924, he led an extended fast in protest of Hindu vs. Muslim violence. In 1928, he returned to national politics when he demanded Dominion status for India and, in 1930, launched a mass protest against the British salt tax, which hurt India’s poor. In his most famous campaign of civil disobedience, Gandhi and his followers marched to the Arabian Sea, where they made their own salt by evaporating sea water. The march, which resulted in the arrest of Gandhi and sixty thousand others, earned new international respect and support for the leader and his movement.
In 1931, Gandhi was released to attend the Round Table Conference on India in London, England as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress. The meeting was a great disappointment and, after his return to India, he was again imprisoned. While in jail, he led another fast in protest of the British government’s treatment of the Untouchables, the impoverished and degraded Indians who occupied the lowest tiers of the caste system. In 1934, he left the Indian Congress Party to work for the economic development of India’s many poor. His protege, Jawaharlal Nehru, was named leader of the party in his place.
With the outbreak of World War Two, Gandhi returned to politics and called for Indian cooperation with the British war effort in exchange for independence. Britain refused and sought to divide India by supporting conservative Hindu and Muslim groups. In response, Gandhi launched the Quit India movement it 1942, which called for a total British withdrawal. Gandhi and other nationalist leaders were imprisoned until 1944.
In 1945, a new government came to power in Britain, and negotiations for India’s independence began. Gandhi sought a unified India, but the Muslim League, which had grown in influence during the war, disagreed. After protracted talks, Britain agreed to create two new independent states, India and Pakistan, on 15 August 1947. Gandhi was greatly distressed by the partition, and bloody violence soon broke out between Hindus and Muslims in India.
In an effort to end India’s religious strife, he resorted to fasts and visits to the troubled areas. He was on one such vigil in New Delhi when Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi’s tolerance for the Muslims, fatally shot him. Known as the Mahatma, or “the great soul,” during his lifetime, Gandhi’s persuasive methods of civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the world, especially Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States.
Rico says another good guy cut down by a fanatic...

Black and White and red all over

The New York Times has an article by Kim Barker, Michael Schwirtz, and Lisa Foderaro that cries out for the inevitable puns: Two Lives Collide in Fatal Night at a Harlem Shelter
Deven Black and Anthony White ended up in the same room of an East Harlem shelter in New York City on Monday. By Wednesday night, Black was dead, his throat slashed, and White was on the run.
Rico says, okay, bad pun, but who could resist?

Apple for the day UF

The New York Times has an article by Kate Benner and Nick Wingfield about Apple: Apple Sets Its Sights on Virtual Reality
Apple has acquired an augmented reality start-up called Flyby Media and hired the former director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech.
Rico says hide and watch for amazing stuff, as usual...

Hillary for the day UF

The New York Times has an article by Steven Lee Myers about that lying bitch who wants to be President:
The State Department said for the first time that “top secret” material had been sent through Hillary Clinton’s private computer server, and that it would not make public 22 of her emails because they contained highly classified information.
The department announced that eighteen emails exchanged between Clinton and President Obama would also be withheld, citing the longstanding practice of preserving presidential communications for future release. The department’s spokesman, John Kirby, said that exchanges did not involve classified information.
The disclosure of the top secret emails, three days before Iowans vote in the first-in-the-nation caucuses, is certain to fuel the political debate over the unclassified computer server that Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, kept in her home. The State Department released another set of her emails in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
The top secret emails lent credence to criticism by Clinton’s rivals in the presidential race of her handling of classified information while she was Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. It is against the law for officials to discuss classified information on unclassified networks used for routine business or on private servers, and the FBI is looking into whether such information was mishandled.
The State Department said it had “upgraded” the classification of the emails at the request of the nation’s intelligence agencies. Kirby said that none of the emails had been marked at any level of classification at the time they were sent through Clinton’s computer server.
Mrs. Clinton’s campaign responded forcefully, saying that the process of reviewing the emails “appears to be over-classification run amok.” A spokesman, Brian Fallon, said all of the emails should be released.
“We understand that these emails were likely originated on the State Department’s unclassified system before they were ever shared with Secretary Clinton, and they have remained on the department’s unclassified system for years,” Mr. Fallon said.
Neither Mr. Kirby nor other officials would discuss the emails now being withheld, but the classified emails include those cited in a letter sent to the Senate on Jan. 14 by the inspector general of the nation’s intelligence agencies, I. Charles McCullough III.
Mr. McCullough wrote that “several dozen emails” contained classified information, including some now determined to contain information at the “top secret/S.A.P.” level. That designation refers to “special access programs,” which are among the government’s most closely guarded secrets.
It was not clear whether those emails were written by Mrs. Clinton or, as has been more often the case with the thousands of emails released so far, were messages written by other State Department officials and forwarded by her closest aides.
Officials at the State Department have said the “upgrading” of the classification of Mrs. Clinton’s emails has been routine. Mr. Kirby said Friday that the classification review was “focused on whether they need to be classified today.”
Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story
Emails previously released by the State Department have been redacted because they were deemed to contain information that should not be made public. But the 22 top secret emails are the first to be withheld entirely.
The latest developments prompted new attacks on Mrs. Clinton from Republican presidential candidates. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, campaigning in Iowa, said the disclosure disqualified her to be president.
“If someone on my staff did what she did, you know what would happen?” he said. “They would be fired, and they would be prosecuted.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said in a statement that it made no sense to her that “Secretary Clinton can be held responsible for email exchanges that originated with someone else.”
“The only reason to hold Secretary Clinton responsible for emails that didn’t originate with her is for political points, and that’s what we’ve seen over the past several months,” she added.
The Clinton campaign’s response has reflected an effort to highlight the selective judgments that can be involved in the classification process.
Mrs. Clinton, in an interview with NPR last week, suggested that at least one of the emails at issue included an article from The New York Times about the administration’s classified drone programs. It was not clear which article she was referring to; the use of drones has been the subject of numerous news reports and books.
“How a New York Times public article that goes around the world could be in any way viewed as classified, or the fact that it would be sent to other people off of the New York Times site, I think, is one of the difficulties that people have in understanding what this is about,” she said.
At the same time, she has acknowledged that it was a mistake to set up the private server.
The State Department and the intelligence agencies have been wrangling over the email review ever since Mr. McCullough, acting on the request of Republican members of Congress, objected last summer to the release of some emails that intelligence officials had claimed included classified information. Friday was supposed to be the deadline for releasing all of the 33,000 emails from the server, but officials have appealed for an extension.
Rico says okay, 'lying bitch' was a bit harsh, if accurate...

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