Feb 26, 2007
Consortium News has a new article out about the incredible amounts of gold and treasure looted from occupied Asia during WWII and how it shaped both post-war Japan AND the right-wing politics here in the US. While it isn't talked about much, it was decided by General McCarthy to use the loot to help finance the emergence of Japan's democracy. It also isn't mentioned to much that many of the key figures of Japan's WWII military government went on to because important post-war politicians in Japan's democracy. This same group has dominated Japan's politics ever since, reflected in the fact that almost every single Prime Minister since 1956 has been a member of the the LPD.
Japan's latest right-wing Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, comes from a political family whose lineage includes Nobusuke Kishi. Kishi was one of General Tojo's closest deputies and a Class A war criminal as a result of his role as one of the top officials in the occupied Manchuria (where much of the war booty came from). He was imprisoned after the war, but but never tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. In 1952, the attempts to purge Japanese of its WWII leaders was rescinded, and Kishi went about building the LPD, and in doing so "managed to maintain contacts with the mainstream while also connecting the non-zaibatsu business community and selected parts of the discredited prewar world of ultra-nationalist politicians and control bureaucrats (tosei kanryo) to the postwar conservative hegemony." Kishi then went on to become Japan's Prime Minister in 1957.
Kishi formation of the LPD was also bankrolled by his allies Yoshio Kodama and Ryoichi Sasakawa, both of whom are major figures in the in the Japanese Criminal Underworld. Another organization that Kodama and Sasakawa helped bankroll just happens to be the good Reverend Sun Myung Moon's criminal enterprise. Both Kodama and Sasakawa also have long-standing ties to ultra-nationalist and fascist groups. They're good folks!
So that's some fun background history on Japanese politics. Now let's turn to this article on Consortium News and take a look at how $100 billion in hidden gold helped shape the post-war era, as well as our own politics here:
Why US Shields Japan's WWII Denials
By Jerry Meldon
February 24, 2007
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.
For those interested, here's a rather lengthy review and overview of Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold by Chalmers Johnson.
And here's an interview with one of the authors of the book, Peggy Seagrave: FTR #428 "Gold Warriors"
The article then goes on the describe how MacArthur coddled the very same leaders that led Japan during the war, coddling included some $100 billion in treasure...
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.
It's worth noting that the GOP's Get-out-the-vote "Ethnic outreach" groups targeting Eastern European communities involved a number of these fascist war criminals (Be sure to use the "search inside this book" option on Amazon...it's a must read book!). It's also worth noting that the GOP used convicted terrorist financiers to court the Muslim vote in Bush's 2000 election. Old habits die hard.
The article then goes on to describe how MacArthur and Willoughby secured the release of Ryoichi Sasakawa and Yakuza god father Yoshia Kodama, two major backers of both Reverend Moon's organization and the LDP. Kodama was also one of the individuals that oversaw the looting of Asia. It also appears that the LPD may have eve secretly funded Nixon's campaign in 1960.
And skipping down in the article, there's this interesting tidbit that relates back to the Iran Contra and how these Japanese crime-lords subsidized GOP candidates back here. And noted the involvement of MacArthur's second-in-command, Maj. General Charles Willoughby, who went on to become an important figure in the devlopment of Cold War right-right uber-hawkishness.
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.
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.
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.
Relating back to far-Rightist in the GOP, the leader of the US wing of Moon's World Anti-Communist League during the late 70's was a fellow named Roger Pearson, a British "racialist" that not only sat on the editorial board for the Heritage Foundation's Policy Review publication, but also played a prominent role in Mankind Quarterly, a "scientific" publication that provides "academic" research that is quite useful to those that want to prove, oh, that some races are inherently less intelligence than others (The Bell Curve made a number of reference to this publication). Much of the funding for Mankind Quarterly comes from the Pioneer Fund, which Pearson was also involved in (go here to see some interesting info on former director of the Pioneer Fund, Tom Ellis).
Here are two interesting interview with author Kevin Coogan that have lots of info on Pearson and the larger fascistic network he was operating in:
FTR 260: "Further Discussion with Kevin Coogan."
FTR #312: Interview with Kevin Coogan, author of Dreamer of the Day
And here's some more interesting info on how this network of Japanese and US far-Rightists have shaped out politics. On the same day that this Consortium News article came out, the AP put out another lengthy article on the use Japanese war criminals by the US after WWII, which included this description of Major General Willoughby:
The informants, many of whom were held as war criminals after Tokyo's surrender and subsequently released, operated under the patronage of Maj. Gen. Charles Willoughby, a German-born, monocle-wearing admirer of Mussolini, a staunch anti-Communist and, as the chief of G-2 in the occupation government, considered second in power only to his boss, Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
According to this profile on Willoughby, MacArthur referred his Mussolini-admiring second in command as "My little Fascist"
And here's string a fun-fact that demonstrates how the worlds of folks like Willoughby and Roger Pearson intersect.
Willoughby sat on the board of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), the youth wing of the John Birch Society started by William F. Buckley (who, on a side note, happens to be a member of the right-wing reactionary Knights of Malta). A former Director of YAF, Lee Edwards, went on to start the American Council for World Freedom (ACWF) in 1970. And the ACWF just happened to be the US wing of Moon's World Anti-Communist League (WACL), although ACWF isn't the same group that Roger Pearson headed in the late 70's. Here's why:
United States: The first WACL chapter in the U.S. was the American Council for World Freedom (ACWF) founded in 1970 by Lee Edwards. Edwards was the former director of Young Americans for Freedom, the youth arm of the John Birch Society. (11) John Fisher of the American Security Council served as ACWF's first chairman. The American Security Council is a virulently anticommunist group that originally focused on internal security. It currently heads up the rightwing lobby group the Coalition for Peace Through Strength, which includes among its members a number of members of Congress. (61) In 1973, the ACWF, at the urging of board member Stefan Possony, complained to WACL about the fascist members from Latin America. The report was discredited, but in 1975, ACWF left WACL and its members drifted off to other groups in the New Right. (11)
The second U.S. chapter of WACL (1975-1980), the Council on American Affairs, was headed by noted racialist Roger Pearson. During this period Pearson had strong links to the American Security Council. (61)
It's also worth noting that Willoughby was a major figure on the American Security Council (ASC)
For those interested, here's a very interesting Dave Emory show that includes info on how some of this war booty was used by folks associated with the John Birch Society to start developing a network private right-wing "security" firms (ie. the predecessors to Blackwater), that were instrumental in the Iran Contra affair:
FTR #451 Petals from the Golden Lily Audio here.
updated to add this tasty tidbit:
I remember once reading about a massive political slush fund in Japan's Postals system, so I decided to google that here's an interesting NY Times article from 2005:
Japan's post offices, which have deep roots throughout the country, have grown into the world's largest financial institution, Japan Post, with $3 trillion in assets. But they have also played another, little understood role here, serving as the bedrock of Japan's postwar political structure and the long-governing Liberal Democratic Party's machine.
Postal savings accounts have also earned the trust of Japanese, with 85 percent of households holding such deposits. The assets allowed Japan's leaders to finance national projects, from the war effort before 1945 to the country's postwar high growth.
It was Kakuei Tanaka, postwar Japan's most powerful prime minister and a native of Niigata, who put the money held by the post office to use as a huge slush fund for the Liberal Democrats, said Kent Calder, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. First as postal minister in the 1950's and then as prime minister in the 1970's, Mr. Calder said, Mr. Tanaka protected postal services from oversight from other ministries, so the Liberal Democrats could freely use the assets to reward their backers.
Small businesses that pledged to back the Liberal Democrats were given loans with no collateral and low interest rates from postal services - as long as they had the endorsement of their member of Parliament. Japanese could also take loans up to 90 percent of their deposits at low rates. Special postmasters, as influential members of their communities, played a crucial role by acting as vote-gatherers for the Liberal Democrats.
What's interesting about this is that Tanaka was the Japanese Prime Minister when Nixon supposedly return the "m-fund" (the name given for the massive war booty) back to Japan. So perhaps the Japanese postal system, of all places, could be where some of this money resides and continues to influence Japan today.
Here's a Dave Emory show that talks about Tanaka and the m-fund:
FTR-296 The Return of the Rising Sun, The Reemergence of Fascism in Japan Audio Here. So check out this excerpt from a 2001 Financial Times article in that show ""Mischief or Conspiracy?" by Gillian Tett; Financial Times; 4/7-4/8/2001; p. 10.":
But if that looks suspicious, the other explanation is far stranger and begins in the early 20th century, when Japan invaded its Asian neighbors and looted vast wealth. After the Second World War, U.S. intelligence forces secretly seized this wealth and later used it to finance covert anti-Communist operations - paying bribes, for example, to rightwing members of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party. Schlei told the Florida court that in the postwar U.S. ‘we came to feel that [such payments] were OK because the Russians were subsidizing the communists and socialists.’ In the 1960’s, the U.S. returned control of this fund - called the ‘M-fund’ - to Japan. Japanese politicians, such as Kakuei Tanaka, a former finance minister and later prime minister, grabbed it, stole large sums and used it for their personal use and to buy political support with bribes. ‘For 25 years Tanaka was known as the money man of Japanese politics. My clients say the reason he had so much money was he got control of this M-fund,’ Schlei said. In the 1960’s, Tanaka tried to hide some of the fund by buying JGB’s and registering them in the name of his crones and supporters. But in 1976, he was sucked into a corruption scandal and convicted of receiving bribes from the U.S. Lockheed company. In the following years, his cronies wanted extra money and, in the late 1970’s, the Tanaka clique decided secretly to print what have become the disputed certificates as part of a complex financial scheme.
Curiouser and curiouser...