EXO - Thanks for your take . My frustations are of the same opinion . While these animals see us in the western world as weak they will play . I ask what happened to the hangman or firing squad for their crimes .
I saw a glimpse of this white washing era 4 years ago with the publishing of a book titled "Tears in the Darkness" by Michael and Elizabeth Norman. The book about the life and POW experience of Ben Steele morphed into a very long chapter about General Homma, which for all intents and purposes was an attempt to white wash him. At the 2010 Convention of the Descendants of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, the Normans were asked, much to the dismay of many of us, to be the guest speakers. After their little speech, if you call it that, they read from a prepared statement, they were angrily questioned by ex-pow's and descendants alike. Shortly thereafter they were rushed out of the auditorium to save them further embarrassment.
It brought a smile to my face to see them two step it out of a room filled with a hostile audience.
As I recently wrote to some great people that work on issues related to POWs under the Japanese
I am, a student of history and had the great fortune to live in the Philippines from 1976 to 1980. I am by no means a Yamashita apologist. I am not entirely sure that I agree with what went on at the end of the war, or that he got a fair trail...but not for the more obvious reasons. From where I sit, my distaste with his trial stems solely from what we once called in the military "unfair command influence." I believe this was outlawed in the 1949 Unified Code of Military Justice...the UCMJ. I have read about the trial...many books actually in studying the issue of POWs under the Japanese. I am not unfamiliar with it, but have never set out to establish correctly in my mind, exactly all that went on. I think there were a lot of shenanigans that went on in the trial, that had it been conducted in the US, in a civilian court, would not have been allowed through the door. However, it was not conducted in the US, it was not conducted in a civilian court, but under a military court, under military rules. Big difference. Decisive difference. Under those rules,. they found him guilty. Under those rules his trial went to the Supreme Court. Under those rules...they executed him. To the best of my knowledge, the ruling has never been overturned. My biggest regret with the Yamashita Trial is that, after studying all the materials I have (and I have a large library, the largest that I know of in private hands), I think the US and its Allies failed miserably when it came to holding people responsible for what went on and what was done, not just to the POWs, but everyone that came into contact with the Japanese Army that ruled Asia. I could go on. I myself was in the military, for 21 years, one month, ten days. After that, I worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency until I got sick of it...and became a DSC - sitry stinkin contractor. I have attended many high counsels on many issues. Sitting in these meetings, you would be surprised to know just how much the average general, congressman, or working colonel knows. I for one find it hard to believe that Yamashita did not know what was going on. You want to apologize to Yamashita, I would start off with the fact that the dirt wasn't deep enough.....
It's a matter of one hand washing the other. At the bottom, the lowly Japanese soldier was following orders and at the top, nobody gave the orders. Then it was the Navy that committed the atrocities not the Army. I think the should have hung Hirohito and imprisoned Yamashita but I'm no scholar.
In Ex parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1, SCOTUS had occasion to consider at length the sources and nature of the authority to create military commissions for the trial of enemy combatants for offences against the law of war. It there pointed out that Congress, in the exercise of the power conferred upon it by Article I, s. 8, Cl. 10 of the Constitution to 'define and punish ... Offences against the law of Nations . . .', of which the Law of War is a part, had by the Articles of War (10 U.S.C., ss. 1471-1593) recognised the 'military commission' appointed by military command, as it had previously existed in United States Army practice, as an appropriate tribunal for the trial and punishment of offences against the Law of War. Article 15 declares that 'the provisions of these articles conferring jurisdiction upon courts martial shall not be construed as depriving military commissions ... or other military tribunals of concurrent jurisdiction in respect of offenders or offences that by statute or by the Law of War may be triable by such military commissions . . . or other military tribunals.'
There is a similar provision of the Espionage Act of 1917, 50 U.S.C., s. 38. Article 2 includes among those persons subject to the Articles of War the personnel of our own military establishment. But this, as Article 12 indicates, does not exclude from the class of persons subject to trial by military commissions' any other person who by the Law of War is subject to trial by military tribunals,' and who, under Article 12, may be tried by court martial, or under Article 15 by military commission. "
Congress, by sanctioning trial of enemy combatants for violations of the Law of War by military commission, had not attempted to codify the law of war or to mark its precise boundaries. Instead, by Article 15 it had incorporated, by reference, as within the pre-existing jurisdiction of military commissions created by appropriate military command, all offences which are defined as such by the Law of War, and which may constitutionally be included within that jurisdiction. It thus adopted the system of military common law applied by military tribunals so far as it should be recognized and deemed applicable by the courts, and as further defined and supplemented by the Hague Convention.
I quote this to illustrate that the law of war is a system of law different in character from the ordinary municipal laws of the various countries; it is International Law, not the law of any one State. It may be administered by the municipal courts of belligerent countries if these courts are specially commissioned for that object, and equipped if need be with special jurisdiction to enable them to discharge the trust.
Each court when it so acts is deemed to be administering International Law. In the same way the mandate given to a Military Court, such as the International Military Tribunal and the United States Military Tribunals in which were held the Subsequent Proceedings at Nuremberg, is in general governed by International Law and these courts are municipal courts only in so far as their mandate deviates from International Law. Such a court is an international court, regardless of the circumstance that it is convened by and -is administered by a national Government.
No doubt a court commissioned to try cases according to International Law may also be governed in part by some other law, because that law is included in the terms of its commission : a court cannot depart from the mandate given by its convening authority. Generally and substantially, however, the jurisdiction conferred on the courts we are concerned with, whatever their convening authority, will be found to be in accordance with International Law.
Something should be said of the sources of the International Law of War. The Common Lawyer will be puzzled by the absence of previous Law Reports in which he finds his precedents, and also by the relative absence of Legislative Acts in which a great deal of his law is found. Perhaps this comparative absence of legislation will seem almost more grievous to the civil lawyer who finds the great part of his law in Codes. Thus it might be that a lawyer, who is not a historian, nor an International Law expert, might so fixate upon domestic American political and legal issues to the exclusion of recognizing that the Law of War is essentially of an international legal character, not a sole American preserve of Eric Holder's Department of Justice.
Fred Baldassarre mentioned Robert Jackson who wrote the Nuremberg Charter which gave everyone the blue print for all the other trials in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. His stated intent, Fred tells me, was to get at the truth, rather than give lawyers the ability to determine the outcome of the trial with their legal skills and gymnastics. The articles in the Charter were written with that in mind. Given his own words, Jackson wanted war crimes researched and not lawyered, as they would be in a civilian trial. I think this is what a few Harvard Law types have lost sight of. They've given up on getting at the truth. It is said that the first casualty of war is truth, so I say that the first casualty of legal revisionism is the facts.
I think that to belabor this issue, is to fall for the oldest legal trick in the book - misdirection. We should not have to be proving Yamashita is bad, we should be saying to these legal revisionists, "In your submission that Yamashita's conduct is not such as to attach any requirement of duty or command responsibility, do not overlook Yamashita's history of conduct as exemplified in China, Malaya, and the Dutch East India. Do not overlook his role in calling for the trial of two thousand prisoners to be expedited, and which thus resulted in their "trials" consisting of answering to their names, and being read a pro-forma charge. Consider also that all two thousand of them were not advised of the result of their "trials" until taken to the point of summary execution. Assess also Yamashita's failure, as Japan's senior civilian representative in the Philippines, to conduct himself in such a manner as to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of that position, having regard to the number of massacres of civilians outside of Manila."
Yamashita had the right to a fair trial (and he is quoted as agreeing that he got one.) He got what he wanted - the ability to deflect blame away from his Emperor, and away from the Imperial Army Staff College.
It's a shame, though, he wasn't also drawn and quartered.
Those who feel that Yamashita didn't get a fair trial are invited, first, to discuss the charges he would have faced separately by Australia and England (for the Sook Ching Massacre in Singapore.)
(EXO, with much cribbing from the works of the Rt. Hon. Lord Wright of Durley, in the Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals.)
I have been outspoken in my criticism of the book Yamashita’s Ghost - War Crimes, MacArthur’s Justice, and Command Accountability by Allan A. Ryan, and its efforts to paint General Yamashita as an essentially honest, trustworthy and innocent commander who was unfortunate enough to be placed in a tough situation (ie complete control of the military defense of the Philippines, and of its civil government) convicted of War Crimes he never committed. If this picture of Yamashita sounds like bunk to you, then you've probably been doing your history homework.
Oh, for the record, Allan Ryan is not a historian. Full disclosure: Neither am I.
Yamashita, the Tiger of Malaya, wasn't sent to the Philippines because he was a girl thingy. In fact, the more you go back into his own history, the more you can recognize a pattern - he is sent into the trouble spots (such as Nanking, Singapore, Manila) as a "get things done" sort of guy. By "getting things done", we mean mass preventative arrests of all persons who might be thought of as capable of opposing Japanese occupation or plans, thereafter followed by mass murders used as a tactic to cower the civilian populations. [ If you are an independent reader, seek information about Yamashita's role in ordering the Sook Ching ("Cleansing Operation") massacres in Singapore, and the manner in which he effected the mass murders with a minimum of concise paperwork. Ah, a dearth of clarity and a minimum of paperwork can sure make w whitewash of your reputation easier! Refer to The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus by Hayashi Hirofumi.
At any rate, this post is not so much about Yamashita as about how Ryan is prepared to launder his repute by arguing that the defense of Yamashita was right all along and that the military tribunal which tried Yamashita did not give him a fair trial. (A fair trial by American legal standards for American citizen civilians, of course, specifically those standards as argued by A. (Adolf) Frank Reel, one of his several defense counsel.) When Yamashita pressed the Kempeitai (of which he was the ultimate commander in the Philippines) to put approximately two thousand prisoners to trial late in 1944, they were given no defense counsel at government expense, nor allowed to know the evidence against them - this wasn't necessary as they were not even allowed to give evidence...indeed their trials lasted an average of between five and ten minute, and consisted to answering to their name and establishing their identity.)
Reel failed in the tribunal, Yamashita was convicted, and he failed on appeal to the Supreme Court too, but that never stops a determined Lawyer. He wrote a book, in which he used "a little literary license and a pair of editing scissors" to do what the Supreme Court would not - make his attempt to discredit one of the witnesses against Yamashita that linked him directly to the deaths of the two thousand sound half believable, and almost heroic. You just can't keep a good man down! Not even with a short handled shovel!
Fast forward a generation or two and we have Allan Ryan, Law Lecturer at Harvard, teaching all the little law students that the Supreme Court majority in Yamashita got it all wrong, and that Yamashita didn't get a fair trial. (This of course is much to the pleasure of Eric Holder's Department of Justice, because they too believe that Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Bin Laden's Son-in-Law should be tried in U.S. Federal courts in accordance with the American legal standards for American citizen civilians, which provides for their paid defense counsel. (Not a bad job if you can get it, and one of Allan Ryan's book reviewers did.)
THUS IT WAS, with some amusement, that I spotted the following review of Allan Ryan's book on Amazon, by A. Frank Reel's son:
Nothing New Offered Here That My father Did Not Write at the Time,March 21, 2013 By Jeffrey Reel
This review is from: Yamashita's Ghost: War Crimes, MacArthur's Justice, and Command Accountability (Modern War Studies) (Hardcover) Good book but it is a rehash of my father's book: "The Case of General Yamashita" written in 1948. My father, A. Frank Reel, was on the General's defense counsel and he was the one who argued the case before the Supreme Court. Ryan's conclusions are straight from my father's book. Ryan offers absolutely nothing new of value. My father's book was soon after translated into Japanese and MacArthur (in charge of the occupation of Japan at the time) had it banned.
A review of A. Frank Reel's book (which explains why it was not allowed to be published in Japan) is contained on our website at:
The following is from Johnathan silvers, film maker, to Peter Parsons (15 April)
Peter, I'm not sure if you're familiar with my work, so forgive me if I restate the obvious: I've been a journalist and filmmaker for twenty-five years. I'm a veteran of ABC's Nightline, The PBS Newshour, BBC's Newsnight, and CNN. I've won Emmy Awards and other prominent accolades for my in-depth coverage of conflict and international affairs. I hold myself and my collaborators to the highest standards of journalism and academic integrity. I mention this because not once in twenty-five years have I screened material in advance for anyone except my executive producers at the aforementioned news networks. Nor have my colleagues. It's simply not done. Moreover, it's not permitted by American and British broadcasters' standards and practices. I have no idea why you've been sowing discord about Allan's motives and work. But I regard your search for "clarity" to be unfair, to say the least. Allan spent five years researching and writing "Yamashita's Ghost." His book was critically acclaimed across the country and recently won a prestigious award from the Society for History in the Federal Government. As far as I can tell, instead of actually reading his book, you've read only snippets about it from Wikipedia and Amazon. That's tantamount to reviewing a movie by watching the trailer. Allan is the most scrupulous legal mind I've encountered. Time and again, his prosecutorial judgment exposed unsuspected war criminals and refined US Government policy on war crimes. He is esteemed by his colleagues at Harvard and around the world. In the interest of fairness, I ask that you suspend your judgement and/or criticism on the documentary until it's finished. I believe the film will honor the victims, survivors, and Filipino people, and bring attention to their suffering during the Second World War. It will also show precisely why Yamashita was convicted -- and why that conviction has endured as a principle of international law. Regards, Jonathan
Peter Parson's Reply:
Dear John, [and Allan],
I guess it's a question of gun-shy. These very same people were promised in a like manner prior to the making of a Japanese TV special, by NHK. And they were shocked at what the final result was.
I have told Allan that I have not yet read his book. He had said he was sending me one. It has not arrived yet, so I purchased one from Amazon. But the difficulties of distance mean that I won't get it until sometime later this month or early May.
It does seem, however, that most of Allan's angst seems to be on behalf of Yamashita's having received an unfair trial. And that possibly MacArthur pushed through victors' justice in an act of vengeance. This seems to many of us who lost family, friends and acquaintances rather a painful way of recalling the past.
Since I have not seen the book, I cannot know whether it deals with the testimony of Richard Sakakida about the 2,000 guerrillas who were ordered tried (2,000 five minute trials) by Yamashita; tried and killed. Talk about fair trials! Nor can I tell why he dismisses the testimonies of Lupus and Galang.
You see, most of us actually feel that Yamashita did know what was going on, and in many cases even ordered it himself. He was a tough brute of a guy linked by recent research to both the massacres in Singapore and in China. Therefore many of us fear that you will end up by saying that he was merely convicted as an exemplar of MacArthur's victor's justice or vengeance even though he did NOT know anything about what his troops were doing. [Tell me I am wrong in this.]
I respect Allan's (and your) backgrounds, but in this particular matter I feel that this assumption--of Yamashita's not knowing what was going on--is both naive and unfair to the facts. Since the Japanese spent a lot of time burning guilt-proving documents (they missed a few diaries) these facts will probably never emerge. But the assumption that he did not know these things is just as unfair as the assumption that he did know. As you can tell, I lean towards the latter assumption. And I think I am supported by recent research and by eyewitness testimony.
I will, though, suspend judgment--and further emails--until I get to 1. read the book, and 2. see the documentary.
And believe me, I do sincerely wish you both the best of success with this effort, assuming that it will not duplicate the errors of the NHK production. You have an opportunity to an immense service. You likewise have a similar opportunity to a terrible disservice.
Best wishes, Peter
On Tue, Apr 16, 2013 Jonathan Silvers wrote:
I appreciate your concern, Peter, particularly in view of the NHK misadventure. But undermining our principled effort is unreasonable. Our first priority is honoring the victims and survivors who shared their harrowing stories with us. To that end, we're planning a screening of the final film to benefit Memorare and survivors in need.
I thank you for your vigilance and wish you success with your ventures.
By way of further reply, Apr 16, Peter Parsons wrote:
Jonathan, [and, of course, Allan]
We seem to have agreed to disagree. My troubles arose with the feeling that you and Allan were more concerned with the resurrection of the reputation of Yamashita as a noble and honorable general--as opposed to the vainglorious, revenge driven MacArthur. I think you can see how my vigilance hairs were quivering. Not to mention the NHK debacle.
They still quiver, but I am laying low.
Unless there is something new and big that arises.
BTW--it must be said that I have delivered to Allan (and therefore you as well) a lot of interesting documents and other factual material, including the After Combat Report, and some findings of Rico Jose, and the Parkes document on Command Responsibility. So it will have to be admitted that not all my correspondence with Allan has been negative. In fact it in part has been intended to assist your research--and, yes, partly to turn you towards my own take on Yamashita and the battle for Manila.
And I repeat my best wishes for your every success in this project. And I applaud your proposed screening to benefit Memorare.
Getting back to the core of this thread, which has become an examination of how it is possible for Ryan and Silvers to make an unbiased, even-handed documentary based upon their opening statement of their intended documentary narrative that:
"Yamashita’s ghost lingers in the law. Born in an unprecedented and ambiguous charge by a vindictive American general, nurtured by a misbegotten trial by his subordinates, deferentially upheld by America’s highest court, shaped by two panels of American judges at Nuremberg, and incorporated into official American policy and international tribunals, it has loomed over the international law of war for too long."
Where do the interests of fairness lay? This is not the first occasion that media have filmed interviews with survivors of the Battle of Manila, in order to give the illusion of fairness, only to issue a documentary which published contrary and unproven falsehoods. (Case in point, the NHK documentary.) Just because a legal author is widely respected by other legal authors, what makes him a Historian? Filmmaker Jonathan Silver says his film making stimulates discourse and generates public engagement, but when its HIS judgment that is in the spotlight, suddenly his reaction is to ask us to give him a break, and trust him because he's a professional. (ABC's Nightline, The PBS Newshour, BBC's Newsnight, and CNN. Hmm, what do these media have in common?)
Who is to look after the moral responsibility for the death of one hundred thousand people? Are crimes against humanity not be judged in accord with an enduring moral duty to humanity, or just by a defined, and redefined legal criminal precedent? The politics of the left is that the ends justify the means, and yet when it comes to their characterization of the Manila Trials, they focus not on the end,that Yamashita was guilty and deserved to be hanged, but on the means - "Oh, MacArthur, you vindictive swine! Oh Supreme Court, you wrongheaded jurists! How could you cads have conspired in the death of such a blameless individual!" To the extent that criminal trials are inadequate in dealing with moral responsibility, a narrow legal view from the hallowed halls of Harvard evades and short-sells the collective moral responsibility for which the Battle of Manila was fought, and in which one hundred thousand perished to be rid of those who refused to declare an Open City. It was the deliberate use, by the Japanese high command, of war crimes as a tool to cower civilian populations en mass, and to persuade the Americans that it was unthinkable to invade the Japanese mainland as a means of ending the war.
Criminal liability is not always equal to moral responsibility. A film maker's responsibility is a moral one, for he has the ability to manipulate the words, to manipulate the music, and to manipulate the very emotions of his audience.
If Memorare is prepared to abandon the field, and wait passively to see the finished product, I'm not.
Registrar,the creepy thing about it is that the same journalist also made a documentary about how German war crimes are not punished enough. But no word on how the US deliberately spared Japan's highest war criminal -- the imperial family. To them, Japan was punished too much and the German lightly. I guess this is why they allow a shrine for their war criminals? Imagine how the US would react should Germany have a shrine for the Nazi party
It all boils down to PC. Japanese people get very offended easily when you point out their war crimes and would probably sever ties with the US if the US insisted they officially admit their brutal occupation of Asia
I wouldn't go so far as to call it "creepy" but your point does well illustrate how a film maker can, unknowingly, be a victim of his own bias - that of a preoccupation with what happened in Europe, fairly much to the exclusion of what occurred throughout Asia at the hands of the Japanese militarists. I do not want to get into any discussions of whether, and if so how WWII in the Pacific was a "racist war", for I consider that even the formulation of the question itself shows bias - in that it ignores the fact that Japan was involved in a vile and violent war of aggression against the Chinese race for a decade before they decided to strike out through the entirety of South East Asia.
So to an extent, I believe that it's easy to understand why Mr. Silvers might be more sensitive on the Nazi issue (he has right to be), yet shows an incredible naivete when it comes to what happened throughout Asia commencing 1931. It's not unique to him. The problem is that when he brings his New York Eurocentric bias and New York naivete into an involvement in the Philippine History (since when is a documentary film based upon Yamashita NOT an involvement in the country's history and vision of itself), he's got an added obligation to get things right. And in that respect, revisionism causes him to fail. Parroting the idea that Yamashita was an innocent dupe railroaded by a drumhead tribunal engineered by a vainglorious and vindictive MacArthur is so East Coast MacArthur Kicker's Club, it is cartoonish.
I keep on coming back to this point ( nag that I am) and it is that, until now, we've seen no historical authority which validates A. Frank Reel's view of the historical facts - because there is none,or because a closer examination discredits him entirely. By virtue of Allan Ryan's statement that his book is based on an exhaustive analysis of the War Crimes Trial transcript, his book is not a History book either. (It might be a history of the creation and development of a legal precedent book, but that doesn't make it a History book.) The most unfortunate part is that, being newbies in the area, they probably read the most readily available introductory book, that awful Connaughton book, the Battle For Manila. As long as that book is around and being quoted as an authority, it will continue to provide de rigueur reading for every tin-pot tosser who wants to find the Japanese High Command blameless for the responsibility of their deliberate use of atrocities as a tool of war - not just for Manila, but in Singapore, Sandakan, Thailand, Burma, Nanjing and a hundred places throughout China and Manchukuo.
Last Edit: Apr 19, 2013 9:26:04 GMT 8 by Registrar
The following is from Marchal Anddrew D.G. Marin, to Mr. Silvers and Mr. Ryan
I am just wondering what could be your purpose in coming out with your own version or analysis about the Yamashita trials. Why is there a need to do a documentary while using the same people who suffered in Manila on February 1945 making them as your source and anchor?
Have you found any new evidence that would make the Japanese look like victims during WWII in the Philippines? As a documentary and film enthusiast myself, I would also justify the need to create controversy or come out with an intriguing storyline especially if it were a well-funded production, and thereby able to move and agitate the sensibilities of people--who have largely forgotten our recent past history, such as the battle of Manila or even WWII. That sirs, is marketing strategy!
Please do not declare that you guys are well-informed and well-researched. There are more legitimate war historians, scholars and writers here who would not even think of revising the Japanese atrocities in the Philippines. Why? Because we were here and we know what happened. We know of Yamashita's character from first hand.
1) You found new evidence? What is that thing that you know that we don't know? You are examining the trial as if it stood alone, like a book, and is not embedded in the background of the butcher Yamashita and his henchmen.
2) Your attempt to twist history, and the skirt is showing, as I observe in your exchange with Mr Parsons, as Mr Ryan's book contends that Yamashita got an unfair trial. And it was simply bias because the Americans made the Tiger of Malaya a fall guy and it was necessary to make a rallying point to gain momentum with the Victory sign? You make a movie that says this and it will be booed here in Manila.
3) What is there to dignify in the first place? If you are that famous, dedicated and honorable, as you claim you are, why can't you send the preview of your intelligent analysis to the Filipinos you "used"? Why deny the first audience of your beautiful and convincing documentary? I think this will solve and pacify further animosities if you do. It is standard procedure in our industry to let the people preview the final edited material before it goes on air; this to make sure that the purpose and plan were well executed. Surprise endings should be avoided.
You owe it to us esp those you interviewed (Memorare among others) and I pray that you are not guilty of setting them up just to elicit and further sanctify your trade as a well-decorated author and documentarist.
Pls have a good day as we await for a preview.
Very truly yours,
Marchal Anddrew D.G. Marin.
College of Engineering
University of the Philippines - Diliman
The following is from Amb. Juan Jose P. Rocha in response to Mr Marin's correspondence:
With regards to your (ie Peter Parsons) email to Mr. Allan Ryan wherein you mentioned..
“I am just wondering what could be your purpose in coming out with your own version or analysis about the Yamashita trials. Why is there a need to do a documentary while using the same people who suffered in Manila on February 1945 making them as your source and anchor?"
I am the President of Memorare-Manila 1945 Foundation and we cooperated fully with Mr. Allan Ryan during his stay in the Philippines and were among those he interviewed for the documentary on the Liberation of Manila.
I was likewise alarmed by the information given me by Peter Parsons alleging the use of this documentary to support Ryan’s position on a mistrial of the Yamashita judgment. I therefore emailed Mr. Allan Ryan to ascertain if this is true and his response was as follows which I found satisfactory:
I mean that no one need be concerned that the PBS documentary is going to “whitewash” Yamashita or anything of that nature. To the contrary, the interviews we did in Manila in December have convinced Jonathan and me that a major part of the PBS documentary will be a description of the atrocities in Manila, told in the words of those who survived them. That story has never been told on American TV as far as I am aware, and it needs to be.
However, please rest assured that we will not permit ourselves to be used for a Yamashita trial whitewash in any form or manner. Since Memorare-Manila’s principal trust is to create awareness of one of the greatest tragedies of the Pacific war, we therefore support Ryan’s documentary to bring knowledge of the tragic Battle of Manila to the American public and also to counter the misinformation contained in Japan’s NHK documentary on the Liberation diminishing if not absolving the heinous comportment of the Japanese in Manila during February 1945.
Thank you for your interest and please keep in-touch.
Regards, Amb. Juan Jose P. Rocha President Memorare-Manila 1945 Foundation, Inc.
To this response, Mr. Marin has written the following reply:
Thank you sir, for your quick response.
Item one is the only issue that disturbs a lot of people, including myself, who also read a lot of history books about WWII.
While it is true that all of us Filipinos (You, sir, and Mr. Parsons among others) share the same sentiment on this matter, I can't help noticing now that our stands don't jibe.
With it alone, the emails and assurances of Mr. Ryan to you may have really been satisfactory for me as well. After all, it is the author of an acclaimed book- "Yamashita's Ghost" himself who is speaking to you, giving assurances that the content of the documentary being produced by Mr Silvers shall not deviate from what we all want to tell the world about -- The Atrocities of Manila 1945.
Unfortunately, I cannot make myself at ease with such verbal assurance alone.
In lieu of our vigil to prevent "whitewash Yamashita", I courageously compel Mr. Silvers & Mr Ryan to preview the final edited material with the Interviewees first before it is aired on U.S. TV. But as I read from one of the emails of Mr. Silvers, it seems that they are firm on not letting the interviewees see the preview because their producers and networks don't allow it.
Also, it was clear as morning from the book of Mr. Ryan that he claims the Yamashita Trial as unfair and biased. Therefore giving the nuance that Yamashita is actually innocent and his hands clean of guilt from all of the heinous transgressions of the Japanese in the Philippines.
Colliding Mr. Ryan's statement in his emails to you in contrary with his stand stated on his book, plus the fact that Mr. Silvers doesn't want to preview the final material to the interviewees, it all the more made me very very wary of what could be happening behind our backs.
In fairness to Mr Ryan, and you, sir, I surmise that no one among us could claim that we got a copy of the book. I must have read all significant entries about the same book in the internet. However, may I know if you have read the book? I just surmise that the book is about the unfair trial of Yamashita as it suggests even on the title itself.
How can you reconcile the fact that Mr. Ryan intends to honor the victims of the Battle of Manila and Filipinos of WWII as a whole and yet he has titled the project using Yamashita as his peg? I find this rather disturbing. I hope you did not commit a mistake in allowing your group Memorare-Manila 1945 to take part in the project of Mr. Ryan (who uses the name Yamashita as his anchor) while majority of the victims in Manila and the entire country remain unnamed and unsung even up to now. Good for you, Mr. Rocha, because you have an organization that celebrates every February.
I am sure that the good author will show and honor the victims of WWII. However, I ask you, sir, to withdraw your consent and support of such documentary if indeed Mr. Ryan and Mr. Silvers will vindicate the Tiger of Malaya. And the only time to do this is a preview of the docu before it is being aired.
Please invite me to sit down on the said preview.
Very truly yours,
Marchal Anddrew DG. Marin
Last Edit: Apr 19, 2013 13:23:59 GMT 8 by Registrar
Marchal Anddrew Marin has followed up on his earlier correspondence with the following:
A call for Mr. Ryan & Mr. Silvers
I believe that there are only two major factors of information here in the Philippines, the media - print and broadcast alike, and the social network. If both don't pick up the news, it will never be known to a single soul anymore. Take Mr Ryan & Mr. Silvers for example, would claim their documentary will only be shown in the U.S., not even a preview for the interviewees. Sadly, this is the same situation of the NHK trickery. It is unfortunate that we were put in the dark as per NHK's documentary despite our hospitality extended to the Japanese production crew that came to Manila to interview war survivors.
With this end, I pray that Mr. Ryan & Mr. Silvers will change their mind about continuing their documentary project because the Japanese Occupation in the Philippines is so sensitive that even up to now, my grandmother Ligaya trembles in fear every time she remembers her youth when her older cousins were raped and bayoneted by three Japanese soldiers in the stream where they used to wash clothes. I am sure not just my Lola had experienced this unforgivable ordeal, there are more who had perhaps forgotten and brought their agony silently to their graves.
The OTHER Story
I have nothing against Mr. Ryan & Mr. Silvers trying to destroy the credibility of the U.S. Military courts now and then. In fact, it doesn't concern us at all; whatever they do in their own trade and field is their problem, NOT OURS.
I only reacted because they are using Filipino victims and survivors again and again, and now they even use the cruel Japanese general to justify and promote their trade and schemes. Looking back at the trials of Yamashita in the Philippines, in which the Military court found him guilty of war crimes, he appealed to both Supreme Courts of the Philippines & U.S., where both courts denied and even affirmed his conviction. What is there to discredit if all the three courts denounced his crimes, the proceedings itself?
If the purpose of Mr. Ryan & Mr. Silvers, is indeed to discredit the U.S. Military courts, why don't they just use another instance (not the Filipinos) where a potential contradiction between the U.S.Civil and Military courts may just surface for their benefit?
In our country, hospitality is a traditional family custom. Mr. Ryan & Mr. Silvers have just violated this Filipino value under the guise of honoring the war survivors, all for the purpose of serving an end that doesn't concern us at all.
In the long run, all of these issues on the table - the contents of Mr. Ryan's book, the purpose of the documentary, the deprivation of a preview to the interviewees, the Yamashita mistrial claim - were just minor concerns actually.
The only thing that makes me angry and sad is the fact that no matter the promise of honoring our victims, dead and still alive, I reiterate my claim that majority of them were not entirely honored, lest named or mentioned even up to now. Even with your announced approval by a certain group in Manila does not license you to exploit our dead. I cannot allow this. The memory of our survivors and dead have only been considered as a free commodity for pseudo-historians, researchers, documentary producers and writers to feast on. Please stop dragging them to the kitchen of your production and editing rooms, because it is no longer moral and it lacks courtesy and respect to us Filipinos.
I came across a first person account of the Japanese surrender at Baguio written by Robert Gerwig on 3 September 1945..Since Yamashita was one of the surrendering parties I decided to post this link here. It is from the Witness to War web site.
"Three hours after the surrender ceremony, Yamashita and his ranking subordinates were driven to the Luna airstrip from which they were flown to Nielsen Field, Manila, and thence transported Monday evening to New Bilibid Prison, 36 miles south of Manila, where they arrived at 2000 hours.
Thus ended the ceremonies that brought to an end in the Philippines active hostilities which had begun with the bombing by the Japanese of Clark Field shortly after the notorious Pearl Harbor raid forty-four months earlier."
Again, what bothers me in this whole affair is that it just ends in trying to "sanitize" Yamashita, but it never goes further in getting the public, especially the US public to scrutinize the role of Tokyo itself. I mean the imperial family. If one would read about what happened in Nanking, you will find out that certain people in the imperial family participated in the debauchery of the Chinese people.
So, if they're gonna question the sentence of Yamashita, they might as well bring up the issue and the evidences proving that a lot of Japanese politicians(nowadays) and the imperial family had participation on the atrocities.
But then again, in the Euro-centric and politically correct world, the Japanese will always be victims of the west but never the Asian victims of the Japan. One could even point out that the Japanese invasion was the defining point of Philippino-American relations, at least the non-politicians, as not any event made Philippinos even more pro-American. Will this point out how many Philippinos risked their lives to save one American knowing that the punishment is death?
Has these people, authors and journalists, ever wondered how Asians feel about the "end result" of the war? How the US let go of many Japanese war criminals or that the US is so complacent of Japan erecting a shrine for their WAR CRIMINALS? I'm sure the US will be hell bent if Germany erects a shrine for the Nazi(in which they will interpret Germany just regaining its "former territories"?
Here is the problem: even in documentaries and books, we Asians, are merely pawns for the West and Japan. Why do I say this? We're always pained as just "ornaments" when discussing. No one from the mainstream West and Japan ever took seriously the non-Japanese Asian view on this matter. It's always what the US thinks and what Japan thinks.
Better documentaries about Japanese atrocities in the Philippines are:
Colors of Courage, Sons of New Mexico, Prisoners of Japan -- this primarily focuses on the New Mexican Bataan Survivors but they also had a Japanese soldier interviews in which his views were not sanitized (at least it seems to me) and that there are also Filipino interviewees and their interview is just "raw". All participants are accorded their POV. The only tone I didn't like was the Pearl Harbor conspiracy but then, that does not white wash the Philippino-American experience under Japanese occupation
Rescue in the Philippines -- basically, the theme is the act of the Philippines in taking in Jewish refugees at the time when countries are pushing away the European Jews. It partly covers the Japanese occupation and what these Jewish refugees say about the Japanese occupation are not different from Philippino testimonies.
I have read some articles from Philippino Historians Ricardo Jose and Benito Legarda. WHY IS IT THAT THESE PEOPLE DO NOT INCLUDE THEIR FINDINGS? I guess it is because it negates the claim to Yamashita's innocence, therefore it botches their whitewashing propaganda.
It is no wonder why the Jews or non-German Europeans do not whine about German crimes anymore, while in Asia, a lot of people still whine about Japan's participation. There is no sincere confrontation both from Japan and the US about Japan's participation.
But should we be surprised? American survivors of Japanese atrocities are brushed away by the US government, what more with the non-Japanese Asian victims of Japan's imperialism?
On a side note: Why is there no documentaries on non-Japanese Asians who aided the allies esp the Philippinos? To think of it, most of the Japanese brutality to Philippinos came as a result of loyalty to the US. The Philippines could have avoided the wrath of the Japanese like Thailand if they were fully cooperative. But no, they didn't. But all the US gave back was burying the Japanese war crimes, spending luxuriously to rebuild Japan while strangling the Philippines in exchange for "aid"(Bell Trade Act) and the broken promise to Philippinos veterans and civilians who sacrificed many just to keep one American safe(Rescission Act).
It is very cruel, I think that the US will do such things to a former territory but babysit an enemy country. Even former American guerillas in the Philippines have been appalled by the post war treatment of the US to the Philippines.
I would like to add that the person who administered the Kempeitai during the Sook Ching Massacre was spared and very much alive. Unfortunately, his name escapes me but his last name starts with K and this happened when Yamashita was in Singapore and happened pretty much under his nose.
If these authors and journalists are seriously seeking justice, why aren't they EQUALLY pointing out the war criminals who never served any sentence? Who sob about a Japanese General who seems to be always "oblivious" of the crimes of his subordinates? What happened in Manila was not the first atrocity under Yamashita. Remember what immediately happened when he occupied Singapore - purging of ethnic Chinese!
Now, which makes me point our what Mr. Marin suspects -- to discredit the US Military. The Yamashita trial is a perfect choice especially that the trend today is the "we hate MacArthur"(not that I adore this man. I don't. I don't feel much about him, to be honest). Ever notice the constant comparison of the current US occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan? (Apples and Oranges -- especially since the US has been prosecuting its own bad soldiers -- this NEVER happened under Japanese occupation. Japan never punished the bad soldiers who did atrocities in Nanking, Singapore, Bataan, Burma, etc).
Just because you go against your government does not make you automatically honest.
Why also, are these people not referencing honest Japanese writers and historians, as well as soldiers who admits to Japanese atrocities?
Has anyone in contact with the author and journalists "in question" sent proofs or even materials that challenges Yamashita's innocents and "gallantry"? I say, we bombard these people with evidences that counters the claims because it seems they only have two sources -- the Reel and Connaughton books. It seems that they hardly have dug up post battle reports and testimonies from civilians, Philippino historians, authorities and even Japanese collaborators. It seems to me that including these will negate their vindication of the Japanese General. And not only that, it would even likely drag the role of the Imperial family into question. (In other words, these guys are sealing the can than opening it)
Also, it would be nice to "patch him up" with Philippino HISTORIANS. If they refuse, you know they have an agenda beyond "honoring" the victims of the Massacre in Manila.
It's rather funny. They want to bring out the the US was unfair to the Japanese but never the issue on how the US, for the sake of protecting Japan from communism, let Japan get away with its horrible war crimes that has definitely rivaled Hitler. Hirohito is the Asian Hitler
And here is something I dug a few minutes ago. Japan plans to have another statement regarding WW2.
Is this a move to convince Japan of its Asian neighbors against the rising threat of Communist China imperial expansion and get support for itself? To justify the "changes" in their constitution regarding arms?
Is Japan ready to tear down its Yasakuni shrine for war criminals in lieu of an Asian Holocost memorial in order for its neighbors to feel a SINCERE apology?
The book is essentially a follow-on progression based upon the arguments made by A. Frank Reel, Yamashita's counsel before the U.S. Supreme Court, and is based upon the author's examination and interpretation of legal transcripts. It then goes on to trace the Yamashita Principle through a series of other legal cases which develop it in some respects, and knock off its rough edges in others. The author prosecuted some war crimes trials during his time with the military (in the Kosovo period), and now teaches law at Harvard. He is not a historian, and thus I am concerned that in making his law book into a documentary, it may influence low information viewers into believing that it is a historical treatment. Hence, my very great concern that in attempting to establish a narrative in which to justify his attack upon the legal outcome, he readily promotes a revisionist view of the Battle of Manila. How could anyone who has only read legal transcripts consider that they know of the reality of the Battle of Manila?
The Battle of Manila is a topic that is beset with revisionism on all fronts - there are the right-wing Japanese who want to revise the record of their bestial military conduct and civil mis-governance throughout Asia, the Sandhurst military lecturers authors who criticize everything American, parties of all anti-colonial critics, ultra-nationalists who preferred to side with the Japanese than the Americans, people who want to play down the role of the Makapili, and people who want to bring terrorists to trial in civilian courts rather than in military tribunals. All of these groups want to interfere in the interpretation of the facts, and for the inconvenient facts that cannot be interpreted, well they should be ignored. (Case in point the other massacres which occurred under Yamashita, and all the other war crimes perpetrated by the Japanese bushido class.)
No, I do not think that facts will change their mind. Facts don't change, they are only hidden or revealed. These fellows are professionally set in their molds, plugged into their respective money streams, social milieu and political patrons. They have their godfathers. They're ensconced comfortably, thank you very much, in their beliefs that everything America FDR did was good and noble, and that MacArthur, should have been castrated.
What I am about is trying to entice a group of people to become motivated enough to consider further learning in this area, of their own history and heritage, to equip themselves to nay-say the revisionists who come on to their front lawns and tell them how their gardens should grow. The documentary shouldn't be the culmination of visions by a Harvard Law Prof and a New York Activist Film-Maker set out to change the world. Isn't one Michael Moore one too many for this world? If they want to raise Yamashita's Ghost, they should pay their respects to why it was that a plan was made NOT to declare Manila an open city, and who made that decision, and who then arranged for it not to happen, and how far up the tree of command that responsibility went - and if that responsibility lays with those who exercised power in the name of the Emperor, then their names should be purged from any place of honor. What this world needs isn't another documentary about ruthless personalities who aren't legally responsible, it needs a documentary that establishes what a crime against humanity is, and makes that a crime against which there is no possible defense, even if the only possible punishment is infamy.
Sorry if I have gone off topic, but the preparedness of people to dress evil in fine legal clothing burns me up.
Hi All....If anybody has ever paid any attention to my past posts and remarks dealing with Japanese atrocities during the Asian/Pacific War, it is obvious that I am no defender of Japan's less than sterling behavior toward their captive peoples/POWs, but nobody, and I mean nobody, can approach what the Nazi's unleashed against the Jewish population of Europe that fell under Hitler's control. The fact that Japan behaved in brutal fashion is beyond question, but, to my knowledge, they didn't have a highly organized, diabolical system, designed to eliminate a whole ethnic segment of European society, the Jews. Japan's treatment of the unfortunates that came under their domination, in my view, was a result of their culture. This behavior is even evident in their brutalizing treatment of their own soldiers by those in higher rank/authority. Nothing in Japan's World War 2 actions approach the "Holocaust", methinks. Just my humble. Postscript...I will say one thing for the Germans in this matter. They have acknowledged, time and again, their wartime guilt. Japan continues to dance around their well documented crimes and it does them no credit, even at this very late date in history.
Okla, thank you for your insights but I have to disagree with you in some points. I believe what Japan has done is equivalent to the holocost esp if you look at the documents. The Japanese thought they a were superior race because the think they are the of their god. A lot of the atrocities were not a result of command breakdown but orders from the high command. The liquidation of the POWs were ordered. The massacre in Manila is traced to have been ordered by Tokyo in order to show the advancing Americans a fate they will suffer should there been an invasion. And unit 731? That sure is not a breakdown of command. Sook Ching massacre was an atrocity against overseas Chinese that is NOT a breakdown of command but an execution of a planned atrocities.
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