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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
Jayvee Del Rosario: please contact me through jayveemdr @ gmail . com ; or in this forum as username: "jayveemdr" if you would like to discuss. thank you very much
Oct 28, 2019 22:49:16 GMT 8
Serrano: Conrado N Serrano was my uncle
Nov 1, 2019 9:37:55 GMT 8
Nigel Williams: Hugh Williams, Capt of Henry Keswick, was my grandfather. Seems after the bombing which sank the Tantalus, and Henry Keswick crew were taken prisoner on 3 January 1942. 9 April 1942 it grounded while under USA command, then Japs renamed her Gyeongju Maru.
Nov 4, 2019 17:32:30 GMT 8
Nigel Williams: Hugh Williams, Capt of Henry Keswick, was my grandfather. Seems after the bombing which sank the Tantalus, and Henry Keswick crew were taken prisoner on 3 January 1942. 9 April 1942 it grounded while under USA command, then Japs renamed her Gyeongju Maru.
Nov 4, 2019 17:32:36 GMT 8
Nigel Williams: The CO of the Keswick when it grounded was Lt Donalson. A Norwegian name, possibly. Torvald Kibsgaard's account could have some truth to it, if we imagine Torvald had talked up his role on board (given that the CO was deceased) from greaser to Commander.
Nov 7, 2019 12:11:11 GMT 8
mary lou cleland hedrick: I am Dad Cleland's grandaughter You can email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Nov 13, 2019 2:26:43 GMT 8
tmayer: mary lou cleland hedrick- Major General John R. D. Cleland? Todd
Nov 28, 2019 0:31:05 GMT 8
Architect LBD: Hi guys, i just want to say your chat here is a big help in my study about senior officers family quarters in Corregidor. cheers!
Dec 6, 2019 1:36:25 GMT 8
Architect LBD: Is there anyone here had lived in corregidor?... im wondering about what are the spaces/rooms of senior family quarters. thank you
Dec 6, 2019 1:37:43 GMT 8
Bob: I'm planning a return to Corregidor in 2020 and plan to replicate your James Ravine adventure.
Dec 7, 2019 5:29:29 GMT 8
Bob: I wonder if there any Japanese skeletons or artifacts to be found on Corregidor.
Dec 7, 2019 5:43:49 GMT 8
Bob: Has anyone done any metal detecting on Corregidor? I bet it's loaded with it.
Dec 9, 2019 10:24:06 GMT 8
Bob: Ghost hunters should visit Corregidor because if ghosts are real then they're on the Rock.
Dec 9, 2019 10:24:57 GMT 8
Carmen: Grande Island was used for recreation in the early 80s. My best friend's dad, Mr. Ponton, was in charge of Grande Island operations. The hotel was the old hospital from WWII. 1st floor remodeled, 2nd floor partial remodel, 3rd floor original and HAUNTED.
Dec 15, 2019 14:18:48 GMT 8
cbuehler: With regard to metal detecting, it is, or was, strictly not allowed. I have not been on the Rock for 10 years now, but one used to find ordnance quite easily, just lying around. As with all the battlefields in PI, Japanese relics are far fewer than US.
Dec 16, 2019 5:23:03 GMT 8
beirutvet: SGantner, Hello. I have found the web site 'American Battle Monuments Commission' very helpful in the past. I would suggest starting there.
Dec 27, 2019 0:26:56 GMT 8
Raquella1975: Restituto J. Besid was my grandfather. Finding the original post by Karl Welteke is incredible!
Jan 30, 2020 11:55:05 GMT 8
robert2010: Thank you for comments. I must admit that every time I've visited The Rock I come away with an artifact or two. My first time in 2007 I found a 30-06 bullet, 2 buttons, and shrapnel. Are there still sealed caves on The Rock that might contain japanese?
Feb 11, 2020 14:05:55 GMT 8
Registrar: Robert2010 - The tunnel at Monkey Point would contain bodies. So the answer is YES.
Feb 23, 2020 21:41:48 GMT 8