Tag Archives: World War II

WWII air veterans of Doolittle Raiders celebrate 71 years of bombing civilians

Doolittle nose-art
I read 30 Seconds Over Tokyo when I was still a war-playing kid, before I would understand the mischievous consequences of the Doolittle Raiders B-25 bombers deploying without their bombsights. This was to prevent US war-making advantages falling into enemy hands but it also precluded dropping bombs with accuracy. I’m pretty certain the account for young readers also didn’t explain why over a quarter of the squadron’s bombs were of the incidiary cluster variety. Readers today know what those are for. Doolittle claimed to be targeting military sites in Japan’s capitol, but “invariably” hit civilian areas including four schools and a hospital. Of the American fliers captured, three were tried and executed by the despicable “Japs”, who considered the straffing of civilians to be war crimes. After the war, the US judged the Japanese officers responsible, as if their verdict was a greater injustice against our aviators’ “honest errors”. Today we rationalize our systemic overshoot policy as “collateral damage”.

Every year since WWII, Doolittle’s commandos are feted for their milestone bombing mission. This Veterans Day is to be the last due to their advanced ages. But it is fitting, because isn’t it time Americans faced what we’re celebrating? There’s no denying it took suicidal daring, but the Doolittle Raid inaugurated what became a staple of US warfare, the wholesale terrorizing of civilians from on high, with impunity and indifference. To be fair, the American public has always been kept in the dark. American aircraft have fire-bombed civilians at every diplomatic opportunity since 1942, and a Private Manning sits in the brig for trying to give us a chance to object.

We now know that the Doolittle Raid didn’t turn the tide, nor shake Japanese resolve. It was a retalliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor, intended to boost US morale as if to say, America wasn’t defeated. Kinda like why and how we struck back at Afghanistan after 9/11, just as indiscriminately.

The “Mark Twain” ersatz bombsight
substitute bombsightThe Norden bombsight was a closely guarded US secret weapon. An airstrike without it would today be like lobotomizing so-called smart bombs, and deciding to opt for imprecision bombing. The official army record recounts that a subsitute sighting mechanism was improvised for the raid, dubbed the “Mark Twain” and judged to be effective enough. Now a bad joke. Indochina and Wikileaks-wisened, we know the mendacity of that assessment. The vehemently anti-imperialist, anti-racist Twain would not have been honored.

Twain satirized Western so-called Enlightenment thus: “good to fire villages with, upon occasion”.

Post-postwar hagiographies of the raid have suggested the improvised bombsight was better suited to low-altitude missions than the Norden model. That conclusion is easily dismissed because the device was used only for the Doolittle run and never after. The sight’s designer, mission aviator C. Ross Greening, offered a explanation for why he named the device after Mark Twain in his pothumously published memoir Not As Briefed. He didn’t.

The bombsight is named the “Mark Twain” in reference to the “lead line” depth finder used on the Mississippi River paddle wheelers in bygone days.

Because its design was so simple, we’re left to suppose. Greening’s bombsight was named for the same “mark” which Samuel Langhorne Clemens adopted as his celebrated pen name. I find it disingeneous to pretend to repurpose an archaic expression whose meaning was already eclipsed by the household name of America’s most outspoken anti-imperialist. Who would believe you named your dog “Napoleon” after a French pastry?

We are given another glimpse into Greening’s sense of humor by how he named his plane, the “Hari-Kari-er” ready to deal death by bomb-induced suicide. Greening’s B-25 is the one pictured above, with the angelic tart holding a bomb aloft. Greening’s plane was another that carried only incendiary ordnance.

Much was made of the sight’s two-piece aluminum construction, reportedly costing 20 cents at the time compared to the $10,000 Norden. This provided the jingoist homefront the smug satisfaction perhaps, combining a frugality born of the Depression with the American tradition of racism, that only pennies were expensed and or risked on Japanese lives.

War Crimes
Targeting civilians, taking insufficient care to avoid civilian casualties, using disproportunate force, acts of wanton retaliation, and the use of collective punishment are all prohibited by international convention. They are war crimes for which the US prosecutes adversaries but with which our own military refuses to abide. Americans make much of terrorism, yet remain blind to state terrorism. Doolittle’s historic raid, judged by the objective against which it is celebrated as a success, was an act of deliberate terrorism.

Forcing the Japanese to deploy more of their military assets to protect the mainland sounds like a legitimate strategy, except not by targeting civilians to illustrate the vulnerability, nor by terrorizing the population, one of Doolittle’s stated aims. He called it a “fear complex”.

It was hoped that the damage done would be both material and psychological. Material damage was to be the destruction of specific targets with ensuing confusion and retardation of production. The psychological results, it was hoped, would be the recalling of combat equipment from other theaters for home defense, the development of a fear complex in Japan, improved relationships with our Allies, and a favorable reaction in the American people.

There is no defending Japan’s imperialist expansion in the Pacific, and certainly not its own inhumanity. The Japanese treated fellow Asians with the same racist disregard with which we dispatched Filipinos. While Americans point in horror at how the Japanese retalliated against the Chinese population for the Doolittle Raid, we ignore that Doolittle purposely obscured from where our bombers were launched, leaving China’s coast as the only probably suspect.

To be fair, most of Doolittle’s team was kept in the dark about the mission until they were already deployed. I hardly want to detract from the courage they showed to undertake a project that seemed virtually suicidal. But how long should all of us remain in the dark about the true character of the Doolittle Raid?

Out of deference for the earlier generation of WWII veterans, those in leadership, certain intelligence secrets were kept until thirty years after the war. Unveiled, they paint a very different picture of what transpired. The fact that the US knew the German and Japanese codes from early on revealed an imbalance not previously admitted, as an example.

About the Doolittle Raid, much is already openly documented, if not widely known. The impetus for the raid was public knowledge, the evidence of its intent in full view.

BY DESIGN
In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, American newspapers were already touting offers of cash rewards for whoever would be the first to strike back at Japan. President Roosevelt expressed a deliberate interest in hitting the Japanese mainland, in particular Tokyo, to retaliate for the Japanese strike against Pearl Harbor, never mind it had been a solely military target.

Plans were made to exploit the Japanese homeland’s vulnerability to fire, as ninety percent of urban structures were made of paper and wood. Writes historian William Bruce Jenson:

In his “confidential” meeting with reporters back in November, Marshall had declared that the US would have no cavil about burning Japan’s paper cities.

For the Doolittle Raid, a bombing strategy was developed to overwhelm the fire department of his target, the Shiba ward.

A former naval attache in Tokyo told Doolittle: “I know that Tokyp fire department very well. Seven big scattered fires would be too much for it to cope with.”

As lead plane, Doolittle’s role was to literally blaze the way. Fellow pilot Richard Joyce told Nebraska History Magazine in 1995:

The lead airplane, which was going to have Doolittle on board as the airplane commander, was going to be loaded with nothing but incendiaries -2.2­ pound thermite incendiaries- in clus­ters. They drop these big clusters and then the straps break and they spray, so they set a whole bunch of fires. He was to be the pathfinder and set a whole bunch of fires in Tokyo for pathfinding purposes.

Doolittle’s report outlined his objective more formally:

one plane was to take off ahead of the others, arrive over Tokyo at dusk and fire the most inflammable part of the city with incendiary bombs. This minimized the overall hazard and assured that the target would be lighted up for following airplanes.

Greening paints the most vivid picture, of burning the Japanese paper houses to light the way:

Doolittle planned to leave a couple of hours early, and in the dark set fire to Tokyo’s Shiba ward … the mission’s basic tactic had been that Doolittle would proceed alone and bomb a flammable section of Tokyo, creating a beacon in the night to help guide following planes to their targets.

Doolittle’s copilot Lt Richard Cole, told this to interviews in 1957:

Since we had a load of incendiaries, our target was the populated areas of the west and northwest parts of Tokyo.

After the bombers had left on their raid, and before news got back about whether or not they accomplished it, the Navy crew on the carrier USS Hornet already sang this song, which went in part:

Little did Hiro think that night
The skies above Tokyo would be alight
With the fires that Jimmy started in Tokyo’s dives
To guide to their targets the B-25s.
When all of a sudden from out of the skies
Came a basket of eggs for the little slant eyes

Incendiaries

Most of the bombers were loaded with three demolition bombs and an incendiary cluster bomb. Some of the planes carried only incendiaries. According to Doolittle’s official report of the raid, here were some of their stated objectives:

Plane no. 40-2270, piloted by Lt. Robert Gray:
thickly populated small factories district. … Fourth scattered incendiary over the correct area

Plane No. 40-2250, Lt. Richard Joyce:
Incendiary cluster dropped over thickly populated and dense industrial residential sector immediately inshore from primary target. (Shiba Ward)

“The third dem. bomb and the incendiary were dropped in the heavy industrial and residential section in the Shiba Ward 1/4 of a mile in shore from the bay and my tat.”

Aircraft 40-2303, Lt Harold Watson:
the congested industrial districts near the railroad station south of the Imperial Palace

AC 40-2283, David Jones:
the congested area Southeast of the Imperial Palace

Even though the planned night raid became a daytime mission, Doolittle did not alter his original role, intended to light the way for the following planes. His target remained the Shiba District of Tokyo. His own plane: “changed course to the southwest and incendiary-bombed highly inflammable section.”

Doolittle’s report included a description of the incendiary bombs:

The Chemical Warfare Service provided special 500 incendiary clusters each containing 128 incendiary bombs. These clusters were developed at the Edgewood Arsenal and test dropped by the Air Corps test group at Aberdeen. Several tests were carried on to assure their proper functioning and to determine the dropping angle and dispersion. Experimental work on and production of these clusters was carried on most efficiently.

As has become an aerial bombardment tradition, crews were let to inscribe messages on the bombs about to be dropped. Accounts made the most of these chestnuts: “You’ll get a BANG out of this.” And “I don’t want to set the world on fire –only Tokyo.”

These details, which reveal the intentions of the raid, were not made known to the public immediately. The Doolittle Raid was planned and executed in secret, with US government and military spokesmen denying knowledge of the operation even in its aftermath. The first word to reach the American public came from the New York Times, citing Japanese sources:

Enemy bombers appeared over Tokyo for the first time in the current war, inflicting damage on schools and hospitals. Invading planes failed to cause and damage on military establishments, although casualties in the schools and hospitals were as yet unknown. This inhuman attack on these cultural establishments and on residential districts is causing widespread indignation among the populace.

This report was dismissed as propaganda. When Japan declared its intention to charge the airman it had taken captive with war crimes, the US protestations redoubled. The accusations were belittled even as our own reports conceded to the possibilities.

Lieutenant Dawson’s Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo was the first published account of the raid. Printed less than a year after the event, wartime-sensitive details such as the phony guns made of broomstick handles poking out the back were left out. Targets were also not specified, but a candor remained, probably intended to be threatening. Lawson described the 500-pound incendiaries as “something like the old Russian Molotov Breadbasket”, and related US naval attache Jurika’s advice:

“If you can start seven good fires in Tokyo, they’ll never put them out,” Jurika promised us. … “I wouldn’t worry too much about setting fires in flimsy-looking sections of Tokyo,” he said. “The Japanese have done an amazing job of spreading out some of their industries, instead of concentrating them in large buildings. There’s probably a small machine shop under half of these fragile-looking roofs.”

“Flimsy” became Lawson’s keyword for the residential areas. Here Lawson described dropping his third and fourth bombs, when he saw their corresponding red light indicators:

The third red light flickered, and, since we were now over a flimsy area in the southern part of the city, the fourth light blinked. That was the incendiary, which I knew would separate as soon as it hit the wind and that dozens of small fire bombs would molt from it.

I was satisfied about the steel-smelter and hoped the other bombs had done as well. There was no way of telling, but I was positive that Tokyo could have been damaged that day with a rock.

Our actual bombing operation, from the time the first one went until the dive, consumed not more than thirty seconds.

Thus: Chance of hitting civilian homes: 50/50.
Charges of Excessive Force could be expected, because
blame the victim for being weaker than: a rock.
Care taken to avoid innocent casualties: 30 seconds.

In a later afterword, Lawson blamed Tokyo for having insufficient bomb shelters.

After the war, US occupation forces recovered Japanese records which documented the losses attributed to the Doolittle Raid: fifty dead, 252 wounded, ninety buildings. Besides military or strategic targets, that number included nine electric power buildings, a garment factory, a food storage warehouse, a gas company, two misc factories, six wards of Nagoya 2nd Temporary Army Hospital, six elementary or secondary schools, and “innumerable nonmilitary residences”.

Strafing
Japan accused the fliers of indescriminate strafing civilians. The US countered that defending fighters were responsible for stray bullets when their gunfire missed the bombers. That’s very likely, except the raiders were candid about their strafing too. Lawson:

I nosed down a railroad track on the outskirts of the city and passed a locomotive close enough to see the surprised face of the engineer. As I went by I could have kicked myself for not giving the locomotive’s boiler a burst of our forward 30-calibre guns, then I remembered that we might have better use for the ammunition.

A big yacht loomed up ahead of us and, figuring it must be armed, I told Thatcher to give it a burst. We went over it, lifted our nose to put the tail down and Thatcher sprayed its deck with our 50-calibre stingers.

Greening’s account of firing on a sailor, raises the moral ambiguity of air warfare with which few airmen grapple. By virtue that technology allows it, combatants become slave to a predetermined outcome:

When we attacked the next patrol boat, a Japanese sailor threw his hands up as if to surrender. I guess he expected us to stop and take him prisoner. We shot him and left this boat smoking too.

The Medals
Friendship Medals exchanged between Japan and the US found themselves requisitioned for Doolittle’s Raid:

Several years prior to the war, medals of friendship and good relationship were awarded to several people of the United States by the Japanese government.  In substance these medals were symbolic of the friendship and cooperation between the nations and were to represent the duration of this attitude.  It was decided by the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Frank Knox, that the time was appropriate to have these medals returned.  They had been awarded to Mr. Daniel J. Quigley, Mr. John D. Laurey, Mr. H. Vormstein and Lt. Stephen Jurkis.

After arrangements had been made and the medals secured, a ceremony was held on the deck of the Hornet during which the medals were wired to a 500 lb. bomb to be carried by Lt. Ted Lawson and returned to the Japanese government in an appropriate fashion.

Lawson’s plane no 40-2261 dropped that bomb on an “industrial section of Tokyo” omitting to mention that Japan’s industry was still a post-feudal cottage industry.

“The medals were subsequently delivered in small pieces to their donors in Tokyo by Lt. Ted Lawson at about noon, Saturday, April 18, 1942.”

–Mitscher, M.A. Letter Report to Commander Pacific Fleet.

“Through the courtesy of the War Department your Japanese medal and similar medals, turned in for shipment, were returned to His Royal Highness, The Emperor of Japan on April 18, 1942.”

–Knox, F. Letter Report to Mr. H. Vormstein

WWII vet, age 92, finally diagnosed with PTSD why, because we care?

Sgt. Stanley Friedman, a 92 yr-old veteran of the WWII North African campaign, was finally diagnosed with PTSD. Pro bono lawyers couldn’t even verify his service records, but after sixty years of denying his claims, the VA has at last been forced to grant Friedman compensation. Is this really the result of crafty legal work, at long last, or of a PR climate now overrun by Big Pharma, whose PTSD drug market windfall needed a poster boy for the baby boomer set, the type of veteran Americans favor over those from less “good” wars?

The guard towers of Camp Amache, CO, Japanese-American internment camp

Visitors to what remains of the WWII-era Granada Relocation Center located on Highway 50 past Lamar, are tempted to conclude that the remote location was isolation enough to restrict the movement of its 7,000 Japanese-American internees. Gone are all 560 buildings except their concrete foundations; the few remaining photographs depict a vast layout of spartan barracks, playing host to ordinary civilian lives, minus the atmosphere of incarceration. Were there cyclone fences and watch towers? The answer should not surprise you. Of course. Camp Amache was ringed by the usual multiple perimeters of prison fences, including six watch towers manned by military police, who were there, it was explained, for the internees’ protection. I think plans to further restore Amache need to begin with the security fortifications. If such blights on American history as these race-based detention centers are memorialized in the hope that our nation not do it again, it dishonors our victims, and blunts the lesson, not to illustrate our heavy hand.

I attended a recent screening of a documentary made of Camp Amache, attended by its producers, who expressed the usual motivation: in remembrance, never again. Special emphasis was placed on the contributions made by Japanese-Americans during the war, and on the magnanimity with which the internees accepted their lot. Survivors were not to receive an official apology until 45 years later, given $20,000 restitution for their livelihoods and families destroyed. It would be safe to say the audience felt well beyond the prejudice that had motivated their parents. Against Japanese-Americans.

Unfortunately both the documentary and the filmmakers’ commentary left the impression that “never again” describes a successful holding pattern. Of course, America has been at it again and as usual, its citizens have been obliviously complicit.

Look at the War on Islam, which has necessitated the internment of Muslim-Americans and Muslims worldwide. Guantanamo is not much different from the Wartime Relocation Authority (WRA) special Isolation Centers such as Dalton Wells, near Moab, where the WRA sent internees profiled as potential insurgency threats.

America has been building a network of fresh detention facilities to house Hispanic-Americans who run afoul of the country’s illegal labor market. Most of the detainees are promptly deported, but many languish while immigration issues and family ties are sorted out. While ICE pretends to protect the American people from the security-threatening unlawfulness of illegal aliens, in reality its detention centers enforce the successful abuse of a Hispanic-American slave labor pool.

You need only visit a traditional prison or jail to see that an overwhelming disproportion of its inmates are African-American and Hispanic-American, far exceeding what can be excused as representative of America’s poor. The American judicial system is still stacked against non-whites, and motivated by the same racist premise of protecting the security of white Americans.

And of course there are the open air prisons which still incarcerate the Native-Americans, the internment camps we call reservations, the original Wartime Relocation Centers.

Your father’s Lili Marlene, specifically

On the subject of historical misconceptions, you might say I’m hugely sentimental. So the tale of Lili Marlene catches me up like a honey trap. What does the name conjure for you? A Nazi Mata Hari? A fictional musical persona beloved by soldiers on both sides of the Good War? While even antiwar sentiments wax nostalgic about its universal love-conquers-all popularity, the WWII melody evokes romantic memories fueled by dueling propagandas. And when a victorious meme writes the history, it can erase its footprints, leading from what was effectively a literary rape.

A recent folk reference for example, an otherwise impeccably adroit Lili Marlene Walks Away, about Marlene the streetwalker, leaves me just sick in the heart.

The historical narrative has it that Lili Marlene was actually Lili and Marleen, two girlfriends for whom German soldier Hans Liep pined from the trenches of WWI. With unchivalrous poetic license Liep conflated the two and penned a love poem as it might have been written to him, “signed, Lili Marleen.” Two decades later a German composer set the words to music and then came the outbreak of the next war. The original recording by Lale Anderson was a flop until broadcasts to the front lines over Radio Belgrade captivated homesick Wehrmacht soldiers and eventually the lovelorn battling on both sides. Lili Marlene emerged the most popular song of all time, translated in as many languages as fought in the war. Was this owed to a universal empathy toward the pangs of love, or was it the appeal of a truly catchy melody and lyrics carefully crafted to suit the moment? And how did Lili’s character become redefined?

For the German audience, the character of Lili Marlene did not change. For some the song lost its sheen for having been co-opted by the Third Reich war machine. But even as the singer’s living embodiment of “Lili Marleen” became tarnished by her Faustian-won fame, the title role of “Lili” remained the non-fictional love interest with whom her soldier lover spent every furtive off-duty moment, revisited in memory and in anticipation. Concurrent translations across the European continent stuck to the same essential theme, owing no doubt to listeners being in the main multilingual. They understood enough of the original German not to be sold another Lili Marlene. English was another story, but the Allies didn’t start it.

Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels at first banned the song because he saw it as demoralizing to soldiers enduring the deprivations of war. He referred to Lili Marlene as “The tearjerker with the death-dance smell” until its popularity reached a critical mass even he couldn’t stop. When opposing forces seemed also to succumb to the song’s wiles, Goebbels sought to intensify the poison’s venom.

The original German lyric was written in an ambiguous voice, either that of the soldier or his faithful girl, revisiting their every last moment together and the promise of more. Even as the imagery may have been accepted as a soldier’s fantasies, the singer’s female gender was consistent with the voice of his lover’s reassurances. As a result, the original singer came to personify the character Lili Marleen. For soldiers of every side the voice they heard was that of “Lili Marlene.”

The popular account goes that when Allied soldiers were observed singing along to Radio Belgrade, an English lyric was ordered post haste lest American GIs and British Tommies be singing in German. Rarely mentioned is that the seduction interrupted had been in English.

A recent compilation of nearly 200 different renditions of Lili Marlene gives an unprecedented look into the WWII propaganda battle waged over control of the Lili Marlene narrative. Many of the key recordings have reached Youtube.

When the Germans surmised that Allied soldiers wanted to do more than whistle along, a lyric was devised for them which changed the ambiguity of the narrator to the first person. YOUR Lili Marleen became MY Lili Marlene. And oddly, but for reasons un-mysterious obviously, the vocalist remained a woman. The English version was supposed to be a translation after all, and no one was under any illusion that the song’s original appeal with soldiers was not owed to the enchantment of the chanteuse.

The plodding, dripping sentimentality of the melody also lent well to marches. Lili Marleen, in English, Marlene, was an ideal tonic for a war long on effort and deprivation.

An American GI today could still be forgiven for hearing Lili Marlene and saying: those aren’t the lyrics I remember. Late and post war USO tours effaced the earlier Nazi radio broadcasts. There was a German English version before the British and American after that, when Lili of the home front became the seductress became the whore.

If the song conjures an American image at all, it’s Marlene Dietrich, who subsequently claimed the song for her own, perhaps why it’s named Marlene and not Marleen, I don’t know. But her vampy rendition colors interpretations to this day. An American film star from the 30s, Dietrich is still mistakenly remembered as a reformed German double agent, possibly the Axis Sally propagandist who originated her namesake song. To my mind, familiarity would be the only reason to favor Dietrich’s rendition of Lili Marlene. The original 1938 German and its first English incarnation in 1942 were both by Lale Andersen, easily the most moving. But Marlene Dietrich wasn’t selling love, or was, to be more precise.

The lyric to the original German recording translates thus:

In front of the barracks, in front of the main gate,
Stood a lamppost, if it stands there still,
So will we see each other there again,
By the lamppost we’ll stand,
As before, Lili Marleen. As before, Lili Marleen.

Our two shadows looked like one.
That we were so much in love, at a glance anyone could see.
And everyone will see it,
When we stand by the lamppost,
As before, Lili Marleen. As before, Lili Marleen.

(The motif of female narrator was conceded by a 1943 BBC propaganda rerecording made for broadcast back to Germany. Instead of a love song, the lyric became a war-weary rant where a hoarse-throated middle-aged “Lili” calls for an uprising against Hitler. Loosely translated it went:

Maybe you’ll die in Russia, maybe you’ll die in Africa,
You will die somewhere, that’s what your Führer wants.
But if you see us again, where will this lamppost be?
In another Germany.
Your Lili Marleen.

The Führer is a oppressor, that’s what we all see,
Making every child an orphan, every woman a widow,
It’s all his fault, I want to see? him at the lamppost,
Hang him up at the lamppost.
Your Lili Marleen.

)

The German propagandists were more insidious with their subversion of Andersen’s 1942 recording, sticking closely to the original setting, shifting the narrator squarely to the male, relegating Lili not just to the third person but to the past, and interjecting heaping doses of sentimentality:

Underneath the lantern, by the barrack gate,
There I met Marleen every night at eight.
That was a time in early Spring,
When birds all sing, then love was king
Of my heart and Marleen’s, of my heart and Marleen’s.

The next verse begins with a cringe-worthy overstep of a military put-down, perhaps however to divert critical faculties from the real manipulation. Even though the song is now in English, the soldiers expect it serves German propaganda. Disarmed by the amateurish mocking of “retreat,” the listener is vulnerable as the rest of the lyric preys on a soldier’s insecurity about his sweetheart’s fidelity, the longer the war years become interminable. The subject is the usual propaganda leaflet fare, but animated with the potency of music. Faithful “as before” became “time would part” Marlene.

Waiting for the drumbeat, signaling retreat,
Walking in the shadows, where all lovers meet.
Yes those were days of long ago,
I loved her so, I couldn’t know
That time would part Marleen, that time would part Marleen.

The pace leadens to deliver the fatal pronouncement, again the anticipation of reunion becomes perseveration and lament:

When I heard the bugle, calling me away,
By the gate I kissed her, kissed her tears away.
And by the flick’ring lantern’s light,
I held her tight, t’was our last night,
My last night with Marleen, my last night with Marleen.

The last verse repeats the first, which I omitted earlier. It’s a call to action, obviously absent the original, “Now is the time-” meaning desertion into the aforementioned shadows, “to meet your-” and I must admit to be unsure of a transcription. From Andersen’s accent to the unclear recording quality of her backup chorus, it’s difficult to determine whom Lili wants the soldier to meet. “Your girl” and two other words which rhyme with girl, the first begins with P, the last with S.

Still I hear the bugle, hear its silv’ry call,
Carried by the night air, telling one and all:
Now is the time to meet your pearl,
To meet your girl, to meet your soul,
As once I met Marleen, my sweet Lili Marleen.

Your girl, not Lili Marleen. She’s gone, a love lost to regret. In their German-accented affected English, the male chorus appeared to provide a mocking echo “Now is the time to meet your death.”

Needless to say it was imperative that while Radio Belgrade reached the English and American soldiers in North Africa and Italy, the Allies had to record an antidote. A first version by a Brit kept with the romantic original:

In the dark of evening, where you stand and wait,
Hangs a lantern gleaming by the barrack gate.
We’ll meet again by lantern shine
As we did once upon a time.
We two Lili Marlene, we two Lili Marlene.

Our shadows once stood facing, a tall one and a small.
They mingled in embracing, upon the lighted wall.
And passers by could see and tell
Who kissed my shadow there so well:
My girl Lili Marlene, my girl Lili Marlene.

But that didn’t address the problem of demoralization, Goebbels’ original concern shared by military commanders no matter which side: soldiers overtaken by depression.

Plus the Allies needed less a song about the girl back home than one about the German lass awaiting the Yankee conqueror. Who are we kidding? Lili Marlene’s German voice did not invoke thoughts of home so much as a foreign woman taunting, however innocent, from behind enemy lines. Eventually those lands would be overrun, her lover to die in their defense, Lili to await the last man standing. How many soldiers listened to Radio Belgrade and did not fantasize about cuckolding their adversary with his beloved Lili Marlene? The Allied troops needed a Lili of not-unfaithful character, but one available to them. It was no big leap for an American lyricist to transform Fritz’s Lili, faithfully waiting for him under the lamppost, to “Lili of the Lamplight,” the only type of German woman with whom American GIs would be able to get near, a prostitute.

Underneath the lantern by the barrack gate,
Darling I remember the way you used to wait.
Twas there that you whispered tenderly
That you loved me, you’d always be
My Lili of the lamplight, my own Lili Marlene.

You’ll always be mine? My love? No, my lover by the lamplight. In the new scheme, the mentions of love and tears become sublimated by kisses, caresses, whispers of tender nothings and feet waiting in the street. Sung to the Allied troops as they marched unto Berlin by a husky voiced vamp. That’s your Lili Marlene.

Rekindling Hiroshima: Shock and Awe

The 65th anniversary of dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima marks the first time the US will send an emissary to Japan for the commemoration. Will it be to reconsider remorse for committing history’s most time-compressed crime against humanity, or as part of the fear-nukes campaign being waged against Iran? While anti-nuclear activists forever protest against arms buildups and proliferation, the US government is pleased enough to rekindle the specter of the bomb. Witness the Zionist crockumentary COUNTDOWN TO ZERO, this year’s anti-Islamic OBSESSION, focused not on who has too many WMDs, but on the axis of evil smoking gun mushroom cloud.

De Gaulle urges resistance in occupied France, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan

We applauded the French who raised arms against their occupiers.June 18 marked the 70th anniversary of the Free-French General de Gaulle’s famous 1940 radio address when he urged occupied France to resist because victory over their invaders would be inevitable. Does the western media commemorate de Gaulle’s message without an inkling of irony?
 
Of course, today’s occupied peoples cannot be offered the same assurance, that help is on its way. Just as Europe was overwhelmed by Hitler’s superior force, de Gaulle knew that US industry would trump that. There will be no white knight to rescue Iraq and Afghanistan, but “L’Appel du 18 Juin,” celebrated in 2010, reaffirms every people’s right to resist foreign invaders. And not nonviolently.

General Petain, leader of France’s Vichy government, was forever condemned for surrendering France and collaborating with the Germans. But he too knew that US industrial might, and its unlimited resources, ensured an allied victory. Petain can be thanked for sparing French cities the excessive ravages of war. Most of France’s historical architecture survived WWII because Petain played along with the occupiers. But France is free today thanks to the resistance.

Ignoble WWII bombing of Coventry commemorated with coined slur, ours

Here’s a bit of WWII distortion the History Channel is passing off as, um, history. Did you know that those dirty Krauts leveled the English city of Coventry so completely that they coined a word to celebrate it? Apparently that term was “Coventrated.” Oh, it’s a real verb alright — trouble is, it’s English. The British intelligence office seized upon the conjugated Coventriert to mean: subjected to heavy bombardment, and pretended the Huns were such bastards they commemorated the atrocity by mocking their victims in the Teutonic dictionary.

Also problematic, the barbaric Teutons failed to “coventrate” with equal efficacy anywhere else. But the Allies sure did. By night and by day, the UK and US bombers respectively “coventrated” the German and Hungarian homelands, with all the more ferocity because they were dishing the Nazis, haha, a taste of their own medicine.

The bombing of Coventry was tragedy enough, and might have been ameliorated had Churchill responded to the intelligence forewarning but risk betraying that the Brits were intercepting Germany’s secret ciphers. Allowing Coventry to fall victim was one of the high prices of keeping ULTRA a secret, but Hitler’s choice to bomb the historic city and its famed Cathedral was to provoke much enmity with the English public. Britain’s propaganda ministry was able to compound the resentment against the Germans for the devastation of Coventry by portraying the enemy as not just Philistine, but Bombast.

Of course more German cities suffered under the 24-hour US-UK tag-team bombing raids, many incurring orders of magnitude greater casualties than the 600 dead of Coventry. Notable among the Axis cities was the medieval capital of Dresden which possessed not one legitimate military target. No mention of those victims in the History Channel’s records of military misdeeds, meanwhile propagandist Newscorp property HarperCollins is weaving the coventriert detail for revisionist Dresden-deniers.

The stories of America’s firebombing of Japanese cities have already been suppressed. Apologists have long been at work justifying the use of atomic weapons against civilians in Hiroshima and Nagazaki. Where were the propagandists to conjugate Hiroshima?

America’s other unique bombing method would later be described minus geographical references, as simple carpet bombing.

The History Channel is part of the A&E network, co-owed by warmongers Disney, Hearst and NBC/GE. Their mention of “coventrate” came in a program about Lao Tsu’s Art of War, as his military edicts might have predicted, Nostradamus-like, the outcome of the Viet Nam War. Here’s an example of the program’s perspective:

The Vietcong lost the public support of many Vietnamese when they executed thousands of South Vietnamese under the employ of the US.

Meanwhile the American cause lost its public support when the US public caught sight of photographs of US war casualties.

Sound like a fair comparison? The Vietnamese weren’t demoralized by the millions killed in their midst, while the antiwar movement was not galvanized by the revelations of US atrocities? Right.

You have forgotten what to remember

You are not forgottenCan someone please explain to me what it means to fly this flag? The POW-MIA flag is ubiquitous these days around veterans. Our town hall flies this black flag halfway below the Stars and Stripes. When the latter is at half mast, the former hangs indecorously low. Which reminds me of a pirate ship stalking a wavering Old Glory.
 
I understand POW and MIA, and “you are not forgotten.” But there is no flag for the veterans, the dead or wounded, to whom does this lone flag speak and why?

Since the Gulf War, the US military maintains that it loses track of none of its soldiers. We’ve had POWs but they’ve been returned, and we’ve had MIAs whose bodies have been found. One was recovered even recently, though it was the body of a pilot lost over Iraq, understood to have died. Casualties at sea are still sometimes unrecoverable, but at least something about American war-making proficiency now permits us to confirm deaths even sans corpus. Supposedly.

US military engagements between those wars, and later, have been kept outside public scrutiny, or not officially admitted. As a result, they’ve added no POWs or MIAs for the home front to worry over.

Which leaves Vietnam, from whose era comes the dark silhouette of a bent inmate in the shadow of a prison guard tower. According to the last report, there remain 1728 American soldiers missing in action in Indochina. They are unaccounted for — it might be more fair to say–not missing persons, expected to turn up.

During the Vietnam War, the MIA list gave hope that your soldier wasn’t among the fallen. It was a hope that loved ones could cling to for even years after the fall of Siagon. On the radio, a Dick Curless hit from 1965 continued to resonate even as the war receded from memory. “Six Times a Day” told of a bride in post-WWII Germany who met the trains every day, awaiting the return of her German soldier, held by the Soviets in war-reparation labor camps until the Russians considered them to have atoned. Was this what we expected Vietnam was doing?

Six times a day the trains came down from Frankfort
The night he came ten years were almost through
She held him close and said I knew you’d be here
He said I had no doubt you’d be here too

American wives were determined to wait even longer, except evidence of post-war prisoners never came. There was speculation of a cover-up, suspicions which politicians like John Kerry and John McCain do little to assuage. After the war, some believe that prisoner GIs were left behind, whom the North Vietnamese hoped to exchange for war reparations. Instead of paying, it’s conjectured that the US government chose to deny the existence of those men. No American diplomat has ever confirmed the scenario, and no surviving GI has ever surfaced.

The closest we’ve come to rescuing POWs was at the movies, when Rambo went back for a jailbreak and to do-over America’s lost war.

Even as the rumor persisted, the fate of the abandoned POWs is assumed to have been execution at the hands of their former foe, presumed so exasperated and bitter. The general consensus today, no matter the theory, is that no veteran is anticipated to step alive from the sad lists of the Vietnam MIA.

If they are presumed dead, then what separates an MIA from the dead, who we honor together with all veterans? The Vietnam MIA have been added to the Vietnam Memorial. How now is their memory any different?

Even recently I’ve seen relatives of those MIA conduct special ceremonies on Memorial Day, with the empty place setting, the chair, the vase and rose, etc. It looks to me as though the family members have even passed the ritual down to grandchildren who would not even have know the missing soldier. But this ceremony isn’t conducted for the regular dead, who are also missing from the family table, it’s reserved for the missing dead. And so I wonder at the distinction.

MIAs represent casualties who fell off the books. If a soldier’s capture is confirmed, his status changes to POW, otherwise soldiers come up missing through desertion, treason, malfeasance, or physical obliteration. Mother nature can dispose of bodies, but the most common cause of disappearance is owed to the inhuman scale of mechanized war. As weapons grew more powerful, physical bodies more frequently disintegrated. Missing bodies today, even looking back retrospectively, are the result of human beings eclipsed by machine violence. In the engagements America has chosen from Vietnam onward, usually the technology for the big violence is our side’s alone. Which is not to implicate friendly fire. Often USAF air strikes are called in over battlefields strewn already with GI fatalities.

At first the act of flying a POW flag was aimed at the Vietnamese, to remind all around us, with a sideways glance at our enemies, of our concern for our soldiers. Perhaps the MIA component was an urging to Vietnam as well, after the war, to put effort into recovering US soldier remains. Over the decades, I’m not sure that Vietnam could have shown itself more cooperative. If archeological digs are today able to unearth more evidence, it’s not because the Vietnamese weren’t trying.

Who today are we addressing with the POW-MIA flags? I see these flags usually paired with the Red, White and Blue. But those are directed at our foes.

If a soldier’s relation has question to suspect their soldier is an MIA, isn’t that a beef to take up with the US military? The POW-MIA flag seems to say, we don’t trust you, don’t lie to us about our boys in uniform. We don’t want you smashing their bodies to smithereens, or leaving them behind and not telling us. The POW-MIA flag is a renegade message which says: we support the troops, but not their mission. Give them back.

Flying the POW-MIA flag is so unpatriotic, it’s patriotic.

Armed UAS drones need no defending

Predator Unmanned Attack VehicleI was curious about the etymology of the term “drone” applied to military (& DHS) Unmanned Aerial Surveillance aircraft, these days, mostly Armed. Obviously Armed UAS are not named after the stingless unproductive bees whose task it is to impregnate the queen, nor lazy idlers, nor clueless computer sales techies, nor thankless menial worker drones. Anyone who’s been around Radio Controlled model planes knows drones are named for the sound they make, a steady drone as they labor across the sky. While military aerial surveillance predates the Wright Brothers, and RC model airplanes have been around for half that time, it took the advent of asymmetric warfare to open the window to military drones. Their constant buzz offering the most intractable reason.

By “asymmetric” I do not mean the US intelligence code for off-textbook warfare, for counter-insurgency methods outside von Clausewitz etiquette. I mean the inherency they obscure, war between foes lopsided.

Look at a drone’s design. It’s more Gossamer Condor than military aircraft. Obviously an unmanned vehicle comprises fewer mechanical systems because it doesn’t need to propel, nor sustain, a crew of human beings. It might need less armature for the same reason, except of course, today’s drones are of high value in their own right. So why no armament?

Why too, no powerful jet engines or swept wings for aeronautic superiority? This drone looks about as robust as a paper glider. Laymen can distinguish bombers from jet fighters, as they can trucks from a race cars. I’d say the military drone resembles more a stick insect than its accidental namesake the bee. Do Armed UASs have no need for evasive maneuver capability?

I’ll ask another obvious question, why do drones carry no customary insignia designating to whose side it belongs? In particular this element would be of primary importance when encountered by other aircraft.

But a drone doesn’t encounter enemy aircraft, nor allied aircraft who might confuse it for belonging to an adversary, because drones operate where aerial supremacy is already absolute. The key to a drone’s military usefulness is that there is no opponent to shoot it down.

An Armed UAS can drone all it wants, taking its sweet time laying siege to defenseless objectives and other targets of opportunity. The US Predator or Reaper models can glide when they want to surveil in silence, although otherwise their motors project their presence with the deliberate imposition of a school hall monitor. It is more efficient to deter the placing of IEDs than to try to catch insurgents in the act.

Meanwhile all civilians are terrorized by the sound, associating it with sudden, unpredictable and often unjustified destruction and death.

The WWII German Stuka dive bomber had inverted gull wings which were thought to produce a horrifying wail as the notorious aircraft attacked city populations, Guernica among them. In fact the sound was produced by a siren the Nazis called Jericho’s Trumpet, mounted purposefully to spread fear on the ground. Like modern drones, the Stuka were not designed to fend off attackers from the sky.

Before the fighter planes of WWI, artillery spotters would rise in balloons to survey the enemy trenches. From these tethered balloons, artillery strikes could be directed with increasing accuracy. These remote eyes in the sky were the rudiments of aerial surveillance, the precursors to today’s Armed UAS. The balloons were manned obviously, and they weren’t armed, but the spotters they held aloft were despised much as drones are today. When WWI biplanes eventually came along to pick off the balloonists like sitting ducks, the soldiers in the trenches were jubilant.

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the Taliban had been fortified by the US military. We’d helped the Taliban destabilize the region, to force Russia’s hand in rushing to restore order to its southern neighbor. We wanted to draw the Russian troops in before we assisted the Afghan insurgency with the real weapons it needed to combat their invaders’ superior fire power. When Bin Laden’s Mujihadeen and the Taliban got US Stinger Missiles, the Russians could no longer deploy their helicopter gunships with impunity and the end drew near.

Eventually whoever drew the US into its war on Islam, is going to start distributing the means to take the US out. It might be Stinger Missiles or a modern equivalent. Eventually someone will develop sympathy for the victimized Muslims of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Gaza (add Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, etc) and help them flick the killer drones from the sky.

Would attacking the drones provide retribution enough, knowing that the real operators are safe in virtual cockpit command centers located safely within US homeland borders. Would it be sufficient to keep clearing the skies of drones, or will our victims have to weed US drones from the roots?

Will the drones prove as easily replaceable as GIs? The American Public keeps count of its lost soldiers, but in no way has this stanched the flow of fresh reinforcements. We do not count expended ordnance, or expensive equipment fallen casualty. Would such tallies discourage the war mongers or encourage weapons industry stockholders?

The American public has shown itself mostly contemptuous of the economic-draft soldiers who man today’s volunteer army, the deaths accumulate, but working poor are expendable. What about those who joined the military to clean up their act? We don’t want those back. After years of war, the public is already seeing too much PTSD, without contemplating bringing all of it home.

Perhaps instead Americans will react to a casualty list of aeronautic losses, maybe for reasons of pure economics. How many helicopters and jets we are losing adds to the federal deficit. But the losses of big equipment might offer the same decision making information we glean from the higher value chess pieces. Rooks and knights represent offensive capability. Hopes for victory or a draw hinge on which of those you have left. No one capitulates based on a count of their pawns. The cumulative tallies will reflect which way the tide is going. Military drones may be worth zero lives, but their destruction will signal an insurgence indomitable.

Top 10 secret armies of the CIA

Found this on the web, will try to retrace provenance, worth a read: The United States have a well known history of providing military support to countries in need. But from time to time, the US Government has provided secret forces. While many are successful, there have also been a number of failures. This is a list of the ten top secret armies of the CIA.

1. Ukrainian Partisans
From 1945 to 1952 the CIA trained and aerially supplied Ukranian partisan units which had originally been organised by he Germans to fight the Soviets during WWII. For seven years, the partisans, operating in the Carpathian Mountains, made sporadic attacks. Finally in 1952, a massive Soviet military force wiped them out.

2. Chinese Brigade in Burma
After the Communist victory in China, Nationalist Chinese soldiers fled into northern Burma. During the early 1950s, the CIA used these soldiers to create a 12,000 man brigade which made raids into Red China. However, the Nationalist soldiers found it more profitable to monopolise the local opium trade.

3. Guatemalan Rebel Army
After Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz legalised that country’s communist party and expropriated 400,000 acres of United Fruit banana plantations, the CIA decided to overthrow his government. Guatemalan rebels were trained in Honduras and backed up with a CIA air contingent of bombers and fighter planes. This army invaded Guatemala in 1954, promptly toppling Arbenz’s regine.

4. Sumatran Rebels
In an attempt to overthrow Indonesian president Sukarno in 1958, the CIA sent paramilitary experts and radio operators to the island of Sumatra to organise a revolt. With CIA air support, the rebel army attacked but was quickly defeated. The American government denied involvement even after a CIA b-26 was shot down and its CIA pilot, Allen Pope, was captured.

5. Khamba Horsemen
After the 1950 Chinese invasion of Tibet, the CIA began recruiting Khamba horsemen – fierce warriors who supported Tibet’s religious leader, the Dalai Lama – as they escaped into India in 1959. These Khambas were trained in modern warfare at Camp Hale, high in the rocky mountains near Leadville, Colorado. Transported back to Tibet by the CIA operated Air American, the Khambas organised an army number at its peak some 14,000. By the mid-1960s the Khambas had been abandoned by the CIA but they fought on alone until 1970.

6. Bay of Pigs Invasion Force
In 1960, CIA operatives recruited 1,500 Cuban refugees living in Miami and staged a surprise attack on Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Trained at a base in Guatemala, this small army – complete with an air force consisting of B-26 bombers – landed at the Bay of Pigs on April 19, 1961. The ill-conceived, poorly planned operation ended in disaster, since all but 150 men of the force were either killed or captured within three days.

7. L’armee Clandestine
In 1962, CIA agents recruited Meo tribesmen living in the mountains of Laos to fight as guerrillas against Communist Pathet Lao forces. Called l’armee Clandestine, this unit – paid, trained, and supplied by the CIA – grew into a 30,000 man force. By 1975 the Meos – who had numbers a quarter million in 1962 – had been reduced to 10,000 refugees fleeing into Thailand.

8. Nung Mercenaries
A Chinese hill people living in Vietname, the Nungs were hired and organised by the CIA as a mercenary force, during the Vietnam war. Fearsome and brutal fighters, the Nungs were employed throughout Vietnam and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Nungs proved costly since they refused to fight unless constantly supplied with beer and prostitutes.

9. Peruvian Regiment
Unable to quell guerrilla forces in its eastern Amazonian provinces, Peru called on the US for help in the mid-1960s. The CIA responded by establishing a fortified camp in the area and hiring local Peruvians who were trained by Green Beret personnel on loan from the US army. After crushing the guerrillas, the elite unit was disbanded because of fears it might stage a coup against the government.

10. Congo Mercenary Force
In 1964, during the Congolese Civil War, the CIA established an army in the Congo to back pro-Western leaders Cyril Adoula and Joseph Mobutu. The CIA imported European mercenaries and Cuban pilots – exiles from Cuba – to pilot the CIA air force, composed of transports and B-26 Bombers.

11. The Cambodian Coup
For over 15 years, the CIA had tried various unsuccessful means of deposing Cambodia’s left-leaning Prince Norodom Sihanouk, including assassination attempts. However, in March, 1970, a CIA-backed coup finally did the job. Funded by US tax dollars, armed with US weapons, and trained by American Green Berets, anti-Sihanouk forces called Kampuchea Khmer Krom (KKK) overran the capital of Phnom Penh and took control of the government. With the blessing of the CIA and the Nixon administration, control of Cambodia was placed in the hands of Lon Nol, who would later distinguish himself by dispatching soldiers to butcher tens of thousands of civilians.

12. Kurd Rebels
During the early 1970s the CIA moved into eastern Iraq to organize and supply the Kurds of that area, who were rebelling against the pro-Soviet Iraqi government. The real purpose behind this action was to help the shah of Iran settle a border dispute with Iraq favourably. After an Iranian-Iraq settlement was reached, the CIA withdrew its support from the Kurds, who were then crushed by the Iraqi Army.

13. Angola Mercenary Force
In 1975, after years of bloody fighting and civil unrest in Angola, Portugal resolved to relinquish its hold on the last of its African colonies. The transition was to take place on November 11, with control of the country going to whichever political faction controlled the capital city of Luanda on that date. In the months preceding the change, three groups vied for power: the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). By July 1975, the Marxist MPLA had ousted the moderate FNLA and UNITA from Luanda, so the CIA decided to intervene covertly. Over $30 million was spent on the Angolan operation, the bulk of the money going to buy arms and pay French and South African mercenaries, who aided the FNLA and UNITA in their fight. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, US officials categorically denied any involvement in the Angolan conflict. In the end, it was a fruitless military adventure, for the MPLA assumed power and controls Angola to this day.

14. Afghan Mujaheedin
Covert support for the groups fighting against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan began under President Jimmy Carter in 1979, and was stepped up during the administration of Ronald Reagan. The operation succeeded in its initial goal, as the Soviets were forced to begin withdrawing their forces in 1987. Unfortunately, once the Soviets left, the US essentially ignored Afghanistan as it collapsed into a five-year civil war followed by the rise of the ultra-fundamentalist Taliban. The Taliban provided a haven for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

15. Salvadoran Death Squads
As far back as 1964, the CIA helped form ORDEN and ANSESAL, two paramilitary intelligence networks that developed into the Salvadoran death squads. The CIA trained ORDEN leaders in the use of automatic weapons and surveillance techniques, and placed several leaders on the CIA payroll. The CIA also provided detailed intelligence on Salvadoran individuals later murdered by the death squads. During the civil war in El Salvador from 1980 to 1992, the death squads were responsible for 40,000 killings. Even after a public outcry forced President Reagan to denounce the death squads in 1984, CIA support continued.

16. Nicaraguan Contras
On November 23, 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed a top secret National Security Directive authorising the CIA to spend $19 million to recruit and support the Contras, opponents of Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. In supporting the Contras, the CIA carried out several acts of sabotage without the Congressional intelligence committees giving consent – or even being informed beforehand. In response, Congress passed the Boland Amendment, prohibiting the CIA from providing aid to the Contras. Attempts to find alternate sources of funds led to the Iran-Contra scandal. It may also have led the CIA and the Contras to become actively involved in drug smuggling. In 1988, the Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism, and International Operations concluded that individuals in the Contra movement engaged in drug trafficking; that known drug traffickers provided assistance to the Contras; and that ‘there are some serious questions as to whether or not US officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war effort against Nicaragua’.

17. Haitian Coup
In 1988, the CIA attempted to intervene in Haiti’s elections with a ‘covert action program’ to undermine the campaign of the eventual winner, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Three years later, Aristide was overthrown in a bloody coup that killed more than 4,000 civilians. Many of the leaders of the coup had been on the CIA payroll since the mid-1980s. For example, Emmanuel ‘Toto’ Constant, the head of FRAPH, a brutal gang of thugs known for murder, torture, and beatings, admitted to being a paid agent of the CIA. Similarly, the CIA-created Haitian National Intelligence Service (NIS), supposedly created to combat drugs, functioned during the coup as a ‘political intimidation and assassination squad.’ In 1994, an American force of 20,000 was sent to Haiti to allow Aristide to return. Ironically, even after this, the CIA continued working with FRAPH and the NIS. In 2004, Aristide was overthrown once again, with Aristide claiming that US forces had kidnapped him.

18. Venezuelan Coup Attempt
On April 11, 2002, Venezuelan military leaders attempted to overthrow the country’s democratically-elected left-wing president, Hugo Chavez. The coup collapsed after two days as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets and as units of the military joined with the protestors. The administration of George W. Bush was the only democracy in the Western Hemisphere not to condemn the coup attempt. According to intelligence analyst Wayne Madsen, the CIA had actively organised the coup: ‘The CIA provided Special Operations Group personnel, headed by a lieutenant colonel on loan from the US Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to help organise the coup against Chavez.

Who owns images of American dead?

vietnam-wounded-marineAP photographer Julie Jacobson was reticent to publish her picture of dying US Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard. Though his father was opposed, the Associated Press overruled. But this was no victory for the public’s right to see a true reflection of war. The D.o.D. is still indignant, but I suspect Jacobson’s report was ultimately vetted in their favor. Military propagandists need to represent America’s growing losses in Afghanistan. Jacobson’s image provides their limited hangout. Like the other photographs of casualties which have escaped through embeds, the image of Lance Corporal Bernard is desaturated of blood, and the surrounding events fit the military endorsed narrative.

Have you noticed that all combat images coming out of today’s wars are drab and lifeless. Obviously this motif is not being applied to the PR shots of jets and military hardware, but scenes of soldiering in Iraq and Afghanistan are dusty and grey, like scenes from a dark virtual world.

The colors in Jacobson’s controversial photo are similarly under saturated. Earlier casualty pics have even been rendered as black and white, and this is no exercise of artistic license. Colorless images telegraph little resemblance to our real world lived in color. An emotional distance is created, most obviously like the detachment we feel looking into the past. Everything before the late sixties happened in monocrome. Early color photographs always shock children with the prospect that lives in generations past might have been been lived in a world of contemporary vibrance.

The photographs from Vietnam were helped by that nation’s lush tropical greens. Images of the wounded were all the more gripping –and demoralizing from the military’s point of view– because unlike in Korea and WWII, the blood was red.

Most images taken in Vietnam came through the military staff photographers. The unapproved subjects, which subverted the official face of the war, emerged from the cameras of independent journalists.

dying US marineJulie Jacobson facilitated the release of this picture, by letting slip two details pertinent to the official US narrative in Afghanistan. Would you believe, just prior to this engagement, friendly Afghans came out of their houses to tell the US soldiers where they could find the Taliban? Probably to ensure Corporal Bernard’s squad pointed their guns away from their homes, but that’s not how the story was spun. Jacobson recounts that these Afghans were eager to inform on the Taliban.

The jocular Jacobson records another telltale crowd-pleaser in the aftermath of the Taliban “ambush,” when she found herself flanked by Afghan National Army troops. When the firing started, Jacobson sought immediately the ranks of US soldiers, because the freakin’ ANA Afghans “aren’t very good.”

Today’s media embeds are basically a privatized signal corps. Their photos should belong to the taxpayers. Insinuations that military families should dictate what images can be used, in the event of death, is a cruel irony. Are the families consulted about what Uncle Sam wants to do with their loved one when he’s still alive? Millions of federal tax dollars are spent on our soldiers, all the more when they die. I have little sympathy for the families who couldn’t stand up for their children and protect them from the capricious whims of our military. There is absolutely no reason to ask their permission about what happens when their little soldier meets his/her calculable fate.

Unseen 1945 Hiroshima Ground Zero pics loosed from personal stash

Hiroshima trunkLet’s file this under more soul-less disregard for your fellow travelers. Never before seen photographs of Ground Zero at Hiroshima have emerged in time for the 64th anniversary of the record-setting war crime. The US army photo record, which had escaped the government’s suppression efforts, remained in someone’s personal stash for decades. The damning documentation his to neglect, and, fortunately, to accidentally discard.

In the early 1970s this gentleman and a friend discovered a chest full of pictures obviously taken at the epicenter of the atomic bomb blast in Japan. His friend kept the chest and he stuffed the photos into an old suitcase which he then left to the damp of his basement. Somewhere in the process of housecleaning and moving, the suitcase was thrown to the curb, where a garbage sleuth made the find.

The US military took scrupulous records of the devastation of Hiroshima. Immediately after Japan’s capitulation, Army photographers circulated all over Ground Zero, doubtless paying for it with the cancer shortly thereafter. The images were kept from the US and world public indefinitely, and relatively few of them have ever been shown.

In an attempt to trace the provenance of these photos, the original house owner was contacted for the full story. He didn’t know it, having chanced upon it himself, but he greeted the call without a clue:

“The photographs? Of Hiroshima? You have them? I thought they were in my basement! How do you get them?”
 
“This is wild! I must have thrown them out by accident when I was moving stuff out. I never would have purposefully gotten rid of those photographs. I’ve been carrying them around with me since 1972!”

Next to the White House

While visiting Washington DC in March, I found it interesting to note the edifices closest to the White House.
The Executive Office Building

EAST, WEST
The neighbor to the immediate East of the Obama’s White House is the Department of the Treasury. Is that any surprise? Of course not, but how bourgeois! I could imagine Scrooge McDuck sneaking across the White House garden twice a day to check his reserves. To the West is what we now call the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building. It’s the site of the suspicious office fires which may or may not have masked a recent vice-president’s misdeeds. The edifice looks straight out of A Series of Unfortunate Events, and check out the plaque which commemorates what the building used to be called:

State War and Navy Departments

Probably that should be no surprise as well: the White house sandwiched between Treasury and War. “State, War and Navy.” How so much less duplicitous than the “Department of Defense.”

SOUTHWEST
Behind the former War offices, to the Southwest of the White House, lies the war memorial to end all war memorials. It’s the WWI Memorial, of considerably diminutive size compared to those commemorations of subsequent wars which have spilled unto the Mall, but its form followed the convention of the typical Great War monuments erected throughout Europe among the nations who had participated.

WWI monument to US Army Expeditionary Force

Except the American version is dedicated to the “Expeditionary Forces” which I just love. That’s what WWI was about for the US. The trenches of Europe were no place Americans needed to defend their freedom. The troops we sent, to relieve France and England, represented a foreign expedition, exactly that. More precisely, our troops were an R&D expedition for our blustering capitalists.

(This may be no time or place to note that history books do not link America’s WWI experience with the Influenza outbreak of 1917-18, which began in the barracks of US soldiers being mobilized for war. American soldiers took their flu to Europe and ultimately killed 50 million people. Those were not the days before we knew better to stay home to prevent infecting others.)

The US entry into WWI was bitterly opposed by a peace movement which the war-opportunist-profiteers maligned as isolationist. Selfish globalization-denying isolationism has been the slander ever since, used against anyone who tries to block military interventions in all their guises.

Ultimately WWI was no affair of ours, had the Huns emerged victorious, American foreign affairs would hardly have changed. Our foreign trading partners would have numbered more Germans, that’s all. But it’s useless to compare alternative outcomes of WWI, all things staying constant, because America participated and profited wildly.

If American investors had not jumped in Over There, the greatest business opportunities of blossoming industrialism would have been missed. The opportunities offered by the Europeans fighting amongst themselves, proved to have been momentous.

And here was the monument to those lost American lives, sacrificed so that American industrial might, in particular the new banking monopolists, could seize the European spheres of influence throughout the world. Of course the lost lives of the American Expeditionary Force were remembered thus:

“…WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE WORLD WAR THAT LIBERTY AND THE IDEALS OF OUR COUNTRY MIGHT ENDURE”

It would take another World War for the US to appropriate the colonies and oil fields by means of contracts and loans, with the leverage of coming to their aid again, this time armed with lend-lease bills.

SOUTHEAST
To the Southeast of the White House, across the back lawn, lies the monument antecedent to the Great War. It’s the Civil War Memorial, atop which rides the triumphant General William Tecumseh Sherman. (Who, to be fair, presided over the War Department for a long stretch after the Civil War, actually this nation’s longest peacetime period.)

Sherman monumentCurious that I chose to crop his personage from my pictures, but my eyes were drawn to the lesser figures around the base of the monument, in particular, a half naked woman.

The memorial seemed to include various uniformed Civil War participants. How egalitarian to include a woman. But this woman was no French Revolutionary with breast bared oblivious as she rallied her comrades to victory. This delicate woman was unarmed and stripped to the waist, her children in tattered rags at her feet.

Could this statue be offering another conceit to the reality of war, to Sherman’s March to the sea, to the burning of Atlanta, to the shameful destruction he visited on the secessionist South? Was this a nod to the real role given to Women in war, their sons and husbands taken from them, a non-combatant left helpless to defend her children or herself. Did the shirt torn from her body confess to the woman’s rape?

More probably the feminine likeness personified man’s attraction to war, a soldier’s predilection for her beauty. How many war monuments memorialize as they also beacon?

Much of the terrain around the White House grounds is blocked off by secondary and tertiary security perimeters. But for the arrival of bus unloadng its visitors to see it, the Civil War Monument is normally cordoned off. When I had passed it earlier, a balaclava-clad guard was blocking the only entrance.

SOUTH
The grassy expanse immediately South of the White House, permitting the First Family an uninterrupted view of the National Mall, has actually been given over to parking permits. The loop of asphalt across the lawn, with cars strewn diagonally along the edges, gives the unfortunate impression of overflow event parking. In any other neighborhood, the crowd of cars would be a dead giveaway that someone on the block was having a party.

UCSB Prof William Robinson pro-Semite

Putting down the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
Wouldn’t you think it bad form for Israeli militants to behave like Nazis, while immunizing themselves with the self-righteous indignation that any criticism of their actions can simply be dismissed as “anti-Semitic?” Photographs and confessions emerging from the IDF’s atrocities in Gaza just beg comparison the German Einsatzgruppen in Poland. Earlier this year UC Santa Barbara professor William Robinson forwarded an email photo essay to a UCSB listserv, the already much-circulated side by side comparison to the WWII atrocities. Two students complained, plagiarizing stock IDF lingo. Now the Anti-Defamation League wants Robinson to recant. With IDF propagandists pouring on the bullshit, let’s revisit the documents.

As has already been noted, Professor Robinson is a harsh critic of US foreign policy, and already a likely target for the goon squad enforcers of Western Capitalism. Not many of America’s actions are defensible, so Robinson has to be attacked by desperate means. Lucky for the lackey-jackals, Robinson chose to criticize Israel’s atrocities against the Palestinians of Gaza. Bingo!

The Israeli propaganda machine has armed aspiring Israel-defenders with a blanket rebuttal: just yell “ANTI-SEMITISM!” And what a load of crap that is. Much turns on the definition of “anti-Semitism.” It packs the punch of meaning someone who hates Jews, but the advocates of Zionism have expanded the definition into 3-D! Zionist apologist Nathan Sharansky has coined the 3D definition of ant-Semitism: demonization of Israel, double standards, and delegitimization. You don’t have to look closely to note that those points outline all the rebuttals of criticisms of Israel and any question of the legitimacy of the Zionist usurpation of Palestine.

The criticisms posed by those concerned for the fate of Gaza are the same expressed by a large portion of the Israeli Jewish population as well. But the US Israeli lobby, militantly Zionist, has the complicity of the US war-mongering corporate media, thus the IDF Megaphone protestations get traction. These are the same cheap shots leveled against Ward Churchill. By flooding the internet to create the sensation that the indignation was shared, the IDF spammers have been successful in slandering these dissenting academics.

Since we’re seeing this technique being slopped unto our comment forums, let’s examine the statement for which Robinson is being attacked. First we’ll present Robinson’s email. The next post will feature the ensuing letters of complaint, two from UCSB students, and third from the ADL.

Original Email
Here is Professor Robinson’s original email, including his attachment of the Judith Stone article. This accompanied the aforementioned photo essay he forwarded.

Subject: [socforum] parallel images of Nazis and Israelis
From: “William I. Robinson” …
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2009 21:00:05

If Martin Luther King were alive on this day of January 19, 2009, there is no doubt that he would be condemning the Israeli aggression against Gaza along with U.S. military and political support for Israeli war crimes, or that he would be standing shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinians. I am forwarding some horrific, parallel images of Nazi atrocities against the Jews and Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians. Perhaps the most frightening are not those providing a graphic depiction of the carnage but that which shows Israeli children writing “with love” on a bomb that will tear apart Palestinian children.

Gaza is Israel’s Warsaw – a vast concentration camp that confined and blockaded Palestinians, subjecting them to the slow death of malnutrition, disease and despair, nearly two years before their subjection to the quick death of Israeli bombs. We are witness to a slow-motion process of genocide (Websters: “the systematic killing of, or a program of action intended to destroy, a whole national or ethnic group”), a process whose objective is not so much to physically eliminate each and every Palestinian than to eliminate the Palestinians as a people in any meaningful sense of the notion of people-hood.

The Israeli army is the fifth most potent military machine in the world and one that is backed by a propaganda machine that rivals and may well surpass that of the U.S., a machine that dares to make the ludicrous and obnoxious claim that opposition to the policies and practices of the Israeli state is anti-Semitism. It should be no surprise that a state founded on the negation of a people was one of the principal backers of the apartheid South African state not to mention of the Latin American military dictatorships until those regimes collapsed under mass protest, and today arms, trains, and advises military and paramilitary forces in Colombia, one of the world’s worst human rights violators.

Below is an article written by a U.S. Jew and sent to a Jewish newspaper. The editor of the paper was fired for publishing it.

Quest for Justice

By Judith Stone

I am a Jew. I was a participant in the Rally for the Right of Return to Palestine. It was the right thing to do.

I’ve heard about the European holocaust against the Jews since I was a small child. I’ve visited the memorials in Washington, DC and Jerusalem dedicated to Jewish lives lost and I’ve cried at the recognition to what level of atrocity mankind is capable of sinking.

Where are the Jews of conscience? No righteous malice can be held against the survivors of Hitler’s holocaust. These fragments of humanity were in no position to make choices beyond that of personal survival. We must not forget that being a survivor or a co-religionist of the victims of the European Holocaust does not grant dispensation from abiding by the rules of humanity.

“Never again” as a motto, rings hollow when it means “never again to us alone.” My generation was raised being led to believe that the biblical land was a vast desert inhabited by a handful of impoverished Palestinians living with their camels and eking out a living in the sand. The arrival of the Jews was touted as a tremendous benefit to these desert dwellers. Golda Mier even assured us that there “is no Palestinian problem.”

We know now this picture wasn’t as it was painted. Palestine was a land filled with people who called it home. There were thriving towns and villages, schools and hospitals. There were Jews, Christians and Muslims. In fact, prior to the occupation, Jews represented a mere 7 percent of the population and owned 3 percent of the land.

Taking the blinders off for a moment, I see a second atrocity perpetuated by the very people who should be exquisitely sensitive to the suffering of others. These people knew what it felt like to be ordered out of your home at gun point and forced to march into the night to unknown destinations or face execution on the spot. The people who displaced the Palestinians knew first hand what it means to watch your home in flames, to surrender everything dear to your heart at a moment’s notice. Bulldozers leveled hundreds of villages, along with the remains of the village inhabitants, the old and the young. This was nothing new to the world.

Poland is a vast graveyard of the Jews of Europe. Israel is the final resting place of the massacred Palestinian people. A short distance from the memorial to the Jewish children lost to the holocaust in Europe there is a leveled parking lot. Under this parking lot is what’s left of a once flourishing village and the bodies of men, women and children whose only crime was taking up needed space and not leaving graciously. This particular burial marker reads: “Public Parking”.

I’ve talked with Palestinians. I have yet to meet a Palestinian who hasn’t lost a member of their family to the Israeli Shoah, nor a Palestinian who cannot name a relative or friend languishing under inhumane conditions in an Israeli prison. Time and time again, Israel is cited for human rights violations to no avail. On a recent trip to Israel, I visited the refugee camps inhabited by a people who have waited 52 years in these ‘temporary’ camps to go home. Every Palestinian grandparent can tell you the name of their village, their street, and where the olive trees were planted. Their grandchildren may never have been home, but they can tell you where their great-grandfather lies buried and where the village well stood. The press has fostered the portrait of the Palestinian terrorist. But, the victims who rose up against human indignity in the Warsaw Ghetto are called heroes. Those who lost their lives are called martyrs. The Palestinian who tosses a rock in desperation is a terrorist.

Two years ago I drove through Palestine and watched intricate sprinkler systems watering lush green lawns of Zionist settlers in their new condominium complexes, surrounded by armed guards and barbed wire in the midst of a Palestinian community where there was not adequate water to drink and the surrounding fields were sandy and dry. University professor Moshe Zimmerman reported in the Jerusalem Post (April 30, 1995), “The Jewish children of Hebron are just like Hitler’s youth.”

We Jews are suing for restitution, lost wages, compensation for homes, land, slave labor and back wages in Europe. Am I a traitor of a Jew for supporting the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their birthplace and compensation for what was taken that cannot be returned?

The Jewish dead cannot be brought back to life and neither can the Palestinian massacred be resurrected. David Ben Gurion said, “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves…politically, we are the aggressors and they defend themselves…The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country…”

Palestine is a land that has been occupied and emptied of its people. It’s cultural and physical landmarks have been obliterated and replaced by tidy Hebrew signs. The history of a people was the first thing eradicated by the occupiers. The history of the indigenous people has been all but eradicated as though they never existed. And all this has been hailed by the world as a miraculous act of G-d. We must recognize that Israel’s existence is not even a question of legality so much as it is an illegal fait accompli realized through the use of force while supported by the Western powers. The UN missions directed at Israel in attempting to correct its violations of have thus far been futile.

In Hertzl’s “The Jewish State,” the father of Zionism said, “…We must investigate and take possession of the new Jewish country by means of every modern expedient.” I guess I agree with Ehud Barak (3 June 1998) when he said, “If I were a Palestinian, I’d also join a terror group.” I’d go a step further perhaps. Rather than throwing little stones in desperation, I’d hurtle a boulder.

Hopefully, somewhere deep inside, every Jew of conscience knows that this was no war; that this was not G-d’s restitution of the holy land to it’s rightful owners. We know that a human atrocity was and continues to be perpetuated against an innocent people who couldn’t come up with the arms and money to defend themselves against the western powers bent upon their demise as a people.

We cannot continue to say, “But what were we to do?” Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism. I wholly support the rally of the right of return of the Palestinian people.

One man’s Guerrier, another’s Terroriste

WELL LOOKY WHAT I FOUND! Published in France just after the war, this book is about “LES TERRORISTES.” Can you tell by the cover art, who play the title role?
Souvenais-vous, les Terroristes

USA POST-2001: America designates its war zone detainees as EPWs, or “Enemy Prisoners of War,” because to call them POWs would confuse public sympathies. To the average American, “P.O.W.” commemorates the GI captivity experience in Vietnam or Korea. When a soldier of ours is caught, that’s a POW. To grant both sides equal status would be to humanize our enemy. Of course, POW used to mean all “Prisoners Of War,” ours and theirs, in WWII days, before, and as mentioned in all international conventions.

We label the people of Iraq or Afghanistan who resist our occupation, as insurgents. Be they Bathists or Taliban, we call their cause an insurgency, not a resistance, because that would confuse American public affection for the French Resistance: La Resistance! Every nation in Occupied Europe had a resistance movement, and the WWII archetypes are still fresh. Occupiers equal Germans. Collaborators equal cowards, traitors, Qwislings, Vichy. Resistance fighters equal the heroes.

Since then, American occupations, of postwar France for example, have avoided mention of their assigned task. In Germany and Japan, US soldiers are merely “stationed” there. In countries which we’ve invaded, like Vietnam, Americans denied being the despised occupiers, we were advisors, protectors, etc. And the populations who opposed our military administration were insurgents, and if they attacked us by unconventional means, they were terrorists!

In Iraq as well as Afghanistan, the American spectator can discern that al-Qaeda has been the only named terrorist organization, yet Sunni, Shiite, and Taliban fighters are all called terrorists. Militant Islam is considered terrorist, Hezbollah and Hamas liberation movements are called terrorist, even the Somali pirate brigands are being condemned as terrorists.

So who were “Les Terroristes” of Occupied France? The book cover heeds us to “Souvenais-vous!” Never forget them. The book is full of their pictures and accounts of their brave deeds. Most of them fell to the Nazis, to firing squads and Gestapo tortures. The brave Terroristes were the scourge of the German Occupation, rooted out and almost eradicated before the last year of the war. The Nazis called them “terrorists,” they were LA RESISTANCE!

Warmongers do end run on Vietnam Wall

US Vietnam Veterans War Memorial
WASHINGTON DC- Who knew it wasn’t just the Vietnam War veterans who had misgivings about Maya Lin’s design for a memorial? Fair enough it doesn’t celebrate the achievements of our armies. This peripheral statue offers the more conventional bronze tribute. It depicts as addendum, three survivors emerging from the woods, disheveled and still brandishing assault rifles. They appear to regard the wall and its visitors with wariness. I recognize the faces now, they are the chicken hawks who didn’t go, but still want to wage war, and had to figure out how to get America over that wall.

Nearby, the WWII memorial celebrates the victors more than it commemorates the dead, it’s fashioned like a stone coliseum, as might have been fashioned by the world champion rooster after an undefeated string of cockfights.

Hummel volunteers were unfit for Nazis

The Volunteers -special Iraqi Freedom issueOne might think the Nazis embraced kitsch. But they didn’t like Hummels. Their Army Times equivalent, Der SA-Mann, derided Berta Hummel’s depictions of impoverished but happy German children. Her charcoals and porcelain figurines looked like “wasserköpfige und klumpfüßige Dreckspatzen.” That’s “hydrocephalic, club-footed goblins,” instead of the “hard as Krupp Steel” Aryans they wanted Nazi Youth to be.
 
You might be wondering about the American Flag shown on the right…

The Third Reich banned the sale of the light hearted Hummel statuettes in Germany, but allowed their export, to profit by the foreign exchange.

In 1937 as Germany geared up for war, Berta, now Sister Maria Innocentia working from a convent in Siessen, Wuerttemberg, countered by publishing an uncharacteristically sad drawing of two boys dressed as Brownshirts, called Die Freiwillige, or The Volunteers, under which she inscribed this plea: “Dear Fatherland, let there be peace!”

When the Hummel print archive was on display in New Braunfels, Texas, in 1999, museum docent Tom Ryan described Die Freiwillige:

“They wear short pants and long sleeved brown shirts resembling those of adult Nazi ‘S.A.’ thugs. The cowed boys goose step in unison from left to right. Their tiny combat boots have no strings. Their hair spills out from under their caps. Nearer to us, the first boy somberly beats cadence on a thin, gaily colored drum which resembles a castanet. On his right a less than happy marching partner rests his toy rifle upside down on his right shoulder.”

Hitler was reportedly furious. Paper supplies were denied to the convent and German galleries were forbidden to display Hummel’s art. Eventually SA soldiers were quartered in the Siessen convent and the sisters were put out. Sister Hummel was forced to live in a basement and died shortly after the war of tuberculosis.

But the story is not over.

Another fate awaited Sister Maria’s sad satiric pair, the two little boys who marched unhappily, accompanying Hummel’s personal call for peace. Instead of unwittingly beaconing adults to lead their drumbeat circle in the opposite direction, far away from war, the little pair was ultimately fashioned into a new Hummel. This time sans brown shirts, but with rifle held adroitly.

The two play soldiers were remade into infant patriots, taking up the drum and given the same name, this time in English: “The Volunteers.” Hummel figure 50/0 was made into a special collectible in 1990, for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

(Synopsis: Godmother Superior of kitsch, Maria Innocentia Hummel, intended her “Volunteers” to be a plea for peace. The forlorn would-be soldiers were an affront to Hitler, but a half century later, the United States would prove its imperviousness to satire and enlist Hummel’s little boys into the war against Iraq.)

Bishop Williamson must RECANT says Pope

Before the papal court
At the behest of the Vatican, Bishop Richard Williamson apologized for offense caused by his statements regarding WWII historical records of the Nazi concentration camps. But Pope Benedict weighed the bishop’s statement as insufficient. Now he’s demanding a full retraction before he will reconsider the latter’s excommunication. Being urged to recant may be a scandal in papal circles, but history buffs and cineasts have only ever seen truth-clinging heretics assailed with cries to “RECANT!”

Google it yourself. Oddly this development puts Bishop Williamson in esteemed scientific and theological company. But this is just historical revisionism. Especially aimed against closely held popular beliefs, revisiting the official version of the Holocaust is like backing a losing horse still too early after the “fact.” However, has blasphemy ever met with other than an officially disgusted welcome? Certainly the challenging argument only compounds its offense by deeming to compare itself to earlier, now orthodox, heresy.

One might well wonder where this episode is leading. Has the Pope been oblivious to the Holocaust issue, as his spokesmen would have us believe, or is the German pontiff deviously reopening the official discussion?

As with any reform, leaders may be receptive, but know in the meanwhile that their subjects are the hardest to win over. The brunt of resistance is thus diverted toward the heretic, until the case is made. Only in the movies do champions of the status quo look unbecoming in defeat. In the real world the holdouts are populist champions representing the overwhelming majority of adherents.

Bishop Richard Williamson’s public statements have caused great offense, and the Pope’s recent move to make peace with the renegade Williamson, among others, has reignited the fury of the Bishop’s critics. But of what import do non-Catholic opinions have on the subject of how the Vatican administrates its ranks? Surely a bishop’s personal, non-religious views, soon return to obscurity.

By throwing the ball back in the Bishop’s court, Pope Benedict unquestionably directs the media spotlight back on the “question” of the Holocaust. It’s hard to imagine that he expects anything other than a firm committed stand by the bishop. What are men of faith but what they believe?

At stake is more than the rehabilitation of Bishop Williamson, but the soul of modern Germany. A re-characterization of the Nazi death camps would mean reassessing the collective guilt of Europe’s non-Jews. It might also mean a reprieve for the German People whose national identity for generations has been defined by their participation in the most unspeakable of evils.

I’m not sure why the Pope’s having once been a Hitler Youth is always dismissed out of hand. Although perhaps, for the sake of argument, that’s as it should.

The Vatican might also gain something themselves by bringing more light to critical analysis of the Holocaust. They could be seeking a possible mitigation of their infamous role in the Nazi genocide. There’s no escaping the evidence that the Catholic church collaborated with Hitler. If they can paint his “Final Solution” as less homicidal, their actions can perhaps be adjudged as more pragmatic.

Wikipedia and those romantic Zionists

Wikipedia for IsraelIn researching the evolution of Zionist terrorism, from clandestine militias like Bar-Giora, to Hashomer, Haganah, Etzel, and the pro-Nazi Stern Gang, I came upon this opening paragraph in Wikipedia. Describing Bar-Giora, it began: “On September 28, 1907, a group of activists from Poalei Zion gathered in Yitzhak Ben-Zvi’s tiny Jaffa apartment. There was no furniture, the men sat on the floor in a circle and used a crate for a desk.”
Some helpful Wiki elf was obviously feeling sentimental.

Here’s the full paragraph, one third of the only more nostalgic full article:

On September 28, 1907, a group of activists from Poalei Zion gathered in Yitzhak Ben-Zvi’s tiny Jaffa apartment. There was no furniture, the men sat on the floor in a circle and used a crate for a desk. Inspired by Israel Shochat’s ideas, they agreed that the only way to fulfill the dream of becoming a Jewish nation was to rise up and assert themselves through cultivating and defending their land themselves. The state of things in the early years of the 20th Century in Palestine, was such that Jewish farmers employed Arabs to work their farms and protect them, and in turn were subject to landlords, such as Edmond de Rothschild’s agents. There was much discontent and disillusionment.

Thus I was sparked to delve into the oft-derided accusation that Wikipedia is biased toward Israel. Compare the paragraph above, to the introductions of Wiki articles about militant Muslim or Arab groups. Start with Wiki’s official terrorist list and judge for yourself.

CAMERA
Electronic Intifada documented an interesting story last year, when they interrupted the Zionist site CAMERA from organizing commando edit raids on Wikipedia to ensure Israel was always shown in a favorable light. In its report, EI leaked the email thread which, by the way, serves as a great instruction manual for aspiring Wiki editors. We’ll reprint the conversation below.

The episode is documented in several articles. Beginning with EI exclusive: a pro-Israel group’s plan to rewrite history on Wikipedia, The Electronic Intifada, 21 April 2008. (Reprinted in Global Research 4/24.)

Alex Beam, of The Boston Globe, broke the story in print on May 6, 2008, in War of the virtual Wiki-worlds.

Next came Israel Shamir, Wiki, the Chaos Controlled, who asserted that CAMERA’s interrupted zeal masked Wikipedia’s already Zionist admins. Shamir’s continuing battle with Wikipedia can be followed in wiki/Talk).

IRGUN, ET AL
Hashomer clandestine paramilitary malitiaAbout the clandestine pre-Israel paramilitary organizations, which eventually became the Israel Defense Force? Their history is very interesting. The Zionist policy of using “retaliation” to justify strikes, started right from the beginning.

When the Jewish settlers, many of whom were immigrating into Palestine illegally, felt that British authorities were not giving them preferred treatment in disputes with local Arabs, they organized private armies to quell Arab unrest over their expanding landholdings.

During WWI, these fighters, formed as Hashomer, worked behind the lines with an intelligence branch named Nili, to help the British drive out the Turks. When the Paris Treaty of 1919 did not yield a Zionist state as promised, the militants reformed as Haganah. Commando units under FOSH attacked Arabs during the revolts of the 1930s, which became HISH to fight on the side of the Allies in WWII, meanwhile the Haganah Bet, better known as the Etzel, or Irgun, unleashed terrorist attacks against the British.

In 1938 Irgun leader David Raziel, defined Israel’s prevailing policy of DEFENSIVE ATTACK:

“The actions of the Haganah alone will never be a true victory. If the goal of the war is to break the will of the enemy – and this cannot be attained without destroying his spirit – clearly we cannot be satisfied with solely defensive operations… Defensiveness by way of offensiveness, in order to deprive the enemy the option of attacking, is called active defense.”

During WWII, Irgun kept up its fight against the British, in collaboration with Nazi Germany. In exchange for FIRST) the promise of Palestine being made an independent Zionist state, and SECOND) that Jews of Occupied Europe be allowed to emigrate to Israel, instead of the Nazi suggested destination of Gibraltar.

After the war, Irgun scored its most dramatic attacks, before and during the formation of Israel. Widely denounced by international critics as a terrorist organization, Irgun became the right-wing predecessor to today’s Likud Party.

Wikipedia describes this episode in a tentative fashion: An offshoot of Irgun, better known as the STERN GANG, (but the Wiki article is named by its official Lihi title), tried to make a pact with the Nazis, but never heard back. Later Lihi was honored for its historic contribution to the establishment of Israel.

Bishop Williamson and Auschwitz 1.0

Arbeit Macht Frei
I am curious as to why a Roman Catholic bishop would risk a second excommunication over the historic particulars of the Holocaust. Bishop Richard Williamson is being labeled a “Holocaust Denier” because he questions the extent, and mechanism, of the official version of the Holocaust. Because Williamson is also criticized for his skepticism about the official 9/11 narrative, and for his praise for the Unabomber’s manifesto, I want to take a closer look, and wonder what is he reading?

Bishop Richard WilliamsonHere’s what the outspoken Williamson told Swedish SVT in a November 2008 interview, as transcribed by the BBC:

“I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against, is hugely against, six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler… I believe there were no gas chambers [during World War II]”

First, I’m compelled to pose a naive question: If we can all agree that Jews died in huge numbers by incomparable horrors at the hands of the Nazis, would it matter what the exact death toll was, or which killing method predominated? Why? What is the need for laws to restrict historians who are trying to reconstruct the record from emerging facts? Must preemptive “anti-defamation” laws mandate that historians stick to the official “untold” number and “indescribable” evil?

Even if we postulate, albeit cynically, that Holocaust reverence is critical to upholding American public support for Israel‘s “right to exist” in the Middle East, how could a revision of the casualties, in any case a horrific magnitude, make an difference?

Millions of Jews fell victim to the Third Reich. No one is denying it, and historical revision is not trying to bring the Holocaust victims back to life. Holocaust Remembrance of the Jewish victims has remained a political priority around the world, advocating commemoration in education, literature, civic life, and pop culture. Why then, an aversion to scrutiny?

Last week a fellow Society of St. Pius X member, Rev. Floriano Abrahamowicz was ejected from SSPX for coming to Williamson’s and the Pope’s defense.

While the usual politicians and Jewish community leaders are voicing their indignation, can we ask, are the Bishop’s beliefs really at odds with accepted orthodoxy? The media will reiterate that the Six Million figure has always been beyond dispute. All the while, official scholarship has been recording otherwise. In Germany, revisionist historians are jailed for Holocaust Denial. Yet bit by bit, mainstream historians have been able to publish divergent theses which withstand legal refutation.

For the sake of argument, let’s dismiss all the “deniers” as kooks, and look only at the traditionally vetted voices.

On the subject of Auschwitz, where four million of the total six million Jews were believed to have perished, Der Spiegel managing editor Fritjof Meyer a continued critic of revisionism, summarized in Osteuropa 52, 5/2002, p. 631:

“In 1945, the Soviet Investigatory Commission numbered four million victims in the National Socialist work and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a product of war propaganda. Under coercion, camp Commandant Höß named three million and recanted. Up until now, how many people actually fell victim to this singular mass murder could only be estimated. The first Holocaust historian, Gerald Reitlinger, assumed one million, while the latest state of research estimated it to be several hundred thousand fewer.”

Naturally even Meyer touched off a firestorm by integrating the sum of official scholarship into the big picture. The difficulties which historians face in reaching variant findings are explained by another mainstream scholar, noted Hitler historian Dr. Werner Maser, Professor for History and International Law, Munich University, Falsification, Legend, and Truth about Hitler and Stalin, Olzog, Munich 2004, on p.332

“To be sure, […] the extermination of the Jews is considered to be one of the best researched aspects of contemporary history […], but that is not the case. […] Indeed, whole regions remain as much terra incognita as ever, […] German historians exhibit timidity about taking on the horrible issue and possibly bringing to light details that do not agree with the accounts which have multiplied for a very long time.”

And about the deterrence of the Holocaust Denial laws:

“The sword of Damocles hovers over historians (not only in Germany) who portray the controversial phases of history as they ‘actually were’ – and identify the frequently even officially codified ideological specifications as falsifications of history.”

The question of the gas chambers is raised by the absence of evidence. According to major Holocaust authority Dr. Arno J. Mayer, Professor of Modern Jewish History at Princeton University, in Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The “Final Solution” in History, Pantheon, New York 1990, p. 362:

“Sources for the study of the gas chambers are at once rare and unreliable. Even though Hitler and the Nazis made no secret of their war on the Jews, the SS operatives dutifully eliminated all traces of their murderous activities and instruments. No written orders for gassing have turned up thus far. The SS not only destroyed most camp records, which were in any case incomplete, but also razed nearly all killing and crematory installations well before the arrival of Soviet troops. Likewise, care was taken to dispose of the bones and ashes of the victims.”

Justifiably, scholars are skeptical that the complete absence of evidence should be taken as proof of its existence and total suppression. Some camps were overrun before the Germans could destroy any part of them. Mayer continues, p. 163:

“In the meantime, there is no denying the many contradictions, ambiguities, and errors in the existing sources. […] Much the same is true of for the conflicting estimates and extrapolations of the number of victims, since there are no reliable statistics to work with. […] Both radical skepticism and rigid dogmatism about the exact processes of extermination and the exact number of victims are the bane of sound historical interpretation”

In light of the before-sited Wannsee Conference documents now being considered post-war forgeries, Mayer explains, p 163:

“To date there is no certainty about who gave the order, and when, to install the gas chambers used for the murder of Jews at Auschwitz. As no written command has been located, there is a strong presumption that the order was issued and received orally”

With no written record of a “Final Solution,” and the implausibility of a completely vaporized paper trail, mainstream scholars have had to improvise an explanation for how an extermination directive was disseminated. University of Vermont Professor Raul Hilberg, member of US Holocaust Memorial Council, author of The Destruction of the European Jews, (Holmes & Meyer, New York 1985), was quoted in Newsday, Feb. 23, 1983:

“But what began in 1941 was a process of destruction [of the Jews] not planned in advance, not organized centrally by any agency. There was no blueprint and there was no budget for destructive measures. They [these measures] were taken step by step, one step at a time. Thus came about not so much a plan being carried out, but an incredible meeting of minds, a consensus mind reading by a far-flung [German] bureaucracy.”

Hilberg himself ran into trouble with the authorized version, because he refused to corroborate tales of Jewish rebellion against their Nazi jailers. His group-think theory extended to the Jews themselves, putting emphasis on their acceptance of being exploited as war industry slave labor.

“I had to examine the Jewish tradition of trusting God, princes, laws and contracts […] Ultimately I had to ponder the Jewish calculation that the persecutor would not destroy what he could economically exploit. It was precisely this Jewish strategy that dictated accommodation and precluded resistance.”

That’s where the extermination camp thesis becomes less probable than the work camp. Perhaps the Jews didn’t resist because they were being worked, not gassed. Worked to death, of course, but dying as more a consequence of wartime Germany’s depleting resources, than from a deliberate eradication effort. Evidence is plentiful of the work camps and dead bodies.

And isn’t that the answer to my innocent question? To doubt whether the murder weapon was a pistol or a knife, means calling into question the crime entirely. That’s why revisionists are decried for being “deniers.” While we presume the distinction makes little difference, because clearly a murder was committed regardless, the prosecutor constructing the accusations wants to prove his motive and not another.

There are many details about which historians have begun to disagree. Many of the witness accounts have been proven to be unreliable. Even Elie Wiesel was compelled to reclassified his memoir as a novel. The Holocaust as later generations have come to know it was not as the WWII generation saw it. Even those soldiers who encountered the atrocities themselves.

Professor Hilberg recounts studying at Brooklyn College under Hans Rosenberg, a fellow Jew. Even in the wake of the haunting newsreels of the concentration camps, Hilberg records that Rosenberg remarked in a 1948 lecture:

“The most wicked atrocities perpetrated on a civilian population in modern times occurred during the Napoleonic occupation of Spain.”

I don’t really subscribe to the idea that the Holocaust is diminished by learning that the WWII concentration camp victims died from systemic and despotic abuse, starvation and exhaustion. But those holding the secrets believe that the concept of the Holocaust being the greatest evil perpetrated upon mankind falls apart if cracks are allowed to form in the accepted narrative.

Perhaps the German population, and for that matter, the Catholic Church, did not intercede more vigorously because there was no premeditated extermination program. We can say now that German reinforcements being sent to the Russian Front knew they were being sent to their deaths, but this is only with hindsight.

Is this Bishop Williamson’s interest in revisiting the Holocaust, to rehabilitate the church’s role? I doubt it. The Catholic church cannot escape culpability for its instrumental role in support of the Nazis, guilty of ware crimes and crimes against humanity, initiating a war of aggression being the chief charge at the Nuremberg Trials for example, before even taking into account the concentration camps.

Perhaps the American industrialists and bankers who knew about the camps did not interfere because they understood the camps were for the supply of slave labor. Isn’t this a key enigma of the Holocaust, as we grapple with it? How could we have not known? How could this have been allowed to happen?

Perhaps the signs above the camp gates which read ARBEIT MACHT FREI, work earns freedom, meant what they said. They might have been inescapable ironies, but not the cruel mockery of which we accuse the Germans.

Why would factories like IG Farben and Krupp want to liquidate their valuable cheap workforce? Why would camps meant to exterminate have infirmaries? Why would the wardens treat inmates for illness while simultaneously sending incoming transports to directly to ovens?

Today the popular conscience has been saturated with the ghostly images of the concentration camp victims. How to explain the emaciated inmates discovered by the liberating troops, many of whom could not be saved from dying, even under the administration of the liberators? Dr. Arno J. Mayer concedes this explanation, p. 365

“[…] the whole of Auschwitz was intermittently in the grip of a devastating typhus epidemic. The result was an unspeakable death rate. […] There is a distinction between dying from ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ causes and being killed by shooting, hanging, phenol injection, or gassing. […] from 1942 to 1945, certainly at Auschwitz, but probably overall, more Jews were killed by so-called ‘natural’ causes than by ‘unnatural’ ones.”

This is not to diminish the crime of the Holocaust one iota. The German people, the industrialists, the church, the anti-Semites, are far more guilty because the crime against the Jews was banal and common. It was not devised by agents of unspeakable evil.

Other aspiring genocidal nations and peoples cannot excuse their acts because their methods fall demonstrably below the mythic proportions of the Holocaust.

ig-farben-auschwitz

Gaza is not the Holocaust that the Jews suffered in the Warsaw Ghetto of WWII

warsaw ghetto
“Pointing out that the suffering endured by Gazans is not comparable in scope to the Holocaust or other well-known genocides, does not diminish it. However, it is crucial to provide accurate historical context to the current conflict, for two reasons. If Gaza is today’s Warsaw, then Palestinians have no hope.

“Firstly, the use of highly charged historical comparisons that do not hold up to scrutiny unnecessarily weakens the Palestinian case against the occupation. In a propaganda war in which Palestinians have always struggled to compete, handing Israel’s supporters the gift of inaccurate or exaggerated comparisons does not help this struggle, particularly not in Israel and the US, the two most important battlegrounds in this conflict.”
–excerpted from a commentary of Mark LeVine published by Al Jazeera titled Gaza is no Warsaw Ghetto

Holocaust Remembrance Day inaction

israelis-watch-gaza-invasion
I’d like to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, with this photograph of modern day Israelis, who came to a hilltop overlooking Gaza to watch the IDF soldiers do their work.

I’ve yet to encounter a WWII photograph of German citizens cheerleading as their soldiers rampaged through their neighbors’ homes.

Of course, this situation is different. These Israelis are hoping to settle, or resume their illegal settlements, the occupied territories, as soon as enough of the Palestinians are driven out or exterminated.

Jewish survivors of the Holocaust vow “never again,” but it only applies to them.

Actual Holocaust revisionists unmasked

ANGEL AT THE FENCE HOAX by Herman Rosenblat
In the face of escalated Israeli atrocities and war crimes against the inhabitants of Gaza this week, is the Zionist Holocaust Remembrance juggernaut losing its nerve? A major publisher has canceled plans to distribute a WWII concentration camp memoir when it was discovered that key elements of the tale were untrue. But that never stopped Holocaust Rememberers before.

Herman Rosenblat had been peddling the fictional details for a decade, details which made his particular Holocaust experience unique. But historians questioned the very premise of his title, Angel at the Fence, and Rosenblat confessed his wife’s part was fabricated. Taking a cue from James Frey, Rosenblat is hoping the film can be distributed as fiction.

This example is not as bad as Belgian author Monique De Wael, writing under the pen name Misha Defonseca, who had to confess that her memoir of escaping the camps to live with wolves was fictional, and that she wasn’t Jewish, but “felt Jewish.”

The original key witness account by Eli Wiesel, the leading patriarch of Holocaust Remembrance, turned out to be inaccurate enough that the memoir Night had to be reclassified as a novel. Despite the inventions, Wiesel’s book remains in the canon of Holocaust literature.

Bolstered by François Mauriac who wrote that Night is “…a book to which no other could be compared.” Wrote A. Alverez, it was “almost unbearably painful, and certainly beyond criticism.”

Eli Wiesel made this pitch in 1955:

“…ten years or so ago, I have seen children, hundreds of Jewish children, who suffered more than Jesus did on his cross and we do not speak about it.”