Archive for the Japan Category

Commentary: Japanese vivisection of U.S. POWs [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Japan, USA, World War II on April 10, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Liu Tian

FUKUOKA, Japan, April 7 (Xinhua) — A group of Japanese professors at Kyushu University’s medical school made a remarkably courageous move recently to publicly exhibit some incontrovertible evidence of the academy’s infamous human experiments conducted on U.S. prisoners of war (POW), further shaming those who continue to whitewash the country’s aggression during WWII and deny past wartime atrocities.

Items displayed in the university’s new museum centering on the history of the medical school are related to the dissection of eight U.S. airmen while they were still alive.

During the gruesome episode, professors instructed students of “key points” in each step while they injected diluted seawater into their veins and removed their lungs and other organs.

Thanks to the conscientious professors, such a dark history has a bigger chance to be aware to [sic] the world, but the question now remains, how many other victims of Japan’s war atrocities still remain unknown to the world, as right-wingers here and, sometimes, the government, are trying to conceal the country’s callous past…

…without thorough reflection, mistakes, however heinous, can repeat themselves.

Facing undeniable proof, it is time for Japan’s rightists to stop their rampant subterfuge aimed at whitewashing the country’s odious atrocities and shaking off responsibilities by minimizing the number of victims, such as they try to do with the Nanjing Massacre and the comfort women issue.

It is also time for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to follow his predecessors, Tomiichi Murayama and Junichiro Koizumi, and include an apology for Japan’s aggression, especially, this time, for the victims unaccounted for, in his planned statement for the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII this summer.

Furthermore, it is high time for Japan to reflect on why it has still not reconciled with its neighboring countries over historical issues in seven decades, as in the same time the world has witnessed the reconciliation between Germany and France and saw that they together forged the integration of Europe.

The professors at Kyushu University took a valuable step amid the current prevalence of conservative politics in Japan, and it is unknown how many people in the know about Japan’s wartime history could follow their brave light in the darkness.

But one thing is for sure, the government is fighting back. The Education Ministry here on Monday released the school textbook censorship results and some of the schoolbook publishers have been subjected to Abe’s historical revisionism by using ambiguous expressions on war-related history, instead of the original clear words that admitted the Japanese government’s responsibilities in the war.

Details of the immeasurable and horrific suffering of the eight U.S. POWs were released ahead of Abe’s visit to the United States, and this time, it will be Washington’s turn to tell the prime minister to own up to Japan’s historical wrongdoings and to stop disrespecting the wartime victims and the international community by attempting to whitewash over war crimes and blatantly trying to rewrite a rosier history for itself.

Editor: xuxin

Edited/excerpted by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-04/07/c_134130933.htm

Original article title: “Commentary: Could Japanese vivisection of U.S. POWs be harbinger of scores of further unknown atrocities?”

News analysis: Japan gov’t ignoring Okinawans’ feelings could see history of clashes repeat itself [Xinhua]

Posted in Anti-USA protest, Japan, Obama, Okinawa, Pentagon, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA on April 6, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Jon Day

TOKYO, April 1 (Xinhua) — A rift is widening dramatically between Japan’s central government and local officials and citizens in Okinawa Prefecture following an order by its governor for the defense bureau to halt drilling at the site of a planned new U.S. military base in a coastal region on the island being overturned and sparking protests in the region.

Japan’s Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said Tuesday he hopes the central government will begin work involved with reclaiming land from the sea in the coastal region of Henoko, in Nago City on Okinawa island, with drilling work concluded by June so the main reclamation work can begin in the middle 2015 and the new U.S. base’s construction expedited.

Reclaiming land from the sea is an integral part of a joint Japan-U.S. plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station from the densely populated district of Ginowan on the island, to the coastal region of Henoko. But the four-year bilateral plan has drawn a great deal of resistance from Okinawa’s prefectural officials and citizens, who are staunchly opposed to the relocation and feel overburdened by their decades-long U.S. base hosting duties.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, an opponent to the base’s relocation, on March 23 ordered the regional defense bureau to halt its drilling operations off Henoko and threatened to rescind a permit granted to the defense ministry by his predecessor.

Onaga, who became governor due to local support for his ardent opposition to the planned construction of the new U.S. base, previously said that the defense ministry’s underwater operations have damaged a coral reef in the area by sinking concrete blocks weighing up to 45 tons into the sea, to tether floating “no entry” signs around the controversial drilling zone.

The blocks, outside the demarkation [sic] zone, it was subsequently found, had crushed an endangered coral reef and officials are concerned that more damage may have been caused within the “no entry” zone, which the U.S. military refuses to grant local officials access to, to inspect.

But despite Onaga’s order, ultimately, the construction of the base entirely, saying the drilling operations by the defense ministry will cause irrevocable damage to the local environment and describing the actions of the defense ministry as “utterly deplorable,” the central government has overturned Onaga’s demands, with Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Monday nullifying Onaga’s instruction and permitting the defense bureau to continue with their drilling work.

Hayashi’s reversal of Onaga’s order angered local residents, who, once again took to the streets near to the planned site of the new base and voiced their anger and dismay at the central government, with local media quoting protestors describing the situation as an, “outrageous act that ignores the sentiments of prefectural residents.”

The central government, as Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has consistently stated, plans to move forward with the drilling and construction plans regardless of the local opposition in support of its governor. Onaga himself, however, may now look to nullify Hayashi’s verdict and revoke the defense bureau’s permit as originally threatened, which would see the case go to court, the rift widen and the impasse rumble on, and local sentiment towards the central government worsen.

As the rift continues to widen between local prefectural officials, its citizens and the central government, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will likely be scratching his head for a solution, albeit a short-term one, as a keenly-eyed visit to the United States and talks with U.S. President Barack Obama loom.

The Okinawa issue has been a consistent source of irritation for Washington due to Tokyo’s inability to move forward with plans to relocate the base, as part of the U.S. broader realignment of its troops here. Washington has instructed Tokyo to work harder to gain the support of the local citizens of Okinawa for the construction of the new base, but four administrations, thus far, including Abe’s, have failed, causing the project to become severely delayed and tensions on the island to rise to a fever pitch.

And while Nakatani has made it clear that the local chapter of his defense ministry will soldier on with the original plans to relocate the base to the pristine coastal region of Henoko, and, in doing so, has once again, somewhat autocratically, brushed aside the local citizens’ and officials’ feelings on the matter, Abe himself said he wants to try and garner more local support.

Abe, who is increasingly under the international media spotlight ahead of his visit to the U.S., said that as well as moving forward with the base relocation, he wants to return other military facilities and land to the people of Okinawa.

In an Upper House session Monday, Abe said it would be efficacious for his government to talk to officials on the island, including Onaga, and aim to build more trust. But political watchers here, however, have said that Abe’s new-found congenial remarks on the matter run completely contrary to actual moves by the central government, as evidenced in the words of Suga, Nakatani and the moves by the regional defense bureau.

Observers have stated that it may be the case that Abe needs to be seen to be actively improving the ever-worsening relationship between his government and prefectural officials and citizens in Okinawa, ahead of his trip to the U.S. or deal with the wrath of Washington on the issue, which under former administrations, had negatively impacted bilateral relations between the two allies each time Tokyo failed.

Abe said that on Tuesday the U.S. Camp Zukeran, which is spread over a large area in the central part of the main island and more than 1,000 hectares in the densely populated regions will be returned to the island over the next 15 years.

But local citizens have heard it all before and, according to local sources, there is a growing mistrust of anything the central government says on such issues, due to the current administration’ s plans to bulldoze through Onaga’s orders and previous administrations flip-flopping over the Futenma relocation issue.

Such mistrust is leading to increasing frustration from the local citizens, who have been seen taking to the streets with placards and megaphones, and, in a number of instances recently, taking to the water in small boats to show their opposition to the central government’s moves.

Anti-U.S. sentiment has been steadily growing on the island as base-related pollution and accidents threatens the environment and safety of the locals and crimes committed by U.S. military personnel, in particular, continue to spark fury among the locals.

Political analysts have said the central government needs to remain cognizant of the feelings of the people of Okinawa and the history of their base-hosting suffering, which, among other heinous crimes, includes the brutal rape of an elementary schoolgirl in Okinawa by three U.S. servicemen in 1995 and other incidents such as in 2004 when a Marine CH-53D Sea Stallion heavy assault transport helicopter plowed into the Okinawa International University in Ginowan.

The situation in Okinawa has been described as something of a powder keg at the moment, as Okinawan locals shoulder the burden of hosting 75 percent of Japan’s U.S. bases and around half of all the Japan-based U.S. military personnel, with the tiny island only accounting for just one percent of Japan’s total land area.

In 1970, following an unpunished drunk driving incident by a U. S. soldier, more than 3,000 local residents took to the streets of Okinawa and attacked U.S. service people, their vehicles and successfully entered military premises and burned buildings…

…the message from analysts close to the matter is that Abe’s government must stop regarding the local population of Okinawa as pushovers, or lesser citizens than those residing on mainland Japan, or history could indeed repeat itself.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-04/01/c_134115800.htm

“US faces another debacle on Pacific economic treaty” – TPP, fake free trade pact, in trouble [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Australia, Canada, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Chile, China, China-bashing, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, Encirclement of China, EU, European Union, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Media cover-up, Mexico, New Zealand, Obama, Peru, Protectionist Trade War with China, Singapore, south Korea, U.K., US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam on April 5, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Mike Head
4 April 2015

Having suffered a decisive defeat in its efforts to block other countries from joining the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the US government faces mounting difficulties with regard to its most far-reaching move to dominate the Asia-Pacific region: the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In Hawaii last month, the latest round of five-year-long TPP talks between the 12 governments involved broke up without any further agreement. For the third year in a row, the White House’s deadline for a final deal looks set to be breached in 2015.

Significantly, the main stumbling block this time was reportedly not ongoing differences between the US and Japan over auto and agricultural markets, but doubts over President Barack Obama’s capacity to get congressional approval for the pact.

Falsely presented as a “free trade” deal, the TPP is the opposite. It is aimed at creating a vast US-controlled economic bloc. In return for favoured access to the US market, which is still the largest in the world, the TPP requires its members to scrap all legal, regulatory and government impediments to American investment and corporate operations.

The TPP is an essential component of Washington’s military and strategic “pivot” to Asia, aimed at establishing unchallenged hegemony over the region, including China, which has thus far been excluded from the treaty. The “partnership” seeks to restructure every aspect of economic and social life across the Asia-Pacific in the interests of Wall Street finance capital and the largest US corporations, particularly the IT, pharmaceutical and media conglomerates.

A similar drive is underway to incorporate the European Union into a Transatlantic Trade and I nvestment Partnership (TTIP) bloc. Like the TPP, the European treaty is being negotiated behind the backs of the international working class amid tight secrecy, with hundreds of the world’s largest corporations taking part.

Obama has resorted to blatant anti-Chinese rhetoric in a bid to overcome opposition to aspects of the TPP from sections of the Democratic and Republican congressional leaderships. In one recent interview, the US president declared: “If we don’t write the rules out there, China’s going to write the rules and the geopolitical implications of China writing the rules for trade almost inevitably means that we will be cut out or we will be deeply disadvantaged. Our businesses will be disadvantaged, our workers will be disadvantaged.”

Washington is concerned that other imperialist powers, such as Germany, Britain and Japan, could strengthen their positions in China at the expense of the US unless America “writes the rules” for world trade in the 21st century.

Global financial commentators are drawing attention to what is at stake. Under the headline, “Round two in America’s battle for Asian influence,” David Pilling wrote in the London-based Financial Times on April 1: “Washington’s attempt to lead a boycott of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ended in farce after Britain broke ranks and other nations from Germany to South Korea fell over themselves to join. If round one was a defeat for America, round two hangs in the balance.”

Pilling noted that the TPP’s exclusion of China, on the grounds that its economy was state-owned and centrally planned, was obviously concocted. “In a peculiar display of diplomatic contortion,” he wrote, “Vietnam — a country whose economy is as centrally planned and as rigged [sic] as the best of them — is somehow considered fit for entry.”

The Financial Times Asia editor pointedly added that the TPP was “just as likely to annoy America’s allies in the region as reassure them” because of its intrusive demands, which include the dismantling of state-owned enterprises, tendering restrictions, financial regulations, data protection rules and intellectual property laws.

Washington’s aggressive drive to establish the TPP and TTIP economic blocs marks a reversal of its post-World War II role, when the ascendancy of American industry permitted it to champion the reconstruction of its Japanese and European rivals, albeit always for its own benefit, including via the expansion of markets for its exports.

Today, amid the ongoing decline of US industry, its ruling elite depends increasingly on the parasitic activities of Wall Street, the exploitation of patents by Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the drug companies, and contracts for the supply of military hardware. These rapacious interests will most directly benefit from the TPP.

Many details remain secret, but pro-TPP lobbying efforts highlight the anticipated profit bonanzas. Mireya Solis of the Brookings Institution think tank stressed advantages such as “internationalisation of financial services, protection of intellectual property and governance of the Internet economy.”

US technology firms would benefit from a ban on requiring companies to house customers’ data within a specific country. “If we’re going to serve the customer of Malaysia from, say, a data center in Singapore, the data has to be able to move back and forth between those two countries,” Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, told the Wall Street Journal.

Central to the treaty are punitive Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) clauses, which permit transnationals to sue governments for losses allegedly caused by official policy decisions. WikiLeaks last month published a chapter of the TPP treaty showing that firms could bypass a country’s courts to obtain damages for changes in “environmental, health or other regulatory objectives.”

Apart from the US and Japan — the two biggest partners by far — the other TPP participants are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The willingness of many of these countries to make the required concessions to the US has been undermined by Obama’s failure to secure support for a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill so that he can sign the TPP and then have it ratified by Congress with a single “yes” or “no” vote. Without TPA, Congress could force amendments to the negotiated pact, effectively rendering the agreement void.

According to a Japan Times report: “Several negotiating partners, including Canada and Japan, have publicly stated they will not put their final negotiating positions on the table until Congress grants TPA for the Obama administration. With a presidential election looming in the United States, further delay creates a real risk of TPP being delayed until 2017.”

Much of the US congressional resistance is bound up with protectionist lobbies, based on national-based industries and their trade unions. In response, the Obama administration is ramping up a campaign that explicitly spells out the expected benefits to corporate America.

On March 30, the White House published letters from former senior economic officials, including 10 ex-commerce secretaries representing every administration, Democratic and Republican, since 1973, urging congressional leaders to give Obama TPA authority.

The commerce secretaries stated: “Once completed, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will give the United States free trade arrangements with 65 percent of global GDP and give our businesses preferential access to a large base of new potential customers.”

This demand for “preferential access” by US imperialism threatens to break up the world economy into the kind of rival blocs that preceded World War I and World War II.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/04/tppo-a04.html

“A decisive turning point in the crisis of American imperialism” – AIIP is here [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Assassination, Australia, Beijing, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Denmark, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Engels, France, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Obama, Pentagon, Police State, south Korea, Taiwan, Torture, Trotsky, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on April 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

1 April 2015

Yesterday was the deadline for countries to sign up as founding members of the China-backed Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It will go down in history as marking a significant defeat for the global foreign policy and strategic objectives of United States imperialism.

Against strenuous opposition from Washington, more than 40 countries have now indicated they want to be part of the AIIB. Major European powers including Britain, France and Germany, as well as Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, are on board. Almost all countries in the South East Asian region, which count China as their major trading partner, have also signed up. India is also a signatory, together with Taiwan.

The most significant blow against the US was struck by Britain, its chief European ally, which announced its decision to join on March 12. It opened the floodgates for others to follow, including two key US allies in the Asia-Pacific -— Australia and South Korea. Japan is also reported to be considering joining, possibly as early as June.

The full significance of the US defeat and its far-reaching implications emerge most clearly when viewed from a historical perspective.

One of the chief objections of the Obama administration to the new bank was that it would undermine the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Together with the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944, they constituted central pillars of the global economic order established after World War II by the United States, which played the central role in rebuilding world capitalism following the devastation of the 1920s and 1930s and the wars and revolutionary struggles it produced.

Of course, both of these institutions, together with the Marshall Plan for the restabilisation of war-torn Europe, operated to the economic and strategic benefit of American imperialism.

But while America drew enormous gains from the post-war order, it was not narrowly conceived. There was a recognition in ruling political and economic circles that if American capitalism was to survive, it would have to use the enormous resources at its disposal to ensure the growth and expansion of other capitalist powers, above all, those against which it had fought a bitter and bloody conflict.

Post-war reconstruction enabled the expansion of Germany and turned it once again into the industrial powerhouse of Europe. At the same time, concessions to Japan on the value of its currency -— it was pegged at 360 yen to the dollar -— opened up export markets for its industry. The decision to build trucks and other military equipment in Japan during the Korean War laid the foundations for the development of Japan’s auto industry, as it incorporated, and then developed, the advanced production techniques that had been established in the US.

The industrial and economic capacity of the United States, even when it took reactionary forms as in the case of the Korean War, was utilised to facilitate a new phase of global capitalist expansion—the post-war boom.

What a contrast to the present situation! American capitalism is no longer the industrial powerhouse of the world, ensuring the expansion of the capitalist economy as a whole. Rather, it functions as the global parasite-in-chief, as its rapacious banks, investment houses and hedge funds scour the world for profitable opportunities, engaged not in the production of new wealth, but in the appropriation of wealth produced elsewhere, often via criminal or semi-criminal operations.

In the immediate post-war period, the US was the champion of free trade, recognising that the restrictions and beggar-thy-neighbour policies of the 1930s had produced a disaster. Today, through measures such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and similar arrangements being prepared with regard to Europe, Washington seeks to forge exclusivist agreements aimed at protecting the monopoly position of US corporations. America, Obama has stated, must write the global rules for trade and investment in the 21st century.

American influence in the post-war period was not confined to the immediate economic sphere. Notwithstanding all its contradictory features, American society appeared to have something to offer the world as a whole, which had suffered decades of war, fascism and military forms of rule, along with economic devastation.

Again, the contrast with the present situation could not be starker. American democracy, once held up as a beacon for the rest of the world, is a withered caricature of its former self, no longer capable of concealing the dictatorship of the financial and corporate elites.

Social conditions are characterised by deprivation and state violence, reflected not least in the daily police killings. America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and in Detroit, once the centre of the American industrial economy, paying the highest wages, water shutoffs are being imposed. The US government carries out torture, abductions, assassinations and mass spying on its own people and others around the world. The country is ruled by criminals who cannot be held accountable for their crimes.

In the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the removal from the scene of its global rival, the American ruling class was gripped by the idea that while its economic position had been severely weakened -— the stock market crash of 1987 was a harbinger of things to come -— American hegemony could nevertheless be maintained by military means.

But as Frederick Engels had earlier explained in refuting another exponent of “force theory,” the notion that economic developments—the advance of industry, credit and trade—and the contradictions to which they gave rise could be “blown out of existence” with “Krupp guns and Mauser rifles” was a delusion.

The past 25 years of American foreign policy, based on the use of cruise missiles and drones, combined with invasions and regime-change operations grounded on lies, have produced one debacle after another.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost, as other capitalist powers, great and small, begin to conclude that hitching themselves to the American juggernaut is the surest road to disaster. That is the historic significance of their decision to join the AIIB.

How will American imperialism respond? By increasing its military provocations, threatening to plunge the world once again into war.

Charting the rise of American imperialism in the late 1920s, Leon Trotsky noted that in the period of crisis, its hegemony would operate “more openly and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom,” and that it would attempt to extricate itself from its difficulties and maladies at the expense of its rivals, if necessary by means of war.

However there is another, and, in the final analysis, decisive, aspect to the economic decline of American imperialism, marked so powerfully by the events of yesterday.

For decades, the American working class was disoriented by the idea of a continually rising power -— that America’s “best days” were always ahead. Reality is now coming home with ever-increasing force.

Events are shattering the delusions of the past and will propel the American working class on to the road of revolutionary struggle, creating the conditions for the unification of the international working class in the fight for world socialist revolution.

Nick Beams

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/01/pers-a01.html

Obama’s cheap shot at China misguided [China Daily]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Anti-communism, Australia, Black propaganda, China, China-bashing, China-US relations, Encirclement of China, Japan, Obama, Pentagon, Philippines, Psychological warfare, South China Sea, south Korea, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on March 31, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Stephen Harner

2015-1-29

Using the State of the Union address to deliver a “cheap shot”…is what President Barack Obama did on Jan 20, when he declared “…as we speak, China wants to write the rules for the world’s fastest growing region”.

And what he said next was just as provocative: “That would put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage. Why should we let that happen? We should write the rules…” Obama was clearly referring here to the US-crafted Trans-Pacific Partnership, seeking a way to spur the Congress to grant him the “fast track” authority needed to bring talks to conclusion.

That he would allege a competitive threat or rivalry with China, which is not participating in the TPP talks and was never invited to do so, to trigger congressional action evidences once again how the Obama administration has cynically made the myth of a “China threat” a central feature of its “pivot to Asia” political and economic strategy.

When first introduced, this was Pentagon-driven military and security-oriented. Its goal was to maintain US military and political hegemony in the region by reorienting toward China and augmenting through new weapons, protocols, and battle plans, Cold War alliances with Japan, [s]outh Korea, the Philippines, and Australia.

Since then the “pivot” has been embellished and informed by a distinctly neoliberal “universal values” agenda that conflates US political and economic ideology with commercial interests and by preventing any substantive change to the “rules” established in the post-World War II “American century”.

For Obama the only rules that can or should be followed – particularly, in Asia – are those recognized by the United States: “In the Asia-Pacific, we are modernizing alliances while making sure that other nations play by the rules – in how they trade, how they resolve maritime disputes, how they participate in meeting common international challenges….”

Many US readers will find nothing remarkable or untoward in such a statement. They fail to understand how people in Asia read and respond to the same words…

Excerpted / edited by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2015-01/29/content_19434305.htm

Why U.S. rulers fear new Asian investment bank “AIIB” [Workers World]

Posted in Africa, Bill Clinton, Bolivia, China, China-US relations, Economy, Ecuador, France, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Neo-colonialism, U.K., US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Venezuela, Wall Street, World War II on March 28, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Deirdre Griswold March 24, 2015

Britain, France, Italy and Germany have agreed to join China in establishing an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China has already announced it will put up $50 billion in initial capital.

It is too early to say what role this bank will play in helping underdeveloped countries modernize their infrastructure. Negotiations among the principals on the bank’s structure and policies are expected to take place for at least a year. What will emerge cannot be predicted at this time.

But one thing is very clear: Wall Street and Washington are fuming over the fact that the European imperialist countries are joining in, despite strong U.S. pressure to stay out.

Criticism of the new development bank by the U.S. has begun, with government officials telling the media they fear it will undermine the “good work” done by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which, they say, have aided developing countries while imposing regulations to protect the environment and help the poor.

You’re choking on this outrageous lie right now? So are we.

Tons of both popular and scholarly analyses of these institutions, and especially of the “structural adjustment programs” they have forced down the throats of poor countries, show that the kind of “development” they foster has usually done just the opposite: stripped countries of needed government services, increased their indebtedness and hurt the environment, all to benefit the financial institutions of the imperialists.

Take the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, for example, which have been going through the most horrific public health emergency caused by the spread of the Ebola virus. These countries are so poor that, even after Liberia declared an end to new cases, a televised news report on the return of a score of students to classes pointed out that their grammar school, which when full serves 1,000 students, has no electricity and no running water.

On Dec. 22, The Lancet, a preeminent British medical journal, published a commentary called “The International Monetary Fund and the Ebola outbreak.” It reads: “A major reason why the outbreak spread so rapidly was the weakness of health systems in the region. … Since 1990, the IMF has provided support to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, for 21, 7 and 19 years, respectively, and at the time that Ebola emerged, all three countries were under IMF programs. However, IMF lending comes with strings attached — so-called ‘conditionalities’ — that require recipient governments to adopt policies that have been criticized for prioritizing short-term economic objectives over investment in health and education.”

The authors add that “economic reform programs by the IMF have required reductions in government spending, prioritization of debt service, and bolstering of foreign exchange reserves.” In other words, recipient countries — which should be receiving reparations for all the wealth extracted from them by colonial rule — have instead been forced to cut back on health care, education and other services in order to pay interest on loans.

* Bretton Woods, the IMF and World Bank *

Why does the U.S. ruling class feel particularly threatened by this new China-headed development bank? Because U.S. banks have dominated the financial architecture of the capitalist world for decades. The U.S. emerged from World War II as the undisputed global industrial and financial powerhouse, while Europe and Japan were in ruins and all regions involved in the world war were suffering.

The intention of the U.S. imperialist ruling class to translate its military and industrial muscle into financial domination over the rest of the world was made clear even before the war ended, with the founding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. This conclave in New Hampshire of the soon-to-be-victorious Allied powers was dominated by Washington and London. It established the “tradition” that the president of the World Bank would always come from the U.S.

One can read many critiques of these institutions. One was an interview by Greg Palast with Joseph Stieglitz, a former chief economist of the World Bank, member of Bill Clinton’s cabinet and chair of his Council of Economic Advisers who turned against his former bosses.

Stieglitz told Palast that when nations are “down and out, [the IMF] squeezes the last drop of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up.” He referred to these social explosions as “IMF riots,” pointing to what happened when the IMF eliminated food and fuel subsidies in Indonesia in 1998, when it made Bolivia increase water prices in 2000, and when the World Bank imposed a rise in cooking gas prices on Ecuador in February 2001. (“IMF’s Four Steps to Damnation,” The Observer, April 29, 2001)

In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the people have tried to get rid of governments that served as tools of these imperialist-dominated financial institutions and have looked for other ways to climb out of poverty. In Latin America, the result has been ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) — an alliance of countries, led by Venezuela, that is trying to break free of the stranglehold over their economies imposed by U.S. imperialism for nearly two centuries.

The anti-colonial revolutions that began in Asia in the 1930s and spread throughout the so-called Third World in the 1950s and 1960s drove out the structures of direct colonial rule. Bretton Woods was the answer of the imperialists: Keep the masses of people enslaved to the banks.

Washington’s objections to the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have nothing to do with anything except the fear of U.S. capitalists that they could be losing their grip on what has been their main tool for world domination. As a backup, of course, they have the Pentagon, making the struggle against imperialist war ever more urgent.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/03/24/why-u-s-rulers-fear-new-asian-investment-bank/

“Distorting history is unacceptable” – Urging Japan to reflect on past crimes of aggression [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Japan, Russia, U.K., USA, USSR, War crimes, World War II on March 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Yan Yuewen (People’s Daily Online)
March 25, 2015

The entire world remembers the history of the world’s anti-Fascist war and the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.

But some important questions about the war must be clearly answered. Who launched the aggression at the beginning? What dark motivations led them to start the war? How did allied nations unite in the strength of justice and how much did they sacrifice to fight for freedom of humanity? The history of World War II (WWII), including its achievements and lessons, should be remembered by all nations. Legally binding international documents signed during and after the war, postwar trials of war criminals as well as historical research conducted over the past 70 years compose an undisputable foundation of the world’s shared memory.

At present, some Japanese politicians have brazenly attempted to distort WWII history, intending to relieve Japan of responsibility. The world should be alert to these provocative remarks and acts.

History cannot be reversed. Justice will speak itself. However, we must maintain vigilant against any actions that would seek to distort historical verdicts and deny the fruits of victory.

According to a recent survey conducted by Japan’s leading newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun, only 5 percent of the surveyed Japanese citizens said that they are “fully aware of” the Japan-provoked aggression and the Pacific War. Around 44 percent of the respondents said that they “know a little” about the war. And another 49 percent of the respondents answered that they are uninformed about the history. The survey also showed that education and school textbooks are the main ways for students to learn the truth of past warfare.

History should not be recklessly tampered with. Such acts are anathema to international law and justice. The postwar arrangement clearly confirmed Japan’s responsibility for aggression in WWII, and Japan admitted it unconditionally.

The Cairo Declaration, jointly released by the United States, China and Britain on December 1, 1943, stated, “The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan.”

The Potsdam Declaration (or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender), jointly released on July 26, 1945 by the United States, China and Britain with the Soviet Union joining later, stated that Japan shall enforce the Cairo Declaration, and also declared the elimination “for all time of the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest.” The declaration went on, saying, “We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners.”

Japan accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration in the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War issued by Japanese Emperor Hirohito on August 15, 1945 and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender signed by Japanese delegates aboard the United States Navy battleship USS Missouri on September 2 of the same year.

Admitting its historical aggression and reflecting on the responsibility for war is a precondition for Japan to reconcile with its Asian neighboring countries that suffered under its military campaigns in WWII.

The China-Japan Joint Statement issued on September 29, 1972 stated, “The Japanese side is keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious damage that Japan caused in the past to the Chinese people through war, and deeply reproaches itself…”

Excerpted; full article link: http://en.people.cn/n/2015/0325/c98649-8868727.html