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For The Record  

FTR #509 The Death of Iris Chang

Recorded May 1, 2005
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In November of 2004, author and investigator Iris Chang was found dead of an allegedly self-inflicted gunshot wound. This program examines the circumstances surrounding her death. Ms. Chang was researching a book chronicling the experiences of survivors of the Bataan Death March—the brutal persecution of American POW’s captured in the siege of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II. Many of the survivors were shipped to Japan to work as slave laborers for major Japanese corporations. Many of these corporations have had profound connections with their American transnational counterparts, and were the beneficiaries of American investment capital in the run-up to World War II. More importantly, many of these corporations are a principal element of the US/Japanese commercial relationship today. There is evidence to suggest that Ms. Chang’s death may have resulted from mind control, administered to neutralize her as a threat to the clandestine economic and national security relationships that have governed US/Japanese affairs in the postwar period. Ms. Chang had received threats ever since the publication of her landmark text The Rape of Nanking. She appears to have been under surveillance, and her suicide note alleged that a suspicious internment in a psychiatric hospital may have been initiated at the instigation of the elements opposed to a ruffling of the Japanese/US feathers. In addition to threatening US/Japanese cooperation on Iraq, Ms. Chang’s investigation of Japanese war crimes was an irritant to the Japanese establishment that had thrived on the gold and other wealth looted from occupied countries since World War II.

It is worth noting in this context that, should the major Japanese financial institutions collapse as a result of their epic malfeasance during the postwar period, they would be forced to sell the large number of US Treasury Bills that they hold, thereby collapsing this country’s economy!

Program Highlights Include: The friction between Japan and China over resurgent Japanese ultranationalism and Japan’s historical revisionism of its role in World War II; the US State Department’s role in blunting suits by US POW’s against Japanese corporations; the role of US courts in blunting suits by US POW’s against Japanese corporations; the close marital relationships between American diplomats and their families and the Japanese corporations targeted by the lawsuits; the State Department’s efforts at blunting bills introduced on behalf of these POW’s; review of the persecution of the late Norbert Schlei for crossing some of the same interests that Ms. Chang had crossed; a conversation between Ms. Chang and a friend in which Iris indicated that her fears were rooted in reality, and not “in her head;” Ms. Chang’s endorsement of the landmark text Gold Warriors by the Seagraves; the close timing between Ms. Chang’s alleged suicide and a trip by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to Japan in order to promote US/Japanese trade.

1. The program begins by chronicling the accelerating re-emergence of revisionist Japanese history. Ultranationalists in that country have been working to cover-up Japan’s criminal record in World War II for some time. Those efforts are gaining momentum. In particular, the Japanese refusal to acknowledge the horrible crimes they committed against the Chinese is becoming more entrenched, leading to heightened tensions between the two countries’ governments. It is against the background of these growing tensions that Iris Chang’s death occurred. “The United States, ever quick to criticize China for human rights abuses, has of late been remarkably silent about Japan’s ethical lapses, current and historical. Japanese politicians and publishers have made a cottage industry of denying the 1937 Nanking Massacre in which the Japanese killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in the old Chinese capital. This is an offense to Chinese sensibilities comparable with Holocaust denial in Europe. In recent months, major publishers and broadcasters have been bullied to conform and self-censor in accord with the rising tide of resurgent militarism. That tacit government approval is given to such xenophobic, right-wing thinking can be seen in the latest Ministry of Education-approved school texts that erase or evade critical lessons drawn from Japan’s bad behavior in its war of aggression.”
(“Japan’s Revisionist History’) by Philip J. Cunningham; The Los Angeles Times; 4/11/2005; p. 1.)

2. “In the ‘New History Textbook,’ the Nanking Massacre is dismissed as a controversial ‘incident.’ And the war of invasion is no longer termed an invasion. New textbooks drop references to ‘comfort women,’ sex slaves of mostly Chinese and Korean origin who were forced to service Japanese fighting men in the field. To borrow a phrase from the late writer Iris Chang, the abused women are being raped a second time, this time by defenders of the Japanese army who attempt to erase them from memory.” (Idem.)

3. Note that the advent of the Cold War and America’s embrace of Japan as an ally in that struggle facilitated the cover-up of Japanese war crimes. “China and the U.S. were allies in World War II, each contributing in its own way to the defeat of Japanese militarism. But the Cold War saw the U.S. turn away from China and embrace Japan, with the result that China’s vast suffering, estimated at 20 million dead, was never properly memorialized or recognized by its erstwhile ally. To add insult to injury, the U.S. found it expedient to work with Emperor Hirohito and other war criminals of that era in order to facilitate occupation and bolster its anti-communism crusade. Now that the Cold war is over, it is high time the U.S. lent support to China’s valid historical complaints.” (Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

4. Perpetuating the obfuscation of Japan’s wartime atrocities is Japan’s alliance with the US vis a vis Iraq. Japan is one of the few countries that continues to support Bush’s war. Iris Chang’s continuing investigations into Japanese war crimes was a potential irritant to this alliance. It may have been the cause of her death. “But Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who has linked his political fate with the unrepentant rightists at home and President Bush’s policy abroad, keeps the unholy alliance functioning, offering vocal support for U.S. aggression in Iraq while hailing Japan’s fallen military heroes of a bygone era. As if to secure U.S. complacency on controversial textbook changes, U.S. actions in Iraq have been sanitized by Japanese textbook committees that, for instance, whited out ‘unilateral’ from a recent text.” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

5. More on the Washington/Tokyo axis, across which Ms. Chang’s research cut “The cozy Tokyo-Washington relationship makes it difficult for the U.S. to take a judicious stand on anti-China antics such as history textbook revision. Last October, while Koizumi was lending vocal support to Bush in the presidential race and the war in Iraq, Shueisha, one of Japan’s leading publishers, suspended publication of an acclaimed historical manga (comic book), ‘My Country is Burning,’ for its unflinching portrayal of the Nanking Massacre.” (Idem.)

6. Inside Japan, journalistic voices publicizing Japanese war crimes have been silenced. “In Beijing last week, Japanese Ambassador Koreshige Anami defended the publishing of right-wing textbooks as a testament to Japan’s ‘freedom of speech and publication.’ Why then was veteran manga artist Motomiya Hiroshi forced to retract and apologize for ‘My Country is Burning,’? Why then did the NHK TV network, after getting a high-level warning, preemptively cut short a program on comfort women that laid blame on the emperor? If a Chinese Internet café gets closed down, it’s front-page news. Why isn’t the U.S. equally concerned about setbacks to free speech in Japan?” (Ibid.; pp. 2-3.)

7. “The U.S. should not look the other way in the face of resurgent Japanese militarism, even though a Japan freed of the constraints of its own reprehensible past behavior might serve to keep China on edge or might add muscle to the U.S. policing of the world. The ultimate consequence of whitewashing the past could be the demise of Japan’s admirable Peace Constitution, allowing Japan to retool its formidable industrial base into a weapons industry threatening its neighbors and possibly triggering an unprecedented arms race and another world war.” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

8. Next, the program examines the vicious reaction of Japanese ultranationalists and others to Iris Chang’s book—The Rape of Nanking. Note the hostility with which her work was met. Was this hostility carried to another level? ” . . . At the same time, torrents of hate mail came in, Brett [her husband] said. ‘Iris is sensitive, but she got charged up,’ he recalled. ‘When anybody questioned the validity of what she wrote, she would respond with overwhelming evidence to back it up. She’s very much a perfectionist. It was hard for her not to react every single time.’ Most of the attacks came from Japanese ultranationalists. ‘We saw cartoons where she was portrayed as this woman with a great big mouth,’ Brett said. ‘She got used to the fact that there is a Web site called ‘Iris Chang and Her Lies.’ She would just laugh.'”
(“Historian Iris Chang Won Many Battles: The War She Lost Raged Within” by Heidi Benson; San Francisco Chronicle; 4/17/2005; p. 9 [of 22].)

9. “But friends say Iris began to voice concerns for her safety. She believed her phone was tapped. She described finding threatening notes on her car. She said she was confronted by a man who said, ‘You will NOT continue writing this.’ She used a post office box, never her home address, for mail. ‘There are a fair number of people who don’t take kindly to what she wrote in The Rape of Nanking.’ Brett said, ‘so she’s always been very, very private about our family life.'” (Idem.)

10. “The book’s popularity meant a lengthy book tour. ‘Over a year and a half, she visited 65 cities,’ Brett said. ‘Most authors are worn out after five or six cities.’ He could see the travel was taking a toll on her. In 1998, Brett recalled, ‘for her 30th birthday, we went out to a little resort near Santa Cruz and she literally didn’t want to leave the room.'” (Idem.)

11. “Somehow, she always bounced back, energized by her role as spokesperson for a movement. Among her many television appearances was a memorable evening on ‘Nightline,’ where she was the only Asian and the only woman among a panel of China experts. ‘To see her on TV, defending Rape of Nanking so fiercely and so fearlessly—I just sat down, stopped, in awe,’ said Helen Zia, author of Asian-American Dreams: Emergence of an American People and co-author Wen-Ho Lee, of My Country Versus Me: The First-Hand Account by the Los Alamos Scientist Who Was Falsely Accused.” (Ibid.; p. 10.)

12. ” ‘Iris truly had no fear. You could see it in the steadiness of her voice and in her persistence,’ Zia recalled. ‘She would just say, matter-of-factly, ‘Japan is lying and here’s why.” Later Iris challenged the Japanese ambassador to a debate on the ‘MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour’ on PBS. After the ambassador spoke of events in Nanking, Iris turned to the moderator and said: ‘I didn’t hear an apology.'” (Idem.)

13. Iris turned her attention to another subject connected to Japanese atrocities from World War II—the Bataan Death March. Some of the American soldiers captured after the Japanese invasion of the Philippines were forced to work as slave laborers for some of the major Japanese corporations. As will be seen below, class action lawsuits and other attempts at gaining belated compensation for these unfortunate POWs was met with fierce opposition from the US State Department!! Remember that Iris Chang was cutting across these same lines of political power. ” . . . But soon she found herself drawn to a subject just as dark. Iris Chang rang the doorbell on Ed Martel’s front porch in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on December 4, 2003. It’s a date he won’t forget. ‘She sat down and cross-examined me like a district attorney for five solid hours,’ said Martel, 86, one of the last remaining survivors of the Bataan Death March of World War II. His daughter, Maddy, remembered the day well, too. ‘We set out a very big lunch—meat trays and sandwiches and desserts,’ she said. ‘My dad was so excited that she was doing this, and so honored.'” (Ibid.; pp. 11-12.)

14. “Months earlier, Iris had seized on a letter in her ‘book ideas’ file about a Midwestern pocket of Bataan survivors, all members of two tank battalions. ‘They drop so fast,’ the letter had read. The correspondent was Sgt. Anthony Meldahl, a supply sergeant with the Ohio National Guard who had admired Iris’ work. Meldahl was now urging Iris to join his oral-history project. She did, and, starting in November 2003, would make four trips to meet with Bataan vets—in Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. Each time, Iris swept into town and conducted four or five intensive interviews in as many days. ‘She was like a battalion commander,’ Meldahl said.” (Ibid.; p. `12.)

15. ” ‘It’s amazing when you watch Iris do research,’ Brett said. ‘She would go into a town—and with Tony Meldahl’s help, it was even better. She would have a team of three vets and their children and their wives. Iris would be interviewing them, somebody else would be filming them, somebody else would be photocopying records, and somebody would be sending documents down to UPS. And Iris would buy lunch and dinner for everybody, and they all thought it was great.” (Idem.)

16. Again, note that some of the Bataan Death Marchers were shipped to Japan to work as slave laborers. This subject will be taken up at greater length below. ” ‘These people wanted their story told for a long, long time, and they knew that because Iris had success as an author, she’d be able to do a very good job,’ Brett said. Ed Martel’s story began on Dec. 7, 1941. Pearl Harbor was still smoldering when Japanese planes bombed the Philippines’ Bataan Peninsula, where Martel was stationed with a National Guard tank battalion. With few rations, little ammunition and no reinforcements, 70,000 American and Filipino troops held off the Japanese for months. When the American general surrendered on April 9, the Japanese forced the troops to walk 65 miles through sweltering jungle. Some 8,000 died on the notorious ‘death march.’ Those who survived spent the rest of the war in a bleak prison camp; some were shipped to Japan as slave laborers. [Emphasis added.] Once the Allies won the war, the story was forgotten. It had been the largest U.S. Army surrender in history.” (Idem.)

17. ” ‘It’s baffling to me that the U.S. today has so little knowledge of the four months we held out,’ Martel told The Chronicle by telephone from his home in Wisconsin. ‘We marvel at how America turned their backs on us.’ Martel was slightly hard of hearing, but his memory was crisp. He recalled telling Iris about the worst of his Bataan experiences. ‘Iris asked me to tell about atrocities,’ he said. ‘Twice I broke down and had to leave the room.'” (Idem.)

18. As Ms. Chang was investigating the story of the Death Marchers, she made the acquaintance of a colonel, who elicited fear in this otherwise dauntless individual. The colonel checked her into a psychiatric hospital, where she was put on a cycle of psychiatric drugs. Was she subjected to some sort of mind control? Did that have something to do with her death? Was she programmed to commit suicide? ” . . . ‘I knew Iris was not right,’ her mother said. ‘She couldn’t eat or drink. She was very depressed.’ She asked if Iris had any friends there she could call for help. One of the veterans—a colonel she had planned to meet in Louisville—came to the hotel. Smith said the colonel spent only a short time with her. ‘She was afraid of him when he showed up,’ Smith said. ‘But he spoke to her mother on the phone and told Iris, ‘Your mom is on the phone, so it’s OK.” That afternoon, she checked herself in to Norton Psychiatric Hospital in Louisville, with help from the colonel. Through a third party, the colonel declined to be interviewed. ‘First they gave her an antipsychotic, to stabilize her,’ her mother said. ‘For three days they gave her medication, the first time in her life.’ (The family would not name specific drugs.) . . . ” (Ibid.; p. 14.)

19. Iris’s suicide note betrayed fear of retribution for her research. She felt that her internment in the psychiatric hospital may have somehow been part of that retribution. As noted below, she felt the CIA or some similar type of institution may have been involved in the activities conducted against her. ” . . . Then she wrote a suicide note—addressed to her parents, Brett and her brother—followed by a lengthy revision. The first draft said: ‘When you believe you have a future, you think in terms of generations and years. When you do not, you live not just by the day—but by the minute. [Emphasis added.] It is far better that you remember me as I was—in my heyday as a best-selling author—than the wild-eyed wreck who returned from Louisville . . . Each breath is becoming difficult for me to take—the anxiety can be compared to drowning in an open sea. I know that my actions will transfer some of this pain to others, indeed those who love me the most. Please forgive me. Forgive me because I cannot forgive myself.'” (Ibid.; p. 18.)

20. “In the final version, she added: ‘There are aspects of my experience in Louisville that I will never understand. Deep down I suspect that you may have more answers about this than I do. I can never shake my belief that I was being recruited, and later persecuted, by forces more powerful than I could have imagined. Whether it was the CIA or some other organization I will never know. As long as I am alive, these forces will never stop hounding me. . . .” (Idem.)

21. Although those around Iris (and the author of the article excerpted here) felt that she was “imagining” things, there was very real danger for people involved in researching the deep politics and clandestine goings on surrounding the machinations of the Japanese corporations and national security establishment, before, during and after World War II. As will be seen below, the US government has actively participated in the cover-up of these machinations. “‘Days before I left for Louisville I had a deep foreboding about my safety. I sensed suddenly threats to my own life: an eerie feeling that I was being followed in the streets, the white van parked outside my house, damaged mail arriving at my P.O. Box. I believe my detention at Norton Hospital was the government’s attempt to discredit me. ‘I had considered running away, but I will never be able to escape from myself and my thoughts. I am doing this because I am too weak to withstand the years of pain and agony ahead.'” (Idem.)

22. “After Iris Chang’s Oldsmobile was found off Highway 17 on Tuesday morning, Nov. 9, the California Highway Patrol was called to the scene. The Highway Patrol then called the Santa Clara Sheriff’s homicide unit and detective Sgt. Dean Baker, a 33-year veteran, took over the investigation. ‘There is an aspect of paranoia in the majority of suicides,’ Baker said. ‘ A lot of people—depending on how disturbed they are—feel that people are plotting against them.'” (Idem.)

23. Despite the dismissal of Iris’s fears as “paranoia,” there is reason to believe her fears were justified. In a phone call to an old friend from college, Iris noted that her family and friends thought her problems were “in her head”—”internal”—but that they were real, i.e. “external.” ” . . . The months passed, and I got involved in my own projects. A few weeks ago, a mutual friend e-mailed me that Iris was trying to reach me, and that she had been sick for the past few months. Then, on Saturday, Nov. 6, my cellphone rang. When I heard the tone of Iris’ voice, I excused myself from the friends I was visiting and stood outside in their yard for privacy. The bounce in her voice was totally gone. Instead, it was sad and totally drained, as if she were making a huge effort just to talk to me. I remembered that she recently had been sick.”
(“How ‘Iris Chang’ Became a Verb” by Paula Kamen; Salon.com.)

24. “She said, ‘I just wanted to let you know that in case something should happen to me, you should always know that you’ve been a good friend.’ Over the next hour, I stumbled to ask her about what had happened. She talked about her overwhelming fears and anxieties, including being unable to face the magnitude—and the controversial nature—of the stories that she had uncovered. Her current vaguely described problems were ‘external,’ she kept repeating, a result of her controversial research. They weren’t a result of the ‘internal,’ that is, they weren’t all in her head. [Emphasis added.] I asked her about what others in her life thought about the cause of this apparent depression. She paused and said, ‘They think it’s internal.'” (Idem.)

25. Next, the program reprises material from FTR#446, concerning the death threats received by the Seagraves, who had been researching many of the same type of things as Iris Chang. The Seagraves’ problems were “external,” not “internal.” “Many people told us this book was historically important and must be published–then warned us that if it were published, we would be murdered. An Australian economist who read it said, ‘ I hope they let you live.’ He did not have to explain who ‘they’ were.”
(Gold Warriors—America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold; by Sterling Seagrave and Peggy Seagrave; Verso [HC]; Copyright 2003 by Sterling Seagrave and Peggy Seagrave; ISBN 1-85984-542-8; p. X.)

26. The program relates the retribution visited on whistle-blowers who disclosed the gold belonging to Holocaust victims that was left in Swiss banks. Note that Carla del Ponte, who charged Jean Ziegler with treason, is the lawyer for Bank Al Taqwa’s Youssef Nada. Note also that these whistleblowers were in conflict with the same type of things that the Seagraves and Iris Chang were investigating.

“Japan’s looting of Asia, and the hiding of this war-gold in American banks, is closely linked to the issue of Holocaust gold hidden in Swiss banks. Revealing the secrets of either is a dangerous business. Jean Ziegler, a Swiss professor and parliamentarian, did much to expose five decades of official amnesia in his book The Swiss, the Gold and the Dead. After publishing it and testifying in 1998 before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee about Jewish assets in Swiss banks, he was charged with ‘treason’ by Swiss Federal Prosecutor Carla del Ponte. The charge was brought by twenty-one financiers, commercial lawyers, and politicians of the far right, many of them major stockholders in large Swiss banks. They accused Ziegler of being an accomplice of Jewish organizations who ‘extorted’ vast sums of money from Switzerland.” (Idem.)

27. “Ziegler is only one of many who have been persecuted for putting ethics before greed. Christophe Meili, a Union Banque Suisse (UBS) security guard, was threatened with murder and the kidnapping of his wife and children after he testified before a U.S. Senate committee about documents he rescued from UBS shredders. He and his family were given asylum in America.” (Idem.)

28. The Seagraves relate the threats and harassment they received over the authorship of some of their previous books. “We have been threatened with murder before. When we published The Soong Dynasty we were warned by a senior CIA official that a hit team was being assembled in Taiwan to come murder us. He said, ‘I would take this very seriously, if I were you.’ We vanished for a year to an island off the coast of British Columbia. While we were gone, a Taiwan hit team arrived in San Francisco and shot dead the Chinese-American journalist Henry Liu.” (Idem.)

29. “When we published The Marcos Dynasty we expected trouble from the Marcos family and its cronies, but instead we were harassed by Washington. Others had investigated Marcos, but we were the first to show how the U.S. Government was secretly involved with Marcos gold deals. We came under attack from the U.S. Treasury Department and its Internal Revenue Service, whose agents made threatening midnight phone calls to our elderly parents. Arriving in New York for an author tour, one of us was intercepted at JFK airport, passport seized, and held incommunicado for three hours. Eventually the passport was returned, without a word of explanation. When we ran Freedom of Information queries to see what was behind it, we were grudgingly sent a copy of a telex message, on which every word was blacked out, including the date. The justification given for this censorship was the need to protect government sources, which are above the law.” (Ibid.; pp. X-XI.)

30. “During one harassing phone call from a U.S. Treasury agent, he said he was sitting in his office watching an interview we had done for a Japanese TV network—an interview broadcast only in Japanese, which we had never seen. After publishing The Yamato Dynasty, which briefly mentioned the discovery that is the basis for Gold Warriors, our phones and email were tapped. We know this because when one of us was in a European clinic briefly for a medical procedure, the head nurse reported that ‘someone posing as your American doctor’ had been on the phone asking questions.” (Ibid.; p. XI.)

31. “When a brief extract of this book was published in the South China Morning Post in August 2001, several phone calls from the editors were cut off suddenly. Emails from the newspaper took 72 hours to reach us, while copies sent to an associate nearby arrived instantly. In recent months, we began to receive veiled death threats.” (Idem.)

32. “What have we done to provoke murder? To borrow a phrase from Jean Ziegler, we are ‘combating official amnesia.’ We live in dangerous times, like Germany in the 1930’s when anyone who makes inconvenient disclosures about hidden assets can be branded a ‘terrorist’ or a ‘traitor. . . .'” (Idem.)

33. “Despite the best efforts of the American and Japanese governments to destroy, withhold, or lose documentation related to Golden Lily, we have accumulated thousands of documents, conducted thousands of hours of interviews, and we make all of these available to readers of this book on two compact discs, available from our website www.bowstring.net so they can make up their own minds. We encourage others with knowledge of these events to come forward. When the top is corrupt, the truth will not come from the top. It will emerge in bits and pieces from people like Jean Ziegler and Christophe Meili, who decided they had to ‘do something.’ As a precaution, should anything odd happen, we have arranged for this book and all its documentation to be put up on the Internet at a number of sites. If we are murdered, readers will have no difficulty figuring out who ‘they’ are.” (Idem.)

34. In order to demonstrate the pressure that can be brought to bear on someone who threatens to lay bare the secrets arising from the Japanese war gold, the program reviews information from FTR#501 about the persecution (and prosecution) of Norbert Schlei. Schlei was attempting to redeem some special Japanese bonds called “57s.” Only insiders sanctioned by those controlling the M-Fund could redeem these special bonds, backed by some of the Japanese war gold.

” . . . By January 1992, sixteen offices of the Secret Service were said to be involved in the Ah Loo sting. Mrs. Ah Loo was too insignificant to justify such an expenditure of taxpayers’ money, so the vigilantes looked for someone else to lynch. One possibility was Takahashi, to whom the ’57’s’ belonged, but when they broke into his Los Angeles apartment, it was empty and he was out of the country in hiding. Trophy hunting has become a feature of the American criminal justice system. Takahashi was not famous, so he was not a proper trophy for an ambitious U.S. attorney.” (Idem.)

35. Because Schlei was investigating some of the secrets of World War II Japanese loot, he was targeted for the sting. “Norbert Schlei, on the other hand, was sticking his nose into Deep Black secrets, and alarming Tokyo. His high profile made him a perfect target. One year earlier, Schlei had written a memo about the M-Fund. It was not meant for general circulation but a copy was passed to U.S. Government officials, who became alarmed and angry. If they could snare Schlei, all branches of the U.S. Government would cooperate to stop his digging into the M-Fund, and the LDP leadership in Tokyo would be indebted.” (Ibid.; pp. 133-134.)

36. “How to snare him was the problem. Schlei had never tried to negotiate a ’57’ in America, only in Japan, on
behalf of clients legally entitled to have an attorney make inquiries. Furthermore, Schlei had never accepted a penny from these clients. But Takahashi was so impatient to sell one of his ’57’s’ that he had taken several of them back from Schlei and, without telling him, turned them over to Roger Hill to market. It was quite a stretch to argue that Schlei had anything to do with the independent marketing of the ’57’s’ by Roger Hill. The government could try to get Schlei indicted as a party to the conspiracy of Ah Loo, Hansberry, and Hill, because he happened to be Takahashi’s attorney and was admittedly trying to negotiate other ’57’s’ in Japan. It would be absurd to assert that Schlei was involved in the Tampa transaction, but that could be covered by a little sleight of hand, misdirecting the jury so it did not notice. Finally, since Schlei freely acknowledged that the Japanese government regarded the ’57’s’ as counterfeit, it could be argued that he was admittedly marketing certificates he knew to be false. This dodged the crucial point, which Schlei stated again and again, that he was convinced the Japanese government was lying to avoid payment.” (Ibid.; p. 134.)

37. “In sum, the case against Schlei would depend on a trophy-hunting prosecutor, a compliant judge, a misdirected jury, a coordinated effort by Washington to block all Schlei’s efforts at discovery, denial by the court of leave for Schlei to take depositions in Japan, intimidation of defense witnesses, and ‘expert’ prosecution witnesses brought in from Japan’s Ministry of Finance and Dai-Ichi Bank, who seemed to have been coached to be evasive and to give false testimony.” (Idem.)

38. A measure of the extreme nature of the case against Schlei is the fact that he wasn’t even aware of the case in connection with which he was to be indicted! “Astonished to be named a party to the Ah Loo deal, of which he was not even aware, Schlei found himself the subject of Grand Jury proceedings in Tampa and was indicted. Immediately, clients holding ’57’s’ scattered to avoid being drawn in, or—if cornered—became so frightened that they offered to testify against Schlei in return for immunity from prosecution.” (Idem.)

39. “In court, the prosecution ‘proved’ the certificates were fakes by bringing in two minor officials of Japan’s Ministry of Finance and Dai-Ichi Bank, who had a vested interest in sticking to this story. Schlei’s defense countered, ‘Corrupt Japanese officials were now falsely claiming that these financial instruments were not genuine.’ However, Professor Lausier insisted they were genuine (as quoted earlier): ‘The documents . . . are so precisely in agreement in innumerable respects with the official published records of the government of Japan . . . that, in my opinion, it is quite impossible for them, or the Certificates that resulted from them, to have been the work of any counterfeiter.'” (Idem.)

40. Various agencies of the United States government, including the CIA, collaborated to block Schlei’s defense from being able to prove the truth. “To demonstrate collusion between Tokyo and Washington, the defense attempted to locate any reports or documents showing covert payments by the U.S. Government to the government of Japan or any political party in Japan, from 1945 to the present. As we have seen, this has been confirmed by a number of sources including former CIA officials and U.S. diplomats. But, fighting for his life, Schlei needed all the documentary evidence available. As a former assistant attorney general of the United States, he was certain he would find these documents.” (Ibid.; pp. 134-135.)

41. “It was Schlei’s legal right to make such discoveries, but federal agencies flatly refused to comply. News stories about the M-Fund and ’57’s’ obliged the court to order the CIA, the Secret Service, National Archives, and State Department to conduct a search of their databases. Given the intense secrecy surrounding the Black Eagle Trust, the 1951 Peace Treaty, the M-Fund, and the disappearance of millions of documents concerning Japan, it would have been a great surprise if anything turned up. The jury was told that ‘search of the records of the CIA, the Secret Service, and the National Archives did not disclose any relevant or material documents or information that substantiated . . . that the CIA gave money to employees or officials of the Japanese government, or any political party in Japan’. The court record says, ‘The government searched hundreds of files of CIA paper records dating back to 1948 for any documents that might indicate that payments were made by the CIA to either the Japanese government, the Liberal Democratic Party, or individual party members. They also conducted computer searches for Marquat Fund. . .[and] the search . . . did not discover any relevant or material documents or information.'” (Ibid.; p. 135.)

42. “The jury was not told that Acting CIA Director Admiral William O. Studeman had informed The New York Times in March 1995, that CIA was not about to divulge information on the subject of payola to foreign governments and politicos. Studeman said the Agency had an obligation to ‘keep faith’ with politicians who ‘received legally authorized covert support from the United States.’ This statement actually confirms that such payments were made, and merely refuses to give details. Japanese politicians bribed with huge sums of money had to be protected, which was more important than justice in American courts. Schlei told the court, ‘I figured that if the Iran Contra case people like Ollie North and Admiral Poindexter and Mr. MacFarlane could be doing things and lying about, then maybe people in the Japanese Government could be lying about some things, too.'” (Idem.)

43. In order to bolster its case, the government sanctioned witness tampering by the prosecution: “Judge Kovachevich refused Schlei the right to take depositions in Japan, and brushed aside Schlei’s protests that a key defense witness had been intimidated by the U.S. attorney. His attorneys alleged that the prosecution tampered with the witness, S.M. Han who had an immunity agreement with U.S. attorney Mark Krum. Han swore that Krum told him if he testified for the defense, his immunity agreement would be nullified. Han also said Krum told him he had ‘better not give him any basis to withdraw the immunity because he would not hesitate to do so’. Witness tampering is one of the most serious crimes in the U.S. judicial system and is grounds for disbarment. Judge Kovachevich denied a motion for a new trial based on the charge of witness tampering, and even refused to hold an evidentiary haring to determine whether Han’s allegations were true.” (Idem.)

44. “After six years of persecution, Schlei was convicted on one felony count of securities fraud, and one misdemeanor. Before the trial began, he had assets in the neighborhood of $10-million. During his trial, he was unable to practice law, and had enormous legal costs. He was professionally and financially ruined, left virtually bankrupt. He estimated that the U.S. Government spent over $45-million of taxpayers’ money on the sting and the lawsuit. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 135-136.)

45. “Other events unfolding in January 1992 may have led directly to Schlei’s persecution. He was not the only target of M-Fund stings. Also arrested was James P. Sena, a 17-year veteran of the U.S. Secret Service, the agency that also investigates counterfeiting for the Treasury Department. Sena had examined M-Fund financial instruments in America and Japan, where he became convinced of the legitimacy of the ’57’s’. He decided to sell some himself. He and Ian Yorkshire of Great Britain and Francis Cheung of Hong Kong were all arrested for attempting to market ’57’s’ with a total face value of $50-billion. Abruptly, and for no apparent reason, in November 1995, the case against them was suddenly dismissed ‘with
prejudice’, meaning the charges cannot be re-filed. Nevertheless, prosecutors refused to return the ’57’s’ they had confiscated as evidence, calling them ‘contraband’. If counterfeit, why were they contraband? We were told by a Wall Street source that Treasury is eager to get its hands on ’57’s’ and other supposedly counterfeit derivatives, to negotiate them secretly.” (Idem.) CORRECTION: JAMES P. SENA HAS NEVER BEEN ARRESTED.

46. Contrasting sharply with the treatment accorded Norbert Schlei was the successful negotiation of a “57” by Alexander Haig. Haig (an intimate of the MacArthur group in the military) negotiated the “57” on behalf of the Paraguayan government. Pivotal to the success of this operation is the fact that Haig had a letter of recommendation written by then President George H.W. Bush “Another prominent American who reportedly became involved in negotiating ’57’s’ during the same period was the former Secretary of State, General Alexander Haig. Unlike Schlei, Haig was not arrested or persecuted, demonstrating how selective Washington has been in choosing its sting targets. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 137.)

47. ” . . . In short, Haig had succeeded, and the deal went down. But how could Haig negotiate a ’57’ in Miami, Washington, and Tokyo, with discussions at the FBI, CIA and with President Bush in the White House, without being arrested and prosecuted like Norbert Schlei? Federal agents always insisted it was illegal to negotiate one inside America, or even to contemplate it.” (Idem.)

48. Haig’s successful negotiation of the Paraguayan “57” may have been part of a quid pro quo involving the persecution of Norbert Schlei. Schlei may have been neutralized as part of a deal by the Japanese in order to abate “Japan-Bashing.” “If all ’57’s’ are counterfeit, why did Haig succeed? If Haig’s ’57’ was genuine, did he still do something illegal? Does the legitimacy of a Japanese debt instrument depend on your connections to the current occupant of the White House? Norbert Schlei was drawn into the sting soon after Haig’s Tokyo negotiation concluded. One of Takeshita’s conditions about ending Japan-Bashing may have been that Schlei, who was asking so many embarrassing questions, must be silenced and removed from the field of play. If so, Haig certainly would have reported this to President Bush, which could explain why Schlei was then dragged into the Ah Loo case.” (Idem.)

49. “There is a lesson here for investors. Financial instruments growing out of the Black Eagle Trust continue to float around the global market, like magnetic mines left over from World War II that can blow up and sink any institution or individual that comes in contact with them. If some certificates are counterfeit while others are legitimate, investors and their attorneys have a right to inquire, without fear of arrest or intimidation, whether the documents they hold are real or fake, and not to be brushed off with falsehoods. Especially when the issuing government has a history of evasiveness, and is strongly suspected of lying. When Washington demonstrates that it has a greater sense of responsibility to corrupt foreign politicians than it does to its own citizens, we may rightly ask whom it really is protecting. Washington’s main concern has been to protect and preserve a system of secret financial collusion with Japan, which has worked to its satisfaction for over half a century. And to protect the careers and reputations of U.S. Government officials involved in that collusion. In the end, how many billions went to Japanese politicians is less important than how much went into to pockets of American officials. As power corrupts, secret power corrupts secretly.” (Idem.)

50. Next, the program sets forth the details of some class action lawsuits against major Japanese corporations. These lawsuits aimed at securing financial compensation for POW’s used as slave laborers by the major Japanese entities. Note that some of these POW’s were survivors of the Bataan Death March—the men whose plight was being investigated and publicized by Iris Chang!! “Since 1999, more than thirty lawsuits have been filed in California courts by survivors of the Bataan Death March and other POW’s who were forced to provide slave labor for Japanese companies. [Emphasis added.] They were focused in California because the state legislature had extended the period when such claims could be filed. The U.S. government then had the cases transferred to a federal court in San Francisco, where most of these suits then were rejected in September 2000 by Federal Judge Vaughn Walker. Judge Walker said they were ‘barred’ by the terms of the 1951 Peace Treaty, the same stonewalling used by Tokyo and Washington.” (Ibid.; p. 239.)

51. Because of the deep political links between the Japanese zaibatsus, the Japanese national security establishment and the US corporate, political and national security establishments, the State Department sided with the Japanese! “Hard as it may be to believe, the State Department argued on the side of Japanese corporations in these cases. Walker summed up his decision by stating that the San Francisco Peace Treaty had ‘exchanged full compensation of plaintiffs for a future peace. History has vindicated the wisdom of that bargain.'” (Ibid.; pp. 239-240.)

52. Reacting to the stance of the courts and the State Department, California congressmen introduced federal legislation that would compensate these POW’s. ” . . . Some fought back. In March 2001, U.S. Congressmen Mike Honda (D-San Jose) and Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Huntington Beach) introduced a bill, ‘Justice for Prisoners of War Act’ before the U.S. Congress. The bill had strong bipartisan support and by August 2002 had 228 co-signers including House whips for both parties. Honda’s bill called for ‘clarification of the wording of the 1951 Peace Treaty between Japan and the United States’ to keep the State Department from deviously interfering in victims’ lawsuits.” (Ibid.; p. 240.)

53. “If this bill became law, it could open a window for compensation to POWs who were forced to perform slave labor for Japanese companies like Mitsui, Mitsubishi and Sumitomo, which are among the richest on earth. The bill would remove a key legal barrier [Article 26—D.E.] used in Judge Walker’s rejection of the slave-labor lawsuits. . . .” (Idem.)

54. “Judge Walker, possibly under considerable pressure, sided with the State Department and ruled that Article 26 cannot be invoked by private citizens, but only by their government. The Honda-Rohrabacher bill would get around that bizarre ruling by having Congress act for the victims. The State Department’s unelected bureaucrats, aghast at the temerity of America’s elected lawmakers, realized that Honda’s bill cannot be thrown out by the exercise of political pressure over federal judges. Instead, State took the high moral ground by claiming that passage of Honda’s bill ‘would be an act of extreme bad faith.’ Bad faith toward Japan’s biggest corporations and its extraordinarily corrupt and incompetent LDP bosses. . . .” (Idem.)

55. One of the goals of the US government’s reaction to the bills was to prevent the collapse of the Japanese economy because of bad debt. Note that, in addition to potentially undermining Japanese national security cooperation with the US, the success of the lawsuits and bills aiming at redress for the American POW’s threatened the American economy. Japan holds many of America’s Treasury Bills. Were they to sell them to pay off the collapse of their financial system, it would collapse the US economy! ” . . .However, it may be too late for Washington to save Japan’s LDP from its own ineptitude and venality. Japan’s financial collapse has been predicted by scholars at Massachussetts Institute of Technology, on the premise that the LDP would refuse to undertake the serious reforms needed. In fact, all Japan’s top banks failed long ago, but—as in a silent movie—the edifice collapsed without the audience hearing any sound.” (Ibid.; p. 241.)

56. “Japan’s banks had $1-trillion in bad loans on their books, in sweetheart deals for men like Prime Minister Tanaka, or zero-interest loans to the yakuza. Among the banks hit hardest were Sanwa Bank and Tokai Bank. Together with Dai Ichi Kangyo Bank they are the three that were exempted by General MacArthur and General Marquat from reorganization in 1945. Former prime minister and finance minister Miyazawa proposed a painless bailout—painless, that is, for the banks. They would be billed out by Japanese taxpayers. After which the banks could resume their bad habits. Whether taxpayers would stand for it is questionable.” (Idem.)

57. One of the prime movers in the perpetuation of the US/Japanese collusion was former finance minister Miyazawa, who was at the epicenter of the history of that collusion from World War II to the present. “If anyone knew how to arrange such a magic trick, it was Miyazawa. Few other men have been so intimately and continually involved in the inner workings of the Ministry of Finance since the early 1940’s. He began his career in the Finance Ministry in 1942 and was one of the three Japanese who negotiated the secret terms of the 1951 Peace Treaty with John Foster Dulles. Thanks to cachet he gained in those warped negotiations, Miyazawa entered politics where he remains to this day as a man of phenomenal leverage. He served as minister of finance in the Nakasone, Takeshita, Obuchi and Mori cabinets. Over all those decades, Miyazawa was chief of accounting for the LDP, so he had intimate knowledge of all the slush funds. He held many other ministerial posts, such as chief cabinet secretary to Prime Minister Suzuki when the M-Fund ’57’s’ first were issued. When minister of finance for Takeshita, Miyazawa had to resign along with Takeshita in the Recruit insider-trading scandal tied to the M-Fund. In 11991, thanks to his rescue by M-Fund controllers Kanemaru and Gotoda, Miyazawa became prime minister. He then named Gotoda as his deputy prime minister and made Kanemaru the LDP vice president, giving Kanemaru the informal role of ‘co-prime minister.'” (Ibid.; pp. 241-242.)

58. “At a drunken celebration of this collaboration in a posh Tokyo restaurant, Miyazawa pledged to Kanemaru that, ‘I will not do anything that differs from [your] intentions. I will consult you on everything.’ The honeymoon was brief, as in 1992, Kanemaru became involved in the great scandal of the Sagawa Parcel Company, which was delivering war-gold bribes to politically influential people. Before his trial was concluded, Kanemaru conveniently died.” (Ibid.; p. 242.)

59. Of particular significance in the subversion of the lawsuits and bills on behalf of the US POW’s is the fact that key State Department personnel had married into the Japanese establishment, thereby creating profound conflicts of interest!! “If anyone knows the truth, Mitazawa does. But he is not talking, nor is his son-in-law, Christopher J. Lafleur, a career U.S. Foreign Service officer who for years has been the most powerful diplomat at the American Embassy in Tokyo, as deputy chief of mission, or DCM. In 1986, the 38-year-old Lafleur was dispatched to Tokyo, ostensibly to negotiate sales of the FS-X fighter plane (the same year Schlei came to Tokyo to negotiate his client’s ’57’s’). Mitazawa, the minister of finance, was Japan’s FS-X negotiator, under a cloud in the Recruit scandal, linked to the ’57s’ and M-Fund moneys. One unexpected outcome of the friendship that bloomed between Lafleur and Miyazawa was that Lafleur married Miyazawa’s daughter.” (Idem.)

60. “In September 1997, Lafleur was made Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo—called the ‘defacto boss of the embassy.’ A few months later, in 1998, Miyazawa was back in the drivers seat as finance minister in the Obuchi cabinet. Like his earlier appointments to this job, Miyazawa was returned to office to practice damage control. According to Professor Lausier, this time Miyazawa was put back in as minister of finance because a large number of ’57s’ were coming due—documents that the LDP and the government of Japan could ill afford to redeem, and therefore denounced as counterfeit.” (Idem.)

61. “Lausier believes that Miyazawa was there to decide which of these IOUs would be honored and which would not. During the same period, the U.S. Embassy’s Lafleur was vocal in claiming that the ’57s’ were fraudulent, and arguing against victims’ rights to sue Japanese corporations, on the basis of the 1951 treaty negotiated by Lafleur’s father-in-law. Not only Lafleur but a string of ambassadors he served also showed a conspicuous conflict of interest.” (Idem.)

62. More about the marital relationships between key US diplomats’ families and the Japanese corporations targeted by the bills and lawsuits on behalf of the American POW’s: “Many people were troubled to learn that Ambassador Tom Foley’s wife ws a paid consultant to Sumitomo Heavy Industries, one of the primary targets of the POW lawsuits for slave labor. The State Department declared that it saw no conflict of interest in Mrs. Foley’s job and the simultaneous appointment of her husband as ambassador to Japan. However. In that post Foley vigorously denied the right of American POWs to sue Japanese corporations including the one his wife worked for.” (Idem.)

63. “After retiring as ambassador and returning to Washington, Foley openly became a paid lobbyist for Mitsubishi Corporation as a member of its advisory panel on strategy. Mitsubishi was among the biggest employers of American slave labor during the war. When he was appointed DCM under Foley, foreign correspondents in Tokyo joked that Lafleur was a member of Japan’s ‘dream-team.'” (Ibid.; pp. 242-243.)

64. “In 2001, when news of Lafleur’s special status as Miyazawa’s son-in-law became more widely known, making the issues of conflict of interest and double standard more widely known, making the issues of conflict of interest and double standards too obvious to ignore further, Lafleur was recalled to Washington and made Deputy Assistant Director to the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department. This removed him from potential embarrassment in Tokyo, but put him in a prime position to monitor and guide Congress, as well as to oversee any legal actions in U.S. courts.” (Ibid.; p. 243.)

65. In the wake of 9/11, three former US ambassadors to Tokyo wrote a letter to The Washington Post comparing the POW’s and their supporters to terrorists! “The low point of this farce came in late September 2001, when a letter appeared in The Washington Post written by three former ambassadors to Tokyo—Thomas Foley, Michael Armacost and Fritz Mondale. The letter linked the claims of American POWs against Japan to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. ‘Why would Congress consider passing [the Rohrabacher Bill], which could abrogate a treaty so fundamental to our security at a time the president and his administration are trying so hard . . . to combat terrorism?’ In other words, Honda and Rohrabacher, and America’s POWs, were no better than terrorists!” (Idem.)

66. ” . . . As a dissident State Department official quipped, ‘Sometimes it [seems] that Japan [has] two embassies working for them—ours and theirs.'” (Idem.)

67. The Seagraves’ landmark volume had an endorsement by Iris Chang, who was crossing the same powers whose insidious machinations were chronicled in Gold Warriors. Was Iris Chang another casualty of the World War II in the Pacific?! “The Seagraves have uncovered one of the biggest secrets of the twentieth century.'”
(The late Iris Chang, quoted on the back cover jacket of Gold Warriors.)

68. Interestingly (and perhaps significantly), at almost the same time as Iris Chang’s death, Arnold Schwarzenegger was on a trade mission to Japan, promoting Japanese trade with California. Was Chang an obstacle to the Japanese/Schwarzenegger axis? “Keeping his promise to sell California all over the world, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger arrived in Japan on Wednesday on a trade mission to promote California business, agriculture and tourism. . . . Japan, one of California’s top investors and trading partners, is recovering from a long recession. As their economy begins to improve, Governor Schwarzenegger is actively encouraging more investment and job-growth in California. The Governor plans to meet with business and government leaders to talk about the progress made in the last year on restoring California’s business climate and economy. He will also promote California tourism and agricultural products in events throughout his mission. . . .”
(“Governor Promotes California in Japan” [Update from the Governor’s Office, posted on Schwarzenegger’s website.]; 11/10/2004.)

69. Again, note the time of Ms. Chang’s death—one day before Schwarzenegger’s junket to Japan. Might her potential interference with the Schwarzenegger/Japanese trade relationship have been another irritant to the powers that be? “Iris Chang, a journalist whose best-selling book, The Rape of Nanking, a chronicle of the atrocities committed in that city by occupying Japanese forces, helped break a six-decade-long international silence on the subject, committed suicide on Tuesday near Los Gatos, California. She was 36 and lived in San Jose. . . .”
(“Iris Chang, Who Chronicled Rape of Nanking, Dies at 36” by Margalit Fox; The New York Times; 11/13/2004; p. 1 [of 2].)

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #509 The Death of Iris Chang”

  1. Chinese Kung-fu star Bruce Lee
    could have also have been murdered by
    the Japanese Yakusa (Mafia)
    as his films have kindled Chinese
    pride and nationalism and brought shame to Japanese atrocities in
    China by exposing Japanese cowardwice and wickedness.

    Posted by Daud Hermanwan | December 11, 2013, 3:14 am

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