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FTR #580 “The Jews of Asia” — The Sook Ching Massacres and their Significance for Today

Record­ed Jan­u­ary 15, 2007

Listen:MP3

This pro­gram is one, 30-minute seg­ment [1]


REALAUDIO [2]
NB: This stream con­tains both FTR #s 580 and 581 in sequence.
Each is a 30 minute broad­cast.

Intro­duc­tion: In many parts of the mod­ern world, Mus­lims are in con­flict with oth­er reli­gious groups and, in some places, with them­selves. This broad­cast illu­mi­nates a rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle known his­tor­i­cal episode–the Japan­ese per­se­cu­tion and slaugh­ter of eth­nic Chi­nese in Malaya dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. Repeat­ed else­where in Japan­ese-occu­pied Asia, the “Sook Ching” mas­sacres illus­trate an impor­tant polit­i­cal and soci­o­log­i­cal dynam­ic under­ly­ing Mus­lim con­flict with oth­er reli­gious and eth­nic groups. In Malaya (and the mod­ern nation of Malaysia that suc­ceed­ed it), there is deep divi­sion and tra­di­tion­al hos­til­i­ty between the Mus­lim eth­nic Malay major­i­ty pop­u­la­tion and the “Over­seas Chi­nese” minor­i­ty. Large­ly illit­er­ate and eco­nom­i­cal­ly dis­ad­van­taged as a result, the Mus­lim Malay major­i­ty has often expressed this hos­til­i­ty through vio­lent per­se­cu­tion of the high­ly edu­cat­ed, pros­per­ous Chi­nese. The high­ly edu­cat­ed Over­seas Chi­nese are the eco­nom­ic elite of Malaysia, and their edu­ca­tion­al and eco­nom­ic advan­tage is mir­rored by the Chi­nese minori­ties in oth­er Mus­lim- major­i­ty nations in South­east Asia. Seek­ing both to pun­ish the Over­seas Chi­nese for their resis­tance to occu­pa­tion and to cur­ry favor with the Malay Mus­lim major­i­ty, the Japan­ese launched the Sook Ching (“eth­nic cleans­ing”) mas­sacres. This mur­der­ous wave of ter­ror was rein­forced by sup­port­ive pro­pa­gan­da from Haj Amin el-Hus­sei­ni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. In addi­tion to being an SS offi­cer and Nazi spy, the Grand mufti was the first leader of the Pales­tin­ian nation­al move­ment. The bru­tal treat­ment that the Chi­nese have received at the hands of Mus­lim majori­ties and the slaugh­ter vis­it­ed upon them by the fas­cist armies of World War II, have earned the Chi­nese have been called “The Jews of Asia.”

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Malaysian prime min­is­ter Mahathir’s Jew-bait­ing in his farewell address; con­tact between Mahathir and neo-Nazis asso­ci­at­ed with the so-called “9/11 Truth Move­ment”; col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Japan­ese who per­pe­trat­ed the Sook Ching cam­paigns and the zaibat­su—the giant Japan­ese con­glom­er­ates that dom­i­nat­ed the Japan­ese econ­o­my.

1. Begin­ning with analy­sis of polit­i­cal ten­sions in con­tem­po­rary Malaysia, the broad­cast high­lights out­go­ing Prime Min­is­ter Mahathir’s anti-Semit­ic com­ments in a farewell address. As not­ed by Paul Krug­man, Mahathir’s com­ments are “red meat,” spo­ken to assuage the Mus­lim major­i­ty in Malaysia. Of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance for our pur­pos­es, here is Krugman’s obser­va­tion about the social strife that has his­tor­i­cal­ly exist­ed between the edu­cat­ed, pros­per­ous Chi­nese minor­i­ty in Malaysia and the une­d­u­cat­ed, illit­er­ate and large­ly poor Mus­lim major­i­ty. The elite sta­tus of the Chi­nese has led to their active per­se­cu­tion in the past, when ten­sions have built beyond con­tain­ment. As will be seen below, the Japan­ese uti­lized Mus­lim resent­ment of the Chi­nese minori­ties in the pre­dom­i­nant­ly Mus­lim coun­tries that they occu­pied. By stok­ing the fires of hatred against the Chi­nese, the Japan­ese sought to solid­i­fy their sup­port among the Mus­lim majori­ties in those coun­tries. “ ‘The Euro­peans killed 6 mil­lion Jews out of 12 mil­lion. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy: They get oth­ers to fight and die for them.’ So said Mahathir Mohamad, the prime min­is­ter of Malaysia, at an Islam­ic sum­mit meet­ing last week. The White House prompt­ly denounced his ‘hate-filled remarks.’ Indeed, those remarks were inex­cus­able. But they were also calculated—for Mr. Mahathir is a cagey politi­cian, who is nei­ther igno­rant nor fool­ish. And to under­stand why he made those remarks is to real­ize how bad­ly things are going for U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy. The fact is that Mr. Mahathir, though guilty of seri­ous abuse of pow­er, is in many ways about as for­ward-look­ing a Mus­lim leader as we’re like­ly to find. And Malaysia is the kind of suc­cess sto­ry we wish we saw more of: an impres­sive record of eco­nom­ic growth, ris­ing edu­ca­tion lev­els and gen­er­al mod­ern­iza­tion in a nation with a Mus­lim major­i­ty.”
(“Lis­ten­ing to Mahathir” by Paul Krug­man; The New York Times; 10/21/2003.) [3]

2. “It’s worth read­ing the rest of last week’s speech, beyond the offen­sive 28 words. Most of it is crit­i­cism direct­ed at oth­er Mus­lims, cler­ics in par­tic­u­lar. Mr. Mahathir cas­ti­gates ‘Inter­preters of Islam who taught that acqui­si­tion of knowl­edge by Mus­lims meant only the study of Islam­ic the­ol­o­gy.’ Thanks to these inter­preters, ‘the study of sci­ence, med­i­cine, etc. was dis­cour­aged. Intel­lec­tu­al­ly the Mus­lims began to regress.’ A lot of the speech sounds as if it had been writ­ten by Bernard Lewis, author of What Went Wrong, the best-sell­ing book about the Islam­ic decline. So what’s with the anti-Semi­tism? Almost sure­ly it’s part of Mr. Mahathir’s domes­tic bal­anc­ing act, some­thing I learned about the last time he talked like this, dur­ing the Asian finan­cial cri­sis of 1997–98.” (Idem.)

3. “At that time, rather than accept the aus­ter­i­ty pro­grams rec­om­mend­ed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment and the I.M.F., he loud­ly blamed machi­na­tions by West­ern spec­u­la­tors, and imposed tem­po­rary con­trols on the out­flow of capital—a step denounced by all but a hand­ful of West­ern econ­o­mists. As it turned out, his eco­nom­ic strat­e­gy was right: Malaysia suf­fered a shal­low­er slump and achieved a quick­er recov­ery than its neigh­bors. What became clear watch­ing Mr. Mahathir back then was that his stri­dent rhetoric was actu­al­ly part of del­i­cate bal­anc­ing act aimed at domes­tic pol­i­tics. Malaysia has a Mus­lim, eth­ni­cal­ly Malay, major­i­ty, but its busi­ness dri­ve comes main­ly from an eth­nic Chi­nese minor­i­ty. To keep the econ­o­my grow­ing, Mr. Mahathir must allow the Chi­nese minor­i­ty to pros­per, but to ward off eth­nic ten­sions he must throw favors, real and rhetor­i­cal, to the Malays. [Empha­sis added.]” (Idem.)

4. “Part of that bal­anc­ing act involves reserv­ing good jobs for Malay work­ers and giv­ing spe­cial busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ties to Malay entre­pre­neurs. One rea­son Mr. Mahathir was so adamant­ly against I.M.F. aus­ter­i­ty plans was that he feared that they would dis­rupt the care­ful­ly man­aged crony­ism that holds his sys­tem togeth­er. When times are tough, Mr. Mahathir also throws the Mus­lim major­i­ty rhetor­i­cal red meat. And that’s what he was doing last week. [Empha­sis added. Dur­ing World War II, the Japan­ese lit­er­al­ly threw the Mus­lim major­i­ty some “red meat”—the flesh and blood of mur­dered eth­nic Chinese.—D.E.] Not long ago, Wash­ing­ton was talk­ing about Malaysia as an impor­tant part­ner in the war on ter­ror. Now Mr. Mahathir thinks that to cov­er his domes­tic flank, he must insert hate­ful words into a speech main­ly about Mus­lim reform. That tells you, more accu­rate­ly than any poll, just how strong the ris­ing tide of anti-Amer­i­can­ism and anti-Semi­tism among Mus­lims in South­east Asia has become. Thanks to its war in Iraq and its uncon­di­tion­al sup­port for Ariel Sharon, Wash­ing­ton has squan­dered post‑9/11 sym­pa­thy and brought rela­tions with the Mus­lim world to a new low.” (Idem.)

5. “And bear in mind that Mr. Mahathir’s remarks were writ­ten before the world learned about the views of Lt. Gen. William ‘My God Is Big­ger Than Yours’ Boykin. By mak­ing it clear that he sees noth­ing wrong with giv­ing an impor­tant post in the war on ter­ror to some­one who believes, and says open­ly, that Allah is a false idol—General Boykin denies that’s what he meant, but his denial was implau­si­ble even by cur­rent standards—Donald Rums­feld has gone a long way toward con­firm­ing the Mus­lim world’s worst fears. Some­where in Pak­istan Osama bin Laden must be enjoy­ing this. The war on ter­ror didn’t have to be per­ceived as a war on Islam, but we seem to be doing our best to make it look that way.” (Idem.)

6. As not­ed above, the Japan­ese con­duct­ed a mur­der­ous cam­paign against the eth­nic Chi­nese major­i­ty in what was then Malaya. Out­raged by Japan­ese atroc­i­ties against main­land Chi­nese, the “Over­seas Chi­nese” (or “Out­side Chi­nese” as they are some­times known) gen­er­at­ed eco­nom­ic resis­tance against the Japan­ese occu­piers. Decid­ing to lit­er­al­ly “kill two birds with one stone,” the Japan­ese sought to pun­ish the Over­seas Chi­nese and cur­ry favor with the Mus­lim major­i­ty at the same time. The result was the “Sook Ching” (or “eth­nic cleans­ing”) mas­sacres, a pat­tern repeat­ed in oth­er Mus­lim major­i­ty nations con­quered by the Japan­ese. “ . . . Because most of the stolen trea­sure reach­ing Japan made its way into pri­vate vaults and the vaults of the Impe­r­i­al Fam­i­ly, Tokyo’s strat­e­gy for the exploita­tion of South­east Asia was a fail­ure. It was also sab­o­taged by Over­seas Chi­nese, who con­trolled the region’s raw mate­ri­als, indus­tries, agri­cul­ture, smug­gling, and rack­ets. [Empha­sis added.] While they despised the Japan­ese for the rape of Chi­na, they hat­ed them in par­tic­u­lar for bomb­ing Amoy, Swa­tow, and oth­er har­bors along the Chi­na coast that were the ances­tral homes of their dialect groups. In the past, West­ern com­pa­nies had been suc­cess­ful in South­east Asia only when they found ways to work with the Over­seas Chi­nese. As Japan took over and tried to set up equiv­a­lent monop­o­lies of oil, sug­ar, rice, salt, and oth­er com­modi­ties, whole sec­tors of local economies col­lapsed. Prices shot up, the sup­ply of goods came to a halt, and there was mas­sive unem­ploy­ment, famine, infla­tion and hoard­ing.”
(Gold War­riors; Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­graves; Copy­right 2003 by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; Ver­so Books [HC]; ISBN 1–85984-542–8; pp. 52–53.) [4]

7. “In retal­i­a­tion, Over­seas Chi­nese became spe­cial tar­gets. Experts in ter­ror were sent to pun­ish them. Colonel Watan­abe Wataru spent ten years in North Chi­na devel­op­ing tech­niques, such as kid­nap­ping mem­bers of pros­per­ous Chi­nese fam­i­lies, ampu­tat­ing body parts start­ing with ears, noses, and fin­gers, then con­tin­u­ing to breasts and tes­ti­cles. He was espe­cial­ly effec­tive when he threat­ened to cas­trate eldest sons. In this man­ner, Watan­abe was cred­it­ed with bring­ing in great quan­ti­ties of gold, gem­stones and art­works. In Chi­na, he had head­ed one of the Spe­cial Agen­cies (Toku­mu Kikan) whose duties were espi­onage, counter-espi­onage, pro­pa­gan­da, and fifth col­umn sub­ver­sion. Watan­abe was then giv­en the job of ter­ror­iz­ing Malaya’s Over­seas Chi­nese. His tech­niques are well known from speech­es he made and papers he draft­ed: ‘The Chi­nese . . . are prone to main­tain a false obe­di­ence, and they are as crafty as any­thing, and hard to con­trol. They ought to be dealt with unspar­ing­ly.’ To help, he enlist­ed cronies from his days in Manchuria. One was his old friend Colonel Tsu­ji Masanobu, a flam­boy­ant leader of the Total War cult, who had helped plan the Strike South and the Malaya cam­paign of Gen­er­al Yamashita. Anoth­er was Takase Toru, who had served in Chi­na as an intel­li­gence offi­cer with Spe­cial Ser­vice Sec­tion Eight, and was an expert in ‘the Chi­nese prob­lem.’ [Empha­sis added. Note that the rhetoric used by the Japan­ese is sim­i­lar to that used by the Nazis, who rou­tine­ly referred to the ‘Jew­ish problem’—D.E.] Watan­abe described Takase as ‘a com­pli­cat­ed char­ac­ter, con­ceit­ed, quar­rel­some, aggres­sive,’ but his ruth­less­ness was exact­ly what was need­ed.” (Ibid.; p. 53.)

8. “Colonel Tsu­ji was Japan’s most ruth­less Spe­cial Ser­vice agent, com­bin­ing traits that made Goebbels, Hey­drich, and Sko­rzeny unique­ly feared in the Nazi Par­ty. Pri­or to the Strike South, Impe­r­i­al Gen­er­al Head­quar­ters issued to offi­cers a hand­book writ­ten by Tsu­ji, which makes repeat­ed ref­er­ences to plun­der­ing the wealth of the ‘trea­sure-house of the Far East.’ The meth­ods he rec­om­mend­ed were based on ter­ror. Com­pas­sion and sym­pa­thy were to be avoid­ed. No longer could the Over­seas Chi­nese ‘indulge them­selves in a hedo­nis­tic and waste­ful way of life . . .\.’ Japan would force them ‘to account for their past mis­takes and to make them ready to give up their lives and prop­er­ty.’ Tsu­ji got everyone’s atten­tion with a hor­rif­ic atroc­i­ty. By noon on Feb­ru­ary 21, 1942, all male Chi­nese on the island of Sin­ga­pore between age eigh­teen and fifty were assem­bled in five loca­tions. Each walked past a row of hood­ed inform­ers. When a hood nod­ded, that Chi­nese was con­demned to death, his skin stamped with a tri­an­gu­lar ink chop. Oth­ers were stamped with squares and released. A total of 70,699 Sin­ga­pore Chi­nese were tak­en off for tor­ture and killing. Mass exe­cu­tions last­ed many days, with Tsu­ji watch­ing close­ly. Most were shot, bay­o­net­ed or behead­ed, but 20,000 were roped togeth­er on barges and tak­en into the sea lanes off Sin­ga­pore, where they were forced over­board. Those who did not drown quick­ly were machine-gunned. This night­mare was called Sook Ching or eth­nic cleans­ing. Tsu­ji then extend­ed Sook Ching to the whole Malay Penin­su­la, where anoth­er 40,000 were slain, includ­ing women, school chil­dren, and babies. Sim­i­lar mass exe­cu­tions of Chi­nese hap­pened else­where.” (Ibid. pp. 53–54.)

9. “Colonel Watan­abe declared that Sin­ga­pore Chi­nese must atone to Emper­or Hiro­hi­to to the sum of 50-mil­lion yen, as a gift on the emperor’s birth­day in April. This was equal to one fourth of the total cur­ren­cy in cir­cu­la­tion in Malaya at the time. Takase was to col­lect the con­tri­bu­tions. Since nobody could pro­duce that much cash on short notice, Takase arranged a loan of 22-mil­lion yen from the Yoko­hama Specie Bank so the birth­day present did not fall short. Chi­nese were required to repay the loan (and inter­est) with gold bul­lion, hard for­eign cur­ren­cy, or oth­er tan­gi­ble assets.” (Ibid.; p. 54.)

10. Note that in Malaya, as else­where in occu­pied Asia, the Japan­ese zaibat­su prof­it­ed hand­some­ly from the plun­dered wealth, as well as the enslave­ment of allied POW’s and cit­i­zens of occu­pied coun­tries. [The zaibat­su were the giant, fam­i­ly-con­trolled con­glom­er­ates that dom­i­nate the Japan­ese eco­nom­ic land­scape to this day.] In eval­u­at­ing the his­to­ry of World War II and its after­math, it is essen­tial to under­stand that the giant Japan­ese eco­nom­ic enti­ties (like their Ger­man coun­ter­parts) were car­tel part­ners with the dom­i­nant cor­po­rate inter­ests in the Unit­ed States. (For more about this rela­tion­ship, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s 290 [5], 426 [6], 446 [7], and Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M26 [8], avail­able from Spit­fire.) “While Suma­tra had its Roy­al Dutch Shell oil­fields, Malaya was the great­est rub­ber-pro­duc­ing region in the world. Using scrip, Watan­abe bought up all rub­ber stocks for ship­ment to Japan. He then ordered all rub­ber estates and pro­cess­ing facil­i­ties sold to Japan’s zaibat­su con­glom­er­ates, again for scrip. The shock of his anti-Chi­nese reign of ter­ror brought results for a few weeks, but ulti­mate­ly back­fired as the flow of rice, salt, and oth­er com­modi­ties dwin­dled fur­ther. . . .” (Idem.)

11. Attract­ed (per­haps) by Mahathir’s obvi­ous anti-Semi­tism, a group of so-called “9/11 truth activists” met with the for­mer prime min­is­ter, in order to enlist his help. Worth not­ing is the fact that one of the activists was one Michael Collins Piper, a writer with the neo-Nazi Amer­i­can Free Press, the suc­ces­sor to the Spot­light mag­a­zine. The fas­cist Lib­er­ty Lob­by, head­ed by Willis Car­to, pub­lish­es both. Piper authored a book blam­ing the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy on—you guessed it—the Jews. Piper may well be attempt­ing to reca­pit­u­late the fas­cist chap­ter of Malaysia’s past. “A group of con­cerned Amer­i­cans and their sym­pa­thiz­ers has sought the sup­port of for­mer prime min­is­ter Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in their effort to push for an inter­na­tion­al inves­ti­ga­tion into the Sept 11, 2001 (9–11) tragedy. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the group, includ­ing a sur­vivor of the attacks on the World Trade Cen­ter (WTC) in New York, met Dr Mahathir here Mon­day with a claim that the offi­cial ver­sion of what tran­spired on that day was far from the truth. ‘We want him (Dr. Mahathir who is chair­man of Per­dana Glob­al Peace Orga­ni­za­tion) to help us set up an inter­na­tion­al com­mis­sion to reopen the inves­ti­ga­tion,’ said Jim­my Wal­ter who has brought togeth­er indi­vid­u­als under the Reopen 911 orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cat­ed to open­ing a real inves­ti­ga­tion into the trag­ic attacks. Join­ing him today were Amer­i­can Free Press jour­nal­ist Michael Collins Piper, Yvonne Rid­ley who is the polit­i­cal edi­tor of Islam Chan­nel Unit­ed King­dom and William Rodriguez — the last man to run out of the WTC before it col­lapsed. . . .”
(“Jim­my Wal­ter, Rodriguez, Piper Meet With Mahathir Mohamad: Group Seeks Dr Mahathir’s Assis­tance To Reopen 9–11 Inves­ti­ga­tion” [Bernama–The Malaysian Nation­al News Ser­vice]; 6/12/2006.)

12. Dur­ing the lat­ter years of World War II, Haj Amin al-Husseini—SS offi­cer, geno­cidist and the first leader of the Pales­tin­ian nation­al movement—did pro­pa­gan­da broad­casts for the Japan­ese to Asian coun­tries that had large Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions. These coun­tries includ­ed Malaya and the Grand Mufti’s broad­casts were sup­port­ive of the Sook Ching mas­sacres. Just like Mahathir after him, the Grand Mufti was in the habit of throw­ing the Mus­lim major­i­ty some “rhetor­i­cal red meat.” For more about the Grand Mufti, use the search func­tion on the main page of this web­site. FTR#’s 414 [9], 456 [10] are par­tic­u­lar­ly use­ful. Mr. Emory’s source for the Grand Mufti’s work on behalf of he Japan­ese is Spies and Trai­tors of World War II, a 1947 vol­ume by Kurt D. Singer. His copy of the book is cur­rent­ly in stor­age. A dili­gent Inter­net search should yield infor­ma­tion about the Grand Mufti and the Japan­ese.