The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 8. 2011  
February 21, 2011  
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This week we feature Gavan McCormack's account of the suppressed story of Kim Man-bok, director of South Korea's CIA under Roh Moo-hyun, a unique point of entry for gauging the deep divisions in SouthKorean politics over framing policies toward the North in the wake of the incidents of 2010, and the threat to that nation's fragile democracy. Herbert Bix examines the Middle East Revolutions in light of American strategic policy in the Middle East, particularly with respect to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iran. Peter Dale Scott examines the thread that runs from the forces behind the Iran-Contra Hearings of 1987 to the Continuity of  Government plans that shape US domestic politics in the era of the War on Terror. Tessa Morris-Suzuki limns the tragedy of Korean migrants to Japan in the early postwar era when new US-Japan migration policies left many trapped with divided families. Andre Vltchek describes the recent series of lynchings of religious minorities in Indonesia. 


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Gavan McCormack,  Contested Waters - Contested Texts: Storm over Korea's West Sea

This is the story of a text, which was briefly posted at The Asia Pacific Journal on 6 February, and almost immediately (within hours) withdrawn. The author was Kim Man-bok, who from November 2006 to January 2008 was Director of the South Korean National Intelligence Service (Korean CIA) under the Government of President Roh Moo-hyun. His text was entitled "Let Us Turn Korea's West Sea (the Sea of Dispute) into a Sea of Peace and Prosperity." The Asia-Pacific Journal is not noted for publishing articles by present or former national intelligence chiefs, and so both the posting and then the withdrawal of this text were almost equally unusual.

The text began as a chapter in a book published by the Korean Peace Forum in Seoul in October 2010, and entitled (as translated) "Again, Querying the Path of the Korean Peninsula." That Korean text was translated into Japanese and published, together with a short postscript added after the South-North clashes and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island in November, in the February 2011 issue of the monthly Sekai (published early January).1 Through the good offices of the Sekai editor, the Asia-Pacific Journal in January 2011 sought permission to translate and publish an English version. Author Kim consented, asked for several minor revisions, and the translation proceeded.

That translation was posted on the night of Sunday 6 February, as found here and announced the following day in the Newsletter to subscribers. Almost immediately, however, the Asia-Pacific Journal received word that the author wanted publication to be stayed, and we reluctantly obliged.

This article explains the mystery, and the fierce infighting going on in Seoul over the controversy swirling around Kim Man-bok and the Lee Myung-bak policies toward North Korea.

Gavan McCormack is a coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal and an emeritus professor of Australian National University. His book, Target North Korea: Pushing North Korea to the Brink of Nuclear Catastrophe, was published in English and Japanese in 2004 (Nation Books and Heibonsha) and in Korean (Icarus Media) in 2006. He is the author author, most recently, of Client State: Japan in the American Embrace. The translated excerpts from Lee Myung-bak's article are all taken from the version published in Japanese in Sekai, February 2011.

Recommended citation: Gavan McCormack, Contested Waters - Contested Texts: Storm over Korea's West Sea, The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 8 No 5, February 21, 2011.

 Read more . . . 
Herbert P. Bix,  The Middle East Revolutions in Historical Perspective: Egypt, Occupied Palestine, and the United States

From the early 1880s down to the end of World War II, British and French colonial rulers, among others, held the Arab peoples of the Middle East in subjugation. Weakened by the war against Hitlerism, the European imperialists retreated under pressure from the United States, which stepped in to take their place. The creation of Israel as the last "colonial-settler state" (1948) and Israel's expulsion of the indigenous population of Palestine from their land and homes framed one side of the European retreat; the failed Anglo-French invasion of Egypt, known as the Suez Canal crisis (1956), framed the other.

During World War II, the U.S. moved decisively to secure the oil fields of Saudi Arabia and transfer the desert kingdom from the British sphere of influence to one of hegemony by the U.S. and American oil corporations. It was the beginning of the US displacing the old colonial powers to carve out the oil-rich Middle East as its informal dominion.

This article assesses the contemporary Middle East revolutions in light of their global power implications in general, American power in the Middle East and Israel in particular.

Herbert Bix, author of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, which won the Pulitzer Prize, teaches at Binghamton University and writes on issues of war and empire. He is a Japan Focus associate.

Recommended citation: Herbert P. Bix, The Middle East Revolutions in Historical Perspective: Egypt, the Palestinians, and the United States, The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 8 No 1, February 21, 2011.

 Read more . . . 
 Peter Dale Scott?, North, Iran-Contra, and the Doomsday Project: The Original Congressional Cover Up of Continuity-of-Government Planning

In 1989 I published the following article, "Northwards without North: Bush, Counterterrorism, and the Continuation of Secret Power." It is of interest today because of its description of how the Congressional Iran-Contra Committees, in their investigation of Iran-Contra, assembled documentation on what we now know as Continuity of Government (COG) planning, only to suppress or misrepresent this important information in their Report. I was concerned about the committees' decision to sidestep the larger issues of secret powers and secret wars, little knowing that these secret COG powers, or "Doomsday Project," would in fact be secretly implemented on September 11, 2011. (One of the two Committee Chairs was Lee Hamilton, later co-chair of the similarly evasive 9/11 Commission Report).

Recently I have written about the extraordinary power of the COG network Doomsday planners, or what CNN in 1991 described as a "shadow government...about which you know nothing." Returning to my 1989 essay, I see the essential but complex overlap between this Doomsday Committee and the Iran-Contra secret "junta" or cabal described by Theodore Draper and Senator Paul Sarbanes within the Reagan-Bush administration. This article explores those connections and their implications for American democracy and American power in the Middle East.

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Drugs Oil and War, The Road to 9/11, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War. His most recent book is American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection and the Road to Afghanistan.

Recommended citation: Peter Dale Scott, North, Iran-Contra, and the Doomsday Project: The Original Congressional Cover Up of Continuity-of-Government Planning, The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 8 No 3, January 10, 2011.

  Read more . . .  


Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Guarding the Borders of Japan: Occupation, Korean War and Frontier Controls

Around 10pm on 5 October 1948 a small boat made its way along the coastline of Cape Sada Peninsula, the long finger of land that juts west from Ehime Prefecture on the Japanese island of Shikoku. The darkness was intense. It was a moonless autumn night, and the forested spine of hills above the jagged cliffs of the peninsula was devoid of lights.

The boat - a 20-ton wooden vessel called the Hatsushima - had left the heavy swell of the open ocean and now moved slowly and quietly through the calmer waters of the Uwa Sea. No doubt the captain believed that his craft's progress along this remote stretch of Shikoku coastline was unobserved. In the little fishing villages which dotted its rocky inlets the working day began and ended early, and most of the villagers were already asleep. But from the hills above, eyes were watching.

The people of Cape Sada Peninsula in October 1948 were still gradually recovering from the devastation of war. In the last months of the Pacific War the center of the nearest big city, Matsuyama, had been reduced to a burnt-out wasteland by allied fire-bombing. The villages had been spared the worst of the air-raids, but during the final stages of the war their fishing boats had been requisitioned by the military or lain idle, unable to venture out into the dangerous waters of war. Men who had been recruited to fight in China or Southeast Asia, and families who had migrated to Manchuria to help build Japan's Greater East Asia Prosperity Sphere, were still trickling home, transformed by experiences which could seldom be put into words. Many would never return; many remained unaccounted for.

This article examines the ways in which Korean migrants to Japan were trapped by a new post-colonial order whose border controls were enforced by both Japanese and US authorities in the wake of the dismantling of the Japanese empire in general and decolonization of Korea in particular.

Tessa Morris-Suzuki is Professor of Japanese History in the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. Her books include Exodus to North Korea: Shadows from Japan's Cold War (Rowman and Littlefield, 2007), Borderline Japan: Foreigners and Frontier Controls in the Postwar Era (University of Cambridge Press, 2010) and To the Diamond Mountains: A Hundred Year Journey Through China and Korea (Rowman and Littlefield, 2010).

Recommended citation: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Guarding the Borders of Japan: Occupation, Korean War and Frontier Controls, The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 8 No 3, February 21, 2011.

  Read more . . . 

Andre Vltchek, Intolerance, Religious Lynchings and the Future of Indonesia

Twice in the same week two gruesome attacks shook Indonesia and the world. On February 6, 2011, in Cikeusik Village, West Java - more than 1.000 furious Muslims lynched three members of a minority (or, as seen by some Muslims, 'deviant') Islamic sect Ahmadiyah. Two days later, on February 8 in Temanggung, Central Java, a crowd stormed a local courthouse and vandalized three churches after a man - a former priest who allegedly insulted both Islam and Christianity in his pamphlet - was sentenced to five years in prison, the maximum sentence. Protesters demanded the death penalty. A third attack soon followed. This article examines the attacks and their significance for the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in Indonesia.

Andre Vltchek - novelist, filmmaker, investigative journalist, author of numerous books and documentary films. His latest non-fiction book - Oceania - deals with western neo-colonialism in Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia. His latest novel about war correspondents and Latin American revolution is available in French.
Recommended citation: Andre Vltchek, Intolerance, Religious Lynchings and the Future of Indonesia, The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 8 No 2, Februrary 21, 2011.

  Read more . . .   
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