Bill Totten's Weblog

Monday, August 01, 2005

Crimes Always Invite Reactions

by Bill Totten

Nihonkai Shimbun and Osaka Nichinichi Shimbun (July 21 2005)

(I've written a weekly column for two Japanese newspapers for the past three years. My colleague, Patrick Heaton, prepared this English version from the Japanese original.)

A series of bombings occurred in the London bus and subway systems on July 7 that resulted in the deaths of many people. Prime Minister Blair immediately declared that the incidents had been caused by "terrorists". Articles in Japanese papers quoted Prime Minister Koizumi the following day (July 8th) as criticizing the incidents in the following terms: "terrorism cannot be tolerated; we feel very indignant".

This incident, which arbitrarily targeted civilians during commuter rush hour, was a hideous crime. I feel very sorry for those who were killed and wounded, and for their families and friends. At the same time, I feel equally sorry for those Afghans and Iraqis who have been bombed daily by the United States (aided and abetted by Britain and Japan), and who have been wounded or killed as they live in constant fear.

Double Standard

What I feel when reading about the London bombing in the media is that there is a great amount of coverage when a few people in rich and powerful countries are killed, but when hundreds or thousands of civilians in weak and poor countries suffer the same fate, there is very little coverage. This can only be called a hypocritical double standard.

"The war against terror" is a phrase that has been repeated ad nauseam since 9/11. Just as the Soviet Union was called the "evil empire" during the cold war, since 9/11 the US has created a fictitious "terrorist" enemy with which to frighten the world. Since this declaration of war, the world has become increasingly dangerous, rather than safer.

Deluding the people through lies

Using the banner of "the war against terror", America's leaders attacked Afghanistan, justifying their actions by saying that any country allied with Al Qaida will be looked at by the US as part of Al Qaida. Yet the reality is that the organization labeled Al Qaida has never been thoroughly defined, and Al Qaida's relationship with the events of 9/11 have never been indisputably connected. After attacking Afghanistan, the US went on to invade Iraq a short while later, declaring that Iraq was a terrorist nation and a "preemptive attack" was justified. Of course it is now widely known that much - indeed, all - of the evidence was fabricated or distorted by the US. The recent London bombings are also insinuated as being somehow connected with Al Qaida, but the reality is that we still do not know precisely what relationship Al Qaida had with these bombings, nor even what relationship Al Qaida had with the earlier Madrid train bombings.

When we look at various media articles published earlier it is obvious that in every case the powers-that-be used their control or influence over the media to deceive citizens and push through the belligerent policies they wanted. In this most recent case, the London bombings were carried on the front page of Japanese newspapers, and scathing commentaries on the cruelty of the incidents were prevalent. On the other hand, the Japanese public has been told next to nothing about the nuclear and chemical weapons that British and American soldiers have used to terrorize, maim and kill countless innocent Iraqi civilians.

In February 2003 over a million people demonstrated in London against the impending US-led invasion of Iraq. Even if the people who participated in that demonstration came from all over Britain, when we consider that the population of London is about seven million, it is clear that many British citizens are opposed to the war in Iraq. Probably some of the victims of the recent bombings in London had even been among those who had opposed the imperialistic policies of their country's leader, Tony Blair, toward Iraq and Afghanistan.

When London was attacked, the G8 meeting was being held in a high-security area in Scotland, north of London. While the G8 leaders were being protected by thousands of security personnel, and were discussing how to protect themselves from attacks by the oppressed peoples of the world, the citizens of London, who had no way to protect themselves, became victims in the same way that the oppressed Iraqi and Afghan citizens have become victims.

Helping the US commit crimes

We do not know the full truth behind the hideous crimes of either 9/11 or the London bombings. But we do know which leaders of which government committed the hideous crimes of bombing civilians in Dresden, Tokyo, and sixty other Japanese cities in previous decades. We also know which leaders planned and ordered the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Likewise, we know who killed three million people in Vietnam, two million in Cambodia, a hundred thousand in Guatemala, 75,000 in El Salvador. We are also very aware of who caused suffering for the average Iraqi from the time of the Gulf War in the early 1990s through economic sanctions, and who is now slaughtering Afghans and Iraqis (and which nations are aiding and abetting those massacres) today.

I would like to appeal to as many Japanese as possible to focus not just on the bombings of London, but to look at the crimes committed all along by the government of the United States and its lackeys, especially the governments of Britain and Japan, and realize that Japanese should not support them. We should also resign ourselves to the inevitability that if Japan aids and abets the crimes of others, it is only a matter of time before we who live in Japan will ourselves at some time become victims of revenge.

Bill Totten


Post a Comment

<< Home