The Guardian 17 August, 2005

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Letters to the Editor

WWII whitewash

This week saw the commemoration of the victory over imperial Japan 60 years ago and therewith the end of WWII. However, somehow it didn’t turn out to be a celebration of the work of a mighty popular alliance against militarist and fascist forces. In fact, the country that did most of the heavy lifting, particularly against Hitler’s hordes — the Soviet Union — got scant mention. Where it was mentioned in the corporate media, it was to revive controversies designed to besmirch its huge contribution.

It seems no effort has been spared to create the impression that, despite all the mounting evidence, the USSR was the only WW2 ally that did not fight those grim battles strictly according to Hoyle. The criminality of the governments of Britain, France and the US in encouraging Hitler and then failing to form an alliance with the Soviet Union early enough to prevent what followed is simply painted over in the newspaper lift-outs marking the anniversary. And so it is with all the details of betrayal on the part of the capitalist countries.

This week, another such detail comes to light briefly before it, too, gets swamped by the enduring self-serving mythology of the rulers of the major capitalist countries. It seems the US General Headquarters (GHQ) in charge of occupied Japan at the war’s end waived charges against officers of Japan’s notorious Unit 731 based in Harbin, China from 1936. They conducted germ warfare in various places in China and used Chinese, Russians and other subjects in their human experiments. Some 3000 are believed to have perished at the hands of Dr Shiro Ishii’s ghouls before and during WW2. Their weapons included plague, anthrax and other bacteria.

It turns out that, rather than punish the perpetrators for their crimes, the US military paid them between 150,000 and 200,000 yen — the equivalent of about US$2.37 million today — for data obtained during their human experiments. In fact, the truth about Unit 731 — obviously well-known to the US occupying forces — only came to light when senior Japanese army officers detained by the Soviets confessed to the experiments.

Apparently, the whole immoral trade in germ warfare information was justified in the eyes of the US military because it would help give them the drop on the Soviet Union in the planned military contest with the former ally after WW2. No doubt, in the press and on the TVs in countries like Australia, this shameful episode will not even appear as a footnote to the history of the war. What a shame for the manipulators of history that survivors of those dark days are still alive in places like China, who are not so readily influenced by the whitewashing of the facts of that conflict.

R Keefe
Queanbeyan, NSW



The role of "The Toad" in Australian life

The toad, in the guise of a human, has acquired two of the worst traits of the human race.

It is a consummate liar and hypocrite, as well "it" has developed the ability to play on the weaknesses of the human race to keep himself in his position. He shows signs of being as "cunning as a shithouse rat". What a contribution he makes. You have to wonder just what is taking place at the policy meetings of the coalition. Are they secretly engaged in gene transferring research? To come up with the nastiest of nasties. Makes you take a second look at some members of the coalition. Such names as Andrews, Abbott, Costello, Ruddock and Vanstone to mention just a few.

I have neither the space nor the inclination to list the lies and untruths of the toad, but I will mention just few. In Foreign Policy the two that stand out are the children overboard and the WMDs that were there and yet not there.

In home affairs there are numerous instances, but I will list just four:

1) The toad expresses concern for the poor and elderly and then proceeds to cut welfare payments and also makes conditions tougher for applicants for their pitiful pittance.

2) The toad expressing concern for disabled and the aged and then under the cover of giving them dignity puts them back into the workforce — in a system that cannot find enough work for its ... The unspoken agenda of course wasn’t told

a) To provide a cheap workforce to undercut the already poorly paid casual and part-time workers and

b) To shorten the lifespan of the disabled and aged thus cutting down on pension payments.

3) The toad expresses concern about the wages and conditions of "The Little Aussie Battler" and proceeds to introduce legislation to lower wages and make working conditions tougher.

4) The toad expresses concern for the security of the Australian people and then introduces measures to curtail their human rights and civil liberties.

Conclusion: when the toad express concern for you run for cover and strengthen your defences, you are about to come under attack.

Bert Appleton
Woy Woy, NSW



Workers respond to family in crisis

Mine workers at a Hunter Valley coalmine have dug deep into their pockets to come to the aid of a young workmate whose family have hit hard times. The family in question have a 20-month-old son who has just had a brain tumour removed and now the young lad needs constant medical attention at great cost to his parents.

The chances of this young fellow surviving are slightly improving but it is a long way home for his parents who have to nurse this baby 24 hours a day.

Over the past four weeks the workers at BHP-Billiton. MT Arthur Mine have donated just over $7000 with more to come so "well done fellas". This money will go to help with medical expenses incurred over the past two months.

On his return to work the father of this sick young boy gave a personal thank you to his workmates for their kind words of support and their generous financial donation.

Peter Kennedy
Muswellbrook, NSW



Baghdad/London

What would the London death toll have been if, instead of a strike by suicide bombers, London had been subjected to the same "shock and awe" attack that blitzed Baghdad?

Gareth Smith
Byron Bay, NSW

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