Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bruce Ramsey's piece in the Seattle Times

You can read it here for now.

I'll find time to blog more on it and the professor a little later. You got a taste of Muller before. Robinson's almost as bad. They're performing what I call "agenda based academics" and it's mighty ugly.

So a veteran of Iwo Jima I know writes a short reponse to Ramsey expressing his displeasure and providing a quick history lesson, saying:

How could you possibly write such an article about the 1940s relocation/internment of west coast Japanese without even a mention of the MAGIC deciphered Japanese codes, which showed WIDESPREAD anti-American activities among the Japanese population..............check it out............At that time, all braches of the military, the US Supreme Court, Congress,almost all the press, agreed that military necessity required the removal of west coast Japanese. All other Japanese thru out the nation were not affected. Thank you.

Ramsey responds: I mentioned Michelle Malkin's book, which was all about the MAGIC codes. She established in the book that the Japanese government had sent coded messages to its consulates in L.A. and elsewhere before Pearl Harbor to recruit spies. But the evidence was lacking that such spies, or saboteurs, actually had been recuited among the Japanese-Americans. And even if there had been spies, what level of risk do you have to have to imprison 110,000 people and hold them without hearings for three years? Most were citizens who had been born here. We did not imprison the German-Americans and Italian-Americans, though we did intern German, Italian and Japanese citizens.

The military was divided on the internment of Japanese Americans. Gen. Mark Clark was against it. DeWitt, the WEst Coast commander, was for it, but his counterpart in Hawaii was against it, which is one of the reasons the Japanese on Hawaii (35% of the population) was not interned. (IF it was militarily necessary, why was it not done in Hawaii???) The Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, was for the internment but felt it blew a hole in the Constitution, and later supported creating the 442nd Battalion. His deputy, McCloy, is the man whose memo I quoted. He was for it, but seems to be admitting it was not done for military reasons.

J.Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, was against the internment, as was the U.S. attorney general, Francis Biddle.

Where everyone agreed was among the West Coast politicians--congressmen, governors, etc., including Earl Warren, attorney general of CAlifornia. They were not making a military judgment, because they were not military guys. They were political guys making a political judgment.

To which I responded:

Dear Bruce:

1. No evidence?

Specifically, MAGIC intercept #174 that states:

"May 19,1941, from Los Angeles (Nakauchi) to Tokyo………"We have already established contact with absolutely reliable Japanese in San Pedro and San Diego area, who will keep close watch on all shipments of airplanes and other war material………..we shall maintain connection with our second generations who are at present in U.S. Army………to keep us informed of various developments in the army. We also have connections with our second generations working in aircraft plants for intelligence purposes."

Bruce, does this intercept support your contention of no evidence that spies or saboteurs had actually been recruited among the Japanese-Americans? Of course not.

2. German Americans were not interned at Crystal City, Texas? Tell that to Art Jacobs or at least visit his site.

Neither Germany nor Italy had a navy that could sufficiently project enough power to invade the East Coast of the United States. Japan had developed such a force that had succeeded in developing the largest empire in the history of mankind in a matter of months. One reason for the lack of preparedness that led to Pearl Harbor was the belief Japan could not project forces so far to the east.

You may recall when the Japanese Imperial Army arrived in the city of Davao in the Philippines on December 23, 1941 the colony of 18,000 ethnic Japanese living there (as long as ethnic Japanese in the West Coast) welcomed them with open arms. Many volunteered their services as scouts and translators for the invading forces.

If Japanese-Filipinos with a history in the Philippines as long that of Japanese-Americans in America could so quickly side with the invading forces in Davao, who's to say the same thing wouldn't have happened on the West Coast? Wasn't The Philippines an American Commonwealth at the time? What does that make the status of the "Japanese-Filipinos" who 100% sided with the invading Japanese Imperial Army?

3. Mark Clark was against interment, but a Feb 12,1942, cover memo from Br.Gen. Mark Clark to Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy: subject-enemy aliens on the west coast: "Their espionage net containing Japanese aliens, first and second generation Japanese and other nationals is now thoroughly organized and working underground."

General Clark may have believed other means were capable of dealing with the threat, but he also admitted there was a threat.

4. Why weren't the Japanese interned in Hawaii? According to the 1940 census, ethnic Japanese made up 40% if the population of Hawaii. In California, the population was 1.6%. Military authorities had considered moving all ethnic Japanese to Molokai or the West Coast but moving 40% of the population was logistically and indeed financially impossible. That said, there was an internment camp in Hawaii and Sand Harbor. More importantly Hawaii was under military martial law at the time.

If the the authorities could have evacuated all ethnic Japanese from Hawaii they would have. They could not so they did not.

As an aside, Japan had a battle plan in place for the invasion of Hawaii that intended to utilize ethnic Japanese during the occupation. The plan was scrapped after Japan's defeat at Midway.

Here's a book you should read on the subject by another professor:

5. McCloy is admitting it was not done for military reasons? McCloy is writing to an individual with absolutely no knowledge of the existence of MAGIC. In fact, MAGIC intelligence in its raw form was available to just ten men: Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, Director of Naval Intelligence Admiral Theodore Wilkinson, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold Stark, Army Chief of Staff George Marshall, Army Director of Military Intelligence General Sherman Miles, Chief of Army War Plans General Leonard T. Gerow, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt – they were the only men in a position to make a knowledgeable decision.

As is typical, Robinson has found a document that he claims supports his theory and he then makes a big deal out of it. It's called agenda based academics. The real value of the document is maybe the correct historical terms will begin to be used rather than the historically incorrect "internment". P.S. If your parents told you the evacuation was based on racial hysteria, you must have been quite old. The commission's report that rewrote the history was released in the early 1980s.

6. J. Edgar Hoover wasn't against evacuating, he waffled on the issue. His San Diego and Seattle offices were fully in support of the evacuation. The Portland and Los Angeles FBI field offices leaned heavily in support. He also didn't like the idea of the Dept of Justice being taken out of the loop, which is precisely what happened with the decision to evacuate all ethnic Japanese rather than convict known spies and risk important intelligence being revealed in the courts in a time of war as well as sap resources and fail to solve the immediate problem. Biddle may not have supported the evacuation either, but you'll notice he's not on the list of ten men above.

Your final comment is just absurd. Of course there was hostility towards the ethnic Japan after Pearl Harbor and vigilante killings occurred. Your paper still occasionally prints a letter stating this, to which you'll immediately print the reparations mantra "Then why were the guns pointing towards the inside of the camps!" Like clockwork. To right a piece stating the MAGIC intercepts and known hostility on the West Coast are somehow mutually exclusive is clearly over the top, but not surprising...

I've yet to address the Times piece during the 60th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War and the historical inaccuracies (reparations based myths) Eric Lacitis had drawn upon for his piece, but I eventually will. What profound timing for the piece! I'm sure the other 99.99% of WW2 vets were enthralled!

I recall you were writing on the business page when I was exporting to Japan and you got a lot of that wrong, too....

So that's where it stands. Robinson, Muller, Neiwert and their assorted flunkies are falling over themselves regarding this document. Does this mean they'll stop referring to the "Japanese-American Internment"? Doubt it...

UPDATE: Art Jacobs weighs in on the internment of German Americans.

RE: Bruce Ramsey / Times editorial columnist, Fair or not, internment was fearful sign of the times. Seattle Times, September 7, 2005

Dear Editor and Mr. Ramsey:

Thank you for your commentary on this matter. Your commentary like so many on this subject for whatever reason, ignorance, prejudice, or cover-up, omit the story of the at least 10,905 German Americans and some 3,400 Italian Americans who were locked up during World War II. Many German Americans were not released until August 1948 almost three years after the war in Europe was over.

Another point that is often ignored is the Alien Registration Act of 1942 which required all persons, male and female, over the age of 13 to register and be classified as an "Alien Enemy." How would like that for a "handle."

This registration resulted in the loss of civil liberties of 600,000 Italian Americans and 300,000 German Americans. Those who registered were forbidden to possess cameras, short-wave radio receivers, and firearms. In addition they were forbidden to fly; their travel was restricted to their neighborhoods, and they were required to report change of address or change of employment to the Department of Justice. And they were required to carry Alien Enemy identification cards.

I can assure you that few if any major newspapers were neutral on the internment of German Americans and as you wrote and the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution states: “The …denial of due process of law … to any person.” Yet Mr. Ramsey, my family and I (an American-born citizen) were locked up without due process...

For more on the internment of German Americans please visit

Arthur D. Jacobs
Major, USAF Retired
An American-born former internee at age 12

Update 2: Ramsey responds to my initial reply.

Point one: OK, you win that point. My comment was on the lack of evidence in Malkin's book-- a conclusion I have in memory, since I no longer have the book. What I remember is a lot of stuff about intentions to recruit people, not confirmation that they had been recruited and were producing intelligence for Imperial Japan.

Point two: A quick scan of the web page about German internment finds the claim that 11,000 Germans were interned. What I read was that the government selectively interned German aliens, and that some of their American family members volunteered to go in with them. There was no mass internment of German-Americans.

On ethnic Japanese in the Philippines. I don't know anything about that. I do know that the American ideal of the melting pot is not accepted in many Asian countries. The Chinese have been in Malaysia for a long time, but they still speak Chinese, not Malay. Same with the Chinese in Vietnam. The Chinese in Thailand have taken on the local culture and are more assimilated. In Philippines they are still thought of as cultural foreingers, I think. I don't know about the Japanese in Philippines, but you can't assume that it would be comparable to the United States.

Point three: There was a threat. The question was how immediate and real it was, how big it was, and whether it justified internment of 110,000 people without hearings for the duration of the war, depriving them of their liberty and, essentially, of their property.


Update 3: And one more back to Bruce from me....

Dear Bruce,

Thank you for the courtesy of a response. We'll be going around in circles on this for years to come. Certainly the Padilla ruling today is another piece of the complicated puzzle.

Agreed there was no mass internment of German Americans, but American citizens of German ancestry were interned. The question is why. The answer is not "racism". I'm of German ancestry and my family sailed into Philadelphia in 1703. Ethnic Japanese came to the West Coast 45 years before Pearl Harbor and didn't start coming in large numbers until the turn of the century. Don't you think the fact Americans of German ancestry were interned deserves to be told? Regardless of the numbers? Of course it punches a big hole in the "racism" theory...

The Philippines was an American commonwealth at the time and ethnic Japanese had started immigrating there at the same time as our west coast. Certainly the majority of ethnic Japanese there were Nisei also. What's the status of people born in an American commonwealth? As a commonwealth, Filipinos enjoyed certain rights much in the same way Puerto Ricans do today. Yet, not one ethnic Japanese in the Philippines sided with the Americans or the Filipinos. The adults showed up the day after the invasion in Japanese military uniforms.

If you were aware of this information (as well as everything else our political and military leaders knew and didn't know) in late 1941/ early 1942, and you were given the responsibility of national security in a time of war, wouldn't you deserve to be free of criticism of "hysterical racism" 40 years later by people who were never in you shoes? Don't you think?

In Korematsu, Justice Black wrote, "There was evidence of disloyalty on the part of some, the military authorities considered that the need for action was great, and time was short. We cannot by availing ourselves of the calm perspective of hindsight -- now say that at the time these actions were unjustified."

That decision has never been reversed and is good law to this day.

Anyway, no need to respond unless you wish to. Admittedly your pieces are less emotionally strident than what I usually counter. I'm an old time islander and I can tell you this school curriculum thing at Sakai Middle School has done more to damage decades old friendships and acquaintances here on Bainbridge than Pearl Harbor ever did. All courtesy of an influx of farleft newcomers and the same 15 or so Japanese-American ethnic activists led by Frank Kitamoto and Clarence Moriwaki. A lot of old timers are angry and repulsed at how they've taken over this history in our town.

Update 4: Art Jacobs weighs in some more.

RE: Germans and German Americans,

Ramsey said: [P]....And, according to the web page, there were individual hearings for each German detained, and the ones interned received negative decisions from the hearings board..."

My reply: Not true Bruce...My father's hearing board recommended that he not, repeat NOT be interned, yet he was interned by the Department of Justice.

Ramsey said: "According to the web page, these hearings were often unfair. That may be so. But, still, there were hearings...."

My reply: The 11,229 interned Japanese Americans who were forcibly interned also had hearings, as a matter of fact, some had two hearings.

Ramsey said: “And still, the Germans forcibly interned were non-citizens. That is, they were citizens of Germany, and Germany was at war with the United States. They may have some valid complaints, but in my view they could not demand the same rights as citizens.”

My reply: Bruce you know for a fact that the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution states that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, and property without due process.” Hearings were not due process, persons being heard were not allowed to have an attorney present, and were only allowed three witnesses.

And don’t forget Bruce, we were at war with Japan, thus Japanese Americans who were forcibly interned were also non-citizens, yet they, the Japanese forcibly interned, are included in P.L. 100-383, The Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided them with an apology and $20,000; and millions of dollars for research into the matter.

Art Jacobs
Tempe, Arizona
A former American-born internee at age 12

Update 5: The Seattle Times blog has a comment from BIJAC (obviously Frank or Clarence).

(This is a good time to make clear that I have not been and hopefully will not always be this critical of BIJAC. Hopefully criticism will be limited to BIJAC during the Frank years.)

And this one, from a Japanese-American:
My community of Bainbridge Island has been working for seven years to create a memorial to honor and remember the first Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed to concentration camps in World War II. We call our project "Nidoto Nai Yoni" which translates to "Let it not happen again." We deliberately chose this name years ago because we don't want to cast blame, but we want people to learn from this chapter in American history about the fragility of our constitution, and to hopefully inspire everyone to be vigilant to preserve and protect the rights for all.

To which I'll respond: Don't know who "their community" is referring to, but stating that they "don't want to cast blame" in the same paragraph as "concentration camps" is laughable. They're casting blame every chance they get in the press, politics and academia and it's a sordid story of bad history produced via political lobbying by ethnic special interests. It's agenda based and it's not the 100% historical truth.

Fragile constitution? The evacuation was entirely constitutional no matter who long these people delude themselves and attempt to delude you. These are the same people who say "the Nisei don't want to talk about it" and yet weekly there is a story on the subject. More accurately half the story - one sided cherry picking of the events that occured. Anybody who questions what they're saying is automatically slimed, as I was.

If BIJAC wants to get slimy I'm less reluctant to speak out more forcefully. You want some more historical truth that Bainbridge old timers know? Here it is.

Frank's dad was guilty as sin. He's not in the picture down at the post office because he was in prison where he belonged. Deep down in his guts Frank knows it. I believe that's what motivates him, besides his personal desire to make a name for himself.

There still exist old time islanders who know the full history and thankfully they have been sharing with me to document and set the record straight. I will continue to do so.


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