Saturday, December 7, 2019

Pearl Harbor Debate: Conspiracy? Cover-Up? Who Was Really to Blame?, by Kevin Barrett - The Unz Review (Text only)

It has been roughly one human lifetime since the United States of America underwent a cataclysmic transformation. December 7, 2019 marks the 78th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor—the event that turned the United States from a constitutional republic into a globe-straddling empire, which today deploys more than 900 military bases in 70 countries, afflicted by a permanent war economy overseen by an ever-more-draconian national security state. Considerable circumstantial evidence indicates that the false flag events of September 11, 2001 were modeled on Pearl Harbor—as suggested by the titles of the most notable book on 9/11, David Ray Griffin’s The New Pearl Harbor, (read it free courtesy of the CIA’s Bin Laden Memorial Library) and the most notable documentary film, Massimo Mazzucco’s September 11: The New Pearl Harbor.
As I wrote in Questioning the War on Terror(2008)[1]:
Neocon Straussians not only advocate the (Platonic) Noble Lie, they support what might be called the Noble Big Lie. The Big Lie was famously described by Hitler: ‘They followed the very correct principle, that in the greatness of the lie there is always a certain potency of believability, because the broad masses of people are sooner corrupted in their inmost hearts than they are consciously or intentionally bad; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their nature, they more easily fall victims to the big lie than the small one, since they themselves sometimes tell little fibs, but would be too ashamed to tell great lies. Such falsehoods do not even occur to them, so they cannot believe others capable of the colossal impudence of these most scandalous distortions. Even when faced with the facts in such a case, they will still linger in doubt and waver and continue to suppose that there must be some truth to it.”[2]
For the neocons, the bigger the lie, the more noble. “After all, a great lie, one that is believed, gives form to the void, imposes order on chaos, and creates the world ex nihilo.” Shadia Drury writes that “an elite that identifies its own pursuit of power with the necessary means of preserving Western civilization and preempting catastrophe is bound to be an unprincipled elite, unfit for political power. The loftiness of their enterprise, coupled with their sense of crisis, may lead them to sweep aside moral limits as applicable only to other people.”
The Straussian neocon big-liars see themselves as “architects of the lores and legends of society.”[3]Are they the architects of the house (or cage) we now inhabit, the War on Terror—the collection of lores and legends around which our post-9/11 political life revolves?
A key War on Terror architect is Philip Zelikow, the main author of the 9/11 Commission Report. Zelikow describes himself as a specialist in “the construction and maintenance of public myths” which he describes as “beliefs (1) thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with certainty), and (2) shared in common with the relevant political community.” Zelikow is especially interested in “’searing’ or ‘molding’ events that take on ‘transcendent’ importance and, therefore, retain their power even as the experiencing generation passes from the scene.”[4]He co-authored a 1998 article in Foreign Affairs analyzing the likely political, psychological, and cultural reaction to a massive Pearl Harbor-style terrorist event such as the destruction of the World Trade Center.[5]How did he foresee the near future so accurately? And why was a man with such a background, whose apparent foreknowledge made him a potential suspect, put in charge of the investigation?
Other key neocon War on Terror architects include Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Dick Cheney, Douglas Feith, Scooter Libby, and Donald Rumsfeld—all members of Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which called for a “New Pearl Harbor” in a document issued in September, 2000. They insisted in that document that the U.S. needed to drastically increase its military budget, launch wars of aggression (euphemistically referred to as “pre-emptive” wars) in the Middle East, remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, and adapt an aggressive new imperial strategy. “The process of transformation is likely to be a long one,” they wrote one year before 9/11, “absent some cataclysmic and catalyzing event—like a New Pearl Harbor.”[6]
Was 9/11 a “New Pearl Harbor?
Many scholars believe that President Franklin D. Roosevelt lied about the alleged surprise attack on Pearl Harbor—and that the lie was a justifiable “noble lie.” Before Pearl Harbor, American public opinion was overwhelmingly against U.S. entry into the war. Pearl Harbor, some believe, made it possible for the U.S.A. to defeat Hitler. Did Roosevelt manipulate the Japanese with an eight-point plan to force Japan to strike first so as to enrage the American people and allow U.S. entry into the war? Did he know about the attack beforehand and intentionally fail to prevent it? Did he make it happen on purpose by way of the eight-point plan?[7]
Paul Wolfowitz, a student of Strauss and leading neocon geopolitical strategist, has long been fascinated by the immense strategic value of Pearl Harbor, which mobilized America for total war. Wolfowitz has exhibited a lifelong obsession with a remark by Albert Speer to the effect that if Germany had been blessed with a Pearl Harbor it would have won World War II.[8]
If the official myth of the Pearl Harbor surprise attack is a lie, is it a noble lie? Wolfwitz, and the other cult followers of Leo Strauss, would undoubtedly say so.
The popular myth of the dastardly Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and the heroic American response, transformed Americans’ understanding of themselves and their role in the world. Before Pearl Harbor, Americans agreed that there should be no standing army, and that George Washington’s foreign policy of neutrality, non-alignment, and non-involvement in foreign quarrels was the American way.[9]That is why, on the eve of Pearl Harbor, 80% of Americans opposed entering World War II.
After Pearl Harbor, Americans accepted their new role as the world’s policeman (some would say the world’s biggest bully). A gigantic military-industrial complex mushroomed, and more noble lies were told to gain the people’s consent. The negligible military threat to the U.S. posed by the Soviet Union was wildly exaggerated in order to pump up the military budget, and the memory of the alleged sneak attack at Pearl Harbor fed Americans’ sense of vulnerability. In this way, an aggressive imperial strategy was made to appear defensive. While pretending to be a purely defensive power, the U.S. regularly threatened other nations with the use of nuclear weapons.[10]It launched illegal, unconstitutional attacks on dozens of nations that posed no threat whatsoever, killing millions of innocent people in the process in what one scholar of U.S. empire, William Blum, has called “the American holocaust.”[11]
The Pearl Harbor myth changed history. It turned the U.S.A. from a peace-loving nation into the world’s biggest and most aggressive military empire. How did it exert such immense power?
To find out, the U.S. military hired anthropologist Bob Deutch, one of the world’s leading experts in using focus groups to understand and manipulate irrational popular beliefs. Deutch discovered that Pearl Harbor shattered Americans’ sense of invulnerability: “Because Japan disrupted America’s self-mythology of being invincible, the nation would never be forgiven in the irrational American sentiment.”[12]Could those who hired Deutch have concluded that a new Pearl Harbor, blamed on Arab Muslims, could provide the kind of “searing or moulding event” that would convince the American public to mobilize for wars on behalf of oil and Israel?
Deutch discovered that at the deep psychological level, the American public, like members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, engages in aggression as a defense against a sense of vulnerability and loss: “They are protecting themselves. That’s what their core story is about. Images are created to defend loss, not maximize gain.”[13]
Another U.S. military psychological expert, S.L.A. Marshall, discovered just how fundamentally defensive and non-aggressive human nature really is, and how powerfully people must be psychologically manipulated if they are to go to war. After an exhaustive study of that vast majority of U.S. infantrymen and airmen who, during World War II, covertly refused to kill, Marshall wrote that “the average and healthy individual…has such an inner and usually unrealized resistance towards killing a fellow man that he will not of his own volition take life if it is possible to turn away from that responsibility…At the vital point (the soldier) becomes a conscientious objector.”[14]Normal human beings only kill when under direct threat and extreme duress, as a fear-and-anger-inspired defensive response to an aggressor. To motivate a nation to engage in military aggression—mass killing abroad—the people must be brainwashed into believing that they are under attack.
Zbigniew Brezezinski, a leading U.S. foreign policy strategist, notes that the U.S. public’s attitude toward the “external projection of American power” is “ambivalent” and depends on the sort of fear and vulnerability awakened by Pearl Harbor: “The public supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”[15]Brezezinski’s use of the term “shock effect” recalls the thesis of Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. According to Klein, individuals and even whole societies can be forced to accept radical, unpleasant changes by way of sudden shocks engineered, or taken advantage of, by unscrupulous elites.
Brezezinski seemed to be calling for a shocking event like 9/11 and the War on Terror it spawned, when he wrote in 1997: “Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multicultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstances of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”[16]
Hollywood, like Brezezinski, seemed to be preparing the American public for 9/11. The run-up to 9/11 saw a rash of patriotic, militaristic, apocalyptic films including the 135 million dollar flop, Pearl Harbor.[17]Most American-made action films feature an American hero who is threatened by an evil foreigner, and whose self-defense unfolds into extreme aggression that the audience is taught to accept as legitimate. A grossly disproportionate number of Hollywood’s evil foreigners are Arab or Muslim, including in pre-9/11 films.[18]Is this because Hollywood was founded as, and remains, a Jewish enclave with a strong pro-Israeli bias? Or is it because 80% of the world’s sweet, easily-extracted oil lies under Arab and Muslim sand, even as an age of energy scarcity looms?
Did 9/11 function as a “new Pearl Harbor” that mobilized Americans for a aggressive war, disguised as a defensive one, against Arab and Muslim countries? T.H. Meyer has called attention to Donald Rumsfeld’s bizarre Pearl Harbor propaganda campaign that had begun even before the Bush Administration took office.[19]Rumsfeld spent 2000 and 2001 carrying around extra copies of Roberta Wohlstetter’s Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision, praising the book to the skies, and offering free copies to journalists. (Wohlstetter’s hawkish Zionist husband Albert, named in his obituary “the world’s most influential unknown figure of the past half century,” was Wolfowitz’s mentor and Richard Perle’s father-in-law.)[20]
Roberta Wohlsetter’s Pearl Harbor book, while it ostensibly supports the official myth that Pearl Harbor was a perfidious surprise attack, includes enough information to the contrary to enlighten the discerning reader to the unspeakable but implicitly acknowledged truth: The Roosevelt Administration provoked the attacks, knew they were coming, and left thousands of sailors in harm’s way as an offering to the gods of war. Wohlstetter’s book is a perfect illustration of neocon doublespeak: Tell a vivid, simplistic, emotionally-charged lie to the masses (“Perfidious surprise attack! Heroic purple-fury response!”) yet include as a subtle subtext the unspeakable truth that only the elite is smart enough to discern and strong enough to handle: Roosevelt sacrificed thousands of American lives to the greater good of getting the U.S. into the war.
Rumsfeld’s pre-9/11 Pearl Harbor precognitions were echoed on 9/11 itself. On Air Force One, as Bush flew from Florida to Nebraska, the event was already being framed as a new Pearl Harbor.[21]Senator Chuck Hegel and Henry Kissinger quickly echoed the Pearl Harbor comparison. Brezezinski himself pronounced: “It (9/11) is more murderous even than Pearl Harbor, and the psychological impact is the same.”[22]
On the evening of September 11th, 2001, George W. Bush reportedly confided to his diary: “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today.”[23]Before the nano-thermite-laden dust[24]that was all that was left of the World Trade Center had cleared, the corporate media were echoing the Pearl Harbor meme. Time Magazinewrote: “What’s needed is a unified, unifying, Pearl Harbor sort of purple American fury—a ruthless indignation that doesn’t leak away in a week or two.”[25]After 9/11 family members shamed a reluctant administration into finally mounting an official investigation, the 9/11 Commission told us that 9/11 was just like Pearl Harbor “except it wasn’t the Japanese, but it was al-Qaeda.”[26]
Those of us who don’t know history may be condemned to repeat it. As for the neocons, they may have known their Pearl Harbor history well enough to try to trick it into repeating itself on September 11, 2001. But if World War II was tragedy, the War on Terror is grossest farce. To extricate ourselves, we need to meditate on the mistakes of the past 78 years. To that end I offer a rough transcription of my December 7, 2010 Pearl Harbor Day interview with Thomas Kimmel and Webster Tarpley.
-Kevin Barrett
Part 1: Thomas Kimmel Interview
Welcome to a special Pearl Harbor Day edition of Truth Jihad Radio. It’s December 7, 2010. My interest in Pearl Harbor was juiced by 9/11, when I learned what really happened on 9/11 a few years after the fact. David Ray Griffin’s The New Pearl Harbor makes the case that 9/11 was orchestrated as a war trigger event, just like Pearl Harbor according to revisionist historians. I recently finished re-reading Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor by Robert Stinnett, and, well, I’m teed off! Let’s hope it wasn’t as bad as Stinnett thinks it was. But I’m afraid it may well have been.
My very special guest in the first segment of this special two hour show is Thomas Kimmel. He is the grandson of Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, commander-in-chief of the US Pacific Fleet at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. Admiral Kimmel was scapegoated for that attack, even though it appears that he was largely out of the intelligence loop showing Japanese preparations for that attack. And according to Stinnett, various people in the US High Command, including Roosevelt himself, were tracking that attack the whole way, knew exactly when and where it was coming, and left those thousands of sailors exposed to die in what was a kind of burnt offering to the gods of war, to turn around the 85% of US public opinion that was against the war, and turn the American people into an angry band of anti-Japanese racists and warmongers. In other words, it was a public relations event, perhaps the most successful one of the century.
So let’s hear what Thomas Kimmel has to say about it. He has been working to clear the name of his grandfather for many years. I believe he appeared at the Toronto 9/11 conference in 2004. He’s an important figure on the Pearl Harbor historical debate circuit. He’s leaving for a lecture immediately after this show’s over. So let’s bring him on and give him a chance to tell his story. Welcome, Thomas Kimmel. How are you?
Thank you. Couldn’t be better. And I thank you very much for the opportunity to be on your show.
It’s great to have you. I appreciate the work you’ve done to elucidate what brought the US into World War II, and to clear the name of your grandfather, Admiral Kimmel. What led you to start working on this issue?
Kevin, what I’m really trying to do is further my father’s work. Perhaps I should start by emphasizing that the initiative to advance Admiral Kimmel and General Short on the retired list began with the Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association. It’s important to understand that it did not begin with the Kimmel family. The Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association then-president Alex Cobb in 1984 summoned my dad and my uncle to Grossinger’s Resort in the Catskills, and asked them if they, being the sole surviving sons of Admiral Kimmel, would assist the Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association in rehabilitating the reputations of their commanders, Admiral Kimmel and General Short. My dad and my uncle looked at each other and said, “my goodness, if the men who suffered the most in the Pearl Harbor attack want our assistance in this initiative, who are we to do anything but give our all in that effort. From that day forward, my dad and my uncle, who are both deceased now, spent their retirement years working full time on the Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association’s initiative. They have done some marvelous things. So I am trying to carry the torch for the Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association, my dad, and my uncle. That’s why I’m on your show this morning.
Why does the Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association feel so strongly about wanting to rehabilitate the reputations of your grandfather and General Short?
Admiral Kimmel had three sons. He had two sons who went to the naval academy, two submariners. The older boy, Manning Kimmel, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1935, perished on the submarine Robalo, which was lost with all hands in the Balabac Straits on July 26, 1944. We don’t know what happened because no-one survived and nothing was ever recovered.
My dad was also a submarine skipper in World War II. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1936. He miraculously escaped with his submarine in the battle of Lingayen Gulf, among other hairbreadth escapes.
They also had a much younger son who strayed badly and didn’t go to a service academy. He went to Princeton and Harvard Law School. He is largely responsible for obtaining legislation in 2000, in which the full Congress recommended, in perpetuity, that the president of the United States, whoever he was then or whoever he or she may be in the future, should posthumously advance Rear Admiral Kimmel and General Short to their highest-held temporary ranks in World War II of Admiral, which would be four stars, and Lt. General, which would be three stars, in accordance with the personnel act of 1947, which allowed all WWII flag and general officers to eventually retire at their highest-held temporary ranks in World War II. All were allowed to do so, with two exceptions, Kevin: Admiral Kimmel and General Short. They were denied that privilege. The Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association thinks that is completely unwarranted. They think the appropriate remedy would be to posthumously advance Kimmel and Short to their highest-held temporary ranks.
There’s no money involved. It’s just a matter of personal and most importantly national honor.
General Short and Admiral Kimmel were blamed for negligence which allegedly allowed the Pearl Harbor attack to be so murderously destructive. A lot of the US fleet was destroyed. And well over 2000 people were killed. Is there substantial doubt about their alleged negligence that’s driving the Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association to demand that they be rehabilitated?
Indeed. That’s a great question. Here’s the story: Nine days after the Pearl Harbor attack, the president of the United States assigned a sitting Supreme Court Associate Justice, Owen Roberts, to conduct and investigation of the army and the navy only, and then only in Hawaii. Ten days after the Pearl Harbor attack, Admiral Kimmel and General Short were fired and replaced. Eleven days after the Pearl Harbor attack, the sitting Supreme Court Associate Justice with his commission began their deliberations. Thirty-six days they deliberated. At the end of the thirty-six days they wrote a report in which they found Admiral Kimmel and General Short soley blamable for the success of the attack. And they found the two gentlemen derelict in their duty, which is the part that sticks in the craw. This was 47 days after the Pearl Harbor attack. The president of the United States read the report, signed it, and sent it around the world completely unchanged. That’s where the matter stood 47 days after the Pearl Harbor attack. Soup to nuts, end of the story. And that would have been the end of the story, except that on February 21st, 1944, years after the Roberts Commission Report, the head of Op20G as it was called, Naval Communications Intelligence, indeed the father of Naval Communications Intelligence, the revered leader of Naval Communications Intelligence, Captain Lawrene Safford, secretly and illegally came to my grandfather, who was then living in Bronxville New York, and said, “Admiral Kimmel, did you have available to you, prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, the same information that we had in Washington DC in the Office of Naval Intelligence, from the secret decoding of Japanese diplomatic and spy communications, which gave us indications prior to the attack of the time, place, reason, and the secret plan to cover the attack? Admiral Kimmel, did you have that information available to you, in a program we called Magic?”
This was in 1944. Admiral Kimmel, a beaten, despondent man, capable of suicide, looked at Captain Safford and said, “Captain, what in the world are you talking about? What is Magic?” Captain Safford explained that my grandfather changed that very day from a beaten, despondent man, capable of suicide, into a fighting tiger. He got legal representation out of Boston. One of the junior attorneys, Ed Hanafy, wrote enabling legislation that he took to the Naval Affairs Committee. The chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee was so impressed by what he read that he got the Congress to pass a law ordering the Army and the Navy to conduct further investigations. Without that, there would have been no further investigation of the Pearl Harbor attack after the Roberts Commission’s report 47 days after the attack. There have been ten official investigations of the Pearl Harbor attack. Eight of them—the last eight—were all caused through the efforts of Admiral Kimmel. And the last one, through the efforts of Admiral Kimmel’s two surviving sons. Out of the ten official investigations, only one afforded Admiral Kimmel the opportunity to defend himself. And by defend himself, Kevin, I mean the opportunity to call and cross-examine witnesses in his own defense. And that investigation was the Naval Court of Inquiry in 1944. So we’re talking years after the Roberts Commision had declared Admiral Kimmel derelict in his duty. So the Naval Court of Inquiry, which was the only tribunal staffed with three qualified high-ranking naval officers, all of whom have held high command at sea—in other words, held the professional competence to judge the performance of Admiral Kimmel. So Admiral Kimmel was allowed to defend himself. He was allowed to hear the witnesses against him. He was allowed to cross-examine those witnesses. So you would think the findings of the Naval Court of Inquiry would be particularly important. Let’s review what those findings were. Number one: The Naval Court of Inquiry found that there was not a scintilla of evidence to support a charge of dereliction of duty against Admiral Kimmel. They found that Admiral Kimmel committed “no errors of judgment based on the information he was given.” The Naval Court of Inquiry approved of all of Admiral Kimmel’s forced dispositions, again, based on the information he was given. The president of the court, Admiral Murfin, did everything possible under the political circumstances. And they made one last finding: to severely criticize Admiral Kimmel’s only uniformed boss, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Harold Stark, for not keeping Admiral Kimmel appropriately and adequately informed as he had promised Admirial Kimmel he would do, in writing, on four separate occasions.
One would expect this (the Naval Court of Inquiry) would have caused the whole story to be changed, and that they would start investigating Stark.
Well, they did start investigating Stark. And recent developments have come up with some very interesting information about Admiral Stark’s role that never saw the light of day. It’s the kind of thing that Stinnett came up with when he found McCollum’s memo, and reported it in his book Day of Deceit. I’m not a particularly big fan of that book. On the other hand I think Robert Stinnett deserves great credit for finding McCollum’s memo.
Let’s go ahead and describe that memo, the eight-point plan to draw the Japanese to attack the US.
Arthur McCollum was the head of the Far East Section of the Office of Naval Intelligence, and had been since 1939. If there was one person in the United States government who had all the information, or certainly most of it, that would have been Arthur McCollum. Arthur McCollum was key in all of these investigations. He testified, but never mentioned a word about a memorandum he wrote on October 7th, 1940. This memorandum, styled an action memorandum by Robert Stinnett because that’s indeed exactly what it was, was McCollum’s recommendations on what the United States could do to get into the war. Quoting the memo: “It is not believed that the United States is capable of declaring war against Japan without more ado.” Marvelous language! And then he proceeds to say, “therefore, the following course of action is suggested.” And he lists eight items. Seven of those eight items were implemented. And they’re very close to home. My dad was part of one of these, and so was my uncle, the one who is deceased, the two submariners.
Number one: McCollum is writing this memorandum to the Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence, then Admiral Anderson. In order to create “more ado,” he suggests that the United States arrange to use British bases in the Pacific. Obviously this was going to upset the Japanese. And that was done.
Number two: McCollum suggested that we arrange with the Dutch to use their facilities in the East Indies, to upset the Japanese. And that was indeed done.
Number three: To give all possible aid to Chiang Kai-shek. And indeed that was done. There’s a marvelous story that goes along with that. It has to do with the Flying Tigers, and how we were actually getting ready to conduct a pre-emptive strike against Japan under the guise of flying for these…there’s a book out called Pre-Emptive Strike, which describes this in spades. And the interesting thing about that is that the prime mover in that initiative was the Special Assistant to the President of the United States, who, as it turned out, was a Soviet spy. This would be Lauchlin Currie, the one who was revealed under the Venona Program. But back to McCollum’s memo.
Number four: To send cruisers to the Orient, Philippines or Singapore. This was a very curious, wild move, which was suggested to Admiral Kimmel, I might add. Kimmel was vehemently opposed to it, as was Kimmel’s predecessor, Admiral Richardson. They prevailed upon Admiral Stark, their uniformed boss, the Chief of Naval Operations, to tell the President of the United States what a cockamamie idea this was. And they relented on that. They didn’t do that one.
Number five: To send two divisions of submarines to the Orient. Not only did they do that, my dad and my uncle were in those two divisions of submarines! My dad was in Manila Bay at the bachelor officers’ quarters when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He was asleep in the bachelor officers’ quarters because he was in an old boat, and the habitability on the boat was so bad that you didn’t even think about staying on it when you were in port. So everybody was ashore. He was in the bachelor officers’ quarters, he woke up at 6 a.m., routinely, which was four hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He walked into the lobby of the bachelor officers’ quarters and there was a note pinned to the board saying that Pearl Harbor had been attacked, and that he was to conduct himself accordingly. So he walked back to his S-40 submarine and they got out of the port. The interesting thing about this is there were 26 submarines that the commander-in-chief of the Asiatic fleet, Admiral Hart had. This is the Asiatic Fleet, not the Pacific Fleet. Admiral Hart had 29 submarines overall. 26 of them were sitting in Manila Bay, at anchor, alongside a submarine tender or alongside the pier. There were no special instructions given. No special precautions were taken. All 26 of these submarines were allowed to get out of Manila Bay hours after the Pearl Harbor attack. The great irony in all of this is that if the Japanese had attacked those 26 submarines that were lying there defenseless, no special precautions, no special instructions—if they had decided to attack those submarines, as opposed to the eight battleships at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese would have advanced their war effort by an order of magnitude, since no part of the armed forces contributed more to the successful prosecution of the war than did the American submarines.
That sounds like a major military mistake to leave the submarines exposed like that. Those who argue that there was considerable foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor note that the aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbor were sent out to sea to make sure they didn’t get knocked out, and the battleships that were lost that day were old and mostly obsolete.
(midpoint break)
Before the break we were talking about the eight-point plan that McCollum in Naval Intelligence had devised to provoke the Japanese into attacking and striking the first blow to create a public relations event that would turn around the 88% antiwar public opinion and allow the American people to be dragged into World War II kicking and screaming—for Japanese blood. Before the break you were talking about point five of the eight-point plan, sending American submarines into Manila Bay. It’s lucky the Japanese didn’t take advantage of that.
Indeed, especially when you consider that the submarines that were there had torpedos that didn’t work. We didn’t straighten that out until two-and-a-half years into the war. That almost got my dad killed on a couple of occasions, and many other submariners as well. It’s one of the great scandals of World War II. But I don’t want to get too far afield here. We were on item number five. You mentioned that this memo from McCollum was designed to incite the Japanese to attack us. That is not your opinion. It’s not my opinion. It is the language in the memo from McCollom himself. He says, and I quote, “If by these means Japan could be led to commit an act of war, so much the better.” I don’t think the language could be much clearer. So let’s finish the list.
Action proposal number six, was the key to the whole plan. And that was to keep the United States fleet in Hawaii. In order to do that, President Roosevelt had to fire the then commander-in-chief of the United States fleet, Admiral Kimmel’s predecessor, Admiral J.O. Richardson. Admiral Richardson was strident in his views that the Pacific Fleet should not be stationed at Hawaii because it was “disadvantageously positioned to prepare for war.” That was his language.
He was also concerned that it was exposed to danger of the kind of surprise attack that happened, wasn’t he?
Well, I’m giving you the exact language. What “disadvantageously disposed to prepare for war” actually meant…I’m not going to put words in Admiral Richardson’s mouth. At any rate, he felt so strongly about this that he went back from Hawaii to Washington DC and had a sit-down with the President of the United States, and upset him, apparently, because he was a little too candid. And next thing you know, he’s fired. And my grandfather, who was the head of the battle force out there, now becomes the commander-in-chief of the United States fleet. My grandfather was shocked beyond words when he got that news. As it turned out, Kimmel went back and saw President Roosevelt as well, and made it abundantly clear that the only answer to the defense of the fleet was to make sure the fleet was not in Pearl Harbor should it ever be attacked. He made that abundantly clear to the President of the United States. But Admiral Kimmel did not force Roosevelt’s hand to the extent that Admiral Richardson did. What really got to Admiral Richardson was that not only was he stridently opposed to keeping the fleet in Hawaii, he was ordered by the President of the United States to issue a press release saying that keeping the fleet in Pearl Harbor was his idea! Well, that was too much for Admiral Richardson. He was willing to play along, but he wasn’t willing to lie about it to that extent. Now one of the curiosities in all of this is that Admiral Richardson, when he was ordered by the
Chief of Naval Operations to keep the fleet at Pearl Harbor, Richardson, in an official communication back to the Chief of Naval Operations, said “Well, if I’m going to do that, then I’m going to have to curtail training, if that’s the way it’s going to be.” And that was unacceptable. Because training was, at the time, the major mission of the fleet: to get the fleet prepared for war! That required training. When Admiral Kimmel took over the fleet at Pearl Harbor, there were units at Pearl Harbor that hadn’t fired a gun in over a year. This was completely unacceptable. That was what Admiral Kimmel was trying to do, prepare the fleet for war. That was his job. The defense of the fleet, of course, was the sole job of the Army, which is a rather remarkable story in all of this. The investigators were dumbfounded when they asked, who is responsible, in writing, for worrying the problem and defending the fleet when the fleet’s in Pearl Harbor? By longstanding written agreement going back to 1935, as the Chief of Naval Operations made clear in his testimony to the Naval Court of Inquiry, the army was soley responsible for the defense of the fleet when the fleet was in Pearl Harbor. They were dumbfounded by that. Which brought me to a very interesting 9/11 comparison, not to stray too far from the point, but I was dismayed that the 9/11 Commission did not ask who, in writing, was responsible for the defense of the Pentagon? Because in the Pearl Harbor investigations, that was a key question, and it was asked over and over again. Mind you, I didn’t ask who was blamable for that lack of activity, I didn’t ask who should be punished. I just asked who, in writing, was responsible for worrying the problem about the defense of the fleet when the fleet was in Pearl Harbor. Well, the answer was the Army! The Army was solely responsible. As a matter of fact, the Chief of Staff of the Army, the head of the Army, General Marshall, wrote an official correspondence to General Short, and told General Short when he took command, in February of 1941, the same time that Admiral Kimmel took command, he reminded General Short that the only reason that the Army was even in Hawaii was to defend the fleet when the fleet was in Pearl Harbor. It was not a reason. It was the reason why the Army was in Hawaii.
That’s very interesting. Nobody tried to blame the Army for the unsuccessful defense of Pearl Harbor, did they?
Oh, sure they did. Short and Kimmel, they were solely blamed, solely dubbed derelict in their duties, solely blamable for the success of the attack. So said the Roberts Commission. General Short was the head of the Hawaiian Army contingent out there. And his job was the defense of the fleet. That was his only job! There are historians that say that Admiral Kimmel’s only job was to defend the fleet. And of course nothing could be further from the truth. Admiral Kimmel’s job was to prepare the fleet for offensive action. The counterpart of Gen. Short was actually the commandant of the 14th Naval District out there, Admiral Blach. He was responsible for the Navy’s end of defending the fleet when the fleet was in Pearl Harbor. But these nuances are too difficult for the general public to accept. Anyway, we proceed back to the McCollum memo. But first let me make one more point, though. I was going to make a comparison with 9/11. The comparison I wanted to make was, who was responsible, in writing, for worrying the problem of the defense of the Pentagon? It would seem like a perfectly logical question for the 9/11 Commission to ask. Have you got any ideas, Kevin?
Well, I don’t know about “in writing,” but I know that Andrews Air Force Base had on its website a statement that they had fighter planes on alert 24/7/365 to defend Washington, DC including the White House and the rest of Washington, DC. And they took that down shortly after 9/11. That’s one of the many anomalies about why these allegedly hijacked planes were flying around for an hour and a half with nobody going up to try to stop them, and hitting the Pentagon at supposedly 9:37, which was almost an hour and a half after the first plane veered off course, lost its transponder, and so on. That’s a pretty bizarre failure to defend the Pentagon. So who do you think was responsible for defending it?
I don’t want to put too fine a point on this, but you’d think it would have been a fair question for the 9/11 Commission to ask. And there are few people on the planet more interested in this subject than I am. And I have been researching this for years. I ask virtually every one of the audiences that I speak to, and by now I have spoken to hundreds of audiences, this question. I start by saying, who was responsible for the defense of the fleet when the fleet was in Pearl Harbor? And of course most people are shocked to find out it was the Army. So I say, well, who was responsible for the defense of the Pentagon? Forget New York City, who was responsible for the defense of the Pentagon on September 11, 2001? And of course people look and me and say, I don’t know, the Army? And the answer is: nobody! Nobody was responsible. The best answer I got was, the Fairfax County Police Department. Which of course is where the Pentagon was located. I’ve spoken to former secretaries of the Navy about this. I’ve spoken to the former commanding officer of the USS Cole. And the real answer is, that just fell through the crack. There’s nobody who, in writing, was worrying the problem, specifically, of the defense of the Pentagon. Well, there you go. Why didn’t the Commission ask the question?
There are claims by French military sources who were given tours of the Pentagon that there were anti-aircraft capabilities there. That led to the argument that whatever hit the Pentagon must have had the transponder code so it could broadcast a “friendly” signal so that it was able to approach and hit without triggering the anti-aircraft defenses.
I’m concerned about the general proposition, who was worrying the problem? At Pearl Harbor, they were worrying the problem. They were worrying about air attack, they were worrying about submarine attack, they were worrying about sabotage. Who as a general proposition was worrying the problem? Who was working on defense of the Pentagon?
I think I’d better get back to my area of expertise, Pearl Harbor and the McCollum memo. Let’s go on to number seven of the eight.
Number seven, McCollum was suggesting that the United States insist that the Dutch embargo Japan, particularly oil. And of course this is the big one, this is the straw that broke the Japanese back. They couldn’t live with this. That was done. We got the Dutch to embargo Japan, particularly oil, and many other products as well.
And of course number eight, the big one: Insist that the United States and Britain do the same, embargo oil from Japan. And again, “if, by these means, Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better.” I think that speaks for itself.
You cut off their oil, they don’t have much choice, do they?
It’s all about oil, as they say. So let me continue on what I think, as an investigator, is the telling point here. McCollum, as I said, if one person in the USG had all the information, all the secret information, it was McCollum. At the Joint Congressional Committee Investigation, McCollum was called as a witness, as he was in several others. Senator Lucas asked Admiral Arthur McCollum, do you, Admiral, know anyone in any branch of the service, or in your department of the Navy, who attempted to trick or maneuver the Japanese into attacking the United States on December 7th, 1941. Kevin, I can tell you, as a former FBI agent, if I had written the McCollum memo, and I was now placed on the witness stand, sworn in to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, knowing full well that if I didn’t do that I was committing a felony violation punishable federally by five years in prison, I would be sweating bullets by about now. But at any rate, it didn’t seem to bother McCollum. McCollum’s answer was, “no sir, Senator Lucas.” Senator Barkley, who was the chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee, comes in with the pervasive question that should be asked of all witnesses in these circumstances: “The Chair would like to ask you, Admiral Arthur McCollum, if there is any other information that you have that is pertinent to this inquiry, that has not been brought out by the questions asked.” And Mccollum, if he wasn’t sweating before, he certainly should have been sweating then. But he hung tough. He said “no sir, I don’t think so, Senator.” You can find all of this in volume eight of the official Joint Congressional Inquiry Pearl Harbor Attack Series.
That’s unbelievable. But of course the McCollum Memo wouldn’t be made public until Stinnett found it. When was that, the 1990s?
He found it in 1995. But it wasn’t made public until his book came out.
Day of Deceit came out in 2000. Just in time for the run-up to 9/11.
It’s pretty good stuff. Stinnett definitely deserved credit for finding that memo. As a matter of fact I’m the one that found the Joint Congressional Committee examination of McCollum.
That’s a classic vignette. If somebody were going to write a play about this, it would have to be one of the scenes. So…I’m wondering what’s your take on Stinnett’s evidence that the codes, not just the diplomatic Purple codes and spy codes, but the actual Japanese military codes, had been broken, leading us to believe that McCollum and Roosevelt had very detailed knowledge of the Japanese fleet movements. Meaning they know exactly when and where Pearl Harbor was coming and they didn’t tell your grandfather.
I think the case is not compelling, to my way of thinking right now. There is enough reasonable doubt there that I can’t subscribe to that. That’s not to say that they didn’t. It’s just that the case hasn’t been made to my satisfaction, as yet. Of course, I have to be much more careful, because of my position. I can’t afford to be wrong in anything that I say. And if your listeners find that I have misspoken on anything, let me know. I guess I can afford to be wrong once, but I can’t afford to repeat the error. And I try assiduously to avoid errors. So I’m not going to wade into the swamp that JN25 was readable prior to the attack. There’s too much evidence to the contrary. The jury is still out, in my opinion, on that issue. And obviously it’s a very important issue.
But even with the diplomatic codes…I assume you accept the evidence that they were reading the Purple code, the diplomatic code.
Well, there isn’t any doubt about that. We have the head of Op20G, the brains behind (decoding) Japanese naval communications, the famous Captain Safford, who made that abundantly clear. And I might emphasize that but for his effort, there is no way in the world we would have known about this.
There is such a cover-up going on, apparently. And Stinnett’s book shows convincingly that there has been a wide-reaching attempt to cover up the truth of what was known, when, by whom, about Pearl Harbor, to the extent that documents have been stolen, disappeared from archives, all over the country, right up through our time. Which is quite amazing, isn’t it?
Well, it is. I’m trying to remember John Kennedy’s Secretary of State. His name is escaping me right now. (Dean Rusk.) He was part of Army Intelligence in Washington DC. His son wrote a book in which Rusk talked about Colonel James Compton, who was his boss in Army Intelligence. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, he came to him with a memo that the Army Intelligence folks were collecting to destroy. Because they knew perfectly well they were going to be investigated.
In the couple of minutes we have left, I know you’ve brought up the topic of who was supposed to be defending the Pentagon on 9/11. I know you were also at the 2004 Toronto 9/11 Inquiry, which was the first of the many 9/11 revisionist events that have been held around the country. I’ve been to most of them, but not that one. What’s your overall take on the debate about 9/11 and the 9/11 truth movement?
Well, I was encouraged to listen to my former boss, the Director of the FBI, Louis Freeh, weigh in with an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal right after Anthony Schaefer came out with his Able Danger information.
He was ordered to cover up the face of Mohamed Atta with a yellow sticky pad and forget he’d ever seen him when they were tracking Atta and the other (alleged hijackers) before 9/11.
Well, he was alleging that. And I was amazed that my boss, he came in for public consumption in the Wall Street Journal and said that this Able Danger thing, if confirmed—this is Louis Freeh’s language in the Wall Street Journal—would be the most relevant and material fact of the entire 9/11 Commission Proceedings, and would have been exactly the kind of information that the FBI had used many times to stop terrorist acts before they were perpetrated. And of course the FBI has done this on many occasions, which I can attest to.
My take on 9/11 so far, first of all, Louis Freeh weighing in on Able Danger…there was an investigation that pooh-poohed Able Danger. And now, with the latest development, I guess it’s what, two or three months old? Tony Schaeffer trying to write a book called Operation Dark Heart or something like that, and the Pentagon buying up ten thousand copies and burning them?! I’m not in favor of book-burning as an American principle. So I would withhold comment until I get a chance to take a look at Col. Schaeffer’s book. And of course I’m also distressed over the fact that the inspector general, John Helgerson, for CIA, conducted his own 9/11 investigation. And he pointed fingers, named names, cast blame, completely contrary to the 9/11 Commission, whose guiding principle was not to name names, not to cast blame. And they so said that jointly, the chairman and the co-chair, they say that right in the 9/11 Commission Report preface.
And since then they’ve come out and admitted that the whole investigation was deeply flawed at best.
Well, they said that. They accused all those who knew about the secret taping of the interrogations, who knew about it and didn’t reveal it to the 9/11 Commission. And obstructed their investigation. Both the chairman and the co-chair, Kean and Hamilton, did an op-ed piece in The New York Times in which they said hey, our investigation was obstructed. They were sold a bill of goods. It’s distressing.
And here again, like with Pearl Harbor, we have a historical event with so many questions swirling around it. It seems that most people are willing to live with the official myth, which in this case got us into not a four year war, but in this case a nearly ten year war that’s still going on even as we speak, and is destroying our economy. Well, Thomas Kimmel, it’s been great having you. It’s the top of the hour and you have to give a talk. I appreciate your taking time out of your busy schedule to come on my show.
I certainly appreciate the opportunity. Thanks again, and yes indeed, I’m off.
That was Thomas Kimmel. He’s the grandson of Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, who was blamed for the Pearl Harbor disaster. All sorts of information has since surfaced that this may have been unjust. My next hour guest, Webster Tarpley, is going to come on with a completely different point of view. Webster is a fervent supporter of President Roosevelt, largely because of his economic policies. And I see his point. I think those were relatively enlightened economic policies, especially compared to what we’re seeing today. Hitler also had pretty good economic policies. He took a complete basket case of a country, and within five years, he had the economy roaring. But there are things I don’t like about Hitler, too; just as I don’t like Roosevelt’s warmongering, I don’t like Hitler’s either. Webster, however, has a completely different viewpoint. So let’s bring him on and let him explain. Webster, are you on the line?
Webster Tarpley Interview
Hello Kevin, how are you?
Thank you for being willing to come on at the last minute and hold up the other side of the debate.
Time to stand up for the truth against the libertarian legions.
Okay! But I don’t know if this debate is about economics so much as just plain historical fact. I just finished rereading Day of Deceit by Robert Stinnett, and he seems to me to have a pretty overwhelming empirical case that McCollum and FDR intentionally provoked the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, knew it was coming, and left those guys out there, left the old mothballed battleships out there, got the aircraft carriers out to sea…they welcomed, invited, provoked, and essentially orchestrated the Pearl Harbor disaster in order to turn around 88% antiwar opinion and make it possible for the US to enter World War II. So you disagree with that interpretation?
Yes, absolutely. And I recommend, put away this book by Stinnett. Stinnett of course is a libertarian. These people are Roosevelt haters from the word go. He belongs to a libertarian think tank near San Francisco, and indeed comes from one of the leading oligarchical families of the region. He tries to hide his anti-Roosevelt animus behind a few formulations in that book, but it shines through. Now let me just point out a couple of the assumptions that are never mentioned by somebody like Stinnett. First of all, you have to be very, very soft on fascism to believe any of this stuff. You have to assume that the Japanese empire was fundamentally benign. And you never hear about what they’re doing in the meantime. For example—
Wait, wait a minute, Webster, I don’t think that’s true. What we’re arguing about is whether Pearl Harbor was provoked to get the US into the war. And you’re just arguing about fascism.
Kevin, you’re going to have to let me speak. The other side has been heard, more or less. You’re going to have to let me speak here before we come with the Stinnett libertarian stuff, which I’m surprised you fall for. Because this is essentially a defense of the invisible government, as I’ll try to show.
Concerning Japan: This is a brutal fascist aggressor at that time. They have rolled into China in the early 1930s. They’ve taken over Manchuria, set up a puppet state. Atrocities all over the place. They then invade China itself, the rest of it, in 1937. In the city of Nanjing, between 1937 and 1938, they carry out an open genocide of about 500,000 Chinese who are simply slaughtered, but not secretly in concentration camps, but openly in front of the world press, with news film and photographs going around the world. The Japanese are their way to killing about ten million people in China as part of what is called the other holocaust or the forgotten holocaust. Then in the summer of 1941, a couple of months before the events we’ve been talking about, they go into French Indochina and seize that. So they’ve essentially taken most of the Pacific coast of Asia. They are then preparing to attack the Dutch East Indies, which is a main source of oil, and the British possessions, and of course the Philippines, which is a forward salient of the United States. The US supply lines are cut by islands that the Japanese have been given at Versailles. Japan is an aggressor. You don’t provoke Japan. The question is rather, are you going to sit there and let a brutal fascist oligarchical enemy attack you according to their timetable, or are you going to do something to try to knock them off balance, to try to probe them, to try to counter them?
So you’re not arguing against the facts as outlined in Day of Deceit?
Yes I am, I’m arguing against all of it. I think his facts are bunk.
But what you just argued would support McCollum’s eight-point memo. It would support provoking the Japanese into striking the first blow.
You say “provoke.” They’re coming after you anyway, on their own timetable. And the main question with Japan—there’s only one question in the Japanese internal discussions: Will they strike north against the Soviets in Sibera? Will they try to get oil that way? And that is basically ruled out. Because they’ve been defeated by Marshall Zhukov at the battle of Khalkhyn Gol in Mongolia, where the Japanese conclude that the Soviets are too tough. So what remains then is the “strike south” faction, which becomes dominant when Prince Konoe falls as Prime Minister and Tojo, the fascist, comes in, during the course of 1941. Roosevelt’s policy is to seek war in the North Atlantic. He occupies Greenland, he occupies Iceland, he sends destroyers, he’s escorting convoys, he has a shoot on sight order. US destroyers are getting sunk in the North Atlantic. So Roosevelt’s approach to this thing is pretty much what you had later in the war. It’s Germany first. And follow what is know as Rainbow 5 or War Plan Orange or something like this, which says you can then turn and deal with Japan. But you’ve got to ask yourself, are you in fact arguing that Japan ought to be allowed to seize the entire Pacific, all of these places—Manchuria, Japan, Indochina, Dutch Indonesia, the Philippines. The British were prepared to give up most of Australia. If you let Japan take all of this, then you’re going to have to go in there, you’re going to have to have a frontal assault of the type that the Navy does on these places like Okinawa. And you’re going to have two to three million US casualties. So that’s the background.
Can I briefly interrupt? To me, the issue here is that 88% of the American people opposed US entry into the war. The US is supposed to be a democracy.
But this is a utopia. You’re going to be at war very soon, no matter what you do.
Because fascist dictators are on the attack and they’re making a bid for world domination. And this is real. The people who argued against this, people like Charles Lindbergh, the America First group, which then became the Americans for Peace group, they’re the ones who put out the line that Hitler is benign, Japan is benign, we need to appease them, of course. Essentially the argument you seem to be making is “appease Japan, ignore them, don’t do anything, and everything will be okay.” Well, experience shows that this doesn’t work. They are coming after you.
The British, of course, go beyond appeasement. They go to active support for Hitler. During the period we’re talking about, the British cut off road traffic into China across the Burma road as a measure of appeasement of Japan. In other words, they were willing to let Japan take more and more of China as a way to buy a few more months of peace. So this is a bankrupt strategy. And it essentially ignores the fact that there is fascism. And you don’t need to provoke them to make them into aggressors. They are aggressors. They’re coming after you. The question is, under what terms will this begin. The other point…
So you don’t buy the argument that the Germans basically wanted to grab some resources and influence to the east, and essentially incorporate the German-speaking parts of Poland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia into Germany, and that’s it. They didn’t want to take over the world.
And the Soviet Union and beyond. And North Africa. And beyond that. And once you get to Africa you can make the jump into Latin America. I think this is fantastic. We’ve forgotten the whole question of fascism and what it meant. And that Roosevelt is indeed at this point the world’s leading anti-fascist. Which is what these libertarians don’t like. Because the libertarian position is, essentially, that Roosevelt is a communist, Harry Hopkins is a communist, we heard some of it. This is the mentality of the FBI. The Roosevelt haters represent the social stratum that produces the admiral class of the Navy. We’ll show how this works.
The other question is, there is a secret government in the United States. I think you would concede this, right? And it’s been around for awhile. In my view, you can trace the secret government back to 1885. It’s the Morgan faction inside the US government. It is alive and well during World War II. Roosevelt does not control these people. We cannot fall into the na├»ve assumption that everything the US government does is personally ordered by Roosevelt. This is absolutely fantastic. Not when you’re dealing with, remember, a coalition government, the national unity government that Roosevelt has set up. He has brought in Col. Stimson, a guy who had been in the cabinets of the Republicans in the 1920s and is now the Secretary of War. He’s the boss of the Pentagon. Stimson is the invisible government. This is pro-British. And in his case you can find the stories…he writes in his diaries how he wants to get the US into war, and so forth. And you have to carefully examine what this means. The other people I think you can regard as conspirators against Roosevelt, in addition to Col. Stimson, are George Marshall, always Wall Street’s favorite general. And we see him later on consigning China to Mao, because this was the British policy. And Admiral Richmond K. Turner, who is the guy who blocked the intelligence to Admiral Kimmel. So you cannot assume that what is done in Washington is done because Roosevelt orders it, because there is a powerful anti-Roosevelt in the government. There is a group in the State Department around George Kennan who prefer Hitler to Stalin. There’s a faction fight that’s going on.
So what’s your response to Stinnett’s argument, quoting from his book, that “Roosevelt’s fingerprints can be found on each of McCollum’s propososals”—that is, the eight-point plan to draw the Japanese to attack?
As Stinnett himself concedes, there is no evidence that Roosevelt saw that document or ever approved it. You can consider it in some ways a factional document. It’s a guy who’s proposing things. A lot of these things were done. And they should have been done. What are you going to do? Are you going to say “here, Japan, you’ve just killed 500,000 Chinese at Nanjing, have some more oil, have some more scrap metal, let’s feed your machine of genocide.” Remember, American public opinion is pro-Chinese—antiwar, but pro-Chinese and not happy with Japan.
I agree that Kimmel is not responsible for these things. But on the other hand he’s also not a hero, in the sense that he’s about at the level of most officers at this time, which was maybe not as good as we needed. Here’s the general point: The intelligence from Washington, and this depends on reading codes, is suppressed not by Roosevelt, but by Admiral Richmond K. Turner, who is officially the Director of War Plans in the Navy Department, but extends his control through faction fighting over the Office of Naval Intelligence. And it is Richmond K. Turner who blocks the sending of a stream of these Purple intercepts—the Japanese diplomatic code, which can be read. He makes sure that the people in Pearl Harbor don’t have that. So we can’t blame Kimmel for not knowing these things. However, what we can do is say, Kimmel, you received on November 27th 1941, you received a dispatch that said “consider this a war warning.” Kimmel and Short were sent a quite detailed dispatch which talks about attacks in other parts of the Pacific, not Pearl Harbor. But it says to all of them, “consider this a war warning.” You can go back and see, as scholars have done, what did the Admiral for example commanding the Panama Canal Zone, what did he do? Well, he set up a screen. He set up picket boats and a way of trying to see if the Japanese were coming to attack the Panama Canal. He considered that possible, even though it was not mentioned in the dispatch. So what would you do, if you’re Kimmel?
He did, two weeks before Pearl Harbor, send out an exercise—
But then he brought it back.
He was ordered to bring it back.
He was not ordered.
It was a “clear the ocean” order.
He interprets an order. He’s obviously very timorous. Some guy writes an objection, and he says alright, I’m going to bring back my battleship and my carrier. Here’s what he should have done. He had a large number of destroyers. You can set up a destroyer screen 500 to 1000 miles out. He has a large number of light cruisers. Now light cruisers, or scout cruisers in those days, have scout planes on board. He has a large number of PBY Catalina planes that can fly out and do long range reconnaissance. There’s the B-18 Bolo bomber that can easily go a thousand miles out and come back. Or, suppose he doesn’t have this. He’s also got Admiral Block, who has 20 or 25 ships, and those should have been out as a screen. And we’re not talking battleships and carriers, we’re talking about early warning. We’re talking about essentially picket boats. Somewhat later, when Doolittle attacks Tokyo, he is discovered by what? By a Japanese fishing boat that telegraphed a warning to Tokyo. So you could also use trawlers, fishing boats, and so forth.
There was a “clear the ocean” order, Webster, that came from above Kimmel (in the chain of command).
This is ridiculous. This is completely made up. And look, if you’re the commander of a fleet…Prussian exercises were always based on the idea that in order to be effective you have to violate some orders. You can read in any military history that the great commanders are decided by the orders they choose to ignore. I think even Churchill says that. So this guy is very timorous. I think it’s a question of his mentality. The stuff about training, right? Mr. Kimmel that you just had on talked about the importance of training. Of course it’s true. But I think what he means is that Admiral Kimmel was a battleship admiral. He was not interested in the Billy Mitchell school of air power. I think he really underestimated the capabilities of aircraft carrier attacks, even though the Navy had been drilling these for quite a few years. So he did not understand that he was not going to go out and fight the Battle of Jutland. I think what’s in his head was the 1916 Battle of Jutland, where the British fleet goes up against the German battle fleet in the North Sea. He’s thinking forward to something like this. The other think that they had (was that) Short of the Army had radar. If I had been Kimmel, I would have gone to visit that radar, even though those were the Army guys, and I would have made sure there was a direct telephone line so that any warning coming in on that radar would go directly to my office. I’d have a liason officer posted there. Unfortunately Kimmel does none of this.
But isn’t this partly because of what he’s being fed from Naval Intelligence, which is actually plotting to set him up?
He’s been told “this is a war warning.” I’d have to say, Admiral Kimmel, what part of “this is a war warning” don’t you understand? And then you‘ve got to take the responsibility of a commander. This is not the schoolyard. There’s this kind of infantile quality that creeps in: “Oh, he was afraid that this other guy had better influence in the White House and therefore he called off these maneuvers at the Composer (?) Mountains, this area where the Japanese actually did launch their attack a little bit later. He doesn’t come across as a commander who’s aggressive and innovative.
You’re right, Webster. It seems to me that perhaps the reason he was selected was that he wasn’t the kind who would stand up to bad authority kind of guy, like his predecessor Richardson, who went up against Roosevelt and said, what you’re having me do here, Roosevelt, is you’re setting me up to have my guys slaughtered.
You’re wrong. You’re taking what might be called the appease Japan position. It gets very close to a soft-on-fascism position, I have to say.
Richardson wanted to keep the ships at the West Coast, where there were better facilities—
Yeah, and let the Japanese run wild across the Pacific—
— instead of inviting a surprise attack that would slaughter thousands of American sailors.
The reason Admiral Richardson gets fired is that he goes into a meeting with Roosevelt and he says “Roosevelt, my officers don’t trust you and they don’t trust the people in your cabinet, because they’re communists.” That’s the line of the pro-fascist, pro-Hitler American Liberty League faction. He then gets fired some months later. I don’t see how any American president could sit still for an admiral coming in to his Oval Office—“
Let me just play devil’s advocate here and point out that at that time, Stalin had killed a lot more people than Hitler ever would. Communism did look like a threat. The Soviet Empire did look like as big a threat as the Germans or the Japanese. Why not say look, if there’s going to be mass slaughter going on all over the world, maybe our jumping into it and participating in it and killing millions more people, adding more millions of bodies on top of the pile that’s going to grow to sixty million by the end of this war, is not the right thing to do. Maybe we should just defend our own country and not participate in mass slaughter abroad when we don’t need to.
That would have been a suicidal recipe. Because without Lend Lease the Soviets and the British would have gone under, China would have gone under, and you would have faced an entire Eurasian-African land mass under the control of Hitler and Mussolini and Tojo. And this would have then been a terrible historical situation for the United States to be in. And I’m quite frankly glad that Roosevelt had the ability to see that this could not be allowed to go on.
But let’s talk about the codes. I was glad to hear that Mr. Kimmel is not on the bandwagon of saying that the United States could read the Japanese naval code. Because this gets us very close to the heart of the matter.
Stinnett offers all kinds of evidence that they could.
And it’s all fake. And again, Kevin, you seem to have fallen in love with this guy Stinnett. And I’m shocked, quite frankly. But you’ve got to give me at least the same courtesy you gave Kimmel to lay out an explanation, rather than constantly interrupting.
There were two codes. Magic simply means code intercepts. It can mean just about anything. Within the world of Magic there are two specific codes. One is the Purple code. We have to realize that the US was working with the British on a number of these things. There was a kind of implied division of labor, which is that the US was going to try to read the Purple code, and the British were going to try to focus on the Japanese naval code called JN-25. The US, accordingly, did focus on the Purple code, and was able to read the Japanese diplomatic intercepts. They knew the day before what the Japanese ambassador in Washington was going to say the following day. This was valuable. And it did give the idea that something big was about to happen. But it didn’t tell you where, and it didn’t tell you when. And at that point it could be the Philippines, it could be the Panama Canal, it could be Hawaii, it could be the Dutch East Indies, it could be the British in Singapore or Hong Kong or any number of other things. The other side of it is JN-25. And this is the one, if you could read it, would allow you to know the movements of the Japanese battle fleets in advance. This is what the British could read. Now the overwhelming body of evidence is that the British could read a great deal of JN-25. I say a great deal because codes are not something you crack and immediately read everything. It’s a matter of building a book. This is called the four number code, or four digit code—
Five number, wasn’t it?
Five number code. You have to build a dictionary of the terms that are involved. This JN-25 was the same one that was still being used at the time of the Battle of Midway, which was about six to seven months after the Pearl Harbor events. Now by the time of Midway, the US could read JN-25. Because you have this commander Rochefort, the US codebreaker, was given a wealth of personnel and resources, and was told “we’ve got to be able to read the Japanese naval code.” And you remember in the movie about Midway they wanted to find out what the code was for Midway, so the sent out a fake message that the water cooler or water tower was not working, and then read what the Japanese said. And they built the book so they knew, or thought they knew, that the island in question was Midway. But that was six months later. The problem was that in December of 1941 the US could read a small part of JN-25, but nowhere near as much as the British. And this is where the book that I strongly recommend as the antidote to Stinnett is the book Betrayal at Pearl Harbor by James Rusbridger and Eric Nave. And one of the two authors here is a former Royal Australian Navy codebreaker. And he tells the story that the British listening posts in places like Hong Kong or the Far East were constantly sending up-to-date reports on Japanese naval movements, not diplomatic ploys or demarches, but naval movements. These were being sent back to London with the idea that they were going to be forwarded to Washington so that the US commanders in the Pacific could have it. And this is what was not done. And the question is, who does this? Winston Churchill’s strategy after the fall of France, as he told his son Randolph who asked “how are you going to get out of this fix?” and his answer was “I shall drag the US in.” So he wanted to get the US into the war—on his own terms, which was to maximize US losses. He was looking forward to having the US save the British Empire in World War II, but then having the US come out of it mauled, with huge million man casualties in the Pacific, and a very bitter political division about it—something like what happened to France in World War I, when the French took the brunt of the land fighting and came out of it in this terrible, bitterly divided political situation. In other words, Churchill was looking forward to trying to maintain British domination, and indeed, British naval supremacy, if at all possible, into the postwar world.
I would like to point out that one of the problems somebody like Kimmel faced was that the US was much weaker than Japan in the Pacific. Why? Because of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, an infamous treaty.
What do you mean, weaker? As I understand it, the Japanese Navy was only two-thirds the size of the US Navy.
Yes, but the US was split between two oceans. It needs a two-ocean navy. You can see that the Japanese attacked with what, six aircraft carriers, and the US had three if they’re lucky, and one was being repaired. The cause of this was Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. After World War I, the Congress passed a naval bill which would have given the US world naval supremacy. And one of the people who spoke up against that was Sir Winston Churchill, saying “we will never, never, never allow this to happen. We’ve had it since the Battle of Trafalgar against Napoleon, we’re going to keep it, nobody will ever take this away from us, I’ll do everything I can to maintain British naval supremacy.” So they imposed this treaty that says 5 to 5 to 3 to 1.67 to 1.67. 5 and 5 were the US and the British. They got parity. The Japanese got 3. Italy and France came in at 1.67. So that’s 1922. After that you had the treaty navy, where a lot of projected battleships that the US would have had at the time of World War II were simply not there. And remember, the aircraft carriers the US did have were converted battle cruisers, the Lexington class. These were battle cruisers that had to be converted to the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty. So this was one of the reasons the US was weaker. And the trick is, the US in theory got the level of five, and the Japanese got three, but the US underbuilt, in part because of Republican sabotage during the 1920s, and the Japanese overbuilt. So by the time of the war, the US was approaching four from above, and the Japanese were approaching four from below. The US was split between the Atlantic and Pacific and indeed Caribbean and Gulf situations. So the Japanese felt confident that there was a way to make this work.
So you therefore have to look into this group in Washington, DC. Let’s just give a couple of examples here. The famous East Wind Rain message came in in the Purple Code, the Japanese diplomatic code. Therefor the US could read it. They’d already issued the “consider this a war warning.” Which is enough for any commander, right, since that’s his main job in life, to follow those orders, to maintain that screen, and to keep up reconnaissance. As a matter of fact, the November 27th Army cable to General Short says “reconnaissance.” And indeed the one to the Navy says “organize a suitable reconnaissance.” And unfortunately Admiral Kimmel didn’t do this. He didn’t use these resources, the typical scouting forces of a fleet, destroyers, light cruisers, airplanes—no used. But anyway, the East Wind Rain message­—
Actually, Webster, radar was used.
It’s just that Admiral Kimmel didn’t pay any attention to it. Neither did Short. If you’re in that position, you now have radar, you’re told to expect a surprise attack or something of the sort. A competent officer would say, “I want to go see this. I want to know these men. I want a liason officer. I want a direct telephone link. I want to make sure that I’m on top of this. I want them operating 24 hours a day.” They said, oh, an attack could only happen at dawn, so we’ll turn it off after that. This is sort of the lethargy and inertia of peacetime. The guy in the Panama Canal Zone was altogether more energetic in the use of the radar that he had. So he turned it on much more.
But the East Wind Rain. The East Wind Rain comes in. It was decrypted by the US this time, I believe by the On the Roof Gang here in Washington, DC. And it came in to the Navy Department. Now McCollum was the head of the Office of Naval Intelligence. And he said “we’ve already sent them a warning, but I want to send them a second warning, because the East Wind Rain means something is going to happen fairly soon.” Again they didn’t know where or when. But they knew the East Wind Rain was somehow going to be the signal for this. So he took it to Turner who said “I don’t want you to face the same fate as the Russians at Port Arthur.” The trick is that the Japanese traditionally began wars by surprise attacks.
They sank the whole Russian fleet.
Exactly. Admiral Togo launched a surprise attack on the Russian fleet in Port Arthur, in China, and was able to sink the whole fleet. So he put in the cable, “You must not face a new Port Arthur debacle”or something like this. He took it to Admiral Richmond K. Turner. And Admiral Richland K. Turner said, no, no, no, this is wrong, we’ve already done it, we don’t need any more, we’re going to confuse them.” This is typical of the fact that they key man in actually suppressing the intelligence the US did have, the Purple intelligence, was Admiral Richmond K. Turner. And he of course was—there was a whole mass of Congressional hearings and other stuff. Turner lied, other people covered up for him, and the Navy Department carried out a kind of purge of documents, mainly from the point of view of saving the reputation of Admiral Richmond K. Turner. Now it’s interesting that he then went on to become the commander of the frontal assaults in the Pacific. It’s what the British wanted the US to do. You can compare Admiral Richmond K. Turner as an amphibious commander with Gen. MacArthur. General MacArthur, representing much more of an anti-British tendency in the US military, managed to go from Brisbane, Australia to Tokyo with far fewer casualties than the frontal assaults on these islands.
Plus I have to recall that in the World War I Navy, which is where these officers come from, there were two factions. There was the anti-British faction of Admiral Benson, who realized that once the Germans were eliminated in the North Atlantic it was going to be the US against the British who would always ally with number three against number two. Well, it’s Britain-US-Japan in naval terms. The British were going to ally with Japan against the US. And all during the 1920s that’s basically what you have. There was an under the table comradery between the British and the Japanese that was overwhelming.
The other faction, the one favored by the Wall Street establishment, was Admiral Sims. So you had the Sims faction and the Benson faction. And I haven’t been able to figure out where Kimmel falls in that. But he was definitely a battleship admiral, and not interested in the Gen. Billy Mitchell theory of air power, which was the big dividing line also in the Navy. So the overwhelming conclusion has to be that the British were decoding JN-25. Churchill knew everything. And he deliberately withheld the information to ensure disaster. He wanted those battleships sunk. The battleships were not exactly the most modern. Most were obsolete. But (Churchill wanted to) make sure the attack occurred and happened with the maximum US losses.
So you think it was just a coincidence that the carriers were sent out of Pearl Harbor ostensibly to go support Manila or something…
No, they were delivering airplanes to Midway. They were thinking, war is approaching, so we’d better beef up the number of airplanes that we have based on the island of Midway. Which was indeed going to be under direct attack.
If the carriers had been in Pearl Harbor the strategic loss would have been incalculable.
In that case Churchill would have really gotten his wish. Because then you would have had the Japanese expanding all the way to take Hawaii. And then it would have been up to the US alone to go back and attack those islands one by one, as the Navy insisted on doing. MacArthur said “no, we don’t want to do this, we want to do leapfrogging, we’re going to hit ‘em where they ain’t. We don’t want to do this series of island-hopping direct frontal assaults that the Navy and the Marines became famous for. We’re going to go around them, we’re going to get them where they’re not. We’re going to let them wither on the vine. You had the big fortress of Rabaul, and the staff officers said, “how are we ever going to attack this tremendous fortress? It’s like Verdun, half a million casualties.” And MacArthur simply says “We’ll ignore it, we’ll just go around it. We’ll let it wither on the vine. We’ll let it lapse because of lack of supply.”
Wouldn’t the British have been more interested in having fairly rapid American success in the Pacific, given that the Japanese were causing losses and great problems for the British at the time?
Well, the Japanese were going to take places like Hong Kong and Singapore. The British defense of Singapore is considered the most horrific disaster in British military history up to that time, and you have to wonder, could this have been simply spontaneous? Or was this not part of a strategy which says “It’s hopeless to hold on in the Far East, we don’t want to hold on in the Far East, we want to let the Japanese expand. And then we’ll let the US go and fight their way back in.” Again, with the two to three million casualties. The Second World War could easily have gone un until 1950 if it hadn’t been for MacArthur and his methods of hit ‘em where they ain’t. If it had been left up to the Navy with their frontal assault, this would have been a bloodletting without end.
One more question. In Stinnett’s book he does cite all kinds of sources that apparently should have alerted the US high command to the location of the Japanese fleet on its way to Pearl Harbor, and the timing of the attack, not just the East Winds thing, but also, all of the Japanese ambassadors were ordered to burn their code books, and likewise Stinnett cites dozens of intercepts, many people, and he has documents showing that there was knowledge of where the Japanese attack was coming.
It was something of an open secret that war was coming.
But I’m talking about the location of the specific Japanese fleet heading for Pearl Harbor.
No, what Stinnett does is he dredges up from the entire library of right-wing Roosevelt-hating pro-fascist authors, going back to the time.
No! These are people he interviews and documents he finds in the National Archives.
Take the case of this boat. There’s an ocean liner that’s coming across and they say the Japanese are burning up the frequencies with their telegraph traffic. The big idea being that the Japanese fleet does not observe radio silence. The problem with that is, he only has a single direction. In other words, if you want to know where somebody is using radio signals, it’s called triangulation. You’ve got to have two points. And then you see where they intersect. And then you know where the sender, the broadcaster, is. And instead, what Stinnett does very uncritically, and I think dishonestly, is he takes that line, which reaches all the way across the Pacific, and says the Japanese were broadcasting something.
But he says that US listening posts up and down the West Coast as well as out in the Pacific were hearing the same thing.
Fine. But they don’t know the content, they don’t do the triangulation. Here’s the thing with Stinnett. His basic argument is to say the US does know how to read JN-25. And again, I’m glad that Mr. Kimmel did not follow Stinnett in this particular distortion.
He (Kimmel) says it’s an open question.
I think it’s closed, but the other way. What happens is, once you have this tremendous build-up in 1942-1943, and indeed reaching into after the war, when Rochefort gets hundreds of analysts and computer resources and all the other things that he needed, they go back and they essentially decode the traffic that they had been intercepting but had been unable to read. In other words, you can say the US did intercept the Japanese messages in November-December 1941, but couldn’t read them, or could only read a tiny part of them, compared to the British who were reading much more. So you’d say, well, if you had them, why didn’t you read them? Well, of course, you don’t have the book. You don’t have the code. Later on, with the same material, which has been archived, they come back and decode it. And then Stinnett arrives with his research and he takes these things and says “Aha! You see! They could read it.” Except the reading part may be dated 1944 or 1945 or 1946, certainly not 1941.
Well, he does cite evidence that they were reading at least some of it in 1941. But more importantly, they were intercepting it. His evidence that the Japanese fleet did not maintain radio silence is very strong. And through triangulation from just intercepting all those messages it appears they knew exactly where that fleet was.
No, I disagree. If you look at that chapter, he’s basically taking that Lure Line story. He’s building everything on that.
No he’s not. He’s got all sorts of other evidence. He’s got interviews from cryptographers from several different stations who all support the story, as well as documentary chains. You should go back and re-read it and look at his sources.
Fine. Kevin, the argument that I am making here is that Admiral Richmond K. Turner sat in the middle of this entire machine. And it is Admiral Richmond K. Turner, backed up by Stimson and Marshall on the Army side, who systematically sabotage the ability to put the picture together. Because he was essentially—he was not officially the head of the Office of Naval Intelligence, but in his capacity as the head of the Division of Plans, he had taken it over, through a kind of a palace coup, a bureaucratic end run. And he was blocking the intelligence picture. Stinnett assumes that everything that everything that happens in Washington is by direct personal order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Let’s get to that for a second. Remember the movie Pearl Harbor, the one with Charleton Heston? Maybe not Charleton Heston…
I hate to admit it, but I haven’t seen any of the Pearl Harbor movies, including the $150 million flop that came out right before 9/11, probably for propaganda purposes.
There’s one with E.G. Marshall, who plays Col. Rufus Bratton of Army Intelligence, Far Eastern Section. It’s actually a good movie. And then we have Commander Kramer, who also appears in this movie. And there’s a scene in the movie where they come in to the office—the Navy guy and the Army guy work together in the War Department—they come in and there’s a blackboard they’ve got secretly in a cupboard. A blackboard with a door on it, so they can close it and people can’t see. And it says, “Distribution List for MAGIC Intelligence.” And they open it up, and they have a list of names. I could give you the list. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s name has been taken off the list. And they actually discuss it. They say “wow! No more intelligence for the President? How is that going to work?” And they say, “High command feels that the people around Roosevelt are security risks and subversives.” So this is the usual pro-fascist argument, that they are communist agents. Roosevelt of course has back channels. He can’t go through the State Department, so he’s got to use back channels. So a lot of it is due to this. But based on the Rusbridger-Nave research, which I regard as authoritative, the Purple intelligence to Franklin D. Roosevelt was cut off from September 1940 to January 24 1941. That’s four months right there. And then again from May 1941 to the 12th of November 1941, for six months. So this is Purple, the Japanese diplomatic code. And instead the people that are on the list, half of them are from the secret government, the invisible government, starting with Col. Stimson, the Secretary of War; General Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff; Admiral Richmond K. Turner is on there. But not FDR. So the irony of Stinnett’s book is he accuses Roosevelt of denying the Navy intelligence. In reality, it’s the Navy that denies Roosevelt intelligence. And I believe it’s a pro-fascist extreme right wing faction who are drawn from precisely the social classes that hate Roosevelt—the monied elite, the money power, the economic royalists that Roosevelt had run against in 1936.
I’m still a little confused by the picture you’re painting. For instance we understand that immediately after Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt had conversations in which he displayed his uncertainty about whether this was going to be big enough to reverse the 88% antiwar public opinion and get the US in and allow a declaration of war. And that example, and many other examples, seem to make it clear that Roosevelt very much was interested in having the Japanese strike first.
If you look at what Roosevelt actually did, that can be documented: Roosevelt was looking for a clash with Hitler in the North Atlantic. And he wasn’t doing it gratuitously. He was doing it in with the idea that you don’t want to let the British go under. Whatever you think of the British, and certainly I’ve been very critical of them here, and will continue to be so, you don’t want to give up on the British Isles just because Sir Winston Churchill is the SOB we’ve been describing. So for that reason FDR had troops in Greenland, he had troops in Iceland, he had destroyers, he had shoot-on-sight, he was broadcasting the positions of German submarines. He was actively looking to have the war begin in the North Atlantic, because that was where he wanted the overwhelming majority of the effort done.
But he knew it would take a huge provocation to turn around American public opinion. Was he hoping for some Pearl Harbor type of event in the Atlantic?
He couldn’t exclude it. Now we’re getting into the area of pure psychology. But the idea that he wanted to begin in the Pacific with extravagant losses—those battleships, obsolete though the were, would all have been at the Normandy invasion, for example. They all would have been useful in a circumstance like that. And certainly Sir Winston Churchill knows it.
So there’s no recognition (in Stinnett) of the problem of fascism. And there’s no recognition of this problem of the invisible government. Once again, we know that the Morgan interests tried to organize an assassination of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 before he ever took office. This was the murder—it turned out to be the murder of the mayor of Chicago Chernak, in Florida. And then we have the Smedley Butler story of how the Morgan interests were trying to organize a coup, a Mussolini-style march on Rome march on Washington, with some man on horseback as a military leader. So he’s dealing with this.
Now you say public opinion. Who makes public opinion? Well, one of the most famous people was Charles Lindbergh. And what’s the story with him? He’s pro-Nazi. He got decorations from Hitler. Goering was his friend. It’s interesting, you know this guy Dr. Seuss who does The Cat in the Hat. He started out as a political cartoonist attacking Lindbergh for being essentially an apologist for Nazism and Nazi atrocities. So there’s a very large amount of America first, anti-intervention. And of course you can say World War I was a disaster. Of course it was. You can say you don’t want to go and die for the British again. And of course you don’t. That resonates with the Irish, the Germans, the Italians, and so forth. So you have to say, you can’t take public opinion as being some kind of cosmic or metaphysical thing. For example today, if I told you what US public opinion thinks about the Islamic world, would you think that was worth anything? I don’t think you would.
That’s because public opinion has been orchestrated through a Pearl Harbor style event. On September 11th 2001 a group of very wealthy people who control the American media staged the events of 9/11 in order to brainwash the American people into hating Muslims and embarking on a 100 years’ war against Islam. That’s why we need to understand how events like Pearl Harbor and 9/11 work to brainwash people into going to war and into hating and into killing.
But if you go back to the 1930s you’ll see the Chicago Tribune’s line is what? “Hitler’s not that bad, Stalin’s really bad.” The Hearst newspapers, same story. Scripps-Howard, same story. A lot of the national newspaper stains, were soft on fascism. Because again, the Roosevelt-hating reactionary Republican opposition, the direct ancestors of the people who today call themselves libertarians, like the Stinnett line of analysis, they had been putting out throughout the 1920s and 1930s that Mussolini was a wonderful guy, Hitler was a fascinating experiment, and that the real problem was those Bolsheviks in Moscow. And that Roosevelt was secretly a communist, a Jew of course, and whatever else they were going to put out. So you can’t assume that US public opinion is well-educated. That’s why you need political leadership.
That’s very true. But there is a side of public opinion in which people are not willing to engage in killing other people unless it’s an absolute emergency, and typically unless they feel personally threatened, that their community is threatened, and they’re acting defensively against an aggressor. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 are clear examples of propagandistic events designed to make people willing to go out and kill folks who do not personally threaten them.
No, they’re not. You’re mixing something real…it’s easy to make this comparison if you don’t know the historical context. But in the case of 9/11, you’re dealing with a group of psychotic patsies being maneuvered by intelligence agencies of the US government. They’re the dupes, the useful idiots. You can’t provoke the Japanese empire if it doesn’t want to be provoked. And there’s a debate in Japan…it’s interesting to see that Stinnett and these people don’t go into the Japanese diplomatic or political files. They don’t go into the memoirs of Hirohito or Prince Konoe or Tojo himself or admirals and say, oh, we were so angry when we saw the US fleet in Pearl Harbor, we had to attack. No! The debate going on in Japan was always, “we need to strike, are we going to strike north against the Soviets or south against the Anglo-Americans.” And again, a bunch of factors went into making that determination. And they’re not the ones that Stinnett says. It’s history done through a keyhole, ignoring all kinds of context. There’s nothing about the rape of Nanjing. There’s nothing about the obvious fact that, as we now see in history retrospectively, that Japan and Germany kept expanding until they ran up against a military barrier: the Red Army in one case, and the US forces in another. They pushed it as far as they could, given their logistics. And they didn’t stop until they were stopped. So the appeasement argument, which is the British argument and the libertarian argument, don’t hate the Japanese, don’t provoke them—provoke means, anything you do in self-defense. Anything you do for minimal preparedness. There was a debate about, were you allowed to fortify the islands you had in the Pacific? For example, were you allowed to fortify Wake Island and Midway? And the Republican position…Joe Martin, the Republican minority leader in the House of Representatives, said “no, we don’t to do that, because it might provoke the Japanese.” You get into a world where anything you do, even if it’s purely defensive, becomes a provocation to Japan. And I’m afraid that is a pro-fascist position.
Wait a minute, Webster. On that eight-point list that McCollum drew up to provoke the Japanese into striking first, one of them was, for instance, pop-up cruises right at the entrance to the Japanese inland sea! And they did that. Roosevelt ordered pop-up cruises with destroyers showing up right there—
As far as I can tell, the documentary evidence that this was done (shows) it was done about a week before Pearl Harbor. It was done in November…
I think it was done well before that.
No, it was done quite late in the day. Anyway…again, you can read General MacArthur’s memoirs. And this is authoritative. He’s a right-winger, but he’s in the anti-British faction, which is the determining thing. He says the Japanese empire is a powerful oligarchical force. If you let them attack you according to their timetable, you are going to be in very bad shape. You are likely to be destroyed. And this is what he does. The decision of MacArthur to attack Guadalcanal, he says it’s a military move that I really shouldn’t have done. But I had to knock them off-balance. I had to do something to interfere with this finely-tuned machine that they have, which is hierarchical and oligarchical and operates under strict orders. I had to knock them off-off-balance. I had to somehow do things that would be unpredictable, that would get them going. Again, the Doolittle Raid! The idea that the US could bomb Japan created a shock in the Japanese high command. And they said, okay, that’s it, we’ve got to do something. It’s time for the operation against Midway. You can get them to respond in that sense. But you can’t sit there and wait for them to attack you according to their plan.
So Webster, let me summarize your argument here. You’re saying that number one, they didn’t provoke Pearl Harbor and know it was coming. And number two, if they had, it would have been a good thing. That’s like the rape defendant who says, well, I didn’t do it, but she deserved it anyway.
That’s ridiculous, Kevin. I’m surprised at you, that you fall into this world. Because it is essentially a way of saying “we don’t know anything about history except sometimes there are conspiracies and there are false flags.” Whereas we know, there is a whole lot of history about this. And it’s a very grim picture for imperial Japan. As MacArthur writes, it’s closer to Sparta than anything in the modern world. And it’s dominated by ultra-reactionary Gumbatzu industrialists and Kempaitai secret police and so forth. This is a very, very ugly thing. And of course the atrocities are well known: ten million slaughtered in China. According to the Stinnett argument the US is supposed to say yes, you killed half a million people in Nanjing, take some more scrap. Take some more oil. Please let us not provoke you. We don’t want to disturb you. We’re not going to send any scout cruisers to see what you’re doing. We’re not going to occupy the British and Dutch bases in the Pacific, we’re going to let you have all of those, so that we’ll have to come back eventually and fight and have millions of dead. It absolutely makes no sense. It only makes sense if you first of all ignore what Japan was, and if you’ve got a huge anti-Roosevelt animus. Somehow projecting back the objections we generally share about the current state of US imperialism, what you’re doing is saying “right now the US is a force for significant evil in the world,” let’s put it that way. Yes it is, of course it is. But does that mean that it was always the worse thing it the world? In 1941 it was not.
If the Pearl Harbor deceit was as bad as Stinnett claims it was—
It was not.
But if it was, you could see Pearl Harbor as something that leads straight to 9/11: The 9/11-perp neocons say, “We’re worried about these enemies of Israel, basically. Let’s get the US into a fight against the enemies of Israel by making sure that they quote-unquote ‘attack’ us at a time that’s convenient to us, so why even wait for them to do the attacking? We’ll just do a sham attack and use that.” And all of this would be based on the Pearl Harbor precedent.
Kevin, you have to answer me: Is there an invisible government? And if so, what were they doing in 1940 and 1941? And what is the invisible government? The invisible government is a group of intelligence, military, and government officials who are loyal to this marriage of the City of London and Wall Street. It’s a Morgan-London influenced operation. Stimson is a raving anglophile. Stimson, of course, is the ego ideal of Bush the elder, and speaks at his graduation from Andover. General Marshall is the guy who cut off the arms to Chiang Kai-shek to ensure that Mao takes over China, because that was the British policy for China. And similarly for Admiral Richmond K. Turner. So I urge people to turn away from Stinnett, who is essentially a compendium of every threadbare discredited argument over fifty years, and instead read Betrayal at Pearl Harbor: How Churchill Lured Roosevelt into World War II by James Rusbridger and Eric Nave, and Days of Infamy by John Costello, who essentially comes to similar conclusions, and cites some pretty good literature.
[1] I wrote Questioning the War on Terrorin 2008. Since then, some of my views have changed; for example, I would no longer put Zbigniew Brzezinksi on the list of 9/11 suspects. See note 15 below.
[2] “Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, v. 1, ch. 10.”
[3] “Shadia Drury, Leo Strauss and the American Right (NY: St. Martin’s, 1997, 1999).
[4] “Bryan Sacks, “Making History: The Compromised 9/11 Commission.” In Zarembka, ed. The Hidden History of 9/11. NY: Seven Stories, 2008 (Elsevier, 2006).
[6] The Project for the New American Century, Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century(, 51.
[7] Robert Stinnett, Day of Deceit(NY: Free Press, 1999).”
[8] Brian Bogart, radio interview, “The Dynamic Duo,” December 27, 2006 (
[9] George Washington, Farewell Address (
[10] Joseph Gerson, Empire and the Bomb: How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World (London and Ann Arbor: Pluto Press, 2007).
[11] William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II(Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2004).
[12] Douglas Rushkoff, Coercion(NY: Penguin, 1999), 140.
[13] Rushkoff, 141.
[14] Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society (Boston, NY, Toronto, London: Little, Brown, 1995).
[15] Zbigniew Brzezinksi, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives(NY: Penguin, 1997), 25. Ron Unz has reminded me that Brzezinksi was a leading opponent of the neocon faction behind the Zionist-driven post-9/11 wars on Middle Eastern nations. Brzezinksi ‘s 2007 warning to the Senate of a potential “provocation” to lure the US into war on Iran made clear his opposition to the neocon pro-Israel agenda. Additionally, The Grand Chessboard is the manifesto of a pro-US-empire realist, not a pro-Israel neocon. Brzezinski may not only have been innocent of complicity in 9/11 (except public silence afterward), but even played a role in the insider pushback that put the “seven countries in five years” plan far behind schedule.
[16] Brzezinski, 211.
[18] Jack Shaheen, Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People(Northhampton, MA: Interlink, 2001).
[19] T.H. Meyer, Reality, Truth, and Evil (Forest Row, UK: Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), 7.
[20] Meyer, 68-69.
[21] Meyer, 39.
[22] Ibid.
[23] “David Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor, xi.”
[24] Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, and Bradley R. Larsen, “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe,” The Open Chemical Physics Journal, 2009, 2, 7-31 (
[25] Cited in Meyer, 38.
[26] Cited in Meyer, 68.