Friday, March 20, 2015

Threats against Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and others

News broke a few days ago that there were death threats called in last month against US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, as well as
the U.S. Consul General in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Alfred Magleby.
This official biography is all that I could find on Alfred Magleby in English. 

Today (March 20) they arrested
Mitsuyoshi Kamiya, 52, admitted to having made such calls thrice, threatening to bomb the embassy and a US military base in Okinawa prefecture between March 5 and 14, Xinhua reported citing Japan's Kyodo News.
The threats were called in bad English to 
"Bomb Camp Schwab (in Okinawa). Bomb embassy,"
Camp Schwab, a US military base on Okinawa, is the site to which an air station is set to be relocated.
The plan has attracted vociferous opposition from many islanders, who feel that hosting half of the 47,000 US military personnel in Japan is too heavy a burden.
Mired in protests for years, it is the focus of much of the friction between Okinawa, Japan's poorest prefecture, and the central government in Tokyo.
(Separately there were more biological weapon envelopes mailed to the White House this week NYT Intercept and Emptywheel writes about anthrax and Iraq War justification).  We also have the White House fence jumpers, White House lawn drone-flying NGIA agent and drunk Secret Service agents crashing the gates.

Appointed by Obama in November 2013 Ambassador Kennedy has faced some criticism in the past for
expressing concern about the traditional dolphin hunt in the Japanese town of Taiji, calling it inhumane. Under her tenure, the United States Embassy also criticized Mr. Abe for visiting a war shrine that other Asian countries view as a symbol of Japan’s imperialist past.
Besides some talk of blackmail against Ambassador Kennedy, many are comparing it correctly I think to last month's attack against US Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert
Mr. Kim claimed he attacked Mr. Lippert to protest the annual joint military exercises the United States began with the South Korean military this week. He said the exercises raised tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula, hindering inter-Korean dialogue and efforts for reunification of the two Koreas.
Daily Beast reporter Jake Adelstein asks whether Yazuka, the Japanese right-wing mafia is behind the attack
A police officer on background said that among many suspects they were looking at several right-wing groups in Japan backed by the yakuza, Japan’s omnipresent mafia. One group high on the lists of suspects is Daikosha, the political arm of the Inagawa-kai, Japan’s third largest yakuza organization. According to the U.S. Treasury Departement, “under the leadership of Jiro Kiyota (the supreme leader) and Kazuya Uchibori (the chairman of the board), the Inagawa-kai has become increasingly aligned with the (Japan’s largest yakuza organization) the Yamaguchi-gumi.”
Ironically, Daikosha is considered loosely connected to the Abe administration, including Hakubun Shimomura, Japan’s Minister of Education, via its supporters and members. Mr. Shimomura is in trouble for accepting a number of dubious political donations via unofficial political support groups, one of them led by an associate of the Yamaguchi-gumi. Shimomura also allegedly received cash payment from the yakuza associate as well.
Daikosha has recently been protesting and demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Abe and the repeal of the organized crime control ordinances. They have staged protests near the U.S. embassy several times.
According to several issues of the Daikosha 2012 publication, Taiko, the special advisor to the group is Kazuya Uchibori, the chairman of the Inagawa-kai, who was designated an enemy of the U.S. government by the Department of Treasury in January of 2013.

U.S. law enforcement officials at the embassy are not allowed to carry firearms, the police say. According to some police sources, this is not the first time that threats have been made to the Ambassador. There was a flurry of them when Ambassador Kennedy tweeted her disapproval of the annual dolphin culling in Taiji.
These kinds of cases aren't unprecedented. In September of 2011, the Tokyo Police arrested a Yamaguchi-gumi-backed right-winger, age 46, for sending a bullet to the Russian embassy with a menacing note and threatening the ambassador and embassy staff. He was angry over Russian refusal to return the northern territories to Japan. However, Japan's right wing has traditionally shown some deference to the U.S.

North Korea asked the US and South Korea to cancel the annual military drills in exchange for suspending nuclear tests, and when they told North Korea "no" North Korea fired two protest missiles into the sea
North Korea fired two short-range missiles into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan on Monday morning, registering its displeasure with the start of annual military exercises between South Korea and the United States.
After offering to suspend nuclear tests if the United States and South Korea canceled the drills, Pyongyang has reverted saber rattling, threatening “merciless strikes” just hours before the missiles were launched.
North Korea fired the two missiles, thought to be Scud-C or Scud-D types, from the western coastal city of Nampo, about 300 miles over the peninsula and into the sea off its east coast
They were launched as South Korea and the United States began military exercises to practice to coordinate their response to the North Korean threat: The two-week-long computer-simulated Key Resolve drill, and the Foal Eagle field exercises, which will continue through April 24.
North Korea has protested the drills year after year, calling them a “dress rehearsal” for an invasion.
“Key Resolve and Foal Eagle are an undisguised encroachment upon the sovereignty and dignity of the DPRK and an unpardonable war hysteria of dishonest hostile forces,” the general staff of the North Korean People’s Army said in a statement issued before the launches Monday.
South Korea and Japan sharply criticized North Korea’s actions.
“Its menacing words and deeds are a very grave challenge to the security of the Korean peninsula and firing ballistic missiles is in violation of the United Nations’ resolutions,” Kim Min-seok, a spokesman for the South’s defense ministry, told reporters in Seoul.
“Our military squarely warns the North against its reckless provocations and will respond in a stern and strong manner based upon a staunch combined defense posture,” he said, according to the Yonhap News Agency.
Shinzo Abe’s government in Tokyo also said it would lodge a strong protest with North Korea.
Earlier this year, North Korea said it was willing to suspend nuclear tests if the United States and South Korea canceled the annual military drills, but the State Department dismissed the offer, calling it “an implicit threat.”
Both South Korea and Japan host several US military bases. (along with a long list around the world).
There have been accusations of sexual abuse and rape by US servicemen in Japan going back to 1995, and the US has been in Japan since the end of World War 2.

Recently in the Philippines there are reports that there were Americans at a botched raid in January
U.S. counterterrorism personnel played a hidden but key role in a bungled commando operation in the Philippines that resulted in dozens of deaths and a political scandal, according to a government investigation released Tuesday in Manila.
The botched raid is creating a political crisis in Manilla as FBI hunted a most wanted fugitive.

Additionally there is a trial against a soldier accused of killing a transgender woman named Jennifer Laude.
The US military has had an enduring presence in its former colony since the Philippines gained independence in 1946.
Military exercises involving thousands of US soldiers take place each year, with a new agreement signed a year ago allowing a greater US troop presence in the country -- part of US President Barack Obama's so-called pivot to Asia.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino had courted a greater US presence in an effort to counter perceived rising Chinese aggression in a long-running territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
BBC report on US and Korean war exercises

Threats against our diplomats abroad are not isolated incidents for no reason, but instead are a direct response to our imperialistic military presence in these countries.

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