31 May 2005

GooglePrint and Extract Quote Policy

The New York Times of 25 May 2005 carried a story expressing the concerns of certain publishers about Googleprint's plans to index and excerpt from works under copyright.
How long is a snippet? That is one of more than a dozen questions directed at Google Inc. this week by the executive director of the Association of American University Presses, the trade group representing university presses. At issue is whether Google Print for Libraries, the company's plan to digitize the collections of some of the country's major university libraries, infringes the copyrights of the authors of many books in those collections. The program will allow users to search the contents of books, displaying context-specific "snippets" of the texts of copyrighted works.
Well, similar questions apply to Far Outliers, now Kotaji, and other blogs that frequently publish excerpts from printed sources. So it seems appropriate to issue a statement about the policies of this blog with regard to excerpting from printed sources under copyright.

1. Far Outliers is strictly a noncommercial enterprise. I accept neither cash donations nor paid advertising. I earn no revenue and incur no cash expenses, other than the not inconsiderable cost of buying printed books. I buy and read a lot of books, many--if not most--of them from university presses.

2. I try to extract and post stand-alone vignettes that capture passing insights of larger works, many of which have to do with the stated theme of this blog. In other cases, I try to quote passages that add a degree of arms-length historical or extraregional perspective to current debates in the blogosphere.

3. I try to limit my excerpts to the equivalent of about 1 printed page per chapter. If too much of one chapter proves irresistible, I force myself to skip other chapters. I also try to quote much less from brand new titles than from older works.

4. For each extract quote, I provide a full bibliographical citation and include a link to either the publisher's website (especially in the case of university presses) or to an online bookseller that carries the book. If the author has an informative website, I'll often link to that, too. Most larger commercial presses do not sell from their own websites, but university presses often do because they publish such a large number of titles with such meager marketing budgets that they have a much harder time promoting their obscure and offbeat titles, which are often the ones that tend to capture my fancy. In short, I encourage my blog readers to purchase the books I find quotable.

5. If any publishers feel I have overstepped the bounds of fair use, they have only to email me and I will forthwith remove all citations of their works. But I would hope that most publishers recognize some promotional value in my citations from their works.

The Guardian's Bolshevist Scoop, November 1917

Few correspondents witnessed [the] momentous events [of the Bolshevik Revolution], and even fewer understood enough of what was happening to appreciate their significance. High among these few stand the American journalist and poet John Reed, correspondent for The Masses, a radical liberal publication in the United States, who had been in Petrograd since August, and Morgan Philips Price, the Manchester Guardian's correspondent. Reed later became a founder of the Communist Party of America, and his sympathies from the beginning were with the Bolsheviks. But he saw the Revolution with the clear eye of a good and conscientious reporter, and his description of the events in Petrograd in November 1917 is unequalled. Reed, Philips Price, and Arthur Ransome of the London Daily News were the only Western correspondents allowed into the Bolshevik headquarters in the Smolny Institute* ....

The Bolshevik Revolution might have taken newspapers by surprise, but they recovered quickly. Since they lacked the knowledge that Reed, Philips Price, and Ransome had acquired, they were able to state categorically that the Bolsheviks would not survive. This--and abuse of the Bolshevik leaders--was the theme of all the dispatches and comment in the days following the Revolution. David Soskice, the man the Manchester Guardian had sent to check on Philips Price's accuracy, had fled from the Winter Palace across the frontier to Finland. The Guardian ran his dispatches, even though they directly contradicted those from his colleague. "The Bolsheviks must fall," Soskice wrote from Oslo on November 24. The Times as early as November 12 had Lenin losing control. The Observer was certain that Bolshevism would soon perish, and the Daily News felt that all Bolsheviks were doomed, thus ignoring the opinion of its man-on-the-spot, Arthur Ransome, one of the few voices of accuracy and reason in the hysteria, who wrote: "It is folly to deny the actual fact that the Bolsheviks do hold a majority of the politically-active population."

The newspaper reader in the United States, like his counterpart in Britain, could have been forgiven for believing that it was only a matter of days before the Bolsheviks were overthrown. The insistent theme of Russian news in the New York Times was that the Bolsheviks could last for only a moment. In the next two years this belief was faithfully fostered. Four times Lenin and Trotsky were planning flight, three times they had already fled; twice Lenin was planning retirement, once he had been killed, and three times he was in prison.

One of the main reasons for the gross misinformation that these reports spread was a growing apprehension as to the nature of Bolshevism, which encouraged wishful thinking about its early demise. As details of Lenin's new social order filtered through to the West, the first signs appeared of the strong anti-Bolshevik sentiment that was soon to become fanatical. It was bad enough for the landed gentry of Britain and France that the Bolsheviks had overthrown their betters in Russia; it was terrifying that they now spoke of spreading this appalling political dogma throughout Europe and perhaps the rest of the world. So when the delegates at the Soviet Congress spoke of "the coming world revolution, of which we are the advance-guard," The Times responded with an editorial saying, "The remedy for Bolshevism is bullets," and The Times' readers began to regard the Bolsheviks as a gang of murderers, thieves, and blasphemers whom it was almost a sacred duty to destroy as vermin.

This was confirmed by the Russian release of all the secret treaties negotiated between the Czarist regime and the Allies. Philips Price scooped the world here by calling on Trotsky and asking if he could print the treaties in the Guardian. Trotsky could not see Philips Price, but sent his secretary [whom Ransome later married] out with a bundle of documents and a message that he could borrow them overnight. A quick look convinced Philips Price that he had the original treaties and that they were political dynamite. There was an agreement giving France a free hand in western Europe on condition that Russia had a similar free hand in Poland; there was a cynical bribe for Rumania, if she would enter the war, by the offer of the Banat with its Yugoslavs, the Bukovina with its Ukrainian population, and Transylvania with its Magyars; there was an agreement splitting Persia between Britain and Russia; and, finally, there was the infamous Sykes-Picot agreement, dividing much of the Arab world among the Allies.** Philips Price translated the documents, working through the night, and then telegraphed them in four or five dispatches to the Manchester Guardian, in which they were published in some detail at the end of November.

Compare the Guardian's treatment of what was without doubt a major story with the attitude of The Times. The Times received a summary of the treaties from J. D. Bourchier, its Balkans man, who had stopped in Petrograd on his way to Japan. It published the summary, but made the amazing decision "not to inconvenience the British, French and Italian Governments, and to maintain silence about the Secret Treaties; also, as far as possible, to curtail its Petrograd correspondent's despatches on the subject... As the governments themselves were bound by the Treaties to be silent, The Times decided it could only follow their example."
SOURCE: The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-maker from the Crimea to Kosovo, by Phillip Knightley, with an introduction by John Pilger (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2000; first published in 1975), pp. 158-161

* Reed "joined a Soviet propaganda bureau" (p. 163); Philips Price worked "as a translator in the Bolshevist Foreign Office" (p. 167).
It is true, as Philips Price has readily admitted, that by now he was no longer completely objective and that Marxist jargon had crept into his writing. "It was a pity, but understandable. I was young and impressionable and it was natural that I should start to write as I heard Lenin and Trotsky speak. If I could have kept the old Manchester Guardian objectivity, then my dispatches would have had more influence." [p. 168]
Ransome "returned to Britain in April 1918"; authored The Crisis in Russia, "a full defence of the Revolution" (and also wrote numerous children's stories); "contributed extensively to the Manchester Guardian"; and "married Trotsky's secretary, Eugenia Shelepin" (pp. 163, 183).

** "The release of the latter agreement caused Britain great embarrassment, since she had already promised the Arabs independence in return for raising the Arab Revolt. T. E. Lawrence had to try to explain to the Arabs why the British had double-crossed them." (p. 161)

30 May 2005

Conscientious Objectors Who Won Medals of Honor

At least two U.S. soldiers awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor have been conscientious objectors: Desmond T. Doss of Newport News, Virginia, during World War II; and Tom Bennett of Morgantown, West Virginia, during the Vietnam War. Both served as combat medics.

World War II
Desmond T. Doss seemed an unlikely candidate to become a war hero. As a devout member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, he would not drill or train on Saturday because his church recognizes it as their Sabbath Day. He would not carry a gun because he believed all killing was wrong. He wouldn't even eat meat after seeing a chicken flopping around with its head cut off....

Prior to the time World War II had broken out Doss had been working as a joiner at a shipyard in Newport News, Virginia. This was considered an essential industry to the military so he had no worries of being drafted. He had begun dating Dorothy Schutte and they had fallen in love, but they decided that they should wait until after the war to get married. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, he knew he would be drafted if he did not enlist, so that is exactly what he chose to do.

His minister went with him to establish his status as a non-combatant. The officer in charge told him there was no such thing, but that he could register as a conscientious objector. Doss said he wasn’t a conscientious objector because he would gladly serve his country, wear a uniform, salute the flag, and help with the war effort. He would gladly help tend sick or hurt people any day. Finally he was convinced to accept the 1-A-O Conscientious Objector classification, so he could join the army without fear of court martial....

On April 1, 1942 he was inducted into the U.S. Army and headed to Ft. Jackson in South Carolina for basic training.... 23-year-old Desmond Doss entered service as a medic for the 77th Infantry Division. From the beginning, the other men in his company made fun of Doss for his beliefs. Even though he worked long, hard hours to make up for not working on Saturday, the men cursed, ridiculed, and taunted him....

In July of 1944 on the island of Guam Doss began to prove his courage and compassion for the very men who had taunted, belittled, and even threatened him.... By now, his fellow soldiers were used to his reading the Bible and praying, so it didn't seem unusual when, on that April 29th morning in 1945, he suggested that they might want to pray. They were facing a sheer 400-foot cliff that split the island of Okinawa known as the Maeda Escarpment....

However on May 5th the tide turned against the Americans as the Japanese launched a huge counterattack. Enemy fire raked Company B and almost immediately 75 men fell wounded. The remaining troops who were able to flee, retreated back down to the base of the escarpment. Left at the top of the cliff were the wounded, the Japanese, and Desmond T. Doss.

For the next five hours, while his wounded comrades fought back their attackers, Doss began to lower man after man to safety down the face of the cliff using little more than a tree stump and a rope. Doss said that he just kept praying that the Lord would let him rescue one more man. No one knows for sure how many men Doss lowered to safety that day. The Army determined that this medic, whom no one had wanted in the Army, had personally saved 100 lives....

On October 12, 1945, Desmond Doss was invited to the White House to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for his brave service on May 5, 1945 - the first noncombatant to ever receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. He would spend a total of six years in hospitals as a consequence of his wounds and a bout with tuberculosis.... Incidentally, May 5, 1945 was a Saturday, Doss’ Sabbath day.
Vietnam
The Vietnam War presented many young men with a moral dilemma as they became subject to the draft in the late 1960s. These were men whose deep-seated religious convictions held that killing was wrong, even in war. At the same time, a number of them also possessed a strong sense of patriotism and felt that service to one's country was a vital duty. One youngster torn by those conflicting values was Thomas W. Bennett of Morgantown, West Virginia.

By Christmas 1967, Bennett was on academic probation at West Virginia University because of poor grades. He didn't lack the mental acumen to do college-level work. Bennett earned high grades whenever he applied himself -- but he applied himself more vigorously to extracurricular campus activities than to his classes.... His main focus was the Campus Ecumenical Council he'd helped found in his freshman year.

Tom Bennett saw himself as a moderator. Though raised as a Southern Baptist, he openly embraced the validity of all religions -- hence his activities in the ecumenical council. He wanted devotees of different religions to share their similarities rather than face off over their differences. To learn more about different religions, he began attending services of different faiths, visiting some churches so often that parishioners thought he was one of them. Through these experiences his belief in the sanctity of human life solidified -- a frequent theme when he preached at his own church....

But Bennett was torn by other allegiances. His stepfather, Kermit Gray, a World War II Navy veteran, had raised him to believe in patriotism and to be ready to fight for his country if necessary. By late 1967 a number of young Bennett's friends had already entered the service.... Bennett reported for induction on July 11, 1968. Under the Army's program, he and the other conscientious objectors would take their weaponless basic training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, then attend the field medical school there. It was a perfect compromise for Bennett, the moderator....

On January 12 he learned he was going to the 4th Infantry Division in the Central Highlands. Ten days later he joined Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, at FSB Charmayne, deep in the thick jungles of the Central Highlands....

On April 7, 1970, Tom Bennett's 23rd birthday, President Richard M. Nixon presented his posthumous Medal of Honor to his mother and stepfather. When first notified of the award, Bennett's mother had considered refusing it, her way of protesting the war and the senseless loss of her son. But then her husband spoke up, "No. It was the boys in his outfit that put him in for it. They wanted him to have it."

Thus Thomas W. Bennett became the only conscientious objector to earn the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War, and only the second in history to be so recognized. The first was Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist who was cited for his heroism on Okinawa in World War II.

New Bombings in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

Macam-Macam comments on a new round of bombings in the largely Christian town of Tentana on Lake Poso in Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia.
Indonesia's aspirations to political stability received a body blow as two bombs ripped through a busy Saturday morning market in the town of Tentana, central Sulawesi, killing at least 19 people and wounding many others. This part of Sulawesi island has been recovering slowly from major inter-communal violence in 2000. Whether these attacks mark the start of a new phase of hostilities remains to be seen.

Sulawesi is unique among Indonesia's major islands in that Muslims and Christians are more or less evenly numbered, though their distribution is highly uneven. The south is predominantly Muslim, the north predominantly Christian, and the centre, a chequerboard of Muslim and Christian groups and communities.
PreventConflict.org provides more background.
The trigger of the conflict emerged in the shadow of Suharto's resignation as Indonesia's President in 1998. As a matter of social convention, the custom in Poso over the past many years was for the bupati (local governor) to alternate between Christian and Muslim office-holders. In this way, the special favors that naturally sprang from political office were somewhat diffused between the two communities. Apparently seizing the transitional tone of the day, then-bupati Arif Patanga, a Muslim, proposed that one of his family members succeed him instead of a Christian.

At around the same time, in what is referred to as the first stage in the Poso conflict, Muslims launched an attack on Christians in Poso, following a brawl between a Christian and Muslim youth. Muslims began to burn down churches and Christian homes, culminating in the second phase of the Poso conflict in April 2000 in which hundreds of Christian homes were destroyed, and many were killed.

The third phase began in May 2000, when the retaliation began in earnest as Christian "ninjas" terrorized and tortured Poso Muslims. Calling themselves "Black Bat" raiders, the Christians attacked Muslim villages. Illustrative is the case of Sintuwulemba, a Muslim village in which a large percentage of the men disappeared or were killed. It is estimated that 300 people were killed although authorities have claimed that it is difficult to produce definitive numbers of the deaths, as the bodies of many victims have supposedly floated out to sea under cover of darkness by way of the Poso River.

In August 2000, the governors of the four Sulawesi provinces declared a truce in the Christian stronghold of Tentena, Pamona Utara subdistrict. Then, in April 2000 the Palu local district court ruled that three Christians who had been accused of involvement in the previous year's violence would be put to death. Many Christians felt that the death sentence was unjust and biased, considering that no Muslims had been tried for violence that occurred in the first two phases of the conflict. Following the sentencing, there was a resurgence of violence in Central Sulawesi.

In late November 2001, the Muslim-Christian fighting flared up once again, spurred on by the introduction of thousands of Laskar Jihad members in Poso, armed Muslim gangs attacked and burned Christian villages around Poso. An estimated 15,000 Christians had fled from the attacks by early December.

Molokans in Armenia and a New Mongolia Blog

The invaluable Siberian Light notes a couple of far-outposts: a report on Molokans, Russian Old Believers in Armenia, and a link to a new blog from Mongolia.

28 May 2005

Freakonomics of Sumo

The incentive scheme that rules sumo is intricate and extraordinarily powerful. Each wrestler maintains a ranking that affects every slice of his life: how much money he makes, how large an entourage he carries, how much he gets to eat, sleep, and otherwise take advantage of his success. The sixty-six highest-ranked wrestlers in Japan, comprising the makuuchi and juryo divisions, make up the sumo elite. A wrestler near the top of this elite pyramid may earn millions and is treated like royalty. Any wrestler in the top forty earns at least $170,000 a year. The seventieth-ranked wrestler in Japan, meanwhile, earns only $15,000 a year. Life isn't very sweet outside the elite. Low-ranked wrestlers must tend to their superiors, preparing their meals and cleaning their quarters and even soaping up their hardest-to-reach body parts. So ranking is everything.

A wrestler's ranking is based on his performance in the elite tournaments that are held six times a year. Each wrestler has fifteen bouts per tournament, one per day over fifteen consecutive days. If he finishes the tournament with a winning record (eight victories or better), his ranking will rise. If he has a losing record, his ranking falls. If it falls far enough, he is booted from the elite rank entirely. The eighth victory in any tournament is therefore critical, the difference between promotion and demotion; it is roughly four times as valuable in the rankings as the typical victory.

So a wrestler entering the final day of a tournament on the bubble, with a 7-7 record, has far more to gain from a victory than an opponent with a record of 8-6 has to lose.
SOURCE: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, pp. 40-44

Levitt compiles statistics that very strongly suggest that better opponents who have winning records (8-6 or 9-5) but are not in contention on the final day must have powerful (hidden) incentives to throw their bouts in order to give the 7-7 rikishi winning records of 8-7.

So, I thought I'd test that prediction against the recently completed Natsu Basho. Sure enough, on Day 14, there were 5 low-ranking (M = maegashira) rikishi with records of 7-7. And on the final day, as Freakonomics would predict, every single one of them ended up with a winning record of 8-7:
  • Miyabiyama (M3) over Tamanoshima (M1, 5-10);
  • Hokutoriki (M6) over Buyuzan (M12, 6-9);
  • Kotonowaka (M8) over Kyokutenho (M3, 6-9);
  • Aminishiki (M11) over Takekaze (M15, 9-6);
  • Tokitenku (M15) over Asasekiryu (M8, 8-7).
Chances are better than even that any 7-7 rikishi will beat any rikishi with a losing record, as in the first three bouts listed. Only the last two bouts conform to the statistical pattern of Freakonomics, where 7-7 wrestlers have a record of beating 8-6 wrestlers 80% of the time on the final day, and 9-6 wrestlers almost 75% of the time on the last day, when their predicted odds would be a little under 50%.

But another factor enters into the bouts listed above. In every case except Hokutoriki (M6) over Buyuzan (M12), either a lower-ranking rikishi upset a higher-ranking one, or a rikishi with a worse record upset one with a better record. Relative rank isn't covered by Freakonomics. But the possibility of corruption is.
Several years ago, two former sumo wrestlers came forward with extensive allegations of match rigging--and more. Aside from the crooked matches, they said, sumo was rife with drug use and sexcapades, bribes and tax evasion, and close ties to the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The two men began to receive threatening phone calls; one of them told friends he was afraid he would be killed by the yakuza. Still, they went forward with plans to hold a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo. But shortly beforehand, the two men died--hours apart, in the same hospital, of a similar respiratory ailment. The police declared there had been no foul play but did not conduct an investigation. "It seems very strange for these two people to die on the same day at the same hospital," said Mitsuru Miyake, the editor of a sumo magazine. "But no one has seen them poisoned, so you can't prove the skepticism."

Whether or not their deaths were intentional, these two men had done what no other sumo insider had previously done: named names. Of the 281 wrestlers covered in the data cited above, they identified 29 crooked wrestlers and 11 who were said to be incorruptible.

What happens when the whistle-blowers' corroborating evidence is factored into the analysis of the match data? In matches between two supposedly corrupt wrestlers, the wrestler who was on the bubble won about 80 percent of the time. In bubble matches against a supposedly clean opponent, meanwhile, the bubble wrestler was no more likely to win than his record would predict. Furthermore, when a supposedly corrupt wrestler faced an opponent whom the whistle-blowers did not name as either corrupt or clean, the results were nearly as skewed as when two corrupt wrestlers met--suggesting that most wrestlers who weren't specifically named were also corrupt.
For more on Freakonomics, see the authors' blog, and the Stephen Levitt seminar hosted at Crooked Timber.

UPDATE: Tom of That's News to Me, who's far more conversant about sumo than I am (and who's just finishing up law school at the U. of Chicago), left an interesting comment:
I think there are a couple reasons Levitt doesn't mention that can help explain what's going on. First off, it could just be something as simple as comparative advantage; if the 7-7 rikishi has a strong tachiai, then match him up on Day 15 with someone who's not very good at tachiai defense. Second, I don't know that he gets the individual incentives quite right; the biggest marginal difference on Day 15 is a shot at the yusho or not, but that's relatively uncommon. The biggest recurring marginal difference is that between 8-7 and 7-8, so in a world strongly controlled by shared norms, we would expect to see something like this take place pretty consistently even without any other contact between the parties. Personally, I think this reason is alone in and of itself sufficient to explain everything we see that's going on, at least w/r/t 7-7's on Day 15. The sophisticated question, I think, is how much the Kyokai discounts the effects of the 8-7, W on Day 15 in doing the rankings, and, maybe more importantly, of the rikishi who took a dive to finish at 5-10 instead of maybe 6-9, and how he did relative to other 6-9's/5-10's.

27 May 2005

Two More Japanese Holdouts in the Philippines?

This BBC report explains why I've been getting so many search engine referrals to my blogpost last August about Japanese holdouts in the Philippines.
Japanese officials are investigating claims that two men living in jungle in the Philippines are Japanese soldiers left behind after World War II.

The pair, in their 80s, were reportedly found on southern Mindanao island.

The men were expected to travel to meet Japanese officials on Friday, but have yet to make contact.

The claim drew comparisons with the 1974 case of Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, who was found in the Philippines jungle unaware the war had ended.
The Australian carries an update:
Kyodo News agency, citing Japanese Government sources, identified the two men as Yoshio Yamakawa, 87, and Tsuzuki Nakauchi, 85.

The Sankei Shimbun daily said the men were believed to belong to the "panther division".

About 80 per cent of the division's members died or went missing while battling US forces.
And the Japan Times adds an update on reactions by relatives in Japan.
News that two Japanese Imperial Army soldiers were found living in a Philippine jungle evoked both surprise and joy Friday in Japan.

"I was surprised, because I had heard he died in the war," said Wakako Nakauchi, sister-in-law of Tsuzuki Nakauchi, who belonged to the army's 30th Division.

Her husband, Nakauchi's younger brother, died several years ago.

"His mother and brother would certainly have been happy to hear the news if they were still alive," said the 75-year-old Wakako, who lives in Nakauchi's hometown in Ochi, Kochi Prefecture.

The other Japanese who was reported alive on Mindanao Island, Yoshio Yamakawa, had a younger brother who died in April in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture [where the recent, deadly JR train wreck occurred].

Seiichi Tsurumaki, a shop owner in Amagasaki who knew Yamakawa's brother for more than 60 years, said: "(The brother) used to tell me that his older brother fought and died in the Philippines. Had (Yamakawa) been found a little bit earlier, he would have been able to see his brother."

Goichi Ichikawa, chairman of a group of 30th Division veterans, expressed joy over the news at his home in Higashi-Osaka, Osaka Prefecture.

"I am glad that they were able to survive for 60 years," said Ichikawa, 89, who has been working to bring Imperial army soldiers back to Japan.

In February, Ichikawa mailed a petition to Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Hidehisa Otsuji, saying he had obtained reliable information that three Japanese men -- including Yamakawa and Nakauchi -- were living in the mountains on Mindanao.
The Japan Times report has been updated. Here are some new bits of information:
According to the Defense Agency, the 30th Division was originally formed in 1943 on the Korean Peninsula -- then under Japan's colonial rule -- and was trained to prepare for war with the Soviet Union. But they were eventually deployed to the southern front and landed on Mindanao in 1944 to battle U.S. forces....

Yoshihiko Terashima, 85, said, "We have filed a petition (for investigations) but the government has taken no action." He said he first received information from a local contact last August about Japanese soldiers possibly still on Mindanao.

When he visited the island in December, he received information that Nakauchi, Yamakawa and two other soldiers still lived on the island....

After the war, Sakurai reportedly provided medical service to local residents at their request, he said.

They are all aware that Japan was defeated, but are afraid of being punished as deserters, Terashima said, adding he heard there are at least 20 more surviving Japanese soldiers in the area.
Frog in a Well has more links and historical context.

UPDATE, 30 May: Doubts about the story are beginning to surface.

Kitchener vs. Churchill in the Sudan, 1898-99

Sir Herbert (later Lord) Kitchener, sirdar of the Egyptian army, advancing against the Dervishes in the Sudan to avenge the death of General Gordon, did his utmost to hamper correspondents in every way he could. He particularly disliked Winston Churchill, who had pulled every string available to him to see action in the Sudan and thus advance his army career. Churchill eventually managed to get there by persuading the War Office to allow him to go out as a supernumerary lieutenant at his own expense. Kitchener was much annoyed, and it is hard to believe that, as Churchill tells it, when Kitchener learned that Churchill proposed to finance his campaign by writing for the Morning Post "he simply shrugged his shoulders and passed on to what were after all matters of greater concern." Kitchener's tactics were to make the twenty-six correspondents with him run exactly the same risks as his soldiers, to limit their telegraphic facilities to 200 words a day, and to give them no help, no briefings, no guidance, and little courtesy. It was not surprising that they hated him, and his disdain for them was behind what was to happen over war news at the outbreak of the First World War.
SOURCE: The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-maker from the Crimea to Kosovo, by Phillip Knightley (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2000; first published in 1975), pp. 56-57

26 May 2005

Reporting from the Sino-Japanese War, 1894

[James] Creelman, a Canadian by birth, had reported the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and the capture of Port Arthur, perhaps his most famous piece. It is a textbook sample of vivid, concise reporting, forced on Creelman by communication difficulties. He was later able to elaborate his short cable, but the first account, on December 11, 1894, stands on its own.
The Japanese troops entered Port Arthur on November 21 and massacred practically the entire population in cold blood. The defenseless and unarmed inhabitants were butchered in their houses and their bodies were unspeakably mutilated. There was an unrestrained reign of murder which continued for three days. The whole town was plundered with appalling atrocities. It was the first stain upon Japanese civilisation. The Japanese in this instance relapsed into barbarism. All pretense that circumstances justified the atrocities are false.
The civilized world will be horrified by the details. The foreign correspondents, horrified by the spectacle, left the army in a body. The Japanese had offered Creelman a bribe to tone down his story, but he refused it. American public opinion, until then friendly to Japan, changed overnight.
SOURCE: The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-maker from the Crimea to Kosovo, by Phillip Knightley (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2000; first published in 1975), pp. 60-61

Politics vs. Economics of China, Japan, U.S.

Japundit contributor Ampontan blogs a story by Richard Halloran about a spreading backlash in Japan toward the steady barrage of criticism from both China and the two Koreas.
Journalist Richard Halloran spent 10 days in Japan talking to government officials, diplomats, business executives, military officers, scholars, journalists, and private citizens, and came away with a conclusion that really should surprise no one at all. If the recent anti-Japanese protests in China and South Korea were intended to influence Japanese attitudes and behavior, he notes in this article in the Japan Times, they succeeded—by hardening Japanese attitudes against both those countries.
Halloran also notes:
The Chinese rallies, during which the police did not intervene, were intended to drive a wedge between Japan and the U.S. Instead, said another Japanese diplomat: "We must do everything we can to strengthen our alliance with the United States."

China's actions were intended to dissuade Japan from building up its armed forces and becoming a "normal nation." Instead, they have accelerated moves to revise the famed Article 9 of the Constitution, the "no-war clause" that forbids Japan from using military power.
Meanwhile, Sanford M. Jacoby, a professor of management and public policy at UCLA, offers a rather different, purely economic perspective in the Chicago Tribune (via RealClearPolitics).
For the last three years, the Japanese economy has been growing faster than at any time since the "bubble" of the late 1980s. Recovery started in 2002, slowed last year, and is on track again this year. Consumer spending is strong; employment conditions are improving throughout the economy. Toyota recently announced a plan to hire more than 3,000 people, the first time in 14 years that it has hired that many new employees.

Trade with China is one reason that the news out of Japan these days is positive. Last year China displaced the United States as Japan's major trading partner. Japan has the advantage over U.S. and European manufacturers of proximity to the booming Chinese market. Another reason is that Japan has finally found the right set of policies to clean up its banking mess....

So Japan is back, this time with China, another country whose institutions are different from ours. Despite recent anti-Japanese riots, the future will bring China and Japan closer: Japan has technology; China has resources and skilled labor. As its Asian ties keep spreading (most recently to India), Japan has less incentive to placate American interests, whether in Washington or on Wall Street.

Reporting from Mosul, 2005

Michael Yon, a journalist embedded with the U.S. military in Mosul, blogs his own take on war reporting as a business.
The media is an industry; but their business is not to report news. The industry needs a captive audience to beat the bottom line. The product is advertisement.

This is not a right or wrong. It's just a business concept for moving merchandise, and every profession or industry has one. Doctors, soldiers, preachers, lawyers, journalists: everyone needs to earn a living. Only a reclusive holy man might argue otherwise, but most holy men also expect alms.

There are probably many reasons why violent acts get more attention than do acts of kindness. All of these reasons fit somewhere under the heading of human nature. Any person rummaging around in his or her own head while asking the simple question, "What do I find interesting?" is bound to find a few garish relics. Sex and someone else's bad news will sell.

Finding or generating news can be costly. A good businessperson buys cheap, sells high. These points are obvious, but less conspicuous is how the media squeezes news cheaply from Iraq....

From a media executive's perspective, where the CFO can occupy the same tier on the organizational chart as the managing editor, the math is easy: send a dozen journalists to Iraq, or hire one cheaply to live in Baghdad. The media gets a bargain rate on instant credibility from their "embedded journalist in the heart of the Sunni Triangle," who spends a few minutes a day paraphrasing media releases, then heads downstairs for a beer at the hotel bar.
And now, for the rest of the story....

25 May 2005

Reporting from the American Civil War

Like many other aspects of the Civil War, its war correspondents have been romanticised into legend....

The legend conveniently overlooks the fact that the majority of the Northern correspondents were ignorant, dishonest, and unethical; that the dispatches they wrote were frequently inaccurate, often invented, partisan, and inflammatory. Edwin Godkin [of the London Daily News] wrote of his American colleagues: "Their communications are what you might expect from men of this stamp--a series of wild ravings about the roaring of the guns and the whizzing of the shells and the superhuman valour of the men, interspersed with fulsome puffs of some captain or colonel with whom they happened to pass the night." Henry Villard, one of the better American correspondents, said, "Men turned up in the army as correspondents more fit to drive cattle than to write for newspapers," and Professor J. Cutler Andrews, in his mammoth work The North Reports the Civil War, wrote, "Sensationalism and exaggeration, outright lies, puffery, slander, faked eye-witness accounts, and conjectures built on pure imagination cheapened much that passed in the North for news." Given that it was an age of declamatory journalism and that objectivity was a rare quality, it is still a little disconcerting to find that one correspondent saw his job in these terms: "It is not within the province of your correspondent to criticize what has been done by the army or navy; nor will he state occurrences which it may be unpleasant to read." Like him, most correspondents on both sides saw as an integral part of their task the sustaining of both civilian and army morale. A skirmish became "a glorious overwhelming victory," a rout was transformed into "a strategic withdrawal before a vastly superior enemy," a dead Confederate soldier had been not merely killed in battle but "sacrificed to the devilish ambitions of his implacable masters, Davis and Lee"; Confederate women had necklaces made from Yankee eyes, while the "unholy Northerners" used heads of Confederate dead for footballs. In this sort of reporting, accuracy mattered little, and the Northerner Henry Adams wrote from London to complain that "people have become so accustomed to the idea of disbelieving everything that is stated in the American papers that all confidence in us is destroyed."

The correspondents fared little better in recognising the historic incident, in realising that they were privileged to be present at moments millions would later want to study as part of their nation's development. No correspondent attending the dedication of a national cemetery at Gettysburg took any notice of President Lincoln beginning, "Four score and seven years ago ..." At the best, they reported, as did the Cincinnati Commercial, "The President rises slowly, draws from his pocket a paper, and when the commotion subsides, in a sharp, unmusical treble voice, reads the brief and pithy remarks," and, at the worst, ended their accounts of the event with the single sentence "The President also spoke."

One would have expected that the war correspondents from Europe, more experienced, more mature, and less involved than their American colleagues, performed more ably in the Civil War. Unfortunately, the majority were as bad, if not worse. More subtle in their bias, more devious in their propaganda, and better assisted by the political intrigues of their editors, they completely misled their readers on what was really occurring in America. The Times of London was particularly bad.
SOURCE: The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-maker from the Crimea to Kosovo, by Phillip Knightley (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2000; first published in 1975), pp. 20-22

British Reporting on the American Civil War

The American Civil War held considerable importance for Britain. In 1861 it was estimated that one-fifth of the entire British population was dependent directly or indirectly on the prosperity of the cotton-manufacturing areas, which in turn depended on the American South for 80 per cent of their supplies. This clear commercial relationship made for sympathy with the South, but after Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation it also became an embarrassment, because then the commercial interest had to be reconciled with Britain's long-preached sentiments of humanity. A country so experienced in moral accommodation would no doubt have had little difficulty in bringing about this reconciliation, but the issue was further complicated by a major political factor. The ruling class in Britain had nurtured a barely concealed hatred of America and her democratic institutions, and now clearly desired their downfall. If the American experiment in democracy could be shown to have failed, demands for greater democracy in Britain could be kept from becoming an issue. Britain's interests in the war were, then, very strong, and at one stage it appeared highly likely that she would actually intervene--the American general Winfield Scott, in Paris on a propaganda mission for Lincoln, had to return to New York to prepare for its defence against a British invasion....

But The Times began with a heavy disadvantage. Its chief proprietor, its editor, and its foreign manager were all singularly ill-equipped to handle the news from America during this important period of history. The chief proprietor, John Walter III, was openly anti-Unionist. The editor, John Delane, was ignorant of American affairs and had little feeling for American institutions. The foreign manager, Mowbray Morris, had been born in the West Indies and was in sympathy with the South and slavery. Since these were the men who not only engaged the correspondents to cover the war but also presented the news the correspondents sent, it is not surprising that The Times' coverage of the Civil War caused such a cleavage between the two nations that it required a generation to heal it....

The engagement of [biased] war correspondents like Mackay and [Francis] Lawley and the adoption of a pro-South attitude in its leading articles were bad enough, but The Times went even further to promote the Southern cause. When New Orleans fell it carried black mourning borders; it suppressed the fact that a Liverpool shipyard was building a warship, the famous Alabama, for the South and recorded her sailing to begin a career as a commerce raider in only five words in its "Ship News" column. And it commissioned Spence, the Confederate agent in Liverpool, to write a series of pro-South articles for The Times, under the signature "5," for which it made him a gift of a specially bound edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The combination of poor and subjective war correspondents and the attitude at The Times' office towards America produced a disastrous coverage of the war.

In July 1863, misled by Mackay (who was to be made to pay for it later), The Times confidently predicted that the Southern general Lee was about to capture Washington. In 1864 it reported Sherman's march to the sea as a folly from which he would find it difficult to extricate himself. When Sherman reached Savannah, Delane was made physically ill by the set-back, but recovered rapidly and was able to write that The Times was doing its best "to attenuate the mischief." This took the form of a piece in which Sherman was given credit for "one of the ablest, certainly one of the most singular military achievements of the war," but which then went on to say that the South had little use for Savannah as a port anyway.

At the beginning of the war The Times referred to Lincoln as an uneducated rail-splitter. Half-way through the war he was "a sort of moral American Pope" or "Lincoln the Last." When he was assassinated, he was suddenly recognised as having been "one of England's best friends." Naturally, this recognition that it had been wildly astray in its military and political estimates of the war was not accomplished by The Times without some unpleasant recriminations and extensive scapegoat-hunting. Although it was clear that at least some responsibility lay with the executives, who had allowed their prejudices to interfere with their selection of war correspondents and with the manner in which they were briefed, blame had to be placed farther down the editorial ladder. So Mackay was peremptorily sacked. Morris broke the news to him. "This has been brought about by your blind and unreasonable condemnation of all public men and measures on the Federal side," he wrote. "You have presented the English public with a distorted view of the Federal cause ... Every statement was one-sided and every remark spiteful."
SOURCE: The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-maker from the Crimea to Kosovo, by Phillip Knightley (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2000; first published in 1975), pp. 34-40

24 May 2005

Reporting from the Crimean War

William Howard Russell [was], according to his epigraph in St. Paul's Cathedral "the first and greatest" war correspondent. The greatest is open to dispute, and he was not the first .... But Russell's coverage of the Crimean War [1854-1856] marked the beginning of an organised effort to report a war to the civilian population at home using the services of a civilian reporter. This was an immense leap in the history of journalism, so it is appropriate to begin with Russell, because, whether or not "the first and the greatest," he was certainly, as he put it himself, "the miserable parent of a luckless tribe."...

Russell returned to London and fame. The Times made the gesture every war correspondent dreams of: it put aside his IOUs for advance expenses and told him he could start again "with what tradesmen call a clean slate." He was placed on the list of Times foreign correspondents at £600 a year, providing "you will render monthly accounts of your expenditure showing a clean balance so that we may both know how we stand." He had breakfast with the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, who, mistakenly believing that Russell's criticisms of the conduct of the war must have been inspired by his having evolved constructive alternatives, disconcerted Russell by asking him what he would do if he were commander-in-chief of the army. After the war Russell's dispatches were published in book form, and while awaiting new battles to cover he went on a lecture tour.

Clearly, it would have been hard for Russell not to have made a name for himself in the Crimea. This was the first time that a British army in the field had been subjected to any form of independent scrutiny, and it would have been difficult to miss its shortcomings. Russell certainly chronicled them, but he failed to understand and expose the causes. He concentrated his attacks on Raglan rather than on the system, not knowing that Raglan, a humane and sensitive man, had done his best to overcome the results of years of government neglect. Throughout the campaign, Raglan had made repeated requests for all manner of equipment and supplies to overcome deficiencies in the commissariat and the medical departments, but most of his requests had been ignored. When public clamour led to a demand for a scapegoat, Russell's dispatches helped make Raglan a convenient choice.

Although Russell criticised the lot of the ordinary soldier in the Crimea, he was careful not to hammer too hard at a comparison with that of the officers, to whose social class he himself belonged. He did not write, as he could quite accurately have done: "While the troops, ill-clad to weather a Russian winter, try to ease their hunger with a watery stew made of doubtful horseflesh, tonight in the officers' mess the menu consists of soup, fresh fish, liver and bacon, a shoulder of mutton, pancakes with quince preserve, cheese, stout, sherry and cigars." Above all, Russell made the mistake, common to many a war correspondent, of considering himself part of the military establishment. The one thing he never doubted or criticised was the institution of war itself. He realised he had hit the right note in criticising the conduct of the war and that his dispatches suited The Times' politics of the moment. (Russell tended to toe his paper's editorial line despite his professional assessments.)...

It is clear that before the war ended the army realised that it had made a mistake in tolerating Russell and his colleagues, but by then it was too late. The war correspondent had arrived, and when the American Civil War broke out, five years later, 500 of them turned out to report the conflict on the Northern side alone.
SOURCE: The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-maker from the Crimea to Kosovo, by Phillip Knightley (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2000; first published in 1975), pp. 1-17

23 May 2005

PsyOps in Southern Afghanistan

M. E. "Eddie" Roberts, a U.S. Army soldier in southern Afghanistan has just published an account of his experiences entitled Villages of the Moon: Psychological Operations in Southern Afghanistan. Various excerpts are online but, apart from the photos, I find them confusing, poorly written, full of military jargon, and far from illuminating.

Gulag Epilogue: Memory and Human Understanding

Our failure in the West to understand the magnitude of what happened in the Soviet Union and central Europe does not, of course, have the same profound implications for our way of life as it does for theirs. Our tolerance for the odd "Gulag denier" in our universities will not destroy the moral fabric of our society. The Cold War is over, after all, and there is no real intellectual or political force left in the communist parties of the West.

Nevertheless, if we do not start trying harder to remember, there will be consequences for us too. For one, our understanding of what is happening now in the former Soviet Union will go on being distorted by our misunderstanding of history. Again, if we really knew what Stalin did to the Chechens, and if we felt that it was a terrible crime against the Chechen nation, it is not only Vladimir Putin who would be unable to do the same things to them now, but we also would be unable to sit back and watch with any equanimity. Nor did the Soviet Union's collapse inspire the same mobilization of Western forces as the end of the Second World War. When Nazi Germany finally fell, the rest of the West created both NATO and the European Community--in part to prevent Germany from ever breaking away from civilized "normality" again. By contrast, it was not until September 11, 2001, that the nations of the West seriously began rethinking their post-Cold War security policies, and then there were other motivations stronger than the need to bring Russia back into the civilization of the West.

But in the end, the foreign-policy consequences are not the most important. For if we forget the Gulag, sooner or later we will find it hard to understand our own history too. Why did we fight the Cold War, after all? Was it because crazed right-wing politicians, in cahoots with the military-industrial complex and the CIA, invented the whole thing and forced two generations of Americans and West Europeans to go along with it? Or was there something more important happening? Confusion is already rife. In 2002, an article in the conservative British Spectator magazine opined that the Cold War was "one of the most unnecessary conflicts of all time." The American writer Gore Vidal has also described the battles of the Cold War as "forty years of mindless wars which created a debt of $5 trillion."

Already, we are forgetting what it was that mobilized us, what inspired us, what held the civilization of "the West" together for so long: we are forgetting what it was that we were fighting against. If we do not try harder to remember the history of the other half of the European continent, the history of the other twentieth-century totalitarian regime, in the end it is we in the West who will not understand our past, we who will not know how our world came to be the way it is.

And not only our own particular past. For if we go on forgetting half of Europe's history, some of what we know about mankind itself will be distorted. Every one of the twentieth-century's mass tragedies was unique: the Gulag, the Holocaust, the Armenian massacre, the Nanking massacre, the Cultural Revolution, the Cambodian revolution, the Bosnian wars, among many others. Every one of these events had different historical, philosophical, and cultural origins, everyone arose in particular local circumstances which will never be repeated. Only our ability to debase and destroy and dehumanize our fellow men has been--and will be--repeated again and again: our transformation of our neighbors into "enemies," our reduction of our opponents to lice or vermin or poisonous weeds, our reinvention of our victims as lower, lesser, or evil beings, worthy only of incarceration or expulsion or death.

The more we are able to understand how different societies have transformed their neighbors and fellow citizens from people into objects, the more we know of the specific circumstances which led to each episode of mass torture and mass murder, the better we will understand the darker side of our own human nature. This book was not written "so that it will not happen again," as the cliché would have it. This book was written because it almost certainly will happen again. Totalitarian philosophies have had, and will continue to have, a profound appeal to many millions of people. Destruction of the "objective enemy," as Hannah Arendt once put it, remains a fundamental object of many dictatorships. We need to know why--and each story, each memoir, each document in the history of the Gulag is a piece of the puzzle, apart of the explanation. Without them, we will wake up one day and realize that we do not know who we are.
SOURCE: Gulag: A History, by Anne Applebaum (Anchor Books, 2003), pp. 575-577

22 May 2005

Bitter Taste of Freedom from the Gulag

Release [from the Gulag], whether it came in 1926 or 1956, had always left prisoners with mixed feelings. Gennady Andreev-Khomiakov, a prisoner released in the 1930s, was surprised by his own reaction:
I imagined that I would be dancing instead of walking, that when I finally got my freedom I'd be drunk with it. But when I was actually released, I felt none of this. I walked through the gates and past the last guard, experiencing no happiness or sense of uplift ... There, along the sun-drenched platform ran two young girls in light dresses, merrily laughing about something. I looked at them in astonishment. How could they laugh? How could all these people walk around conversing and laughing as if nothing unusual was happening in the world, as if nothing nightmarish and unforgettable stood in their midst ...
After Stalin's death [in 1953] and Khrushchev's speech [in 1956], the releases came more rapidly, and reactions became even more confused. Prisoners who had expected to spend another decade behind barbed wire were let go on a day's notice. One group of exiles was summoned during working hours to the offices of their mine, and simply told to go home. As one remembered, Spetskomandant Lieutenant Isaev "opened a safe, pulled out our documents, and distributed them ..." Prisoners who had filed petition after petition, demanding a re-examination of their cases, suddenly found that further letters were unnecessary--they could simply walk away.

Prisoners who had thought of nothing else except freedom were strangely reluctant to experience it: "Although I could hardly believe it myself, I was weeping as I walked out to freedom ... I felt as though I had torn my heart away from what was dearest and most precious to it, from my comrades in misfortune. The gates closed--and it was all finished."

Many were simply not ready. Yuri Zorin, riding a crowded prisoners' train south from Kotlas in 1954, made it past only two stations. "Why am I going to Moscow?" he asked himself--and then turned around and headed back to his old camp, where his ex-commander helped him get a job as a free worker. There he remained, for another sixteen years. Evgeniya Ginzburg knew a woman who actually did not want to leave her barracks: "The thing is that I--I can't face living outside. I want to stay in camp," she told her friends. Another wrote in his diary that "I really don't want freedom. What is drawing me to freedom? It seems to me that out there ... there are lies, hypocrisy, thoughtlessness. Out there, everything is fantastically unreal, and here, everything is real." Many did not trust Khrushchev, expected the situation to worsen again, and took jobs as free workers in Vorkuta or Norilsk. They preferred not to experience the emotions and undergo the hassle of return, if they were ultimately to be re-arrested anyway.

But even those who wanted to return home often found it nearly impossible to do so. They had no money, and very little food. Camps released prisoners with the equivalent of 500 grams of bread for every day they were expected to be on the road--a starvation ration. Even that was insufficient, since they were often on the road much longer than expected, as it proved almost impossible to obtain tickets on the few planes and trains leading south. Arriving at the station in Krasnoyarsk, Ariadna Efron found "such a crowd, that to leave was impossible, simply impossible. People from all of the camps were there, from all of Norilsk." She was finally given a ticket out of the blue by an "angel," a woman who by chance had two. Otherwise, she might have waited for months.

Facing a similarly crowded train, Galina Usakova, like many others, solved the problem by riding home on a baggage rack. Still others did not make it at all: it was not uncommon for prisoners to die on the difficult journey home, or within weeks or months of arrival. Weakened by their years of hard labor, tired out by exhausting journeys, the emotions surrounding their return overwhelmed them, resulting in heart attacks and strokes. "How many people died from this freedom!" one prisoner marveled.
SOURCE: Gulag: A History, by Anne Applebaum (Anchor Books, 2003), pp. 511-512

Asashoryu Ties Musashimaru's Record

Mongolian sumo grand champion Asashoryu won yet another tournament trophy, with yet another perfect 15-0 record. Fellow Mongolian Kyokushuzan ("Supermarket of Tricks") won his first Fighting Spirit award, along with Futeno. Tom at That's News to Me has a fuller recap.

Asashoryu is now tied with Samoan-born Hawai‘i-raised Musashimaru, now retired, for the most wins by a foreign rikishi, at 12 each. I expect Asashoryu to pull ahead at the next Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in July, but I still like Musashimaru. According to this source, during the time the two faced each other in 2001-2002, Musashimaru won 5 out of their 9 bouts, but I'm sure Asashoryu has only gotten better since his rookie days. Here's what happened when the two faced each other on the opening day of the Nagoya tournament in July 2001, in which Musashimaru was the sole yokozuna and Asashoryu was a rising komusubi. A lot of other names familiar from recent tournaments also get mentioned.
NAGOYA, [2001] July 8 (Kyodo) - Yokozuna Musashimaru was all business on Sunday as the firm title favorite lifted komusubi Asashoryu out of the ring while three ozeki tumbled to opening-day defeats in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

Musashimaru, the lone grand champion in the 15-day meet after summer tourney champion Takanohana pulled out because of a knee injury, let his experience do the talking as he calmly disposed of the 20-year-old Mongolian rising star at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Asashoryu tried to grapple head-on after the face-off but was muscled out of the ring easily in the day's final bout, failing to repeat his upset win over the Samoan-born yokozuna on the first day of the summer tournament.

Ozeki Chiyotaikai, aiming to go better than his 12-3 finish in May, showed little resistance against Wakanosato as he backpedaled straight out of the ring to hand the komusubi returnee a comfortable win.

Sekiwake Tochiazuma gave the crowd another surprise when he pulled Musoyama out of the ring soon after the ozeki precariously came lunging out of the face-off, only to get himself off-balance against the upset-minded Tamanoi stable wrestler.

Also joining the list of upset victims was ozeki Miyabiyama, who got the better of top-ranked maegashira Hayateumi for much of their bout but lacked the finishing touches along the straw ridge in a force-out defeat.

In other feature bouts, Ozeki Kaio and Dejima both battled their ways to victory against maegashira opponents as they try to avoid relegation from sumo's second highest rank after suffering dismal records in May.

Kaio quickly shoved No. 2 Kotonowaka out of the ring while Dejima, who also requires a minimum of eight wins to avoid demotion, was in total command as he thrust and slapped top-ranked Takanonami before lifting him out with an arm maneuver.

Earlier, No. 2 maegashira Higonoumi twisted and tossed sekiwake Kotomitsuki backwards over the edge. Takanowaka backed out Mongolian Kyokushuzan for an easy win in a bout between No. 5 maegashira.
At Nagoya the following year, Asashoryu bested Musashimaru, but the latter won their final bout at the Aki [Fall] Basho, where Musashimaru won the tournament then announced his retirement.

21 May 2005

Polish Diaspora from the Gulag

On July 30, 1941, a month after the launch of [Hitler's Operation] Barbarossa, General Sikorski, the leader of the Polish government-in-exile in London, and Ambassador Maisky, the Soviet envoy to Great Britain, signed a truce. The Sikorski-Maisky Pact, as the treaty was called, re-established a Polish state--its borders still to be determined--and granted an amnesty to "all [1,500,000 or more!] Polish citizens who are at present deprived of their freedom on the territory of the USSR."

Both Gulag prisoners and deported exiles were officially freed, and allowed to join a new division of the Polish army, to be formed on Soviet soil. In Moscow, General Wladyslaw Anders, a Polish officer who had been imprisoned in Lubyanka for the previous twenty months, learned that he had been named commander of the new army during a surprise meeting with [NKVD Chief Lavrenty] Beria himself. After the meeting, General Anders left the prison in a chauffeured NKVD car, wearing a shirt and trousers, but no shoes....

Other Polish prisoners were released from camps or exile settlements but not given any money or told where to go. One ex-prisoner recalled that "The Soviet authorities in Omsk didn't want to help us, explaining that they knew nothing about any Polish army, and instead proposed that we find work near Omsk." An NKVD officer gave Herling a list of places where he could get a residence permit, but denied all knowledge of a Polish army. Following rumors, the released Polish prisoners hitchhiked and rode trains around the Soviet Union, looking for the Polish army.

Stefan Waydenfeld's family, exiled to northern Russia, were not told of the existence of the Polish army at all, nor offered any means of transport whatsoever: they were simply told they could go. In order to get away from their remote exile village, they built a raft, and floated down their local river toward "civilization"--a town which had a railway station. Months later, they were finally rescued from their wanderings when, in a cafe in the town of Chimkent, southern Kazakhstan, Stefan recognized a classmate from his school in Poland. She told them, finally, where to find the Polish army....

Employees of the Polish Embassy, deployed around the country, were still subject to unexplained arrest. Fearing the situation might worsen, General Anders changed his plan in March 1942. Instead of marching his army west, toward the front line, he won permission to evacuate his troops out of the Soviet Union altogether. It was a vast operation: 74,000 Polish troops, and another 41,000 civilians, including many children, were put on trains and sent to Iran.

In his haste to leave, General Anders left thousands more Poles behind, along with their Jewish, Ukrainian, and Belorussian former fellow citizens. Some eventually joined the Kosciuszko division, a Polish division of the Red Army. Others had to wait for the war to end to be repatriated. Still others never left at all. To this day, some of their descendants still live in ethnic Polish communities in Kazakhstan and northern Russia.

Those who left kept fighting. After recovering in Iran, Anders's army did manage to join the Allied forces in Europe. Traveling via Palestine--and in some cases via South Africa--they later fought for the liberation of Italy at the Battle of Montecassino. While the war continued, the Polish civilians were parceled out to various parts of the British Empire. Polish children wound up in orphanages in India, Palestine, even east Africa. Most would never return to Soviet-occupied, postwar Poland. The Polish clubs, Polish historical societies, and Polish restaurants still found in West London are testimony to their postwar exile.

After they had left the USSR, the departed Poles performed an invaluable service for their less fortunate ex-fellow inmates. In Iran and Palestine, the army and the Polish government-in-exile conducted several surveys of the soldiers and their families in order to determine exactly what had happened to the Poles deported to the Soviet Union. Because the Anders evacuation was the only large group of prisoners ever allowed to leave the USSR, the material produced by these questionnaires and somewhat rushed historical inquiries remained the only substantial evidence of the Gulag's existence for half a century. And, within limits, it was surprisingly accurate: although they had no real understanding of the Gulag's history, the Polish prisoners did manage to convey the camp system's staggering size, its geographical extent--all they had to do was list the wide variety of places they had been sent--and its horrific wartime living conditions.

After the war, the Poles' descriptions of their experiences formed the basis for reports on Soviet forced-labor camps produced by the Library of Congress and the American Federation of Labor. Their straightforward accounts of the Soviet slave-labor system came as a shock to many Americans, whose awareness of the camps had dimmed since the days of the Soviet timber boycotts in the 1920s. These reports circulated widely, and in 1949, in an attempt to persuade the United Nations to investigate the practice of forced labor in its member states, the AFL presented the UN with a thick body of evidence of its existence in the Soviet Union.... The Cold War had begun.
SOURCE: Gulag: A History, by Anne Applebaum (Anchor Books, 2003), pp. 451-454

20 May 2005

Head Heeb on Truth and Alienation in Fiji

The Head Heeb, who knows more about far-outlying parts of the globe than anyone else I know, has an insightful post on Fiji's attempt at Truth and Reconciliation.
Fiji, which has had far too many political controversies in its recent history, is now in the grip of another one - and the cause, ironically, is a bill designed to promote national reconciliation. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase announced his intention to suspend prosecutions in connection with the May 2000 coup, and replace the judicial process with a Reconciliation and Unity Commission modeled on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission....

The bill is likely to be popular among much of the indigenous Fijian population, which is looking for closure and is growing tired of the continuing spectacle of trials and recriminations. The Qarase government, for its part, has been embarrassed at the number of high government officials convicted of participating in the coup, and may also be looking for a graceful way to give in to its right-wing coalition partners' demand for a general amnesty....

The trouble with this rhetoric, however, is that it doesn't speak for the 44 percent of the population that is of Indian origin, few of whom are Christian and who come from a different tradition of justice. As Qarase acknowledged later in the speech, they were the primary victims of the coup, and most of them don't regard amnesty as closure. Instead, they view closure in terms of just punishment for the coup plotters and restoration of their own place in society. Others - like the military, which believes that amnesty would reward lawlessness - also oppose the bill, but the primary opposition has come from the largely Indo-Fijian Labour Party, which is not only campaigning against the proposal but will seek to pre-empt it through judicial review. Labour - whose leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, was the prime minister who was ousted in the coup - has characterized the commission as an attempt to pander to indigenous votes and "a signal that people could commit terrible crimes and get away with it."
Read the rest, including the comments, which begin with the following astute observation.
It seems to me that truth and reconciliation polices require that the victimized party be in power (as in South Africa) or at least that the abuses be identified with an out-of-power political faction (as in some of the South American cases). In this case, when you have an ethnicity-based conflict where the minority took most of the damage and the majority is now offering to shake hands and start over -- it's not surprising that it's going over poorly.

Macam-Macam on Montagnards

Macam-Macam has been regularly turning up underreported stories from around Southeast Asia, for example, a report on Montagnard refugees seeking asylum in northern Finland.
I came across this story the other day - a group of Montagnard refugees from Cambodia are heading to Finland rather than returning to Vietnam and an uncertain future. So sad when people are unable to be reunited with loved ones and their ancestral homelands.

And it seems they are justifiably afraid. The US State Department's latest report on Vietnam's human rights record lists many instances of abuses against Montagnards.
Read the rest.

19 May 2005

Getting Beyond Collaborators vs. Patriots

Nathanael of Rhine River, one of my favorite history blogs, sent notice of a review on H-France by Shannon Fogg of Robert Gildea's Marianne in Chains: Daily Life in the Heart of France during the German Occupation (Picador, 2002). Here's a taste of what the book is about.
Gildea concludes that in the Loire Valley, where many small towns and villages never saw German troops except at the beginning and end of the Occupation, the Germans were content to allow the French to have some autonomy as long as German security was assured. Collaboration during the war meant "maintaining good relations between French and Germans, whether at the public or private levels, in order to benefit all concerned" (p. 242). By approaching politics on the local level, Gildea discovers that some left-wing mayors remained in office and concludes that, initially, "what mattered was open endorsement of the regime and tested authority over the local population" (p. 168) rather than political affiliation. With the Russian entrance into the war and the subsequent rise in Communist Resistance activity, Gildea traces the shift from "indirect rule" to rule by Diktat. While Gildea provides persuasive evidence to support his argument that the shift in the Loire Valley came with the assassination of the Feldkommandant of Nantes in October 1941, his claim that June 1941 was a fundamental turning point in Franco-German relations is not supported fully. A synthesis of local studies and the shift from the negotiation to the imposition of terms in each area is needed to learn when both the Germans and the French became more repressive....

Central to the author's discussion of these groups is the definition of morality during the war. Throughout the book, Gildea demonstrates that the residents of the Loire Valley created their own definitions of morality under the Occupation that differed from the definitions imposed after the Liberation. He concludes that "Informal rules were devised by the French governing what was legitimate and what illegitimate in Franco-German relations. As a rule of thumb, actions that undermined the family, community, or nation were illegitimate" (p. 405). But certain allowances were made. A factory could accept German contracts as long as the employer did not force workers to go to Germany or to work too zealously. Small exchanges on the black market showed the ability of the French to get by while larger profiteering was viewed as immoral. A Frenchman or woman could have a drink with a German or flirt with one, but inviting one to dinner or having an affair was generally frowned upon. By continuing the story of the war years into the post-Liberation period, Gildea is able to trace these differences and the ways morality was defined differently in both periods. He also explores the political ruptures and continuities through post-war election patterns and discusses the joys, disappointments, and continuing memories of the war.
Historians of Korea need to do more research along these lines about the Japanese colonial period. Carter J. Eckert's Offspring of Empire: the Koch’ang Kims and the Colonial Origins of Korean Capitalism, 1876–1945 (U. Washington Press, 1991) and Colonial Modernity in Korea (reviewed here), edited by Gi-Wook Shin and Michael Robinson (Harvard U. Press, 1999) are among the few.

18 May 2005

Role of New Media in an Earlier Era of Dissidents

To put the Soviet human rights movement in context, it is important to note that Soviet dissidents never started a mass organization, as did their Polish counterparts, and they cannot receive full credit for bringing down the Soviet regime: the arms race, the war in Afghanistan, and the economic disaster wrought by Soviet central planning must receive equal credit. Nor did they ever manage more than a handful of public demonstrations. One of the most famous--staged on August 25, 1968, to protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia--involved only seven people. At noon, the seven gathered in front of St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square, and unrolled Czech flags and banners marked with slogans: "Long live free and independent Czechoslovakia," "Hands off Czechoslovakia, for your freedom and ours." Within minutes, a whistle blew and plainclothes KGB rushed at the demonstrators, whom they seem to have been expecting, shouting, "They're all Jews!" and "Beat the anti-Sovietists!" They tore down the banners, beat up the demonstrators, and took all but one--she was with her three-month-old son--straight to prison.

But small though they were, these efforts caused a great deal of trouble for the Soviet leadership, particularly given its continued commitment to spreading world revolution and its consequent, obsessive concern about the USSR's international image. In Stalin's era, repression on a massive scale could be kept secret even from a visiting American Vice President [the hopelessly naive Henry Wallace]. In the 1960s and 1970s, news of a single arrest could travel around the world overnight.

In part, this was thanks to improvements in mass communication, the Voice of America, Radio Liberty, and television. In part, it was also because Soviet citizens found new ways to transmit news as well. For 1966 also marked another milestone: the birth of the term samizdat. An acronym which deliberately echoed the term Gosizdat, or "State Publishing House," samizdat literally means "self-publishing house," and figuratively refers to the underground press. The concept was not new. In Russia, samizdat was nearly as old as the written word. Pushkin himself had privately distributed manuscripts of his more politically charged poetry in the 1820s. Even in Stalin's time, the circulation of stories and poems among friends was not entirely unknown.

But after 1966, samizdat grew into a national pastime. The Thaw [after the death of Stalin] had given many Soviet citizens a taste for a freer sort of literature, and at first samizdat was a largely literary phenomenon. Very quickly, samizdat came to have a more political character. A KGB report which circulated among Central Committee members in January 1971 analyzed the changes over the previous five years, noting that it had discovered
more than 400 studies and articles on economic, political, and philosophical questions, which criticize from various angles the historical experience of socialist construction in the Soviet Union, revise the internal and external politics of the Communist Party, and advance various programs of opposition activity.
The report concluded that the KGB would have to work on the "neutralization and denunciation of the anti-Soviet tendencies presented in samizdat." But it was too late to put the genie back in the bottle, and samizdat continued to expand, taking many forms: typed poems, passed from "friend to friend and retyped at every opportunity; handwritten newslettersand bulletins; transcripts of Voice of America broadcasts; and, much later, books and journals professionally produced on underground typesetting machines, more often than not located in communist Poland. Poetry, and poem-songs composed by Russian bards--Alexander Galich, Bulat Okudzhava, Vladimir Vysotsky--also spread quickly through the use of what was then a new form of technology, the cassette tape recorder.

Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, one of the most important themes of samizdat was the history of Stalinism--including the history of the Gulag. Samizdat networks continued to print and distribute copies of the works of Solzhenitsyn, which were by now banned in the USSR. Varlam Shalamov's poems and stories also began circulating in the underground, as did Evgeniya Ginzburg's memoirs. Both writers began to attract large groups of admirers. Ginzburg became the center of a circle of Gulag survivors and literary figures in Moscow.

The other important theme of samizdat was the persecution of the dissidents. Indeed, it was thanks to samizdat--and particularly to its distribution abroad--that the human rights advocates would gain, in the 1970s, a far wider international forum. In particular, the dissidents learned to use samizdat not only to underline the inconsistencies between the USSR's legal system and the KGB's methods, but also to point out, loudly and frequently, the gap between the human rights treaties that the USSR had signed, and actual Soviet practice. Their preferred texts were the UN Declaration on Human Rights, and the Helsinki Final Act. The former was signed by the USSR in 1948 and contained, among other things, a clause known as Article 19:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
SOURCE: Gulag: A History, by Anne Applebaum (Anchor Books, 2003), pp. 534-536

17 May 2005

April Drought Brings May Riots

What is it about May that brings out not just rutting, but rebellion, the latter so often followed by brutal crackdowns? Here's a small sample:
Uzbekistan seems initially to have got short shrift from Western media, in their obsession with the role of one of their own (Newsweek) in the other two "Stans." Bloggers were beating them to the punch: especially Registan, my first stop for news and analysis of Central Asia (and the very first blog to link to my own), Gateway Pundit, and Winds of Change.

UPDATE: On 18 May, the Marmot began daily recaps of key events that fateful day in Kwangju 25 years ago.

16 May 2005

Gaddis on Why Grand Strategy Is Tough for Academics

Yale history professor John Lewis Gaddis recently spoke at Middlebury College in Vermont. He had a lot to say, but one thing that struck me was his analysis of why grand strategy is difficult for academics.
First, that grand strategy is, by its nature, an ecological enterprise. It requires taking information from a lot of different fields, evaluating it intuitively rather than systematically, and then acting. It is, in this sense, different from most academic training, which as it advances pushes students toward specialization, and then toward professionalization, by which I mean the ever deeper mastery of a diminishing number of things. To remain broad you’ve got to retain a certain shallowness – but beyond the level of undergraduate education and sometimes not even there, the academy is not particularly comfortable with that idea.

Second, grand strategy requires setting an objective and sticking to it. The academy does not take easily to that idea either. It asks us constantly to question our assumptions and reformulate our objectives. That’s fine to the extent that that sharpens our intellectual skills, and therefore prepares us for leadership. But it’s not the same thing as leadership: for that, you’ve got to say “here’s where we ought to be by such and such a time, and here’s how we’re going to get there.” Taking the position that, “on the one hand this, and on the other hand that,” as you might around a seminar table, won’t get you there. Nor will saying that you voted for the $87 billion appropriation before you voted against it.

Third, grand strategy requires the ability to respond rapidly to the unexpected. It acknowledges that trends can reverse themselves suddenly, that “tipping points” can occur, and that leaders must know how to exploit them. The academy loves this sort of thing when it happens on the basketball court or the hockey rink. In the classroom, though, it resists the idea: instead the emphasis is too often on theory, which promises predictability, and therefore no surprises. That’s why the academy tends to be so surprised when events like the end of the Cold War and 9/11 take place. Leaders, like athletes, have to be more agile.

Fourth, grand strategy requires the making of moral judgments, because that’s how leadership takes place: in that sense, it’s a faith-based initiative. You have to convince people that your aspirations correspond with their own, and that you’re serious about advancing them. You don’t lead by trying to persuade people that distinctions between good and evil are social constructions, that there are no universal standards for making them, that we should always try to understand the viewpoint of others, even when they are trying to kill us.

Finally, grand strategy requires great language. As the best leaders from Pericles through Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan have always known, words are themselves instruments of power. Their careful choice and courageous use can shake the stability of states, as when Reagan said, before anybody else, that the Soviet Union was an “evil empire” headed for the “ash-heap of history.” They can also undermine walls, as when Reagan famously demanded, against the advice of his own speech-writers, that Gorbachev tear one down.

But where, within the academy is the use of great language taught? Where would you go to learn how to make a great speech? Certainly not to political science, language, and literature departments at Yale, where as students advance they are spurred on toward ever higher levels of jargon-laden incomprehensibility. I think not even to my beloved History Department, where my colleagues seem more interested in the ways words reflect structures of power than in ways words challenge or even overthrow structures of power.

The art of rhetoric, within the academy, is largely a lost art – which probably helps to explain why the academy is as often as surprised as it is to discover that words really do still have meanings – and that consequences come from using them.
via Roger L. Simon

Self-defeating Moves in Sumo

Among the many ways in which the world changed in 2001 was the addition to the Nihon Sumo Kyokai's official list of kimarite ('deciding move', literally 'deciding hand') of a category of five self-defeating moves. (This is where the official translation of kimarite as 'winning technique' becomes a bit awkward.)
  • fumidashi '(rear) step out' - This is when the defending rikishi accidentally steps back over the edge without the attacker initiating any kind of technique [cf. fumie ('step pictures'), the holy icons that early Japanese Christians were supposed to step on to prove they were no longer believers].
  • isamiashi 'forward step out' [lit. 'spirited foot'] - This is when the attacking rikishi accidentally steps too far forward and out of the ring before winning the match, giving the victory to his opponent.
  • tsukihiza 'touch knee' - This is when a rikishi stumbles without any real contact with his opponent and loses the match by touching down with one or both knees.
  • tsukite 'touch hand' - This is when a rikishi stumbles without any real contact with his opponent and loses the match by touching down with one or both hands.
  • koshikudake 'hip collapse' - This is when a rikishi falls over backwards without his opponent attempting any technique.
In this instance, the rather hide-bound, but tradition-inventing Sumo Kyokai seems to have been rather visionary. I expect "Self-Defeat, and How to Avoid It" to be one of the major themes of the 21st century.

UPDATE: After Day 12 of the current Natsu Basho, Asashoryu remains 12-0, with no one else closer than 10-2. The Bulgarian Kotooshu suffered a quick and brutal loss to Asashoryu yesterday by a tsukidashi ('frontal thrust out'), but he recovered nicely today to beat the ozeki ('champion') Chiyotaikai, who had been only one loss behind the grand champion, but is now at 10-2.