Henry Jackson and his Society, racism, war, corruption, torture supporters


This military video from the USA is called Japanese Americans in WWII.

From the Independent series about US American activists:

Minoru Yasui

1942

In the Second World War, a notice was suddenly posted throughout Japanese neighbourhoods: “All persons of Japanese ancestry will be evacuated from the above designated area by 12 o’clock noon”.

There was nothing in the evacuation order or in any public law that allowed the United States government to keep Americans within any restricted area. But the War Relocation Authority, by pure executive fiat, detained us under their jurisdiction and sent us to camps. The military, without imposing martial law, was ordering the civilian to do something. In my opinion, that’s the way dictatorships are formed.

And if I, as an American citizen, stood still for this, I would be derogating the rights of all citizens. I had to stand up and say, “That’s wrong”. I refused to report for evacuation. Sure enough, within the week, I got a telephone call saying, “We’re coming to get you”. I can still see them. The lieutenant was in a saloon car. A jeep followed with four military policemen. I was thrown into the North Portland Livestock Pavilion, where Japanese-Americans had been put. In stalls where horses and cows were kept, people now lived. It was sweltering, but we had no way to escape it. They wouldn’t let us outside.

In September, they started moving us into desert camps. You were surrounded with barbed-wire fences, armed guards, searchlights, and machine-gun nests. We wondered how long we were going to be interned. What was going to happen? By then, we had heard rumours of forced labour camps in Germany. Were they, as [the journalist] Westbrook Pegler and others were suggesting, going to castrate the men and ship them back to Japan? These things were in the papers constantly: make them suffer. Make them hurt. And I kept on thinking, “What did I do?”

One of the most vocal advocates of this putting into concentration camps of people just because of their ancestry, was US politician Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson.

Before we go to Britain today, first some more United States political history.

In the twentieth century, there was the late United States senator and failed presidential candidate Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson. Mr Jackson was corrupt, Jackson’s nickname was “the gentleman from Boeing“. Boeing being a military contractor getting lots of taxpayers’ money for killing and torturing people. Jackson was also a major supporter of wars, like in Vietnam.

Jackson was a strong supporter of the racist internment of US citizens of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps because of their ethnicity during World War II.

The 21st century ‘Henry Jackson Society‘ seems to have substituted Muslims for Japanese-Americans. This society includes hard-line politicians from the USA. And from Britain: right-wing Conservatives, like David Cameron’s now-sacked education secretary Michael Gove. And right-wing ‘new’ Labour Blairites. Like Denis MacShane, convicted for, and kicked out of the Labour party for, corruption. So, really similar to Henry Jackson. Also similar in being a warmonger, supporting war in Iraq, Afghanistan, wherever.

Unfortunately, Denis MacShane is not unique within Labour in Britain.

The recently elected leader of the party in Scotland, Jim Murphy, is a Tony Blair loyalist, supporting war in Iraq etc. etc. And more fishy details have emerged about Mr Murphy: his links to the Henry Jackson Society.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Labour’s stand is unequivocal, but …

Friday 10th April 2015

The Henry Jackson Society is little-known outside Parliament but apparently is big in Westminster. SOLOMON HUGHES puts it under his microscope

The Labour Party responded quickly to last year’s US Senate intelligence committee report on CIA torture — it rushed out a statement by shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander saying there is “no justification for the use of torture.

“It is both illegal and morally wrong,” Alexander said. “This damning Senate report confirms that the use of extreme interrogation techniques by the CIA not only failed to secure actionable intelligence, but also damaged standing and reputation of the United States of America around the world.”

But nine top Labour MPs — including their Scottish leader Jim Murphy and shadow cabinet member Chris Bryant, are supporters of an obscure but powerful neoconservative think tank which has defended the CIA against allegations of torture for years, promoting speakers making the pro-CIA case inside the Houses of Parliament.

Murphy, Bryant and co sit on the advisory board of the Henry Jackson Society (HJS).

Douglas Murray, associate director of the HJS gave a flavour of their approach on BBC’s This Week soon after the release of the Senate report.

Murray attacked the report and defended the CIA. Murray argued the idea that “torture is torture, is plain wrong” because “there are degrees” and “America didn’t do the worst things.” Murray condemned the “ceaseless attacks on our intelligence services and the efforts to stop them doing the job that they need to do to keep us safe. We should accept that aspects of that job don’t seem very nice from the comfort of our sitting rooms.”

Murray’s attitude is consistent with the HJS. In 2012 it published an article about attempts to uncover CIA “black sites” in Poland — the torture chambers referred to in the recent Senate report.

HJS researcher Robin Simcox argued: “Europeans look down on America’s interrogation techniques, comfortable in its [sic] moral superiority. How easy it is to pass judgment once America had done the dirty work that no-one else had the stomach for.”

The HJS is little-known outside Parliament, but big in Westminster. It is a £1 million-a-year operation, although the society won’t say where its money comes from. It is a neocon-ish think tank [advocating] “The pursuit of a robust foreign policy” and a “strong military.” HJS is based in London, but named after a US senator best known for supporting the Vietnam war.

Labour MPs on the HJS advisory board include Hazel Blears, Margaret Beckett, Jim Murphy, John Spellar, Gisela Stuart, Ben Bradshaw, Chris Bryant and Khalid Mahmood.

There are also 28 Tory MPs on the board, mostly from the right of the party, along with Ukip’s new MP Mark Reckless.

None of the Labour MPs on the board appear to have objected to the HJS’s persistent attempts to defend the CIA from accusations of torture.

In October 2013 the HJS arranged a meeting with former CIA boss General Mike Hayden in the House of Lords where he justified torture. Hayden told the meeting that “there is a very long scale with varying shades of grey, as to what constitutes torture, and what doesn’t constitute torture.”

He argued waterboarding and sleep deprivation are “not torture” and made light of the “13 techniques” of “enhanced interrogation” used by the CIA saying: “Four of which I had happened (sic) to me in Catholic grade school.”

I asked Davis Lewin, HJS deputy director, about the way they backed the CIA on torture allegations. He said: “The society’s institutional line on torture is the same as that expressed by our associate director Douglas Murray on December 14 2014,” pointing to an article where Murray wrote “Actual torture … is so wrong that it should not be done whatever the possible cost-benefits.”

In the same article Murray wrote that there are “convincing reasons to believe” that the Senate report on CIA torture “is largely or partly untrue.” He also suggested that slapping and sleep deprivation are not torture.

Lewin also said that the HJS “opposes the use of waterboarding, however note that it is a legal grey area as US government policy has differed on its use, constituting it as both permissible and non-permissible.”

I emailed all the Labour MPs on the HJS advisory board to ask why they were backing the HJS, given its long-running stand with the CIA over torture allegations. Most did not reply. Ben Bradshaw MPs spokesperson suggested I contact Chris Bryant MP, who could explain both their involvement with HJS.

I contacted Bryant, but he didn’t reply. It almost seems like these normally talkative MPs are embarrassed by their involvement with this neocon think tank.

Nine of the 11 Labour MPs on the HJS board voted to join George Bush in the war with Iraq in March 2003 (Margaret Beckett, Hazel Blears, Ben Bradshaw, Chris Bryant, Meg Munn, Jim Murphy, John Spellar, Gisela Stuart and Derek Twigg), while Birmingham MP and HJS board member Khalid Mahmood abstained on that Iraq war vote.

So this does look like a remnant of the times when new Labour were in bed with the US Republican hawks over Iraq — although in the absence of any statement it is hard to say where they stand at all.

Only one Labour MP on the HJS board — Bridgend’s Dai Havard — responded. He is also the only one of them who joined 139 other rebel Labour MP’s to oppose the Iraq war in March 2003. Havard distanced himself from HJS thought, saying: “The Henry Jackson Society and its operatives do not speak for me and I do not speak for them.”

He added: “I disagree, personally and politically, with many aspects of the output of the HJS and many of the arguments and opinions of the individuals it invites to speak in parliamentary events.”

Havard told me that that many US government responses to terrorism were brutal and wrong and that HJS were useful because they “represent a body of thoughts and policy influences, particularly in the US, which we all need to understand and engage with if we are to change such responses.”

Jim Murphy’s promise that a Labour government would protect Scotland from future spending cuts was contradicted by three of his senior colleagues on Monday, leading to claims that he had been “hung out to dry” by his party’s Westminster leadership: here.

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