Friday, November 17, 2006

My loyalty is to Al Jazeera, of course, but one can't deny that i-Malay News is very good at scooping regional stories. Even they guys who work for Reuters and AP tell me they start the day with i-Malay. So must give credit where credit is due–

And the fact that Bush is currently here in Asia attempting a goodwill tour –his first since 7/27– makes this particular news all the more awkward.



Thursday Nov 16, 2007

By Nazri Azeez (i-Malay News)

Kuala Lumpur – Citing a now well-known May 5, 1945 cable, intercepted and decoded by the U.S., which explicitly makes clear that the Japanese were eager to sue for peace, the Malaysian Parliament on Monday called on the United States to apologize for the needless detonation of two nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

This vote comes three months after the U.S. House first requested an apology from Japan for forcing thousands of Korean women into sexual servitude to its soldiers during and before the two World Wars, and only a few days before Mr. Bush prepares to drop in on Malaysia’s next door neighbor, Indonesia.

The Japanese have since rebuffed the American statement, but that has not stopped the Malaysians from holding an independent view on the matter.

In fact, Japan has issued an apology before, in 1993. But there are recent concerns that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other conservative Japanese lawmakers may try to reverse previous admissions of guilt as part of an attempt to revise their nation’s wartime history. Mr. Abe has on occasion even denied there was evidence the government or military were directly involved in procuring the women.

In the meantime, on a voice vote, the members of Malaysian Parliament approved a nonbinding resolution intended as a symbolic statement on the American government's role in the decimation of two Japanese cities and resulting casualties that occurred. The U.S. nuclear weapons dropped on Japan are thought to have killed upwards to 250,000 people, mostly civilians.

The vote marked a rare rebuke by Malaysian politicians of their strong American ally. Relations between the two are at an all-time low now that Malaysians perceive the U.S. as dragging its feet regarding Malay extradition requests seeking the custody of several members of the Christian separatist group PURE, which are thought to be hiding out on American soil. An official at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur refused to comment on either issue, preferring to leave the matter to Washington.

"Today, the Malaysian Parliament sends a message to the government of the United States that it should deliver an official, unequivocal, unambiguous apology for the indignity suffered by the people of Japan, and by extension, all the peoples of the greater Asia pacific region" said Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister of Malaysia, who is predominantly responsible for lobbying on behalf of the legislation.

In 2003, then still Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad declared his belief that Jews run world by proxy. At the time U.S. President Bush rebuked Mohamad’s comments as 'wrong and divisive'. Nevertheless, Mohamad’s statements earned him a standing ovation from Muslim leaders of many nations, including Saudi Arabia, at the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, the world's largest Muslim group.

Mahathir also criticized the United States over its policies of slavery and forced Christianity.

"Some people say that we here (in Malaysia) have no freedom of religion," Mahathir said. "In reality, the people in that country (the U.S.) are the ones who were forced to embrace a religion."

People "who were abducted from Africa were brought to that country and made slaves, tortured and forced to change their religion, including Muslim slaves, (they) were forced to convert," Mahathir said.

Without mentioning the United States by name, Malaysian Defense Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has since returned Bush’s harsh criticism by publicly questioning 'why countries claiming to be democratic never sought the views of their own citizens before going to war' (In Iran and Afghanistan).

"There can be no denying the U.S. military killed a quarter million innocent Japanese civilians, not as a means to end the war, but rather to demonstrate with 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' the scope of American Imperial reach into the Asia Pacific region," Razak concluded.

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