Re. the “good war”

Here’s an example of why people should be careful about supporting the Empire’s wars, including the so-called “good war” (WW II).

According to the BBC documentary at bottom, Winston Churchill and some of his closest cronies trained and equipped the Japanese military in order for Churchill to have his world war. The British gave Japan the know-how to attack Pearl Harbor and capture Singapore, which caused 100,000 British soldiers to be sent to POW camps.

This was not an accident. It was all planned.

According to the BBC program…

The first British aircraft carrier was the HMS Argus (I49) launched in 1917. This was at the end of the First World War, and the British government tasked William Forbes-Sempill  with showing the Japanese how to build their own aircraft carriers and naval fleet, using British technology. 

Over the next 20 years, Sempill spied for the Japanese, at first legally, and then illegally, all with the knowledge of the highest levels of the British government MI5 knew that Sempill was conducting espionage, but Sempill was always protected. Although his crimes were monumental, he was never charged or prosecuted.

When WW II began in Sept. 1939, Sempill (who had spent years passing secrets to Japan) was assigned to the Department of Air Materiel at the Admiralty Office. This gave Sempill access to secret information about the latest British aircraft. By June 1941, MI5 had intercepted messages between London and the Mitsubishi Company in Tokyo proving that Sempill was on the Japanese payroll. And still Sempill was always protected by the highest levels of British government — especially by Winston Churchill, who was very tight with Sempill. Sempill also had the protection of Churchill’s foreign secretary Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain.

On 5 Aug 1941 Special Branch arrested Satoru Makehara (a high-level Mitsubishi operative) for espionage in London. Sempill made a phone call to Paddington police station, and ordered MI5 to release Makehara two days later.

On 13 December 1941, six days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Special Branch raided Sempill’s office and found secret documents from the Admiralty that Sempill was supposed to have surrendered over three weeks earlier. Two days later Sempill was discovered making phone calls to the Japanese Embassy. Despite the evidence of treason in wartime Sempill was never charged. On the contrary, he became an MP in the House of Lords.

The Japanese initially did not know how to build aircraft carriers. Sempill helped them build their first carrier, the Hosho, using British technology. Japan next needed needed training on how to handle planes at sea. The British sent them Frederick Rutland, who was an experienced carrier pilot, and who became the first person to land a Mitsubishi Zero on a Japanese aircraft carrier.  Rutland had been squadron leader of the HMS Eagle, which was the second aircraft carrier the U.K. built.  All this continued while hostilities built up between the U.K. and Japan.

Frederick Rutland designed aircraft chassis for Japanese naval planes, and showed the Japanese how to take off from and land on carriers. Rutland worked closely with the Mitsubishi Company, which built the famous Mitsubishi A6M “Zero.” In the early part of the war this was the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world, combining excellent maneuverability and very long range. All designed with British help.

MI5 had bugged Sempill’s phone, and had known about Semple’s espionage since 1923. For example, MI5 knew that Sempill was passing British secrets to Japan’s naval attaché in London (one Teijirō Toyoda). However MI5 could so nothing, since Sempill was protected by the top levels of the British government. The secrets he gave to Japan included plans, diagrams, and manuals stolen directly from British military contractors.

Sempill’s contact, Teijirō Toyoda, also received massive amounts of information from Sir Eustace Tennyson d’Eyncourt, who was a designer of British aircraft carriers. MI5 knew about all of this, but could so nothing.

[This is all in the video below.]

Sempill furnished Mr. Toyoda with key technical details of Britain’s newest (and secret) aircraft engine, the 365 hp fully supercharged Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IV which went into development in 1925. This was a breach of the Official Secrets Act, but MI5’s hands were tied.

On 30 Oct 1925 Sempill went to the Blackburn Aircraft Company in Brough, Yorkshire to spy on the Blackburn Iris, a new biplane flying boat that was being secretly built. MI5 knew about it all. They knew the Japanese were regularly paying Sempill for information. In 1926 MI5 had a chance to challenge Sempill without giving away MI5’s game. Sempill confessed to espionage and violating the Official Secrets Act. Despite this, at a high-powered meeting in Whitehall dated 13 May 1926 chaired by the foreign secretary (Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain) (who was very tight with Churchill) it was decided to let Sempill continue doing espionage for Japan.

With Sempill’s help, in seven years the Japanese built a carrier fleet equal in size and strength to the UK carrier fleet.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s right hand man in planning the Perl Harbor attack was Takijirō Ōnishi who had been personally trained by Mr. Sempill. After the Japanese attacked Pearly Harbor, they used British technology (provided by Sempill) to sink the British battleships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, killing 900+. Simultaneously the Japanese army was invading Malaysia and pushing south to take Singapore, the British stronghold in Asia. Also simultaneously, Sempill was caught making calls to the Japanese embassy. And still he was protected.

On 15 Feb 1942 Singapore fell, and 100,000 British prisoners were sent to Japanese concentration camps, where a third of them died. Back in England, Sempill comfortably sat out the war. In the House of Commons, MPs demanded an inquiry to determine has Singapore was lost, but Churchill blocked it.

Sempill died peacefully in 1956 having never faced punishment or public criticism for his monumental crimes, since he was protected by the British government.

Here is the BBC program…

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One Response to Re. the “good war”

  1. Steve says:

    When it comes to war, big player or small player, “anything for a buck.” Thanks for the video-both fascinating & unsettling.


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