Cowardice, Racism and Lies: The Sinking of the Ehime Maru

Borba100 at Borba100 at
Thu Feb 15 20:54:38 MST 2001

URL for his article is
[Emperor's Clothes]

Cowardice, Racism and Lies: The Sinking of the Ehime Maru
by Jared Israel [2-16-2001]

It is now five days since the tragic sinking of the Japanese training
trawler, Ehime Maru, by the U.S. submarine, Greeneville, off the coast of
Hawaii. On board the trawler were crew members and students. Nine are still
missing and almost certainly dead.

You will recall that the U.S. Navy initially claimed the sinking was an
unavoidable accident. The sub had been doing everything by the book:

"The Navy initially had said the submarine was within the 56-square-mile
training area designated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration and marked on nautical charts to caution commercial and
recreational craft." ('Washington Post', 2-15-2001)

But that story has changed:

"On Wednesday, the Navy acknowledged that the Greeneville was about 3,000
yards east of a submarine test and trial area when it surfaced underneath the
Japanese vessel." ('Washington Post', 2-15-2001)


Initially the Navy claimed the crew did all it could to aid the victims. But
the Captain of the stricken vessel disagreed:

[START OF QUOTE] 'Hisao Onishi, captain of the sunken trawler Ehime Maru,
told reporters that U.S. sailors did little while he and others flailed in
the water.

"I could see several people on the [sub's] tower," he said. "They lowered a
rope ladder ... but none of our crew members were rescued by the submarine
... They were just looking until the Coast Guard arrived."

"Adm. Thomas Fargo, the Pacific Fleet commander, said 3- to 6-foot-high waves
stopped Greeneville sailors from leaving their sub.

'"Because of the swells, the crew was not able to open hatches and take
available survivors on board,' he said.

"But the 26 survivors reportedly said that despite the choppy seas, no water
entered their lifeboats.

"It took more than 20 minutes before Coast Guard rescuers swooped in shortly
after the 2 p.m. (Hawaii time) collision.('Daily News' (New York) February
12, 2001) [END QUOTE}

Why did the crew do NOTHING while it took 20 minutes - why 20 minutes? was
there a delay before they were called? - for the Coast Guard to get to the
scene, from nearby Hawaii?

The disaster was the fault of the submarine. The seas were warm. The most
extreme measures should have been taken - up to an including risking sailors'
lives (which would hardly have been necessary) to at least try to rescue the
victims. Nothing was done.

Why? Because of racism? Cowardice? Arrogance - the idea that American lives
are too precious to risk even when criminal negligence - or worse - causes a
fatal accident?

Some U.S. media suggested the sinking was not a big issue in Japan:

"Most Japanese seemed to see Friday's accident as an isolated one." ('AP
Worldstream', February 12, 2001)

But this was not true:

[START OF QUOTE]"Japan's Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori told the United States
ambassador in Tokyo that Japan does not believe the explanation offered by
the Navy for the sub's failure to rescue anyone immediately after the

'"The Japanese people have developed a deep distrust' in the Navy's account,
Mori was quoted by Kyodo News Agency as telling Ambassador Thomas Foley.

"Japanese anger was spurred by the Navy's explanation that the waves were too
high for the sub to open its hatches and attempt to rescue anyone. The
fishing boat's captain said the waves were not so high and did not even
breach the life rafts."(St. Petersburg Times February 13, 2001) [END QUOTE]

Not An Ordinary Procedure

The Navy claimed the Sub was doing nothing out of the ordinary. Not so, says
a retired sub commander Jim Bush, interviewed on the 'Lehrer NewsHour'.
According to Bush the sub was performing a "rapid ascent", an emergency
procedure employed only when absolutely necessary:

[START OF QUOTE] CAPT. JIM BUSH (Ret.): Well, a rapid ascent is a legitimate
exercise for a submarine to do on rare occasions. It's unlikely that you
would have to use a rapid ascent. However, if you're going to do that in
peacetime, you have to make sure that there's absolutely no chance that
you're going to hit a ship when you surface....If you wanted to be really
certain, you could surface and use your radar to make sure that there were no
ships in the area. Having done this, you then go down to whatever depth you
want to practice your emergency surface from, and you surface from down
there. But before you practice that emergency surface, you make absolutely
certain that there is no possibility that there would be a civilian ship in
the area.

...If you weren't absolutely certain that there was no ship there, you would
not practice an emergency surface.

JIM LEHRER: Now, the sonar and the radar, those are back-ups, then, to sight?
Would you agree with that?

CAPT. JIM BUSH (Ret.): Well, they're back-ups to sight, but radar could be
very significant, significantly useful to determine whenever it's possible,
even plausible, for a ship to be in the area.

JIM LEHRER: So, based on your experience, if the captain did everything along
the lines you outlined before, it's almost impossible to have happened what
happened over the weekend?

CAPT. JIM BUSH (Ret.): That's exactly correct. If he had taken every
precaution possible, it was almost impossible for that to have happened.
('The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer',  February 12, 2001) [END QUOTE]

As a 'Washington Post' story (link below) shows, even the crew members - and
the invited guests(!) - make no claim that radar was used before the ascent.
They refer only to a periscope check. The 'N.Y. Daily News' made the common
sense observation:

"More baffling is how the submarine's sensitive navigation equipment could
have missed a 151-foot, 499-ton fishing trawler floating directly above it. "


Initially the Navy admitted there were civilians on board the sub at the time
of the accident but claimed they were only observing. Doesn't that sound a
bit shaky? What are civilian observors doing on a submarine war vessel?

Be that as it may, it is nothing compared to the truth, or should I say, that
part of the truth which has emerged so far. First, the Navy claims the sub
was on a training mission, but wouldn't it make sense, during a training
mission, to use all the procedures called for under navy regulations? This
would include active radar; yet active radar was not employed.

The answer is simple. According to civilian VIP guests interviewed on NBC's
"Today" show, the rapid ascent was carried out to entertain those VIP
civilians. Indeed one of the civilians, a certain John Hall, was at the
controls when the sub hit the fishing trawler.

[START OF QUOTE] "'I was to the left in the control room, and I was asked by
the captain if I would like the opportunity to pull the levers that start the
procedure that's called the blowdown,' John Hall told NBC's "Today" show.

'"I said, 'Sure, I'd love to do that,'" he said.

"Hall said the nearest crew member was 'right next to me, elbow to elbow. I
mean, what's important to know here is you don't do anything on this vessel
without someone either showing you how to do it, telling you how to do it, or
escorting you around.'" ('Washington Post', 2-15-2001) [END QUOTE]

This is beyond belief.


The civilian tour was arranged by "a former commander of U.S. military forces
in the Pacific, retired Adm. Richard Macke."

"[Commander] Macke was forced to apply for early retirement in 1996 after he
suggested that three U.S. servicemen who rented a car to allegedly abduct and
rape a 12-year-old girl in Okinawa, Japan, should have hired a prostitute
instead." ('Washington Post', 2-15-2001)

Reading over these horrifying words, I am urge people around the world to
believe that there are millions of decent people in the USA, people who care
about justice, people who are not like these monsters. -- Jared Israel,

The 'Washington Post' article can be read at


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