German battleship Tirpitz -
most powerful warship afloat in 1942
Project 60: A Day-by-Day Diary of WWII
Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism
Rangoon abandoned and burnoing as the last Allied ship leaves the harbor
March 3, 1942
RAF Bomber Command,
under its new C-in-C, Air Vice Marshal Harris, attacks the Renault plant in the
Paris suburb of Bilancourt with 235 bombers. Damage to the facility was
extensive as 300 bombs were reported to have hit the factory, destroying 40% of
the plant. 623 French workers were killed and over 1500 injured.
March 4, 1942
US carrier based
aircraft raided the Marcus Islands in the central Pacific. Damage to the
Japanese base was heavy.
The only Allied
surviving ships from the disastrous Battle of the Java Sea, the US destroyers Edwards,
Alden, Ford, and Paul Jones, arrive in Freemantle, Australia.
were taken out of the Baranowicze ghetto and killed, ending a two day orgy of
killing which claimed 12,000 lives.
Attacks by the Soviet
Central Front succeed in liberating Yukhnov.
The evacuation of Rangoon begins in earnest as all facilities which may be of any use to the Japanese are ordered destroyed.
March 7, 1942
The Government of the
Dutch East Indies flees Java for Australia.
at Taukkyan hamper British troops, attempting to retereat from Rangoon.
Japanese naval forces
shell Christmas Island.
March 8, 1942
landings at Lae and Salamaua in New Guinea.
Rangoon falls to the
advancing Japanese forces, cutting off the supply line between the Allies and
the Nationalist Chinese forces. British forces were able to clear the roadblocks
at Taukkyan and continue their retreat northward.
March 9, 1942
The last organized resistance to the Japanese on Java ends. 100,000 Dutch, British, Australian and American soldiers were taken prisoner and 80,000 Dutch civilians were intured. By the end of the war, 8,500 of the Dutch POWs and 10,500 of the civilian internees would be dead.
Editor's Corner Archive:
Afghanistan and Vietnam: When the "war against terrorism" began, many knowledgeable people warned that our operations in Afghanistan would turn into another Vietnam.
Want to Win - Think Before You Lash Out - "If we are serious about taking the war to the enemy, it is time to look ..."
The First Fight Against Fascism - We must remember the Spanish Civil War also.
Arguing Victory - "... Each nation who fought against fascist tyranny in WWII brought with it part of whole needed to defeat that evil..."
War, Glory, Honor and Remembrance - "War is a brutal and savage insult on human society..."
First Casualty... in time of war, those in power are even more inclined to hide the truth,
since that truth is often manifest in the most gruesome and terrible
Those wishing to contribute items. stories or comments should contact D.A. Friedrichs
The items found in this section are comments from the editors of Project 60 and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of bartcop.
The Afghan War and the Geneva Convention
is part three of a four-part essay
on the application of the Geneva Convention toward the Afghan War. The
importance of this issue is that the Bush administration, by its
complete misreading of international law has left the United States
vulnerable to charges of war crimes. Our nation is better than that and
those who supposedly lead us, should not act in criminal manners. Bush,
Ashcroft and Rumsfeld have managed, in their ridiculous declaration
regarding POWs in this war, to lay waste to any pretext we have to be
the guardians of human rights in the world today.
one discussed the status of those taken by our forces during the
conflict. Part two looked at the Geneva Convention in more detail and
clarifies the rights POWs have. Part three examines, in detail, cases of
war crimes committed by our soldiers in the field.
3: Are US Soldiers Adhering to the Tenets of the Convention?
Geneva Conventions also have wording regarding the actions of soldiers
in combat situations. There are specific actions which are allowed and
disallowed. Despite the news blackout from Afghanistan, a startlingly
large number of "mistakes" have been reported. Two cases will be
discussed in this section - the Hazar Qadam raid and the massacre at
Mazar-i-Sharif. Both illustrate some of the potential problems the
United States has in the conduct of the war.
Qadam - On
the night of January 23/24, a US Special Forces team raided an arms
stockpile outside Hazar Qadam. In the raid, 27 prisoners were taken and
15 people killed. In the days
that followed, the Defense Department reported the success of the raid.
the real story was somewhat different. Apparently, the raid, executed on
information from a disgruntled warlord, was executed against a group of
local militia who support the US installed Karzai administration and
were involved in disarming the locals.
discovering the error, the "prisoners" were released, with no
apology or explanation. Also, the CIA moved in and started distributing
cash to the relatives of those killed in the raid.
the story didn't die there. When the "prisoners" returned home,
they reported that they had been severely beaten. Many had broken ribs
and noses. One elderly man has potential kidney and liver damage from
his beatings. The "prisoners" had been stripped of their cloths,
held in open air cages and subjected to intense and abusive
interrogations by their American captors.
More information came out from the raid itself. A report from an eyewitness said that he saw men shouting "We surrender" and then gunfire cut them down. Testimony from the locals indicates that several of the victims in the attack had been found at dawn with their hands bound and fatal wounds to the back of their heads and shoulders. Others were found, simply riddled with bullets or shell fragments.
Mazar-i-Sharif - On the night of November 23/24, Taliban forces in Kunduz surrendered to the Northern Alliance. The Afghan nationals were allowed to return to their villages, but at the insistence of the US government, the foreign Taliban were taken to the fortress at Qala-I-Janghi outside Mazar-i-Sharif. The next day, the Northern Alliance troops started binding the POWs hands behind their backs. About 250 of the 600 POWs had been tied up when two CIA agents came to the fortress-prison to interrogate the captives.
Upon seeing the CIA agents, the prisoners panicked and charged their guards. One of the CIA agents killed four of the prisoners before he and the rest of the armed guards were also killed. The second CIA agent fled and called in US and British Special Forces.
the course of the following days, the fortress was bombed by US
aircraft. Reporters photographed gleeful Northern Alliance soldiers
pouring magazine after magazine of fire into the compound from the
enclosing walls. US Special Forces snipers were engaged to hit those
hiding in the fortress buildings. In order to force the "rioting
prisoners" out, diesel fuel and water were poured into underground
the end, only a handful of prisoners survived. The fortress grounds were
covered with bodies and parts of bodies. Fifty of the dead were
recovered with their hands still bound behind their backs. In all, the
"rioting prisoners" were armed with 30 captured rifles, two rocket
launchers and two grenade launchers.
The Problems - The common thread in both of these cases is that prisoners, hands bound were attacked by various elements of the US armed forces. This is a war crime.
3 of the Geneva Convention states
Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of
armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de
combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all
circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction
founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any
other similar criteria.
this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time
and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
both of these cases, the enemy was rendered defenseless by binding their
hands behind their backs. In both cases, defenseless people were killed.
They were killed by the armed forces of the United States. That is the
case of the Hazar Qadam raid is a clear-cut case of war crimes. Nothing
can justify the actions of the US Special Forces in this case, assuming
the allegations are true. However, the case of the massacre at
Qala-I-Janghi fortress deserves a closer look.
the weeks before the incident, Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense,
made a number of provocative comments. At various times he indicated
that he was "not inclined to negotiate surrender". He also said,
"if people will not surrender, then they've made their own
choice". In other statements, he made it clear that any foreign troops
captured in Afghanistan were not to be released. The Middle-east press
was incensed by these incendiary statements, calling Rumsfeld's
comments a "green light for wholesale slaughter."
Mazar-i-Sharif fell to General Dostum's Northern Alliance forces, the
capture was accompanied by an orgy of killing and summary executions.
These actions were well known and in keeping with General Dostum's
methods from his rein of terror from 1992-96. He had succeeded in
showing what would happen if anyone resisted his forces.
Taliban, according to their own statements, surrendered Kunduz, in large
part, because of the statements of Rumsfeld and the actions of Dostum.
By surrendering, they thought they could avoid the killings. For the
Afghans, that was the case. The foreign troops however, were somewhat
taken aback by not being released. Many actually killed themselves in
preference to being a captive of Dostum. The situation became tense when
Dostum's troops started tying up the prisoners and the situation
simply exploded when the CIA agents showed up,
to an action are responsible. Rumsfeld's comments and more importantly
his insistence that non-Afghan prisoners be held had a great deal to do
with this incident. The prisoners were being held because of our
desires, they were bound for the safety of our operatives and they were
being interrogated by our agents. The violation of the POWs rights by
Dostum's "soldiers" and the illegal interrogations by the CIA are
what caused the prisoners to their feeble uprising. We bare no small
portion of the responsibility for the riot.
the prisoners gained arms, our responsibility to them was not at an end.
A small handful of men were actually armed yet we chose to kill everyone
we could. Article 42 of the Geneva Convention states
use of weapons against prisoners of war, especially against those who
are escaping or attempting to escape, shall constitute an extreme
measure, which shall always be preceded by warnings appropriate to the
vast majority of the prisoners killed were still prisoners. They were
not under arms, some were bound and defenseless. All, including the
armed rioters, were enclosed in a walled fortress, surrounded by
thousands of enemy soldiers. There was neither hope for, or attempts to
escape. Our response to the uprising was not proportional to the threat
that existed. Soldiers of the United States participated willingly in
the massacre. This constitutes a war crime and the magnitude of the
killing only makes it worse.
short, some of our soldiers are acting far outside the law. These are
the best trained, most disciplined, most capable and finest troops for
this type of mission in the world. Yet, these "mistakes" happen.
This mission is beyond the capabilities of any armed force and it is
wrong for our national command authority to be placing
these fine troops in the situation in Afghanistan.