Thursday, February 25, 1999

Anthrax hoax makes
Hawaii terrorist target

HAWAII has been exempted until now from abortion-related terrorism. With the arrival at a Honolulu's doctor's office of a letter claiming to contain deadly anthrax, that exemption has ended. The letter was one of several that disrupted operations at offices in cities apparently targeted by anti-abortion terrorists. No anthrax has been found in any of the letters, but they have created fear that what have thus far been hoaxes will someday turn into tragic acts of terrorism. Medical and law-enforcement agencies must assume and prepare for the worst.

Anthrax contamination letters postmarked in Cincinnati were mailed to 10 abortion clinics in four states last October, after a sniper killed a Buffalo, N.Y., doctor who performed abortions and four others were wounded in that area. In the past week at least 14 letters postmarked in Lexington, Ky., were mailed to abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood offices in various cities.

The recent mailings included a delivery to 14th-floor offices in the Ala Moana Building. Although those offices had been vacated by Planned Parenthood of Hawaii more than a year ago, that organization presumably was the intended target. The brown powder contained in the envelope was not anthrax, but the building, next to Ala Moana Center, was evacuated. Six people were subjected to physical examinations as a precautionary measure.

The October mailings prompted the Justice Department to assign a task force to investigate anti-abortion violence directed at doctors and clinics. However, the task force soon found that anthrax threats had been aimed in both directions of the abortion issue.

Neal Horsley, the Georgia creator of an Internet site that targets abortion providers, Catholic parishes in Indiana and New York and the Chicago office of the Pro-Life Action League all received anthrax-threatening letters in early November. Those letters, postmarked in Texas and Illinois, also were hoaxes. (No Hawaii abortion providers are on Horsley's list.)

Investigations of individual threats can cost up to $100,000 but the large number of hoaxes must not lead authorities to become complacent. Criminal investigations should continue, and vaccines and treatment made available for any real attack that might be launched by extremists on either side of the abortion issue.


Lindsey’s tactics

TESTIMONY that Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey ordered staff members to photograph and videotape marchers in the May 1997 protest against the trustees' management of the Kamehameha Schools should weigh heavily in the case for Lindsey's removal from the board.

Elisa Yadao, a former estate spokeswoman, also testified that Lindsey and fellow trustee Henry Peters took down the names of many of the demonstrators -- apparently to match with the photos -- raising the possibility of retribution. Lindsey "believed that these people were marching against the trustees," Yadao said. "She was very angry about that."

Such behavior by a trustee could obviously have been interpreted as threatening and was highly improper. This was an entirely peaceful and orderly demonstration by alumni and parents of students at the Kamehameha Schools, an exercise of the constitutional right of free speech. Instead of listening to their concerns, Lindsey apparently tried to intimidate them.

Many other criticisms of Lindsey's conduct have been made during her trial, but we find this particularly disturbing. It is no wonder that she has lost the support of much of the Hawaiian community. She does not deserve to remain on the Bishop Estate board.

Bishop Estate Archive

‘The Rape of Nanking’

JAPAN has been reluctant to confront the history of its aggression and atrocities during World War II, although efforts are being made to educate its people about the ugly facts. Many Japanese prefer to regard themselves as victims of the war because of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The resistance continues, as evidenced by the difficulties encountered by the author of a controversial book on "The Rape of Nanking," describing the raping and killing of hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians by Japanese soldiers in 1937-38.

The Japanese translation of American writer Iris Chang's book bearing that title was initially scheduled to be published later this month, but its release was indefinitely postponed when the author rejected proposed changes. Now the publisher, who has been under pressure to cancel the deal, says it will be scrapped if the author refuses to allow the simultaneous release of a book that challenges her evidence.

Kashiwa Shobo Publishing Co. said it won't release Chang's book unless she agrees to the companion release of "The Nanking Massacre and the Japanese: How to read 'The Rape of Nanking.' " The book is a collection of studies by Japanese and American historians who disagree with some of Chang's conclusions.

Chang said she never asked the publisher to cancel or postpone the publication of either book. However, the publisher said she demanded that the second book not be marketed as a supplement to her own work. (Read "antidote" for supplement.)

For the Japanese edition, Chang refused to remove photographs that were the chief target of criticism by nationalistic historians. She also refused to add material, including a foreword written by a Japanese historian, which was not in the original book.

All these problems signify that Chang's work is a very hot potato in Japan. World War II ended more than half a century ago, but Japan is still unwilling to accept the truth.

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