Victors’ Justice

Victors’ Justice

Several years ago I wrote about the trial of Rear Admiral Shigematsu Sakaibara for the execution of the 98 American civilian POWs on Wake Island during World War II (see War Crime). In recent months I’ve been digging deeper into trial records and contacting government agencies to help the Forsberg family find a material item used as evidence in the Sakaibara trial. My research has revealed some interesting new (to me) material on the Wake...

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The Underside of Genocide

The Underside of Genocide

The massacre of the last 98 Americans on Wake Island in 1943 did not constitute genocide, but I wonder where the line is crossed between war crimes committed against civilians and acts of genocide committed against civilians. I recently gave a talk on genocide and dictatorship and during my research found that crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide do not have clear lines of separation, even in international law. The concept of...

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RIP, Wake 98

RIP, Wake 98

It’s been a year and a half since I posted about the Wake 98 and the JPAC/DPAA mission to identify a group of remains found on the island in 2011. I wish I had some news to share, but I don’t. I maintained close contact with authorities at JPAC and the lab at Dover AFB over the years as we found DNA donors for over 70 of the 98 massacre victims, but as my search came to an end, my connections dwindled and I have had no response to inquiries...

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Roll on, Columbia

Roll on, Columbia

The mighty Columbia River flows 1,200 miles from its source in British Columbia to its terminus at the Pacific Ocean. The river’s strength lies in its volume and rapid descent, fed by countless tributaries and falling 2,600 feet along its course. Humans have drawn on its vast resources for at least twelve thousand years. White settlement and rapid regional development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries drastically altered the...

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Women of Wake

Women of Wake

A few weeks ago my good friend and Wake Brother, Floyd Forsberg, sent me a large box containing hundreds of photocopies of Wake-related records that his mother had saved during World War II. Ruth Forsberg was an officer in the Los Angeles-area wartime organization, “Women of Wake,” and retained the group’s minutes, correspondence, and other documents. Recently Floyd took on the daunting effort of organizing and photocopying the records...

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