The United States incarcerated over 120,000 Japanese immigrants following the bombing of Pearl Harbor which dragged America into World War 2 in December 1941.
The fever-pitch paranoia during the Roosevelt era was that those Japanese who came to America to work would spy for their homeland, thus they were rounded up and hauled off to concentration camps.
It mattered little to Washington that most of the Japanese in America at the time had already acquired American citizenship.
Those Japanese-Americans were still thought off as undyingly loyal to their god-like emperor and were, consequently, treated as enemies within America’s midst.
And not without reasons, too. Foremost among them was the discovery that Japanese spies in Hawaii, including Takeo Yoshikawa, helped plan the lighting-fast attack which decimated the battleships of the US Pacific Fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor.
History tells us that it was only out of sheer luck that the US carrier group escaped destruction at anchorage, as it was out in the open sea on patrol when the Japanese Zeroes launched their audacious air blitz.
The Pearl Harbor bombing killed 2,403 and wounded 1,143 Americans, but missed America’s supply depot in Hawaii that could have set back US war efforts for years.
Just six months later, a resurgent US Navy, with the bold Chester Nimitz at the helm of the Pacific Command, would exact revenge by destroying Japanese carrier groups in the Battle of Midway in June 1942.
On both Pearl Harbor and the American victory in the critical Battle of Midway, grassroots-level intelligence played decisive roles in achieving victory.
Perched at the Aiea Heights overlooking the south side of Oahu, Yoshikawa provided very important intel which guided the Zeroes — Japan’s superbly agile and able fighters — in their bombing run.
For the Americans, Nimitz retained Edwin Layton, the intelligence officer who warned of the coming Pearl Harbor attack but whose work was largely ignored by higher-ups.
With his battery of codebreakers, Layton would later on correctly predict the area near the Marshall Islands where the Japanese would attack, allowing Nimitz to spring a trap on the Japanese fleet.
Now, if two men like Yoshikawa and Layton were able to shape and influence the events and outcomes of World War 2, imagine what 3,000 can do in terms of intelligence-gathering right in your backyard.
Imagine what 3,000 well-trained fighters can do when taken in the context of what havoc the fierce 300 of Sparta were able to achieve, fighting to the last man in the Battle of Thermopylae against the invading Persians of Xerxes in 480 BC.
The 3,000 this contrarian did not pluck from thin air. The 3,000 is the number of Chinese soldiers claimed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson to be present in the Philippines on an “immersion” (read: spying) mission.
Sen. Richard Gordon tended to back up Lacson with his assessment that the Philippines’ withdrawal of the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US may have the country ripe for China’s picking.
Gordon noted that the Chinese nationals working for Philippine overseas gaming operators (POGO) are mostly male and of military age. They are also awash in cash and are renting out houses and condo units at expensive addresses, including one with its own firing range.
Hmmm. Firing range, with cash aplenty and with seeming military training as seen from their violent run-ins with security guards and policemen and among themselves.
Surely, that’s a storyline worthy of a Robert Ludlum or a John Le Carré spy thriller: Of 3,000 members of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) setting foot in the Philippines as a “sleeper” invasion army in line with China’s occupation of islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Except if we are to seriously consider that there are 3,000 Chinese Yoshikawas now in Manila dredging intel for the PLA, maybe Sen. Lacson should give us a little more meat to chew on.
If we’ll fancy Lacson to be a Nimitz, though he is no longer the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who can act on intel that lands on his lap, who then is the senator’s Layton?
More important than a name, what was the basis used by the “fairly reliable source” cited by Sen. Lacson in claiming that many of the Chinese POGO workers are actually soldiers?
Actually, confirming this intel is no longer Sen. Lacson’s job, but one that belongs to the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the huge budget they have for intelligence gathering.
The plot thickens. This may even end up as a page-turner with the working title “Yoshikawa Redux.” Abangan.