Condoning terror in Japan reveals what extreme leftwing views The Atlantic can peddle
According to AllSides Media Bias Rating, the American monthly magazine The Atlantic, is known for its left bias and consistent sensationalism. This becomes obvious in the article The Bizarre Story Behind Shinzo Abe’s Assassination, penned by Robert F. Worth in the October 2023 issue.
In fact, the bulk of the article is simply Worth echoing the disinformation story told by an extreme leftwing group of activist lawyers, a network put together in 1987 in order to destroy the Unification Church, now called the Family Federation.
Few days after the terror attack that killed Shinzo Abe 8th July 2022, the network of lawyers set up a press conference where they blamed the Family Federation for the hideous crime. And the media bought the story.
Some observers were astonished to find that no one bothered to inquire into the network of lawyers, what they stood for, and their past.
And it seems like Robert F. Worth haven’t bothered either. In his long report, the lawyers are simply referred to as lawyers, when in fact they are at the same time fanatical activists against the Family Federation. Worth is of course well aware of it, but still he omits to mention this crucial fact for painting an objective and truthful picture.
He has clearly bought their disinformation story, to the extent that he is not only blaming the Family Federation for the terror, but is actually condoning terror and making the assassin a hero. The terror is excused, as Worth describes terrorist Yamagami as being “among the most successful assassins in history.”
“Counterintuitively, the reputation of Yamagami, his [Abe’s] alleged assassin, may not suffer. There is an old tradition in Japan of reverence for the doomed hero, the man who undertakes a suicidal quest and becomes a figure of deep nobility […].”
Worth has obvious sympathy for the terrorist and writes about ”the purity of his motives” and describes nationalists who killed two former Japanese prime ministers in an attack in 1936,
“Their sincerity and patriotism are what matter to their admirers, not the cruelty of their act or its ramifications.”
Retelling the story of fanatical activists, the way Worth does, lands him in obvious trouble as he is also vouching for outright lies. He writes,
“The church was then  ‘organized’ by the founder and director of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, Brigadier General Kim Jong-pil, according to an American CIA report written two years later, though it is not clear exactly what role the Korean agency played.”
This false accusation came out of an investigation into the Unification Church by the U.S. House of Representatives International Relations Subcommittee on International Organizations. 15th March 1978, Subcommittee Chairman Donald Fraser (Minnesota Democrat) told reporters there was evidence that the Unification Church was founded “as a political tool” by Korean Central Intelligence Agency Director Kim Jong-pil.
However, this claim was later found to be from a “raw” (unsubstantiated) field intelligence report. After 18 months of searching, the Fraser subcommittee eventually had to admit in its final report that “the Moon organization was not an agent of influence for the ROK government”.
The subcommittee had made a big grandstanding announcement. But it was followed by zero evidence. Still, there was no apology except a terse admission that their original claim was false.
Although leftwing politician Donald Fraser admitted that his claim was false, the network of activist lawyers and similar organisations still circulate the story today, 45 years later as if it were true.
Lie about name change
“But the Abe administration does appear to have gone out of its way to do them at least one big favor.
In 2015, the government took the controversial step of allowing the church to rename itself, to the outrage of its longtime critics. This was a matter of real import, because since the mid‑’90s the words Unification Church had been tainted in Japan. The church now advertises itself under the more anodyne banner of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, though most outsiders still use the old name.”
The network of hostile leftwing lawyers alleges that the name Unification Church was dropped because it had been “tainted”. Worth depicts well how fanatical the lawyers are,
“to the outrage of its longtime critics.”
In reality, the name change had nothing to do with Japan. The founder of the Unification Church Sun Myung Moon declared already in 1996 that the Unification Church had outplayed its role. He stated that we’d had thousands of years with religions emphasizing individual salvation. Now, there is a distinct need for a movement that works for what he called “family salvation”. Hence, the Family Federation was founded that same year by Sun Myung Moon and his wife Hak Ja Han. In most countries the movement took that name – Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. But in Japan it proved quite difficult to change the name because of fanatical claims made by hostile lawyers.
Ideas borrowed from hostile lawyers
The long Atlantic report is heavily biased against the Unification Church, now called the Family Federation. Most of the content is ideas and viewpoints borrowed from an extremely hostile network of lawyers, the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales.
Page up and page down are devoted to disinformation statements by lawyers and journalists associated with the network, or like-minded activists – lawyer Hiroshi Yamaguchi, journalist Eito Suzuki, lawyer / politician Yoshifu Arita. They are all leading figures of the attack on the Family Federation launched by the network of activist leftwing lawyers. Yamaguchi founded the network. Another anti-cultist Worth interviews in his report is Pascal Zivi. An experienced writer / journalist like Robert F. Worth must be well aware of what those activists represent. But he just describes them as lawyers or journalists. That is foul play and hiding essential parts of the story.
Award-winning author and investigative journalist Masumi Fukuda writes,
“Almost all of the lawyers in the Network were affiliated with the former Socialist Party and the Communist Party, who […] were connected with extremist groups and North Korea, and were ideologically leftists and self-styled atheists. In contrast, the former Unification Church is an anti-communist and conservative organization that opposes atheism. It is clear that this was an ideological battle between the two camps.” (The Truth About the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales, article by Masumi Fukuda in the monthly magazine Hanada, republished in English in Bitter Winter 30th March 2023)
Lawyers worked with deprogrammers
In the same article, Fukuda explains how some of those lawyers worked together with professional deprogrammers to have more than 4,000 members of the Unification Church kidnapped and forcibly detained in order to break their faith,
“There were lawyers who became rich through these cases, as did deprogrammers and Christian pastors involved in the abductions, who received substantial amounts of money from the relatives of the believers they deprogrammed.
When the lawyers were consulted by the believers’ parents, they first introduced them to the deprogrammers. If and when deprogramming was successful, the lawyers took over from the deprogrammers as ‘handlers’ of the former believers, made them plaintiffs, and filed lawsuits. The anti-Unification-Church group, including Attorney Kito and journalists Yoshifu Arita, and Eito Suzuki, still defends deprogramming to this very day, and claims it was performed to ‘protect’ the former members of the Unification Church.”
It is a well-known fact that the activist leftwing lawyers has made a lot of money by portraying the Unification Church / Family Federation in a negative light. These experts profit from making religious movements appear as problematic as possible. They often twist facts to fit their narrative.
Hate speech responsible for terror
According to famous Italian sociologist of religion Dr. Massimo Introvigne, so-called ‘cult experts’ had been in contact with terrorist Tetsuya Yamagami before he assassinated Abe. While the experts did not directly suggest that Yamagami shoot Abe, they did encourage and fuel his hatred towards the Unification Church and its allies.
Jan Leonid Bernstein, investigative reporter, writes,
“We should never minimize the influence of hate speech on people. And definitely, we should not apply double standard based on which religious affiliation are the killer and the victim. Terrorism is terrorism. Abe’s murder has a terrorist component and the hate speech directed for years at the Unification Church by some anti-cult groups may certainly be somewhat responsible for what happened, whatever personal grievance the killer would have had.” (Shinzo Abe’s assassination to be called terrorist, article in The European Times 16th July 2022)
Introvigne explained in a previous article,
“While the weak mind of the assassin had clearly been excited by anti-Unification-Church campaigns by militant lawyers and anti-cultists, the latter succeeded in persuading most media, both in Japan and internationally, that rather than being a victim the Unification Church was somewhat responsible for the homicide, in a spectacular reversal of both logic and fairness.” (The Assassination of Shinzo Abe and the Unification Church, The Journal of CESNUR, volume 6, issue 6, November – December 2022, pages 74—96.)
Fukuda also writes,
“The Network would not hesitate to use all means to destroy the former Unification Church. They are willing to tell all sort of stories, including lies, to achieve what they believe is a righteous purpose. They often throw the words ‘anti-social’ and ‘cult’ at the former Unification Church, but considering their involvement in the abduction and confinement of believers, one may wonder whether they are not more deserving of these labels themselves.” (‘Sayuri Ogawa’: When ‘Apostates’ Slander the Unification Church. 5. Why the Story Is Not Believable, Bitter Winter 6th March 2023)
Grand statements from mentally unstable person
Another person Worth relies heavily on to paint a black picture of the Family Federation, is an apostate using the pseudonym Sayuri Ogawa. The text makes many false claims about her. She is presented as a 26-year-old woman. Ogawa has a long history of mental disorders, and it is surprising that Atlantic would publish grand statements from a mentally unstable person.
Above-mentioned Fukuda conducted extensive investigations into Ogawa’s claims and reported.
“Her parents’ testimony and the ‘Hanada’ magazine’s investigation clarified that what Sayuri told the media may not conceivably be true.” (‘Sayuri Ogawa’: When ‘Apostates’ Slander the Unification Church. 5. Why the Story Is Not Believable, Bitter Winter 6th March 2023)
Another claim, retold unquestioningly by Worth, is that the Family Federation is pressuring members to make large donations. This is a standard allegation from the network of leftwing lawyers. Dr. Massimo Introvigne criticizes such a claim,
“In its general principles, the Unification Church’s theology of donations is surprisingly similar to its Catholic and Protestant counterparts. […]
Ultimately, the problem is theological and philosophical. For a believer, donations may be deep spiritual experiences. For an atheist, or somebody who believes that groups such as the Unification Church are not ‘real’ religions, no caution would be good enough, and no donation would ever be recognized as the fruit of a free and reasonable choice.” (The Abe Assassination. Donations to the Unification Church: Separating Facts from Fiction, Bitter Winter 3rd Sept. 2022)
Masumi Fukuda explains the origin of many of the donation claims,
“Unfortunately, however, even if the donors are convinced at the time of the donation that they are donating freely, as time goes by, their faith may wane. Their relatives may rush to the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales to recover the donation.
The donors may be persuaded by lawyers from the Communist Party of Japan or the former Socialist Party that they have been ‘deceived’, and a lawsuit against the religious organization for the return of the donation may follow. In fact, there are many cases in which relatives consulted with the Network on how to force the donors-believers to sue.” (The Plot to Destroy the Unification Church in Japan. 3. Fraudulent Lawsuits, written by Masumi Fukuda, published in Bitter Winter 26th June 2023.)
The lengthy Atlantic report uses several derogatory terms about the Family Federation, such as referring to it as the “Moonies”. It is denigratory and demeaning and is used by some to make fun of and belittle the Unification Church, now called the Family Federation, and its members. This term is often used by leftwing and anti-religious activists.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “Moonie” is a pejorative term. Major US media outlets such as the New York Times and Chicago Tribune have also stopped using this term for the same reason.
Featured image above: The immediate aftermath of the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in the vicinity of Kintetsu Yamato-Saidaiji station northern entrance on 8th July 2022. Photo: Tokumeigakarinoaoshima / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC ASA 4.0 Int
“Bizarre Atlantic Report Condoning Terror” – text: Knut Holdhus
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