The Tianjin Shock Wave Linked
|This past week’s on-shore shock-wave event in Tianjin,
China, has striking similarities with the mysterious vaporization of a
“roll on / roll off” car-carrier ship off the coast of Norway in June
1991. If the comparison discussed here proves to be correct, then the
massive explosion at the port that serves Beijing could well be the opening
shot of World War III.
The visual panorama at ground zero in Tianjin is a curious because there’s an inner ring empty of debris with its edges blackened by the massive explosions, smoke plumes and wreckage from a large chemical warehouse. Was there a sequence of two events at Tianjin: first a seismic air burst, which was followed by an explosive conflagration? Some online analysts speculate about the possibility of a tactical nuclear weapon. If high levels of radiation are not detected, however, then the cause was probably a more exotic weapons technology, especially after the power blackout over most of the city is factored into the disaster.
One noticeable “coincidence” is that the mega-blast occurred less than two days before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s twisted “apology” for the Japan aggression in Asia and the Pacific, which hinted at the urgent need to prepare for the next war. Due to his past connections with Aum Shinrikyo’s weapons trade, Abe cannot be excluded as a suspect in either the Tianjin disaster or the 1991 vaporization event intended against the Norwegian royals. Neither can Japanese-made cars be excluded as the delivery system in both incidents.
Quirk in the Subway Gassing
The strange tale spouted unexpectedly in the first weeks of my team’s investigative reporting of the March 1995 Tokyo Subway gassing. The morning rush-hour gassing in the heart of Japan’s capital was prompted by a police crackdown on covert transfers of weapons of mass destruction from Yeltsin-era Russia by the Aum Shinrikyo sect. At the time, Shinzo Abe was deeply involved in arms-smuggling by Aum operative Kiyohide Hayakawa, who like Abe had been a member of the Kobe branch of the Unification Church, which was a hub of covert operations.
Our investigative journalism partly focused on major shipping companies, whose managers were queried about extra-large cargo containers that could convey a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile from the Black Sea, specifically from newly independent Ukraine. A copy of Hayakawa’s notebook, which I obtained from an intelligence-affairs analyst, mentioned purchases of at least one of these massive rockets.
Spokesmen at all the Japanese-owned shippers replied curtly that there were no records of such dangerous cargo. A notable exception was the manager of a Norwegian shipping company, who gave a curious reply: “Could that be the bomb that blew up the Japanese car carrier just before the crowning of Norway’s new king?”
I was flabbergasted by his unexpected remark. “Well, uh, possibly,” I replied and then arranged for a face-to-face discussion at a Roppongi beer hall. At our introductory meeting, the shipper asked if I wanted him to phone a ship captain in Norway who was a colleague of a vaporized crew member. I nodded, and he dialed an overseas number, spoke briefly and then handed the receiver to me.
“It’s known among ship’s captains like myself because I work for the same company,” the voice said over the line with a thick Nordic accent. “One of our freighters got a distress call when passing by a large Japanese car-carrier. The Japanese captain said that during some high seas the hood of one of the compact cars popped open. A crew member who went over to shut the hood noticed a strange metal object lodged next to the engine and thought it might be dangerous.
“Nobody aboard the ‘roll on / roll off’ (car carrier) knew what it was, and so the Japanese captain made a radio call for help. The Norwegian freighter crew obliged by sending over one of its engineers and an assistant on a Zodiac inflatable boat. Once aboard the car-carrier, the Norwegian engineer called his own captain over a hand-held radio, saying that there was a large screw head that appeared to hold down the lid of the box. After getting approval to open the device, engineer kept on describing his movements as he turned the screwdriver.
“At that moment, the Norwegian crew members watched in stunned silence as the Japanese car-carrier vaporizing before their eyes in an brilliant flash of light that faded, leaving nothing but the ocean in sight. The shock wave knocked out all the batteries inside the freighter, but caused no damage. The odd thing they noticed that it all happened in silence, there was no noise.”
The vanishing of a huge ship from Japan was a major event, I responded, so how come I’ve heard of it?
“Well, you see, sir, the Japanese vessel was scheduled to unload cars at the port of Trondheim right at the time that the new king and queen were about to be blessed at the cathedral. The blast set off a massive security alert, and all the ports of Norway were locked down. So the news never got out.”
Round Up the Usual Suspects
After the Norwegian departed, my head started to spin. If the blast had been from a Ukrainian nuclear missile, the Norwegian ship could not have survived intact and the sound would have been thunderous. So what could it have been that vaporised the car-carrier.? At the next morning’s editorial meeting, I asked my reporters if they had heard any Aum Shinrikyo members speak of a super-weapon that could make something as large as an office tower vanish in a flash.
A rookie female reporter said that the guru Shoko Asahara had spoken to his followers about a new type of powerful electromagnetic bomb that could fit inside the hood of a car. Bingo. Back in those days of spotty Internet, I went to the USIA-sponsored American library in downtown Tokyo and ran a check of magazine articles on CDs, and came up with the “Procyon” invented by Russian weapons-designer Andre Sakharov.
The Procyon, named after the lesser Dog Star or Canis Minor, is a Tesla coil that builds up a massive electrical charge. When explosive charges packed around the housing are detonated, the power of the electromagnetic jolt is equivalent to all the electricity generated on Earth is released in one-billionth of a second. The device was designed to wipe out electronic control systems over a wide area. The Pentagon purchased a smaller version for testing at the Redstone arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, so the Procyon was for real.
Thus I deduced Hayakawa and his boss Shinzo Abe were able to obtain a few Procyon devices from the advanced weapons laboratories at Yekaterinaberg though the good graces of Oleg Lobov. Yeltsin’s national security adviser. Lobov had been appointed president of the Aum-run Russo-Japan University. The late ambassador to Moscow Shintaro Abe, the father of Shinzo, was a founder of that college, along with the notorious rightist Shintaro Ishihara. More than 2,000 former Soviet weapons designers and scientists were recruited as students with generous research grants.
So on orders from the two Shintaros. and blessings from boy wonder Shinzo and his guru Asahara, Aum Shinrikyo operatives rolled on a Procyon-loaded car heading for Norway and timed to assassinate the entire Norwegian Royal Family along with much of Western Europe’s upper crust.
Crazed Grudge Match
Judging from the historical revisionism of rightist politicians, the grudge goes back to March 1933 when the British-lead delegations of Western Europe refused to support the Japanese military occupation of Manchuria in northeast China. It may seem absurd to attempt a massacre of Europe’s blue bloods 58 years after that event, but for Shintaro Abe and his son Shinzo the “empire” of Manchuria is the bright shining star of their firmament, because their family patriarch Nobusuke Kishi was the finance minister of that utopian experiment, the man who paid for the fabled dream-turned-nightmare.
Norway’s Royal House of Glucksberg is on the long list of arch-enemies, because Harald’s grandfather Haakon VII was staunchly pro-British and a formidable military strategist against the Axis Powers, and therefore no friend of militarist Japan back in those dark days. There wasn’t a compelling reason for Japanese rightists to throw a lifeline to the Norwegian royals, even in the event that one of the VIP guests at Trondheim cathedral was the actual target of the ultimate car bombing. When it comes to acts of spectacular vengeance, the more the merrier.
If there was any clue to a more recent motive, it came during a drinking bout with one of my senior rightist contacts who blurted out in a drunken stupor that he had phoned the then-prime minister of Ukraine to nuke London for some insult hurled by the just-retired Margaret Thatcher. His strong complaint had something to do with her refusal to sponsor a permanent seat for Japan on the Security Council, after stuffing gobs of yen into her purse. When I asked if the lives of all the good people in London was worth such a trifling matter, he shrugged his shoulders and then roared, “Let’s have another bottle of sake!” That was one terrorist plot nipped in the bud. Japanese rightists are simply not the most rational or coherent minds within our myopic culture. Thatcher probably wasn’t even invited to Trondheim.
A World in Need of Heroes
It is regrettable that the Norwegian ship’s engineer and Japanese crewmen on that ro-ro, never got the public recognition they deserved for stopping the annihilation of Trondheim, even if they never had a clue about what was under the hood.
More tragic is that there were no such unintended heroes at the Toyota assembly plant or the Mitsubishi Motors shipping center in Tianjin.
Proper credit should go to the Japanese prime minister for meaning what he partially says, even if he doesn’t completely say what he means. The new and improved knock-off of the Procyon is impressive, an ace up the sleeve. But it is cars that should be banned as lethal weapons, when considering the fact that more than 1.2 million people are killed in auto accidents every year. After all, what good is an implosive Tesla coil without a delivery system?
Fatalities mount among residents suffering traumatic injuries, a human-interest story ignored by the world news media. In the rarified air of geopolitical contest, where collateral damage doesn’t count and only winning matters, the success of offense is ultimately determined by the toughness of defense. The shielding around the world’s fastest and biggest supercomputer, Tianhe-1, held back the electromagnetic wave that reduced Tianjin, so the attackers come away with a draw and not a checkmate. The next round should be interesting.
Yoichi Shimatsu is a science journalist based in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.
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