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Friday, March 20, 2009

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More ugly KMT history revealed

Talk about an "exposé"

On Wednesday, the frequently sensationalist Apple Daily published pictures taken at the abandoned Ankeng Guesthouse (安康接待室/安康接待所) in Taipei County. These particular photos needed no embellishing -- in fact, portions (and not just the full name on a jar containing an object of mystery and suspicion) were obscured by a mosaic.

The ironically-named* Ankeng Guesthouse was a facility used during the White Terror period by the Taiwan Garrison Command (台灣警備總司令部) under the party-state of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) dictatorship.

In addition to hundreds of documents found at the scene which reports say are related to the interrogation of political prisoners, there were dozens of glass jars containing human body parts. The facility had been abandoned for quite some time and was missing even a front door.

Thursday's Taipei Times provided some of the English coverage:
Yesterday's Chinese-language Apple Daily reported that the documents [Maddog note: interrogation records], along with body parts in jars, had been left scattered at the Investigation Bureau's abandoned Ankeng Guesthouse in Taipei County.

[...]

The newspaper printed photos taken inside the building of human body parts in glass jars. Both the newspaper and the government said the body parts belonged to homicide victims and were unrelated to politics. [Maddog note: How credible is a statement like that?]

The newspaper's reporters were able to enter the derelict office and take photos of the documents and human remains.

[...]

Hsieh [former national policy adviser Hsieh Tsung-min (謝聰敏)] said: "They [Taiwan Garrison Command officials] told me they conducted human experiments on a mountain in Jingmei [景美], but few people knew where it was. Most people were taken to the place blindfolded and few of them came back."

He said both former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had failed to conduct a proper investigation into the fates of political prisoners during the White Terror era.

Asked by the Taipei Times why the documents had not been dealt with under the two-term Chen administration, Cheng [DPP Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦)] said the government had not been aware of them. Had it known, it would have requested action, he said.
Here's more from Thursday's Taiwan News:
Acting on information from local residents, reporters for the vernacular "Apple Daily" found files on about 500 former detainees tossed like garbage in the abandoned Ankang Reception Center in Hsintien, Taipei County Tuesday evening.

Built in 1973, the innocently named "reception center" was initially controlled by the now defunct Taiwan Garrison Command's Military Law Department Ankang Detention Center and served as a location for the detention and joint interrogation, including torture, of "seditionists" by TGC military court prosecutors and the Investigation Bureau until the lifting of martial law in July 1987.
Here's an earlier report via Wednesday's Taiwan News:
Most of the 50 files uncovered by the reporters dated back to Taiwan's White Terror period, when the Kuomintang government of President Chiang Kai-shek persecuted dissidents and people it suspected of sympathies for communism or for Taiwan Independence.

Subjects of the files included late opposition Democratic Progressive Party chairman Huang Hsin-chieh and former Vice Premier Chiou I-jen, the Apple Daily said.

The MJIB [Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau] said the files only contained the most basic information, including fingerprints and photographs, of people who had spent some time inside the building as detainees or interrogation subjects. The files were stored inside metal filing cabinets [Maddog note: See my notes about this further down in this post, below the video], so they had not been abandoned, the bureau said.

The bodies [sic; Maddog note: This should probably refer to body parts] at the Ankang Hostel were stored temporarily for research purposes until the newly established Ministry of Justice Coroners Research Institute had moved into its own site, the MJIB said.

After the media turned out in force at the site Wednesday, the MJIB mobilized police to keep reporters out, while cleaning personnel also arrived to spruce up the low concrete buildings and the surrounding woodland. [Maddog note: Couldn't this also be considered "tampering with evidence"?]
So far, I don't see any coverage of this story in the China Post.

Related video
Here's a Chinese-language report from FTV, uploaded by YouTube user jessie1229tw:


6:54 YouTube video: "20090318 安康接待所-民視新聞台"
Translation: "March 18, 2009: Ankeng Guesthouse - FTV News"

Look closely at the 2:02 mark in the above video, and you'll see that those documents that were supposedly "stored inside metal filing cabinets" don't quite match that description. You'll also hear former national policy adviser Hsieh Tsung-min talking about different forms of torture that were inflicted at the facility, including one that sounds a bit like waterboarding -- except that it used oil or even mace ("辣椒水").

Meanwhile, back at the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari...
The KMT currently has their sights on reopening the investigation of the March 19, 2004 shooting of former president Chen Shui-bian and his running mate Annette Lu (呂秀蓮). I don't object at all to further investigation (in fact, Chen and Lu both welcome it) -- as long as it's based on facts -- but the party who maintained their power via the torture at the Ankeng Guesthouse shouldn't be the ones conducting it.

Discussing the reasons for reopening the case, KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) referred to "a lot of mystery and suspicion surrounding the incident." Unfortunately, there's far more "mystery and suspicion" surrounding his own party, and another investigation at this point in time would seem an awful lot like an attempt to divert the public's attention away from their own serious problems which foment hatred to this very day.

* The name is ironic because "Ankeng" (Ankang, 安康) means "safe and healthy" and because the so-called "guesthouse" was actually a torture facility.

Les yeux sans visage: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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2 Comments:

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

I guess the question of why body parts of homicide victims would end up as subjects of research in a torture facility doesn't bother those who offered this account of their origin.

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger STOP Ma said...

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It should be fun to hear the explanation they have for the the bullet-hole that was found on the passenger side of the front windshield. Oh! I forgot! They shot out the window from the "inside", and then planted the windshield fragments on the floor. How silly of me!

I also have fond memories of KMT-supporter and celebrity forensic specialist Dr. Lee saying that he wasn't sure if it was an assassination attempt. That was quite a knee-slapper!

I also wonder what happened to that "independent film-maker" who made a documentary about this silly conspiracy theory (who talked about it on Forumosa) and who was found out later to be related to a Hong Kong executive who owned one of the blue media stations here (or something like that).

BTW, the older gentleman in that video's name is Mr. Huang. He used to be one of President Chen's foreign policy advisors to Mongolia. He was locked up on Green Island for some time. He told me some fascinating tales over dinner a few years ago.
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