GAZE July 10, 2020 Edition
ACES at WARS: The classified document about Circum-Pacific War was revealed
“Aces.” That is what we call those who stand before us. One by one, fighter jets assemble on the runway, shimmering with heat haze. The sight of them proceeding slowly in formation resembled that of an elephant walk. It was a majestic spectacle, and a different sight compared to their gallant appearance when they fly high in the sky. Joining wings are the aircraft of ace pilots, [some of] which had faced off against one another at one point. The revealing of a classified document pertaining to the Circum-Pacific War brought these aircraft together from all around the world. Will they return triumphantly to their respective homes, or will they head to future battlefields?
Declaration of a Resolution
On June 30, 2020 at Redmill Air Force Base just outside of the capital, the Osean government held a ceremony commemorating 25 years since the end of the Belkan War. Unlike the previous year, official invitations were sent out to various air forces from around the world, and the number of foreign aircraft that flew into the base was over 120. This was not limited to allied nations, as several aircraft from nations that were enemies at the time of conflict were also being lined up, and the base had the aura of an air show.
Other than the host, the countries that participated were Erusea, Yuktobania, Emmeria, Estovakia, Leasath, Aurelia, Ustio, Sapin, Central Usea, and Belka. IUN and former ISAF aircraft joined in as well. The scale of participation dwarfed even international military exercises that were held in the past, and the large number of foreign officials in attendance for Memorial Day (an official holiday in the Osean Federation to mourn soldiers who have fallen in battle) was unprecedented.
Aside from a few replicas, the aircraft participating were the actual planes used by the top aces, and the liveries and armament used at the time of their respective wars were preserved. From the Lighthouse War, Continental War, Emmeria-Estovakia War, and the Belkan War, the aces’ aircraft that saw distinguished service and contributed to the conclusion of war at times were exhibited to the spectators. There were a few bursts of laughter from the media in the venue when flashy liveries of temporary military forces made up of mercenaries appeared, but the gaze of the military personnel were all serious.
The reason for the gathering of the battle-worn aircraft from the five continents was that this year was a critical juncture, with it being 25 years since the end of the Belkan War, and also the year of the unveiling of the classified records pertaining to the Circum-Pacific War (the so-called “2020 Document”), which was approaching 10 years since its conclusion. A portion of the records revealed that in the background of the clash between the superpowers of Osea and Yuktobania, there existed a terrorist group that had hidden themselves in central positions in both countries and manipulated events, and that this group was called “The Grey Men.” This was the first time that an official document confirmed this information. It has also come to light that beginning with the bombing of St. Hewlett naval port last year, these terrorists were involved in a series of Erusean military actions. The aces’ aircraft that lay before us had confronted those threats.
In response to this ongoing problem, the Osean government declared its participation in a “Coalition of the Willing” with anti-terrorism as its objective. This was not a union of countries regulated by a particular international association or alliance, but instead made it possible for all kinds of organizations from around the world to cooperate [in this endeavor]. The large-scale demonstration at this year’s commemoration ceremony was a display of the coalition’s unity to people at home and abroad by countries in agreement [to this new effort], and was a declaration of a resolution to put a stop to the lengthy battles and history of conniving that had its origins in the Belkan War.
The Grey Men
The executive order on the automatic release of classified records pertaining to the Circum-Pacific War, issued by Osean President Harling in March 2013, went into effect on April 1st that same year. Seven years later on that same month, a ~2000 page document file became available for viewing on the Information Security Supervision Bureau’s database.
There are three levels of classification: “Top Secret,” “Secret,” and “Confidential.” Per the executive order, a “top secret” document gets demoted to “secret” two years after its creation, a “secret” document is demoted to “confidential” after an additional two years, and a “confidential” document is released from classification after three years. In other words, a “top secret” document is generally released from classification in approximately seven years.
Therefore, a classified document is released between three and seven years from its creation, and a request for disclosure can be made via the Freedom of Information Act. However, there are exemptions due to factors such as national security concerns so there were plenty of censored or blacked-out portions on the disclosed report.
Among those, summarizing the more noteworthy facts that came to light this time around yields the following:
1. Two large Yuktobanian military-owned submarine aircraft carriers were sunk after anti-ship attacks by Osean aircraft.
2. The Osean military’s atmospheric orbital spacecraft was compromised by terrorists and was destroyed by Osean aircraft while en route to the Yuktobanian mainland.
3. Osea’s Strategic Orbital Linear Gun was compromised by terrorists and was on a collision course to the Osean mainland, but was destroyed over the capital by Osean aircraft.
4. Detailed organizational structure of the terrorist group, “The Grey Men.”
5. The existence of a special unit under direct command of the Osean president
Up until now, items 1-3 have been generally reported as accidents during operations, or the accidental fall of a satellite due to a magnetic storm that occurred in December 2010. With the reveal of these internal reports, it became apparent that these were cover stories meant to conceal the truth. Of course, there is no doubt that this was a result of a decision that determined the national security would be compromised if this sensitive information was made public. In regards to when and who gave these instructions and how these falsehoods came to be, they will surely be revealed during the meeting with the Expert Committee for Historical Review hereafter.
The problem is item 4. Until now, we have understood the Circum-Pacific War, or Belkan Conflict to be a series of inter-state conflicts that have arisen due to the continuing manipulative activities by hard-liner remnants of the Principality of Belka since the Belkan War in 1995. However, this report does not stop there and implies that the terrorist network, “The Grey Men” had been orchestrating the smuggling of arms and supplying technical data on a global scale through “North Osea Gründer I.G.”
When Belkan involvement was exposed during the last stages of the Circum-Pacific War, Osea and Yuktobania declared a ceasefire, but due to the hard-liners’ numerous schemes, there was increased tendency for people to loudly criticize Belkans as sources of chaos post-war. Both governments proclaimed that only a particular Belkan faction was to blame, and took strict measures against discriminating against their race/ethnic group. However, the issue was never fully rectified as even last year during the Lighthouse War, tragedy struck when a group of Erusean officers massacred civilians with Belkan lineage. According to reports, the cycle of hate leading to hate itself was an objective of “The Grey Men,” and [the tragedy] became evidence to support that.
The organizational reality of “The Grey Men” was that Solare Ostberg, president of Gründer I.G. in 2010 (died in 2011 while in custody) was one of the ringleaders. However, there is no framework for a superior/subordinate organizational structure, and it has become apparent that the group is more akin to a secret society that shares a certain ideology. Members are not bound to a certain group, but act spontaneously, hiding in several countries and cooperating with one another. The 12 rows of names were all blacked out, but they will surely be atoning for their crimes in the near future.
The sanctions implemented by the IUN at the beginning of the year against Gründer Industries Group will be just the beginning. First, it was decided to shut down the North Osea headquarters based in Sudentor and Gründer SS (Space and Security) in Selatapura. Though it is only a partial shutdown, the closing of a world-renowned massive military factory will be a huge blow to the Osean military, who was a major customer. Gründer I.G. had focused on the independent profitability of each plant, so in essence, was more like a cartel. However, this did not change the fact that the same company was supplying arms to both Osea and Erusea during the Lighthouse War last year, and there were accusations from the Osean military that the company was a hotbed of corruption.
On the other hand, this measure could be good news to Oseans of Belkan lineage living in the state of North Osea. This is because state authorities will be performing background checks to nearly 60,000 workers employed by Gründer Industries and affiliated businesses for approximately two years, and will be implementing a favorable outplacement program that would put them in public enterprises. Foreign capital from multiple sources is already flowing in to acquire individual or whole business units with the aim of acquiring talented engineers. Along with the truth that was recently uncovered, they themselves will be able prove their innocence and would surely lead to the end of discrimination against Belkans worldwide.
Regarding item 5, its existence has been pointed out before. It refers to the squadron that rescued then-president Vincent Harling from his abduction and confinement at an old castle in Belkan territory, and was later organized into a special aerial unit that was under the direct command of the president on the Osean aircraft Carrier Kestrel. Based on past testimonies from soldiers who took part in the same operations as them, we know the unit was called “Razgriz Squadron.”
Oddly enough however, that name could not be confirmed in this “top secret” document that was made available, and the special unit’s name, size, members, affiliations before formation, how the unit was handled afterwards, and other core pieces of information could not be found.
President Harling’s actions at the end of that great war are as follows. Beginning with the interception of Belka’s plans to disseminate tactical nuclear weapons from Northern Belka by an Osean communications ship, orders were given to thwart the plan as well as track down warheads that were already dispersed. Following this was an order to destroy the compromised atmospheric orbital spacecraft. Afterwards he would make a forced return to the capital of Oured with marines and hold a joint press conference with Prime Minister Nikanor, the former head of Yuktobania who was also rescued. What became apparent with this report was that these operations were successful only because of the existence of the unit under direct presidential command.
Moving into speculation now, but if this report is compared to the aforementioned items 2 and 3 from the document, one can see that several of the sentences that can be inferred from the censored content have consistencies. Pattern analysis of the number of blacked-out letters and words inferred from the context of preceding and following passages paints a picture of a small group working together for a specific objective. If this is true, then these would be equivalent to the operational records in which the Razgriz Squadron are said to have been involved, and would give an idea of the unit's operational capabilities and mobility.
Certainly, militaries of various countries do not disclose the names of special forces for the purpose of provisioning for future missions and protecting their identities. That is because in a sense, they are a group specialized for unconventional warfare. Whether that reason [for not disclosing their identities] is because of the impact on anti-terrorist operations hereafter or from Mr. Harling’s death last year is unclear, but the Osean government claims that this is all they can make public at the moment and all other records are Classified. Despite being the greatest contributors in the Circum-Pacific War, the true nature of the “Aces of Razgriz” is still unknown. It is possible that another review and comparison of “secret” and “confidential” material that had already been released would reveal more about them, but that will take time.
The flock of aircraft that spreads across one’s field of view. At the head of the formation is the OADF ace squadron that put a stop to the ISEV defense system that went out of control in the war last year. The aircraft that pass by us are being steered by different pilots from the same military. It was made known afterwards that the actual ace pilots were watching over the formations like the rest of us. Perhaps no one knows what they really look like.
Twenty-five years since the Belkan War. Within this timeframe, so much has happened in this world. Numerous wars and territorial disputes, environmental problems, economic disparity, natural disasters, and reconstruction. The man who tried to find an answer to all of these was none other than the late Vincent Harling. The cost of life that was lost is too great. The sight of the world in turmoil after his passing surely brought fear to many. However, the aces’ aircraft that pass before us have made it through the chaos. Even now, Harling’s will drives the world forward.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, an excerpt from the president's farewell address was used.
When we are faced with hardship, when we are in the midst of joy
We look up to the sky
The reason we have a present, a tomorrow, is because of the will to protect this world
Though our Aces do not leave their names in history, they have cut open a path for our destiny
That is why we are grateful for that will
At the workplace, at schools, at restaurants and living rooms,
At the farm or factory, at the sea, and at the top of mountains
The honorary gun salute sounds, and 4 aircraft silhouettes pass over our heads with a shrill sound.
In the blink of an eye, they disappear beyond the shimmering heat haze
Translator's note: The original text and previous material seems to use "ace" in lieu of "hero" for the Japanese word "英雄" (case in point: the title of the article). Though I would usually choose the latter, I'm sure the Project ACES team or whoever wrote this had a specific reason for doing that, so I chose to go with "ace" for consistency.
Read the original Japanese text here: https://ace7.acecombat.jp/clm/column06.php