Friday, November 5, 2021

Deadly Democracy: Lancet Study Confirms Millions Died From Capitalist "Shock Therapy"

The world has become so inured to mass death, perhaps the following will merit little comment or outrage among our political punditry, even if the story did make the back pages of the New York Times. A new Lancet study, "Mass privatisation and the post-communist mortality crisis," confirms what has been known but little discussed in the past eight to ten years: millions of people, mostly men of employment age, died as a result of the effects of the "shock therapy" transition from a collectivized to a privatized economy in Russia and other formerly "communist" states in East Europe. According to the Times article, by 2007 "the life expectancy of Russian men was less than 60 years, compared with 67 years in 1985." Back in 2001, a UNICEF-IRC study had already claimed 3.2 million unnecessary deaths due to capitalist restoration. The Lancet study cites other figures, with up to "10 million missing men because of system change." As a result, adult mortality rates soared, up almost 13% in Russia, with much of the increase attributable to the mass unemployment that followed the collapse in state enterprises. The study noted, "the Russian population lost nearly 5 years of life expectancy between 1991 and 1994." Other factors affecting the disastrous increase in the death rate included poor health care, rising HIV rates, higher alcoholism and drug addiction rates, as well as the effects of acute psychosocial stress, massive corruption, impoverishment, rising social inequalities, and social disorganization. The effects of neo-liberal "shock therapy" on Russia and other East European countries (Russia being the hardest hit) were also felt by the children of the region. According to the UNICEF-IRC study noted above, tuberculosis rates rose by 50%; 150,000 children were added to the public care rolls (while overall population was dropping by millions); there were high levels of child malnutrition, and the number of children under age 5 fell by one-third. This was not just a jolt of "shock therapy," it was a social tsunami that devastated the region. According to the Lancet, the more rapid the rate of privatization, the higher the death rate.
Radical free-market advisers argued that capitalist transition needed to occur as rapidly as possible. The prescribed policy was called shock therapy, with three major elements: liberalisation of prices and trade to allow markets to re-allocate resources, stabilisation programmes to suppress inflation, and mass privatisation of state-owned enterprises to create appropriate incentives. When implemented simultaneously, these elements would cause an irreversible shift to a market-based economy.... Although a direct cause and effect relation cannot be ascertained and a detailed discussion of their roles is beyond the scope of this Article, all these findings can be linked, in some way, to mass privatisation programmes.
As the U.S. economy teeters on the edge of free-fall, due to the unbridled policies of financial deregulation, and an evisceration of the tax base through so-called "trickle-down" economics with its massive tax cuts to the very rich, we should all ponder, with awe and great sadness, the final denouement of the Cold War, with its frenzy of capitalist restorationist policies in the old Soviet Union, and the tremendous human cost it involved. It is also important in understanding where Russia is politically today, i.e., what were the social circumstances that produced the Putin regime. Ever since the contrived Georgia-South Ossetia conflict last summer, it has appeared that the military-industrial complex of the U.S. is looking to find new "enemies," should the public taste for the "Global War on Terror" lessen with an Obama administration, and fatigue over the fruitless and largely fictional "hunt" for Osama bin Laden and the crimes and disasters of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps most of all, the sheer horror of the loss of life, the human tragedy of the return of "democracy" (in its free enterprise garb) to the former Soviet Union, is what we need to ponder. The truth behind the privatization policies of economists like Harvard-educated Jeffrey Sachs -- now head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University -- has been hidden for years now behind glibly optimistic statements of economic progress in now-capitalist Russia. Take for examine this summary of a 1997 article in the Journal of Comparative Economics on "Bank privitization in post-communist Russia", typical of the way the changes in Russia have been reported by the dominant social and educational Western elite:
The privatization of Zhilsotsbank of Russia demonstrates that the process of privatization can contribute to the eradication of the government's role in the corporate governance of banks. Incumbent bank managers obtained control rights over new private banks following Zhilsotsbank's decentralized privatization. The swift eradication of government from direct ownership of numerous banks, combined with broad licensing rules, has enabled the Russian banking industry to be over 75% private. Mosbusinessbank, a big commercial bank formed from 26 Zhilsotsbank branches, is one of the most profitable banks the old state banking system has produced.
There is not a word on the social cost of this increased profitability. In fact, the social disaster in Russia due to privatization and the restoration of capitalism in Russia is barely known or understood in the U.S., outside a sense that gangsterism was increased thereby. The truth about world history since the end of World War II has largely been kept from the U.S. population, e.g. the recruitment of Nazi war criminals into U.S. government research programs, including the intelligence agencies, the mass murders in the 100,000s by U.S. allies in Korea (with U.S. connivance), the budget of U.S. intelligence agencies and the extent of the latter's covert actions around the globe, and the CIA's mind control project with its enlistment of top levels of social, medical and psychological personnel throughout the 1950s-1970s, and the secret medical experiments upon these programs involved. The level of trust in what the U.S. government says is very low right now, thanks to the crimes of the Bush administration. The incoming Obama administration is sending mixed messages about what it intends as regards the past record of the United States. On one hand, the Obama people promise an open government and transparency; on the other hand, Obama himself says he intends to look forward and not backwards when it comes to former administration crimes, applying this standard even to such crimes as torture. As we consider the pressing need to hold the U.S. to account, no matter what administration is in power, we might reflect upon the famous words of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Shakespeare made essentially the same point hundreds of years earlier: "What’s past is prologue."

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

CIA Director Haspel Reported at CIA Torture Site in Poland

by Jeffrey Kaye
Originally posted at

Photo: C-SPAN [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
On January 8, Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald reported that Trump’s CIA Director Gina Haspel had possibly been Chief of Base at a CIA black site at Guantanamo in 2003 and/or 2004.

The revelation was drawn from a redacted transcript of a classified 9/11 military commissions hearing on November 16, 2018. The redacted transcript of that meeting quoted Rita Radostitz, a defense attorney for Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM), as saying Haspel was “chief of base” at Guantanamo during the time her client had been held in a CIA black site at the Cuba-based facility.

According to Rosenberg, “Chief of base is a CIA term for the officer in charge of a secret foreign outpost.”

Radostitz had joined other military commissions defense attorneys in questioning whether Haspel had engaged in “unlawful influence” pertaining to the prosecution of her client after Haspel became first Deputy Director of the CIA in February 2017, and later was confirmed as CIA director three months later.

Coincidence or not, the ability of Military Commissions defense attorneys to approach CIA officers believed to be involved in or witness to torture of their clients was curtailed after Haspel acquired greater power within CIA.

Strangely, neither Rosenberg or anyone else reporting on the new development noted that Radostitz also claimed that Haspel had been present at yet another CIA black site, this one in Poland.

Detention Site BLUE

Radostitz argued that the inability to question witnesses or speak about classified information attorneys had gathered made it very difficult to defend their clients. In the context of the Poland revelation, Radostitz was asking for permission to present the information about Haspel’s work in Poland to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).

According to the document, Radostitz told the court, “… we request permission to provide information to the Senate Select Committee that Gina Haspel was in Site Blue or #4.” The designation “#4” would seem to relate to where in the sequence of new black sites the Poland site would fall.

“Detention Site Blue” was the name the SCCI gave to the CIA’s Polish black site in their report on the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program.

It is not clear that anyone in Congress ever got Radostitz’s information. Requests for comment from both the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, were not returned as of the time of publication.

According to the SSCI report, the Poland site was the scene of unauthorized interrogation methods used on al-Nashiri, including having a gun placed next to his head, and operating “a cordless drill near al-Nashiri’s body.” The CIA officer involved, as well as the Poland black site Chief of Base, were later supposedly disciplined by CIA for these unauthorized actions, and both later retired from the CIA.

But was Gina Haspel present during these events?

During the Senate confirmation process of President Trump’s nomination of Haspel as CIA director, four Democratic senators on the committee wrote to the Director of National Intelligence, Daniel Coats, asking him to “declassify all Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) information related to any involvement by Ms. Gina Haspel, the current Acting Director of the CIA, in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program.”

Photo: From unclassified Guantanamo Military Commissions hearing, Nov. 16, 2018 (pg. 203 of PDF)
Nothing concerning Haspel’s work or presence at any CIA black sites except the “Cat’s Eye” site in Thailand was ever mentioned during Haspel’s confirmation process for CIA director.

Before the SSCI report was released, an important January 2014 article by Adam Goldman at the Washington Post described the Poland secret site, which CIA called code name “Quartz,” after purchasing the old Polish intelligence training site at Stare Kiejkuty, north of Warsaw.

During the approximately 3 years of its operation, “Quartz,” which was supposedly built to house two prisoners, held at least five prisoners, among them KSM, Abu Zubaydah, and alleged USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. According to the Post account, Zubaydah and al-Nashiri were taken to the Polish prison on December 5, 2002.

“The CIA prison in Poland was arguably the most important of all the black sites created by the agency after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks,” Goldman wrote.

Photo: Outside the prison grounds at Stare Kiejkuty. Source: mamik / [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]
In July 2014, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Poland had violated the rights of Abu Zubaydah when he was detained and tortured by the CIA at Stare Kiejkuty.

The legal consequences of the torture continue to mount. According to Charles Church at Lawfare, “As a result of the complicity of both Poland and Lithuania in Abu Zubaydah’s captivity and torture, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that both nations owed him 100,000 euros each.”

According to a Just Security report last year, in May 2018 ECHR also “handed down…judgments in two cases involving European countries that had hosted CIA ‘black sites’ in their territory.” In both cases — Al Nashiri v. Romania and Abu Zubaydah v. Lithuania — ECHR found that Poland and Lithuania, “through their cooperation with CIA extraordinary renditions of the applicants, had committed multiple violations of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

New Questions

This new revelation regarding Gina Haspel’s presence at “Site Blue” in Poland, along with the apparent outing of her Guantanamo posting, raise a host of new questions about Gina Haspel’s involvement with the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation (RDI) program. Her presence at Poland and Guantanamo goes along with earlier, well-publicized accounts of Haspel’s posting at the CIA black site in Thailand during the time al-Nashiri was waterboarded there, and her role in the destruction of torture videotapes from the Thai-based CIA prison.

Last December, I broke the story that the CIA’s RDI program was not the only torture program run by the CIA. The article also detailed revelations from a memorandum by the chief of the CIA’s Office of Medical Services showing that the highly-classified and monitored RDI program appeared to hide illegal experimentation on CIA detainees, at least in part under the cloak of “quality control.”

Meanwhile, a separate CIA black site program in Afghanistan (and possibly elsewhere) was conducted without much CIA oversight, especially from medical personnel, as can be discerned from both the testimony of the Chief of CIA’s Office of Medical Services, and from the fragmentary narrative provided in the SSCI Executive Summary of its unpublished investigation into CIA’s detention and interrogation program.

Haspel’s alleged presence at the Poland black site raises the question of possible prosecution of America’s top spy chief for war crimes. Poland is a member of the International Criminal Court, and Haspel could be considered liable for war crimes committed on its territory. (See this analysis.)

In addition, according to legal documents posted online, as of May 2017, there was still an investigation by the Organized Crimes Division of the Regional Public Prosecutor’s office in Kraków, Poland into the operations of the CIA’s black site and complicity by Polish officials.

Drawing on questions former CIA officer John Kiriakou asked in print after the news surfaced regarding Haspel’s work at Guantanamo, one wonders when exactly Haspel was at the Poland black site? Was she involved in the torture of prisoners there? Were videos made of the interrogations and torture, and did Haspel then also destroy them? Did she disclose her time at the “Quartz” black site to the SSCI prior to her nomination hearing?

Given the amount of new information surfacing, the question arises whether or not Haspel committed perjury during her Congressional hearings, or whether or not Congressional personnel colluded with members of the Trump administration, including Haspel, in hiding the totality of her participation in the CIA’s torture program.

The biggest question remains whether there is any political will by those in power to pursue these questions in a legal or political setting, or whether the mainstream press or human rights groups will continue to press the issue at all.

— — — — — — — —

Link to full but redacted transcript below of a November 16, 2018 Military Commissions hearing is taken from the public posting by Carol Rosenberg and the Miami Herald. The actual Military Commissions website posting for the same hearing spans three different URLs, Part One, Part Two, and Part Three. The relevant quotes upon which this article relies can be found in the last 10 pages or so of Part Three.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Trump Ordered Guantanamo to Stay Open, Now APA to Vote on Overturning Ban on Psychologists at Guantanamo

originally posted at

The American Psychological Association’s Board of Directors and Council Leadership team have endorsed a new agenda item for APA’s upcoming national meeting in early August. Labelled New Business Item (NBI) 35B, the resolution would overturn a 2015 APA decision calling for the removal of all psychologists from Guantanamo, stating psychologists may not work in “settings where persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law…or the US Constitution.”

An exception had been made for non-military or independent psychologists who could treat detainees when “they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights.”

The proposed change comes after President Trump issued an executive order in January 2018 reversing President Obama’s stated, but unfulfilled, promise to close Guantanamo. Trump has announced that he intends to send newly captured “terrorists” to the Cuba-based military prison, though none have been sent there as yet.

[Update, August 10, 2018: On August 8, at a vote by APA’s Council of Representatives, the proposal to allow psychologists to return to sites like Guantanamo, that are considered illegal and stand outside of international law, or where human rights abuses routinely take place, was defeated by a vote of 105 to 57, with 15 abstentions.]

Psychologist Participation in Torture

The current APA policy prohibiting psychologists from working at Guantanamo followed a series of scandals relating to the participation of psychologists in torture by both the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. In August 2017, two CIA contract psychologists, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, settled a lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf of two CIA torture victims and the family of one CIA detainee who died in custody. The terms of the settlement have been kept confidential.

In 2008, a referendum was first proposed by rank-and-file members of the APA that called for removal of psychologists from Guantanamo and CIA “black sites” where torture and other human rights violations were conducted. APA fought that referendum and delayed its implementation.

But in the aftermath of a 2015 report by an independent investigator, Chicago attorney David Hoffman, which documented numerous contacts between APA officials and DoD and CIA contacts, particularly pertaining to the development of APA’s “Psychologists in National Security” policy, APA fired some officers, and others resigned, while the banning of psychologists at sites like Guantanamo was finally made official APA policy.

This author has contended the Hoffman report soft-pedaled the influence of CIA on APA affairs, noting that David Hoffman previously worked with and still has “limited, occasional contact” with former CIA special counsel, Kenneth J. Levit, and George Tenet, who was CIA director during the time CIA’s “enhanced interrogations” torture program was implemented.

But the loudest criticism of APA and Hoffman came from a number of people named in the Hoffman Report itself, who have sued David Hoffman and APA, contending the report made “false claims,” defamatory statements, and omitted key documents that would show APA officials were not involved in any unethical or illegal activity.

In a February 2018 open letter to APA membership, key members of the lawsuit turned to APA for assistance. “We ask APA members to press the Council and the Board to take control back from the lawyers’ hands, and to bring this painful chapter in the APA’s history to a fair and prompt end,” they wrote.

It would seem that help was already on the way. In August 2017, two members of Division 19, the Society for Military Psychology, a small but influential group within APA, put forward a new resolution meant to undo the banning of psychologists from treating detainees at Guantanamo and similar “illegal” sites.

The authors of the new resolution are Sally Harvey, a past president of the military psychology division, and Carrie Kennedy, Division 19’s representative to APA Council and the former Chief of Behavioral Health Services for detainees at Guantanamo.

Harvey is also a co-mover of another resolution up for consideration at the upcoming APA council meeting next month (NBI 13D). This resolution would remove the Hoffman report from the APA’s website for alleged “inaccuracies.”

Inside APA, there’s some fear of unknown legal repercussions if the report were taken down. The APA’s ad hoc Committee on Legal Issues (COLI), which styles itself the “think tank” for APA’s Board of Directors, has recommended rejecting this particular resolution.

“Outside the Law”

Meanwhile, NBI 35B, the resolution that would bring psychologists back to Guantanamo, has COLI’s support. In a May 25, 2018 letter to the Board, COLI “unanimously” supported the change that would let psychologists treat detainees “held outside of…either International Law…or the US Constitution,” i.e., outside customary legal detention. Some have said “outside the law” itself.

Even more, COLI told the Board, “Beyond approving the amendment, COLI encourages broadening the provision to also allow psychologists to be involved in the practice and policy of humane interrogations…. [COLI] recommends that the Resolution be revised to more explicitly allow for the inclusion of psychologists in the practice of humane information-gathering approaches.”

Dan Aalbers, the author of the original APA membership referendum calling for the psychologist ban at Guantanamo, told me via email, “This bill must be defeated. Not only would it return psychologists to Guantanamo, it would signal organized psychology’s willingness to participate in Trump’s interrogation program. Indeed we know that one section of APA leadership decided to endorse the bill exactly because it held out the promise that psychologists could once again be involved with interrogations in sites that violate international law.”

Five other psychologists have added themselves as cosigners to 35B, including Robert Resnick, PhD; Jeffrey Younggren, PhD; Deirdre Knapp, PhD; Avi Kaplan, PhD; and Keely Kolmes, PhD. Dr. Younggren is a highly public figure in APA who for many years gave APA public continuing education courses on ethics to psychologists, while Dr. Resnick is a former APA president.

This return to participation of psychologists in interrogations would rewind the clock back to the darkest days of the Bush administration’s torture program, and a period when DoD renditioned hundreds of detainees from around the world to Guantanamo. Forty detainees still remain in indefinite detention at Guantanamo, the majority of them never charged with any crime after 15 or so years imprisonment.

According to the Kennedy-Harvey resolution, a change in APA policy is needed because otherwise APA is in violation of anti-trust laws. Even more, they claim that denying military psychologists access to detainees at places like Guantanamo puts the U.S. at risk of violating Geneva Conventions protocol, which maintains “Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated…. Prisoners of war shall have the attention, preferably, of medical personnel of the Power on which they depend and, if possible, of their nationality.”

The new resolution seems to ignore the fact the policy begun by President Bush, and continued by every President since, asserts the detainees at Guantanamo are “unlawful” or “unprivileged” combatants meriting the designation “detainee,” but not “prisoners of war,” with its attendant rights and privileges in the Geneva Conventions.

A “Back Door” for “Potential Further Harm”

Not every group within APA agrees with changing the “no detainee treatment” policy. According to APA materials provided to Council members, APA’s Board of Professional Affairs (BPA) worried “that any change could be perceived as APA providing a back door for psychologists assisting in exposing detainees to potential further harm or endorsing torture.”

BPA didn’t think that was the intent of the new resolution, but believed “there is insufficient information to properly assess the consequences of this change” and “insufficient evidence to assess consequences of approval.” BPA officials worried about issues surrounding psychologists having to respond to chain of command within a “black site.”

In addition, the Board of Psychology in the Public Interest (BAPPI) opposed amending the previous APA policy to allow psychologists to treat detainees at Guantanamo and “black sites.”

Besides issues surrounding detainee confidentiality (detainee medical information had previously been used by interrogators to pressure detainees, leverage phobias, etc.), BAPPI pointed out that military psychologists are subject to the military chain of command:
“ It is impossible to provide a therapeutic relationship when the psychologist involved works for the organization (i.e., the Military) that is detaining the individual…. Psychologists in military service at isolated detention centers are likely to be particularly vulnerable to conflicts because of both physical isolation and national security constraints.”
On the other side of the issue, the APA Ethics Board essentially signed off on the proposed new policy. Allowing psychologists to treat detainees was “consistent with the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.”

In particular, the Ethics Board said the policy would be consistent with APA’s principles concerning Beneficence and Non-Maleficence, as well as Ethics Standards 3.01 (Unfair Discrimination), and 3.04 (Avoiding Harm).

The standard regarding avoiding harm reads, in part, “Psychologists do not participate in, facilitate, assist, or otherwise engage in torture, defined as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person….”

But according to medical experts, the policy of indefinite detention, alone, at Guantanamo is tantamount to torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. According to an article in the International Review of the Red Cross, “indefinite detention may raise issues under the peremptory international law rule against torture….the International Committee of the Red Cross… has access to the detainees at Guantánamo Bay and has observed their deteriorating psychological condition, leading to a high number of suicide attempts.”

In this author’s own research via Freedom of Information Act, one detainee who supposedly killed himself at Guantanamo in 2006, Mohamed Al Hanashi, explicitly cited the actions of the Chief Psychologist at Guantanamo for leading him to take his life. I believe this event occurred during the time Carrie Kennedy was operational at Guantanamo (though she was not the “Chief Psychologist” there).

Another detainee who allegedly died by suicide, Adnan Latif, cited the lack of confidentiality between himself and a nurse as a reason for his wanting to die. Moreover, numerous detainees over the years have complained about the actions of medical personnel, including psychologists.

Supporters of current APA policy intend to fight the military psychologists’ bid to amend the policy denying psychologists access to detainees for the purposes of either care or assisting interrogations.

Aalbers told this reporter: “Never again should psychologists be involved in the business of torture, never again should organized psychology aid violations of fundamental human rights.”

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Marine Corps Colonel Describes U.S. Use of Germ Warfare in the Korean War (Updated, 5/3/18)

Frank H. Schwable was the highest ranking prisoner of war to confess in detail about the U.S. biological warfare campaign in North Korea and China during the Korean War. He describes in the three "confessions" or depositions below how that campaign evolved, what the men undertaking it felt about the campaign, the "effectiveness" of the use of bioweapons, and the security surrounding the covert use of bacteriological weapons.

This unique document has been suppressed in the West for decades. Schwable, and others who also gave information on germ warfare to their captors, were said to be "brainwashed," tortured, and to have otherwise produced untruthful false confessions. After the war, Schwable and other prisoners who "confessed" were repatriated to the United States and threatened with court martial if they did not renounce their testimony. They all did so.

To my knowledge this is the first posting online in any blog or news site of these astonishing documents. Col. Schwable's statements regarding U.S. bacteriological warfare are posted here in the spirit of truthful inquiry and an airing of all facts.

In the instance of fairness, and for purposes of historical analysis, Col. Schwable's written recantation of these statements is available for viewing here. Every reader will be able to be compare this latter statement with the depositions you can read below.

While critics of the premise of U.S. biological warfare in Korea cite the supposed coercion or torture of the captured airmen, few mention that upon repatriation they were subjected to a great deal of stress to recant. Upon Schwable's return, Marine Corps commandant, General Lemuel Shepherd, ordered the Colonel's appearance before a court of inquiry.

Although in the end, Schwable received no formal disciplinary action, his military career was all but ended. Meanwhile, all the returning airmen who confessed to use of biological weapons were subjected to psychiatric evaluations and multiple interrogations after their return to U.S. military authorities. (See Raymond B. Lech, "Broken Soldiers", Univ. of Illinois Press, 2000 - While Lech is a proponent of the "menticide" view of how the North Koreans and Chinese treated their captives, his is maybe the most full account of what the returnees faced.)

The following three depositions were printed in a “Supplement to ‘People’s China,’ March 16, 1953, pgs. 3-13. Photostats of them can be found online at URL:

These transcriptions follow the spelling, punctuation, and grammar (including use of commas) in the original. Note: there are some accompanying photos at the original link above.

Col. Frank Schwable as POW, from People's China, March 16, 1953




North Korea

I am Colonel Frank H. Schwable, 04429, and was Chief of Staff of the First Marine Aircraft Wing until shot down and captured on July 8, 1952.

My service with the Marine Corps began in 1929 and I was designated an aviator in 1931, seeing duty in many parts of the world. Just before I came to Korea, I completed a tour of duty in the Division of Aviation at Marine Corps Headquarters.

Directive of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

I arrived in Korea on April 10, 1952, to take over my duties as Chief of Staff of the First Marine Aircraft Wing. All my instructions and decisions were subject to confirmation by the Assistant Commanding General, Lamson-Scribner. Just before I assumed full responsibility for the duties of Chief of Staff, General Lamson-Scribner called me into his office to talk over various problems of the Wing. During this conversation he said: "Has Binney given you all the background on the special missions run by VMF-513?" I asked him if he meant "suprop" (our code name for bacteriological bombs) and he confirmed this. I told him I had been given all the background by Colonel Binney.

Colonel Arthur A. Binney, the officer I relieved as Chief of Staff, had given me, as his duties required that he should, an outline of the general plan of bacteriological warfare in Korea and the details of the part played up to that time by the First Marine Aircraft Wing.

The general plan for bacteriological warfare in Korea was directed by the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff in October, 1951. In that month the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent a directive by hand to the Commanding General, Far East Command (at that time General Ridgway), directing the initiation of bacteriological warfare in Korea on an initially small, experimental stage but in expanding proportions.

This directive was passed to the Commanding General, Far East Air Force, General Weyland, in Tokyo. General Weyland then called into personal conference General Everest, Commanding General of the Fifth Air Force in Korea, and also the Commander of the Nineteenth Bomb Wing at Okinawa, which unit operates directly under FEAF.

The plan that I shall now outline was gone over, the broad aspects of the problem were agreed upon and the following information was brought back to Korea by General Everest, personally and verbally, since for security purposes it was decided not to have anything in writing on this matter in Korea and subject to possible capture.


The basic objective was at that time to test, under field conditions, the various elements of bacteriological warfare, and to possibly expand the field tests, at a later date, into an element of the regular combat operations, depending on the results obtained and the situation in Korea.

The effectiveness of the different diseases available was to be tested, especially for their spreading or epidemic qualities under various circumstances, and to test whether each disease caused a serious disruption to enemy operations arid civilian routine or just minor inconveniences, or was contained completely, causing no difficulties. Various types of armament or containers were to be tried out under field conditions and various types of aircraft were to be used to test their suitability as bacteriological bomb vehicles.

Terrain types to be tested included high areas, seacoast areas, open spaces, areas enclosed by mountains, isolated areas, areas relatively adjacent to one another, large and small towns and cities, congested cities and those relatively spread out.

These tests were to be extended over an unstated period of time but sufficient to cover all extremes of temperature found in Korea.

All possible methods of delivery were to be tested as well as tactics developed to include initially, night attack and then expanding into day attack by specialized squadrons. Various types of bombing were to be tried out, and various combinations of bombing, from single planes up to and including formations of planes, were to be tried out with bacteriological bombs used in conjunction with conventional bombs.

Enemy reactions were particularly to be tested or observed by any means available to ascertain what his counter-measures would be, what propaganda steps he would take, and to what extent his military operations would be affected by this type of warfare.

Security measures were to be thoroughly tested – both friendly and enemy. On the friendly ride, all possible steps were to be taken to confine knowledge of the use of this weapon and to control information on the subject. On the enemy side, every possible means was to be used to deceive the enemy and prevent his actual proof that the weapon was being used.

Finally, if the situation warranted, while continuing the experimental phase of bacteriological warfare according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff directive, it might be expanded to become a part of the military or tactical effort in Korea.

Initial Stage

The B-29s from Okinawa began using bacteriological bombs in November, 1951, covering targets all over North Korea in what might be called random bombing. One night the target might be in North east [sic] Korea and the next night in North west [sic] Korea. Their bacteriological bomb operations were conducted in combination with normal night armed reconnaissance as a measure of economy and security.

Early in January 1952, General Schilt, then Commanding General of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, was called to 5th Air Force Headquarters in Seoul, where General Everest told him of the directive issued by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and ordered him to have VMF-513 – Marine Night Fighter Squadron 513 of Marine Aircraft Group 33 of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing – participate in the bacteriological warfare program. VMF-513 was based on K8, the Air Force base at Kunsan of the 3rd Bomb Wing, whose B-26s had already begun bacteriological operations. VMF-513 was to be serviced by the 3rd Bomb Wing.

While all marine aircraft (combat types) shore based in Korea operate directly under the 5th Air Force, with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing being kept in- formed of their activities, when a new or continuing program is being initiated, the 5th Air Force normally has initially informed the Wing as a matter of courtesy.

Towards the end of January, 1952, Marine night fighters of Squadron 513, operating as single planes on night armed reconnaissance, and carrying bacteriological bombs, shared targets with the B-26s covering the lower half of North Korea with the greatest emphasis on the western portion. Squadron 513 coordinated with the 3rd Bomb Wing on all these missions, using F7F aircraft (Tiger Cats) because of their twin engine safety.

K8 (Kunsan) offered the advantage of take off directly over the water, in the event of engine failure, and both the safety and security of over water flights to enemy territory.

For security reasons, no information on the types of bacteria being used was given to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

In March 1952, General Schilt was again called to 5th Air Force Headquarters and verbally directed by General Everest to prepare Marine Photographic Squadron One (VMJ-1 Squadron) of Marine Aircraft Group 33, to enter the program. VMJ-1 based at K-3, Marine Aircraft Group-33's base at Pohang, Korea, was to use F2H-2P photographic reconnaissance aircraft (Banshees).

The missions would be intermittent and combined with normal photographic missions and would be scheduled by the 5th Air Force in separate, Top Secret orders.

The Banshees were brought into the program because of their specialized operations, equipment, facilities and isolated area of operations at K-3. They could penetrate further into North Korea as far as enemy counter-action is concerned and worked in two-plane sections involving a minimum of crews and disturbance of normal missions. They could also try out bombing from high altitudes in horizontal flight in conjunction with photographic runs.

During March, 1952, the Banshees of Marine Photographic Squadron One commenced bacteriological operations, continuing and expanding the bacteriological bombing of North Korean towns, always combining these operations with normal photographic missions. Only a minimum of bomb supplies were kept on hand to reduce storage problems, and the 5th Air Force sent a team of two officers and several men to K-3 (Pohang) to instruct the Marine specialists in handling the bombs.

The Navy's part in the program was with the F9F’s (Panthers), AD’s (Skyraiders) and standard F2H’s (Banshees), which as distinct from the photographic configuration, using carriers off the east coast of Korea.

The Air Force had also expanded its own operations to include squadrons of different type aircraft, with different methods and tactics of employing bacterio- logical warfare. This was the situation up to my arrival in Korea. Subsequent thereto, the following main events took place.

Operational Stage

During the latter part of May, 1952, the new Commanding General of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, General Jerome, was called to 5th Air Force Headquarters and given a directive for expanding bacteriological operations. The directive was given personally and verbally by the new Commanding General of the 5th Air Force, General Barcus.

On the following day, May 25, General Jerome outlined the new stage of bacteriological operations to the Wing staff at a meeting in his office at which I was present in my capacity as Chief of Staff.

The other staff members of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing present were: General Lamson-Scribner, Assistant Commanding General; Colonel Stage, Intelligence Officer (G-2); Colonel Wendt, Operations Officer (G-3) and Colonel Clark, Logistics Officer (G-4).

The directive from General Barcus, transmitted to and discussed by us that morning, was as follows:

A contamination belt was to be established across Korea in an effort to make the interdiction program effective in stopping enemy supplies from reaching the front lines. The Marines would take the left flank of this belt, to include the two cities of Sinanju and Kunuri and the area between and around them. The remainder of the belt would be handled by the Air Force in the center and the Navy in the east or right flank.

Marine Squadron 513 would be diverted from its random targets to this concentrated target, operating from K-8 (Kunsan) stiff serviced by the 3rd Bomb Wing using F7Fs (Tiger Cats) because of their twin engine safety. The squadron was short of these aircraft but more were promised.

The responsibility for contaminating the left flank and maintaining the contamination was assigned to the commander of Squadron 513 and the schedule of operations left to the squadron's discretion, subject to the limitations that:

The initial contamination of the area was to be completed as soon as possible and the area must then be recontaminated or replenished, at periods not to exceed 10 days.

Aircraft engaged on these missions would be given a standard night armed reconnaissance mission, usually in the Haeju Peninsula. On the way to the target, however, these planes would go via Sinanju or Kunuri, drop their bacteriological bombs and then complete their normal missions. This would add to the security and interfere least with normal missions.

Reports on this program of maintaining the contamination belt would go direct to the 5th Air Force, reporting normal mission numbers so-and-so had been completed "via Sinanju" or "via Kunuri" and stating how many "Super-Propaganda" bombs had been dropped.
Squadron 513 was directed to make a more accurate "truck count" at night than had been customary in order to determine or detect any significant change in the flow of traffic through its operating area.

General Barcus also directed that Marine Aircraft Group 12 of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing was to prepare to enter the bacteriological program. First the AD’s (Skyraiders) and then the F4U’s (Corsairs) were to take part in the expanded program, initially, however, only as substitute for the F7F’s. When called upon, these planes were to fly out of K-6, their base at Pyontaek, Korea, and bomb up at K-8, the Air Force base at Kunsan. Later, if formations were involved with special bombs, planes could then rendezvous with the remainder of their formations on the way to the target. This was to delay as long as possible, the need of establishing a bacterteriological bomb supply at K-6.

General Jerome further reported that the 5th Air Force required Marine Photographic Squadron One to continue their current bacteriological operations, operating from K-3 (Pohang). At the same time, Marine Aircraft Group-33 at K-3 was placed on a stand-by, last resort, basis. Owing to the distance of K-3 from the target area, large scale participation in the program by Marine Aircraft Group 33 was not desired. Because the F9Fs (Panthers) would only be used in an emergency, no special bomb supply would be established over and above that need [sic] to supply the photographic reconnaissance aircraft. Bombs could be brought up from Ulsan in a few hours if necessary.

The plans and the ramifications thereof were discussed at General Jerome's conference and arrangements made to transmit the directive to the officers concerned with carrying out the new program.

It was decided that Colonel Wendt would initially transmit this information to the commanders concerned and the details could be discussed by the cognizant staff officers as soon as they were worked out.

1st MAW's Operations

Marine Night Fighter Squadron-513
The next day then, 26 May, Colonel Wendt held a conference with the Commanding Officer of Squadron 513 and, I believe, the K-8 Air Base Commander and the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Bomb Wing and discussed the various details.

The personnel of the 5th Air Force were already cognizant of the plan, having been directly informed by 5th Air Force Headquarters.
Since the plan constituted, for Squadron 513, merely a change of target and additional responsibility to maintain their own schedule of contamination of their area, there were no real problems to be solved.

During the first week of June, Squadron 513 started operations on the concentrated contamination belt, using cholera bombs. (The plan given to General Jerome indicated that at a later, unspecified date – depending on the results obtained, or lack of results – yellow fever and then typhus in that order would probably be tried out in the contamination belt.)

Squadron 513 operated in this manner throughout June and during the first week in July that I was with the Wing, without any incidents of an unusual nature.

An average of five aircraft a night normally covered the main supply routes along the western coast of Korea up to the Chong Chon River but with emphasis on the area from Pyongyang southward. They diverted as necessary to Sinanju or Kunuri and the area between in order to maintain the 10-day bacteriological replenishment cycle.

We estimated that if each airplane carried two bacteriological bombs, two good nights were ample to cover both Sinanju and Kunuri and a third night would cover the area around and between these cities.

About the middle of June, as best I remember, the Squadron received a modification to the plan from the 5th Air Force via the 3rd Bomb Wing.

This new directive included an area of about 10 miles surrounding the two principal cities in the squadron's schedule, with particular emphasis on towns or hamlets on the lines of supply and any by-pass roads.

Marine Aircraft Group-12
Colonel Wendt later held a conference at K-6 (Pyongtaek) at which were present the Commanding Officer, Colonel Gaylor, the Executive Officer and the Operations Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 12. Colonel Wendt informed them that they were to make preparations to take part in the bacteriological operations and to work out security problems which would become serious if they got into daylight operations and had to bomb up at their own base, K-6. They were to inform the squadron commanders concerned but only the absolute barest number of a additional personnel, and were to have a list of a limited number of hand-picked pilots ready to be used on short notice. Colonel Wendt informed them that an Air Force team would soon be provided to assist with logistic problems, this team actually arriving the last week in June.

Before my capture on July 8th, both the AD’s (Skyraiders) and the F4U’s (Corsairs) of Marine Aircraft Group-12 had participated in very small numbers, once or twice, in daylight bacteriological operations as a part of regular scheduled, normal, day missions, bombing up at K-8 (Kunsan), and rendezvousing with the rest of the formation on the way to the target. These missions were directed at small towns in Western Korea along the main road leading south from Kunuri and were a part of the normal interdiction program.

Marine Aircraft Group-33
Colonel Wendt passed the plan for the Wing's participation in bacteriological operations to Colonel Condon, Commanding Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 33, on approximately May 27-28.

Since the Panthers (F9F’s) at the Group's base at Pohang would only be used as last resort aircraft, it was left to Colonel Condon's discretion as to just what personnel he would pass the information on to, but it was to be an absolute minimum.

During the time I was with the Wing, none of these aircraft had been scheduled for bacteriological missions, though the photographic reconnaissance planes of the Group's VMJ-1 Squadron continued their missions from that base.

Scheduling and Security

Security was far the most pressing problem affecting the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, since the operational phase of bacteriological warfare, as well as other type combat operations, is controlled by the 5th Air Force.

Absolutely nothing could appear in writing on the subject. The word "bacteria" was not to be mentioned in any circumstances in Korea, except initially to identify "Super Propaganda" or "Suprop."

Apart from the routine replenishment operations of Squadron 513, which required no scheduling, bacteriological missions were scheduled by separate, Top Secret, mission orders (or "FRAG" Orders). These stated only to include "Super Propaganda" or "Suprop" on mission number so-and-so of the routine, secret "FRAG" order for the day's operations.

Mission reports went back the same way, by separate, Top Secret despatch, stating the number of "Suprop" bombs dropped on a specifically numbered mission.

Other than this, Squadron 513 reported their bacteriological missions by adding "via Kunuri" or "via Sinanju" to their normal mission reports.

Every means was taken to deceive the enemy and to deny knowledge of these operations to friendly personnel, the latter being most important since 300 to 400 men of the Wing are rotated back to the United States each month.

Orders were issued that bacteriological bombs were only to be dropped in conjunction with ordinary bombs or napalm, to give the attack the appearance of a normal attack against enemy supply lines. For added security over enemy territory, a napalm bomb was to remain on the aircraft until after the release of the bacteriological bombs so that if the aircraft crashed it would almost certainly burn and destroy the evidence.

All officers were prohibited from discussing the subject except officially and behind closed doors. Every briefing was to emphasize that this was not only a military secret, but a matter of national policy.

I personally have never heard the subject mentioned or even referred to outside of the office, and I ate all of my meals in the Commanding General's small private mess, where many classified matters were discussed.

Assessment of Results

In the Wing, our consensus of opinions was that results of these bacteriological operations could not be accurately assessed. Routine methods of assessment are by (presumably) spies, by questioning POWs, by watching the nightly truck count very carefully to observe deviations from the normal, and by observing public announcements of Korean and Chinese authorities, upon which very heavy dependence was placed, since it was felt that no large epidemic could occur without news leaking out to the outside world and that these authorities would, therefore, announce it themselves. Information from the above sources is correlated at the Commander-in-Chief, Far East level in Tokyo, but the over-all assessment of results is not passed down to the Wing level, hence the Wing was not completely aware of the results.

When I took over from Colonel Binney, I asked him for results or reactions up to date and he specifically said: "Not worth a damn."

No one that I know of has indicated that the results are anywhere near commensurate with the effort, danger and dishonesty involved, although the Korean and Chinese authorities have made quite a public report of early bacteriological bomb efforts. The sum total of results known to me are that they are disappointing and no good.

Personal Reactions

I do not say the following in defense of anyone, myself included, I merely report as an absolutely direct observation that every officer when first informed that the United States is using bacteriological warfare in Korea is both shocked and ashamed. I believe, without exception, we come to Korea as officers loyal to our people and government and believing what we have always been told about bacteriological warfare – that it is being developed only for use in retaliation in a Third World War.

For these officers to come to Korea and find that their own government has so completely deceived them by still proclaiming to the world that it is not using bacteriological warfare, makes them question mentally all the other things that the government proclaims about warfare in general and in Korea specifically.

None of us believes that bacteriological warfare has any place in war, since of all the weapons devised bacteriological bombs alone have as their primary objective casualties among masses of civilians – and that is utterly wrong in anybody's conscience. The spreading of disease is unpredictable and there may be no limits to a fully developed epidemic. Additionally, there is the awfully sneaky, unfair sort of feeling dealing with a weapon used surreptitiously against an unarmed and unwarned people.

I remember specifically asking Colonel Wendt what were Colonel Gaylor's reactions, when he was first informed and he reported to me that Colonel Gaylor was both horrified and stupefied and said he’d like to “turn in his suit.” Everyone felt like that when they first heard of it, and their reactions are what might well be expected from a fair minded, self respecting nation of people.

Tactically, this type of weapon is totally unwarranted – it is not even a Marine Corps weapon – morally it is damnation itself; administratively and logistically as planned for use, it is hopeless; and from the point of view of self respect and loyalty, it is shameful.

F. H. Schwable, 04429
Colonel, U.S.M.C.
6 December, 1952


North Korea

General Jerome’s Conference

Brigadier General Jerome, Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, called a conference of staff officers of the Wing on 25 May, 1952. This was on the day after General Barcus, Commanding General, 5th Air Force, had directed General Jerome to extend the bacteriological warfare conducted by the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing into its operational stage.

This conference was held behind closed doors in the Commanding General’s office at Wing Headquarters. No notes were taken nor written material involved and discussion was in moderate tones of voice. Present, in addition to General Jerome, were: Brigadier General Lamson-Scribner, Assistant Commanding General; myself, Chief of Staff; Colonel Stage, Intelligence Officer; Colonel Wendt, Operations Officer and Colonel Clark, Logistics Officer.

The conference was extremely informal. As I have said, no notes were taken, but he following is a substantially correct account of what took place as best I remember it seven months later.

General Jerome opened by saying: “Yesterday I talked for some time with General Barcus, with only Colonel Mason [5th Air Force Operations Officer] present. What I have to tell you will shock you as it did me; nevertheless we have to continue to carry out 5th Air Force orders while shore based in Korea.”

He then checked whether everyone present was familiar with the current bacteriological warfare program of “Super Propaganda” (or “Suprop”) bombing of random targets. All hands either nodded or said, “Yes Sir,” and he went on:

“You are aware that F7F’s [Tiger Cats] have been carrying out a Suprop program since early this year, and that this spring our F2H’s [photographic reconnaissance, Banshees] entered the program as well as certain other Air Force squadrons with which I am not familiar. The program, up to this point, has been using random bombing in an effort to cover all types of terrain features.”

“Now a radical shift of operations has been directed! General Barcus stated that a contamination belt is to be established across the central part of North Korea with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing assuming responsibility for the left flank, to include Sinanju and Kunuri, and the area around and between these cities. The Air Force will take the larger center area from the Kunuri to within about 30 miles of the east coast, and the Navy will take the right flank. Gentlemen, this means we are shifting to the operational stage in this miserable kind of warfare!”

The General paused for a moment and no one uttered a word. He went on to describe the details, which went like this: “The Marine part of this program will be conducted initially by VMF 513 – for them, it is actually only a shift of target, from miscellaneous bombing to bombing in a concentrated area. They have the additional responsibility of maintaining the recontamination of the area at intervals not to exceed once in every ten days.

“VMF 513 will be responsible for maintaining this schedule on their own and specific missions for this contamination program will not show up on “Frag” orders. [Frag orders are merely fragments of a complete operation order, but contain the detailed missions for individual units.] VMF 513 mission reports for these routine flights will merely report their normal night armed reconnaissance, adding the words, ‘via Sinanju’ or ‘via Kunuri,’ for those missions which include special weapons. VMF 513 is to commence these operations as soon as possible using all the normal facilities at K-8 [Air Force Base at Kunsan] as they have been doing, and coordinating as necessary with the 3rd Bomb Wing. Only twin engine F7F’s [Tiger Cats] will be used and all previous safety precautions will continue in effect, like flying over water where possible and dropping Suprop bombs only in conjunction with other bombs and so on.”

General Jerome continued, in effect: “That part of the program presents no particular problems. It is a shift of targets. The F2H [Banshee] aircraft will continue to be assigned intermittent missions in the program in the ‘Frag’ orders as in the past.

“The real problems, while not immediate, are nevertheless critical and are occasioned by the fact that this hitherto confined program will now involved [sic] the Groups, their air bases and the many personnel concerned.” There was a decided stirring around by all officers present as this information of the meaning of extended bacteriological warfare hit like a bolt of lightning.

General Jerome then outlined the further arrangements needed to carry out the part of the expanded bacteriological warfare program assigned to the Wing. He said that Marine Aircraft Group Twelve had to prepare to take part with a limited number of AD’s [Skyraiders] and F4U’s [Corsairs] but that, until otherwise directed, these planes would only be used as substitutes for the F7F’s. As to Marine Aircraft Group 33, they were to be placed on a standby basis to be called on only in an emergency as a last resort.

“For the time being,” General Jerome said, “our operations will continue at night, but daylight operations are in the offing and we may be called on to include ‘Suprop’ bombs in daylight strikes later. In this connection, General Barcus specifically said to me: ‘If the government decides to announce the use of bacteriological warfare publicly, then it will become a part of all major strikes, and will be so announced in an effort to keep workers away from repairing bomb damage through fear of entering contaminated areas.’ So you can see for yourselves the possible extent of such operations and preparations necessary.”

However, General Jerome went on, “I do not believe we have to worry about such large scale actions for some time and what I have outlined to you is the essence of the new program.” Then he turned to Colonel Wendt and said:

“As I have pointed out, VMF 513’s operations become routine with responsibility for their execution in the hands of the squadron C.O. He has been, or will be, notified of the new plan direct by 5th Air Force and warned that the ‘Frag’ orders will make no mention of it. However, I want you to go and see the C.O. personally and tell him that I have been informed and that, while I do not relish the program, it must be carried out as directed. Tell him that he has been given special responsibility for seeing that the contamination of the area is maintained in the 10-day cycles, and if he runs into any trouble and needs help, he is to call on the Wing.”

Still addressing Colonel Wendt, he said: “Then as soon as convenient, I want you to talk to both Gaylor and Condon so that if they get a ‘Frag’ order specifying ‘Suprop’ some day, they wont [sic] be caught short.” Colonels Gaylor and Condon were the then Commanding Officers of Marine Aircraft Groups 12 and 33 respectively.

This was the main substance of General Jerome’s opening remarks on the new program and they were followed by an open discussion.

General Lamson-Scribner inquired whether the program of maintaining the contamination of the area would not interfere with Squadron 513’s normal night armed reconnaissance missions which were so important. Colonel Wendt said that he felt it would ease up 513’s problems because formerly 513 had conducted bacteriological bombing missions all over the southern half of North Korea, clear over to the east coast at times, while still trying to maintain patrols over the Haeju Peninsula. Now, he said, although more special bombs would be involved, all the efforts of 513 would be concentrated in the south western part of North Korea and this should produce more efficient results.

Colonel Wendt estimated that, after the initial contamination by 513 squadron, if five aircraft each carried two bacteriological bombs a night, they could maintain the replenishment of the area with bacteria in about 3 or 4 nights out of each ten, leaving the remaining nights free from the bother of Suprop. Even on those nights the aircraft would only be temporarily diverted from the main routes they had to cover.

General Jerome intervened at this point to stress that General Barcus had stated that the establishment of a contamination belt across Korea “would assure the success of the interdiction program.” This implied that, far from interfering with the armed reconnaissance flights, the bacteriological operations would increase the effectiveness of the total effort to stop the lines of supply.

This remark of General Barcus started a whole field of discussion by all hands in the use of bacteriological weapons in an interdiction program. If my memory is correct, I led off this discussion. Anyway, I said that the Air Force was getting pretty hard up if they had to turn to special weapons to make their interdiction work. I expressed frankly my ideas that a contamination belt could easily be countered by a determined enemy; that it was a prostitution of a strategic weapon to use it tactically; that it was a dreadful thing to use uncontrollable germs and sickness against large manufacturing areas in a major war, but it was even more ruthless and wanton to spread disease clear across the width of a whole country with the meager and indefinite hopes of stopping truck traffic.

Finally, I said that if we established an effective disease are, I believed the enemy would rush their supplies through with whatever safeguards they have, but with the effect that the disease might well spread to our side since an epidemic is quite impersonal as to whom it affects.

Colonel Wendt added that two large conventional bombs, in place of two Suprop bombs, on the wings of our night fighters, could do much more effective work if they could be dropped accurately on a bridge, than the whole squadron’s efforts to spread disease in Korea.

Colonel Clark argued that any concentrated use of Suprop bombs in an area could only lead to complete exposure of the myth that the United States was not using bacteriological warfare. We would make liars out of ourselves and get nothing worthwhile in exchange.

Everybody started to talk at one time. It was pointed out that Marine aviation is neither organized, trained, nor equipped to use bacteriological warfare since it is not a part of amphibious operations, and that it did not, therefore, seem right that we should be required to use it here in Korea merely because we were under the operational control of the 5th Air Force temporarily. Finally General Jerome held the floor to say that he honestly felt the Air Force was desperate over the interdiction program.

Several officers added that if we had to use the stuff here, our government should admit it since through POWs, the enemy would find out soon enough. To use Korean people and towns to test bacteriological materials was bad enough, but to progress to the operational stage in a war the size of the Korean war, was simply outrageous because bacteriological warfare is a strategic weapon directed solely on human mass populations – that means mostly civilians – in an effort to stop war production, which does not apply in Korea.

It was about this point that General Jerome reminded us that we were not there to discuss the pro’s and con’s of using bacteriological warfare in Korea – that decision having already been made “higher up” – but we were to discuss the plan itself and the measures required of the Wing to implement it.

Then Colonel Clark asked what were the intentions regarding bomb supplies and facilities for the AD’s (Skyraiders). General Jerome reported that he had told General Barcus he would do all in his power to avoid large-scale bombing-up at K-6 (Marine Aircraft Group 12’s base at Pyongtaek) and hoped that General Barcus would keep that in mind when “Frag” orders were written up. He had asked General Barcus for a trained team from the Air Force to handle the bombs initially from K-6. He said that if Marine Aircraft Group 33 was only to be used as a last resort, and was near the basic bomb supply area at Ulsan, he was not going to establish any bomb supply at their base at K-3 (Pohang) over and above that which was being used by the F2H’s (Banshees).

Colonel Wendt added that if single Skyraiders were substituted for Tiger Cats at night, they would have to go to K-8 (Kunsan) for briefing anyhow and could bomb up there. Even in daylight strikes of a small number of aircraft, there would be no strain in sending them to K-8 for their bacteriological bombs and then having them rendezvous with the rest of the planes en route to the target.

General Jerome said that a very small number of Marine Aircraft Group 12’s staff officers were to be made cognizant of the possibility of the Skyraiders entering the program, and a handful of specially qualified, hand picked, reliable and loyal pilots informed, so that they could participate at a moments notice without confusion. As to Maine Aircraft Group 33, he would leave it up to Colonel Condon as to whom he would inform but that the number must be small and a list of specially qualified pilots must be kept current.

Colonel Wendt asked as to whom on our own staff should know and referred particularly to the medical officer. I opposed violently letting the medical officer know on the basis that he did not have a real “need-to-know” in order for the program to function properly. I proposed that no one not present be informed without specific individual clearance by me and the Commanding General, except that both Operations Officer and Logistics Officer, but not the Intelligence Officer, should be authorized to inform the barest minimum number of officers required for efficient functioning of their own sections; that these officers must be majors and above, regulars and not reserves if at all possible and officers who had some time still to do in Korea.

This brought up the matter of security in general which we all recognized as being one of the main problems.

General Jerome said: “Tell all those involved that everybody from the top on down, including Barcus and now me, says that this is a matter of national policy, not just military security.” He reported that General Barcus had said that nothing must appear in writing on this program and that the use of the words “bacteriological or germ warfare” or similar terms, was forbidden except for initial identification with the program.

The discussion on security was long and detailed and ended by General Jerome saying that security was an “all hands’ affair,” that everybody was responsible and everybody had to play their part – that it was a chain of many links and one broken link could destroy the chain. Some officer pointed out that the Chinese had already claimed that the United States was using bacteriological warfare and that since the early days of its use by the B-29’s, many pilots had become prisoners of war and that surely, therefore, the enemy must know by now of its use.

We all recognized this truth, but, as the General pointed out, if the government chose to deny its use, we in the military had no choice other than to do our best to try and maintain this fiction. He said that, with 300 to 400 men of the Wing being rotated back to the United States each month, it was only a question of time before the truth would be known, and meanwhile, every effort was to be made to make the propaganda fiction as realistic as possible.

It was generally agreed in this instance that security, as so often is the case, was more to keep knowledge from our own people than it was to conceal facts from the enemy.

The General closed the conference with a directive summary that went about like this, as best as I can remember:

Speaking to Colonel Wendt, he said: “You will see VMF 513 tomorrow and tell them that Barcus has cut me in and to go ahead at the earliest on the program. Stress security but, above all, stress the necessity of maintaining the ten-day contamination cycle because this responsibility is being passed directly to them. See Galor and Condon as soon afterwards as you can so that they can start thinking the problems over. Impress Gaylor with the fact that I think that his part will be a small scale effort for some time to come.” To Colonel Clark he said: “You check with Gaylor and see what help he needs in getting a small bomb facility ready.” His last words, addressed to Colonel Stage were: “Keep your ears and eyes wide open, security is essential.”

F. H. Schawble, 04429
Colonel, U.S.M.C.
19 December, 1952


North Korea

When the bacteriological warfare program was expanded, all security matters were reviewed at General Jerome’s May 25 conference.

The one thing that was emphasized in every stage of bacteriological warfare was security and this constituted one of the major problems confronting the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. While we had no operational authority, security is an administrative matter for which we were responsible to the 5th Air Force.

Every means possible was taken to mislead the enemy and to deny knowledge of these operations to our own personnel.

Among our own personnel, should they become curious, the aim was to create the impression that the special missions were strictly a form of highly specialized propaganda which could not be disclosed because of the loss of value if prematurely released, and because the sources had to be safeguarded.

On the enemy side, bacteriological bombs were to be dropped only in conjunction with ordinary bombs so that the specialized nature of the attack could not be detected – or if detected, could not be proved. Any evidence found on the ground would be claimed by our side to be either legitimate propaganda material or flare parachutes and cases.

At the conference on 25 May, 1952, General Jerome, assisted by General Lamson-Scribner, went over the security measures that would be enforced unless specifically modified.

Absolutely nothing was to appear in writing referring to the program in its true nature. “Bacteria,” “germ,” etc. were words that we were forbidden to use, as well as the type names of the diseases, except to identify them initially with the program. Official conversations substituted such words as “Super-Propaganda,” “Suprop,” special weapons, special bombs, special missions, etc.

Mission reports were handled in two ways:

The routine flights made by Squadron 513 after the commencement of the concentration on the contamination belt, were covered in the Squadron’s normal, secret, mission reports – by dispatch – reporting the targets covered, mission numbers, times, and damage assessed.

Then the words would be added “via Sinanju” or “via Kunuri,” whichever was pertinent. This would convey to the proper authorities that Squadron 513 had conducted one of its reoccurring, standard missions to maintain the bacteriological contamination in its assigned area in the 10-day cycle.

The other units, whose missions were intermittent, were scheduled by indicating “Suprop” for, say, mission number so-and-so in Top Secret orders, and would use the “Suprop” code for their reports. They would send in their standard, secret dispatch stating mission numbers, type of aircraft, target coordinates, time over target, bombs dropped (conventional type) or photographic exposures made, flak encountered and any other information. Immediately after, a Top Secret dispatch would also be sent to 5th Air Force by the unit reporting, which would say: “Mission number so-and-so, so many ‘Suprop’.” By this method they reported in code, the number of special bombs dropped on an otherwise normal mission.

Any reports of aircraft performance, tactics, etc., relative to the bacteriological program, would be reported verbally to the Operations Officer (G-3) and bomb difficulties to the Logistics Officer (G-4) who would further report verbally to the Commanding General who would then decide whether he or another appropriate staff officer would report to 5th Air Force.

Only those who absolutely needed to know about the program to ensure its efficient functioning, were to be informed. Normally a staff officer and his assistant are cognizant of all matters within their section, so that if one officer is absent, the other can attend to any pertinent matters. It was not so with this program. If the cognizant officer was absent and an urgent matter came up, the question was to be taken to the Chief of Staff, Executive Officer, Commanding Officer or other senior staff officer. The reason I opposed informing the Wing Medical officer was that the program could function without his knowing about it.

The entire subject was mentioned only in official business when it was necessary to discuss it, and then only behind closed doors and in guarded tones and terms. No “Suprop” mission was mentioned in the General’s daily staff briefing.

Violations of security in this matter, like violations of security of any regulation of equal importance, were to be the subject of a general court martial.

Only twin engine aircraft were to be used until the 5th Air Force scheduled the use of AD’s (Skyraiders).

Only night operations and high-altitude photographic reconnaissance flights would employ special weapons until the AD’s were ordered to participate in daylight.

Flights would be made to the maximum extent over water and avoiding friendly territory, and bombs were to be jettisoned only in deep water at sea. Bombing-up would be confined to the minimum number of fields – in our case K-8 (Squadron 513’s base at Kunsan) and K-3 (Marine Aircraft Group 33’s base at Pohang) only, until large-scale operations were ordered fromK-6 (Marine Group 12’s base at Pyongtaek).

Where practicable, a napalm bomb would be carried on the attacking aircraft and retained until the bacteriological bombs were away, in order to ensure the destruction of the plane by fire, if it had to crash.

General Jerome further directed that only a very limited number of pilots in the operating units were to be involved and they should be the more senior, mature, responsible men; that they should preferably be regular officers making the service their career, and above all, must be men of unquestioned loyalty.

He also stressed that officers and men involved must be impressed with the vital nature of the security problem, its effects on national prestige and its effects of current enemy action. Pilots must be made to feel that they were a very select group, hand picked for capability and reliability. The point was emphasized to: “Forget it in Korea whenever you can, and when you go home, you never heard of it.”

Pilots were to be assured of their personal safety from the effects of the materials used in order to avoid a possible breach of security through fear of personal contamination.

For the same reason, pilots were to be given a brief summary of the general operations to date, to avoid possible breaches of security because of the moral factor if they should think they were the first ones to use this unorthodox form of warfare.

Dropping of a “Suprop” bomb on the wrong target was to be reported immediately. Pilots were to be made to feel that this was a vital responsibility – not so that disciplinary action would or could be taken, but to keep an accurate record of what areas had been contaminated.

Breaches of security were to be reported immediately and verbally. Any officer or man who appeared to be persistently curious about the propaganda program, was to be watched very carefully and reported direct to the General. Any pilot included in the program who appeared to be “breaking” in any manner, i.e. who appeared to become careless, rebellious, frightened, hesitant, etc., though combat fatigue or for any other reason, was to be removed immediately from the flight schedule and reported to the General. Any person who appeared to be acting in a suspicious or unnatural manner, was likewise to be reported to the General.

F. H. Schwable, 04429
Colonel, U.S.M.C.
19 December, 1952

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Long-suppressed Korean War Report on U.S. Use of Biological Weapons Released At Last

Written largely by the most prestigious British scientist of his day, this report was effectively suppressed upon its release in 1952. Published now in text-searchable format, it includes hundreds of pages of evidence about the use of U.S. biological weapons during the Korean War, available for the first time to the general public.

(If you don’t see any embed above, download the full report here)


Originally posted at

Back in the early 1950s, the U.S. conducted a furious bombing campaign during the Korean War, dropping hundreds of thousands of tons of ordnance, much of it napalm, on North Korea. The bombardment, worse than any country had received up to that point, excepting the effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, wiped out nearly every city in North Korea, contributing to well over a million civilian deaths. Because of the relentless bombing, the people were reduced to living in tunnels. Even the normally bellicose Gen. MacArthur claimed to find the devastation wreaked by the U.S. to be sickening.[1]

Most controversially, both North Korea and China alleged that by early 1952, the U.S. was using biological or germ warfare weapons against both North Korea and China. The U.S. government has strenuously denied this. Nevertheless, captured U.S. flyers told their North Korean and Chinese captors about the use of such weapons. Later, after the prisoners were returned to U.S. custody, counterintelligence experts and psychiatrists interrogated them. They were told under the threat of court martial to renounce their confessions about germ warfare. They all did so.

The Army Criminal Investigative Division officer in charge of interrogating returning prisoners, including airmen who confessed to use of biological weaponry on North Korea and China, was Army counter-intelligence specialist, Col. Boris Pash. Pash had previously been in charge of security for the most sensitive classified operations of the U.S. government in World War II. He was in charge of security at the Manhattan Project’s Berkeley Radiation Laboratory. (The Manhattan Project was the U.S. crash program to develop the atomic bomb.)

In the immediate aftermath of the war, military intelligence officer Pash led the Alsos Mission, which searched for Nazi and Italian nuclear scientists and fissionable materials, as well as gathering “intelligence about any enemy scientific research applicable to his military effort,” including biological and chemical weapons. Later, Pash worked for the CIA, and in the 1970s was called before Congressional investigators concerning his alleged participation in Agency assassinations.[2]

To convince the world of the truth of their claim the U.S. had dropped biological weapons on their countries, and after turning down the suggestion that the International Red Cross look into the charges, the North Koreans and Chinese sponsored an investigating commission. Using the auspices of the World Peace Council, they gathered together a number of scientists from around the world, most of whom were sympathetic to either the Left or the peace movement. Most surprisingly, this commission, which came to be known as the International Scientific Commission, or ISC, was headed by one of the foremost British scientists of his time, Joseph Needham.

The ISC included scientists from a number of countries, including Sweden, France, Italy, and Brazil. The Soviet Union representative, Dr. N. N. Zhukov-Verezhnikov had been the chief medical expert at the Khabarovsk Trial of the Unit 731 Japanese officers accused of participating in bacteriological (aka biological, or germ) warfare before and during World War II, as well as conducting hideous experiments on prisoners to further that aim. Zhukov-Verezhnikov went on to write scientific articles through the 1970s.

Needham himself, though pilloried in the Western press for his opinions on the controversy of U.S. use of biological weapons during the Korean War, remained a highly lauded scientist for years after the ISC report. He was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1971. In 1992, the Queen conferred on him the Companionship of Honour.[3]

The ISC travelled to China and North Korea in the summer of 1952 and by September produced the “Report of International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China,” which corroborated the Chinese and North Korean claims that the U.S. had used biological weapons in an experimental fashion on civilian populations.

The summary report was only some 60 pages long, but the ISC included over 600 pages of documentary material including statements from witnesses, including airmen involved in dropping the weaponry, as well as captured enemy agents; reports from doctors; journal articles from the United States; autopsy reports and lab tests; and photos and other materials. Most of this documentary material has been all but inaccessible for decades, with only a handful of copies of the ISC report in a few scattered libraries in the United States.

The report concluded that the U.S. had used a number of biological weapons, including use of anthrax, plague, and cholera, disseminated by over a dozen of different devices or methods, including spraying, porcelain bombs, self-destroying paper containers with a paper parachute, and leaflet bombs, among others.

This article is not meant to examine the full range of opinions or evidence about whether or not the U.S. used biological weapons in the Korean War. It is instead an attempt to publish essential documentation of such claims, documentation that has effectively been withheld from the American people, and the West in general, for decades.


The charges of U.S. use of biological warfare during the Korean War have long been the subject of intense controversy. The reliance, in part, on testimony from U.S. prisoners of war led to U.S. charges of “brainwashing.” These charges later became the basis of a cover story for covert CIA experimentation into use of use of drugs and other forms of coercive interrogation and torture that became the basis for its 1963 KUBARK manual on interrogation, and much later, a powerful influence on the CIA’s post-9/11 “enhanced interrogation” program.

Establishment Cold War scholars have been quick to debunk the ISC report. The most notable attempts in recent years included the publication of purported letters written by officials of the Soviet Union discussing the lack of evidence of U.S. biological warfare, and the decision to manufacture such evidence to fool the West.[4] Subsequently, a 1997 memoir by Wu Zhili, the former director of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army Health Division, was published declaring the purported U.S. use of bacteriological agents in the Korean War was really “a false alarm.” [5]

If these documents were to be true, as two Canadian scholars who spent years researching the Chinese-North Korean claims of biological warfare, then it would go against the bulk of archival evidence, including interviews with pertinent witnesses in both the United States and China.[6] Some of this archival evidence is quite recent, including the CIA declassification of a good deal of formerly top secret daily signal intelligence cables from the Korean War.[7]

The cables dealing with North Korean claims of biological warfare, which claims were dismissed by U.S. officials, prove that the North Koreans were serious about the belief they were being attacked by germ weapons, and that they were concerned that reports from the field not be falsified by assiduous if uninformed people sending in reports from the field. There is no evidence that North Korean officials or personnel ever engaged in falsification of evidence of biological warfare.

There also is plenty of archival evidence to be found in the suppressed Needham report materials. For instance, the Wu Zhili document claims, “‘for the entire year [1952–1953] no sick patient or deceased person was found to have anything to do with bacteriological warfare.”

From the ISC report, pg. 470But the ISC report documents a number of such deaths, including deaths from inhalational anthrax, a very rare disease almost completely unknown in China at that time. Appendix AA of the report, “Report on the Occurrence of Respiratory Anthrax and Haemorrhagic Anthrax Meningitis following the Intrusion of U.S. Military Planes over Northeast China” details the presence of anthrax by autopsy and laboratory examination in five deaths during March-April 1952. According to U.S. experts who have looked at the details of this report, the conclusions regarding death from inhalational anthrax could not have been faked[8].

Until recently, there has been no effort to make the original Needham materials available for other scholars or the public to assess for themselves the truth or falsity of their analysis. Last year, scholar Milton Leitenberg uploaded a copy of the ISC report to Scribd, but it is a very rough scan, and not searchable, or easy to use for the public. The release was not advertised and the public in particular remains ignorant of its findings.

The version of the ISC report published here utilized state-of-the-art book scanning equipment and is text searchable.

Censorship of Unit 731-U.S. Collaboration on Biological Warfare Data

One important part of the ISC report guaranteed its suppression in the United States after its initial publication. The report discussed the activities of Imperial Japan’s biological warfare detachment, Unit 731, and the U.S. interest in its activities.

Back in 1952, collaboration between the U.S. and Japanese war criminals using biological weapons was top secret, and totally denied by the U.S.

But today, even U.S. historians accept that a deal was made between the U.S. and members of Unit 731 and associated portions of the Japanese military that had in fact been experimenting on the use of biological weapons since the mid-1930s, experimentation that included use of human vivisection and barbaric torture of thousands of human beings, most of whom were disposed of in crematoria. In addition, as described in the book chapter by Bernd Martin noted in the bibliography, there was collaboration between the Japanese and the Nazi regime on these issues.

The U.S. collaboration with Japanese war criminals of Unit 731 was formally admitted in 1999 by the U.S. government, though the documentation for this confession wasn’t published until nearly 20 years later.[9]

It is a matter of historical record now that the U.S. government granted amnesty to Japan’s chief at Unit 731, doctor/General Shiro Ishii and his accomplices. The amnesty was kept top secret for decades, until revealed by journalist John Powell in a landmark article for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in October 1981.

What came to be known as the Needham report, due to the fact the ISC was headed by the prestigious British scientist, came under immediate fire upon release. The report still remains a flashpoint for scholars. A 2001 article by the UK’s Historical Association detailed how UN and UK government officials collaborated in attempts to debunk the ISC findings. The UK Foreign Office released memoranda saying that claims of Japanese bacteriological warfare, going back to 1941, were “officially ‘not proven.’" (See article by Tom Buchanan in Bibliography.)

The sensitivity of the material uncovered by the ISC touched two areas of covert US government research. First was the US government’s own plans to research and possibly implement germ warfare. The second issue concerned the confessions of U.S. flyers as to how they were briefed and implemented trial runs of biological warfare during the Korean War.

China published the confessions of 19 U.S. airmen, but those confessions are also notoriously difficult to obtain. The ISC report published herein does include some of those “confessions,” and the public can be allowed to decide for themselves how authentic or genuine they are.

From testimony of Lt. J. Quinn, ISC report, pg. 614 (PDF)The U.S. claimed that the flyers were tortured, and the CIA promoted the idea they were “brainwashed” by diabolical methods, causing a scare about “commie” mind control programs and “menticide,” which they used to justify the expenditure of millions of dollars for U.S. mind control programs during the 1950s-1970s.

The programs, codenamed Bluebird, Artichoke, and MKULTRA, among others, used experiments on unwitting civilians, as well as soldiers undergoing supposed anti-torture training at the military’s SERE schools. I have shown via public records that CIA scientists continued to use experiments on “stress” at SERE schools after 9/11, and believe such research included experiments on CIA and/or DoD held detainees. That such research did take place can be inferred from the release in November 2011 of a new set of guidelines concerning DoD research. This newest version of a standard instruction (DoD Directive 3216.02) contained for the first time a specific prohibition against research done on detainees. (See section 7c.)

I believe a strong case can be made that while coercive methods, primarily isolation, was used on the U.S. prisoners of war who later confessed, that their confessions were primarily true. The idea that only false confessions result from torture is in fact false itself. While false confessions can result from torture (as well as less onerous methods, such as the Reid Technique, used by police departments throughout the United States today), actual confessions can also sometimes occur. I have first-hand experience working with torture survivors to know that is true.

Even so, it is a fact that all the POWs who confessed use of germ warfare later recanted that upon return to the United States. But the terms of their recantations are suspect. The recantations were made under threat of courts-martial, and after interrogations by U.S. counterintelligence agents and psychiatrists. The archival evidence of the flyers debriefings have been destroyed or lost due to fire (according to the government). Meanwhile at least one scientist working at Ft. Detrick at the time admitted to German documentary investigators before he died that the U.S. had indeed been involved in germ warfare in Korea. (See the documentary video, “Code Name: Artichoke.”[10])

An “actual investigation… could do us psychological as well as military damage”

The charges of U.S. use of biological weapons during the Korean War are even more incendiary than the now-proven claims the U.S. amnestied Japanese military doctors and others working on biological weapons who experimented on human subjects, and ultimately killed thousands in operational uses of those weapons against China during the Sino-Japanese portion of World War Two. The amnesty was the price paid for U.S. military and intelligence researchers to get access to the trove of research, much of it via fatal human experiments, the Japanese had developed over years of studying and developing weapons for biological warfare.

During the Korean War, the U.S. strenuously denied charges of use of germ weapons and demanded an international investigation through the United Nations. The Chinese and North Koreans derided such offers, as it was United Nations-sanctioned forces that were opposing them in war and bombing their cities. But behind the scenes, the U.S. government initiated a campaign to impugn the ISC report, something they found difficult, as it turned out, according to a CIA-released document I revealed in December 2013. The document also showed the U.S. considered the call for a UN investigation to be mere propaganda.[11]

At a high-level meeting of intelligence and government officials on July 6, 1953, U.S. authorities admitted behind closed doors that the U.S. was not serious about conducting any investigation into such charges, despite what the government said publicly.

The reason the U.S. didn’t want any investigation was because an “actual investigation” would reveal military operations, “which, if revealed, could do us psychological as well as military damage.” A “memorandum from the Psychological Strategy Board (PSB) detailing this meeting specifically stated as an example of what could be revealed “8th Army preparations or operations (e.g. chemical warfare).”[12]

Charges of chemical warfare by the Americans during the Korean War were part of a report by a Communist-influenced attorneys’ organization visiting Korea, and their findings were dismissed as propaganda by U.S. authorities and commentators. But the PSB memo suggests perhaps they were right.

Not long after I published the PSB document and accompanying article, scholar Stephen Endicott wrote to remind me that he and his associate Edward Hagerman, co-authors of the 1998 book, The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea (see bibliography), had found material themselves that indicated U.S. calls for “international inspection to counter the Chinese and North Korean charges… was less than candid.”

Endicott and Hagerman found that U.S. Far East Commander, Gen. Matthew Ridgway, had “secretly given permission to deny potential Red Cross inspectors ‘access to any specific sources of information.’” In addition, they documented a State Department memo dated June 27, 1952 wherein the Department of Defense notified that it was “impossible” for the UN ambassador at the time to state that the U.S. did not intend to use “bacteriological warfare — even in Korea.” (p.192, Endicott and Hagerman)

The Khabarovsk War Crimes Trial

The ISC report also references the December 1949 war crimes trial held by the USSR in Khabarovsk, not far from the Chinese border. The trial of Japanese war criminals associated with Units 731, 100 and other biological warfare divisions followed upon a near black-out of such issues at the larger Toyko war crimes trials held by the Allies a few years before.

At the time of the Khabarovsk trial, U.S. media and government officials either ignored the proceedings, or denounced them as yet another Soviet “show trial.” The Soviets for their part published the proceedings and distributed them widely, including in English. Copies of this report are easier to find for purchase used, though expensive, on the Internet. Additionally, in the last few years Google made a copy of the former Soviet volume available online (see Bibliography). But no scholarly edition has ever been published.

Even so, U.S. historians have been forced over the years to accept the findings of the Khabarovsk court, though the general population and media accounts remain mostly ignorant such a trial ever took place. The fact the Soviets also documented the use of Japanese biological experiments on U.S. POWs was highly controversial, denied by the U.S. for decades, was a quite contentious issue in the 1980s-1990s. While a National Archives-linked historian has quietly determined such experiments did in fact take place, the issue has quietly fallen off the country’s radar. (See L. G. Goetz in bibliography.)

The relevancy of these issues is of course the ongoing propaganda war between the United States and North Korea, as well as Pentagon reallocation of resources to the Asian theater for a possible future war against China. But it is the clear threat of a nuclear exchange between North Korea and the United States that calls for clarity around the issues that have led to the mistrust between the two countries. Such clarity demands the release of all information that would help the U.S. populace understand the North Korean point of view. Such understanding, and acting upon such knowledge, may be all that separates us from a catastrophic war that could potentially kill millions of people.

The history behind the Korean War, and U.S. military and covert actions concerning China, Japan, and Korea, are a matter of near-total ignorance in the U.S. population. The charges of “brainwashing” of U.S. POWs, in an ongoing effort to hide evidence of U.S. biological warfare experiments and trials, also has become entwined in the propaganda used to explain the U.S. post-9/11 torture and interrogation program, and alibi past crimes by the CIA and Department of Defense for years of illegal mind control programs practiced as part of MKULTRA, MKSEARCH, ARTICHOKE, and other programs.

I hope that readers will feel free to disseminate this article without any copyright reservations, as well as the ISC report itself, an orphaned document from the Cold War.


Daniel Barenblatt, A Plague Upon Humanity: The Secret Genocide of Axis Japan’s Germ Warfare Operation, HarperPerennial, 2005

Tom Buchanan, “The Courage of Galileo: Joseph Needham and the ‘Germ Warfare’ Allegations in the Korean War,” The Historical Association, Blackwell Publishers, 2001

Dave Chaddock, This Must Be the Place: How the U.S. Waged Germ Warfare in the Korean War and Denied It Ever Since, Bennett and Hastings Publishers, 2013

Stephen Endicott & Edward Hagerman, The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea, Indiana University Press, 1998

Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman, “Twelve Newly Released Soviet-era `Documents’ and allegations of U. S. germ warfare during the Korean War,” online publication, 1998, URL:

Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman, “False Alarm? ‘The Bacteriological War of 1952’: Comment on Director Wu Zhili’s Essay,” online publication, June 1, 2016, URL: [accessed May 14, 2017]

Sheldon H. Harris, Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932–45, and the American Cover-up, rev. ed., Routledge Press, 2002

Linda Goetz Holmes, Guests of the Emperor: The Secret History of Japan’s Mukden POW Camp, Naval Institute Press, June 2010.

Jeffrey Kaye, “CIA Document Suggests U.S. Lied About Biological, Chemical Weapon Use in the Korean War,” Shadowproof, Dec. 10, 2013, URL: (accessed May 14, 2017)

Materials on the Trial of Former Servicemen of the Japanese Army Charged With Manufacturing Bacteriological Weapons [Testimony and Exhibits from the Khabarovsk War Crimes Trial], Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1950, published as free e-book at Google Books, URL: [accessed May 14, 2017]

Milton Leitenberg, “New Russian Evidence on the Korean War Biological Warfare Allegations: Background and Analysis,” Cold War International History Project, Bulletin 11, 1998

Milton Leitenberg, “China’s False Allegations of the Use of Biological Weapons by the United States during the Korean War,” CWIHP Working Paper #78
 March 2016, URL: [accessed May 14, 2017]

Jeffrey A. Lockwood, Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War, Oxford Univ. Press, 2010

Bernd Martin, “Japanese-German collaboration in the development of bacteriological and chemical weapons and the war in China,” in Japanese-German Relations, 1895–1945: War, Diplomacy and Public Opinion (Christian W. Spang, Rolf-Harald Wippich, eds.), Routledge, 2006

John Powell, “A Hidden Chapter in History,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, October 1981

Peter Williams and David Wallace, Unit 731: The Japanese Army’s Secret of Secrets, Hodder & Stoughton, 1989 [Note: The U.S. version of this book, published by Free Press, does not include Chapter 17 on the Korean War, which is only available in the British Hodder & Stoughton version.]


[1] Robert M. Neer, Napalm: An American Biography, 2013, Belknap Press, pg. 100.

[2] “Boris Pash and Science and Technology Intelligence,” Masters of the Intelligence Art series, U.S. Army Intelligence Center, Ft. Huachuca, undated. URL: (retrieved 1/20/2018)
In regards to Pash’s association with the CIA, we don’t know when his involvement with the Agency began, but it appears to have been quite early. Watergate defendant E. Howard Hunt told Congressional investigators in 1976 Pash was involved in assassination activities for the CIA during the 1960s. See “Executive Session, Saturday, January 10, 1976, United States Senate, Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, Washington, D.C.” URL: (retrieved 1/20/2018)

[3] See URL: (retrieved 1/20/18). The article drew the information from Winchester, Simon (2008), The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom. New York: HarperCollins.

[4] Leitenberg, Milton. (1998). Resolution of the Korean War Biological Warfare Allegations. Critical reviews in microbiology. 24. 169–94. 10.1080/10408419891294271.

[5] “Wu Zhili, ‘The Bacteriological War of 1952 is a False Alarm’,” September, 1997, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Yanhuang chunqiu no. 11 (2013): 36–39. Translated by Drew Casey.

[6] “False Alarm? The Bacteriological War of 1952 — Comment on Director WuZhili’s Essay” by Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman, Department of History, York University (ret.), June 2016,

[7]“Baptism By Fire: CIA Analysis of the Korean War Overview,” URL:

[8] For a full discussion, see “Updated: The Suppressed Report on 1952 U.S. Korean War Anthrax Attack,”

[9] Jeffrey S. Kaye, “Department of Justice Official Releases Letter Admitting U.S. Amnesty of Japan’s Unit 731 War Criminals,”, May 14, 2017, URL:

[10] URL:

[11] Jeffrey Kaye, “CIA Document Suggests U.S. Lied About Biological, Chemical Weapon Use in the Korean War,” Shadowproof, Dec. 10, 2013, URL: (accessed February 21, 2018)

[12] For the actual memorandum document, see URL:

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