Thursday, December 21, 2017

Updated: The Suppressed Report on 1952 U.S. Korean War Anthrax Attack

[Link to download PDF of the document above]

With the U.S. threatening a pre-emptive attack on North Korea for the latter's pressing development of a nuclear warfare capability, it is more imperative than ever that the history of the U.S.-North Korea conflict be made available to the world, the better to assess the claims made by both sides.

While many see North Korea as a dictatorship run by a madman or evil, others see a rational government - dictatorial, yes - that seeks to defend itself against a power that once obliterated its country in war, and threatened it with nuclear weapons. Indeed, even today, the U.S. says it will not forego using nuclear weapons against North Korea and even executes military war games with South Korea that involve practice runs with nuclear bombers almost up to the border of North Korea.

Back in the early 1950s, during the Korean war, until the Soviets began to fly MiGs over the Korean peninsula in defense of the North Koreans, the U.S. had near unconstrained freedom of airspace over North Korea and China, and in particular, dropped hundreds of thousands of tons of Napalm on North Korea, wiping out nearly every city, and contributing to over a million civilian deaths, maybe 15% of the entire population. Because of the relentless bombing, the people were reduced to living in tunnels. Even the normally bellicose Gen. MacArthur found the devastation wreaked by the U.S. to be sickening.

Most controversially, both North Korea and China maintain that the U.S. used biological or germ warfare weapons against both North Korea and China during the Korean War. The U.S. has strenuously denied this. Captured U.S. flyers who told their North Korean and Chinese captors of the use of such weapons were told under the threat of courts martial to renounce such confessions after they were returned to U.S. custody. They all did so.

To convince the world of the truth of their claims, the North Koreans and Chinese, sponsored a purported independent commission, using the auspices of the World Peace Council, gathering together a number of leftist scientists from around the world. 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, Sir Joseph Needham. The ISC travelled to China and North Korea in the summer of 1952 and by the end of the year produced a report that corroborated the Chinese and North Korean claims that the U.S. had used biological weapons in an experimental fashion on civilian populations.

This posting 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 been withheld from the American people, and the West in general, for decades. I am publishing here Appendices AA and BB from the Report of the International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China.

I introduced that report to the world and posted the report itself online back in January 2015. But the report itself is only some 60-odd pages long, and I was unable at that time to post or publish any of the voluminous appendices that documented the claims of the report. (I am reposting the original executive summary report at the close of this post, for reference sake.) The ISC appendices are crucial in assessing the claims made in the report, and the later denials from U.S. and other allied governments, such as Great Britain.

Appendices AA and BB concern claims of air attacks against various villages in Northeastern China in the Spring of 1952. Using the same kinds of insect (fleas, beetles, etc.) and related "vectors" (such as dropping feathers or rodents) that were studied intensely by Imperial Japanese military scientists and doctors as part of the infamous Unit 731 program. In a matter of proven historical record, but still largely unknown in the United States, the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies, with knowledge of scientists working out of the Army's Ft. Detrick chemical and biological warfare labs, gave amnesty to the Unit 731 war criminals, who conducted their biological warfare experiments on live prisoners, who were incinerated after the Japanese scientists were done with them.

In the executive report, the ISC examined claims of a biological warfare attack in the town of "K'uan-Tien, which lies in the southeastern part of Liaotung province near the Yalu River," as well as a number of other "localities in the provinces of Liaotung and Liaohsi." They looked in depth at five "fatal human cases of respiratory anthrax and haemorrhagic anthrax," including "a railwayman, a tricycle-rickshaw driver, a housewife, a school-teacher, and a farmer." They considered the extreme, indeed, unprecedented appearance of this disease in that part of the world, and the fact that respiratory or inhalational anthrax had earlier been the subject of research by Ft. Detrick scientists. The analysis included laboratory examination from the bodies and from insects discovered in the area and believed to be spreading the disease, after being dropped by U.S. aircraft.

The ISC concluded (pg. 34 of the summary report, which can be accessed at end of this post):
On the basis of the evidence presented, and on their own searching and prolonged interrogation of a considerable number of witnesses, both medical and lay, the Commission was compelled to conclude that the delivery of various biological objects contaminated with anthrax bacilli to many places in the two Chinese provinces had taken place, and that this had given rise to a number of cases of a mortal infection hitherto unknown in the region, namely pulmonary anthrax and ensuing haemorrhagic meningitis. Eye-witness statements impossible to doubt indicated American airplanes as the vehicles of delivery of the infected objects.
The U.S. denied all biological warfare charges. They demanded the International Red Cross be allowed to independently examine the evidence and document the charges. But unknown to all, in secret meetings of top U.S. Pentagon, the CIA, and State Department officials, gathered together as the U.S Psychological Strategy Board, agreed that there never would be any independent investigation, as the Eighth Army was conducting operations during the Korean War which if they became known ("e.g. chemical warfare") "could do us psychological as well as military damage.” (See full article here.) The scholars Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman found similar evidence of an unwillingness to really examine the North Korean/Chinese/Soviet charges in their 1998 book on the BW controversy.

The controversy has simmered every since.

But convergent evidence of the charges was made in Chapter 13 of the 2006 book Deadly Cultures. Entitled "Allegations of Biological Weapons Use," the chapter was written by Martin Furmanski and Mark Wheelis. While these authors were highly dubious of the claims of U.S. biowarfare, they couldn't discount the anthrax charges. Primarily, they found that the description of inhalational anthrax made at this time - for instance, the wide range of incubational periods reported for the Chinese cases - came before a detailed scientific examination of such cases of anthrax had already been studied. But the ISC description was peculiarly apt and prescient. Furmanski and Wheelis concluded that the deaths documented by the ISC as due to inhalational anthrax had to be real and not faked.

"These results must have been from real human inhalation anthrax cases, since the information did not exist in 1952 to have allowed fabrication using textbook or medical literature sources," Furmanski and Wheelis wrote. (See pg. 260 of Deadly Cultures.)

But I should note, Furmanski and Wheelis in the end did not conclude this was full evidence of biological weapon attack. Indeed, they concluded it must have been of natural origin, though how such a coincidence of widely dispersed, unprecedented appearance of the disease occurred coinicentally with charges of biowar attack.

What they solely relied on for their conclusion was an April 2004 "personal communication" from a U.S. scientist that isolates from the B. anthracis samples from China, which by inference included those from the 1952 putative attack were "subjected to genomic analysis, and all were clearly indigenous to China." Furmanski and Wheelis believe that despite the "highly suspicious" nature of the inhalation anthrax cases discussed in the 1952 ISC Needham report, the genomic analysis proved that the anthrax cases reported to the ISC were of natural origin, and not from a U.S. biological warfare attack.

I have been in touch with all the people involved in this supposed genomic analysis, and while I find it odd that nothing was every published on this genomic or DNA analysis, I will leave a full analysis of the refutation of the ISC report on this score for a future and more scholarly essay. In the meantime, I have decided to publish the ISC documentation as in the West all we ever seem to get are what Cold War scholars publish. Even when critics of the U.S. historical account publish, the actual documentation is thin. This leaves us reliant on the authority of the scholars, which is an extraordinary situation.

[Update, December 21, 2017 - In spring 2017 I contacted U.S. anthrax expert Martin Hugh-Jones, whom Furmanski and Wheelis had referred to in their book as the source of a "genomic analysis" that showed the inhalation anthrax cases in China could not have come from U.S. stocks of anthrax. Professor Hugh-Jones referenced a Chinese scientist, Wang Bingxiang, who worked on bacterial vaccines at the Langhou Institute of Biological Products, who Hugh-Jones said had supplied samples of the 1952 anthrax cases to the Special Pathogens Lab (SPL) at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University.

I subsequently contacted both a U.S. scientist, Kimothy Smith, who Professor Hugh-Jones said worked on the identification of the anthrax strains brought from China to the SPL, and Mr. Wang in China. Neither of them backed up Hugh-Jones' story that the 1952 anthrax strain had been identified, much less worked on. Wang denied knowing anything even about it. Prof. Hugh-Jones subsequently told me in an email, "And as it seems that no one, including the Chinese, have any cultures from the 1952 'incident' (true or false) matters must remain at that. It was a time rife with governmental disinformation, especially by the Chinese & Soviets, so one must be cautious with any personal conclusions."

Professor Hugh-Jones did not reference any possible governmental disinformation from the U.S. side. But the failure to dismiss the inhalation anthrax accounts from the ISC, which Furmanski and Wheelis found so compelling that only the presence of supposed "genomic analysis" - now discredited - could dispel, means that hard evidence indeed exists to prove the presence of U.S. biological warfare attack upon China, and most likely North Korea, during the Korean War.

For his part, Professor Furmanski in correspondence to me maintains for other reasons that the North Korean and Chinese claims of germ warfare attacks were a hoax. He does this for a number of reasons, and seems among them to embrace the fairly recent publication of a Chinese official at the time, Wu Zhili, who had a posthumous publication stating the germ warfare attacks were a "false alarm," one which was then amped up for propaganda reasons into a full-scale campaign around the ostensibly false charges.

Few have embraced my main concerns, which center around the suppression of information in general around this historical incident. I cannot speak to North Korean or Chinese suppression, but I can document and obviously comment about the suppression by the U.S. and its allies, as information slowly is obtained about them. I can also encourage others to pursue original documents and do their own analysis, as I have done.

For his part, despite much professional obloquy, Dr. Needham maintained until the day he died that the U.S. had indeed used biological weapons against the North Koreans and the Chinese. His investigation went far beyond that detailed in this essay, and concerned more than the dissemination of anthrax.

Was there any fraud involved in Chinese, North Korean, or Soviet evidence of germ warfare attacks by the U.S.? I think it's possible there was, just as a suspicious patient might exaggerate symptoms to get the attention of a doctor they fear isn't taking them seriously. The importance of the suppressed ISC report is the attention given to many multiple sources of evidence. Sir Joseph Needham wasn't one of the leading scientists of his day for nothing. He understood the scientific approach to evidence.]

I hope that the publication of this material will lead to a greater effort by U.S. and European media and other commentators to assess the real history of U.S. and North Korean and Chinese relations, the better to counter the claims of the hawkish Trump administration and Pentagon spokespeople, who are threatening to plunge this country, and possibly the world, into a terrible new war, painting the North Koreans as unreasonable and dangerous people. But any fair historical account will see that while not by any means perfect, the North Korean regime has plenty to complain about and fear from U.S. intervention.

[Link to download PDF of the document above]

Original version of this article, without update, was published on April 26, 2017


Suresh said...

A Chinese state-run newspaper called on Beijing on Friday to "stay neutral" if North Korea strikes first in a conflict with the United States, despite a mutual defence pact between the Asian allies.

The nationalistic Global Times tabloid said in an editorial that Washington and Pyongyang were playing a "reckless game" that could lead to "miscalculations and a strategic 'war'".

Valtin said...

Your quote spins the full Chinese position. The Chinese in same article as quoting they would militarily defend North Korea from being attacked:

"If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so."

Anonymous said...

Le retour à l'âge de pierre est toujours l'objectif final des ricains et leur culture "améric-haine".
Ce sont les états unis d'Amérique (E.U.A) qui doivent impérativement être découpés afin d'anéantir leur force de prédation.

Les ricains d'aujourd'hui, les ricains des E.U.A (états unis d’Amérique) ne sont pas un peuple mais une population.
Une population coloniale de remplacement, une population récente et non un peuple avec une Histoire multi centenaire.
La seule histoire factuelle qu'ils peuvent revendiquer est celle de très nombreux massacres en tout genre. Des massacres tant humains que des massacres zoologiques sans oublier ces désastres phytologiques et géologiques.
Les terres américaines doivent être restituées aux peuples originels que sont les sages Indiens d'Amérique.

Les E.U.A avec sa culture "améric-haine" sont une organisation prédatrice, invasive et criminelle. Ce pays doit être envahi et occupé par une alliance mondiale afin de dissoudre cette fédération illégitime. Les responsables du chaos mondial provoqué par le gouvernement profond de cet égrégore doivent être saisis et jugés par un tribunal pénal international comme ils le firent eux-mêmes en organisant le procès de Nuremberg en 1945 pour bien moins de guerres provoquées et de crimes effectués. Les motifs à charge seront "crimes contre l'humanité, crimes contre la planète et crimes économiques". La population occupante d'aujourd'hui devra être dispersée vers leur pays d'origine. Le pays ainsi dissout et nettoyé de sa lie coloniale reviendra aux autochtones, unique peuple légitime vivant en ce moment encore dans des parcs sur des terres pauvres ou désertiques.

N'oublions pas le nouvel égrégore prédateur en la création de l'union européiste. Celle que les petits esprits nomment ridiculement et à des fins de tromperie, l'Europe. N'oublions pas l'égrégore et ceux le composant. C'est à dire, la mafieuse tripartie finance, industrie et politique. Si un tribunal pénal international ne prend pas l'affaire en charge, il est naturel que la foule le fasse pour sa propre survie. De l'oligarchie ploutocratique totalitariste, naîtra l'ochlocratie. Et justice sera faite !

Adam Smith, recommandait aux législateurs de limiter drastiquement la liberté des marchands et des banquiers : « L’exercice de la liberté naturelle de quelques individus, qui pourrait compromettre la sûreté générale de la société, est et doit être restreint par les lois, dans tout gouvernement possible, dans le plus libre comme dans le plus despotique. »

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