Good Bye Summary
September 11, 2004
Earlier this year a long time government employee involved with the POW/MIA issue resigned, leaving behind a very interesting good-bye note to the "few good people left in DPMO." One of those "few good people" forwarded the note to the National Alliance of Families, and suggested we contact the notes author.
We initiated email correspondence and met with this individual twice, once in May and once in June. Our email correspondence continues.
Following in the footsteps of Col. Millard Peck, Dr. Timothy Castle and others, our source has provided a laundry list of DPMO failures. His good-bye note and subsequent correspondence with the National Alliance of Families is a stinging criticism and confirms what we've known all along. DPMO is a failure, whose mission is to block any active and thorough investigation on our missing Servicemen. Their job is to distort, mislead and dismiss any information that would question a policy decided decades ago.!
Among the deficiencies cited in our sources "good-bye" note:
- "Failure of this organization to respond to a report of live Americans in SEA"
- "Military personnel in DPMO have effectively been 'reorganized' out of this military issue"
- "The 185 Report"
- "POWs moved from Laos to Vietnam"
- "The Schederov report about Hrdlicka"
- "Lao retention of a file cabinet containing POW information that we never requested"
- "To approach Lao doctors who worked previously with American POWs in NE Laos"
- "DPMO attitude towards Stony Beach"
While some may be familiar with the items touched on in this list, having an insiders perspective on both the information and how it was handled is extremely valuable. (Note: All information current as of May 2004.)
Based on this laundry list, we asked this individual to expand his comments and here is what we got.
[Begin] Source: DPMO has not received credible live sighting reporting that would have justified in-country investigations, although it claims that live sighting investigations are one of its priorities.
There are a number of reasons for the lack of reporting:there is no active effort in Thailand or anywhere else in Southeast Asia to gather live sighting information. The Stony Beach team that led that effort for years was moved from Thailand to Hawaii to be co-located with the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTFFA), now JPAC, so none of the refugees in Southeast Asia are being pursued for sighting information. The situation could have been corrected had DPMO issued collection requirements to pursue the information, but it has not; as a matter of fact, DPMO has pretty much refused to use Stony Beach for any intelligence collection purposes, and that is based upon the attitude of a few supervisors in the organization. Analysts that have tried to issue collection requirements have been rebuffed by the collection representative to the extent that no active collection program is in being. During the past several years, when Stony Beach personnel approached DPMO and asked for collection requirements, the DPMO response was, "if you want collection requirements, write them yourself."
Source: Besides the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), there are no other collection gathering agencies involved in the POW issue. CIA monitors the situation relative to DIA and would provide support if requested, but CIA informed DIA years ago (namely to BG Shufelt, DepDir) that DIA alone had the lead in the POW issue; this was also true relative any and all intelligence operations conducted by DIA in Southeast Asia (SEA). CIA also informed Bob Sheetz in the early 1990's that Laos and the other countries in SEA were not a priority. The only agency that might have encountered live sighting reports would have been JTF-FA during its field operations, but it would have deferred to DIA and Stony Beach for any investigation. There simply have been no credible live sighting reports for years, especially since Stony Beach was taken out of the collection issue by DPMO.
Source: DPMO has no interest in using Stony Beach personnel for collection purposes, debriefings, investigations or any other type activity, and has shown that inclination time and again.
In 2001, when the DIA POW/MIA Analytic Cell proposed Stony Beach operations to pursue information relative to Phou Pha Thi ( Alliance Note: Phou Pha Thi is also known as Lima Site 85) and other areas of high interest, DPMO stated it was not interested, and would not issue the collection requirements. It should be noted that for years the J2 personnel in JTF-FA, stated flatly they were not interested in using Stony Beach, and claimed that Stony Beach was doing nothing but checking up on JTF-FA, which was an absolute lie. In the early to mid-1990's DPMO leadership agreed with JTF-FA that Stony Beach would not be tasked by DPMO for operations without JTF-FA concurrence. By 1996, on-going operations came to a halt when JTF-FA refused to allow DPMO to further task Stony Beach personnel to send willing sources into countries in SEA to search for crash site, grave site and live sighting information.
The JTF-FA bias towards Stony Beach has continued to this day since the Stony Beach personnel in Hawaii are relegated to conducting only Last Known Alive (LKA) investigations of the few remaining LKA cases. DPMO has been fully supportive of JTF -FA limiting the professional interrogators and debriefers within Stony Beach to a few LKA investigations, and has made no effort to review, examine or expand the Stony Beach mission. Are the Stony Beach personnel being squeezed out of course they are. At this point in time, when the few LKA cases have been investigated, and without DPMO support, they will effectively be without a mission. (Alliance Note: We have an unconfirmed report that there were plans to move Stony Beach back to its base in Thailand. We have not heard if the move has taken place or not.)
Source: In February 1993 during hearings before Congressman Dornan's committee, Dana Rohrabacher from California opined that it was his opinion that the Vietnamese kept about 200 American POWs behind as bargaining chips. That may have happened.
In November 1993 DPMO received a report that American POWs had been held in SEA after Homecoming, possibly as late as 1976, and that the number was 185. An immediate effort was made to go back to the original source to obtain further information, without success. The report was deemed to be so important and possibly credible that the collection representative was directed to follow the situation and to conduct frequent follow-ups which did not happen.
In January 1998 members of the Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD) within DPMO decided to investigate the report and asked the collection representative for access. The collection representative stated that she had no idea which report they were talking about, therefore could not furnish it.
Only after JCSD personnel threatened to demand an Inspector General investigation into the loss was the report "found." Later in 1998 JCSD did what it could with limited resources to investigate the report; that was the last action to check out the possible credible information. Details of the report have never been taken to any country within SEA to demand an explanation, perhaps because the implications of the report were that the country in question could never have been deemed to be cooperating in the POW issue if the report was true.
The same collection representative that received the report in 1993, that lost the report in 1998 who would have been responsible for any follow-up since its receipt, remains in place, and the report remains unresolved. During the mid-l 990's a Russian geologist was interviewed and reported that he was told in 1976 by Vietnamese counterparts that the Vietnamese Government at that time was holding live American POWs.
Does this report substantiate the earlier reporting? No one knows since neither report has been investigated further or in-depth.
Source: Schederov was a Russian journalist who actively pursued the POW issue and wrote extensively as to his findings. Sometime in the late 1960's he was able to visit the caves in Viengsay, Laos where he participated in a news conference in which American POW David Hrdlicka was presented by Sisana Sisane, Minister of Information, to the reporters present. Hrdlicka was captured in 1965; Schederov never stated exactly when he was in the caves in Viengsay some thought he was there in 1966; others thought he was there in 1968 or 1969.
Schederov was brought to the attention of DPMO by Hrdlicka's wife, Carol (Alliance Note: Once again, a family member had to do the governments work) who on her own initiative traveled to Russia and was able to identify Schederov as a source. Schederov died before he could be interviewed on his sighting of David Hrdlicka in Laos.
JCSD made an effort to obtain further Information written by Schederov that might explain the sighting or provide other POW Information, but without success. Schederov's information has never been presented to the Lao Government for explanation. In 1990 DIA/POW-MIA personnel identified Sisana Sisane as a valuable source for POW Information, but not until the late 1990's in the JTF-FA Oral History program was Sisana Sisane finally identified as a possible source for information on American POWs held in Viengsay. He died before he could be interviewed. JCSD was able to identify and track down two of the Russians who accompanied Schederov to Laos; one had a problem remembering anything about the trip, while the other provided detailed information that confirmed the visit.
Source: In the 1960's several Lao doctors provided medical care for the American POWs held in the caves in Viengsay, Laos. One of those doctors defected to China during the 1970's and the U.S. side asked to interview him; he reported treating a small number of Americans in the caves but he was pictures and did not provide the names of any of the Americans.
After the first interview, a number of questions surfaced which justified further interview; the Chinese Government said to forget it, no more interviews. When it was determined that he was teaching at a university in Beijing, it was recommended within DPMO that he be approached. At the same time it was determined that the Lao attache to Beijing was another medical doctor who had also treated American POWs in the caves in Viengsay at the same time as the first doctor, and that both doctors were close friends.
The second doctor had never been interviewed previously as to his knowledge of American POWs. It was recommended that DPMO send a team to Beijing to interview both doctors about their experiences in Viengsay; the proposal was met with silence within DPMO. The status of both doctors is unknown at this time, and this information has never been presented to the Lao Government for explanation.
- Source: When one considers the number of reports to the effect that American POWs were transferred from Vietnam to Russia, you simply have to question whether the reporting is true or not. It makes sense that the Russians would have considered moving POWs from Vietnam to interrogate them further as to any technological expertise that was lacking in Russia. DPMO's JCSD personnel have investigated some of these reports to an extent, but without adequate investigative resources and other support from within DPMO, have made little headway.
- The first of these reports surfaced during the 1992 Senate Select Committee on POW /MIA Affairs hearings when the FBI provided information to the committee from one of their sources to the effect that POWs had been transferred. DIA personnel paid little attention to the report, and after the formation of DPMO in 1993, no effort was ever made to go back to the FBI source for further information.
- The Russian head of the joint US - Russian commission to investigate the POW issue indicated in writing that he had seen documentation about such a transfer program; then the Russian President indicated that the transfers may have taken place. DPMO then interviewed a Russian living in Israel who stated he was told about such a program when he visited Vietnam and Laos with Russian journalist Schederov during the 1960's.
- Until these various reports are subjected to thorough, in-depth investigations, the collection of reporting has to be deemed compelling. Investigations into these reports have to be initiated with the governments in SEA. [End Source]
- Quite a list, isn't it!
- When we were asked by Adrian Cronauer, through Ted Sampley, to provide a list of questions/topics we would like to be briefed on, we put together our list with input from our Source. Therefore it is understandable that DPMO would so far refuse to answer the eight questions submitted.
- In looking over our sources "laundry list" we may now have the answer to one of the many questions left unanswered by the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. As to what is a "small number," it may be 185.
- In the interest of accurate reporting we should note that our Source told us some reporting indicates that the POWs held back were executed, their bodies cremated and buried. However, it should also be noted that our Source stated that, that portion of the story had been investigated but no evidence of could be found to support an execution or burial.
- What remains is a report of 185 POWs, held back by the Vietnamese. A report that has never been fully investigated. A report whose collection representative denied its very existence, until threatened with a Inspector General investigation. Business as usual at DPMO.
- So, What About the Lao Archives? Here's what our source had to say!
- [Begin] Source: Since the end of the Vietnam War, the position of the Communist Government in Laos has been that it does not hold nor has it ever held wartime archives; one reason given for the lack of records was that the Communist Pathet Lao troops were illiterate, and thus unable to prepare records. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary during the past 20 years, the U.S. Government has refused or failed to demand an accounting from the Government in Laos relative to wartime archives. Evidence that the Lao Communists do have wartime archives includes the following:
- - In the early 1980's members of the Joint Casualty Resolution Center Liaison Office in Bangkok, Thailand (to include Bill Bell, Paul Mather, et al) received a number of Xeroxed copies of a biographical document relative to Walter Hugh Moon from refugees in the Na Pho Camp, Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. (Alliance Note: During our recent meeting in Washington DC, Bill Bell brought up the case of Walter Moon, saying that information was received from a Lao Archives and never followed up on.) According to the refugee sources, several hundred similar biographical documents on American POWs were contained in the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Vientiane, Laos. In 1985, Congressman Sarbanes informed the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) POW/MIA Office that he had the original of the Moon biographical document that he had received from American Bo Gritz, and asked for analysis of the document. Although the document consisted of a single sheet of notebook paper, it was obviously the original of the copies obtained from the refugees, and it contained Moon's signature. The original document had been cut so as to remove the date (April 1961), clearly evident on the copies, included a small picture of Walter Moon with a bandage around his head and was enclosed in plastic. The Moon family confirmed that the signature was that of Walter Hugh Moon. Gritz claimed that the document was proof that Moon was alive in captivity, albeit 20 years after his capture. At no time did the U.S. Government challenge the Lao Government regarding the document or question the fate of Moon.
- In 1987 intelligence reporting indicated that the Lao Government in Vientiane was holding a file cabinet which contained information about American losses in Laos. Although the file cabinet in 1987 was the responsibility of the current President of Laos, the Vietnamese Government learned that the Lao had allowed access to Lao individuals who were using information from the files to search for crash sites, gravesites and the remains of Americans lost in Laos, therefore, the Vietnamese confiscated the file cabinet. The intelligence report relative the file cabinet has been declassified and a copy filed in the Library of Congress. The U.S. Government has never questioned the Lao Government about the file cabinet and the POW/MIA-related files and the whereabouts of the cabinet has been unknown since 1987. This matter was also never discussed with the Vietnamese.
- - In 1987, members of an American delegation to Laos questioned the Lao point-of-contact for POW MIA Affairs, Vice Foreign Minister Soubanh, about three discrepancy cases involving Americans lost in Laos: Civilian Eugene DeBruin, USAF Captain Charles Shelton, and USAF Captain David Hrdlicka. Soubanh stated that the Lao Government would provide the U.S. side with photos of each of the men as well as death certificates. Despite the promise from the Lao side, the photos and death certificates have never been provided, and the issue was dropped shortly after 1987, never to be raised again by the U.S. side.
- - In the late 1980's American intelligence personnel had occasion to question a Lao official who had visited the United States with his family. The official was asked if the Lao Government maintained wartime archives and he admitted that it did hold archives and that a portion of the archives were stored on computers provided to the Lao Government by the U.S. In the 1990's the Lao Government asked JTF-FA personnel to repair the hard drive on one of the computers provided by the U.S., which was accomplished. The hard drive which was replaced, which may or may not have contained wartime archives as revealed by the Lao official, was lost.
- - In 1993, Lao Vice Foreign Minister Soubanh visited the U.S. and during his visit to the Pentagon was asked by COL Joe Schlatter and Civilian Fred Smith if the Lao maintained wartime archives. Soubanh stated that the Lao Government did maintain archives but he stated that the files were "incomplete." Schlatter and Smith emphasized to Soubanh that the U.S. Government would like to have access to the archives, and Soubanh promised to look into the matter. Access to the "incomplete" archives was never requested again by the U.S. side.
- In 1993 a member of the American diplomatic corps in Bangkok, Thailand was approached by a Lao official and his assistant to discuss the POW issue relative to Laos. The Lao official admitted that the Lao government held archives and volunteered to provide specific documents from those archives. Based upon the U.S. experience 10 years earlier with the Moon document, the Lao officials were asked for documents relative to Army Captain Walter Hugh Moon, which the Lao officials again reiterated they could provide. Nevertheless, prior to their departure from Laos, the Lao officials never provided any specific archival documents relative to Americans.
- In the early 1990's, a member of the DIA Stony Beach Team in Bangkok was able to obtain a copy of a research document prepared by the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA), which was a complete study of Lao archives throughout the country. The purpose of the study had been to determine how the Swedish Government could assist the Lao in maintaining their archives. DIA was able to contact one of the authors of the study and asked where the Lao might be storing wartime archives. He stated that his study group had not specifically observed wartime archives, however, surmised that if the Lao held such documents, they were probably in the old American USAID Building in downtown Vientiane. At the request of the Defense Attache Office in Thailand an individual visited the old USAID Building and asked officials there if wartime archives were stored inside; he was told that no archives were in the USAID Building, but rather were stored across the street in the National Documentation Center (NDC). The individual visited the NDC and was given a tour by the Lao custodian; although he could not discern the type of documents stored there, he did observe a large number of archives stored throughout the building. The U.S. Government never followed up on the visit and has never visited the NDC. In the early 1990's, about the time of the Soubanh visit, Lao Foreign Minister Somsavad visited the Pentagon. The Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (USDP) met with Somsavad and asked about the SIDA study; Somsavad was unaware of the study, therefore the USDP provided Somsavad with a copy of the study and requested access to the archives identified in the document. Somsavad stated he would look into the matter. Although the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA) was given access by the Lao Government to a limited number of documents, it has never gained access to the wartime archives nor visited all of the facilities named in the SIDA study as holding archives.
- - It should be noted that the SIDA study identified films belonging to the Lao Government, but which were stored in Vietnam. When asked by the U.S. side for access to the films, the Lao disavowed any knowledge of the films; the Vietnamese position on the films was that the Lao Government would have to be asked before access could be granted. When a partial listing of the film titles was obtained by DIA and translated, it was obvious from the film titles alone that the films contained footage relative to American POWs. After the Lao finally admitted they owned the film, the U.S. side agreed to help return them to Laos for storage and to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to build an air conditioned storage facility, if the U.S. side could be granted access. Despite efforts over the past 10 years to gain access to the Lao films the Lao have stubbornly refused to allow complete access to all of the films or to allow them to be copied.
- During the mid-1990's JTF-FA personnel visited northeastern Laos, specifically Viengsay in Houa Phan Province, where the Lao admit they held American POWs during the war. The Lao have never identified the number or names of the Americans held in or near Viengsay, although the U.S. side did determine that USAF Captains Shelton and Hrdlicka were held there. Officials in Viengsay were asked by JTF-FA personnel if they held wartime archives. The Lao officials stated that wartime archives had indeed been maintained at Viengsay in the past, but that all of the documents had been moved to Vientiane. The location of the files in Vientiane was never determined by the JTF-FA personnel, and the search was not pursued in Vientiane.
- During the mid-1990's, the JTF-FA detachment commander in Vientiane visited the Phon Kheng Lao Military Museum in Vientiane. The request to visit the museum was based upon the fact that during the early 1980's an American visitor to the museum observed several identification and other cards of Americans lost in Laos. At that time the U.S. Government asked for immediate access to the museum which was denied; it also asked for copies of the various cards and artifacts observed on display in the museum, and that request was denied. Later the Lao Government stated that the cards and artifacts had been lost. The detachment commander asked where the Lao kept documentation regarding items on display in the museum and where other artifacts from the war might be held. The Lao escort officer stated that the documentation and items were stored at kilometer 21, just north of Vientiane. The JTF-FA commander stepped in to request access to the facility at kilometer 21, but was told that the facility there was nothing more than a truck maintenance depot, and the matter was dropped. On its own, JTF-FA personnel later visited the area of kilometer 21 and determined that the facility in question was probably located at kilometer 27; no request was ever made to visit that facility.
- - In the late 1990's JTF-FA personnel requested permission to return to Viengsay to conduct recovery operations, one of which included USAF Captain Charles Shelton. The Lao indicated that they had identified a Lao member who had participated in the burial of Shelton and JTF-FA requested access to the individual. The Lao individual revealed that the Lao Government had shown him a photo album from which he had identified the photo of Charles Shelton as the individual he helped to bury. The U.S. side asked the Lao Government for access to the photo album, and the Lao disavowed any knowledge of the album. After several months negotiating with the Lao witness, the individual accompanied JTF-FA to Viengsay to locate the gravesite. Despite its best effort, JTF-FA recovered no remains.
- - In 2001 a high ranking Lao official and former member of the Central Committee left Laos under questionable circumstances. When the U.S. side talked to him in 2002 he was asked about Lao wartime archives, among many other items. He stated that the Lao Government continued to maintain wartime archives and he identified the storage facility and individuals in the Lao Government that would have access to the archives. No effort was undertaken to follow up on the archival information or any of the other information provided by the official, although the individual provided more than 22 new and important items relative to the issue of American POWs held in Laos.
- These are but a few of the examples that wartime archives have been maintained in Laos since the end of the Vietnam War. [End Source]
- In our letter to Mr. Cronauer, we requested a copy of the "intelligence report relative the file cabinet has been declassified and a copy filed in the Library of Congress." We've had no response to that request either.
- With our sources insight on it's history and the background of the Lao archives, and their failure to produce the records it contains, it makes us wonder why the U.S. government would grant Normal Trade Relations with Laos. Perhaps, as with the Vietnamese, this is considered "full cooperation."
- Here is the one page from the Lao Archives we have on Walter Moon. We and many others have had this for years. (Note: for email purposes we've cleaned up this document. That means we removed many of the little black spots that accumulate on a document that has been copied numerous times. The document, little black spots and all may be found on our web site at www.nationalalliance.org/bits/naf2004/040911.htm )
- We've added a new section to our web site. It's titled "Reliable Sources." The new site atwww.nationalalliance.org/reliable/index.html contains all the memos, letters of resignation and information provided to the National Alliance of Families, detailing years of malfeasance, misconduct and dereliction of duty by those charged with investigating the POW/MIA issue.
- Here are a few quotes from the various memo's, letters, and notes:
- From Our newest source:
- "I am extremely disappointed regarding many aspects of the POW issue...."
- From a Fax regarding the Life Science Lab:
- "The lab is being denied casework. This to me is a serious violation of the trust our families have put into our government to solve these cases...." (Note: this is a reference to the Life Science Lab.)
- From the Castle Memo:
- "Unauthorized Contact With Hanoi" "in their efforts to ensure that Hanoi's version is accepted, Mr. Destatte and Lt.Col Shiff have engaged in unauthorized contact with the Vietnamese government and Detachment 2, JTF-FA.... "
- From Background Paper of I.O. Lee:
- "There are too many live sighting reports, specifically observations of several Caucasians in a collective farm by Romanians and the North Korean defectors' eyewitness of Americans in DPRK to dismiss that there are no American POW's in North Korea.
- From testimony of former member of JTF-FA:
- "BG Needham.... then explained what he called his "80 percent rule." His philosophy, and consequently that of his new command, was that completing a task quickly with an 80 percent standard of success was preferable to completing it perfectly but taking more time. He emphasized that this rule was to be the guiding principle in all JTF operations, including all field investigations. "
Memo of John McCreary "Obstruction of the Investigation"
- "This anticipatory discrediting of a Select Committee potential witness is tantamount to tampering with the evidence.... the Department of Defenses' continuing access to sensitive Committee Staff papers is resulting in obstructions of the investigations by the Senate Select Committee by various agencies of the Executive Branch.
- Resignation Letter of Col. Mike Peck
- "The mindset to debunk is alive and well....."
- Letter of Dr. Samuel Dunlap discussing deficiencies at CIL-HI
"The CID documentation you have undoubtedly seen about CILHI has led myself, my two colleagues, Drs. Lundy and Miller and several stateside forensic scientists to the inescapable conclusion that Lt. Col. Webb, Mr. Helgensen and Mr. Furue are incompetent at best..."
Why Does Johnie Webb Still Have A Job?
Could it get any worse.....
Sept. 18, 2004
- Were American POWs captured during the Korean War, Cold War and Vietnam transferred to the former Soviet Union?
Earlier this year a long time government employee involved with the POW/MIA issue resigned. In his good-bye note to the "few good people left in DPMO,." he provided a laundry list of DPMO failures. We initiated email correspondence and met with this individual twice. Our email correspondence continues.
Our Sept. 11 Bits N Pieces was based on information obtained from our meetings and correspondence. Among the topics we asked our source to comment on was the transfer issue. We received the following response.
Begin Source: When one considers the number of reports to the effect that American POWs were transferred from Vietnam to Russia, you simply have to question whether the reporting is true or not. It makes sense that the Russians would have considered moving POWs from Vietnam to interrogate them further as to any technological expertise that was lacking in Russia. DPMO's JCSD personnel have investigated some of these reports to an extent, but without adequate investigative resources and other support from within DPMO, have made little headway."
- "The first of these reports surfaced during the 1992 Senate Select Committee on POW /MIA Affairs hearings when the FBI provided information to the committee from one of their sources to the effect that POWs had been transferred. DIA personnel paid little attention to the report, and after the formation of DPMO in 1993, no effort was ever made to go back to the FBI source for further information. "
- "The Russian head of the joint US - Russian commission to investigate the POW issue indicated in writing that he had seen documentation about such a transfer program; then the Russian President indicated that the transfers may have taken place. DPMO then interviewed a Russian living in Israel who stated he was told about such a program when he visited Vietnam and Laos with Russian journalist Schederov during the 1960's. "
- "Until these various reports are subjected to thorough, in-depth investigations, the collection of reporting has to be deemed compelling. Investigations into these reports have to be initiated with the governments in SEA. [End Source]
- Were American POWs captured during the Korean War, Cold War and Vietnam transferred to the former Soviet Union? Lets take a closer look.
- Russian Colonel Korotkov says – POWs from Korea Taken to the Soviet Union....
- Recants after call from KGB
- From the Biweekly Report of Task Force Russia dated 15-28 August 1992 - "During the reporting period, the Moscow Office conducted the most significant interview to date. Col. (Ret.) G.I. Korotkov, currently employed by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, provided a wealth of information and leads.
- SYNOPSIS: Korotkov stated the following:
- --U.S. POW's from the Korean War were transferred to the Soviet Union, where they were imprisoned and interrogated.
- --He personally interrogated two U.S. POW's, although he could not recall their names.
- --He recalled the name "1TC Black" from among the POW's.
- --Khabarovsk was a transit and interrogation point for the POW's.
- --The POW's were under the control of the N~JD, although GRU interrogators had professional access to them at Khabarovsk.
- --He believed the number of POW's processed through Khabarovsk was in the hundreds.
- --He identified the channels through which interrogation reports were forwarded.
- --The Soviets attempted to "turn" U.S. prisoners, but were relatively unsuccessful in comparison to their experience with German POW's from WWII.
- --He asserted that the declassification process under the General Staff, which had targeted documents relative to the Commission's charter, has essentially ceased functioning since LTG Lobov's dismissal.
- --He asserted that pertinent collected records are being held in the General Staff headquarters and that the current military leadership views their declassification as a low priority.
- --He identified five archives as critical to the Commission's efforts:
(1) the External Policy Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
- (2) the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense at Podol'sk,
(3) the Archives of the Main Political Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, which are held separately, (4) the Archives of the KGB, and (5) the Archives of the Politburo/Central Committee.
- --He implied that some records dealing with U.S. POW's of the Korean War period may have been intentionally destroyed.
- --He also identified potentially-lucrative lower level and out-of-channels archives.
- --He identified individuals who might be useful to TFR's future efforts.
- --He provided additional experiential and second-hand details on the handling of U.S. POW's.
- ASSESSMENT: Interviewers assessed Korotkov as highly credible. His testimony is important not only for the valuable details highlighted above, but because he directly contradicts previous Russian assertions, both direct and oblique, that no U.S. POW's from the Korean War were ever transported to or held on Soviet soil. Historical sources available to the Washington office circumstantially corroborate Korotkov's specific claim that U.S. POW's were held in the vicinity of Khabarovsk. Further, an interview conducted by the Washington Office with an emigre source also surfaced the claim that "Americans" were held in a camp between Khabarovsk and the Komsomolsk region; however this source could provide no eyewitness details.
- The Korotkov Recant - from the report of "The Transfer of U.S. Korean War POWs To The Soviet Union" – "In his first interview, Colonel Korotkov stated that he had interviewed a U.S. officer, LTC Black. We believe that this may have been USAF LTC Vance Eugene Black who was reported by other POWs to have died of mistreatment and malnutrition in a North Korean POW camp. Another retired Soviet officer, GRU Colonel Aleksandr Semyonovich Orlov, stated that he had arranged for an interview by a Pravda correspondent with LTC Vance Black. In his subsequent interview with MG Loeffke, Colonel Korotkov denied having interrogated LTC
- Black, stating that he perhaps we had confused the name with a black POW. Task Force Russia interviewers, however, were adamant that he had been referring to the family name "Black" rather than to the black race. In this second interview, Colonel Korotkov remembered that the first officer he interviewed had been an Army first lieutenant, most likely from the 24th Infantry Division, but that he could remember nothing else. He had better recall about an Air Force pilot because he found much in common with him, such as color of hair (light), height (about 6'2"), rank (captain). He also said the pilot was about 28 to 30 years old. Colonel Korotkov also stated that while he was assigned to the project of interrogating Americans in the Far East during the Korean War, he also interrogated Japanese POWs, captured in World War II, and still held in Soviet custody. Here is an admission that foreign POWs were part of an overall system of exploitation.
- Colonel Korotkov changed his statement in a subsequent interview with Major General Bernard Loeffke, former Director of Task Force Russia (now Joint Commission Support Branch - JCSB), in September 1992 after being contacted by a member of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. He then stated that the interrogations took place somewhere undefined, which he could not remember, in the Chinese-Korean-Soviet tri-border area. In MG Loeffke's words:
- "Since that encounter, the colonel changed his story as to the location where he interrogated U.S. POWs. Even after having been contacted by the KGB official, COL Korotkov agreed to answer questions on tape in front of Russian LTC Osipov, General Volkogonov's assistant. This interview took place on September 29. He said he and other Soviet officers in Soviet and at times Chinese uniforms had interrogated U.S. POWs over a 1-2 year period (1951-52) in an area near the borders of USSR, Korea and China. In this new version, Korotkov claims that he did not know, if that particular location was in Russia or not. The important point is that he would not say that it was not inside Russia. In all previous interviews he had specifically said that these interrogations took place in Khabarovsk. The colonel was obviously willing to oblige the security services by not saying that it took place in Khabarovsk; but he was not willing to say that it did not take place on Russian soil. The colonel's official statement on tape, and in front of a Russian officer assigned-to the-Joint POW/MIA Commission cannot easily be refuted. Korotkov is a respected military officer with prestigious academic credentials."
- "What Colonel Korotkov did not do was to deny that Soviet military personnel, including himself, were directly involved in the interrogation of a "large" number of American POWs during the Korean War. In a subsequent videotaped interview recorded by Mr. Ted Landreth, an Australian journalist, Colonel Korotkov clearly stated that American POWs had been taken "through Khabarovsk" into the camp system. Their ultimate destination he did not know."
- The Plotnikov Interview – from a report titled "The Transfer of U.S. Korean War POWs To The Soviet Union" prepared by the Joint Commission Support Branch, Research and Analysis Division DPMO dated 26 August 1993, states: "Colonel Georgii Plotnikov was asked hypothetically if it would have been possible to effect such a transfer without GRU officers being aware of it. "Yes," he answered without hesitation. "It would have been a KGB [MGB] operation in cooperation with North Korean intelligence. The Soviet Army had no Gulag and was not prepared to deal with a stream of prisoners. The KGB [MGB] could do all of these things." The Soviets had the capability to move POWs, the Koreans would have permitted such an operation, and transport across the PRC would have been no problem, in Plotnikov's view. "At the time there was train service from Pyongyang to Moscow with a stop in China." The POWs, he stated, "would have been loaded into trucks with canvas drawn around them, then transferred to trains at night . . . The North Koreans hated Americans. They would have cooperated in such an operation if asked by the Soviets. The North Koreans could have not said no to a Soviet request."
- "In Plotnikov's view, "specialized organs" in the Soviet Union would have made requests for particular types of Americans. "Design Bureaus might have made such requests," he said. The Deputy Chairman of the KGB [MGB] would be the lowest political level that could have approved such an operation that kept the GRU out of the picture. Grabbing American POWs [would have been a] political decision in response to a request. Infantry was of no interest to Soviet intelligence. There would have been no regular transfer. American POWs would have been moved as specialists fell into the camps. They would be identified and moved. The interest would not have been in people who operated equipment as much as it would have focused on people who understood the principles of how things worked...."
- The Manchouli Transfer - In 1954, then Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles recognized information on the transfer of POW's through China to the Soviet Union during the Korean War was reliable. In message traffic Dulles stated "reports have now come attention United States Government which support earlier indications that American Prisoners of War Korea had been "transported into Soviet Union and are now Soviet custody. Request fullest possible information these POW's and their reparation earliest possible time."
- The 1954 cable marked "Secret" bearing the Dulles, name (Note: Cable below is reproduced as is - with all typos and misspellings) states; "According Despatch 1716 from Hong Kong airpouched you a recently arrived Greek refugee from Manchuria reported seeing several hundred American POW's being transferred Chinese trains to Russian trains Manchouli late 1951 and early 1952. Some POW's wore sleeve insignia indicating they were Air Force non-coms. Great number Negro troops also observed. This report corroborates previous indications UNC POW to might have been shipped to Siberia during Korean hostilities."
- "United States has been greatly concerned general subject UNC personnel who may still be Communist custody. Department has just accepted British offer make representations Peiping behalf UNC personnel who may be Chinese Communist custody. Question raising this matter informally Geneva under careful consideration."
- "Unless you perceive objection request you approach highest available level Foreign Ministry and leave Aide Memoire undicating (sic) reports have now come attention United States Government which support earlier indications that American Prisoners of War Korea had been "transported into Soviet Union and are now Soviet custody. Request fullest possible information these POW's and their reparation earliest possible time."
- "In your discussion with Foreign Office, you may desire inform Soviets without revealing source that we have reliable accounts transfers POW's Manchouli."
- "Prisoner of War Not for Direct Repatriation" -- On May 16th, 1954, the Chief of the Army's Legal Division, Col. John K. Weber submitted a memorandum regarding statements made by Lee Sang Cho. The memorandum is written on the letterhead of "Headquarters United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission." According to the memorandum Mr. Lee made the following statement, during the 42nd meeting of the Military Armistice Commission.
- "The prisoners of war of your side once held by our side were already completely repatriated in accordance with the Armistice Agreement. The prisoner of war not for direct repatriation are held by our side pending the final disposition of the entire prisoner of war question...."
- "There is one feature about the language used by the enemy which definitely should be explored by us. In all the communications and statements made by the enemy, a singular phrasing has been used. That expression in substance is: 'prisoners of war not for direct repatriation.'"
- "The Armistice Agreement refers to such prisoners as 'those prisoners of war who have not exercised their right to be repatriated.' It is here pointed out with much emphasis that the expression 'prisoners of war not for direct repatriation could included not only such prisoners who had not exercised their right to be repatriated, but others whom the enemy had decided were not for direct repatriation."
- "It is my thought that the Chinese and Korean language versions used in the Armistice Agreement should be compared with the Chinese and Korean language versions used by Lee Sang Cho in his letter of 26 January 1954, and in the Lee Sang Cho statement at the 42nd meeting of the MAC. If the Armistice language is found to be substantially different from these later statements we have a very substantial and embarrassing opening to follow-up on the more than three thousand prisoners who have not been returned."
- What was the State Department saying in 1955 - A memo from the office of the Secretary of Defense, dated Sept. 16th, 1955 and signed by G.B. Erskine, general USMC, Assistant to the secretary of defense, special operations, on the subject of Geneva Negotiations on Prisoners of War, states;
- "In accordance with telephonic conversations with representatives of this office today, it is the position of the Department of Defense that the Chinese Communists should account to the U.S. for the ultimate fate of all 450 U.S. armed forces personnel."
- The memo also discusses what are now known as Cold War losses stating: "There is also evidence based upon radar plots and intercepted voice messages, as well as upon the recovery of casualties, that a small number of Air Force crews whose missions involved flights over the Sea of Japan during the Korean War were shot down by aircraft based in the Soviet Far East, some of whom are probably held in the Soviet Union. These cases (some 33) are of course not directly relevant to the current negotiations at Geneva. The missions on which these aircraft were flying, while related to the Korean War, are highly classified and the names of these individuals have never been included on any lists for which we have demanded an accounting from the Chinese Communists."
- As for the possibility of POW's held back by the Soviets, the memo states: "The U.S. should not be surprised, particularly in light of Japanese and German experiences with the Soviets in World War II, if a number of completely unrecorded Americans are ultimately found to be alive or to have been alive and in Communist hands. Such individuals do not appear on the list of 450 nor on any other list which has ever been presented. Nor is there any significant evidence available at this time that such individuals exist. Neither do we suggest that any action can be taken with regard to this possibility."
- Russian Memoirs - Best described as a diary, the memoirs provide detailed information obtained through various sources of American POWs from World War II, Korea and the Cold War transferred to the former Soviet Union. According to a February 26, 2000 Associated Press article by Robert Burns "the assertions, while not confirmed, appear to support, and in some important respects strengthen, a case the Pentagon has been building for several years: U.S. servicemen in the 1940s and 1950s were silently swallowed up in the U.S.S.R.'s brutal gulag system of forced labor, never to be heard from again."
- "There has to be something to this,'' said Norman Kass, who helped translate the unpublished personal memoir from Russian and interviewed the author on behalf of the Pentagon agency in charge of Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Affairs.... "
- "...the memoir is exceptional because it provides names of individual servicemen. For example, it identifies by name 22 men said to have been held in late 1951 at the Kirovskij Mining camp near the Kamenka river in the sub-arctic pine forests of the Krasnoyarsk Region. The memoir's author cites secondhand accounts of area residents seeing the Prisoners, ``wearing bare threads and half-frozen,'' being led from the Kirovskij Camp Along a road to an undetermined destination - ``a dead-end....''
- "...Kass said that although the events described by the author have not been independently verified, he believes the man is credible... There is no question that he spent many years in the Gulag network of forced labor camps. The man, now in his late 70s, was exiled to Siberia and worked as a permafrost engineer in the early 1950s near the Kirovskij Mining camp where the 22 Americans were said to have been held."
- "In the translation from Russian, only one of the 22 names can be matched with a missing American servicemen. He is listed in Army casualty records as Chan Jay Park Kim, a Hawaiian of Korean descent. Kim was a private first class in the 24th infantry division's 34th infantry regiment, captured by North Korean forces on July 8, 1950. On that day, the 34th infantry collapsed in its defense of the town of Ch'onan south of Seoul, giving the advancing north korean army entry to most of the rest of southern Korea."
- "According to Pentagon records, fellow members of the 34th infantry who survived captivity in Korea told Army debriefers that once he became a POW, Kim tried to mask his ethnic background by using the name George Leon. It is that name which appears among the 22 on the list from the Soviet labor camp..... Army casualty records list Kim as having died in Korea in January 1951, but his body was not recovered.... "
- "...another section of the memoir describes the fate of 10 members of a 12-man crew of a U.S. Air Force B-29 reconnaissance plane, which was shot down by Soviet forces over the Sea of Japan on June 13, 1952. American search and rescue teams recovered no remains from the plane, and in July 1956 the U.S. government appealed to Moscow for information about the crew. The State Department note said an officer believed to have been a member of the crew was seen in October 1953 in a Soviet hospital north of the Siberian Port of Magadan. The Soviets replied that no American servicemen were on Soviet territory. "
- "The Russian emigre said that in the 1980s he was told by an associate with extensive experience in the far eastern reaches of Siberia that he had learned the names of two of the captured B-29 fliers: ``Bush and Moore.'' the B-29's Commander was Maj. Samuel Busch. A crew member was Master Sgt. David L. Moore. The memoir indicates that Busch and Moore were killed - possibly beaten to death - in the Siberian city of Khabarovsk, apparently a short time after their capture. Eight surviving crew members were put in solitary confinement in a prison in Svobodnyi, a city northwest of Khabarovsk near the Chinese border, it said. " [Note: This is the same location mentioned by Col. Korotkov as a transit and interrogation point for POWs.]
- More On The Memoirs - from the Detroit News, July 9, 2000 by John Omicinski - "U.S. investigators say they have stronger evidence than ever that American soldiers missing in action -- including spy pilots shot down during the Cold War -- were held in the Soviet "gulag archipelago" of prison camps. "We believe the sheer volume of reports suggests it may likely have happened," said James MacDougall, senior analyst with a U.S.- Russia Cold War working group seeking information on Prisoners of War and servicemen Missing in Action."
- "...The trail of the Americans through the Siberian taiga has run hot and cold, said MacDougall. But a "memoir" turned over to U.S. officials and reviewed by Gannett News Service contains new information and at least one firsthand sighting. U.S. officials won't name the author, a Russian who spent decades in Siberian "internal exile."
- "The author reports seeing an emaciated American named "Dale" in January of 1953. The encounter occurred at a uranium mine on the island of Rybak off the Soviet Pacific coast, where Dale had been sent by Soviet jailers to make engineering repairs. Dale, the memoir said, reported that more Americans were imprisoned at Strelka, on the Yenisei River basin in central Russia near Novosibirsk. Officials confirm that an aviator named Dale remains among the missing."
- "The writer also reported seeing 14 American prisoners of war held by the Soviets in 1948. The Soviets, according to the document, took them from their Japanese captors when World War II ended. He said he saw U.S. personnel emerge from "out of the hold of a ship transporting slaves" at a pier in the Bay of Nagaev on Russia's Pacific coast."
- "Once-secret State Department files at the National Archives say that at least two informants -- one a man identified as "Wukomitsch" - - reported talking with U.S. fliers who survived when their PB4Y2 reconnaissance plane was shot down over the Baltic Sea on April 8, 1950. One flier told the informant eight of the 10 members of the crew survived and were sentenced to 25 years for espionage, according to papers examined by Gannett News Service. The fliers reportedly were seen in a prison camp at Vorkuta, in northern Siberia near the Kara Sea."
- "In December 1953, the Japanese Foreign Office told Washington that a repatriated Japanese reported seeing an American in a hospital at "Camp 20" near Magadan in eastern Siberia. In many cases, the aircraft were sent to test Soviet radar equipment, according to officials of the Defense Prisoner of War/ Missing Personnel Office. But also in many cases, U.S. officials insist the Soviets attacked the aircraft in neutral territory."
- "The downings occurred in an era when the Pentagon had no spy satellites in orbit to keep track of the Soviet war machine. For many years, the Pentagon insisted the aircraft were shot down on weather missions.
- In exchange for Russian help, U.S. officials now admit that virtually all the planes were on spy missions."
- Dateline Khabarovsk Russia - From the New York Times July 1996 - by James Brooke - "Khabarovsk, Russia -- Time has stooped Vladimir Trotsenko's shoulders, but his memories are as clear as his cobalt blue eyes: the American flyer, his right arm in a new cast, in a Soviet military hospital ward. The American, he recalled, would slowly repeat, "America -- San Francisco, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Chicago."
- "Curious, Trotsenko, a paratrooper recovering from a knee injury, would hobble down the third-floor hospital corridor to gaze at the four imprisoned Americans. The airman with the broken arm would point to a crewman in a body cast and would make cradling motions with his arms, indicating that the man had left two small children back home...."
- "...I did not talk about this for 43 years," Trotsenko, spry at 68, said as his wife, Nina, served blini and borscht at their wooden dacha outside this city, the largest industrial center of Russia's Far East. In 1994, he noticed a small advertisement in a local newspaper placed by a new group, a Russian-American commission on prisoners of war. Admitting that he was "tortured" about whether "to call or not to call," he finally did."
- "As fears of official retribution ease, more and more Russians are following Trotsenko's lead and are talking to American government researchers seeking traces of Americans who vanished into the gulag during seven decades of communism. Responding to advertisements for information, calls and letters trickle in to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and the new consulate in Vladivostok...."
- "...Numbering in the thousands, the list of Americans sent to Soviet labor camps is long and varied. They include left-wing Americans who emigrated to the Soviet Union in the 1930s only to be arrested as spies during Stalin's xenophobic sweeps; hundreds of dual nationals sent to Siberian labor camps after Stalin annexed Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia in 1940; about 500 American military prisoners kept after World War II by Stalin as bargaining chips; about 30 F-86 pilots and crewmen captured during the Korean War and transferred to the Soviet Union in a secret aircraft industry intelligence operation; and as many as 100 American airmen who survived downing of spy planes over Soviet territory during the Cold War...."
- "Clearly, there were a lot of Americans washing around the gulag, but it is unimaginable that any of the World War II prisoners are still alive," said Paul M. Cole, who wrote a three-volume report for the Rand Corp. in 1994 on American prisoners from World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War who were held in the Soviet Union."
- "I definitely believe that some survived," said Patricia Lively Dickinson, a Delaware resident, who believes that her brother, Jack D. Lively, a Navy airman who was shot down in 1951, was one of the four Americans that Trotsenko saw at the military hospital. "I feel that Jack's files are in the KGB files."
- "Bruce Sanderson, a North Dakota steelworker, also believes that his father, Lt. Warren Sanderson, survived the shooting down of his reconnaissance plane near Vladivostok in 1953. "In 1955, a repatriated Japanese POW identified a picture of my dad," said Sanderson, who was born a few months after his father was shot down. "He could still be alive. It was just in 1992 that the Russians freed the last 80 Japanese POW's from World War II...."
- "...Even as government 'insiders' with security clearances, we had great difficulty in locating documents" from U.S. government agencies, Col. Stuart A. Herrington of the Army, the task force's American deputy director, wrote in an appraisal in 1994. "Once located, documents are frequently classified -- often mindlessly...."
- "...Peter Johnson, a major in the Army Reserve, who worked on the project in 1993, complained: "From the American standpoint, we ran into almost as much institutional resistance as from the Soviet side. The CIA did not want to talk to us...."
- "...Often asked to "keep an eye on the Americans" by the Soviet army guard, Trotsenko said, he saw four men in five beds. A fifth American apparently died of ejection injuries a few days before Trotsenko was admitted. One American was so badly burned he could take sustenance only intravenously. Two others, who seemed to have reasonable chances of survival, were spoon-fed by a nurse. The fourth, with the broken arm, fed himself with his good arm. At the time of Trotsenko's release, in mid-November 1951, the Americans were still in the hospital, he said."
- A Voice From the Grave - When Russian General Dmitri Volkogonov passed away in December 1995, we all hoped that he left some message or information behind indicating that American POWs were transported to the former Soviet Union, during the Vietnam War. The message we hoped for was located in January 1998, among the General's personal papers, donated to the Library of Congress.
- In his native Russian, General Volkogonov wrote of his efforts to help resolve the fate of American POWs. "I am not certain that we have fully clarified everything. I know that quite a few documents were destroyed. However, one document, probably sensational, is still in storage. I have a copy of it. It's content is as follows: at the end of the 1960s the KGB (external foreign intelligence) was given the task of "delivering informed Americans to the USSR for intelligence gathering purposes." When I found this sensational paper in a "special pouch," I immediately went to Y. M. Primakov (Director of Foreign Intelligence). He called in his people. They brought in a copy of this project signed; it seems to me, by Semichastny (I will explain). For a long time, there was a search underway to find traces of this task. These, the traces, as I had expected "were not found." They said that the task had not been accomplished. So how did this happen in fact? The regime was such that one could speculate on the wildest of variants. This remained a secret, which I could not penetrate. I also did not report this to my much-esteemed Ambassador, M. Toon. I am speaking about this now in the hope that these notes will make it into my book Reflections. (Note: in the text the word Reflections is underlined.)"
- General Volkogonov's notes continued: "History, especially Soviet history, is full of secrets, and very often evil. With the exception of this incident, I can say that I have done something in order to raise the mysterious curtain from them...."
- On November 9th, 1998, in an article by Bill Gertz, the Washington Times broke the story of the document's existence. According to the article, "Moscow is refusing to turn over a secret KGB document suggesting captured Americans were taken to the Soviet Union in the late 1960s for "intelligence-gathering purposes..."
- The article continued, "The Russian government has told U.S. officials the plan was never carried out, and Moscow recently turned down U.S. government requests to study the intelligence document, saying it is classified and will not be released, the officials said...."
- In the days that followed the Washington Times Nov. 9th article, some confusion arose. The Russians first claimed that the document did not exist, then stated the document would not be released because it is classified. Further reporting indicated that Russian officials admitted the existence of the plan to transfer American POWs to the former Soviet Union but insisted the plan was never carried out."
- Does a Central Intelligence Agency Report, dated 12 March 1982, offer corroborating evidence of a plan to transfer POWs to the former Soviet Union?
- According to the un-redacted portion of the document summary "specially selected U.S. prisoners of war were being received into the Soviet Union circa 1970 for long term or lifetime incarceration and 'ideological retraining.' He implied the number involved to be about 2,000. The goal of the program was indefinite, but involved intensive psychological investigation of the prisoners and retraining to make them available as required to serve the needs of the Soviet Union."
- The CIA thought little of this report in 1982 stating, in their Headquarters Comment; "this report should be read with caution. CIA records contain no information of the alleged intelligence affiliation of the subsource cited below, despite the source's assertion that Grigoriyev held a leading position in the KGB. Several other persons named in the text likewise cannot be identified. We have never before encountered even vague rumors among Soviet dissidents or other informants that any U.S. POWs from Vietnam are incarcerated in the USSR, much less that 2,000 such individuals are leading "reasonably normal lives" in the same region where numerous Soviet political prisoners have resided in exile. In short, while the source may be reporting his recollection of an actual conversation, we strongly believe that his report merits little if any credence from analysts. However, in light of continuing high interest in the question of U.S. personnel still listed as missing in action in Southeast Asia, this report is being disseminated with appropriate caveats to concerned members of the U.S. Intelligence Community."
- The text of the report contains several very interesting items. Knowing what we now know, perhaps this reporting source and his source needs new investigation. Here are several examples of information contained in the 1982 report.
- According to the source; "In a private conversation which was held circa 1970, KGB Lieutenant General Petr Ivanovich ((Grigoriyev)) stated that many specially selected U.S. prisoners of war were being received from North Vietnam for long term or lifetime custody... the prisoners were destined for confinement at a facility near Perm..."
- "Grigoriyev, who learned of the program from an unnamed high level KGB colleague, understood that Soviets rather than North Vietnamese were involved in the initial selection process..."
- "Grigoriyev understood that the detention facility was not a standard prison, but rather one in which inmates could lead reasonably normal lives. During conversations Grigoriyev recalled that precedents existed for such programs in the Soviet Union and cited similar previous efforts with Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese nationals. He stated that in past programs, participants were encouraged to marry Soviet Women." (Note: In 1998, a Japanese POW, held after World War II, by the former Soviet Union, was allowed to return to Japan. He confirmed he was allowed to marry and after a time live a "reasonably normal" life.)
- "Grigoriyev volunteered the information regarding the Vietnam prisoners during one of many private conversations during the late 1960's and early 1970's... Grigoriyev... subsequently became critical of the recruitment policies of KGB head Valdimir Yefimovich ((Semichastnyy)) and was transferred from his position to that of KGB Security chief for Soviet Bloc nations." (Note: The Semichastny name appears in the Volkogonov Papers, as the originator of the plan to move American POWs from Southeast Asia to the former Soviet Union. Interesting coincidence!!!!!!!)
- National Intelligence Estimate - released July 1998 discussed the possibility of transfer of Vietnam era POWs to the Soviet Union. According to the report, "a few reports of transfers of U.S. POWs to Russia and other countries are unexplained and the books remain open."
- Let's Not Forget - In June of 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin arrived in the U.S. making a stunning claim about American POWs transferred to the Soviet Union. During an interview with NBC's Dateline, Yeltsin stated - "Our archives have shown this to be true. Some of them were transferred to the territory of the former U.S.S.R. and were kept in labor camps. We don't have complete data and can only surmise that some of them may still be alive."
- With this statement, the Bush (that's Bush #41) White House panicked. First they claimed that Dateline had translated the Russian Presidents remarks incorrectly. NBC verified the translation. Then, the famous unnamed source surfaced inferring that perhaps the Russian President had too much Vodka on the trip over and mis-spoke.
- Yeltsin made the mistake of thinking the U.S. government was really interested in POWs and spoke to the media prior to his appearance before Congress. We believe Yeltsin spoke the truth during his Dateline interview. With the subsequent debunking of his statement by unnamed White House sources, Yeltsin got the message -- Just because we ask about POWs doesn't mean we want the answers.
It must be noted here that the progress made on the transfer issue is a direct result of the diligent efforts of Task Force Russia and its successor the Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD), the investigative arm of the U.S. Russian Joint Commission. Although the JCSD falls under DPMO, it has not be corrupted by the DPMO mindset to debunk.
Their open-minded approach to an investigation, should be the model for DPMO and perhaps it should be DPMO under the JCSD. It is any wonder that officials within DPMO tried to dismantle the JCSD, not once, but twice!
Over the last two weeks, we have shared with you information provided by a well-placed source. When the information first came to us, we immediately contacted the source. This individual was more than willing to share his information and allow us to share that information with our members. Keeping his identity a secret was never a condition.
We chose to keep the source anonymous for two very important reason. We wanted those within the government to know that anyone coming to us with information would be protected, as we have protected sources in the past. We want these individuals to know they can give us information off the record, or on the record and that information would never be used in any way that would reveal their identity.
The second reason we choose to keep our source anonymous is that we wanted to limit the professional assassination and personal invectives that follows an individual's decision to speak out on the POW/MIA issue. Perfect examples of this are Col. Mike Peck and Dr. Timothy Castle PhD, both of whom were vilified by DIA and DPMO hatchet men.
In this case, we knew that if we used noting other than the "laundry list" of DPMO failures, listed by our source, those within DPMO would immediately know his identity. In fact, DPMO had to have known, back in June, that we were in contact with this individual, as several of our still unanswered questions, (submitted at DPMO's request) were based directly on the sources information.
The folks within DPMO have not commented on our source or his information. Instead they turned to their two outside hatchet men, former employees, masters of misdirection and half truths, Bob Destatte and Joe Schlatter. Together, they have mounted a campaign to discredit our source.
Before we go any further, a word about these two former DIA/DPMO employees. It is known that Bob Destatte has " surreptitiously passed information to Hanoi which impedes a fullest accounting of our missing Americans, specific information to the Vietnamese..... When the Plans and Policy officer involved in this issue asked for an explanation as to why this information was faxed to Hanoi he was told that Mr. Destatte is in frequent extra-official contact with his "old-sergeant" network. It is instructive that Mr. Destatte did not send his unauthorized material to the Detachment commander, but rather to retired and active duty sergeants..... What other information is he sending to Hanoi? Policy and security concerns would seem to dictate that Mr. Destatte's E-mail and faxes to Hanoi be examined. If you want more on information on this read the Castle Memo.
In an email commenting on our Sept. 11 Bits, Mr. Destatte wrote: "In case you haven't seen this already, I thought you might be interested. Be forewarned, because of the many misstatements and omissions of fact, you might find it painfully difficult to stick with this article to the end...."
To that comment our source stated: "Perhaps he also knows that there are additional items of evidence about Lao archives - but that is not an omission - how much more evidence is needed to prove the point? Misstatement? Absolutely not, and there is no one that can say otherwise."
In a volley of character assassination, Destatte referred to both Col. Peck and Dr. Castle both men of education, and integrity, "as well-intentioned but impetuous" and "mean-spirited and dissembling."
The second individual, Joe Schlatter, maintains a web site peppered with mis-direction and half truths. Known to have ordered the destruction of a case related artifact, he denied this action until confronted with the documentation of his action. His web page on the subject contained so many inaccuracies, he was forced to remove it. If you'd like to check it out visit: http://www.ojc.org/powforum/schlatter/index.htm
Mr. Schlatter also commented on our Bits of Sept. 11th, stating, "Any objective analysis of the evidence can only conclude that there can be no reasonable doubt that all surviving POWs were released during Operation Homecoming in 1973."
Obviously, Mr. Schlatter is unfamiliar with the conclusions of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs which stated: "In 1976, the Montgomery Committee concluded that because there was no evidence that missing Americans had survived, they must be dead. In 1977, a Defense Department official said that the distinction between Americans still listed as "POW" and those listed as "missing" had become "academic". Nixon, Ford and Carter Administration officials all dismissed the possibility that American POWs had survived in Southeast Asia after Operation Homecoming. This Committee has uncovered evidence that precludes it from taking the same view. We acknowledge that there is no proof that U.S. POWs survived, but neither is there proof that all of those who did not return had died. There is evidence, moreover, that indicates the possibility of survival, at least for a small number, after Operation Homecoming...."
[Alliance Note: In commenting on our source, Schlatter points out that the Moon document was received from Congressman Solarz, not Congressman Sarbones as our source indicated. This correction is confirmed by our source. To the Destatte/Schlatter ilk this minor point would be enough to discredit all information provided by our source, just as they use similar small discrepancies to discredit reports of POWs.
In the words of our source, "it is now time to clear the air." At his request, and with our full support we now publically reveal the source of our information.
The individual who wrote the note is DPMO Intelligence Research Officer Warren Gray The contents of the note is based upon his work in the POW issue for the past 20 years in the Army, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and in DPMO. During that time he was Chief, Site Development Office, Joint Casualty Resolution Center, Nakhon Phanom, Thailand in 1973-74, as an Army Major. As a DoD civilian he was the Lao-Cambodian Team Chief; an intelligence analyst; Chief of the POW Team during Desert Storm in 1991, Chief of the Current Operations Division in DPMO, and intelligence collection manager. His collection team controlled all HUMINT, SIGINT and IMINT support to the POW issue for years. In late 2001 he was selected as the collection manager for the DIA POW/MIA Analytic Cell, and he returned to DPMO in 2002.
Contrary, to speculation posted by Mr. Schlatter, we received Mr. Gray's "good-bye note" from an individual other than Mr. Gray and without Mr. Gray's knowledge. We now know that Mr Gray never intended for the memo to be disseminated outside DPMO, but since it was by personnel within DPMO and since it has gained some attention, he recommended that the memo be released in full. His farewell note, written on April 21st 2004, and sent to by e-mail to some 20 or so co-workers within DPMO follows:
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From: Gray, Daniel W. Mr., OSD-DPMO
Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 2004 3:16 PM
To: 20 Personnel within DPMO
Gentlemen: This being my last day in DPMO, I wanted to say so long to each of you since you are truly representative of the few good people left in DPMO. As of today I have 19 years and 8 months as a civilian.
Since I was denied access to work the POW issue (regarding Southeast Asia) by Joe Harvey when I returned on 2 February 2002 from the position of Collection Manager with the DIA POW/MIA Analytic Cell, and since I have done essentially little or nothing since then, I figured it was time to go of my own free will.
I remain extremely disappointed regarding many aspects of the POW issue, but this is neither the time nor place to go into detail about those many issues. I do plan to sit at home and write and may publish details of the listing below later. I anticipate it will include at a minimum the fact that the military personnel in DPMO have effectively been "reorganized" out of this military issue; failure of this organization to respond to a report of live Americans in SEA; the 185 report; POWs moved from Laos to Vietnam; the Schederov report about Hrdlicka; why I feel the Lao have not and never will cooperate in the issue; Lao retention of a file cabinet containing POW information that we never requested; my proposal to approach Lao doctors in Beijing who worked previously with American POWs in NE Laos; the DPMO attitude towards Stony Beach; my position on the Speicher case; my position on the Deferred and No Further Pursuit cases, and as you can see, this would be a long listing since these few topics are but the tip of the iceberg. I was never introduced to the DASD during the two years back which was probably a good thing since I would have taken him through several of the topics listed above.
Although my plans were to go into full retirement and help my wife with seven grandchildren, after I decided I would retire and announced my plans, I was offered two jobs with security firms that specialize in conducting background investigations. I have 20-years experience as a counterintelligence special agent in the Army conducting those type investigations, so I have accepted the position of Consultant / Investigator with a private corporation, and will conduct background investigations from home.
My hat is off to each of you; good luck in this issue. I am sure I left off a few names above that I wanted to say good-bye to and if I remember later, will call them.
As we indicated previously, after we received a copy of the note, we approached Mr Gray to ask questions about issues identified in the memo and he agreed to discuss them at length.
You have seen those initial questions, presented in our Bits N Pieces of Sept. 11th and 18th. You have also seen Mr. Gray's detailed and unedited responses.
The content of his "good-bye" note and the candor of his responses to our questions, led us to attempt to conceal his identity, even though he never asked that we do so.
There should be no further speculation as to who wrote the note or who responded to our questions. We do know that as he has indicated in his note, he plans to write further on specific matters regarding the POW issue, issues that have plagued the POW effort for years, and which relate directly to questions raised by family members.
As mentioned in the Sept. 11th Bits, we were requested to submit a list of questions to DPMO. These questions, we were told, would be addressed during our annual briefing. They were not. We have tried to get DPMO to respond to our specific questions and as expected, have been stonewalled.
One of the questions, yet to be addressed is,Do you have reporting that live Americans are being held in SEA at this moment?
We'll address this question in the future.