POWs HELD IN USSR
Gulag Study Forces U.S. to Admit Unthinkable: MIAs Were Abandoned by U.S. Government
By Mike Blair
A recently released report by the Pentagon reveals, and confirms, what American Free Press, and populist, America-first publications have been reporting for nearly three decades.
American POWs and MIAs from World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War were sent to the USSR, where they were imprisoned. Called “The Gulag Study,” it concludes: “Americans including American servicemen, were imprisoned in the former Soviet Union.”
According to the study’s executive summary, “The Soviets and their Warsaw Pact allies even transferred some of these Americans from satellite states such as the German Democratic Republic [more commonly known as East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall] to the Soviet Union, where they were detained.”
The summary continues, “However, despite our extensive efforts, we have not yet acquired definitive, verifiable transfers or the ultimate fates of those whose lives were directly affected by them.”
In other words, and more bluntly, the Pentagon has not been able to determine just how many hundreds of U.S. servicemen were shipped to Soviet gulags and if they died there.
The great tragedy here, felt by this reporter who has covered extensively this issue for nearly 30 years, is that “The Gulag Study” really reveals nothing; it just confirms that Americans were held in Soviet concentration camps.
For all of those years, the U.S. government has had in its possession information that Americans were being held but did nothing to save them.
The National Alliance of Families, which is still fighting to get the U.S. government to determine the fate of these Americans, which might also include American servicemen from the Vietnam War, is furious.
Upon learning of “The Gulag Study” the alliance released this comment: “Volumes of documentation unearthed over the last 50 years by family members and researchers convinced us long ago,” (but) “official Pentagon policy dismissed not only our conclusions, but the conclusions of their own
The Alliance points to a 1993 Pentagon report, “The Transfer of U.S. Korean War POWs to the Soviet Union,” as one example.
There are many reports, too numerous to recount here. As an example, the late Air Force Col. O’Wighton Delk Simpson (ret.) revealed to this reporter in the 1970s that American POWs by the hundreds were transferred from Chinese to Soviet control during the Korean War.
While serving as an Air Force attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Hong Kong, Simpson learned from a Russian, who had escaped communist enslavement in Manchuria, that he had personally witnessed hundreds of American servicemen from the Korean War being transferred by the Chinese to the Soviets at the Chinese-Russian border crossing point at Manchoulai.
The man, whom Simpson found very credible, said that the Americans were lined up on a platform by the railroad tracks while the undercarriages of the engine and cars were changed for the train to be able
to travel on the different gauge tracks of the Soviet rail system.
Simpson had filed a high priority report to his superiors, but that was the last he heard of it, although it later became known that the report reached the hands of then-Secretary of State John Foster Dulles.
Simpson’s original report was finally retrieved from the dark hole where it had been tossed through the efforts of a member of the National Security Council (NSC) during the administration of President Ronald Reagan.
Just several years ago, Simpson found himself seated across the table at dinner in Florida with a former member of the NSC staff, who had been assigned to it during the Eisenhower administration. The man revealed that he had discussed the matter with Eisenhower himself, and it was concluded that nothing short of a war could retrieve the men from their captivity. As a result, nothing was ever done.
Another credible report surfaced two decades later, when this writer learned that in a congressional study of Chinese drug trafficking a witness revealed that he had witnessed American POWs from Korea working as laborers in a tractor factory in China.
The man, who had been a bodyguard for Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung, was credible, but the congressional committee wasn’t interested in POWs and MIAs, so the revelation was ignored.
It remained ignored until the late 1980s when it was brought to the attention of Reagan’s NSC. A staff member claimed that the man could not be located. With the help of a contact within the office of the president of Taiwan, where the man was reported to have settled, the man was eventually located.
He confirmed what he had reported to the committee, that he had seen the American POWs in the factory. These findings were turned over to Reagan’s NSC staff by this writer and ultimately were ignored, just like every other report the government has received from non-governmental researchers.
In addition to Korea, there have been numerous reports of American POWs held by the Germans during World War II. They had supposedly been “liberated” by Soviet forces and were sent off into the gulags with German POWs, never to be heard from again.
This is the same fate of dozens of American servicemen who disappeared behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.
Over the years articles about these missing Americans, including reports that they had been seen in captivity, were reported by the now defunct Spotlight and American Free Press. However, just like the reports of POW sightings, these newspaper accounts were ignored, too.
This reporter has even written articles about Americans being held by the Marxists just after World War I. They were captured by Bolsheviks while fighting against them in a secret U.S. military expedition to Archangel in support of efforts to keep the communists from taking power.
It is too much, perhaps, to expect that any of these Americans held under severe circumstances could have survived brutal captivity following World War II and probably Korea. But at the very least they are owed the return
of their remains to America, where their own government has written them off.
Norman Case, executive secretary of the Pentagon’s Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office’s Joint Commission Support Directorate, had this to say about the study’s findings:
“I’m not comfortable with any hard and fast numbers. Our job is to try to find these Americans or their remains and bring them home.”
Case continued: “We’ve been in business for 12 or 13 years. . . . We’ve kept these reports on the burner of unsolved issues.”
However, critics cynically note: Obviously, it was the back burner.