Russia, U.S. Agree to Renew Effort To Reveal Truth About U.S. POWs
By John Tiffany
Russia recently agreed to reactivate a joint U.S. and Russian commission on prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action (POW-MIA) issues. Moscow had backed away from the commission in 2004, amid worsening
relations with Washington.
The two sides are renewing talks at the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on Prisoners of War and Missing in Action, set up in the early 1990s to resolve issues of missing servicemen.
The American and Russian governments reached “a common understanding on a framework” on the commission after exchanging diplomatic notes, the White House announced.
The commission rose to prominence in 1994 when the Russian co-chairman, Col. Gen. Dmitri Volkogonov, a retired military adviser to President Boris Yeltsin, announced he had discovered a KGB document from the 1960s stating that Russian intelligence had been assigned the task of delivering Americans with special knowledge to the USSR. However, this has been officially denied by the Russian government.
Volkogonov, who was also a historian, went from being a Communist hardliner to being a leading anti- Stalinist. He died in 1995 in Moscow.
Americans are still listed as missing from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and the Cold War. Unacknowledged U.S. prisoners are believed to have been held by Soviet, Chinese and North Korean officials during and after one or more of these conflicts, and U.S. prisoners might have been transferred to the Soviet Union during the war in Vietnam. Some might still be alive.
The commission will include working groups on soldiers missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War, including Soviet military personnel unaccounted for in Afghanistan.
Longtime American POW researcher Mark Sauter said: “Restoring the Joint Commission is overdue and necessary, but not sufficient, to resolve the fate of many missing American heroes.”
Sauter said the problem with the commission is that Moscow has been withholding secret files it has on American POWs shipped to Siberia from Korea.
“We know, and they know, they have files that would resolve cases of Americans shipped from Korea to China, to Siberia,” he said. “But all the U.S. side has been allowed to do is pick around the edges of those files.”
John Tiffany is AFP’s copy editor. He is also the associate editor of THE BARNES REVIEW revisionist history magazine. TBR, published six times a year, is the preeminent magazine of honest historical inquiry in the United States today. To find out more about TBR, go to www.barnesreview.org.
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(Issue # 30, July 27, 2009)