American POWs in the Korean War
In a well-researched story with links to key documents, Morgan Chalfont of the Washington Free Beacon reports that the Pentagon officials hired and paid by US taxpayers to find US servicemen still missing and unaccounted for from the wars of the 20th century, including World War II, told their Russian counterparts in May of this year that there was "no evidence" that US troops missing in the Korean War had been taken to the Soviet Union.
"No evidence"? The claim is so fantastic, so outrageous it becomes the headline of the story:
Pentagon Officials Told Russians ‘No Evidence’ U.S. Korean War POWs Taken to Soviet Union
Experts: Closed-door comments undermine decades of research
Without having undertaken an exhaustive search of relevant, sealed Russian archives -- a search, of course, that has never taken place -- it boggles the mind how the American side seeking its men can make such an anouncement to the Soviet/Russian side believed to have incarcerated them. It seems akin to an FBI director telling a mobster whose records he has not examined that there is "no evidence" of organized crime.
Then again, Michael Linnington, speaking as director of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), was doing something even worse: He was denying the existence of evidence already in American hands.
“Many families believe that their loved one crossed the Yalu River through China and ended up in the Soviet Union. Every week, I answer that question. We have no evidence of POWs taken to the Soviet Union through China,” Linnington said during a meeting with Russian counterparts on May 23, according to the official minutes of the 20th Plenum of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs recently made public by the Pentagon.
Is Linnnington unduly stressing"through China"? How about through North Korea to the Eastern Bloc and then on to the USSR?
Regardless of the transit route, there exists plenty of evidence that these transfers took place. John Zimmerlee, the son of an American serviceman who went missing in action during the Korean War and who has researched the fates of POW/MIAs from Korea for 20 years, told the Free Beacon: “[There are] at least 1,000 pages of documents supporting this."
Zimmerlee wrote the book American Trophies about the matter with Korean War POW/MIAs researcher Mark Sauter. “It’s bad enough Pentagon officials on the Joint Commission are condescending to POW/MIA families and clueless about the extensive evidence on POW transfers produced by U.S. intelligence and Pentagon investigators in the past,” Sauter, a former investigative reporter and Army officer, told the Free Beacon. “The Pentagon is sending a clear message that the United States does not expect, or even want, to obtain confirmation of the transfers.”
I asked Mark Sauter to elaborate on this story. Here is what he wrote to me:
The Pentagon is now, in effect, collaborating with Moscow to shut down the investigation of transfers of US POWs to the Soviet Union during the Korean War.
Gen. Mark Clark and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles must be spinning in their graves. Clark, the top US and UN general during the war, publicly stated the communists kept American POWs. In a secret document only declassified in recent years, famed USAF Chief of Staff General Nathan Twinning was asking CIA for rescue operations to recover American POWs in communist hands. In 1954, months after the war ended, Dulles cabled the US Embassy in Moscow with instructions to tell the Soviets “we (the United States) have reliable accounts of transfers of POWs (to Siberia).” Moscow was later given an official US communique that read in part: “The United States Government has recently received reports which support earlier indications that American prisoners of war who had seen action in Korea have been transported to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and that they are now in Soviet custody. The United States desires to receive urgently all information available to the Soviet Government concerning these American personnel and to arrange for their repatriation at the earliest possible time.”
Flash forward to 2016, when the Pentagon, instead of pushing Moscow for long-delayed answers about the “reliable accounts of transfers of POWs,” tells the Russians there is “no evidence” of any such transfers.
US government officials now know full well that Soviet intelligence created documents that could resolve key questions about the transfers, and likely resolve the fates of many missing Americans. The specific name of one such file is even known to US investigators from a sensitive source. But there is no indication the US has pushed Moscow to release that file and US officials appear now to have stopped pressing Moscow to explain what happened to other MGB/KGB and GRU (Soviet military intelligence) POW files that were known or suspected to have been created but have never been shared with America.
Donald Trump's mandate to "Drain the Swamp" surely includes this darkest swamp, this greatest American betrayal: the POW/MIA story of the American fathers, brothers, husbands and sons who never came home from their wars, and whose own government -- our own government -- saw fit to let them rot.
Similarly, President-elect Trump's often stated desire to "help our vets" surely extends to these same vets who never came home.
The opportunity to expose the long-hidden truth by opening the related agencies and archives, by pressing for the truth about what happened wherever it may lead, is upon us.
Seize it, President-elect Trump.