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Biological Warfare in Korea: A Review of the Literature

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Weatherby's credibility is not convincing. Yes, the right Soviet Politburo people are present; yes, the power struggle after Stalin's abrupt death is dramatic; yes, the contents are complex and interwoven; yes, it reads breathlessly like a Dostoyevsky novel; but extremely difficult to forge? Not really; after all, what good is a sloppy forgery? Every major intelligence service in the world has historians and foreign language scholars, document forging capabilities, and the tradecraft to surreptitiously slip documents to an unwitting courier. Mr. Naito, who today is very much a public figure and right-wing political pundit in Japan, has long been silent on this subject after his initial role as courier to the West. Naito's handwritten copies held by Sankai Shinbun deserve new sunshine scholarship.

Some denier authors have also been especially grateful to Milton Leitenberg for providing them with hard-to-find documents on the BW allegations in their book acknowledgments. But Leitenberg's documents are iffy. As I pointed out in an earlier essay, Leitenberg's history, Soviet Submarine Operations in Swedish Waters, 19801986,110110 Milton Leitenberg, Soviet Submarine Incursions in Swedish Waters, 198086, Praeger, New York, 1987. View all notes was determined to be a complete fabrication of evidence by Ola Tunander,111111 Ola Tunander, The Secret War Against Sweden: US and British Submarine Deception in the 1980's, Frank Cass & Routledge, New York and London, 2004. See, Thomas Powell, "Suppressing US War Crimes: The Cold War Denial Machine Lives On." Truthout,, June 24, 2018. View all notes the official historian who discovered it was US and UK high-tech, submersible, seafloor-crawling vessels harassing Sweden, not Soviet ones. My own research has revealed that the "memoir" of Chinese war medic, Wu Zhili,112112 The "memoir" of Wu Zhili published seven years posthumously in an obscure academic journal, Yanhuang Chunqiu, is translated into English and appended as Attachment #19 in: Milton Leitenberg, China's False Allegations of the Use of Biological Weapons by the United States during the Cold War", Cold War International History Project, Working Paper #78, March 2016. View all notes much feted by Leitenberg as further evidence of his BW hoax thesis, is a 9-page rambling forgery greatly embellished from the one concise page of Wu Zhili's actual autobiography. 113113 Wu Zhili's actual memoir is: Autobiography of a War Doctor. Both the Yanhuang Chunqiu memoir and the autobiography discuss a specific evidence inquiry conducted by PVA commander, Gen. Peng Dehuai. Wu Zhili is tasked by Peng to argue the Devil's advocate role. The two versions of this critical meeting vary greatly in content, length, and writing style, and reach opposing conclusions. See: Thomas Powell, on the Biological Warfare Hoax Thesis, op. cit., pp. 1218, and fn#36. View all notes The two documents were not written by the same author. 114114 My conclusion after comparing the two Wu Zhili documents is that the Yanhuang Chungqiu "memoir" is a counterfeit. Thomas Powell, "Suppressing US War Crimes: The Cold War Denial Machine Lives On," Truthout, op., cit. View all notes

Leitenberg's leadership role among the denier authors is evident, and his patronage has facilitated grant applications and publishing contracts. From his perch at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, Maryland (CISSM), Leitenberg has done a yeoman's job of protecting the big lie. He has successfully propped up the BW denial lobby for an additional two decades, when historical momentum was against it and it should have collapsed in 1998 with Endicott and Hagerman's book. Instead, Leitenberg engineered a well-scripted reversal of fortune with his hoax thesis built on the Soviet dossier, and his able accomplices, Ed Regis and John Ellis van Courtland Moon. However, there are strings attached to Leitenberg's largesse, as Sheldon Harris discovered when he was pitched the task of delivering papers from Leitenberg to the Soviet Ambassador in Beijing. 115115 There are six letters of personal correspondence from Milton Leitenberg to Sheldon Harris indicating a quid pro quo document/service exchange between the two. The initial collegiality later appears strained. Sheldon Harris Archive, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Available at: Bioweapon Truth Commission and Global Online Library. click here>View all notes It's highly unlikely Harris would have agreed to be the mule. He was not planning a sequel to Factories of Death at the time of his death, and though he produced the negative review of the Endicott and Hagerman book, for Harris in hindsight, the denial shtick had lost its luster.


The US BW denier cause is back on its heels, but doesn't realize that fact yet, and with concerted pushing may topple soon. Furmanski and Wheelis have already back pedaled the denier position into a full confession for the US. Donald Trump needs to score a foreign policy victory to salvage his dismal presidency, and he may tweet out some Korean War BW indiscretion on one of his golfing summits with President Xi or Kim Jong Un. A peace treaty with North Korea will require a BW confession from the US. That will be a loss of face, but it would be temporary, and it would be spin-able to blame it all on America's Cold War cabal of militarists, war profiteers, politicians, capitalists, and their successors Eisenhower's military-industrial complex who unwisely set America on this imperial course.

Fessing up to the Korean War BW war crimes would be of great and practical benefit to the US, in both the short term and the long run. We should learn from the examples of Germany and Japan. Bill Powell described it this way in 1998:

I believe the Japanese government is making a serious mistake in not coming to terms with the country's imperialist past. The issue has become a public relations disaster.""" A comparison with post-war Germany is useful. Germany's leading political and economic role in Europe is roughly comparable to Japan's in Asia. Post-war Germany has pretty well faced up to its wartime misdeeds and European hostility has lessened measurably. The situation is not the same in Asia. 116116 John W. Powell, "The Japanese Biological Warfare Story", unpublished conference paper, presented at Changshun, China, September 1998, sponsored by the Committee on Japanese Aggression in China. Collection of the author. View all notes

Japan still clings to post-WWII denialism, and it remains an obstacle in its relations with other Asian states. The US will isolate itself in a similar manner if it continues down the denial road, and as global economic and political power shifts across the Pacific. The maintenance of the US's huge war machine to prop up the imperial ambitions of a small minority of American capitalists and war profiteers has run up trillions of dollars in war debt. This militaristic path is not sustainable. Continuing belligerence is not affordable especially as sea levels rise and dry land shrinks, and the disaster costs of global warming come crashing upon us. In the light of pending global catastrophe, an acknowledgement of past war crimes may seem insignificant, but it is not. Korean War BW is a fulcrum issue a moral judgment on American national character and the dangers of long-held secrets. Full acknowledgment of past wrongdoing will help turn the American ship of state in a safer and saner direction.


1 The inner circle of conspirators of this war crime was President Harry Truman, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Secretary of Defense Lovett, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Director of the CIA.

2 There are significant bodies of writing in Korean, Mandarin and Russian on this topic too.

3 For background on Murray Sanders see: Sheldon Harris, Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 19321945, and the American Cover-up, Routledge, New York and London, 1994, pp. 180183, and Chap 10, Notes 14, 17. Murray Sanders, authored and co-authored many product testing reports at Dugway Proving Ground, UT in 1944.

4 The Sanders Report is reproduced in: Peter Williams and David Wallace, Unit 731: the Japanese Army's Secret of Secrets, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1989, Appendix B, pp. 312314.

5 Peter Williams and David Wallace interviewed Sanders at length for their book. They paint the elderly Sanders in a sympathetic light. Williams and Wallace, op., cit., Chapter 10, pp. 121140.

6 Harris, op., cit., pp. 183184, Thompson died mysteriously in what was ruled to be a drunken gunshot suicide in a Tokyo brothel in 1948.

7 Ibid., pp. 297299, and Chap 15, Notes 48, 49.

8 Theodore Rosebury and Alvin Kabat, "Bacterial Warfare," Journal of Immunology, Vol 56, May 1947, pp. 796

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Tom is a founding member of the Bioweapon Truth Commission (BWTC). You should access its Global Online Library (GOL) to learn more about how Western empire conducts "business" at home and abroad ( (more...)
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Biological Warfare in Korea: A Review of the Literature

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