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by Uri Dowbenko
New Evidence of US Germ Warfare Destroys CIA’s “Brainwashing” Cover Story
The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea
by Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman (1999, University of Indiana Press, 273 pp.)
CIA “legends” die hard.
A “legend” is a cover story concocted by CIA to cover-up US state-sanctioned criminality. During the Korean War, CIA operative Colonel Edward Hunter created the “legend” that US airmen were “brainwashed” by the Red Chinese to make false confessions about engaging in germ warfare.
“The popularization of the idea that the flyers were ‘brainwashed’ grew out of a widely read book of the time by Edward Hunter titled “Brainwashing in Red China’ (1951),” write Toronto’s York University historians Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman in their fascinating book, “The United States and Biological Warfare.”
“A few years later, after the results of a mammoth US Army study were known, the US Defense Department concluded that US POWs had not been subject to brainwashing, merely hardship, stress and duress,” they continue.
The CIA’s disinformation campaign, however, took on a life of its own. This “legend” has become a myth of 20th century history, further enshrined in movies like “The Manchurian Candidate.”
The CIA promoted the idea that American soldiers were coerced through mind control to confess to imaginary crimes. And the fact that they had actually engaged in germ warfare during the Korean War was effectively covered-up.
And how did US biowarfare get started? “Begun with an inital grant of $250,000, modest by wartime standards, the biological warfare program quickly grew to be one of the largest wartime scientific projects in American history, second only to the Manhattan Project, which created the atomic bomb,” write Endicott and Hagerman.
“Granted top priority status, the program employed approximately four thousand people by the end of the war. The center of activity was the Special Projects Division of the Chemical Warfare Service and its new research and development center located in Camp Detrick, Maryland,” they continue.
The Pentagon and its devil’s workshop was a busy place. “The Detrick scientists cast a wide experimental net. They studied anthrax, brucellosis (undulant fever), botulinus toxin, plague, ricin, southern blight of grains, potatoes and sugar beets (Sclerotium rolfoil), late blight, late blast, brownspot of rice, plant growth inhibitors, rinderpest, glanders and melioidosis (pseudfoglanders), tularemia (Rabbit fever), mussel poisoning, coccidioidomycosis, rickettsia, psittacosis, neurotropic encephalitis, Newcastle disease and fowl plague,” write the authors.
“The first to receive concentrated attention were anthrax and botulinus toxin… It also was Detrick’s mission to mass produce agents for operational use.”
The authors don’t specify, but the logical extrapolation of this history is to ask — could the “mass production” of AIDS be a continuation of the story?
Strong evidence exists that AIDS originated as a man-made biological warfare agent. Dr. Leonard Horowitz, in his outstanding book “Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola,” ( http://www.tetrahedron.org, 800-336-9266), explores the connections between government subcontractors like Merck, Litton Bionetics, the production of vaccines, and the so-called “intelligence community.”
Alan Cantwell Jr., MD, author of “AIDS and the Doctors of Death,” “Queer Blood,” and “The Cancer Microbe” (Aries Rising Press, PO Box 29532, Los Angeles, CA 90029) also deals with the subject of AIDS as man-made biowarfare in his work.
Meanwhile the Detrick scientists, among them George Merck, head of the pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., was recruited by the FDR administration to head the War Research Service (WRS) Committee. However, because of internal ethical arguments by Admiral William D. Leahy and others, “there remained certain constraints on the use of biological and chemical weapons. One was the lingering fear that US and world opinion would morally condemn this extension of the limits of war. The burden of using chemical weapons was politically great because the United States had ratified the 1925 Geneva Protocol against chemical weapons. Its failure, along with Japan, to ratify the protocol banning biological weapons relieved the US from arms-limitation obligations in that direction, but it raised nagging questions about US intentions before the international community.”
It wasn’t until 1980 that American journalist John William Powell discovered the “smoking gun” of US biological warfare. “In one of those lucky accidents that sometimes befall researchers,” write the authors, “he uncovered evidence of the US deal with the Japanese biological warfare criminals by getting his hands on an exchange of memoranda involving General MacArthur, his intelligence chief General Charles Willoughby” and others. Powell’s exposure of the cover-up appeared first in the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars and, later in abbreviated form, in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, according to the authors.
“The US government continued to make denials, but two years later Japan officially acknowledged its World War II biological warfare program, as well as a the fact that General Ishii had received a large retirement pension.”
Continuous lying by successive administrations, denials of wrongdoing, and complicity with Nazi and Japanese war criminals has contributed enormously to the current distrust of the US government. Ironically, lying to the American public is called “psychological warfare” (PsyWar). Directed at not only so-called enemies but the public in general, PsyWar has historically included biological warfare.
Oddly enough “the Psychological Warfare Division was assigned to “integrate capabilities and requirements’ for BW [biological warfare] and CW [chemical warfare] into war plans,” write the authors.
“The innocuous sounding rubric “psychological warfare’ concealed the fact that this division had a special responsibility “to direct and supervise covert operations in the scope of unconventional BW and CW operations and programs,’ warfare that went beyond normal propaganda activities.”
“Psychological warfare included a host of activities aimed at creating delays, confusion, fear, anxiety and panic among the enemy,” write Endicott and Hagerman.
“It employed a variety of means including a mandate to use atomic, bacteriological, chemical and radiological warfare.”
Meanwhile, the US Government and its employees continues to claim immunity against these human rights violations and has escaped trial, punishment or even sanctions.
“And not to be forgotten with respect to the Psychological Warfare Division’s responsibility for determining munitions requirements for bacteriological warfare — the most advanced propaganda weapon of psychological warfare units, the leaflet bomb, was adapted as a standard bacteriological munition,” write Endicott and Hagerman.
What does that mean? Leaflets dropped on enemy targets were used as carriers for germ warfare, imbedded with bacteria. Also the practice of using “chaff,” bundles of tin foil to confuse enemy radar, or chopped up bits of grass straw and leaves, were also used for spreading bacteria against enemy troops during the Korean War.
“Chaff was one of several unusual things that the North Koreans and Chinese reported falling on their heads in 1952,” write the authors. Combined with reports of disease epidemics, there is enough evidence that germ warfare during the Korean War was a fact, and not communist propaganda.
“The 581st ARC Wing operating in Asia under cover of a transportation service as a means to carry out its mandate” is a direct connection to covert warfare by the CIA, an example of using a “cutout,” or a third-party, to distance itself from illegal or compromising activities.
Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, liaison between the CIA and the Pentagon, confirms that the Agency was also heavily involved. As the author of “The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World” (1973), Prouty believed that “the Korean War saved the CIA not only by giving it the right war at the right time, but by giving it the resourcess of other agencies in wartime.”
When American fliers captured in Korea subsequently revealed that they were engaged in biowarfare, the CIA denied everything. The Department of Defense characterized the flight as “routine” while “some American congressmen worked themselves into a fury against the hated Chinese who supposedly were able to brainwash their captives into making false confessions.”
Charges by the Chinese were dismissed despite the fact that “there was considerable overlap between the kinds of diseases that the United States was preparing for its biological warfare program and those which the Chinese claim followed attacks by US aircraft in the spring of 1952.”
“With respect to methods of delivering infected insects, feathers, bacteria, viruses, fungi and other materials, according to the Chinese and North Koreans’ observations, the most important were spraying, non-exploding objects and paper packets, air-bursting leaflet bombs, cardboard cylinders with silk parachutes…”
“The US archives show that spray methods and the leaflet bomb were part of the overt biological warfare program during 1952-53,” conclude the authors.
“Another aspect of the CIA Office of Policy Coordination activity came under the heading of psychological warfare,” write the authors. “The National Security Council gave the CIA responsibility for covert psychological warfare in 1947 and 1948, and the agency somewhat ironically spent much of its time and money in propaganda activities to refute enemy claims and in covering up traces of US covert activities so as to avoid scrutiny by the American people and allies abroad. The CIA had to make good the government’s demand for plausible deniability of questionable or illegal acts, such as using biological warfare.”
“To accomplish its propaganda objectives, the CIA infiltrated news agencies, established radio networks, gave money to journalists, financed student organizations, subsidized academic journals and influenced publishers. All this was done through a web of fictitious corporate structures, sham cultural foundations and financial arrangements that cost up to $200 million annually by 1953,” write Endicott and Hagerman.
What makes this history so deliciously ironic is that CIA disinformation through the media seems to be alive and well. Two months prior to the publication of the book, US News and World Report (November 16, 1998) published an article by Bruce B. Auster called “Unmasking an old lie: The Korean War charge is exposed as a hoax.”
Without even the pretense of “objectivity,” Auster parrots the CIA legend that germ warfare during the Korean War was a hoax, pointedly ignoring the book by Endicott and Hagerman.
In a brief telephone interview with Auster, he denied being paid by the CIA to continue its disinformation. He also denied having seen or read the book. When asked if he received payment for his “services” by the CIA in an offshore account, he said he “resented” any such inference. His disingenuous response belies the curious synchronicity of the book’s release and his own article which ignores evidence of US germ warfare.
In an interview with Hagerman, the book’s author said that “just before he [Auster] wrote that story, he called me one late friday afternoon, with a message that he had to go to press immediately.”
Hagerman said, “if I could contact him in two hours, he’d like my opinion on the Soviet documents which purport that the biowarfare story was disinformation concocted by the Soviets. So I called him back the next monday, after the story had gone, and I suggested that he read our book, perhaps balancing the story somewhere down the line. He said “he’d think about it.’”
The presumption is that Auster is still thinking. Ignoring the real news is a standard modus operandi by Big Media, and media hack Auster seems to be no exception.
“I offered to have a book sent to him,” says Hagerman. “He said that if he was interested, he would let me or the publisher know, but he has not in fact asked for a book.”
“The United States and Biological Warfare” is a premier analysis of America’s secret history. Deconstructing reality, buried by disinformation, is an awesome task. This carefully documented, well-referenced, and highly readable work will remain an important contribution to its understanding.
Copyright © 1999 Uri Dowbenko