What Happened to US POWs Kept After Korean/Cold Wars?

Groundhog Day at the Defense POW/MIA Account Agency
Officials Deny Pentagon's Own Reports that POWs Sent to USSR
The email below was sent to a POW/MIA family member in July 2017. The writer (a senior DPAA official) either doesn't know that dozens of US intelligence reports describe the shipment of US POWs to the USSR -- and that former senior Soviet officers have confirmed such shipments to Pentagon investigators -- or that official and the DPAA have simply decided to ignore all this previous evidence. Of course, this also means dismissing the statements of former top military leaders, such as the US/UN commander-in-chief during the Korean War and the then-Air Force Chief of Staff, who both admitted many US POWs were held by the Soviets and/or their allies after the war, not to mention the US State Department's public demand that Moscow return these US POWs (the Air Force general's statements, in a request to the CIA for a rescue operation a year after the war, were only declassified recently).

Astonishingly, the Pentagon even denies the 1990s evidence and conclusions of the Pentagon-run Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD), which investigated the fate of US POW/MIAs in the former Soviet Union until it was cut back as part of bureaucratic infighting. Last time we checked, the DPAA had also removed from its site investigative reports from JCSD.

When we started our investigation in 1989, the Pentagon told Congress there was "no evidence" any US POWs (other than the 21 known "Turncoats") were kept in North Korea, China or the Soviet Union after the war. When declassified US intelligence records proved that statement a blatant misrepresentation, DoD started claiming there was no "credible evidence." When that was shot down, including by the statements of those former Soviet officers and then Soviet prisoners who said they saw US POWs in the Gulag, the Pentagon went to "no verifiable evidence."
Behind doors, Pentagon officials in 2017 even told Russian officials there was "no evidence" of POW transfers and their job was to demonstrate this to family members who were leaning on this "survivor myth" as a "coping mechanism."

Now the Pentagon is apparently establishing "physical evidence" as the evidence they will accept.

This reminds us of the district attorney on a crime TV show who refuses to charge a kidnapper without DNA evidence, even though the kidnapper's accomplices have confessed; he was seen in the act; other victims saw him hiding the missing person; and he had the motive/means/opportunity to commit the crime.

But this is not Law & Order, it's real life. And what all this means is that the Pentagon is refusing to make a full effort to find verifiable evidence -- now "physical evidence" -- because it (wrongly) claims there is no evidence to start which. Because it as an institution has forgotten the volumes of evidence from the past. Which sounds more like Groundhog Day, in which US government officials wake up every day forgetting what happened in the past. And no doubt makes the real-life kidnappers very happy.


Dear Ms. (Name),

I thank you for your note and inquiry.  I am sorry to hear that you will not
be able to attend the Korea/Cold War Meeting this year.   We do hope to see
you next year.

To answer your question, I think the Russians would tell you that they have
answered and that they did not transfer any prisoners from Korea to the
Soviet Union.    Therefore they will say there are no names to be given.
This does not mean the Russians are accurate nor does it mean that they did
not transfer prisoners.  To date DPAA and the USRJC have not been able to
locate and verify any evidence the Russians transferred prisoners to the
Soviet Union.  We do have testimony from men like LtCol. Corso, but we have
no physical evidence nor do we have Russian Government admissions that they
did in fact transfer prisoners.

DPAA and the USRJC will continue to discuss the issue of POW transfers with
our Russian counterparts and continue to pursue all avenues of research for
our missing.  I know this may not be the answer you may want, but we cannot
force the Russians to admit to something they deny occurred.  We must
however continue to ask and pursue leads.  This we will do.


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American POWs Kept Behind After the Korean War

What Happened to Them?

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