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in the process. For example, each prisoner would have 1 interrogator virtually living with him and sometimes it took 2 or 3 to give him the conveyor method of interrogation around the clock 24 hours without relief by having one interrogator relieve the other, but not the prisoner.
Many Air Force prisoners kept a whole platoon of guards busy keeping them under guard in their separate isolated camps.
Senator McCARTHY. Could I interrupt again, Mr. Chairman?
The interrogations were designed to obtain military information, is that right?
Dr. SANDER. During this period primarily, yes.
Senator McCARTHY. In other words, to get the disposition of our units, the size of them, the type of armament being used, and that sort of thing.
Dr. SANDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. BIDERMAN. There was tremendous emphasis on getting detailed background, the entire life history of the individual. They wanted all information about the kind of organizations to which he belonged, about what his parents did for a living, how much property they owned, the nature of the property, the kinds of recreational activities in which he participated, and so on and so forth, building up an entire biography of each man.
Senator McCARTHY. I have heard that from a number of prisoners and I have always been curious to know why they would spend so much time trying to get the life history from childhood on up of a war prisoner. I wonder what use they thought they could make of that.
Mr. BIDERMAN. I think it is part of the tremendous emphasis they place upon things political. I think they were trying to satisfy their own ideas about the nature of American society by getting this kind of information from the prisoner, and what the vulnerabilities of the United States and its armed forces were.
Senator McCARTHY. Am I correct that this was a complete departure from the type of interrogation that was conducted by the enemy during World War II! There they restricted themselves to an attempt to obtain military information, information about equipment, the dispersal of various forces, and that sort of thing.
Mr. BIDERMAN. Yes, sir; the Russians in handling Japanese and Germans, however, also placed a great amount of emphasis on this social and political background of prisoners whom they interrogated.
Senator McCarthy. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Did it also serve the purpose of creating anxiety on the part of the prisoner and also possibly instilling a measure of fear as to what might happen to his family?
Mr. BIDERMAN. Sometimes they were very explicit in making threats against the prisoner's family. They would say that they had ways of getting at his family.
The CHAIRMAN. I would assume they would make the threat after they had secured this information or at least part of the threat.
Dr. SANDER. Another factor that should not be overlooked is that very often personal information about an individual, also personal information that he may be asked concerning other people in the Air Force could be used in dossiers in the interrogation of other prisoners, playing one man against the other.
The CHAIRMAN. Go right ahead.
Dr. SANDER. Patterns of the coercive practices followed in these interrogations were similar to the general patterns of pressure which I can either discuss later or leave in evidence inasmuch as I believe previous witnesses from other services have gone into these in considerable detail.
In October of 1951, as I have previously indicated, all but a few officers captured from the United States forces and also the Air Force enlisted men were transferred to a single camp which was considered later a reactionary camp, camp No.2, near Yalu River.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that where they placed those who offered the most resistance, whom they regarded as hopeless so far as being able to break them down?
Dr. SANDER. That was one of the recalcitrant, resistive camps. Some of the Air Force enlisted men were surprised when they found themselves in a camp with officers and couldn't understand why this was so, but they later determined that it was, for one, because the Communists wanted to give them special treatment in the way of interrogation, and so on, along with the officers, and didn't want them to mingle with the masses of prisoners in other camps.
This camp at first attempted a mass indoctrination program, but it was so unsuccessful, there was so much ridicule from all the officers and airmen, that it was given up after a few months and was then labeled as a reactionary camp.
Almost all prisoners at this camp were, however, subjected to considerable interrogation for military information prior to 1952. They were taken out of the camp compound and put into one of the huts, with no other contacts except the interrogator or the guard. Here some of these long interrogation sessions which I have mentioned which ran something like 61 hours at a stretch without relief, conveyor system, day and night, were carried on.
The purpose of these was, as has been pointed out, Senator McCarthy, to obtain military information on the quipment and organization of the Air Force and one item of particular interest was Air Force training methods, particularly that of B-29 crews. Then the personal history information which we have mentioned.
We come now to the climax, the final period from January 1952 to the end of the war. For those prisoners who had been captured earlier conditions had improved by January 1952 to the point where life was a little more secure because they had been moved to this reactionary camp, although it still wasn't very pleasant. For fliers captured during this period, that is, from January 1952 on, the situation was anything but rosy.
On February 21, 1952, as we know, the Communist's worldwide germ warfare propaganda campaign went into high gear and its impact was experienced by all Air Force POW's captured during this period, but particularly those who were selected for intensive pressure to obtain confessions from them for having participated in germ warfare missions.
We can establish with certainty that 48 Air Force prisoners who have returned and one other enlisted man who died as a result of brutal efforts to coerce a confession from him were involved in a highly deliberate, systematic, centrally directed campaign carried out by the Chinese Communists to extort false germ warfare confessions from them.
The one airman who died, from the records which were turned in to the peace negotiations at Panmunjom, had a rather macabre twist because the Communists recorded him as having died-one, from tetanus, lockjaw, and fracture, when in actuality he did die from lockjaw but because he locked his jaws and wouldn't talk and the fractures amounted to the beatings and mistreatment that he received during the process.
The CHAIRMAN. Did they imply that his fractures were occasioned by war service ?
Dr. SANDER. That was the implication on the report.
Eighteen other Air Force prisoners were also subjected to intense pressure for confessions, although we can't quite link these cases to the centrally directed propaganda effort, because many of them were carried on by a North Korean at another location who apparently was interested in forcing confessions
from people on his own and was not part of the regular campaign. But the pressure and the system were equally severe and just as serious so far as these men were concerned.
Senator McCARTHY. Mr. Chairman, may I interrupt for one or two questions?
I wonder if you would care to comment on this. It is something which has disturbed me considerably. You were talking about the beatings, the punishment, the brutality in connection with the attempt to get confessions in regard to germ warfare, et cetera. We find that some of those people who under this tremendous pressure confessed to things that were not true as a matter of escaping the courts-martial were courts-martialed and some of them given considerable punishment. At the same time I read in the paper about 3 days ago that Secretary Wilson has adopted the Brucker rules on loyalty and security. One of the Brucker rules, which apparently has been adopted by Wilson for all branches of the service, is that you could not consider membership in the Communist Party as a ground for giving a man a dishonorable discharge or any punishment. I just wonder if you would care to comment on this contradictory situation where the head of our military says we won't in any way discriminate against a member of the Communist conspiracy, but we will courtmartial loyal Americans who succumbed to the pressure and brutality of the North Koreans and the Chinese. You might rather not comment on that. I don't know. I would like you to comment if you feel free to do it.
Dr. SANDER. Sir, as the representative of the Air Force research organization I would not care to comment on that question, if you don't mind.
Senator McCARTHY. I won't press the question.
Dr. SANDER. It would be only my own opinion on the subject, which would not be worth anything.
Thirty-eight of the total number of 59 Air Force personnel who were moderately or severely pressured made some kind of confession after duress and the Communist used 23 of these for propaganda purposes. The confessions of the two Marine fliers were also widely broadcast by the Chinese. As you know, and as everyone knows, all confessions were publicized throughout the world. Films of the confessions of six of these men were shown as part of the major propaganda effort.
There appeared to be quite a broad range of variation in the ability of Air Force people to hold up under this stress and duress of extorting false confessions from them, but the wide variations was sometimes just as much dependent upon the variations in scale and persistence on the part of the interrogators as it was on the part of the prisoner, whereas, it is obvious that in any situation of this sort the foreman of the interrogators would expect some results, and if a man botched the job, as he often did, it was of course something of a victory for the prisoner.
Whatever those differences may be, some men, we know, gave in rather quickly to the demands for a false confession. Fifteen percent of those pressured agreed to confess after 1 month of pressure or less. Others held out, however, for extremely long periods of time. I should like to point out that almost one-fourth of those pressured still refused to confess after 24 weeks of intensive interrogation and treatment of the type that we have mentioned and which has been described before this committee previously.
If one wants to compare the ability, for example, of our own personnel to hold out in the course of such duress under pressure, one could do it by referring to the time it took, for example, the Bolshevik leaders in the Moscow trials to break down such people as Karl Radek who was pressured for 3 months before he finally confessed to his "crimes" and B. O. Norkin 2 months, A. A. Shestin 5 weeks, N. K. Bukharin over a year. Cardinal Mindszenty, as everyone knows, in his final plea, spoke of his 35 days of “meditation”; in other words, roughly 5 weeks of intensive pressure.
One other British source estimated the duration
The CHAIRMAN. Is that called pressure or meditation ?
One other British source estimated the duration of imprisonment previous to confession at something in the nature of 3 months, which seems the likely average for the most rugged individual to be able to hold up in a situation of this sort.
In the face of these comparisons, I think we can say that our Air Force and Marine people hold out pretty well.
I would like to illustrate just a few cases, not mentioning names but indicating some of the incidents that occurred.
In one case a first lieutenant, who is an example of perhaps some of the most directly brutal treatment that the Chinese Communists gave, even though their practice was generally a little more subtle and prolonged, after being classified as a war criminal was interrogated and pressured for 4 months by the Chinese Communists. Eight times he was ordered to confess, offered relief if he did, death if he didn't. Eight times he refused. He was stood at attention for 5 hours at a time, confined 8 days in a doorless cell less than 6 feet long, held to the ground by two guards while a third kicked and slapped him, stood at attention at another time 22 hours until he fell and then hit while lying down with the side of a hatchet and stood up for 2 hours. He was interrogated 3 hours with a spotlight 6 inches from his face. He was ordered to confess while a pistol was held at the back of his head. He was placed under a roof drain all night during a rainstorm. He was left without food for 3 days. He was put before a firing squad and given a last chance, hung by hands and feet from the rafters of a house. When he still refused, the Chinese Communists let him alone. "They had apparently given him up as an impossible case. He came back alive.
Another first lieutenant was interrogated over 50 times, was tried four times for being a war criminal and sentenced to death three times. The Chinese Communists repeatedly told him he could avoid all these trials and pressures by a simple confession, but he never confessed.
Another first lieutenant was interrogated for over 1,800 hours. He was tried twice for refusing to confess to germ warfare activities. The first trial ended in a sentence to death by a firing squad. This was a bluff. The second trial ended in a sentence to a corrective labor camp. This was also a bluff. But at all times he was kept in solitary confinement. He never wrote a confession.
We know that among those who did confess were two officers who held out for almost a year until Big Switch was already in progress, and then when they were threatened in the last few weeks with not 'being repatriated they finally agreed to sign some sort of confession.
The pattern of pressure through all of these ordeals, varying in intensity, length and sequence, of course are generally familiar. They usually began after capture and initial interrogation, and the prisoners were accused of having participated in germ warfare missions. For this reason they would now have to be considered, they were told, as war criminals. They were also told that they were not entitled to be treated as prisoners of war unless they repented. They would have to be held in solitary confinement and discuss their alleged crimes with the interrogators until they were ready to confess them.
At this point I would like to suggest to the committee that since Dr. Wolff and I believe several other witnesses that you have had have already given lengthy testimony on the Communist assault against the individual, that the techniques that were applied against these men for germ warfare confessions as well as to obtain military information were essentially the same. Variations of course to suit different objectives.
So I would like to put into evidence this document that we have here, which is a detailed account of Communist pattern of interrogation and an outline of this document, and then I have concluded my testimony, if that is satisfactory.
The CHAIRMAN. The document will be marked "Exhibit 18.” (Exhibit No. 18 will be found in the appendix on p. 202.)
Mr. O'DONNELL. Dr. Sander, do you consider this brainwashing and, if not, will you please explain why?
Dr. SANDER. You have reference to the treatment of our prisoners with reference to getting germ warfare confessions out of them?
Mr. O'DONNELL. Yes.
Dr. SANDER. Frankly, we don't particularly care for the term "brainwashing” because it has been misinterpreted. The reason that we do not is that wrong inferences can be drawn from this term. We know that terror is a prominent weapon in the hands of the Com