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FP: John Zimmerlee, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Let’s begin with what happened with our missing servicemen from the Korean War and what, for 60 years, the American government has said about them to their families. What is the real fact?
Zimmerlee: Thanks Jamie.
Immediately after the Korean War, families were told not to talk about their missing loved-ones as it might endanger their life, safety, and possible return. The truth is that President Eisenhower knew full well that thousands of American servicemen were still alive and in captivity, but pursuing them might start World War III.
FP: Why were our servicemen taken and kindly give a little bit more information about why Eisenhower and our government didn’t do anything about it?
Zimmerlee: Russia was a silent partner in the Korean War, supplying guns, aircraft, and pilots to China. In return, the Chinese agreed to send unrecorded prisoners to Siberia. Russia denied any involvement in the war.
According to Soviet estimates, more than 14 million captured citizens and prisoners of war passed through the Russian prison system, gulags, for free labor in mining and forestry camps throughout Siberia.
During the Korean War, aviators were interrogated by the Chinese for overall knowledge of the war and technical knowledge of the aircraft, then sent to the gulags. Ground forces were sent to the gulag directly.
The war was unpopular, and was lasting too long. No one would surrender. A cease fire agreement, Armistice, took more than a year to prepare and was reluctantly signed. Meanwhile, Congress had approved the use of a nuclear bomb.
Eisenhower had to make a decision. The only way to locate these men was to invade Siberia and look for them across an area of 5.1 million square miles, with no guarantee of finding them.
FP: What have American presidents done in terms of the closed documents on the cases of our missing servicemen? What have been the results?
Zimmerlee: In 1995, President Clinton signed Executive Order 12958 which stated all documents more than 25 years old should be declassified at a rate of 15% per year. By 2001, all should have been available to the public, but no effort was ever made and most of those more than even 50 years old are still classified to this day.
In 2003, George Bush signed Executive Order 13292 which repeated the language of the previous EO, but stated that in documents that may concern National Defense or ‘weapons of mass destruction’ . . . they may be kept classified for up to 50 years. Again, departments have claimed that the order was not funded and therefore they didn’t comply.
In 2009, Obama signed E O 13526 which stated the same thing, but made allowances of 75 years for sensitive documents.
No doubt the next relative EO will allow a hundred years of secrecy.
FP: Tell us about your own research and what you have discovered.
Zimmerlee: When the Defense Prisoner of War – Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) was created in 1995, I met with their attorney and initial staff to determine just what they would be doing.
During my very first meeting, it was evident that research and discovery was not their main focus. If any information was to surface, I knew I would have to find it myself.
Over the last 17 years, I have scanned more than 92,000 declassified documents and discovered compelling evidence on 835 MIA cases and 190 KIA cases that clearly indicate these men were known PRISONERS of WAR, but their families were never told.
But, I have seen only about 10% of the documents related to the Korean War POW/MIA issue. Just imagine what I could discover if the “Classified Documents” (about 90%) were released.
FP: So who is it exactly that is not obeying the orders signed by Clinton, Bush and Obama? Who exactly is succeeding in blocking the release of the documents and of the truth. And why?
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