“The Devil’s Doctors” by Dr Mark Felton (4)

Last time I was talking about “The Devil’s Doctors” by Dr Mark Felton which describes how, at Mukden POW Camp in Manchuria,  Allied prisoners of war, primarily Americans, were used to test Japanese biological weapons developed at Pingfan, the nearby headquarters of Unit 731. Dr Felton also broadens the scope of his writing to include events after the war, when large numbers of Japanese doctors were found guilty of war crimes, in many cases on American personnel, but no sentences were ever carried out. “Why did this happen?” the author asks, but quickly reveals the real truth. The Americans were now thinking about war with their erstwhile allies, the Soviets:

To wage the next war and win, the American government wanted to know immediately everything about the Japanese biological weapons so that they could use the information for their own purposes. On August 13th 1945, before even the end of this war, in Operation Flamingo, the American government set up an OSS team to

“secure all Japanese documents and dossiers, and other information useful to the United States government”.

Indeed, fifteen military intelligence operatives were about to be parachuted into Pingfan to gather up scientists and data, when the Japanese, terrified by the thought of Stalin’s savage soldiers invading the sacred Japanese homeland, suddenly surrendered:

Shiro Ischii and his colleagues fled from Manchuria to Japan with all their data. According to the author, they eventually finished up talking to Columbia University’s Dr Murray Sanders to whom General MacArthur had personally given the job of investigating the Japanese biological warfare programme. Here’s Ischii again:

Everything that Dr Sanders found out was taken to MacArthur who decided that the Japanese data was “almost incalculable and incredibly valuable to the United States”. He wanted it “on an exclusive basis”. The Americans offered Ischii and his colleagues from Pingfan a “blanket immunity from prosecution in perpetuity”. The people who made this offer were well aware that living Allied prisoners had been experimented on. Both Pacific Stars and Stripes and the New York Times had published allegations in 1946 and in 1947 American Military Intelligence found 12 independent witnesses all giving the same details about the live vivisection of Allied POWs. Here’s MacArthur:

According to the author, when J Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, tried to look into the affair, he was told by MacArthur’s investigating agent that “information of the type in question is closely controlled and regarded as highly sensitive”. In other words, he was told to get lost. Here’s Hoover, who does not seem to have pressed the point:


So Ishii and all of the rest got their lifelong immunity and were never put on trial. Had they appeared in court, the British and the Soviets would have acquired all of the data that only the Americans had at the time. Ishii went to live the American Dream in Maryland where he died in 1959. According to the author, the prominent Unit 731 vivisectionist, Masaji Kitano, went back to Japan and became the president of a large pharmaceutical firm. Here’s Kitano:

Sadly, the author, Dr Felton, does not name the vivisectionist who became Governor of Tokyo, nor the one who was President of the Japan Medical Association nor the one who headed the Japan Olympic Committee. Even so his research at this point could not be bettered, with some very dark and disgusting political stones being overturned.

As the war slipped away, the Japanese were keen to use their new Biological Weapons in the USA. Again, the author’s research into events at this point could not be bettered. A first feasibility trial consisted of a submarine launched spotter plane which dropped incendiary bombs in the forests of the West Coast. It was too wet and not a lot happened.

In August 1943, the Japanese Navy tested  large paper balloons, again launched from submarines, and again with the intention of setting fire to the forests. That project was abandoned in favour of an Army project to use bigger balloons carrying incendiary and anti-personnel bombs. Sadly, six people were killed near Bly in Oregon, possibly because the powers-that-be did not release news of what the Japanese were doing, because it might have caused mass panic.

The final piece in this well researched jigsaw came when the Japanese Navy commissioned the huge I-400 submarines which would have carried three aircraft each, Aichi M6A1 Seiran torpedo bombers:

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These aircraft would have overflown San Francisco, Los Angeles and other American cities and then  dropped canister type bombs or possible even crop sprayed them with Today’s Maniac Special… bubonic plague, typhoid, dysentery, perhaps even a nerve gas. Shiro Ishii would surely have had some ideas about what to do?

So why did it not happen? Well, the author’s persistent research has turned up a good few reasons. Firstly, Japan found it difficult to produce the huge I-400 submarines and the planes to go with them. Furthermore, a “morally bankrupt” Imperial Army still had one or two who remembered dimly how decent human beings led their lives. Quite simply, the Chief of the General Staff, Yoshijiro Umezu put a stop to it. He told his officers:

“If bacteriological war is conducted it will grow from the dimension of war between Japan and America to an endless battle of humanity against bacteria. Japan will earn the derision of the world”.

Overall, I would strongly recommend this book which lays bare the extremely dirty secrets of the Japanese and the Americans, and I suppose those of the Soviets too, because, although they never received any of the material scooped up and taken away by their American allies, they definitely wanted to have it. So too did the British, and there is a lengthy section about their activities with plagues and nerve gases, centred on the top secret centre at Porton Down in Wiltshire. The book is 198 pages and if you can buy yourself a copy, then you really should. It’s a fine tale about just where a Master Race complex can lead you.

26 Comments

Filed under Criminology, History, Politics, Russia, Science

26 responses to ““The Devil’s Doctors” by Dr Mark Felton (4)

  1. Disgusting complicity indeed

    • Absolutely, During WW2 the Germans and Japanese got up to some dreadful things but other governments, including ours, were all keen to have all the results of their vile experiments. I suppose all we can say is that they were certainly not doing it in my name, and probably not in the names of the majority of the decent people in Great Britain and the USA.

  2. interesting reading. the horrors of war.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It shows that mankind, of whatever political persuasion, is capable of more or less anything. It only takes the Japanese to start the ball rolling, and before long, the whole world is interested in what they have found out, rather like the crowd who gather near the site of a road accident.

  3. Complex is definitely the perfect description for what went on at this stage of the war.

    • Before around 1970, 1980, in England, horse races did not ever start with a box or a trap for each horse so that everything was fair for each jockey. Instead there was a long droopy rope across the track and when that was raised, it was “Go!!!”.
      In the few seconds before that moment, all the “jockeys” would literally “jockey” around, trying to get to the front, trying to calm their horse, to get a good place and so on.
      I cannot think of a better analogy for the end of the Second World War, with the USA in the lead, the British Empire running out of puff, the Russians intent on committing fouls, the Chinese happy as long as the uniforms were pure silk and so on. It was only recently that I realised that in meetings with Stalin, Churchill “swapped” certain countries and dragged them from being under the Iron Curtain. They included Greece, and I think Italy, Austria and Denmark were also involved.

      • Anything I ever read about the division of Europe is that it was pretty much finalized between the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences, which would mean Stalin had both Truman and Churchill against him. I’d be interested to know where you read about Austria and Denmark being designated for the USSR originally.

      • REPLY TO THE COMMENT BELOW:
        As far as I am aware, Austria was divided into four zones of occupation just like Germany. As it was so near to Czechoslovakia and Hungary and the Soviet part of Germany that meant that it passed onto Stalin’s “What I want for Christmas” list. The Danes fell into peril almost straight away because the feeling was that Stalin’s troops would not stop, but would continue into Schleswig-Holstein and then Denmark. In the book I read, possibly by Sir Max Hastings, Montgomery was told to get his backside in gear and make sure he had a great many troops on the shore of the Baltic by the end of the war to prevent that happening. Which he did.
        That’s the story as far as I remember it. The main thing was that Uncle Joe was doing the designating with Truman and Churchill trying to find ways to stop him.

  4. Chris Waller

    To be honest I had never given much though to why 200 former Nazis were hanged by the British yet only a handful of the Japanese high command faced the rope. This makes clear the political machinations that underpinned the post-war settlement. A revelation indeed. I’m sure Machiavelli would be nodding his head sagely and giving a wry smile.

    • I’m sure he is. Basically, the Americans wanted to be soft on any country willing to be their ally in the future struggle of Christianity v the Godless Commies. Hence a pardon for slave labour user von Braun and his 1500 scientists, thousands of German monsters sentenced to life imprisonment and let out after two years, and in Japan, Unit 731 forgiven and forgotten and the Emperor allowed to keep his position.
      The Russians, who had lost 15,000 citizens every day of the war, wanted to hang them all, and did in fact have a policy of shooting every man found with the SS blood group tattoo on his arm. They were the ones who said Speer was a war criminal and not a nice man in bad company and so on. At least justice would have been done, more than it was, anyway!

  5. We are truly a messed-up species, John.

    • Indeed, we are. All the horrible people seem to get to the top and then prove themselves eminently capable of making the most horrible decisions, so often showing their willingness to reward even the former enemies who cannibalised their soldiers. And if these self seekers continue to behave as they always have before, then I even see us failing to beat climate change.
      I’m sure that there’s been climate change before but it only affected very small numbers of people tens of thousands of years ago. Now it’s different and I do think that the selfish politicians we have in charge all around the world will fail totally to combat the menace, overwhelmed by self interest and the lust for power.

  6. One man’s pain is another man’s gain. It’s all appalling until we think we can gain from it, then it becomes beneficial to us. The political moves post war were as bad as the savage acts they protected. It’s been a very interesting series John and a real eye opener. Thank you.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, if “enjoy” is the word. I suppose the big question is whether people do these type of things because they have followed the Japanese looney toons code of Bushido or because all human beings are capable of things like that. I had thought that Shiro Ishii and Unit 731 were the worst, but then I read “Soldaten” by Sonke Neitzel and Harald Welzer, both of them young German professors.
      That paints a terrible picture of our predilection for violence and the casual way that most people will carry it out if they have a reason for it. The book is crying out for a review but not yet!

      • It is frightening how ‘willing’ some men are able to carry out horrendous acts against another human being without so much as a thought, and for whatever reason they may be given. It just goes to show what our capabilities are. ‘Soldaten’ sounds like one to look out for! I await your review.

  7. Excellent post, very informative, thanks for the link to a book that I must read.

    • Well, it’s certainly an eye opener, as they say! I bought my copy at a reduced price and I think that that is the way to go. It is a rather slim volume for £20.

  8. So, Wernher von Braun developed the rockets that bombed London but the US welcomed him with open arms so that they could wage war on the Russian. And they also welcomed the Japanese ………s so they could use their knowledge against the Russians. On a scale of 1 to 10 I wonder who were the worst. Answer – I’m not sure.

    • I think it would have to be the Japanese, and then the Germans, but all of the rest, the Americans, and the British and the Russians have a case to answer. The book does have a section about the British germ warfare centre at Porton Down and they were far from a bunch of innocents. Try looking at
      https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/inside-porton-down-britains-controversial-12192830
      and you’ll see what I mean.
      Too many humans put themselves above what we, the rest of humanity, would call acceptable conduct.

      • Let’s skip back to early Australia. The rumours and reports of smallpox infected blankets being given to aboriginal tribes is quite widespread although never satisfactorily authenticated.

      • I could certainly believe it of the men who ran the British Empire. The regrettably small amount of good they ever did frequently seems to be an accidental by-product of the gains they made.

      • The destruction of the Australian Aborigine after 80,000 years was almost accomplished in only 200. I may have more to say at a later time.

  9. I’m skipping this book, John. Just reading your post upset me. No wonder I avoid medicine and pharmaceuticals as much as I do. Experimentation has not stopped with war. Things like this disgust me!

    • No, experimentation has not stopped with war. And the big drug companies are quite prepared to test their experimental drugs on people who are dying anyway, with or without their permission.
      The sad truth is, though, that unless we are aware of what governments and big companies are prepared to do, we stand very little chance of stopping them from doing it.
      I do agree with you, though, about the way many people take medicines and magic cures as if they are magically guaranteed to work. A friend of mine went to the doctor with high blood pressure and he refused her all medication and told her to walk to work every day and then to walk back. And sure enough, after six months of that, she was cured.

      • It is with great hope that I write these words. For you see, and which I know you know, too many people blindly trust medicine by allowing it to control them. I believe in preventative measures, good food, healthy lifestyle, and consistent exercise regimen. Yes medicine does have a place, don’t get me wrong, but, for a large portion of it, especially with the poor and the elderly AND with those who just hand over their power to be in charge of their own health, experimenting is still taking place. I also know that a pill for this that and the other, is not the way to go. Good for your friend. Walking and stress management and dietary changes will bring about a lower blood pressure. There are times in our lives that our blood pressure is elevated due to extreme loss or pain or stress, but over time, if aware that too can be rectified. You give me hope, John, that the world is waking up. For so long I’ve fought against the medical system both for human and for animal. It’s gotten so bad that I was actually kicked out of not only a medical facility, but a Vet one too all because I would not allow them to hurt me or my cats. Finally though it seems I am being heard about what I believe and also being respected for what I stand for. Thank goodness!!

      • You talk a lot of good sense there, Amy. Never let anybody take control of your health until you are fully aware of their agenda and motivation.

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