Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Alan Winnington and The Taejon Massacre

Democracy and Class Struggle says in view of current developments on The Korean Peninsula, we are revisiting the Taejon Massacre carried out by South Korean Troops which was blamed on North Korea, in fact the US made a film at the time with Humphrey Bogart called Crime of Korea blaming the Communists.

 Alan Winnington a journalist who exposed the truth of this South Korean atrocity at the time was the subject of discussion of the British Cabinet for High Treason - the truth was high treason in 1950.

He had his British Passport withdrawn and not allowed to return to UK.

Will the truth about US activities in Korea be treason in 2013 ?

As for Taejon, a massacre undoubtedly occurred, but what precisely happened, when and who was responsible remain to be settled. The first published references to the massacre appeared in an article in the English communist paper, the Daily Worker, dated 9 August 1950. [49]

Its correspondent, Alan Winnington, accompanying the (Northern) Korean People's Army on their march southwards, reported having inspected mass graves at a village called 'Rangwul' near Taejon, which is about 160 kilometres south of Seoul. [50]

He concluded from inspection of the graves, photographic evidence and discussions with villagers in the vicinity, that approximately 7000 prisoners from the gaols of Taejon and nearby had been summarily executed at that spot between 6 and 21 July (when the area was captured by the KPA), and buried in mass graves dug by locally press-ganged peasants.

His report was reproduced in a pamphlet, I Saw the Truth in Korea, which so distressed the British Cabinet that serious consideration was given to trying him for treason (sic). [51] Except in the sense of the outrage they provoked in London, Winnington's allegations, repeated in his posthumously-published autobiography, were never treated seriously, were never investigated, and were not mentioned in the subsequent United States Army report.

As it happened, the two Australian officers who earlier had constituted the UNCOK Field Observer team, Major Peach and Wing Commander Rankin, were in the Taejon area at the precise time that Winnington concluded the massacre must have taken place, acting as liaison officers between the United Nations and south Korean forces.

On 9 July (according to Peach's 1950 dispatch), he and Rankin were on the 'road from Taejon to Konju . . . along the Kum River, a few miles short of Konju'. Trucks loaded with prisoners were going south before the northern advance.'52 As Peach later recalled the incident: 'Before my very eyes I saw at least two or three killed, their heads broken like eggs with the butts of rifles. [53]

Later, in Konju, he was told that prisoners from the Konju gaol were being shot. [54] Peach reported details to the South Korean Home Minister but believed that nothing was done. A contemporary photograph in the London Picture Post shows a truckload of such prisoners on the banks of the Kum River about halfway between Seoul and Pusan 'on their way to execution'. [55]

They were described as 'South Korean suspected traitors'. Four days later, on 13 July, the northern forces crossed the Kum River, and on 20 July captured Taejon. When Winnington reached Taejon, the city was still burning. The sequence of events strongly suggests that Winnington, Peach and Rankin were all witnesses to different stages of the same terrible event.

There was one further witness, whose testimony strengthens the suspicion. Philip Deane, in 1950 correspondent for the London Observer, was told this story while in a prison camp in north Korea after his capture, of a massacre in Tacjon just before the town fell to the communists. His informant was a French priest, Father Cadars, and Cadars' veracity seemed beyond dispute. Deane wrote as follows:

'[Fr Cadars] told me that just before the Americans retreated from the town, South Korean police had brought into a forest clearing near his church 1700 men, loaded layer upon layer into trucks. These prisoners were ordered out and ordered to dig long trenches. Father Cadars watched. Some American officers, Cadars said were also watching. When a certain amount of digging was complete, South Korean policemen shot half the prisoners in the back of the neck. The other half were then ordered to bury the dead. [56]

After Father Cadars' protest was dismissed, the remainder were likewise killed. He was told they were 'Communist guerrillas who rebelled in the Taejon gaol'.

Unless, by some terrible fate, there were two massacres in the Taejon vicinity-the one described by Winnington and Cadars which occurred in July and was perpetrated by the Rhee forces, and the one which is described by the United States Army as having occurred in late September and having been comitted by the KPA-it is hard to avoid the suspicion that the events witnessed by all these men were aspects of the same unfolding massacre.

In 1992, however, more than 40 years after the events occurred, a full account was published for the first time in a South Korean monthly journal. [57] What Winnington wrote was confirmed (except for some discrepancy in the numbers involved) by eyewitnesses and men who had actually taken part in the massacre. The only matter which remained unclear was whether Americans had been directly involved or not.

We now know, therefore, that the atrocity which the United States Army describes as the worst of the war, ranking with the Rape of Nanking and Belsen, was committed by forces acting in the name of the United Nations.[58]


·          149 'US Belsen in Korea: Americans Drove Women to Pits of Death', Daily Worker, 9 August 1950.
·          150 The village, though pronounced as Winnington wrote it, should actually be written as 'Nangwul'.
·          151 Jon Halliday, 'Anti-Communism and the Korean War (1950-1953)' in Socialist Register, eds Ralph Miliband, John Saville and Marcel Liebman, London, 1984, pp. 130-63, at p. 146
·          152 Extract from the Peach report contained in Dispatch by A.B. Jamieson, 2 August 1950, in Australian Mission in Tokyo to Canberra, 10 August 1950, AA 3123/5, part 4
·          153 Interview, Sydney, 14 August 1982
·          154 Rankin confirmed this account in a 12 August 1982 interview with this author by referring to his 1950 diary.
·          155 'War in Korea', by journalist Stephen Simmons and cameraman Haywood Magee, Picture Post, vol. 48, no. 5, 29 July 1950, p. 17. The caption to the photograph described the incident as one 'which has been investigated by a United Nations observer'.
·          156 Philip Deane, Captive in Korea, London, 1953, p. 83. The 1953 United States Army report locates the headquarters of the north Korean forces it alleged were responsible for the September massacre 'in the Catholic mission' in Taejon.
·          157 No Ka-Won, 'Taejon hyong-mu-so sa-chon san-baek myong hak-sal sa-kon' (The massacre of 4300 men from the Taejon prison), Mal, February 1992, pp. 122-31. I am grateful to Chung Kyung-Mo for bringing this material to my attention, and to Kim Hong-Ja for translating it into Japanese.
·          158 Cumings, 1990, p. 700 refers also to American internal evidence' which corroborated Winnington, though giving the figure of 2,000~4,000 rather than 7,000 victims

Source : http://www.iacenter.org/Koreafiles/ktc-lone-mccormack.htm

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