The Secret Sharers: A Bargain With Evil

What would you call people who paid sadistic torturers for the information they had gleaned from macabre medical experiments on their helpless captives – and then used these evil findings to make biological weapons?

Why, you'd call them members of "the greatest generation," of course!

As we learn from ABC News (Australia) this week, the American victors in World War II "gave money and other benefits to former members of a Japanese germ warfare unit two years after the end of World War II to obtain data on human experiments the unit conducted in China."

U.S. military intelligence showered millions of dollars on these Mengeles – along with "food, gifts, entertainment and other kinds of rewards" (emphasis added). One shudders to think what this unnamed largesse entailed – "comfort women," perhaps? It seems nothing was too good for these "top-flight pathologists" who murdered more than 3,000 Chinese, Russians and others in their torture chambers.
Their patron was Brigadier General Charles Willoughby, head of the G2 intelligence unit of the US occupation forces in Japan. In his reports to his superiors, Willoughby waxed lyrical on the cost-efficient benefits of his war-criminal wooing. The killers' "data on human experiments may prove invaluable," and was "only obtainable through the skilful, psychological approach" to the torturers – i.e., buying them off.

"All of these actions did not amount to more than 200,000 yen, netting the [United States] the fruit of 20 years' laboratory tests and research," Willoughby wrote. The cost of obtaining the data, said the general, was "a mere pittance."

The "cost" of this information, of course, was not the money, booze and broads that Willoughby laid on for these wretched preservers of medicine and science; the cost was 3,000 human beings subjected to unimaginable anguish and vicious destruction. But then, human life is always considered "a mere pittance" to those caught up in the great engines of power, in the vast inhuman structures – military, political, economic – that grind through individual lives like combine harvesters winnowing chaff. Even the agents of these structures – the high and mighty drivers of the engines – are reduced to desiccated husks, their own humanity hollowed out and drained away to grease the gears of the Machine.

And why did Willoughby and his agents so assiduously pursue the evil fruits of the torturers' work? In order to inflict unimaginable anguish and vicious destruction on other victims, on a mass scale, in some future conflict. The "information procured will have the greatest value in future development of the US BW (bacteriological warfare) program," Willoughby enthused to the brass.

This was part of a larger operation that saw the United States incorporate the fruits of Nazi medical experiments, Nazi methodology – even Nazi agents – into its biological and "psychological" warfare programs and its intelligence apparatus. One particularly illuminating – and chilling – example of this process can be found in the piece below. (Apologies for an earlier link to the wrong story; the link is now correct.)