Peggy Sawyer Seagrave was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She first worked in the film archives of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, at the National Archives. She then joined the Smithsonian Institution to produce exhibits and publications for the Bicentennial Celebrations, and the Hall of American Enterprise . Moving to TIME-LIFE Books, she became a senior researcher and senior picture editor producing many volumes in their popular historical series on World War II, Seafaring, and Planet Earth.
Peggy Seagrave worked with Sterling Seagrave on The Soong Dynasty and other books, and became co-author of Dragon Lady - The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China. Re-investigating the "evil" Manchu empress Tzu Hsi, the Seagraves showed how her image as a murderous, sex-crazed monster was concocted and spread around the world by the Times correspondent George E. Morrison and his ally, the counterfeit historian and art forger Sir Edmund Backhouse. At the Mitchell Library in Australia, Peggy Seagrave discovered that the Boxer Siege of the Peking Legations in 1900 was largely the invention of Morrison, who kept a secret diary contradicting his triumphalist reports published by the Times .
The Yamato Dynasty is the first multi-generational biography of the Japanese imperial family to include its women. Among other revelations, they revealed for the first time that Hirohito’s mother was secretly a Quaker with close ties to a Quaker network in Wall Street. They also show how Hirohito's brother, Prince Chichibu, headed a secret campaign to loot twelve Asian countries and colonies conquered by Japan during the half-century from 1895 to 1945. With the collusion of US Quakers, Hirohito was exonerated of war guilt, and Japan pretended to be bankrupt, using the hidden war loot to regain its place as a world economic power and America’s far right bastion in East Asia.
Their latest book, Gold Warriors (2005) is a close look at how Japan systematically looted Asia, and what happened to the plundered treasure after 1945 when it was secretly recovered by Washington and used as a global slush fund. Writing in The London Review of Books, Chalmers Johnson said: “Gold Warriors is easily the best guide available to the scandal of 'Yamashita's gold', and the authors play fair with their readers by supplying them with massive amounts of their raw research materials.”
In Europe, the OSS at times worked closely with other intelligence services, but competition and rivalry were intense. One of the fiercest turf battles over the tracking of Nazi loot went on inside the U.S. Government, waged between Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau and Allen Dulles, the OSS chief in Switzerland, a romantic who had a much more cavalier attitude about such things. Axis loot was being moved under the noses of the Allies into neutral safe havens. In one instance, American agents in Switzerland watched 280 trucks of Nazi gold move from Germany across France and Spain to the safe haven of neutral Portugal. Owned by private Swiss firms, the trucks were painted with the Swiss cross, allowing the gold to be moved under `neutral' cover.
However, while the gathering of intelligence on war loot may have been disjointed, ultimately all such reports were passed up to the office of the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson. He had a special interest in the subject of looted bullion, and kept a group of financial experts thinking hard about it. Three of these men were Stimson's special assistants John J. McCloy, Robert Lovett, and consultant Robert B. Anderson.
The problem of how to deal with plundered treasure, and what to do with Axis gold after the war, was discussed in July 1944 when forty-four nations met at the resort of Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to plan the post-war economy. These discussions, some of them extremely secret, revealed the flaws and loopholes that existed in the international financial system, making any clear-cut resolution unlikely. Among the delegates, trust was far from universal. Many of them believed that the Bank of International Settlements was secretly laundering Nazi loot. That distrust set the tone. Among other things, the Bretton Woods agreement (as it was made public) set a fixed price for gold of $35 an ounce, and banned the importation of gold to America for personal use. Neutral countries that signed the pact promised not to knowingly accept stolen gold and other looted assets, but Portugal forgot to include Macao in the list of its dependent territories. This was a convenient oversight, for during the rest of the war, as we saw in Chapter Four, Macao became a world center for trade in illicit gold and was heavily exploited by Japan.
Unlike Europe where the OSS was tolerated by General Dwight Eisenhower, in the Southwest Pacific General MacArthur resisted all attempts by the OSS to get a foothold in his territory. MacArthur and his staff intended to conduct their own brand of special operations from their headquarters in Australia, without any interference.
Intelligence-gathering in MacArthur's domain was under the command of Charles Willoughby. Born in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1892, he was the love child of Baron T Scheppe-Weidenbach and Emma Willoughby of Baltimore, Maryland. By 1910 her romance with the baron had soured and Emma returned to the United States with her 18-year-old son, who immediately enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army, rising gradually to sergeant. When he returned to civilian life in 1913, Willoughby enrolled at Gettysburg College where he was able to get a degree quickly. Re-joining the army as an officer, he served in France in 1917-1918, then taught machine gun tactics at Ft. Benning. The next few years he served as an army attaché at U.S. embassies in Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador, speaking Spanish with a heavy German accent. In 1940, after staff school at Ft. Leavenworth, he was sent to Manila to be MacArthur's assistant chief of staff for logistics. At the time, Douglas MacArthur was America's field marshal of the Philippine Army. Willoughby, who craved grandeur and authority, was awed by the patrician MacArthur. In mid-1941, when MacArthur became commander of the new U.S. Far Eastern Command, Willoughby stuck with his idol. This impressed MacArthur, who valued personal loyalty above all other qualities, and he made Willoughby his assistant chief of staff for intelligence, promoting him to colonel. When Japan attacked, Willoughby moved to Corregidor with MacArthur, and then accompanied him to Australia.
MacArthur wanted absolute control of intelligence-gathering and special operations in his zone of command. Willoughby's qualifications for such work have been seriously questioned. Repeatedly, he blundered in battlefield estimates, but was kept on because MacArthur liked to surround himself with admirers. According to military historian Kenneth Campbell, Willoughby was often given assignments "for which he was not remotely prepared", and his "attempts to conceal his mistakes are a violation of honor...". For Willoughby, truth was flexible.
In Australia, Willoughby set up the Allied Intelligence Bureau to run guerrilla operations in the Philippines. He also started the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS), to monitor Japanese radio broadcasts, interrogate prisoners, and translate captured Japanese documents. Most men in ATIS were Nisei, second generation Japanese born in foreign countries, in this case born in America of Japanese parents. However, Willoughby's approach to guerrilla warfare proved to be too cautious for MacArthur, who craved audacity. Leaving Willoughby in charge of intelligence gathering, MacArthur gave special operations to his intimate friend and personal attorney Courtney A. Whitney. Willoughby was furious, but MacArthur soothed him by promoting him to general.
In this way, MacArthur's intimate crony Courtney Whitney became the key man running secret agents in the islands and reading reports of war loot, including those from John Ballinger. The OSS had no part whatever in this. Whitney was effective in special operations because he was well connected in Manila, a clever rich man on first name basis with all the politically powerful families in the Philippines. In the late 1920s when he had been fresh out of law school in Washington, D.C., MacArthur had got Whitney a job with the top Manila law firm of Dewitt, Perkins & Enrile, who handled MacArthur's financial affairs in the islands, and also handled Benguet, the biggest gold mining operation in the islands, in which MacArthur had investments. By Pearl Harbor, Whitney was intimately involved in all manner of political, legal, and financial intrigues, as played in the islands. He could call in favors from men like Santa Romana.
It was Brigadier General John Magruder who had moved Edward G. Lansdale to Manila two months earlier. Hoyt Vandenberg or Magruder then sent Lansdale to the White House to brief President Truman's national security aide, Navy Captain Clark Clifford, and members of the Cabinet. President Truman decided to keep the discovery secret, and to recover as much of the Japanese loot as possible. At this stage, it is impossible to say precisely how these briefings unfolded, or exactly what President Truman did. The secrecy surrounding Santy's recoveries is nearly total.
What we do know, from two separate high-level sources in the CIA, is that Robert B. Anderson flew back to Tokyo with Lansdale, for discussions with MacArthur. After some days of meetings, MacArthur and Anderson flew secretly to Manila, where they were taken by Lansdale and Santy to some of the sites in the mountains, and to six other sites around Aparri at the northern tip of Luzon. In the intervening weeks, Santy's men, aided by hand-picked teams from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, had successfully opened several of these vaults, where MacArthur and Anderson were able to stroll down row after row of gold bars. Other sites were opened in subsequent months. In all, the recoveries took two years to complete, from late 1945 to early 1947.
From what was seen in these vaults, and also discovered by U.S. Army investigators in Japan, it became evident that over a period of decades Japan had looted billions of dollars' worth of gold, platinum, diamonds, and other treasure, from all over East and Southeast Asia. Much of this had reached Japan by sea, or overland from China through Korea, but a lot had been hidden in the Philippines.
Washington's `official' (public) figure for recovered Nazi gold still is only 550 metric tons. But Anderson knew better. One of his business associates saw photos in Anderson's office of an American soldier "sitting on top of stacks of bullion that Hitler had stolen from Poland, Austria, Belgium and France. It ended up with the Allied high command and no one was allowed to talk about it." The same source said he was taken to the courtyard of a convent in Europe where 11,200 metric tons of Nazi looted bullion had been collected.
After the Nazi defeat, the OSS and other Allied intelligence organizations searched Germany and Austria for art treasures and looted gold. Soviet troops and special units did the same in the Russian zone. More is known of what happened to the recovered art than to the recovered gold. When one hundred tons of Nazi gold were recovered from a salt mine near Merkers, Germany, the truck convoy carrying it to Frankfurt vanished; it was said to have been hijacked, but the more likely explanation is that this gold was among the bullion stacked in the convent courtyard.
The reason for all this discretion was a top secret project sometimes called Black Eagle, a strategy first suggested to President Roosevelt by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and his wartime advisors, John J. McCloy (later head of the World Bank), Robert Lovett (later secretary of Defense), and Robert B. Anderson (later secretary of the Treasury). Stimson proposed using all recovered Axis war loot (Nazi, Fascist, and Japanese) to finance a global political action fund. Because it would be difficult if not impossible to determine who were the rightful owners of all the looted gold, better to keep its recovery quiet and set up a trust to help friendly governments stay in power after the war. This was informally called the Black Eagle Trust after the German black eagle, referring to Nazi bullion marked with an eagle and swastika, recovered from underground vaults of the Reichsbank.
According to some sources, the Black Eagle Trust could only have been set up with the cooperation of the most powerful banking families in America and Europe, including the Rockefellers, Harrimans, Rothschilds, Oppenheimers, Warburgs, and others.
A brilliant Wall Street attorney, Stimson was a man of immense experience who had served in various posts for five presidents - Taft, Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman - but he was nearing the end of his extraordinary career. He knew Manila intimately, having served as governor-general of the Philippines in the 1920s. President Herbert Hoover had then named him secretary of State. (Like Hoover, Stimson thought highly of MacArthur.) By Pearl Harbor, Stimson was already in his seventies. He managed his vast wartime responsibilities by delegating authority to four assistant secretaries of War: Robert Patterson, a lawyer and former federal judge; Harvey Bundy, Boston lawyer and Yale graduate; and two dynamos Stimson called his Heavenly Twins - John McCloy and Robert Lovett. What they all had in common was their close relationship to the Harrimans and Rockefellers. Lovett's father had been the right-hand man of railway magnate E.H. Harriman, who once tried to buy the South Manchurian Railway from the Japanese. Following in his father's footsteps, Robert Lovett worked with Averell Harriman at the Wall Street firm of Brown Brothers Harriman, handling international currency and lending operations. John J. McCloy, by contrast, was a poor boy from Philadelphia who graduated from Harvard Law School, joined the Cravath firm on Wall Street, and gained the admiration of Averell Harriman by helping get $77-million worth of bond issues for the Union Pacific railroad. (McCloy engineered such deals for everyone from the House of Morgan on down.) Working for Secretary of War Stimson, Lovett and McCloy became midwives at the birth of America's postwar national security establishment, which was closely interwoven with the financial community.
McCloy was a troubleshooter and expert fixer. He said his job was "to be at all points of the organizational chart where the lines did not quite intersect". He made endless trips around the world during the war, solving problems, working with statesmen, bankers and generals. He was intensely involved in backstage strategy and understood, to borrow from Cicero, that "the sinew of war is unlimited money". Money also was to be the sinew of the Cold War. A wheeler-dealer, McCloy knew all the ins and outs of international finance. After the war he became a partner in the law firm of Milbank Tweed, which handled the affairs of the Rockefeller family and its Chase Bank, became a leader of the Council on Foreign Relations, head of the World Bank, chairman of Chase, and head of the Ford Foundation. He may have been the key player in executing the Black Eagle Trust, the one who took Stimson's idea and turned it into a working reality.
By comparison, Robert B. Anderson got off to an inauspicious start. Born in Burleson, Texas, on June 4, 1910, he taught high school for a while before studying law at the University of Texas. He was elected to the state legislature and appointed assistant attorney general for Texas in 1933, and state tax commissioner the following year. Then something clicked, and Anderson left government to become an extraordinarily successful financial consultant to very rich people. By the early 1940s he was general manager of the enormously wealthy WT. Waggoner estate, which owned ranch land and oil land all over Texas. Anderson was so deft at money management that President Roosevelt appointed him a special aide to Secretary of War Stimson with responsibility for keeping tabs on Axis looting. Navy Captain Clark Clifford, Truman's aide for national security matters who was briefed by Captain Lansdale, was Anderson's protégé and intimate friend. Together, Anderson and Clifford became major power brokers in postwar Washington.
Although Stimson retired from public life in 1945, and McCloy also left government service at that time, they and Anderson continued to be involved in overseeing the Black Eagle Trust. According to former CIA deputy director Ray Cline, the gold bullion recovered by Santa Romana was put "in 176 bank accounts in 42 countries". Anderson apparently traveled all over the world, setting up these black gold accounts, providing money for political action funds throughout the noncommunist world. Later we closely examine several.
In 1953, to reward him, President Eisenhower nominated Anderson to a Cabinet post as secretary of the Navy. The following year he rose to deputy secretary of Defense. During the second Eisenhower Administration, he became secretary of the Treasury, serving from 1957 to 1961. After that, Anderson resumed private life, but remained intimately involved with the CIA s worldwide network of banks, set up after the war by Paul Helliwell. Eventually, this led to Anderson becoming involved in BCCI, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, an Arab Pakistani bank with CIA ties that parlayed money-laundering and the discreet movement of black gold into ownership of the biggest bank in Washington, D.C. The collapse of BCCI in what the Wall Street Journal called "the world's largest bank fraud" also snared Anderson's protege, Clark Clifford, who was indicted for fraud. Clifford and his associate Robert Altman headed First American Bankshares, the BCCI front firm the nation's capital, and were accused of using political patronage to shield BCCI from full investigation.
Anderson's reputation began to crumble when it was revealed by Bernard Nossiter in The Washington Post that he had sought and received $290,000 from a Texas oilman while serving as Eisenhower's secretary of the Treasury. Anderson later pleaded guilty to federal charges of tax evasion and money laundering, and died in disgrace.
It is beyond the scope of this book to examine how Anderson, McCloy and the others administered the Black Eagle Trust from the top down. Because so much of the documentation is still sealed, we must content ourselves with evidence that has surfaced so far, and the players we know were involved in the field. But by looking briefly at what is known about the public side of the arrangements made at Bretton Woods, we find a window into the secret side.
One of the Seagraves' more controversial contentions is that the looting of Asia took place under the supervision of the Imperial household. This contradicts the American fiction that the Emperor was a pacifist and a mere figurehead observer of the war. The Seagraves convincingly argue that after Japan's full-scale invasion of China on 7 July 1937, Emperor Hirohito appointed one of his brothers, Prince Chichibu, to head a secret organisation called kin no yuri ('Golden Lily') whose function was to ensure that contraband was properly accounted for and not diverted by military officers or other insiders, such as Kodama, for their own enrichment. Putting an Imperial prince in charge was a guarantee that everyone, even the most senior commanders, would follow orders and that the Emperor personally would become immensely rich.
The Emperor also posted Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda, a first cousin, to the staff of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria and later as his personal liaison officer to the Saigon headquarters of General Count Hisaichi Terauchi, to supervise looting and ensure that the proceeds were shipped to Japan in areas under Terauchi's control. Although assigned to Saigon, Takeda worked almost exclusively in the Philippines as second in command to Chichibu. Hirohito named Prince Yasuhiko Asaka, his uncle, to be deputy commander of the Central China Area Army, in which capacity he commanded the final assault on Nanking, the Chinese capital, between 2 December and 6 December 1937, and allegedly gave the order to 'kill all captives'. The Japanese removed some 6000 tonnes of gold from Chiang Kai-shek's treasury and the homes and offices of the leaders of Nationalist China. All three princes were graduates of the military academy and all three survived the war; Chichibu died in 1953 of tuberculosis but the other two lived to a very ripe old age.
With the Japanese capture in the winter and spring of 1941-42 of all of South-East Asia, including the Philippines and Indonesia, the work of Golden Lily increased many times over. In addition to the monetary assets of the Dutch, British, French and Americans in their respective colonies, Golden Lily operatives absconded with as much of the wealth of the overseas Chinese populations as they could find, tore gilt from Buddhist temples, stole solid gold Buddhas from Burma, sold opium to the local populations and collected gemstones from anyone who had any. The gold was melted down into ingots at a big Japanese-run smelter in Ipoh, Malaya and marked with its degree of purity and weight. Chichibu and his staff inventoried all this plunder and put it aboard boats, usually disguised as hospital ships, bound for Japan. There was no overland route to Korea, the closest point on the mainland to Japan, until very briefly in late 1944.
A lot of gold and gems were lost as a result of American submarine warfare; and by early 1943, it was no longer possible for the Japanese to break through the Allied blockade of the main islands except by submarine. Chichibu therefore shifted his headquarters from Singapore to Manila and ordered all the shipments to head for Philippine ports. He and his staff reasoned that the war would end with a negotiated settlement, and they believed (or imagined) that the Americans could be persuaded to transfer the Philippines to Japan in return for an end to the war. From 1942, Chichibu supervised the building of 175 'Imperial' storage sites to hide the treasure until after the war was over. Slave labourers and POWs dug tunnels and caves and then were invariably buried alive, often along with Japanese officers and soldiers, when the sites were sealed to keep their locations secret. Each cache was booby-trapped, and the few extant Golden Lily maps are elaborately encoded to hide exact location, depth, air vents (if any) and types of booby trap (e.g. large aerial bombs, sand traps, poison gases). In Manila itself, Golden Lily constructed treasure caverns in the dungeon of the old Spanish Fort Santiago, within the former American military headquarters (Fort McKinley, now Fort Bonifacio), and under the cathedral, all places the Japanese rightly assumed the Americans would not bomb. As the war came to an end, Chichibu and Takeda escaped back to Japan by submarine.
Soon after the liberation of the Philippines, American special agents began to discover a few of the hidden gold repositories. The key figure was a Filipino American born in Luzon in either 1901 or 1907 named Severino Garcia Diaz Santa Romana (and several other aliases), who in the mid-1940s worked for MacArthur's chief intelligence officer, General Willoughby. As a commando behind the lines in the Philippines he had once witnessed the unloading of heavy boxes from a Japanese ship, their being placed in a tunnel, and the entrance being dynamited shut. He had already suspected what was going on. After the war, Santa Romana was joined in Manila by Captain Edward Lansdale of the OSS, the CIA's predecessor. Lansdale later became one of America's most notorious Cold Warriors, manipulating governments and armies in the Philippines and French Indo-China. He retired as a major-general in the Air Force.
Together, Santa Romana and Lansdale tortured the driver of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, Japan's last commander in the Philippines, forcing him to divulge the places where he had driven Yamashita in the last months of the war. Using hand-picked troops from the US Army's Corps of Engineers, these two opened about a dozen Golden Lily sites in the high valleys north of Manila. They were astonished to find stacks of gold ingots higher than their heads and reported this to their superiors. Lansdale was sent to Tokyo to brief MacArthur and Willoughby, and they, in turn, ordered Lansdale to Washington to report to Truman's national security aide, Clark Clifford. As a result, Robert Anderson, on the staff of the Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, returned to Tokyo with Lansdale and, according to the Seagraves, then flew secretly with MacArthur to the Philippines, where they personally inspected several caverns. They concluded that what had been found in Luzon, combined with the caches the Occupation had uncovered in Japan, amounted to several billion dollars' worth of war booty.
Back in Washington, it was decided at the highest levels, presumably by Truman, to keep these discoveries secret and to funnel the money into various off-the-books slush funds to finance the clandestine activities of the CIA. One reason, it has been alleged, was to maintain the price of gold and the system of fixed currency exchange rates based on gold, which had been decided at Bretton Woods in 1944. Just like the South African diamond cartel, Washington's plotters feared what would happen if this much 'new' gold was suddenly injected into world markets. They also realized that exposure of the Imperial household's role in the looting of Asia would destroy their by now carefully constructed cover story of the Emperor as a peaceful marine biologist. Washington concluded that even though Japan, or at least the Emperor, had ample funds to pay compensation to Allied POWs, because of the other deceptions, the peace treaty would have to be written in such a way that Japan's wealth would remain secret. The treaty therefore gave up all claims for compensation on behalf of American POWs. To keep the Santa Romana-Lansdale recoveries secret, MacArthur also decided to get rid of Yamashita, who had accompanied Chichibu on many site closings. After a hastily put-together court martial for war crimes, Yamashita was hanged on 23 February 1946.
On orders from Washington, Lansdale supervised the recovery of several Golden Lily vaults, inventoried the bullion, and had it trucked to warehouses at the US Naval base at Subic Bay or the Air Force base at Clark Field. According to the Seagraves, two members of Stimson's staff, together with financial experts from the newly formed CIA, instructed Santa Romana in how to deposit the gold in 176 reliable banks in 42 different countries. These deposits were made in his own name or in one of his numerous aliases in order to keep the identity of the true owners secret. Once the gold was in their vaults, the banks would issue certificates that are even more negotiable than money, being backed by gold itself. With this seemingly inexhaustible source of cash, the CIA set up slush funds to influence politics in Japan, Greece, Italy, Britain and many other places around the world. For example, money from what was called the 'M-Fund' (named after Major-General William Marquat of MacArthur's staff) was secretly employed to pay for Japan's initial rearmament after the outbreak of the Korean War, since the Japanese Diet itself refused to appropriate money for the purpose. The various uses to which these funds were put over the years, among them helping to finance the Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries in their attacks on the elected government in Managua (the Iran-Contra scandal of the Reagan Presidency), would require another volume. Suffice it to say that virtually everyone known to have been involved with the secret CIA slush funds derived from Yamashita's gold has had their career ruined.
This book is earth-shattering and faith-shaking, a well-documented tale of deceit at the highest levels of the US government. So controversial and potentially explosive are the findings of this book, to wit, that the White House recovered most of the Nazi and Japanese loot and created a secret slush fund for covert political operations world-wide, that the authors go the extra mile and offer, at a nominal price, two CD-ROMS containing 60,000 pages of supporting documentation including the Japanese treasure maps used by the US to recover the gold and other valuables.
Major players include Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Nixon, both Allen and John Foster Dulles, Douglas MacArthur, John McCloy, and the famous unconventional warrior Edward Lansdale. What we learn from this book is that those writing about "blowback" (the consequences of unwise US actions) have barely scratched the surface. What we learn is that rather than truly seeking to help the Japanese, Chinese, and other looted nations recover in the aftermath of WWII, the most senior leaders of the US government, no doubt with the best of intentions, actually conspired with Nazi bankers and the Japanese imperial family to create a Black Eagle Trust controlled by a very select hand-picked cabal in Washington.
Originally used to fight communism, the Black Eagle Trust, according to the authors and as thoroughly documented by the book and the two CD-ROMS (which I am happy to have in hand), quickly became a global slush fund used to bribe national leaders and manipulate elections around the world. This fund remains in existence today, making the Swiss Holocaust funds seem like loose-change. According to the authors, major banks are "addicted" to the funds and would face collapse if public investigations resulted in a forced return of this gold and related certificates to the rightful owners.
The authors have produced a magnificent work of both scholarship and investigative journalism. They document the extent of Japanese looting of Korea (beginning in 1895) and China as well as the other countries in the "co-prosperity sphere." They document the manner in which Japan hid most of the gold in the Philippines (some in Indonesia), and were forced to leave it there from 1943 onwards, when US submarine interdiction became too effective to risk shipments homeward.
I found the level of detail in this book to be quite gripping. The ingenious nature of the Japanese burial sites, with caverns below the more obvious tunnels, with sea-water protection, with maps created in reverse--and the in-bred cruelty of the Japanese, thinking nothing of burying all of the US and other national slave labor *and the Japanese engineers* alive as the final stage of protecting the looted treasure, leave one stunned.
The authors document the central role played by Lansdale in recognizing the opportunity and then briefing MacArthur and then President Truman. According to the authors, the architects of the Black Eagle Trust were three advisors to President's Roosevelt's Secretary of War, Henry Stimson: John McCloy (later head of the World Bank), Robert Lovett (later Secretary of Defense), and Robert Anderson (later Secretary of the Treasury). They made the case to Roosevelt, and presumably to Truman after Roosevelt died, that it would be impractical to return the looted gold to the rightful owners, in part because many of the looted countries were now under Soviet control.
The authors, who conducted many interviews in support of the work, including interviews of former CIA deputy director Ray Cline, who they say was involved with Lansdale and the gold in the 1940's and remained involved with the black gold through the 1980's, provide copies of documents showing the redirection of the looted gold to 176 bank accounts in 42 countries. The gold was then used to support the creation of gold bearer certificates that were in turned used to bribe the most senior officials around the world.
The authors tell a shocking tale of how quickly MacArthur chose to collaborate with the very leadership of Japan that declared war on the USA and was responsible for genocide and looting in Asia on a scale rarely achieved by anyone else. Bringing the story up to date, the authors show how prior attempts to investigate the Black Eagle Trust have led to the ruin of individuals such as Norbert Schlei, at one time deputy attorney general to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. While I have no direct knowledge and cannot be certain myself, I believe the authors have provided a sufficiently compelling case to warrant an international investigation concurrently with a General Accounting Office investigation to be chartered by Congress with unlimited supeona powers specifically directed against classified personalities and archives.
If this story is true, and I personally think that it is, then the US government, in active collusion with the very people the American people fought to defeat in WWII, has been guilty of fraud and depravity on a global scale and against the best interests of both the American people, and the against the rightful owners of the looted gold and other treasures. The authors may well have uncovered the last really big secret of the post-WW II era, and in so doing, opened the way for a restoration of the balance of power among diverse nations, and a sharp delimitation of the abuses that appear to characterize American leadership when it thinks it can rely on secret gold and stolen oil to engage in imperial adventures and domestic improprieties. As an American citizen and voter, and as a person of faith who believes that we must do unto others as we would have them do unto us, I find this book to be shocking, credible, and a basis for popular outrage and demands for truth and reconciliation.