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Gold Warriors

Jun 03, 2018




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    How Washington secretly recovered it to set up giant cold war slush funds and manipulateforeign governments.

    By Sterling Seagrave& Peggy Seagrave

    Copyright 2001


    Prologue ~ Buried AliveCh.1 ~ Behind the MaskCh.2 ~ rogue Saumrai

    Ch.3 ~ The Rape of ChinaCh.4 ~ Storming the IndiesCh.5 ~ Hiding the Plunder

    Ch.6 ~ The Eyewitness

    Ch. 7~ Down the Rabbit HoleCh. 8 ~ Dirty Tricks

    Ch. 9 ~ Heart of DarknessCh.10 ~ The Umbrella

    Ch.11 ~ Pointing the WayCh.12 ~ Sanctifying the Gold

    Ch.13 ~ The PaladinsCh.14 ~ Loose Cannons

    Ch.15 ~ Connect the DotsEpilogue Conflict of Interest

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    Gold Warriors



    In the closing months of World War II in the Philippines, while General Yamashita Tomoyukifought a delaying action in the mountains of northern Luzon, several of Japan s highest rankingimperial princes hid thousands of tons of looted Asian gold bullion and other treasure in cavesand tunnels near Bambang, planning to recover it later. When the treasure was secure andAmerican tanks were less than twenty miles away, 175 Japanese chief engineers responsiblefor treasure sites throughout the islands were given a farewell party. The party took placeunderground in a large vault stacked from end to end with gold bars. As the evening

    progressed, they drank great quantities of sake, sang patriotic songs and shouted Banzai( long life ) over and over. At midnight, General Yamashita and the princes slipped out, anddynamite charges were set off in the access tunnels, entombing the engineers so they wouldnever reveal the locations. The princes escaped to Japan by submarine, and GeneralYamashita surrendered to American troops three months later. Japan had lost the war militarily,but the princes made certain that Japan did not lose financially.

    This grisly event remained unknown for half a century, and the hidden treasurewas brushed off as a fanciful legend, called Yamashita s Gold . But an eyewitnessto the entombment has provided us with his personal account. During the war, BenValmores was the teenage Filipino valet of one of the senior princes, EmperorHirohito s first cousin, who decided at the last moment to spare Ben s life and led him

    out of the cave. Ben, in his late sixties now and in failing health, took us to the site ofthe fatal drinking party, and over a period of many months gave us a full account ofwhat he saw at 175 sites he visited with his prince, from early 1943 to mid-1945. Bentook us (or our colleagues) to the most important of these sites, and recounted all thathe saw and experienced. We reproduce photos of the sites and some of the originalmaps drawn by Japanese cartographers showing the vaults, their contents, and thebooby traps planted to discourage recovery by anyone else. We cross-checked withother witnesses everything Ben told us. This, in turn, led us to reinvestigate Japan ssystematic looting of twelve countries that it invaded and occupied from 1895 to 1945.

    In a previous book, THE YAMATO DYNASTY, we revealed for the first time thatHirohito s brother Prince Chichibu headed Japan s campaign of plunder. His

    organization was codenamed kin no yuri (Golden Lily). After reading THE YAMATODYNASTY, bestselling writer Iris Chang, author of THE RAPE OF NANKING, remarked:

    The Seagraves have discovered one of the biggest secrets of the twentieth century.What she referred to was a small but significant discovery we made by accident. In thefinal stages of work on that book we were told that in October 1945, American OSSagents learned where some of the Japanese treasure was hidden in the Philippines,and recovered very large quantities of gold bullion, platinum, and loose diamonds. Oursources, who included senior U.S. Government officials and high-ranking militaryofficers, told us that the Truman Administration decided in 1945 to set this treasureaside with recovered Nazi loot, as a secret fund to fight communism in the Cold War.

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    The fund would be used to bribe statesmen and military officers, and to buy elections foranti-communist political parties.

    We mentioned only the bare details in THE YAMATO DYNASTY because we feltthis was an important subject that merited separate study and investigation. GOLDENLILY is the result, a preliminary report on what we have since learned. We hope thatother researchers will pursue it further.

    We have established that in October 1945, when General Yamashitasurrendered and was put in New Bilibad Prison near Manila to await trial on charges ofwar crimes, his personal driver Major Kojima Kashii was tortured by an OSS agentnamed Severino Garcia Santa Romana. This took place at Bilibad under the directsupervision of Captain Edward G. Lansdale, later one of America s best known ColdWarriors. They were torturing the major to discover exactly where the Japanese hadhidden treasure in the last twelve months of the war. They believed that Major Kojima

    must have driven General Yamashita to a number of these sites. They knew thatJapanese soldiers had been hiding gold bullion in caves and tunnels, becauseintelligence officers with Filipino guerrilla forces had observed them doing so, and ontwo occasions they had opened the tunnels after the Japanese left, and saw what wasinside. Thousands of other Japanese POWs also were interviewed, adding moredetails to what the OSS knew about Golden Lily.

    Early in November 1945, Major Kojima broke under the torture and tookLansdale and Santa Romana to more than twelve sites in northern Luzon ranging fromBambang all the way to Aparri at the upper tip. At that point Lansdale flew to Tokyo andWashington to report up the chain of command, while Santa Romana and others set toopening the first of these vaults. Lansdale briefed General MacArthur and General

    Willoughby in Tokyo and then to General Hoyt Vandenberg, head of Central IntelligenceGroup, in Washington, and finally to Clark Clifford, special adviser to President Truman.Truman, after discussions with his cabinet, decided to keep this a state secret. This wasmade easier by the fact that the occupation of Japan was strictyl an American affair,and the Philippines were still an American possession. So Washington completelycontrolled the secret of Golden Lily and the recovery of the treasure.

    Lansdale returned to Tokyo with Robert B. Anderson, a future secretary of theTreasury who had been a financial consultant to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson. Ithad been Stimson s idea to set aside all recovered Axis war loot after the war as acovert action fund to foster anti-communist governments throughout the world. One ofStimson s deputies, John J. McCloy, later head of the World Bank, had worked with

    Robert B. Anderson in developing this idea, which was discussed and agreed in secretwhen forty-four countries met at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 to plan thepostwar world economy. After further discussions with General MacArthur in Tokyo,Anderson and MacArthur flew secretly to Manila with Lansdale and were taken by SantaRomana on a tour of the sites he had already opened. In them, Anderson andMacArthur strolled down row after row of gold bars stacked two meters tall, representingbillions of dollars in value.

    All of this has been confirmed to us by a number of sources at the highest level,including former CIA deputy director Ray Cline, who was involved in all of this from theSanta Romana recoveries in 1945 to Cline s retirement in 1973, at which point he

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    became head of the Center for Strategic & International Studies at GeorgetownUniversity. It was also confirmed to us by Major General Lansdale when we interviewed

    him at his home in McLean, Virginia, several years before his death, although at thetime we did not appreciate the significance of what he said about the torture of MajorKojima. It was only after working on a number of books related to this topic over someeighteen years, including THE MARCOS DYNASTY, LORDS OF THE RIM, and THEYAMATO DYNASTY, that missing pieces clicked into place and the full impact of whatLansdale had said sank in..

    We also located intelligence officers who directly observed the Japanese hidingthe gold in Luzon, including U.S. Navy Warrant Officer John C. Ballinger whose sonGene gave us access to records and photographs.

    We had known about Ben Valmores for fifteen years before we knew enough toask him the right questions. We knew that Ben had been the valet of a senior prince,

    but he claimed to know the prince only by a nom de guerre, Kimsu Marakusi . It waspartly in an effort to discover which princes were involved that we were led to researchand write THE YAMATO DYNASTY. Eventually, we discovered that Ben s wartimemaster was Prince Takeda Tsuneyoshi, first cousin of Emperor Hirohito and grandsonof Emperor Meiji. When we ran blind tests on Ben using period photos of the princesfrom the late 1930s and early 1940s, with all names removed, he instantly identifiedPrince Takeda, Hirohito s two brothers Prince Chichibu and Prince Mikasa, and theelder Prince Asaka who had commanded the Japanese army at the Rape of Nanking.Ben had spent time with all of them, bringing them tea and cigarettes while they carriedout inventories at each treasure site. Ben had never been outside of the Philippines,and spent most of his life as a rice farmer, so his identification of the princes and their

    correct names is persuasive. Subsequently, Japanese sources who had worked forGolden Lily as young men, confirmed to us that these were the senior princescontrolling Golden Lily and reporting directly to H