AP. 2 February 2002. BBC Reports Korean Refugee Killings.
LONDON -- A British Broadcasting Corp. documentary aired Friday reported that U.S. warships killed up to 400 Korean refugees gathered on a beach during the early days of the Korean War. The documentary also cited new American witnesses to the killing by U.S. troops of civilian refugees under a railroad bridge at No Gun Ri in July 1950. The documentary entitled "Kill 'em All" cited "newly unearthed" military documents in which U.S. commanders, fearing North Korean infiltrators might be sheltering among refugees, issued orders to "shoot all refugees," and "All refugees ... are fair game." The documentary presented South Korean survivors who described the killing by U.S. soldiers of 82 villagers cowering in a small shrine. It also said that up to 400 civilians died when U.S. warships shelled a crowd of refugees on a beach. The BBC said the killings on the beach occurred Sept. 1, 1950, but the network did not name the ships involved. The BBC said it arrived at the 400 figure from interviews with survivors. "So many people were hit by the shrapnel," said survivor Choe Il- Chool. "So many were screaming and crying. The whole beach was full of mutilated bodies. The war ships were really close. The sound of the shells was so loud." The Pentagon declined to comment on the BBC report Friday. In January last year, the U.S. government said American soldiers killed or injured an unconfirmed number of refugees at No Gun Ri. The killings at No Gun Ri were first reported by a team of Associated Press reporters, who won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. A book by the same team, "The Bridge at No Gun Ri" describes 19 examples of American commanders ordering their soldiers to fire on civilian refugees. BBC documentary director Tom Roberts said Friday the film developed and broadened the initial reports on No Gun Ri. "By picking up where American news reporting left off, we have been able to shed a broader light on a dark underside, a hidden chapter, of a major 20th century war," said Roberts. The filmmakers said Pentagon officials declined to be interviewed for the film. In its 1999 report, AP quoted U.S. veterans and Korean survivors as saying Korean refugees were killed by U.S. troops over a three-day period at No Gun Ri. Ex-GIs spoke of 100, 200 or simply hundreds killed. The Koreans said 300 were shot to death and 100 died in a preceding air attack. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Barry Stoller http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ProletarianNews