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HIstory

HIstory

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Russel Lu Ang Denolan on Oct 08, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/09/2014

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1
 New Chapter 17 ~
GOLD WARRIORS
by Sterling & Peggy Seagrave
 CHAPTER 17
Grand Larceny 
After the first edition of this book was published, we werecontacted by new sources, with thousands more pages ofdocumentary evidence, and answers to many remaining questions.We now have photographic proof that Ben Valmores was, infact, the valet of Prince Takeda during the Pacific War, and was indirect contact with General Yamashita. This is verified by a phototaken by a Japanese Army photographer in occupied Manchuria inthe summer of 1944. It shows General Yamashita standing next toPrince Takeda, with young Ben Valmores immediately behind thegeneral.
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The prince went to Manchuria to brief Yamashita, whohad just been ordered by Emperor Hirohito to take over commandof all Japanese troops in the Philippines. A few days after thisphotograph was taken, the general flew to Manila. Although thephoto was published in 1944 in Japanese newspapers, Ben wasnot identified.
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The picture was one of Ben’s treasures, kepthidden in a tin box until two years after his death.More surprising, we located Yamashita’s chauffeur, MajorKojima Kashii, the man who gave Santa Romana and Lansdalethe secret locations of twelve imperial treasure vaults in 1945. Atthe time, Kojima was 31-years-old, serving as an aide to thegeneral, and as his driver. He was captured separately fromYamashita, and put in Bilibad Prison where Santy and Lansdalehad him tortured to reveal the locations of treasure sites thegeneral personally visited during the last year of the war. Later, thestory was put about by Lansdale that Kojima committed suicide inhis prison cell. In fact, we now know that Kojima readily gave inand agreed to show Santy and Lansdale a dozen treasure vaults inreturn for his freedom and a large bribe. Returning to Japan,where he kept a low profile with his family until the end of the U.S.occupation in the early 1950s, Kojima (travelling under variouspseudonyms) began making discreet trips back to the Philippines,with various partners. Posing as businessmen, they recovered
 
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 New Chapter 17 ~
GOLD WARRIORS
by Sterling & Peggy Seagrave
 treasure from imperial vaults and “officers’ stashes”, where goldand gems had been hidden in the closing months of the war.Many of these recoveries were made on Clark Air Force Base, withthe full knowledge and permission of the U.S. Government. (A briefsummary of these recoveries on the base appears in ourAnnotations.)
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For more than fifty years, these recoveries keptKojima a rich man. On our CDs we have a color photo of Kojimaat age 88, taken on his last visit to Manila in 2002, still lookingdashing and handsome. Our Filipino source, who met Kojima inManila in the 1990s, knew nothing of his past. He said Kojima atthat time used his name openly, but it meant nothing to him.Gradually, Kojima revealed more and more about his background,and how he knew the locations of so many vaults, travelling by carwith Yamashita. In 2002, Kojima said that would be his lastrecovery, and his last visit to Manila, because of age and health.When he did not return, Kojima’s Filipino friend gave us the photo,and recounted their adventures treasure hunting together.On his final trip in 2002, Kojima and his Japanese partnersrecovered two metric tons of small gold biscuit bars. They were insuch high spirits they became careless and had their Filipinohelpers drive them directly to a Japanese shipping line in SubicBay. At a warehouse beside the pier, the Filipinos were allowed towatch from a distance as Kojima and his associates slipped thesmall ingots through a hole in the massive front cylinder of a“steam roller”, typically used to flatten gravel aggregate duringhighway construction. The opening at the end of the roller wasthen welded shut and the machine was lifted by crane onto aJapanese freighter, to be taken to Yokohama for “repairs”.In a moment of nostalgia afterwards, while celebrating therecovery with a bottle of Suntory whisky, Kojima told our sourcewhat happened in late spring of 1945, when General Yamashitamoved with his troops into the wild mountains of the KianganPocket for their last defense of the war. Having no further need ofan automobile, Yamashita ordered Kojima to go to Dingalan Bay tooversee the unloading of treasure from a Japanese ship and hidingit in a tunnel ashore. Yamashita was giving his aide a chance toescape capture by U.S. troops, which is why Kojima waseventually captured separately.The riddle of Santa Romana’s true allegiance also has beenrevealed. We were always puzzled by whether he was really a CIAagent, when he seemed (until the early 1970s) to know so littleabout the Agency’s history and covert activities. Authoritativesources in Spain with strong ties to the Philippines have now
 
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 New Chapter 17 ~
GOLD WARRIORS
by Sterling & Peggy Seagrave
 confirmed that Santy was actually a secret agent of the Vatican.Santy did have ties to the wartime U.S. underground in thePhilippines, overseen for General MacArthur by General Whitney,General Willoughby, and Colonel McMicking. After the war, Santydid work in harness with Lansdale and the CIA. But his real loyaltywas to the Vatican. Sources close to the Manila archdiocesealways insisted that Santy was “working for the Vatican”, and wasnot a CIA agent.Our Spanish sources have now told us that Santy was“training for the Church” before the war. Given that he had beenmarried twice already, with children from both marriages, in acountry where divorce was illegal, he was a bigamist. So he wasclearly not training for the priesthood. Instead, long before theJapanese invasion, Santy became a lay member of one of theVatican’s militant orders. There are a number of these, mostprominent being the Jesuits, Dominicans, and Opus Dei. Thesources refuse to be explicit about which order Santy workeddirectly for, arguing that ultimately he was working for the bishopsand cardinals in charge of the Vatican’s financial office.After decades of shrinking Vatican influence in world affairs,the austere Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII, reached anaccommodation with Hitler that gave the Pope and the Vaticanincreased control of traditionally independent Catholics inGermany. Under Pius XII, the Vatican also was the only state toofficially recognize Japanese control of Manchuria. Even beforethe attack on Pearl Harbor, Emperor Hirohito’s emissaries werepressing the Pope to negotiate an eventual peace settlement toTokyo’s advantage, allowing Japan to keep the lands it conquered.To sweeten this bid for the Pope’s favor, Hirohito had his financialadvisers move $45-million to the Vatican bankin Rome and toVatican-controlled banks in Portugal and Spain.
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After invadingthe Philippines, however, Japanese brutality destroyed any hopeof Vatican support. So, while the Vatican’s relationship with theNazis remained ambiguous, its relationship with Japan chilled. Aschurches and cathedrals were desecrated to dig undergroundvaults for war loot, and priests and nuns were murdered, agentslike Santa Romana worked against the Japanese and kept logs ofwhich churches and cathedrals now hid hoards of treasure.In Luzon, Leyte, Cebu, and other islands during the war,Santy ran his own underground of hundreds of agents, includingpriests, bishops, and street rabble. Court documents show that itwas during the Japanese occupation that he firstinvented hismany pseudonyms, to avoid disclosing his real name.
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