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The Seizing of the Pueblo

Article #239 • Written by Alan Bellows

The USS Pueblo (AGER-2)
The USS Pueblo (AGER-2)

In January 1968, the US Navy electronic surveillance ship USS Pueblo was quietly lurking off the east coast of North Korea, its assorted antennae pricked to absorb any kind of interesting electronic transmissions. There was little doubt that the North Koreans would cease any intelligence-worthy communications if they learned that the "environmental research" ship was eavesdropping, so the Pueblo's crew operated under radio silence to avoid detection. Nevertheless, there was surprisingly little for the sophisticated electronics to observe; in terms of signals, Soviet-friendly Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was uncharacteristically quiet. With so little information to pore over, the only interruption in the monotony was the occasional task of chipping the thick frosting of ice from the deck.

But on 22 January, something out of the ordinary happened. Two gray fishing trawlers spotted the Pueblo and circled her for a time, clearly agitated despite the fact that the US Navy ship was in international waters. There seemed to be little cause for concern, however, since such encounters were not unheard of. The trawlers departed without incident, so Commander Lloyd Bucher reported the episode and continued with his mission. Had the shore-side Navy personnel informed the Commander of the goings-on in Korea in the hours leading up to the event, he may have reconsidered his decision to remain so close to the edge of Korean territorial waters.

The previous evening, thirty-one North Korean operatives had secretly crossed the the demilitarized zone (DMZ) into South Korea. Clad in South Korean military uniforms, the commandos were within a block of their target-- the Presidential Palace-- before being detected. In the ensuing gunfight, twenty-nine of the would-be assassins were killed and one committed suicide. The single surviving prisoner was questioned, where he revealed that his mission had been to murder President Park and other senior government officials.

Unaware of the troubles onshore, the Pueblo began what was scheduled to be the final day of monitoring. The day was uneventful until lunchtime, when the crew's meal was interrupted by a report of a North Korean warship advancing upon them at high speed. The patrol vessel approached at forty knots, and as it grew near it raised signal flags to demand that the Pueblo identify its nationality. Unease grew as the crew realized that the intercepting vessel was at battle stations. Commander Bucher verified by radar that his ship was indeed further than twelve nautical miles from shore, and therefore in international waters. The crew hoisted the American flag in response as three torpedo boats were spotted approaching from the coast.

A staged surrender
A staged surrender

The signal-flag conversation led to an alarming message from the DPRK patrol boat: HEAVE TO OR I WILL FIRE. Two MiG fighters buzzed the Pueblo, and two additional warships were sighted on the horizon, approaching fast. Bucher gave orders to make for the open sea. As a torpedo boat attempted to pull alongside, Pueblo's pilot maneuvered the ship to prevent an armed group of soldiers from boarding. Retreat was the crew's only option; her weapons were sealed under a thick layer of winter ice. In response to her distress call the Naval Security Group in Japan promised to send fighters. The Pueblo vainly attempted to outrun the smaller, faster warships, but the DPRK ships gave chase, and shortly opened fire.

A hail of 57mm explosive rounds peppered the US Navy ship as she maneuvered away, and one of the pursuers opened a torpedo tube to prepare to fire. After a brief chase, Commander Bucher accepted the hopelessness of escape and gave the order to begin destroying all sensitive documents and equipment. The ship came to halt as crew members frantically loaded the incinerator with documents, threw materials over the side, and smashed equipment with hammers. The task was daunting, however, as the spy vessel had been furnished with a great deal of highly sensitive materials. In order to prevent further attacks, Commander Bucher complied with the attacker's signal to follow them back towards the shore.

The DPRK vessels fired upon the Pueblo again when she stopped just outside of the Korean territorial waters. Seaman Duane Hodges was mortally wounded in the attack, and several others were injured as they stood on the deck and flung materials into the sea. Without assistance, and unable to respond to the aggression with due violence, Commander Bucher had no choice but to order that they continue. Shortly after leaving international waters, the Pueblo was boarded. High-ranking North Korean officials were among those who seized the ship, overseeing the capture as the Pueblo's crew were bound, blindfolded, and beaten. When the ship arrived at the dock in Wonsan, the eighty-three American prisoners were paraded off the ship to the cheers of a gathered crowd. The promised support fighters never arrived.

The United States responded to the events by amassing a Naval Task Force in the Sea of Japan. They demanded the return of the Pueblo and her crew, but the DPRK government refused to comply. Despite the provocation, the US military knew that a daring plan to storm the North Korean docks had a dismal likelihood chance of success. There was little doubt that the crew would be executed immediately in the event of an attack, and the DPRK's Communist allies would almost certainly rise to defend their sister country. Though contingency plans included the use of military force, it was ruled out as means to recover the crew alive. President Johnson begrudgingly ordered that no strike take place as he explored diplomatic solutions.

Over the following weeks the military stalemate was punctuated by a series of photos, films, and letters depicting the crew of the Pueblo enjoying their comfortable stay in North Korea. On the surface, these communications seemed to indicate that the crew had willingly defected to the DPRK, but they contained numerous oddities. In letters home the crew members spoke of events which had never occurred, they used archaic words in their press conferences, and they appeared in a curiously large number of the photographs with their middle fingers extended to the cameraman.

A crew member flashing the 'Hawaiian good luck sign'
A crew member flashing the 'Hawaiian good luck sign'

Unaware of these secret signals, the North Korean captors continued to threaten, torture, and coerce the crew members to prompt them to cooperate. They rehearsed staged press conferences and posed for photographs. In order to spare his youngest crew member from execution, Commander Bucher also agreed to sign a confession stating that the Pueblo had been in North Korean territorial waters at the time of the attack. All the while the men continued to subtly use "the finger" to signal to the US that the photos were staged propaganda. The North Koreans were unfamiliar with the western gesture, though after it appeared in many photos they asked the Americans about it. The Pueblo's crew had agreed in advance to describe it as the "Hawaiian good luck sign," and their captors seemed to accept that explanation.

While in captivity the prisoners were regularly beaten, with little hope of rescue. They were subjected to ridiculous lessons on the North Koreans' version of US history which depicted the country as it was in the late 1800s. The were smothered in propaganda propping up the "Glorious Fatherland" in contrast to the "cowardly US imperialistic aggressors."

In October 1968, Time magazine published a photo of the prisoners displaying their Hawaiian good luck sign, and from the photo's caption the DPRK military learned that the gesture was one of "obscene derisiveness and contempt." This discovery infuriated the North Korean captors, bringing about a period of beatings which came to be known as "Hell week." During a seven day period, every member of the crew was brutally tortured in reprisal.

On 22 December the men were told that the US had decided to apologize for the Pueblo's reckless trespass into DPRK waters, and that the men of the Pueblo's crew were to be freed. Fearing a ruse designed to demoralize them, the men had little hope of being released. The following day they boarded a train which transported them to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, at which point they disembarked. After eleven months of captivity, the eighty-two surviving men walked across the Bridge of no Return which spanned the border of the DMZ, and met with US forces on the other side. In order to expedite the prisoners' release, the US had provided North Korea with a written admission that the ship had been spying, as well as an official apology. Once the crew members were secured, however, they quickly retracted the admission and apology. The crew of the Pueblo were promptly flown back to the US, where they were met with their families and a cheering crowd of flag-waving supporters.

Commander Bucher and his crew appeared before a Navy Court of Inquiry regarding the Pueblo matter, and after extensive testimony a court martial was recommended for himself and the Officer in Charge of the Research Department, Lt. Steve Harris. Upon hearing this news the Secretary of the Navy rejected the notion outright, stating, "They have suffered enough."

A guided tour of the USS Pueblo
A guided tour of the USS Pueblo

Today the USS Pueblo still resides in North Korea , where it is celebrated as one of the county's most popular tourist attractions. Guided tours are offered which describe the DPRK version of the events. A North Korean website summarizes the story as follows:

"In January Juche 57 (1968) the navy of the Korean People’s Army captured the US imperialist armed spy ship Pueblo in the very act of espionage in the territorial waters of Korea. Like a thief raising a hue and cry, the US imperialists raved about “reprisals,” and ordered out many war vessels including a nuclear aircraft carrier and aircraft, bringing the situation to the brink of war.

Kim Il Sung denounced the US moves as a shameless aggressive act that would threaten peace and security of the DPRK and its people, and clarified the principled stand that the Korean people would retaliate for “retaliation” and return all-out war for all-out war.

Alarmed by Kim Il Sung’s resolute stand and the unyielding fighting will and indestructible strength of the Korean people who were rallied closely around their leader Kim Il Sung, the US imperialists signed a letter of apology, recognizing their aggressive act in the eyes of the world and guaranteeing that no US warship would intrude into the territorial waters of the DPRK again."

Though at the time the US downplayed the intelligence loss suffered, it is generally believed that the Pueblo's secrets were of significant value to the Soviets. There are some indications that the Russian government had urged the North Korean military to seize a US spy vessel in order to provide them with American secrets. They had been lagging 3-5 years behind in communications technology, but after reverse-engineering the US equipment and code books the Soviets made dramatic improvements to their systems.

Many member of the Pueblo crew still survive today, though Commander Bucher died in 2004, due in part to injuries sustained while in captivity. The USS Pueblo Veteran's Association maintains a website which shares the personal accounts of many of those who suffered torture while remaining resolute and defiant. To this day, the USS Pueblo remains at the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, though it is still considered a commissioned ship in the US Navy.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 04 December 2006. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

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83 Comments
Alan Bellows
Posted 04 December 2006 at 03:46 pm

Incidentally, we realize that we've had a abundance of military articles recently... but we've got some shiny non-military articles coming up soon(ish). Honest.

Oh, and.... FIRST!


FMZ
Posted 04 December 2006 at 04:15 pm

Damn, the only time I am beat to a "FIRST"... and it is by the article's author... hehe

Damn interesting!


Makana
Posted 04 December 2006 at 04:30 pm

"they appeared in a curiously large number of the photographs with their middle fingers extended to the cameraman."

lol


interestedgirl
Posted 04 December 2006 at 05:48 pm

seems odd that even after the Korean War, the North Koreans had no clue what the "Hawaiian good luck sign" really meant!

lol


Prince
Posted 04 December 2006 at 06:07 pm

I wonder who the editor of the Time magazine in 68, and how low his I.Q was.


Chris
Posted 04 December 2006 at 06:08 pm

And now the Pueblo is a popular tourist attraction?!! Hope they include lots of photos of the captive crew, with extended fingers..........


Xoebe
Posted 04 December 2006 at 06:27 pm

It's not too late to get it back...


fecalmatters
Posted 04 December 2006 at 07:49 pm

We should grab a tourist attraction of our own... like Kim Jung Il.


qbert48
Posted 04 December 2006 at 09:17 pm

all the while the men continued to subtly use "the finger" to signal to the US that the photos were staged propaganda.

what a show of bravery that is far too lacking today. our world is in 1938 all over again wake up and see iran and then well, build a shelter and listen to glenn beck


SparkyTWP
Posted 05 December 2006 at 12:02 am

Can we PLEASE not have this turn into a another political debate that has nothing to do with the article?

And to stay on topic, for anyone wanting to see the Pueblo in person, feel free to go to here.

From what I've read, north korean tours are... interesting. You're never left alone and the itinerary is firmly set by the government. You cannot talk to anyone except your tour guide and they withold your passport while there to keep you in line.


sh0cktopus
Posted 05 December 2006 at 01:26 am

North Korea is definitely one of the wackiest places on earth. Kim Jong Il makes Bush look like a philospher-king. As for those who are surprised about the one-fingered salute not being recognized, the same thing could happen in America. For example, a German could give what looks to you like the gesture for "okay," but in reality be calling you an asshole. I wonder if any of those guys ever sued Time magazine for being so stupid. If that happened today, you can bet there would be a lawsuit brewing. Looking forward to the next article (that doesn't relate to the military)!


Drakvil
Posted 05 December 2006 at 02:37 am

I hope the source of the photographs used was that NK published them. While the article doesn't mention how Time got the photos, it seems bad form today for our military to release photos of soldiers held captive by an enemy (specifically photos of them in captivity I should say).

I'm surprised that Time actually added a caption detailing the meaning of "extending the middle finger"... that seems so out of character for a print publication. Then again, what do I know of the time period- I was only 1 at the time.

I'm happy to hear that there wasn't a lawsuit - for no other reason than I like hearing about a time when this country wasn't lawsuit happy.

And I'll second SparkyTWP's request that we not get into political debates here - that's what the rest of the frigging internet is for (well, at least the parts not dedicated to porn). Let's enjoy Alan's DI article!


Vivendi
Posted 05 December 2006 at 05:59 am

"Commander Bucher verified by radar that his ship was indeed further than twelve nautical miles from shore, and therefore in international waters."

I'd just like to say that it's quite possible that the ship was indeed in DPRK's territory. In the end, the ship may or may not have been in international waters, it's unlikely we'll ever know for a fact.


MikeyMouse
Posted 05 December 2006 at 06:11 am

I'm surprised that Time actually added a caption detailing the meaning of "extending the middle finger"… that seems so out of character for a print publication. Then again, what do I know of the time period- I was only 1 at the time.

they almost certainly didn't detail the meaning in the article. its more likely they said something about the brave hero's risking beatins to show us that these were propaganda photos
and the koreans but 1 and 1 together and looked into the "one finger salute"


Bolens
Posted 05 December 2006 at 06:41 am

Not talk politics on THIS subject? Well, er, OK. [lol]

A comparison of the economic and social structures of North Korea with South Korea would be of interest as a follow up on this article. However, economics and social structures happen within the realms and influence of politics and religious structures, so it would be a horrific task for our beloved DI crew.

Alan, an excellent article, as always. Struggling the "whys" of things help shape our understanding of the world we live in, so don't get flustered if people go on political and theological tangents. Keep `em coming Alan, and God bless you (oops) during this hanaramaquansmas time (that's better).


wargammer2005
Posted 05 December 2006 at 06:50 am

SparkyTWP said: "Can we PLEASE not have this turn into a another political debate that has nothing to do with the article?


And to stay on topic, for anyone wanting to see the Pueblo in person, feel free to go to here.

From what I've read, north korean tours are… interesting. You're never left alone and the itinerary is firmly set by the government. You cannot talk to anyone except your tour guide and they withold your passport while there to keep you in line."

the problem is simple
the same traitor-crats that were running the goverment that left these brave men for months are now back in control of Congress.

if we do not learn from history, we will keep making the same mistakes.


another viewpoint
Posted 05 December 2006 at 06:51 am

...in times of war or other military conflicts tody, you need go no further than CNN Headline News to get the latest military operation secrets, locations and other information that would provide value to "the enemy". Kind of makes the Time Magazine article look like kindergarden finger coloring.

Some things are just better off left secret until the conflict is over...afterwhich, there will be plenty of time to BBQ your public and military officials.


Radiatidon
Posted 05 December 2006 at 07:40 am

The greatest flaw anyone can make is to assume other cultures think as we do. In the 1980s during a visit to Moscow, Russia, one of my friends became irate when continually questioned by a “little old grandmother”. We had been “warned” not to talk to locals, as you never knew who could be KGB, nor to joke as our humor is not understood. He broke the cardinal rule. We were waiting for the rest of our party to pass customs when he snapped at her.

It was only the fifteenth time that she asked if he or any members of his family worked for the CIA. He responded that he was a super secret undercover agent sent to blow up the Kremlin with his atomic hairdryer. Within moments he was dragged away while I had two Red Army regulars aiming AK47s at me.

I stood there with my arms held-up wondering if we were going to enjoy Red hospitality in one of the USSR’s finest establishments. When my arms started to ache, I asked if I could lower them. One soldier smiled as he replied in broken English… “Why should I care? You raised them.” Sic.

Long story short, we were told to leave the terminal. To enjoy our stay but we had better be on our best behavior as we would be watched. My friend, he had been questioned and probed were even the sun don’t shine. For the rest of the trip he was very cautious in whom he talked to or what he said.

Side note – That thumb-up gesture to signal a ride is not universal. In some countries it assumes the role of the middle finger in the US.


jubripley
Posted 05 December 2006 at 09:28 am

"after extensive testimony a court martial was recommended for himself and the Officer in Charge of the Research Department, Lt. Steve Harris"

why?


7HS
Posted 05 December 2006 at 09:52 am

jubripley said: ""after extensive testimony a court martial was recommended for himself and the Officer in Charge of the Research Department, Lt. Steve Harris"

why?"

Because he piloted his ship willingly into North Korean territorial waters (in order to save the lives of his crewmen, but that's a secondary consideration in the military, it seems.)


anthemion
Posted 05 December 2006 at 10:01 am

wargammer2005 said: "the problem is simple
the same traitor-crats that were running the goverment that left these brave men for months are now back in control of Congress."

Comments like these are senseless, off-topic, and rude. The quality of the comments section has really dropped off in the last few months, in part, I suspect, because so many self-obsessed posters choose to air their simplistic political beliefs instead of discussing the article. There are sites where it's appropriate to recycle the reactionary clichés you picked up on talk radio, but this is not one of them.


anthemion
Posted 05 December 2006 at 10:10 am

7HS said: "Because he piloted his ship willingly into North Korean territorial waters (in order to save the lives of his crewmen, but that's a secondary consideration in the military, it seems.)"

I've heard that it's standard practice to court-martial a commander who loses a ship, but I have no idea if that's true. After reading the article, I assumed he was blamed for not keeping the ship's weapons in a ready state, but I have no idea whether that's true either.


IndySteve
Posted 05 December 2006 at 10:18 am

I love the use of the bird to signal the lack of compliance with their captors. Does anyone know if US divisions in Iraq have similar strategies in place in case they are captured? It's practically guaranteed that if US troops are captured in Iraq, they will end up on video. So some sort of signal would seem highly useful.


Zaphod2016
Posted 05 December 2006 at 10:20 am

1968 was 38 years ago. A 25 year old Congessman in 1968 would be 63 today. A 45 year old Congressman in 1968 would be 83 today. wargammer2005 will be pleased to know that these people are long gone.

Forgive me SparkyTWP, but I feel the moral of today's story is to combat propaganda. No further debate is needed.


Radiatidon
Posted 05 December 2006 at 10:29 am

anthemion said: "I've heard that it's standard practice to court-martial a commander who loses a ship, but I have no idea if that's true. After reading the article, I assumed he was blamed for not keeping the ship's weapons in a ready state, but I have no idea whether that's true either."

It is a common practice to convene a Standard court martial whenever a ship is lost. It is used to examine and officially enter into the ships records the circumstances resulting in its loss. This does not mean that the captain or crew is suspected of wrongdoing, and could be used to clear them of any suspicions. Many captains will request a court martial hearing just to do that, clear their names of any misdeeds.


anthemion
Posted 05 December 2006 at 10:49 am

Radiatidon said: "It is a common practice to convene a Standard court martial whenever a ship is lost. It is used to examine and officially enter into the ships records the circumstances resulting in its loss. This does not mean that the captain or crew is suspected of wrongdoing, and could be used to clear them of any suspicions. Many captains will request a court martial hearing just to do that, clear their names of any misdeeds."

Ah, so it's a general 'court of inquiry' rather than a court martial directed at the captain per se. I was confused, because after my comment I did a bit of research, and came across the Wikipedia entry on Captain Charles B. McVay III of the USS Indianapolis, which says:

"...although 700 ships of the U.S. Navy were lost in combat in World
War II, McVay was the only captain to be court-martialed."

(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_B._McVay_III)

Thanks for clearing that up!


G
Posted 05 December 2006 at 10:55 am

Stupid Korea... Shoulda just blasted em and got our men and ship back!


Radiatidon
Posted 05 December 2006 at 11:20 am

The USS Pueblo also had minimal defensive weapons since she was considered an intelligence vessel. Equipped with only four 50-caliber machine guns there really would not have been much she could do against any warships. Intelligence ships were only to conduct operations in international waters so were considered non-combatant ships.

Interesting enough, her sister ship the USS Liberty also suffered an unlucky fate. On June 8, 1967 the USS Liberty was monitoring Soviet communications near the Sinai Peninsula during the Arab/Israeli War. Due to the nature of the ship’s operation, no flag was flown, nor was her location reported to any allies.

Israeli troops reported being shelled by enemy warships, and a flight wing was sent to cover them. Due to miscommunications, the wing attacked the USS Liberty. Israeli torpedo boats also attack her. The comm. Officer tried to discover a clear channel to identify the ship as friendly. Unfortunately the Israeli’s had scrambled the airwaves per SOP.

By the time the Israelis realized their mistake, 34 Americans died, 171 were wounded, and the USS Liberty was destroyed. Even though both the Israelis and the Russians offered aid to the dying ship, her captain refused. Instead he waited for assistance from the fast approaching US fleet.

The Israelis immediately reported their error to the US Embassy, and to the US state department. It was ruled an unfortunate accident by all involved.


Romeo702
Posted 05 December 2006 at 11:32 am

jubripley said: ""after extensive testimony a court martial was recommended for himself and the Officer in Charge of the Research Department, Lt. Steve Harris"


why?"

Article 0730, which reads

'The commanding officer shall not submit his command to be searched by any persons representing a foreign state; will not permit any of the personnel under his command to be removed . . . by such persons so long as he has the power to resist.'

The North Koreans were able to obtain over a ton of classified documents from the captured Pueblo because of his actions. He was deserving of that court martial and the only reason the Navy brass dropped it was because of they didn't want the embarassment of prosecuting a POW/war hero.


He admits he makes no attempt to scuttle the boat after the first boarding attempt.
Check out some testimony excerpts: http://www.usspueblo.org/v2f/aftermath/afterframe.html.


Romeo702
Posted 05 December 2006 at 11:49 am

Radiatidon said: "It is a common practice to convene a Standard court martial whenever a ship is lost. It is used to examine and officially enter into the ships records the circumstances resulting in its loss. This does not mean that the captain or crew is suspected of wrongdoing, and could be used to clear them of any suspicions. Many captains will request a court martial hearing just to do that, clear their names of any misdeeds."

That is the purpose of a court of inquriy. A court martial is leveling specific charges of wrong doing against a person. We call the cops to investigate a traffic accident, it doesn't mean either driver was in the wrong - its an inquiry. When the district attorney's office files charges of reckless driving - that equates to a court martial.


Rinson Drei
Posted 05 December 2006 at 12:17 pm

Stupid people who disagree with me. By posting opinions contrary to mine, you are politicizing this forum. You fail to realize that you're wrong and I'm smarter than you.


denki
Posted 05 December 2006 at 12:30 pm

Well, for reading how distorted Korea has made this event, just try to keep in mind that the news we get from the front lines isn't always represented truthfully. Recently Robert Gates (Rumsfeld's successor) admits that the US is not winning the war in Iraq (according to Forbes). All I'm getting at here is to take everything with a few grains of salt.


anthemion
Posted 05 December 2006 at 12:43 pm

Rinson Drei said: "By posting opinions contrary to mine, you are politicizing this forum."

No, people politicize this forum by posting comments that are inflammatory and bear no relevance to the original article. This is not only rude, it leads to pointless off-topic flame wars that distract from the issue at hand. There are sites where it is appropriate to discuss politics; this is not one of them.


Prince
Posted 05 December 2006 at 12:53 pm

Rinson Drei= on behalf of all posters with an I.Q above 100, I say to you, shut up and go sit in the corner


HarleyHetz
Posted 05 December 2006 at 01:30 pm

anthemion said: "No, people politicize this forum by posting comments that are inflammatory and bear no relevance to the original article. This is not only rude, it leads to pointless off-topic flame wars that distract from the issue at hand. There are sites where it is appropriate to discuss politics; this is not one of them."

It seems to me that you are expending as much effort to discourage those who would express their opinions as those who would express them, you are also just as off topic, and filling the comment section with just as much drivel...but then I am not the internet police so I really don't care...


huerndy
Posted 05 December 2006 at 02:08 pm

What Rinson Drei said was more of a joke.

Rinson Drei said: "Stupid people who disagree with me. By posting opinions contrary to mine, you are politicizing this forum. You fail to realize that you're wrong and I'm smarter than you."

It is criticism on the nature of comments, and the ludicrousness of some of the totally unsubstantiated out-of-left-field connections and phrases people make, such as:

qbert48 said: "what a show of bravery that is far too lacking today. our world is in 1938 all over again wake up and see iran and then well, build a shelter and listen to glenn beck"

wargammer2005 said: "the same traitor-crats that were running the goverment that left these brave men for months are now back in control of Congress."

Drei also points out that people obstinately believe they are the ones who are right, and because of this view, they hold those who disagree with them in low regard.

But I'm taking this way too far, and I might be wrong. Now, back on the topic at hand...ADHD. :)


AntEconomist
Posted 05 December 2006 at 02:10 pm

IndySteve said: "Does anyone know if US divisions in Iraq have similar strategies in place in case they are captured?"

Here's an interesting modern day equivalent...

http://www.snopes.com/photos/military/crossed.asp


me09
Posted 05 December 2006 at 02:44 pm

Who was the idiot that published that Time issue...?


anna k
Posted 05 December 2006 at 02:52 pm

So, in another topic that does not involve flames at all, weren't there a couple of Commander-in-Chief episodes about this? Pretty much bang on the beginning of this story, except it was a sub, not a ship. And then the crew got rescued. Let's put Geena Davis and Donald Sutherland in charge. Ach, the joy of television presidents and North Korean bonkersness...


avturk
Posted 05 December 2006 at 03:33 pm

How about a damn interesting article on the U.S.S. Liberty?


Cesium
Posted 05 December 2006 at 03:54 pm

avturk said: "How about a damn interesting article on the U.S.S. Liberty?"

Seems Radiatidon has already touched on the facts for the U.S.S. Liberty.

Radiatidon said: "Interesting enough, her sister ship the USS Liberty also suffered an unlucky fate. On June 8, 1967 the USS Liberty was monitoring Soviet communications near the Sinai Peninsula during the Arab/Israeli War."


Hoptimus Prime
Posted 05 December 2006 at 04:27 pm

IndySteve said: "I love the use of the bird to signal the lack of compliance with their captors. Does anyone know if US divisions in Iraq have similar strategies in place in case they are captured? It's practically guaranteed that if US troops are captured in Iraq, they will end up on video. So some sort of signal would seem highly useful."

Is that you Osama? Ha! Nice try! We're not telling you our secret handshake.


barvindh
Posted 05 December 2006 at 06:18 pm

Now i have a question for you guys.

Was the "good luck sign" created by god, or did it evolve?


fecalmatters
Posted 05 December 2006 at 08:55 pm

neither. Spontaneous generation.


Drakvil
Posted 05 December 2006 at 09:31 pm

In addition to the USS Liberty, how about an article on the USS Lane Victory?


nieglesnush
Posted 06 December 2006 at 05:59 am

The origin of 'flipping the bird' is actually the 13th century, around the time of the 100 years war. The English depended heavily on their longbowmen at the time. A longbow has a much farther range than a crossbow, which is what the French were using, and is plucked using your middle finger. The English longbowmen took to taunting their French adversaries by displaying the offending appendage (when it was not engaged in plucking said bowstring).


SparkyTWP
Posted 06 December 2006 at 08:40 am

nieglesnush: It's an urban legend. The bird has been around a lot longer than that.

Snopes article about it

Wikipedia article about it


barvindh
Posted 06 December 2006 at 09:10 am

actually, the bird was just created in 1950, but god made it appear to us like its been around forever just to mislead us. Its called intelligent f*ing design :-)


Ironclaw
Posted 06 December 2006 at 10:03 am

Xoebe says:
It's not too late to get it back…

....

Getting the ship back is perhaps too risky..
I suggest just finishing the job of scuttling the ship.. its not theirs to break anyway..
In my opinion its better to have a scuba diving reef than a tourist attraction.


Krull
Posted 06 December 2006 at 12:01 pm

In fairness though - they were spying... Even if it was from international waters


SparkyTWP
Posted 06 December 2006 at 12:36 pm

There's a large difference between spying from international waters and from inside a border. The north koreans have the right to do the same off our coast if they desire. Although I believe this is more difficult now since territorial waters have been extended past the 12 mile limit after this incident.


Rush
Posted 06 December 2006 at 01:45 pm

Keep to Military Stories coming.


Radiatidon
Posted 06 December 2006 at 02:32 pm

Krull said: "In fairness though - they were spying… Even if it was from international waters"

In fairness though - they were also spying on us and we knew they were. The difference is that we did not break international agreement as they did. By entering international waters and taking a ship under force is recognized as piracy.

Our hands were tied since at that time there was too much at risk with the Vietnam War and the unsteady ground between North Korea’s buddy (the USSR) and the USA.

Years ago I worked in FCA monitoring the airwaves. During one mission we disabled a USSR spy ship when it entered a US testing region in the South Pacific. We did not care that they were in our waters; actually we wanted them to see the test. It was not until they started scrambling our communications that we zapped them. We did not fire upon the ship, we did not take prisoners, and we allowed them to “limp” back out of our testing range. When we “hit” their ship, we fried most of their electronics and blew every circuit breaker onboard. It took them four hours to band-aid their systems enough so that they could make 12 knots to get back into international waters. Shortly after they were “rescued” by a USSR cargo ship about 20 miles from us.

This was also not the first encounter with USSR spy ships in our test range.


portsmouth101
Posted 06 December 2006 at 02:59 pm

Xoebe said: "It's not too late to get it back…"

fecalmatters said: "We should grab a tourist attraction of our own… like Kim Jung Il."

I agree with these both. We SHOULD get these guys back, and we SHOULD kick NK's butt before they develop actually working nukes.... (Only took them 50 years after us)

NK is actually starting to be a threat, and Kim Jong Il is working his hardest to develop Nukes, and also more stuff. Bush should start cutting off everyone's tie with NK (He's trying now)

Look for this book:
AK-47: The Weapon that Changed the Face of War
by Larry Kahaner

I currently have it, and its good reading. An oldie but a goodie. (the gun)


SparkyTWP
Posted 06 December 2006 at 04:42 pm

NK is doing a fine of kicking its own ass. Their economy is pretty much non-existant and their population is starving.

The only reason they are still in power is because they're holding Seoul hostage with artillary all over the border. The pentagon says that any war with NK would be won within a few days, except the casualties would number in the millions due to the shelling.

Radiatidon: Great story BTW. I always love reading about the small cold war games like that that you never got to hear about.


Captain Blowhard
Posted 06 December 2006 at 09:19 pm

nieglesnush said: "The origin of 'flipping the bird' is actually the 13th century, around the time of the 100 years war. The English depended heavily on their longbowmen at the time. A longbow has a much farther range than a crossbow, which is what the French were using, and is plucked using your middle finger. The English longbowmen took to taunting their French adversaries by displaying the offending appendage (when it was not engaged in plucking said bowstring)."

Though the jist of what you have said is true , the Frenches cut of the index finger and the middle finger thus the creation of the very English two fingered salute and not "The Bird" which is an Americanised version of the same thing though with entirely different meaning .
I must add that the meaning of the two finger salute has changed hugely through time and I would not be surprised if "The Bird" has already gone through some modification already.
"V for victory" to ya all !


alias
Posted 07 December 2006 at 08:19 am

Consider the possibility that the pueblo was actually in territorial waters of north korea, but the US, to save their reputation, said they weren't.


SparkyTWP
Posted 07 December 2006 at 08:43 am

It is a possibility, but when it comes to believing the US or NK government, I'm going to believe the US everytime.

They also had nothing to gain by being inside the 12 mile limit.


Radiatidon
Posted 07 December 2006 at 09:10 am

alias said: "Consider the possibility that the pueblo was actually in territorial waters of north korea, but the US, to save their reputation, said they weren't."

Well that is a possibility if the vessel was of a different class. Two major facts belie the possibility of her being inside this nation’s territorial waters.

1. Consider the class of craft and what she was designed to do. Monitoring radio transmissions. It would have been both pointless and dangerous for this type of ship to be within the 12-mile limit.

2. Limited assault/defense capability and no backup warships nearby. Also if she was in “dangerous waters” don’t you think the crew would have been on a high state of alert with weapons poised and ready for use?

No, the facts support the captain’s claim that they were well outside the 12-mile limit. Or as Sherlock would say “Elementary my dear Watson, elementary.”


chilloo
Posted 07 December 2006 at 09:44 am

Still not sure as to believe whose claim. In military matters, nobody will say the truth. Anyhow, may all live in peace and make this world a wonderful place to live in.


Radiatidon
Posted 07 December 2006 at 11:04 am

Lets visit the facts once again.

The USS Pueblo was a light Liberty class ship built in the 1940s for cargo. Crew capacity at construction 40 head. Revamped in the 1960s for electromagnetic intelligence monitoring. Redesigned for crew compliment of 78 head. On that fateful day she had a complement of 83 men. On board weaponry was only two 50-caliber machine guns (I made a mistake earlier by quoting four, sorry.) secured under tarps that were not only lashed down to protect the weapons but also frozen in place due to the extreme cold. 50-cal. Weapons were free-air, otherwise in plain view on deck without surrounding protecting amour. Her main propulsion was two diesel engines producing a whopping 12-½ knots of speed. Most people walk that fast.

These vessels were ordered to maintain a restricted distance from a country. At that time internationally recognized limits were 3 miles while Communist countries maintained a 12 nautical limit. North Korea at the time of the incident claimed their territory limit was 50 nautical miles. A limit that even their good buddies the Soviet Union did not recognize. When the USS Pueblo was attacked she was 13 nautical miles out from Korea.

When the North Koreans approached her they did so with 7 ships, which included, 2 sub-chasers, 4 torpedo boats, and air support of 2 migs. All of the Korean warships both out-gunned and out classed the USS Pueblo. You could say the Korean ships idled at 12 knots.

Only a fool would take a stick to a gun battle. The USS Pueblo was never designed to fight. The Korean warships peppered her with 57mm cannon fire. The USS Pueblo’s weapons were woefully inadequate compared to the Korean firepower.

Earlier I mentioned how we zapped a Soviet spy ship. I did not say how we knew it was the source of interference. When ROCC (Range Operations Control Center) experience interference they called me on the landline. I used a specially built FCC truck to chase down the source by triangulating with two other stations over a thousand miles away. I drove around the island until I received a decent signal. Radio waves have a tendency to “bounce” off water towers and other metal objects. I pinpointed the source at 50 miles from my location. I called ROCC and gave the lat & lon of the source. The recon guys reported the Soviet Spy ship (looked like a tuna trawler until the deck blossomed like a flower with antennas, ray domes, and so forth) smack dab in the middle of the coordinates within our testing range.

Now the USS Pueblo was on open water and did not have my problems. So once again it would have been foolish to venture into the 12-mile limit since she was underclass as a warship, and superior as a “listening device”.

There is also new evidence that suggests that the old USSR may have been involved. They were interested in an encryption device on the USS Pueblo. Not long after her capture the Soviets broke that encryption.


noway
Posted 07 December 2006 at 12:47 pm

chilloo said: "Still not sure as to believe whose claim. In military matters, nobody will say the truth. "

yeah, you go ahead and believe NK. please move there too.

even if they were, what does it matter? are you justifying NK's treatment of the POW's?


sulkykid
Posted 07 December 2006 at 02:39 pm

Radiatidon said: "... producing a whopping 12-½ knots of speed. Most people walk that fast. ... "

I am being really nit-picky here, but 12.5 knots is nearly a 4 minute mile. Otherwise, your comments seem to be right on the money.


Radiatidon
Posted 07 December 2006 at 03:29 pm

sulkykid said: "I am being really nit-picky here, but 12.5 knots is nearly a 4 minute mile. Otherwise, your comments seem to be right on the money."

Lets see… Nautical mile equals – uh – 6,080 feet. The average person takes around 2 ½’ per step. Now 12 ½ nautical miles equals 76,000 feet. That means to walk this distance without running, you would have to take around 507 steps per minute at an average of 2 ½’ per step.

Nope, don’t see the problem. Of course I go through shoes like you would not believe.

All right you got me there, but have you ever been on a ship moving at 12 knots? The illusion of sloooowww travel due to wide open ocean and such, makes one think they could out walk the ship. You do have to admit that 12 ½ knots is just slow.

Now if you could excuse me, I think my shoes are smoking.


crispi
Posted 07 December 2006 at 11:04 pm

They should have sank the ship. Just like the pilot of the U.S. spy plane that collided with a Chinese fighter jet, the captain made the wrong decision. He opted to save the lives of his crew at the expense of our national security. If he'd turned an ran, and then been captured, that would've been respectable. But, to willingly turn your ship over to the enemy is unforgivable. How many American lives were lost due to the compromised intel.

It's a very cold way to look at things. But, spying is a deadly business. You get caught, you die. You know the rules going into the game.


24FC
Posted 08 December 2006 at 06:42 am

Radiatadon, what the hell were you thinking going to the USSR during the cold war? That was dumb.


Radiatidon
Posted 08 December 2006 at 07:41 am

crispi said: "If he'd turned an ran, and then been captured, that would've been respectable. But, to willingly turn your ship over to the enemy is unforgivable. How many American lives were lost due to the compromised intel."

True, spying is a risk. The captain did try to run away. He played cat-n-mouse, a delaying tactic that allowed the crew to burn sensitive documents and smash instruments. He would allow the North Koreans to approach the ship then fire the engines and “run” all the while taking shot from the various DPRK gun ships. He would then stop and allow DPRK to approach before setting off once again. During this tactic various men were wounded including one fatality. The torpedo boats ran circles around the ship and finally threatened to sink her when the launch tubes were uncovered. It was at this point he decided to surrender.

As far as scuttling her, they could have but the depth she was in really is not that deep. Easy to dive later and retrieve what they wanted. It’s harder to reverse engineer shattered equipment than water damaged. Better to waste time to allow more internal damage.

One last item, in this business you are not required to kill yourself unless you know sensitive information. It is better that you survive so that should you ever be released, what valuable intel you can give about your captors. You observe all and anything during your interment. Helps to understand the enemy and find weaknesses that can be used against them in the future

24FC said: "Radiatadon, what the hell were you thinking going to the USSR during the cold war? That was dumb."

Not really, it was educational. Met some really interesting and wondrous people. Got to see the big man in all his pickled glory. Creepy and funny. Rode in a “taxi” that the driver was very proud of. No floorboards or fabric on the seat, just raw springs.

That visit was saner than other things that I did…

Rode in a DC-10 where the pilot flew no higher than 75 to 100 feet because we had a better chance of survival if we crashed. Did I mention that the access doors were gone and the wings were “patched” with fabric where the metal was missing? Also the casing on the engines was blatantly absent. Plane reminded me of an old song titled “Southern Air”.

Was on a Huey when some moron opened the side door at 110mph plus because he was hot. Tumbled through the sky but we survived, the helicopter did not.

Been tossed out of a helicopter onto cliff-faces so I could maintain electronic equipment mounted on the side of a mountain. Only other option was to perform some mountain climbing, not practical.

Dived in the pacific and swam with sharks, moray eels, and whales. Explored Japanese WWII wrecks. Crawled through swamps and hot steamy jungles just to see what was there.

Just a few things I’ve done, so the USSR though dangerous, was no worse than other things I’ve experienced. Military, me, nope, civy all my life. I have worked with various factions of DOD, DOE, and NASA.


bryon
Posted 08 December 2006 at 05:52 pm

Krull said: "In fairness though - they were spying… Even if it was from international waters"

We don't know for sure that is actually was in international waters..


dingopero
Posted 09 December 2006 at 09:56 am

As one serving in the US Navy in '68 I can testify that the attack on the USS Liberty was just that, an unprovoked attack by Israel on an American warship. No congressional hearings were ever held and those killed were listed only as having "died" as opposed to being killed as a result of enemy action. Israel claimed later that their torpedo vessels, and aircraft mistook the Liberty as an Egyptian horse carrier and that she was not flying a flag. She definitely was flying her.
You will find the truth on any one of several sites dedicated to those who served on Liberty. Most are supported by photos and some expose the thin veil of lies put forth by the Israelis. Liberty was in international waters and plainly marked as an American naval vessel. Spend some time on these sites as the majority are well done and the subject is an interesting one to say the least.
Had any other nation committed this unprovoked aggression they would have received a much deserved bloody nose instead of a government sponsored cover-up. As someone in the Navy at that time, my sympathy is with those killed and injured who never received the recognition from their government that they so richly deserved. Their losses were in vain and that is shameful.


Zamemee
Posted 09 December 2006 at 10:19 am

Radiatidon, I know this won't mean much to you, but you are officially my hero.


borisbadenov
Posted 10 December 2006 at 12:15 am

A Couple things:
I remember reading about this as it happened when I was a kid. While accounts mentioned crewmen dumping classified materials overboard, they mentioned that the intelligence officer did nothing to help. Just a couple of years ago, I was reading about the spy vs. spy struggles during the Cold War. It seems that the setup and capture of the Pueblo was part of a disinformation campaign on the part of the US. The information the Soviets got was meant to mislead them. Suddenly the intelligence officer's lack of activity makes sense.
No I don't remember where I read this. You might have fun looking it up.
Also, I worked with a retired sailor who told me of a contingency plan to get the Pueblo back. A nuclear submarine would come in submerged and surface long enough to put a skeleton crew aboard the captive ship. This part is believable, since US nuclear subs routinely would tail USSR subs into port. Jack Anderson reported this several times. The hard part would be getting the Pueblo out of Inchon harbor under lots of big North Korean guns. Which is why the plan got scrubbed at a very high level.


bobba
Posted 12 December 2006 at 08:19 pm

Hey cool, I've been on that ship, exhibited in Pyongyang! The story they give on the tour is practically the same as the one above except they say that the ship was boarded by average joe type sailors. One of the guys doing the tour was one who did the boarding. They said it was outside NK waters when they approached, but was in when they opened fire and then boarded.
They were very proud of it and were keen to get in lots of photos etc (selling tourist trash too).
Strangely I haven't been able to locate the ship on google earth, there's not much water traffic on that river.


Radiatidon
Posted 13 December 2006 at 12:58 pm

bobba said: "Strangely I haven't been able to locate the ship on google earth, there's not much water traffic on that river."

Enter this into google earth -- 38 59 28.26 N, 125 43 32.48 E

Be sure to enter exactly, including spaces between coordinates.

Zamemee said: "Radiatidon, I know this won't mean much to you, but you are officially my hero."

Thanks Zamemee though I don't know what I did to receive this honor.


Radiatidon
Posted 13 December 2006 at 01:05 pm

In order to see it, you need the free google earth download -- http://earth.google.com/ . The web version does not have access yet to the higher rez pictures at this time.


cornerpocket
Posted 13 December 2006 at 08:01 pm

My understanding is that "International Waters" is not universally accepted, or even generally. The United States and NATO have such a designation (as probably does SEATO), but North Korea says 12 miles out belongs to them. We only recognize three. Soooo, it kinda depends on whose definition of terms is being touted, theirs or ours. Most international disputes are of the same ilk, typically combined with who has the biggest guns. In any case, all the stuff the North Koreans collected off the Pueblo were encryption devices, sort of industrial size decoder rings that have no value unless it is to decipher coded messages. Since the US immediately scrapped all the compromised devices and created brand new devices, there weren't any real sacrifices, other than the expense of making new toys and the embarrassment of having the Soviets getting to play with the ones we lost to the N. Koreans.


Radiatidon
Posted 14 December 2006 at 01:16 pm

cornerpocket said: "My understanding is that "International Waters" is not universally accepted, or even generally. The United States and NATO have such a designation (as probably does SEATO), but North Korea says 12 miles out belongs to them. We only recognize three. "

At the time of the incident the North Koreans were claiming fifty miles not twelve. The USSR was only claiming twelve, while the United States was claiming three. The US did recognize the twelve nautical miles claimed by the Communist states and stayed outside of that limit. But as I mentioned before, not even the USSR recognized their buddies the North Koreans stated fifty mile limit.

So here is how the nautical limit came to be in a nutshell.

In the Eighteenth century, the distance a cannon ball could fly (3 miles) determined Territorial waters. This kept individual nations from controlling the open seas allowing fair trade for all nations.

After the USS Pueblo incident the limit was increased from the antiqued three-mile limit to twelve miles in the United States. Without research I am sure that other countries still on the old limit followed suit.

In a general assembly of the United Nations during the 1980s, the LOSC was adopted which lays out the current rules. This has been ratified by 149 nations as of April of 2006.

Now a country can claim two hundred nautical miles offshore but only for an exclusive economic zone. All land within this zone must be claimable by that country without incurrence of another countries claims. This only gives that country exclusive right to exploration and resources. This cannot restrict any other countries the right of innocent passage through the EEZ.

Next there is the potential territorial limit of twelve nautical miles. Within this area the country has jurisdiction, but only to a point because of the right of innocent passage. The LOSC states:
1. The criminal jurisdiction of the coastal State should not be exercised on board a foreign ship passing through the territorial sea to arrest any person or to conduct any investigation in connection with any crime committed on board the ship during its passage, save only in the following cases:
(a) if the consequences of the crime extend to the coastal State;
(b) if the crime is of a kind to disturb the peace of the country or the good order of the territorial sea;
(c) if the assistance of the local authorities has been requested by the master of the ship or by a diplomatic agent or consular officer of the flag State; or
(d) if such measures are necessary for the suppression of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.

Finally there is the potential contiguous zone. President Clinton increased the old twelve nautical limits in 1999 to twenty-four miles. Within this twenty-four nautical mile the country is within its right to stop and inspect vessels that may have violated reasonable local laws within that country’s territorial limit of twelve nautical miles. Monitoring electromagnetic transmissions does not constitute a violation of any law. Interfering in those transmissions on the other hand, is a violation.

Any actions during peacetime above and beyond this wording are in violation and are considered piracy.


Aero
Posted 29 December 2006 at 05:12 pm

G said: "Stupid Korea… Shoulda just blasted em and got our men and ship back!"

Excuse me. I am South Korean. Thank you very much for the comment *being sarcastic if you didn't know* you prejudiced idiot who relies on stereotypes.

P.S. If you knew about Korea you would know it is only the North *government thats bad, not the people. Even though I am not from North Korea.


orc_jr
Posted 22 January 2007 at 02:12 pm

crispi said: "They should have sank the ship. Just like the pilot of the U.S. spy plane that collided with a Chinese fighter jet, the captain made the wrong decision. He opted to save the lives of his crew at the expense of our national security. If he'd turned an ran, and then been captured, that would've been respectable. But, to willingly turn your ship over to the enemy is unforgivable. How many American lives were lost due to the compromised intel.


It's a very cold way to look at things. But, spying is a deadly business. You get caught, you die. You know the rules going into the game."

the lives of 82 men are worth far more than some encryption devices. plans and codes can be changed.


danielbb
Posted 02 April 2007 at 12:55 am

This sounds very familar recently ay!!!!!!


mitch449
Posted 02 April 2007 at 01:13 am

I just finished watching the story of these BRAVE MEN from the Pueblo!!!!! God Bless them all and shame on the N Koreans for beating them!!!!!!


PickledEel
Posted 17 September 2007 at 09:18 am

This is going to get lost all the way down here but a very interesting comment made by the one of the Pueblo's executives after their release was that the crew extending their finger was a message intended for their own service - who the crew felt had set them up and allowed the capture of the vessel. Their theory was that the government wanted certain ciphers and crypto to fall into Soviet hands, which would have allowed the US to read them for years later. An interesting theory and worth reading their accounts. The crew certainly felt this was one explanation for all the things that were out of the ordinary about this voyage - and that was before they got rounded up by the Koreans. The Captain for one thought there was another agenda which he knew nothing about.


Anthropositor
Posted 28 April 2008 at 11:08 am

In war the need for secrecy is obvious. But at the same time, clear-cut, unambiguous information is essential to prevent disasters such as this one.

Under the best of circumstances, confusion and error on the battlefield play a pivotal part in the final outcome.

Often secrecy is justified with the single phrase "need to know." Some faceless person, who will never be assigned any responsibility for the decision, decided that there was no reason for Commander Bucher to know of the clandestine incursion of North Korean assassins into South Korea on the previous day. Had Commander Bucher been given this information, he might have been much more alert to the possibility of such an attack on his vessel. With such knowledge, he might well have taken additional measures to assure that his guns would not be "iced up" to the point that he was helpless in the water. I can only assume that he was anticipating the "routine" end of the mission, and the return to friendlier waters. In this, clearly he erred. For this error, only partly the fault of Bucher, he and his crew paid dearly.

Clearly the Pueblo and its' crew were operating "in harms way." They were spying. They were doing so as if it were a routine matter. Therein lies part of the problem. Spying is done continuously throughout the world. It is natural for those who spy, to often consider it as routine, just business as usual. It is NEVER routine.

Now I want to bring up a similar incident which was used as an excuse to escalate a war, causing great carnage and death, which could easily have been prevented.

I recently had an extended interchange on another thread with someone I have concluded is a troll. I erred in allowing it to go on as long as it did. It was, as far as I can tell, an absolute waste of time, made worse by the fact that I became exasperated and eventually got pretty caustic and sarcastic in my responses. This is precisely what a troll is looking for. I have not recently been back to that other thread. I actually invited the readership to act as jurors in an attempt to foreclose further interminable debate. At my last look, there were two or three votes against me, perhaps because of my eventual sarcasm to the individual involved.

It is my custom to use very few links, preferring to say what I have to say myself. But considering the lack of interest and participation in that other dispute, which after all, affects the entire readership, I have decided to just let Walter Cronkite, along with some recorded conversations between President Johnson and his principal lackey, Defense Secretary McNamara, do the talking on this one. It had to do with the Gulf of Tonkin, a trumped up crisis which was used as an excuse to escalate the Vietnam War. The following is an audio link:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=3810724

Listen with particular attention to the details of "Plan 34A," a completely covert activity with no congressional oversight whatsoever. This was a deliberate provocation, an escalation of the war which was entirely unjustified by the facts.

It is worthy of note that this incident was about three and a half years before Pueblo, and that Johnson used the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, based on error, lies, and deception made possible by secrecy not just from the general public, but from Congress as well. The Tonkin Resolution not only precipitated the premeditated escalation of the Vietnam War, it was central to his rationale for the later Pueblo activities.


BenKinsey
Posted 02 December 2008 at 07:48 am

So our govt. did absolutely nothing, they even let them keep our ship wat a bunch of garbage! Thats so fuckin weak. They couldn't come up with a plan for 80 somethin days. Thats enraging even all these years later.


END OF COMMENTS
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