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Old 02-25-2021, 01:36 PM
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Unhappy USS Pueblo: court orders North Korea to pay $2.5bn damages to spy ship's crew

USS Pueblo: court orders North Korea to pay $2.5bn damages to spy ship's crew
By: U.S. Military & AFP in Washington - The Guardian News - 02-25-21

Photo of the USS Pueblo GER2 Ship:
The USS Pueblo was on its maiden voyage as a US navy ship, masquerading as an environmental research vessel, when it was seized by North Korea. Photograph: AP

A US court has ordered North Korea to pay damages to the crew and family of the spy ship USS Pueblo, who were tortured and mistreated for 11 months in 1968 after being captured by the North Korean navy.

The Washington federal court said that the surviving members of the crew and families of those now dead are owed compensatory damages for confinement and suffering of $1.15bn and doubled that for punitive damages against Pyongyang.

It said many of the 83-strong crew, one of whom was killed by the North Koreans when they seized the Pueblo on 23 January 1968, were mentally and physically abused during their captivity.

In addition, wrote Alan Balaran, the government-appointed “special master” in the case to decide how damages were to be apportioned, most suffered long-lasting after-effects, both psychological and physical.

“As a result of the barbarity inflicted by the North Koreans, almost all required medical and/or psychiatric intervention,” Balaran wrote.

“Many have undergone invasive surgical procedures to ameliorate the physical damage resulting from the relentless torture they underwent as prisoners,” he wrote.

“Several have attempted to numb their pain through alcohol and drugs, and most have seen their domestic and/or professional lives deteriorate. A few have contemplated suicide.”

The lawsuit was only brought in 2018 after the US justice department ruled that, despite a law giving foreign governments broad immunity from suits in US courts, they could be sued if the government had been designated a state sponsor of international terrorism.

In late 2017 the Trump administration officially declared North Korea a sponsor of terror.

The Pueblo was on its first voyage as a US navy spy ship, under the guise of an environmental research vessel.

Pyongyang says it was in North Korean waters when it was captured, which Washington denied.

2nd photo:
In a photo taken in 2017 visitors disembark the captured USS Pueblo at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

But it came as the US was mired in a war in Vietnam and just as North Korean operatives entered South Korea and tried to assassinate President Park Chung-hee.

That effort failed, but a number of South Koreans were killed and the seizure of the Pueblo crew complicated Seoul’s desire to respond militarily.

The crew was freed after nearly a year of negotiations in December 1968, but Pyongyang held on to the Pueblo, making it into a museum.

The US navy still maintains it on its roster of active ships.

The court, in a final ruling on Wednesday, awarded damages of $22m to $48m to each of the 49 surviving crew members, and smaller sums to about 100 family members.

North Korea was not represented in the case, and it was not clear whether and how the victims expected to recover damages.


Another site where North Korea put the US spay ship captured in 1968 on display.
To read more on this go to this:

Colorado senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell reintroduced a resolution in Congress asking North Korea to return the ship. There has been no progress since, however – at least none that has been made public.

"The ship was named after Pueblo, Colorado, and they would have loved to have the ship back," Chicca said. "It's very disappointing to have it still there, and still being used as anti-American propaganda."

The planned display of the ship by North Korea hangs over the heads of the crew members who have long campaigned for its return. "I'll never give up, but I don't think it's ever coming back," Phares said. "It's just unfortunate that we got put in that situation, and that the top brass blamed us, or blamed Bucher, for everything."

But in 2002 the former US ambassador to South Korea Donald P Gregg said a North Korean foreign ministry official had hinted at a deal to return the Pueblo. But when he later visited Pyongyang, he said he was told the climate had changed and a return was no longer an option.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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