USS Pueblo Crew Awarded $65M

Judge awards damages against North Korea for torture
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2008 4:27 AM CST
Crew members of the 'USS Pueblo' pose while in captivity in North Korea in 1968.   (AP Photo/US Navy)
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(Newser) – In a distant echo of the Cold War, a federal judge has ordered north Korea to pay $65 million in damages to four crewmen from a US ship captured in 1968, reports AP. The USS Pueblo was seized by North Korea on an intelligence-gathering mission, and crew members were severely beaten during 11 months of captivity. One of 83 crew members died, and the rest resisted their captors, flashing their middle fingers in a famous photo released by oblivious North Korean officials.

The ship still remains in North Korean hands. William Massie, Donald McClarren and Dunnie Tuck were each awarded $16.7 million. The estate of Lloyd Bucher was awarded $14.3 million, and his widow $1.25 million. The torture involved "severe physical beatings with karate blows, broom handles, belt buckles, boards and chairs, along with punches with rifle butts and whatever else that was handy." In 1996 Congress lifted immunity for countries designated by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism.