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USS Pueblo (wikipedia.org)
108 points by cameron_b on Nov 19, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 109 comments



As interesting as the vessel is the noncompliance of the crew in being used as propaganda:

> This treatment turned worse when the North Koreans realized that crewmen were secretly giving them "the finger" in staged propaganda photos.

and

> Eventually the North Koreans threatened to execute his men in front of him, and Bucher relented and agreed to "confess to his and the crew's transgression." Bucher wrote the confession since a "confession" by definition needed to be written by the confessor himself. They verified the meaning of what he wrote, but failed to catch the pun when he said "We paean the DPRK [North Korea]. We paean their great leader Kim Il Sung". (Bucher pronounced "paean" as "pee on.")

I wasn't even familiar with the verb "paean", brilliant of the commander to know that non-native speakers wouldn't catch on to the idiosynchronies of using an uncommon homophone as an insult.


I find tales of POWs resisting where they can fascinating.

One of my favourites is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Hegdahl:

He got blown overboard by a gun turret's blast, a story which his interrogators found so unbelievable they assumed he was an idiot and gave him free run of the POW camp, which he used to gather intel and sabotage vehicles.


I have been on the USS Pueblo. When I was in North Korea, this was one of the many military monuments that foreign visitors were required to tour when visiting the country. The guides who took us on this boat made sure to emphasize how this was an armed warship that was committing an act of international aggression and violating a sovereign nation's borders, and which was captured by an heroic North Korean military mission. A couple of extra photos: https://imgur.com/a/8DDBrz1


What nationality are you and when did you visit N. Korea?


I visited in 2011 as a South African citizen. I'm now an American citizen.


[flagged]


I guess NK is selecting their guides/minders to show visitors NK in the best possible light.


Aside from South Korea, which may not be prohibited, I don't think there were any nationalities that couldn't visit, until a Sept 2017 US State Department travel ban on US citizens. The company I went with in 2013 is respecting the ban, but I'm not sure if or how it would actually be enforced.


Hah, fun! Visited this a few years back. It's in great condition, particularly memorable things were the bullet holes (all highlighted in red paint) and the intro video[0], which is worth watching if only to experience the extremely distinct North Korean English accent.

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95qtd2Mwnpg


How were you able to visit it, honest question? As an American myself, I wouldn't dare set foot in that country. Was a visit there an easy experience? Would you go back?


I went when Americans were still allowed to go, with Koryo Tours, who I'd recommend strongly. As the only way to get in is with a tour agency, it's actually a very easy trip to arrange. All you have to do is get to Beijing, the agency takes care of the rest.

That said, I wouldn't call it an easy destination while you're there, depending on your personality type. You have no freedom of movement, are pretty transparently being used for domestic propaganda purposes, and you're with your NK tour guides 100% of the time (and they're very vocal about their distaste for America/Americans, even if they're friendly to you directly). If you're the kind of person who can't follow rules, or if you get vocal/aggressive/unpredictable (particularly when drinking), it is not the destination for you. Most (but not all) of the foreigners who've been detained in NK did something dumb while there that resulted in detainment; if you can imagine yourself acting similarly dumb, don't go.

That said, I had a great time, loved the group I ended up with, and saw a part of the world that few else have. I'd go back in a heartbeat as soon as the political climate between the US/NK changes for the better.


>if you can imagine yourself acting similarly dumb, don't go.

Funny, all the people I know that do dumb things can't imagine themselves acting dumb.


Great feedback ! From your first sentence, i assume you are american ? Would you recommend it to non americans that wish to enter us soil within the decade ?


Correct, and yep would highly recommend going. Tough to imagine it causing an issue getting into the US, as the trip originates/terminates in China and doesn't get you a passport stamp.

(Disclaimer: US immigration politics are crazy right now, so obviously take all that with a healthy grain of salt)


It's hard for me to understand why someone would want to go after reading about the case of Otto Warmbier[1]. There are plenty of interesting and exciting places to visit in the world that don't put you at the mercy of DPRK officials and their reaction to geopolitical events.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Warmbier


Is it also hard for you to understand why someone would go to the US after reading about the case of Eric Garner[1]? There are plenty of interesting and exciting places to visit in the world that don't put you at the mercy of police officers and their reaction to selling cigarettes.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Eric_Garner


Orders of magnitude apples and oranges here. Only a couple thousand westerners go to north korea a year. Compared to the 35 million people who smoke in the US and live to see another cigarette, I'd say you have better odds visiting the US.


Not that I condone traveling to North Korea, but Otto is almost definitely the example of "don't do something dumb" the op was thinking of.

>The tour group celebrated New Year's Eve by carousing in Pyongyang's Kim Il-sung Square before returning to their accommodations at the Yanggakdo International Hotel, where they continued drinking alcohol. Early in the morning of New Year's Day, Warmbier allegedly tried to steal a propaganda poster from a staff-only area of the hotel.

He stole a poster. [1] In North Korea. It was young and stupid and he shouldn't died for it, but he did break a law while he was over there.

[1] https://globalnews.ca/video/3544639/video-appearing-to-show-...


> don't do something dumb > he stole a poster

How are we certain that he did in fact steal the poster? For all we know he could have been entirely innocent and any other tourist could have been arrested and tortured for forged reasons too.


Well in this case there is a video.


It’s not clear in the video that it was him


Or where have said to have done something dumb.


You can't enter the country anymore with a US passport, but you certainly still can if you're a dual citizen.

Many tour operators regularly take people into North Korea to see guided tours. Keep in mind though, these are highly structured tours that are designed to keep you in line and only see certain things. You will be extremely safe while in the country, it's basically like a giant airport. Play in the boundaries and you're fine. Tens of thousands of tourists go there annually.

I am actually running a Hockey tournament in Pyongyang as a way to bridge the gap if anybody is interested. Unlike most tour operators, because we operate directly through the Ministry of Sports, we get a lot more liberties that you typically do not get through a regular tour agency that is only looking to provide to provide a cut and dry experience.

https://inertianetwork.com/pyongyang-cup


Before the state department banned travel there, it was quite easy as a US passport holder. You apply through a tour company based in China who will handle the arrangements. You show up in Beijing, collect your visa booklet (they don't stamp your passport), and fly into Pyongyang.


There's a school called the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (https://pust.co) that invites foreigners to come teach North Korean citizens.

I spent 2 semesters teaching computer science at PUST and it was a wonderful experience. You really get to know the locals (both students and staff) much better than on a short tourist trip. Some highlights include teaching Dijkstra's algorithm by showing them google maps images of Pyongyang (which they hadn't seen from space before), talking about Snowden and how he used encryption to hide from the NSA, and having North Korean citizens contribute to open source machine learning projects (vowpal wabbit and mlpack). All the students I met with were also surprisingly well informed about both events in the US and American history.

You also get to do as much touristy stuff as you'd like. Two highlights for me were, visiting the Pueblo and the subway system. As a former naval nuclear officer, it was quite surreal to visit these places. The subway system is one of the few places in the world that US nuclear weapons cannot effectively target because it is buried so far underground (>100m). You have to spend about 5 minutes riding the longest escalator I've ever seen to get from the surface to the trains. It's a daily reminder to North Korean citizens that they've been targeted by US nuclear weapons for decades.

Educational exchanges have a long history of improving relations between countries, and so I'm a huge advocate for the PUST exchanges. Unfortunately, I had to stop going because President Trump no longer allows Americans to visit North Korea. If any non-Americans are interested in going, however, shoot me an email (mike@izbicki.me) and I'm happy to chat more with you about the experience.


Considering the students were allowed contact with an American and allowed the free access to the Internet and software you describe, I conclude they were children of the elites of the country.

Probably they were given this education so they could learn to deal with westerners and potentially to improve their training for cyber warfare and intelligence gathering in the west.

I'd bet within a few miles of the experience you enjoyed that there were families starving in substandard housing.


> Considering the students were allowed contact with an American and allowed the free access to the Internet and software you describe, I conclude they were children of the elites of the country.

My assessment is different.

I currently teach at an "elite" US college (liberal arts college ranked top-5 nationally with more than 20% of students having parents in the top 1% income bracket) and previously taught at a mid-ranked UC school. My impression is that the student demographics at PUST more closely resemble the mid-ranked UC school than the elite liberal arts school. The elite students in the DPRK tend to prefer their version of elite colleges like Kim Il Sung and Kim Chaek universities. For example, students from these other universities are regularly lauded in national newspapers for their achievements (which exceed those of PUST students), but PUST students have never been mentioned in a national newspaper as far as I am aware. My understanding is that students at these other universities have similar levels of internet access as students at PUST, but they do not have regular in person contact with westerners.

> Probably they were given this education so they could learn to deal with westerners and potentially to improve their training for cyber warfare and intelligence gathering in the west.

As someone who has professional experience running/developing cyberwarfare and nuclear military operations with the US military, I can unequivocally state that the work I did at PUST was not developing these capabilities for North Korea.

Western experts who study the DPRK largely agree with me that educational exchanges are a great way to improve relations between the US and DPRK building on the model of how educational exchanges improved relations between the US and USSR. See for example https://www.38north.org/2010/11/pyongyang-university-and-nk-...

> I'd bet within a few miles of the experience you enjoyed that there were families starving in substandard housing.

One of the major goals of the PUST project is to help improve and internationalize the North Korean economy. The longterm effect will be to improve the standard of living of all North Koreans.


> All the students I met with were surprisingly well informed about both events in the US and American history.

This is surprising to me. I imagine they read some news/propaganda about the events, rather than reading the NYTimes, WAPO, or BBC news directly. Can you comment on that?

> As a former naval nuclear officer

Did you have to get special approval?


> This is surprising to me. I imagine they read some news/propaganda about the events, rather than reading the NYTimes, WAPO, or BBC news directly. Can you comment on that?

Their history lessons certainly have a different emphasis than American history lessons. They emphasize things like slavery in the US and the CIA's interventions in Latin America in service of US businesses, but from all my conversations with students none of them had learned anything that was actually incorrect. They get their news mainly from government run newspapers, but also word of mouth spreads news pretty quickly.

> Did you have to get special approval?

It had been long enough since my time in service that non of my clearances were still valid, and so there was no special risk of me disclosing anything. I just contacted the American embassy in China and informed them of my plans.


Could you give us more information about the internet access? Do some people in NK have internet access? Did you? If so, what kind of restrictions were there? Any firewall like great firewall of China?


I would frequently have to download linux distributions for my work, and they would download in seconds. I was maxing out my gigabit lan connection. At the time, they throttled individual connections, but not total bandwidth useage, so you had to use something like a bittorent client that creates many simultaneous connections to get the high speeds. Latency was a big problem though. Skype calls were often very poor. And power is pretty spotty in Pyongyang, so all of this is assuming that there's electricity.

Graduate students at PUST (and other local universities) have unfiltered internet. Undergrads have a more limited access where they would have to request that I download a webpage for them, and then I'd go download it and stick it on a usb drive. One of the main limitations is that students are not supposed to create accounts on websites because this would lead to tracking of them, which would allow NSA/CIA to target them.


> Unfortunately, I had to stop going because President Trump no longer allows Americans to visit North Korea.

Not that I am particularly fond of taking Trump’s side on anything, but I think this is a fairly reasonable policy given North Korea’s tendency to kidnap Americans and use them as leverage in negotiations.


>I spent 2 semesters teaching computer science at PUST

How do you feel about educating the future hackers in the North Korean military? You almost certainly contributed to their ability to wage cyberwarfare.


As someone who has professional experience running/developing cyberwarfare and nuclear military operations with the US military, I can unequivocally state that the work I did at PUST was not developing these capabilities for North Korea.

Western experts who study the DPRK largely agree with me that educational exchanges are a great way to improve relations between the US and DPRK, building on the model of how educational exchanges improved relations between the US and USSR. See for example https://www.38north.org/2010/11/pyongyang-university-and-nk-...


But you taught computer science, yes? Would you say that it's difficult to teach someone hacking if they don't already have a working understanding of core computer science principles? If hackers in NK don't have access to digital infrastructure set up by other engineers, their work would be much more difficult if not impossible.

>Western experts who study the DPRK largely agree with me that educational exchanges are a great way to improve relations

Would you make a distinction between disciplines of agricultural engineering and more dangerous ones, such as nuclear science or aeronautical engineering?


Computing is a fundamental skill that forms the basis for all of modern life. We here at hacker news are constantly advocating that everyone (in the US) should learn some amount of programming, and I believe the same holds true in North Korea.

As a concrete example of the things I taught, look at the official KCNA webpage http://www.kcna.kp (North Korea's main state run newspaper).

This webpage is very poorly designed, and cannot even be indexed by Google due to poorly implemented AJAX queries. In my classes, we would talk about why this is bad design and how to improve it. The DPRK would benefit from producing better webpages, but so would the rest of the world. These webpages are one of the few sources we have for understanding life in North Korea, and I personally want to encourage the North Koreans to fill them with high quality and easy to access content. Currently, they simply don't have enough skilled programmers capable of performing these tasks.

IMHO, this is a clear example of how teaching computer science benefits both the North Koreans and Americans without improving North Korean hacking skills.


Going through the translated page of - http://www.kcna.kp (North Korea's main state run newspaper). So many news articles start with "Beloved Highest leader", "Beloved Supreme Leader" etc. Such a stereotypical NK propaganda. Is this the main source of news in North Korea? I cannot imagine life under North Korean regime. But seems like you had a great time there. Were you free to move anywhere you want in North Korea or were there guides with you?


Would you mind answering my questions? I would appreciate it.


Bizarre accent... almost like American actors trying to sound like Russian submariners:

https://youtu.be/PBHYbeg2nao


Another interesting spy ship saga is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_incident


[flagged]


Dogwhistle for what? I'm genuinely curious, I don't know what that could be used as a dogwhistle for.


The Liberty is a common antisemitic talking point. It is an incident in which the Israeli military attacked and killed American troops. Both the deliberateness and the potential motive of the attack are unknown and unexplained. It doesn't take much for the conspiracy theorists to turn that into "Jews want to kill Americans".


And that makes it a dogwhistle how?

The (((echo))) is a dogwhistle. "Globalists" is a dogwhistle. The USS Liberty incident is just another point on the miles-long list of war crimes committed by the Israeli military and pardoned by the American UNSC veto.

The accusation of antisemitism whenever misbehavior from the Israeli government comes up is itself antisemitic because it presupposes that "the Republic of Israel" and "the Jews" are the same thing.


I didn't use the term dogwhistle. I didn't put forward any theory regarding what "actually" happened with the Liberty. I didn't accuse anyone of antisemitism. I am simply stating a fact that this is something that antisemitic people often point to as proof of the evilness and/or anti-American behavior of Jews. The actual facts of what happened are mostly irrelevant in regards to how the incident has been co-opted.

>The accusation of antisemitism whenever misbehavior from the Israeli government comes up is itself antisemitic because it presupposes that "the Republic of Israel" and "the Jews" are the same thing.

I believe this argument is pointless since people on all sides of this debate selectively draw and blur the line between Israel and Jews depending on what point they are trying to make.


the idea is that it was a false flag attack to lure the US into intervening in the 6 day war on behalf of israel; its appeal to antisemites, sympathists of liberty sailors, american opponents of israel, or even just trolls should be pretty obvious


The possibility of a false flag to start a war doesn't seem so outlandish when you consider the context of the era. Only a few years earlier you had the U.S. Department of Defense proposing plans to carry out terrorist attacks on American soil and blame the Cubans for it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods

Another example from the same era was the second Gulf of Tonkin incident which lead to the Vietnam War. In the 2000's Robert McNamara finally admitted the second incident never happened.


It was attacked by the Israelis, so it's used as a cause celebre by people who want to get people to question our support of Israel. This includes, but is not limited to, antisemites.


If I'm being charitable, anti-Israel sentiment. The conspiracy theory is that Israel did it deliberately


I always wonder about claims like this where one nation says a ship was within their borders and the other nation says it was in international waters. This USS Pueblo is one incident. Israel attacked a Turkish ship in international waters. Iran attacked oil tankers in international waters.

All these incidents ... I can't help but think we never grow up as human beings all the way until becoming international super powers.

It's like a geopolitical "I'm not touching you." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgXDYiHhp5Y

It's bullying behavior. It's an aggressive provocation.

Will we ever grow up?


> Israel attacked a Turkish ship in international waters.

Like they did the USS Liberty: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_incident


And the SS African Glen.


Or like the US and Russia always intercepting each other's aircraft. When reported in the media there's often a lot of bellyaching, i.e. "we were just minding our own business flying in international airspace, and then they showed up and intercepted, and they were so rude!" Like, maybe if you hadn't been flying your bombers or your spy planes 13 nautical miles from their coast they would be a bit friendlier. Nobody buys your "poor me" bullshit when it's clearly an example of a defensive response to an aggressive provocation.


It's not really a big deal in military terms. It's almost like a joint exercise. The only problem is when an aircraft flies unsafely close.


My favorite in particular in this line of "geopolitical I'm not touching you" is what we call "freedom of navigation exercises". The US runs through the South China Sea on them all the time.

Basically, China says it's their territory, the US says it is international waters. And so we "prove" it by regularly traveling through it with US warships for no other purpose then to prove we can.


> China says it's their territory, the US says it is international waters. And so we "prove" it by regularly traveling through it with US warships for no other purpose then to prove we can.

Suppose the US claimed that the entire Gulf of Mexico was US territory. Would people be as sympathetic to that as they appear to be to China claiming that the entire South China Sea is Chinese territory? (Note that the South China Sea is more than twice as large as the Gulf of Mexico, and less of its coastline is part of China as compared with the amount of Gulf of Mexico coastline that is part of the US.)


> Suppose the US claimed that the entire Gulf of Mexico was US territory

Since China is a long way from the Gulf of Mexico, and has no need to sail there, I'm confident that China couldn't care less about this.

On the other hand, The South China Sea is very important to China, and very far away from USA -- why does USA care so much about it?

Perhaps you could also comment of USA claims over the Northern Sea Route (which lies within Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone) ? [0], [1]

[0] https://www.rt.com/business/423913-northern-sea-route-us/?

[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/geopolitical-conse...?


> Since China is a long way from the Gulf of Mexico, and has no need to sail there, I'm confident that China couldn't care less about this.

First, many Chinese flag ships sail through the Gulf of Mexico, so I think China does care.

Second, even if China didn't care, many other countries do. And the US, unlike China, respects the rights of other countries to freedom of the seas.

> The South China Sea is very important to China, and very far away from USA -- why does USA care so much about it?

First, because many US flag ships sail through the South China Sea. We trade with many countries other than China that have coastlines on that sea. You know that, right?

Second, because, just as with the Gulf of Mexico, many other countries have ships that sail through the South China Sea, and there are internationally agreed rules about international waters and freedom of the seas, which, as noted above, China does not respect the way the US does. The only way to enforce such rules is for countries that uphold them to take action against countries that do not.

> Perhaps you could also comment of USA claims over the Northern Sea Route (which lies within Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone) ?

This case is an excellent illustration of the proper way to negotiate rules regarding freedom of the seas: to notify other countries of something you would like to see happen, and then have a diplomatic dialogue with them. As opposed to, oh, say, just asserting that a huge chunk of ocean is your territorial waters, in contravention of international law and treaties.

Also, since you mentioned Exclusive Economic Zones, you will note that the US is not saying it wants to exploit resources in this zone; it is only saying it wants it to be a transport corridor. Which, according to current international agreements, it already is everywhere outside 12 nautical miles from Russia's coast.


Probably because if you let them, it might become their territory?


Yup. How else can you stop Chinese colonialism?


US neo-colonialism is your answer?


there's plenty in US foreign policy to criticize but maintaining the open nature of international waters for everybody is not colonialism


Perhaps changing the Japanese constitution and letting them rebuilt their navy would be a better answer, though I don't expect that to happen.


After taking a look at the Hong Kong protests, I'll gladly take American colonialism over China's. And so, apparently, would the people of Hong Kong.


How does that track? China is bad for trying to assert legal authority over a city no-one disputes they own, so the US should continue imperialism?


China sends in soldiers as police, does false flag attacks, hires the triads, tear gasses 90% of the city, kills protesters on the streets, and arrests protesters and fakes their suicides. I'd much rather deal with US police.


This is one of those situations where I have to hold two conflicting ideas in my head at the same time and am reminded of the difficulty of doing that.

You both make good points. China is doing a lot of bad stuff here, but it is their land and their right to exert their power over it how they see fit.

If China tried to tell another sovereign nation how to handle their internal disputes, they'd be just as wrong as the west is in this.

This is really something China needs to handle. It's not the west's place to butt in.

At the risk of whatabouting it, most of all the tactics you're saying China is using in Hong Kong have been used by western governments as well. It's not right.

You know, China gave away Hong Kong to stop the bombing from the west and now China is trying to wrestle back control of it... kind of still, in a way, from the west.

It was the west that caused this problem in Hong Kong. It's time the west stopped meddling in it and I think that'd be best.


[flagged]


Please don't troll.


You essentially said we're not grown up because we don't live in some kind of magical world where nations don't have competing interests that manifest in these sorts of displays. Competition is inherent to life, and, if anything, growing up means accepting that.


Please don't troll. I'm happy to engage, but not with trolling.


I'm not trolling. You are measuring us (really other people since you are not involved) against a fantastical standard.


>the U.S. government has publicly stated on several occasions that the return of the still commissioned Navy vessel is a priority

Is this just to save face or is there some other reason we would want the ship back?


I imagine it's an esprit de corps goal related to the 'no man left behind' sentiment in the armed forces.


Ships lost at sea are also still commissioned and patrolling. I suspect it is part of naval culture.


A foolhardy idea would be to surreptitiously go there while some other action is happening elsewhere and tug it out.

Now, it’d be difficult to pull off and offers no upside and lots of downside, but it’d be very intrepid to pull off.


Might be an interesting technology demonstration for robotics. Sail a robot submarine across the Pacific, surface in the Potong River, release a few drones to cut the mooring lines and slip a tow onto it, and tow it out to international waters.

They shoot at you? Honey badger don't care, there ain't no people there.


MM a high tech cutting out - in the old day they used ships boats and sailors and marines to do that


I visited last year and I think it had been enclosed somehow, so wouldn't be possible to tug away.

Google maps appears to confirm that: https://www.google.com/maps/place/USS+Pueblo/@39.0403653,125...


This is a thing that happens, actually! Just not with naval vessels...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/nov/14/max-hardberger...


I was thinking similarly, but a bit more destructive - it would be an interesting exercise to plan a fire mission that would scuttle the ship to retire it from active service while not damaging the museum around it.

Always interesting to be reminded of all of these incidents from past operations.


But what do you want to do with a 75 year old boat?


The boat? Not much. It’s the act that offers value.


> The boat? Not much. It’s the act that offers value.

The value of invading another sovereign nation's territory in order to repatriate some hunk object that has purely symbolic value?

Hardly seems worth the cost and massive fallout that would ensure.


First it’s not an invasion, it’s an incursion. Like I said upthread, it’s got lots of downside but little upside. But the upside would be quite triumphant.


> First it’s not an invasion, it’s an incursion.

This is a really weird hair to try to split, given that the two words are essentially synonymous.

> When an army crosses a border into another country for battle, they are making an incursion into enemy territory. An incursion is an invasion as well as an attack.[0]

> [An incursion is] An aggressive movement into somewhere; an invasion[1]

> Invasion is a synonym for incursion in attack topic.[2]

...and so forth.

[0] https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/incursion

[1] https://wikidiff.com/invasion/incursion

[2] https://thesaurus.plus/related/incursion/invasion


They are not the same.

The Russians have incursions into our airspace and we do similarly to them.

We don’t call those “invasions”. An invasion is more physical in terms of control. When you invade you’re attempting to control an area with troops some time accompanied by non local pop. An incursion may result in extrication, surveillance or reconnaissance, those sorts of things.


This is (mostly) false. The US and Russians hardly ever intentionally "incur" into each others' airspace. That basically stopped in the 1960s because the risk is just too high. Even accidental incursions are exceedingly rare now due to better navigational equipment.

The US and Russians do legally conduct authorized reconnaissance flights over each other's airspace. This is authorized under the terms of the Open Skies Treaty and is specifically not an incursion.

https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/openskies


> We don’t call those “invasions”.

Yes, but that's about politics and emotional connotation, not denotation.


I don’t think so. Someone can accidentally veer into sovereign waters and or air, sometimes land. There is no intention to establish foothold or control. Those are incursions, even when intentional.

Invasion is quite involved and usually requires troops to establish foothold and perhaps control over an area. We, the US invaded Grenada, even if it was just momentary. We established control, sent armed troops, etc. Flying reconnaissance over Havana is an incursion but not an invasion.


you mean the boat that was illegally seized during the cold war, and still is illegally held?


We're talking about two countries that are still technically at war with each other, at the peak of cold war when such niceties as "legality" didn't stop anyone. "Illegal" is meaningless here.


Ten years ago two guys managed to enter in Noth Korea by train from Russia spending 36 hours without a guide.

https://vienna-pyongyang.blogspot.com/

They obviously went to see the USS Pueblo as well... It's kind of a long read, but very interesting, imho.



Another interesting incident, this one involving a North Korean spy ship:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Amami-Ōshima

The wreckage is worth a visit if you find yourself in Tokyo with a day to spare for a trip to Yokohama. (Half a day will do easily if that's literally all you go to Yokohama for, but you can spend a pleasant few hours there, so may as well make a day of it.)


>While thousands of American prisoners of war were awarded medals, the crew members of Pueblo did not receive them. Instead, they were classified as "detainees". It was not until Congress passed a law overturning this decision that the medals were awarded; the crew finally received the medals at San Diego in May 1990.

Any thoughts on why this was so? Why would the crew not be classified PoWs? Did the US not want to admit they were in a war with PRK or what?


There was considerable controversy surrounding the events and the actions of the crew and leadership. There was a Navy court of inquiry, conflicting accusations of dereliction of duty, cover-ups, whitewashing, official reprimands, etc. Google up 'Pueblo court of inquiry' but keep in mind it's a massive, contentious and inconclusive clickhole.


I think is because they were captured, supposedly without much fight and failed to destroy sensitive information on the ship. NKs and soviets reverse engineered the communication system and were able to listen on to us communications for a while till the said systems were upgraded.. That being said, I think it's wrong to to not classify the crew as POW. They were tortured and starved...


Visited this last year, remarkably good condition. The Koreans were very keen to point out the size of the armoury and guns on board the ship.


I suppose that's to be expected from the North Koreans, but it's rather funny, since the ship is actually very lightly armed. Wikipedia says it only has 2 M2 Brownings aboard, does the North Korean museum claim it was armed with more, or do they claim that's heavily armed?


I think they emphasized the weaponry because the US billed it as the capture of an environmental research ship in international waters, while the DPRK preferred to position it as a thwarted military incursion into sovereign Korean waters.


You visited North Korea?


Based on their spelling of “armoury” they don’t seem to be American. As far as I’m aware, the only country that forbids travel to NK is America.


I imagine the DPRK classifies all Americans and Europeans as simply "Western imperialist dogs", or something like that. The last thing I'd be worried about when planning a trip to Pyongyang is whether the US is cool with it. I would go to nearly any other country than go to North Korea. Just doesn't seem worth it. Wouldn't feel right putting my tourist $$$ directly in the pocket of the fascist Kim regime, for that.


> I imagine the DPRK classifies all Americans and Europeans as simply "Western imperialist dogs", or something like that.

They classify them as people that will pay good money to be taken on a Disneyland tour through their Potemkin villages.


I went in 2012; all the villages I saw exhibited poverty, failing and non-existent infrastructure, evidence of food scarcity and some interesting evidence of long-term solid fuel shortages. That said, we didn't specifically visit them. Drove by and through


You weren't supposed to look at the literal villages, you were supposed to look at the subway stations and the theatrical events.



I went there with YPT last year. Highly recommended: https://www.youngpioneertours.com/


Edward R. Murphy (XO), personal history of the incident:

https://invidio.us/watch?v=FQg6yJnW6tQ


That would make a good movie.


That's exactly what I was thinking. This would make a great movie/book.




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