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US awards $65m in Pueblo case

By Jesse J. Holland
Associated Press / December 31, 2008
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WASHINGTON - A federal judge yesterday awarded more than $65 million to several men who were captured and tortured by North Korea after the communist country seized the US spy ship USS Pueblo during the Cold War.

North Korea never responded to the lawsuit filed by William Thomas Massie, Donald Raymond McClarren, Dunnie Richard Tuck, and the estate of Lloyd Bucher. US District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. entered the judgment against the country.

The USS Pueblo was seized off North Korea while it was on an intelligence-gathering mission on Jan. 23, 1968. The North claimed the ship was inside its coastal zone while the US Navy contended it was in international waters.

One of the US ship's 83 crew members was killed and 10 others were wounded. The crew members, led by commander Bucher, were released after 11 months of captivity. They were occasionally tortured.

The ship is still in North Korean hands, the only active-duty US warship in the hands of a foreign power.

The crew kept the military chain of command alive and resisted their captors, including planting defiant codes in forced letters of confession.

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