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North Korea acknowledges arresting Merrill Newman

Original post made on Nov 29, 2013

North Korea said Saturday that it had arrested 85-year-old Palo Alto resident Merrill Newman for "hostile acts" against the country during the Korean War. It was the first time the country publicly acknowledged that Newman had been detained since he was reportedly arrested as he tried to leave the country on Oct. 26.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 29, 2013, 9:38 PM

Comments (27)

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

So so so sad...


Posted by student, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 29, 2013 at 10:26 pm

The Kuwol Mountain Partisans were an alleged terrorist organization that targeted the families of Korean communists during the 1950s. Whether or not Mr. Newman had any real association with this group or was just forced to claim this is unknown.


Posted by Stay-Away-From-North-Korea, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2013 at 12:14 am

Here's a copy of Mr. Newman's "confession":

Web Link


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 30, 2013 at 7:54 am

This is ridiculous. We have no idea if they torturing this poor man or what to get that fake "apology"/confession from him. What about a drone attack to kill the top level of the North Korean regime ... these creeps are responsible for a lot of misery. Oh, that's right, they have nuclear weapons, so now it's too late. And of course we want to let the same thing happen with Iran. Does the united states have some kind of learning disability or maybe we just care about oil and international disorder?


Posted by Josh, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2013 at 8:10 am

Sad, but why travel to such hostile countrys when there are so many other friendly places to vacation in.


Posted by Palo Alto resident, a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 30, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I believe in listening and paying attention to my gut and my instincts. I feel confident that there are good people everywhere including North Korea. I pray and feel confident that someone in the right position will see that he needs to come come to his family and community. How can one not see that holding an 85 year old man in a foreign country away from family not right. Just like your father, he is a father, a husband, and grandad, etc.

I know you will come home soon. There are good in every country.


Posted by Stay-Away-From-North-Korea, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2013 at 1:09 pm

> I feel confident that there are good people
> everywhere including North Korea.

North Korea's Kim reportedly has ex-girlfriend, 11 others executed:
Web Link

With all due respect to the previous poster's belief in "good everywhere"--there are many, many, places where that simply isn't true. And one of those places is North Korea. Anyone who has taken the time to read the papers would know that.


Posted by Sort it out, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Send In a drone attack??? Really. Is COA going to send his children to fight in that war?
When one travels in a foreign country, one has to obey the laws of that country. North Korea is very strict on interactions with locals and comments that are made about the country. Just because he has Ana american passport does not grant him a pass on obeying the law. Let's wait and see exactly what he did. Is he innocent because he is 85 years old or because he is from Palo Alto?
So let's not run and launch a war with a foreign country because of the actions of a foolhardy old man. Despite CPAs extremism


Posted by Kevin, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm

"How can one not see that holding an 85 year old man in a foreign country away from family not right.

For the faint of heart, please allow me to inform you: Communists/socialists don't roll that way. Individuals need to be sacrificed for the good of the cause.


Posted by Heidi, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm

I've read the "apology" and it is obvious that it's not written by an American...strange wording.


Posted by Kevin, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm

"I've read the "apology" and it is obvious that it's not written by an American...strange wording."

Jane Fonda, Doris Lessing and Oliver Stone would probably buy it. It doesn't matter if it is true or not, it only has to work as propaganda, both internally and externally.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 30, 2013 at 10:08 pm

> Kevin
> Communists/socialists don't roll that way. Individuals need to be sacrificed for the good of the cause.

What a stupid statement, North Korea is in no way communist, it is a totalitarian tyranny of one strong family and their economic relationships. There is nothing socialist or communist about that, so to make that statement with the intent of throwing it at American Democrats, because face it that is what you really mean. You are the same as the system you attack when you misuse language and meaning in such a way. Socialism is about representation in the government and the economy by the people ... not a dictator.

> Sort it out

If you read my whole post in the way it was intended your critique is irrelevant, the time for attacking North Korea of forcing regime change is past. I suppose you rejoice about that, but you cannot be thinking of all the North Koreans who live in a virtual slave state with no freedom.


Posted by Kevin, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2013 at 10:34 am

" North Korea is in no way communist"

I suggest that you take a tour to N. Korea and tell your official guide that you believe it is not a socialist/communist state. But please do not expect any help or sympathy from Americans, as you dwell in a prison cell for years. Of course, your official apology will need to state that you have now been reeducated and that, indeed, you have come to your senses, and that NK is obviously a socialist/communist state. Ironically, you will have been forced to face reality.


Posted by Stay-Away-From-North-Korea, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm

> North Korea is no way Communistic

Since it would be hard to find any government that is truly communistic, this is probably true. Governments (or their leaders) have often fashioned themselves to be in that mold, by inserting the word "communism" into the name of the country, or into the propaganda they promulgate—more it seems that these governments almost always end up being more authoritarian, than not.

It's easier to claim to be a socialistic-styled government, than a communistic one. North Korea seems to be on that page, as is outlined in the following Wiki-page:

Web Link

It's clear that Kim Jong-Il was originally operating as a communist when he assumed power in the North, but for one-reason, or another, seems to evolved away from the Soviet-style communism, into something that has worked its way through Communism to Socialism to Nationalism. However, North Korea is a state that is maintained at the point of a gun, so it would seem that something closer to military dictatorship would be the best name for this backwater.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Anyone can read this website- anyone, in any place, in any country, for any reason. I suggest that right NOW, posters refrain from any derogatory comments about North Korea until both Merrill and the other American detained for over a year are safely back in the United States. PLEASE!! Time for the Weekly to close down this site.


Posted by US money the key, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Sort it out, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Kate-- really????? We should curtail our free speech rights so that we do not offend North Korea?
[Portion removed.]


Posted by Kevin, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm

"Anyone can read this website- anyone, in any place, in any country, for any reason."

Wrong Kate. NK civilians are not allowed access to a free Internet. What in the heck are you talking about? Do you have no shame? NK is a serious socialist/communist country. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 1, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Once he/they get back here, I"ll be the the first to criticize the ones who are holding him/them!! In the meantime, the N. Korean very high command can no doubt access and monitor the internet and TV like the rest of us. Until they are back, I still think it prudent to use caution on what is said in this country. The high command there take offense at the slightest perceived insult. Silence here is NOT unreasonable.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 2, 2013 at 12:18 am

Thank you Kate
My gut still tells me there is love and compassion everyone.


Posted by Abe Mitchell, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 2, 2013 at 4:28 am

Kung Po the dictator come leader should surly realize if has the commonsence to realize that this gentleman has been detained under the most pathetic of excuses and should be released immediately.


Posted by Any other orders, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2013 at 8:39 am

Kate- perhaps you can contact the NK government and see what other concessions they want from the people in the US, since you are eager for us to put aside one of our most cherished rights in order to aid 2, not very intelligent men.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 2, 2013 at 10:40 am

Interesting article: Web Link

Public documents in South Korea and the United States show U.S. officers worked as advisers to groups of anti-communist partisans during the Korean War. The conflict pitted the Communist North, backed by China and the Soviet Union, against the republican South, backed by the United States.

These officers trained Korean anti-communist guerilla units to launch attacks behind enemy lines.

Newman belonged to the 8240th Unit, nicknamed the 'White Tigers', said guerrillas who were trained by him.

"If Newman was with the partisans that may explain his detention," Bruce Cumings, an expert on the Korean War at the University of Chicago, told Reuters. "The North Koreans would treat someone like that with much more disdain than a regular line soldier or officer in the American forces."



Posted by Raymond, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 2, 2013 at 11:05 am

Mr. Merrill has made a huge mistake in judgement. He wasn't invited.


Posted by to CrescentParkAnon, a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2013 at 11:11 am

CrescentParkAnon, you alarm me. You and many others are the frogs in the pot of warming water - wake up - it's getting hot in there!


Posted by Stay-Away-From-North-Korea, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2013 at 11:29 am

> PLEASE!! Time for the Weekly to close down this site.

There is no free speech in North Korea. People are imprisoned there, for such indiscretions. And now, we have Kate, someone whose birthright is free speech, requesting that the Weekly censor this topic—just like the government of North Korea would do. Wonder if Kate has any idea how many men and women have sacrificed their time, their bodies, and their lives—so that she doesn't have to live in a place like that one currently is holding Mr. Newman. This person, Kate, doesn't understand that the kinds of people that control North Korea only respect adversaries that deal from strength—not weakness.

As bits of the picture are becoming clearer—it's obvious that Mr. Newman's decision to visit North Korea was a very poor one. Given how unpredictable that government can be—there is no telling what could set them off. Back in the '60s, the USS Pueblo was seized in international waters (per the US Navy), and the crew held for eleven months. Within the last couple of years, North Korea shelled a South Korean island, killing South Korean soldiers, for no good reason. At one point (many years ago), North Korean agents kidnapped Japanese citizens from their homes in Japan—holding them captive for decades—for reasons that are hard to explain.

North Korea is constantly involved in various activities that have led the US to declare North Korea as a terrorist country. The following link to an ABC interview with a former North Korean spy reveals that she planted a bomb on a South Korean plane that killed 187 people:

Web Link


If you haven't had any contact with Koreans, particularly Koreans old enough to remember the Korean War—it doesn't pay to speculate about the actions of the North. The people of the North are brainwashed, and do not act, or react, as your neighbors here in Palo Alto would, under similar circumstances. The following from the link above makes this point:

"In North Korea, I was taught that our leader Kim Il-sung was a god. You were taught to put him before your own parents," she said.

If evil exists—it will most certainly be found in North Korea.

Hopefully, Mr. Newman will be soon released.


Posted by marie, a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm

[Post removed.]


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