In a largely overlooked ruling, a federal judge in Washington awarded more than $65 million to sailors of the USS Pueblo who were captured and tortured by North Korea in 1968. The men — William Thomas Massie, Donald Raymond McClarren, Dunnie Richard Tuck and the estate of Lloyd Bucher — and were given the judgment by U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. after North Korea failed to respond to the lawsuit.
The North Korean still have the Pueblo, which was seized on Jan. 23, 1968. It is the only active U.S. warship in foreign hands.
The crew was held for 11 months and often tortured, causing lasting pain for the men.
Under the judgment, Massie, McClarren and Tuck each received $16.7 million. Bucher’s estate received $14.3 million and his wife, Rose, $1.25 million.
Obviously, it will be difficult to collect against North Korea, but the judgment must come as some satisfaction for these former sailors. Of course, the moral clarity of the ruling is diminished by the fact that the United States is now accused of having its own torture program.
Some in the Navy sought to make the Pueblo’s captain the scapegoat for the incident after the return of the crew. Lloyd “Pete” Bucher died in 2004 and was mourned by his crew which never lost faith in his leadership, here.
The sailors were able to sue after Congress blocked immunity for foreign countries accused of terrorism in 1996.
Members of Congress have demanded the return of the Pueblo and North Korea once offered to return it in exchange for the visit of a high-level U.S. official to the country.
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5 thoughts on “Court Awards $65 Million for the Men of the USS Pueblo”
maybe this will pave the way for a congressional investigation into the attack on the USS Liberty by Israel. many of our soldiers were intentionally killed by the Israelis while trying to sink one of our intelligence collection ships during their war on the arabs. This incident was covered up and never honestly investigated. the survivors have never been compensated nor even had acknowledgement of what really happened. a stain on our history!
We now have a better guess at what those who have been captured and tortured by the U.S. will be able to collect when their cases wind their way through the courts.
Thanks for clearing up my confusion. I have never been part of a “chorus” before! 2 Million hits is a huge outcry as I think about it!
“Where is the public outcry over the United States becoming a nation that tortures?”
Why it’s right here, where everything important starts–at the grassroots. Don’t expect leaders to lead these days, they just grab onto the horse as it gallops by, and then desperately climb onto the saddle. To those torturers, I say, “fear the blog ” – it’s our own little Greek chorus, and people do listen.
JT says it’s about 2 million hits annually just here in our little Committee of Correspondence — that’s more than Thomas Paine could have ever dreamed about. And to even frailly attempt to follow in the footsteps of men like Peyton Randolph, Robert Carter Nicholas, Richard Bland, Richard Henry Lee, Benjamin Harrison, Edmund Pendleton, Patrick Henry, Dudley Digges, Dabney Carr, Archibald Cary, and Thomas Jefferson, who comprised Virginia’s C of C, why that’s heady stuff.
I am happy for the men of the Pueblo, but I am not holding my breath that they will ever be able to collect the judgment. I remember the incident and how the US allowed our servicemen to be held and tortured. When the country found out that the sailors had been tortured there was a public and governmental outrage. I wish I could say the same thing when it was discovered that the Bush regime had ordered the torture of prisoners under our control. In fact, the administration has admitted to at least 3 cases of waterboarding which is torture under US and International law. Where is the public outcry over the United States becoming a nation that tortures?
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