North Korea faces no “or else” for detaining Americans

I’m somewhat perplexed as to why any American — let alone one 85 years old — would want to travel to North Korea, where we recently reported on the execution of North Koreans because they possessed South Korean videos or were Christians.

Nonetheless, Merrill Newman did, and has been detained for more than a month. Yesterday, as reported by the Associated Press,

North Korea state media claimed he apologized for alleged crimes during the Korean War and for “hostile acts” against the state during a recent trip.

North Korea has detained at least six Americans since 2009, including two journalists accused of trespassing and others, some of whom are of Korean ancestry, accused of spreading Christianity. Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary and tour operator, has been detained for more than a year. North Korea sees missionary work as a Western threat to its authoritarian government.

Tourism is picking up in North Korea, despite strong warnings from the State Department, most recently this week. Americans travel there each year, many as part of humanitarian efforts or to find long-lost relatives or to see a closed society few outsiders get to visit.

A similar situation exists in Iran which is still holding American Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini and others including several hikers. I don’t understand why North Korea and Iran aren’t on no travel lists for Americans.

There’s no reason for any American to believe this current administration will instill any fear or respect in rogue regimes such as North Korea or Iran. We must stop allowing these authoritarian and totalitarian governments to create embarrassing moments for our country. More importantly, we need to ensure none of these terrorist-centric nations feel comfortable in illegally detaining any American. But that would take a projection of strength and resolve — something severely lacking in the White House.


    • He is a “REAL” hero from the Korean War, He received the Silver Star. He was an advisor to the Korean military and went on missions to the north to disrupt the North Korean military. I would bet that he was visiting the north like many veterans do, Vietnam, Normandy, Saipan, and many other places American blood has been spilt.

      • he apologized for alleged crimes during the Korean War and for “hostile acts” against the state

        Just defect if you feel that for God’s sake!

  1. It takes a special brand of stupid to ever believe these trips are doing any good. The very best advice I can give is to leave these people alone. If they come over here and attempt to change our way of life (Like the Muslims are currently doing) then we can get involved. This 85 year old clown that goes over to apologize can stay for all I care. He deserves them.

    • Korean thugs proble made the story up. The’ve done it before to make americans look bad…………but not just the muslims Glen…Mexicans seem to feel they dont need to learn english, and now they think its ok they broke the law, and now they just DEMAND licences, amnesty, etc.etc.etc…………makes ya sick

  2. As I have stated in other posts, Mr. Newman is a “real” hero from the Korean War. He was an advisor to the South Korean military, in many cross border raids into the north. He was well liked by the men he worked with, and he received the Silver Star. Lt. Col. West you at some time in the future may feel the need to visit Iraq, as I feel the need to visit Vietnam.

    • Then you MUST be willing to spend the rest of your LIFE there allowing them to pull your fingernails out – and NOT being a traitor to the US!

  3. I was wondering the same thing this morning. I also thought that more Americans are in danger because we don’t have anyone sticking up for the ones in trouble abroad.

  4. Obama is a latter day Pied Piper, and just as described in the fable,
    he’s playing a tune which appears to hold (many) Americans mesmerized;
    this despite the fact that the first of them are already being led to a sinister
    fate. This saddens me as much as Obama’s mendacity and staggering arrogance angers me.

  5. No matter why he went there, he is still an American, we leave nobody behind. Even though he’s not on American soil he still has all the rights to Life, Liberty all Americans do.

    • AGREE~leave NONE of US behind! Where’s the loyalty between US Citizens – have we given it away and NOW espouse MORE loyalty to Mohammad?

      • As American citizens, we all know that we are NOT encouraged to go to some countries, which consider USA an enemy. These people are NOT in N. Korea because they are serving our country. They are there of their own personal will and therefore we should NOT feel obligated to get them out!!! The 85 year old who went there and admitted to “being in the Korean war, etc., well he can rot there for all I care.. He had NO business going there to “confess” anything!! What about the crimes they committed against the POW who NEVER came home?

  6. Some people play with rattlesnakes, others go to North Korea. There has to be some personal responsibility exercised here…If you jump into traffic or maybe an active volcano, it’s very likely you might not look favorably on the outcome. You can’t expect everyone/anyone to run to your assistance as you jump. This is very Darwinian.

  7. When confronted with the fact that American POWs from the Korean war were being held in North Korea and China Eisenhower sacrificed them for fear of being in the cold war. Eisenhower let them languish and perhaps die, be tortured and never demanded them back. MIAs from the Korean war is unsolved mysteries., Though Eisenhower warning us of a Military Industrial Complex, he was the spokeshole the New World Order used and why JFK was assassinated—because he did not go with the status quo of the new world order.

    • THAT is NOT correct about Eisenhower – there WAS a lot done and just because his actions were not made into “media events” or “photo ops” does NOT mean nothing was done. LEARN your history – the CORRECT history!

  8. It is comforting to see that N. Korea is so afraid of the truth. This is exactly the consequences of an evil regime. They will be filled with fear, insecurity, and a skewed perspective… it just comes with the territory. May the innocent citizens of this country find protection and comfort.

  9. I agree somewhat however, I am SURE these people KNOW of the possibilities when they make the decision to go. Missionaries have known that for thousands of years and still decide to take the trip. Although I think we as a country, need to continue our demand for them back unharmed, I know THIS POTUS will NOT even mention them.

  10. North Korea is not a country, but a criminal enterprise whose sole purpose is to serve the interests of the “founding” Kim family. All social and economic events attribute their success to these criminals, who are engaged in drug dealing and counterfeiting of other monetary currencies, including U.S. When the regime falls, the people of South Korea could in good conscience and with justification put every DPRK leader on trial for treason.

  11. A friend of mine, Alan Gross, is being help in Cuba.

    On December 3rd, 2009, Castro’s KGB-trained police arrested
    Alan Gross, a U.S. citizen working in Cuba on contract for the U.S.
    Agency for International Development. Mr. Gross has languished in a
    KGB-designed prison cell ever since. His crime was bringing cell phone
    and Internet equipment into Castro’s fiefdom to help Cuba’s tiny Jewish
    community communicate more freely with the outside world.


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