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I found this story to be absolutely fascinating. But instead of telling you how insanely interesting it is--I've decided to show you. So I made short list of the articles that shed light on the current situation, and put them in their correct order. I hope you appreciate the work I put into this! Keep on rock'n in the free world, DailyKos!

Rocha, A. (2005, May 15). Merrill Newman:They also serve. Retrieved from

Although he spent nearly 60 years volunteering for the American Red Cross, Merrill Newman never found himself at the scene of a fire. He never helped in a blood bank; never collected clothes for victims of a tragedy.

When people talk about American Red Cross volunteers, oftentimes it's the disaster teams who steal the spotlight. Everyone wants to hear harrowing tales of leaving on a dime and racing across the states or seas to lend a hand on the frontlines.

Of course, those volunteers are invaluable. There are, however, thousands of others working long hours behind the scenes, keeping the philanthropic machine fueled. They constantly evaluate the

organization's services, making sure it's as efficient as possible. They manage the assets, deal with bad fund-raising years, hire the executive directors.

Newman, 76, was part of that quiet force. He served on the Palo Alto Area Chapter's board of the American Red Cross for almost three decades. He also taught CPR and first aid throughout the years and still does.

CNN. (2013, November 20). 85-year-old American stuck in North Korea. Retrieved from
Kleck, Z. (2013, November 21). The former NBA star believes his brand of vodka could be the perfect way to bring Obama and Kim Jong-Un together. Retrieved from

“Everyone knows (President Barack) Obama drinks beer. But you know what? I’m pretty sure he does have a cocktail here or there. I’d love to see him with a ‘Bad Ass Vodka’ shot in his hand, toasting to Kim Jong (Un) and me.”

“That would be awesome,” Rodman added.

[. . .]

“Just think, it’s up to Dennis Rodman to break ground with North Korea,” Rodman said referring to himself in third person (of course). “I’m the only one in the world who will go talk to this guy and try and find some common ground with these people.”

While admitting that “people don’t believe that,” Rodman also notes that many people believe he should win a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

“People put that label on me like it’s my responsibility to save the world,” he said in reference to the Nobel Peace Prize. Shockingly, he is prepared to accept such an honor, saying “If it happens to come to that, then yes, I guess I’m all for it. Let’s just all get together and keep everything cool, man.” This is not the first time he’s raised the subject.

JoongAng Daily. (2013, November 21). North may be holding man hostage, reports claim. Retrieved from

North Korea may have detained an elderly American man last month who entered the country on a tourist visa, Kyodo News said on Wednesday, citing an unnamed diplomatic source.

Kyodo, in a report from Beijing, said the possible detention could become another diplomatic bargaining chip for North Korea, which has held Korean-American tour guide Kenneth Bae since November 2012. Bae has been sentenced by the regime to 15 years of hard labor.

U.S. Embassy officials in Beijing and Seoul said they were aware of the reports but could not confirm them.

North Korea claims the man, who allegedly is not of Korean descent, has broken the law, according to Kyodo. The man entered North Korea for sightseeing last month with a valid visa, the diplomatic source was quoted as saying.

“We are aware of reports that a U.S. citizen was detained in North Korea, but we have no additional information to share at this time,” said Nolan Barkhouse, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

CNN. (2013, November 21). California Man Pulled Off Plane In North Korea, Detained Son Says. Retrieved from
Fisher, M. (2013, November 22). Why did North Korea arrest an 85-year-old American? Here are four possible reasons. Retrieved from

Theory 1: North Korean authorities mistook him for another Merrill Newman.

[. . .]

Theory 2: Newman accidentally crossed some government red line.

[. . .]

Theory 3: North Korea just wanted a new hostage to use as a bargaining chip.

[. . .]

Theory 4: Newman crossed some unknown, more serious line.

Currey, C. (2013, November 22). Did North Korea Detain The Wrong US Korean War Vet?. Retrieved from

[. . .]

Authorities have kept Newman's situation quiet for weeks, but former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former ambassador to the U.N., confirmed to ABC News today he has been in touch with his North Korean

contacts working on the situation. The State Department has declined to release details about Newman's status.

Newman was a Korean War veteran, one of many that has gone back to visit North Korea in the decades after their service.

But another North Korean veteran named Merrill H. Newman, age 84, was, until recently, the better-known Merrill Newman. He received a Silver Star for his time in the Korean War.

"The thought entered my head," said Merrill H. Newman, reached at his home in Beaverton, Ore. "The name is the same and there's always that possibility, but I have no way of knowing."

"The thing that has been kicked around by media people, not me, is that I received a Silver Star for 60 years ago in Korea and I have the same name, so the question has come up, could it be that in the

process of maybe Googling, like anybody can, and finding that perhaps they thought there was a connection there? I don't know. I have no way of knowing," he said.

Pearson, J. & Dobuzinskis, A. (2013, November 22). American held in North Korea, a case of mistaken identity? Retrieved from

[. . .]

Merrill E. Newman's service record is not on the public record. All that is known is that he was an infantry officer during the war.

"The Korean War was discussed and my dad's role in the service, and the meeting concluded," Jeff Newman told CNN, describing a conversation between his father and North Korean officials the night before he

was due to return home.

North Korea is technically at war with the United States after an armistice rather than a peace treaty ended the conflict.

It was not possible to confirm whether an internet search did take place with North Korean officials, although people who visit the North regularly said they had similar experiences with screening and there

were cases of mistaken identity.

"I have been emailed before by someone from a DPRK embassy who has searched on the internet and found something they consider to be undesirable linked to someone with the same name as a tourist whose visa I

have applied for," Hannah Barraclough, tourism manager at Beijing-based Koryo Tours, told Reuters.

Rauhala, E. (2013 November 22). 85-Year-Old U.S. Veteran Detained in North Korea May Not Be Home for Thanksgiving. Retrieved from

[. . .]

Glyn Davies, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, seemed frustrated that the DPRK has yet to name their terms. Speaking to reporters in Beijing, he framed the incident as an opportunity to

re-engage. “North Korea could send a very different signal about its interest in having a different sort of relationship with the United States were it to take that step of releasing our citizens,” he said.

“It’s a matter of some wonderment to me that they haven’t yet moved on that.”

Newman’s family, meanwhile, faces the prospect of the holidays without him. “All we want as a family is to have my father, my kids’ grandfather, returned to California so he can be with his family for

Thanksgiving.” With no word from Pyongyang, that would be a miracle.

Tuttle, S. (2013, November 23). 85-year-old Korean war vet detained in North Korea. Retrieved from

[. . .]

Information has yet to be released as to why Newman was detained or his physical treatment by North Korean authorities. As the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, the Swedish Embassy has

acted as a mediator between Newman and his family.

Newman was reported to have a heart condition and only brought with him a 10-day supply of his medication to last him through the trip. Though his family sent more of his prescribed medication through the

Swedish Embassy, there has been no word yet on whether or not he received it or has access to it.

Feldman, D. & Kearney, L. (2013, November 23). War vet's detention 'hostage taking'. Retrieved from

[. . .]

 "The family feels there has been some dreadful misunderstanding leading to his detention and asks that the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) work to settle this issue quickly and to return this

85-year-old grandfather to his anxious, concerned family," she said.

The statement was issued through the retirement home where the Newmans live in the upscale northern California town of Palo Alto.

Their son, Jeff Newman, told Reuters the family remained concerned about his father's health, saying there had been no communication with him since he was taken.

The son's comments came as a State Department official in Washington told reporters that North Korea had confirmed through diplomatic channels its detention of a US citizen, but the official did not

identify the person.

CNN. (2013, November 24). Korean war vet detained by Pyongyang. Retrieved from
Woodruff, B. (2013, November 25). Family of Detained American Merrill Newman Worried About His Health in North Korea. Retrieved from


Merrill Newman, of Palo Alto, Calif., was pulled from a plane Oct. 26 while preparing to leave the communist nation after a 10-day tour. Newman's family is now stressing over his health because the former

finance executive has a heart condition and has run out of medication. Newman's family has sent new pills to officials in Beijing where they were picked up by the Swedish ambassador and flown to Pyongyang.

"We know that the Swedish ambassador picked that up in Beijing and brought it to North Korea and then delivered it to the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but we have no idea whether he's received it,"

Newman's son, Jeffrey, told ABC News. "We've no contact from him. We know nothing about his status."

CNN. (2013, November 25). American Detained in North Korea—Mistaken Identity?. Retrieved from


The Korean Central News Agency released the following report on Saturday:

A relevant institution of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea recently put in custody U.S. citizen Merrill Edward Newman who committed hostile acts against the DPRK after entering the country under

the guise of a tourist.

After entering the DPRK as a member of tourists’ group in October he perpetrated acts of infringing upon the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK and slandering its socialist system, quite contrary to the

purpose of tour.

He also committed such crime as trying to look for spies and terrorists who conducted espionage and subversive activities against the DPRK in the area of Mt. Kuwol during the last Fatherland Liberation War

as well as their families and descendants and connect them with the “Kuwol Partisan Comrades-in-Arms Association,” an anti-DPRK plot-breeding organization of south Korea.

According to the results of the investigation, he was active as adviser of “Kuwol Unit” of the UN Korea 6th Partisan Regiment part of the Intelligence Bureau of the Command of the U.S. Forces in the Far East since early in 1953. He is a criminal as he masterminded espionage and subversive activities against the DPRK and in this course he was involved in killings of service personnel of the Korean People’s Army and innocent civilians.

The investigation clearly proved Newman’s hostile acts against the DPRK and they were backed by evidence. He admitted all his crimes and made an apology for them.

KCNA. (2013, November 30). Merrill Newman, American vet held in N. Korea, reads apology letter. Retrieved from
Park, J. & Pearson, J. (2013, December 1). Unforgotten fighter of Korean war: U.S. pensioner a POW at 85. Retrieved from

Kim Chang-sun, the former rank-and-file partisan member, recalled Newman as a big American military officer with a warm heart who supervised their training and landing operations.

"He had this U.S. army food box and shared that with us. He stayed with us at a bunker," said Kim, now 81.

"They detained him because he served in the Kuwol regiment. He is just a very bad guy for them," Kim said, referring to the North Korean authorities.

It is not entirely clear why Newman took the risk of visiting North Korea. But evidently the war and his former comrades had left a deep impression on him.

"Kuwolsan was among the most effective guerrilla warfare units," he wrote in a congratulatory message attached to a book published by the Kuwolsan Guerrilla Unit Comrade Association in Seoul.

"I am proud to have served with you."

PressTV. (2013, December 1). US Veteran Confesses To 'Hostile Acts' In North Korea. Retrieved from

[. . .]

"As I killed so many civilians and KPA (Korean People's Army) soldiers and destroyed strategic objects in the DPRK during the Korean War, I committed indelible offensive acts against the DPRK government and

Korean people," he said.

"The investigation clearly proved Newman's hostile acts against the DPRK, and they were backed by evidence," KCNA added. "He admitted all his crimes and made an apology for them."

"If I go back to (the) USA, I will tell the true features of the DPRK and the life the Korean people are leading," the statement concluded.

CCTV. (2013, December 01). US calls for release of 85-yr-old Korean War veteran. Retrieved from

The US is calling on the DPRK to release an 85-year-old American citizen who’s been detained in the country for more than a month.

Retired finance executive Merrill Newman fought in the Korean War 60 years ago. He was taken off a plane on October 26th by DPRK authorities as he was about to leave the country, following a 10-day visit. A

US National Security Council spokesperson called for Newman’s immediate release and for him to be reunited with his family, citing his age and health. A US state department official says Swedish diplomats

in Pyongyang have visited Newman.

There are reports that the Korean War veteran apologized for his wartime activities during his visit in the DPRK.

DailyMail Online. (2013, December 1). American veteran, 85, held captive in North Korea and forced to read confession is allowed crucial medication. Retrieved from


The Kuwol Regiment was just one of many groups of anti-communist partisans that were under the command of the U.S. Army 8240th Unit, nicknamed the 'White Tigers'.

The White Tigers co-ordinated some of the most daring missions of the Korean War, embedding undercover agents deep in enemy territory - sometimes for months at a time - spying on and disrupting North Korean

wartime operations, according to documented histories of the regiment.

The unit, whose existence was classified until the early 1990s, was the predecessor to U.S. special forces. Members of the White Tigers were handpicked from the U.S. Army, and not told about their mission

until they arrived in Seoul.

NBC News. (2013, December 1). North Korea Says Detained American Tourist Merrill Newman Apologizes.
SkyNews. (2013, December 1). North Korea: Detained American 'Admits Crimes'. Retrieved from
Weiss, L. (2013, December 1). US urges North Korea to release detained tourist Merill Newman. Retrieved from
Pous, T. (2013, December 1). 10 things you need to know today: December 1, 2013. Retrieved from
Kumar, A. (2013, December 1). White House Urges N. Korea to Release US Christian Kenneth Bae, 85-Y-O Veteran Merrill Newman. Retrieved from
Kim, L. & Gulezian, L. (2013, December 1). Palo Alto man detained in Nkorea served with secret group. Retrieved from
Rauhala, E. (2013, December 1). Detention of 85-Year-Old Hasn’t Stopped Tourists From Traveling to North Korea. Retrieved from
Wroughton, L. & Kim, J. (2013, December 1). U.S. calls on North Korea to release war veteran. Retrieved from
Associated Press. (2013, December 1). Swedish ambassador visits 85-year-old US vet held in North Korea. Retrieved from
MacLeod, C. (2013, December 1). Analysts: U.S. vet held in N. Korea could soon be freed. Retrieved from
Fox News. (2013, December 2). Family of American vet, 85, detained in North Korea hopes for his release. Retrieved from
May, P. (2013, December 2). New Details on California Grandfather Held Hostage in North Korea. Retrieved from
NBC News.(2013, December 2). Merrill Newman Family: He Is Well in North Korea. Retrieved from

[. . .]

We received a report from the State Department today that the Ambassador of Sweden in the DPRK was permitted to visit Merrill Newman on Saturday, November 30th, at the Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang.

We were very pleased to hear that the Ambassador was allowed to pay this first visit to Merrill. We want to thank the Swedish Ambassador and also express appreciation for the cooperation of the DPRK

government in allowing the visit to take place. As a result of the visit, we know that Merrill is in good health. He has received the medications that we sent him and medical personnel are checking on his

health several times a day. Merrill reports that he is being well treated and that the food is good. As you can imagine, we had been deeply worried about all of these things and today's consular visit has

eased our concerns.

Our focus now is on getting him home quickly to join his loved ones, who miss him deeply. We are asking that the DPRK authorities take into account his health and his age and, as an act of humanitarian

compassion, allow him to depart immediately for home. All of us want this ordeal to end and for the 85 year-old head of our extended family to be with us once more.

Thank you,

The Newman Family

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