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North Korea Showcases Detained U.S. Pensioner as War Criminal

KCNA handout shows a four-page document entitled "Apology" supposedly written by U.S. citizen Merrill E. Newman

Pyongyang – North Korea accused a detained U.S. veteran on Saturday of killing civilians during the Korean War 60 years ago and showed a video of the 85-year-old making a full confession and apology as if the battles are still raging. The North’s KCNA news agency said Merrill E. Newman, a former special forces officer, was a mastermind of clandestine operations and had confessed to being “guilty of a long list of indelible crimes against DPRK government and Korean people.”

In the patchy video, Newman appears composed and is shown reading aloud from a handwritten statement dated Nov 9, 2013 in a wood-paneled meeting room. At the end, he bows and places a finger print on the document. “I realize that I cannot be forgiven for my offensives (offenses) but I beg for pardon on my knees by apologizing for my offensives (offenses) sincerely toward the DPRK government and the Korean people and I want not punish me (I wish not to be punished),” Newman, who has a heart rhythm disorder, was quoted as saying by KCNA.

It remains technically in a state of war with the South and with the United States because the 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty. Newman, a pensioner from Palo Alto, California, was pulled off an Air Koryo flight in North Korea minutes before it was due to depart for Beijing on October 26. His wife, Lee Newman, told CNN earlier this week that her husband went to North Korea to “put some closure” on his time during the U.S. military. It was “an important part of his life,” she said.

Newman worked as an “adviser” to a partisan regiment during the Korean War as “part of the Intelligence Bureau of the Command of the U.S. Forces in the Far East,” KCNA said in a separate report. “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,” KCNA said.  (Reuters)

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