How U.S. prisoners deceived the North Koreans

How U.S. prisoners deceived the North Koreans
Everybody’s heard about the bird…
except the North Koreans.

The U.S intelligence ship USS Pueblo was captured by North Korea in 1968. The North Koreans took propaganda photos purportedly showing that the crew had willingly defected to North Korea (DPRK). The crew devised a sneaky way to undermine these staged events.

How did the prisoners discover their secret form of resistance? From Stu Russell, a former prisoner:

In June, we were taken to the Club for yet another film… Two different subjects, but one common action united the two films.

The film about the soccer team began with the North Korean team arriving in London and driving through the streets in a bus festooned with flags of the DPRK. As the bus drove down the street one proper English gentleman complete with derby and umbrella spotted the bus and flipped it off! The man must have been a Korean War vet and he was giving the bus the finger. Whoever was taking the pictures zoomed in on it.

A murmur went through the crew; the KORCOMs didn’t know what the finger meant.

This was further demonstrated in the second film in which a US Navy Officer flipped off the cameraman. They left it in. We now had a weapon!

When a duty officer noticed the gesture, the men said it was a Hawaiian Good Luck sign, a form of the Hang Loose gesture.

How U.S. prisoners deceived the North Koreans
You may have seen this in high school photos to display
contempt for authority. But it has a bit more weight when you
do it as a prisoner who can be tortured for any lack of "sincerity."
(See them both? Third from left in front,
and fourth from left in back row.)

Unfortunately, the ruse was discovered before the men were released.

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