North Korean authorities pulled a visiting tourist U.S. citizen off a plane last month and have been detaining him in the country ever since, but may have mistaken the man for another American of the same name.
Merrill E. Newman, an 85-year-old grandfather from Palo Alto, Calif., traveled to North Korea last month with a tour group out of Beijing.
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.
Merrill E. Newman, the one being detained in North Korea, served in the infantry during the war, but was not as decorated as Merrill H. Newman.
In 1952, Merrill H. Newman was serving in the Marine Corps and led a raid against the Chinese for which he was awarded the Silver Star. He demurred from recounting the details of the raid.
“I’m one of thousands of guys, I’m not different than anybody else,” he said. “I never really considered it to be a big deal.”
He was, however, flooded with phone calls from concerned friends and relatives when news first broke earlier this week that a man named Merrill Newman was being held by North Korea.
“They said it’s nice to know you’re still here,” he said.
The U.S. Department of State has remained mum on the status of Merrill E. Newman, who traveled with a friend from his Palo Alto retirement community in October to visit North Korea via a tour company based in Beijing.
On Oct. 26, as he and his travel partner, former Stanford University professor George Robert Hamrdla, were seated on a plane set to depart North Korea, authorities removed Newman from the plane and detained him.
“There has to be a terrible misunderstanding,” Hamrdla said in a statement Wednesday. “I hope that the North Koreans will see this as a humanitarian matter and allow him to return to his family as soon as possible.”
“We don’t know what this misunderstanding is all about,” Newman’s son, Jeffrey Newman, told the Associated Press. “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.”
Earlier this week, the State Department updated their travel warning to the country advising that U.S. citizens have been “subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention” when traveling there.
Meanwhile, Merrill H. Newman said he has no interest in traveling back to Korea.
“I’ve no interest in that at all,” he said. “A lot of guys do that but I don’t. My interest in spending time is to go out into eastern Orgegon and go fishing or hiking. That’s what I prefer rather than going back to Korea.”
“They have a group that goes back there apparently every year, for Korean veterans, and they can do this for very little cost,” he added.
NOTICE OF DATA BREACH Dear User, We are writing to inform you about a data security issue that may involve your Yahoo account information. What Happened? A copy of certain user account information was stolen from our systems in late 2014 by what we believe is a state-sponsored actor. We are closely coordinating with law...
12:15am EDT Breaking News The hashtag #GasShortage is trending on twitter for Tennessee. It will soon be trending elsewhere. My brother reported to me a few minutes ago that Gas stations in Greensboro NC are out of gas and those truck stops have only about 7000 Gallons as of 1155pm EST. The immediate...
World Peace: The Final Chapter By Brooks Agnew Notes from 04 September 2016 World peace has been cited by pageant misses as their life’s work for more than a century. It is the stuff of happily ever fairy tales and Mendala shifting Disney movies. Guard dropping press releases misled Neville Chamberlain and countless other kings to...
Forgiveness by Luckee1 as heard on 30 August 2016 http://tfrlive.com/luckee-with-truth-frequency-news-66847/ I know when I was a girl, I was told that we had to forgive others. The adults, especially those associated with church, always talked about forgiving others. They also talked about how Jesus died for our forgiveness. They would talk about things like forgive your...
Original post is: Watch as amazing GcMAF treatment kills cancer cells in real time… holistic doctors ‘suicided’ over this stunning breakthrough A breakthrough cancer treatment appears to be the reason why a handful of holistic doctors were recently found “suicided” is now gaining worldwide attention as a potential universal cure for cancer. And new microscopic...