The men Merrill referred to were “partisans” known as the “White Tigers” – anti regime rebels – who had caused significant destruction to the North Korean supplies during the war. Newman had helped to train the guerrillas during the war. Newman, apparently unaware that North Koreans are nowhere near “over” the North Korean war, was told that the the area was inaccessible.
Word of his questions must have made it to “higher authorities” because upon boarding the plane to head back to America, North Korean officials arrested him on the plane and took him into custody. Newman remained in North Korean custody for approximately six weeks, until he finally agreed to issue a video-taped “apology” for his past activities during the Korean War.
As you’ll see below, the text of the “confession” and the surreal behavior by North Korea in this case reveal the fact that the entire stunt was nothing more than a major internal propaganda campaign meant to impress the North Korean people.