Regimes live and die by their propaganda, so you'd think the people in charge of it would always be at the top of their game. When fooling the world is your business, there isn't much room for mistakes.
Or so you'd think...
6USS Pueblo Crewmen Give North Korea the Finger of Peace
In these times of uncertainty, it's comforting to know that the North Korean government has been consistently insane for more than 40 years. Take the seizing of the USS Pueblo in January 1968, for instance. Despite being in international waters, the North Koreans saw the ship as fair game and chased, surrounded and opened fire on the Americans. Given that the Pueblo was carrying enough intelligence to give the Soviets a Cold War boner, the crew threw as much as they could into the incinerator and surrendered themselves to the DPRK warship.
The American crew was then paraded through the streets of Wonsan and put through a series of photo shoots, the prints of which were distributed around the world. These photos obviously showed the superior morality of the DRPK, as the prisoners were unharmed and totally responding well to North Korean authority.
So What Went Wrong?
Well, see for yourself:
Don't quite see it? Here's another:
That ever so subtle sign to the cameraman? That's just a Hawaiian good luck sign, don't worry about it. They are in no way saying that the North Koreans are bullshitting the rest of the world and that they are actually getting tortured and beaten daily. No way.
If North Korea was looking for sympathy, they had not only shot themselves in the foot, but in the genitals as well.
The photos appeared in Time and came to the attention of the general public, who instantly wondered why the hell no one was rescuing these guys. Finally in December, the word was out that the U.S. wanted to apologize for being in DPRK waters and admit that they were spying. The crew were taken across to South Korea to be met with U.S. officials, who secured the men and proceeded to signal a further "fuck you" to the North Koreans by retracting both admission and apology.
They then sailed off on a ship made of burn.