“The photo was published in a U.S. newsmagazine with an explanation of the real meaning of the gesture, enraging the North Koreans.” ................ Let me guess, Time? Newsweek?
Correct on your first guess! It was Time that triggered the borderline-fatal weeks of beatings that the crew endured after the Koreans showed them the Time magazine copy in an assembly.
From Bucher's account of their Time-Out:
"...threatened me with speedy execution after an [absolutely inevitable] trial. He was pretty convincing about it and I was returned to my cell feeling that my chances for survival had sunk to zero."
"Radioman Hayes had his jaw broken."
"...beatings were repeated twice a day and at least once a night over the next several days and soon my ribs felt cracked, my guts ruptured, my testicles ready to burst, and my face a pulp with all my front teeth loosened and almost falling out."
"I was by now staggering down the corridor once again urinating blood in a latrine fouled with the vomit of men sickened by their injuries."
Gosh, how'd you do it? We conservatives just seem psychic sometimes.