North Korea claims that Otto Warmbier became sick from botulism during his imprisonment in NK. However, U.S. doctors have falsified this claim and no evidence of botulism was found. North Korea’s additional claim that Mr. Warmbier fell into coma from taking sleeping pills is asinine. It is obvious to me and probably many others, that Mr. Warmbier was given something far more damaging and powerful, something that targeted the brain due to the immense loss of brain tissue. The sleeping pill excuse fabricated by North Korea is not believable in the slightest and had little to no involvement in his death or comatose state. I would make it a priority to solve beyond doubt what substance North Korean officials really gave Mr. Warmbier. It is obvious they are hiding details about what substance was administered.
Why was Mr. Warmbier held and imprisoned in NK to begin with? According to the rogue government, Otto had committed a “hostile act” against the state (allegedly stealing a political propaganda poster from a staff-only floor of the hotel he was staying in). However, it was never proven definitively that Otto committed such an action. North Korea released poorly pixelated video footage of a figure who is impossible to identify taking a poster off a wall. The figure’s face is never seen. North Korea is the epitome of a rogue state- they rule with inhumane absurdity and cruelty. The government sets ridiculous precedents and laws and expects the citizens to adore King Jong Un. If you thought U.S. citizens were brainwashed, have a look at North Korea and you will see their citizens are programmed into seeing their leader as God. So, in short, Mr. Warmbier was imprisoned for a crime which was not proven beyond a doubt that he committed. But that is how North Korea functions- they are authoritarian and insane.
The Confession- Another fact that is painfully obvious to recognize is that Otto’s confession before the North Korean court was coerced. It was obvious to me watching it that his remorse was genuine and he realized he made a mistake, but the words he was forced to say televised were not from him. He was told what to say by those officials to paint the U.S. government as somehow at fault. You can find the script easily online.
The Unfortunate, Tragic, and Devastating Nature Of It All- It is possible that Mr. Warmbier went on the Young Pioneers Tours because he was just an adventurous soul wanting a new experience without knowing anything about the brutality of the North Korean regime. By the time I was 13 years old I knew North Korea was a country you stayed far away from. But not all people know what kind of government North Korea operates. When Otto accepted the ad to go on the 5-day trip to North Korea led by Young Pioneers Tours, he was probably intrigued by the nature of the ad which said, “A place your parents wouldn’t want you to go” something to that effect. Many times when people hear a statement like that they think “this will be exciting and thrilling” but in some cases like this one, North Korea is literally a place your parents would hate for you to go. The Chinese tour group Young Pioneers should not have told the students North Korea is a safe place to go. Instead, they should have warned them travel to North Korea at your own risk. At least they did the right thing by canceling all future student tours to North Korea. They should have done it sooner. Warmbier had a promising future and would have graduated from college last month.
Now the University of Virginia, Otto’s family and friends, as well as countless others who feel connected to Otto’s story are mourning him.
Moral of the story: don’t go to North Korea.