As new details in the death of Otto Warmbier, the American student who visited North Korea as a tourist, come to light, it exposes a culture of torture and unimaginable horrors. North Korea has spent a great deal of time in the international spotlight with its threats of nuclear war and violence to the U.S., but the narcissistic lack of civility goes much deeper than grandiose threats.
In their first interview since the death of their son, the Warmbiers described the traumatic incident to FOX News.
“We walked over to the plane, the engines are still humming, they had just landed…when we got halfway up the steps we heard this howling, involuntary, inhuman sound. We weren’t really certain what it was.”
They soon discovered that the terrifying cries were coming from the convulsing and incoherent body of their son as he laid on a stretcher.
“Otto had a shaved head, he had a feeding tube coming out of his nose, he was staring blankly into space, jerking violently,” Fred Warmbier recounted. “He was blind. He was deaf. As we looked at him and tried to comfort him, it looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth.”
Fred revealed the depth of his hurt and anger, asking that North Korea be identified as “a state sponsor of terror.”
“We see North Korea claiming to be a victim and the world is picking on them, and we’re here to tell you that North Korea is not a victim. They are terrorists. They kidnapped Otto, they tortured him, [and] they intentionally injured him.”
Otto Warmbier was a third-year student at the University of Virginia when he decided to travel to North Korea with the Young Pioneer Tours. This is a China-based tour company that boasts trips to “destinations your mother would rather you stay away from.”
Warmbier was arrested in January of 2016 for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster out of the lobby of his hotel. There are serious doubts as to whether or not this event actually took place. It’s been speculated that the North Korean government was looking for a way to inflame hostilities between itself and America, and Warmbier was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kim Jong-Un chose to use this 21-year old student from Cincinnati, Ohio, as an example of his ruthless persecution of anyone that is even rumored to defy his regime.
Kim Jong-Un, North Korea’s dictator, has lived a life without consequences and holds power by using fear as a tool to control his people. Evan Medeiros, Chief Asia Advisor to President Obama, contrasted Kim Jong-Un’s rule to that of his father’s, saying “The father’s approach to managing elites appeared to be more incentive-based than coercion-based, making sure that they all got goodies and spoils. The son’s approach appears to be ‘If you screw with me, I’m just going to kill you-and I’m going to kill you in a really nasty way.’”
In March of 2016, Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after a meager hour long trial. His charges included “a hostile act against the state” and became stranger from there. North Korea obtained a confession from Warmbier that included everything from alleged involvement of the Methodist church in plotting the theft to a secret college society with ties to the CIA. The claims were far-fetched, and the entire confession was rumored to be violently coerced.
Warmbier was released and arrived back in the United States on June 13. North Korean Special Representative Joseph Yun claimed that Warmbier had contracted botulism and gone into a coma after taking a sleeping pill. Doctors are still unable to pinpoint the exact cause of death, citing brain damage as the most likely culprit.
Danny Grattan was a fellow tourist that encountered Warmbier while visiting North Korea. He was also one of the last people to see him alive. In a shocking statement, Grattan reported, “They made the decision to take an American. It was just his time, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
[Featured Image by Jon Chol Jin/AP Images]