Otto Warmbier anagrams to Wartime Robot. If Otto is the robot, then who is in charge of the controls? A cruel and vengeful dictator? A Methodist Church? A secret society used as a CIA grooming center? The US Government? As we chase Otto’s tale down the rabbit hole we fall into the hidden warrens and meet with the characters who have become trapped in this story.
First we meet, drunken dormouse, Dennis Rodman. On June 13th 2017, the ex-NBA star made his fifth visit to the DPRK. The trip was sponsored by Pot-coin, a peer to peer crypt o currency, with ambitions to become the main form of decentralized payment for the cannabis industry. I was surprised to learn that hemp is legally grown in the DPRK. The hearty growing plant serves many purposes for the North Korean economy. It is used in agriculture, textiles, drainage, industrial materials and a cheap alternative to tobacco. Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC (the main component found in cannabis that gets you high) but the plants are indistinguishable from each other to an untrained eye.
It makes sense for North Korea to be open to doing trade through a decentralized currency. The US has been progressively tightening sanctions against North Korea since 2008. North Korea being able to sell a plant that grows wild along its railroad tracks while Pot-coin is able to trade without federal oversight, with a decentralized currency, the sanctions would be of little concern.
But with the tricky language around US International trade law and ever changing sanctions, it may prove difficult to be sure you are operating within the boundaries. Washington DC attorney, Jared Marx, says in a 2015 Coin-desk article “ How much contact with the United States does a company need for US laws to apply to it? That can be a fact-intensive question, but a good shorthand is that if a web-based company has any users who are located in the US, there’s a good chance that a judge would agree that they’re subject to US law, at least with respect to the company’s interactions with those US-based persons. What, then, if a company avoids US customers altogether? This is a surer route to avoiding US law, but still not bulletproof. Federal prosecutors sometimes assert jurisdiction based on hooks like the use of a US bank, or an allegation that a company conspired with a US person.For example, the US terrorist financing statute makes it a crime to participate in terrorist financing anywhere in the world, as long as the financing is “directed toward” an attack against the United States.” With such loose language, I wonder, could a North Korean website be considered breaking sanctions, if they had any US subscribers? Could, in turn, any of those US subscribers then be charged with doing business with terrorist sympathizers?
Speculations were raised on the true intentions behind Rodman’s Pot-coin funded trip, that just so happened, to be on the very same day of Otto Warmbier’s release from the DPRK prison. Pot-coin stated that they sponsored the trip for “world peace”. Rodman has both denied that his visit had anything to do with Otto’s release, while at the same time hinting Otto’s release would not of happened without his involvement. The Warmbier family and the US Government deny that Rodman’s visit had anything to do with the release of Otto. All thanks went to Rex Tillerson and State Department Special Representative Joseph Yun, acting under the Trump administration.
This was not the first time that an American held in North Korea was released around a timely visit from Rodman. In February of 2013 Rodman traveled to the DPRK to promote Basketball Diplomacy. Then, three months later in May of 2013, Rodman tweeted a request to Kim to release Kenneth Bae ( a 45 year old, Korean – American Evangelical Christian Missionary also known as Pae Jun-ho ). Bae had been arrested in North Korea in November of 2012 and then six months later he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor on April 30th of 2013 (just one month prior to Rodman requesting his release). Bae was the first American ever to be sentenced to hard labor in North Korea.
In January of 2013, Bill Richardson the governor of New Mexico and Eric Schmidt the chief executive of Google, visited with DPRK officials urging North Korea to shed its self-imposed isolation and allow its citizens to use the Internet, or risk being left behind economically. North Korea has connected to the internet through China based Unicom. Mr Richardson handed officials a letter from Mr Bae’s son, but was not allowed to visit with him.
Dennis Rodman and fellow ex-NBA players were on the Basketball Diplomacy tour, during a January 7th 2013 Chris Cuomo interview, Rodman let loose about Kenneth Bae’s crimes in North Korea. Rodman shot out “ Kenneth Bae did one thing … If you understand what Kenneth Bae did. Do you understand what he did in this country? No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me. Why is he held captive here in this country, why? … I would love to speak on this.” Rodman then told Cuomo that he “didn’t give a rats ass what he thought”.
After a February 10th, Daily Mail headline announced “Dennis Rodman got drunk, vomited and defecated all over a North Korean hotel ” the media and public were able to easily shrug off Rodman’s hints that Bae may not have been innocent of wrongdoing in North Korea, as an alcohol fueled rant.
Agent and activist, David Sugarman of Sugarman Productions traveled to North Korea with the Basketball Diplomacy tour as a representative of retired NBA star Kenny Anderson. Sugarman offered himself in trade for Bae, stating “Human to human, I’m asking you to release Kenneth Bae. I’m going to take it a step further: If the North Korean government actually needs somebody in North Korea, take David Sugarman. Allow me to go there. I’m younger. I’m healthier. You have released prisoners before, and I’m asking you to release Kenneth Bae.”
President Barack Obama called for Bae’s release at the national Prayer Breakfast, saying ” We pray for Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary who has been held in North Korea for 15 months. His family wants him home, and the United States will continue to do everything in our power to secure his release because Kenneth Bae deserves to be free.” Jumping on the #BringBaeBack bandwagon, disregarding North Korea’s customs and laws, as well as Kenneth Bae’s own admission to spreading what the DPRK considers anti – government propaganda.
“Dennis Rodman could do a lot of good by advocating for Kenneth to Kim Jong-un, but instead he has decided to hurl outrageous accusations at my brother, insinuating that Kenneth has done something sinister.” said Bae’s sister Terri Chung, during a CNN interview. Kenneth had openly admitted that he was conducting anti government activities during his trips to DPRK, but the US Government and media continued to say that Bae was being unjustly held by the DPRK.
Bae was charged with –
*Working with evangelical organization Youth With A Mission (YWAM);
*Bae is accused of preaching against the North Korean government in American and South Korean churches.
*Planning an anti-North Korean religious coup d’état called”Operation Jericho” (a reference to the biblical city whose walls were toppled by the sound of the Israelite’s trumpets), which began in the US, South Korea, and China long before Bae traveled to North Korea.
-side-note- Operation Jericho is also the name of a controversial military action in WW2-
*Setting up bases in China for the purpose of toppling the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
*Encouraging North Korean citizens to bring down the government.
*Conducting a malignant smear campaign.
Bae was arrested after North Korean officials found a hard disk containing sensitive information about the country in his possession. Bae stated that the hard drive was filled with “prayers and pictures of starving North Korean children” and that he was not “held without reason”. He apologized to the North Korean government while admitting to conducting anti-government activities. He said he had not been abused and added, “I believe that my problem can be solved by close cooperation and agreement between the American government and the government of this country.”
The US government and Bae’s own family were quick to label anything Bae said as coerced confessions. Claiming that the North Korean government had framed Bae and was using him as a diplomatic pawn.
Bae was interviewed at the North Korean prison on July 3 2013. When asked if prison life was bearable, he replied: “Yes, people here are very considerate. But my health is not in the best condition, so there are some difficulties. But, everyone here is considerate and generous, and we have doctors here, so I’m getting regular check-ups.”
Bae’s thin appearance worried his sister Terri Chung “He’s back to eight-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week hard labor. We can’t help but be concerned about that.” In August of 2013, he was moved to the prison hospital and remained in the hospital care for 6 months of his 13 month imprisonment. Bae’s Mother was allowed three, two hour visits with her son during a five day trip to North Korea in October of 2013. Bae returned to physical labor in February of 2014.
Bae had existing health problems upon entering North Korea, he was diabetic, had an enlarged heart, liver problems and back pain. Unsurprisingly, after two months of a strict diet and physical labor he had shed 50 pounds from his chubby frame.
Bae spent time in Washington State, but was based in China, in the city of Dalian. He had traveled to North Korea over 18 times through a tour group called Nations Tours. The company’s website was taken down shortly after Bae’s arrest. It appears they wanted to to hide the fact that Bae, was the actual owner of Nations Tours. Bae’s Facebook page (which has since been shut down) had links to the Joseph Connection, an Ohio-based, not-for-profit, Christian missionary program.
In a 2013 Sino NK article, Adam Cathcart speculated “ If Bae’s goal was to help orphanages, doing so in conjunction with the North Korean authorities for the final delivery of aid, as other NGOs present in the country do, such pictures would then have been taken with the full knowledge of Bae’s North Korean guides. Never has such a situation before led to the arrest of a foreign visitor to North Korea. (Indeed, the heaviest sanction is that the pictures are erased at the request of the North Koreans.) However, had the photos been taken in secret, then they could have had a purpose other than humanitarian action. But a single snapshot usually does not justify taking the [extreme] measure of arresting the photographer: the penalty would be a simple expulsion, after the confiscation of equipment and the offending photos.”
April 10 (just over three months after Rodman’s explosive 2014 interview) Matthew Todd Miller entered DPKR on a tourist visa he purchased from New Jersey based, Uri Tours. Known as a loner, Matthew opted for the more expensive independent tour of the Hermit Nation. He retrieved his ticket in Beijing and then traveled on chasing white rabbits, unaccompanied to North Korea. He was met at the Pyongyang airport by North Korean employees of Uri Tours. While waiting to go through customs at the Pyongyang airport, Matthew dramatically ripped up his travel visa and asked for political asylum.
He had prepared a memo book in advance of this action. He had written “I am seeking asylum to avoid imprisonment. My agenda is to remove the American military from South Korea. In this process I attempted to access files from the bases (of the) American military in South Korea. The American military is expanding its influence in Asia which I oppose.” Matthew also claimed to have obtained military secrets in South Korea and claimed to be working with Wikileaks.
Matthew had traveled from Bakersfield California to South Korea in 2010 to visit with his brother, US Air Force Major and elite F-35 test pilot Robert Dean Miller. It is suspected that Matthew spent between 2 to 4 years in South Korea. He was unemployed and had no close friends. He was reported to have been teaching English in Seoul. Hur Sung – doh (who organized a weekly debate group) said of Matthew Miller “He was just a mysterious character. He said nothing unless I asked questions.”
The Japan-based Choson Sinbo newspaper attended Miller’s trial and said he answered to the court that he lived in Seoul and that he was unemployed. Most of Matthews whereabouts during this time are unconfirmed and/or unknown. Matthew used a British accent and went under the alias of Preston Somerset. He said he was a journalist and newspaper publisher from London. Notes he had written into his memo book also stated that he had recently traveled to many other countries, including London.
Metamorphosing Caterpillar, Matthew Todd Miller gave numerous and ever changing reasons for his visit. He claimed to be in possession of US military intel to share with the DPRK. He had claimed to be a journalist who was hoping to be arrested and to expose the brutality of North Korean prison system. He said he had heard so much rhetoric about North Korea that he wanted to visit and experience one on one conversations with North Korean people. Asking of their day to day lives and allowing the same to be asked of himself. Any of these claims could be true, as well as all of these claims being true at the same time. Just who is PS London/ Preston Somerset/ Matthew Todd Miller and why have we heard so little about his experience in the DPRK?
Matthew also contacted and commissioned various artist to assist in his creation Alice in Red, an anime adaptation of the 1865 fantasy novel Alice in Wonderland written by English mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the more well known, pseudonym Lewis Carroll. Fellow DeviantArt.com collaborator and American based Japanese erotic artist Francis Cole, working under the name Eirhjien, was commissioned to create artwork for Matthews project after being contacted via email from PS London another online alias of Matthew Todd Miller’s. Seoul based artist and studio director Mike Stewart met with Matthew after receiving an email from Preston Somerset inquiring about studio rental at the Jankura Art Space. “He seemed very birdy, like ready to bolt at any minute, like he didn’t know what to say and things like that .” said Stewart of his meeting with Matthew. Matthew paid cash up front for the space, yet never returned to the studio. Various other ghost writers, gaming programmers and visual artist were commissioned by Matthew. With no detectable income, one has to wonder, who was funding Matthew Todd Millers travels and philanthropy? Cole is quoted to say “Where his funding came from was never discussed, and we have to tread lightly on this one do to the legal strategy the family seems to be following. You can guess who was giving him the money to stay in Korea based on that last statement.”
Journalist Nate Thayer, stated that Cole lists his only formal employment on his Linked In profile as in 1999 “selling IT and telecommunications security through the AF (Air Force)and DOD (Department of Defense).”
Matthew was the youngest of 4 sons of Bill and KC Miller, both, said to be petroleum engineers working in the California area. Perhaps they were well off and able to finance their baby boys artistic endeavors? Little is known of the Miller family. It appears that Matthews family went to great length’s to erase any online history of Matthew Todd Miller. Neighbors and friends were asked to not discuss Matthews story with the media and they complied. Matthew falsified his paperwork when asked for an emergency contact and no one was searching for him during his detainment in North Korea. It has been stated that no one was even aware that he was there ( which may make him more of the Cheshire Cat, then the Caterpillar ).
At first Matthew had asked for no US Government involvement in his release, going so far as to writing it in his memo book while in China, in preparation for his detainment. Matthew then asked for an envoy to plead for him during his trial. Matthew was sentenced to 6 years of hard labor for committing acts hostile to the DPRK while entering under the guise of a tourist under Article 64 of the North Korean Criminal Code.
Matthew Todd Miller’s confessions of his treatment under the DPRK did not follow the US narrative that the North Korean government is a pariah dictatorship known for its extreme cruelty to prisoners. Miller said he was initially held in the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang, where North Korean officials urged him to leave the country, but he refused. The DPRK tried several times to convince Matthew Todd Miller to board the next plane out of North Korea, but he simply would not leave. He was not formally detained until his third week in North Korea.
He was then moved to what he described as a guest house, where he said fellow American Kenneth Bae was being held along with several other unidentified prisoners. Miller would ultimately stay there for five more months. What has been described in the US media as hard labor was what Matthew Miller described as “Eight hours per day digging around in the dirt“. Which sounds more like an average day for a regular laborer to me. His sentence of six years hard labor, turned out to be less then 3 months of manual labor.
Matthew stated to media from his home in California “This might sound strange, but I was prepared for the ‘torture’ but instead of that I was killed with kindness, and with that my mind folded and the plan fell apart.”
Jeffery Fowle left from his Ohio home with a Bible in his pocket and a plan in his mind and headed off to North Korea. It is unconfirmed what tour group Mr. Fowle went through but Connecticut based Koryo Tours is the most likely. When asked if they were in fact the tour group that Jeffery Fowle had traveled with, Simon Cockerell, a longtime tour leader for Koryo Tours, told the Wall Street Journal that the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang asked the company not to comment on the case.
Mr. Fowle had left an English- Korean bible in the restroom of a nightclub in the port city of Chongjin, praying that God would direct a Christian to it. Instead it was found by the DPRK police. First, Fowle claimed it likely fell from his pocket when he was using the restroom, but the Bible was found stuffed under a waste basket. Finally, Mr. Fowle confessed he had left the bible and was guilty of the crime. He states that he was acting alone, not through his Bethel Baptist Church, the US Government, or any other entity.
Mr. Fowle had written his full name, phone number and address onto the front page as well as leaving several family photographs, which left little doubt of who the Bible belonged to. He was then whisked off to the 36th floor of the same Yanggakdo Hotel where Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae were being held. He was held here for for 3 1/2 months of his 6 month detainment. He was isolated and questioned daily, but said he suffered absolutely no physical abuse and was fed three meals a day. After 2 weeks of detainment his interpreter would join him in 30 to 40 minute walks. Mr. Fowe was then moved to the guest house that had been described by Matthew Miller, for the remainder of his detainment in DPRK.
During this time, Sony pictures released a comedy titled The Interveiw , that makes light of a CIA orchestrated assassination of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un. With the US’s history in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., it is understandable that the film would increase tensions between the two nations. How would the US Government feel about an Iranian comedy about the assassination of a US President getting international viewership? I would bet, not so good.
Jeffery Fowle was released on October 21st 2014. A few weeks later, on November 8th, both Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller were also released. All three releases were facilitated by the Swedish Embassy, as the US does not have diplomatic relations with DPRK. All thanks went to James Clapper who was acting Director of National Intelligence from 2010 to 2017. Clapper made a top secret trip to DPRK on November 8th 2014, helping to facilitate the release of Miller and Bae.
All three prisoners did not show any sign of abuse when they were released from North Korea. Kenneth Bae later did claim that he suffered from the physical labor and verbal abuse. His story has received a lot of media attention and he has published a book about his time in North Korea, titled Not Forgotten.
After Matthew Todd Millers release he was quoted as saying “I sincerely apologized to North Korea, it was not coerced at all,” Miller said. “Before going I did not think I would feel guilt for my actions toward North Korea. Over time that changed and I did feel guilt for the crime, so in that sense I consider what I did to be a mistake even though I did achieve [my] goals.” and then Matthew disappeared from the public eye.
Jeffery Fowle suffered no physical or verbal torture during his detainment. He is back home in Ohio, starting a new job. The media lost interest and his story faded into the background. Joshua Hunt’s Holiday At The Dictators Guesthouse is a thorough look at Jeffery Fowle and his reasons for his actions in North Korea. I highly recommend taking the time to read it.
Norwegian artist and director Morten Traavik organized a concert in Pyongyang to wrap up the DPRK’s 70th annual Liberation Day, a festival starting on August 15th, with two days of commemoration of North Korea’s liberation from the Japanese colonial rule. Slovenian industrial band Laibach were to perform their version of The Sound of Music at the city’s Ponghwa Theatre and an acoustic set at a local music school. This would be the first rock band to ever perform in the DPRK and signified the increase of diplomacy through cultural exchange.
At that same time, 21 year old Ohio native Otto Warmbier a third year University of Virginia student of finance, was price comparing two tour groups – UK Koryo Tours and UK Young Pioneer Tours. He decided on Young Pioneers for the less expensive $1200 fare. Otto paid $800 and his father Frederick Warmbier agreed to pay the remaining $400. Otto’s application was confirmed and he booked his visit for the end of December to coincide with a University of Virginia sponsored finance class in Hong Kong, scheduled for January of 2016.
On September 23rd, what was to be a young mans curious adventure into mysterious lands, took a dark turn. Otto states that he went to have dinner with his close friend and high school classmate Stefan Webb. Stefan’s and Otto’s childhood homes were within walking distance and the two had a close friendship for over 10 years. Otto had moved from his home state and was renting an apartment in Charlottesville near the University in Virginia. Stefan had stayed in town and was attending Ohio State University.
Stefan’s mother Sharon Webb joined the two for dinner and Otto told his friends mother about his anticipated adventure to mysterious North Korea. Sharon was a deaconess at the Friendship United Methodist Church and stated she agreed with her churches stance against the government of North Korea. Sharon then made Otto an offer. If Otto was able to steal an important political slogan from North Korea to be hung in her church as a trophy, she would reward him with a used car valued at $10,000. Sharon said that if he was detained and not returned the Friendship United Methodist Church would pay $200,000 to Otto’s mother Cindy Warmbier in the way of charitable donations. But Otto must not ever mention the church or else the money would not come. Sharon then showed Otto the churches official bank account statement with a $42 million total.
At first, Otto was fearful and hesitant to agree to anything. He stated that the church continued to pressure and allure him to commit the act. In early October, he said he decided to tell his mother Cindy Warmbier about some of his ideas and possible plans. He told her that he was planning to steal something precious from North Korea and that if he was to be detained, she would receive transfers into her bank account from The Friendship United Methodist Church. Otto said his mother wept and said not to do anything dangerous.
In late November, Otto decided to share his idea to a fellow student and member of the secretive Z Society. What is the Z Society you ask? Its a secret, but Otto goes on to explain ” The Z Society is the most secret organization at the University of Virginia, all members and activities are strictly confidential. The large Z crest that are found scattered around the campus of the University of Virginia are put there by the Z society who donates millions of dollars to the university. After graduation, members go on to become very wealthy with jobs in politics, business and religion.” Otto adds that there are currently 10 student members of the Z Society and former members include US President Woodrow Wilson and a former head of the CIA. The Z Society donated $30,000 to the UVA Faculty Forward Program. The home page of the website describes the Faculty Forward Program as a “$130 million fundraising initiative to help fund near-term faculty recruitment efforts while also building the endowment to sustain the long-term excellence of the academic core in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.”
Otto wanted very badly to become a member of the Z Society and saw this as an opportunity to prove his commitment by accomplishing this brave act, as well as to help with the Z Society‘s goal to spread freedom and eliminate tyranny. The Z Society encouraged Otto and said it would help him to gain membership into their secrets. A member of the Z Society was said to even suggest they could help to put pressure on North Korea if Otto was caught. But, Otto was expected to keep the Z Society‘s involvement hush, hush.
The temptations from the Friendship United Methodist Church and the Z Society solidified Otto’s plan and he got right to work.
Otto honed his sign stealing craft on the streets of Charlottesville Virginia until December 23 of 2015. Hiding his treasures under his apartment bed and preparing his luggage to hold and veil his DPRK stash. He also did extensive Google image searches for “North Korea Slogan” and noted the large, red, rectangular signage, printed on a thin, tin, sheet. He believed he would be able to fold the sign enough to fit into his suitcase. He planned his excuses in case he was caught. He could claim to have purchased the sign in a souvenir shop, or claim that he was drunk along with his fellow Young Pioneer Tour group members.
On December 27th Otto landed in Beijing and spent the next two days exploring the city. On December 29th he met with his tour group at the Beijing International Airport and landed at the Pyongyang International Airport that afternoon. The tour group checked into the Yanggakdo International Hotel and spent the next two days touring the DPRK.
Photos that have been released of Otto’s short time in the DPRK show a group of happy tourist, laughing and having snowball fights. In the midst of all of this merriment, Otto asked of his UK tour guide “Where do they keep all of the important slogans in the hotel?” Which you would think would set off some red flags, but it didn’t. The tour guide noted that the slogans were displayed in the employee only areas of the hotel.
Around 1:30 am Otto joined his tour group at the hotel bar and then slipped away to the employee only area where he located the banner he had planned to take. As Otto pulled the slogan down, he realized it was much heavier then he first suspected . He got spooked and abandoned his mission. In his hasty exit back to his room, he left the slogan upside down and resting on the ground.
On the second day of 2016, the Young Pioneers Tour group headed off to the Pyongyang International Airport to depart from their tour of the DPRK. The group was hung over from the previous nights celebrations and they joked and chatted as they made their way through customs. As they were boarding the plane, Otto was approached by DPRK Police. Danny Gratton, Otto’s roommate during his stay in DPRK, said of Otto’s arrest “He was tapped on the shoulder by a guard. No words were spoken. We got on so well that I sort of laughed toward Otto and said , we mightn’t see you again. Of course I didn’t realize the irony of them words.”
On March 1st of 2016, North Korea released a video of Otto Warmbier’s confession to various international media, said to be filmed on February 29th. The next day, March 2nd, Swedish diplomats were reported to have visited with Otto in North Korea and to have sent his parents a letter that he had written to them. Otto’s parents stated this was the only contact they had with their son over his eighteen months in DPRK. On March 17th, Otto was sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor. He turned twenty two on December 12th, while in custody of North Korea.
President Donald Trump requested Secretary of State Rex Tillerson obtain the release of any Americans being held in North Korea, in February of 2017. In an April television interview Frederick Warmbier accused US Diplomats of doing little to help facilitate Otto’s release. Fred and Cindy gave several interviews asking the Trump administration to do,what the Obama administration seemed unable to do, secure Otto’s release from the DPRK.
Sports agent/activist, David Sugarman, was reported to have met with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ambassador on April 22 in New York City and created his #WEWANTWARMBIER social media campaign (rivaled only by his #BringBaeBack campaign).
The Obama administration had suggested that the Warmbier’s lay low and not do anything that may anger the North Korean Government, while the administration worked on obtaining Otto’s release. The Warmbier’s followed the advice of the administration and continued to wait. Obamas presidency ended and the time of silence came to an end and the Warmbier’s made the media rounds. After months of quietly waiting, the Warmbier’s spoke out on the Tucker Carlson show and action started to take place.
Two months later in June of 2017, North Korean diplomats visiting New York alerted the US Governments Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Otto had been in a coma since March of 2016. North Korean officials said that Otto was suffering from botulism and had taken a sleeping pill. Who had administered that medication, or what the medication was, was not mentioned. Otto never would wake from that slumber. The Diplomats were then mugged by members of the Department of Homeland Security at the John F. Kennedy Airport and stripped of a diplomatic package. Contents, unknown.
Fred had received a call saying his son Otto, had been in a coma and was believed to have been in that condition since March of 2016. He was out of town with his son Austin Warmbier when the call came through. They immediately headed home to tell Cindy of the bad news. On June 13 th 2017, Merry Ol Saint Dennis Rodman showed up with his Pot-coin swag and his press gaggle in tow, at that same time, Otto was being placed onto a US aircraft and flown from North Korea to Japan. He was then flown from Japan to Cincinnati Lunken Airport, arriving at 10:15 pm .He was then transferred to UC Health in Cincinnati.
There were three interviews that then took place on June 15, about 40 hours after Otto’s return to the US. First, Tucker Carlson was invited into the Warmbier home to speak with Fred about Otto’s reunion with the Warmbier family, as well as an update on his medical condition. Tucker asked Fred “Do you know what happened to him in North Korea?”
Fred replied, “I don’t and so watching his confession and seeing the things we’ve seen in North Korea which, none of which was true. And then hearing what I think, was, they said with Otto apparently…um…the day after he was sentenced he went into a coma for whatever, some, for some reason. Um, I don’t have any particulars. I wouldn’t trust, that, well, listen Tucker, Otto had been terrorized and brutalized for 18 months by a pariah regime in North Korea. We are thrilled to have him back home. He is with his family. His Mom is with him right now and I will be with him later today.”
Later that same day Fred gave a press conference, proceeding an update from the medical team overseeing Otto’s care. Fred stood wearing the same tan sports jacket that Otto wore during his confession in North Korea. With a tear in his eye, Fred joked “But I am not confessing now, I am speaking.”
Fred thanked Ohio State Senator Rob Portman for his support and said the family had received a phone call from President Trump around 10:00 pm the night before. Fred stated that Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with Otto, saying, “ It’s a diversion. This is all planned.” No one asked “What is it a diversion from?” or “Who’s plan?”
The final question touched on Bae and Fowle, whether theirs were similar experiences and if they had been in contact with the Warmbier family. Fred seemed almost offended while answering,” We see absolutely no similarities. And, and, have we communicated with Jeff Fowle and the others. Um, no, Otto and the other’s, Otto is, what Otto was a young university student, who’s on a tour with other university students. He’s never been in trouble in his life, he wasn’t trying to do anything in the country, there just weren’t similarities. Otto was considered a war criminal, we weren’t looking for confirmation that, oh, this is the way things are. It’s our son, its unique and we knew it was unique and it is unique, so you know, no and we’ve, they’ve reached out to us and I think they only wanted to help but, were fii…thats not what we are looking for.”
No one asked “What about Matthew Todd Miller?” Who was the same age as Otto. Had the Warmbier’s ever spoken with the Millers? What set Otto apart? Were the others held in North Korea guilty of working against the DPRK and Otto wasn’t?
When asked to comment on Otto’s confession, Fred responded “North Korea has proven they are not natures noble men. Again, do you believe my son needed a used car? Do you think, believe he, he’s not even a member of the church that he was accused of stealing a banner from, so, again, um, I, I, I don’t really, we are not burdened with what North Korea says or does any longer. The Warmbier family is not and I am so happy for Cindy, myself, my community, this community has been amazing. We have been forced to be quiet and act different because we didn’t want to offend them and so I don’t know if that answers your question, but that’s my feeling.”
The answers only left more questions, that no one seemed to want to ask. Otto’s confession seemed overly scripted, so it would be easy to dismiss it as forced. But, lets look at some of the circumstances around Otto’s confession, in comparison to what we have been told to think. With an international press gaggle present, all members wore language translation headphones. Otto’s careful speaking style could be attributed to the delay during translation, interrupting the natural flow of speech. Top this linguistic hurdle with the fact that Otto would want to carefully word his responses. Not only being sure that his voice was clearly heard and understood, but also to account for the translating software to be able to translate to an equivalent word when translated to the listener.
At Otto’s request, an international press conference was held. Otto started by thanking all present for their time, made an apology to the government of the DPRK and begged forgiveness. He told of his scholastic accomplishments (which were grand and numerous) as well as his love for adventure.
Otto had traveled to Cuba, Israel, London and China, after starting at the University of Virginia in 2014. This isn’t mentioned during his confession, but illustrates his love for travel and adventure. Also, it shows that he wasn’t unfamiliar with international travel.
Otto listed his residence and spoke of his family. He said his father owned a very small factory called Cincinnati Black Oxide. Otto said his fathers business barely made enough to support his family.
Lets start there. If this is true, then we can answer the question Fred asked at the press conference after Otto’s release, “Do you believe that my son needed a used car?” If Otto’s family was suffering financial struggles while he was away at college in Virginia, then yes, I believe he needed a used car.
How were finances for the Warmbier family? During Otto’s confession, he stated that he was expected to pay $200,000 towards his two siblings $400,000 college cost. Two hundred thousand dollars was the amount Otto stated that Sharon Webb had offered by way of the Friendship United Methodist Church. I have never heard of this. Is this something that happens in some cultures or communities, the older sibling taking on half the cost of his siblings education? With so much talk about college debt and then add the additional $200,000 responsibility to your siblings. I would find that stressful at age 40! Imagine having that stress at the age of 22.
The Warmbier home has a Zestimate value of $951,000. Fred Warmbier is also listed as co owner of a business called Tiger Shark Marine LLC. The company was registered at Fred’s home address in 2010, has two employees and an annual revenue of $168,476.
Fred is listed to have purchased a 2010 Nissan 370Z convertible. The car sells for around $18,000.
In March of 2010 the car was sold to the first owner with title # 3106161508 and the odometer reading 98 miles.
Then three years later the car was listed for sale with a new title # 3106960110 with only 12,611 miles.
The car was then sold on May 16th of 2013 with the title # changed to 3106983336.
Eight days later the car was listed for sale, on May 23rd, with title # 3106989164.
The vehicle was purchased by the third and last listed owner on May 30th with title #3106993374 and only 17,398 miles on the odometer. The registration is reported to have been updated when the owner moved the vehicle to a new location.
That would mean that the car was only driven about 5,800 miles per year. The average mileage that a citizen drives per year is 14,000 miles. Perhaps it was a luxury item, just used on the weekends for recreation. Perhaps Fred was planning on giving the car to Otto. I am not sure about when the car was purchased by Fred or if he is one of the sellers, but he was one of the owners. The vehicle is not listed to have ever been registered outside of Ohio, so the title # changes remain a mystery.
Fred’s company Cincinnati Black Oxide also falls under the name of Finishing Technology, Inc. The division is listed to have certifications to contract with Military, Aeronautical, and Automotive Specifications. The company has contracted with Toyota, GM, Chrysler Corp, Ford, Proctor and Gamble and has worked on GE Aircraft Engines. Those are some pretty big names for doing business with a small local factory.
Things were looking so good that Fred was able to step back from his business to spend more time with his wife and children, traveling the globe and enjoying time together. Fred started to ride bikes and make use of his new found free time. Like father, like son, Fred exceeded at all he did and received a surprising amount of accolades. Fred was recognized in September of 2013 by the Federal Aviation Administration with inclusion into the prestigious FAA Airmen Certification Database, which names certified pilots who have met or exceeded the high educational, licensing and medical standards established by the FAA. Fred was able to purchase a personal aircraft and received his Authorized Aircraft Instructor license in October of 2015.
So you see all of that and the thought that Otto would say that his family was having financial problems seems pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it? Well, lets not be so quick to dismiss Otto’s words and close the book. Fred was also recognized and given a blog to write about his business experiences, as starting as a small company and then expanding. You’re the Boss was launched July 23, 2014 and acts as a sort of guideline of the Warmbier’s finances.
In Fred’s first article Introducing Managing: Something Had to Change he talks about how his business had started booming in 1998, how he decided to take on some debt to expand and then how it started to all come crashing down around 2013.
Otto was working summers in his dads business. Saying that makes you think of a college kid, sweeping up around the shop to earn some extra cash while he is home for the summer. Otto’s LinkedIn profile paints a different story. Otto worked as Finance/Operations Intern starting in June of 2010 and ending his employment to travel and attend the University of Virginia. Otto received certification for ISO 90100 aerospace auditor and had listed his job duties around his dads shop as –
-Analyzed past sales and organized suggestions for improved sales mix
-Calculated ROI for potential investments
-Created a budget and reported expenses for a three month period
-Analyzed past sales and organized suggestions for improved sales mix
-Trained in MAS-90 (now SAGE 100) Accounting Software, ISO 90100 certified aerospace auditor
In 2014 Otto headed off to his first year of college and move into his apartment at 600 Preston Place, Charlottesville Virginia, listed as being owned by the Xi Chapter Alumni Assoc Theta Chi Frat Inc . Later in the year Fred took to his blog and wrote about his experiences at an Aileron small business advocacy group conference, where he learned about Dr. Deming’s management methods and the Deming Institute. He wrote about how he wanted to find meaning in his work or to find work doing something meaningful. As you read through the blog entry, you can see that 2014 brought some great financial risk to Fred’s business.
His September 30th entry talks about the increased cost of keeping up with technology and competition, the company expansion cost and then a big client (too big to loose and remain viable) was unable to pay on a large order. To make matters worse, Fred got a double whammy when another large client demanded costly inspections and they expected Finishing Tech. to cover those cost. Things started to look bleak and by November of 2014 Fred was carrying the heavy weight of possible lay offs. His final post on You’re the Boss on December 17, 2014 Fred talked about the stresses of paying healthcare cost. The Obama years weren’t kind to entrepreneurs but Fred continued to be optimistic while he spoke on a panel at the 2015 Annual International Deming Research Seminar.
Otto took a Birthright funded trip to Israel with The Brody Jewish Center, Hillel at the University of Virginia late in December of 2014. He then took an advanced level economics course at The London School of Economics and Political Science in 2015. Otto was an Analyst Group Associate at the prestigious McIntire Investment Institute since September of 2013 and also acted as Managing Director of Special Situations Group and Coverage Director at the Alternative Investment Fund. At some point Otto also passed the CFA Level 1 exam.
With all of his financial knowledge, maybe Otto saw something that Fred didn’t. Maybe Otto didn’t believe his Fathers business would be able to rise from its slow crumble and decided to take some kind of action, despite the obvious risk, maybe Otto decided to take the gamble.
Recall the dinner that Otto had with his friend Stephan Webb on September 23 2015. Sharon Webb joined the two and made the offer for Otto to procure a trophy from North Korea in trade for a used car and $200,000 through the Friendship United Methodist Church as well as further and unspecified enticements from the church.
At the June 15, 2017 press conference when Fred was asked about the possible connection to the church, he responded “he’s not even a member of the church that he was accused of stealing a banner from”. To have participated in the Birthright trip to Israel, Otto had to be of Jewish decent. So, no, he was not a member of the Methodist church, but these questions may be answered in Otto’s confession.
Otto stated “ I was easily manipulated since my family suffered from severe financial difficulties, and since I am a non believer, the church thought it could deny it’s involvement if my crime would become public news.”
Looking at the timeline of events, this sounds legitimate to me. If caught, of course the church would want to have an easily displayed cover. The fact that Otto was Jewish only helps to add to the ridiculousness, of implying he would go to such great lengths for a church that wasn’t even in line with his own belief system. Brilliant!
Asking, why in the world would the Friendship United Methodist Church want to be involved in such dangerous pranks? When Otto was asked during his press conference/testimony, to explain the details of the Friendship United Methodist Church he answered-
“The Friendship United Methodist Church is not a typical church. It is very wealthy, with $42 million. That is why, it has very close connections with the US Administration. This church made a plan to enter into anti-Christian countries, which the US Administration dislikes, with the aims of increasing its power, and it is implementing this plan. Several democratic Congressmen visit the church regularly to collect political fund donations and assure their continuous support to the church’s policies. It is said that in 2008, around $10 million, around 2-3 % of Barack Obama’s total election costs, was collected from this church. That is one of the reasons why the US Administration works closely with the church and connives at all acts, including my crime. The politicians and US Administration works very closely with the Friendship United Methodist Church to harm the DPRK by all dirty means and ways. The Friendship United Methodist Church gave me the crime task, which is matched to the US hostile policy against the DPRK, in order to spread Christianity in the DPRK and to increase the support from the US Administration. Therefore, my crime task was the expected output of the US Administration’s consistent hostile policy against the DPRK and its implementation by the Friendship United Methodist Church.”
The Center for Responsive Politics estimated the cost of the 2008 presidential race at $2.4 billion, and reported that fundraising by the presidential candidates was double that of 2004. The Obama campaign shattered fundraising records raising a total of $744.9 million. During the primaries its biggest month was March 2008 when it brought in $55.4 million; it far surpassed that in the general election, raising over $150 million in September 2008. Two percent of Obama’s total 2008 campaign cost would be $14 million. If what Otto stated earlier, that The Friendship United Methodist Church had a total of $42 million it isn’t outrageous to think they could donate $14 million.
Was The Friendship United Methodist Church or Sharon Webb ever questioned about these accusations? I could not find any evidence of that. I reached out to The Friendship United Methodist Church asking
– Was Sharon Webb a deaconess at Friendship United Methodist Church and if so, during what dates?
– Did the Friendship United Methodist Church contribute to Barack Obama’s 2008 election cost?
– Has the Friendship United Methodist Church ever been questioned pertaining to Otto’s confession?
They have yet to comment.
Could the Obama administration’s financial ties to The Friendship United Methodist Church be the reason the Warmbier family was asked to keep a low profile? North Korea officials claim that the Obama administration never asked for Otto’s release. Obama spokesman Ned Price stated “During the course of the Obama Administration, we had no higher priority than securing the release of Americans detained overseas. Their tireless efforts resulted in the release of at least 10 Americans from North Korean custody during the course of the Obama administration.”
Was there an investigation of any connections between the Obama administration and The Friendship United Methodist Church or The Z Society?
When Otto was asked to detail the Z Society, he stated “In order to become members, they must have good grades and leadership, and most importantly, they must commit a brave act to help with the Society’s goal of spreading freedom and eliminating tyranny. Once again, all members and activities are strictly confidential. It is clear that the members of the Z Society knew of my good grades and leadership. It is clear that they also knew I eagerly wanted to join the Z Society in order to solve my family’s desperate financial problems. Because of this, they expected me to commit a brave act to help eliminate tyranny. I planned to show my braveness through my crime in the DPRK in order to gain membership in the Z Society.”
Members of the Z Society worked to distance the organization from Otto. A member of the Z Society at UVA told CNN the organization sought to anonymously recognize students who contributed positively to the university. The source said the group had never had any contact with Warmbier and he’d never been approached to be a member.
Otto stated in his confession “I was clearly given the task by the Friendship United Methodist Church. The Z Society encouraged my crime. The US Administration already knows about my act through the CIA, which is closely linked to the Z Society, and connived at my crime. My crime is very severe and pre-planned.”
“There’s just not even the semblance of a relationship between a group of undergrads who get together to eat hummus and write nice things about people, and the CIA,” the Z Society member said to CNN.
As difficult as it may be, to question two secretive organizations about their possible connections…has anyone attempted to investigate this? When contacted by CNN, a University of Virginia spokesman said: “The university is aware of recent media reports and remains in close contact with Otto Warmbier’s family. We will have no further comment at this time.”
Dr Leonid Petrov, a Korean Studies researcher at the Australian National University is quoted saying “He was in North Korea (twice before), he obviously knew the place. He went to a restricted area, an area a lot of people don’t know exists. He’s not naive, he’s not a victim. He is a victim in the eyes of Americans.”
Mr. Warmbier’s parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier said on the day of his release they wanted “the world to know how we and our son have been brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime“, and expressed relief he had been returned to “finally be with people who love him”.
Otto died on June 19th 2017 he would never be able to tell his story, in his own words about what had happened to him in North Korea. The US Media were quick to familiarize the population with the words to use – Terrorist – Pariah – Regime – Brutalized
Four days earlier on June 15 at the request of the Warmbier family Dr. Daniel Kanter, Dr. Jordan Bonomo and Dr. Brandon Foreman gave a press conference, 40 some hours after Otto’s return to the US.
After introductions, Dr. Kanter started with describing Otto’s physical condition “ Vital signs stable on arrival and has remained so. Requires no supplemental oxygen or respiratory assistance. No signs of infection or dysfunction of all non neurological organs.”
Sheryl Stoleberg of The New York Times asked “American Intelligence officials have stated he was singled out for particularly brutal beatings, is it your opinion he was not beaten? Are there any body scars?”
Dr. Kanter said there were “minor skin blemishes consistent with medical care. No fractures and no skin indicating mistreatment”.
Ann Saker from the Cincinnati Enquirer asked “Can you tell if he has been given good care for the last year plus, since he has been in this condition?”
Dr. Kanter replied “ Upon arrival his skin was in good condition and he was well nourished.”
Dr. Kanter stated “Among the battery of test we performed, we examined all of the body, a skeletal survey. We looked at the bony structure of the ribs, the pelvis, the skull and he has had CT Scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis. In these scans we see no evidence of an acute healing fracture, including the skull.”
Otto was in perfect physical health but had suffered severe neurological damage. His neurological condition was described as “Unresponsive wakefulness, spontaneous eye opening and blinking, however, no sign of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surrounding. He did not speak or engaged in any purposeful movement. His exam shows a spastic quadriparesis, a profound weakness and contraction of the muscles of his arms and legs.”
To be clear, Otto was in a vegetative state, not in a coma. Unresponsive wakefulness is described as a vegetative state that some people suffer after being in a coma. – Some patients awaken from coma (that is, open the eyes) but remain unresponsive (that is, only showing reflex movements without response to command). This syndrome has been coined vegetative state. We here present a new name for this challenging neurological condition: unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (abbreviated UWS).
So, what happened to Otto? What was the cause of current condition and then death only 4 days later? North Korean medical officials had sent two disc of all of medical imaging Otto had undergone in their care dated from April and July of 2016, as well as pages of laboratory values (numerical values of various blood test). There were no signs of botulism and there were no signs of poisoning, torture, or otherwise.
“We have no certain or verifiable knowledge of the cause or circumstances of his neurological injury. This pattern of brain injury however is usually seen as a result of cardio pulmonary arrest, where the blood supply to the brain is inadequate for a period of time resulting in the death of brain tissue. We received copies of the brain MRI images from the medical personnel in North Korea from April in 2016. Based upon our analysts of those images the brain injury likely occurred in the preceding weeks.”
It appears that Otto suffered a heart attack within a few days after his confession, that then led to respiratory arrest, that then led to a lack of oxygen to his brain and his brain tissue began deteriorating . At this point, he either fell into a comatose state or he was put into a medically induced coma.
What could have been the cause of a healthy 21 year old young man with no previous health problems to suddenly have a heart attack? Linzie Janis of ABC News asked about previously mentioned respiratory arrest and what would trigger that?
Dr. Bonomo answered “Could stem from intoxication, trauma, there could be other causes in a young healthy person, but in general respiratory arrest in a young healthy person is a rare event and generally caused by something like intoxication or a traumatic injury.”
Dr. Kanter stated “The type and pattern of damage we see on the MRI’s is consistent with cardio pulmonary arrest. Not the normal type we see with traumatic brain injury.”
The medical team found no indication that Otto was abused, mistreated or neglected, but that did not prevent the media from continuing to report that Otto had been brutalized by a terroristic, pariah regime.
Everyone seemed to agree with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, when he said ” there should be an investigation into what happened to Warmbier leading to this “tragic situation.”
Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco stated that her office received and examined Warmbier’s body, but the family objected to an autopsy and the coroner only performed an external examination.
Otto’s funeral and memorial were held on June 22nd 2017 at the same Wyoming Ohio High School, that he had graduated from only a few years prior. An estimated group of 2,500 people attended the service. Otto was then laid to rest in Oak Hill Cemetery at Spring Grove in his home town of Cincinnati Ohio.
We didn’t hear much from the Warmbier family. Who could blame them for wanting to go back to just trying to live their lives, enjoying some form of privacy and autonomy after such a trying, tragic and publicized event?
Tensions between the US and North Korea continued escalating. Missile launches, rumors of threats from both sides, further sanctions, the US starts to strong arm China to end any trade with North Korea, on and on, impossible to ever list every crazy event that occurred during this time.
A September 3 2017 Department of Defense release stated – The Korean Central News Agency announced that North Korean scientists had carried out a test in the country’s northern nuclear test ground of a hydrogen bomb built to sit on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile, describing the device as a two-stage thermonuclear weapon.
And how did the US, land of freedom, diplomacy and purveyors of peace, react in these pissing matches? On September 19th 2017 President Trump spoke at the UN. The same President Trump who had promised non intervention and America first, poked North Korea to react. Stating ” The US has great strength and patience but if it is forced to defend itself or it’s allies we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The US is ready willing and able but hopefully this will not be necessary.” As if North Korea had tested nuclear weapons in US waters.
Well, Minister for Foreign Affairs of North Korea, Ri Young Ho responded in kind, saying “I feel forced to comment on the speech uttered four days ago by some one called the US President, that rendered this sacred UN Arena tainted.” He went on to describe all of the threats the US has made to North Korea since the Korean War in the 50’s. How the US was the first country to have a nuclear weapon and the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon.
These two grown men, these two nations leaders had a twitter war. Throwing accusations and petty name calling, Kim Jong Un responded to Trump’s verbal Rocket Man assault saying “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.” and both leaders continued on in their cat fight, leaving the citizens of both nations unsure of what to believe.
Then, suddenly on September 26th of 2017 Fred and Cindy Warmbier appeared on CNN and Fox News to share an important message with the American people. The Warmbier’s opened up about their experiences and what had happened to Otto. Cindy (who seems to take the back seat to Fred in these interactions with the press) stated that they only knew that Otto had suffered severe brain damage but they were not prepared for the condition they found him in. She said that ” We hoped, with good American healthcare he would improve.” Cindy then let Fred take over from there to discuss Otto’s medical condition. Fred started “Otto was tortured and intentionally injured by Kim and his regime. This was no accident.”
The Warmbiers were angry that North Korea was quoted to say that ” it was North Korea who were the victims in this and that the world was picking on them.” to which Fred responded “as a witness to the terror of their regime, North Korea is not a victim.”
Brook Baldwin of CNN did what CNN never does and she asked the tough questions that people wanted answers to. When asked “Why opt out of an autopsy?” Cindy replied “That’s a really good question.” and then Fred stepped in –
“Absolutely. Otto and our family have been through enough. Otto was abandoned by his family, his country and the rest of the world. He was kidnapped in North Korea. He was isolated from his family and the world. Paraded in front of their public, he was humiliated. Our family and Otto, we were humiliated by North Koreans. Enough! Tortured and essentially murdered, enough.”
Cindy adds – “Our coroner did a visual and she’s the one who brought up that huge scar on his foot.” Brook then ask “What happened to his foot?” To which Cindy responded “We don’t know.”
And there is the problem, we don’t know. We don’t know what happened to Otto in North Korea. There is no evidence of torture or even foul play. Otto’s attending physicians stated so during the press conference, that the Warmbier’s had requested. So why publicly conflict with what the very Doctors they had requested speak to the public stated?
September 26 2017 one day after the interviews aired Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco, made a public statement at a press conference in Ohio. Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco stated the reason for calling the press conference ” There seem to be more questions than answers, so we are hoping to provide you with some of those answers.”
In the previous days interviews Fred and Cindy Warmbier made statements about Otto’s condition that contradicted with both the medical team that over saw Otto’s care as well as the coroner. Some of these statements and the contradicting statements were –
- It looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth
Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco states that they consulted with their forensic dentist to review the scans, specifically of the bottom teeth and enamel. There was no sign of trauma by either imaging or physical examination.
- Otto was abandoned, isolated and alone. He was not given top notch medical care.
Dr. Kanter had stated “ Upon arrival his skin was in good condition and he was well nourished.” As well Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco stating that ” Bedridden patients require a great deal of care, constant rotation as well as skin conditioning to avoid skin breaking down. He had to have had around the clock care to maintain his condition.” Otto did not even display any kind of bed sores, which normally occur with bedridden patients.
- Guttural howling, inhuman sounds, jerking violently, eyes as big as saucers darting around.
Dr. Kanter had described Otto’s condition as “spontaneous eye opening and blinking, however, no sign of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surrounding. He did not speak or engaged in any purposeful movement. His exam shows a spastic quadriparesis, a profound weakness and contraction of the muscles of his arms and legs.”
Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco stated ” Patients who have chronic brain damage, there are involuntary movements and sounds and grunts and so forth. If you are not familiar with patients who have that kind of brain damage, it’s going to be alarming.”
- Tortured and essentially murdered
When asked how Otto was kept alive for a year in this condition in North Korea and then died only 6 days after returning to the US? Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco answered ” Nothing specific was done but he was put on comfort care measures.” She was then asked what exactly that means and she responded ” That means keeping him comfortable and in this specific case to stop the interventionist feeding.” So, he was allowed to die, the feeding tube came out and he was receiving hospice care? and Dr. Sammarcostates nodded in agreement.
It had been stated by multiple medical professionals that Otto had suffered a respiratory arrest that was suspected to have occurred due to a heart attack. Dr. Bonomo had earlier answered how this could happen, saying “Could stem from intoxication, trauma, there could be other causes in a young healthy person, but in general respiratory arrest in a young healthy person is a rare event and generally caused by something like intoxication or a traumatic injury.”
We know from all of the scans, imaging and physical checks that Otto did not show any signs of suffering from any kind of physical abuse, neglect or trauma. Did Otto die of alcohol poisoning?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states on their website – Even if the victim lives, an alcohol overdose can lead to irreversible brain damage. Rapid binge drinking (which often happens on a bet or a dare) is especially dangerous because the victim can ingest a fatal dose before becoming unconscious.
Could the Warmbier family be so overcome with anger and grief, that their perception of what really happened to their first born son in North Korea may be skewed?
That seems very plausible. The Warmbier family have appeared to be a tightly knit and highly ambitious group. I am sure it is unbelievably painful to loose a child, especially a child that is on the cusp of becoming a very successful young man. It would be easy to allow your mind, to point fingers of blame at someone else, rather than accept that such an ambitious young man would loose his life to binge drinking.
Journalist Isaac Stone Fish interviewed several of Otto’s traveling companions. One of the fellow travelers stated that they thought to themselves of Otto “Oh gosh, he’s really out of his league here.” The Young Pioneers Tour group is known as a heavy drinking tour and North Korea is known for it’s micro brews and many breweries. Some selling pint’s for $.50.
Putting all of these puzzle pieces in order can really change the way the story appears.It seems much more likely that Otto went into respiratory arrest due to alcohol poisoning, rather then him being murdered by Kim Jong Un and his regime. If he was not a big drinker to begin with and then drinking heavily to calm his nerves to perform his crime, he would be suffering an intense hangover while going through customs. If he was vomiting or even seemed unsteady, that would explain the airport officials pulling him from the flight. I saw a gentleman get escorted from a flight here in the US, due to the fact he was too ill to travel. It isn’t unusual. Was it after this, that the video of Otto attempting to steal the poster was discovered, or were the officials seeking him out to question him about the crime?
The Media and the Warmbiers used the word kidnapped over and over. But, Otto wasn’t kidnapped. Otto was arrested. He was aware that he was committing a crime. Andrew Byrne, who had taken the same trip with the Young Pioneers Tour group this past spring stated “They breif you on how to behave, what not to do , what’s expected of you. They are very clear.”
And why did the Warmbiers feel it necessary to return to the spotlight and contradict the medical professionals they had overseeing Otto’s care? The Warmbier’s stated in their September 2017 Fox News interview, that they wanted to send a message to the US government to place North Korea on the State Sponsors of Terror list. During the same interview the Warmbier’s said, they hadn’t ever and did not now, want any involvement in political affairs. So why put themselves into political affairs?
To say that a nation should be suspected of terrorism, because 1 out of the 5,000 tourist traveling to North Korea annually, died ? That seems rather ludicrous. Add to that insanity, that there is absolutely zero evidence showing that Otto suffered any mistreatment from the DPRK Government. If anything, the evidence all points to the DPRK giving a foreign prisoner in their country the best care possible.
At the closing of Otto’s confession he stated “After this press conference, my family will come to know about my current situation. I am worried that they may be harmed. And, like I was manipulated by the US Administration, I am worried that my family may be harmed or threatened by those from the government. I beg for any kind of public protection for my family.” And that makes me wonder, are the Warmbier’s being forced into making these kind of public statements? Could that explain the repeating of the words, Brutal – Terror – Pariah Regime, like some kind of weird mind control technique?
There seems little reason to pour resources into attacking North Korea. With all of our military might and technology I do not see how they can be viewed as a military threat.
The US reported $1,686 billion dollars spent on defense, 2.2% of our total GDP. North Korea spends an approximated 15 to 30% out of their $6 billion annual budget on defense. Compare those numbers with South Korea spending $36.8 billion, 2.7% of their GDP, and you start to wonder what is really going on here?
Noam Chomsky tells of both the Obama administration and the Trump administration, instantly rejecting a proposal from North Korea to freeze all of it’s missile and nuclear weapon’s systems. Why wouldn’t either US administration agree to the proposal? Because in return for North Korea ending it’s missile and nuclear weapon’s system, the US would have to agree to end threatening military maneuvers along North Korean borders.
Chomsky reminds us that US Military literally flattened North Korea in the 50’s as well as committing the war crime of bombing dams. You can’t blame the DPRK of being suspicious, when the US is flying nuclear capable B – 52’s along their borders.
South Korean citizens have been protesting the US military’s continued deployment of more missile defense weapons, reported on RT earlier in September 2017. With 28,500 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in South Korea, dating back to 1957, are further deployments and military might, needed in that region? If so, what are we not being told about North Korea?
I hope, that as a nation, we are able to stand back and use logic and reason in both our support and in our protest to what our government does in our name.