Otto Warmbier-One in a Million

President Trump commented on the untimely death of Otto Warmbier.  He remarked “we’ll be able to handle it.”  Perhaps Trump was simply at a loss for words.  Perhaps he was unable to explain to America how a young bright American could be returned to the United States after being imprisoned follow charges of a trivial offense in a coma and brain dead.


At least three Americans and one Canadian are currently being held in North Korea.  We can count those people on one hand.  However the number of non-Americans who are brutally tortured and killed in North Korea is shocking.

Questions have arisen about the circumstances surrounding Warmbier’s  actual arrest.

Ottos Warmbier died days after his return home after a 17 month detention in North Korea.

Referring to his imprisonment in North Korea, Trump said, “A lot of bad things happened … It is a brutal regime and we’ll be able to handle it.”  The reality is that we SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO HANDLE IT!  WE SHOULD BE DEMONSTRATING.  WE SHOULD HAVE ALREADY TAKEN ACTION TO REMOVE KIM JONG-UN FROM POWER!

“Let us state the facts plainly: Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong-un regime,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. McCain noted that North Korea has threatened its neighbors, destabilized the Asia-Pacific region, and is rapidly developing the nuclear weapons technology to strike the U.S.

“Now it has escalated to brutalizing Americans, including three other citizens currently imprisoned in North Korea,” the senator said. “The United States of America cannot and should not tolerate the murder of its citizens by hostile powers.”

However there is abundant evidence that North Korea is the most inhumane regime in the world.  Things you should know about North Korea are:
1. North Korea Keeps Citizens in Line With a “Three Generations of Punishment” Rule

In North Korea, someone who violates the law isn’t just punished – their entire family is, too.

2. DPRK’s Tallest Building is Empty

Kim Il-sung wanted to showcase North Korean power by building a record-breaking skyscraper. The pyramidal Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang is 1000 feet tall and 105 stories, and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build over decades of starts and stops since its 1987 construction began. Sadly, this iconic building dominating Pyongyang’s skyline remains empty and unfinished, a monument to lofty ambitions gone awry.  The hundreds of millions of dollars could have been used to feed the starving people of North Korea.

North Korea, Pyongyang, Ryugyong Hotel

3.  North Korea Built a Fake Propaganda City Near the Border.

Not far from the DMZ between North and South Korea sits creepy Kijong-dong (“Peace Village”). At first glance, it looks like a pleasant town full of colorful houses, schools, a hospital, and a freakishly large flagpole (built to be taller than South Korea’s counterpart).  Insiders claim that nobody actually lives there, that lights are set to a timer and that the buildings are mere shells and facades.

4. Kim Jong-un Is the Youngest Head of State in the World

Kim Jong-un was only 28 when he became North Korea’s Supreme Leader after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011. He has no formal military training is at the command of the fourth largest military in the world.

5. Kim Jong-un Had His Uncle Executed by Feeding Him to a Pack of Dogs.

The 67-year-old uncle, was stripped naked and fed to 120 hungry hounds that hadn’t been fed for several days.

6. A Must-see Attraction in DRNK, are the Dead Bodies of Past Leaders.

The embalmed and entombed corpses of the late “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong-il and his father before him, “The Great Leader” Kim Il-sung, are preserved and on display in a glass casket for all to see.

7.  North Korea Is Considered the Most Corrupt Country in the World.

North Korea engages in horrific human experiments.

While many may people would like to make this a political issue, its a humane issue.  This American was treated extraordinarily harshly and he is now dead as a result of this brutal regime.  As outrageous as this incident is, the reality is that it’s common for North Korea to abuse its prisoners.

Image result for north korea torture

Image result for north korea torture

Apart from Warmbier, there are several examples of US detainees being physically abused by North Korea in recent history: Robert Park, a Christian missionary who entered North Korea in 2009 said he was tortured and sexually abused by government officials; Laura Ling, a US journalist who was captured while working in North Korea, said she was also hit in the headby North Korean soldiers.

Otto Frederick Warmbier (C), a University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea, is taken to North Korea's top court in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo March 16, 2016.

In a 2014 documentary on life inside of North Korea’s labor camps, “Camp 14: Total Control Zone,” one former labor camp official suggested that the guards at these camps serve as judge, jury and executioner.  Prisoners are “treated like animals” once they arrive at the camps.

In a 2014 Sky News report, “The Defectors,” escapees from North Korea’s prison camps suggest that they are unable to fall asleep at night because “from every room there are sounds, sounds of beatings.”

North Korean officials have denied that there are any “labor camps” in the country at all, instead suggesting that they are places designed for “education.” According to the United Nation Human Rights Commission, “the very existence of political prison camps is considered a state secret, even though international human rights groups have reported about them since the late 1980s.”

Witnesses interviewed for the U.N. report describe how “special torture chamber[s]” exist in these prison camps for the sole purpose of unconventional cruelty. There are hooks from which people can hang upside-down, needles for driving under fingernails, and special chili-pepper concoctions for pouring down a victim’s nose.

Multiple subjects also describe how subjects are immersed in water tanks to the point that they fear drowning. One woman, apparently tortured on suspicion of practicing Christianity, “indicated that she was fully immersed in cold water for hours. Only when she stood on her tip-toes would her nose be barely above the water level.”


Joshua Stanton, a Washington-based attorney who has advised the House Foreign Affairs Committee on legislation related to North Korea, argues that whatever suffering Warmbier endured, it’s worth remembering that millions of North Korean citizens suffer far worse on a daily basis.

One death is a tragedy, but the death of millions is unimaginable.  Why is the world tolerating this documented inhumanity?  North Korea is hell on earth.  North Korea is home to an estimated 25 million people. Here are facts that apply to those 25 million people:

– About half of North Korea’s population of 24 million lives in “extreme poverty,” according to the KUNI report. These people subsist on corn and kimchi and “are severely restricted in access to fuel for cooking and heating.”

– One-third of children are stunted, due to malnutrition, according to the World Food Program.

– The average life expectancy, 69, has fallen by five years since the early 1980s, according to the blog North Korea Economy Watch. The blog notes that those figures are based on official statistics, so the real numbers could be even lower.

– Inflation may be as high as 100 percent, due to mismanagement of the currency.

– Most workers earn $2 to $3 per month in pay from the government. Some work on the side or sell goods in local markets, earning an extra $10 per month or so.

– Most homes and apartments are heated by open fireplaces burning wood or briquettes. Many lack flush toilets.

– Electric power is sporadic and unreliable, with homes that have electricity often receiving just a few hours per day.

– Families that can afford them often have two TVs, according to New Focus International, a website that features dispatches from North Korean exiles; one TV is pre-set to state channels airing propaganda, while the second, illegal set is used to watch South Korean TV programs. Even so, fluctuating voltage in the electrical current often causes the screen to keep changing size, “going from big to small repeatedly,” according to one exile report.

– Some of the most popular contraband items are DVDs of South Korean TV shows, which North Koreans often trade or sell among themselves.

– Parents who send their kids to schools are expected to provide desks, chairs, building materials and cash to pay for heating fuel. Some students are put to work producing goods for the government or gathering up discarded materials. Parents can bribe teachers to exempt their kids from labor or just keep them away from school, even though that violates official policy.

– North Korea has a “free” medical system, but hospital patients must pay for their own drugs, cover the cost of heat, and prepare all their own meals at home.

– Among the privileged class, cosmetics are considered “an ostentatious display of wealth,” according to the KINU report. South Korean brands are preferred over inferior Chinese or North Korean products.

– There are about 1.5 million mobile phone users in North Korea, but service is spotty and no Internet is available. One popular use for mobile phones: as a “torch” to provide light when the power goes out at night.

– Kim Jong Un may be worth as much as $5 billion, according to the South Korean news organization Chosun Ilbo. The money comes from state-run enterprises as well as sales of narcotics, counterfeiting, and other types of criminality. It’s believed to be held in hundreds of bank accounts – outside of North Korea.

How can we sleep at night knowing the plight of so many?  Maybe the death of Otto Warmbier will raise awareness around the world of the tragic plight of people born to North Korean parents.


2 thoughts on “Otto Warmbier-One in a Million

Add yours

  1. What a compelling article Malia!

    In many respects it is eerily similar to all autocrats such as the Putin, Erdogen, and the Venezuelan situation. Starve and punish people to keep the wealth in a few corrupt hands.


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