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09/11/2001 WE REMEMBER
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"Fear is the foundation of most governments." - John Adams

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Otto Warmbier, freed by North Korea last week, has died
Posted: Posted June 19th by Agis in the US

CINCINNATI (AP) — Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was released by North Korea in a coma last week, died Monday afternoon. He was 22.

The family announced his death in a statement released by UC Health Systems, saying, "It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm."


The family thanked the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for treating him but said, "Unfortunately, the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today."

They said they were choosing to focus on the time they were given with their "warm, engaging, brilliant" son instead of focusing on what they had lost.

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, convicted of subversion after he tearfully confessed he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.

The University of Virginia student was held for more than 17 months and medically evacuated from North Korea last week. Doctors said he returned with severe brain damage, but it wasn't clear what caused it.

Parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier told The Associated Press in a statement the day of his release that 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."

He was taken by Medivac to Cincinnati, where he grew up in suburban Wyoming. He was salutatorian of his 2013 class at the highly rated high school, and was on the soccer team among other activities.

Ohio's U.S. senators sharply criticized North Korea soon after his release.

Republican Sen. Rob Portman of the Cincinnati area said North Korea should be "universally condemned for its abhorrent behavior." Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Cleveland said the country's "despicable actions ... must be condemned." Portman added that the Warmbiers have "had to endure more than any family should have to bear."

Three Americans remain held in North Korea. The U.S. government accuses North Korea of using such detainees as political pawns. North Korea accuses Washington and South Korea of sending spies to overthrow its government.

At the time of Warmbier's release, a White House official said Joseph Yun, the U.S. envoy on North Korea, had met with North Korean foreign ministry representatives in Norway the previous month. Such direct consultations between the two governments are rare because they don't have formal diplomatic relations.

At the meeting, North Korea agreed that Swedish diplomats could visit all four American detainees. Yun learned about Warmbier's condition in a meeting a week before the release the North Korean ambassador at the U.N. in New York. Yunthen dispatched to North Korea and visited Warmbier June 12 with two doctors and demanded his release on humanitarian grounds.

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There are 12 Replies

Poor lad. Bloody horrible.

God knows what the North Koreans did to him to put him in that state. No doubt he was released because they knew he was about to die.

Posted June 19th by Smiling Apple
Smiling Apple

Yeah, my guess is that he was waterboarded until he basically stopped responding.

Maybe his ongoing torture was because they truly believed he had some kind of information, or it's just routine torture one would get in a notorious North Korean prison. Or, maybe torturing him was to put pressure on America bargaining for his release.

Really sad.



Posted June 19th by Agis in the US
Agis in the US
 

From what I've read on the subject, it seems likely that something went wrong here. North Korea's American hostages aren't of any use to them if they're dead or dying.

I would be surprised if his handlers aren't executed for whatever part they played in this. North Korea will almost certainly (and rightly) face some form of consequences for what happened here.

Sad for him and his family.

Posted June 19th by Count Dooku
Count Dooku

Or maybe it was just torture for the sake of torture.

Totalitarian regimes inevitably descend into pointless sadism. The depths plumbed by a regime as totalitarian as North Korea can only be imagined. God knows what horrors we'll discover when the whole thing collapses.

Posted June 19th by Smiling Apple
Smiling Apple

There's always a "reason," though. I don't doubt for a minute that North Korea's imperial cult relishes in tormenting the Western capitalist pigdogs, but they had to have something to put on paper.

Edited June 19th by Pink Peruvian Flying Bear
Pink Peruvian Flying Bear

Well brutality for the sake of brutality is definitely possible.

In the Soviet gulags and during China's cultural revolution it was safer to be more harsh on traitors/reactionaries/spies than seeming to be too easy on them.

Posted June 19th by Agis in the US
Agis in the US
 

There's always a "reason," though. I don't doubt for a minute that North Korea's imperial cult relishes in tormenting the Western capitalist pigdogs, but they had to have something to put on paper.

You misunderstand the nature of totalitarianism if you genuinely believe that.

Look up what happened under the Khmer Rouge. Or under the Soviets. Or even in East Germany.

Or just read Orwell, who understood it better than almost anyone.

Much of the time the sadism is completely pointless. The justifications for acts of sadism come after the fact.

Edited June 19th by Smiling Apple
Smiling Apple

SA what's the best Orwell book in your opinion?

Posted June 19th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

You all know I'm very anti-interventionist....but when it comes to North Korea, they need to be dealt with.

Posted June 19th by #85
#85

No, I agree that it is pointless, but a rationalization exists. Certainly, individual sadists will sign up to do harm to their fellow man in the service of their country or in the service of literally anything else, but for the government, there's a reason - or at the least, an excuse. You can't prop up a government on malice alone (but malice helps). It might be as simple as "the pain we inflict on them will help them understand the pain they inflict under capitalism," or something equally insane.

- and speaking of Orwell, I'm half-convinced the reason we haven't gone in there and crushed North Korea flat is because they're a useful punching bag - eminently detestable, yet entirely non-threatening to the West. They *would* do their best to take South Korea down with them, though.

Edited June 19th by Pink Peruvian Flying Bear
Pink Peruvian Flying Bear

RIP

Posted June 19th by ShadowFox08
ShadowFox08

SA what's the best Orwell book in your opinion?

1984.

But The Road to Wigan Pier comes a close second. I really loved that book. His essays are also worth reading. I never thought much of Animal Farm - it was only really relevant to a specific time and a specific readership, in my opinion. But I'm only speaking relatively. It's still a good read.

I've heard Homage to Catalonia and Down and Out in Paris and London are also very good, but haven't got round to reading them yet.

Posted June 19th by Smiling Apple
Smiling Apple
Reply to: Otto Warmbier, freed by North Korea last week, has died

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