After watching the videotapes and analyzing the body language of U of Virginia student Otto Wambier arrested in North Korea, I noticed some things that were very disturbing that didn’t sit right with me in terms of his body language. Also there were many questions that arose following his capture which leads me to believe he was singled out and used as propaganda against the US. When Otto is seated his facial language shows that he appears alert as you can see in the photo above.
When Otto is first seated during his one hour trial in North Korea his facial language shows that he appears alert and connected as to what is going on.
When we watch what appears to be evidence of his alleged actions on the video the North Korean court provided, we do not actually see Otto committing the crime. We only see him walking in the direction where there was a banner in front of a wall. Then a photo is shown of the same wall without the banner. But most important of all, the tape does not show him doing anything to the banner, like taking it down.
Then we see him confessing to his alleged crime where his body language shows fake alligator tears and over the top expressions of grief and sadness as his expressions are fleeting and there is not enough recovery time from one emotion to the next. Ther are also no tears that he is wiping away. Perhaps this over the top performance was designed to get his North Korean judgers to give him some sympathy. It clearly didn’t work.
His verbal apology sounded fake and forced and contrived as he cried alligator tears. He was theatrical as he stood up and made an over the top performance. A He even blames the US government for putting him up to this , which clearly shows how he has been manipulated by the North Korans. No American would ever believe that another American would publicly denounce their government when they are just a tourist in another country and then say that the US government manipulated him into stealing the banner. s you can see below he was immediately led out by one Korean guard as soon as the verdict was read.
As you can see below, Otto was immediately led out by one Korean guard as soon as the verdict was read.
He also looks to his right side as he is lead out of the courtroom by that one guard. He seems to be uttering something. Is he speaking to the man in the suit standing against the wall? Is he speaking to the cameras pointed in his direction to document his ordeal?
Then what you see if very disturbing as he is flanked by two robotic looking, emotionless guards. You see him led out with his eyes closed. It is as though he is walking but he is sleeping at the same time. Note that his head is initially still up. The color has also left his face as he suddenly looks very pale.
Immediately, his head drops further as though he is unconscious. It is not just that he is looking down. The fact that his head is down so low, sitting on his chest indicates to me that perhaps he is in some type of altered state. Was he drugged so that he did not shout anything out and reveal his true thoughts and feelings as he was lead away? The guards also notice the sudden change in his body. The one on the left looks directly at him for the first time and the one on the right suddenly turns his head in Otto’s direction as well. Were they expecting to see Otto in his new state? Did they inject him with something that finally revealed it’s effects? Otto’s fingers splayed as well and look way too relaxed for the circumstances he is under.
Did the North Koreans drug Otto to keep him quiet when he was in front of the media? What will his life be like when the drugs wear off? Will he be beaten as was reported to be the case with so many prisoners? Will he be put in isolation away from others or will he be treated well and remain unharmed so that he could be used as a bargaining chip during any negotiations with the Americans.
There are many questions that arise following his capture which leads me to believe he may have been singled out and used as propaganda against the US.Having described his peculiar body language during his trial and frightening body language of being dragged away to a prison camp for 15 years, many puzzling questions arise.
1.Why would he take a banner off of a wall? Where were all the other young people with him when he was allegedly taking the banner off of the wall when he was allegedly drinking vodka until 5 AM? Usually this type of activity would be in a group activity of people getting rowdy together and destroying and/or taking property. This makes me wonder if in fact this banner was planted in his luggage, especially since he was the last one to have his luggage checked.
2.How was the alcohol so available to him and where were all the other young people with him when he was allegedly taking the banner off of the wall when he was drinking vodka until 5 AM? Since everything is so strict in North Korea, especially for tourists, was he purposely plied with alcohol? Was he not with other students when he was drinking? Was he the only one that was given a supply of liquor? Where are the other students who were allegedly drinking with him just given soft drinks? Why have these fellow students not come forth to be interviewed? And most of all, was he even given liquor at all or is that all a part of the North Korean propaganda machine?
3. Why would he choose to go to North Korea which was supposedly his first trip out of his home country? This was the question posed by an Irish man who was on the same trip with Wombier and who was interviewed by journalists.It certainly is odd that one’s first trip would not be to a dream location like London or Paris or to a study abroad program in South or Central America or even Russia or China. But to choose a remote location that the State Department warns tourists to not visit, is very odd- especially for young students.
4. The tour operator was apparently frantically running up and down the plane , according to witnesses telling the stewardess that they were missing Otto, The witness told reporters “The tour operator eventually got through to Otto on the phone. He said to her that he didn’t want to leave and had a headache and that he wanted to go to hospital. She preferred him to get on the plane and go to a hospital in China….He hung up the phone and that was the last they heard of him. There was a frantic search when they landed in China.”
This entire account strikes me as very odd. First of all, how did the tour guide get to Otto on the phone? Wasn’t his cell phone immediately confiscated when he was detained by guards and how does a technologically unsophisticated country suddenly have wifi in their airport when it is such a hassle to get wifi in sophisticated airports around the world? Also that is very odd that he allegedly told the tour guide that he didn’t want to leave and wanted to go to a hospital. First of all who would take him to that hospital in North Korea and why did he need a hospital? Was his drink plied with something other than vodka? Why wouldn’t he want to go to a hospital in China as his tour operator allegedly suggested where they would seem to have more sophisticated medical assistance than in North Korea? It simply doesn’t make sense to me. Also was this the first time he drank alcohol? That is doubtful since he was fraternity man at the U of Virginia where drinking often happens as it does in other fraternities around the country. Did he not get sick immediately if he was allegedly drinking so much? Wouldn’t he have told his tour operator that he was sick before he went to the airport, not after he was already in the airport and being called by the tour operator as was suggested?
5. Another witness on the plane reported that Otto said something to the soldier and then the soldier started yelling at him and dragged him off. This is very, very odd. Why would Otto speak to any soldier or guard and how did he know Korean so well to have a conversation with anyone? Everything is so strict in that country and everything is so monitored with tourists. Thus, it is very odd that Otto would speak to anyone other than his tour guide or handlers.
Anyone would know that that stealing a banner is a lot more of a hostile attack in a restricted country than creasing Kim Jong un’s face in a magazine photo. As someone who was described as “bright” by those who knew him and as a U of Virginia college student, one would know that. One would obviously know that taking anything from North Korea, especially something you did not pay for was a hostile act. So it make you wonder if Otto really committed this hostile act or if it was simply contrived – made up by the North Koreans?
This leads me to wonder if this young man was being used by the North Korean officials to use as an example of propaganda to their people to illustrate just how bad Americas are in terms of their drinking and stealing property.
Did the Koreans single him out when he entered the country? Did they slip him something in his drink to make him ill? Did they steal the banner and plant it in his luggage, since he was conveniently the last person to go through the airport security ? Did the Korean’s plan it this way ? Was there someone forcing him to tell the tour operator that he wanted to stay in North Korea and go to a hospital there? Did he even say that he wanted to stay in North Korea or go to the hospital or was that information that was manufactured ?
The entire scenario seems odd to me and his body language seems to reflect that oddness. His over the top delivery with rhetoric any Westerner would quickly knows was a “forced to say” confession. Then, his complete change in demeanor whereby he seems drugged or unconscious, as he is abruptly dragged away by two robotic expressionless guards, raises suspicion.
The entire scenario is frightening and evidence that every American MUST listen to The U.S. State Department who has repeatedly warned against travel to North Korea. American visitors who ignore this warning to not travel there are at great risk of breaking the North Korea’s strange and seeming ridiculous and petty rules. They risk detention, arrest , and lengthy jail sentences. Although most have eventually been released, the process is a lengthy and an expensive one. They may also die in captivity based on the harsh conditions they will be exposed to such as hard physical labor. They are also at risk of dying at the hands of unsympathetic and inhumane guards.Finally, they are jeopardizing the government’s time, energy, and finances as it takes a lot of money and effort to negotiate for their release.
The bottom line is stay away from North Korea, especially if you an American.