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Video of 21-year-old American student Otto Warmbier on state television in North Korea profusely apologizing for the “severe” crime of stealing a political poster is, in a word, unnerving.


Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, said on North Korean state TV that he took a political banner with “the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation.”

“Please, I have made the worst mistake of my life,” Warmbier said sobbing before a room full of officials. “I am begging to the Korean people and government for my forgiveness.”

“I have been very impressed by the Korean government’s humanitarian treatment of severe criminals like myself,” he said later. “And of their very fair and square legal procedures in the DPR Korea.”

“I committed my crime of taking out the important political slogan from the staff only area of the Yanggakdo International Hotel, aimed at harming the work ethic and the motivation of the Korean people,” he continued.

Okay, that’s propaganda.

Matt Naham About the author:
Matt Naham is the Weekend Editor  for Rare. Follow him on Twitter @matt_naham.
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