Isn’t that a reasonable possibility?
Evidently not. In a semi-perfunctory google, I couldn’t find anyone else who thought – at least out loud and on the internet – that maybe the return of poor Warmbier was a North Korean chemical weapons threat.
1) Threats are what North Korea does. Kim’s North Korea will survive for only as long as it can continue to make credible threats of mass destruction.
2) Warmbier’s doctors could find no trace of the botulism which North Korea blamed for his coma and they remain puzzled about the coma’s cause.
3) Why botulism? Either the North Koreans had no idea what caused Warmbier’s coma or they chose to lie about it. Either way, why not an embolism, or a stroke, or meningitis? Why botulism?
You get botulism from eating rotten food. Warmbier was in the custody of the North Koreans, ergo they are responsible for the rotten food that killed him. But the last thing North Korea wants is to be considered a third world country, where food is so rotten that prisoners die of botulism. So, why botulism?
One thing I did find on google is that North Korea’s chemical weapons arsenal includes botulism toxin. (No secret – it was reported by Jane’s.)
Why botulism? It makes sense if it were a threat: Botulism? Are you kidding? What we did to this poor kid, we could do to millions of you.
4) Why did the North Koreans send Warmbier home? As a threatening gesture must be added to other plausible reasons.
If it was a threat, the timing fits with the increased tensions ratcheted up by North Korea’s recent volley of missile tests and the volatile instability of the US government.
I’d love to get comments about this. Just, “You’re being paranoid!” would be appreciated.