Wednesday, December 31, 2014

South Korean to drop Sony film into North by balloon

For all the hype on the movie and getting it into north Korea I hope people realize that this is absolutely no substitute for what is really needed in terms of a sophisticated Psychological Operations effort to undercut the legitimacy of the regime without undercutting the personal identifies of the north Korean people.  While this is a feel good for us in terms of the humor and insults to Kim Jong-un we must understand that a sustained sophisticated PSYOP effort is necessary to both support resistance as well as help prepare the people for unification.  We should be under no illusion that this film will do either or both.  It will not by itself.  That said, the north's actions toward the movie will make a bigger contribution to undercutting its legitimacy  and that is why I support getting the movie into the north.  But the movie itself is going to have little long term impact because it is not the appropriate vehicle to influence the key target audiences of the north Korean second tier leadership and the general population.  But the PSYOP campaign that is necessary must be based on thorough target audience analysis and understanding the Korea culture in general both historical and contemporary.  Even Juche cannot be ( or should not be) directly attacked or satirized but instead must as an example be shown to be an irresponsible adaptation of Korean culture in order to show that there there are underlying cultural continuities between north and South and there are more similarities at the fundamental cultural level than there are differences at the more superficial levels (e.g. the two Korean "miracles - the one on the Han (i.e., South Korean people thriving on the opportunity a free political system and open market economy) and the one on the Taedong (i.e., north Korea people surviving 60+ years of oppression and extreme adversity).  But a film like the Interview cannot get to that level of subtlety and sophistication (and of course it its defense it is not meant to - but that is why we need to focus on a real PSYOP campaign (that is focused on supporting President Park's Dresden Initiative for Koran unification) and not be taken in by our western emotional response to this movie and the mirror imaging analysis that we are unwittingly conducting, i.e., if this movie makes us despise Kim Jong-un then the north Korean people will despise him as well).

South Korean to drop Sony film into North by balloon

The Associated Press
Published: December 31, 2014
Balloons to North Korea
On Oct. 10, 2014, anti-North Korea activists launch balloons containing anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the North from South Korea.


SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean activist said Wednesday that he will launch balloons carrying DVDs of Sony's "The Interview" toward North Korea to try to break down a personality cult built around dictator Kim Jong Un.
The comedy depicting an assassination attempt on Kim is at the center of tension between North Korea and the U.S., with Washington blaming Pyongyang for crippling hacking attacks on Sony Entertainment. Pyongyang denies that and has vowed to retaliate.
Activist Park Sang-hak said he will start dropping 100,000 DVDs and USBs with the movie by balloon in North Korea as early as late January. Park, a North Korean defector, said he's partnering with the U.S.-based non-profit Human Rights Foundation, which is financing the making of the DVDs and USB memory sticks of the movie with Korean subtitles.
Park said foundation officials plan to visit South Korea around Jan. 20 to hand over the DVDs and USBs, and that he and the officials will then try to float the first batch of the balloons if weather conditions allow.
"North Korea's absolute leadership will crumble if the idolization of leader Kim breaks down," Park said by telephone.
If carried out, the move was expected to enrage North Korea, which expressed anger over the movie. In October, the country opened fire at giant balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets floated across the border by South Korean activists, trigging an exchange of gunfire with South Korean troops.
But it is not clear how effective the plan will be, as only a small number of ordinary North Korean citizens are believed to own computers or DVD players. Many North Koreans would not probably risk watching the movie as they know they would get into trouble if caught. Owning a computer requires permission from the government and costs as much as three months' salary for the average worker, according to South Korean analysts.
Not everyone supports sending balloons into the North, with liberals and border town residents in South Korea urging the activists to stop. North Korea has long demanded that South Korea stop the activists, but Seoul refuses, citing freedom of speech.
Park said the ballooning will be done clandestinely, with the pace picking up in March when he expects the wind direction to become more favorable.
Calls to the Human Rights Foundation on Wednesday were not immediately answered. The foundation says on its website that it works with North Korean defectors to use hydrogen balloons to send material across the border, as well as smuggling items through China and broadcasting radio transmissions to reach those who own illegal short wave radios.

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