Monday, October 17, 2016

Self-Help PSYOP Against North Korea

The NY Times, October 15, 2016 US print edition ran an article “Subverting North Korea, One Bundle of Leaflets at a Time”. The Asian version ran a day earlier and lead with “A ‘Balloon Warrior’ Subverts North Korea, Thousands of Leaflets at a Time" (US version at:, which is also the photo source.)

In the day and age of Tweets and FaceBook it’s somewhat refreshing to see old school operations. According to the Times, Lee Min-bok is a North Korean defector with a self-avowed mission to foster popular subversion against the North Korean government.

Mr. Kim’s efforts do not receive any government support. Rather he supports himself through lecture fees and receives donations from various groups. According to the article, A Japanese group because they want him to send leaflets to help find Japanese citizens in North Korea. Other donors include Christians who provide Bibles and food.

Kim summed up his efforts this way “My leaflets are a poison for Kim Jong-un’s regime, because they help North Koreans wake up to his lies”.

The leaflet bundles are high enough to avoid small arms fire. Kim has developed is own ‘timer’ that opens the bundles allowing the leaflets to drop down.

While Kim receives security support from the Republic of Korea, his efforts are chiefly his own and is only job.

While we can only assess Mr. Kim’s production and not his effectiveness, his story is an interesting one. On the launch end Mr. Kim choses to assume a low profile and not launch from villages or populated centers so as to avoid conflicts.

One wonders if this type of grassroots approach could be adopted in other areas, especially where a regime controls the information channels. Of course leaflet drops are wind dependent and the receiving terrain must be open enough to allow the leaflets to reach their targets.

Readers are invited to contribute any other examples of Self-Help PSYOP.


William Tarbush said...

While not a PSYOP per se, many missionaries distribute their own leaflets by airplane drops. They sometimes also drop small gifts, for lack of better words. said...