Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Forget hi-tech

When I first saw this report a few minutes ago my first thought was: "And the winner of the dumbest idea of the year is..."
I had this vision of colored balloons floating across the demilitarized zone into North Korea, and then being shattered by a barrage of gunfire. What a photo opportunity. What an opportunity for a massive misunderstanding and an "incident." And of course now that they know they are coming, where they are heading, and what they contain -- it makes things so much easier for them to be shot down before they reach their intended target.
But apparently this method has been used before, there were no reported major incidents that I could find on a quick search "korea balloons" -- but at the same time, obviously there is no way of knowing how much impact the previous efforts had.
About all I can say is, good luck!

" TOKYO (AP) - A Japanese advocacy group said Tuesday it will use balloons to scatter flyers over North Korea, offering residents a US$10,000 cash reward for information on Japanese citizens kidnapped by the regime decades ago. The Tokyo-based Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea plans to send the first batch of the balloons from near South Korea's border with the North in late March, according to the group's leader, Kazuhiro Araki. The 5-meter- (20-foot-) long balloons are fitted with simple timers and can be preset to release sacks of flyers over the Pyongyang region, Araki said. The postcard-sized flyers, which are waterproof and printed in Japanese and Korean, call for details on Japanese citizens abducted by communist agents in the 1970s and 1980s.The flyers also offer a cash reward of up to US$10,000 for information on Japanese abductees and urge residents to contact a hot line in Japan or tune in to a radio program the group transmits toward North Korea. The group is preparing to eventually scatter over 100,000 flyers over the isolated regime, Araki said. With no independent radio, television or newspapers and no public Internet access, few North Koreans know what is happening in their homeland, or outside. ``These could be picked up by anyone in North Korea. We want to reach as many people as possible,'' said Araki. ``Our aim is to get information into North Korea, then get information out.'' South Korean private groups have previously used balloons to send flyers and radios to the North. For decades, the two Koreas also used balloons to scatter propaganda leaflets on each other's territories."

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