The Iranian and North Korean nuclear weapons and cyber warfare programs are a single entity. And Americans outraged at the appeasement of the two by the U.S. government and Hollywood can now undermine the North Korean-Iranian programs for as little as $5.
The Human Rights Foundation has launched a project to break North Korea’s information blockade by smuggling in educational literature, DVD players and DVDs like Titanic, Braveheart and Team America, a raunchy comedy that famously lampooned the late dictator Kim Jong-Il.
The project, named Hack Them Back, enables people to send a DVD into North Korea for as little as $5 without a penny going to overhead. Flyers, DVD players, flash drives, radio broadcasts and even entire balloon drops can be sponsored.
Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector, says her life changed after she saw a bootleg copy of the movie Titanic.
“It wasn’t propaganda, but a story about people willing to die for love. It made me realize that I was controlled by the regime. I was not aware, like a fish is not aware of water. North Koreans don’t know the concept of freedom or human rights. They don’t know that they are slaves,” she said.
Every person should donate at least $5 to damage the most evil regime on earth and save the most oppressed people on earth. The impact is immediate and profound and strengthens national security.
The undermining of the North Korean regime this way achieves three objectives: It counters the consequences of appeasement by Hollywood and the U.S. government; it strikes at an ally of Iran and Islamist terrorists and it promotes human rights.
North Korea collaborates with Iran on nukes, cyber warfare and sells $1-2 billion worth of arms to Iran every year, much of which is presumably passed on to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the terrorists it sponsors.
It is not a coincidence that North Korea doubled the size of its uranium enrichment plant at the same exact time as Iran scaled back its program as part of its nuclear deal with America. Nor is it a coincidence that North Korea restarted its plutonium plant at the same time as Iran stopped working on its own plant.
One intelligence publication reported that Iran’s bomb-specific programs had been moved to North Korea by 2013. It is often reported that Iranian scientists are present during North Korean tests of nuclear bombs and long-range ballistic missiles. These tests are suspected of actually being done for Iran.
It was even alleged that a nuclear test in 2013 was attended by Iranian Revolutionary Guards nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. He is believed to be overseeing Iran’s work on nuclear warheads, triggers for nuclear explosions and other bomb technologies. Iran refuses to allow international inspectors interview him or to access the Parchin site where much of his research happened.
“While [Iranian] President Hassan Rouhani talks with diplomats in Geneva about the shape of a comprehensive agreement, his weapons specialists are likely beavering away in the hills of northeast North Korea, laying the groundwork for Iran’s first detonation—or maybe its fourth,” writes Gordon Chang, an expert on North Korea.
We know that North Korea has assisted Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in ballistic missile and nuclear weapons developments. Assad is Iran’s top Arab ally and a sponsor of terrorists, particularly Hezbollah. An Iranian defector revealed that Iran paid North Korea $1-2 billion to build a nuclear reactor in Syria that Israel destroyed in a 2007 airstrike.
In September, a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. ruled that Americans killed and injured by Hezbollah in 2006 could sue North Korea for helping the terrorist group. It said North Korean assistance to Hezbollah included building a massive underground infrastructure and military and intelligence training.
The court said that North Korea also shipped missile parts to Hezbollah through Iran and Syria for use against Israeli civilians. The North Koreans and Iranians jointly produced rockets with 300 kilometer ranges that were used by Hezbollah and helped upgrade Katyusha and Grad rockets, as well as 107-milimeter and 122-milimeter multiple rocket launchers.
North Korea has trained Hezbollah since the 1980s, including Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and Hezbollah’s directors of intelligence and counter-intelligence during the 2006 war with Israel. The relationship continued after the war with North Korea agreeing to have 100 Hezbollah terrorists trained by its special forces.
It’s been long suspected that North Korean aid to Hamas has arrived via Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. In July, it was reported that North Korea and Hamas were negotiating a deal for missiles and communications systems.
“The spiritual father of Hamas’s tunnel system is [late Hezbollah operative] Imad Mughniyeh,” said Shimon Shapira of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a known expert on Hezbollah.
Israel targeted Hamas’ underground tunnel network in Operation Protective Edge this summer. An Israeli think-tank said the system reflected North Korean expertise. A former deputy-chief of Israel’s National Security Council said North Korean military officials have visited the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Israel’s offensive foiled a mega-terror plot by Hamas to use 30 of those tunnels to kidnap and massacre Israelis in six communities on Rosh Hashanah. The attack was to begin with the infiltration of 200 terrorists, some wearing Israeli military uniforms. There are unconfirmed reports that Hezbollah would attack from the north once the assault began.
North Korea could easily transfer even deadlier expertise to terrorists. It has elite special forces, scientists who study weapons of mass destruction and top-notch hacking teams. In addition to its nuclear weapons arsenal, it has somewhere between 2,500 and 5,000 tons of chemical weapons.
The North Korean regime is easily the biggest violator of human rights in the world today. A U.N. report said “no parallel” exists anywhere. It has been rated as the top persecutor of Christians for 12 years in a row.
There are at least four camps for political prisoners with conditions only comparable to the Nazi concentration camps and they hold an estimated 120-200,000 people, including many children. The number of Christians is pegged at 50-70,000. It is believed that 400,000 people have died in the camps and up to 2.5 million North Koreans have starved to death under this regime.
North Korea says the camps are for “re-education” and “reform through labor.” Defectors including former prisoners and guards tell of extreme torture, cannibalism, human experimentation, children being eaten alive by dogs, mothers forced to kill their babies and the list goes on and on.
Exposing the North Korean people to reality is the most painful blow we can deliver to the regime. A former bodyguard for Kim Jong-Il says he only realized he was serving an evil dictatorship once he learned about the outside world.
“The North Korean regime controls and monitors the usage of the very words. The concept is not even taught. I had never even heard of the term ‘human rights’ when I was in North Korea,” says a former prisoner who escaped.
Illegal DVDs, computers, Chinese phones and foreign media broadcasts are finally chipping away at the information blockade that has sustained the cult-like regime, creating a “black market generation” that could usher in a new era.
And that change is already bubbling beneath the surface.
A watershed moment happened in late 2009 when the regime implemented a controversial currency reform plan. Amazingly, the largely indoctrinated population woke up and expressed outrage. For the first time in history, the North Korean regime backed down to its population and even apologized. A top official involved in forming the plan was executed.
In November 2010, footage leaked out showing a woman confronting a corrupt police officer who tried to shake her down for a bribe. The anonymous provider of the footage said that anti-regime graffiti and posters had even begun appearing.
In February 2011, dozens of citizens met a new benchmark by protesting in three cities over a lack of food and electricity. Previously, North Koreans weren’t even aware that the government was responsible for their plight.
At around the same time, regime security cracked down on protestors in Sinuiju. After they were beaten and one was knocked unconscious, family members joined in and reportedly hundreds of people clashed with police. The military is said to have been deployed.
From concentration camps to selling arms and weapons technology to Islamist radicals, the hellish reign of North Korea’s regime has been tolerated for far too long. Free people around the world have the opportunity to take action.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio.