South Koreans Use Balloons to Float Propaganda DVDs to North KoreaS

For years, South Korean activists have been sending pro-democracy propaganda to the politically and informationally isolated citizens of North Korea via balloon, in an attempt to share information about Kim Jong Il and his regime. Generally, it's information that is either censored or illegal in the communist country. Sometimes it's Bible verses. Today, AFP reports the activists sent out their latest bunch of information balloons even after Kim Jong Il threatened to attack them. Here's what they put inside.

The balloons used aren't the ones we typically think of; they're tall and elongated, like an inflatable tube. They contain DVDs, USB drives, radios and 200,000 informational leaflets, full of pro-democracy essays and news of political events, such as the middle east revolts, in hopes of encouraging North Koreans to usurp power form their own leader. They'll even attach dollar bills to the balloons to encourage people to pick them up.

According to the Wired, when these balloons are launched over the border from South Korea to North Korea, equipped with a variety of tools to ensure that the land in precise parts of the country.

Activists have used a variety of methods to make sure the balloons pop over a specific target. Senders have used everything from acid timers that eat through the payload's tether after a given period to electric and clockwork timers in order to hit a target area. One anti-Kim group has even used GPS devices to track the balloons - which seems like it could risk either North Korean GPS jamming or tracking by North Korean authorities.

While most devices, such as computers, radios and DVD players are illegal in North Korea, some citizens have these devices secretly, either for political purposes or enjoy their favorite forms of entertainment.

Kim Jong Il has threatened "merciless fire" towards the protesters (including the use of artillery weapons), and according to Voice of America's Steve Herman, pamplets will mock and ridicule the North Korean leader and his family. But Wired reports that they rarely act on those threats. South Korea has yet to officially respond to those threats.

And regardless of how you feel about South Korea's political involvement in North Korea, you have to admit these protesters are pretty crafty, right? [AFP via Wired]

[Photo via Getty/Chung Sung-Jun]