- - Monday, May 22, 2017

Two days after North Korea tested another missile that could one day carry a nuclear payload, a human-rights activist in Norway has convened a large conference to game out best practices for regime change without a clash of modern weapons.

Philanthropist and human rights crusader Thor Halvorssen urges a flood of information to the North Korean people as the best way to liberate the world’s most infamous totalitarian country.

“We don’t believe occupation or war is the right answer. We believe North Korean defectors can assist in bringing change through education and information. The concept entails smuggling enough information into the country. It most definitely could bring about a revolt that would bring down the government. As information spreads and people realize that they deserve individual rights and freedom, they will stop obeying authority,” Halvorssen told The Washington Times in a telephone interview.

The Human Rights Foundation, founded by Halvorssen and his allies in 2005, reportedly has funded individuals and groups in South Korea to smuggle more than 100,000 flash drives and computer memory cards into North Korea through hot air balloons, helicopter drones and human smugglers across the Chinese border.

Halvorssen, who inherited wealth from his Norwegian father and Venezuelan mother, convened Monday the 9th annual Oslo Freedom Forum, which has hosted Nobel Laureates such as Elie Wiesel, Ang San Suu Kyi, Iran’s Shirin Ebadi, and statesmen such as Vaclav Havel from the Czech Republic.

“Some of the biggest successes we have had is in bringing attention to the places that have been most ignored, whether it be Turkmenistan or Equatorial Guinea. We like to popularize and put a spotlight on these heroes who are carrying out remarkable struggles. The tyrants have billions of dollars, secret police, military hardware, embassies and PR companies and all that these activists have is an email account and the truth. Yet it is remarkable what they can accomplish through tenacity and sheer determination,” he said.

When asked to respond to critics who say the campaign to drop USB drives into North Korea is having little impact, Halvorssen replied:

“With just two metrics we can show this. Consider: the No. 1 person on the hit list of North Korea is Park Sang Hak, who smuggles information into North Korea, and the following top four persons on the public-enemy list are all people who send information into North Korea. Why would the regime target them for assassination and threaten to bomb South Korea in retaliation, if the information they were smuggling wasn’t having impact?

“A second metric is interviews with North Korean defectors. The overwhelming majority say, when asked “what made you want to leave?” respond, “for a better life that we learned about through this material.”

But the recent South Korean election is cause for concern, he said. “It is so worrying that the new South Korean president, Moon Jae-in appears to be steering his country into a policy of appeasement and a denial of the nature of the North Korean regime.

“The president has announced a purge of the career staff of the Justice Ministry, and he has signaled that he will allow the revival of radical, pro-North organizations and has installed into his government many officials who have gone on the record claiming that North Korea is really not that bad.”

The South Korean electorate appears to take an attitude of indifference to the suffering of North Koreans, which Halvorssen finds shameful.

“The blithe attitude of indifference of the South Korean citizenry is one of the most tragic illustrations of indifference in the modern age,” he said.

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