North Korea claims to have successfully tested its first hydrogen bomb. While analysts and scientists test the validity of its claim, what we know for sure is this is North Korea's fourth nuclear test -- the third during President Obama's administration. After North Korea hacked Sony upon releasing the movie "The Interview" in Dec. 2014, Obama pledged to "respond proportionately."
What warrants an equally powerful, if not stronger, response to cyberattacks is North Korea's flagrant expansion of its nuclear program. In addition to increased sanctions, the best reprisal to this recent test is the kind of 21st century offensive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime fears most: information fracking. When hit with sanctions after every test, the Kim regime does not flinch.
But when South Korea turned on its propaganda loud speakers at the Demilitarized Zone that separates the countries in response to North Korea's mines maiming two South Korean soldiers, North Korea rushed to the negotiating table. Ideological warfare is North Korea's Achilles' heel, and the United States should target it.Traditional Western information campaigns have so far failed to generate much impact in the famously secretive state. But the fracking revolution in the energy field could point the way to a new and successful strategy. Fracking combines advanced technology and clever tactics to liberate large reserves of oil and gas within rocks previously beyond the reach of man. To help convert or collapse the oppressive regime, the U.S. must mobilize an analogous mix of knowledge, innovation and radical techniques to frack North Korea with pressurized bursts of foreign information and democratic ideas.
The U.S. must mobilize knowledge, innovation and radical techniques to frack North Korea with pressurized bursts of foreign information and democratic ideas.
By employing the magic in the U.S. National Security Agency's box, debriefing North Korean defectors (including growing numbers of higher-level officials) and what has become an essentially porous border with China that sees tens of thousands of North Koreans and Chinese doing business, the U.S. can sponsor information campaigns that pressure for North Korea's liberalization.
I've seen firsthand how foreign concepts can both excite and repel the North Korean people. When I was in North Korea two year ago, a young lady asked me for the names of the hottest luxury brands in the U.S. When I started rattling off names like Chanel, Burberry and Louis Vuitton, she laughed and said in Korean, "Jieun Comrade, everyone knows about those! Tell me brands I don't know about!" When I asked her how she knew about these brands, she answered, "Who doesn't?" and pointed to the (probably fake) Burberry label on her collar.
Later, she asked why I was studying the Middle East. "I want to learn more about how ordinary Arabs have been trying to become happier" was my polite way of referring to the Arab Spring. This North Korean -- the same lady who had been giggling with me about cosmetics, boyfriends and fashion tips -- yelled that she had no interest in such nonsense. She glared at me and demanded to know my intentions. She knew I was circling the topic of a revolution in North Korea at arm's length, and she snapped.
Despite draconian measures, a quiet information revolution is taking place inside North Korea.
Every time I let my guard down there, even just a tad, I was immediately reminded that North Koreans cannot do the same. The hundreds of North Korean defectors I have met verified this observation. About 24 million people live in the world's most sealed-off country, where the regime holds a monopoly over information access and dissemination. Radios are manufactured to be tuned only to the state's stations.
All media electronics (televisions, radios, DVD players, computers) must be registered with local authorities and are subject to random content checks. All cellphone activity is monitored by the state. International calls are illegal. One of the most heinous "crimes" that a North Korean can commit is to consume foreign media that is not sanctioned by the state -- an act punishable by hard labor and execution.
Despite these draconian measures, a quiet information revolution is taking place inside North Korea. Between second-hand Chinese radios and do-it-yourself construction, many ordinary North Koreans use black-market radios to secretly listen to foreign programs such as Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Free North Korea Radio and Radio Free Chosun. Similarly, North Koreans clamor for the DVD and CD players, cell phones, e-books, movies, news articles and simple computers that are illegally snuck in by defectors and non-governmental organizations.
The insatiable yearning to learn new things is a universal hunger that cannot be squelched, even by the Kim regime.
Why do North Koreans risk their lives to seek forbidden information and media? The insatiable yearning to learn new things -- to discover our world, to see how other people live, what they eat, how they spend their days -- is a universal hunger that cannot be squelched, even by the Kim regime.
Our current policy of "strategic patience" is not going to make this resilient dictatorship go away. Small-scale information access activities implemented by networks of disparate defector groups and commissioned middlemen have cultivated interest in foreign media among swaths of North Koreans, but these spotty campaigns are not sufficient against such a ruthless regime. These information activities must be reinforced by a much more powerful engine with coordinated strategies, expertise, innovative technology and more funding by foreign entities, such as the U.S. government.
The North Korean government must change. By marshaling human capital, information networks and North Korean defectors, fracking North Korea can create irreversible cracks in the regime and ultimately create conditions that favor freedom, human rights and dignity.
Jieun Baek is a Belfer Center fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her forthcoming book tentatively titled "NORTH KOREA'S HIDDEN REVOLUTION: How the Information Underground is Transforming a Closed Society" will be published by Yale University Press in the fall.
North Korea 'Hydrogen Bomb' Test
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Cable radio or cable FM is a concept similar to that of cable television, bringing radio signals into homes and businesses via coaxial cable. It is generally used for the same reason as cable TV was in its early days when it was "community antenna television", in order to enhance the quality of terrestrial radio signals that are difficult to receive in an area. However, cable-only radio outlets also exist.
The use of cable radio varies from area to area - some cable TV systems don't include it at all, and others only have something approaching it on digital cable systems. Additionally, some stations may just transmit audio in the background while a public-access television cable TV channel is operating in between periods of video programming. From the late 1970s to the late 1980s, before the advent of MTS Stereo television broadcasts, cable TV subscribers would tune in specific cable FM frequencies that simulcast the television broadcasts in stereo.
A related secondary meaning of the term is any automated music stream - the usual format of cable-only "stations".
The first "commercial" cable radio station in the United States was CABL-FM 108 in California, on the Theta Cablevision system, serving West Los Angeles and surrounding areas. It went live on January 1, 1972, and was run by Brad Sobel, playing what he called "progressive top 40". CABL-FM 108 came into being after Sobel's original venture, K-POT, a bootleg FM station at 88.1 MHz, was silenced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in November 1971. The illicit station ran for three days until it was shut down, and the event made the front page of the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. Because Theta Cablevision charged extra for its FM hookups, CABL-FM 108's potential audience was between 4,700 and approximately 25,000 (based on information provided by Brad Sobel in an article in Billboard), out of Cablevision's approximately 100,000 subscriber households.
The first exclusively cablecasting community radio station was CPVR in Palos Verdes, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. CPVR 95.9 Cable FM radio was on the Times-Mirror cable system, and was started by a group of teenagers who initially practiced being disc jockeys in the homes of two of the founders. Since traditional broadcasting equipment was prohibitively expensive at the time, a young engineer named Tom Hewitt built much of the electronic hardware from scratch.
Mark Speer and Brad Gardner began the venture, which was run as a non-profit youth organization from a studio in the Golden Cove shopping center in Rancho Palos Verdes beginning in March 1972. Even though it was non-profit, it was not subject to the restrictions of terrestrial public radio stations, and thus was able to subsidize expenses by accepting commercial advertising.
Because the staff and audience were part of a highly desirable demographic (many of the DJs weren't even old enough to drive), advertisers of the day, such as concert promoter Pacific Presentations and local record stores eagerly bought ad time in order to reach such a prime demographic (males/females, 13-24) as CPVR had attracted during its history, further enabling CPVR to not only continue operations, but expand into larger studios.
Greg McClure (a.k.a. Isaac O. Zzyzx), Jim Sideris, Harv Laser, David Zislis, Richard Hower, Tony Fasola, Dave Chrenko (a.k.a. Johnny Ace), Kerry Doolin, Liane Benson, Lorraine Dechter, Clyde Stanton (a.k.a. Certified Clyde) and Kathy Bauer were some of the young disc jockeys who helped create the station's legendary style and sound. Unlike Cable 108, CPVR was not only on the FM dial, but was in stereo, and also appeared on the cable system's "barker" channel (Channel 3).
Although the station was only on the "cable" for about two years programming free-form rock and roll, CPVR often scooped its over-the-air competitors, breaking acts such as Bruce Springsteen and Queen, and often premiering landmark albums such as Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon and Procol Harum's Grand Hotel sometimes several weeks before the Los Angeles stations picked them up.
Many of the original staff went on to careers in media. (Co-founder Brad Gardner has since been nominated for four Emmys, winning two—one for a music video, "The Doctor is In", and the other for the veterinary show Horse Vet. His other two nominations are for directing and audio.) For those involved and those who heard it, this tiny little community rock-and-roll radio station holds a special place in their hearts and minds, often discussed in the same breath as KMET, KPPC, KWST, KRLA, KROQ-FM and KNAC, legendary southern California radio stations in their own right.
For a time, cable radio stations popped up across California and elsewhere in the U.S., most run by high school and/or college students. CCIA, a cable radio station on the campus of California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California, is one example. But as the founders of these stations grew older and moved on, there was no one to take up where they left off. Eventually all these cable radio stations went dark. Today, where college or community groups might have once considered starting a "cable" radio station, they now look to creating an internet radio station.
On the East Coast the most popular commercial cable radio station was WLHE, started in 1979 in Woburn, Massachusetts. This station was the first commercial cable-only radio station in the country, and ran from 1979 to 1987. Larry Haber, owner and operator, started it. Frank Palazzi and Alan Rupa were the first disc jockeys. Palazzi was known as Frank Fitz, and Alan Rupa was known as Alan James. Mr Haber went by his own name. Other DJs were Jim Fronk (aka Jim Jacobs), oldies expert Chuck Steven, country music expert Glen Evans, indie rock expert Mark Sawyer, and jazz expert Scott Cavanagh (a.k.a. Scott Rogers). Larry Haber was the stations first president and general manager, Palazzi served as program director, and Rupa was music director. The station was heard only on Continental Cablevision's local Channel 6 in Woburn, Wilmington, Stoneham, North Reading, and Billerica, Massachusetts.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission previously required most cable companies to provide cable FM service; those that did were required to convert all local AMbroadcastradio stations to cable FM signals. The commission now requires only that campus, community, native radio stations, and one CBC Radio station in each official language, be provided by local cable companies, either via cable FM or via digital means (i.e. set-top boxes).Rogers Communications, notably, has entirely abandoned traditional cable FM distribution, instead providing a number of terrestrial radio services as part of its digital cable audio package.
In the former Soviet Union, cable radio was popular and Radio Rossii is reported to have had as many as forty million listeners.
Initially the system had one channel that was transmitted as direct audio. The wires and plugs for the system were the same as for standard power wires and plugs which could cause receivers to burn out by attaching to mains socket. During World War II, all RF receivers were confiscated, but cable radio continued operating and, in particular, was used to transmit warnings of aerial bombing. The 1960s saw an enhancement with the addition of two additional channels, using AM on carrier frequencies of 78 and 120 kHz. The installation of this system became mandatory for all new buildings. The system, along with usual broadcasting, was created to inform people of emergencies.
Today, cable radio outlets are installed in all new homes, but many people don't use them or even uninstall the socket and wires inside their units. However, they continue to pay the mandatory fee (as of 2009, the price in Moscow is approx. 0,7 EUR per month). These payments can be avoided, but due to bureaucratic procedure it is rarely used.[further explanation needed]
North Korea has had a cable radio system sometimes referred to as the 'Third Radio' since the 1940s and it was declared that all cities and villages had been reached by the service in 1975.
Operated by the North Korean Ministry of Communications and focusing on music, news, and educational programs. The 'Third Radio' has been mandatory in new apartment blocks since the 1980s and is present in some offices and loud speakers posted in public places.
The earliest cable-only radio stations in the United Kingdom was Radio Thamesmead in Thamesmead, South East London and Radio Swindon Viewpoint in Swindon, Wiltshire. Cable relays of early BBC stations (in areas where direct reception was poor) dates back to the late 1920s.
Rediffusion Singapore was a popular cable radio service on the island from 1949-1980's, which broadcast in English and Chinese. It is now a subscription digital radio service, broadcasting on DAB+.
Billboard Magazine, July 7, 1973, pages 24 and 28: "Once 'Pirate', Now Cable Radio Pioneer", written by J. Christopher Ehler.
Los Angeles Times, Peninsula Edition, June 1972.