DPRK security changing tactics?

From the Daily NK:

Mr. Choi, 47 years old, was an informant for DPRK National Security Agency (NSA)’s North Hamkyung regional office. I met him on Sept. 12th in Dandong city, Liaoning Province, China.

He told me about NSA agents’ ‘new propaganda tactics.’ The tactics was completely ‘new,’ even to me, a former North Korean refugee.

Choi said that ‘not a single North Korean resident trusts the state’ Since the North Koreans have been fooled by the government for too many times, hardly anyone believes in what they hear through Rodong Shinmum (the state newspaper), lecture of party officials, and idolization education, even if that is about resumption of ration, according to Choi.

Thus, Choi continued, North Korean authorities ordered the ‘security small group’ inside the NSA to conduct new type of activities. The small group used to inform popular attitude to the NSA.

However, its duty has now become to spread rumor among people to avoid popular unrest.

The full text of the interview is below.

– What is ‘security small group’?

“They are informants hired by the National Security Agency. Each city and provincial security agents secretly meet with some residents to allure them to report their neighbors’ activities in exchange of ‘benefits.’ Security agents try to make as many informants as possible.

The residents who are registered as informers watch and accuse each other. In so doing, atmosphere of distrust broadens. Those who have done a good job in accusing others are regarded as a ‘good citizen for the party and the late Kim Il-sung.’ As the number of informants increases, mutual watch among people strengthens. Usually what NSA agents have done is now a job of the ordinary people.”

– What is the ‘benefit’ from participating in those activities?
People can obtain travel permission easily from the NSA agents, and, by taking advantage of the NSA’s power, they also can ask for free time to do private business from their boss in company. Travel certificate and free time to do business are truly very attractive benefit for ordinary people.

And then, they, as informants, receive orders from security agents.

– What kind of orders is given to them?

For example, in many areas of (North) Korea including those of Sino-Korean border region, increased number of people deems defectors who went to South Korea as being lucky and even admirable. Although they can’t say that straightforwardly, most of them think so.

I found out when I came to China that all the residents in border area, party officials and even security agents live by the money the former North Korean defectors living South Korea send to them.

Over there (North Korea), people call the defectors as just ‘travelers to China.’ Right now, nobody can support their family without the former defectors in South Korea. That’s why we regard them admirable. Even though the state media call them traitors, no one thinks so.

The security small group’s duty is to tell other people that defectors are criminals.

It is more effective to use the informants in the small group than to depend on official propaganda. The members of the security small group exploit other people’s envy, or jealousy, of the defectors.

– The security group informants get benefit in their private business, but what about the advantages of the NSA agents?

They receive bribery from the participants of the security small group in exchange of business opportunity. The more the number of small group members, the greater the bribery agents receive. Corruption is now the most basic way of life in Korea. We can’t survive without corruption.

– In definition, doesn’t informant just mean somebody informs the agent?

That was the way it was in the 70s and 80s. These days, informants rely on propaganda rather than gathering and reporting information. If they do report other people’s illegal activities, every body in (North) Korea will be a criminal and traitor. Even the authorities are aware of this, so they use such new technique.

– Then who are watching the NSA agents?

They watch each other. For example, a while ago, there was an agent who robbed and killed three people in Gangwon Province. He was caught by other NSA agent.

– Who are being publicly executed in these days?

Most of them are executed for slaughtering a cattle or stealing electric wire. They are executed to threaten the other residents. All of them are common people without any power or wealth. Sometimes there are orders of public execution and, in other cases, public execution is prohibited. It is confusing.



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