The Burmese military Government has closed a portion of road between Three Pagoda Pass (TPP) and Thanphyuzayart, and also ordered a curfew for residents and travels of 5 PM. The curfew comes almost a week after increased attacks were carried out by the Largest Karen insurgent group.
The curfew, banning all travel after 5 pm, is reportedly disrupting travel plans and increasing the risks travelers must take on their journey.
According to a person who recently was returning from TPP to Thanphyuzayart, “They don’t allow [our] going after 5 pm. If someone else goes [later then] the time they recognized, they [officers] already gave the order to shoot [that person].”
The potential for violence has risen, as on multiple days this month, the Burmese armywas attacked by or fought the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), a Karen insurgent force that has been fighting the Burmese government since 1949.
A car owner, who has made the trip multiple times, told IMNA, “After the military closed the road, traders and car owners have been seeing financial problems. For [what is normally] a day journey, we now have to go two or three days. Because of thatproblem we have to sleep on the journey. Before, we could go anywhere during the sunset time [after 5 pm] if we wanted to arrive [somewhere] earlier. [Now] we have to beafraid for if they fight each other again when we sleep on the journey. Now we can’ttravel the way we want to and also it is affecting the car owners economy.”
On June 14th soldiers from Burmese Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 284 were injured when, between Thaung Sorn and Koung Kan villages, soldiers from the KNLA who had seen the Burmese unit coming, threw a pressure-triggered claymore and began shooting. On June 7th. LIB No. 284 forces had been previously attacked by KNLA forcesbetween TPP and Thanphyuzayart.
The attack most widely covered by recent news media was on June 10th when a Burmese truck was attacked near Japan Toung village, Thanphyuzayart Township, killing 11 soldiers and injuring 20. The same day 1 LIB No. 284 soldier was killed and 2 more injured when the KNLA fought the unit near Myinetharyar village close to TPP.
These attacks, which have occurred along the roads, have also included a supply raid. Also on June 10th, KNLA Battalion 201 stripped Burmese provisions from two Burmese supply trucks in Kaw-ka-reik Township, said a KNU spoke person, Saw Thair Nay.
The result has been distinct rise in tension over KNLA presence in the area. In Myawaddy, a large border and trade town abutting Thailand’s town of Mae Sot, people are afraid to leave their homes in the evenings out.
One Myawaddy resident explains, “They [Burmese soldiers] parole the town, with their uniform’s on. It’s been happening [for] about a week, we never saw like that before.”
MAE SOT — The popular Burmese Web site photayokeking.org, edited by a Burmese army deserter, was recently attacked, leaving it inaccessible and out of operation.
According to one of the editors, who goes by the name Photayoke, the Web site came under major attacks on May 27 and June 11, following three smaller attacks.
On June 11, the server provider sent an email to the Web site’s owners stating that a major distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) had been focused on their data center.
Although there is no evidence to prove it, the Web site’s owners are convinced that the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), Burma’s ruling junta, was behind the virtual attack.
“We know the SPDC attacked our Web site. They are afraid of us because we get the secret information from our close contacts inside the Tatmadaw,” said Photayoke, referring to Burma’s armed forces.
“Then the exiled radio stations like Democratic Voice of Burma and Voice of America broadcast our information to soldiers on the front line in Burma,” he said.
The site received its first major attack on May 27—the same day, according to the Web site’s owners, that the SPDC held a press conference in Naypyidaw accusing Maj Aung Lynn Htut, a former senior intelligence officer, of stealing US $85,586.45 when he defected from the Burmese embassy in Washington, DC, in March 2005.
In response to the accusations, Aung Lynn Htut wrote a letter, which was posted on photayokeking.org, explaining that he was unable to deposit the money in a US bank because of sanctions, but had transferred it in Washington.
Photayokeking.org was set up in May 2008 in order to provide “real information” about the Burmese military, according to the site’s owners. It relies on soldiers inside the Tatmadaw to provide intelligence about the secretive army’s activities and meetings.
“We want to show that all the subordinate soldiers until brigadier-general rank are disappointed with the military regime and are experiencing the same suffering as the civilians,” said Photayoke.
In order to avoid problems with Burmese spies and hackers, the Web site’s owners took the precaution of using a more expensive server in the US, instead of Thailand.
The server, based in Los Angeles, has since said that it would no longer be able to host the Photayokeking.org because of the dangers it posed to other customers’ Web sites.
The cost of creating a new Web site is $8,000 per year, making it difficult to re-launch the site, according to its owners.
This isn’t the first time a Burmese opposition Web site has come under attack. During the September 2007 Saffron Revolution, when thousands of monks and civilians took to the streets to protest against continued military rule, several exiled media sites were disabled by cyber attacks.
Professional hackers infected The Irrawaddy Web site with a Trojan virus, which left the site inoperable at a time when the world was relying on the exiled media for information about the brutal crackdown.
In September 2008, The Irrawaddy was targeted again, this time by a DDoS attack—the same method that closed down photayoke.org. Jammed with fake traffic by “robot” visitors, The Irrawaddy’s online news service was put out of operation for three days.
A DDoS attack is orchestrated by hiring a hacker who controls thousands of PCs around the world and uses them to attack the victim Web site. Fees for the services of the hacker vary according to the size and duration of the attack, but usually start at around $500.
INET, the second largest host server in Thailand, confirmed that The Irrawaddy Web site, www.irrawaddy.org, became the target of a DDoS attack on Sept. 17, 2008.
The CAT Telecom Public Co. Ltd and some ISPs blocked the site as a “danger zone” following the attacks.
The attacks coincided with the first anniversary of the regime’s brutal suppression of the Saffron Revolution and also put other exiled media sites, such as Mizzima, Democratic Voice of Burma and the Bangkok-based New Era Journal, out of action.
Mizzima has been repeatedly attacked by pro-SPDC hackers in an effort to shut down its Web site.
In October 2008, a group of hackers calling themselves the “Independence Hackers from Burma” shut down mizzima.com for nearly ten hours.
In an interview with The Irrawaddy, former SPDC spy, Kyaw Myint Myo, said that SPDC intelligence has hired foreign computer technicians and hackers to monitor e-mail messages and telephone conversations at home and in neighboring countries.
“They [the technicians and hackers] are North Korean, Singaporeans and Russians.”
Like other Web sites that have been blocked, photayokeking.org has been moved to a blog address, photayokeking.blogspot.com, until its administrators are ready to re-launch the site.
The demonstration was organised by NLD-LA UK Branch. The NLD-LA UK Chairman Dr. Win Niang led the programme. There were 150-200 protesters. The demonstration started at 12:00 noon and ended at 1:00pm and was in front of the Burma Regime’s Embassy in London.