Troops Alerted for Unrest: Leaked Documents

The office of the Commander in Chief (Army)—also known as the Ka Ka Kyi—alerted security forces to guard against potential unrest in the wake of African and Middle Eastern pro-democracy demonstrations.

Military documents leaked to The Irrawaddy also reveal that the junta believes the main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party was attempting to influence its troops.

The Ka Ka Kyi sent three separate orders to military commands across the country which referred to top level Tatmadaw meetings in Naypyidaw on March 21, 28 and April 5.

During the March 21 meeting, the Chief of Staff (Army, Navy, Air Force) said that broadcasts of the “political unrest in Africa and the Middle East”—including TV stations and internet social media such as Facebook—as well as “powerful countries” were involved in forcing military intervention there.

Therefore the armed forces must be aware of the situation and ready to respond immediately with military action if something similar was to occur in Burma, he added.

According to the leaked documents, the Chief of Staff also said that security forces must deter the NLD and other opposition groups from contacting and organizing military personnel.

He also warned to prevent officials and other ranking soldiers from attempting to supplement their military salaries by contacting exiled persons and groups for additional benefits.

During the meeting at the Ka Ka Kyi on March 28, the Chief of Staff (Army, Navy, Air Force) also warned that “the  activities of some political parties and the disbanded NLD have been increased,” and so troops must seek out information in advance and be ready for a crackdown if something happens.

The Ka Ka Kyi orders included a warning against officers and other ranks from going out at night, saying that soldiers were getting into accidents and even dying while outside their bases after hours.

The military documents did not mention the names of the Commander in Chief of Armed Forces and the Chief of Staff (Army, Navy, Air Force) but just their titles. But Min Aung Hlaing was publicly confirmed as the Commander in Chief—promoted from Chief of Staff— on March 30 during the cabinet swearing ceremony at the Parliament along with his deputy Lt-Gen Soe Win.

Despite remaining the most powerful man in Burma, Snr-Gen Than Shwe’s precise role is  kept secret in Naypyidaw. But military sources confirm that Than Shwe remains the principle decision maker on key military and government issues, and that general staff officers such as Maj-Gen Nay Win, Brig-Gen Soe Shine and Col Myint Kyi still assist his command.

For the first time since the new regime led by President Thein Sein was sworn in on March 30, Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye—No.2 top ranking official of the military junta—represented the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), at Thingyan festival in Rangoon.

Although Maung Aye’s appearance at the opening ceremony of the Mandalay mayor’s water pandal on April 13 was not reported in the state run newspapers, he attended the event as a VIP.

Witnesses in Mandalay said that all present military officers—including Mandalay Chief Minister ex-Lt-Gen Ye Myint and Mayor Phone Zaw Han—treated him like a current official even though his position of deputy Commander in Chief of Armed Forces was transferred to Lt-Gen Soe Win on March 30.

“He seemed to still have power because all the generals and ministers treated him with great respect,” said an editor with a local journal who spoke on condition of anonymity. Witnesses also said current officials were kept waiting until Maung Aye arrived for the opening ceremony.

While the Burmese state media reported on Thingyan festival generally, it highlighted events in Kyaukse—Than Shwe’s home town within Mandalay Division.

Burma:Politicians warned against ‘unlawful’ contacts

Published: 20 April 2011

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One of the ubiquitous signs seen in Burma warning people not to ‘divide the country’ (Wikimedia Commons)

Politicians in Burma are forbidden from communicating with groups deemed by the government to be ‘unlawful’, according to the country’s Union Election Commission.

Parties risk being dissolved if they refuse to abide by the new rules that effectively sever contact between MPs and exiled media and human rights groups, a directive issued on 5 April warns.

It could also cut lines of communication with the National League for Democracy (NLD), Burma’s most potent opposition force whose party status was cancelled last year after it refused to compete in the November polls. Party spokesperson Nyan Win said how that the NLD has never been declared “unlawful” by the government.

There is still however a great deal of ambiguity over who qualifies as an ‘Unlawful Association’, a charge that is used frequently by Burmese courts to jail activists, journalists and lawyers.

“There are a lot of points they didn’t make clear as to which groups are unlawful,” said Nay Myo Wei, chairman of the Peace and Diversity Party. “It will be difficult [to be clear] if the government or the UEC doesn’t specify which groups we should not be communicating with.”

The party is preparing a letter for the UEC in which it will also ascertain whether the NLD falls under this banner.

Burmese law dictates that any “combination or body of persons” deemed by the president to be “[interfering] with the administration of the law or with the maintenance of law and order”, or indeed who is “a danger to the public peace”, will serve a minimum two-year jail term.

The subsequent criteria defining these charges is vague.

But according to the leader of the National Democratic Force, Khin Maung Swe, parties had already been told not to communicate with unlawful groups – still, however, no list of those that fit the criteria has been released.

Several inside reporters for DVB have been sentenced under the Unlawful Associations Act, suggesting that links to certain exiled groups is a crime under Burmese law. State media in Burma regularly accuses groups like DVB and Radio Free Asia of “generating public outrage”.

The directive casts further doubt on assertions by the government, which was sworn in last month, that Burma is transitioning to a new era of civilian rule that it brands “disciplined democracy”.

Some observers claim however that a greater degree of transparency exists in the new parliament, although no let up in the oppressive political climate in Burma is evident.

DVB Norway

Migrants freed from Bangkok ‘factory prison’

Published: 20 April 2011

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A Burmese migrant works at a garment factory in the Thai town of Mae Sot (Reuters)

Police raids on a factory in the Din Daeng area of Bangkok yesterday ended in the release of more than 60 Burmese migrants who claim they were kept in prison-like conditions and forced to work.

The majority of those used as factory “slaves”, and Thai media has described the incident, were female, one of the released told DVB. They had been kept in four-storey building and were prohibited from leaving or making phone calls.

Thai authorities carried out the raids after two of the migrants escaped this month and told police of the situation.

“We had to live like prison inmates and I’m now having difficulty moving my lower body parts,” said one female, who came to Bangkok from the Thai border town of Mae Sot in search of better wages.

“I have been here for eight months but most of the rest have been only for about two or three months. We made an attempt to escape [in January] but they got the police to catch us and fined us THB5000 [$US165] each,” she said.

A Thai anti-human trafficking official said that employers at the garment factory had threatened further arrest if the migrants attempted to flee, adding that they were forced to work and paid little.

The Bangkok Post quoted a police official who said they had worked on average 16 hours a day for only THB200 ($US7) a month, while one migrant told DVB they received only THB10 ($US0.30) for each garment they made.

“I have about THB40,000 ($US1,330) debt and [the employers] still haven’t covered our travel expense [to Bangkok],” she said.

Trafficking of Burmese migrants to Thailand is rife: many are approached by trafficking rings in Burma with promises of higher wages in Thailand, but poor anti-trafficking enforcement and state corruption mean that the majority are forced into exploitative labour.

The Thailand-based Nation newspaper said that two of the suspects – identified as Darong Wu, 50, and his wife Namee Li, 26 – have been detained by police on suspicion of trafficking and labour violations.

Lao Disagrees with Neighbors on Xayaburi Dam

April 19, 2011
International Rivers

Decision Delay a Temporary Reprieve for Mekong River

Bangkok, Thailand: Government representatives from the four lower Mekong Basin countries agreed today that the decision on the Xayaburi Dam, the first dam proposed for the lower Mekong mainstream, be deferred and elevated to the Ministerial level. According to a press release from the Mekong River Commission (MRC), whilst Lao PDR proposed to proceed with the dam, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam called for an extension to the decision-making process citing concerns about transboundary impacts and knowledge gaps that require both further study and public consultation.

“Today the Mekong River has gotten a much-needed but temporary reprieve. The Mekong River is a valuable shared resource, and the Xayaburi dam’s transboundary impacts require agreement between the region’s governments and the public” said Ms. Ame Trandem, Mekong Campaigner with International Rivers. “A healthy Mekong River is central to sustainable development in the region, and simply too precious a resource to squander. Given the project’s inevitable transboundary impacts we urge the region’s governments to acknowledge the widespread concern of the public and civil society groups and indefinitely cancel the Xayaburi Dam project.” Continue reading “Lao Disagrees with Neighbors on Xayaburi Dam”

Burma needs to stop ethnic wars and to release political prisoners-U Zin Linn

At least 10 Burma Army soldiers were reportedly died in action including a battalion commanding officer and 15 injured in the combat that occurred on 16-17 April.  The Shan army also seized five RPG launchers and 6 backpacks from Burmese troops, quoting a civil servant from Tangyan Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) reported.

None of the members from Shan army were injured or killed, the source said. The two-day siege was led by Major Sai Hseng with over a hundred men from Brigade No. 36, according to the SSA.

The SSA’s First Brigade-turned Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) is reportedly expanding its controlled area to Namtu, Namhsan, Mongmit and Kyaukmetownships while combating against the Burma army, as said by the local residents. The clashes between the two sides are reported almost everyday since 13 March. The SSA was given an ultimatum to lay down arms by Burma Army on 1st April. But up till now the SSA is still reportedly take no notice of it.

Throughout these days, several soldiers from Burma Army troops warring with the Shan State Progress Party/ Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) in Shan State South have reportedly been deserting from the battlefields, local sources reported via Shan Herald Agency for News.

Up to now, the identified deserters were as many as ten; all of them were from Light Infantry Battalions (LIB) 513 and 542. The two battalions have been fighting against the Shan soldiers on 16-17 April, in Tawng Hio village in Tangyan Township, a local source said.

“The soldiers deserted during the fighting. They changed into civilian clothes and passed through the village. Five soldiers came out on 17 April and another five on 19 April,” said an eye witness.

According to a source Burma army soldiers took shelter under villagers’ trenches, bunkers and monastery to avoid shooting from the Shan armed forces. The battles between the Shan army and the Burma Army have begun since 13 March up to date and had injured and killed dozens of civilians including soldiers.

Meanwhile, the Burma Army demanded the Shan army to withdraw all of its troops that had moved to the north of Mandalay-Lashio highway. However, the Shan army has yet to give any response and is still active in the areas together with the Shan State Army (SSA) “South” led by Yawd Serk.

Last week, six Burma Army soldiers from Infantry battalion (IB) 152 based in Kholam sub-township of  Namzarng township, surrendered to the SSA ‘South’ along with their weapons due to discrimination, abuses of power and forced labor, according to the SSA ‘South’.

At the same time, ten villagers in Kyaukme, Shan State North, have been detained and tortured over suspicion of collaboration with the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’, quoting local sources Shan Herald Agency for News said. They were detained by troops from Light Infantry Battalions 501 and 502, based in Kyaukme together with troops from Mogok, Namlan andMongmit.

On the other hand, the family members of the detained victims are expecting helps from elected Shan representatives.  The SNDP leader Sai Ai Pao is a State Assembly representative for Hsenwi and state minister for Industry and Mines. Besides, Sai Naw Kham is also a State Assembly representative for Hsipaw as well as state minister for Construction.

However, this war upon ethnic populace launched by Burma Army produces not only deserters from Burmese military but also victims from Shan villages. In addition, it forces to flee political exiles, illegal migrants and refugees into neighboring countries.

Currently, political activists in Burma have been taking historic risks with a signature-campaign to release political prisoners who are behind bars for speaking out against what they say is injustice by the government.

Some political analysts believe releasing over 2,000 political prisoners and stopping the aggressive wars on ethnic people are the most important topics to address by the new ‘Thein Sein government’. Releasing political prisoners and calling peace to armed ethnic groups would prove to the international community that new government is going along political change through the real democratic values.

စစ္မက္ျဖစ္ပြားသည့္ ကရင္ေဒသတြင္္ ၃လအတြင္း အရပ္သား ၈ဦးေသဆုံး

ဧၿပီလ ၁၉ရက္။ နန္းထူးစံ (ေကအုိင္စီ)

စစ္ေရးပဋိပကၡျဖစ္ပြားေနသည့္ ကရင္ေဒသမ်ားတြင္ ယခုႏွစ္ ဇန္န၀ါရီလမွ မတ္လအထိ ၃လအတြင္း ျမန္မာအစုိးရ စစ္တပ္ မ်ား၏ ပစ္ခတ္၊ သတ္ျဖတ္ျခင္းေၾကာင့္ အရပ္သားလူ ၈ဦး ေသဆုံးခဲ့ၿပီး အမ်ဳိးသမီး ၁ဦး အဓမၼျပဳက်င့္ခံရသည္ဟု ယေန႔ထုတ္ ျပန္သည့္ ကရင္အမ်ဳိးသားအစည္းအ႐ုံး(KNU)၏ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးခ်ဳိးေဖာက္မႈ အစီရင္ခံစာအရ သိရသည္။

အစီရင္ခံစာ၏ စာရင္းေဖာ္ျပခ်က္အရ ၿပီးခဲ့သည့္ ဇန္န၀ါရီလမွ မတ္လအထိ KNU ထိန္းခ်ဳပ္နယ္ေျမ ေတာင္ငူခ႐ုိင္တြင္ ၀င္ ေရာက္လႈပ္ရွားသည့္ အစုိးရစစ္တပ္မ်ားမွ ေဒသခံရြာသား ၃ဦးကုိ ဖမ္းဆီးသတ္ျဖတ္ခဲ့ၿပီး အိမ္ေထာင္သည္အမ်ဳိးသမီး ၁ဦးကုိ လည္း အဓမၼျပဳက်င့္ခဲ့သလို ေညာင္ေလးပင္ခ႐ုိင္ႏွင့္ ဖာပြန္ခ႐ိုင္တို႔တြင္ ရြာသား ၁ဦးစီ အသတ္ခံရသည္ဟု ဆိုသည္။

အလားတူ ဒူးပလာယာခ႐ုိင္တြင္လည္း ၀င္ေရာက္လႈပ္ရွားေနသည့္ အစုိးရစစ္တပ္မ်ားက ေက်းရြာအတြင္း လက္နက္ႀကီးမ်ား ပစ္ခတ္မႈေၾကာင့္ အသက္ ၂၆ႏွစ္အရြယ္ ရြာသစ္ကုန္းရြာသူ ၁ဦး ေသဆုံးခဲ့သလုိ သဲထာရြာသူ ၁ဦး ေျမျမွပ္မုိင္းနင္းမိကာ ေသ ဆုံးခဲ့ေၾကာင္းလည္း အစီရင္ခံစာတြင္ ေဖာ္ျပပါရွိသည္။

ထုိ႔အျပင္ KNU လက္ေအာက္ခံနယ္ေျမ၊ ဖားအံခ႐ုိင္တြင္မူ ၿပီးခဲ့သည့္ ေဖေဖာ္၀ါရီလအတြင္း၌ ထုိေဒသရွိ နယ္ျခားေစာင့္တပ္ (၁၀၁၅)တပ္ရင္းမွ ေဒသခံရြာသား ၁ဦးအား သတ္ျဖတ္ခဲ့ေၾကာင္း ထုိအစီရင္ခံစာ ေဖာ္ျပခ်က္အရ သိရသည္။

ကရင္ျပည္နယ္အတြင္းရွိ KNU ထိန္းခ်ဳပ္ရာ ေတာင္ငူ၊ ေညာင္ေလးပင္၊ ဖာပြန္၊ ဒူးပလာယာႏွင့္ ဖားအံခ႐ုိင္တုိ႔တြင္ ယခုႏွစ္ ဆန္းပုိင္း၌ ျမန္မာအစုိးရစစ္တပ္မ်ား ပုိမုိ၀င္ေရာက္လာသည္ႏွင့္အမွ် ေဒသခံလူထုမ်ားကုိ လုပ္အားခုိင္းေစျခင္း၊ မုိင္းရွင္းခုိင္း ျခင္းအျပင္ ေက်းရြာမ်ားအတြင္းသုိ႔ လက္နက္ႀကီးပစ္ခ်ျခင္းၾကာင့္ ထိခုိက္ဒဏ္ရာရရွိခဲ့သည့္ ေဒသခံမ်ားထဲတြင္ ဆယ္ေက်ာ္ သက္လူငယ္မ်ားလည္း ပါ၀င္ေၾကာင္း ေကအဲန္ယူ၏ အစီရင္ခံစာတြင္ ေဖာ္ျပထားသည္။

Burma: Big Brother controls the Internet

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 19:04 Thea Forbes

(News Analysis) – Burma’s xenophobic military-dominated government enforces a strictly Orwellian regime of politicized censorship in order to control and restrict the Burmese people’s freedom of expression and access to information via the Internet.

Freedom House, the Washington-based independent watchdog organization, ranks Burma the second worst country in the world for oppression of Internet freedom, with Iran as the most oppressive. Estonia came in as the country with the Internet most free followed by the USA, Germany, Australia and the UK.

Internet cybercafes are closely monitored in Burma, as part of the military-dominated government's Big Brother approach to controlling Internet technology and freedom of speech. Photo : MizzimaInternet cybercafes are closely monitored in Burma, as part of the military-dominated government’s Big Brother approach to controlling Internet technology and freedom of speech. Photo : Mizzima

In a recent study on Internet freedom, ‘Freedom on the Net 2011’, Freedom House said the Burmese government ‘makes aggressive attempts to regulate access to the Internet and digital media, control content, and punish citizens for any online activity that is seen as detrimental to regime security’.

It placed Burma on the list of countries that had ‘substantial censorship of political or social issues in 2009-10’ and where Websites or blogs of government opponents faced cyber attacks.

In Burma, the mere act of accessing the Internet is difficult due to a lack of infrastructure and the general widespread poverty in the country. Aside from numerous international and domestic sites being blocked, users are also subjected to surveillance in cybercafes. Cybercafe owners are also subject to strictly enforced licensing rules that require them to monitor users’ screens, keep users’ records and to cooperate with criminal investigations.  Continue reading “Burma: Big Brother controls the Internet”

KAREN UNITY SEMINAR-Presentation by Saw D. Tharckabaw, KNU

Question of Unity & Victory


In our struggle for freedom, justice, democracy and peace, we all know that unity of each party, as well as all parties involved in the struggle, is necessary for early, final victory. For one reason or another, the struggle has dragged on and the unity we seek is still unrealized. However, the circumstances are now more favorable for the unity we have been seeking and it is time for all of us to make utmost effort to achieve solid unity and early victory.

The first and most important element for unity is unity of thought. From unity of thought, we derive unity of purpose and action, cooperation and coordination within each party and among all the parties to build up the necessary force and support for gaining victory.

Remember that victory against the enemy does not mean the end of our struggle. We will have to struggle on to build up the kind of freedom, justice, democracy and peace the people need and constantly be vigilant to protect them. Solid unity will still be necessary when we are in the process to reconstruct our country.

Brief Historical Development

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” says Santayana, a well known philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. Knowledge of history is essential for us if we are to avoid past mistakes, deception by the enemy and to chart a viable course for our struggle and the nation.

The pre-British Burma had been a military and feudal empire. It covered effectively only the middle and lower parts of the Irrawaddy valley, the Sittang valley, the Taninthayi and the Rakhine costal strips. Partly, the British annexed Burma into its empire in 1885-86, because Burman feudalism was far out of touch with the time. (The Burman feudal regime launched military attacks on Assam, Manipur and Bengal, which were part of British India. At the ascension to the throne of Pagan Min and Thibaw Min, 100 and 60 members of royalty respectively were murdered, in a plan to get rid of rivalries to the throne.) Continue reading “KAREN UNITY SEMINAR-Presentation by Saw D. Tharckabaw, KNU”

War:Three Burmese Soldiers Killed, 7 Injured in Clash with SSA

The clash has broken out between Shan State Army (SSA)/ Restoration Council of the Shan State (RCSS) and Burmese Army’s patrol near Nahoi village, Nahoi village-tract, Ton Lao Sub-township, Murng Kerng Twonship, resulting 3 dead 7 injured from Burmese Army side.

The clash has broken out between Shan State Army (SSA)/ Restoration Council of the Shan State (RCSS) and Burmese Army’s patrol near Nahoi village, Nahoi village-tract, Ton Lao Sub-township, Murng Kerng Twonship, resulting 3 dead 7 injured from Burmese Army side.

On 13 April at 10 am, a column of SSA/RCSS exchanged gunfire with a patrol of about 40 men from LIB 422 at the jungle near Nahoi village. The skirmish lasted about 3 hours.

In the 3 hours skirmish, Burmese Army lost 3 men and 7 were wounded. There was a Captain among the dead.

SSA fighters

SSA fighters were safe.