Wednesday, June 3, 2009

FDB denies having contact with Yettaw

by May Kyaw

(Interview with Dr. Naing Aung)

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Dr. Naing Aung, General Secretary of the Thailand based ‘Forum for Democracy in Burma’ has rejected the information that FDB is having contacts with John William Yettaw, an American man who swam across Innya Lake and intruded into Aung San Suu Kyi’s house.

He responded to the news and allegations posted on, as he called it, a rumour mongering pro-junta ‘Thakinwe’ website ( depicting a photograph of a meeting between Yettaw and FDB.

Dr. Naing Aung said that the man in the photograph was not Yettaw but an Australian journalist Phil Thornton, which was posted on the FDB website. This is an attempt by the junta to mislead the people and a distortion of facts, he said.

In order to have a clear understanding on the rumoured connections, Mizzima’s reporter May Kyaw talked to Dr. Naing Aung.

Q: The Thakinwe website claims that Mr. Yettaw came to the FDB office. Is it true?

A: The ‘Thakinwe’ website is a pro-junta website which usually posts news of the junta and supports the regime. I cannot say whether it is true or not. I’d only like to say that by seeing such news it is becoming clearer that the junta is concocting and distorting facts to mislead and confuse the people.

Q: ‘Thakinwe’ posted the news with a photograph as evidence. They said that the man in the photograph was Mr. John Yettaw.

A: He is not Yettaw. He is an Australian journalist Phil Thornton who frequently gives training to us. And also this photograph was not taken at the FDB office, but at the office of the ‘Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPPB) while he was imparting ‘media strategy’ training to us.

Now they are trying to exaggerate and are framing a case against the accused having contacts with pro-democracy organizations on the border and that he is a CIA agent. All this, when they are standing trial.

Moreover they accused him of coming to Burma and doing this job at the behest of the border based organizations and having contacts with these organizations to mislead the people. I think everything has been revealed in what his defence lawyer Khin Maung Oo said in the media.

Recently, the SPDC (junta) accused us of planting bombs. And then again they accused us of having contacts with Yettaw. I’d like to say this is the junta’s attempt to mislead and confuse the people and the international community.

Q: Dr. Naing Aung, do you mean the man in the photograph is not Mr. Yettaw, and that he is another man? Or do you mean this photograph is doctored?

A: No, he is not Mr. Yettaw. But the photograph is a real one posted on our FDB website, This photo was included in our electronic media, Forum Journal Vol. 1, Issue No. 1, published on April 2009. This has also been included in our press release. He is not Mr. Yettaw.

Q: How did ‘Thakinwe’ get this photograph?

A: We publish our electronic media on our website as a monthly online magazine. We posted this news with this photograph in this publication and so it is likely that the photograph was taken from our website and then fabricated and concocted the story.

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