Thursday, June 25, 2009

Police Chief Suspects Yettaw Mastermind


The Burmese police chief, Brig-Gen Khin Yi, alleged that a mastermind was orchestrating John William Yettaw, whose intrusion on Aung San Suu Kyi led to her arrest and trial.

There must be a mastermind behind Mr. Yettaw. We are investigating who exactly is behind this,” the police chief told journalists and diplomats at a press conference in Rangoon on Thursday. (JEG's: so what... if there is a mastermind what that knowledge has to do with Suu Kyi? she never asked the "mastermind to mind" into her privacy..)

Burmese Police Chief Brig-Gen Khin Yi, speaks at a news conference in Naypyidaw last year. (Photo: Getty Images)

Khin Yi said John William Yettaw was not wealthy enough to travel and stay in Thailand and Burma for several months, and his long stays must have been financed by a group masterminding his actions. (JEG's: I know who masterminded the intrussion... the junta..)

Khin Yi also alleged that Yettaw might have wanted security guards to arrest him, because he did not take the same route entering and leaving Suu Kyi's house. “By swimming through Inya Lake he attracted the attention of police guarding Suu Kyi,” Khin Yi said.

Khin Yi frequently repeated that Yettaw had met with exiled and unlawful groups before his last visit to Burma.

According to Burmese and Thai sources in Mae Sot, a Thai town on the border with Burma, Yettaw, 53, spent more than a month at a hotel in the town after his first visit to Rangoon in November 2008. During this visit he managed to get in to Suu Kyi’s compound, but her companions prevented him from meeting her.

While he was in Mae Sot, people recalled Yettaw saying that he planned to return to visit Suu Kyi again. His second visit led to the fateful encounter with Suu Kyi in May, sources said.

In Mae Sot, Yettaw stayed at the Highland Hotel, where he spoke to several people about Burma and made brief comments about Suu Kyi. He openly told people about his first visit to her compound.

Yettaw was still in debt for the expenses he incurred during his first trip to Burma, according to his family. Before leaving his home in Falcon, Missouri, Yettaw told his wife, Betty Yettaw, that he planned to visit Asia for a book he was writing, according to an Associated Press report.

Yettaw, a Mormon, reportedly does not hold strong political views. He receives disability payments from the US Veteran’s Affairs office for Vietnam-related injuries and has been pursuing studies in psychology.

READ MORE---> Police Chief Suspects Yettaw Mastermind...

KNU Headquarters Overrun: Now What?

The Irrawaddy News

After a long offensive, the Burmese army and its ceasefire militia, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), has overrun the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) Brigade 7 headquarters.

The question now is: What’s next?

Karen sources and analysts said the fighting will continue as the joint Burmese army and DKBA troops focus their attacks toward the KNLA Brigade 6 area.

Analysts said powerful business interests are supporting the offensive.

(Graphic: The Irrawaddy)

The Burmese regime’s goal is to control all of central Karen State, where the Karen National Union’s KNLA Brigade 7 and 6 are now located, in order to dominate the business and border trade activity with Thailand, said one DKBA businessman who asked for anonymity.

Once dominated, many industries, companies and infrastructure will be improved and supported by the Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said the businessman.

Important activities will include logging and mining natural resources, including zinc, he said.

He said the Burmese authorities and DKBA troops will construct roads to connect between army headquarters in Myaing Gyi Ngu and border areas.

Once the clashes end, the relationship between the DKBA and local Thai authorities and businessmen in Mae Sot will expand when compared to the past, businessmen said.

During the recent fighting, a KNU leader said two DKBA leaders were spotted in a car traveling with Thai police near the border where Karen refugees have sought shelter in Tha Song Yang District in Tak Province.

Analysts also said the situation will be more dangerous for the KNU and Burmese opposition groups in exile when the border area is controlled by DKBA troops.

Maj Hla Ngwe, the joint secretary (1) of the KNU, said the loss of KNLA Brigade 7 headquarters could affect the work of Burmese opposition organizations based in Mae Sot.

“The opposition movement will be limited. They might not launch campaigns as they did before,” said Hla Ngwe.

Border sources also say more assassinations could be expected in the border area, where many Burmese and ethnic opposition groups are based.

In February 2008, the KNU’s late general secretary, Mahn Sha, was gun down by two DKBA members at his home near the center of Mae Sot. Many sources claimed the assassination also involved Thai border police.

Border sources said that DKBA members will have easy access to Mae Sot once the relationship between the DKBA and Thai border authorities is established.

A sign of the evolving transition in the power center, said the businessman, is that DKBA soldiers are now receiving medical care in Mae Sot. What’s happening is “very obvious,” he said.

The DKBA plans to expand its troops from 6,000 to 9,000 in preparation for its transformation to become a border guard force under the Burmese army. The DKBA split from it mother organization, the KNU, and signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese regime in 1995.

READ MORE---> KNU Headquarters Overrun: Now What?...

Likely Destination of N Korean Ship Often Used for Weapons Deliveries

The Irrawaddy News

The Myanmar International Terminals Thilawa (MITT), believed to be the destination of the Kang Nam 1, a North Korean cargo ship being tracked by the US Navy, has often been used for deliveries of weapons, according to sources at the facility.

The Kang Nam 1, which left a North Korean port on June 17, is believed to be carrying weapons, missile parts or possibly even nuclear materials.

Cargo ships are docked at Myanmar International Terminals Thilawa (MITT) deep sea port near Rangoon. (Photo: AP)

“There are two reasons to use Thilawa,” said an MITT operator. “First, it is not too close to Rangoon, and second, it is easy to increase security here so people don’t know what is being unloaded.”

The international multi-purpose container port, Burma’s largest deep sea port, is located about 30 km south of Rangoon.

According to other MITT employees, the facility has often been used for deliveries of weapons since it was built in the mid-1990s.

“Cargo ships carrying many kinds of weapons from Russia, China, North Korea and the Ukraine have docked at Thilawa,” said an MITT worker.

Normally, the source explained, the ships are offloaded around midnight to avoid attracting attention. Then, around 2 a.m., convoys of trucks deliver the weapons to a military depot at Intaing, about 25 km north of Rangoon.

“When cargo ships carrying military equipment dock at the port, naval personnel based near Thilawa take over port security and coordinate the unloading of the ships,” he said. “No unauthorized personnel are allowed near the port when cargo ships carrying weapons dock here.”

On Wednesday, officials from the Myanmar Port Authority, which operates under the Ministry of Transport, met with the Thilawa port authorities. It is believed that the meeting was related to the imminent arrival of the Kang Nam 1.

“We don’t know when the ship will dock and we haven’t received any instructions concerning its berthing schedule,” said an MITT employee, adding that this was normal procedure for handling ships carrying weapons.

The source also said that employees of MITT had been instructed not to speak to exiled media about the Kang Nam 1.

On Thursday, the Burmese state-run newspaper, The News Light of Myanmar, reported that the government had denied that the Kang Nam 1 was heading for Burma.

The report said that the Burmese junta had not received any information about the Kang Nam 1, but was expecting another North Korean ship, the MV Dumangang, to arrive in Burma on June 27 to pick up 8,000 tons of rice. (JEG's: POD= Pay on Delivery)

The USS John S McCain started following the Kang Nam 1 soon after it left port last week. The USS McCampbell is now shadowing the ship, which is being monitored under UN sanctions imposed earlier this month following North Korea’s underground nuclear test in May.

READ MORE---> Likely Destination of N Korean Ship Often Used for Weapons Deliveries...

Cross-border DKBA attack leaves two Karen dead

(DVB)–Two Karen refugees in Thailand who fled ongoing fighting in eastern Burma have been shot dead in what appears to be a cross-border attack by Burmese pro-junta militia, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army.

Members of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), who are fighting alongside the Burmese army in its offensive against opposition Karen National Union (KNU), have reportedly been pressuring Karen in Thailand who had fled the offensive.

Three DKBA soldiers entered Thebayhta village in Thailand’s Tha Song Yan province on the evening of 23 June and reportedly questioned two Karen men about KNU activities.

A villager in Thebayhta said that when the two replied that they knew nothing, the soldiers shot them.

One of the men, Mah Kloh, 36, died on the spot while the other, Er Khlay, 28, died yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, refugees have been told that homes and villages in Burma’s eastern Karen state will be confiscated if they do not return.

According to a Karen youth group helping the refugees, nine families comprising 54 members in Thailand’s Mae Thrit village were told that they had to go home, despite many voicing fears that they will be caught in the clashes.

The Karen Women’s Organisation (KWO) said on Monday that Thai authorities had similarly been telling Karen to leave the country, although some observers speculated that Thailand was reacting to pressure from the DKBA and Burmese government.

Around 4000 Karen are thought to have fled Burma since the offensive began on 2 June. Thai authorities have reportedly given a verbal promise to help 4000 displaced villagers although no definite plan has been set out, said the KWO secretary.

According to the KWO, Karen villagers face the prospect of being forced to walk in front of troop patrols as minesweeper, while rape of women is a real threat: last week two Karen women, both teenagers, were raped and murdered by the Burmese army.

Reporting by Naw Noreen

READ MORE---> Cross-border DKBA attack leaves two Karen dead...

US calls for release of prominent China dissident - Liu Xiaobo

(SMH) - The United States said it was "deeply disturbed" by the reported arrest of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and called for his release amid a mounting chorus of condemnation.

Chinese state media said Wednesday that police had formally arrested Liu, a leading force behind a petition calling for democratic reforms.

"The US government is deeply disturbed by reports that Liu Xiaobo has been formally arrested and charged with serious crimes," Richard Buangan, a spokesman for the US embassy in Beijing, told AFP.

"We call on the government of China to release Mr. Liu and respect the rights of all Chinese citizens who peacefully express their desire for internationally recognised freedoms."

The 53-year-old writer was arrested Tuesday for "alleged agitation activities aimed at subversion of the government and overthrowing the socialist system," Xinhua news agency said, citing Beijing police.

Liu, who was jailed previously for his involvement in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement that was crushed by the army, has long campaigned through his writings for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in China.

He was taken into custody in December after signing Charter 08, a manifesto signed by hundreds of intellectuals, scholars and dissidents calling for political and legal reforms and respect for human rights.

The reaction from the United States followed criticism of the reported arrest by US House speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday.

"The decision by the Chinese government to formally arrest Liu Xiaobo deserves the full condemnation from the international community," said Pelosi, who is second in line for the presidency after US Vice President Joe Biden.

"Liu?s arrest for peacefully criticising his government and advocating for human rights violates provisions in China?s constitution as well as international human rights standards," Pelosi added in a statement.

Ding Zilin, a 72-year-old retired professor whose son was killed in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, said the government had arrested a "moderate and rational" writer, in a statement released by New York-based Human Rights in China.

"If the often avowed... 'rapidly emerging', 'great nation' and 'superpower'... cannot tolerate a mere scholar like Liu Xiaobo, this is a clear enough indication that the regime of (President) Hu Jintao and (Premier) Wen Jiabao has already shut tight the door to so-called 'political reform,' she said.

"(It has) completely blocked China's path toward democracy and constitutional rule, let alone freedom of speech," she added in the statement co-written by her husband Jiang Peikun.

Brad Adams, Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the arrest of Liu sent Chinese citizens "a clear signal of political hardening."

"But it also misses an opportunity to show the outside world that the government is confident enough to tolerate thoughtful and peaceful domestic criticism," he said in an emailed statement.

Buangan said the United States had raised its concerns about Liu's status and whereabouts repeatedly both in Beijing and Washington, and would "continue to do so."

READ MORE---> US calls for release of prominent China dissident - Liu Xiaobo...

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