Saturday, December 01, 2012
Summary of translation on weapon used by security forces: Interview with an ex-major of Burmese Army
Burma: Fear of unconventional weapon used in latest raid/ Interview by Ko Nyo and Burma-Newselite (M)/ Security forces may have used incendiary in raiding protest's camps on 29th November, at 3 am local time in Monywa, said Sai Thein Win, a former major./ The crackdown was the largest since the civilian government of President Thein Sein came to power almost two years ago. Over one thousand combined of monks and villagers stayed on strike near the copper mine for 9 days, in order to give pressure the coppermine project to halt, a joint venture run by Chinese company and Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited, Military itself./ The raid came just hours before Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate and leader of the NLD (National League for Democracy), an opposition in Parliament, was scheduled to visit the city of Monywa./ Over 100 monks and people were injured from burning. Government announced on state TV that it broke into the campsite of protesters using water cannon and tear gas, but injuries are caused by fire and chemical, witness said. Strangely enough, the official announcement by the government is taken out after a few hours, although alternative announcement was not made./ So far neither authorities nor civil group release official report on any finding on what causes the burning./ This is an interview with former major in the Burmese army, Sai Thein Win, now lives in Norway. He was the deputy commander of a military factory at Myaing which was built to support a regiment near Thabeikkyin. Maj Sai Thein Win is a mechanical engineer who worked on machining parts. (Interviewer: Ko Nyo, member of Burma-Newselite media group)/ ********************** Q: Government media announced it tried to disperse the protester with water cannon and teargas, but according to the witnesses there, people believe the security forces used fire grenade. As someone who used to work for military factory, and based on your experiences, how will you evaluate?/ A: Tear gas is kind of smoke bomb. It releases smoke and causes tear when contact with eyes. Tear gas doesn't produce fire./ Since there was fire coming out from bomb, this can't be smoke bomb. News we heard mention of white liquid splits out of the bomb causes fire on skin and got worse when it come into contact with water./ That does sound like fire bomb. We differentiate bomb as it works, so we call fire bomb when it produces fire. Smoke bomb if it produces smoke. In this case we have to call fire bomb exactly because fire comes out of the bomb./ Q: When does the military use this kind of bomb? Was there any incident that the military gives order to use it in protest?/ A: A kind of bomb with chemical content was used in Vietnam war by the US troop. It causes fire and burns until the liquid is burned out. Primarily to burn and clear the forest. But since the effect of the bomb found out to have horrible consequences, bombs like Flame Thrower that can shoot fire as far as 20 feet , are banned to be used on the ground, with the exception for the tunnel battle. Weapon prohibited in the battle is used to disperse the protester? This is absolutely crime. We can see the injuries caused by fire bomb, and these injuries can't be hidden./ Q: In what kind of situation does Burmese army use fire grenade?/ A: In our military factory we produced 200 lbs fire bomb. We also produced tear gas to use in case of riot. But we did so only when ordered. I remember one incident. When [the government] creaked down on student demonstration in 1996, our factory got order to produce tear gas just for that riot, but with special modification./ Like putting clear liquid into bullet, adding lead top under the rubber bullet, and when hit by that bullet, flesh cut off badly. It didn't kill though. That order came directly from General Maung Aye (formerly the deputy senior-general under Than Shwe’s military junta and No. 2 in the hierarchy of the ruling State Peace and Development Council)./ He said "Let them die. Produce with higher power." Modified version was tested, one who worked there told me. Some soldier got injured while shooting to test, I heard. I wasn't there yet when it happened./ Q: Is it possible that smoke grenade [tear gas] were modified with higher power than the usual one?/ A: Military factory produces smoke grenade regularly. But it is possible a high ranking officer orders to produces with higher power of smoke grenade. Or it is also possible the tear gas produced by the factory didn't meet the standard. Remember, during 2007 in Saffron revolution, I notice a video clip. Fire sprang out of a smoke grenade; it was near the entrance of Shwedagon Pagoda./ Q: There were accusations of using chemical weapons by the military in Wankha clash in Karen state before and now in Kachin state. Victims don't die but their skin got burned, blood came out of their ears, got dizzy, bodies become paralyze, and so on. Did military use chemical weapon with ethnic armies?/ A: Sometime. It was before my time there [at the military factory]. In our military engineering course, we had a subject on chemical weapon./ When many soldiers died in Wankha battle, the army produced Incendiary devices for a test. They also test Pressure Bomb to clear landmine. Both are not allowed by Geneva Convention. So if the military uses it, they made it secret./ For example, defense factory officers have to go the field to shoot if they use chemical weapons, and regular army officer are not informed, and no soldier allow being nearby./ Q: According to our experience, police forces give warning first to the protesters. Second, they block the protesters not to across the barrier line. Thirdly, they would use water cannon. Only if these don't work, tear gas will be used. Last option is beating and arresting of course./ These measures are used only when protesters become violent. If protesters are peaceful, police even have to guard for their safety and for their health. We have seen these steps in democratic countries./ But now the police forces were throwing grenade towards Buddhist monks who were just sitting in the camps peacefully and praying. How do you see this action as an ex-military officer?/ A: This is absolutely not in line with international standard. Even in the real battle, use of weapons that cause burning is limited internationally. What has done in Burma now is just too much./ Posted with permission.