Sunday, December 16, 2012

KIA and Bertil Lintner Lie about Carl Gustav Launchers

KIA displaying supposedly-captured Carl Gustav.
The recent big news about the big-bad-wolf Burma in the international media was of KIA and Bertil Lintner accusing Burma army for using Swedish-made Carl Gustav AT-4 recoilless-launchers, one of which, the compulsive liar KIA (Kachin Independence Army) claimed to have captured from the Army.

To tell you the truth Burma army had been using AT-4 launcher since mid 1980s and the army got these powerful recoilless-launchers (the first generation versions) and assorted shells direct from the manufacturer SAAB Bofors Dynamic of Sweden. Burmese army’s nomenclature for 84mm Carl Gustav launcher is AT-4 as it is basically an anti-tank weapon.

AT-4 launcher was mainly and effectively used in the raging battles against the KNU (Karen National Union) and CPB (Communist Party of Burma) insurgents in the 1980s and 1990s.

Following is the extracts from my 2010 translation of Thaung Wai Oo’s “Battles of Maing-yang” the battle Burmese army fought against overwhelming CPB insurgents on the Chinese border in September 1988.

“Enemy’s 500 strong infantry under the protection of their heavy-weapon support then bayonet-charged the Aung-da-ghun Hill from all possible directions. IB-11 CO Major Soe Lwin ordered his men to fire at the charging enemy with 84mm Carl-Gustav launcher.

US Special Forces firing  a Carl Gustav.
That launcher was a very effective weapon but the CO himself was required to supervise the firing. Knowing that fact the enemy had immediately responded by firing all their straight-shooting 57mm small recoilless guns together at our launcher site.

And at about 5 in the late afternoon of September 23 the battalion CO Major Soe Lwin was instantly killed by a shell fired from one of enemy’s 57mm recoilless guns.”

Burmese army used AT-4 mainly as bunker-buster against KNU fortifications on the Thai border as Sweden supplied their launchers with three types of high-explosive (HE) shells namely Impact-bust and Air-bust and Delayed-action shells.

For more than two decades of its use Burma army has never lost an AT-4 launcher as it was a very expensive weapon highly-valued by both army and the insurgents feeling the brunt of the powerful launcher.

The AT-4 was so devastating on the KNU positions along Thai border Colonel Nerdah Mya the son of late KNU General Saw Bo Mya once even offered his very pretty young daughter as the prize for marriage if any KNU soldier got hold of an AT-4 from the Burmese Army. The Carl Gustav AT-4 was that famous in Burma.

But Burmese army has stopped using or been unable to use their AT-4 launchers no more since late 1990s as the Swedes have stopped selling the launcher-shells to Burmese army after UN-sponsored European arms-embargo has come into effect since 1996. The high cost of AT-4 shells on the black market (about US$ 3,000 each) has also prohibited the Burmese from sourcing the shells from black markets. 

Burmese military industry also started producing their own 81mm and 60mm recoilless-guns with the help of Israeli Defence Industries. These new Burma-made recoilless guns also made the Burmese army's stock of AT-4 redundant as the new guns are lighter and better.

Firing 81 mm recoilless launcher the Burmese copy of Carl Gustav AT-4 launcher.

KIA and Bertil Lintner Lie again to the World?

“The Burma Army has apparently been using Swedish-made weapons against ethnic rebels in the country’s northernmost state, despite a European embargo on arms sales in the Southeast Asian nation, claim local sources on Wednesday.

As war escalates in Kachin State, ethnic rebels fighting for independence have accused government troops of attacking them with Swedish rocket launchers, although media reports suggested the weapons were delivered from a third country outside Europe.

Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers found rocket shells from Swedish-made launchers on Monday after two army helicopters opened fire on their bases, a Burmese war photographer accompanying the rebels in the conflict zone told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.

The photographer added that camps for Kachin refugees in Pangwa region had also been attacked by rocket fire and that KIA soldiers believed the shells came from an 84 mm rifle commonly known as Carl Gustaf, which is produced by arms manufacturer Saab Bofors Dynamics in Sweden.

Their suspicions were confirmed when an actual rocket launcher and shells were seized by advancing rebel troops.

The revelations have made headlines in Sweden in light of longstanding EU sanctions against arms sales to Burma, enacted in response to human rights violations by the former military regime.

Although the United States and European Union have suspended some economic sanctions since reformist Burmese President Thein Sein took office last year, arms embargos are still in place as ethnic conflicts continue in some border states.

Burma is believed to have received the Swedish-made guns from neighboring India. Bertil Lintner, a Thailand-based Swedish journalist and author of several books on Burma, said the Burma Army received the guns from the Indian military.

The Swedish government has pledged to investigate the issue. According to a report by the UK-based The Independent newspaper, an investigation was underway in Stockholm after Sweden’s Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls learned of the KIA’s allegations.”

Desperate KIA issued above press release stating the capture of a third generation Carl Gustav M-3 launcher from retreating Burmese troops. The December 12 statement even used that notorious Burma-hater Bertil Lintner as the eye-witness so that the news would shock Sweden and affect Swedish public opinion. Following is their additional news release from KIA cubby hole HQ at Laiza on the Chinese border.

“Burma's armed forces have been using Swedish made M-3 Carl Gustav anti-tank weapons against the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) as part of the army's ongoing offensive in northern Burma, according to veteran journalist and Burma expert Bertil Lintner.

Writing in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper on Tuesday, Lintner revealed that the KIO recently acquired an M-3 launcher and assorted shells following clashes with government forces. Lintner learned of the weapon's seizures during a recent reporting trip to KIO territory in Kachin state. Photos of the shells including their serial number have been posted on the website of the Svenska Dagbladet.

The M-3 Carl Gustav weapon and shells which remain in the possession of the KIO were produced by Saab Bofors Dynamics, part of the Saab group, a firm that is one of Europe's largest weapons exporters. The use of the firing device and the shells by Burma's military is in violation of the European Union arms ban on Burma and Sweden's own arms exports regulations.

Despite restrictions that are supposed to prevent European made weapon's from getting into the hands of Burma's generals and other blacklisted armed forces, peace advocates have long complained that both Sweden and the EU do very little to ensure that Swedish and other European weapon's exports are not re-exported by the approved government's who receive the weapons. Although it remains unclear how the M-3 Carl Gustav weapons were acquired by Burma's military it is likely they were sent by a third party and not directly from Europe.

According to the Independent of London, the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (ISP) has launched an investigation into the matter. Reached for comment Saab Bofors Dynamics spokesperson Sebastian Carlsson told the Independent that his firm would cooperate with the investigation. He acknowledged that Saab Bofors Dynamics exports M-3 Carl Gustav weapons to 20 countries but refused to say any of the places where the weapons have been sent. A sign of what critics have long described as Saab Bofors Dynamics non-transparent business practices.”

KIA Bought the Launchers from Corrupt Indian Officers

Thailand-based Bertil Lintner.
According to Burmese army sources KIA has recently bought a few third-generation Carl Gustav launchers with Indian army marking and original SAAB Bofors ID numbers from the corrupt Indian army officers and claiming one of them as the weapon captured from Burmese army.

KIA has recently acquired a few Carl Gustav M3 Anti-Tank launchers to use as bunker-busters against Burmese army’s fortifications now surrounding their Laiza HQ. Bertil Lintner, himself a Swede without the knowledge of the weapon’s real history and who has been regularly visiting KIA positions and seen the distinctive Swedish launchers, might have suggested KIA a possible political advantage to use these Indian Carl Gustav launchers against Burmese army.

I do not think Indian government is stupid enough to officially resell such distinctive Swedish weapons with clear identifications to the Burmese army like they did with their Indian-made Lee-Enfield .303 rifles. Salman Kurshid the Indian Foreign Minister now visiting Burma has also denied the baseless accusations against his government. Indian army also has strongly denied the official transfer of any Swedish-supplied weapons to Burmese army.

Bertil Lintner and his KIA men are so brainlessly-stupid that they thought they would pull that Carl Gustav stunt with their baseless lies. Shame on them!

Related posts at following links:
Bertil Lintner's Master Plan for Myanmar?