Monday, October 28, 2013

Burma Army’s Cyber Warfare Unit: Anti-Muslim Warriors?

(Former Army Captain Phyo Thet Htun’s confession from the GUIDINGSTAR blog.)

Burma Army's Defense Service Technological Academy.
My name is Captain Phyo Thet Htun and I and my family are now living in Canada as refugees. I graduated from the Intake-47 of DSA (Defense Services Academy) in December 2004 and served in LIB-89 under LID-99 and later in the elite Cyber Warfare Unit at the War Office in Naypyidaw.

On August 13, 2013 I took a medical pension due to my bad eyes and came out to Canada where I am now living while trying to get my refugee asylum as a persecuted refugee from Burma.

This is my honest confession that the hundreds of clandestine internet pages -- disseminating anti-Muslim and anti-Democracy propagandas and thus instigating racial, religious, and political unrest and deadly riots in Burma -- have been directly controlled and actively ran by the War Office at Naypyidaw, and I was once in the thick of it.

Burma Army’s Secretive Cyber Warfare Unit

Our online cyber warfare has begun in very early 2011 at the War Office in Naypyidaw. All together 60 DSA-graduated officers who were computer-literate and deeply loyal had been chosen and given a month-long intensive computer training at the Irrawaddy Computer Hall inside the vast and secretive compound of Burma Army’s War Office.

After the training and final tests the top 50 out of 60 were picked up and formed as the nuclei of Burma Army’s Cyber Warfare Unit. We didn’t know what exactly was the operation at the beginning and we just did what we were ordered as any loyal officer would do.

We were formed into three main groups with specific duties on Internet as follows.

- First group was responsible for writing propagandized news articles and posting them on army-controlled blog pages.
- Second group was to write both pro and anti comments under those posts to appear genuinely realistic and also to share and re-post those propagandise posts onto other genuine blogs all over Internet.
- Third group had to do investigative research all over internet to dig up any positive news and articles on the Government and Army, and at the same time searching for the materials that will drive a wedge between races and religions. Especially from the bigoted hateful sites such as Anti Islam and Ban Islam and Islam Virus.

I used to belong to the second group. We had to work 24 hours 7 days both day and night shifts. All of us in our group had at least 15 internet accounts under fake names and false particulars.

My main job there was to write and post the pro comments under our own propaganda posts and re-distribute the posts widely onto other blogs. The War Office’s Colonels with the ranks of DG (Director-Generals) personally supervised us and, I knew for so sure, they had to report directly to a young Major-General the Director of Army’s Psychological Warfare Operations. His position was kept confidential in the War Office we didn’t even know what his name was. We knew only his code-name.
Chinese PLA's Cyber Warfare Unit cooperates with Burmese Army's Cyber Warfare Unit.
Devastating Outcomes of Our Cyber Warfare Operations

Probably most Burmese people active online on Internet do not realise the existence, or are not even aware, of us. Our unit was extremely active in attacking aggressively the NLD (National League for Democracy) and its leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi personally.

We are the ones who started that nasty exposé of Daw Suu having a secret affair with David Hla Myint, one of her bodyguards and the computer man, and the hush-hush existence of her illegitimate teenage daughter Khin Shun Le Way born out of that adulterous affair.

We also attacked other opposition parties and their leaders with many nasty stories both fake and genuine. Ethnic insurgents groups were our targets too even though our army and government have been publicly negotiating cease-fire and peace agreements with them for a while now.

Bengali-Muslims or the Rohigyas were one of our main targets too. Every one of our online  pages carries assorted stories about how nasty and cunning those Bengali-Muslims were just to provoke anti-Muslim anger in the minds of Burmese Buddhists. We fabricated anti-Muslim stories and posted on our pages as well.

Every single story of Muslim man or men raping a Buddhist girl is picked up, exaggerated, enhanced with fabricated details, and posted on our various internet pages to instigate anti-Muslim race riots all over the country.

We also deliberately promoted that nationalist monk Shin Wirathu and his 969-Buddhist extremist groups as we were directed by our army bosses to blindly support whatever they do whether right or wrong.

Those were Government’s and Army’s general policies and what were they trying to achieve exactly is quite hard to understand as in public eyes our Government and Army officially are well away from these clandestine activities as our pages were basically ran by us the faceless cyber-warriors.

But if anyone scrutinize our internet sites and blogs carefully one could easily see whose hands were really pulling the strings behind these propaganda pages. It was too obvious not to see the real controllers of the notorious pages like “Ludu Maung Kar Lu”, “Myanmar Express”, “Professor Seit Phwar”, and hundred other similar pages.

I believe this kind of propaganda warfare is being waged not just in our Burma but also in every other country for various reasons in this internet age.

Here in Burma the ruling party USDP – Union Solidarity and Development Party – supported by the army is trying to prolong their tight hold on the country by secretly instigating these racial and religious disturbances to reinforce the idea that Burmese people need them the uncompromising political force with army-supported strong hands to rule over them.

A large mosque in Meikhtilar burning (2012).
I have a valid reason for blowing whistle on the activities I myself had involved for a few years. I knew I have to be absolutely loyal to the government as an army officer, but I now have deep regrets and disgust on myself for instigating racial and religious hatred and causing such devastating riots in which my own family has gravely been suffering.

I was sort of a Buddhist orphan and I had basically been raised by my great uncle who once was a well-to-do Muslim. In last year anti-Muslim riots in Meikhtilar he and his prosperous Muslim family have lost all their businesses and properties and finally ended up in a make-shift refugee camp. 

I was devastated by their permanent economic losses caused by the race riots I myself had instigated with our clandestine online activities. When I tried to help them by asking assistance from my direct superiors they not only just ignored me but also tried to cover up their guilty acts by shutting me up.

That was the last straw for me and I decided to take medical pension and leave the army and finally Burma for Canada where I’m now trying to get asylum as a persecuted refugee.

I was a closet-Muslim back then, but now I am a proud Muslim and I wrote down and posted this confession online so that people of Burma can see what really is going on and avoid falling for the political trickery of our government and the army.

Related posts at following links:
969-Buddhist-Activist Monks Vs US Ambassador