Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


October 5, 2014

Please forward and post.


When we established the Facebook group KNU Watch, we were hoping that it would serve as an organizing tool, not only as a news service for Karen issues. There is now an opportunity to make this happen. Group members can have a real impact on the KNU and through it on the prospects for the Karen people, including for peace and for a federal democracy in Burma.

The KNU Central Standing Committee (CSC) has reportedly scheduled an emergency meeting for October 23. This date may be provisional, though, since the NCCT apparently is returning to Rangoon on October 22. It is surprising that they would return so quickly, given that the military dictatorship will not accede to any of their core demands. This can only be due to the influence of the West, which is desperate for a signed NCA before President Obama's November visit, and the actions of ethnic turncoats, including the Mutu Say Poe clique that now controls the KNU.

Nonetheless, and regardless of the final date, we assume that there will be a CSC meeting. At this meeting, the KNU leaders will decide if they will remain in the UNFC.

We need to influence this meeting. We already know that the top leadership cannot be trusted, starting with how they cheated in the CSC election at the last Congress. The Karen Women's Organisation has just revealed that they also did not follow correct procedures when the KNU suspended its membership in the UNFC: that the full Committee was not consulted about the move. It would appear that certain KNU leaders are engaging in fraud every chance that they can get.

This new meeting is an opportunity to pressure the CSC, so that the KNU remains in the UNFC. However, this will not be easy as we understand that Mutu, through offering inducements - bribes, now controls most of the CSC members. More deeply, then, we need to find a way to expel his gang so that the problems in the KNU can be solved once and for all.

Karen people, including through KNU Watch, are clamoring for an Emergency Congress and a new leadership election. We need to recruit one or more of the members in the CEC who are still true to the Karen cause, to demand such a Congress, and using as the rationale for their demand that the Mutu leadership is not following the KNU policy that was agreed upon at the last Congress.

The KNU basic policy calls for building up the unity of Burma's opposition movement and strengthening the alliance of the ethnic resistance forces, in the struggle against the common enemy and for the common objective. The KNU final political goal is the establishment of a federal union guaranteeing the equality and self-determination of all the nationalities in the country.

Even though Mutu got himself "elected" at the Congress, he was not then in a position to change this policy. He has now, though, changed it secretly. He is following a policy of appeasement, surrender, and cooperation with the enemy, in exchange for personal rewards from commercial development.

It is of course possible that Mutu will reject the call for an Emergency Congress, but the exercise will still be useful since it will publicly put him and his followers on record. Moreover, this will show that even stronger steps are required.

In effect, we need to organize a lobbying campaign. For this we need the message; the targets; and the justification. The message is simple. It begins with a rejection of the current leadership, starting with Mutu. It then proceeds to a call for an Emergency Congress and more deeply a return to the Karen Revolution, and also unity with the other ethnic nationalities.

The ultimate target comprises the voting CSC members. We need a list of all 45 current members, their names and positions, and also ideally their Facebook accounts, email addresses and phone numbers. Would anyone who is a member of KNU Watch and who can gain access to this information please do so and then post it. If it is too sensitive to post it from your own account, then please send it to me and I will post it.

The intermediate target comprises all Karen people and especially KNLA soldiers. We want as large a group as possible to contact, and if need be intimidate, the CSC members. For example, we have KNU Watch members who are active in the refugee camps. If you are one of them, would you please raise these issues with the camp residents. They in turn can then talk to their relatives who are in the KNLA. We also have growing membership in many Karen communities worldwide. Please inform these communities of what we are doing and try to get them involved as well. We have a lot to accomplish, and time is short.

Many Karen people decry the KNU as being opaque and non-democratic. They want an election with one Karen one vote. While we cannot establish this for the CSC meeting, all Karen can make their individual voices heard through this lobbying campaign.

The third part, the justification, is also simple. It starts with a repeat of the message: That the Mutu clique has changed the KNU policy and abandoned Saw Ba U Gyi's four principles and the Karen Revolution, and that they have cut some sort of deal or deals with the regime. We need intel about these arrangements, and also evidence of personal enrichment, including luxury houses and cars. (We need photos of these.) Also, someone posted on KNU Watch a photo of an office signboard of a number of "Thoolei" trading companies. The KNU leaders will be participating in the development deals in Karen areas, including those financed by Japan, Thailand, and Western companies. They will be getting bribes for these as well, large bribes, to give permission for the projects.

It is also likely that the KNU top leaders are receiving money from Harn Yawnghwe and EBO, and from MPC, meaning from the European nations starting with Norway and Germany that fund them. It is also certainly the case that the leaders have met U.S. officials at the Consulate in Chiang Mai, and probable that inducements to sign the NCA and not to oppose development deals such as Dawei were offered.

This is much too much, that a 65 year long Revolution and the Karen people could be betrayed in this way. It is time for this corruption to stop!

Finally, we need a plan for the worst case scenario, that the KNU abandons the UNFC and that Mutu retains power. Although I certainly don't want to see it happen, some day a formal split in the KNU may be required. While this would appear to harm Karen unity, it would actually ensure that a core group remains devoted to the Karen cause and that the Karen Revolution survives. Having such a genuine KNU comprised of Brigades 1, 2, 3 and 5 would leave Mutu and his fellow traitors in the dust. Many soldiers from 4, 6 and 7 would change allegiance as well. It's a strong step, and one we would certainly prefer not to see, but some day, perhaps quite soon, it may be the only option left.