Contact: Roland Watson, firstname.lastname@example.org
STATE FINALLY "PUBLISHES" REPORTS ON MILITARY AND INTELLIGENCE AID TO BURMA
June 10, 2012
Please forward this to as many people as possible.
Under Section 10 of the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008, the State Department is required to prepare, annually, a report on military and intelligence aid to Burma, by foreign party suppliers of materiel, training, and intelligence assistance. This includes, under Subsection (b) (3), information that the United States possesses on "the provision of weapons of mass destruction and related materials, capabilities, and technology ..." State was charged with preparing a full report for the House and Senate foreign affairs and foreign relations committees, and required to publish an unclassified version. The first report should have been published by January 2009, with subsequent reports each following January.
State failed to satisfy the law, and as many people are aware I made a Freedom of Information Act filing, in April 2010, to force it to do so. It refused to do this until now.
State just informed me that the 2009 and 2010 reports have been published (see the links below). The 2011 report should also have been published by this time (although it was not part of my request), but is not yet online.
Although State's website shows that the 2009 and 2010 reports were published this past March, the wider Burma community is not yet aware of their existence. Interestingly, I spoke with a State FOIA officer in April (I wasn't aware of their existence, either), and she in turn talked to the East Asian and Pacific Bureau's Burma Desk Officer, who pleaded for more time, apparently also not informed that the reports had just been posted. One wonders therefore who prepared them.
The reports are extremely brief, one page each. They appear to be the absolute minimum that State felt compelled to release (and as quietly as possible). So much for transparency. It is clear that the Obama Administration does not want to muddy its rapprochement with Naypyidaw. For example, there is no reference to weapons of mass destruction at all (or intelligence assistance). I am certain, though, that the full reports are major documents, with extensive segments pertaining to (b) (3).
However, the reports that have been posted do contain interesting information, including about the relationship between Burma's military regime and North Korea, and the involvement of Singaporean and Taiwanese trading companies. The first is clear evidence that the regime is lying when it says that it no longer has links to Pyongyang. "Military production facilities" take years to complete, after which of course they become operational.
Some of the revelations are as follows. Would any journalists who attend State briefings, or who interview State officials, please ask about the tidbits contained in the released reports, as well as when 2011 will be posted. There is a huge story here: Many stories. This is what is really happening in Burma now, behind the "reform." Please use your access to push for the truth.
Burma's primary military suppliers in 2009 were state-controlled companies from China, North Korea, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Serbia (which is a list of upstanding arms traffickers if ever there was one!), as well as other companies based in Singapore and Taiwan.
China provided both finished weapons and assistance with military production plants.
North Korea assisted with military production facilities, had equipment on the vessel Kang Nam 1 blocked from delivery, and cooperated in underground facilities for aircraft.
Russian companies and brokers sold weapons to Burma. Firms based in Singapore and Taiwan helped the regime acquire military production technology.
The primary suppliers in 2010 were China, North Korea, and Russia.
China continued to help build military production plants, as did North Korea.
North Korea delivered military equipment in April 2010 on the vessel Chong Gen. (Reports at the time indicated that it was then heading to Iran. Dictator Watch has also disclosed that Burma is bartering - our sources say yellowcake uranium - with Iran.) North Korean arms traders with Burma further bought production equipment from Taiwanese and Chinese companies.
Russia continued to supply air defense systems, and to train Burmese students in a wide variety of military fields (including nuclear, which study program Dictator Watch first revealed).
Singaporean and Taiwanese companies continued to help the regime source military production technology.