An un-official, but not verbatim, translation of Myanmar military’s secret document
The 45-page document was written and distributed as the detailed Minutes of the meeting held on 23 December 2022. It offers the most complete report of the on-the-ground situation since the coup of 1 February 2021. A total of 55 military, police and civilian/technocratic officials attended the 7-hr long hybrid (on-line and in-person) meeting. What emerges from this official document marked “SECRET” is a deeply troubling picture of a state, in the slow-motion process of a collapse. Of the total of 14 administrative regions, 12 have witnessed what the State Administrative Council or SAC described at terrorist attacks. A staggering number of attacks, over 17,825 have been recorded.
The document is remarkable in that the security personnel in charge of different regions described candidly how weak, ineffectual and poor the state organizations at all levels have been in countering the resistance groups in virtually all aspects of SAC’s “counter-terrorism” measures over 2 years, from countering the anti-coup messages/propaganda to curbing the financing of the local resistance by the country’s commercial businesses and from the Burmese diaspora, from stopping the shipment and transport of weapons and highly potent TNT into various regions of the country. Importantly, the majority of the security personnel cautioned the very likelihood of escalation of terrorist attacks by the resistance groups to derail, frustrate and stop the SAC’s elections in 2023. Important to note is the fact that the SAC continues to address Rohingyas as “Bengali”, denoting falsely that they are Bangladeshi citizens (Bengali is a legal term constitutionally referred to citizens of the Republic of Bangladesh), and making an implicit Islamophobic assumption that Rohingyas are linked with or supported by Middle Eastern “Islamic” terrorist groups.
Also noteworthy is the fact that out of the total estimated 1.4 – 1.8 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) – displaced since the coup, the SAC provided assistance to only 250,000, raising doubts about humanitarian aid delivery via SAC.
Finally, the entire narrative framework in which the Minutes were written speaks volumes about how Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and his SAC sees all the anti-coup developments: the peaceful and violent opposition to the 1 Feb. coup of 2021 is 100% TERRORISTIC. There was absolutely no mention of democracy, human rights, reconciliation, federalism, ceasefire or international mediation or cooperation.
Translation follows –
Central Committee on Counter-Terrorism (CCCT), Myanmar Junta
Dated 10 Jan.2023
Subject: Minutes of the CCCT Meeting 1/2022 (Held on 23 Dec.2022)
Presided over by Home Affairs Minister Lt.-General Soe Htut
Signed by Chief of Police Aung Htay Myint, in his capacity as Joint Secretary of CCCT.
The 7-hr hybrid Meeting (on-line and in-person) was held at the police headquarters in Naypyidaw.
In attendance via on-line were state/province level ministers in charge of security and border affairs from across Myanmar.
The Home Minister issued 33 instructions in total to all attendees at the close of the meeting.
Total attendees, including the Home Minister: 55, mostly military officials from various branches including military intelligence division, police force, and state and division senior administrators.
The three objectives of the meeting are as follows:
- To discuss the ccct’s work carried out in the year 2022;
- To discuss the planned initiatives for 2023;
- And to discuss the revamping working committees & groups.
A Brief Backgrounder: CCCT was established in 2015, and reorganised in 2016. There currently exist 3 working committees and 6 working groups. The main objective of the meeting was to raise the level of institutional coordination among these components and to make CCCT’s work more effective.
In Myanmar the 3 groups are legally designated as Terrorist Organizations by CCCT.
The 1st group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army or ARSA. Regarding ARSA, CCCT is taking necessary measures in accord with Myanmar domestic law. CCCT also engages in info exchanges with UNCTED, ASEANAPOL, neighbouring countries, ASEAN Counter-Terrorism Organizations and various foreign diplomatic missions in Myanmar. During 2022, there have been only 4 skirmishes between our forces and ARSA. We were able to meet, discuss and coordinate with Bangladesh Border Guard Force over ARSA. The result was Bangladesh Special Forces launched a military operation in the refugee camp where ARSA took shelter, killing the ARSA’s 2nd in Command and 2 terrorists. From one intelligence exchange with Bangladesh we learned that the ARSA leader Atta Ullah and 60 of his followers are facing legal actions in Bangladesh. We are working to get ARSA designated as an international terrorist organization. We have been very effective in countering ARSA in 2022.
The 2nd group designated domestically as Terrorist is United League of Arakan/Arakan Army (ULA/AA), on 23 March 2020. Because the group requested the removal of that designation state authorities had reviewed the designations. ULA/AA is made up of our Indigenous group and has pledged to stop their terrorist activities and to focus on peace and stability (of Rakhine state) and development there, we rescinded the Terrorist designation of AA, on 11 March 2021.
The 3rd and last group (s) we declared terrorists are Committee Representing People’s Hluttaw or Parliament (CRPH), the NUG which the former established and People’s Defence Force and all their derivative organizations. We announced the designation on 8 May 2021. We have informed and shared info about these groups with the neighbouring countries, Asean, ASEANAPOL and INTERPOL. But because our policy of declaring developments in Myanmar as only the internal affair we have not make any efforts to get crph, nug, pdfs etc designated as international terrorist organisations. As these groups have stepped up their numerous activities including mobilizing domestic public opinion (against SAC gov.), fundraising and issuing threats (to collaborators with SAC). They are also able to progress from using improvised weapons locally to now attacking us with automatic submachine guns, various types of mines, and even RPGs (?). In addition, they are implementing the strategy of crushing the (SAC) administrative mechanisms across Myanmar. Towards that end they have adopted the twofold strategy of Armed Insurrection & civil insurgency. To counter these developments, we have devised various initiatives. These initiatives need to be further adapted to the meet the specific challenges in different states and regions.
We also need to undertake preventive measures against terrorism by these groups. Terror financing is one area that needs to be addressed. So far we are weak in stemming the flow of funds both domestically and from abroad because our intel gathering capacity remains poor. We have drafted Counter-Terrorism legislation and are awaiting SAC Gov’s approval. We are making Counter-Terrorism budget allocation for 2023.
We are also ineffective in reaching out to potential informants and collaborators who want to help combat terrorism. In this regard, we need to offer medals and monetary awards and provide protection to the informants and collaborators.
ARSA & NUG/CRPH are fighting for two different causes. Their terrorist tactics therefore differ. ARSA is based externally (to Myanmar) and connected with the Islamic State. In contrast, CRPH/NUG and their subordinate PDFs emerged as the result of the attempts to seize state power (from the SAC) in very unjust ways. But the fact that the international community sees them as MPs popularly elected gives them strategic advantage (over SAC). These CRPH/NUG terrorists have an upper hand in the media warfare.
These groups have issued over 400 statements on political affairs, economy, public health, education, national finance, civil servant affairs, legal matters, People’s Defence, civil disobedience etc. Consequently, the public at large are fear-soaked. That popular fear needs to be addressed. No group could survive without funds. A crucial thing is to find numerous ways to cut the funding to these terrorist groups.
We also need to raise the morale of our security forces. We have also failed to implement “deradicalization program” targeting new generation/youth, adopted on 23 June 2021.
In 2023 SAC speculates more intense pressure from 1) the prospect of stepped up armed insurrections & civil insurgency – which it dubs “terrorism” and 2) international developments including Bali G-20 statement, USA’s enactment of Burma Act, China-ASEAN meeting outcome, the demands from UN and increasing pressure from ASEAN is making things increasingly difficult for SAC. We really have to find solutions collectively.
We are using counter-information strategies all the way to township levels, with 400 Facebook pages. But we are still slow in getting our own news out on terrorist attacks. We are working with Information Ministry, Education Ministry, youth and sports ministry, and Myanmar Police towards deradicalization of the youth/new generation.
CCCT is also undertaking risk assessments of seaports and ports, as well as air ports to prevent large scale terrorist attacks (such as 9/11). There are 46 million mobile phone users via 4 service providers. We should develop counterterrorism texts which can then be sent to 46 million accounts simultaneously. CCCT is scrutinizing immigration and outmigration, and put under heavy surveillance Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw airports, 8 Sino-Myanmar border gates, 2 Laotian-Myanmar gates,4 Thai-Myanmar gates, 1 Bangladeshi-Myanmar gate, and 2 Indo-Myanmar gates.
CCCT is also taking legal measures against Bengali (Rohingya) immigration, their movements which are well-financed. We must see if they are linked to terrorism. Those Myanmar who return from Thailand and Malaysia need to be closely scrutinized to see if they underwent terrorist training in those countries.
Because Myanmar Central Bank is not really in a legal position to disclose customer details we are unable to fully implement other departments’ request with respect to account suspensions. We have also tried to remove Myanmar from the sanctions list – blacklist – by FATF. There have been a steady flow of “threshold amount” of 100,000,000.00 kyat to accounts.
On the attacks by CRPH/NUG/PDF groups, state offices and (non-CDM) schools are the main targets by them. Mandalay (the largest region of Burmese Buddhists) is hardest hit in this respect. We have been able to repair only 58 of these sites, and there are many left repaired.
On the humanitarian impact. SAC has provided assistance to 250,000 individuals in the 12 states and divisions (out of a total of estimated 1.4 to 1.8 million, in Myanmar’s 14 states and divisions).
Terrorist groups are using PDF videogames to do their outreach. SAC needs to launch counter attacks against these PDF Games. One major obstacle in countering terrorism with respect to intelligence gathering is extreme non-cooperation with SAC in all states and divisions. We need to increase amount of reward money. But the gap between the budgets requested and allocated funding remain very large. The terrorists have evolved from just targeted assassinations to the frequent use of 107 mm heavy weaponry. On the international front, SAC embassy senior diplomats and officials are engaging in informing various UN and foreign governments. In the recent meeting in Thailand MOFA had informed the attendees with video clips of terrorist attacks in Myanmar. MOFA is working effectively in combating terrorism.
On the domestic judicial front, between 1 Feb. 2021 and 19 Dec. 2022, 17,825 cases of terrorism have been filed.
Of them, 7,402 have moved to indictment phase, and 10155 are still under investigation. 4,332 cases are pending. The delays are caused by the police forces inability to find the culprits. In those cases, SAC has seized movable and immovable cases of terror suspects on the run. There are 678 such asset seizures.
In Kachin state, (northern Myanmar), the insurgent Kachin Independence Army (KIA) not only train PDF terrorists but the KIA weapons factories release firearms which are now freely sold and distributed throughout upper and middle Myanmar regions. We need to step up in countering this trend.
In Kayah state, it has been really difficult to counter joint terrorist operations by Karenni insurgent groups and PDFs because of the geography. In both Kachin and Karenni or Kayah states there will be increased terrorist attacks, especially as the SAC elections get under way. In Kayah (along Thai-Myanmar border) SAC is forced to reply on air transport.
In Karen state, there were no more peaceful protests in 2022, but only terrorist attacks on state offices and schools. Terrorists ambush banks, police and security outposts and troops. The terrorists are good at escape and evasion, which makes it difficult to annihilate them in their terrains which they know well. Besides, SAC security personnel and troops do not know local languages at all. That makes it extremely difficult to do counterterrorism work including investigation and intel gathering.
In Chin state (Western Myanmar) between 2021 and 2022, SAC opened 145 terrorism cases, and arrested 68 males and 6 females associated with these cases. The local (Chin people) are NOT cooperating in our counterterrorism operations. That makes it difficult to confront terrorism in Chin State (next to India).
In Saggaing upper Myanmar Burmese Buddhist region, SAC filed 2,386 terrorism cases, arresting a total of 4,248 terrorists, seizing over 2,000 weapons. In 2023 the revolutionary fervour is likely to increase even more via social media and social networks. In Pegu state (next to Yangon) in 2022 alone there were 168 bomb explosions, 153 assassinations, which left 154 dead and 153 injured. (The victims were SAC officials or -linked individuals). In 2023 election period, there will be more terrorist attacks including bombings.
In Magwe division, the Burmese heartland in upper Myanmar, in 2022, 403 (SAC and SAC-linked individuals) were assassinated by terrorists. The additional 137 were left injured. A total of 1427 terrorism cases were filed in 2022. In 2023, this region with very well-organised terrorist units will see increase attacks on SAC troops. The most intense urban insurgency is likely to continue in the election year. These terrorist groups will likely overwhelm SAC security forces.
In Mandalay division, with the country’s second largest city, in 2022, there were 981 terrorism cases. Out of the 1,490 culprits SAC caught only 807. A total if 50 PDF groups operate in this region and they are well-networked and well-coordinated with other terrorists in Saggaing, Magwe and Shan regions. Although the city is now fitted with CCTVs frequent power outages make it difficult to get proper CCTV feeds or records. Terrorists are using non-registered cars, cycles, drones, and waterways effectively. The SAC security units are needing bulletproof vests, adequate supply if fuel, jamming equipment and so on.
In Yangon division, in 2022, there were 916 terrorist attacks, with resultant deaths of 235 and 361 inured persons. A total of 4576 terrorism cases were filed wherein 2,305 culprits were indicted and tried. Though there is a likelihood of increased terrorist attacks in the coming year of 2023, all the VIP buildings and infrastructures have been systematically guarded. With the joint coordination of village and ward level (SAC-established) militias (known as Pyu Saw Htee), police force and the armed forces, the prevention can be carried out effectively. The String Operations checking vehicles and living quarters/neighbourhoods are being planned.
In Shan state of Eastern Myanmar in 2022 there were 695 incidents of terrorist attacks. Actions have been taken against 685 terrorists. In 2023, there is likely to be increased attacks on VIP buildings, strategic roads and bridges. The fortification of government offices and police stations is being planned to fight the defensive war against these terrorists.
In Irrawaddy division (of the Bay of Bengal), 2022 saw 36 assassinations – with 18 deaths and 18 wounded individuals. The IEDs exploded 66 times, killing 2 and injuring 16. In connection with the planning for 2023 elections, it is expected that there will be more bombings, assassinations and disturbances.
GENERAL DISCUSSION led by Major General Khun Thant Zaw Htoo.
- All the divisions and states (14 in total in Myanmar), human intelligence gathering is extremely poor.
- Numerous limitations and challenges exist.
- To overcome the #1 and #2, Telecom Ministry should assist in wiretapping and intercepting all types of phone calls and
- Hackers need to be recruited to hack into different social media accounts and sites, something Military Affairs Security (or military intelligence chief’s office) could lead and coordinate.
- And finally, the efforts should be made to bombard the United Nations with high frequency could help with the current extreme imbalance in media warfare vis-à-vis terrorists.
- Because not everyone watches state media outlets, the counter-terrorism messages should be transmitted to phones which everyone looks at. The message should be that anyone who plays PDF games, LIKE or SHARE any post by PDF or other terrorists will be prosecuted under Counter-Terrorism Law.
- The deputy-Home Minister Major General Soe Tint Naing instructed the attendees NOT to even mention what specific law is being used to indict offenders, in order to give the impression of uniformity in applying Counter-Terrorism Law.
Concluding Remarks by Home Minister Lt-General Soe Htut
- Friendship with Bangladesh Border Guard force is crucial and ought to be cultivated by Myanmar security forces.
- In Myanmar airports, hundreds of CDM (civil disobedience movement) participants have been netted – because they have been put on the Black List. This pool is growing, and they could grow even more resentful and angrier against the SAC. For they have no work to do while being prevented to leave the country the potential threat/danger of this CDM population is huge. They need to be targeted for regular surveillance. Besides, in 2 moths, there are 500 Myanmar nationals who have been turned back and deported to Myanmar. They too need to be treated at the level of the Black Listed individuals. Previously we really don’t have a system of record keeping or documenting terrorist cases. We need to start systematic documentation now.
- The terror financing is done through bank robberies locally. There is generally found a rather laxed security situation in the shops (such as goldsmith or jewellery stores and banks).
- If there is security breach in your local area, you (as security and administrative senior officials) will bear the responsibility for the breach.
- In combating terrorism, there is no such thing as friends, relatives or family members. There cannot be any type of corrupt behavior.
- International money transfers to Myanmar accounts and parcel or cargo shipments to Myanmar are extremely problematic.
- Increasingly the terrorists are using high power explosives with remote control. Some of the highly powerful TNT explosives are transported as “parcels”.
- We want to speed up the legal process of confiscating economic assets of terrorists who escape arrests.
- We also need to curb and control the local businesses and commercial sector making financial contributions to the terrorists.
We have implemented a program of “welcoming” with amnesty those who were involved in terrorist activities, providing that they were NOT deeply involved in planning and operations. A totally of 1176 such individuals have returned to the legal fold.
Download original document in Burmese –