Wanted for Opposing the Junta
Burma’s ruling junta, the SPDC, uses disinformation and modern technology to issues a wanted order against Antonio Graceffo.
By Antonio Graceffo
A friend who engages in cross-border aid activities in the genocide afflicted war-zone of Burma sent me this link, which, in Burmese, is the equivalent of an old wild-west wanted posted, with my photo on it.
If you click over to the poster, the Burmese characters may not come up on your computer, unless you have installed the appropriate software. At a glance, the link appears to be a website of the KNU/KNLA, the ethnic Karen resistance group, featured in the film, “Rambo IV.” The site implies that I am wanted by the rebels, which makes no sense, since the only crime I have committed, if in fact it is a crime, is supporting the rebels.
I sent the link to one of the anti-junta groups I am in communication with, and they verified that it was a proxy site, a fake site, created by the Burmese SPDC junta, to pass on disinformation and create disunity and infighting within the resistance groups. Fortunately, most people working on the Burma issue don’t trust anything written in Burmese. Each of the tribes has its own language and alphabet. Most of them are smart enough to use English on their websites to garner international support. The junta, it appears, is not that smart. But, since General Ne Win forcibly closed all of Burma’s universities, to prevent smart people from meeting and exchanging political ideas, it is no wonder that they are slipping intellectually.
Of those few SPDC officials who speak English and know how to use a computer, many studied abroad. Some studied on developmental scholarships, paid by foreign governments and aid groups, to help raise the general education in what was once the richest and best educated country in southeast Asia. The application procedures, within Burma, are so stilted that often only junta supporters can apply. The education freely given to them, to help the people, becomes another tool of repression against the uneducated and underfed populace.
Here is the translation of the wanted poster. It was prepared by an exiled Burmese intellectual, who had to flee Burma and seek asylum in another country. He hates the junta with a passion and supports the resistance groups.
Translators note: I got your reply, Antonio, that the KNU has cleared your name and so we cannot sell you by the kilo to them.
[[article begins; double parentheses [[ ]] are the translators; single parentheses ( ) are the original author’s]]
Wanted [[photo of Graceffo]]
Antonia Grace-fawt (former Marine) Italy Citizen
[[no author’s name seen]]
The Former Marine Who Would Combine Military Forces with Terrorists.
To the armed terrorists of KNU, SSA, KNPP who are based in Thailand’s Chiangmai City and are present along the Thai-Myanmar border —– [[there is an]] American & 2 other foreigners who are teaching them Close Combat and how to set up mines and traps.
It is learned that a former US Marine Italian race, American citizen, Antonio Grace-fawt and two other foreigners, a total of 3, had finished discussions with KNU officials about entering and moving around the KNU 2nd Brigade region (Toungoo District).
The aforementioned Antonio group on (08 October 18) came via Chiangmai to Mae Sot. At Mae Sot, they met the new General Secretary Naw See Ra Pho Sein [[I’m just transcribing them phonetically; might not be correct since it is a 2nd or 3rd transliteration]]
KNU Tactical Commander Saw Beelah Sein, 2nd Brigade Commander Ah See and discussed about procedures on how to get help from foreign groups and how to transform the defensive guerilla warfare into offensive guerilla warfare within the KNU areas. It is learned that they discussed plans drawn by the KNU, SSA, KNPP Joint Military Movement Committee and how to put in practice the military tactical procedures.
[[will make my own paragraph here. original writer is having verbal diarrhea and does not appear to know how to make paragraphs]]
KNU 5th Brigade Baw Kyaw Hair [[again, this is just a transliteration and probably has original errors — SPDC writers are notorious for mispronouncing non-Burmese names… take, e.g., your name]] said that in the areas under his responsibility, the 5th Brigade area, (Papun District), the supply routes for weapons and food for 2nd Brigade had been blocked. He also refused to take responsibility for the security and safe passage of Antonio Grace-fawt’s group if they travel from 5th Brigade area to 2nd Brigade area.
5th Brigade Commander Baw Kyaw Hair, on his part, was dissatisfied with how the present congress has appointed a central group in which General Tamlabaw’s sons and daughters have important posts in the KNU. [[Baw Kyaw Hair’s ]] group favors having a ceasefire with the present military government and exchange arms for peace [[this is an SPDC phrase for complete surrendering of one’s forces and one’s weapons to SPDC — very indicative of an SPDC author ]]
[[my paragraphing]] Another brigade that is similar in spirit to Baw Kyaw Hair is 6th Brigade. It is heard that 6th Brigade Commander Hsarmi is dissatisfied with Tamlabaw’s circle of family and friends. Therefore Antonio Grace-fawt’s group is unable to travel through Baw Kyaw Hair’s area and is making preparations to travel through the Mae Hong Son KNPP’s area to reach 2nd Brigade area. On (22-10-08) Antonio and group departed from Mae Son [[sic; I think it is a typo]] to Mae Hong Son.
Antonio Grawfawt ‘s group [[sic, another typo by crazy SPDC author]] is surely going to have to run and escape for their lives as they go through the Armed Forces’ Offensives [[but ]] it is more certain they will die violent deaths. [[ i.e., it is more certain they will die violently rather than run and escape with their lives ]]
[[end of article]]
Further translators notes:
It is now evident from the author himself that you were never a wanted man by the KNU. The article is very poorly written and has sloppy composition.
I hear you, Antonio, that you replied it is not true about you meeting the KNU since on the dates mentioned you were out of country. It is funny SPDC is making up all these lies.
“Wanted” does not mean by the KNU. It means Wanted by SPDC but not explicitly mentioned, only by inference.
And it is not true one faction of KNU hates you. It is just that one faction is said to be discontent with Tamlabaw and therefore will not allow you safe passage.
It is just the age-old SPDC tactics of playing off one brigade commander against another brigade commander and tempting them to surrender to the government, thus scoring propaganda and psychological victories and gradually defeating the KNU.
No faction in KNU hates you, it is only the author who wishes you evil.
Buddha has been famously quoted about not returning evil for evil. Our Monk once taught me that if you send me a package [of evil wishes] and I decline to accept it, then the evil goes back to its sender. Not that I wish the sender any evil; I just simply will not take it and so the sender just gets what his Karma dictates.
What shall we do to protect against the evil efforts of SPDC to discredit each of us, and set one against the other, and tempt us into surrendering. Such things have happened time and again, and it appears the 5th and 6th brigade commanders, if this is true, are wishing to surrender and that they are discontent with Gen. Tamlabaw.
How true could this be? If it is not true, is it possible for the enemy to make it come true and create fear, suspicion, and hatred amongst the KNU? How do we eliminate this and help unify KNU? Perhaps as outsiders with no connections to any faction, we can act as mediators and help make peace. Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall unify the Forces and Defeat the enemy.
It is sad that during Gen. Bo Mya’s time, his Christian officers were said to have gotten all the promotions and benefits and the Buddhists did not fare well. SPDC fanned these flames in the early 90’s and by 1994 or 1995 were able to split KNU and form a quisling group, the DKBA — which made it possible to find a way to invade the KNU headquarters, their stronghold, in Manerplaw and conquer that area.
Then, in the last two years, they were able to splinter off other KNU commanders, even the Reverend Timothy, who wanted to negotiate a separate surrender. Now it seems they are working on the 5th and 6th Brigade Commanders.
Oh, God, when and how can we turn the tide?
Antonio Graceffo begs you to please say a prayer for the people of Shan State.
Antonio Graceffo is a martial arts and adventure author living in Asia. His book, The Monk from Brooklyn, is available at amazon.com. See his vieos on youtub.
His website is speakingadventure.com
Join him on facebook.com
Contact Antonio: firstname.lastname@example.org