Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Opium War in 1987,Product of CIA (2)

Opium War in Golden Triangle

Above is the step by step description of refining opium to heroin the illicit drug that could destroy the human race with its devastating effects to the addicts and their families and their society at large.

Over the years to eradicate the opium and heroin totally out of Myanmar our army has sacrificed many thousands of lives of our soldiers in the operations against opium producers and heroin traffickers and many more thousands became cripples as they lost one or more of their limbs in those military operations.

But these operations are necessary as we as a nation needs to stop the growth of opium cultivation and heroin addicts. An addict becomes basically a useless person for him or herself and also for the people around him or her. An addict is a danger to the society and the opium must be totally eradicated.

I myself have had a very dear friend who has two sons and two daughters. He used to be very wealthy but his family became destitute within a six years period as his two teenage sons became heroin addicts.

If they couldn’t get the money for heroin from their parents they stole from them. They even threatened their parents whenever they became desperate. My friend tried to cure his sons so many times but they always came back to their drug habit. Only many years later they managed to kick their drug habits for good after becoming Buddhist monks in a very strict monastery.

In addition to large scale military operations against opium growers and traffickers our Government has also drawn out a 15 year long-term plan from 1999 to 2014 to totally eradicate the illicit drugs in the country.

So now is time to continue on to write about my personal involvements in the 1978 army operations against opium–trafficking ethnic insurgent armies in Shan State.

The last days of July 1978. I was on my way back to IB-67 in Maing-yae from Ba Htoo Infantry School after attending the 47th Infantry Company Commander Training Class.

I had already served nearly ten years in South Eastern Command (Ya-ta-kha) and during that time I’d been to Ba Htoo Military Town only once. I was then attending the Army Corporal Training School to learn about Infantry-Small-Arms.

I was originally a bad shot back in the OTS (Officer Training School). Thus I was sent to the Small Arms training by my first ever battalion IB-17 in Pharpun. Then was the first time I’d been to Ba Htoo Town.

Ba Htoo cantonment town was established in the honor of Colonel Ba Htoo who was killed during the Japanese Revolution in 1945. The town was right next to the Yat Sout Town in Southern Shan State. And so many people called the town Yat Sout Ba Htoo.

To get to Ba Htoo we had to take the Thazi-Shwenyaung Train. From Shwenyaung to Ba Htoo was another 36 miles by car. Rural Ba Htoo is surrounded by the mountains and during the summer and winter the town is most pleasant and pretty.

During the three months training there we just shot guns, all sorts of gun. The accommodation was good and most classes were done inside and undercover. Food was good and we didn’t need to go far at all. So I was really very happy in Ba Htoo that first time.

But the second time in Ba Htoo I couldn’t be happy at all. It was during the raining season and the training was for the infantry company commanders. Thus we had to travel a lot on foot and the red mud of Ba Htoo got me real bad as we had had Outdoor Exercise every bloody week. And there were too many forty or fifty mile long L.R.Ps (Long Range Patrols) too.

After that second stay at Ba Htoo Town I got back to IB-67 at Maing-yae and I had to prepare my company for coming operations. My only platoon commander was Lt. Kyaw Htay. He was from Prome and a graduate of OTS Intake 49. He was a boxer and he loved to brawl and got into trouble so many times.

Our Battalion CO called him Mohammad Ali while his men called him Shwe Ba the most famous action actor then in Burma.

After a whole week of intensive training and preparations my Company was battle-ready for Aung Kyaw Moe Operation against the opium trafficking Shan-Chinese insurgent army (MTA).

Aung Kyaw Moe Operation

One day in the August of 1978. Heavy rain was coming down non-stop. That day was a day before the D-day of Aung Kyaw Moe Operation.

All the commanding officers participating in the Operation had to gather inside the Battalion Meeting Hall of our IB-67 in Maing-yae for the briefing given by the CO of Tangh-yang Tactical Command Colonel Myint Aung. 

“Okay, all the battalion commanders and the company commanders, listen. We’re going to smash the opium insurgents. You guys already have detail instructions. All the assigned targets are to be attacked simultaneously at the same time.

I want a clear victory. Do it aggressive and do it brave. The opium insurgents are nothing but the ruthless business operators. This operation is an important national task in ridding our country of opium and heroin. Try to reach your targets at appointed times. All the columns have been given secret names.

Okay, if you guys have any question, ask me now?”

The GSO-3 (General Staff Officer 3) Captain Nyi Shin then explained the Operation to us by pointing out at the huge area map on the board with his long pointing stick. The Tactical Command Chief also answered all our questions.

“Okay, if no more question, you all are dismissed. Go back to your troops,” he then dismissed us and we came back.
Two infantry battalions from the LIDs (Light Infantry Divisions) and our Maing-yae Company and Tangh-yang Company under the Tangh-yang Tactical Command had been assigned for the Operation. Since a LID battalion had five companies the whole operation involved all together 12 infantry companies.

Back then the opium-insurgent bases were mainly in the sector east of Lashio City. But the season then was rainy season and not yet the poppy harvesting time and thus the insurgents were not really active. They were sheltering in their bases waiting for the opium harvest and it was a right time to attack them hard at their bases.

So the participating companies were given individual targets to strike simultaneously as part of the army-operation Aung Kyaw Moe.

The assigned task for my company was to leave Maing-yae by trucks to Mang-kurt on one day before D-day and clear the area of Kone-zone near Mone-mah at the north of Mang-kurt. The Kone-zone sector was the main base of the well-known opium-buyer and insurgent-organizer named Khun Yee and we were to capture him alive if we could or kill him otherwise.

As soon as the briefing was over the Tactical Command Chief and his party left for Tangh-yang and the LID battalion commanders returned to their temporary camps on the Lashio- Tangh-yang Strategic Road.

That afternoon my company left Maing-yae by three trucks for our garrison at Mang-kurt. We were primed and ready for the battle.

Our March to Kone-zone

We reached Mang-kurt just before the sunset as none of our trucks broke down on that trip.

The camp commander in Mang-kurt was Lt. Kyaw Ngwe and I had to explain him our operation quietly as it was a secret operation. I also kept the whole company inside the camp that night so that the people of little town Mang-kurt would not notice our arrival or departure.

“Okay, listen, the whole company, you men cook and eat now. And cook again for the trip. CSM Khan Kyin Khaing, prepare to continue the trip tonight. Do not let the men out of the camp at all.”

I and Lt. Kyaw Htay then paid a visit to the house of Khun Maha the Town-Lord and leader of the town’s pro-Government militia Tha-ka-tha-pha.

The Town-Lord Khun Maha once was one of the leaders of Shan opium insurgent army (MTA). But he became an addict himself while trafficking opium. His health deteriorating he conveniently surrendered to the Government with his men and became the town’s militia leader.

“Oh, my captains, come on, come inside,” he greeted us and invited us in after seeing us.
“I thought I heard the trucks earlier. So, coming from where and going to where?”
“No, we aren’t going anywhere. Just replacing the men here. So any news here, U Khun Maha?”
“Not really, Captain. Did you hear anything?”
“No, not really. But you know, no news and no news and then suddenly our Naung-laing camp was attacked, just recently. So I’m worried!
“Don’t worry Captain. If I hear anything I’ll tell you.”

He was a close relative of MTA leader Khun Sa and also a distant relative of Kone-zone’s Khun Yee our main target.

“How about North Mang-kurt, do you hear any news there?”
“No, nothing at all. The place is quiet like before.”

We came back to the Camp after a short chat with him.

“Ko Kyaw Htay, I think Khun Yee is in his village. But Khun Maha didn’t say anything. What do you think?”
“I think he is, brother.”
“Okay, let’s eat first and then we go on once dark!”
Rain was heavily pouring down non-stop. It was August and torrential rain was normal in the region. In the rainy dark night we quietly marched from Mang-kurt to Mone-mah. The unsealed dirt road was quite wide but the wet road was slippery and men kept on slipping and falling.

My aim was to hit Kone-zone on 6 am at the daybreak.

“Okay, Lt. Kyaw Htay, speed up your men, we need to get there in time.”
“Captain, it’s so dark, we can’t see at all. All my men have never been this area before too. To speed up is impossible.”

He was right as I couldn’t see ahead at all in the darkness and the heavy rain.

“Okay, let the point use the torchlight. Just cover the light. I don’t want the light seen from distance.”

Once the torchlight was allowed our trip went faster. The road was straight but a bit hilly and nearly 20 miles long. The first village on the Road was Taung-lun a Chinese only village. Time was midnight and the whole village was asleep. Not even a single light was seen and we just quietly walked past the village.

“Lt. Kyaw Htay, go faster. We are competing with other units and we must reach our target on the H-hour.”

Rain was still heavy. But it was good for us as the enemy would be caught off-guard. Surprise attack is a prerequisite of victory in warfare. We hit Mone-mah Village just after four in the early morning. It was a big village with at least 100 households.

“This is Mone-mah, Captain,” Lt. Kyaw Htay quietly reported.
“Just get us to Kone-zone. Mone-mah is other units’ target. Seems so quiet, I think other units haven’t reached here yet. Good. We got here first and no one knows we are on the road.”
(Colonel Thet Oo's "My Opium Operations") 

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