Another Media-Generated Political Fad:
Johnson's Law and the “Rohingya Crisis” in Burma
The latest political fad for suburbanites, homeowners associations, and Protestant clergy is the “Rohingya crisis” in southwestern Burma (Myanmar). Very few of the writers on this issue have ever heard of the group before last week, but they are certain the “international community” must “do something” about the “indiscriminate slaughter and dispossession” of this community. The claim is that the Burmese government is “systematically destroying” this minority ethnic group for no reason.
The state of Rakhine (Arkan) is of immense geopolitical importance. It was the field of battle several times between Japan and Britain in World War II. Its local self government is substantially autonomous, with an assembly of 47 members, 35 of which are elected locally while the rest are appointed by the army. Four major political parties function. The largest is the Rakhine National Party, formed by the merger of two smaller parties in 2014 with the permission of the military authorities in Burma.
The state contains three million people, mostly Buddhist, but almost 35 percent are Islamic. It is cut off from the rest of Burma by the formidable Arakan Mountains. It remains very poor, with rice cultivation being the main source of production, but large oil fields are said to be beneath its surface. The military government spent a small fortune to bring hydroelectric power to the area over the last decade, some partly financed by the Chinese. The oil is the reason for the current issues.
Before I sat down to write this, I read over 20 mainstream articles on this question. They were from Time, Newsweek and the New York Times, among many others. They redefined bad journalism. Not a single one – not one – gave a coherent reason as to why this group is being singled out. After all, Burma has dozens of militarized ethnic groups, yet these people have somehow captured media attention and, apparently for no reason, have been targeted for destruction. I became suspicious.
The worst was Newsweek. Sophia Persio is one of these people who just heard of Burma the other day. The title of her article is “Why Myanmar Hates the Rohingya.” She states this:
The reason for this hatred, according to human rights activists, is simple: nationalism-fueled racism.
“Rohingyas have been facing genocide for many years,” human rights activist and president of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, Tun Khin, tells Newsweek.
He explains that the group is an easy target for Myanmar’s ultranationalists: “Rohingyas are a different ethnic group, they have a different appearance and religion.”
This is as close to an explanation the media has developed. Its because they’re “different.” Worse, she goes to an activist for the Rohingya cause, as if this would be an objective source of information. This reeks of a PR project. For Khin to say that laughable statement is highly suspicious, since never, in the history of the world, has a group been attacked for no reason. He’s covering for something.
The News Agency Quartz, in English, from India, has stated that the military is taking land in the area to explore for oil. The authors don’t realize that creating a nation of smallholders was official state policy for several decades and Burma is known for it. The west, however, is using this make believe crisis to kick out the Chinese investors and install their own. China is the problem.
If there’s any hope for the area, the proposed pipelines and oil extraction are it. Among numerous development projects, a pipeline constructed by the Chinese National Petroleum Company connecting Sittwe, the capital, to Kunming, China promises thousands of jobs. It began its operations in September of 2013. The Shwe natural gas field is also under development. Its future is bright. This doesn’t sit well with the Americans.
Its capital city finished construction on its first deep-water port, and the economic growth of this poverty stricken state has soared. Then, suddenly, comes Islamic violence and the immediate support for it from western capitals. Burma itself is posed to continue its Chinese-fueled rapid growth rate too. The present forecasted growth for Burma as a whole is almost 10 percent for this year, with Rakhine growing even faster. In fact, the Asian Development Bank is forecasting Burma’s growth to be the greatest in all southeast Asia. The sudden surge of Islamic violence is then very suspicious under these conditions.
Thus, according to the western press, Burma is bringing the west down on itself again by attacking a random ethnic group for no reason. This is the state of journalism in America. The truth is that there are so few who know where Burma is, no one really knows anything. Johnson’s Law states that this will lead to all kinds of lying, rumors and projections from the journalistic class in the west. There’s no one to tell them otherwise.
I first discovered Johnson’s Law when I was studying Burma many years ago. Modestly, I named it after myself. It is almost a truism, especially for a western media establishment that is no more than a leftist activist group. It’s easy to make up stories out of whole cloth about Burma or North Korea, since so few really know what’s going on. There’s no way to verify facts one way or another and so few in the west really know anything about it. Newsweek can say that their homes are made out of goat cheese and we’d have to believe it.
The New Light of Myanmar, one of the few English-language newspapers covering the country, pokes fun at this recent interest:
If one should surf “Rohingya” on the Internet, one would find that not only just a few persons from within our country, but many others from abroad, are carrying out propaganda extensively. I doubt those people really know where the Rakhine State is, though they are loudly denouncing the persecutions of the non-existent race.
The truth is embarrassing to the globe’s media. There is no ethnic group known as “Rohingya.” This term just means those who have returned to Burma from Bangladesh. It’s merely a descriptive term. Most of these people are temporary workers in the rice fields from neighboring countries seeking citizenship in Burma. In fact, they are Bengali workers who migrated to the Rakhine state during rice cultivation season and returned to their country of origin after the harvest. Today, they are demeaning they be allowed to stay and even taking advantage of western ignorance by claiming to be an “ethnic group.”
The truth is that almost no one in Burma has heard of them before, let alone America. They are mostly Islamic and some of their number have formed Islamic militias, one of which calls itself the Rohingya National Front. About five years ago, the Burmese military unearthed a violent Islamic cell in the Rakhine state calling for the independence of the area by force. It was quickly dissolved and forgotten. This was the first time anyone heard of the Rohingya “ethnic group.” Its members then claimed they were a “persecuted minority” knowing the west might well take up their cause. They were correct.
The truth is that this group has never lived on Burmese soil for any length of time, let alone the “centuries” the press continues to parrot. These are illegal migrants with a political agenda. Bengalis have long been accepted as part of Burmese society, so any claim of “harassment” is nonsense. Since 1969, the Burmese state has been attempting to secure this border.
Bengalis are a legitimate ethnos that have long had Burmese citizenship. They form the majority of the Bangladeshi population. The “Rohingya” are a small group of Islamic Bengalis seeking an Islamic state in a very strategic area. Many are from the floodplain of Bangladesh as well, seeing Burma as a far more prosperous place to live. Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
The press claims that there is an official policy of “ethnic cleansing” by the Burmese government. It is far more likely they are fighting a serious Islamic threat. The truth is that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) has threatened so many moderate Muslims that they’ve returned over the border. Back in 2016, the ARSA attacked border posts, leading to their classification as a “terrorist organization.” The purpose of the raid is to alert sources of funding abroad, especially Saudi Arabia, of a militant Islamic group in Burma. Again, their gamble paid off.
The army estimates the ARSA to be about 4000 strong, though they are going back and forth across the border to the Chittagong region quite often, making this very fluid. Estimates range from 125 to 4000 and more. The attack was a full mobilization of this group to attack 30 police outposts and a military camp simultaneously. Needless to say, the ARSA do not wear uniforms, thus the Burmese army is not subject to the Geneva Conventions in dealing with them. Members of this soi disant group do not speak Burmese or any variant of it and stubbornly link themselves with the Islamic world rather than Burma. Burma is only five percent Islamic, and these are located mostly in Rakhine.
The leader of the ARSA, of course, is not from Burma at all. He’s Ataullah Abu Ammar Junjuni and is not from Rakhine. He was born in Karachi, Pakistan. He later lived in Saudi Arabia where he became a religious leader. He trained in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as both a guerrilla fighter and political organizer. He seems to have no other occupation.
This newfound “ethnic group” is linked to the ARSA. Their objective was to take up arms and liberate the border areas of that region to create a Muslim enclave. This was to accommodate the overflow of illegal migrants who had been sneaking in for centuries from East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, specifically, the Chittagong region.
Islam from Bosnia to the Philippines has shown itself to be adept at PR. Here, the ARSA seek to gain international attention for their cause and hold the access to oil and gems over the western world. Sectarian clashes are between Buddhists and Muslims, though the latter are illegals. The massive immigration from Bangladesh and the violence of these newcomers led Buddhists to fear they will soon be overwhelmed in their own country. Illegals in this region number in the millions today. The Burmese government responded by forcing Muslims in the area to prove they have been long standing residents of the country and not illegals seeking temporary employment.
Since at least the 1990s, these illegal migrants have been attacking Burmese police positions in an effort to create a separate state. In 2017, another coordinated attack on security forces led to over 80 deaths. At least 200 insurgents attacked 24 police stations overnight on August 25. The army noted that the ARSA started its own campaign to murder moderate Muslims as “informants” at the same time. From here, the Burmese military engaged in clearance operations to finally remove the illegals from the area.
This level of coordination was impressive. It cannot happen without foreign support and a huge amount of money. The military’s role over the last five years at least has been to separate the Buddhist natives and Islamic migrants in the region. Among the majority Buddhist population, Islamic immigration is a curse. Fully accepting the above analysis, the government of Bangladesh offered its services against the ARSA. They also accused Pakistan of arming the insurgents.
The story goes back further than this. As Burma first became independent, Muslims of the region declared jihad against it. The first government had accepted their claim to be an “ethnic group,” knowing full well it was a fiction, but it was a political concession. Then, the first military government in 1982 ended this farce. While rare until very recently, the term “Rohingya” goes back as far as the late 1950s to describe Bengalis who illegally migrated to Burma. The term, in other words, was an offensive one, used by local Muslims in Burma – those loyal to Rangoon – against these western-backed troublemakers. Calling these people an “ethnic group” would be similar to a Hispanic gang taking power in New Mexico and calling themselves “The Nation of Wetbacks” and the “Wetbaki people.”
The ethnic groups located in the Rakhine state are the Rakhine themselves, the Kamein, the Kwemyi, the Daingnet, the Maramargyi, the Mro and the Thet, all of whom are loyal to the Burmese state. This “ethnic group” is just another proxy army for the west. The invention of this fake ethnic group is fully consistent with the western world’s assault on Burma over the last decade at least.
Containing China is a huge aspect of this invented tragedy. Enormous natural gas deposits valued at several billion dollars have been found in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of the Rakhine state, where predominantly Chinese companies are mining in partnership with the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise. This is a massive project that the state certainly has no desire to thwart. Several writers outside the mainstream have remarked the almost 1:1 correspondence of this “ethnic” violence and Chinese economic projects. In other words, whenever economic growth under Chinese sponsorship becomes impressive, this group will strike.
William Engdahl writes:
In early April this year , a 770 kilometer oil pipeline began to flow oil as Myanmar opened a new deep water port at Kyaukphyu on the Indian Ocean. The project, officially begun in 2007 well before the strategic concept of a New Economic Silk Road was mature, is a vital part of China’s OBOR strategy. It consists of a US$2.45 billion port and pipeline project that will carry crude oil from the Middle East to China’s Kunming, the city near the border to Laos that is rapidly becoming a transportation cross roads in the Eurasian OBOR. . .
In geopolitical terms, the Myanmar-China port and pipeline will allow China to import oil from Persian Gulf producers as well as African, without having to take a far longer and militarily more risky route through the narrow Malacca Straits.
So apart from oil, drugs and gems, China is yet another piece of the puzzle, possibly the largest one. Kyaukphyu is just a bit south of the capital of Rakhine. Fomenting violence there is certainly in the interest of western oil firms, who the former Secretary of State Tillerson represents.
Last year, propagandists at Al-Jazeera ran pictures of a Nigerian flood and claimed it was the Rakhine state after Burmese “ethnic cleansing.” Johnson’s Law makes the running of fake pictures very probable, whether it be deliberate fabrication or simple ignorance. In December of 2016, the Daily Mail ran pictures of a child allegedly being tortured by the army in the region. In fact, it was a child who was abducted by criminals in Cambodia. The Mail has taken the story down, but has not admitted how easily it was fooled.
Needless to say, George Soros’ Voice of America has given its voice for this newly discovered ethnic group. From the moment she was installed as Burmese chief executive, Aung San Suu Kyi, a puppet of the CIA, has found herself far over her head. Since she is married to a non-Burmese, she could not legally take this position, so the CIA invented a new office for her, “State Counselor.”
Formerly critical of the military, she now desperately needs its help and expertise. She has turned out to be a very poor student of the west, today realizing what her former sponsors really are. There are rumors that the Nobel Committee will strip her of her prize. Last month, the US Holocaust Museum stripped her of the Elie Wiesel Prize for Human Rights. The National Endowment for Democracy, a US government institution, stated:
In less than two months, more than half a million Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape the destruction of entire settlements, systematic rape, and the mass slaughter of men, women, and children. This horrendous violence is perpetrated by the military, with assistance from elements of the local Rakhine Buddhist population.
This is the rhetoric typical of propaganda. No one has asked why the government is fomenting instability in a region its spending a fortune to build up. Why have this sort of instability in the face of Chinese investment? There are no “mass rapes.” This is the over the top rhetoric necessitated by Johnson’s Law. The term “systematic” is used to grant this nonsense some intellectual credibility, but it implies its official state policy and has been decided upon far in advance.
Tony Cartalucci and William Engdahl are the only other writers on this topic that have any remote competence. Rex Tillerson, as Cartalucci tells us, spoke on this topic recently, very concerned for the oil resources all over Burma. Just discovering the existence of this “ethnic group” the other say, he states that
…we’re extraordinarily concerned by what’s happening with the Rohingya in Burma. I’ve been in contact with Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the civilian side of the government. As you know, this is a power-sharing government that has – that has emerged in Burma. We really hold the military leadership accountable for what’s happening with the Rakhine area.
Since Aung is a creature of the CIA and American capital – that is, of Tillerson’s ilk – there is no way she can be held accountable, at least for now. Aung is drifting away from her bosses, and, at the moment, is being held blameless for the violence. This will soon change. She’s realizing that her power base is slim. Without the experience of the military, she’s nothing. This is certainly a crisis created by the CIA, but Aung is having no part of it. In fact, she might defect altogether and would have Chinese protection in doing so.
In brief, international politics is not a hobby for the bored and over-indulged. Its a highly specialized field that can never be reduced to slogans, one liners and labels. Writers on this topic, today in the thousands, haven’t heard of the Rakhine state before the other day. Their sudden venom suggests a PR campaign or instructions from elsewhere. Hundreds of articles written by random journalists repeat the same lines over and over, using the very same verbiage.
They never explain why this is being done. They have no idea of the economics or the geopolitics of the region. The very fact that they refer to the Rohingya as an ethnic group show their stupidity. A cursory look at the present writing on the topic expose so many holes in the narrative that it takes very little to bring it all down. Johnson’s Law remains as iron-clad as ever.