Cablegate: Burma: 2003 Annual Terrorism Report

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

250945Z Nov 03





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A) STATE 301352 B) RANGOON 380

1. (SBU) Letters below correspond to questions in ref A,
para 2.

A. Burma's solid position against international terrorism
continued in 2003. Burma has ratified, acceded to, or
signed six of the twelve international counter-terrorism
conventions and indicated it is considering fast action on
at least five more (ref B). It has conducted in-house
reviews of obligations and implications of joining several
others. The regime previously enacted, but has not yet
implemented, an anti-money laundering law that could help
block terrorist assets. The military government is fighting
several low-intensity conflicts against ethnic insurgents.
At least one of these groups is alleged to have ties to
South Asian extremist (possibly terrorist) elements.

B. The junta has occasionally sought to portray insurgent
attacks against infrastructure (i.e., bridges and pipelines)
as terrorism, but there were no known incidents of
international terrorism per se in Burma during 2003. On
March 27 two IEDs were found in Rangoon, one of which
exploded and killed two municipal workers. The
perpetrators' identities and motives are unclear, but the
junta arrested a number of anti-regime activists on charges
related to these incidents. Dozens of IEDs exploded or were
discovered in various locations throughout Burma during the
year. With the exception of two bombings of an oil
pipeline, claimed by the insurgent Karen National Union,
there were no claims of responsibility for these acts.

C. No.

D. The regime applies the rule of law sporadically and the
judiciary is not independent. There is no extradition
treaty with the United States, although the rendering of
suspects to third countries is technically possible.

E. The Burmese cooperate in information sharing on counter-
terrorism issues.

F. An example of Burma's counter-terrorism cooperation is
the security presence the regime has provided to seven U.S.
diplomatic sites, including the chancery, embassy annexes,
and several residences. It has maintained the closure of
Merchant Street, a major municipal artery fronting the
chancery, at the USG's request and despite the inconvenience
to the city. Without that street closure the chancery would
have no frontal setback.

G. None.

H. No.

I. The Burmese strong anti-terrorism position in 2002 has
been somewhat muted in 2003, perhaps in reaction to the war
in Iraq, which the Burmese junta strongly opposed.

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