Myanmar: Altered States


November 6, 2010:  The national elections tomorrow, the first in over two decades, appear to be rigged. Preparations by the military dictatorship appear directed at getting pro-military candidates elected, no matter what the voters really want. The generals are trying to do this convincingly, with voter intimidation, bribes and candidates that appear legitimate. The generals appear to be avoiding the more obvious (and easy for the rest of the world to criticize) manipulating of ballots and the final counts.

The latest international survey  of corruption found Burma in bad company. The most corrupt nations on the planet are Somalia, followed by Afghanistan, Myanmar, Iraq and 174 other nations. The corruption accounts for a lot of the poverty and unrest in Myanmar.

The attacks on Burma's Internet access have increased since they began on October, and the country has basically lost nearly all Internet access because the DDOS attacks have continued and grown larger. Similar attacks were launched against Estonia in 2007 and Georgia in 2008, in both cases organized by patriotic Russian hackers. But no one is taking credit for this one. Estonia has a larger Internet pipe than Myanmar, and was able to eventually work its way out of the DDOS attacks, but Burma continues to be shut down. The most obvious culprit is the government, which has long protested the hostility it received via the Internet, and the ability of Burmese to get the story of government corruption and cruelty out via the Internet. The government denies any responsibility for the DDOS attacks.

November 2, 2010: Six tribal armies from among the Karenni, Chin, Kachin, Mon and Shan people in the north have formed a defensive union. The union was established because the tribes believe they will be attacked once the voting is over. Suspecting this, the government has already cancelled voting in over 3,400 villages in tribal territories.

The government arrested five people and seized some bomb making materials. Police said they had aborted several terror attacks directed at major airports and urban targets. Officials blamed rebel groups like the All Burma Students Democratic Front and the Karen National Union.

October 25, 2010: Internet access in Burma has become sluggish as a DDOS (junk messages from thousands of hacker controlled PCs). Burma does not have a "big pipe" providing Internet access to the outside world, so it's possible to cut off most Internet access to the entire country (you could still get some access via telephone calls to access numbers outside Burma).

October 20, 2010: In the north, more troops have been moved into Kachin territory. The Kachin Independence Army announced that it is preparing to defend Kachin villages against another army offensive.



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