Warning: This site contains images and graphic descriptions of extreme violence and/or its effects. It's not as bad as it could be, but is meant to be shocking. Readers should be 18+ or a mature 17 or so. There is also some foul language occasionally, and potential for general upsetting of comforting conventional wisdom. Please view with discretion.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tula Toli Massacre: Where is Wet Kyein?

Tula Toli Massacre: Where is Wet Kyein?
January 1, 2018
edits: January 2, 6...

I'm considering all the available evidence for the massive alleged Tula Toli massacre of 500-2,000 innocent Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar's genocidal security forces and bloodthirsty Buddhist mobs. But I'm doing it in (relatively) bite-sized pieces, including this one.

Tula Toli Location - on Wikimapia, as shown below - right between Kha Maung Seik and Maung Nu, the massacres that might be the same  (16 km south of Kha Maung Seik, 30 km nw of Maung Nu). This massacre is clearly separate, with a different story and alleged death toll several times as big as both of those combined. 

Frontier Myanmar reported "one villager in Bangladesh told Frontier that it had been home to about 300 families, of which 60 had been Rakhine (mainly Buddhist) and the rest Muslim." Perhaps the Rakhine families lived in the south part of the town, in the southern area here labeled as a part of Min Gyi? (bottom edge of above map)

If so, Human Right Watch refers to the same area in their December report, but as a separate town: "Wet Kyein, an ethnic Rakhine village with a population estimated at 350 people, abuts (Tula Toli) to the south." 60 families, 6 per family, would be about 350 - they're the same size. Part of Min Gyi, or its own village, satellite images are clear that area is un-burnt. This is labeled "Rakhine village" on HRW's map showing Tula Toli, and its sister city Dual Toli across the river, mostly burnt.

HRW: "A river divides Tula Toli and another Rohingya village known locally as Dual Toli, which is located on the eastern side of the river." If there's a proper name for this town, they don't give it. Tula Toli is also known as Min Gyi, but the AKA for its sister city is MIA. The latter has this story in the report:

On the morning of August 28, Burmese security forces headed toward the hamlet of Dual Toli, located across the river from Tula Toli. According to Hamid Musaem, a 29-year-old day laborer from Dual Toli, a village leader asked about 100 young Rohingya men from the village to gather at the entrance of the village to try and persuade the army not to attack them.[17] The Rohingya men were unarmed, aside from a few bamboo poles some had brought.[18]

Musaem said that as the soldiers approached they immediately began firing on the men, fatally shooting Mohammed Salim, 23, in the back as he ran away.[19] The panicked villagers fled the village after the shooting, crossing the river by boat and by swimming to Tula Toli, which they thought would be safe.

So by this, lightly-armed Rohingya and the army were both present. That might be close to true. The story then is the village was burnt that day, by the victorious army, and residents fled, mainly across the river to swell the population of Tula Toli ahead of the immense massacre of people from both towns there two days later. 

The Guardian heard the same in September: 

A day before the attack, people from a village across the river called Dual Toli swam over to escape the army. More than 10 died in the river, according to Petam Ali, who sheltered some of the displaced in his family home. They watched their village burn from across the river.

But there's disagreement. Wikimapia's current labels (see top map) call that place not Dual Toli, but Wet Kyein. Both names could be accurate names for the same place (one official, one local), but it can't be in two places. HRW says Wet Kyein is a Rakhine Buddhist village to the south. Wikimapia says it's in the same place HRW calls Dual Toli, a Rohingya village. So what's wrong there? 

About the Wikimapia labels; the Tula Toli labels were added "three months ago" in late December, so at about the time Amnesty published its ssatellite views report (September 16). The current Wet Kyein (destroyed) label was added in same time, with nothing marked previously. The southern Min Gyi label has the longest history: it was marked "Wet Kyein (Pig Hole) Village" 9 years ago and stayed that way until recently. It might have been what HRW cited, if they were doing that research months ahead of the report's publication. But then it was edited (by the same user as the others) at the same time to say Min Gyi, since Wet Kyein was over there, across the river to the northeast. 

That older label might seem the more credible, when the basis of the changes are unclear and perhaps misinformed. A source is cited, that doesn't explain, but does link to the likely source in Amnesty International's satellite images. They disagree with HRW, labeling the same area Wet Kyein, not Dual Toli. (see above link, or October report, page 30 - from the latter: 

"Similarly, in before and after satellite images from Wet Kyein village, Maungdaw Township, it is possible to see large areas of healthy vegetation between different groups of homes and other structures that have been completely burned down. These fires were distinct events; the perpetrators made a deliberate effort to burn down separated structures." 

This agrees on the name and locale - it might also be called Dual Toli (no local name is given), but they call it Wet Kyein, and found many homes burnt prior to Sept. 16. So they agree with HRW on that, and implicitly on it being a Rohingya town, with people freely escaping back and forth between them. But the esteemed human rights groups disagree on the name, and one name in contention is linked to a Rakhine Buddhist village, not a Rohingya one. So what part of that is wrong? 

Myanmar's government would deny the massacre at Tula Toli and the burning of Dual Toli/Wet Kyein. In fact, they specify Rohngya militants of ARSA attacked the latter. I don't know their full take, but here's part of what they say about events in "Wetkyein" (AI and Frontier Myanmar take this as a reference to the same contested village and/or put it in the area):
August 26 Facebook post: "Extremist Bengali terrorists destroyed the deserted Wetkyein police outpost at 7:16 pm."
August 28 Facebook post: "At 9.25 am today, extremist Bengali terrorists set 30 houses from Upper Pyuma (Na Ta La) Village and 30 more houses from Wetkyein (Mro) Village on fire. ...At noon, around 50 extremist Bengali terrorists from Kyetkyein Village went to the south of Wetkyein Pagoda, and around 100 extremist Bengali terrorists from Padeka Village to Myingyimyauk Village." (unclear if Wetkyein is the same w/"Pagoda" attached, and Myingyimyauk could mean Min Gyi, aka Tula Toli)

"Wetkyein (Mro) Village." Wikipedia lists Mro as an ethnic subgroup of the Chin and/or Rhakine ethnicities, and it would be the latter here in Rakhine state. - so likely Buddhist, as HRW heard. They don't show where it is on the map, but the place HRW called Wet Kyein was never burnt, so either the government lies, or they refer to the place across the river.

In fact, from AI report: "Myanmar authorities have alleged that ... on 26 August ARSA destroyed a deserted police outpost in Wet Kyein, across the river from Min Gyi, and that fighting continued nearby through 29 August." But that could be AI's wrong placement attached to a place authorities just named. (I have a request in on Facebook for the Myamnar information ministry's clear take on this).  

From the same report, witnesses: some told AI they were able "to survive by jumping in and swimming across to the village of Wet Kyein." So apparently, we have this:

- AI's witnesses (October), the government, and some logic says Wet Kyein is across the river and was burned
- The Guardian's sources (September) and HRW's (December), and a prior Wikimapia label, say it's a different place south of Tula Toli, that was not burned.
- HRW and the government agree Wet Kyein is a Rakhine Buddhist town,
- Amnesty and witnesses they relied on suggest it's the same friendly Rohingya Muslim town HRW calls Dual Toli.

And I'll suggest this version: Wet Kyein is a Buddhist village across the river, that ARSA raided and torched on the 28th, and perhaps burned more fully on a later day prior to September 16 (where we see far more than 30 homes burned - the whole village seems gray and gone). At first they tried to claim it as a Rohingya town under its own name, then later changed the name to Dual Toli and placed the name on another Buddhist area that wasn't burned (and where someone had already put the label once).

That prior label southwest of Tula Toli is a moderate problem with this otherwise logical proposition. It might be a coincidental error, or maybe that really is the place like HRW says, and AI was wrong, and the Myanmar authorities were wrong to say it was burned. But I still lean the other way, and suspect we have a sloppy effort to launder an Islamist crime as part of the fake government genocide story they're currently selling wholesale.  

And I can add this: I have a post forthcoming (Jan. 2, now online) analyzing three videos that claim to show aspects of the Tula Toli massacre. All three are filmed from the opposite shore, or in the area of this disputed village. One (included around 7:00 in this BBC Newsnight episode) shows some young children washing up dead. Anoura Begum, who managed to escape along with her husband and all four children, described for the program how she "watched the bodies of her neighbor's children wash up on the river bank" (someone else shot the video). She says there were 12 of them, all from that same family, and gives Arabic-Rohingya-sounding names. But that can all be made up.

These floated over, allegedly, after being killed and tossed in the river from the Tula Toli side (this is clearly the other side). But they would not float straight across like that considering the river current, so perhaps these kids were dropped in from further upstream, or just dropped in the shallows on this same side off-camera, and then just scooped back up on-camera. That could mean they came not from Tula Toli, but from the disputed village of Dual Toli or Wet Kyein. Their facial features don't seem clear enough to say much, but these children (the three shown) also seem abnormally pale for "Bengali" Rohingya kids, and arguably look more like ethnic Rakhine children. In one version, that's just who lived in the burned homes just meters away. Hm. 

It's said a bunch of others had crossed over from here on the 28th (as hostages?), to die along with others in Tula Toli on the 30th. We hope this part of the story was totally made up, but facts remain unclear... the absence of mass graves isn't yet proven. All we can say is no murders or graves right on the shore were seen on video (see video analysis).

Updates Jan. 6:
It's Human Rights Watch who were handed wrong info about this town. I didn't get a response to my Facebook comment request to Myanmar's information ministry (little surprise). But I think I found adequate clarification. First, a text source I found adds some context, from a year ago, December 2016 (the story itself is interesting so I'll include a big chunk, but you can skip this)
A third Muslim man whom the Myanmar government said had worked closely with local administrative officials in restive northern Rakhine state has been found dead in violence-ridden Maungdaw township, the State Counselor’s Office announced on Wednesday 
Authorities are investigating the murder of the man who was a former ward administrator in Badakar village and had been working with local authorities on regional development activities, the announcement said. 
The death is the third to have occurred in the past week of local Muslims who are said to have collaborated with authorities as they continue to try to round up “militants” who raided three border guard stations on Oct. 9 and killed nine officers. 
The body of the man, identified as Sirazuhut from Wet Kyein village in northern Rakhine, was reportedly found Monday near a creek that runs between Wat Kyien and Badakar in Maungdaw—an area inhabited primarily by Myanmar’s stateless Rohingya Muslim minority—according to Myanmar media reports. He had been missing since Dec. 16.

So at least some Muslims live in or are from Wet Kyein. One was a Muslim willing to work with the authorities in their efforts to counter the last Rohingya insurgency, but he was apparently killed by the insurgents. He was an administrator in Badakar, which is next to or near Wet Kyein, with a "creek" and probably not the river, running "between" them where his body was found. With this added detail, I  looked for maps detailed enough to include these villages to see what they're called. I found 1.5 examples that did that.

A US Army map from 1955 or 56 (NF 46-10 Series U542) of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, has enormous resolution in a University of Texas hosting. Below is a crop on the area of interest, near the lower right corner. This shows the river bend - drawn rounder or maybe it was rounder then - with "Tulatuli" in the familiar boxed-in spot on the west bank, in the north part of that area (the name seems to refer to the area, and not a particular black dot - or which dot is unclear, and a lot of very tiny villages are marked). Wetkyein is shown not southwest but across the river, if further south than usual shown, or currently.

Wetkyein Daung is a bit further to the east - as noted at the bottom, Daung = hill/mountain. So that's two cases of that name appearing east of the river. Furthermore, there's not Badakar, but there's a Badaga to the north. I think this is it (there's a Fagira Bazar north that others call Fakira Bazar, so g = k, and the r might be silent). There's another small village, but also a creek or two, labeled between these towns, all on the east side of the river. 

That's one map. The 0.5 is from a Reliefweb map of flooding in 2015 shows this area and labels, but much less clearly. Below is a cropped section with a zoomed view. 60 years later, the picture is about the same, but you have to squint to see that Wet Kyein is probably where everyone but HRW has it, about where the US Army had Dungla - across the river northeast of Min Gyi aka Tula Toli, and a bit closer to Badakar/Badaga. 

So far I've seen nothing on any local, Rohingya alternate name for Wet Kyein aside from HRW's claim it was called Dual Toli. That remains possible, but clearly not trustworthy given the other map alterations they were handed. <end 1/6>

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The "Rohingya" Crisis: What Do We Really Know?

December 26-29, 2017
update Jan. 7

(Note: This is by a non-expert who barely knew anything about Myanmar a week ago. Still, I seem to be catching onto the relevant facts pretty well. Some place names and cultural details etc. may be confused) 

There's been near-unanimity from the establishment media about state repression and genocide in Myanmar against Muslim Rohingya. It's obvious the racist government is driving them out, burning hundreds of villages, and even brutally massacring hundreds in village massacres, raping women en masse, burning children alive, and so on. Racist mobs of Buddhists are clearly involved, and the once-revered Aung San Suu Kyi is implicated, in this latest chapter in the global repression of innocent Muslims.

They'll remind you this goes way back, but got far worse recently, after a militant offensive on August 25 by the Saudi-backed Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (hereafter ARSA). It's the government's disproportionate response that's believed to have turned genocidal, with several hundred Muslim villages and districts torched, and spawning an estimated 640,000 refugees flooding the Bangladesh border, half those arriving in the first few weeks. The violence is almost exclusively by government and allied forces, and has left 6,700 Rohingya killed, including 730 children under the age of 5, according to MSF (tweet).

Few of those pushing that story have bothered to ask a single serious question about it, when they really should be. There's only so much that's truly evident, and the rest of the picture is unverified information, supplied by Islamist sources. Those may have enough motive to lie, looking for some outside help to get their own country. They have an armed faction capable of delivering false-flag atrocities, timed and tailored to that end. My first post on the subject considers a case from Syria to explain what this would look like, and how to spot the signs of a false massacre story, or even of a laundered terrorist atrocity. The signs of that appear with the recent alleged massacres of Rohingya.

Now I apply a similar outside-the-box thinking for the general crisis. I'm not going into the history of "Rohingya" vs. "Bengali" or Rakhine vs. Arakan, and who belongs and who doesn't - other than to note there are underlying disagreements on that. (I couldn't say much of value this early anyway) What matters now is how each side is alleged to be handling that issue, and how they actually are handling it.

A touted New York Times multimedia presentation claims to refute government claims, but proves nothing. It presents claims - actually made, I believe - that the fleeing Rohingya are burning their own homes. To counter that, they show that homes have been burnt - you can see it from space! And they're Rohingya homes.

But whoever did it, it would look about the same - just burnt. So in itself this proves nothing, and they rely on the basic idea that people usually don't burn down their own homes. If that was the thinking behind the militants blazing their own villages, this report would be doing nothing but assisting them in this deception. (at least, as far as I've seen, they and the rest have done nothing to verify the activists' portrayal of events). But still the NYT folks and everyone are pretty sure it was the government. That kind of confidence must mean the regime lies, right?

So proof is lacking. There are some pretty undeniable facts, but they alone don't prove much. To demonstrate this, let's set and then consider these four anchor points of truth.
  1. There are hundreds of thousands of refugees in Bangladesh, who mainly arrived from the territory of Myanmar in a very short span in August and September. 
  2. Hundreds of villages and housing areas, reportedly all being Muslim-populated, have been wholly or partly burned. 
  3. There are many stories coming from the refugees of horrific massacres, systematic rape, and other atrocities, and some seriously wounded people among them taken as proving those stories. 
  4. At least some horribly killed civilians have been found in mass graves. Many massacres have been alleged, and at least one has been proven. 
In short, we can be sure something very bad is happening in Myanmar. But to even get a good guess as to what it is and what should be done, we need to get more detailed and maintain an open mind. 

1. The Flood of Refugees
This "Rohingya Crisis" is noted as the swiftest-forming mass exodus of recent times - it's as if everyone just agreed to rush the border. They could be chased there, as claimed, by a ruthless regime that tries to deny the bleeding obvious. This is taken as obvious by the Western establishment, and obviously it's possible. But it could also be - at least in part - a large piece of theater for the PR effect of a mass exodus, a crisis, and a need for a separate (and purified?) Muslim Arakan Rohingya state. For example.

Tirana Hassan from Amnesty International was clear that “The evidence is irrefutable – the Myanmar security forces are setting northern Rakhine State ablaze in a targeted campaign to push the Rohingya people out of Myanmar. Make no mistake: this is ethnic cleansing.”

Al Jazeera ran a video about a supposed 100-year-old guy (looks maybe 70 and pretty fit, to me, but effecting a bad slouch). He's married to a Mrs. Mustapha Begum, and has been fleeing Myanmar off-and-on since World War II when he befriended Brits. But this time he can't go back. This of all times, he knows in his aged bones, if any Rohingya return, "they will slaughter us all." He hobbles offstage into the setting sun.

But consider this piece of counter-evidence as reported by Irrawaddy: even by December at least one Muslim majority village that saw almost no burning and no massacres was Du Nyaung Pin Gyee outside of Maungdaw (maybe here on Wikimapia, near a string of army bases). Some locals did leave to join the crisis movement, again for what exact reason is unknown. And however it happened, some homes were burned, but the fires were contained. But most other locals remained, following the lead of village headsman Shaw Feik Amen.

And yet other Muslims remained in town with no problem, and threatened those other locals, who told reporters they "had been warned by an unidentified group - believed to be ARSA members or supporters - to leave the village or they would be killed in the next round of attacks." Headsman Amen apparently kept refusing to play along until the night of December 5, when witnesses say armed men broke into his home and murdered him. A school teacher said Amen was killed on suspicion of "collaborating with the government." Swords were involved. His killers were Muslims from the same village, who still hadn't been chased into Bangladesh.

Now what kind of genocidal regime sets out to ethnically cleanse all their Muslims, but gets some whole towns of them to stay put and not burn? The answer maybe is cooperation, non-extremism, reasonable integration, in some parts of that community. Some (Saudi-educated) others call that "collaboration," treason against their Jihad, and they kill you for it. It may be just those people Myanmar authorities are trying to "oppress," rather than all Muslims. That village leader would probably say the same, if he were still alive. How many other would agree is unknown, and seems worth asking.

2) The Burning Villages 
Videos and many photos show homes and villages burning or burned down. Much effort has been put into documenting and mapping the many areas burned in the August crisis and since (see the NYT presentation for one). Satellite images show a dramatic picture where it seems like half the coastal area has been burned at some point. On some days massive smoke plumes form into the giant glouds like those we see here drifting north along the coast (HRW photo via Boston Herald)

It's said these are all or mostly Muslim-inhabited areas, now uninhabited. It's at least possible that's not true, but let's go ahead and presume that; it's Rohingya Muslim homes and villages being wiped out. This mass burning is just as undeniable as they say, but that could be consistent with different truths, and about the same options as above. This might be how a regime would decide to drive out so many and create the crisis they would try to awkwardly deny and blame on someone else. Or it could be the ARSA and allies burning "their own" villages.

Why would they do that? Obviously, it would create the image of government repression and expulsion they might find useful now. Doing so would mean losing one's home, or torching others', depending. But that can be compensated for or suffered through, by whoever, to make a large point. Importantly, having no home to return to could help lock people into joining in this refugee crisis and making this point on the world stage. It could go a long way towards securing their long-sought Arakan Islamic state. Is that adequate motive? I think so. See this video from August 20, five days before their jihad began, for a taste of their zeal (the version with English captions is better... see below). Or this one.

It would also serve, to the same end, as a sort of boycott of Myanmar's unity. Aung San Suu Kyi and the generals burned them out, they'll say, and they can't and won't go back. Not until they have their own state, preferably free of those hateful non-Muslims (and of government-collaborator Muslims!) They'll try to make this seem like the only solution to a crisis a lot of dimwitted people are worried about. Saudi Arabia will fund this, and help build the new state. It'll be like an Southeast Asian Kosovo, a sure winner. 

This analysis of the origins of ARSA and its leader "Ata Ullah" (in Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan) suggests just that kind of operation is at work here. The supposed confession of an ARSA fighter who got arrested offers support. (this is one of several collected by researcher Rick Heizman). Of course it's possibly coerced and untrue, but he claims he helped burn the village of Chut Pyin before the militants and everyone else voluntarily left, at 5 am on August 28. This is the day after a now-alleged massacre there of 130 (see The Independent). Another arrestee  says they attacked the police station the night of the 27th, mentioning no massacre, and then ARSA men burned the village "and so we also fled" at 5 am on the 28th. He also says "our villagers in Nilin Baw and Auk Nan Ya village did the same."

So far all we have to clear this up is the confidence of folks like Amnesty International's Tirana Hassan, who said “the government’s attempts to shift the blame to the Rohingya population are blatant lies. Our investigation makes it crystal clear that its own security forces, along with vigilante mobs, are responsible for burning Rohingya homes.” In fact, nothing that they shared made that clear, other than the claims of the activist refugees they were steered to. That's considered below.

3 Continuing, with side-notes...
(Burning homes side-note: The same report says "Amnesty International has also received credible reports of Rohingya militants burning the homes of ethnic Rakhine and other minorities, however, the organization has so far been unable to verify or corroborate these." Because they didn't get coordinates, or because they didn't check for satellite images there? If those reports could be confirmed, it would show Rohingya Muslims doing at least some of the burning. Or, no ... they'd say that's the government burning some non-Muslim villages too, to frame the Rohingya. They can too fathom deception operations, but only by the side opposed to the Muslim extremists.)

These two things are the main evident points illustrating a supposed effort to cleanse the land of all Muslims. Let's pause here to mark a distinction between two levels of alleged crimes: there is the general, "textbook" signs of mass expulsion as covered above, and then there are alleged genocidal massacres, mass rape, and the like  considered next, being pushed now as a more acute and emotive level of abuse requiring the world's help.

I have doubts about both levels in that picture, but especially regarding the latter. The previous two at least have a basic logic. I've seen a photo of what looks like soldiers in uniform splashing gasoline on a burning hut. That seemed compelling, if not conclusive. It could well be a recycled image from somewhere else or misread, and it wouldn't be the first time. ...
<add>It's challenged anyway. Someone says that's water in the cans, as they try to put the fire out, a year ago. It is from Myanmar. It was torched, along with 80 other homes, on account of "attackers" whose work these soldiers are tyring to undo (or so the authorities said along with their handout photo). Starting a fire is not the best time to splash gasoline onto it... from open-topped buckets. Judge for yourself, check the AFP files if needed to see it's a year old anyway. The one photo some use to prove it's soldiers burning villages now ... had to be faked. <add>

I've also been watching videos of Buddhists and others who fled to avoid ARSA's violence (mainly to larger cities inside Myanmar, like Sittwe). More than one swears they don't want to go back home until the "Bengalis" are gone. If even half of the crimes ARSA is accused of are true, well... I could see their point anyway. Authorities could form a similar sentiment, or bend to this will of the people, besides just deciding on that policy from their own racism or for the sheer evil of it. But I would suggest anyone so inclined consider the case of Shaw Feik Amen and the people of Du Nyaung Pin Gyee, and the sacrifices they've made to resist the "Rohingya crisis" fake Jihad. And with the loyal Muslims in mind (and the kidnapped and brainwashed among the rest), I would remind them all they're on the world stage here - besides dealing with a horrific crisis that does need real solutions instead of fake ones that make it worse (and not that I'd dictate to locals based on a week's research...).

Still, many clues say even this isn't the case, and the mass burning and mass flight are basically high-stakes publicity stunts.

But leaving that aside, we have some serious credibility problem emerging in the following, related areas. This emotion-stirring sector of the claims against Myanmar's sovereign government requires even more care in assessing evidence and apportioning blame. So far, it's not getting the care it deserves either.

3) People With Stories and Scars
Stories are just that. Some of them may be untrue. Consider this early Washington Post report on the Maung Nu massacre, where their witnesses told them it happened early on August 25, right after the bases were attacked - not on the now-accepted 27th. Is this a memory problem, or a script-writing problem? (or simply a reporting problem?) This is just the biggest evident inconsistency I've noticed, among many I expect to find when and if I take a more detailed look at the allegations.

Even wounds don't prove much. In their October report on the Maung Nu massacre, Human Rights Watch cited the 27th, as everyone else now does. They also cites a few suspicious miracle survivors, one of whom "showed Human Rights Watch his bullet wounds" and explained:
"Four soldiers took [me and my relatives] to the corner of the courtyard and shot us each twice in the back. I lost consciousness. When I woke up, I saw many men still tied and [the soldiers] were still killing people. Many were stabbed to death. When I tried to flee I was shot in the chest but was able to escape."
It makes a little more sense to be shot three times in the torso non-fatally, rather than shot or hacked to death ... if one is in the dark and shot from a distance, during a willingly entered battle with security forces, perhaps with the aim of massacring nearby civilians and lying about it later. You know, for example. One could still show bullet marks and say whatever, including what that guy said. He also claims to have had a total of 30 men from his family killed (it could be his story tries to explain a lot of killings that needed a different explanation than the true one).

Many others say they ran away or hid somewhere with a good view to see everything, while sohers played dead, blah blah blah. There are dozens of survivors for each incident, so each media outlet can hear from a couple, even if their interviews are at the same time. An Associate Press Investigation drew on interviews with 37 alleged survivors just from the Maung Nu massacre. They're all tearfully believed with no question.

And there are others who may be giving untrue stories under pressure from the Islamist liars surrounding them. Consider a young woman with a badly burned face and child with major head gashes (couldn't re-locate that video at the moment). She says army men did this to them, but she says this living among people who may have actually done it, sparing her and child from one of their massacres, keeping her imprisoned and afraid to tell the truth.

That's not outlandish and in fact it's precedented in just this situation. Consider the eight Hindu women/girls who wound up as converted wives of some Muslim men in a Muslim camp in Bangladesh. At one point they were telling these same kind of stories, but it now seems - as I'll explain - that this was done under pressure to lie. And one must wonder if that's due to some shortage of truth in the claims.

In late September, news of a massacre by ARSA forces in the Kha Maung Seik area grew undeniable, with even Reuters and AFP reporting on the story. A September 27 ARSA tweet responded to this "victim blaming," denying the crime. This was followed by a snippet of video with a fuller version here, apparently also meant to refute the charges. This shows eight women in a room, not killed, swearing Muslims have never harmed them, and in fact Buddhists killed their husbands for refusing to help kill Muslims. Muslims saved the women and brought them to safety here, they say.

These women were put out there to make these claims repeatedly. Anika Bala/Bhar, 15, pregnant and widowed, re-married and converted, was quoted saying soldiers “asked my husband to join them to kill Rohingya but he refused, so they killed him,” (Reuters, 9-6) A few days later she gave a more vague version to Al Jazeera; the killers weren't identifiable. From details he was handed, the reporter explains she and another girl were "spared," in some unexplained way, from the government's "cleansing operation" that left nowhere safe. (video, 9-21)

One of those in the 8-women video says her husband was a goldsmith in Fawira Bazar (the others were all married to barbers?). That makes her Rica Dhar, 28, from Fawira Bazar, who also gave this interview that's not clear on who the killers were, and saying a Muslim "family" helped her escape "because we promised them we would convert to their religion." Finally speaking at liberty, she later said (to India Today) "My husband worked as a goldsmith.... All Hindus were identified ... then killed in a row." "Only eight women" were spared, she said, including herself, as converted Muslim "wives." Some had called fake on the lack of Hindu makeup and on their looking like Muslims (see comments under the 8-women video). In retrospect that was a bad call, although the whiff of untruth evident in that exchange was valid.

Two others among the eight were already freed and gave this story on September 16 - "93 Hindus mercilessly slaughtered." Masked ARSA terrorists tied up their husbands and other family and neighbors, cut their throats, and dumped them in pits. The killers shouted Allahu Akbar, and said they had waited three years celebrate Eid Al-Adha with the villagers' Hindu blood. (that means since 2014, whatever that means...)As these supremely composed witnesses give it, at least 100 people were taken to the killing sites, only they're pretty confident only the 8 pretty girls and a total of 10 of their children (8 in other reports) were spared in this way.  

At least 4 and I think (hopefully) all 8 of these women were soon freed, and denouncing their captors and their prior stories. But a rather shameful article in The Guardian by Shaikh Azizur Rahman finds their story change suspicious:
A group of Hindu women who crossed into neighbouring Bangladesh from Myanmar after surviving the attack claimed the Myanmar military carried out the massacre. However, when they were subsequently returned to Myanmar by security forces, they offered a different version of events, blaming Rohingya militants. ... Rohingya refugees have accused the Myanmar government of playing “dirty tricks” over the killings.
In fact they changed their stories as soon as they were in the Hindu camp in Bangladesh, away from their Islamist captors. And as we can see it was already varying in details and clarity before that. The logic of the situation and everything else is clear their later story is the more trustworthy. It was always the Islamists "playing dirty games" in this case.

So ... those women were made to lie on some propaganda videos. This is part of the record of government repression everyone cites. These should be all there are to hear from out of those Hindu villages, but other refugees we've heard from may be abducted like them, but from other places with no rescue coming, and so might remain locked into their coerced lies.

Even genuine Rohingya Muslims are held captive by the radical beliefs guiding their actions, and could face death for speaking the truth.
<add 12/28>Consider this video (unverified) of a Rohingya/Bengali boy pressed, basically at gunpoint, to swear he's ready to "hack" (behead?) "the Buddhists." He insists on displaying reluctance the whole way, as if God were actually watching, but he does agree to this (alleged) commandment of the jihad. Those translating the video decided the speaking that follows is a threat to the boy's father (seemingly one of those opposed to them) to not "lose" the boy (pull him out of the jihad?) or else (the whole family could be killed?). Long story short: "death if you don't cooperate." This video seems hard to explain for a secretive movement - or one trying to be, anyway. But it could be it was made for the boy's father, as a message to him, and so he would have "leaked" it. That seems possible, but details remain unclear to me...)<end 12/28>
In these ways at least, we can't be sure who's telling the truth here. And again it's things people say (they fluff it up calling it "testimony") that makes all the difference in understanding the reality behind the flood of refugees and all those torched villages.

4 - Bodies Have Been Found
There have been bodies found of men, women and children slaughtered with blades, throats cut, like reportedly being done by government forces and Buddhsit mobs. But these victims were from that Kha Maung Seik massacre and hostage raid against Hindus, apparently done by ARSA and/or their allies. Oops.

Above we considered the kidnapped young widows from this area, the only ones besides their children who were spared. It was they who gave directions to where they saw everyone killed. Hindu locals took those tips and helped the authorities find and dig up first 28 then 17 decaying bodies from a number of pits. With this total of 45 found by September 25, the Myanmar government not only lifted the ban on journalists but flew some in to witness this scene and hear from this different set of locals.

Some filed fair reports relating what they learned. Reuters heard from three women "who individually recounted closely matching stories" about the attack, including that the killers "spoke several languages they could not identify" (that is, they included foreigners, as ARSA denies. Maybe Filipino). ""They cut all their throats and pushed them into a hole,” said one of the women, Bina Bala, 22, adding that the women were spared after promising to convert to Islam." The hospital superintendent who examined the bodies agreed with the women on how they were killed.  The Daily Mail didn't spare the shock of a story exposing Muslim brutality. This AFP story includes the inset photo captioned "Hindus weep near the bodies of their family members in Ye Baw Kyaw village in Maungdaw (AFP Photo/STR)" Bernar News shows the mourners. Other images of the villagers murdered in this massacre (at least I think, on the middle ones), in small format:

Another 48 bodies at least were expected to be found somewhere, and maybe have been since. There's still no such photo for any of the alleged and much-denounced massacres by government forces. Sanctions are being placed, but proof or even good evidence remain to surface.

One video I've seen (ABC still from September 1 report) claims to show the mounds where some victims from a massacre in Chut Pyin were buried. And some rivulets of blood are shown in dirt said to be at Maung Nu the day after the massacre (AP video embedded here). It's not clear really whose blood that is, who spilled it, or even when and where the video was filmed. For all I can tell, this could be filmed next to one of the mass graves at Kha Maung Seik.

The rest of the evidence for some 700+ people killed in at least 6 big massacres, so far as I've seen, is verbal. Of course, the people of these villages have generally run away, they say right at the massacre time, or soon after during the brutal occupation. Some come back to film the next day, maybe, but it might be limited glimpses. And in Maung Nu they claim the bodies were trucked away - perhaps to bury somewhere else? (like Kha Maung Seik? I suspect this is where they're headed with this talk of "dirty tricks"). This would leave nothing but some blood and smaller pieces to show. They show blood anyway.

Nonetheless, it seems likely to me there were other killings and mass graves yet to be discovered in these other areas. I hope the numbers they're giving (like 500+, including 300 chil;dren in Tula Toli alone) are grossly exaggerated. But even upon finding the bodies, the truth isn't going to just be certain regarding who, how, where from and why. The necessary color will be added by the verbal claims, from Islamist activists, engaged in a geopolitically useful and Saudi-supported crisis. These will just not be trustworthy.

Who else might victims in other areas be? Other Hindus, Buddhists, etc. Other Muslims who opposed them, or simply didn't actually join them? The captured ARSA fighter cited above claims they threatened "if any of us refused they would be killed." Another captured fighter says they were warned "if we did not join we would be killed as traitors" and that if arrested, not to tell about this plan or threats (as he was doing), because if they did "their family members would be killed."

So perhaps a bunch of refuseniks, soft Muslims, and even their families were the bulk of the bodies for these localized massacres, if they indeed happened.

Rights Groups Ignoring the Best Evidence
But so far the Kha Maung Seik massacre is the best documented among those alleged, the only one we can be fairly sure is real. But that one is pretty clear in being done by the championed Islamist militants, not against them. (Coincidentally?) it was not denounced in September or anytime since that I can find, by Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch.

As noted, AI couldn't or didn't confirm the burning of homes by ARSA Islamists. An HRW report on the alleged Tula Toli Massacre of Rohingya on Aug. 30 (one of two such reports) explains "While there have been numerous reports of abuses committed by ARSA militants, Human Rights Watch has not been able to independently verify those accounts, in part because the Burmese government continues to deny independent human rights investigators and journalists access to northern Rakhine State, where most victims would be located."

That is, most victims of ARSA violence stay in the country, whereas the other side has more accessible people in the refugee camps telling their stories - sometimes under duress, after being kidnapped amidst a massacre.

But Rika Dhar and the others told false stories in the Muslim camp and told true stories from "a Hindu camp inside Bangladesh" a number of reporters heard from them in. Was HRW blocked from that camp as well as from Myanmar? Are they truly barred from speaking with her later, even if that's back in her homeland? Not even by phone, as they often do with Syria activists? Many media outlets were brought to Myanmar to report on this massacre. They weren't blocked but flow right to those victims. Did Human Rights Watch attend? Was that not "independent" enough for them? Did they even consider the media reports filed by others who did go?

If so, they haven't said anything. I suspect they're waiting until the fix is in to blame it on the government, and then they'll go on about it. Anything they say in the meantime might complicate that. And if there's never such a fix, they may never have anything to say about this blatant act of genocide by enabled Islamists.

So, with people like this and their shoddy, and politicized work leading the way... "Hey, look at all that smoke! Listen, here's a dramatic story from a miracle survivor! Blah blah blah, punish the bad guys" ... no wonder the masses still have such ill-informed and overly-certain views about the reality of events in Myanmar.

<add 1/7>
former US ambassador Priscilla Clapp, interviewed on France 24:
Q: You were on a mission in Burma from 1999 to 2002, at a time when Aung San Suu Kyi was described as an icon for peaceful resistance as she was put under house arrest while you were there. Has your perception of her changed in the past two weeks?
A: No, I simply don’t accept the narrative that we just heard. There was indeed a terrorist attack in Rakhine. It came from outside and it was perpetrated by people in the Rohingya diaspora living in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, coming in through Bangladesh and they have killed a lot of security forces.
This started in October and the latest attack was timed to follow the presentation of the recommendations of the Kofi Annan International Commission on Rakhine, which Aung San Suu Kyi has accepted and agreed to implement. These recommendations call for a long-term solution there and she was already working on it when it was disrupted by this latest terrorist attack.
Their tactics are terrorists, no questions about it. She’s not calling the entire Rohingya population terrorists. She is referring to a group of people who are going around with guns, machetes and IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and killing their own people in addition to Buddhists, Hindus and others who get in their way.
They have killed a lot of security forces and they are wreaking havoc in the region. The people who are fleeing out into Bangladesh are not only fleeing in response to the security forces but they are fleeing their own radical groups because they have been attacking Rohingya, particularly the leadership who have been trying to work with the government on the citizenship process and other humanitarian efforts that were underway there. This has all been thrown in through a confusion that has been sown by the latest attacks.

I think the international community has to sort out the facts before making accusations.
(too late, but they should have.)

September 4 news stories
ARSA extremist terrorists were making movements after tearing the border fence apart, cutting off the heads of Buddha statues of a pagoda in Nantthataung village and burning down a monastery, a Buddhist school and homes in Maungtaw Township.
Security forces while on their area clearance and anti-terrorist operations in the surrounding areas of Nantthataung village in the township on 1 September found two damaged sections of the fence — one 120-foot long and the other 32-feet long — between Meetaikchaungwa outpost and Kunthebinchaungwa outpost. The ARSA extremist terrorists were easily crossing the border through the damaged parts and moving along the mouths of the creeks.
The security forces found that the terrorists cut off all the heads of the Buddha statues of the pagoda and burnt down a monastery, a Buddhist school and 37 homes. —Myanmar News Agency

6 Hindus killed, 5 survived - fluke incident the victims drove into, not a massacre

small massacre in attack on Wailar Taung village, 5 Daignet (Rakhine) citizens killed - Sept. 4 interviews

<end 1/7>