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, February 11, 2018

Gu Dar Pyin Massacre: Mass Grave Location

February 11, 2018
rough, incomplete

Background (may move and expand)
As I was wrapping up part III of Fake News and Massacre Marketing in the Rohingya Crisis for The Indicter, a new massacre story emerged and got a  decent starting analysis at the end of section 3.5. In review, ...
This cites an AP report of Feb. 1 By Foster Klug heralded: “AP confirms 5 unreported Myanmar mass graves” http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/ap-confirms-previously-unreported-myanmar-mass-graves-52755289 – Version with video: http://www.chron.com/news/crime/article/AP-confirms-5-previously-unreported-Myanmar-mass-12541732.php
at least 75 and perhaps 400 people were killed, innocent Muslims butchered by bloodthirsty Buddhists here in GuDar Pyin. But only so many (unclear) had been found in mass graves, some with faces and flesh burned away with some blue acid the soldiers brought with them: "The faces of the men half-buried in the mass graves had been burned away by acid or blasted by bullets. Noor Kadir could only recognize his friends by the colors of their shorts."

The Government found no mass graves of civilians, according to statement. As the Irriwaddy reported on February 3:
According to the government’s statement, 19 ARSA militants were killed in fighting after about 500 militants attacked security officials with firearms, knives, slingshots, and darts. Officials buried the bodies of the dead militants systematically and opened a criminal case under counter-terrorism Article 50 (i) at Nyaung Chaung police station. 
That would seem to run up against this video record. The raw video is of the most interest, but only snippets were shown. Luckily a pro-Rohingya activist posted five videos on Facebook. These show five bodies clearly, and parts or traces of a few others. The central scene, closes we get to seeing a "mass grave" is three half-buried bodies of fighting-age men. And that same scene was already shown on video back on August 31, at Rohingya Blogger, where we see there's at least a fourth body not seen in the later footage. These four bodies will be analyzed more elsewhere, but for reference, these are numbered in the order seen here in Aug. 31 video:

1. red shirt, black mask (like ARSA fighters wear), buried from the abdomen down, abdomen wound and shot in the left eye?
2. lone head set near buried body with only bare legs partly sticking out (presumed one victim, beheaded)
3. long-sleeved blue shirt, hands raised (rigor mortis?), buried up to the chest, no clear wounds
4. yellow shirt, buried up to the chest, head blown open

Are These Included?
I've had back and forth thoughts on this. As the article puts it, these four "seem executed, with one even beheaded. If this is another Inn Din, it seems to be uglier yet." (then I saw Inn Din was pretty ugly and includes a beheading...) But I'm not sure if these are militants, as the mask suggests, nor who killed them. Wouldn't they take a militant's mask off to maybe see who he is, long before killing him? Sure, and they might put it back on... who knows why.

But they could be civilians, with the mask added - by soldiers to justify the killing by making them look ARSA, or by the ARSA types who killed them, also just for the suggestion. At Inn Din, they went to great lengths to obscure the fairly obvious fact that the ten killed men were ARSA fighters. Why suggest that here if it weren't true?

First, it's better to have them seen as any kind of Rohingya if the victims were actually Rakhine civilians or others ...  Secondly, consider this scenario: 19 ARSA fighters were killed in this one clash, besides those wounded. That's because they lost badly, perhaps because the base they attacked was well-prepared, as many reportedly were based on last-minutes tip-offs. They had an unusually high number of Rohingya men buried here as a background issue and a source of anger. They also have someone who tipped the authorities off, leading to this great defeat. Or so they suspect, but it's hard to be sure or to say who it was. Still, they might go spy hunting in any accessible area, round up 4 infidel men they hated anyway, and execute them here as spies.

Considering the background loss, they might get clever and put one in the mask of a fallen comrade, even before shooting him dead. This would help sow the idea that these were the killed fighters the government will have to admit to. They leave them with faces unburied so we can see this, but smear mud on the faces of the others, and especially the eyes ... so we can't see their distinctive Rakhine features. They pour some blue crap to claim it's acid, so after the dogs eat their faces away, they can show that and say that's what the acid was for (it does't stand up to scrutiny, as I'll try to explain). 

Now the government had to admit to burying 19 killed attackers, but the ARSA guys have video we're to take as proof that ... the fighters were executed, and even beheaded, rather than killed in action, then buried sloppily with weird acid sludge to slowly dissolve them. Or if possible, they'll say these were civilians too, or who knows, but...

They'd also say these are the cleaner or unclear cases the killers left visible - to cameras. Aside from some other scenes described but not filmed ... somehow the regime limited the activist to filming just this scene, another with 2 bodies, and just a couple others with half a skeletal body and some partial ribs, somehow, almost all after everyone was reduced to bone. Somehow they delayed all recording in those cases, and somewhere they've still kept from view are the hacked-up babies and charred elders people describe seeing, but that no one filmed.

The central question to me at the moment was also posed by reporters at the Irriwaddy:
"The statement did not elaborate on whether security forces buried the ARSA casualties in the Gutar Pyin graveyard or in other locations.”
So it’s not clear if the bodies we see, improperly buried in a non-cemetery location, are the same ones they refer to. That mask suggests they were fighters, but it's not proof. So this is the most important question, perhaps. The government may get clearer on this point - may or may not locate this scene and give their own explanation for it - the cemetery location isn't clear for reference, but "near" a cemetery is a relevant locale, by the claims. Ominously, this is where the Inn Din victims were also buried. 

I haven't yet tried to geolocate anything in Myanmar - it's mostly fields and some trees, little that's distinct. Here there's no clear sunlight to establish directions... maybe, by correlating the earlier video with time-stamps, or something, I could find to solar angles and use shadows to set the directions...

general area, at the alleged one, is pretty clear - explained here
* Location on Wikimapia (currently in-labeled)

Scene A: Perhaps the only scene we'll consider here for now, is the one with four bodies. In the September 6 (?) video, from Ro Nay San Lwin on Facebook, we would see them in reverse order of numbering (as in analysis, elsewhere) - #4 isn't shown - need to correlate where he was - the first one seen here is #3, which must be just hidden behind those leaves on the right - it's just a few steps in but not visible until we get close, and see he's now headless, the sunken foot end of his grave flooded with rainwater, one hand missing and the other laying flat (rigor mortis faded?). Body #2 is visible from the start, boxed in red. As we get closer, we can also see the spot where #1 with the mask is, near the fence's corner (another wet gap in the grass there). More is seen, but this is where get our best stray frames with possibly adequate scenery clues. 

Directions, provisional (see below): we're facing northeast, so there's a line of trees to the north (left), open fields ahead to the right (ne and east), mountains seen in the distance to the northeast, blocked by some very large trees to the E-NE. This is from noting mountains will be seen in 2 directions - smaller ones very nearby to the west, or large ones further away to the east. These look semi-distant, and maybe a wider, deeper range like we see further inland (east). The north aspect of this northeast presumption is explained below.

Scene B ...briefly, another video shows bloody mud where people were killed, but no longer are. It's behind some row of little banana trees (?), and amidst a small or middling patch of other lager trees, apparently including at least one tall palm tree (glimpsed in a view ahead not included here). Looking back (right) might be southwest - we see open fields for a ways in that direction

This scene is most likely just off to the left side in the upper view, just behind those (banana?) trees along the left, with other trees including a palm further to the north or NE.  Between the small trees, we're looking out over a similar field, and maybe the same one. Near the likely path at the far edge of the near plot, there are a couple of little indents - possible where these bodies are. We might see on the right the gap in the hedges they walk through. There is a bit of a fence visible on the far left, but I can't verify if there is or isn't a collapsed section in the middle, or a lone little tree a ways inside the corner to match it to the above scene. The line of distant homes and trees is similar between scenes, but that, like everything here, if pretty common and generic. The grass in the field appears lusher in the view from scene B, but we don't know if they were filmed at the same time or after some growth.

From scene (or scene view) A: the distant mountains - with the right comparison work, the arrangement of these can say where it's filmed, or at least give a line of sight. I tried with Google Earth's terrain feature and low level-views and got a good lead. One mountain pops out as having the small, sharp-edged shape in the middle here - not an absolute match, but compelling. That's a bit southwest of Sanmyaywa, or several miles to the northeast of GuDarPyin. (38 km, heading ~45 degrees, from village center). 

The e
xact angle of view to this peak would vary a bit from positions outside of town, as this seems to be. (it would be a view more to the east if you're further north, or if south of the village, more of a north view). Just what explains the larger-seeming but more rounded peaks to the left and right, not so clear, and depends on the angle of view - the ones on the left may be nearer, the larger appearance suggests that, as does the haze difference, but this is unclear or slight - I could not find any angle of view that clearly explains this arrangement of peaks, with most lower peaks not coming trough like they truly would from the ground. Above I included a screen grab of a view from well south of Gu Dar Pyin and looking almost north, as one example. Better views might (or might not) be found closer to the village.  For example, from a bit north of the pin below, we might look up a ravine, with a long hill crest to the left and to the right, the peaks currently under the line.

Whatever the line of view to whatever peak, it will be about the angle of the field orientation here (edges and fences), and about the angle of that line of banana trees. If I have the right hill pegged, that should run somewhat northeast, depending how far it is from village center.

One possible area is just northwest of the village across some fields, 500m northeast of village center. Small square plots, Trees to north/NW, open fields to east and south... 2010 images shows strange round mounds now gone or unclear ... two homes on a hill next to this. (AP: "A handful of witnesses confirmed two other big graves near a hillside cemetery, and smaller graves scattered around the village.") Still, a few things about this spot don't seem quite right - the angle of fields is too north to match the line to that sharp peak, for one thing. The field division isn't right (but can change in years - last image is Jan. 11, 2014). Big trees too near on the right, etc. Really, I think it's just a similar spot. So if only to help visualize what I was looking for, here's that spot:

And maybe I don't even have the right peak to point to. I leave this undone and out there for anyone with better tools, local knowledge, etc. to possibly place this footage so we can see what that means. Like, is it just outside a Buddhist village 4 men vanished from at this time? (Is there such a place? Where is it, so we can narrow our search there and find or maybe rule out a match?)

To consider, from AP report:
Almost every villager interviewed by the AP saw three large mass graves at Gu Dar Pyin's northern entrance, near the main road, where witnesses say soldiers herded and killed most of the Rohingya. A handful of witnesses confirmed two other big graves near a hillside cemetery, and smaller graves scattered around the village.
Mohammad Younus, 25, was crawling on his hands and knees after being shot twice when his brother carried him to some underbrush, where Younus lay for seven hours. At one point, he saw three trucks stop and begin loading dead bodies before heading off toward the cemetery.
In the days and weeks after the attack, villagers braved the soldiers to try to find whatever was left of their loved ones. Dozens of bodies littered the paths and compounds of the wrecked homes; they filled latrine pits. The survivors soon learned that taller, darker green patches of rice shoots in the paddies marked the spots where the dead had fallen.
Bloated bodies began to rise to the surface of the rain-saturated graves.
"There were so many bodies in so many different places," said Mohammad Lalmia, 20, a farmer whose family owned a pond that became the largest of the mass graves. "They couldn't hide all the death."
On Sept. 9, villager Mohammad Karim, 26, captured three videos of mass graves time-stamped between 10:12 a.m. and 10:14 a.m., when soldiers chased him away, he said. In the Bangladesh refugee camps, nearly two dozen other Rohingya from Gu Dar Pyin confirmed that the videos showed mass graves in the north of the village.
(by inclusion, it's suggested the video cited here with beheaded body #2 is what this refers to - those legs are shown in the AP video report)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments welcome. Stay civil and on or near-topic. If you're at all stumped about how to comment, please see this post.