Posts Tagged Myanmar

Cool Stuff: The Free Burma Rangers

The FBR’s work is dangerous. Rangers are often armed with whatever weapons they can find—shotguns, 22s, AK-47s—and have been the target of enemy fire on a number of occasions. Since 1997, 13 Rangers have died in the field—one caught and tortured to death by the Myanmar Army, others killed by land mines, malaria, and a lightning strike…..Today there are approximately 350 Rangers, divided into 70 teams operating in the states of Karen, Kachin, Kayah, and Shan. Each team consists of four to five Rangers: a team leader, a medic, a photographer, videographer, a security specialist to map their route and liaise with rebel armies, and a Good Life Club counselor, who is in charge of the education and health needs of village children. Once trained, the teams are deployed by veteran Rangers, who work with rebel militias and Scott to determine where to send them. 

Thanks to David Isenberg for pointing these guys out. I had heard of them before in the past but really didn’t know much about what they were doing. Outside magazine did a great little article about what they are up to and I thought I would share that.

The leader of this group, who happens to be former Special Forces, reminds me a lot of the Machine Gun Preacher guy in the Sudan named Sam Childers. In both cases, these men are trying desperately to help a people being oppressed and they are putting a lot on the line to save lives. That is cool.

Of course I am not that interested in the religious angles that these folks bring to the table, but as far as the act of defending others and doing what they can to empower the local populations against oppressive regimes, well then that is pretty awesome in my book.

If you are interested in donating money or getting involved with this group, here is a link to their website. It sounds like they have a few veterans working with them as well. The FBR does train folks in the combat arms, so if you have those skills or have something to offer in the realm of warfare, these guys would probably appreciate the help. -Matt

 

The Jesus-Kissed, War-Fringed, Love-Swirled Rangers
By: Adam Skolnick
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
The leader of the Free Burma Rangers keeps his identity secret. But he’s real, and he’s definitely hardcore. A former U.S. Special Forces operative—and an ordained minister, climber, and triathlete—he trains rebels and refugees in the fine art of outwitting one of the world’s most oppressive regimes to deliver humanitarian aid. Adam Skolnick hits the trail with a soldier on a mission from God.
On a sticky 90-degree day last November, the sun blazed high over a village in northern Karen, a province of 7.5 million people in southeastern Myanmar. At the edge of a riverside clearing, farmers dressed in rags, sweaty and soiled, trickled home from the fields to their thatched-bamboo huts for lunch. They chatted and laughed freely—until a mortar exploded 50 feet away.
Within seconds men in Myanmar Army uniforms strafed the village with semi-automatic gunfire. Shouting soldiers dragged women to the ground and held pistols to the men’s heads. The platoon leader wandered from hut to hut, using a torch to ignite grass roofs.
Then something strange happened. A young blond girl—dressed in black and wearing flip-flops, her face streaked with grease—suddenly leaped to the top of a boulder, holding a bow and arrow. Narrowing her eyes, she pulled back and fired.
“Way to go!” A lean, fit American guy, dressed in running shorts and an Army green T-shirt, emerged from the sidelines, clapping and cheering like a proud parent at a soccer game. “Did you see that? She jumped up like Robin Hood and just nailed the guy!”

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News: 100,000 Possibly Killed in Myanmar.

    I have been hearing that the latest death toll could be 100,000, according to US diplomats in that region.  I posted this story about DART, because these are the guys that will be making the assessments and planning the appropriate relief and response.  These types of teams are essential to the process of disaster relief. 

    One problem though, is the politics of the situation.  The government does not play well with others, if you know what I mean. And what worries me, is that the country was screwed up before this, and things could get really bad in the coming weeks and months for the aid workers and local people.  Myanmar is not Indonesia or Thailand, and the regime there has been brutal to it’s own people.  We could very well see a massive backlash by the people because of this incident. 

     For that reason, I think security for aid workers will be a very tricky situation there in the near future.  An idea for you guys who want to help, is to advertise your services on the ground in Thailand.  A security professional on the ground in Thailand, ready to go, is for more valuable and accessible, than a security professional that is elsewhere.  More than likely, most NGO’s will require that you not be armed.  So this would be mostly a security chess game for you over there.

     And here is the really scary concept.  The military in Myanmar, quite possibly will control the food distribution and aid, to only assist pro-government regions of the country.  The anti-government regions, could be purposely avoided, and the government there could use this disaster as a tool to eradicate dissent.  You heard it here first.  The government actually using the disaster as a tool to kill their enemies.

       Another thing is that there companies like SOS International, that go into these places to rescue people that are trapped.  A guy on the ground in Thailand, and read to go, could help out any of these types of missions.  Food for thought.  -Head Jundi 

http://www.internationalsos.com/en/careers.htm

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 Indonesia Relief Operations

The USAID response to the Indonesian Tsunami Crisis back in early 2005.

US offers three million dollars in aid for Myanmar

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The White House announced Tuesday it was offering three million dollars in aid to help Myanmar recover from a deadly cyclone.

“The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has allocated an additional three millions dollars in funding” to help Myanmar meet “urgent needs,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Volunteer Opportunity: Burma Secondary Disaster Relief Response

   Well, as you know, Myanmar(Burma) got hit pretty bad with a cyclone.  The reason I am posting this on FJ, is because I do think a security professional, can be a huge help in that disaster zone.   The government there, is totally freaked out now, and their troops are extremely unpredictable.  I can forsee a need, for guys who know how to navigate that landscape, and help a team deliver their aid and help.  

     So far, this is the only volunteer group, that is assembling a team.  There are no jobs right or short term contracts flying.  With that said, if you are interested in getting into the mix with this, this is just one way of helping.  The other thing you could do, is just fly to Thailand and hang out at Koh San road.

    At this time, USAID has sent a DART(disaster assistance response team) to Thailand, and they are on standby. I also believe there are several US ships off the coast.  I have checked with reliefweb.com and all the other volunteer sites out there, and really, no one has put out the open call yet.  Myanmar has yet to issue visas, and there is a lot of political stuff going on as well. 

     Also, volunteer work, can help build up your resume.  You will be gaining skills on how to work in a really chaotic environment.  I worked for FEMA, both as a field officer and as a security contractor through a PMC, and those experiences were excellent and intense.  If anyone else has info on volunteering or actual short term contracts for this disaster, I will post it.  Thanks.  -Head Jundi 

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Globalteer 

Burma Secondary Disaster Relief Response
  Myanmar

Durations of Program: 1-2 weeks, 2-4 weeks, 5-8 weeks, 9-12 weeks and 3-6 months
Typical Duration of Program: 5-8 weeks
Description: On Saturday 3rd May a major cyclone tore into Burma devastating a country already suffering from massive economic problems. Thousands of survivors of Cyclone Nargis are lacking shelter, drinking water, power and communications. If the death toll is confirmed, Nargis ranks as one of the world’s deadliest storms. Read the rest of this entry »

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