Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

It Could Happen Here Weekly 59

It Could Happen Here Weekly 59

Sat, 12 Nov 2022 05:01

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Unknown caller, you could reduce the number of unwanted calls and emails with online privacy protection. The latest innovation from discover will help regularly remove your personal info. Like your name and address, from 10 popular people search websites that could sell your data. And we'll do it for free. Activate in the discover app. See terms and learn more at slash online privacy protection. Hey everybody, Robert Evans here and I wanted to let you know this is a compilation episode. So every episode of the week that just happened is here in one convenient and with somewhat less ads package for you to listen to in a long stretch if you want. If you've been listening to the episodes every day this week, there's going to be nothing new here for you, but you can make your own decisions. In 2020, millions of Americans took to the streets to protest police violence. They were met with police violence on a massive scale. Shooting's vehicle attacks and assassinations occurred alongside these protests, often in defense of the police. And in total, at least 25 Americans died. We now know that President Trump repeatedly urged General Mark Milley to deploy U.S military forces to crack down violently on demonstrations. Milley claims that Trump told him to have his soldiers crack skulls, beat the fuck out of, and just shoot protesters. In the end, we were all lucky. Military leaders, including General Milley, resisted calls to use their men to suppress domestic dissent. National Guard were called into police several major cities, but in many cases their behavior was tame compared to the militarized police, who more reliably shot and beat protesters. For millions of Americans, 2020 was their first exposure to the violence the state will do to avoid change. And then, Trump lost the election. He and his followers tried to carry out a coup but failed. For now, and millions of Americans who'd taken to the streets mostly went back to their lives. Some were satisfied justice had been done. Others were furious to have stopped short of instituting real change. But at the end of the day, business went on as usual, a version of normal prevailed. In 2021, the military of Myanmar, known as the Totmadaugh, overthrew the elected government in a coup. Hundreds of thousands of citizens, most of them young, Gen Z and Millennial men and women, took to the streets, police responded with tear gas, water cannons, and eventually bullets. The international community expressed its horror at the brutality of the Totmadaugh, but that's all they did. Over the course of several months, the military pushed protesters mostly out of the cities, and a protest movement against the military coup turned into a civil war. Now those same protesters, mostly kids who wanted nothing more than a normal life, have become revolutionaries. With homemade guns, 3D printed rockets and stolen rifles, they battled the Totmadaugh. Some of them fighting the jungles, some of them fighting the cities, and some of them fight on the internet. This is their story. We're sitting in a large suburban home in Mysat, Thailand, a small city on the border of Myanmar. The boys singing and playing music around us range in age from 17 to 22. Their existence in Thailand is a crime. If they are caught here, they'll be forced across the border into Myanmar, whose government executed their friends and sold the organs for profit. But tonight, they're playing music. We're drinking beer. Later, James Stout and I will play pool with them and get our asses just catastrophically wrecked. We met Andy, aged 22, and head of the family for his Instagram page. That's not his real name, but for obvious reasons, we can't identify him. We first met when I sent him a DM asking if we could buy one of his photos for our first series on Myanmar. He was a bit skeptical, but I tried my best to get him to see we just wanted to give him money and promote his work. Over the next six months or so, we went from talking on the phone to messaging almost every day, to Robert and I booking tickets to Thailand, to sitting on the top floor of their house. It used to be his landlord's office, but now it's home to Andy and his partner Sarah. That's also not her real name, because she's a citizen of a western nation working in Thailand. The boys we talk about are he the brothers, his cousin, and friends. They live at a small building across the garden, and in the daytime, they sit under a gazebo and play their guitars. The first night we met Andy and Sarah, we sat behind a bar in an unpaived alleyway. We drank beer out of sippy cups, because selling beer is still banned at the local COVID regulations, but apparently the cops don't check sippy cups. We drank far too much, in fact, and the next day, I woke up with a headache, and a blurry photo of me, Robert, and Andy, engaged in a pose which was half hug and half mutual support structure. We walked home, and according to my phone, at some point we took photos of a puppy, and, and hopefully I'm related incident, at some point I started bleeding. It was immediately obvious that Andy needed the chance to blow off some steam. Over the last year in change, he is chronicled every stage of the coup in his aftermath. In early videos, we see joyous protests, moments of resistance and splendour in the streets of cities like Miowari. Later, we see violence, death, and guerrilla warfare. Andy didn't have what you would call an easy childhood. Thanks in part to Myanmar's long history of revolutions being crushed by the army. People there, like people everywhere, want to be free and determine their own futures. And so each generation has its own uprising, and each generation has its own massacre, and very little progress to show for it. I was born in 2000, so when I was seven, 2007, there was a revolution. It's called Safran revolution. It wasn't like this, you know, it wasn't like what happened now, but like there were a lot of people that were involved in it, a lot of people about kill, and a lot of people left Myanmar and came to the refugee camps in here. And we were one of the families that came to the refugee camps. And in my side. Yeah, in my side Thailand. Yeah. Andy's mother is Buma, the dominant ethnic group in Myanmar due to their decades-long control of the military and government. His father is Karin, the ethnic group once used by the British government as soldiers. Since 1949, the Karin have fought a war in the mountains against the Tat Meda. Their name is often anglicized to be spelled just like the English name Karin, which given present internet trends makes explaining the conflict sometimes awkward. Andy primarily identifies as and was raised Buma, his family left after the Safran revolution. They did not flee to escape political repression, but because the economy had collapsed. This put them in an awkward position in the camps, which were filled mostly with Karin people who had fled state violence. We weren't refugees, right? We were more like, how do you say like economic refugees? We go because not because our village has been burned down and our family has been killed. So then if we were to go back to Yangon, we still could find a job, we still could find. But then for these current people, this place is the only place that they could exist at that moment, right? And probably still now too. So yeah, so they said that, but that education wasn't very good there. The life wasn't good. It wasn't, it wasn't, it was very bad, honestly. It was very bad. It was a lot of violence, a lot of hate, a lot of understandable. You know, like these people have gone through so much shit and so much trauma that and nothing, no one is coming there to fix that. So they had a lot of anger, they had a lot of problems. But my mom said, yeah, we're going back because the education here is very bad. And if you go back to Myanmar at least, you know, if you do like the thing that people do, maybe you'll get somewhere. Yeah, in the future here, there's no future. So she said, so we went back. And I stayed in Myanmar for like four years. Andy had never been very political. His family was more or less neutral, tending to side with the military more often than not out of a sense of inertia. Myanmar tended to cartwheel between attempts at democracy and military dictatorship. So in the world media celebrated their first democratic elections in 25 years in 2015. Andy was not particularly excited. Yeah, so I mean, we did realize that there was a change in the country, right? Because we grew up in the military dictatorship. But then when the intensity take over took over, there was some changes. Like the phones got cheaper, the internet got cheaper. And if you look back, then you can see big, big changes. But the thing is it was never real democracy. And I think a lot of people in the western countries thought that it was democracy when I'll censor you took over. On Song Su Chi came to prominence during a 1988 uprising against the military, which ended in bloodshed in the streets of Yangon. And she'd been a long time democratic activist. As Andy noted, Westerners celebrated her election as the first democratic head of state for me and Mar. She even won a Nobel Prize. But the agreement her party had made with the military gave the general significant permanent control over the government. But I think most of the people in the country knew it wasn't real democracy because the military always had 25% seats in the parliament, right? They were in charge of electricity, all these big things, weapons, army, like the military itself. They are in charge of all these things. And they make it very clear. And even with a Nobel Prize, on Song Su Chi did not bite to stop the top madame from pursuing their decades-long wars against the ethnic armed organizations in the hills. Nor did she act to stop their ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people. In fact, she and others in her party didn't even call them Rohingya. They called them Bengali and insisted they were illegally residing in Myanmar, despite mountains of evidence documenting a group by that name, living in what is now the Rohingya state. I think most Americans and Westerners in general can empathize with the feeling of electing someone who promises change and then getting very little of what you'd expected. I think on Song Su Chi used to be this hope that that was like the opposition against the military. But I think when she got power, she couldn't do all the things that she promised to do. Or like, we looked at her before we looked at her as something. Something hope for everyone, for all the ethnic groups and for everyone in the country. But then when she became in power, she mainly focus all these changes for the Myanmar people. Well, the mainland people, the military was still fucking killing people and killing ethnic groups. So they're for the ethnic groups. What's the difference? And so while Andy was hopeful that his country might take a better path, he was not exactly convinced that things were going to get better. Conflict within his family eventually pushed him to make the decision to leave. My dad was very abusive. He would be the shit out of my mother every day like that. It was fine. It was fine when we were younger. We couldn't do anything. We just kind of watched it. But the older we got, the more we involved, the more we tried to stop it. But then we were fight with him too. At some point it became too much. So I left my home I think in 2016 just by myself. I was like, I've been to Minnesota. I will go back here. So Andy lived across the border on his own for more than five years. He'd fallen in love, gotten a home with his own and set himself up in the sort of odd jobs you can do without papers or legal residency. And that's where things were for him when the top Medaugh carried out their coup in early 2021. 2021, February 1st, I was a mess out. I was here and yeah, and the morning I woke up called me my girlfriend and she said the military just did a coup in your country. You should call your family. The military claimed voter fraud and used that as the pretext to stay in power. It's a situation that should be unsettlingly familiar to most of our audience. For a while, Safen Maysot, Andy watched it in horror as he texted with friends and family across the border. The arrest of Alton Soutjean, all the big leaders right at the top. So we were kind of like, okay, I, as someone going to tell us what to do. And especially for us, we didn't have any experiences. We didn't know anything about any of this that I'm talking about right now. I didn't have any knowledge of that. But yeah, so after I think six days, the military cut off the internet like for like two days. And I've lost all contact with everyone inside my family, my friends. And that's the night I started planning it. Like I started thinking, oh, fuck, I should go back. And like, and I saw the protest photos from Miengon. They looked amazing. Right? And I'm like, I'm a photographer. I should be there and you know, document that. Well, Andy was staring at the protest photo. It's from the cap of Myanmar, Napier D'Or, as well as Miao-Wadi, and the largest city, Yangon. Wondering he should take his camera and document yet another rising for democracy in his home country. The young woman named Amira was in the thick of those protests in Yangon. When the coup started, Amira, age 17, had just finished high school. She was looking forward to university, and more impressively looking forward to playing futsal with their friends. She liked to spend her days crafting, he says, making little things to gift or to keep. Like every other day, when she woke up, she spent 10 minutes in medication before facing the world on the 1st of February. Anxam's two key was her hero, she says. In our interview, her boyfriend translated for her. We'll get to their story later. But when the coup began, they lived a world apart. But they joined their whole generation in feeling enraged, but Tampador trying to rip the freedom their parents had fought for from them. Amira took a rage into the street, someone gave her a bullhorn. She said, this is Enfield, and then the arresting of Anxam's G is Enfield, not fair. She believed that she believed in what Dau San Suji said, like everything is possible, and we haven't done anything, we haven't studied yet, but when we studied, we can finish it, so everything is possible. So that's what she believed in, so she won on the road and then she protest. Across the city from Amira on Kude, Meowk's girlfriend woke him up with the news that the government they'd voted for have been arrested. We're calling him Meowk here, because that's his name in the revolution. Everyone has one. Amira's his baby, because she's so young, yet so fierce. Meowk is your wandering, means monkey. These revolutionaries who have risked life and limb for each other didn't know the legal names of the people they call their revolution family, because it's safer that way, and we don't either. Meowk could spend the night, well, I'll let you hear Harry phrase, did actually. I was just like, I was chailing with my ace care for, you know, Harry Chailing, and we were, you know, Nuffly and Chay, Nuffly and Chay, like Tati Wai, Tati Wai, Genoari, Nuffly and Chay, I think it's a Sunday, I think it's Sunday, and Nuffly and Chay, we sleep together. If you didn't catch that, they were Nuffly and Chilling. You know, I was literally no wake up by any louder show, I was so sleepy, but at the full EM, there's a full room, and I suddenly wake up, there's a full room for my girlfriend, her auntie called, called, called, called, and she says, there's a coup d'ethe. Oh, and she wake up, she told me, there's a coup d'ethe, I didn't, you know, I don't believe it, I didn't believe it, so other than I chatted social media, or shit, oh, meow and accurately do this. I'm so angry and I'm so angry, you know, I was cold down, downstairs, and I told to my family, there's a coup d'ethe, everyone's angry, and I do think the internet did cut off. The next revolutionary we're going to mean is a fellow we'll call Dr. Wunder, because that's his revolution name. When the coup started, he was just waking up after a 24 hour shift at the hospital in Yangon where he worked. Doctors were some of the earliest, and most visible, dissidents in the protest. Their rarity, and therefore their relative value to the regime, made them a potent symbol of the pro-democracy movement. But as Dr. Wunder made clear, many older medical professionals were not at all certain that resistance was a right move here. At the money, I saw the news, that bad, it's really bad news for us. How could I say that? They broke, you know, they broke, our future. Doctors were some of the earliest, most visible dissidents in the pro-democracy protest. Their rarity and relative value to the regime made them a potent symbol of the pro-democracy movement. But as Dr. Wunder made clear, many older medical professionals were not at all certain that resistance was a right move. On that money, we go back to our, our, also said, our, our hospital. We are our shen guys, you know, old professors, old concentrators. They not much interest about that. Because they told us, you know, whoever rules our country, it's not our business. It is one of our seniors, doctors from our society, foreign department, pull us like that. But we reply him, no, it should be the last time. If didn't catch that, he said it should be the last time. The last time kids had to die in the streets. They didn't want another generation to have to go through the same thing. So they got together a proposal, a sort of manifesto for peaceful nonviolent resistance. And they submitted it to their seniors. We negotiated with our shen, you know, young resident, our society. We discussed about that. And we plan to start with our, one of our prior movement before, say that this is a criminal. We have got our red report movement. Because we want to try peacefully on the media. Okay. We started like that. And then our, some of our seniors from our society, they were from Mandely Hospital. Okay. They accept our proposal. Yes. Because our generation has already passed that difficulties before. But not your generation should not accept that. Three days before the coup, TK got off a plane in San Francisco. He's from Myanmar, but he lives in the Bay Area now. Before you ask, he says that the Burmese restaurant there is not as good as the stuff back home. It's only three days. Three days before, three days before I, I want back to the, to the United States. And I wish I stay in a jungle and doing the revolution and I participate in a everywhere that I can. But I couldn't do from the, from the long distance. You know, so that's all I can do for now. TK had just been in Myanmar. He had connections to many people on the ground there. His friends were there. His family were there. When the government cut off internet access, he remained able to get good international reporting on the situation in his home country. Slowly, he found ways to communicate with his friends and a growing core of the protesters taking to the streets. I was a keyboard fighter. I have no idea about the politics. I have no idea about military stuff. This is a single most common sentiment we've heard across all the revolution we've met. None of them considered themselves to be very political prior to the coup. They started marching in the street because a military coup was obviously bad. But they stayed there because of violence dished out by the state was so horrific. Say for their house in Mesawe we talk to the boys and his brothers and cousins, all of whom were living in Napierdo when the coup kicked off. It didn't take him long to try and join them. Then I went in, I went to Niawadi which is across the border in Myanmar side. And I was there for a week and it was, it was something else. Like, I've never been to protests. I've never been involved in any of this thing. And I never thought I would be. I don't know. I always thought I wasn't going to be a part of it. But when I went there, the first day I arrived, there were 200,000 people on the street protesting. And then it's like, and this big group of people walking streets after street and everyone coming out of their house. And we have this symbol, like three fingers from Hanger Gang, I think. Yeah. So that's our symbol for democracy now, our movement now. And everyone come out of their house doing that. And given us water, food, everything, it was beautiful. It was something else. It was something else. And then from that day I was like, hook. I was like, okay, this is what I'm going to do now. I'm going to be a photographer and I'm going to end this. You know, and I'm going to, I'm going to take photo of these people and their stories. And I'm going to share it. And that's that's my part. That's my rule. Soon, he found friends among the protesters. Within a few days, he was feeling a feeling that so many people felt in 2020. It's a feeling you felt if you've ever been in a thick of a crowd of people, filled with righteous anger and facing down over well-police or soldiers. It's a sensation I can't really describe to you. You haven't experienced it. But I can say that there's no time that I've ever felt more empowered than the times I've been crushed shoulder with strangers toe-to-toe with state violence and watch cops break and retreat. It's incredible. It's addictive. And if I monitor, it's probably why Robert and I booked a flight to visit a stranger I've been DMing on the ground. I think after three days, I met this group of people, young people, like students trying to be lawyers and stuff. And I figured out that they were the ones trying to organize these big protests. Like 200 people, 100,000 people. They were the ones that's making that happen. So I started kind of following them, trying to get close because I wanted to get stories from them. And then they became they and they realized what I've been doing. They've been watching. So they were like very welcome. And they took me to this hideout that they go to and then we will have discussions and meetings about what we should do the next day. But then it's because it's a small time, right? Slowly, I think police and military started realizing that we are that group too. So by now you're probably wondering what that cover of Dustin and William. It's a song that boys learned when they first took to the streets. But it tells a story of a previous revelation, one that didn't succeed. Can you tell us what that song's about? Like, do you know what the lyrics are and stuff in English? Yeah, yeah. We can try. I heard there were democracy in there, I'm pretty sure. Yeah. It's like all the lines that we're asking, fighting for democracy. The people use it for the spring revolution as well as the 88. Yeah. Because it's the same thing. We can use it. Come on, let's do it. Yeah, look at that. Tell the world and that's the name of the song. Tell the world it's good? Yeah, I tell the world. Tell the world it's good. So basically the song is like, yeah, they sang it in the back in the 88. And then it's like we used it quite a lot when we were in the protest too. Yeah, the lyrics are, we'll keep fighting until the end of the world for the sake of history and revolution in our blood and of the fallen heroes who fought for the democracy. Oh, our dearest heroes, this is the land of heroes. And yeah, it goes on. Yeah, basically saying something like the history went wrong along the way, but we have to fix it. Like the country has shut this blood and how could they commit such violence to its own people? You know, yeah. And yeah, like they say, like the blood on the roads and the streets are not dry yet. And for the sake of these people who have died for the democracy, for the sake of them, we have to keep fighting. Now in their exile, they keep singing it. To remember the first day of the revolution, when the fights were in the street, not the jungle, before they lost so many of their comrades. Yeah. And then that was the night protest in front of the police station. Kindles. Oh, they're singing the song. I got very, very heated. The protest sufferings were just talking about, occurred in meality, but the song popped up all across the country. When you played it in the Angon, you all sent it? Uh, yeah, they, they, and yeah, going wasn't one guitar. It was a whole band. Yeah. Well, we have like protesters sitting down and then there's a group of people who are playing this and repeatedly there are a bunch of songs that will play and then there's like words that we would say and yeah, like so again and so. Yeah. Beam down and you'll see from the footage how it's yeah. Yeah. How do you make your filter in the game now? It's scary, you know what I'm saying? Yeah. The song is very real. So like at first, um, um, we didn't want to play the song. It's too dark. It's too, um, it's too intense, right? That's 40. Yeah. Yeah. But it's not like the lyrus or they're like, you can see it, you know, it's like, because we don't, we've been through it too. So it's very intense and yeah, I think the first time I heard it, like I heard the song, I remember that we were feeling of, yeah, still have it, like every time we sing it now. Like this is not one of the songs that we usually say. Like it's not a fun song. Yeah. Yeah. The more crazy type way to my touch on the next episode, which you'll be able to download tomorrow, we'll talk about how the hunt to began to clamp down on the protests. Now the protesters decided this struggle was too important to abandon and decided to fight back. Enjoy the Anise action like never before with Ben MGM, the official sports betting partner of the NHL, sign up today using bonus code champion and your first wager is risk free up to $1,000. You'll always have instant access to a variety of parlay selection features, player props, and boosted out specials. Just download the bed MGM app today or go to and enter bonus code champion and place your first wager risk free up to $1,000. The bed MGM app is the perfect way to experience the excitement of wagering on hockey now in more markets than ever. Take the ice with the King of Sportsbooks today. Visit for terms and conditions. Must be 21 years of age or older to wager. 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On the iHeart Radio app Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Like many people in Myanmar, the boys weren't usually political before the protests, but what they saw in the streets changed them. This wasn't about the minor disagreement between two parties. It was about fighting for the right to live their life, their a boot on their next. The 2021 election had delivered a victory to Ang San Suu Ki's National League for democracy and delivered a resounding vote of no confidence in the political arm of the top the door, the nation's military. It's worth noting here that yes, we are compressing some complex things. The elections weren't perfect and people in areas that were largely non-burman tend not to support the MLD. The MLD had failed to prevent a genocide, but in a country that was well accustomed to harsh military rule, they remained a better option than a military which saw ruling as its right and its soldiers as separate from the citizens. So when the military lost a record number of seats, everyone knew what would happen next. The same thing that happened in 1988, the same thing that always happened when the people came a little too close to taking power from their military. So that happened on February 1st, 2021 and first few days we didn't know what to do. I mean we knew the military was going to make a coup because one that, an LD won the election. That's how it started, right? And the military saying that they cheated. I don't know how to say, they fucked up the votes and they make themselves win. It wasn't true. The military was not going to win at all. Because like I said, there were changes. People saw those changes and people were saying yes, if she had one more, you know, like four more years, five more years, she could make a real difference. Those first few days of protest, everyone says, they're hopeful. Just like our protagonist and Zor who he met in a previous episode, thousands of young people ran into the streets and found solidarity in a simple politics to fuck that guy. There were so many people, man, it's insane. So in reality, there was I think 200,000 people that day. The march has got bigger every day. And it seemed like nothing could stop them. Briefly, Western news organizations published stories. And everyone hoped that the UN or the US or the EU would show up and the top madame would be dealt with once and for all. I was trying to film but then one of the guys pointed the gun at me and I was like, oh. But none of that happened. The stories stopped. The West never sent a single bullet or soldier and the top madame deployed thousands. Even after a year, all the boys remember the first time they saw the force of the state turned against them. Even before he got out of the border town of Milewati, Andy saw the top madame again to fight back against the movement that had grown up to oppose them. It's a story we heard from everyone we spoke to. Once they began organizing, the cops started trying to infiltrate their groups. I think police and military started realizing that we are that group too. So then they started trying to like track down. So there was one night where two of the guys almost got arrested and then they run away. And then we're like, okay, they're kind of following us. Yeah, yeah. And so after a week, same thing happened. I was living because I wasn't from Yawati. They didn't know I was just in new face. So they didn't really know where I live or you know, and I always like take like two, three taxi just to get to where I was saying. You're staying with like a friend? Yeah, yeah, yeah. But is it the same place or are you like switching? No, that was the same place, but it was out of town. Three of his friends got arrested. They're still in jail. Actually, in jail is the best case scenario because the taught madame make a habit of executing captured activists. The stakes were life and death at every moment and covering the movement on a daily basis took its toll on Andy and his brothers too. So my younger brother, they were in the capital city and the first time the military killed someone. They were there. They were in the same protest. So they saw the whole thing and they were traumatized. And so I thought the second time I went back and I thought, well, you know, like it's better to bring them all together with me. Like in the same place that we do it together than all of that spread out everywhere. And I guess my family's military on the military side. So they didn't like that. My brothers were going out to protest. So then I was like, okay, I'm going to bring you guys. And yeah, so we did all we did the young protest together. Six of us. They came face to face with the potential cost of their struggle. They were in Napierau when that happened. The capital city is Myanmar and it's military city. So it's very heavily controlled by the military. And the first time they went out to the protest, the military shoot people and he was like, yeah, there was like these trucks with a water penance. Yeah. So he got hit by one and like he he wasn't feeling well. So they took him to the ambulance. But then once he got in there, there was a guy without his eyes because they shot like bullets into him. Um, he was fucking traumatized for that. Yeah. Yeah. Remember him. When Andy says Napierau is a military city, he isn't just saying it's a city like Colleen, Texas or San Diego. Napierau is a city created out of nothing starting in 2002 to be a capital for Myanmar. If you've seen it at all, it's probably in a TV show that mocks the totalitarian excess of building seven lane motorways in a city that was until recently only populated by the people building it. Top gear played car football on the empty freeways and the TV show Dark Tourist also featured the city. Today it is a real city with a real population, but everything about it was designed to reinforce authority. And yet the boys and thousands of others took to the streets here. Streets built to reinforce the power of the people they were fighting to demand that the military listen to them. Andy shows us a picture of the man with his eyes shot out. It looks how you think it would and it is worth noting that shooting people's eyes out is a time honored international policing tech. In 2020, US cops shot more than 115 people in the face with less lethal munitions, 30 suffered permanent damage to their eyes. But in Myanmar, everything escalated several levels higher than that. Shooting out eyes wasn't radical violence for the taught Madal. They treated it more like stretching before a run. In one protest, the boys saw some drunk people tossing water bottles at the police. The police responded with live gunfire. From the police come forward, the people are turned to the backside and they retreat. Yeah, it's very intense situation. People are running. They also, some guys during rocks back to the police. Yeah, that's when the police started shooting. Andy translated the next part for us. He was in the protest and then they started shooting and he ran away and by me, I'm a little bit nervous. But he was not in his neighborhood or in his area of the city. He was somewhere else. So when they started running, he didn't have anywhere to go and then someone like a septum at the house, they say, come and come in and he hit but it's not like that. It's not like a train. It's not like a train. It's not like a train. It's not like a train. It's not like a train. It's not like a train. It's not like a train. So yeah, he hit in the house for like two hours until the shooting stopped. It wasn't until they got home that they realized the police had killed someone. In the early days of what became the revolution, people formed tight bonds and made radical commitments in the form of illegal activity. While the top Madal was still scrambling to counter the counter coup, everyone felt the clamp down bite at a different time. It took longer than average for the cops to find a mirror and a carder of revolutionaries. But eventually that day came. It came as she and her friends were gathered in a t-shop preparing for an action. At that time, on that day, they are trying to protect in a Sanjiao Provenience. So before the protest that, they gathering the people at the t-shop. They sit in the table with her teams, including her five people. But she had to go and give the banner to the other groups. So she's leaving just about like this match. Then the soldiers came into the t-shop and arrested her teammates. She's lucky to ask KB. Yeah, really narrow to sit at the table. She could live immediately. So that's how she came here. Because her teammates know where she lives, her house, and everything. So she has no choice to stay in the jungle. But she stays organizing her teams to the protest in the jungle. From here. What do your parents think when she has to leave? So her parents told her the survival is the first. So she can do whatever she wants. But she has to be on her own. They don't agree if she wants to leave, just leave. If she wants to do the protesting or whatever she wants, they don't say no to her. But they're not supporting her. They're just sort of saying she's on her own. That's how last night I told you guys that she lost her inheritance. She has to give up on everything. Ever in San Francisco, TK could see what was happening through his scouts on the ground and soldiers post on Facebook. He started to amass a huge amount of intel. He also knew where the underground groups of the civilians movement centers were in the cities. And when he saw the cops of the military coming for them, he was able to give them a heads up. So whenever we have information from the CDM soldiers, some CDM police, and they gave information to the police. So we got the information. So those guys are going into this place. And then within one hour. So from that place, we were living the underground teams move out. So that kind of teams, we save a lot of people too. And now we got arrested people too, but we also saved people. Everyone we spoke to taught us the same story. They went into the street thinking that if they made enough noise, the world would listen. And that the US or the EU or the UN would defend democracy and evoke their responsibility to protect innocent people being gunned down in the street. To quote from the online publication of the diplomat, endorsed by all member states of the United Nations in 2005, R2P advances a potentially revolutionary idea that state sovereignty entails a responsibility for a government to protect its population from mass atrocity crimes and human rights violations. When a nation fails to exercise this responsibility, R2P grants the international community the legal warrant to intervene. The doctrine authorizes the use of a range of coercive tools with military intervention as a last resort. People in Myanmar thought that if they were peaceful, civil, and respectable, the government of the world would do the right thing. The government of the world, however, didn't give a fuck. But yeah, so the protests are very, very peaceful. You know, it's when you go into the protests. It's very peaceful, very organized, very, it's they try to make it look so clean, so nice because I guess, you know, no, it was at the beginning, they were trying to get attention from the international community and they were hoping that someone will come in and say, you know, take down the military and put our government back. Yeah, a lot of people die. Just like there was a saying like to you and you know, people were saying, how many, like how many dead people do you need for you to take action, right? And there are people saying, I will, if you need one more, I'll be that person. I'll just fucking die. I'll just get killed by the military so that you will come in and fix that and change the situation in the country, right? Amira felt the same. She even organized a protest of 500 people displaying a map of the whole country on the river in Yangon. She called it a suicide mission, but she thought it was send a visible signal to the world and it was worth risking her life to make the statement. At the time, she didn't know anything about politics, so she believed in a R2P because people are protesting peacefully, but the government take the action. So other countries are not going to wait and see and then they're going to take the actions about that. That's what she believed in and then she decided to go protesting peacefully, theater and. Okay. Did she think that other countries, United States, whatever, we're going to come in and intervene? Yeah, that's what she thought. Like, you know, when the war, the government take the actions and the government are killing people and if the war knows and then we can get a have from the other countries. Where they did find support within other countries in Asia fighting against dictatorship, they formed the so-called Milk Tea Alliance and drew on the example of Hong Kong to learn how to stay in the streets when the government doesn't want you there. But then one, it happens in our country. It's like, oh, fuck, where does it happen before? And then we went back to it. Wait, Hong Kong. And there was, it's not just us. Like, there were so much infographics and like, you know, how to be in the protest, how to do certain things, depending on the situation. So we had a lot of information. We were, yeah, we were looking through. And I think that these are the same thing that like people in Hong Kong used, I think. But Hong Kong didn't have sniper shooting kids in the head or cops firing rifles blindly into crowds. But then later on, like by the time we got to Yangon, people were sitting down. They were little protest. What the military does is they were coming and they would just start shooting everyone. There was no, there was no negotiation. There was no, hey guys, can you move and then, you know, any of that stuff. They were coming and they would treat this as a battlefield. And it didn't take a while. It didn't, well, it did take a while, I think. It took about like a month and a half for us to finally say, fuck the peaceful protest, fuck the international community. They're not coming. If they would have come, they would have come a long time ago, you know, and we started fighting back. But when we say we fight back, it's like multiple cocktails, sling shots. Dr. Wondon knew exactly when and how police were killing people. He would spend his days triaging people who would survive from those who might not make it. Soon, the worst nightmares of his medical team were coming through. So police began seizing his colleagues, the alleged crime of saving lives. I remember before the military, the police and the men, a totally, totally intruded our hospital. One day, I think at the middle of the mid. Okay. They totally intruded our hospital because they have hurt our CDM doctors are doing operation at that hospital because we have no more, no, no, another place like that from trauma center. We could give a good treatment for that trauma depression because we have to take a risk. So we cannot take a risk. Soon, one of our concern was arrested at that emergency unit. Okay. Because he took also his risk. If he wasn't here, his junior can't handle that situation. You know, yes, you know, so many tens hundreds injured injuries, injuries, injuries, injuries under the, mostly are cancer patients, you know, some are open at the moment, open limbs. Okay. So we have so many crises on that now. Things only got worse. Yeah, there was a pregnant woman who got shot and obviously with the kid and said her and she died because she accepted like 20 protesters in her house and when they came, they shot her at that. And she wasn't like five weeks or it's, it's, you can see that she was pregnant. I'm not sure you straight up real bullets. Like they don't give a shit. They don't give a shit that the way the military control people is fear. Right. So then they want people to see that if you go against me, you'll die horribly. And they shoot the hat. We saw so many faces with holes and, you know, so many people with holes in their face. And it was fucked up and it was scary because every time you go out, you're saying that could be me. That could be my brothers. That could be, you know, very quickly the revolution organized itself, not with hierarchies, officers or vanguard parties. The people who existed in those roles had already been arrested or fled. So instead, the revolution started with people giving whatever they could to struggle and taking whatever they needed to get by. The revolutionaries re-interviewed all initially thought that the struggle would be sure that the world would come to their aid. But even when it became clear that this was not the case, they continued to fight under the logic that it's better to die than live with a boot on your neck. They took all the leaders from the opposition side. So there was no one to tell us what to do. There was no instructions. Right. So there was like two days of, okay, what the fuck do we do? You know? And then people started protesting a small, like very small. And then I think after like five days, then there was like 200,000 people everywhere. Like, no, that I remember the first day we arrived. I mean, we haven't seen each other since COVID started. So it was like, oh, brothers, you know, back again and together. And then, yeah, it was quite fun for like one night and then we're all hanging out and trying to plan what we're going to do the next day. So basically, we kind of planned that like each of us had a role. And our plan was to go out and kind of be like a media crew, right? So we're filming, we're writing news, we're posting on the internet so that everywhere else people can see it. So yeah, two of us are like the camera people. And then this too, they look out for their roads and streets. Like because these places we've never been, right, Daniel and Andy's areas. So whenever we go to a protest, we'll sit down or we'll walk around and take photos while these two's goes around and look for the fastest escapes. You know, if the military come in, what will be the best way to go? You know, we do, you know, escape. And then him and another one, they kind of look after us, they look at the news to see what's happening around us so that if they're going to post on Facebook saying, oh, there's a military truck heading towards you, we kind of be prepared, you know? Yeah. Yeah. That was a lot of energy. Yeah. Yeah. So we had a lot of energy at that time. It was like, concept, we were going out, out, out. And you can see like, you always fall on. Like that's me and them him. And he's always following me everywhere I go so that it's something happening. And he's grabbed me. Yeah. While the boys and Andy were reporting, Amira found her calling on the front lines. It's almost impossible to stress how incredible she is. Before we recorded, she casually dropped into conversation that she also trained in knife fighting sometimes. We met her at a shooting range near my sought and blasted a few paper targets together with a 12 gauge shotgun we'd been using for a bit of target practice. When it jammed and it always jammed, she cleared the chamber and got it back into action with a practice deficiency that any formally trained soldier would have recognized. In the revolution, it didn't take long for her to find her way to the front lines. And she's got the scars to prove it, including some from hucking a tear gas grenade bare handed back at the cops. Others adopted roles too. Some picked up shields and took on the police toe to toe. Others supported protesters with medical aid and food and water. So you can see the shield to three, four, five, two, yeah, to make it. And then you can see like, they have these wet, like, plastic bags to like wash people's faces when they're tear gas or like to kill the smokes with the wet towels to. And then there's someone always watering it like you see here. And this is all from the neighborhood like they provided to us. They built barricades and even developed a system of communications for when things were getting violent. This allowed folks who were not comfortable to get away or at least that was the goal. So the wife flag means like we have this place like this is our, but then the black flag means we'll fuck you up back. Like if you've done so much that we're gonna fuck you up, you know. I have a video of it when it changed from white to black. Their tactics improved over time. When one group got kettled, another group would pop up nearby and dry soldiers away. Oh, yeah, yeah. So wait. And then there was one time when one part of the city was under attacked by the military. A lot of protesters were trapped in there. And so we decided to go out. So every other part of the city came out at night time to protest so that the soldiers have to connect. Amira too came face to face with state violence. She wants to take the action back because they are all protesting peacefully. And at the time she wants to have a superpower. Yeah. What is she, what did she decide to do? What did they do? At that time, and she feels like she's going to the act. And then she will keep moving. And then she will participate in every role that she can. And then she will do as much as she can. That's what she decided to do. We saw that picture of her in front of the car and it was burning. Yeah. Where it happened there. Were they throwing Molotov cocktails? Yeah. Okay. So like smoke bombs and then something like that. And then she's trying to throw them back. Oh, they've seen the picture. Yeah, yeah. So she picked it up and then she threw them back. Did you hurt your hand? Yeah, you have a scar. Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah. Then she got hit by the smoke bomb like a twig. And then at that time she lost everything. She lost her bags. She lost her phones. And then someone had her to hold and then took her back. Okay. That's how she escaped. Wow. Yeah. They helped you. Do you know who helped you? Was it a friend or a stranger? Her friends is with her. And then I won the tear gas. Hit them. And then the other strangers have them. And then she got hit by the tear gas and then she almost fainted and then blacked out. Our doctor who goes by wonder face a difficult choice. Returning to the hospital meant risking arrest. The military could come in at any time to arrest injured protesters and the doctors helping them. But not going back meant letting his comrades die. A state violence increased. He decided he needed to help. They killed so many waste food protesters on that day. I think around about nearly around about 100 or more. Might be more than that. We see. Yes. On that day, you know, or because we have already we have already started. Similar this already a movement on that time. Yeah. Because we didn't go that hospital. That was ruined by that generous. Okay. Okay. So we did outside the hospital. You know, we we managed. Temporarily camp like that. For emergency injury patient. At that time, I was involved. One of the camps. Yeah. Because but actually we can do some of the injured with that. Many need for emergency operation. Like that bullet go through. Yeah. Go to break the bones and open wound. Yeah. So but we have to take the risk. Because we have to operate that patient. We go to hospital. Toma emergency department. We did our operation. I remember that night one of the patients was shot down by police and they chased they followed that patient. We kept that patient in our hospital in our war. We emergency. We did emergency operation at that night. On that night. And we imagine move him out on that night because we can keep him on that hospital because soon he just left our hospital. The police just came and started following. Okay. So this is one of our I students. It was just point there again. Yeah. Where is that guy? TK got on telegram. Lots of people couldn't be on the ground fighting but they still wanted to be part of this struggle. He developed good connections with people on the ground. But first that was just him desperately trying to stay informed. But soon he realized he was well placed to be doing the informing with internet access cut off and VPNs flowing down. Only someone outside the country with blazing fast Bay Area Wi-Fi could collate all the info coming in. Turn it into useful actionable advice for protesters on the ground. At that time we don't let in about it. No one's teaching us what to do. So we have to do it. Do it. You know, like we met we like I said we have 70 people so we have a meeting every day every night. So we try to brainstorming what we're going to do. Yeah. And so we make it we make it the plans and then we make it like that. Okay. We're going to get the information from everything that details that we can get. And that's we're going to show to the people. That's what we're going to show to the underground teams and other people. Within a few weeks it become clear that a diverse range of people tactics and tools are going to be needed in the fight for freedom in Myanmar. Next time we'll talk about how that fight took shape and tell you what it's like today. At Long Town, Silvers throw boring overboard with efficient shrimp feast, dip in our signature batter and fry to golden perfection. Complete your feast with Wisconsin White cheddar cheese bites and ride a wave of multi goodness order ahead at Long Town, Fish yeah. On this season of righteous convictions with Jason Flom, I speak with the brave souls who've seen some of the worst in our society. I knew that the only way for me to go home was if the law changed and they became the best. Our organization uninstalled in oligarch by just educating people. So it can be done. Listen to season three of righteous convictions with Jason Flom from Lava for Good Podcasts on the iHeart Radio app Apple Podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. There is a long standing urban legend in Los Angeles County. The Sheriff's Department is the biggest gang on the streets. They've got matching tattoos, they steal from people, brutally beat them, even kill them. This is a tradition of violence, a podcast investigating the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's deputy gangs. Is there a culture of violence inside the Sheriff's Department? Well these guys are violent. I mean no kill you. There's a deep cancer that's seeped into the department. It's going to really be hard to get rid of. These gangs have badges. Unlimited resources paid for by you, the taxpayer. And there's not safe. Not safe. Not safe. Not safe. Listen to a tradition of violence wherever you get your podcasts. Sitting at a pool bar in Mesaught, listening to covers of credence songs by the Houseband and losing at pool against Andy and the boys, it's hard to think of them hold up behind a barricade clutching Molotovs. But not so long ago, the choices the boys faced were pretty stark. Every day, every time they went out from their little apartment, they knew they might not come back. But I think the most fucked up thing that we had to plan was what did someone get shot, one of us and the other person have to go carry. Who do you go? Who gets hit? And we had to kind of like what we did just now. But like, okay, if I get hit, two of you, this and this person will come out and do this to me. Because it's, I don't know, I think we were planning because it's just good to have that. Because if someone gets shot and if all five of us go running there, there's more targets. If someone with that's weight gets shot, then this person go, if someone heavier gets shot, this two person go, something like that. When Andy says like we did earlier, he's talking about a small stop the bleed type course that we had given the boys. Most journalists operating in war zones will take at minimum a week long hostile environment and first aid training or heat fat course. Many of us will take extra courses. James and I both refreshed our wilderness first responder certificates once we had this trip planned. Andy and his brothers didn't have access to any of this. They learned what they could off the internet and tried to protect themselves as best as they were able with gear they purchased from an airsoft store. The afternoon we spent practicing skills wasn't nearly enough, but until they can travel safely more than a few miles from the border, it was better than nothing. Their little apartment had one way in and one way out. If the cops came, there was no escape. They had a plan for that too. Yeah, so our plan was literally just to burn that fucking door down. So then it would be difficult for them to come in and then we'll do whatever we came with the weapon we had. But we weren't going to make it up. And I haven't do plan all that with these kids. It's like fucked up. They were times that they wake up at night screaming. I think now it's better. It's been a year and a half. We're better at coping with it. But at that time it was very, very scary. So that they'd be prepared to burn their door and the rest of their apartment down around themselves, the boys kept a stockpile of Molotovs mixed and ready by the front door at all times. They lived in a state of permanent readiness to commit revolutionary suicide for weeks on end. Eventually, they decided they had to flee. We should probably talk history here for just a little bit. Myanmar is a new name for a very old land. Over the centuries, it's been ruled by a series of empires and dynasties. The Mongols took over for a while in the 1200s and 1300s and when they left, lower Burma had a warring states period of its own. The modern nation of Burma didn't start to come together until the 1600s and 1700s and things didn't really congeal into a state until the reign of the last two Burmese kings who industrialized the country and reformed its military enough to win a series of wars against neighboring groups like the Urakan. This is what brought them into conflict with the British Raj right at the turn of the 19th century. Their wars were sending refugees into India and the Burmese kings designs on Thailand and British controlled Bangladesh led to a policy wherein the bridge supported insurgent fighters who struck out at Burmese positions. A series of near clashes between British and Burmese forces followed and in January of 1824, the Burmese king Bhagidha gave his generals the order to attack. A pair of brutal jungle wars followed. Despite winning several victories early on, Burmese troops were crushed comprehensively whenever they engaged British forces in conventional battles. In January of 1886, British forces entered the capital, Mandalay, and brought an in to Burmese independence for almost 60 years. These are the broad strokes of the story as you'll find them summed up in almost any history book. As with most colonial history, the reality is somewhat messier than that. The Burmese empire, the British destroyed, was dominated heavily by the Buma people who gave the colony its name. But there were other peoples in the territory they claimed. The Shinn, the Karin, Uraken, the Rohingya, and dozens more. Like most empires dominated by a single ethnicity, they were brutal. Father San Germano, who lived in pre-Raj Burma, wrote of the king. He is considered by himself and others absolute lord of the lives, properties, and personal services of his subjects. He exalts and oppresses, confers, and takes away honor and rank, and without any process of law, can put to death not only criminals guilty of capital offenses, but any individual who happens to incur his displeasure. It is here a perilous thing for a person to become distinguished for wealth and possessions. For the day may easily come when he will be charged with some supposed crime, and so put to death, in order that his property may be confiscated. Every subject is the Emperor's born slave, and when he calls anyone his slave, he thinks thereby to do him honor. Hence, also, he considers himself entitled to employ his subjects in any work of service, without salary or pay, and if he makes them any recompense, it is done not from a sense of justice, but as an act of bounty. And while Baggitah was a fairly modern king, brutality like this went back hundreds of years in the region. Most of the kings and princes and other people who ruled the land we now call Myanmar did so with brutal force and an awful lot of conscription. This is broadly true of much of Southeast Asia. Western histories of this region tend to flatten life into kingdoms and empires and assume life in their region coincided politically with the lion's drawn on maps. This was never the case. Much of mainland Southeast Asia, from the central highlands of Vietnam through Myanmar, northeast India, and several southern Chinese provinces, is filled with terrifying mountains and brutal hills, covered with the densest jungle imaginable. Standing in May sought and staring across the border into Myanmar, all you see is a vast expanse of jagged, deep green peaks rolling in listening on. James and I are both experienced backpackers, and neither of us would have wanted to take on that terrain without quality gear and weeks of endurance training. In an era before planes, helicopters or satellite communications, this area was practically ungovernable. People were aware of this at the time, and for roughly the last two thousand years, this chunk of highland Southeast Asia, known to political scientists as Zomia, has been a refuge for people pushed out and put down by the great state powers of the area. Empires and kings would stick to the coasts and the flat plains perfect for cultivating rice. When they taxed their subjects too hard or conscripted too many of them into the military, some would flee to the hills to take their freedom. As James sees Scott, a Yale polypsi-professor writes, the frontier operated as a rough and ready homeostatic device. The more estate pressed at subjects, the fewer subjects it had, the frontier underwrote freedom. He calls the people who chose to inhabit this stateless zone, barbarians by choice. While many of these ethnic groups were mocked for their lack of so-called civilized values, like widespread literacy, Scott argues that this lack was actually a conscious rejection. Their refusal to educate themselves in a manner acceptable to the powers of the day was a rebellion against the legitimacy of those powers and their standards. Human history and our modern globe is filled with places like this, muddied areas at the borders of great powers where the detritus of war, refugees and beaten soldiers, can congregate without fear of the state. The term for these places is shatter zones. Rojava, the radical feminist enclave in northeast Syria, would be one example of a shatter zone, and the unique political potential such places have. Myanmar is, by landmass, mostly shatter zones, and since 1949, different ethnic armed organizations have existed in a more or less constant conflict with the state. This includes the current people whose territory borders Thailand. When the young millennial and zoomer protesters in the cities realized that we're going to have to flee their homes to continue the fight, current territory was a natural place to retreat to. People had been making versions of the same decision for 2,000 years. The current situation between the Korean and Myanmar's military honta actually owes a lot to the British Empire. When they took over in Myanmar, they had to figure out how to govern it, and they went with the tactic that had served them well all across India and Africa. They picked a minority ethnic group to act as their colonial shock troops. In Uganda, they preferred warrior race with a kakwa people from whom future dictator Idiamine descended. For their colonial troops in India, the Brits used Sikhs and Gurkhas, and in colonial Burma. They used the Kharin. Ever since the British left, the Kharin have wanted as little as possible to do with the central government in Napida. Instead, they fought to maintain Kha'ulay, a land without darkness, as they were promised in Burma's 1948 constitution. Today, they might not be recognized by the UN or the US, but the Kharin have their own schools, hospitals and army. They have been at war since 1949. Andy, whose father is Kharin, only really found out about the struggle for Kha'ulay, a home for the Kharin language peoples, when he became a refugee. He moved into the camps along the border after the Safran revolution. He was only 8 years old. The border is dotted with camps, some of them more like towns, but they're always temporary, and while the Thai government tolerates the Kharin presence, people there are seen as temporarily displaced. They can't build solid homes, and don't have the identity documents they need to travel, even internally in Thailand. Despite not growing up there, Andy's identity card says Kharin. It doesn't take a PhD in history to know that ethnic identity cards issued by Imperial and formerly post-colonial governments are bad news. But if you need more information about that, maybe Google ID cards, comma, rawanda. Like most people in most places, the young people from Myanmar we talked to had thought relatively little about the injustices on the edge of their world. They tended to think of the Kharin as terrorist up in the hills, rather than freedom fighters. But once the top medallists started unloading machine guns into crowds, people were confronted with the reality of a situation that they'd been able to ignore before. Suddenly, they saw that the Kharin and other marginalized ethnic groups were victims of the same government violence that they now faced. And now that the scales had fallen from their eyes, they were going to do something about it. The main majority of groups, people, they are Kharin people, which is another ethnic groups from Myanmar. And they had a different view, right? Because obviously the military, while we were, like, because we were born in the city, we were more like, you know, like we didn't suffer that much, even though it wasn't that great, you know, but then for them, the military come to their states, the military come to their villages, they burn the villages, they kill the people, they raid the people, you know, they do all these atrocities. So then they have a very different view on the Myanmar military and how the country is, you know, working, doing. And so that's when I started learning how shit, like there is some other stuff going on in the country. But you know, like you kind of just like you kind of just live with your life, you know, your kid, you're trying to, I don't know, get by a day to day, like, so you didn't really think about it. And for me, that go that go that went on for a long time until the military could happen in Myanmar. The present revolution is not the only flare-up of the international violence in the country. In 2017, the Tatmadaur under Ming An Klan began a conservative campaign of genocidal ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people, a largely Muslim ethnic group who live in the country's Rakhine state. The Tatmadaur claiming the Rohingya were variously terrorists or illegal immigrants native to modern-day Bangladesh and hence not native to Myanmar, spent months raping, killing and burning the villages of the Rohingya people while the world perhaps distracted by neoliberal consensus which demonized as both migrants and Muslims did fuck all to stop them. In Myanmar, nobody spoke about the genocide, at least not in those terms. Most people didn't even speak about the Rohingya in those terms, because Tatmadaur propaganda was so effective that citizens in Yangon really believed that the Rohingya were migrants and terrorists coming from Bangladesh. Government newspapers like the new light of Myanmar published daily stories linking them to groups like ISIS or al-Qaeda, who, despite their best efforts, remained totally irrelevant in this story. Bots popped up on Facebook, which is basically synonymous with the internet for many people living in Myanmar, and fed a steady diet of anti-Rahingya hate speech into a political discourse, gradually shifting the overtone window towards genocide. Without better information, most people believe them. And these Western friends, probably weirdos like me who had crept into his DMs at some point, started to ask him questions. So the Rohingya thing happened in 2017. I was 17 and we started hearing, I started getting phone calls from my friends in the Western countries, like Westerners, they would be like, hey, what's happening in your country? Why are you killing all the Muslims? And I'm like mess out Thailand. I'm like, I don't know what you're talking about. I've never heard anything like that, right? And so yeah, and then I try to learn a little bit more, but everyone has so intense opinions about it. At some point I'm like, oh fuck, I don't know, anymore. Because the military was in control at that time still. So they control the news, they control the media, they control it's the same thing. You know, like they control who was saying what? And so we'd never hear about it that much. If you only, if only you care so much and you're following everyone that is saying, you know, the truth, then you know, but otherwise you didn't know, it was all very blurry, very, so that's another time when I'm like, oh fuck, like I don't know what to do. I'm just gonna, you know, and then when I'm with my life. And yeah, I never realized how much like how much they had to suffer and they are still suffering, right? No number of international protests had stopped the ethnic cleansing of the Rhaenya as they huddled hidden in their apartment. Andy and his brothers began to embrace the need for deadly violence against their oppressors. We never had any plans, actually. We were just like, no, I think I remember, it's like, that was not really planned. It was like they killed our people who were fucking hurt them back, you know. It wasn't to get their guns or shoot them back. Like we didn't even know how to use any of that, you know. And honestly, we didn't even want to kill them. We just want to be like, you can't do these things and not feel, not feel any, anything, you know, not feel any consequences of that. Like we're not fucking, we're not animals, you know, you can't just come in and killed one of our friends and think that we're not gonna do anything back, you know. Like if we let that happen, then they're never gonna stop. You know, you, they were trying to scare us and we were trying to scare them back, but they actually killed people. We didn't. We never wanted to kill anyone, you know. Andy's situation felt hopeless at this stage, trapped at the Capitol and watching his friends disappear one by one. It seemed like he was running out of options. Thousands of young people in Myanmar felt the same and some of them decided to take an option they hadn't even known existed a few weeks earlier. While we were in May, we conducted a phone interview with a former rebel fighter named Alex. Like everyone else we talked to, he woke up on the first to February to find out that his phone didn't work and the internet was out. Yeah, I thought like it was just, you know, like something wrong with my phone and then like I started talking to my friends and all my friends are having the same problems. So we looked down and everybody is like rushing down to the market because we live close to the market and like you know, like doing like like a lot of rise and like food to like stove because we know when or what's gonna happen. Like everyone else, he wasn't that into politics, but he was absolutely not into having the military fuck with every aspect of his life. So he got into the streets. At first like we are not like that into the politics and stuff. So we didn't know. But you know, like they can even like shut down the internet. It's kind of like controlling our life. Right. So like if they can even do that, like, you know, like we cannot imagine like what other things they can do and which they did like killing the innocents and stuff. So yeah, at first we just like, oh yeah, we need to do something about this and then join the protest. He and his friends later found a shop to buy gas masks, tasers and goggles. But even with all their gear, they were powerless against soldiers with guns and tear gas. He said that the next few weeks were hard. The protests were less and less safe, but nobody dared to talk about their plans to take the fight to the military. Every mom was worried about informants and snitches. We didn't really like actually talk about those stuff like we're only like discussing about, you know, like protest and also like how to get attention from the like embassies and stuff. But for like fighting back and you know, like going on the walls or like I think like almost everyone they just decide on their own unless they have super like press their friends. By April, he says he's seen people die in the streets. He decided the protesting wasn't working and he needed to pick up a gun. The only problem was he didn't have one, nor did his friends. He knew some people who had guns and hated the tomato, but he'd been raised his whole life to think of them as terrorists. Before this, we be you know like brainwashed by the military, like pretty much our whole life. So you know, we always think our ethnic groups are like, like, you know, they were okay like whoever they see or anything like it just terrorists, terrorists, right? That's what like the military like make us believe our whole life. And I was kind of scared to like trying them because like, yeah, I didn't know like, you know, how to live there or like if they gonna came in just because like I don't speak her own. So yeah. It was bizarrely his boss who hooked him up with the rebels and the hills, but he couldn't tell anyone he was going. In case they got captured or turned out to be a snitch. Instead, he packed his bag with some resolve clothes, didn't even say goodbye to his family and took a bus. He got off that bus and waited until a man in the car picked him up. By that night, he was in the jungle. During the first night there, like, you know, we have to go guard like one or the leader from the jungle like you like train us by you like walk in the dark in the forest. So we have to walk to like somewhere we don't even know. And we have to sleep in the like the jungle. He'd read about the PDF on Facebook, but suddenly he found himself among them. Technically, there would stink unit fighting for a return to democracy, but in practice, they're trained and equipped by the Karen National Liberation Army who've been fighting for federal democracy for decades. Pretty soon, his opinion of the Karen had changed. Well, like during my time, I did some observation about them. Yeah, it was like obvious like the government is not the current people fighting the government are the military. The military has been like invading the current villages like Karen and then. And yeah, they've been like banning down their like, villagers like raven of rumors, you know, killing the people for like many years. So they cannot do anything but to fight back. You know, they have to fight back to Proto-Delland. Just like Zor, they're now deceased Rebel soldier who interviewed for our last series. Alex received rudimentary training. He'd never fired a gun before and supplies were very limited, but he's still got a kick out of sending a few rounds down range. Like not even in my dream, like I never thought like I would be like holding a gun or like shooting it. So it's pretty good. Yeah, what kind of gun was it? Was it a.22 or was it, you know, the first one was.22? Was it handmade or was it, you know, uh, no, it's not handmade, but it's kind of pretty old. Yeah, even in the jungle, they were worried about moles. It took a while to make friends, he says, but eventually he fell in with a cop who had defected a photographer and a construction worker. Their plan, he says, was to train up in the jungle and then go home and find the cities. Like our idea was, you know, like we went there and trained for a few months and then go back to the city. And like, and we thought like it's going to be like a huge war in the cities, like in Yangol or Manalay and also like everywhere in Myanmar. But yeah, it didn't turn out like that. But instead, he found himself pulling sentry duty in a jungle. For a city kit, it was scary alone out there in the night with a gun surrounded by potential threats. I feel like, you know, like, okay, like it's going to have a tonight. Like they're going to come to our base tonight. So I'm going to have to shoot that. I have to pull down my people that funny though, but it'll happen. Yeah, I'll expend eight months in a field, pulling sentry duty and learning the skills of a soldier. But without arms and ammunition, there wasn't much you could do. In his whole time training, he says he only fired five shots. I feel kind of useless because we don't have like enough guns. And you know, like so by the time like there was an like a strike, having this in me, uh, Lakey go. And I thought like, oh, we're gonna have to like go and you know, like fight them now. But instead, like we have to pack our stuff and move to a deeper jungle. So we're like kind of like refugees with uniforms. But yeah, you know, if I'm just keep staying there, like we if we are just going to keep running away like this, like I don't want to stay there. I want to do something about the needs, like the main needs in our countries, the weapons, guns. So I want to like come here and like work for that. The transition was hard. The eight months, he hadn't seen a light bulb or a flashing toilet. Now, he crossed a river and everything seemed normal. Every kind of weird like, you know, from the jungle, I met how it just a small river across. And then like the life here is totally different. Like people are living their normal life and not having to like worry for like anything. So like, it was like the whole time I was in jungle, you know, like we have to worry about our country and like we don't want to live a normal life and take the mid, you know, like the military is called. So like, but then I can't everyone is living a normal life and it just only one river crossed. Now that he is across the river, we won't say where. He's still part of the revolution. He's raising money and doing interviews like this, trying to organize medical supplies, and hoping that one day he can return to his country, not as a refugee with a uniform, but perhaps as a soldier, liberating his people or better yet as a citizen in a free democracy. Miyak wasn't ready to be a refugee quite yet. He quickly found a role for himself in the militant side of what had become a full-fledged civil war. Before the coup, he'd been studying engineering at university and he liked to understand how things worked. Although Alex and his comrades had a critical shortage of weapons, Miyak didn't only make guns at first. He made bombs too, using knowledge that he'd gained after traveling into the jungle and getting training from Karin experts and explosives. And as he told us, they were very effective. Do you think the explosives took out any soldiers? Of course. They are explosives. They are for the beating. They are explosive for their bees. They are some of the trouble. They can't hit the ball and try to cut off the ball. They are just a slow. They die. So, they try to cut off the wire. Cut off the wire. But they die. So, it's like my best memory is that we are using the very first ETN in Tengenju. Now, this revolutionary thing is the whole thing is the arrest. When the EDM ball, we had the ambulance point. The ambulance track is coming here. This is my best memory. Yes. Wow. So, the bomb goes off and they have to send in five ambulance. Yes. Yes. Yes. Was it soldiers or police? Soldiers. Soldiers. Yes. The soldiers who checked the road. Yeah. It was just bombs that the young rebels learned about. They also shattered many of their misconceptions about the roles of men and women. As women like Amir, stepped up to the front lines and fought alongside their male comrades. It became hard to ignore the sexism which underpinned much of traditional Burmese culture. The music you just heard from a young punk band called Rebel Riot gave us permission to use it here. They have some great songs about the spring revolution and this one focuses on the role of women. In a video, you see young women in the streets and then you see them in the jungles carrying M16s. Myanmar might previously have had a woman leader but gender equality had been far from universal. Andy told us a story about this and we recorded it but it was our last night in the country and we were on our way to another spectacular hangover. One that would see me vomiting with such rosy on a flight that an elderly Thai lady took pity on me and gave me her shopping bag once I filled up my sick bag. In the second month of the revolution, Andy said, when they were in Yangon, the protesters would build giant barricades to keep the police back. We've seen videos of these, they're pretty impressive, huge mounds of pallets, boxes and burning tires. We've got some other audio of him describing them. No, we could never get close to the military. It was never attack, it was always defense. So later on when we started seeing how military crack down these protesters, we started building these gates and sandbags in our every base in the Yangon, Nellody, whatever across the country. We started building these barriers so that the military trucks cannot just come in. It's actually crazy because sometimes to build these things, you have to take over the road first. So like a main road or a highway. So then what we do is all these little groups will gather. So one street, two street, three street, you know, and then we will go to that street or we will walk down the street saying we're going to try to take over this street. Please come join. People will come down, people will come down from the streets, from the buildings. And then we go to the next street, we say the same thing and then people would join. Nothing they did could stand up to a tank though, just as that shopping bag couldn't stand up to James's vomit. The military started using human shields to get through the barricades and the groups of people throwing Molotovs. Usually we would defend our places, right? We would use Molotov slingshots and we would resist, like we will be behind the gate but we will kind of make them cannot come too far, you know. But when the military have someone that they're gunpointing just a normal civilian and making him move, we can't do anything man, like we can't go through Molotov, you know. So that's when the military cleaned out all of that in Yangon I think. There was a time when it was packed, it was every road had it, every street had it and everyone was guarding that, right? But then when the military started and they said it in the statement, they were saying, if that's near your house, you're responsible. Then they came up with a better idea. In Burmese culture, men fear passing under women's clothing. If it's hanging on a washing line, they'll go around rather than under it. It is, as Andy told us, bullshit. So they decided to turn that bullshit back on the troops and they grabbed as many women's long jeez, a traditional garment worn around the waist like a serong as they could and hung them up above their barricade. It worked he said and just like that, a generation of Burmese kids realized that sexism hurts everyone who perpetuates it. Miak told us an interesting story about this. He said the first time he met his fiancee, he thought that she was pretty sharp for a girl. That he says now was his bad. Mi'an Mar, he says, has some gender hang-ups. But he soon realized that she was the bravest person he knew. They went to protest together and when something needed moving from one town to another, they took advantage of those gender hang-ups and her bravery and she risked her life carrying weapons in her bags on inner city buses. We'll let him tell you how they met. It's like we met on the meeting like we started making, maybe it was in the very first week of match to make it. Very, very, very respite memories. The name of the meeting is brainstorming. Okay brainstorming. The name of the meeting is brainstorming. I do not know. She is very respite. She said the very thoughtful things. Oh she is so thoughtful. I don't even think. In the memory, culture is there is a trend. So why is it always good like people? Is it a trend? Something like that. So I thought, oh she is really good or does she is okay? This is my bad, I'm some kind of a dousta. But later, I met with her on the project. So I thought she is so beautiful. I thought she had just done the 20 years of dance but later we knew. We keep doing together the things and she is my bad guy. I was on ground like this. Whatever I have, I have entangles, I all the counter-haha. We asked him if he worried she'd get arrested while she was making trips into the mountains with guns and bombs. But he said no. Was it hard to leave her to go to the jungle? Because she could get arrested, you could do it. Oh no, she is very clever. So I never worry about her. I just worry about mine. So she is more secret and she is more clever than me. So she only teach me how to be clever. Much like me, Yag. An area was falling in love as well. How relationship was a bit different though? At first, we were in a group chat. But then did you make the private chat? He started the private chat. I think I did. Because at that time, I feel like, oh, she is so young. At that time, she is not even 18. She is 17 years old and she is leading the one of the Procats team. So I'm like, wow. This girl is like amazing. Right? Yeah. So that's how I met her and that's how I, you know, try to hit her. Now admittedly, TK, the security guy, is translating here. He is also her boyfriend. And for now, he is here with her to make sure she is okay. When we met them both, it was just weeks after he arrived in Thailand and the two had met in person for the very first time. It's a kind of story you can't help but find touching. Two people and opposite sides of the world, united by a fight for justice and the bonds of revolutionary care. At least it's a nice counterweight to all the stories of death and violence, which we'll have more of you tomorrow on part four of this series. On this season of righteous convictions with Jason Flom, I speak with the brave souls who have seen some of the worst in our society. I knew that the only way for me to go home was if the law changed and they became the best. Our organization uninstalled in oligarch by just educating people. So it can be done. Listen to season three of righteous convictions with Jason Flom from Lava for Good Podcasts on the iHeart Radio app Apple Podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. There is a long standing urban legend in Los Angeles County. The Sheriff's Department is the biggest gang on the streets. They've got matching tattoos, they steal from people, brutally beat them, even kill them. This is a tradition of violence, a podcast investigating the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's deputy gangs. Is there a culture of violence inside the Sheriff's Department? Well, these guys are violent. I mean, no kill you. There's a deep cancer that's seeped into the department. It's going to really be hard to get rid of. These gangs have badges. Unlimited resources paid for by you, the taxpayer. And let us not say, not say, not say, not say. Listen to a tradition of violence wherever you get your podcasts. Through the time we're reporting this story, Robert and I walked miles and miles around the streets, Maysort. Being the only two journalists in town and also both giant white guys, we kind of stood out and taking a taxi to a sensitive interview isn't always a smart choice. Even when it was, they frequently dropped us off in a wrong place and we didn't walk in any way. Everyone in Maysort rides scooters, but riding without a helmet can get you a fine. We figured that it's relative novices to the world of scooting. We probably fuck something up and it'd be better off walking. When the time came to meet me out though, he offered us a ride. That was very nice, but it put us in an interesting position. What exactly do you say when a guy you've never met who is a friend of a guy you DM'd on Reddit who knows engaged in the illegal production and smuggling of guns into a war zone offered to pick you up at a cafe so you can go over dinner? We decided to call our friend. A long-suffering guy we go to when we have a security question. Paul, his request, we're keeping him anonymous, but he works in security and has an extensive professional background dealing with situations just like this or maybe mostly like this. Yeah, so basically we're meeting with these people. We don't have an established human chain with them of trust. They're just a reddit account that James has been talking with, but for like six or seven months, it doesn't really seem like there's much else we can do besides keep our eyes open and try to be in an individual place. Yeah, I mean the big concern is that it would be the government, which is not. From what you guys have said, the government simply doesn't have the wherewithal to do operations like this. I mean rebel groups like this, they're trying, they want to get everything out there they can. So yeah, is there a concern about the fact that you don't have a chain of people that can vouch for each other? Yeah, but the situation there in them, everything's in their favor, everything's in your favor. Even minor cultural faux pas shouldn't be an issue. With Paul's help, we came up with a watertight plan. I should note here that he was at least as concerned with our fate as he was with the fate of the pair of pants he'd loaned James for the trip. And I mean, yeah, it's a story that needs to get out. So being slightly lax on the rules, well, knowing that it's in everybody's favor that it goes well, I guess you got to bend the rules sometimes. Yep. I guess we'll check in. Yeah. We'll try and do proof of life. Yeah, we'll do a proof of life. I will send you a picture of James holding a piece of paper that says big wife guy. And if we are kidnapped, I'll send you a picture of me that says Elon Musk will be a good custodian of Twitter. Yeah. Okay, I'll know that that's the that's the sign and you know, all get a black octave. Yeah, yeah, I'll figure out something. Yeah, me and a few friends will be on our way. That sounds awful. Yeah. James has my favorite pants. Yeah, you got to get those pants back. Right. Yeah, I'll wet them. Oh, yeah, this is all about the pants. If I find James dead body, I'm clinging those pants off. Luckily, both I and Paul's trousers made it back that night. The only damage was to several delicious plates of food, meowke, his fiance, and their godfather were the most gracious hosts. And we decided not to record that first night. Instead, we met up the next day. But there is one thing from that night that I want to share with you. Rather than explaining it, I'll let the song meowke played for us, talk to you through the beautiful medium of punk music. Bella Chow, of course, is an anti-fascist anthem. The Nits original version tells the story of a young partisan who says goodbye to his girlfriend before he goes off to fight Italian fascists. If he dies, he says he wants to be buried under a flower in the mountains. So people will see it and remember him. After a few months of revolution, all our characters found themselves mourning their friends, and many of them were in the mountains. Their struggle is one they see in the same vein as the Italian partisan who fought fascists who mined their mountains. The anti-fascists who came from around the world to fight the Spanish Civil War. I first heard that song, Bella Chow, from a Spanish Civil War veteran. And it's a strange closing of the loop to be here sitting, hearing it, with young people who, just like the Spanish Republicans, are fighting a coup with next to no international support and a critical shortage of weapons. But meowke was trying his best to fix their shortage. A month into what would become the spring revolution, and the stakes would become clear when the first protestor would shot and they kept marching. When people decided to go back into the streets, they showed that the future of their country was worth dying for. A few weeks later, some of them decided it was also worth killing for. It was about then that meowke's buddy, in Keen Reddit used a daddy UMCD, said he'd been online. They reckon they could use their 3D printers a steel pipe and the expertise of some strengths on the internet to arm themselves. The promise of revolutionary technology would take quite some time to have any kind of battlefield impact in Myanmar. But the effects of a different kind of revolution would be felt immediately. But the nation's young activists took up arms against their government. I was like, I'm interested in highways and 3D printing, especially my profession, is aggrando some virtual reality and one to test 3D printing is my hobby, so I just do, I just download some files from a thinking person or other 3D printing criminality and just do it for my task. It's not specially, especially like desk toys and stuff. Yeah, just twice, yes. What did you think of guns then? I have never imagined about Keen because we have been living in a military booth for a long time, so we are afraid of soldier, especially not the soldier, especially the gun that they hold. So we are so afraid of that, so we never imagined. Like, we are the same as in North Korea, we are so afraid of that. So we never imagined of making gun, but after that story began. At first, Miyalkin's team felt safe. Despite the dangerous nature of their work, he felt that the top model was so behind the times they wouldn't even know what a 3D printer was. Like at those times, the military didn't know or didn't give out a 5-ball a 3D printer, so it is okay at those times. It's really okay. One day came, we need to hide the campus. If they see 3D printer, that's okay because we will say this is for our job or for some hobby that we can see at those times, but not this time. This time, if we find 3D printer, yes, can go to jail or hashot. Yeah, headshot. Yeah. Soon, that headshot became a lot closer to being a possibility. It's like a son, we finished the second up to 9. We tried to test it in Yangon, and we sent it to our warehouse. But unfortunately, this warehouse is exposed and I'm going to find a military and this guy is taken by the military. They announced this on the new by picturing this like hammock guns. They don't give fuck about this. Just a hammock gun. They did just the other very first time. But later and later, later one, the second time, they were arrested. They arrested my revolution from my team. I told him about the efficiency, how to use the history of the camp. At the time, maybe he was an investigator and he told the true, it says like the FGC9 announced the day FGC9. Before the very first time, they announced the gun from the target. Yeah. If you missed that, they thought the guns were Turkish. The reason we giggled at this is that whenever we see videos of combat in Myanmar, James and I send them to a group chat and try to work out what the weapons are and where they came from. Nearly every time we're stumped, the guns turned out to be some kind of niche Turkish shot gun made to look like an AR-15. It seems the military were operating on the same assumption. Only this time, they were very wrong. Like Alex, Miak started this second, more deadly phase of the spring revolution by taking a trip out to the jungle and he stayed for several months to learn some of the skills he was going to need to fight back against the top medall. I was going the Monday as a culminated day, so I'm not like the pitch. I'm not have a PDF training or something like that. I just go as a culminated day guy, so I'm not with some guns, especially some trainer. I said, I want to know how to shoot guns, how to assemble the guns. So they teach me. I said, I'm an a culminated day guy. I can't do the training, but I want to learn about bugs and other things. So they sent me some videos like this to learn by myself. Later, he went back to carry prototype printed guns to the EEOs for testing. We asked if it was scary being an undercover gun runner in a dictatorship. He says it was, but he found that he had a powerful ally in his fight, homophobia. Yeah, off-call, off-call, but we need to do discursive. Yeah, disguised as well. I just have a long hair, so I act like a gay. So, you know, that the military has so chana and equality, so they hate gay. That's why I just, this is our organization. The military, assuming Mioc was gay and therefore incapable of fighting, let him go. Mioc kept his mouth shut and let their homophobia help him smuggle the guns with which he hopes to help topple the regime that places so much stock and values like these. Mioc said he had to go to the jungle to prove that his guns worked, because at first, the EEOs didn't believe him. About again, no one believes that. No one believes that. So, we have to make it fast and show them. So, we made it fast. We said we got a gun. It's a self-food. We lie. We need to lie and we send it to the EEO. Then they made it and it didn't walk out and it just walked out. Yeah, okay. Yeah. How do they feel when they found out? Oh, oh, oh. My one of my revolutionary in EEO states that they're really, really happy. They said all of the friends and family must for this and let's do it right now. Almost everyone we met spent time in the jungle. Rooney, that's a nom to gayer, not a given name, started off as a protester. And just like everyone else, he fled into the jungle to avoid being murdered by the government and to learn from the ethnic armed organizations how to fight back. When we tried to make peaceful protesting and it's pretty early breakdown then, we, he decided like he also weak. So, we decided to choose to have an ass and to make it, to make it revolution. So, now those time he goes to the EEO states and he lands the trainees, you know, even especially the explosive trainees and he got back to the town and he started making this explosive with the head of the EEO teachings. After learning from the EEOs, he came back to Yangon to put his knowledge to use. Of course, just like Miyawks' gun-making team and the street protestors who learned from Hong Kongers, he took to YouTube and Google to try and find a better way to build killing machines. So, it's like the EEO teaches the very business explosives. Just come out and you can put your seat in the show guys and like this. But after they land the very business then, they want to improve. So, they land by themselves. It's just like DIY. They land by themselves with Google, with YouTube. So, later on later, even they can make TNT and EDN. Yes. Okay. Using YouTube, of course. Yes, of course. Nearly everyone we met at some point googled something like how to make gun or how to make bomb. Now, this is not ideal op-sec, but it speaks to the desperation of the times. They used crowdfunding websites to raise money for ingredients and Rooney soon started putting his knowledge into practice. What that meant was that people died. He killed human beings with the explosives that he made. Now, those people would have killed Rooney or anyone else we've spoken to in this series. He was defending himself and others by making killing machines. But still, if you're a decent person, it's not easy to watch your work result in a stranger being blown into a pink mist. Revolution was in Rooney's blood. The military had stolen his house as a kid and he'd grown up with his uncle sharing memories of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising and its violent repression. He'd seen his family, his cousin, brothers and their parents harassed for his whole life. Now, he had a chance to fight back. He carried out hundreds of missions before he eventually had to flee the city when an accident led to serious injury. Like in June, June 7th, there's a nine mission. So he has to make nine bomb. Yeah, really big bomb. So they they're trying to assembly this bomb. I do start one of his right smoking and this this fire is called the campfire. After the blast, he had to run away from his house before the police arrived. His friend was not so lucky and is in jail now. Rooney is mostly recovered, but it's not safe for him to go back. So he's hoping to make a new start in May sought. The fight didn't stay in Yangon in Napier, or even. For villages living outside, the coup was just as real, but so was a desire to fight back. People outside of town found themselves in the crosshairs of the top medallors as well. The military employs a strategy which they call four cuts. It's designed to alienate the rebels from local support. It doesn't work. This kind of scorched earth stuff has never worked. Didn't work when the Nazis tried it in Europe. Didn't work when the US tried it in the Middle East or Vietnam. Doesn't work when Israel keeps doing it. It doesn't work in Myanmar. What it does do is drive people who lose their families to pick up a gun and kill soldiers. It's not hard to see why. I just want to play you our conversation watching one of Andy's videos about one of hundreds of masks that have happened since last February. As a warning, the stuff we're going to talk about is about how horrible a stuff can be. Yeah, basically about I think 28 people were killed that day. They just came into a village and shot everyone. That's a hammock guns that these villagers had. But it was just they weren't shooting anyone. They just had it. Yeah, that's all everyone died. All these guys died. Look at that. This hamms tied. Yeah, yeah. The game on the track tied their hands. Yeah, that's electrical game. That looks like. And they burned the whole village now. Yeah, they did. Yeah, the fries. And that's why we say massacre because it's fucking look at all the brains out, you know. Yeah, the animals. Yeah, all these kids. They weren't even 18. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So all the villagers that ran away the to the photo of the village from the fire and they burned their relative and then left. Yeah, Jesus fucking Christ. Yeah, it was all every bit of fucking horrible shit. Andy says a non-profit called liberate Myanmar supports the families every month, keeping them fed and sheltered. Because however hard the government tries to divide the people from one another, it always seems to fail. Instead, it just pushes them closer and closer together. While we were in Thailand, having a drink on a rooftop actually and talking about some kind of meditation retreat that a guy we'd met had gone on, we got to see some of the action for ourselves. That night was a fun one. We were hanging out with some non-profit folks and we'd acquired some pretty terrible whiskey. At various points in the evening, we would ambush one of the boys and tell them they'd been shot in the arm or the leg and have the others rush into practice to stop the bleed skills. Rub and I demonstrated some improvised carrying techniques and how to effectively turn and drop to the floor when you're in the intimate presence of a grenade. Everyone else at the party probably thought we were pretty strange but we were having fun. Then in the distance, we saw a huge yellow flash. It took a few seconds of us all wondering if that whiskey had sent us blind before the boom reached us. At first, we thought it was one of the airstrikes that had been happening in the border region. But it was close and it was just one huge boom. Another rocket's a cluster bomb, so Tuck the door like to drop on civilians. Within minutes, minutes of nervously waiting on the rooftop to see what was coming next and his phone started buzzing. It was a cardboard and it had gone off about 100 yards from the border where we stood earlier that day. I'm a camera or something. Let me see. Immediately we had questions, but very few answers. Carboms hadn't been the thing thus far in the revolution. This was new. Carboms are also extremely scary. It's hard not to be around cars in the city and when any one of those cars might kill you, it's hard to do anything, feeling any semblance of safety. No, I mean it could have been. Is it by the, because if there was a person in there, there wouldn't be anything left of the car. Yeah, they were you and you. No, no, but the thing is, look, there's the fence. That looks like it was there one. Yeah, it was a shock. Yeah, yeah, yeah, right by the bridge. But I don't know why, what this, what happened. We still aren't sure who set off the car bomb. Or if anyone died, in a conflict like the one in Myanmar, it's sometimes as confusing as it is scary. The military are more than capable of a false flag style attack, killing civilians and then blaming the PDF, and it has done this before. That's what totalitarianism does. It aims to control every aspect of everyday life, even the truth. The jungle haunted us the whole time we were there. Unattainable, but right next door. Just a few miles away, in Lockheed Ca, the fight was raging. Lockheed Ca is what's called a friendship town. It was built with Japanese money as a place for K&U fighters to live after they put down their arms. It was supposed to be a symbol of hope in a new peaceful and democratic Myanmar. Now it's a battlefield. But while we couldn't get there, we could walk along the riverbank and look at the jungle and imagine what it must be like up in those mountains, which we did almost every day. Myanmar itself looms like a mountain over the town of Mesaat. It's a border town without a border, but the city is surrounded by refugee camps, nonprofit offices, and even museums for political prisoners that can't exist on the other side of the river. One day, we took a cab to see a monastery on a bluff overlooking the river. Down into Myanmar, we could see a casino still doing business with Chinese tourists despite the bombing nearby. On the walls of the monastery were a colorful but horrific scenes of rape and murder, Buddhist stages of hell. A reminder that, according to the four noble truths of Buddhism, all life is suffering and greed is the cause of suffering. The same thing could be said for the refugees and fighters forced to hide in the endless screen of the jungle, driven away from their homes by the greed of men who worship power. At Longjong Silvers, throw-boring overboard with the Fish and Trim feast, dipped in our signature batter and fried to golden perfection. Complete your feast with Wisconsin white cheddar cheese bites and ride a wave of multi-goodness. Order ahead at Longjong Fish year. On this season of righteous convictions with Jason Flom, I speak with the brave souls who have seen some of the worst in our society. I knew that the only way for me to go home was if the law changed and they became the best. Our organization uninstalled in oligarch by just educating people, so it can be done. Listen to season three of righteous convictions with Jason Flom from Lava for Good Podcasts. On the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. There is a long-standing urban legend in Los Angeles County. The Sheriff's Department is the biggest gang on the streets. They've got matching tattoos, they steal from people, brutally beat them, even kill them. This is a tradition of violence. A podcast investigating the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's deputy gangs. Is there a culture of violence inside the Sheriff's Department? Well, these guys are violent. I mean, no kill you. There's a deep cancer that's seeped into the department. It's going to really be hard to get rid of. These gangs have badges. Unlimited resources paid for by you, the taxpayer. And listen to a tradition of violence wherever you get your podcasts. It's not easy to leave your home, even when people there are trying to kill you. Dr. Wander, like everyone else, struggled with the choice. His hospital had next to no supplies. COVID's third wave was ravaging the population, and he couldn't even get oxygen to treat sick patients. All around him was death and fear, but he still wanted to stay. Actually, I don't want to live my country because if we just live like that, our country will go back to before century, you know, they control everything. We have to just queue. We have to just make it queue to get a petrol. We have faith in our young age. I don't want to fail that feeling again. Not for me. Not just for me. Not for our people. For our new generation. I've got two younger sons. One is a five year. One is an eight year. So, I just want to fight until my last breath. But I can't tolerate because they are trying. You know? I'm not a wrong movement. I'm trying my best. Amjelk, the decision to go was made for him by the top model. We are making the meeting with him. He is in an account. We are making the meeting asking him if he is safe or not. And of the meeting, he told me that he was going to the inside. He was arrested. So, I was living in the jungle. The government, the military also announced. Remain to arrest. All of my things that you have to go. Because you have all of the data. So, you have to go. So, I decided to go. Andy and the boys made the decision to abandon their apartment and head for Karin territory. And eventually, Thailand, once one of their protest friends was arrested by the government. His phone was on him when he got caught, potentially exposing all of them. After a harrowing drive into the jungle and several days among the Karin, they succeeded in finding a people smuggler to get them across the border without getting stuck in one of the refugee camps operated by the Thai government. Three days later, we were trying to cross at night time. And these guys said, you know, you go in, you cross, you get to Thailand at the same night. And we thought, okay, you know, we stream across the river. It was very scary. But for me, I've done it like three times. So, it was a little bit, I thought it was going to be better, but it was more stressful because I had them. If it was me alone, maybe I could, you know, whatever happened, I would find a way out. I'm not sure if I could do that with three other people, you know. So, I was quite nervous. We paid what $5,000,000, right? I know. Jesus. Yeah. Right. It's not cheap. It is not cheap. It is not cheap. It is not. It is not. It is not. It is not. It is not. It is worth it. No, no, but because that's the thing, it's not just one person. Yeah, it's not just one person. He, the person that crossed us from the river, from the out of the east to this side is one. And then from there to the Noman's line is another one, right? So, yeah, we saw the soldier were like, we're fucked. Alex David Ford, or attempted to fight with the Karen, but most of the time, Moli did with Stan's century. We're about getting enough to eat, but wonder when he'd get his hands on something better than a squirrel rifle. I feel kind of useless because we don't have enough guns. And, you know, like, so by the time, like, there was an, like, S-right, having this in Lake Ego. I thought, like, oh, we're gonna have to, like, go and, you know, like, fight them now, but instead, like, we have to pack our stuff and move to a deeper jungle. So, we're like, kind of like, we're a few cheese with uniforms. But, yeah, you know, if I'm just keep staying there, like, we, if we are just going to keep it running, we're like this, like, I don't want to stay there. I want to do something about the knees, like, you know, like, the main knees in our canvas, the weapons, guns. So, I want to, like, come here and, like, you know, like, walk, walk for that. He called his unit Refugees with Uniforms, and that's about what they were. This is why rebels like Miyak and Daddy UMCD are so motivated to find a way to reliably print functional semi-automatic weapons. The Kareen are desperately underarmed, and yet they've been able to hold off the military for decades. If the Kareen and other ethnic organizations were able to build functional arms production infrastructure alongside the new rebels with the PDF, they'd have a real chance at victory. If they succeed in building this, the repercussions around the world could be massive. That is, however, a story for another day. Seeing this kind of conflict isn't good for you. Nobody's supposed to live through this kind of stuff, and certainly not when they're just kids. Even in a rich country, we're replete with therapists and VA clinics, thousands of US veterans live every day with PTSD. The difference for them is that they went to war. In Myanmar, war comes to you. And then there's another one which is... Ta-da-da, this one. And I did the first part, and I'm too scared to do the second part. I mean, this is fucked up. Every time I have to do it, I get my head get fucked. That's one of the guys. So that's in Yangon, in the protest. That's one of the night where that's one of the day, but yeah, the Ajawana, about 100 people would be here. You can see in the video, they come in, and you will see that the military, how the military came in and how they were trying to... I'm not sure if I have any more moves here. What they've seen has bonded the boys. They do anything for each other, and have already done things that most of us can't imagine. When one of their mothers wanted to take him home, he felt helpless without them. When the rest of them crossed, one of their mums came back to get him. Without them, and stuck in a country falling apart, he didn't want to keep going. Every day, he worked soldiers outside himself, popping Yabba pills. Yabba's a meth-based drug that soldiers were often given by the military. He worried they'd kill him. His brother-in-law was arrested and tortured just for having a lighter. Can you remember what it felt like when your mom came to take him home? He kept saying he's going to fucking kill himself for a long time. For a long time. I will come to you and go, I'm okay, all. Yeah, I killed myself. He wasn't in a good space. Yeah, I lived in Kami and Yangon. That's very dangerous. It's like the good space. Yeah, I did. I did. So he was saying that if he has to go back, he was telling us, now he's alone. He doesn't even have us anymore. He was saying he's going to go out to the protests and he's going to try to kill the cops, the soldiers, the police. And it was very difficult for us to, because we know his mom can't really help him with that stuff. We can't buy she really wanted to take him. Over time, they chatted on the phone and he felt better. But now he's here with the boys. It's him playing his guitar in the music you heard. He got a little better coping with this in a good way. You know what I mean? If you're young and you see people killing people like this terribly, you have some dark thoughts on yourself too. I could do this to someone too and stuff like that. So he's struggled a lot with that for a long time and I think the worst thing was being alone. He was alone. He couldn't talk to his mom about all these things. He was paranoid. He was scared. He was traumatized. So I mean, you should see the first time he's been there, he's been alive. It's been five months since he's here. But the first few months, it was very difficult. I talk to them all the time about this because I know talking helps with these stuff. And especially when you all feel in the same thing. I think our ways of coping with this is like we talk about it but like kind of like a joking way. Like if we're hearing it, that's the best way to deal with it. Like to get through those hard days on his own, looking down at men who wanted him dead, he picked up a cheap acoustic guitar. When he got back, he began teaching the others. He hadn't picked it up. They're pretty good. When we went out to the pool bar at night, in between kicking our asses, the boys would look up at the stage. It was occupied by a pretty second rate cover band. For whatever reason, probably not helped by the incredibly rough Tai Chi and we've been smashing back. I looked at them looking at the stage on our last night and I wanted to cry. Teenage kids shouldn't be caught picking up guns to fight, or picking up cameras to film their friends dying. They should be doing what I was doing when I was a teenager, which is making a complete prick of myself on a stage with a guitar. One day, hopefully soon, they'll be able to sing happy songs again and the war will just be a memory. Their bond is so close now, they're barely ever apart. It's a lot of responsibility for Andy who's just 22 himself. But he wouldn't want it any other way, and neither would they. One night, Andy and Sarah have appointments. So Robert and I take the boys for dinner. It's a lot of fun and actually a lot of food. But when we talk to them about their options as refugees, we might be able to come to the US. One thing is clear, they don't want to be a part. For me, it's like, I rather fucking take blood than any of them. Because if they, if something happens to them, I am in so much trouble. But I know that's what they want to do. If the mom trap him and he ain't gone and he doesn't do anything, and the revolution's over, he's going to feel so much regret. For not being involved in this. For me, it's like people want to fight. We shouldn't keep them. We shouldn't just say, yeah. Yeah, I'm fine. It's been a few months since we got back from Mesaught. It's the rainy season there now, and that makes fighting and reporting harder. Amira is still stuck in Mesaught. It's not safe for her to go back to a country where her family wants her dead. But it's not possible for her to leave Mesaught either. Without travel documents, something the UNHCR would have to issue. She's stuck in a little room in a hotel. It's not a great place for a young woman, and it's even worse when she has to watch her friends continue to struggle without her. We both wrote to the UN and the various embassies on her behalf. But months later, we've heard nothing. This is typical of a lot of refugees. They're often presented as a faceless mass of humanity, bereft of hope. But each of them has a story, and those refugee camps along the border between Thailand and Myanmar are full of stories. Some of those are stories of fear, some of heroism, and some of tragedy. But until things change at the UN, all of those stories aren't being told. The 3D printed firearms, Malcon, his colleagues are working on, have made massive progress over the last few months. But even though 3D printed guns got a small fraction of the price of an M16 in our own, AK-47, the pro-democracy forces are still desperately underfunded. They're at war with the state, but they don't have any of the apparatus of a state with which to fight back. Instead, the Gen Z rebels have turned once again to the Internet. Alongside crowdfunding campaigns like Liberate Myanmar, they've developed a more innovative fundraising method that allows for donations even from people who don't have any money. Instead of soliciting cash donations, risking exposing their donors, they began using a method that they call click to donate. Where supporters could help the rebels by clicking on adverts on certain videos and websites in order to generate advertising revenue. It's used to find everything from weapons purchases to shelter for the 10,000 that are literally displaced people in Myanmar. I spoke to several people in Myanmar who asked not to be named for their own safety, but are very familiar with the funding of the PVF. One of them told me, click to donate started to support government staff who had decided to join a civil disobedience movement. Government staff are always low paid, and so they were not very financially stable in the beginning. The funds from click to donate allow these workers to strike without pay. After a few weeks of being on strike, financial concerns were weakening the movement and people were being forced to work or starve. The younger pro-democracy activists responded by setting up YouTube channels and then using the anti-coup telegram channels to direct millions of views and air clicks to them from across the country and from supporters abroad. The resulting advertising revenue allowed them to fund the civil disobedience movement and later to equip the PVF. By December of 2021, these clicks were yielding an income of about 500 million kiatz, about $28,000 every day. The military hunter responded to this, an international indignation at videos of protesters being massacred in the street by tripling data prices and throttling internet connection speeds. Pro-democracy keyboard warriors responded with viral content that required less bandwidth, including writing personal finance blogs to attract a US audience that was unknowingly supporting a revolution with its clicks. People in Myanmar also began to use VPNs to access the internet. This helped them get around some of the huntous restrictions, and also yielded a higher advertising payment per click on a given advert. Websites like digital revolution allow users to find content that supports pro-democracy rebels and click on it, lending their support with nothing more than a broadband connection and a few seconds of their time. Alongside their videos and websites, the Gen Z rebels also launched games. At first, they were just simple little online phone app games that would let you throw darts at the coup leader or something. One source told us that these games didn't just support the rebels through funding, but also provided a little bit of mental health care. You know, at least people could virtually kill the folks in their city and their home who were ruining their lives, and at the same time, the games earned the money and that money went to fund the PDF. The most impressive of these games is the recently launched War of Heroes, which you can buy for just a dollar on the Apple and Google App Store if you want to check it out. In the game, which is available in Burmese or English, a player can fight as a man or a woman, and take on government troops and even zombies. The money donated by these games and adverts doesn't just go into a black hole according to the sources I spoke to. We have a click to donate Facebook page, they said. And regularly, we release financial statements on the Facebook page, saying like, this month we gave 10 million caps to that group. I spoke to Billy Ford, a program officer for the Burma team at US Institute of Peace. He says this kind of innovation is what's allowed the pro-democracy movement to survive in Myanmar since it was last violently suppressed in 1988. Activists and resisted movements in Myanmar have, historically, been an example to the world of creative, strategic, and resilient models of activism, he said. This, post-2021 movement, has taken that to a new level, enabling it to defy all historical precedent and sustain an anti-co movement for more than 18 months now, actually gaining ground against a regime with an enormous structural advantage. Rather than seeing the lack of weapons and funds at the fatal floor, Ford says that the highly online rebels have looked for areas where they could outflank the aging generals who stole their futures from them. The movement has leveraged to comparative advantages, large numbers of people with time and tech savvy to raise money, says. This tactic, although unusual, has been a great success according to Ford. The approach has grown enormously, with one of the video games, for example, rising to become the number two paid app on the app store at one point. However, all the clicks in the world might not be enough to sweep the rebels into Mandalay, and return the country on its path towards democracy. Sources inside Myanmar say that less and less revenue is generated by a Myanmar IP address, and that they have had to encourage members of the people's click force to install VPNs to make their clicks appear to come from the US or Europe. Sometimes, the traffic is so massive that YouTube's algorithm mistakes it for an artificial intelligence botnet. They're looking, they tell me. It pivoting towards affiliate links and the sort of content-driven commerce that has swept the US media thanks to the success of sites like the Wirecutter. Meanwhile, on the ground, PDF forces are regularly getting the better of the Totmadaw and small arms conflict, but coming off worse when they can't defend themselves against the Russian jets, which the hunter uses to bomb civilian and military targets. Without man-portable anti-aircraft systems, the rebels are sitting ducks. The world has sent thousands of these to Ukraine, and none to people in Myanmar fighting the same battle for democracy against the same Russian jets. Despite this, they're not discouraged. PDF rebels tell me they have been scouring the internet, and they're working on a solution that doesn't need the apparatus of support of a state, and instead relies on stable broadband and the increasing ingenuity they've shown in 18 months of revolution. Hi everyone, it's me again, James. Don't worry, I'm not coming to you at the end of a series to report something tragic like I did in our last Myanmar series. I'm just recording this little message at the end to say that we're very grateful to Dan O'Neill for all their hard work on this, and we've gone through countless edits for this particular project, and they've done a lot of hard work to get it to you in the form that you listened to today for the last week. We also want to say that although this appears to be a podcast written and recorded by Robert and I, that Andy is very much a co-author, and that none of this would have been possible without him. As we said Andy's not his real name, and we can't put his real name in the credit because we're worried for his safety, but his work has been invaluable and without him none of what you've heard would be possible. Hey, we'll be back Monday with more episodes every week from now until the heat death of the universe. It could happen here as a production of Cool Zone media. For more podcasts from Cool Zone media, visit our website or check us out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can find sources for it could happen here, update it monthly at slash sources. Thanks for listening. My name is Joshua Topolsky, and I have a new podcast called What Future, but I want to tell you that I'm being forced by my producer to record a promo telling you about my show, and I'm not trying to force you to listen to it, and maybe you're not interested in internet culture and the future of life on planet earth and why John Carpenter movies are so good. You may just want to listen to a podcast about, I don't know, sports or whatever Joe Rogan talks about, and that's fine, you know, no judgment, but if you like what you're hearing, and I know that you do, you can listen to all of what future on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. I've got this for you, Jackson. And I'm Charlie Webster. Listen to the podcast surviving El Chapo, the incredible true story of the identical twins from Chicago, who built America's biggest drug trafficking empire. The other reason El Chapo is now in prison, and they've never spoken publicly until now. My brother had the only legal recording of Chapo's mom. Listen to surviving El Chapo, the twins who brought down a drug lord on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or whatever you get your podcasts. The number one true crime podcast is back. Let's talk about the crime scenes. Accused murderer George Wagner faces a judge and jury. This is legitimately the biggest murder trial in the state of Ohio's history. I think the defense knows something that we all don't know. Will he face the death penalty, or will he walk free? Listen to the Piked and Masker season four, trials begin on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.