Independent from Great Britain since 1948, Burma was the scene of a bitter guerrilla war against the Japanese, who occupied the entire country in 1941. Force 136 and the Office of Strategic Services armed and trained the fierce northern Karen, Kachen, and Mong tribesmen, who continued to campaign for their autonomy. The military junta that took control of the country in 1988 and renamed it Myanmar has suspended the constitution and its leader, Gen. Khin Nyunt, has also headed the local security organization, the Directorate of Defense Services Intelligence (DDSI), since 1984. His appointment followed a terrorist attack, sponsored by North Korea, of a ceremony at the Rangoon Martyrs’ Memorial in October 1983 attended by the South Korean cabinet. Thereafter, the junta became heavily dependent on the National Intelligence Bureau and the DDSI.
General Nyunt was deposed in October 2004 in a major purge that removed 2,000 of his subordinates from their posts, and much of the apparatus that had given him so much personal power was dismantled, restoring the role of military intelligence collection to the branches of the armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw.