BANGKOK, Thailand -- The American who swam across a lake in 2009 and illegally spent two nights with Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in her home, resulting in an extension of her house arrest, said now that she is free, she will be "assassinated" as a pawn to topple the junta.

"I'm not talking about the [Burmese] junta killing her," said John Yettaw, a Mormon from Missouri, in an interview conducted via Skype.

Instead, an "expendable" Mrs. Suu Kyi will now be assassinated by anti-junta "Burmese," to spark the regime's collapse, Mr. Yettaw warned.

Mr. Yettaw's dream in September 2009 compelled him to swim across Inya Lake in Rangoon to reach Mrs. Suu Kyi's two-story villa, to show her that killers could use that relatively unguarded route, enter her lakeside home, and easily murder her.

Mr. Yettaw was arrested after he swam back across Inya Lake from Mrs. Suu Kyi's home in May 2009, put on trial, jailed for three months, and finally expelled from Burma.

Mr. Suu Kyi was also put on trial and had her existing house arrest extended for 18 months, for illegally allowing a foreigner to stay at her home -- a crime for anyone in Burma who does not notify the authorities that a foreigner is spending the night.

She was released on November 13 after her latest stretch of seven years under house arrest by the military regime in Burma, a Southeast Asian country also known as Myanmar, where she has spent 15 of the past 21 years locked in her home.

"The other part of the dream was that there was a team that was going to go and kill her," Mr. Yettaw said in the Skype interview on November 20, one week after her release.

"There was this recurring, wouldn't-go-away dream: they were going to come in and -- not shoot her with a weapon -- but shoot her with a chemical to induce a heart attack, or cerebral, natural death. And there was this quick funeral, no autopsy, boom, she's gone."

Mr. Yettaw's intervention in 2009 possibly delayed that plot from being carried out, he said.

v "Then I had another dream after that: the place [Burma] was secured, she was OK, then she was eventually released, and they shot her to death.

"In the dream, she represented a sacrificial lamb, dead. That by her being assassinated, there would be U.N. intervention -- there's a more global picture here -- the junta would be shut down.

"And it was all, 'she's expendable, unfortunately.' I mean, it's not like they wanted it. It's just like, 'the greater good,' so to speak. That's the impression that I got."

Throughout his life, Mr. Yettaw's ominously predictive dreams all came true, he said.

"I couldn't not follow the dream," he said.

"I saw myself at night, in a lake, going over a fence, and standing at the back side of a house," which he later realized was Mrs. Suu Kyi's villa in Rangoon, the former capital of Burma.

"I thought, what can I do to help? What can I do?"

Today, Mr. Yettaw is certain he did the right thing to warn her, even though it resulted in an 18-month extension of Mrs. Suu Kyi's house arrest, which he regrets.

"I wouldn't change a thing. It was the greatest spiritual experience of my life," he said, quoting inspirational scripture from the New Testament.

Mrs. Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party boycotted the November election which was won, as expected, by the military's candidates but denounced by the U.S., Europe and other countries as a fraud.

Now a widow with two adult children who live in the West, Mrs. Suu Kyi was not eligible under the military's constitution to be a candidate in the election, because she was married to a British citizen.

Mr. Yettaw denied international media reports which portrayed him as mentally unstable, or that God was directing him through dreams.

But he has suffered grand mals, a serious form of epilepsy which includes muscle spasms and a loss of consciousness.

"I had grand mal seizures," Mr. Yettaw said. "I do have grand mals."

He described his intense dreams as "learning experiences. There are warnings. There are premonitions.

"I got a premonition about my son dying, and a week later, he was dead. I've had premonitions about every family member of mine who has died.

"Think about the statistics of being able to pick out a particular day -- name the date -- and then my son died on that day," he said.

"I can tell you one thing, the junta didn't want me there. The junta was afraid of me. I was told...the junta is afraid of me because of my predictions," Mr. Yettaw said.

"I'm not a fortune teller. I just had dreams," he said. "I don't prophesize. I just have premonitions."

While he was locked in Rangoon's Insein Prison in 2009, some guards treated him well, holding his hand, tucking him in at night, saying they loved him, and kissing his forehead when he was ill with fever, he said.

During his imprisonment, his son Shawn died of a heroin overdose in the U.S., worsening the grief he felt after another son, Clint, 17, died in a motorcycle accident in 2007, he said.

When Mr. Yettaw was 13, his only brother committed suicide in Michigan's Ionia State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, he said.


Richard S Ehrlich is a Bangkok-based journalist who has reported news from Asia since 1978. He is co-author of Hello My Big Big Honey!, a non-fiction book of investigative journalism. His web page is:

Asia Correspondent

(Copyright 2010 Richard S Ehrlich)