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BKK POST: US Moves Diplomat Over Bo

/* Written 10:44 am  Jul  4, 1994 by strider@xxxxxxxxxxx in igc:soc.cult.burma */
/* ---------- "BKK POST: US Moves Diplomat Over Bo" ---------- */
Subject: BKK POST: US Moves Diplomat Over Border Trip (Burma)

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     Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies
The Bangkok Post
July 3, 1994
page 1
by Douglas Steele
A controversial trip to the Thai/Burma border has led the U.S. State
Department to order the hasty transfer of the second ranking American
diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok.  
The diplomat's departure has not been publicly announced but sources in
Bangkok and Washington confirm that Deputy Chief of Mission Matt Daley has
been transferred to India and will depart Bangkok by mid-July.  Daley denies
a link between the trip and his transfer.
Daley had been expected to fill in as the acting ambassador until December
while President Bill Clinton selects a replacement for Ambassador David
Lambertson, who is departing. Lambertson, a Bush administration appointee, is
now expected to delay his departure until his replacement is named.
According to sources in Washington, Daley's transfer stemmed from White House
ire over a trip he made to the Thai/Burma border on April 27th, 1994.
Reliable source report that criticism of Daley's trip was passed to the White
House by former President Jimmy Carter who met with members of Burma's pro-
democracy opposition in May, 1994.  President Carter has been asked by the
Burmese government-in-exile to mediate a political solution in Burma.
Daley's trip is considered controversial because it appeared to give the
impression of American cooperation with the Burmese government on drug
eradication programs and countenanced Thailand's policy of pressuring the
ethnic groups into negotiations.  Both of these run counter to the Clinton
Administration's hard-line policy of isolating the military regime in
Daley and a Thai government representative, Xuwicha Hiranprueck travelled by
Thai army helicopter to the border village of Pwe Ba Lu to meet senior
officials of the Karen rebels fighting the Burmese government.  According to
participants in the meeting, Daley asked Karen officials about reported
contacts with Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army (M.T.A.) and warned them not to
cooperate with the reputed druglord.  Daley met with Karen deputy military
commander, Gen. Hla Htoo and Prime Minister, Ba Thin to warn the senior Karen
National Union (K.N.U.) officials not to cooperate with the
Much of the criticism of the visit centered on Daley's association with
Xuwicha Hiranprueck, who holds no official position in the Thai government
but is thought to be close to National Security Council Chief, Lt. Gen.
Charoen Kullawanich.  
Xuwicha maintains that he is acting as a private citizen and denies that he
is Charoen's advisor.  
The American Embassy refused comment on Xuwicha's status, but a senior
western diplomat described him as a "representative of the Thai government
who speaks authoritatively on some issues."  
Another diplomat was more direct: "if you want to know what Thai policy is on
the border today, ask Xuwicha because he probably decided it yesterday."
Xuwicha has made numerous border trips to press leaders of the Karen and Mon 
insurgent groups to sign cease-fires with the Burma's State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC) and is believed to have ordered the forced
repatriation of 6,000 Mon refugees from Loh Loe camp during the past dry
According to Mon and Karen leaders, Xuwicha has urged the rebels to sign
cease-fires with the Burmese regime or see their refugees repatriated and the
border closed.  According to the director of a human rights organization
operating in Thailand who asked not to be named, Xuwicha used Daley's visit
"to make a show that the Americans were on his side"
American sensitivity to the impression of support for Thailand's policy of
forced deportations was heightened again recently by criticism from Amnesty
International over American U.S. military aid to the Thai army, which is
carrying out the deportations.
Reports from a number of observers indicate that as part of his effort to
pressure the opposition groups, Xuwicha has been trying to convince American
officials that Burmese student and ethnic groups are involved in drug
trafficking and terrorism.  
In early 1994, Xuwicha travelled to the United States to lobby American
lawmakers for an end to American support for the Burma's democratic
opposition and a resumption of anti-narcotics aid to Burma.  
Reports from Washington indicate that his mission received an icy reception
from official quarters.
Daley's visit to Pwe Ba Lu has been linked to reports that surfaced in the
Thai press in April about a Karen delegation, headed by logistics chief Col.
Isaac, which travelled to Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army (MTA) headquarters in Shan
State.  According to the published reports, Col. Isaac's mission was to train
MTA personnel in the construction of land mines.
A senior K.N.U. official familiar with Col. Isaac's mission strongly denies
both reports.  
The Karen and the M.T.A. manufacture much of their own weaponry and according
to the K.N.U. official, Col. Isaac's two-day trip was undertaken at Khun Sa's
invitation to verify recent claims the Shan leader has made regarding his
ability to produce heavy munitions.  
In March, Khun Sa displayed some of his heavy weaponry for international
journalists in what is regarded as a show of force aimed at Rangoon.  The
official also dismissed reports of a Khun Sa/K.N.U. alliance or cooperation
in drug trafficking.  He did however express support for Khun Sa's opposition
to the SLORC: "the enemy of my enemy is not my friend but we can support
According to Gen. Hla Htoo, the K.N.U. Deputy Chief of Staff, Daley and
Xuwicha asked about Col. Isaac's trip and Daley told the Karen that "we have
a plan to eradicate heroin.  The Thais, Laos and Burmese will join together
to suppress heroin so if the Karen work with Khun Sa, it will be bad for our
Karen peoples image."  
At present, the United States, through its Drug Enforcement Agency (D.E.A.)
is cooperating with the Thai and Laotian governments to suppress opium
production, but all but token cooperation with the Burmese government was
suspended in the wake of the suppression of the 1988 pro-democracy uprisings.
According to senior American officials in Bangkok and Washington, Daley has
been on the losing end of a fight within the American government to restart
D.E.A. activities in Burma.  
Although drug-suppression aid to Burma is a
perennial subject of discussion when U.S. Burma policy is reviewed, it has
repeatedly been nixed because of evidence that in the past, the Burmese
regime used American-provided aid against rebel groups rather than on opium
Increased opium production by several warlords now allied with
SLORC have also hurt the case for restarting American aid.