[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

BurmaNet News: July 5, 1995 [#194]

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: July 5, 1995
Issue #194

                PROGRAM IN MYANMAR
The BurmaNet News is an      |                               |
electronic newspaper         |                  Iti          |
covering Burma.  Articles    |                 snotpo        |
from newspapers, magazines,  |             werthatcor        |
newsletters, the wire        |            ruptsbutfea        |
services and the Internet as |           r.Fearoflosin       |
well as original material    |          gpowercorrupts       |
are published.               |       thosewhowielditand      |
The BurmaNet News  is        |     fearofthescourgeofpowe    |
e-mailed  directly to        |    rcorruptsthosewhoaresub    |
subscribers  and  is         |   jecttoit.Theeffortnecess    |
also  distributed via        |  arytoremainuncorruptedinan   |
the soc.culture.burma        |   environmentwherefearisanint |
and SEASIA-L mailing         |      egralpartisnotimmediat   |
lists and is also            |      elyapparanttothose       |
available via the            |        fortunateenough        |
reg.burma conference on      |         toliveinstates        |
the APC networks.  For a     |         governedbythe         |
free subscription to         |          ruleoflaw...         |
the BurmaNet News, send      |           Fearisahabi         |
an e-mail message to:        |                t.Iam          |
                             |                   no          |
 majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxx       |                  taf          |
                             |                   ra          |
In the body of the message,  |                  id.          |
type: subscribe BURMANEWS-L  |                  Aun          |
[news only mailing list],    |                  gSa          |
or, for the news+discussion  |                  nS           |
list, type:                  |                   uu          |
   subscribe BURMANET-L      |                   Ky          |
                             |                   i.          |
Correspondance and letters   o-------------------------------o
to the editor should be addressed to: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx



BurmaNet regularly receives enquiries on a number of different
topics related to Burma.  The scope of the subjects involved is simply
too broad for any one person to cover.  BurmaNet is therefore
organizing a number of volunteer coordinators to field questions on
various subjects.  If you have questions on any of the following
subjects, please direct email to the following coordinators, who will
either answer your question or try to put you in contact with someone
who can:

Arakan/Rohingya/Burma-   [volunteer needed]
Bangladesh border
Art/archaeology/:        [volunteer needed]
Campus activism:         
Boycott campaigns:       
Buddhism:                Buddhist Relief Mission, 
                         c/o NBH03114@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Chin history/culture:    plilian@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Fonts:                   tamla@xxxxxxxxxxxx 
History of Burma:        zar1963@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Kachin history/culture:  74750.1267@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Karen history/culture:   102113.2571@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                         Karen Historical Society
Mon history/culture:     [volunteer needed]
Naga history/culture:    [volunteer needed]
[Burma-India border]
Pali literature:         "Palmleaf"
                         c/o burmanet@xxxxxxxxxxx
Shan history/culture:    [volunteer needed]
Tourism campaigns:       bagp@xxxxxxxxxx
                         "Attn. S. Sutcliffe"   
World Wide Web:          FreeBurma@xxxxxxxxx
Volunteering:            Dr. Christina Fink
                         c/o burmanet@xxxxxxxxxxx

[Feel free to suggest more areas of coverage --strider]

By tamla@xxxxxxxxxxxx (Tamla)
Subject: A View from Gray Hta
Date: Sun,  2 Jul 1995 06:10:46 GMT

                The View From GrayHta
                     by Tamla
About 118 KM. north of Mae Sot on route 105, which runs along
the Thai-Burmese border, in fact just north of the Thai-Karen
Mae Salid, is the entrance to Gray Hta. A trail of about 1 KM
leads from the godown at the road to the camp itself. In that
short distance it goes up and down several steep hills and
crosses the Gray Hta river six times on log bridges. Some of
the hills are so steep that the Karens have cut steps in the
trail, and most of the bridges are equipped with hand rails,
more to aid the galowah than themselves, I suspect.

The first view of the camp is not impressive, just a couple of
bamboo huts at the side of the trail. But a short way further
on, one sees on the right a Buddhist monastery, a large
structure surrounded by flowers and fruit trees behind a court
used as a playing field. And as one looks up and to the left,
one sees the first of many beautiful panoramic views of Gray
Hta. Another is from the "Teacher's House" which was built
especially to accommodate the foreign teachers of English.

Gray Hta is nestled in the hills of Thailand about 2 KM. from
the Moei river which forms the border of Burma with Thailand.
Beyond the hills one can see the larger more foreboding
mountains of Burma. "That one over there is Klay Yaw Lee and
is the home of a special group of Karen people who are very
courageous, and kind. They are also invisible to us ordinary
people", says Kaw Ray Htoo my close Karen friend, with a
mischievous smile on his face. Their culture still not far
from their animist beginnings, is full of stories of magic
and myth about rivers, mountains, trees and any other
noteworthy feature of their beautiful country. Christians and
most Buddhists do not, of course, believe these stories, but
the Karens all know the stories and delight in telling them.

Incredible as it may seem for a refugee camp, Gray Hta was not
an unhappy place. Even though as "displaced persons", without
even the status of a refugee, the Karens had almost no human
rights, in Gray Hta the Karens had educated and caring camp
leaders who created schools, an orphanage, a sense of
stability and a mission. Life there was busy productive, and
purposeful. Now that has all changed. This is the season of
confusion and fear.

The people who govern their lives have ordered them to move
to BeKlow, a much larger camp about 60 KM. south. There they
will be surrounded by a large fence. Is the fence to keep
attackers out? Or is it to keep them in as prisoners? Will
they be able to seek work, as they have done to provide a
small but necessary income? Or will they be left to get more
and more poor, until in desperation they may elect to return
to Burma? Many Karens will take their chances in the jungle
rather than place themselves in a Thai concentration camp.

The order was given and then postponed, but not before some
had already started to take down their houses. Now with the
camp partially torn down, the order to move has been given
again. As I write the Karens of Gray Hta are requesting
reconsideration and delay until the end of the rainy season.
They would rather stay in Gray Hta even with the threat of
DKBO attacks than to accept the security offered by the Thai at
BeKlow. Either way Gray Hta is no longer what it once was.
Now fear and confusion rule.

3 July 1995

The Petroleum Authority of Thailand will set up two holding
companies for its oil and gas businesses as part of a reorganization

The plan is to be implemented on Oct 1 this year, according to
Governor Leun Krisnakri.

He said the oil refinery and petrochemical businesses are already
independent so it is easier to create holding companies than oil
distribution and gas business.

The holding companies for the oil and gas businesses will be
submitted for approval by the new government ahead of the Oct 1
schedule. If the approval process is delayed, PTT will go ahead with
its plan and seek approval later.

Under the new organization plan, outsiders will also be considered
for top management positions. PTT sources said outsider
professionals are likely to head the new holding companies because
the agency now  lacks enough capable people.

Meanwhile, negotiations on the price of Burmese gas from the Yetagun
field could  be delayed by up to four months due to a change of
pipeline size from 36 to 42 inches in diametre and Burma's
expectations of a better price. The PTT President of the Natural Gas
Department, Dr Prajya Phinyawat, said conclusions should be complete
in two months' time.

The Yetagun field is one of the energy sources for independent power
producers (IPPs) which will sell electricity to the Electricity
Generating Authority of Thailand.

Besides the Yetagun and Yadana fields, Burma is considering
proposals for development of new fields. The Yadana gas supply
agreement was signed by Burma and the PTT recently. PTT, the sole
supplier of gas in Thailand, has secured supplies for about 2,400
megawatts. (TN)

The Nation/4.7.95

FIGHTING continued for the fourth day between the Burmese Army
and heavily outnumbered ethnic Karenni guerrillas who were
bracing for further fresh attacks.

Casualty figures on both sides were still sketchy yesterday
yesterday, but about 1,500 people have fled into jungle, some of
them crossing into Thailand.

A source in the Karenni National progressive Party(KNPP) said
yesterday that those fleeing the fighting were former refugees in
Thai camps who had returned to Burma after the ethnic group stuck
a ceasefire agreement with the ruling Burmese State Law and Order
Restoration Council(Slorc) in March.

The latest Burmese Army attacks have forced them to flee again,
and some of them have re-entered the camps.

But the source said the six existing camps, there in Mae Hong
Son's Khun Yuam district and three in the province's muang
district, have limited space for new refugees and that if the
fighting continued and more refugees entered Thailand, a new camp
might have to be established to accommodate the newcomers.

The KNPP believes that Slorc is determined to press ahead with
its military advance and that its objective is to captured four
Karenni bases along the Thai border, the source said.

The four bases are identified as Kauk Kauk Hill and Mae Surin
River, which are located opposite Mae Hong Son's khun Yuam
District and Hta Na Khwe and Nam Oon, which are opposite the
provinces Muang District.

The source said Maj Gen Maung Gyi, the commander of the Burmese
Army's Regional Control Command in the Karenni State capital of
Loikaw, last month told, a visiting KNPP delegation led by its
vice-chief of stuff Aung Mya that the Slorc wanted the group to
withdraw from the four strongholds.

The Burmese Army sent two battalions of troops to the KNPP areas
on June 17, the same day that the ethnic delegates left for
Loikaw to discuss border development projects.

The source said the four major strongholds are of "strategic
significance" for Slorc which wants to neutralized the Karenni

"Our [KNPP] strength is very small....that's why Slorc believes
that it can get rid of us. If we were stronger, SLorc would not
use force to attack us," the source said.

The KNPP considered the Slorc's attacks on it bases a "serious"
breach of the bilateral ceasefire deal, but does not rule out
peace talks to settle the conflict.

The official said his group was surprised that Slorc had broken
the three month truce instead of smoothing things out between the
two sides through dialogue.

The source confirmed that more skirmishes took place early
yesterday in the vicinity of the four Karenni bases, but said
they would never vacate their strongholds as desire by the
Burmese regime.



Statement Concerning the Current
Military Actions of SLORC
 in the KNPP Controlled Area (July 2, 1995) 1. The SLORC entered into a
cease-fire with the KNPP ( Karenni National Progressive Party) on March
21, 1995. SLORC has broken the fundamental agreement and has been
preparing for military actions since the Second Week of June.  2.  The
KNPP issued a statement on June 28 stating that the KNPP had agreed to the
cease-fire because SLORC had agreed to 16 points put forward by the KNPP.
Among those 16 are the following:
        - The present military status quo in both the SLORC designated and
the KNPP designated areas was to be maintained.
        - There was to be a cessation of the practice of forcing civilians
to act as military porters in the whole of Karenni.
        - There was to be a cessation of the practice of collecting porter
fees in the whole of the Karenni area. (Porter fees are bribes paid by
civilians to SLORC military officers to avoid being forced into potering.)
3.  In spite of the cease-fire agreement, SLORC took the following actions
in Loikaw
     beginning in June:
        - Forced civilians to act as military porters and began collecting
porter fees bribes from civilians.
        - Seized civilian trucks and horses to use for military
        - Used 10 regiments to launch a military offensive against the KNPP.
The stated reasons for these SLORC violations of the cease-fire are
preparation for border tension that will be aggravated by the political
change in Thailand following the Thai national election and to suppress
the stealing of logs.  4. In reality, the true objective of SLORC is to
control the Karenni-Thai border area and to surround, block and increase
the pressure on the KNPP.  This is a systematic ploy to weaken the
activities of the KNPP.  5. Like several other ethnic organizations, the
KNPP entered into a military cease-fire with SLORC because of hardships,
restrictions and pressure. We are convinced that the organizations that
have entered into military cease-fires with SLORC wish to endeavor to
continue to find, under each organizations particular circumstances, a
political resolution aimed at establishing genuine nationwide peace.  6.
However, by breaking the cease-fire agreement with the KNPP with its
recent military activities, SLORC is causing the prospects for finding a
political resolution, by negotiation with the organizations that have
entered military cease-fires, to fade away.  7. SLORC violently suppressed
the 1988 popular democratic uprising; it crushed the peaceful opposition
forces who rejected the 1990 May elections; it pretended to establish
peace by putting various pressures on ethnic armed organizations who
refused to enter into cease-fires.  8. These ploys by SLORC will not bring
genuine long lasting peace. On the contrary, they will cause indefinite
civil war and threaten the peace and security of the entire region.  9.
Should SLORC have a desire for genuine, long lasting peace it needs to
show mutual respect, establish equal relation, and recognize all
legitimate political forces. This would lead to genuine peace
negotiations.  10. To improve the welfare of the people and to achieve a
political resolution between SLORC, the democratic forces led by Aung San
Suu Kyi, and the ethnic armed organizations it will be necessary to carry
out a negotiated working plan for starting the democratization process in
Burma. In order to achieve it the participation of the internal and the
international community is appreciated.

2 JULY 1995

Burma re-entered the world in 1988 after a quarter century of
military socialist isolation. It roughly coincided with the collapse
of the socialist-communist world and the expectation that the new
global order would be one based on democratic and free-market

In Asia also, there was a shift towards a more democratic politics
and governance, as shown by events in the Philippines, South Korea
and Taiwan.

However, despite the world-wide optimism about the "triumph of
democracy" (and capitalism) paradigm popularlized by Francis
Fukuyama's "End of History" scenario, opposition to democracy
materialized unexpectedly in Southeast Asia in particular.

The 1988 people's power movement in Burma was snuffed out not so
much by the Burmese military, but by Asian leaders and governments
determined to prove that democracy is incompatible with both Asian
values and the requirments of economic development.

Or conversely, that free-market economic development is best
achieved by authoritarian leaders and methods. Next to be snuffed
out was the democracy movement in China in 1989.

A significant outcome of the rollback of democracy in Burma and
China has been the solidification of a regional front of Chinese-
Asean governments and leaders, aimed apparently at preventing the
extension of democracy in Burma and China.

What we now have in Asia is a paradox: the triumph of free-market
principles, conventionally associated with democracy, and the
suppression of politicql freedom which again is associated with the

It therefore seems that Chinese-Asean leaders and government have
changed the trajectory of the Asian portion of the "new world
order," and they have firmly de-linked free-market principles from

And unfortunately Burma has become a  test case in the experiment by
Chinese-Asean leaders to prove that autocratic authoritarian rule
best promotes a free-market economy and prosperity.

On the surface, it appears that Burma is experiencing economic
growth. Rangoon and Mandalay have become modern boom town: there are
new hotels, shopping malls, new office blocks, restaurants and
nightclubs. Trade with China and Singapore is booming, and Burmese
with connections to the military are indeed prospering.

Those without such connections, have to make do with whatever is
avalilable. One such avenue, a relatively better one, is to go
abroad and work illegally as prostitutes, dish-washers, maids,
janitors and as other minimum-wage labourers in Thailand, Singapore,
Japan, ect.

As for bulk of the population, they are squeezed not only by their
economic conditiond, but by the military too.

Villagers have not only been forced to work as "slave labourers" on
various "public" projects such as building military camps, roads,
providing the military with security (like standing guard on
highways to prevent ambushes), and carrying ammunition and supplies
for military columns.

In addition, the people, especially the minorities like Karen, Shan,
Mon <Muslims, ect are constantly subject to military harassment and
atrocities: extrajudicial killings, toture, arbitrary arrest, rape,
pillage, confiscation of land ect.

All the above have been well-documented by human rights
organization, journalists, even traveller in Burma.

What is happening in Burma is a return to "feudal" despotism and
Chinese-Asean lesaders and governments are wittingly or unwilltingly
endorsing this.

What is more tragic is that Chinese-Asean leader have only paid lip
service to the "Constructive Engagement" policy which they claim is
a "carrot-and-stick" policy aimed at improving the situation. But
sadly there have only been "carrot" and no "sticks."

The fact of the matter is that the much vaunted "Constructive
Engagement" policy vis-a-vis Burma, has become an excuse for doing
nothing and worse, a justification for legitimizing a return to
feudal despotism in Burma.

"Constructive Engagement" as it stands today, brings into mind the
question of what exactly is the real agenda of Asian leaders, with
regard to the new, post-cold war world order.

The apparent support of Asean governments for the feudal despotism
in Burma is quite unfathomable since the Philippines, Thailand, and
Malaysia are, on balance, democracies.

In fact, only Singapore's Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, is a strong,
articulate opponent of the principle of democratic development which
is what the people of Burma aspire to.

A further question is, is the conta5
inment of democracy a desirable
objective? On the short run, economic development may be impeded by
democracy because demnocracy empowers the poor, the "losers," the
voiceless, ect, and gives them the power to "obstruct." On the long
run, however especially if the profit-takers and accumulators of
wealth-making than to the domestic market and cosumers there may
arise a situation where there is neither democracy nor economic

As such, it is perhaps time to seriously re-evaluate the
implications of the actually inoperative "Constructive Engagement"
policy and re-examine the underlying assumption that democracy is
incompatible with development and that it is alien to Asian culture.

Chao-Tazang Yawnghwe is a Canada based writer.

 2 july 1995

AS BURMA ATTEMPTS to boosts its tourist trade-
its authorities have dubbed 1996 " Visit
Myanmar year, using their preferred name for
the country - the ruling junta's attention
has turned to the age-old habit of chewing
betel-nut, a mild stimulant.

Chewing this red nut has been part of Burmese
culture for more than 2,000 years but Rangoon
has just banned the practice - because the
spittle from chewers stains streets with red
splotches, which, it is argued, might upset
foreign tourists.

The nut's sale has been outlawed and signs
have appeared depicting a betel spitter
behind the familiar prohibition  motif - a
red line through a circle. The Rangoon City
Development Committee has declared that betel
chewers are tarnishing the beauty of the

The London -based Burma Action Group, which
campaigns against the excesses of the
government, recalls other supposedly tourist-
friendly measures, such as a ban on
miniskirts and an order that people wear
sarongs of a uniform length. A spokeswoman
said: This is typical of the kind of thing
they are doing to ensure what they call law
and order." (TN)


THERE is a Catch 22 situation in Burmese
politics. Lt Gen Khin Nyunt said he could not
discuss Burma's situation until there is a
guarantee of peace and tranquillity in our

But in truth there is no guarantee for peace
in Burma unless and until Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi is freed.

Shame to the leaders of the Thai Government
who thought constructive engagement gentle
persuasion would bring finer political
weather to Burma.

After a frustrating trip to Burma, American
Congressman BillRichardson said In my view
she will not be released on July 19, the
anniversary of her detention.

He also said "There's a turnaround. There's a
hardening and a backsliding."
He seems  to have misunderstood the character
of Burmese Generals. There was never a
concrete promise by Slorc leaders to free
Aung San Suu Kyi. They only hinted of a
release an attempt to gain more for their own

For the Burmese population, we are certain
Burmese military rulers would never render
freedom to our real national leader until
they fiish their thieving. Pitfully, Western
leaders have been misled by Burmese Generals.

In his book Burmese Days, George Orwell's
portrayer of a decitful Burmese Magistrate
was: "It cannot  Oriental could know him.
You, an English gentleman, cannot sink your
mond to the depth of such ass U Po Kyin.

"He is more than a scoundrel, he is what
shall say? Words fail me. he called me a
crocodile in human shape. He has the  cunning
of the crocodile, is cruelty, its beastality.

If you know the record of that man! The
extortions, the briberies! The girls he has
ruined, raping them before the very eyes of
their mother!

"Ah, an English gentleman cannot imagine such
a charater. He is the enemy of any reasonably
honest man."

The charaters of the present Burmese rulers
are exactly the same as George Orwell's
masterpiece creation. Unlike Asians,
Westerners will never understand the Slorc.
The Asean leaders adopted a constructive
engagement policy to derive profits from the
"Burmese crocodile."

Today, the Burmese army are committing crimes
against civilians everywhere in Burma. They
are unbelievable and unparallele6

In fact  there is no institution that could
be called a "government", despite their
claims to be one. They are like pirates
occupying a small island and looting
everything they see.

On february 19, 1990, the Trade Ministry
announced Notification No 719 the formation
of the Union Myanmar Holding Limited. Though
it is stated that the company was formed "in
the interest of the state and its citizens,"
the civilians were however not allowed to buy

Only the soldiers in the armed forces and ex-
soldiers were entitled to buy shares in the
enterprise. The state would subsidise 40 per
cent with state coffers and tax payers money.

Authorised capital for the conglomeration was
ten billion kyat. Burmese gross national
product (GNP) in 1990 was 51 billion kyat.

Army officers were to take one fifth of GNP
outright robbery! In November 1991, a feature
article in the Asian Wall Street Journal said
a military officer was caught with 5.7
million kyat in cash. But he could not reveal
the source of his income.

In January 1993 after three decades, the
first public bank Myawaddy Bank solely owned
by military officers, was inaugurated. It was
announced that anyone could deposit any
amount of money into the bank and no
questions would be asked on the source of the

Thus, people with huge amounts of money who
ould not explain the source of income,
deposited it in the bank. Black money was
turned into legal currency.

The bank was doing business with 3,826 money
owners who had paid a token tax to legalise
funds. The total amount of black money that
become legal was 4.47 billion kyat.

According to a state-owned newspaper report,
50 million kyat and another 10 million kyat
was legalised. The report showed there were
3, 826 millionaires holding unaccountable
money. Who are they?

Only top military officers and some ethnic
leaders who are in the drug business can
acumulate such vast amounts.

The report showed millionaire military
leaders are busy looting as well as
legalising their loot. They do nothing to
lead the nation to peace and tranquility.
They think nothing of theving. And they will
never let the democracy leader free. Such a
pity the West do not understand them
well.(BP) U Thaung is former editor/ owner of
the The Mirror Daily. He now edits The New
Era Journal, and is based in PAMPANO BEACH,


1 July 1995

ABOUT 2,000 Karen refugees are said to be gathering near the Thai
border in Khun Yuam District and may cross the border to seek
sanctuary if fighting between Burmese forces and Karen rebels

Thai intelligence sources said five battalions of Burmese troops,
supported by three artillery pieces, three 81mm mortars and six
60mm mortars, were massing close to areas in Kaya State controlled
by the Karenni National Progressive Party at Huey Mae Ngao, Ba On
and Mae Surin pass.

ABOUT 1,500 KNPP troops have been rushed to the areas to defend
their territories.

 At least two clashes were reported yesterday between the rival
 patrol  units at a spot five kilometres from KNPP's Command 99,
and near
another base at Mae Surin pass.
Reports of the casualties were not available.
Kaya State prime minister Ong Ka Ley told Thai reporters that his
troops were ready to defend their territory against the Burmese
He said Rangoon claimed the troops were sent into Kaya State to
pursue Thai timber merchants who bought timber in the state.
But he doubted the claim, saying Rangoon's real intention was to
seize the state in order to build a road leading to the opium
territory of Shan State drug warlord Khun Sa. ( BP)


1 July 1995

THE ceasefire between Burma's military government and the ethnic
minority Mon guerrilla group will ease the task of repatriating Mon
refugees at the Thai border to their homeland according to a
National Security Council official.

NSC Deputy SecretaryGeneral Pichai Rattapol made the comment after
an agreement was reached between the Rangoon government and the New
Mon State Party to end almost 50 years of fighting.

Burma's military intelligence chief, Lt Gen Khin Nyunt, and NMSP
official Nai Tin Aung led the delegations that reached Thursday's
agreement in Moulmein.

They [Mon refugees] had promised they will go back when the
situation becomes normal, said Mr Pichai.
If not, they can return [to the Thai side] and we guarantee
[assistance] on humanitarian grounds.

In another development, questions arose yesterday at a Foreign
Ministry meeting about the possibility of political changes in Burma
affecting the contract for the purchase of gas from Burma's Yadana

Petroleum Authority of Thailand representatives said it is a
business contract, so the operating consortium will take
responsibility if it fails to supply the gas to Thailand, as would
PTT if it breaks agreement, according to a source at the meeting.
The PTT officials also said the Rangoon government would provide
security and guarantee the project since it is in Burma's national

Under a 30year contract signed in February, the total Unocal and
PTT Exploration and Production alliance will deliver 525 million
cubic feet per day of Yadana gas to PTT in a deal estimated to be
worth 10 billion baht a year.

Surveying and feasibility studies are now underway.
Construction and laying the gas pipeline are expected to start next
year, with gas deliveries starting in 1998. (BP)