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BurmaNet News December 8, 1995

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

The BurmaNet News: December 8, 1995
Issue #297

Noted in Passing:

	 Myint Zaw Lwin (the chief of the Burmese language service
	of the VOA) is the informer of the [Burmese] embassy. - Delip Kumar, 
	defector from the Burmese Embassy in Washington.




December 7, 1995

     When BurmaNet started "broadcasting" over the
Internet two years ago, we intended to provide accurate
coverage of Burma, anonymously and with a minimal
amount of editorializing.  However, the strong
appearance of misconduct by U.S. Government officials
at the Voice of America's Burmese-language Service
warrants editorial comment.


     The people in Burma exist in an police state and
the radio is their only tenuous link to the free world. 
They get their news from the radio.  Aung San Suu Kyi
speaks to them over the radio and they also hear what
the rest of the world says about their government over
the radio.  Because it is so important, broadcasters
like the Voice of America's (VOA) Burmese language
service have a special responsibility to report the
news fully and accurately.  But, the VOA is failing in
its responsibility.  Worse, it is trying to fail.

     The US Embassy in Rangoon cabled Washington last
week to complain about an apparent pro-regime bias in
VOA Burmese-language broadcasts.  The Embassy is
complaining about a series of reports filed by the
Burmese-language Service Chief Myint Zaw Lwin.  Myint
Zaw Lwin, an American citizen of Burmese birth, is in
Rangoon on a special three-month visa to cover Burma in
the aftermath of Daw Suu's release.  Instead of
reporting on the opposition, however, she has used most
of her stories to profile (sympathetically) various
leaders of the State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC), and talk about business in Burma.  In one
particulary egregious piece of "journalism," she
broadcast a seventeen-minute interview with the wife of
Burma's secret police chief, Gen. Khin Nyunt.

     In addition to the biased broadcasts, the Embassy
is indignant over Myint Zaw Lwin's recent appearance on
the cover of the "New Light of Myanmar." She was
pictured handing over a large sum of kyat for
charitable purposes to Secretary-1, Khin Nyunt. 
American policy is to treat the SLORC as a pariah.  The
image of an American official donating money to the
head of Burma's secret police destroys the efforts of
diplomats trying to carry out the American policy. 
It's not the only favor she's doing for Khin Nyunt. 
While in Rangoon, the VOA official is staying at the
hotel owned by the secret policeman, the Mya Yeik Nyo. 
At $120 per night for 3 months (billed to the US
Government), it is excessive by Rangoon standards. 

     Under its current leadership, there have been numerous and
long-standing charges that the Burmese-language service is violating the
VOA's own charter and rules.  A spokesman for the All-Burma Student's
Democratic Front said it this way in a recent letter: 

     At the moment many [VOA] programs are giving a lot
     favour for the Slorc.  For example, when Khin
     Maung Htay visited Burma, he made many interviews
     with pro-Slorc people and almost all (about 10
     interviews) are put on the air while we found only
     one interview with Aung San Suu Kyi that he did
     and VOA put on air for democratic movement. It is
     practically 1:10 between democracy and dictator.

     Others who accuse the VOA of bias are the elected
government in exile, Burmese-American activists, exiled
journalists in Bangkok and leaders of the National
League for Democracy in Rangoon.  They voice the same
complaint--the Burmese-language service is pro-SLORC. 
Specific documented allegations include the deliberate
censoring of Aung San Suu Kyi's views, a pattern of
biased and inaccurate reports, unwillingness to air the
voices of the opposition and an unseemly fawning
attitude towards Burma's generals.

     There are more damning allegations than those of
bias at the VOA or Myint Zaw Lwin's taste in company,
charities or lodging.  According to Delip Kumar, who
defected from the Burmese embassy in Washington last
month, Myint Zaw Lwin "is the informer of the [Burmese]
embassy."  If his allegations are correct, a Myint Zaw
Lwin is regularly passing information on the activities
of Burmese in the pro-democracy movement to Col. Kyi
Tun, Burma's Military Attache in Washington, and Tun
Naing, the intelligence sergeant in the attache's office.  Some 
of the Burmese activists allegedly being reported on are 
American citizens and many still have families in Burma.

     If there is any merit to these allegations, the
issue isn't bad judgement or bias.  It's something akin
to espionage.  US Government officials should not
secretly pass information to hostile regimes that could
foreseeably harm American citizens or endanger their
families.  Much like the Aldrich Ames affair, the first
priority was to determine whether the accusation is
true and if so, whether anyone was harmed.  After that,
the VOA should clean up its Burmese-language service,
or shut it down.   As the VOA's own rules for Handling
State Controlled Media states, "These countries [i.e.
dictatorships] disseminate their own propaganda.  We do
not do it for them."


The gravity of the charges aired in this editorial
warrant a departure from BurmaNet's tradition of
anonymity.  In the United States, unlike in SLORC's
Burma, those accused have a right to know who their
accusers are.  Anyone with questions about this
editorial should contact its author.

 /signed  Douglas Steele
          Washington, DC
          December 7, 1995

          (202) 234-0427
          or douglas.steele@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


To restore its credibility, the VOA needs to take
immediate steps to:

     determine whether the allegations made by Delip
     Kumar have any merit.  If there is merit to the
     allegations, VOA then needs to--

     determine whether any American citizens or the
     families of citizens have been harmed or put at risk,

     determine whether there is a pattern of pro-SLORC
     editorial biased or inaccurate reporting by the
     Burmese-language service,

     determine whether any other US officials knew or
     should have known about bias at the VOA or of a
     possible inappropriate relationship between Myint
     Zaw Lwin and Burmese intelligence officials,

     determine whether there is any merit to the
     allegations that Myint Zaw Lwin's husband, a
     senior official at the US Information Agency, has
     inappropriately sought to obstruct enquiries into
     the conduct of Burmese-language service operations.

To contact the VOA:

 Jesse Cowan, Director
 Voice of America
 330 Independence Avenue, SW
 Washington, DC 20547, USA
 Tel: (202) 401-1493
 Fax: (202) 401-1494

December 5, 1995

      RANGOON, Burma (Reuter) - Burma's military government Tuesday suggested
democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was a traitor and said she and her
pro-democracy colleagues would be ``annihilited'' if they tried to
destabilize the country. 

    The state-run New Light of Myanmar and Mirror Daily newspapers, both
widely seen as mouthpieces of the ruling military, carried commentaries
indirectly comparing Suu Kyi with a reviled 19th century traitor who helped
British forces conquer Burma. 

    ``True young patriots are well aware of all your activities and they will
annihilate, holding hands with the people, anyone who makes the country
unstable,'' the newspaper commentary said. 

    ``If you really have a true desire to see Myanmar (Burma) develop, it is
essential not to do as you are directed by the imperialists,'' said the
commentary entiled ``Wither goes thou, Maung Ba Than. 

    More than 100 years ago, Maung Ba Than helped British troops capture
Mandalay, then the Burmese capital, leading to the imposition of British
colonial rule throughout Burma. 

    Suu Kyi, released from six years of house arrest in July, pulled her
National League for Democracy (NLD) party out of a government-organised
convention drawing up the guidelines of a new constitution last week, saying
the proceedings were undemocratic. 

    The NLD's boycott of the convention, which has been meeting
intermittently since January 1993, was the pro-democracy party's most
significant act of defiance since Suu Kyi's release. 

    The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner has made repeated calls for talks on
political reform but the ruling military body has yet to indicate it is
willing to begin talks. 

    In her regular weekend meetings with crowds of people who gather outside
her home, Suu Kyi has often called for patience and restraint in the campaign
to end 33 years of military rule. She has also rejected government
suggestions that she is trying to incite protestors to take to the streets. 

    Meanwhile a small group of students was prevented from holding a
remembrance ceremony on the site of the old students' union building at
Rangoon University on Tuesday , witnesses said. 

    Troops blew up the union building on July 8, 1962, four months after the
military first seized power in a coup. 

    The day before the building was destroyed, troops put down the first of a
long series of student protests against miltiary rule. 

    Witnesses said the students abandoned their attempt to hold a ceremony to
honor veteran student leaders after being told by authorities it was not
allowed. There were no reports of any arrests. 

    State newspapers reported on Tuesday several mass rallies by tens of
thousands of people in support of the government's constitutional convention.

Rangoon-based diplomats as well as ordinary Burmese people have said in
the past such rallies are stage managed by the government and most
participants are coereced into going under threat of being fined or fired
from their jobs if they are state employees.


December 7, 1995
By Deborah Charles 

    RANGOON, Dec 7 (Reuter) - Burma's enigmatic generals have proved once
again that they and their regime cannot be read like an open book. 

    Less than five months after shocking the world with a conciliatory
gesture by unconditionally releasing Burma's most famous political prisoner
-- Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi -- the military government has
returned to confrontation. 

    Recent indications include harsh verbal attacks on pro-democracy
supporters, intimidation and a dogged determination to continue a
constitution-writing process widely regarded as a farce. 

    Brigadier General David Abel, Minister for National Planning and Economic
Development, said in a recent interview foreign investors would flock to
Burma despite the political and human rights problems because they want to
make money. 

    ``Money motivates men. Big businessmen, their motivation is to make
money,'' he told Reuters. ``If they can make money, why not? They are not
worried about what politicians say.'' 

    Abel also dismissed Suu Kyi's calls to foreign investors and
international organisations to refrain from investing in Burma while it
remains undemocratically-led.    CONSTITUTION PROCESS SEEN TO SHORE UP

    Critics say the only goal of the constitution-drafting process is to
consolidate the military's grip on power in Burma. 

    Their complaints, however, have gone unheeded by the ruling State Law and
Order Council (SLORC), which took power in 1988 after brutally supressing
democracy uprisings that left thousands imprisoned or dead. 

    Opposition members, dissidents and some foreign governments have publicly
deplored the SLORC's constitution-writing exercise, saying it was

    ``Our intention is always to find the way that is the most beneficial to
the people of the country,'' Suu Kyi, 50, told reporters recently as she
announced her National League for Democracy (NLD) party had decided to pull
out of the constitutional talks. 

    ``We cannot in all honour support a National Convention which is not
heading for what the people want, which is not in any way desirous of
bringing about national reconciliation, multi-party democracy or a
constitution that will be acceptable to all the people of our country.'' 

    The NLD has participated in previous sessions of the constitutional
talks, as the only elected representatives, but has repeatedly called for
changes to the process. 

    The national convention, which is drafting guidelines for a new
constitution, has met sporadically since January 1993 and convenes at the
whim of the SLORC. 

    Among other things, the constitution calls for the military to play a key
role in a future democratic government. 

    The SLORC said it will continue with the convention, now attended by
about 550 delegates who are almost all hand-picked by the military, despite
the pullout of the NLD's 86 delgates.    GENERALS THREATEN TO ANNIHILATE

    SLORC lashed out at the NLD and at Suu Kyi in particular for leaving the
talks, warning of dire consequences for anyone who tries to disrupt Burma's
national unity. 

    A senior SLORC and army official, Lieutenant General Tin Oo, recently
said the armed forces would ``resolutely take action against and annihilate
those who mar or disturb the interest of the entire nation.'' 

    Another SLORC official had already said the NLD and Suu Kyi were trying
to disrupt Burma. 

    The warning of ``annhilation'' was repeated in a toughly-worded criticism
of Suu Kyi and her party in a commentary published in state-run newspapers
which are often seen as the mouthpiece of the government. 

    The United States government and some other foreign diplomats publicly
supported the NLD's withdrawal, and called for an end to attacks on the

    ``We and other governments have noted that...the National
Convention...does not offer the opposition a meaningful opportunity to
participate in the crucial decisions that will determine Burma's political
future,'' a White House statement said after the NLD boycott was announced. 

    ``We urge the (SLORC) to recognise that public discussion in an
environment free of intimidation is critical to the healthy functioning of
any political system. We further urge the authorities to avoid threats or
other measures against those who seek freely to express their views,'' it

    The tougher attitude toward pro-democracy supporters appears to have
given new life to the battered and fledgling opposition. 

    The NLD, which won a 1990 general election by a landslide, was never
allowed to govern and the SLORC tried to repress the movement by arresting or
intimidating many senior members. 

    Suu Kyi, who was released from six years of house arrest in July, has
said the manner in which the SLORC is conducting constitutional talks will
show to the world that it has no real intention of allowing true democracy to
return to Burma. 

    Diplomats say Suu Kyi, who since her release has unsuccessfully called
for dialogue with the government to find a way to bring democracy to Burma,
may have made these comments only because she felt there was no other option
open to her. 

    Suu Kyi's resurgence comes at a time when diplomats, some dissidents and
opposition members speculate that she has lost some of her fight after six
years of house arrest. 

    They said before the boycott announcement that the SLORC appeared to be
winning its game of ignoring Suu Kyi with the hope that her supporters would
lose interest and decide she has no real power. 

    The Nobel laureate said she realises the government may crack down even
harder or perhaps re-arrest her or other senior party members, but said the
fight had to continue. 

    ``The NLD was not founded because we wanted a nice, cosy niche. We knew
there were dangers involved and we were prepared 


December 5, 1995

(editor's note: Other sources have also reported widespread use of force by
the SLORC to make people attend public rallies supporting the National
Convention, not only in the cities but also in the countryside.)

The National League for Democracy / Liberated Area denounces the State Law 
and Order Restoration Council for ordering the people to participate in the 
villainous mass meetings in Burma. The military rulers of Burma are forcing 
the people to attend the public rallies in the big cities in Burma to try to show 
that their National Convention is receiving support of the people. This kind of 
measure is not uncommon under such a brutal regime. 

That is why the USDA ( Union Solidarity and Development Association ) was 
brought into existence by the military junta. The government employees and 
students are forced to enroll into the USDA. The school-children are threatened 
to lose sitting the examination. The public are subject to fine 50 to 500 Kyats if 
they fail to show up in the rallies. The teachers are instructed to bring the students 
to the assemblies while "not-more-than-four" order is still valid elsewhere for others.

USDA intentionally chose the green uniform in order to deceive all school-children 
as the members. It should be noted that, in Burma, all school-children and teachers 
have to wear white-on-green uniforms. Feeling helpless, if not always, the civilians 
are used to follow the orders by the authorities. That does not mean a unanimity. 
That can not be taken as conscience. The military rulers know that. But, why did 
they do it then? The Generals organize the rallies just to televise and photograph 
to put them on the media. 

Because they expect an assumption from the outsiders. Do the outsiders take 
account of it? If they got appreciation from outside, they will use such rallies as 
a referendum to approve their upcoming soldier-dominated constitution. They dare 
not taking risk a secret vote again like the 1990 election.

So the National League for democracy / Liberated Area  
- condemns SLORC's unsound approach of  "forced mass rallies",

- beseeches the people of Burma to resist the unjust orders consonant with Daw 
Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD party's boycott against the present National 
Convention and

- calls for the outsiders to ridicule the SLORC for attempting to seek inconstant 
appreciation by international community.

The National League for Democracy / Liberated Area
[ Western Region ]


December 5, 1995	

The time may have arrived for India to come out in open support of the movement 
for democracy headed by Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi in neighbouring Myanmar, 
placing its own cherished national values of freedom and human rights above 
whatever little gains may be had by continued contact with the regime in 
Yangon. By rejecting the legitimate demands of the Suu Kyi-led National 
Democratic League and expelling it from the convention called to draft a 
constitution of convenience, the regime has shut the door to national reconciliation 
and forfeited the trust reposed in it by the international community. 

There was relief and even optimism when the junta released Ms. Suu Kyi, the
Nobel Prize and Nehru Award winner, from six years of house arrest in early July. 
The optimism was of course tempered by the realization that the released come on 
the eve of a summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations whose riches 
the military regime is eager to partake of. Through its latest act, the junta stands 
exposed for what it is: a ruthless machine that brooks no opposition and which 
has now given up even the pretenses of moving the country towards civilian rule. 

The so-called national convention, dominated by representatives hand-picked 
by the military, has just one task: to prepare a constitution that will prepetuate the 
junta's hold on power.							

It must now be quite clear to all those apologists of the regime that it released Ms. 
Suu Kyi not because it was committed to political change and reconciliation but to 
entice foreign capital, particularly from countries in the neighbourhood which 
have perfected their own version of democracy and, flush with finance, have been 
looking around for safe investment destinations. Their policy of "constructive 
engagement" was based on the doubtful premise that quite pressure combined 
with interaction would loosen the junta's hold. Japan and some members of ASEAN 
launched on a process of calibrated political and economic incentives soon after 
Ms. Suu Kyi's release. But the soft approach, meant also to induce Myanmar to 
come out of the embrace of China, is a shambles and the policy of carrot    
without stick has emboldened the regime to issue threats to its opponents. A 
hermetically sealed country which has just had a taste of freedom now faces the threat 
of being pushed back into darkness.

THE choice before the international community is clear: it must ensure that 
the regime is not allowed to get away with impunity. The junta must be told 
that the world will accept nothing short of complete political freedom for Ms. 
Suu Kyi and her democracy campaigners -under the rules framed by the junta's 
underlings, she is to be barred from participating in the nation's political 
life on the ground of her marriage to a foreigner. Examples abound of international 
inaction and ineptitude in the face of the type of challenge posed by the military 
men in Myanmar and Nigeria. But there have also been successful demonstrations 
of the world community's determination to reinstate democracy, such as the effort in Haiti. 

Ms. Suu Kyi has displayed exemplary courage and has just declared that she and her 
supporters are prepared to face the consequences of their action. Myanmar is certainly 
a test case. Giving the Neru Award for International Understanding to a representative 
of Ms. Suu Kyi in New Delhi a fortnight ago, the President, Dr. S. D. Sharma, 
declared that "supporting democracy elsewhere is part of affirming one's own 
democratic credentials." India can redeem this pledge to the Myanmar leader, whom 
the Vice- President described as a "symbol of challenge to injustice", by launching 
an international campaign for the return of democracy to her country.


December 8, 1995

Malaysian human rights groups have called on Asean to 
withdraw its invitation for Burmese leader Than Shwe 
toattend next week's Bangkok summit. And they have demanded 
Asean ditch its "constructive engagement" policy with 
Rangoon and urged it to take "concrete steps" to encourage 
"genuine peace talks" on East Timor between the Indonesian 
government and the East Timorese leadership.

About 13 groups signed the statement calling for action. The 
groups have planned vigils at the Indonesian and Burmese 
embassies in Kuala Lumpur this evening. The groups want 
Asean to withdraw the invitation in a bid to show its 
disdain of human rights violations in Burma.

And they claim Asean's constructive engagement policy which 
aims to draw Burma into the world community in a bid to 
encourage its leaders to conform with international laws_ 
has not worked.

Asia Pacific Coalition on East Timor (Msia), AWAM (All Women 
Action Society), CENPEACE (Centre for Peace Initiatives), 
Management Institute for Social Change, PACOS (Partners for 
Community Organisers), were among the groups calling for 

Asean has invited Gen Than Shwe, chairman of the ruling 
State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc), to attend 
an informal gathering of 10 Southeast Asian countries on December 15.

The meeting is considered to be part of the Asean summit 
Bangkok is hosting. The Burmese delegation is scheduled to 
arrive on December 14. Gen Than Shwe is expected to be 
accompanied by Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw, and Slorc's First 
Secretary-General Lt Gen Khin Nyunt.

"It is clear that firm action, such as withdrawing the 
invitation to the summit, is needed as an indication that 
Asean views with disdain the increasing human rights violations 
in that country," the Malaysian groups' statement said.

Reacting to the call, Thai Foreign Ministry Spokesman 
Suvidhya Simaskul said Asean "does not need to speak again 
and again of its policy on Burma, and of why we are inviting 
Burma." "Asean knows about human rights and democratisation. 
But Asean does not believe in denial or use of negative 
measures," he added.

Indonesia's Arizal Effendi, director general for 
International Legal and Treaties Affairs, said Burma is well 
aware of the need to integrate into the region because the 
task of development requires interdependence.

According to the Malaysian groups' statement, international 
reports on Burma from the United Nations Commission on Human 
Rights and Amnesty International have made "special mention" 
of the fact that human rights abuses by the Slorc have 
increased "In recent times." "Evidence indicates that forced 
labour and human rights violations continue to be 
perpetrated in the context of tourism development," the 
groups' statement said.

It is "extremely distressing" that business people from 
Asean countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia 
have been "active partners" of the Slorc in the tourism 
development. "Entrepreneurs from these countries have 
already committed about US$ 450 million to this investment 
in death, rape and human misery."

The groups urged Malaysian people to boycott the Slorc's 
Visit Myanmar Year 1996, and called on Malaysian businessmen 
to "cease and desist" for initiating or extending any more 
financial dealings with Burma.

The groups maintained that the human rights situation in 
Burma has deteriorated since Asean adopted "constructive 
engagement" as a policy towards Rangoon. "Any changes made 
have been purely cosmetic to buy off international concern," it added.

Slorc troops "even now" are violating Thai territorial 
sovereignty "In the course of harassing refugees," 
particularly around the Mae Sot area, in the western 
province of Tak, the groups said.

"Therefore, we urge the Asean member nations to call off 
their policy of constructive engagement with the Slorc and 
to withdraw the invitation to Slorc chairman General Than 

On East Timor, the Malaysian groups called for immediate 
release of all East Timorese and Indonesian political 
prisoners. They also demanded the immediate application of 
all Geneva Protocols and international laws, and the 
admission into East Timor of international agencies such as 
the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, Amnesty International and the UN.

"Asean wields sufficient influence in the region to persuade 
Indonesia to take a conciliatory approach to solve the 
conflict," the Malaysian groups said. Other Malaysian groups 
on the list are Jawatankuasa Sokongan Peneoka Bandar, 
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Pusat BARA, Sekretariat Pelajar, 
Universiti Islam Antarabangsa, Selangor Chinese Assembly 
Hall Youth, Suara Warga Pertiwi, SUARAM, Tamil Support Group 
for Human Rights, and Tenaganita (Womenforce). (BP)

December 8, 1995
Rangoon, AFP

The boycott of Burma's constitutional convention by the 
National League for Democracy has prompted the junta to 
raise the allowance for remaining delegates by six baht a day.

NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi announced her party's boycott on 
Nov 29, saying the convention, which is drawing  up 
guidelines for a constitution, is undemocratic.  Critics in 
Burma and abroad have branded the convention a sham designed 
to ensure military rule under the State Law and Order Restoration Council.

The NLD has 86 of the convention's 702 delegates, despite 
winning 80 percent of the vote in a national election in 
1990. The military refused to hand over power after the vote. (BP)


December 8, 1995

An 11-year-old boy was shot by a heavily armed group of 
foreign soldiers who crossed from Burma on Tuesday to attack 
a petrol station. The attack occurred on Tuesday night at a 
petrol station, only 150 metres away from a police 
checkpoint along Mae Sot-Umphang Road in Phop Phra District.

The boy, identified only as Ekachai, was shot once in the 
left leg and was rushed to the district hospital. Boonchai 
Silviriyanon, 36, owner of the station, and his wife Thongkam said 
about 30 foreign intruders armed with M16 and AK47 rifles and M79 
grenade launchers stormed the place at about 8 p.m.

They took seven workers hostage before trying to break into 
the office. Mrs Thongkam managed to lock the office door, 
forcing the group to fire at the door. That was when Ekachai was shot.

Police officers at the checkpoint fired at the armed men and 
a brief exchange of fire followed. The armed men 
subsequently retreated across the border back to Burma. An 
M16 ammunition pouch and a jungle knife popular among Karen 
people were found a few metres from the border.

According to Tak police chief Pol Col Somsak Chalermwan, the 
armed men were suspected to be remnants of the Karen 
National Union whose camps have been seized and overtaken by 
Burmese forces. An informed source said Mr Boonchai had a 
business conflict with both Karen and Burmese soldiers. The 
attack might be intended as a threat. (BP)


December 6, 1995

     Despite ongoing peace talks between Rangoon and various
rebel groups, war weapons continue to flow to the insurgents from
arms-smuggling  gangs based in Thailand, informed sources close 
to anti- Rangoon rebels said yesterday. 

      Most of the war weapons, they said, came from Cambodia and
smuggling was possible because of the involvement of some corrupt Thai officials.
     All kinds of war weapons for infantry use, either brand new
or used, could be purchased Provided you can afford it, sources said.

     A brand-new M16 or an AK47 assault rifle normally fetches
between 1,700-3,000 on the Thai-Cambodian border, (but for delivery
to) rebels in Kanchanaburi or Karen rebels in Mae Sot, the price will go 
up to about 7,000 baht apiece.

     The same weapon will fetch about 12,000 baht if it is delivered to Shan 
rebels of drug kingpin Khun Sa in Burma opposite Mae Hong Son and 
Chiang Mai provinces, according to the sources.

     An M79 grenade-launcher and an RPG grenade-launcher is
priced at 3,000 baht and 4,000 baht respectively at the Thai-Cambodian border 
and a rocket fetches between 160-200 baht each.

     The sources said that even Chinese-made SA7 shoulder-
launched anti-aircraft missiles could be bought from Cambodia at
about 200,000 baht apiece.

     Apart from anti-Rangoon rebel groups which are normally
major buyers of war weapons smuggled from Cambodia, the sources
said that some of the arms are sold to fishermen in Ranong,
supposedly for selfprotection against pirates.

     A small portion of the weapons also went to the Tamil Tigers
in SriLanka, the sources claimed.

     Although about 100 allege arms traders are arrested each
year, 60% of the smuggled weapons went through police dragnets
and reached their customers, the sources claimed.


December 7, 1995

                                           Post Office Box 1270
                                        Nederland Co 80466-1270
                               Email: Sharriso@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
                               Phone: 303 440 0913, Fax: 303 250 7881

This Urgent Action appeal originated from Amnesty International's 
research headquarters at the International Secretariat in London, United 
Kingdom. Amnesty International is an independent worldwide movement 
working for the international protection of human rights. It seeks the 
release of men and women detained anywhere because of their beliefs, 
color, sex, ethnic origin, language or religious creed, provided they 
have not used nor advocated violence. These are termed prisoners of 
conscience. It works for fair and prompt trials for all political 
prisoners and works on behalf of such people detained without charge or 
trial. It opposes the death penalty and torture or other cruel, inhuman 
or degrading treatment or punishment of all prisoners without reservation.

EXTRA 155/95                      Heath concern / Legal concern     5 
December 1995
THAILAND:  Daw Khin Hlaing (female), aged 65
                        U Ye Gaung (male), aged 71, journalist
                        and 23 other Burmese asylum-seekers

Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the health of Daw Khin 
Hlaing who has been in detention with her husband, U Ye Gaung, in Bangkok 
since 29 November 1995.  She is said to be suffering from a heart 
condition which may be exacerbated by their detention.

Daw Khin Hlaing and U Ye Gaung, who are both Burmese asylum-seekers, were 
taken from their home in Bangkok in the early morning of 29 November, and 
have since been held without charge or trial at the Immigration Detention 
Centre (IDC). U Ye Gaung is senior writer for the New Era Journal, a 
Burmese opposition newspaper published in Thailand.  Amnesty 
International believes the couple may have been arrested for the peaceful 
expression of their political views. 

Police also arrested 23 other Burmese asylum-seekers on 28 and 29 
November in Bangkok, in what Amnesty International believes is an effort 
to prevent public protests about the Burmese military-convened National 
Convention in Rangoon (Yangon), the capital of Myanmar.  Although none of 
the 25 have yet been charged, the Thai police routinely detain Burmese 
asylum-seekers and sentence them to terms of imprisonment for 'illegal immigration'. 

Amnesty International opposes the detention of refugees or asylum-seekers 
unless they have been charged with a recognizably criminal offence. 
International standards do not recognize 'illegal immigration' as a 
legitimate reason for the detention of asylum-seekers, and state that the 
detention of refugees and asylum-seekers should normally be avoided.  

Senior Burmese military officials will be visiting Bangkok in 
mid-December 1995 to attend a meeting of the Association of Southeast 
Asian Nations (ASEAN).  Although Myanmar is not yet a member of ASEAN, it 
has been invited to attend the meeting.  Amnesty International fears that 
the 25 Burmese asylum-seekers will be detained until at least after that time.

The National Convention, first convened by the Burmese military 
authorities in 1993 in order to draft the principles for a new 
constitution, reconvened on 28 November 1995 after a seven-month break.  
The following day, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition 
National League for Democracy (NLD), announced that the NLD would boycott 
the Convention, stating that it was undemocratic.  On 1 December the 
military government said that the NLD was expelled from the Convention.  
At the Convention, speeches by delegates, all selected by the military, 
require prior approval.  Previously, the majority of NLD Members of 
Parliament-elect were not allowed to attend.  In any case, dozens of them 
were in prison, having been arrested in 1990 and 1991 and sentenced to 
long terms of imprisonment. 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail 
- expressing serious concern at reports that Daw Khin Hlaing is suffering 
from a heart condition and seeking assurances that they both she and her 
husband U Ye Gaung receive proper medical care immediately, particularly 
in view of their age;
- urging the Thai authorities to immediately release U Ye Gaung, Daw Khin 
Hlaing and the other 23 Burmese asylum-seekers arrested on 28 and 29 
November 1995, or charge them with recognizably criminal offences;
- urging the Thai authorities to cease the practice of routinely 
arresting Burmese and other asylum-seekers.

APPEALS TO:                                  (SALUTATION)
Banharn Silapa-archa                   (Dear Prime Minister)
Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior
Office of the Prime Minister
Government House
Nakhorn Pathom Road
Bangkok 10300, Thailand
[Telegrams: Prime Minister Banharn Silapa-archa, Bangkok, Thailand]
[Faxes: 011 66 2 280 1443; 011 66 2 225 6211]

Ambassador Manaspas Xuto 
Embassy of Thailand
2300 Kalorama Rd. NW
Washington DC 20008



Sources have reported that U Ye Gaung, Daw Khin Hlaing, and the detained 
Burmese students are in satisfactory condition at the IDC.  Daw Khin Hlaing 
is receiving medicine for her heart condition.  

The IDC is divided into several large cells, holding anywhere from 20 to 50 people 
each. The rooms are often so crowded that people must take turns lying down.  
The men's cells are bare and grim.  There are no mats on the cement floor.  The
women's section is a bit nicer, but because of the number of small children
detained with their mothers, it is always noisy.  Visitors can go up to the cells
and deliver food and reading materials between 9:30 and 11:30 on weekdays.
They must bring their passports and a xeroxed copy of their passports with them.

Some sources have suggested that the SLORC ordered the Thai authorities
to arrest Burmese dissidents in Bangkok before the ASEAN summit meeting
which senior SLORC generals will be attending.  It has also been suggested 
that the SLORC provided the Thai authorities with a specific list of names
and addresses, but this is unconfirmed.  

It is likely that the detainees will be held until after the summit meeting is over.  
The length of detention for illegal Burmese varies considerably and can depend
on their circumstances - ie. whether they have money to pay to get out and
whether they are political dissidents or economic migrants.  Eventually, detained 
Burmese who are economic migrants are usually packed into buses and taken 
back to the border either near Three Pagodas Pass or Mae Sot.  From there they 
can either go back into Burma or accept an offer from a broker who will take them 
back into Thailand.


December 8, 1995  (Christian Science Monitor)
By Cameron W. Barr;  the Monitor's Tokyo correspondent. , Rangoon

Not even the travel agents in Rangoon have high hopes for the military
regime's attempt to promote 1996 as ''Visit Myanmar Year.''

   The generals who run the country would never agree, but it would take a
really clever marketing campaign (''Visit Myanmar - And Meet Big Brother'' or
''Come to Burma - We'll Put You Under Our Thumb'') to draw the 500,000 tourists
they are looking for next year. In 1994 about 89,000 visitors came here.

   ''The government is only advertising inside the country,'' sighs the director
of one of Burma's biggest private travel companies, who asked that his name not
be used. ''Our company is preparing for 1997, not 1996.'' Besides the poor
promotions abroad, skeptics note the lack of good hotels at some of Burma's most
splendid attractions, such as the temple ruins at Pagan, and the country's
nearly decrepit road and telephone networks.  

   But visiting Burma offers the enterprising traveler a chance to experience
something that is increasingly rare now that communism has collapsed: a fully
functioning military dictatorship.

   Those who do come in 1996 will very likely have the opportunity to absorb the
sights and sounds of a country waiting to rid itself of military rule. In
addition to visiting Burma's gilded pagodas, you should be able to see
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in action, witness prison laborers
''volunteering'' to upgrade tourist sites, and tour a museum that enshrines the
accomplishments of the regime while omitting the military's violent excesses.

   The generals who took power in September 1988 call themselves the State Law
and Order Restoration Council, or SLORC. In a more graceful linguistic fiat, the
regime replaced the anglicized names ''Burma'' and ''Rangoon'' with the more
Burmese ''Myanmar'' and ''Yangon.''

   They refused to recognize the results of elections held in May 1990 in which
voters overwhelmingly favored a party led by Aung San Suu Kyi. The junta
released Ms. Suu Kyi from six years of house arrest in July, but has refused to
enter into the dialogue she has requested. Suu Kyi last week withdrew her party
from SLORC's constitutional convention, saying the process was undemocratic.
This week, state-run newspapers implicitly called her a traitor and said people
attempting to destabilize the country would be ''annihilated.''

   The nature of Burma's government tinges the country's charm with a creepy
malevolence. In Rangoon there are several military compounds near the famous
Shwedagon Pagoda, the capital's largest and the center of Burmese Buddhism.
Pounds and pounds of gold and jewels adorn the Pagoda and its surrounding
shrines, but the area is freely accessible through a number of streets and
byways. The main military compound, where there are presumably fewer riches, is
circled by barbed-wire topped walls punctuated with machine-gun portals.

   In front of the walls of the fort that dominates the upcountry city of
Mandalay is a red billboard that reads in English and Burmese: ''The Tatmadaw
(military) shall never betray the national cause.'' It answers a question that
no one in the country dare ask aloud.

   Since her release from house arrest, Suu Kyi has given informal speeches from
the gate of her Rangoon home. As of October she was speaking at around 4 p.m. on
Saturdays and Sundays to gatherings of several hundred Burmese and a handful of
journalists and tourists.

   She speaks in Burmese, of course, but it's not every weekend that one can see
a Nobel Peace Prize winner in the flesh. In recent talks she has emphasized the
need for her followers to maintain unity, discipline, and patience. The crowds'
delighted reaction comes through in any language.

   If you happen by at the appointed hour, and some Rangoon tour guides will
accompany visitors, it's important to keep in mind that these occasions are
illegal. In 1988 SLORC issued a decree banning public meetings of five or more
people. The Burmese who do attend the speeches are taking a risk, and some are
reluctant to talk. Burmese who have been overheard discussing their country's
politics with foreigners say they have been questioned later by the country's
military intelligence service.

   Another stop on the political tourist's Rangoon itinerary should be the new
Defense Services Museum, which honors Burma's military and particularly the
regime of the past seven years. This vast institution chronicles every facet of
the military: the industries it operates, the government ministries it now
controls, and its various kinds of gear. Every sort of munitions the military
has ever used is on display, from .22 caliber pistol rounds to a 750-pound fire
bomb. There are airplanes, heavy artillery pieces, radio sets, uniforms, even
jars of strawberry jam used on hospital ships.

   There are countless images of the generals in action. Tasks both mundane and
noble are chronicled with equal reverence. One photograph is captioned ''Heads
of State seen together with trainees of the women's parachutists course.'' A
mural is titled, ''The State Law and Order Restoration Council's endeavor for
internal peace and national consolidation.''

   One bit of Burmese military history that goes unmentioned in the museum is
the repression of popular protest. In 1962, 1974, and 1988, troops shot and
bayoneted thousands of civilians who were clamoring for more democracy and less
military-backed authoritarianism.

   Burma's state-run newspapers and television endlessly trumpet the regime's
efforts to upgrade the country's infrastructure as a means of developing the
economy and facilitating tourism. In Mandalay, for instance, the government has
undertaken many improvements to the hill that overlooks the city. 

   Where tourists before had to climb some 1,700 steps to see the view and the
Buddhist temple at the top, they can now ride most of the way thanks to a
switchback road carved into the hill. Construction of an escalator and other
facilities is under way.

   But diplomats and human rights groups say the government has often coerced
villagers and prisoners to work on these projects, particularly on roads in
outlying areas. Burmese officials have denied the charges, saying people
volunteer to work in the national interest.

   On one recent visit to Mandalay Hill, a group of men in grimy white clothes
sat in tight formation as a soldier in fatigues gave instructions. They marched
in lines to a construction site. A woman working in a snack bar nearby said the
men were prison laborers brought by the Army.

   From the top of the hill visitors can see another of the regime's infrastructure 
projects. Slightly north and west of the hill a semicircular compound is nearing 
completion. It is encircled by a wall, and additional walls inside the compound 
separate long, narrow buildings from each other. It is a new prison.


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