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BurmaNet News February 14, 1996 #34

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Subject: BurmaNet News February 14, 1996 #343

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

The BurmaNet News: February 14, 1996
Issue #343

Agence France - Presse
February 12, 1996

RANGOON - Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's leading pro-democracy
activist, has again appealed for the moral and practical support
of the international community to help Burma attain democracy.

Directing her appeal to the sprinkling of foreigners present
outside her house as she addressed the regular weekend crowd of
supporters, she asked for a "firm commitment" to the United
Nations resolution on Burma which has called for an early
restoration of democracy to Burma.

"All those who are present here will certainly realize that the
people of Burma do desire democracy," she said.

Aung San Suu Kyi said those who came to her weekly public
meetings, which she has begun to call "forums for democracy", had
the full knowledge that they ran the risk of "bringing down upon
them the disfavour of the authorities".

"But still they come because they believe democracy is something
for which they should sacrifice their security," she aid.

"So seeing how the people of Burma are committed to democracy, we
would like the international  community to help in every way
possible to bring about an early implementation of the terms of
the [UN] General Assembly resolution," she said. 

The pro-democracy activist said that although she depended mainly
on the "strength of our own people to achieve our aims", she was
well aware of the contribution the international community could
make in this respect.

"We are not unaware of the fact that today the world is getting
smaller and smaller and that we are all linked to each other by
bonds of humanity," she said.

"We will always continue to be grateful for anything that you can
do to support us in our struggle for democracy and human rights.
I hope you will continue to support us morally as well as through
practical means," she said.

Today, the National League for Democracy (NLD), the political
party she leads, plans to hold a commemorative ceremony on the
occasion of the 49th anniversary of Burma's Union Day.

Hundreds of supporters are expected to attend the unofficial
ceremony to be held inside the compound of Aung San Suu Kyi's
private residence risking official displeasure, observers said.


February 12, 1996

	Statement on the 49th Anniversary of 
                   the Pang Long Agreement(Union Day)
                                          Date: February 12, 1996

February 12, 1996 is a special day in Burma as it is the 49th
anniversary of the signing of the Pang Long Agreement (Union
Day), symbol of solidarity of all ethnic groups in Burma, which
led to independence from British colonial rule. General Aung San,
independence hero of Burma, and almost all ethnic groups signed
the treaty, agreeing to a future Federal Union based on equality
and mutual understanding. The signing took place at Pang Long
Township in Shan State on February 12, 1947. One year later Burma
gained independence from the British.

Since the 1962 coup led by Gen. Ne Win, ethnic people have lost
their rights to address outstanding problems by political means. 
SLORC, the current ruling junta, has continued to deal with
ethnic problems by means of intimidation and repression through
its sham National convention and temporary ceasefire agreement.

The ABSDF believes that National solidarity and long lasting
union can never be constructed on the base of a constitution
produced by means of repression and intimidation. Only a
constitution founded on equality, mutual understanding and mutual
respect can bring peace and lasting union of all the people of Burma.

SLORC is still continuing its puppet show National Convention in
order to guarantee the military a leading role in the future politics of Burma, 
very much against the wishes of the Burmese people. All this is to be achieved 
with no guarantee for the rights of ethnic minorities.

The ABSDF demands the Slorc to:

-Abolish the sham National Convention,
-Begin dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic leaders in   
 order to bring national reconciliation, democracy and lasting    
 peace to Burma, 
-Unconditionally release prominent student leader Min Ko Naing    
 and all political prisoners,
-Cancel all unjust laws.

We call on all ethnic people of Burma unite and continue their
struggle with the spirit of Pang Long in their hearts until the restoration 
of ethnic rights and democratic rights has been achieved.

Central Leading Committee
Camp 88
E-mail: ABSDF-MTZ <lurie@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>


February 11, 1996

About 2,000 Karen civilians are poised to cross the Thai-
Burmese border to escape a drive against Karen rebels by 
Burmese troops, it emerged yesterday.

Informed Thai police sources said the civilians had 
evacuated Democracy, Ayettaya and Tung Kha camps in 
Tenasserim village and were gathering close to the border, 
waiting to flee into Huay Pak Kok in Tambon Huay Khayeng in 
Thong Pha Phum District.

The latest clashes between the 30-strong Karen force and 
Government soldiers took place this week at Kamaw Twe 
village, about 20 km away from Thailand.

Three Karen soldiers were reportedly injured. No casualties 
have been reported on the government side. Thai border 
patrol police have been put on the alert to prevent the 
fighting from spilling over into Thailand. (BP)


February 12, 1996

KAWMOORA, Burma -Tension is high on the Thai-Burmese border as
Thai Army reinforcements move up to the frontier and  the two
uneasy neighbours accuse each other of supporting rival Burmese
rebel factions.

Thai troops are moving into the area after a series of violent
cross-border raids and their commanders are vowing immediate
retaliation for any further intrusions. Thai forces will stage
live-fire military exercises near the porous border later this
week, one officer said yesterday.

The ethnic Karen gunmen in Burma held responsible for the attacks
admitted crossing into Thailand to kill their rivals and appeared 
determined to continue their fight.

Army officers said last week a Karen rebel splinter faction, the
Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), had made 15 raids into
Thailand since October including a Jan 30 attack on a village in
which a policeman and two civilians were killed.

For the first time, senior Army officers directly accused Burma
of complicity in the raids, saying the DKBA was being supplied
and directed by Burmese government forces.

A senior DKBA officer denied that his men were responsible for
raids on Thai villages but admitted they did cross into Thailand
to kill members of the Karen National Union (KNU) guerrilla group
living in Thai refugee camps.

"We've never attacked Thai villages but sometimes we go over and
kill KNU members," Capt Kyaw Thay told a small group of reporters
at his camp on the Burmese bank of a border river.

"There are lots of KNU members on the Thai side of the border,"
he said. There would only be peace when KNU leaders negotiated a
settlement with the DKBA's spiritual leader, Buddhist monk U
Thuzana, he said.

However, the Thai military said attacks have been made against
both Thai villages and refugee camps. Villages and camps are
sometimes, but not always, located near each other.

The DKBA was formed in December 1994 by former KNU fighters who
mutinied against their mostly Christian leaders claiming
religious discrimination, and joined forces with the Burmese
government army.

Soon after it was formed DKBA gunmen began raids into Thailand,
attacking and burning camps housing some 70,000 Karen people who
have fled the decades of fighting between the KNU and the Burmese

The DKBA say they want all Karen civilians in the Thai camps,
many of them KNU supporters, to return to areas of Burma under
DKBA control.

The gunmen have also attacked Thai villages, police posts and
border roads, creating a climate of fear in the region which
until very recently was a trouble-free frontier.

Burma denies responsibility for the actions of its DKBA allies
and has in turn accused Thailand of supporting the KNU which has
been fighting Rangoon for autonomy since 1949.

Thailand denies supporting the KNU but says it allows disarmed
guerrillas fleeing fighting to enter its territory on
humanitarian grounds.

DKBA officer Kyaw Thay, speaking at a former KNU stronghold
captured by Burmese troops a year ago, said the Burmese army only
supplied the DKBA with rice.

Their arms and ammunition were captured in fighting with their
former KNU comrades, he said.

Near where he spoke a mortar tube with several bombs at the ready
was pointing across the Moei river into Thailand.

On the Thai side of the border Karen refugees an Thai civilians
are living in fear of more DKBA attacks.

"Most people here are Buddhist but they're still afraid," said
Karen refugee Ne Minn, a 30-year-old medic at Shoklo refugee
camp. "When the DKBA come they don't care who is Buddhist and who
is Christian. They rob and kill anyone. "


January, 1996  (abridged)
By A. Lin Neumann

[This article appeared in the January issue of Wired magazine and 
was forwarded for distribution on BurmaNet by Burma Center, 

Too many people believe if it isn't on CNN, it isn't
 important. "Countrynets" expose dictatorships, unite activists, and
 give hope to the oppressed around the world.
 For the most part, people outside don't understand and don't care,"
 says the slight young American man who calls himself Strider. "Burma
 is just too far away and too hard to understand." As a result, he
 says, a brutal dictatorship has existed there for years with scant
 outside attention paid to its excesses and abuses. The cure for the
 problem, as far as Strider is concerned, is partly to be found on the
 Internet and in a new kind of communications resource: BurmaNet, an
 information-heavy mailing list that targets activists, journalists,
 exiles, and academics intent on tracking Burma (renamed Myanmar in
 1989) with detail unavailable through traditional media.
 While commercial online companies sell the _ash and dash of the World
 Wide Web and US Congressional antiporn tub-thumpers seek to impose
 their parochial will on the global networking phenomenon, Strider and
 hundreds of other modem-driven activists are using the Internet to
 quietly transform the work of monitoring human rights violations and
 pressuring governments. They may exist outside most of the recent
 public Net scrutiny, but dozens of mailing lists, webpages, Usenet
 groups, and other tools are springing up to track events and affect
 political decisions in under-reported countries, many of them hindered
 by closed political systems.
 These "countrynets" unite activists separated by tens of thousands of
 miles and allow instant access to a common pool of narrowcast news and
 information on nations and issues that are largely ignored by the mass
 "For Americans, if it doesn't happen on CNN, it doesn't happen. We're
 trying to change that, at least for those who are interested,"
 explains BurmaNet's Strider, 29, who says he began working on the
 project because he was frustrated by the lack of information available
 in the West about the deplorable human rights conditions in Burma.
 "Without the Net, there wouldn't be any information available," says
 Strider, who doesn't use his real name for security reasons.
 Funded by the Open Society Institute of international financier and
 philanthropist George Soros, BurmaNet is one of the most effective of
 the new countrynet services that have emerged in recent years. More
 than information, however, these nets and a growing number of webpages
 are helping knit together diverse communities united around a given
 issue - be it human rights in Burma, the liberation of East Timor, or
 the release of political prisoners in Kenya.
 As BurmaNet's Bangkok-based moderator, Strider has gradually built one
 of the world's best sources of information on events in Burma. A
 network of volunteers in Thailand and Burma reprint human rights
 reports and articles from wire services and the local press by
 rekeying them into their computers for posting on the Net.
 Occasionally, Strider and others do original reporting from inside
 Burma, and they have even distributed modems and laptops to a small
 network of correspondents working among refugees and relief workers on
 the Burmese border with Thailand. BurmaNet has opened the list to
 wide-ranging debates by its 500-plus subscribers and thousands of
 netizens who access portions of BurmaNet through Usenet and other
 "What goes out over the Internet is largely aimed at a specialist
 community," Strider says, noting that the amount of material and the
 detail involved requires a serious commitment on the part of a reader.
 For casual observers and others, however, Strider believes the Web may
 be a better resource; there are now several different Burma pages.
 "This is the information backbone of a larger movement that aims to
 mobilize public opinion against the military leaders of Burma,"
 Strider says. It was the Net, he explains, that helped mobilize
 activists on college campuses and elsewhere in their opposition to
 investment in Burma by Eddie Bauer. (The clothing outfit pulled out of
 the country earlier this year.) And it was the Net that stimulated
 bipartisan sentiment in Congress to impose sanctions on the regime.
 "There are few Burmese in the States," he says, "and relatively few
 people who even know where Burma is. But those who care are organized
 and effective, and it's because of the Internet."
 Not all of the countrynets are the same, of course, and not all of the
 information available is anti-government. Some carry a modest
 subscription fee: Kenya-net, for example, charts everything from news
 and gossip to stock-market quotations and political debate in the East
 African nation.
 Others like the East Timor Action Network - devoted to the plight of
 the tiny former Portuguese colony that has been occupied by Indonesia
 for the last 20 years - are basically electronic extensions of
 networks that have functioned through other means for years. In the
 case of East Timor, activists in Australia and elsewhere use the Net
 to instantly disseminate information and calls for action, something
 that once took weeks of snail-mail and expensive telephone calls to
 arrange. The same can be said of services that track events in Israel
 and the West Bank, as well as in China, Vietnam, Mexico, Guatemala,
 and the former Yugoslavia (see "Balkans Online," Wired 3.11, page
 159), employing everything from relatively old listserve technology to
 the Web.
 PeaceNet, a project of the Institute for Global Communications,
 provides space on its servers to BurmaNet along with hundreds of
 global mininets. BurmaNet, as with many others, acts as a PeaceNet
 "conference" and also e-mails its list free of charge to interested parties.
 PeaceNet also offers its users access to China News Digest, perhaps
 the largest countrynet project in existence. Staffed by more than 50
 volunteers worldwide, China News Digest was set up in early 1989,
 shortly before the Tiananmen Square democracy movement was crushed in
 June. The digest now goes to some 35,200 e-mail addresses in 43
 countries and contains a summary of wire-service reports, news, and
 commentary from dissident sources inside China.

"The Net has been so intrinsic to organizing in the US and internationally 
for the last few years that whatever successes East Timor's solidarity movement 
has had cannot be considered otherwise," says Charles Scheiner, the moderator
 of reg.easttimor, a PeaceNet conference mirrored on the East Timor
 Action Network mailing list. "Consider last month, when five young
 East Timorese activists sought political asylum in the British embassy
 in Jakarta. Within hours, their statement and biographies were
 e-mailed all over the world, and people began calling the British
 embassies in their own countries, as well as Indonesian government
 officials. Within a day, the Portuguese, British, and Indonesian
 representatives met and discussed what to do; within two days, they
 had agreed that the young men would be allowed to leave Indonesia for
 Portugal. Within a week they had left."
The problem of e-mail clutter can also be a major difficulty if you
 start tracking countrynet activity through mailing lists. In the
 course of researching this article, I subscribed to BurmaNet,
 Kenya-net, East Timor Action Network, and a mailing list on Chinese
 human rights managed from Silicon Valley. On any given day, I received
 75 or more lengthy messages. Keeping up with several of these lists at
 a time is a full-time job.
 But to someone who once clipped newspaper articles and coordinated
 phone trees on human rights issues, it is clear that the Internet is
 offering activists and others with a burning need to stay informed a
 wealth of information that was previously hard to come by. As a
 foreign correspondent, I covered the popular uprising in Burma that
 was brutally crushed by the military in 1988. But in recent years, I
 had grown unfamiliar with events there. That problem has been cured.
 Earlier this year, when Burmese government troops overran rebel
 strongholds near the country's border with Thailand, BurmaNet carried
 often gripping updates from the border - on an almost hourly basis -
 during a time when most American newspapers and broadcast outlets
 ignored the clashes. In recent months, BurmaNet easily has been the
 best source of continuing information on events related to the release
 in July of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize-winning opposition leader
 who had been kept under house arrest by the regime for six years.
 "For the first time, people all over the world who are interested in
 this issue are seeing essentially the same information at about the
 same time. That is really our main contribution," says Strider. "It is
 difficult to track the effect. You can't say this or that happened
 just because of the Net, but the information is what is allowing
 things to happen. There simply wouldn't be an activist movement for
 Burma in the United States without BurmaNet. None at all."
California-based freelance writer A. Lin Neumann (74507.134@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx) 
was a foreign correspondent in Southeast Asia for seven years.

February 11, 1996

SIR. I would like people who are thinking of visiting Burma to
know of a harrowing experience I had on a holiday there in January.

I had just returned to Rangoon on an overnight bus from Mandalay
and was walking to my guest house when my arm was grabbed roughly
by a person in a white uniform, who I later found out was a
traffic policeman. After haranguing me in Burmese, he proceeded
to haul me down the street. I had no idea what was happening, and
naturally I was quite intimidated.

I tried to stop and ask the policeman what was happening, but he
did not even acknowledge that I was speaking to him, and he would
not relax his tight grip on my arm. I was dragged through crowds
of people in this humiliating way for several hundred metres to a
military truck parked in a side-street. There were

l already about 30 Burmese people in I the truck, all clearly
scared, and it appeared that I was going to join them. By this
time I was extremely distressed, but no one had yet said anything
to me.

Luckily, however, I was spotted by a local tourist guide, who I
had earlier hired to take me around Rangoon. He explained to the
police and army personnel at the truck that he was waiting to
take me to a pagoda (a lie on his part) and translated as police
told him I had crossed the road in the wrong place and would have
to be taken to police headquarters where I would be charged with

My friend suggested that I don't say anything which might upset
them, and after he had talked to them for about 10 minutes, and
paid a small amount of money, the policeman finally let go of my
arm and allowed me to leave.

As you can imagine I was both angered and humiliated by this
incident. The guide explained that, in Rangoon, everyone must
cross the road between yellow lines painted on the road. These
are the equivalent of the "zebra crossings" which are found in
most countries. As a tourist who had only been in the country for
a few days, I had no idea of this law. There were no signs
anywhere in English that I could see, and there was no
information in the tourist literature I had been given.

I had no time to complain to anyone as my flight was leaving that
afternoon, and the guide was too scared to accompany me anywhere
to make a complaint. If this is the way tourists are treated
during "Visit Burma Year 1996" it can only be a resounding
failure. I would suggest that anyone thinking of visiting Burma
thinks again. I have heard of the way the Burmese government
treats its own people, but I did not think they would be stupid
enough to treat foreign tourists in the same way.

Richard Samuels
Melbourne, Australia


February 11, 1996

SIR: The nightmare recent tourists experienced in Burma as
reported in the piece by L. Huron should indeed deter would-be
tourists from parting with their dollars in Burma.

In attempting to emulate Thailand's success with international
tourism Burma's ruling Junta, the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (Slorc) would like to make a fast buck without genuinely
welcoming them. To be sure the generals and their minions are
reaping abundant economic benefits from tourism, but they must
first learn how to be civilised. Until such time as repression
ceases and Burma's populace begin to enjoy a measure of freedom
tourists should boycott Burma.

U Kyaw Win
Laguna Hills, California


February 10, 1996  (abridged)

Deputy Interior Minister Suchart Thancharoen offered a 
special scoop about the "mysterious" Burmese businesswoman, 
Ma Khine Zaw, to any newspaper in exchange for Bt 5 million.

"Any newspaper wanting to meet Ma Khine should give me money 
and I'll take them," Suchart said. "I won't charge much. 
Give me only Bt 5 million."

Varin Poonsiriwong, chairman of the paper (Naew Na) claimed 
he had been harassed by the government because of the Ma 
Khine story and other stories critical of the  administration.


February 11, 1996 Reuter  (abridged)

WASHINGTON - The US has voiced disappointment over Burma's 
refusal to extradite repute Khun Sa and renewed its appeal 
to the Slorc to hand him over.

State Department spokemans Glyn Davies decribed as a 
"negative development" a statement by Burmese Foreign 
Minister Ohn Gyaw that "there is no questions of extradition 
with any country."

Khun Sa, once described by former US Attorney-General 
Richard Thornburgh as the "prince of death" is wanted in the 
US on heroin trafficking charges.



BurmaNet regularly receives enquiries on a number of different 
topics related to Burma. If you have questions on any of the 
following subjects, please direct email to the following volunteer 
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	
Campus activism: 	zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Boycott campaigns: [Pepsi]   wcsbeau@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx     
Buddhism:                    Buddhist Relief Mission:  brelief@xxxxxxx
Chin history/culture:        plilian@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Fonts:                  		tom@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
History of Burma:            zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Kachin history/culture:      74750.1267@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Karen history/culture: 	Karen Historical Society: 102113.2571@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Mon history/culture:         [volunteer needed]
Naga history/culture: 	Wungram Shishak:  z954001@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Burma-India border            [volunteer needed]
Pali literature:            	 "Palmleaf":  c/o burmanet@xxxxxxxxxxx
Shan history/culture:        [volunteer needed]
Shareholder activism:       simon_billenness@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Total/Pipeline		Dawn Star: cd@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
Tourism campaigns:      	bagp@xxxxxxxxxx     "Attn. S.Sutcliffe"   
World Wide Web:              FreeBurma@xxxxxxxxx
Volunteering:           	christin@xxxxxxxxxx  

[Feel free to suggest more areas of coverage]

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It is produced with the support of the Burma Information Group 
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