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BurmaNet News May 7, 1996
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------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: May 7, 1996
Noted in Passing:=09=09
=09=09=09The West is also number one at fabricating=20
=09=09=09concoctions. The colonialists' radio waves have=20
=09=09=09been verifying daily who the world famous=20
=09=09=09hypocrites are. - Maung Saw Tun
=09=09=09(see MYANMAR ALIN: PERSONS FINDING=20
=09=09=09FISH BONES IN EGGS)
MYANMAR ALIN: PERSONS FINDING FISH BONES IN EGGS
JANE'S INTELLIGENCE REVIEW: BURMA DEVELOPS ITS WEAPONS
JANE'S INTELLIGENCE REVIEW: BURMA ADDS RUSSIAN=20
DAILY NEWS CHEMICALS AND MATERIALS: MYANMAR: SHIFTING=20
RSF: BURMA / RAPPORT 96 RSF
BKK POST: HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE GENERALS
MYANMAR ALIN: PERSONS FINDING FISH BONES IN EGGS
April 27, 1996
(translated from Burmese to English)
by Maung Saw Tun
BurmaNet Editor's Note: This article, printed in a SLORC-sponsored=20
newspaper, is fishy indeed. Maung Saw Tun argues that the West has=20
no right to criticize the human rights situation in Burma because Burmese=
and Western cultures are different. He asserts that Westerners accept=20
premarital sex and abortions and Burmese don't; therefore, Westerners=20
should not criticize human rights abuses (ie. torture, rape, forced porteri=
in Burma. There is no logical connnection here. Moreover, the author=20
asserts that deception and bribery are rampant in the West but not in=20
"Myanmar". The irony is that the SLORC has only been able to stay in=20
power because of its use of deception and bribery combined with sheer force=
There are no bones in an egg, only yolk and albumen. Everyone has known sin=
the chicken came into existence that an egg contains no bones, only yolk an=
albumen. Fish, however, do have bones. Hardly any fish without bones exists=
this earth. Everything exists in this world according to its own nature; fi=
have bones and eggs have none. Their characters cannot be mixed but must be
viewed separately. One should know that natural laws cannot be rejected.
Very amazing things are happening today. There are many people trying to fi=
fish bones in eggs and are knowingly fabricating research. Myanmar Burma ha=
its own civilization with its own unique culture since time immemorial. Soc=
relations have also existed in accordance with Myanmar's tradition and char=
and the country has enjoyed strong human rights for a long time. The beacon=
faith has shone in Myanmar for more than 2,000 years and religious teaching=
have formed the root of Myanmar's culture. Moreover, religion has always pl=
a part in Myanmar tradition and culture and there is a definite basic socia=
principle for the people of Myanmar to follow, the five religious precepts:=
abstain from killing, stealing, committing adultery, telling lies and parta=
of alcoholic beverages.
This social character, based on five precepts, was embedded in ancient
Myanmar culture. The essence of this social principle forms the basis of
Myanmar's human rights, either for an individual or a race. Indeed, the ess=
of the UN Declaration on Human Rights included in the UN Charter is not
comparable to Myanmar's social principle based on five precepts. Myanmar's
tradition and culture have prohibited the killing of animals, let alone hum=
beings. This fascinating conviction is really the true principle.
The Myanmar people have always tried to live according to the five precepts=
That tradition has been handed down from generation to generation with some
social guidelines. Sometimes strict social disciplines have to be applied.
Social preservation means the preservation of human rights.
Killing is strictly prohibited. If a monk commits such an act, he can never
be a monk again for the rest of his life. Similarly, if a monk engages in s=
activity, he can never become a monk again for the remainder of his life. T=
is known as Parazikan. The tradition is so orthodox that it strictly prohib=
man and a woman from sleeping together illegally. Engaging in premarital se=
socially unforgivable. These constraints seem severe in Western culture. Th=
say there is no freedom of choice and no human rights. A Myanmar woman=20
with an illegitimate child will be a social outcast for the rest of her lif=
it is considered a great offence in Myanmar culture and social circles, alt=
it is considered a common matter in Western culture.
Furthermore, the Myanmar public believes that abortion amounts to murder,=
but legal abortion can be carried out in the West. The West's human rights
organizations allege human rights abuses in Myanmar for taking action again=
people involved in illegal abortion. The abuse of narcotic drugs and alcoho=
unacceptable in Myanmar society. An alcoholic is rejected by his family - w=
still, if he is a drug addict. Any family with an alcoholic or a drug addic=
ostracized by society. Drug addicts are considered to be on the lowest rung=
the Myanmar social ladder.
The Myanmar public does not accept hypocrites. They are unreliable, loose
characters. The conscientious Myanmar people hate the act of deception and =
do not make friends with deceitful persons. A human rights rapporteur who c=
annually to Myanmar says one thing in Myanmar but says another the moment h=
arrives at the Bangkok airport. When he meets his boss, he reports the oppo=
of what he first said. It is aggravating to the Myanmar people. He is no
ordinary person but a well-educated professor recognized in the West. Decep=
is the worst social crime and is undesirable to the Myanmar public.
Myanmar is clearly like the egg with only a yolk and albumen. Its culture a=
tradition is also as clear as the egg. The standard of Myanmar human rights=
clear as the yolk and albumen - has no complications and is in accordance=
with Myanmar custom, tradition and culture. Myanmar has enjoyed its own=20
human rights since time immemorial without any problems.
The West is like the fish. Their traditions and cultures are complicated li=
fish bones. Justice can be bought while murders - mass murders and the=20
gunning down of children - are committed at will . These ordeals, although=
tragic, last for a while, but this continues to happen year after year. Sex=
freedom - living together without being legally married, the right to abort=
and adolescents losing their virginity - is widely practised in the West. I=
t is an
uncommon phenomenon. There are many drug addicts and drugs are used as=20
a socializing medium. A well-known president is said to have used marijuana=
They drink liquor like the people of Myanmar drink plain tea. They serve=20
liquor to visitors. Even women enjoy liquor.
Bribery and corruption are rampant in rich, developed countries and stealin=
seems to be legal. These developed countries have made allegations of bribe=
and corruption in developing countries, which amounts to only four or five
digits, while they are covering up their own bribes, worth more than a smal=
country's national debt. When a thief grows bigger by stealing and taking
bribes, they tend to frame a smaller thief with the crimes they committed.
The West is also number one at fabricating concoctions. The colonialists'=
radio waves have been verifying daily who the world famous hypocrites=20
are. They alleged that there are fish bones in the egg and are frantically=
searching for them. What a joke! These allegations only reflect their ill=
will. The Myanmar public might be cheated if it is unaware that they are=20
searching for fish bones in an egg.
A former politician once mocked the Burma Communist Party for searching for
lice on a Chittiyar's natives of India who became landowners in Burma durin=
the British colonial period and traditionally shaved their heads head; one=
cannot expect to find lice on a clean-shaven Chittiyar's head. It means fin=
meaningless problems, similar to the Myanmar saying "applying balm when=20
there is nothing swollen" . Human rights and democracy have different=20
characteristics, and the people who knowingly criticize are merely trying t=
find fish bones in an egg.
JANE'S INTELLIGENCE REVIEW: BURMA DEVELOPS ITS=20
ABILITY TO BUILD ARMS
May 1, 1996 by Andrew Selth
Since the SLORC formally assumed control of Burma in 1988,
considerable interest has been aroused by the country's indigenous
arms production programme. Andrew Selth assesses Burma's capabilities.
Over the past eight years, the Burmese armed forces have received
from abroad new fighter and ground-attack aircraft, transport and
assault helicopters, naval patrol boats, armoured vehicles,
artillery, trucks and communications equipment. Much less attention,
however, has been paid to the efforts of the ruling State Law and
Order Restoration Council (SLORC) to expand the scope and output of
Burma's own arms industry. This expansion programme has important
implications for not only the SLORC's plan to modernize the Burmese
armed forces but also Burma's future stability and relations with its neigh=
Burma's attempts to develop its own arms industries began in the
early 1950s when a factory was built to produce small-arms
ammunition and copies of the Italian 9 mm TZ45 submachine gun (known
in Burma as the BA52 or 'Ne Win Sten'). First produced in late 1944,
production of the gun in Italy stopped at the end of the Second
World War. When the design was offered for sale on the world market
soon afterwards, the Nu government purchased the machinery to
manufacture a slightly modified version of the weapon at the Burma
Army Ordnance Workshop near Inya Lake in Rangoon. At the same time,
one of the Italian designers of the TZ45 went to Burma to oversee
the construction of the factory and the installation of the machinery.=20
Production began as soon as the plant was completed and the BA52 was=20
the standard submachine gun of the Burmese armed forces by 1953.
The Burmese arms industry was given a major boost in 1957 when the
state-owned German company Fritz Werner GmbH agreed to build a
factory in Rangoon with Heckler and Koch to produce Gewehr 3 (G-3)
automatic rifles. Reflecting a decision by the Ne Win regime to move
Burma's defence industries to more secure sites, a second factory
was later built near Prome (Pye) in lower Burma to manufacture 7.62
mm and 9 mm small-arms ammunition. More arms manufacturing
facilities were built in the 1970s, mostly by Fritz Werner, and often with=
the help of engineers from the German Technical Co-operation Agency.=20
In 1984, Fritz Werner became the first foreign company to enter into a join=
venture arrangement with Burma's state-owned Heavy Industries Corporation.=
The announced aim was to 'undertake development, production and assembly=20
of machinery, equipment and accessories for industrial plants in Burma'. As
British author Martin Smith has noted: 'machinery [is] a recurring euphemis=
in Burma for military equipment'.
Known as Ka Pa Sa factories (after the initials of the Burmese name
for the Defence Products Industries), these establishments were
under the direct control of the Ministry of Defence (or 'War
Office') in Rangoon. The largest weapons factory in Burma is
reportedly at Sindell (Sinde), just south of Prome. There are also
ammunition factories at Htonebo (Tonbo), Padaung and Nyaung Chidauk
(Nyaung chidauk), all of which come within the broad confines of
large and well-guarded defence-industrial complex situated on the
western bank of the Irrawaddy river near Prome. In addition to Ka Pa
Sa No 1 near Inya Lake, there are now three other major Ka Pa Sa
weapons and ammunition factories in the Rangoon-Mingaladon area.
There are also military supplies factories at Inndaing (Intaing) in
the Pegu District, northeast of the capital and another near Mandalay.
These factories could produce automatic rifles and light machine
guns, light mortars, grenades, anti-personnel mines and ammunition
but many of their products depended on imported raw materials. Also,
the Burmese armed forces still relied on foreign firms for much of
their small-arms ammunition, support equipment and spare parts. The
air force and navy were particularly dependent on overseas logistics. Yet
the SLORC faced serious disruption to its military supplies after 1988 as=
influential members of the international community, including a number=20
of Burma's traditional arms suppliers, imposed sanctions against the Rangoo=
regime in protest against violations of human rights. In September 1988, fo=
example, the USA reportedly stopped a scheduled delivery of ammunition=20
for the Burma Army's old M-1 and M-2 carbines, as well as its M-79 grenade
launchers. Even West German assistance seems to have been suspended
for a short period after some pointed questions were asked in the
Bundestag about the Fritz Werner Corporation's long involvement with
Burma's arms industries. As a result, the government of Helmut Kohl
acceded to public pressure and suspended bilateral aid.
The present situation
The current extent of foreign involvement in the Burmese arms
industry is not clear. It appears that Fritz Werner resumed its
exports of 'industrial machinery' and other materials to Burma in
1989 after the German Government shed its direct interests in the
company. In 1990, a US$8 million joint venture was settled called
Myanmar Fritz Werner Industries Ltd which has reportedly seen a
further strengthening of the military regime's arms links with
Germany. There have also been repeated, if still unconfirmed,
reports that a Singaporean company (or group of companies) has
stepped in to help develop Burma's arms industries, drawing on that
country's well-developed expertise in this field. According to one
veteran Burma specialist, Singaporean technicians have replaced the
German technicians formerly based at Padaung across the Irrawaddy
river from Prome and close to the defence-industrial complex. For its=20
part, the Singapore Government has categorically denied that Singaporean=20
companies are in any way engaged in arms production in Burma.
The Chinese too may be active in this field. According to the Far
Eastern Economic Review, Chinese engineers inspected a site near
Magwe in 1991, with a view to building a factory complex which could
produce M-21 semi-automatic carbines, M-22 assault rifles and M-23
light machine guns, as well as 7.62 mm ammunition for these weapons.
All three are export versions of weapons currently in service with
the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). Production was due to
begin in early 1994 but it is not known if this has yet occurred.
The Far Eastern Economic Review story was followed by another report
in January 1995 to the effect that 'Burma wants to enter into a
joint venture with China to set up arsenals in Burma to produce
weapons for defence and for export. The Burmese Government is
planning to build two arsenals, one in Rangoon.'
According to a Chinese-language newspaper published in Thailand,
SLORC officials repeatedly raised the question of such military
assistance when they visited Beijing in 1994, and again during
Chinese Premier Li Peng's visit to Rangoon in late December that
year. China was said to have 'agreed in principle to consider the request'.
None of these reports has yet been confirmed but rumours of Chinese
small-arms plants in Burma have been given greater credence by a
number of other developments. Since 1988, a high priority for the
SLORC has been the development and production of a replacement for
the G-3 automatic rifle. Not only is it considered too heavy and
clumsy for the average Burmese footsoldier (as well as being prone
to jam) but also the suspension of West German assistance in 1989
reminded the SLORC of its vulnerability to pressure from the Western
democracies. Since then, Burmese engineers have been working on an
indigenously produced 5.56 mm assault rifle, drawing on Chinese and
Israeli expertise. Several prototypes of this weapon, which includes
elements of the Type 56 and Galil assault rifles, have already
appeared but full-scale production does not seem to have begun. In
1991, an Israeli team reportedly visited Rangoon to discuss the sale
to Burma of Uzi 9 mm submachine guns, and there have since been
unconfirmed reports that the SLORC may also be trying to develop a
version of this weapon, to be known as the BA94.
At the same time, the Burmese are experimenting with other weapons.
One radical new design, currently known as the EMER K-1, is for a
5.56 mm assault rifle following the shortened 'bull-pup' configuration.=20
Prototypes of assault rifle and light machine-gun versions of this weapon=
have already been produced. They have a stamped, all-metal body, 30-round=
magazine behind the pistol grip and take 5.56 mm M16 ammunition.
In addition to developing new infantry weapons, the SLORC has
improved Burma's capability to produce its own ammunition. It has
long had the capacity to manufacture small-calibre (.303 British,
7.62 mm NATO and 9 mm Parabellum) ammunition, and it would be
logical to extend this to include 5.56 mm ammunition for its new
weapons. Also, locally produced 51 mm (BA78) and 81 mm mortar bombs
now permit the Burmese army to use these more modern weapons instead
of its old British (and Burmese-made) 2 inch ML and 3 inch ML mortars.=20
Burma also makes its own 120 mm and 60 mm mortar bombs, 41mm (BA92)=20
and 51 mm (BA80) rifle grenades, and probably grenades for its 40 mm=20
launchers. The old (UK and US made) Type 36 and (Burmese) BA77=20
anti-personnel hand grenades used by the army throughout the 1960s and=20
1970s have now been replaced by locally made BA88 (offensive), BA91=20
(defensive) and BA109 (general-purpose) hand grenades. Burma also=20
manufactures its own mobile 81 mm artillery rocket launcher, known as the B=
Steps have also been taken by the SLORC to manufacture
reconnaissance vehicles and light armoured cars indigenously. Since
1988, one European research centre has identified at least 30
locally produced Mazda scout cars and l0 Hino armoured personnel
carriers which have been added to the army's pool of motor vehicles.
There are at least four kinds of light armoured vehicles made in
Burma, however, with the Burmese designations BAAC-83, BAAC-84,
BAAC-85 and BAAC-86. There may even be a BAAC-87 model. Most seem to
be based on Mazda and Hino technology and parts but it is possible
that for the later models army engineers have used Nissan or Toyota
components. The SLORC also boasts an indigenous 'Special Combat
Vehicle'. This is essentially a long wheel-base jeep which is armed
with 7.62 mm MG3 and .50 calibre Browning machine guns, a 60 mm or
81 mm mortar mounted in the back, and carrying a 84 mm Carl Gustaf
recoilless gun with high-explosive anti-tank projectiles.
The Burmese navy has not been neglected. During the 1950s, with
advice and equipment mainly from Yugoslavia, Burma developed a
capacity to produce its own small naval vessels. By the 1960s, it
was building ships up to the light corvette class (400 tons standard).=20
After the 1962 coup, however, the navy was accorded a lower priority=20
in the defence budget and work at Rangoon's shipyards slowed down as=20
imported equipment (such as marine engines and electronic systems) was=20
harder to obtain. There was also a shortage of skilled manpower. While a=20
number of small patrol craft were built in the years that followed, most ef=
was put into the repair and maintenance of the navy's existing fleet. This=
situation changed after 1988, however, when the SLORC authorized a number=
of ship-building projects. Two coastal patrol craft and four river patrol c=
have already been built by the Naval Engineering Depot and the Myanmar=20
Shipyard in Rangoon, and work is almost completed on two newly designed=20
fast-attack gunboats, to be powered by German Mercedes diesel engines.
Burma has never been able to produce aircraft or major aircraft
components. Although it has displayed considerable ingenuity in its
workshops, Burma's air force has always been heavily dependent on
foreign logistics and expertise to keep its aircraft operational.
All these measures have significantly increased the SLORC's capacity
to manufacture its own arms and military equipment. Burma will
always be dependent upon foreign suppliers for certain strategic raw
materials and its more sophisticated hardware. Electronic components
for its new aircraft, naval vessels and communications equipment,
for example, will still need to come from abroad. The SLORC is now
in a much better position, however, to resist arms embargoes and
other pressures from the international community over such issues as
its continuing violations of human rights.
Andrew Selth is a Visiting Fellow at the Strategic and Defence
Studies Centre of the Australian National University.
JANE'S INTELLIGENCE REVIEW: BURMA ADDS RUSSIAN=20
AIRCRAFT TO ITS INVENTORY
May 1, 1996
In an apparent effort to diversify the sources of its arms and
military equipment, Burma's ruling State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC) has recently turned to Russia. According to several
reports, army commander Lieutenant General Tin Oo made an
unpublicized visit to Russia in October 1995 to negotiate a deal
involving a range of military aircraft. This visit followed a series
of sporadic discussions with Soviet, and later Russian, defence and
aviation officials stretching back to the SLORC's takeover of Burma in 1988=
Few details are available but it seems the Burmese regime has signed
an agreement with Russia for a number of Mil Mi-17 'Hip-H' utility
transport helicopters. At least eight have already been delivered to
Rangoon. A training package was part of the deal. According to one
report, the SLORC has also expressed interest in buying some assault
helicopters like the Mil Mi-24 'Hind' which saw wide service during
the Afghanistan conflict. In addition, there have been persistent
rumours that the SLORC is investigating the possibility of acquiring
about a dozen MiG-29 'Fulcrum' fighters of the kind being sold by
Russia to India and Malaysia.
Burma is already hard pressed to pay for its earlier arms acquisitions but,=
if these reports are true, then the Russian aircraft will give the Burmese =
order of battle a significant boost. It remains to be seen, however, whethe=
the SLORC can translate these new acquisitions into increased air-lift and=
Burma's air force is already suffering from a critical shortage of
trained pilots and technicians, a lack of imported spare parts and
inadequate support and infrastructure facilities. Also, while it may
make strategic sense for Burma to move away from its heavy dependence=20
on Chinese arms and equipment, the air force is already being severely test=
by operating and maintaining aircraft from seven other countries.
DAILY NEWS CHEMICALS AND MATERIALS: MYANMAR: SHIFTING=20
FROM AGRICULTURE TO INDUSTRIES - - FLOODGATES OPEN ON=20
May 1, 1996 (abridged)
Myanmar is attracting attention as a new business base in Asia. Mitsui &
Co., has started to construct an industrial complex, while Marubeni Corp. i=
soon to make a final decision regarding construction of an industrial compl=
Thus, the infrastructure is developing rapidly to prepare for the entry of
Japanese companies. Once offshore gas fields in Yadanar and Yetagun are
developed, the industries are expected to develop into urea/ammonia, methan=
and other chemical fields. Based on this situation, an increasing number o=
Japanese industrial missions are visiting Myanmar. In the country's capita=
Yangon, we have investigated the possibility of Japanese companies' entry i=
At the end of 1995, foreign capital investment projects numbered 165
cumulatively, and the amount of approved projects stood at $ 3,084 million.
Thus, investments during 1995 exceeded total cumulative investments through
1994. Japan ranks 10th, together with China, in terms of the number of pro=
and 7th in terms of value. Foreign capital is still being invested mainly =
sightseeing industries. The steadily growing investment in industrial fiel=
however, is targeting the Myanmar market with a population of 44 million;=
examples are the entry by Korea's Daewoo Group and Pepsi from the U.S. =20
Agriculture accounts for some 55% of GDP (in fiscal 1994), and the=20
manufacturing industries for only about 7%. However, the markets of variou=
products have already started to grow rapidly.
The largest exporter to Myanmar is Japan in terms of value. We saw TVs,
refrigerators, and other home appliances made in Japan piled up in electric
appliance shops along the high street. An overwhelming majority of the car=
the city of Yangon were used Japanese cars, many of which carry the names o=
Japanese companies on their bodies.
The Myanmar government appears to be strongly expecting Japan to support=20
development of its infrastructure, including electric power, communication,=
roads, and harbors, which are essential to future industrial development.
As in other countries, however, most of the investment projects by Japanese
companies are still in the study stage, and their progress is slow. Many
government officials are disappointed by this, and criticize the Japanese a=
"talkmans," compared with the quick decisions and actions by Chinese mercha=
and Koreans. Japanese Style Unsuccessful? A representative of a Japanese
trading house points out that the reputation of Myanmar among the Japanese =
improving, saying "recent economic missions which visit several countries o=
Indochina usually visit Myanmar last, but many of them favor Myanmar over=
other Indochina countries." It is the Japanese style to take much time in p=
overseas advances, but once the decision is made, the plan is implemented
without fail. We should admit, however, that not many government officials=
Myanmar understand the Japanese style.
Yangon markets, flooded with textile products, fresh foods, and customers,
make us forget the country's low income level, estimated at about $ 250
per-capita GDP. Given this fact, however, the Japanese style of slowly
advancing abroad might end in a failure in this country. Despite the uncer=
factors in infrastructure, Japanese companies will need to take action quic=
to keep pace with the unexpectedly rapid pace of the economic development i=
RSF: BURMA / RAPPORT 96 RSF / INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE=20
DEFENSE OF THE FREE PRESS
May 3, 1996 (Reporters Sans Frontieres),
Anxious to be allowed to join the Association of South-East Asian Nations=
(ASEAN) and to attract foreign investment, the ruling junta, the State Law=
and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), decided to release charismatic=20
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on 10 July. But although she is=20
technically "free", the winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize and leader of =
National League for Democracy (NLD) is still the prisoner of a military=20
dictatorship that stamps out any attempt to express independent opinions=20
and refuses the slightest political openness.
The only Burmese media are those that pump out military propaganda.=20
Radio Mynamar, state television and the official newspaper New Light of=20
Myanmar all failed to report that Aung San Suu Kyi had been released from=
house arrest. People only learned the news from foreign broadcasts, such as=
the radio programmes of the BBC World Service, which can be picked up in=20
Rangoon. Two other official dailies in Burmese are published in Rangoon,=20
and one in Mandalay; all are under strict government control. Specialised=
magazines devoted to business, computers and tourism have emerged in=20
recent years, thanks to foreign investors, and about 20 literary magazines =
Some of these monthly magazines, which publish poems, cartoons and=20
short stories on the problems of everyday life, feature heavily veiled=20
attacks on the government - often in the form of metaphor.
All media resources are in the hands of the SLORC, which is holding at=20
least seven journalists prisoner. But as no proper news is available, alter=
networks come into play. All the speeches Aung San Suu Kyi makes on=20
Saturdays and Sundays to the hundreds of supporters who gather outside=20
her home are recorded on cassette and secretly sold all over the country.
On 1 January 1996, at least seven journalists were still in prison in Burma=
Nay Min, Win Tin, Sein Hlaing, Myo Myint Nyein, Ohn Kyaing, Sein Hla=20
Oo and San San Nweh.
Poet and journalist Tin Moe was one of 23 political prisoners amnestied by=
the SLORC on 4 February 1995. This intellectual, who is close to the NLD=20
and was editor of the magazine Pay Hpoo Hlwar at the time of his arrest in=
December 1991, had been sentenced under Burma's emergency laws to=20
four years in jail for writing articles criticising the government and army=
Nay Min, a journalist and lawyer, has been held at Insein prison since 21=
October 1988. Accused of giving false information to the BBC and=20
possessing antigovernment books, he was sentenced to 14 years' hard labour=
on 5 October 1989. According to various sources, he has been tortured and=
is seriously ill.
Win Tin, editor of Hanthawathi until it was banned in 1978, was arrested on=
4 July 1989 and sentenced to three years' hard labour in October of that ye=
The sentence was later extended to 11 years in prison, then cut to ten year=
under the January 1993 amnesty. He is therefore not due for release until =
1999. Win Tin was arrested a few days before Aung San Suu Kyi because of=20
his political work with the NLD. In particular, the government accused him=
of forcing the league to opt for civil disobedience as a form of resistance=
the martial law imposed by the SLORC. Officially, Win Tin was found guilty=
of harbouring a criminal wanted for arrest under article 216 of the penal c=
The "criminal" in question was reportedly a young woman who had had an=20
abortion, which is illegal in Burma.
Sein Hlang and Myo Myint Nyein, both of whom are close to the NLD,=20
were arrested in September 1990 and sentenced to seven years in jail for=20
publishing an "antigovernment propaganda" leaflet called What's Happening.
Ohn Kyaing has been held since 1990. Also known by the pen name of=20
Aung Wint, he worked for the daily Botahtaung before joining Win Tin on=20
Hanthawathi. In 1988, he became a member of the NLD's central committee and=
was elected to parliament for Mandalay in 1990. He was arrested in August=
1990 after condemning the bloody repression of demonstrations staged by=20
students and Buddhist monks, and on 17 October he was sentenced to seven=
years in jail for writing and distributing "seditious leaflets" and writing=
anti-government article. On 15 May 1991, he was sentenced to a further ten=
years under article 5 of the emergency law.
Sein Hla Oo and San San Nweh have been held in Insein prison since=
August 1994. On 6 October of that year a civilian court set up in the priso=
sentenced them to seven years in jail for distributing information harmful =
the state under article 5 of the emergency law. San San Nwe was sentenced t=
another three years under article 14, which covers illegal organisations.
Obstacles to the international free flow of information
On 19 July 1995, as the Burmese media imposed a total news blackout on the=
release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the authorities banned foreign journalists in=
the country from transmitting satellite pictures of her first public=20
An official of the state-run Myanmar TV responsible for satellite broadcast=
said he had orders not to accept any requests from foreign journalists to=
transmit pictures. This total censorship was directly aimed at the democrat=
opposition whose leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was due to make her first
major public appearance that day, after being released from house arrest on=
10 July. Several times in the previous few days, other television journalis=
had been refused permission to make transmissions via government television=
which is the only means by which foreign journalists can send pictures abro=
Around the same time Panadda Lertlum-Ampai, chairman of the Thailand=20
Foreign Correspondents' Club, asked the Burmese information minister, Gener=
Aye Kyaw, to scrap the substantial blacklist of foreign journalists who are=
not allowed into Burma. The number of requests for visas has risen since th=
release of the NLD leader but some have been refused while other journalist=
have not even received replies.
On 21 August the BBC complained about the jamming of its World Service=20
broadcasts in Burmese, the first time this has happened in 55 years. "BBC=
engineers noticed deliberate interference on two of the three wavelengths=
occupied by the Burmese service programmes", a spokesman explained.=20
Although it could not determine who was responsible for the jamming,=20
the BBC said it had begun when an interview with Aung San Suu Kyi went=20
on the air.
BKK POST: HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE GENERALS
May 5, 1996
The following are excerpts from documents submitted as evidence
in a lawsuit filed by Peregrine Myanmar Ltd and Peregrine Capital
Myanmar Ltd against American businesswoman, Miriam Marshall
Segal. It was published in the Jan/Feb 1996 issues of Burma Debate,=20
a publication of the Burma Project of the Open Society Institute.
MS SEGAL who has been doing business in Burma in one form or
another for nearly two dacades, established herself in the prawn
industry in 1990.
The plaintiffs in the case are off-shoots of Peregrine Investment
bank with offices in 16 Asian countries. In 1994, Peregrine
bought out 80 percent of Segal's company and formed Peregrine
Myanmar Ltd (PML), making Ms Segal its executive chairman.
Shortly thereafter, PML entered into a joint venture with Burma's
Ministry of Livestoglc, Breeding and Fisheries to found Myanmar
American Fisheries Co (MAFCo).
The relationship between Peregrine and Ms Segal began to unravel
in mid-1995 when the firm alleged that Ms Segal was secretly
courting the Japanese conglomerate, Mitsui & Co, and was involved
in a plot to regain control of the prawn venture.
Peregrine removed Ms Segal as chairman of PML and, in October of
last year, filed a $20 million civil suit in New York federal court.
In the suit Peregrine claims that " Miriam Marshall Segal may be taking=20
active measures, in contravention of her fiduciary duties and otherwise in=
violation of the law, with the purpose and effect of harming plaintiffs in =
business ... including importuning the Government of Myanmar to fabricate=
charges against plaintiffs' employees and facilitating (after her terminati=
as executive chairman of plaintiffs' Burmese operations) the sale of the=20
inventory of plaintiffs' operating subsidiary (MAFCo)."
Ms Segal has denied these allegations and has filed a countersuit
alleging breach of contract and defamation.
The selections that follow are from Miriam Marshall Segal's
letters and memorandums to Brigadier General Maung Maung, Burma's
minister of Livestock, Breeding and Fisheries, and Michael S.
Dobbs Higginson, retired chairman of Mers rill Lynch Asia Pacific
and consultant to Mitsui. Peregrine has also filed a suit against
Mr Dobbs-Higginson as a coconspirator of Ms Segal.
>From=20a memo to Brig. Gen Maung Maung on March 20, 1995:=20
My dear Minister for Help [sic] and Welfare,
Re Mitsui group, I am assured by my office that all suitable
arrangements have been made for them ... ... As you know, I want
to do all I can to bring Mitsui full speed ahead into the country
for two reasons: economics and the fact that Mr Endo sits on the
Japanese Foreign Aid Committee. We now also [have]
Jimrny Wolfensohn, who is President of the World Bank; therefore
we have two good allies. So we must do all we can to facilitate
everything for Mitsui. I have already brought up the subject of
additional aid in a joking way with Mr Endo, and I have promised
Jimmy that I would not bring the subject up until we have dinner
the second time. The first time is on the 21st, the second on the 27th ...
Tonight TS' friend is coming to my house for dinner with two high
ranking Thai officials. They are en route to Washington, DC. I
think to lobby their cause with DEA.
With warm regards,=20
A June 12, 1995 memorandum to General Maung Maung ...
My dear General,
Report on Washington Trip:
Richardson, who put pressure on Ambassador to issue visa I know
it was requested ,by State Department, State to State, but the US
does not have an Ambassador. This could have been made the issue.
There was nothing to gain and everything to lose by giving visa
it has set us back one year.
The White House has now become involved because of friend of
Hillary Clinton on Human Rights Watch.
The State Department was taking softer stand. Now White House
won't allow this.
DEA in full support of aid programme.
Be prepared for lots of internal pressure in July, now being
organised. People in Ministries actually helping opposition.
Pressure will also mount here.
Watch for ex-pats or ex-Burmese Nationals. They are planted to
organise local Burmese with money and strategy while they remain
in the background and act as business people.
I showed video and pictures, which shocked the socks off them.
Richardson visit-why am l so involved leave it alone. I advised him that=20
what know of the people of Myanmar as a whole after 20 years, that=20
you can achieve nothing by force and broken promises and everything=20
if you keep your word, compromise and try to be constructive. =20
John McCain: In between=97he is being pushed by veterans to take a
more active role in recognition and sending Ambassador.
Bill Archer: working hard in the background. I have agreed to be
his front woman.
Richardson, at the pushing of the White House, is going to go for
Appointment is being set up for me with Vice President Al Gore.
So I am now in constructive engagement at the source.
I must stay here and keep throwing darts. They must know that
someone will take and is taking action ...
The transcripts were very helpful as Richardson was obviously
embarrassed' when I asked him if he had been given any assurances
on anything or had he given any assurances both ways in writing
no response. I intend to use his letter on TV and press if okay.
I can say I got copy of letter from State Department sources.
They will never know the difference.
Hector is very active pin something on him, frame him anything
get unknown person to make RKP's acquaintance and get his
political thinking you will see what Hector is doing in the brain
washing department. Multiply that and you get frightening
answers. I would raid Hector's house!
Watch for ex-pats or returning nationals in trading business.
They are your most active organisers and invisible. Any you know
or suspect harass a lot.
KA is very worried about Japan play that card to the hilt try and
get MoU with Gen Chit Swe signed for business financial centre
for sites Sawmill 3/6 consortium consists of international big
time investors makes it more difficult for embargoes.
Audit any new TV or business with Thais present.
Peregrine has asked me to stay out of politics. Hector and Rajan
at work- I have refused- I have the right to do with my private
life as I see fit. I speak on my behalf, not Peregrine's ...
Do not give an inch- This is the stand of the country. It is yours to=20
rule as you see fit to keep the country united a quote from Lincoln.
If lady has let out [sic], who will take responsibility for her
life and lives of others. Perhaps they should advise her to
compromise- in other words, attack mildly, show your security,
but your willingness to talk not to be dictated to.
Re-launching of companies by locals or foreigners, if it is public money=20
being raised, put strict laws in on overseeing. Government will get=20
blame for anything that goes wrong. people are going to be trying ...
A memorandum dated June 13, 1995 to General Maung Maung ...
My dear General,
Regarding Hector, why can't his visa revocation be implemented
undesirable citizen, mistreatment of local staff, suspicion of
illegal actions, too many lost passports, etc. My job is
difficult enough without his undermining everything ...
Please see the attached faxes ... All these should be hand
delivered to the people by hand [sic], particularly to Gen Abel.
Hector and others paid off or have relationships in most
ministries. They get all the news before the ministers at times.
I also think in response to these proposals, all good people involved=20
Gen Abel has already offered to help alternating chairmanships and I=20
should be honorary chairman- it helps me here -we have to act strong as=20
if the USA cannot push us around. But bottom line is we need the USA=20
for infrastructure and work must continue on changing their minds. Now I=20
have to tackle the White House. I have also arranged to see Bob Dole,=20
hopefully our next president ...
... I did not realise, until now, just how many good friends I
have. Enemies are meaningless.
>From=20a memo to Michael S. Dobbs-Higginson, dated June 21, 1995....
... It is my feeling that within two months PCM will be so fed
up and so frustrated at achieving nothing and running enormous
overheads that they very well might decide to close down to stop
the hemorrhage of money and just appoint a representative in
Yangon. This would get them nowhere ...
... It is not that I am patting myself on the back, but I am recognised=20
throughout the world as being the strongest and most influential person=20
with the government Myanmar. That is worth a great deal.
I will not get involved in the business side, other than to give
my suggestions as to how and what the Burmese are thinking and
making sure that whatever projects we have to get through on
behalf of our clients. All banking, operational and administrative=20
matters will be run by the appropriate people, and I will do public=20
relations. I currently have slated for appearance on five television shows,=
three press interviews and an investment forum on Asia. I will refer to=20
my colleagues all business matters that I am not certain of.
Looking at the facts simply, coldly and from a business point-of view,
what I have described above would be the most sensible route for=20
Peregrine to take.
The same applies for Mitsui as I influence the Burmese government
and the Burmese dependency grows stronger daily. I have done an
enormous amount here in the US, in Australia and the UK,
producing positive political and economic results for the Burmese.
I have managed to diffuse the fall-out from the movie "After
Rangoon" [sic] by pointing out that all, this took place before 1988,=20
and it has changed. I have videos and photos taken by independent=20
non-Burmese news organisations to back up what I have to say.
I have a meeting scheduled with Al Gore, and I believe I can pull
of a big public relations coup by having the Burmese government
represented for very little money by a lobbying firm, the head of
which is doing it for me and believes in what I am doing. He has
overruled his board, and now it is a matter of convincing the
Burmese to do it, which I believe I can.
Claude discussed with me your concerns over the alternating
chairmanship. This idea came from Gen Abel, not because he thinks
I am brilliant or that it should be that way, but it is their way
of showing (Gen Khin Nyunt that they are being respectful of me
and treating me the way he has instructed them ...
A June 28, 1995 memo to Mr Dobbs-Higginson ...
... In a conversation with Endo, discuss with him that fact that
the government wants for me to become the official advisor for
Mitsui. This would be very beneficial for us and for them. If
that happens, the ministries will act promptly on Mitsui's
requests and I will be able to follow through openly on
everything and no one will dare say no ...
... There is no doubt that the Endo-visit to Myanmar at the same
time as Philip's and my spending the time I did arranging the
appointments, particularly with Gen Khin Nyunt, for Endo and not
for Philip, has caused me a great deal of damage and certainly
put me at risk of losing my job. They will buy my contract out,
but there will be a lot of negotiations ...
... Please note the attached fax from Gen Khin Nyunt. If you
think it would be useful, please pass it on to Endo-san with the
message about how happy I am that after my recent visit to
Washington, the US agreed to donate drug eradication money. If
you have a way of getting into the internet or Nexus [sic], there
is much more publicity on the matter ..
... Change is never easy.
With best regards,
WHO'S WHO, WHAT'S WHAT
Mr Endo/Endo-san - A senior official at Mitsui&Co.
D.E.A - US Drug Enforcement Agency
Richardson - US Congressman Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico)
John McCain - US Senator (R-Arizona)
Bill Archer - US Congressman (R-Texas)
Hector - Hector W. Lwin, executive director of Peregrine Capital
Myanmar Ltd, based in Rangoon from June 1994 until July 1995, who
was deported from Burma for travelling on an illegal passport.
M.O.U. - Memorandum of Understanding.
Rajan - Rajan Pillai, a New York lawyer currently in Rangoon as
managing director of Peregrine Capital Myanmar Ltd.
Philip - Philip Tose, chairman of the Peregrine Group.
PCM - Peregrine Capital Myanmar.
Claude - Claude Charles, a retired peregrine director and alleged
co-conspirator of Ms Segal, also being sued by Peregrine.