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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 1 Jun 1996 10:42:38 +0930

/* Written Sat 1 Jun 6:00am 1996 by DRUNOO@xxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.burma */
/* -------------" About the SLORC's propaganda writers "-------------- */

There was a puzzlement about some articles - of which are distinctive in
tone and contents - recently featured in the SLORC's media. One article
said to have taken a tougher stance on the NLD's weekend congress while
the other seems to have taken a softer tone.

To my knowledge, the SLORC's propaganda-writers, most of the time, write
rather independently of the SLORC's decision making circle. These people
are just some individual underdogs who try to make a living out of
writing (there are no alternatives either - all media in Burma are
controlled by the government.) Although it must not be ignored altogether
of their contents and tones, these articles in SLORC media cannot be
considered strictly as the policy pronouncements of the SLORC.

In these days, SLORC also seems to have hired foreigners to write its
propaganda. In 1994, for example, SLORC hired a public relation firm to
deal with the task. The contents of various speeches delivered by SLORC's
foreign minister at the international forums - including the rebuttals
given to the inquiries of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights - are highly
suspectable to be the products of those firms (or individuals). How the
SLORC will react to a situation cannot be judged simply from its media,
including its own statements.

Helpful in this regards is to look at the direct speech of SLORC's top
officers - it may give a little more accurate picture. Even these speeches
cannot be considered strictly as SLORC's policy since the contents are mixed
with SLORC's usual xenophobic-rhetoric.

The best way, in my opinion, to predict how the SLORC will react to a
situation is to judge by our own experience. Too many time it is learnt
is that unless the SLORC been put into a corner and thoroughly being
intimidated, no concession would be forthcoming.

With best regards, U Ne Oo.
   By Deborah Charles of Reuters
	   RANGOON, May 27 Reuter - Burma's military government has sent 
mixed signals to the country's reinvigorated democracy movement, 
suggesting there may be some uncertainty about how to deal with the 
challenge to its power, analysts said today.
	   A day after National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San 
Suu Kyi defied government detention of NLD supporters and vowed to 
carry on with and even step up the campaign for democracy, the 
military rulers seemed uncertain how to respond.
	   Commentaries in state-run Burmese-language newspapers today were 
at odds, one warning the democracy camp it was committing treason 
while another took a milder tone, even suggesting support for 
democratic principles.
	   "This dual track does generally reflect there are urgent 
discussions going on within the SLORC," one diplomat told Reuters, 
referring to the ruling military State Law and Order Restoration 
	   He and other analysts said the reaction, and government 
attitudes toward the weekend congress of NLD members, showed there 
could be some change to the SLORC hard-line tactics.
	   The SLORC in recent months has attacked the NLD and tried to 
make life difficult for Suu Kyi and her party.
	   It imprisoned one of Suu Kyi's close friends and other NLD 
supporters, prevented her from going to Mandalay and made a steady 
stream of attacks in official media on the opposition.
	   In a crackdown launched last week, the SLORC seized more than 
250 NLD members who planned to attend the three-day party congress 
that began at Suu Kyi's lakeside home yesterday.
	   After widespread international condemnation of the arrests, 
SLORC spokesmen said the NLD members had only been detained for 
questioning because the meeting might lead to "anarchy."
	   "What happened last week backfired," one diplomat said. "I think 
they underestimated the NLD."
	   Far from being cowed by the arrests of most of the members due 
to attend the congress, Suu Kyi opened the meeting yesterday saying 
the NLD would increase its activities and hold a series of 
conferences to plan party strategy.
	   "It seems the SLORC has bungled. Far from dismaying the 
opposition, they have given it more strength," said another 
diplomat, agreeing with a comment Suu Kyi made earlier this week 
that the SLORC could be the NLD's "secret friend."
	   The meeting was to be the first gathering of about 200-300 NLD 
members who won parliament seats in the 1990 election. The SLORC 
called the poll, but annulled the results when the NLD swept 82 
percent of the seats.
	   One diplomat said the SLORC likely would be forced to rethink 
its plans after being surprised by the strength of the 
international reaction to the arrests.
	   "They were widely taken aback by the international 
condemnation... especially that of Japan and Thailand," he said.
	   In a rare, strongly-worded protest, Japan's foreign minister 
called for the release of the detainees and an end to harassment of 
the pro-democracy camp. A Thai spokesman expressed concern.
	   Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda last week also warned visiting 
Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw in Tokyo that Rangoon's crackdown 
had dampened the enthusiasm of Japan's business community for 
investing in Burma.
	   Similar statements were made by many Western nations.
	   "One thing I know: the landscape has changed now. There is more 
of a feeling of hope," said one diplomat, referring to the 
thousands of people who chanted outside Suu Kyi's gates at the 
weekend to show support for the democracy movement.
	   "The nitty gritty is that the democracy opposition can no longer 
be ignored," he added.
	   Another diplomat agreed, but said it was too soon to tell what 
might happen next or if the SLORC should ever agree to Suu Kyi's 
repeated calls for dialogue.
	   "It's a waiting game. Let's see how it plays out over the next 
few days," he said. 
	   REUTER ts