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BurmaNet News: October 11, 1996


"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: October 11, 1996
Issue #538


October 10, 1996

On Wednesday 25th of September, Free Burma International organized a boycott
campaign of Adventure Travel who is endorsing travel to Burma.

The tourism company Adventure Travel, has begun to hold slide nights on
travel to Burma. At the most recent network meeting we decided to hold a
protest against the first film night. We produced 2000 copies of a leaflet
which explained the reason for our boycott and asked potential tourists not
to visit Burma. We organised to meet outside the offices of the company
where the company was to hold the film night. 

Over 30 people attended including Burmese and Australian students, as well
as members of the Burmese community. We handed out leaflets to people who
were planning to enter the night and turned away many people. The manager of
the company came to meet us and agreed to our request to address the film
night. The audience were very receptive to our arguments. We asked
the company to stop holding the film nights and they said they would discus
the matter with us. 
They wrote us a three page letter explaining their position which we are
currently responding to. We will continue our campaign until they
stop. To date three companies have ceased (or decided against) Burma film
nights due to our activities. 

Intrepid Travel:

Intrepid Travel is the main organiser of travel to Burma and we are building
our strategy to take on Intrepid Travel. We have begun to approach their
potential customers. For example they provided a free prize for one of the
largest environmental organisations, the Wilderness Society. We have a letter
that will be published in their journal pointing out our opposition to
supporting the company.

We also have a motion which is being taken to the Australian National Union
of Students which calls on them to build a campaign against Student Travel
Australia who are distributing Intrepid travel material. They are one of the
biggest companies that organize travel to Burma. The fact that they have most of
their offices on campuses provides the network with an excellent base to
oppose STA, as we have clubs/or contacts on most campuses in Australia.

Rally outside the NSW Parliament:

The rally and street march held on the 18th of September was very successful
with over 60 people attending. This was the first street march held by
Burmese students, the community and their supporters in Sydney. The rally
handed out over 1500 leaflets about the Burma situation and our demands for
a trade, economic and tourism boycott.

We were met at State Parliament by the Hon. Ian Cohen MP from the Green
party who pledged to work in Parliament to support our boycott campaign and
to mobilise the Green Party behind the Burma campaign.

The Network is also continuing our activities against Burma's acceptance into
ASEAN following on from out tremendously successful actions in Bangkok in
December 1995. We are continuing our support for our network members and
supporters in over 21 countries and especially for the network group


October 10, 1996

British Home Stores (BHS), facing a boycott in Britain for the sale of
clothing made in Burma, have announced plans to stop sourcing in that
country, the Burma Action Group UK reported yesterday.

The BHS has one remaining contract for Burma-sourced clothing, which is due
to expire within three weeks, and has "no plans for further production from
Burma" after that, the activist group quoted a company executive as saying.

The news has prompted the Burma Action Group to cancel plans to launch
protests on October 12 in 10 British towns and cities.

The group launched the BHS boycott campaign on August 30 after finding the
company selling clothing "made in Myanmar".

At the Labour Party conference on September 30, the BHS was presented with
an "Unethical Business of the Year" award. (BP)


October 8, 1996

The word from Washington is that the Administration is dragging its heels on
imposing a ban on new US investment in Burma.

On October 3, President Clinton signed a proclamation banning Burmese
military government officials and their immediate family members from
entering the United States. The President took this action after the Burmese
military junta arrested an estimated 800 supporters of the democracy

But, the President recently signed into law legislation that would impose a
ban on new investment in Burma if the military junta commits large-scale

repression against the Burmese democracy movement.  Surely, by arresting 800
people and placing Aung San Suu Kyi under virtual house arrest, the military
junta has indeed committed an act of large-scale repression.

No doubt, the oil companies - ARCO, Texaco and Unocal - are telling
President Clinton to go slow on implementing the Burma sanctions law.  We
need to let the President know that there is support for economic sanctions
on Burma.


If possible, send your letter using Express Mail, FedEx or another
guaranteed two-day or overnight service.  It gives your letter more impact.

Keep the tone direct but friendly...

First, specifically ask the President to implement the ban on new
investment in Burma outlined in the Burma sanctions law

Include a personal paragraph describing yourself and your interest in

Mention that you consider that the recent arrest of nearly 800 Burmese
democracy movement activists constitutes large-scale repression

Stress that the SLORC's recent release of some of those detained should
not cause the Administration to desist from imposing a ban on new US

Stress Aung San Suu Kyi's support for economic sanctions on Burma

Reiterate your request for a ban on US investment in Burma and ask
President Clinton for a reply.

President William Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

For extra impact, please send copies of your letter to:

Ambassador Madeleine  K. Albright
US Mission to the United Nations
799 UN Plaza
New York, NY 10017
(212) 415 4050
(212) 415 4053 fax

Secretary Warren Christopher            
Secretary of State                      
Department of State                     
2201 C Street, NW                       
Washington, DC 20520                    

National Security Advisor Anthony Lake
National Security Council
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Your US Senators and Representative

Thank you for writing.  Only sustained grassroots pressure will prompt the
Administration to take action.

Free Burma!

Simon Billenness
Franklin Research & Development
711 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02111
(617) 423 6655
(617) 482 6179 fax


June 1996 (extract)

Private Investments, trade and travel -US direct investment in Burma

The value of new realized direct investment in Burma by firms legally
domiciled in the United States declined steadily. Most investment in Burma
has been in the oil and natural gas sector; much of this investment, and
most of it during the 1990's, was for oil exploration efforts that failed to
discovered comerciializable reserves. As of June 1996, six firms might be
characterized as "American" were known to have active investments in Burma.

The foremost US investor in Burma is UNOCAL, an energy firm with
headquarters in California. As of 1995, UNOCAL owned 28.26% of a consortium
formed to develop the offshore Yanada gas field 60km south of the Irrawaddy
River delta.

In The New Light of Myanmar, an article cited that "Myanmar will earn . . .
 .  about 450,000 US dollars a day," equivalent to US $163 million a year,
from the sales  of Yadana gas alone. Diverse informed observers have
estimated that the Yadana fields development could increase the GOB's net
foreign currency revenues by as much as US $400 million a year.

The consortium has been criticized in the international press for alleged
forced relocations of populations near the overland part of the planned
pipeline route, and for alleged forced labor provide by the army in it's
surveying and project-infrastructure construction. The consortium has
responded that no forced relocations of population from areas near the
pipeline have occurred since the start of it's development of the Yadana
field in 1992, that it has employed no forced labor and that the Ye-Tavoy
railroad is unrelated to the pipeline. Five Burmese working for the
consortium were killed in an April 1995 attack by insurgents on a surveying
party; in February 1996, a rocket attack is reported to have been launched
near Total's pipeline project base camp at Kanbauk. Five GOB light infantry
are said to be providing pipeline project security.

Another US energy firm, Texaco, has discovered proven reserves of natural
gas in commercialized quantities in the Yetagun field of the coast of
Tenasserim. However, Texaco has until now postponed commercialization of
these assets. Arco, another energy firm with headquarters in the US, began
exploring for hydrocarbons in Burma in 1995, and three smaller firms
domiciled in the US 
are attempting to discover and/or mine gold, copper and gravel. Pepsico, a
diversified food and beverage firm based in the US, which has invested in
facilities to bottle beverages and distribute them domestically, announced
in April 1996, in response to consumer boycotts in the US and elsewhere,
that it would liquidate it's direct investment in Burma but continue to
license it's trademark and technology to a local manufacturer and
distributor under a franchise agreement.


October 10, 1996
Supamart Kasem
Mae Sot

Malaria and respiratory disease have struck had against Karen and Burmese
people living in refuge camps and along the Thai-Burmese border.

Dr Cynthia Maung, head of the Mae Tao clinic which runs four makeshift
hospitals near the border, said each hospital received between 100 - 120
patients suffering from malaria and respiratory aliments a day during
June-August. Of these, ten died, she added.

The doctor noted that the infections were particularly widespread in
territories inhabited by Karens and Karennis in Burma opposite Tak and Mae
Hong Son provinces.

Dr Cynthia although the number of patients has decreased to between 40-50 a
day at the hospitals since September, this might not actually mean the
infection rate had dropped. Heavy rain and floods, she pointed out, could
have prevented the patients from getting to the hospitals for treatment.

She admitted that the arrival of patients during the June-August period had
overstretched her 150-strong team of volunteers who not only had to take
care of the patients, but also had to visit patients who could not make it
to hospitals. In addition, the team also educates the tribesmen.

Mae Tao clinic is currently holding a 10-month training course for
25-volunteers recruited from Karens, Karennis and Burmese students in camps
along the Thai - Burmese border. Once completed, these skilled volunteers
will return to their localities to help sick people.

Dr Cynthia's assistant, Ye Myint, complained that the presence of a large
number of  Burmese forces near the border has been obstacle. (BP)


October 7, 1996

Events that have occured during the last month.

As the SLORC offensive against the Shan United Revolutionary Army and the
people in Central Shan States continued, our leader, Col. Yawtsuk went to
Hseng Keo, the Headquarters of the Shan State Army that had ceasefire
agreement with SLORC since 1989 to talk with both the SSA and SSNA  ( Shan
State National Army ) there. On 13 Sep, it was unanimously resolved by the
three sides to combine their military forces into one single armed force
--the Shan State Army and its political wing, the State State National
Organization. The decision was also taken to re-offer peace to SLORC in
order to facilitate the process of ending of our people's immense sufferings
under SLORC's four cuts campaigns and to facilitate negotiations that shall
lead to the resolution of problems both in Burma and the Shan States.

Accordingly, the SSNO leaders delegations headed by President Sai Nawng and
Vice President Kaifa travelled to Rangoon to negotiate with SLORC leaders.
Though the details of the meetings are still unclear at present, the SLORC's
general response to this latest development in the Shan States is clear :
Stay split and disunited if the Shans want SLORC to stop its inhuman campaign.

Meanwhile the four cuts campaign and the divide and rule policy continued,
resulting in the surrender of 300 of the SSNA's Brigade 275 and Brigade 8. As
for SURA, faced with imminent annihilation, it was forced to defend itself.

On 28 September, a SLORC convoy was intercepted by a unit from Brigade 758
at Nam-oi on the Kunhing- Namzarng road. During the brief but fierce
engagement, the Shans killed 6 SLORC soldiers -- a captain among them,
wounded 7-8 of them and destroyed two SLORC vehicles.

As for the SURA liaison group, until further instructions from the authorities
in the Shan States, it shall continue to use the same designation, and report
the developments as they come.

Shan United Revolutionary Army.


October 9-10, 1996

Delegation  from the Wan Pao region of Yunan State of China met Tun Kyi,
the Minister of Trade.

Conference or Symposium on the "Unity of Nationalities", coordinated
and sponsored by the Stratigic Research Department of War Office opened
at the World Trade Center building in Rangoon. Papers from many departments
were presented and discussed at that meeting .

Senior General Than Shwe visited the Buddhist's Tooth Pagoda in Mandalay.

A delegation from a Swizerland company met Thein Win,Transport minister.


October 10, 1996

Tin Win, the new Myanmar Ambassador to the USA met President Clinton and
presented his letter of accredition on 9th Oct.

British monetary firm officials visited Maung Maung Khin, Deputy Prime
Minister and discussed banking, insurance etc. Officials from the YKK
Development Company from Japan also meet him and discussed investment.
The senior monk from Kyone Whar Whar Na Yar Htut monestry in China donated
alms to 1000 monks in RGN. Chairman of the Monks Central Maha NarYaKa,
members and Myo Nyunt, minister of Religious Affairs attended this ceremony
at KaBaAye Sasana Dome in Rangoon. The monk  also donated a car for the
monks of Burma.

A USA company donated 10 airconditioners, the cost  amounting 1 million
kyats, to Tun Kyi, the Trade minister and lifelong patron of the Compassion
Foundation for the hospitals and dispensaries of that foundation.
British Banking Firm officials meet Mr. Abel, Minister of National Planning
and business development.
A Company from Germany, and its officials met Maung Maung, Depputy Prime


October 10, 1996
Supamart Kasem

Thailand has protested an incident in which Burmese troops crossed into Tha
Song Yang district of this border province last week and killed a Thai man
and robbed ten families of 20,000 baht cash and valuables.

According to a border official, a letter protesting the intrusion and signed
by vice chairman of the Thai-Burmese Border Committee (TBC), Col Satja
Yodphet, was forwarded to Burmese authorities in Myawaddy.

The Burmese government was asked to explain the incident, which will be
raised Friday at the 15th meeting of the Thai-Burma Border Committee in
Myawaddy. (BP)