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BurmaNet News: October 17, 1996

"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: October 17, 1996
Issue #544

Noted in Passing: 
		One can say that the Myanmar democracy virus, which is 			more dangerous
than computer virus, has infected [the US 			media].-Byatti, NLM: A WRONG


October 16, 1996

The Walt Disney Company is accused of supporting the Slorc junta.

THE company that brought the world Mickey Mouse is in trouble as
far as labor groups and pro-democracy activists are concerned
over its connections with a garment assembly plant in Burma.

Walt Disney Company has received clothing, under a licensing
agreement with the New York firm Mamiye Brothers/American
Character Classics, from the Rangoon plant in Burma, which is
partly owned by that countries repressive military, according to the
National Labor Committee (NLC), a New York labor group.

As a result of the Burmese junta's 45 percent stake in the
Rangoon garment factory and an additional five percent tax on all
exports, "50 cents (Bt 12.50) of every dollar earned producing
the 'Mickey and Co'label at the Rangoon factory flows back
directly into the pockets of the Burmese military," the NLC argues.

That money goes a long way to help consolidate Burma's military
junta, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc), added
Larry Dohrs, a coordinator in Seattle of the "Free Burma" Campaign.

Foreign earnings 

"The garment industry accounts for a substantial portion of
Burma's foreign earnings," Dohrs said, nothing the US Embassy in
Rangoon estimates that the country earned some US$65.1 million
(Bt1.62 billion)- 80 percent of its total exports to the US-from
garment production in 1995.

"Disney is a big player in that field," Dohrs added, "and the
government dominates all business activity in Burma- that's just a basic fact."

For Burmese workers, it is an extremely low-paying field. The US
Embassy estimates that many Burmese garment workers spend 60
hours a week assembling clothes, for a wage of only six cents an hour.

The NLC contends that, on average, Burmese workers earn only two
or three cents for making a Mickey Mouse T-shirt that sells for $17 in the US.

In its June 1996 report on foreign economic trends, the US
Embassy points out that a large number of the garment assembly
firms are at least partly owned by either the Burmese junta or by
businessmen in "the opiates sector."

Noting the US state Department's recognition of Burma as a major
source of world heroin and opium production, Dohrs said that by involving
itself in garment production there, "Disney is in with some unsavory company,"

But a Disney spokesman denies the charges, noting the company has
no direct involvement in Burma.

"We have decided already not to do any business in Burma as a
company," said the spokesman, who insisted on anonymity. The
subcontracting agreement at the Rangoon factory is "three steps
removed from Disney," he argued. 

Nevertheless, he said, following reports of low pay and abuses at
the plant, Disney is beginning its own investigation of conditions there.

A spokesman for Mamiye Brothers said the company " independently
pulled out of Burma six months ago." Even before the reports of
abuses at the Rangoon plant surfaced, he said, the New York-based
firm decided not to place any orders at the plant for its 1997 production.

The news about Disney's link to garment assembly in Burma comes
even as students at some 60 colleges and 10 high schools fasted
to protest at US investment in Burma.

The students fasted because "the situation is getting worse in
Burma, which mass arrests and a crackdown on the [pro-democracy ]
National League for Democracy (NLD), "said Sein Win, a NLD leader
now based in Washington and the movement's choice for Burmese 
Prime Minister.

US firms, Sein Win added, should respond by cutting off trade
with Burma, which is heavily controlled by the ruling Slorc .

"Until we have a system that guarantees rule of law and basic
democratic institutions, no amount of aid or investment will
benefit our people," Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD's chief and the
1991 Nobel peace Prize laureate, warned in a taped message to
those fasting. "Profits from business enterprises will merely go
towards enriching a small, very privileged elite."

"It would be fitting, especially during the fast for Burma ...
for Disney to announce that it has made a grave mistake and will
immediately sever all ties to Burma until the democratic
government, which has overwhelming support, is restored to
office," said NLC director Charles Kernaghan.

The recent focus on Burma, including President Bill Clinton's
restrictions on travel to the US of most Slorc members and their
families, has already had an effect on US businesses dealing with Burma.

Several US apparel firms, including Liz Claiborne, pulled out of
Burma. Heineken Brewery ended its contracts with Rangoon
recently, explicitly because connections to Slorc "could have an
adverse effect on our brand and corporate reputations," according
to Heineken chief executive officer Karel Vuurstein.

Family -oriented business

Disney, because of its image as a family-oriented business, could
be equally sensitive to any links with Burma's military regime,
Dohrs argued. Disney is such a high profile company that it is
quite possible to bring pretty close scrutiny to them, " he said.

A campaign against Disney also could help raise awareness about
companies more closely linked to deals that allegedly benefit
Slorc, including the US petroleum firm UNOCAL and French firm
Total SA, Which have invested in a major gas pipeline in Burma, Dohrs added.

Sein Win believes the battle over US public opinion is already
being won by the NLD and democratic movement. "The movement is gaining
support at the city level, at the state level, and among local people," he said.


October 17, 1996
By Michael Vatikiotis in Bangkok

The Rangoon junta's latest crackdown on pro-democracy forces brings out
differences within ASEAN on the issue of Burma's full membership of the

Burma's military rulers may have to pay a stiff price for their crackdown on
the opposition National League for Democracy. The United States and the
European Union have been pushed closer to imposing sanctions against
Rangoon, and ASEAN could close the door to Burma's early admission.

Washington could impose sanctions under a new law passed by Congress on
September 30. It has already barred members of the Burmese junta or those
who benefit from its rule from entering the US, a move reciprocated by
Rangoon. The EU, meanwhile, is considering suspending preferential tariffs
for Burma.

But these measures would be mainly symbolic, given the low levels of
European and US investment in Burma. Of more significance to Burma and its
Southeast Asian neighbors is the division in Asean on the issue of Burma's
membership of the organization. A meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers at the
United Nations in New York last month - after the crackdown on the NLD -
failed to endorse Burma's admission as a full member in 1997.

Juwono Sudarsono, a well-known political scientist at the
military-affiliated National Resilience Institute in Jakarta, believes the
non-endorsement is "basically posturing by ASEAN to apply delicate pressure
on Burma." But delicate though the pressure may be, Juwono adds, ASEAN is
banking on it being effective. Indeed, the organization hasn't ruled out
Burma's admission next year. As Malaysia's Foreign Minister Abdullah Ahmad
Badawi put it: "We have another nine months to make a decision."

Clearly, that decision will hinge on how Burma's generals behave in the near
future. For the moment, the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council,
or Slorc, seems to be following its old pattern or repression followed by a
loosening of the reins. On October 8 the barricades around NLD leader Aung
San Suu Kyi's home in Rangoon were removed, and the government announced
that all the 583 NLD activists who were arrested had been released.

The last crackdown was especially galling to ASEAN because when it granted
Burma observer status last July - a precursor to full membership - many
within the organization hoped that the junta would be persuaded to moderate
its stance towards the opposition.

But Slorc launched the latest crackdown barely two months after lodging its
formal application to join ASEAN. "Our hope was that when Burma joins ASEAN,
they will change. Now it looks like they want to come in before they
change," says a senior Indonesian diplomat.

As a result, ASEAN faces a dilemma over Burma's early admission. There is
agreement that Rangoon should join the group to achieve ASEAN's vision of a
union of all 10 Southeast Asian states. But there is also growing concern
that Rangoon may use membership as a shield against criticism of its human
rights record, tarnishing ASEAN in the process.

The problem for ASEAN is that some members are keener than others to
accelerate Burma's entry. At one end of the spectrum is president Fidel
Ramos of the Philippines. Ramos argues that Asean's policy engagement with
Burma should be reviewed. Thailand supports this position. Thai Prime
Minister Banharn Silpa-archa told the visiting Norwegian prime minister, Gro
Harlem Brundtland, that ASEAN is not ready to accept Burma. A Foreign
Ministry official in Bangkok says delaying membership would signal to
Rangoon that "democratic principles are valued in Bangkok and Manila."

Conversely, Malaysian Prime Mahathir Mohamad maintains that engagement with
the military junta in Rangoon has been constructive. "I see evidence that it
has caused change," he told the media in Kuala Lumpur. Indonesian Foreign
Minister Ali Alatas told journalists in Kuala Lumpur that "as far as Burma's
membership in ASEAN is concerned, Indonesia and Malaysia are of the same
stand." Singapore, the largest ASEAN investor in Burma, shares this
inclusive view.

Even among those supporting Burma's admission, however, there are
differences on timing. Mahathir is believed to be keen on speeding up
Burma's entry partly because it would make next July's ASEAN Ministerial
Meeting in Kuala Lumpur a diplomatic landmark. Indeed, Malaysia may have
played a role in speeding up the timetable for Burma's entry. Rangoon
initially applied to join ASEAN in mid-August. ASEAN diplomats say no time
frame was specified. But following a visit to Kuala Lumpur in Late August by
Slorc boss Gen Than Shwe, Burma specifically asked to join ASEAN in July 1997.

The sudden shift in tack puzzles those close to the issue, who note that
Burma has until recently been lukewarm about ASEAN membership. "A year ago,
the Burmese were still telling is that ASEAN was a colonial legacy," says a
analyst working on Burma-ASEAN affairs at a Malaysian think-tank.

Rangoon's eagerness may stem from a conviction that ASEAN membership will
help shield the regime from mounting opposition in Western capitals. In
recent months, the Slorc has been reaching out with high-level visits to
neighboring countries. Than Shwe was to pay an official visit to Cambodia
in Mid-October.

Some diplomats in the region speculate that Rangoon may have read Malaysia's
encouragement as reflecting a consensus within ASEAN on Burma's early
membership. Malaysia assumed the standing chairmanship of ASEAN from
Indonesia in July. But by taking early admission for granted, Rangoon seems
to have ruffled feathers in ASEAN capitals.

"If the Burmese thought that they could unilaterally announce they could
join, they must realize that membership requires acceptance by consensus,"
says an ASEAN official. Putting it more bluntly, the Malaysia-based analyst
says: "Burma realized it could exploit ASEAN to defend itself against the
West - and that was in bad taste."

On one point, though, ASEAN officials are in full agreement. They insist
they are not bowing to Western pressure over Burma. That could explain why
technical issues are being raised to justify delaying Burma's membership -
or indeed why there is unlikely to be a clear consensus until the last
moment. Juwono Sudarsono, for one, expects ASEAN to vacillate, steering a
course "between not succumbing to Western pressure and not too close
identification with what is condemned as a pariah state." 


October 10, 1996 (translated from Thai)

[BurmaNet Editor's Note: "Krungthep Turakit" translates as Bangkok Business.  
This newspaper is widely read by Thai businessmen.]

Philippines President Fidel Ramos was the first of the ASEAN leaders to
propose a review of the constructive engagement policy adopted by ASEAN
toward the "State Law and Order Restoration Council of Burma." 

Even Singapore and Malaysia have responded to the call since the Burmese 
military government has done nothing to promote political development in 
Burma.  Rather, what it did was to increase the suppression of democracy 
activists, especially opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has 
spearheaded a democracy movement in Burma.

ASEAN members used to think that their constructive engagement would help 
Burma's military government to understand that it should give democratic 
freedom to the Burmese people instead of keeping them under the dictatorial 
rule that is the cause of the backwardness in Burma. The Burmese junta is also 
responsible for the lack of human rights and especially for the repression of 
those opposed to the current Burmese military government.

Constructive engagement means that ASEAN countries will associate with 
Burma but will not interfere in Burma's internal affairs or exert pressure
on the 
Burmese Government.  Meanwhile, Burma will be encouraged to participate in 
ASEAN activities in order to expose it to the economic, social, and political 
development in ASEAN countries. Burma can look forward to joining ASEAN 
as a member and contribute to the common efforts of ASEAN to achieve 
development and peace in the region.

In her direct criticism of ASEAN's policy, Aung San Suu Kyi once questioned 
whether constructive engagement was meant for the Burmese people or for 
others.  She said foreign countries with engagements in Burma were looking for
profits instead of providing humanitarian assistance to the Burmese people. 

Western countries have also expressed curiosity over why ASEAN has had to 
be good to the Burmese junta and not boycott or impose sanctions against it the
way the United States has done.  It should be noted that, while our
neighbors are 
becoming repulsed by the Burmese Government's attempt to block democracy in 
Burma, the Thai Government has remained  indifferent. 

Even worse, Prime Minister Banhan Sinlapa-acha paid a visit to Burma to
promote investment expansion.  It was clear that the Thai Government had no
concern about the plight of the Burmese people in general.  We would,
therefore, like to ask the caretaker government in Thailand what it is going
to do regarding the Burma issue: Is it going to wait for the next government
to make a decision on any changes?


October 16, 1996

KUALA LUMPUR- Malaysian Foreign Minister Abdullah Badawi
yesterday said he would make his first visit to Burma next Sunday
in a move destined to give new ammunition to critics of southeast
Asia's policy of "constructive engagement " with that country's

Abdullah said Burma's entry into the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) will not be a priority topic for
discussions" during his two day stay there.

"ASEAN has agreed that it would one day comprise 10 member
nations and will encompass (Cambodia and Laos), including Myanmar
(Burma, and this remains our policy," he said when detailing the
itinerary for his eight -day trip, during which he will also
visit Cambodia and Vietnam.

"The question of when Myanmar (Burma) will join ASEAN is a
secondary matter." Abdullah said.

Abdullah will travel to Burma after attending the second meeting
of the Malaysia-Vietnam Joint Commission to be held in Hanoi from
October 17 to October 20. He visits Cambodia from October 22 to
October 24.

Several Western countries have grown impatient with ASEAN's so
called "constructive engagement' policy on Burma and have prodded
the grouping to delay Burma's membership and put more pressure on
Rangoon to respect human rights and democracy.

Burma's ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council is in the
midst of a renewed crackdown on the opposition National League
for Democracy (NLD), which claims up to 800 supporters have been
detained in recent weeks. Official sources said 537 NLD
supporters had been detained.

ASEAN secretary general Ajit Singh is due to visit Burma from
November 2 to November 9 to prepare for Rangoon's eventual entry
into ASEAN.


October 14, 1996 (New Light of Myanmar - government mouthpiece)
by Byatti   Excerpts

[BurmaNet Editor's Note: Maureen Aung-Thwin is the Director of the
Open Society Institute's Burma Project.  The Open Society Institute is 
a branch of the Soros Foundation, founded by international financier 
George Soros.  The Open Society Institute seeks to transform closed 
societies into open ones, characterized by "the rule of law, a democratically 
elected government, a diverse and vigorous civil society,  a respect for 
minorities and minority opinions, and a free market economy".]
Mrs Michael Aris and ax-handle gangsters accompanying her, who see only 
the bait, not the hook, cling to and rely on the care of America and 
Europe and are exaggerating and spotlighting all sorts of trivial matters 
in the country and are making their voices, at the highest pitch, heard 
abroad through good links to open the way for them to be able to meddle 
in and touch off problems, on the pretext of democracy and human rights.  

Baseless arid exaggerated news from disreputable persons called 
politicians led by Mrs Michael Aris was measured with the yardstick of 
American democracy and made to reach US President Clinton's ears 
through American Congressmen.

In a study of the stratum of degenerative elements who are hurting 
themselves in their efforts to please their masters, one will find that 
they are all the likes of Mrs Michael Aris. They got married to white, 
red or multi-coloured foreigners and naturalised, thereby losing purity 
of genealogy. Maureen Aung Thwin of marred genealogy who was wont to 
appear on CNN news, for instance, has been away, from the motherland of 
Myanmar since she was about ten years old. She got married with an 
American citizen and was naturalized in the US about 20 years ago. Such a 
one of marred genealogy has no right to say anything about Myanmar and 
there is no reason to believe what she says.  

In fact, Maureen Aung Thwin is not doing any service with genuine 
goodwill towards Myanmar. She is posing as a democracy activist because 
she finds it easy living with something tasty to chew. For Maureen Aung 
Thwin and new and old expatriates in the US, the Soros Foundation is like 
a bank from which they can take money out and spend it and swindle at 
will. The foundation is known to be an NGO with noble objectives. It is 
based in the US. It is meant for aiding social and education sectors of 
the small developing nations.  

It is distressing to learn that the foundation is at the mercy of 
deception and concoctions by new and old expatriate gang members from 
Myanmar for their own gain. Maureen Aung Thwin was the strongest in her 
approach to that foundation than other new and old expatriates. She has 
been able to take the money out of the foundation using her womanly wiles 
and guiles in addition to the pretext of democracy and human rights.  

Out of the dollars which she had so obtained, she stole some for her and 
provided the paltry remainder to the remnant armed groups; she then gave 
them various incentives and instigated them to have her way. She paved 
her way with dollars in her approach to some US Senators. She shared 
those dollars with fellow new and old expatriates who were less 
fortunate. The name of the foundation which was established to serve the 
interests of the human race got tarnished by the crooks and democracy 
awards. Its objectives came to naught.  

Some sub-standard US Congressmen who have been lobbied by dollars 
obtained through mischievous means then blindly echoed the voice of 
expatriates because of the might of the dollar.  Here, the most modern 
news gathering machinery of the US which is at the top in the world has 
gone wrong. One can say that the Myanmar democracy virus, which is more 
dangerous than computer virus, has infected it.  

Actions of Mrs Michael Aris are not up to the standard to compare with 
that of the present government. In fact, Mrs Michael Aris is a hindrance 
or an obstruction. She prevented, through devious means, the flow into 
the country of foreign assistance.  Similarly, she stopped international 
assistance. She also obstructed the visit of tourists. Her acts have 
become excessive, undisciplined and unruly. A study of these facts makes 
obvious how rude, aggressive, morally petty and lowly she is.  

With the passage of time, diplomatic circles in Myanmar on their part 
have come to know her fouls one after another after dealing with her 
first thinking highly of her, and have begun to realize her situation. 
Being diplomats, they have not spoken out, though.  

If the new US Charge d'Affaires who will soon arrive and discharge his 
duty were someone who is interested in psychiatry or who has some 
knowledge about the nature of psychiatry, he will find an easy answer as 
to which ywathuma [village woman] is responsible for the state of 
Myanmar-American  relations within minutes after he has talked with her.  

Both the American government and the public should study to see the 
objective conditions of Myanmar. They should bear in mind that Myanmar 
has an attitude of peaceful co-existence with each and every nation. The 
American college students too should see the schemes and steps of Myanmar 
new and old expatriates who are spreading falsehood on their campuses. 
The American authorities should note that such people have taken part in 
a role to disrupt peaceful pursuit of education in Myanmar. With 
advantage taken of President Clinton's preoccupation in the forthcoming 
presidential elections, the President was driven into decision on Myanmar 
with no time to think; some time should be taken to ponder over 
misrepresentations about Myanmar.  


October 11, 1996

The San Francisco airport commission Friday unveiled its decision to postpone
awarding Japanese trader Mitsubishi Corp. a big-ticket project to build a light
railway system inside San Francisco international airport.   The airport
commission cited Mitsubishi's business relations with Myanmarese companies.  
One of San Francisco's municipal ordinances bars doing business with
companies that have business ties with firms of Myanmar, out of humanitarian
concerns over the Myanmarese military regime's oppressive rule.  The
commission has a budget of 140 million dollars for the development of the
intra-airport light railway system for passengers and airline staff,
according to Ron Wilson, public relations director of the airport.  In a
late-September tender for the shuttle train project, Mitsubishi outbid other
contestants, putting in a bid about 20 million dollars lower than the second
lowest bidder, Wilson said.  But the airport authority decided it was best
to wait a little while before declaring
Mitsubishi the winner for the bidding race, at least until it can clear relevant
legal hurdles.  However, Wilson said "There might be a way to sanction the
project to Mitsubishi" since it is not an iron-clad ordinance and economic
benefits to the community is to be taken into consideration in making decisions.


October 16, 1996

The Burmese government earlier this month entered into oil and
natural gas production sharing contracts with oil firms from
Indonesia and Malaysia, both Association of Southeast Asian
Nations ASEAN members, according to the New Light of Myanmar.

The state owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise signed the
contracts to jointly explore for oil and natural gas in the
Mergui Division of Burma's western coast with APN Petroleum Ltd
of Indonesia, and in the Gulf of Martaban with Gentling Sanyen
Sdn Bhn of Malaysia.

Burma is jointly exploring for oil and natural gas in the Yadana
field with the Petroleum Authority of Thailand, Total of France
and UNOCAL of America. 


October 16, 1996

Takoma Park city in Maryland will pass a bill alter this month to
prohibit the city entering contracts with American or overseas
firms which deal with Burma, according to the Free Burma Campaign
of Takoma Park's press release.

Once the law is passed, expected on October 28, the city will
join Madison October 28, the city will join Madison in Wisconsin:
Ann Arbor in Michigan; Santa Monica, San Francisco, Oakland and
Berkeley in California; and the state of Massachusetts in
boycotting the Burmese military junta, the release. _ 


October 13, 1996  (Knight-Ridder Newspapers)
by Michael Dorgan   (abridged)

When federal agents seized $ 1 billion worth of "China white" heroin
and five suspects in Hayward, Calif., the Drug Enforcement
Administration's special agent in charge boasted that "we've cut the
head off the dragon."

Robert Bender had reason to brag. That 1991 seizure of more than half
a ton of  90 percent pure China white was enough to keep every junkie
in the country high for a month. It was - and remains - the biggest
heroin bust ever in the United States.  

But five years later, this much is clear: Federal drug officials were
left holding not the head of the dragon but a piece of its tail.
Huge quantities of China white continue to flow into the country.
According to a DEA report, China white, produced by ethnic Chinese
opium armies in the so-called Golden Triangle region of Southeast
Asia, represents 57 percent of the heroin seized in the United States.

So pure it can be smoked or snorted, China white has extended heroin
use beyond those willing to jab needles into their arms. The drug's
strength and popularity help explain why heroin-related emergency-room
admissions have nearly doubled nationwide in the past five years.

Street heroin is stronger now because dealers must compete for sales
in a market glutted with drugs not only from Southeast Asia but also
from Southwest Asia, South America and Mexico. But ethnic Chinese
crime groups claim the dominant market share.

"Large Southeast Asian heroin-trafficking organizations, often
controlled by ethnic Chinese criminal groups, directed the smuggling
of [China white] heroin into the United States," says a DEA report on
heroin-trafficking patterns during 1995. "United States-based ethnic
Chinese traffickers with links to these international criminal groups
were the most prolific importers and distributors of Southeast Asian

Despite all the talk about a war on drugs, the DEA and other federal
agencies seem impotent in their efforts to staunch the flow of China white.

In Burma, the world's primary source of heroin, the industry is
protected by cease-fire agreements between the Rangoon government and
the ethnic Chinese opium armies, which are remnants of the Nationalist
army driven out of China by Mao Tse-tung's communist forces in 1949.

The U.S. State Department's latest International Narcotics Control
Strategy Report says leaders of the opium armies in Burma - also known
as Myanmar - have such a cozy relationship with Rangoon that some have
been given governmental positions as representatives of Burma's Chinese 

And given that U.S. Customs' staffing is sufficient to check just 1 percent 
of the millions of cargo containers entering the country each year, Klink has
no illusions about the ability of the government to stop the heroin flow at the 
U.S. borders.

"My personal opinion is that we could go (to the Oakland Port) tomorrow and, 
if we knew what container to look in, could find 1,000 pounds more," he said.


October 12, 1996  (abridged)
by Gerard Aziakou

Federal agents tapped telephone conversations in Yoruba, a Nigerian
lanaguage, helping US authorities and counterparts around the world to break
up a global drug smuggling ring, officials here said.

The arrests by US police and their counterparts in several countries has
turned the spotlight on Chicago as a US hub for heroin trafficking and the key
role allegedly played by Nigerian women.

The head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Thomas
Constantine, said the arrests, most them in the Chicago area, "immobilized
an important international Nigerian syndicate based in Bangkok which
smuggled heroin  through Europe and Mexico and distributed to street gangs
in the Midwest."

Bill Modesitt, a DEA official here, said the Nigerians "are probably the
movers of heroin into the US from the Golden Triangle of Burma, Laos and

"They are probably the predominant group controlling 80 to 90 percent of all
white heroin entering the United States and especially Chicago," he added.

US officials said the ring began operating five years ago, with Nigerian
women allegedly smuggling small quantities of heroin for existing organized
crime groups.

   But Constantine said the ring developed "to the point where they are as
powerful as any in the world."

The cartel's reputed leader, identified as Musiliu Balogun, was not arrested
in the sting operation. Bangkok-based Balogun, also known as Olopa and its
English equivalent, "the Policeman" for his discipline of errant cartel members,
is now on the run.


October 11, 1996
by Karen Cooper

Peregrine Investments Holdings has won damages of US$ 4.1 million - the full
amount it was seeking - in a legal action against the former chairman of its
Burma operation.

The judgment, in a Federal District Court in New York, comes more than a
year after Miriam Segal was dismissed by the investment bank when it
uncovered her involvement in an alleged plot to damage its Burma business.

Peregrine said yesterday its lawsuit against Ms Segal alleged breach of
fiduciary duties and the terms of her employment contract.  

It said the outcome of the latest trial, which was limited to the quantum of
damages suffered by the investment bank, "fully vindicated the company's

"We are especially gratified that Ms Segal's evidence, by affidavit and live
at trial, on all material matters were rejected by the court," Alan Mercer,
Peregrine's counsel, said after the judgment was handed down.

He said he did not know whether Ms Segal planned to appeal against the
court's verdict.

Mr Mercer said Peregrine had also issued proceedings in Hong Kong against
Claude Charles, a former main board director with responsibility for Burma.

Those proceedings also relate to breach of fiduciary duty in respect of the
Mafco controversy and will not be heard until later next year.

Mr Charles, who is now a director of Hong Kong-based investment house
Equinox, said yesterday he would strongly defend himself against his former
employer's allegations.

    "They are claiming I had something to do with her (Ms Segal's) actions," he
said. "I absolutely deny that. There's no truth to what they are saying and
that's why I'll be vigorously defending myself."

In its action against Ms Segal which Peregrine said it resorted to after she
attempted to bar the bank's representatives from its Burma business, Peregrine
said she conspired with purported representatives of a multi-national group to
create losses in Mafco, a fisheries business sold by her into a newly
incorporated Peregrine company.

By the middle of last year, Peregrine said it had invested more than $ 4
million initially in Ms Segal's investment vehicle and later in Mafco.

Peregrine said Ms Segal "planned to maneuver it into a situation where it
would opt to cut its losses by selling its one half interest in Mafco at a
drastically diminished value to a buyer representing the conspirators".

The plot came to light when a fax intended for one of her partners was
mistakenly sent to Peregrine by Ms Segal's secretary.


October 16, 1996

MANILA: Burma has denied a visa to former Philippine President
Corazon Aquino who has openly spoken out against Rangoon's
ruling junta, Foreign Secretary Domingo Siazon said yesterday. 

"Ex-president Aquino applied on her own. As a private individual,
they (Burmese authorities) can do that (reject her application),
"Siazon told reporters at the presidential palace here.

He did not say when or where the visa application was denied or
what kind of visa Aquino had applied for.

Asked if Manila can help the former president, Sizaon said it
would be difficult, Siazon said it would be difficult since her
visa application had already been rejected.

Aquino, a widow who led a popular uprising that toppled dictator
Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, has been vocal in her support of the
struggle of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to bring
about democratic reforms in Burma.

On Friday, Aquino urged international support for the democracy
movement in Burma which has been locked in a bitter stalemate
with the junta, officially known as the State Law and Order
Restoration Council.

She made the remarks at a State Department ceremony in Washington
during which she was awarded the J William Fulbright Prize for
International Understanding.


November 1996

It's boycott time again.  Burma's repressive government continues its
campaign against the pro-democracy movement and Aung San Suu Kyi.  The
winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Suu Kyi was elected as the country's
leader by landslide vote in 1991, but was never allowed to serve.  The
SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council), Burma's military
government, held Suu Kyi under house arrest from 1989 until 1995.

Today, the repression of Burma's democracy movement is escalating.  In the
final days of September, the SLORC rounded up hundreds of Suu Kyi's
followers to prevent Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy,
from holding a weekend congress.  On September 28, riot police surrounded
Suu Kyi's house, preventing her from leaving and from making her customary
weekend speeches to the thousands of supporters who gather to hear her.

Meanwhile, the SLORC carries on more repressive actions, including forced
relocations, village burnings, imposing slave labor, and murder.

Here's where the United States comes in: Several U.S. companies have major
investments there and are collaborating with the SLORC (see "Burma in
Chains," October 1995, and "From Green Bat to Rangoon," Page 30).  U.S.
investment in Burma last year totaled $245 million, most of it in oil and gas.

Because of the conditional sanctions President Clinton signed in September
as part of the appropriations bill, U.S. law will prohibit new investment
in Burma if Suu Kyi is imprisoned or harmed, or if there is a large-scale
crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.

But the conditional sanctions will not apply to companies that already have
operations in Burma.  Zarni, a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate
student and a citizen of Burma, is the founder and coordinator of the Free
Burma Coalition, an international network of activists who maintain daily
contact with each other via e-mail (zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx).  "It's better
than nothing," Zarni says about the recent legislation.  "But it's not
enough.  We need to get the oil corporations out."

The Free Burma Coalition and other groups supporting the pro-democracy
movement are calling for a worldwide boycott of companies that continue to
do business with the SLORC, including the U.S. companies Total, UNOCAL,
Texaco, Arco, and PepsiCo.

Six U.S. cities and the State of Massachusetts are boycotting any company
that does business in Burma.  Already the corporations stand to lose
contracts worth millions of dollars, says Simon Billenness, a senior
analyst at Franklin Research and Development, a socially responsible
investment firm in Boston.  "This is a lot of pressure.  Boycott them.
Let's make sure these companies lose millions of dollars in
contracts--they'll notice that. And they *are* noticing."

The SLORC is also noticing the effects of the worldwide activism.  It has
recently enacted a law prohibiting Burmese citizens from owning modems.
Punishment for this offense is fifteen years in prison.

"The latest wave of repression indicates that the regime is determined to
hold on to power at any cost," says Zarni.  "The so-called
constructive-engagement approach advocated by U.S. investors such as UNOCAL
has clearly failed. Until there is a democratic government in Burma, no
U.S. investment should be allowed."

Unocal managed to persuade the Senate to turn down a total pullout of
American investment in Burma.

Arco also defended its presence there.  "If U.S. companies didn't go into
Burma, you can bet the French will," said Mike Bowlin, the company's C.E.O.

This is hardly an ethical stance, and it's the kind of claim companies
trotted out when they opposed sanctions to end apartheid in South Africa.

Then, as now, the moral argument is clear: U.S. companies should not prop
up repressive regimes.


October 15, 1996

Help NYC pass Burma sanctions bill
Stop Slorc's repression of Burmese people

Join the fast & protest in front of city hall, NYC.

(At the fountain in the park just south of City Hall)
Starting at 6am on Wednesday, Oct 23 and
continuing until Sundown Friday, Oct 25

+    The State Law and Order Restoration Council (slorc), 
the military junta now ruling Burma, has arrested 
nearly 500 civilians, including a majority of the pro-
democracy party National League for Democracy 
(NLD) and 200 students. This most recent wave of 
oppression was initiated two weeks ago, after Nobel 
peace prize recipient and NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi 
announced a meeting to commemorate the anniversary 
of the NLD's founding.

+   Repression in Burma is endemic since the military 
coup in 1962. In 1990 the military was forced to have 
free elections, but the democracy party won 82% 
of the seats, so the military refused to yield power 
and forced the elected leaders into exile.

+   Since SLORC's annulment of the election results, 
it has perpetrated what are among the worst human 
rights violations in the world, including institutionalized 
slavery, rape, torture and murder against millions 
of civilians, even children.

+   Sixty percent of the heroin coming into NYC originates 
in Burma. Slorc has tripled its production to become the 
world's largest heroin supplier, the drug money enabling 
them to purchase arms and ammunition.

NYC council must pass bill 647, selective purchasing 
legislation against Burma. Other cities such as Santa Monica 
and Berkeley, California, and the state of Massachusetts 
have already enacted such legislation. 

For more information call the Burma UN service office at 

By subway, take the n/r to City Hall or the 4/5/6 to Brooklyn 
bridge-city hall.