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BurmaNet News: October 23, 1996

"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: October 23, 1996
Issue #549


October 23, 1996

(NOTE: This is the updated version of the Burma web resources list, the
previous list was incorrect) 

To make it easy, we would like to recommend that readers just remember 
one website:


"This single page serves only as an easy to remember URL and departure
point to resources promoting the establishment of democracy in Burma.
Please write to FreeBurma@xxxxxxxxx to add a site or for further
information." - Glen, system administrator

>From this site, you can access all other Burma webpages.  If your page is
not listed here, please contact the above address to get it listed.

OTHER BURMA WEBSITES (most accessible through FreeBurma.org)

Open Society Institute's Burma Project website:

Free Burma Website: general info, boycott info, reports:

Free Burma Coalition - current campaigns, how to get involved:

Euro-BurmaNet - news stories on Burma, boycott campaigns:

Burma and the US Congress Information Network:

USIA - US government statements/laws regarding Burma:

Australian gov/politics and intl news on Burma: 

Mon language and Mon people:

Shan resources and information:

general info on burma/travel to Burma:

Ethics of trading with Burma, letters to corporations doing business in Burma:

Burmese Refugee Project, run by SloMSIC, IFMSA: 

SLORC homepage - tourist info, New Light of Myanmar:

artistic and multimedia materials promoting democracy in Burma: 

ordering videos about Burma: 

to post your own info on Burma: 		

BurmaNet News back issues: 

http://FreeBurma.org is the Burma information starting point.
See what's new http://sunsite.unc.edu/burma-bin/WebX  
-post your own info on the website

(Note: There are many other websites which promote travel to Burma.  
They are not listed here)


(Forum of Democratic Leaders in the Asia - Pacific Region)
Summer 1996, Vol. 2, No.1
from brelief@xxxxxxx   (abridged)

By Phillip Pepper

One of the FDL-AP's primary goals since its establishment has been to
support developing democracies in the Asia-Pacific and has, in particular,
been highly supportive of the democratic movement in Burma. 

Signature Campaign

The FDL-AP has taken the initiative to collect signatures of 102 National
Assembly members of the Republic of Korea, belonging to the National
Congress for New Politics (NCNP) and the United Liberal Democrats (ULD).
These 102 National Assembly members have signed a press statement, dated
June 17, 1996, which stated the following points: one, urged the SLORC to
improve its record on human rights abuses towards the members of the
democratic opposition; two, criticized the SLORC for increasingly stringent
and abusive laws and its unwillingness to follow the 1995 UN Resolution
which guaranteed all Burmese to take part in the political process of Burma;
three, criticized the SLORC for failing to respond to Madame Aung San Suu
Kyi's constant requests to enter into a constructive dialogue with the
democratic opposition; four, expressed concern that the SLORC regimes
continuing violations could jeopardize regional stability, not simply for
Burma, but for the entire ASEAN region as well. Further, this instability
could damage economic development for Burma, as well as for neighboring
countries. Finally, that there could be massive refugee problems from
displaced Burmese citizens; five, urged the leaders of the ASEAN countries
to take firm and concerted action, economically and politically, against the
SLORC regime. A copy of this statement was also drafted and sent to General
Than Shwe, Chairman of the SLORC. 

Further on June 18, 1996, Dr. Kim Daejung, Resident Co-President of the
FDL-AP, has written letters to President Bill Clinton of the United States,
Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan, and the heads of state in five
ASEAN countries. The following are excerpts from his letter: 
Dr. Kim Dae-jung's Letter

"I am very disturbed with the recent developments in Burma...
The SLORC also passed new laws banning all Burmese from taking part in any
political activities as well as the NLD from holding gatherings on the
grounds that they obstruct the government sponsored National Convention's
efforts to draft a constitution. The new laws mandate fines and prison terms
ranging from 5 to 20 years to those found guilty. These series of actions
taken by the SLORC violate the 1995 UN Resolution which guaranteed all
Burmese to participate in the political process of the country. We deem this
as a premeditated measure to destroy the opposition altogether. On the other
hand, however, the action taken by the military regime proves the fact that
the SLORC is extremely nervous and diffident, and not in control of the
situation in Burma." 

"We are also concerned that the SLORC's actions create further instability
in the country and seem to be heading toward a possible confrontation
between the military regime and the democratic forces similar to that of
1988. In turn, this could jeopardize the regional stability which could
inevitably have grave implications to its neighboring countries. There could
be refugees; foreign investors could shy away from the country;
international trade and the economic process could be seriously affected. In
sum, the internal instability of Burma could turn into a major crisis which
would cause regional instability and seriously damage economic cooperation
and ties among ASEAN countries." 

"Therefore, I strongly call for ASEAN leaders to put collective and more
assertive pressure on the SLORC to stop pursuing their strong arm tactics
that would only lead to certain disaster, free all detained political prisoners 
and immediately begin a constructive dialogue with Madame Aung San
Suu Kyi and other key political leaders with the goal of national

Bangkok and Manila Conferences
Further, two other action programs are in development at the FDLAP Seoul
Secretariat. The first is a meeting in Bangkok, under the auspices of the
FDL-AP Burma Commission, which will serve the following purposes: one, to
express FDL-AP solidarity against the recent actions of Burma's military
regime, the SLORC; two, to place pressure on the SLORC regime to enter into
a constructive dialogue with the democratic opposition; three, to urge
leaders and heads of state in ASEAN and neighboring countries to put
political and economic pressures on the SLORC regime; and four, to create a
framework for a future international conference in November for the purpose
of supporting the democratic movement in Burma. 

The second initiative in development is the November conference whose
central purpose is to invite high-level government and non-government
persons to discuss various issues concerning the democratic movement in
Burma, including the repercussions of the first NLD assembly by Madame Aung
San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, and how to halt constructive
engagement in Burma from Burma's ASEAN neighbors.


Ocotber 22, 1996
Opinion & analysis

The foreign minister of Malaysia began a visit to Rangoon on
Sunday. He continues to work to bring Burma into Asean as soon as
possible. The minister claimed that Burma is undemocratic because
it is poor, and that if the region helps Burma to prosper, then
democracy may follow. He has his priorities reversed. 

Malaysia's determination to rush Burma into Asean is starting to
appear somewhat desperate. Malaysian Foreign Minister Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi now is urging fellow Asean members to help Burma
boost its economy and living standards. Then, when the nation
becomes prosperous, the Rangoon junto will become more
democratic. In the meantime, according to Mr Abdullah, Asean
should ignore events in Burma because they are the internal
affairs of the military junta.

Mr Abdullah's suggestions for tweaks of the "constructive
engagement" policy towards Burma are imaginative but probably
doomed. The minister has a good heart. Asean, he said, "believes
in the 'prosper thy neighbour' policy which helps the region as a
whole". There can be little doubt good neighbours help each
other, with each benefitting from advances by the other. But good
neighbours do more than buy and sell. They step in to help if the
head of the neighbour's household starts to beat his wife and children.

Mr Abdullah claimed that democracy is difficult for a country
with widespread poverty and unemployment. Difficult perhaps, but
not impossible. In fact, Burma has demonstrated it is capable of
democracy. In 1990, the country held an enthusiastic, free and
completely peaceful election, supervised by the current regime.
Burmese elected a parliament in a universal ballot. The
parliament never met, and the leader of the winning party was
jailed for five years - apparently for the crime of winning the election.

Truth be known, democracy is always difficult. One of its most
difficult moments is getting it started. Dictators always like to
cling to power. They also share a common trait: they believed
they are the only hope for the nation. Here in Thailand, we know
how hard it is to get dictators to step down. That is why the
people in our country are sympathetic towards the democrats in
Burma, and oppose the dictatorship.

Mr Abdullah's heart is in the right place, but his priorities are
wrong. Slorc can treat its citizens in a civilized manner, and
chooses not to. It has the ability to conduct a dialogue with Mrs
Suu Kyi and other opposition figures, but refuses. Burma is an
Asean neighbour, and Mr Abdullah is correct: if Burma were to be
more prosperous and dynamic, the entire region would be better for it.

For the moment, however, Burma is a neighbour no one would choose
to have. To help the Rangoon regime become more prosperous while
it so badly mistreating its citizens if - as the neighbour while
knowing he beats his wife and abuses his children. Few citizens
would be so selfish. 

It is understandable Asean's leaders wish to bring the group up
to its full membership as soon as possible. The vision of a 10-
member Asean, devoted to free trade and regional cooperation, is
logical and laudable. But the group must be careful. Vietnam was
brought into Asean at one pace; Laos and Cambodia are being
groomed for membership at another. Each new applicant must be
voted into Asean only when it is ready, economically and politically.

Mr Abdullah and other influential Asean leaders should not be
impatient to embrace the Rangoon regimes. The distaste for Slorc
and its methods is widespread. If it rushes to bring Burma into
the group, Asean risks great loss of respect that it has spent
decades building up. Burma's good neighbours will tell Rangoon
that Burma is welcome in Asean after it has stopped using
excessive violence against its citizens.


October 9, 1996
(from 'Kyemon', Rangoon, in Burmese 14 Oct 96 pp6, 7)

  In an article in the Burmese newspaper 'Kyemon', the American government is
accused of directly meddling in Burmese political affairs with its backing for
Aung San Suu Kyi, who is called "Mrs Race Destructionist" . The article says
that the USA has a history of interfering in other states and calls a US envoy
currently in Rangoon " Mrs Marilyn Menstruation" . The following are excerpts
from article by Pauk Sa entitled: "What do you think? The Ugly American" in
the Burmese newspaper 'Kyemon':

   While reading the 28th September 1996 issues of the daily newspapers, I
remembered the translations of "The Ugly American" by writer-journalist U Tin
Htwe and "Oh Yankees" by Ludu Daw Amar, which I read some 30 years ago.

When the Tatmadaw [Defence Services] took over state responsibilities on 18th
September 1988, the American government and its allies began criticizing the
Tatmadaw - which has a lofty tradition of nationalism and anti-colonialism -
and creating difficulties for its nation-building endeavours. The world
knows that the Americans and their allies have maliciously planned to
isolate Myanmar.

   I understood that the Americans and their allies have chosen Race
Destructionist Madam the Englishman's Wife as their puppet leader, and the
National League for Democracy [NLD], that race destructionist group of
power-crazed dictators, as their nucleus. I think some party members might
know the real situation - that they are being exploited by the Americans -
but in
case they do not, I have let the cat out of the bag. You can either thank me or
despise me for that...

What I remembered was that they [the West] were able to break up the Soviet
Union after giving the Nobel Prize to the Soviet president of back then,
Gorbachev, but I would like the neocolonialists to know that they will never be
able to destroy Myanmar and disintegrate the Union, even if they give out
dozens of Nobel Prizes.

   As the neocolonialist Western allies made attempts, externally, to install
their puppet regime in Myanmar, Mrs Race Destructionist and her race
destructionist, anarchic, dictatorship league have boldly planned treasonous
acts internally: boycotting the National Convention; holding roadside rallies;
planning a ceremony to mark the election victory; planning a party congress to
draw up a constitution, convene parliament, form a government, and stage
protests and rallies - leading to deployment of US-led UN forces, to bring down
the SLORC government and install a puppet regime led by Mrs Race 
Destructionist and her autocratic league.

The West-influenced puppet actress Mrs Race Destructionist and her cohorts
connived with the neocolonialists by going to the embassy, holding talks,
writing letters and holding discussions. The final result was to commemorate
the founding of that autocratic league and to hold a general meeting from Friday
27th September through 29th September.

   An exception was the American embassy charge d'affaires, Mrs Marilyn
Menstruation [Meyers in vernacular pronunciation resembles the Burmese
vernacular term for menstruation], who went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and told the director of the Political Affairs Department, without regard to a
country's sovereignty, that the government should not disturb the planned
special party congress to be held at Mrs Race Destructionist's premises
27th-29th September; that the American government did not wish to see
undesirable consequences in Myanmar; and that it wished, instead, to see a
dialogue between the government and Mrs Race Destructionist. She implied
intimidation in her conversation with the director- general, which goes to show
that the low-down Yankee traditions still exist, on the brink of the 21st


October 23, 1996

RANGOON - Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will resume her regular
weekend speeches to supporters in response to the government's lifting of a
blockade near her home, a supporter said yesterday.

The government on Monday removed the blockades barring access to University
Avenue, the road on which Suu Kyi's house is located, witnesses said.

"Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is ready to resume the weekend talks as soon as the
situation permits," the National League for Democracy party source said.

The Nobel peace laureate has been prevented from giving regular speeches
outside her front gates for the last four consecutive weekends because the
military government has blockaded the road leading to her house.

Diplomats said yesterday that they expect the military will continue to put
up the blockades on weekends to prevent the speeches outside Suu Kyi's house. 


October 23, 1996

BURMA will be a critical foreign policy issue for the newly-elected
government after the Nov 17 general election as the two countries share a
common border, long history and mutual benefits, a Foreign Ministry
spokesman said.

While Surapong Janayanama stopped short of commenting on how the next
government should pursue Thai relations with Burma, he warned that whatever
happens in Burma generally affects Thailand and the region as a whole.

In a recorded television programme "The World This Week", Surapong pointed
out that Thailand's relations and history with Burma are different from what
other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have
with the country.

"Whatever happens in Burma has a direct effect on Thailand. Thus, Thailand
must keep them (Burma) informed about those effects. We are ready to
cooperate with them as we already do through various joint national and
regional commissions," said Surapong.

Thailand can encourage the Burmese junta to initiate positive change in the
country through persuasion, he said.

"If stability exists in Burma, then Thailand and the region as a whole will
also have stability," he added.

The spokesman said that Thailand's wish to see national reconciliation,
stability and political dialogue in Burma is not interference in Burmese
domestic affairs as it reflects the desire of the world community.

This global desire has been clearly expressed in an annual United Nations
resolution on Burma which more than 180 UN members, including Thailand and
other Asean members, have supported since 1994, he explained.

Although the Burmese junta has insisted that the political situation in
Burma is a domestic matter, the passing of the annual UN resolution has
otherwise indicated the international nature of the problem, he added.

The UN document, which the Burmese junta has refused to recognise, calls for
an end to all forms of human rights abuses and a national reconciliation
through dialogue between the Burmese junta, the opposition National League
for Democracy and ethnic groups.

Surapong said that Thailand, as a civil and open society, has the right to
voice its opinion on the political situation in Burma just as others can
express their views on Thai politics. Such an expression of opinions cannot
be taken as interference, he added.

"We (Thailand) did not interfere or intervene by calling for the topping of
any regime or instigating the people to revolt. The expression of an opinion
is not interference," he said. "Whether a country being criticised likes it
or not, it (the criticism) reflects reality.

Thailand, said Surapong, still adheres to a policy of constructive
engagement with Burma. No matter how individual Asean members interpret the
policy, at least they share the same desire for democratisation and national
reconciliation in Burma, he said.

The spokesman said that the policy of constructive engagement does not
signify merely government-to-government contact or relations, but a
multi-dimensional engagement with all sectors of Burmese society.

He rejected the argument that economic prosperity will help bring about
democratic reforms in Burma, citing countries like Chile, where the
excellent economic performance under dictator Gen Augusto Pinochet did not
promote the birth of democracy, and India where a democratic system exists
despite widespread poverty.

On Burma's Asean membership, Surapong said that he believes Asean leaders
will, after their informal summit on Nov 30 in Jakarta, officially inform
the Burmese military leaders of the grouping's decision on the issue.

While Asean members agree on Burma's eventual admission into the grouping,
they have not reached a consensus on Rangoon's request for entry next year. 


July 16, 1996

  Eight Burmese democracy activists (from Burma Youth Volunteer Association,
Burmese Relief Center-Japan, 8888 Group and DBSO, NLD -- Liberated Area
-Japan  and the Kyoto-based Japan Environmental Exchange leafletted
Mitsubishi employees on their way to work early in the morning on the 16th.
Surprisingly, the flier, in clear  Japanese, seemed to be of considerable
interest -- and the 1000 sheets were all handed out, no one refusing.
What follows is the report just in from Frank Chase of Japan Environmental
Exchange about the contents of the meeting with Yoshikawa Shigeki, Asst.
Gen. Manager of the Southeast  Asia, Myanmar and Oceania Development and
Coordination Department of Mitsubishi Corporation.    
The activists represented BRC--J, JEE and BYVA.


On October 16, four activists representing the Burma democracy  movement
met with Shegeki Yoshikawa, Asst. Gen. Mgr of the Southeast  Asia, Myanmar
and Oceania Development and Coordination Department.   After introductions,
Mr. Yoshikawa presented Mitsuishi's involvement and  approach to economic
developement in  Burma.

l. Mitsubishi is not negotiating with the military junta (SLORC) and has
"no investments in Burma."    The pipeline contract was made with Total and
finalized in Paris. 

2. Mitsubishi sees itself as a "pioneer" in that it is collecting data  from
a broad range of concerns in  order to ensure the feasibility of long range
investments.  A  concern, mentioned several times,     regarded the currency
issue (foreign reserves?).  "We have been  referred to as NATO, ' no action,
talk only.' "   

3. Mitsubishi has historically been involved with the economic  development
of Burma dating back  before World War II.  Dealings with Burma recently
under the SLORC  however date back only     three years.  Mitusbishi is
proceeding very carefully and is a minor  presence at the present time.

Activists:  Does Mitsubishi perceive any linkage between 'economic
development' and 'political oppression' by SLORC? 

Yoshikawa: Mitsubishi is only interested in economic development which  is
good for the people of  Myanmar, or "Burma" as you say.  We are being very
careful to  examine every aspect of involvement.  We are making
efforts but it is difficult to get  information from Burma.
Political oppression is a matter for the Japanese government to deal with.
We will follow whatever our government policy dictates.  We are
only interested  in economic  development and believe that the
careful decisions we make can only help  the people  of Myanmar. 

Activists:  You need to realize there is an obvious linkage between
economic development and the money that comes from that development
and subsequently  used by SLORC to further their illegal hold over the people.  
Let's consider a worse  case scenario: SLORC jails Aung San Suu Kyi.  What
would Mitsubishi be  prepared to do about such an action that would ignore
the wishes of the Burmese people who  gave her an 82% electoral  victory
over the military ?  Do you have any such contingency  plan? 

Yoshikawa: No, but I don't think that would happen. 

Activists:  I would think that Mitsubishi would have considered this if,  as
you say, you are concerned about all aspects of a business environment that
includes the authorities who set conditions for trade and investment.
Mitsubishi can not  separate itself from the actions of the government:
doing business in Burma is doing business with SLORC.  Corporations in Burma
are widely perceived as placing profits before human  rights.   

Yoshikawa: We are NOT interested only in profits. Mitsubishi has a long
record of concern for the environment and for strengthening community.  In
the 1930's we  wrote into our charter the environmental and harmonious
community-building principles that  we support.  We have an ethics committee
involving the top executives that review such  questions. 

Activists: That's very commendable and we applaud that, but it raises a
serious question.  Given the human rights violations of SLORC, you can't say
it's merely a  political question and should be left to the government.
SLORC's use of forced slave labor,  it's record of an estimated 13,000
political protesters killed, and hundreds of thousands of  refugees in other
countries must contradict the principles of the Mitsubishi Corporation.
Surely you can put pressure on the military junta for violations of
principles your  corporation believes in. 

Yoshikawa:  We cannot interfere.  It's not our position to do so.   That's
the government's role and we will abide by whatever the government decides.
Let me ask  you,...have you talked to the Japanese government?

Activists:  Yes, and it was very revealing.  The government official spoke
of having two pipes: two conduits of communication: one to SLORC and the
other to Aung San  Ssu Kyi.  To us that is mere opportunism.   

Yoshikawa:  Opportunism?  Don't you think it's a good idea to keep all
lines open for discussion? 

Activists:  Discussion of what?  Contracts? If your purpose is long-range
profit, then it would seem  so.  If your purpose is to build community and
adhere to  environmental standards, both of which SLORC is grossly
abusing, then no.  Actually, we can not  help but believe that the "two
pipes" mean that the government is waiting to see who will  control the
nation,..whether or not it's a military dictatorship suppressing the
rights of the people  or a democratic government with 82% of the
popular vote doesn't seem to matter.  We in Burma say  that the Japanese are
slow in making a decision but once it's made the whole nation  is on our
doorstep.  I firmly believe that Aung San Suu Kyi will rightfully come to
power, and when she does  we'll remember who were our friends. 

Yoshikawa:  Regardless of what we think we can not interfere in politics.   

Activists:  It's not interference,...it's adherence to company  principles.   

Yoshikawa:  We think it would be interference.  The wisest course is to
proceed carefully with patience.  We have responsibility to our shareholders
and working  in tandem with our government, we feel the best results will be
made.  We DO feel a  sense of responsibility for community.  I'm very glad
that we had this opportunity to speak.   I feel we know each other better
now.  Please realize that we keep ourselves informed: I  read all the
information that comes from the Burma Democracy Movement. 

Activists:  Before our remarks become circular, we'd just like to point  out
what we feel is the bottom line concern for all of us.  We don't perceive
the people  at Mitsubishi as evil people, you've scaled the
entrance-examination system successfully, are  basically good family people
and have a high sense of loyalty as you say to your stockholders  and
community.  The "evil" is that loyalty to GNP growth-oriented economics, no
matter how  prudent, is destroying the environments and the peoples living
sustainedly in them.  Nature  has a carrying capacity,...we and our
technology aren't in charge because if we violate  nature's limits we
destroy the ecological base supporting our lives.  Still, mere survival
isn't  the bottom line as we see it, the bottom line is the health of the
villages and the people who can  show us the way to sustainable agronomy.
As villages disappear and urban sprawl takes its  place, the need to keep
law and order will give us many SLORCs and the this planet will become a
pretty mean place to live on. Mitsubishi would be a  true pioneer if it went
to SLORC and  expressed its concerns now before SLORC is overthrown and you
approach Aung San Suu Kyi with  hearty assurances that you are so happy to
see civilization return to Burma.  It might  just sound hollow, especially
when you tell her that you can now do business with someone who  adheres to
your high standards of community and environmental health. 

Yoshikawa:  (a kindly smile)

We were now beginning to truly repeat ourselves, but we left feeling  we
understood each other better.  Our image of the transnational  corporate
world was reinforced and for Mr. Yoshikawa, it's hard to know,  but the
obvious inconsistancies between principles/reality may have  generated some
reflection.  We're hardly holding our breath, though.  Their priorities
remain the same.


October 21, 1996

Foreign investment in hotels and tourism now amounts to 1.487 billion U.S.
dollars in Myanmar, according to Minister of Hotel and Tourism Kyaw Ba.
The minister said at a ceremony here Sunday that foreign investors are
undertaking 40 hotel projects with 7,649 rooms in the country while local
Myanmar nationals are building 472 hotels, motels and inns with 10,856 rooms.
Altogether, 409 hotels are now in operation making 9,276 rooms available, he
added.  The minister further disclosed that 150,000 tourists visited Myanmar
last year and up to 230,000 are expected to come this year if the present rate
is maintained.  In an effort to boost tourism, "Visit Myanmar Year '96" is to
formally open on November 18.


October 21, 1996

TEAKAPLAW, Burma (AP) -- After watching the army gun down hundreds of his
fellow students eight years ago, Naing Aung fled with thousands of others to
the thick jungles of eastern Burma to wage a guerrilla war for democracy.

But with Burma today perhaps even further from democratic rule, the revolt is
withering, its energy sapped by disease, defections and defeat on the

``No one expected it would take such a long time to fight for democracy,''
said Naing Aung. ``But revolution is not that easy.''

Naing Aung, 33, speaks without a hint of sadness. Diminutive and deceptively
fresh-faced, he has weathered eight punishing years in the bush and today
serves as chairman of the All Burma Students Democratic Front, the main
student rebel group.

Naing Aung and other Democratic Front leaders spoke to The Associated Press
recently at a meeting that mended a five-year split between two rival rebel

``We had at least 10,000 members in 1988. Now, we have only about 2,000
left,'' Naing Aung said.

Even that figure may be high. In September, Burma's military dictatorship
announced the surrender of more than 80 rebels.

The Democratic Front issued a statement suggesting the guerrillas surrendered
in one clash with government troops but only when outnumbered and out of
ammunition. But the message was that the loss was serious.

The 60 rebel leaders at the reconciliation meeting represented the hard-core
remnants of a fighting force that once expected to spearhead the overthrow of
a hated regime.

Instead, they have become little more than a sideshow as Burma's real battle
lines run down University Avenue in Rangoon, home of the nation's best known
democracy activist, Aung San Suu Kyi.

In 1988, troops shot thousands of demonstrators in pro-democracy protests
that saw Mrs. Suu Kyi emerge as leader of Burma's opposition. She later
endured six years of house arrest and won the Nobel Peace Prize, but the
ruling generals still refuse any accommodation with her.

Still, in the long run, her struggle with the junta is more likely to damage
the regime than a flagging, backwater guerrilla war.

Eight years ago, there didn't seem much option. The students, more accustomed
to carrying books than guns, took up arms in the expectation that the
generals could not last.

Reality was a ruthless teacher.

During the first year, many rebels died from malaria and other diseases.
Hundreds more were expelled from their refuge in Thailand after Burma's junta
promised they wouldn't be harmed; their fate has never been made clear.

Others despaired of military life and melted back into Burma, and some went
abroad to continue their studies.

Those who remain are committed, tough survivors, operating from remote camps
many hours hike over mud tracks from Teakaplaw, a border town. They say
they've grown used to the privations of camp life, though some have teeth
rotting from lack of dental attention.

``Eight years ago, I was an English literature student at Rangoon
University,'' said Aung Naing Oo. ``Another two years and I would have
completed my degree.''

Now, Aung Naing Oo's skills in English facilitate his job as the the
Democratic Front's foreign secretary.

Fleeting traces of student life remain -- like the moment two guerrillas
pulled out acoustic guitars during the meeting and led a dormitory-style

``I think my family misses me and wants me back to be with them,'' said Aung
Thu Nyein, 30, the Front's general-secretary. ``I just want my family to know
that I am here and I am happy, healthy and doing well.''

Back in Rangoon, his old schoolmates have families of their own. Aung Thu
Nyein, who was in his last year of medical school in 1988, does not. Nor do
the other rebel leaders.

Their hardest moments may lie ahead. Their main ally, the Karen National
Union, appears to be on the ropes. That is the main force of ethnic Karen
rebels and has been the strongest military opponent of the junta.

The Karens, who have been fighting the central government in Rangoon since
1948, lost their ``capital'' of Manerplaw in 1994 to a Burmese army assault.
The military, which has greatly increased its strength in manpower and
equipment since 1988, appears to be preparing a major offensive for the
impending dry season.

If the Karens fall, it's hard to see how the former students will carry on.
Symbolically, the student factions met at the Teakaplaw headquarters of Gen.
Bo Mya, the 69-year-old Karen leader. The open hut was a mere 20 minutes
walk from the border with Thailand, which many expect will serve as a refuge
for defeated rebel forces.

Defeat is not a possibility voiced openly to outsiders.

``I never regret that I didn't complete my schooling, and I never think about
giving up my ideals,'' said Aung Naing Oo.

``I have hope, just like every other person here, that we will win,'' he
said. ``We will stick to what we are doing until we get victory.''


October 22, 1996 (abridged)

Hpakan, the world's undisputed center of jade mining, is one
holiday destination the author of 'Holidays in Hell' overlooked.
PJO' Rourke, a well-known writer and regular contributor to
Rolling Stone Magazine, invites the reader to unlikely tourist
destinations in Lebanon, the Panama Canal, Poland, the
Philippines, Africa, Mexico, Israel, the Soviet Union and
Ireland...when in the midst of crisis of one sort or another.

That certainly would apply in 'perpetuity' to northeast Burma,
where the Buddhism-inspired saying 'the path is more important
than the destination' comes into prominence as nowhere else; to
say that one risks life and limb to get to Hpakan doesn't get
near actually experiencing the harrowing four days and 12
inevitable changes of vehicle left behind as each was in meters-
deep mud, like Richard W Hughes and his companions did to get to
the place, also known as Little Hong Kong.

As he was hanging on for dear life on the back of a skidding,
slipping, careening overloaded truck, one local asked him
casually; "Holiday?" Indeed, without a sense of O'Rourke's type
of cool humor, one had better not try. 

Richard: "I approached the authorities regarding going to the
jade mining area and was quite surprised that they agreed." But
this was not until he had pulled out his trump card. The area had
been recently 'classified' since the singing of a peace agreement
with the Kachin Independence Army, and thus SLORC didn't really
want any unofficial foreigners in - apart from a few doctors.

"I asked the officials, 'do you know general Still well?' They
did, and thus I told them that I was his son." The officials'
sense of humor prevailed. "Once they stopped laughing they said
'OK'. That's how we got permission to go to the jade mines area."

"Most of the people who work at the mines smoke opium - they
believe it prevents them from getting Malaria and other diseases.
This was in northern Burma.

"This entire valley was rebel territory until recently. We had a
military escort - different units for each section. We were told
that the mud in the river is from mine tailings."

Final destination; The Valley of jade. "It's a stone that is
revered by the Chinese, a link between heaven and earth, it
offers immortality. The material is extremely valuable."

"A piece of Jadide, a superior, harder type of jade, say, of just
20 karats, will go for 100,000 dollars (2,5 million baht ).
That's why everybody tries to get up there." 

"In Little Hong Kong you can buy anything: French perfume, Rolex
watches, the best cognac, American running shoes, number 4
heroin, women: it 's all available in Hapakan, Little Hong Kong.
The Uru River runs through it center. It's crossed by two quite
famous bridges." Richard adds that things are not cheap, hauled
as everything has to be through this extremely rugged terrain.
For in stance, a glass of beer at a bar will put you back 10
dollars, a bowl of rice three. Why one would need running shoes
in this muddy environment i s anyone's guess but they go like hot
cakes for about 150 dollars a pair.

Like French Champaign or Hennessy cognac? That will be 100 bucks.

"This is the only place in the world with quality jadide. You can
pick up bolders that have been thrown aside for the last 200
years and find a real gem." The Valley of Jade sure is for
gamblers only.

Hpakan is more exotic, strange and enthralling than one can
possibly imagine. It's a place of magic and often bizarre lore.
Fixed ideas, one's values, prove suddenly irrelevant. SLORC,
notorious for inflicting forced labor on villagers, one soon
finds out, stands not alone in this brutal practice. Stories
abound, including several about laborers being Shanghaied and
forced to work on mines or road projects... by the rebels about
whom Richard adds: "Some of the mines are operated by one of the
Kachin rebel groups." These were supposedly strict communists
 ..Their enthusiasm for jade mining defies their Maoist dogma
completely .They quickly shifted from orthodox Marxism to this
ultimate form of unmitigated free capitalist enterprise.

Jade is linked to opium (and in more recent times also heroin)
which is in turn linked to the Burmese rebel groups, many of whom
have funded their warfare through the opium and jade trade one
finances the other. This doesn't mean that all jade traders are
opium smugglers (and neither that all rebels are), but the
connection lies in that both the opium and jade trades use the
same routes, while jade is used to pay for protection provided to
the jade traders by the opium smugglers. Selling opium or heroin
in Hpakan and then buying jade bolders is also quite common. It
partly explains the widespread use of heroin there. Of note is
also that the riches to be had by both opium and jade will remain
a source for instability in Burma.

China once again, is open for jade trade. One could say that it
has been reborn there, though some traders insist that the best
pieces still go to Chiangmai, Thailand.


October 18, 1996  

Speedy action by the Israel Police foreign aliens department yesterday led to 
the arrest of Khin Lwin Thaung, 35, a construction worker from Burma, who, 
according to the Shin Bet information, is tied to extremist terrorist
in the Golden Triangle on the Thai-Lao-Burmese border.

These organizations deal in smuggling arms and drugs.   Information also 
indicated that Thaung is linked to extremist communist elements with 
anti-Christian views.  He was arrested in central Israel yesterday
afternoon. The 
Interior Ministry has already issued a deportation order against Thaung.


October 17, 1996  (abridged)

Community peace and tranquility and law and order has been maintained in 
almost all the areas in the entire nation at present. Various armed groups 
realizing the State Law and Order Restoration Council's [SLORC] sincere 
efforts and true goodwill have returned to the legal fold one after another 
and are joining hands with the Tatmadaw [Defense Services] and the people
for regional development. 

Currently, crimes threatening community peace and breaking the laws have 
occurred due to instigations by internal and external ax- handles and
by local and alien political interferences. 

Unscrupulous persons have also committed crimes such as theft of cars, 
motorcycles and spare parts, intimidation and robberies recently posing 
threat to the public security and the crime rate has increased markedly these 

Authorities have already exposed some of the crimes and are taking effective 
action against the criminals. Personnel concerned must expose crimes and 
must take action against culprits in accord with the degree of their offences, 
said Secretary-2 of the State Law and Order Restoration Council Lt-Gen Tin U 
at a recent meeting to reduce crime rates. 

Because of the rise in crime rates, Crime Reduction and Educative Publicity 
Work Committee was formed with the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs as 
chairman. The committee is taking drastic actions against crimes posing danger 
towards security beginning 15 October. 

It is necessary to expose and take action against the destructive elements in 
collaboration with the people, the Tatmadaw and the government in order that 
the momentum achieved in building a peaceful, modern and developed nation
will not be marred.