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- From: brelief@xxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 02:14:00
Originally posted on soc.culture.burma by "Moe K. T." <moe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Burma's spies keep Suu Kyi under siege
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 09:01:54 +0900
Burma's spies keep Suu Kyi under siege
Copyright 1996 Nando.net
Copyright 1996 The Associated Press
RANGOON, Burma (Oct 29, 1996 3:24 p.m. EST) -- Passers-by quickly duck into
doorways as plainclothes policemen fan out along a busy Rangoon road. A
truckload of soldiers, rifles at the ready, eye the area. Suddenly, a police
car appears, followed slowly by a white sedan with windows tinted pitch black.
Aung San Suu Kyi is here.
Burma's pro-democracy leader is surrounded these days by security heavier
than that of most heads of state. But it isn't meant for her protection. The
security is meant to isolate Suu Kyi -- to keep her away from the Burmese
The soldiers and policemen are there on the orders of the military junta
that rules Burma, and that repeatedly threatens to "annihilate" the
51-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Burma's generals, who kept Suu Kyi under house arrest for six years until
July 1995, denied a statement by one of her aides last week that the
military was restricting her movements to her home. Suu Kyi is free, they
said. But the generals have their own concept of freedom.
No one sees Suu Kyi except for a small circle of family and advisers.
Heavily-armed, short-tempered soldiers block the roads to her lakeside
compound. Her telephone line has been cut. As she is driven about town, she
is invisible behind the smoked glass windows of her automobile.
Suu Kyi never tells her driver where she is planning to go. Although she
sometimes rides with party leaders, she never discusses political work in
the car. When a journalist managed to run past police and approach Suu Kyi's
sedan, she refused to roll down the window. "My driver is M.I.," she later
"The M.I. are everywhere," said a former member of Suu Kyi's party. "They
are even in her house."
Across from Suu Kyi's home, the M.I. has rented a villa from which it
photographs her compound. The men inside her gate recording the names of
visitors are M.I. Her personal bodyguards are M.I., although Suu Kyi
requested them. Her people had no security training, so she asked for the
services of the agents who were her jailers during house arrest.
Kyi Maung, the 78-year-old vice chairman of Suu Kyi's party who was picked
up for questioning on Oct. 23 and released Monday, never asked for an M.I.
detail. Nonetheless, one watches his home every day, photographing visitors.
There also are agents stationed by the house of the party's other vice
chairman, 69-year-old Tin Oo.
Late some nights, truckloads of soldiers have pulled up to their homes.
Troops jumped out, rifles loaded, sweeping in all directions in search of
some unseen enemy.
There are no known guerrilla infiltrators in Rangoon. But there are "ax
handles of the imperialists" as the generals call Western diplomats and
journalists. Some visit Kyi Maung and Tin Oo in the evenings. As a group of
them left Kyi Maung's home in a car one night, a sedan full of M.I. men
"They moved as in a thriller chase," a state-run newspaper said of the
pursuit. But the diplomats, simply lost in the dark labyrinth of roads, were
laughing while the M.I., convinced they were trying to escape, grew furious.
As each one was dropped off, M.I. men followed on foot, lurking in the
shadows, until they could dart forward and photograph the foreigners.
Suu Kyi, in a recent newspaper column, estimated the M.I. spends 80 to 90
percent of its time, energy and money spying on her party. "How much more
sensible it would be to come to a civilized settlement that would remove the
need for spies and sieges," she said.
Col. Kyaw Thein, a high-ranking intelligence officer and government
spokesman, said a settlement with Suu Kyi and her colleagues is not what the
military has in mind.
The colonel is a firm believer that "there is no need for an opposition," in
Burma. With nearly 1,000 arrests of democracy activists this year, his
agents are doing their best to make sure there isn't one.