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The BurmaNet News: January 8, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: January 8, 1997
Issue #607


January 7, 1997 (abridged)
AP in Rangoon

Universities rocked last month by the most serious student unrest in years
remained closed yesterday as most of Burma's campuses reopened after the
Christmas holiday.

The military Government said last week that campuses at the heart of a
series of demonstrations in early December would remain closed indefinitely.

They include three university campuses and the medical school in the
capital, Rangoon, and the university in Mandalay, the country's second city.
Thousands of students sent home to the provinces in December to defuse the
unrest will remain there.

Some Rangoon high schools near to the campuses, which were closed along with
the universities, reopened yesterday.

The demonstrations by hundreds of students marked the biggest street unrest
against the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council since the
pro-democracy uprising of 1988, when troops gunned down thousands of protesters.

Last month's demonstrators demanded an independent students' union, an end
to police brutality against students, and greater freedom and respect for
human rights.

The Government made no move to negotiate with their leaders. The protests
were quelled by club-swinging riot police and water cannons, far less
violent measures than in 1988.

Government leaders said last week that at least 56 people remained in
custody due to the unrest. They were identified as members of the National
for Democracy - led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi - remnants
of the defunct Communist Party and rock-throwers.

The Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun announced yesterday it had renewed a
one-year contract for Ms Aung San Suu Kyi to write a weekly Letter from
Burma column about Burma's democracy movement.


Mainichi Daily News 
January 6, 1997

(Mainichi Editor's note:  This is the first installment in a new series of the
"Letter from Burma" column by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize
laureate who leads the pro-democracy movement in Burma.  The new series is
scheduled to appear in the Mainichi Daily News on the first Monday of each
month, unless otherwise noted.  The Japanese translation of the column will
appear in the Mainichi Shimbun on the same day.  We hope our readers will
enjoy this new series.)

"Starting Anew"

Letter from Burma (No. 1) By Aung San Suu Kyi

So another year has ended.  Three hundred and sixty-five days which can
never be brought back again lie behind us.  The beginning of a new year is
as much a time for rendering accounts as a time for hope.  It is a time for
taking a hard look at the events of the past and for assessing what has been
gained and what has been lost.  1996 cannot be said to have been a happy
year for Burma.  It was a period that saw much injustice and repression.
Fear was let loose among the populace to dissuade them from supporting the
democratic cause.  At the same time, the economy started showing
unmistakable signs of malaise, giving the lie to claims of impressive growth
and progress.

Looking back on the old year, I cannot help but think of friends and
colleagues who lost their liberty because of their efforts to gain the
greater liberty of our people.  The numbers of political arrests during 1996
rose well into the hundreds.  As U Win Htein, who was taken away from his
home one midnight in May and sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment two
months later, remarked, the authorities pick up people and put them in
confinement as a rough poulterer might pick up young chicks or birds and
fling them into cages, with little regard for human feelings.

The accelerated arrests of organizers and supporters of the National League
for Democracy is matched only by the accelerated rate of inflation.
Although prices have been rising steadily over the last several years, 1996
was particularly noteworthy for the alarming way in which inflation took
off.  The most obvious change is in the price of diesel oil which went up
from 180 kyats per gallon at the beginning of the year to over 300 kyats by
the year end.  The prices of foodstuff have also gone up considerably,
making the housewife's task of keeping her family adequately fed a
formidable business.  (Prison terms meted out to NLD members have also been
subject to the general inflationary trend:  a sentence less than seven years
is seen as pretty mild.)

We saw the old year out at the home of U Kyi Maung, one of the deputy
chairmen of the National League for Democracy.  The New Year Eve party has
been a tradition in his family for many years.  But the guests have changed
with the changing times and reflect the varying fortunes of our hosts and
our country.  This New Year Eve the majority of the guests were members of
the National League for Democracy; in other words it was a political family
party.  These are times when all responsible citizens need to be politicized.

There were also a few foreign correspondents who had come to ask about our
reaction to the accusations leveled against the National League for
Democracy at the latest government press conference.  There is a special
flavor to meetings with the press which are held in this impromptu fashion,
everybody sitting around casually amidst a tangle of video cameras, tape
recorders and cups of coffee.  The journalists who find their way to these
informal press conferences are usually enterprising and good humored, the
kind of people who are thoroughly professional but who are always ready to
see the funny side of any situation.  This makes for a friendly, relaxed
atmosphere where irreverent jokes about the powers that be are appreciated
in a light-hearted way, as one might appreciate a cup of fine, fragrant tea.

After the correspondents left, we got down to the serious business of
tucking into the mounds of noodles that had been prepared for us and singing
dissident songs.  There is one particular song that represents the
revolutionary spirit of 1988.  It is a song of students recalling the
bloodshed and the grief of those days which can never be forgotten,
appealing to the spirits of Thakin Kodaw Hmaing, a grand literary figure of
the independence movement, and of my father, and dedicating themselves to
the cause of democracy.  When it is sung in full force by strong young
voices to the strumming of guitars, it is both moving and inspiring.  We saw
in the New Year in international fashion, singing Auld Lang Syne as the last
minutes of 1996 ticked away.  But as soon as we crossed over into 1997, we
sang once again the song that had resounded at so many gatherings eight
years ago when the forces of democratic change had swept across Burma.  We
know that the New Year will bring challenges that will make heavy demands on
our inner resources.
The New Year also brings in its wake the anniversary of Burmese
independence day on Jan. 4.  It is now nearly 49 years since Burma gained
freedom from colonial rule.  Last year for our independence day celebration
a drama troupe came down from Mandalay to give a traditional performance of
dance and song and highly amusing satirical comments.  The comments
reflected the current situation in the country so well and were so popular
with the audience, the two comedians and two NLD organizers who helped to
bring the troupe down to Rangoon are now serving long sentences in a cold
jail in the north of the country, far from their families.  In Burma ruled
by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), one pays a high
price for expressing the dissatisfactions of the people through the artistic

Organizing the independence day celebrations this year has been fraught
with more than the usual difficulties.  With access to my house shut off
since the beginning of December, it remained a matter for speculation
whether it would even be possible for our guests to attend the ceremony.
Getting together a band, a simple enough matter one might imagine, also
became a task of gargantuan proportions.  Some experienced musicians we
approached were too frightened to risk the displeasure of the authorities.
No doubt they were thinking of the comedians in jail and of the band which
had its entertainment license taken away after they had performed at our
celebrations last year.  We were still grappling with our musical problems
when the leading lady of the play we had planned to put on at our
celebration was suddenly arrested under the charge that she had been
involved in the student demonstrations that took place toward the beginning
of the month.  Really, the SLORC provides us with far too much excitement.

The past is important only that it may serve as a lesson to guide us safely
through the future.  According to Buddhist belief it is a demerit to indulge
in regrets.  That is to say, we should not waste our time and energy pining
over what might have been, it is more to the point to take constructive
action to put right whatever may have gone wrong.  1996 was a most peculiar
year from a political point of view.  So many incredible - and ludicrous  -
events took place that we now have no trouble accepting the truth of the
words that fact is so very often stranger than fiction.  There are enough
"democracy tales" to keep generations of our descendants fascinated and

It is very likely that the next 12 months will bring many more interesting
and unexpected changes.  Whatever the future may hold, I look forward to it
with much curiosity.


January 7, 1997

RANGOON, Jan 7 (Reuter) - Recent student protests and  bombings in Burma
could sideline some foreign investors as they  wait to see if they were
isolated acts or part of a bigger campaign against military rulers, analysts
said on Tuesday. 

Investors most likely to stay away were smaller-scale  businessmen or
those who had not yet firmed up plans to put  money into Burma, they said. 

    "The little guys will be chased away by this," said one  diplomat. "But
the really big companies don't care as much  because in the big scheme of
things if they lose their money  it's only a drop in the bucket for them." 

    Analysts said there was continued interest in Burma,  especially among
investors from South Korea and Japan, although  Nobel Peace prize laureate
Aung San Suu Kyi has urged foreigners  not to invest in Burma until the
government improves its human  rights record and enters into talks with the
democracy movement. 

    Foreign investment has been a focal point of the  government's efforts
to revive the economy, which suffered badly  during more than a quarter of a
century of socialist rule and  isolationist policies of former leader
General Ne Win. 

    Total approved foreign investment in Burma from 1988 through  November
30 amounted to $5.27 billion from 226 different  projects, according to
official government data. 

    Singapore is the largest investor with 53 projects approved  totalling
$1.17 billion, followed by Britain and Thailand. 

    Economists estimate only about half of the approved total  has actually
been invested since the State Law and Order  Restoration Council (SLORC)
opened up the economy in 1988. 

    Diplomats said one of the big questions was whether student  protests in
December and the explosion of two bombs at a  Buddhist shrine on Christmas
Day were part of a plot to topple  the SLORC. 

    "If these two incidents are part of a larger masterplan,  then they're
in trouble, and investors could leave," a diplomat  said. "If they are just
isolated incidents, it is not so bad." 

    But potential investors are not likely to be comforted by  the sight of
five tanks and two armoured cars in the carpark in  front of Rangoon's City

    The tanks are a vivid reminder of the military government's  vow to
suppress any sign of protests against the government. 

    They have been parked downtown since early December when  troops and
riot police used water cannon and batons to force  student demonstrators off
the streets. 

    Thousands had taken to the streets in the biggest  anti-government
demonstrations seen since national protests in  1988. 

    SLORC accused the National League for Democracy (NLD), led  by Suu Kyi,
of involvement in the protests and politicising  them. 

    Suu Kyi denies involvement but said she supports the  students' efforts
for justice. 

    Scott Rosenberg of the Brooker Group, a Bangkok consulting  firm that
advises on investment in Burma, said the human rights  situation was more of
a factor keeping some Western investors  away than the current uncertainty. 

    "People are hesitant to invest in Myanmar (Burma) because  there hasn't
been any big movement by the government on the  human rights situation," he
said. "The reluctance is not due to  the unrest, but the timing is not right." 

    Last year, several major American and European companies  pulled out of
Burma following lobbying by human rights  activists. 

    The United States has approved a bill for an economic  boycott if the
situation in Burma deteriorates.   REUTER 


January 7, 1997

The head of the Burma regime, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, left Rangoon  on Sunday
for an official visit to China.

It will be the first time for Than Shwe, prime minister and
chairman of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), to
visit China since he became SLORC chairman in April 1992.


January 7, 1997

MANILA, Jan. 7 (UPI) - A Philippine legislator has urged Burma's military
junta to grant opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi full freedom and greater
participation in government affairs.

Sen. Heherson Alvarez is calling on the State Law and Order Restoration
Council or SLORC to join ``the wave of freedom-seekers'' by allowing Suu Kyi
to freely organize opposition.

He says, ``Burma has an exceptional opportunity of allowing freedom and
democracy with the participation of the opposition in the affairs of debate
and in policy making.''

While calling for greater freedom in the military ruled country, Alvarez
notes the SLORC's recent move to allow the gathering of opposition members
at Suu Kyi's residence.

About 1,500 members of SLORC and National League for Democracy gathered at
Suu Kyi's house Saturday. During the event, a diplomat guest was quoted as
saying: ``I was really surprised this was allowed to happen. But whether
this means any change of heart by the SLORC remains to be seen.''

Alvarez cites the gathering an indication of the SLORC's softening stance.

He adds: ``The rulers can only yield to the inevitable forces of freedom and
be a bridge into the modern future or repress Suu Kyi and remain the
villains of history and stunt the growth of Burma.''


January 7, 1997  (AP)

RANGOON: Burmese trade received a boost this weekend with the
opening of a  container terminal built by a Singapore company at the new 
port of Thilawa, south of Rangoon, a state-run newspaper said yesterday. 
As Burma' s economy has opened up and trade has increased, the
country ' s underdeveloped infrastructure has been strained.
Precious goods have been known to sit for weeks, unable to reach
markets, because of increasing congestion at Rangoon' s port,
which is also suffering from silting.
The importance of the new terminal was underscored by the
presence at the opening ceremony of Gen Khin Nyunt, one of the
four most powerful generals in Burma. Rangoon Port handled
5.7 million tons of cargo in 1995, up from 4.6 million tons in
1994, the latest figure available. 
It has almost approached the optimum capacity," Transport
Minister Gen Tin Win told the newspaper New Light of Myanmar. 
"The new container terminal will greatly ease the handling of
cargo at Rangoon wharves, which are under pressure because of the
fast increasing volume of trade."

The opening of the terminal marks the completion of the first
phase of the port's construction by Container Terminal and
Packaging PTE of Singapore.

The remaining terminals at the 1,000 meter wharf, 11 kilometers
south of Rangoon, are expected to be finished in two years.

The Singapore company will build and operate the terminals for 25
years before transferring them to the Burmese government free of charge.

Singapore is one of Burma's oldest and largest trading partners.
During the 26 years of socialist isolationism imposed by former
strongman Gen New Win from 1962-88, most goods shipped to Burma
transited Singapore.

Singapore is also the largest foreign investor in Burma. Nearly 25 percent 
of all foreign investment in Burma is from Singaporean companies.     


January 7, 1997

Foreign Minister Prachuab Chaiyalsarn yesterday convened a high
powered meeting with military top brass on border security matters crucial 
to the direction of relations with Thailand's neighbouring countries.

The hour-long meeting at the Foreign Ministry took place amid
tension at the Thai-Burmese border following Friday's attack on a
Karenni refugee camp and fears of an imminent conflict between
rival Khmer Rouge factions close to the Thai-Cambodian border.

"It is important for the Foreign Ministry to discuss security issues and 
listen to opinions from all concerned parties," the minister said.

But the meeting did not focus on any particular situation, he
added, noting that the ministry was yet to receive an "accurate
report" on the perpetrators of the attack on the refugee camp of
the Karenni National Progressive Party in Mae Hong Son province.

The meeting was a bid to "find ways" for the ministry and the
military to "work together" in case of any untoward incidents in
the future, the minister said.

Attending the meeting were Supreme Commander Gen Mongkol
Ampornpisit, Army  Commander in -chief Chestha Thanajaro, Royal
Navy Commander-in-Chief Adm Vichit Chamnankarn, and National
Security Council Secretary-General Gen Boonsak Kamhaengridhirong,
Deputy Foreign Minister Pitak Intrawityanunt, Permanent Secretary
for Foreign Affairs Saroj Chavanaviraj and Permanent Secretary
for Interior Choowong Chayabutra.

The meeting took place before the minister left for Malaysia on
his first overseas trip since taking office last month.

The minister is due to hold talks with his Malaysian counterpart
Abdullah Badawi today, and, as part of three-day visit, is also
due to pay courtesy call on Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Mr Prachuab said he would discuss cooperation in fisheries as
well as progress towards the integration of Burma, Cambodia and
Laos into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The Thai government wants the Thai private sector to engage in a
"serious business venture" with Malaysia, which seeks Thai
involvement in related off-shore businesses in addition to
catching fish, the minister noted.

But lack of unity among fisheries related companies in Thailand
has become a  major obstacle for the project he added.


January 7, 1997

Tak : Mae Sot's 4th Infantry Special Task Force Commander Gen
Suwit Manmeun, chairman of the Thai team's local Thai-Burmese
border committee, will meet with his Burmese counterpart Zai
Phone in the middle of this month to sound out the new Burmese
commander's views, an informed source from Myawaddy said.

Rangoon recently made reshuffles of senior military authorities
in the border town of Myawaddy.

Lt Col Kyaw Hlaing, Myawaddy's 97th Infantry battalion commander
and chairman of the Burmese side's local Thai-Burmese border
committee, was promoted to a post in the town of Kawkareik, Karen state.

Lt-Col Zai Phone, 27th Infantry battalion commander, has been
chosen to replace him in both posts, the source said.

Myawaddy governor Lt-Col Maung Maung Yin was also transferred to
Pyinmanar in Mandalay division in central Burma as a promotion.

No one has been chosen to take over the governor's position, and
Zai Phone will serve as acting governor until a replacement is
found, the source said.


January 5, 1997
Guest Column by Denis Collins

Economic sanctions can harm both the citizens of repressive governments and
multinational corporations. Such decisions need to be carefully made. How
brutal must a dictatorship be, and how severe its violation of human and
political rights, for universities and students to refuse to purchase
products from companies that do business with "outlaw" governments? 

These issue are particularly salient now as the UW Board of Regents, which
governs a $222 million trust fund, and the State of Wisconsin Investment
Board, which manages the $39.7 billion Wisconsin Retirement System account,
consider divesting from corporations such as Texaco, Unocal, Atlantic
Richfield, Pepsi, Avis, ITT and Mitsubishi, which conduct conduct business
with Burma.  Burma provides an excellent case for developing investment and
purchasing criterion.

Drugs: Burma is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of opium
and heroin, and responsible for 60% of the heroin seized on American streets. 

Political Oppression: In 1988, Burma's military massacred thousands. Anyone
with a camera reporting the events was shot on sight. Protestors were buried
or cremated alive. Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for
Democracy and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, was placed under house arrest
for six years. When her political party won 82 percent of the popular vote
in Burma's first free elections, the military junta refused to give up
power. Democratically elected officials were killed, arrested, tortured or
In September 1996, more than 500 pro-democracy activists were arrested.

Forced Labor: Thousands of citizens, many of them ethnic minorities, have
been forced to relocate, with no compensation, to construct a gas pipeline.
Those who refuse are executed and their homes burned. Men, women and
children are forced to build and improve roads and railways for the pipeline
and to make Burma attractive to tourists. Those too sick to work are beaten,
tortured, and forced to carry supplies. Laborers die of beatings,
malnutrition, sickness, and
starvation. In one city of 500,000 people, each family is required to
provide free labor from dawn to late evening at least three days a month.
Families that refuse are fined as much as an entire year's income.

Other Human Rights Violations: Citizens are murdered, tortured and raped by
the military regime. Homes and food supplies are confiscated. Minority girls
are raped and killed by soldiers. Citizens must report overnight guests to
local military officials or be imprisoned.

Sanctions Requested by National Leader: In July 1996, Nobel Peace Prize
winner Aung San Suu Kyi called for the immediate and complete withdrawal of
all foreign businesses from Burma. Sixty-five percent of the financial
support for the military regime is from oil companies doing business with
Burma. She requested that tourists not visit Burma (renamed Myanmar by the
military dictators) and that nations not provide consumer goods or financial
aid because the money is used to enrich the military and to purchase weapons
for further suppressing citizens. She concluded that economic sanctions will
primarily hurt the political and industrial elites living in Burma, not the
millions of citizens they are oppressing.

Federal, State and City Sanctions and Condemnations: The U.S. has withdrawn
its ambassador, suspended the AID program, denied trade preferences, banned
multilateral loans, and forbids visas to Burmese officials. In addition, the
federal government refuses to grant licenses to export military equipment
there. Burma has been denounced by the U.S. ambassador to the United
Nations. Massachusetts, led by Republican governor William Weld, has passed
legislation boycotting products of firms doing business with Burma, as have
eight city councils including Madison, San Francisco, Berkeley and Ann Arbor.

Sanctions and Condemnations by other Governments and Organizations: Burma's
military regime has been denounced by the Wall Street Journal, New York
Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and international human rights groups.
It has also been condemned by the United Nations. Many nations have declared
Burma an "outlaw" state and refuse to grant licenses to export military
equipment. Bishop Desmond Tutu has urged international sanctions against
Burma, because it is the only language tyrants understand.

Corporate Withdrawals: Firms which have withdrawn from business activities
in Burma include Liz Claiborne, Macy's, Eddie Bauer, Levi Strauss, Amoco,
Heineken, Carlsberg, Columbia Sportswear, Oshkosh B'Gosh, Apple Computers,
Labatt Ice Beer, Petro-Canada, Wente Vineyards, and Walt Disney. The Student
Travel Association in Australia has ceased promoting tours to Myanmar.

Pension Fund Divestments: A leading Danish pension fund sold its $10.45
million shares in the French firm Total because of its involvement with
Burma's gas pipeline project.

University Protests: Pepsi has lost contracts at Harvard, Stanford and
Colgate universities. Stanford refused to permit Taco Bell, which is owned
by Pepsi, from opening in its student union.

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have considered banning
investments in Burma, but the skilled efforts of corporate lobbyists have
temporarily derailed bipartisan support for the full and immediate sanctions
outlined in the Burma Freedom and Democracy Act. In a view also supported by
Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jesse Helms, chairman of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote President Clinton that "failure to
impose sanctions at this point will clearly signal (to the military junta)
that it can abuse its citizens without consequences from the United States."

The University of Wisconsin must act.  A committee of students, faculty and
administrators should be established to develop and monitor a socially
responsible investment and procurement policy.

Just as there are fiscal standards, there must also be moral standards. We
should not wait for the anguished cries of current and future Nobel Peace
Prize winners.

Denis Collins is an Assistant Professor of Business Ethics at the University
of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business.


January 4, 1997

Today is the 49th anniversary of Burma's  independence . On January 4, 
1948, Burma ceased being a British colony.  Although this should be a 
day of celebration for the Burmese people, it is being marked in an 
atmosphere of darkness and gloom.  Without freedom, independence has no 

In 1988 almost the entire population of Burma marched in the streets 
calling for democracy.  These peaceful demonstrations came to a abrupt 
end with the military coup on September 18.  The coup leaders, the 
so-called State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), shot and 
killed thousands of civilians.  Thousands more were arrested, tortured, 
raped, and detained without trial, while many others fled country to 
seek safety in the malarial jungles along with the borders.

Now,  after 8 years, the SLORC continues to control the country, 
ignoring the people's wishes.   The SLORC also mocking the world by its 
utter disregard of the results of the election of May 27, 1990.   
Instead of transferring power to the people's elected representatives, 
SLORC  has cynically accused them of having connections with rebels and 
communists.  The regime still refuses to acknowledge and to take 
responsibility for gross human rights violations, even though these have 
been well-documented by many independent observers.
In suppressing Burma's ethnic minorities, the SLORC continues the old 
BSPP counter-insurgency strategy know as "the four cuts": cutting links 
with intelligence, cutting food supplies, cutting money, and cutting 
recruits among local civilians.  Entire communities have been forcibly 
relocated to "strategic hamlets" with strict curfews and rigid controls.  
Expulsion orders warn that any villagers remaining in their homes will 
be shot on sight. During these operations, the  army has arrested and 
mistreated thousands of people, including religious leaders.  In some 
villages all the women have been raped or tortured during interrogation.  
Both men and women have been arbitrarily executed.  It has become 
common in Burma for the military to capture innocent people as porters 
for the army. 

As a result, We Monland Restoration Council, join hands with all Burmese 
who love peace and democracy.  We call upon all Burmese to work together 
in harmony and unity to publicize the tragedy in Burma and to achieve 
democracy and self-determination.  

We are deeply committed both physically and spiritually to the struggle 
to end civil war in Burma and to establish a genuinely democratic 
federal union that endorses autonomy, equality, and the rights of 
indigenous nationals to self-determination.

We humbly request the world community to support  our struggle for human 
rights and democracy in Burma by putting pressure on the military regime 
to end the civil war which is not only killing its people but also 
ravaging the natural resources of the country.   We also ask that the 
world stop all economic investment that enhances the strength of the 
military regime, allowing them to prolong their power and to continue 
oppressing and killing the people.  

We demand:

1) The immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.
2) An end to the persecution of Buddhist  monks and other religious         
    leaders and restoration of  full religious freedom in Burma.
3) A stop to the four-decade long civil war and the concomitant brutal    
    violations of human rights of the Mon and other ethnic minorities.
4) A stop to the projects to construct a gas pipeline in Monland.
5)  The immediate transfer of power to the representative of the people 
who won the May 1990 elections.  

Central Committee
Monland Restoration Council
P.O.Box 50108
Fort Wayne, IN 46805-0108 (U.S.A)


January 6, 1997
Democratic Voice of Burma (SYDNEY)

Dear friends. 

The January 5   program of the DVB  SYDNEY originally  on   2NBC in 
Australia, is now available for real-time playback via RealAudio from 
BurmaSong at

This is a Burmese-language program featuring Burma news, views, and music of
Burma presented by Burmese now living in Australia. It  will be appreciated  
any  suggestion  about  program , Please sends  E-mail  to (ausgeo@xxxxxxx ).

Since December 15, 1996, program  files  have been  encoded  with Real Audio 
3.0. Adjustment  to  your  player  may  be  necessary. Many  thanks  to  Mr
Wrightson Tongue and  Burma net.


January 7, 1997

Yesterday the National Public Radio show "Marketplace" ran a 5 minute
piece on US companies in/out of Burma.  At the end of the piece they asked
for comments on several questions:

Should the US ban investment in Burma?

Should US companies use their economic clout to pressure repressive
governments to improve?

What did you think of the report?

Their contacts are as follows:

Comment Line: 213-765-0430
Office Phone:  213-743-6555
e-mail:  market@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Web Site:  www.marketplace.org
Mailing Address:  Marketplace Radio
		  Los Angeles, CA  90089

One thing that struck me was that the report did not note that consumer
and activist pressure is for much more specific reasons than "it's bad to
do business in Burma because the government is bad."  For example, Eddie
Bauer, Liz Claiborne, Columbia Sportswear and Disney were pressured
because they were manufacturing in factories with substantial military
ownership.  Motorola was supplying the SLORC with cell phones and mobile
radios.  Those without SLORC connections are not allowed to have or use
these.  Apple Computer was supplying computers to a market where
"unauthorized" use of a modem can result in a 15 year prison term.  Wente
Vinyards was in a distribution partnership with an individual who is
barred from the US because of his ties to heroin trafficking.

Unocal is in partnership with the SLORC and, by contract, uses the SLORC
army as its security team.  This despite the overwhelming evidence of
gross violations of human rights and dignity by this army.

Should the US ban investment in Burma?  Under current circumstances,
clearly yes.

Should companies use their clout to change the SLORC?  This is a false
hope.  As incoming UN Ambassador Bill Richardson has said repeatedly, the
companies have done "absolutely nothing" to urge change.  As the NYT
editorial of Dec. 16 pointed out, Unocal is now providing a financial
lifeline to the SLORC.  Top NLD officials say Total is THE leading
supporter of the SLORC.

Finally, the Marketplace report did not mention that even hard-bitten
companies like Peregrine are leaving not because of human rights but
because the SLORC economy is a gangster economy, with corruption,
dishonesty, no rule of law, no trustworthy financial information,
narco-trafficking connections.

- LD