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The BurmaNet News, October 2, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------          
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"          
The BurmaNet News: October 2, 1997             
Issue #834
Noted in Passing:

 ...who knows what kind of stunt man or stunt person may come in from abroad
in the coming weeks to rock our boat which is sailing smoothly.



September 29, 1997 [translated from French]
by Philippe Paquet

New York -- At least one aspect of the Cold War remained, at this
year's UN General Assembly, in the form of an empty seat:  Cambodia's.  The
UN committee for the verification of powers was unable to rule between the
competing claims to represent the country of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his
rival Norodom Ranariddh, ousted from power in Phnom Penh on 5 July. Within
the committee, the United States supported the latter's candidacy, while
Russia and China supported the former.
"Belgium and the European Union have not yet arrived at a joint
position on the situation which results from the coup d'etat in Cambodia,"
Belgian Foreign Minister Erik Derycke told us.  The subject is to be
discussed at the next council of EU ministers in Luxembourg, when France's
influence will no doubt be determining.
The putsch by Hun Sen brought to an end, in failure, the imposing and
expensive UN peacekeeping operation in Cambodia which allowed elections to
be held in May 1993 but, the minister pointed out, the general trend is
clearly to accept the fait accompli with the timid hope that new elections
next year will give the Khmer government a semblance of legitimacy.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is to meet with Hun Sen Tuesday [30
September] but also, separately, with Prince Norodom Ranariddh. The latter
declared in Washington Saturday that he was launching an appeal for a
cease-fire between General Nhiek Bun Chhay, who backs him, and the general
who backs Hun Sen.  He said that negotiations should take place "in a third
country, but not in Cambodia."
Burma:  Solid Consensus 
It also seems excluded, according to Mr. Derycke, that Burma, as a new
member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), will be
attending next spring's second Europe-Asia (ASEM) summit in London.
Some ASEAN countries, Malaysia in particular, would like to impose
such a presence on the grounds that all ASEAN members (seven at the time)
attended the founding summit in Bangkok last year, but the European Union
has ruled out any official relations with the Rangoon junta due to its
involvement in global drug trafficking.
"The European consensus is total," the minister assured us, "and, even
within the ASEAN, there is dissension.  Given the present situation, I fail
to see how Burma could be invited to London."


October 1, 1997

MANILA, Oct 1 (Reuter) - Philippine President Fidel Ramos will visit Burma
this month for talks with its military rulers, the first leader from the
Association of South East Nations to visit Rangoon since its entry into ASEAN
as a new member. 

Ramos's scheduled October 16-17 visit will be sandwiched between visits to
Hong Kong on October 13 to 16, and Laos on October 17-18, Foreign Office
officials said. 

Burma joined ASEAN along with Laos as new members last July. ASEAN also
groups Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam. 

Ramos is to hold talks with Senior General Than Shwe, chairman of Burma's
State Law and Order Restoration Council, and other Rangoon leaders, officials


October 1, 1997

Press Release  1/10/97

Royal Brunei Airlines, the first airline for may years to operate direct
flights between London and Rangoon, have decided to cancel the service from
25 October 1997.

Citing financial considerations as the reason for their withdrawal, a
company spokesman said " quite simply the route between London and Yangon
(Rangoon) has not proved to be commercially viable". The spokesman added
that Royal Brunei Airlines had no plans to re-introduce the weekly service
in the foreseeable future.

Royal Brunei Airlines, 49 Cromwell Road, London SW7 2ED, 
Tel 0171 584 6660, Fax 0171 581 9279


October 1, 1997
Supamart Kasem

TAK --Burma has laid claim to a 200-rai plot in Mae Sot by building two
watchtowers and digging bunkers.

The Burmese have moved back to the disputed area along the Moei River near
Wat Phrathat Khok Chang Phuak, sending military personnel to build the
concrete watchtowers, said a senior Thai official.

Myawaddy authorities had violated a resolution of the joint Technical Border
Boundary Committee which asked for a mutual troop withdrawal and the
suspension of construction pending negotiations, said Maj Chirawat
Wongpiyanarong, secretary to the Local Thai Border Committee.

Before 1994-1995, the 200-rai area belonged to Burma but serious-flooding
changed the course of the river, cutting off the land. In May, Burma sent
workers to dig a new channel in front  of the wat in Ban Mae Dao, tambon Tha
Sai Luad, sparking the dispute.

Thailand  proposed aerial  photos  from 1994 be used to demarcate the area,
but Burma was silent and asked for more details. Apart from building the
towers and digging the bunkers, Burma has deployed more troops to guard the

Kamnan Noppadol  Watchararat-Tanachai, of tambon Tha Sai Luad, said the
presence of Burmese troops had frightened about 20 families with farmland
near the disputed area.

Most villagers were afraid of being shot by Burmese forces if they went to
tend their fields, he said.

During the censure debate, Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, as defence minister,
was accused of agreeing to cede the land to Burma in exchange for the
opening of the Friendship Bridge in Tak.


September 27, 1997 [abridged]
William Barnes and Agencies in Bangkok 

This weekend's ninth anniversary of the party's creation comes at a time when 
the opposition has never appeared so far from power, yet so near, diplomats in 
Rangoon say.
After a brief spurt, foreign investment is fizzling out and the economy
appears in dire straits, rapidly eroding the junta's hopes of buying off
pressures for political change with increased wealth.
"We know that the cracks within a regime like this only start to show very 
near the end," an NLD member said yesterday. "We do not have to be impressed
by its so-called power and unity.
"We know that in South Africa the ANC [Nelson Mandela's party] worked on its
policy platform for years before they saw the door to power open. We have to 
respect that kind of example."
And a diplomat said: "I do detect a real feeling [in the opposition] that the 
State Law and Order Restoration Council is not half so cocksure these days, 
that a lot of its plans have gone awry."
But he added: "These guys . . . see no reason why they should throw themselves 
- as they would see it - at the mercy of their enemies."
League officials are convinced that some day in the not-too-distant future the 
junta - isolated and broke - will have to ease its iron grip on Burma.


October 1, 1997 [abridged]
Prachuab Chaiyasan

In a speech that was scheduled to be delivered overnight at the Asia Society
in New York, Foreign Minister Prachuab Chaiyasan said the region was going
through a re-evaluation of how it viewed its economic well-being and the
impact of globalisation. Following is the draft next of his comments.


A process that will transform the face of Southeast Asia is the planned
enlargement of Asean membership to include all ten countries of the region,
as envisioned by Asean's founding fathers 30 years ago.

The task of forging an Asean-10 will not be a bed of roses. We will have to
work hard to narrow the gap between the older and newer members.

We will have to evolve a new, perhaps looser, decision-making process to
accommodate the more diverse interests of the expanded membership.

But we expect the results to be well worth the hard work. Once the process
is completed, Southeast Asia will become more integrated that at any time in
history. Trade and investment barriers will be eliminated through the Asean
Free Trade Area and the Asean Investment Area. People-to-people exchanges
will be facilitated, so that the people of the region come to regard
themselves as citizens not only o their respective countries but of Asean.
It is my hope that through our concerted efforts, Southeast Asia will become
a strong community built on trust, where divisiveness and conflict are but
distant memories.

As of July this year, we have taken  on two members, Laos and Myanmar
[Burma]. The remaining prospective member, Cambodia, is once again beset by
a serious political rift that echoes back to its war-torn past. We are,
however, confident that it is only a matter of time before Cambodia assumes
its rightful place in Asean. Thailand intends to continue working with our
partners in
Asean to urge the parties to resolve their differences peacefully in
accordance with the 19.91 Paris Peace Accord.

At the same time, we  are painfully aware of the adverse impact such
domestic discord has on regional stability. Our citizens have  suffered loss
of life and limb, not to mention property, as a consequence of the fighting
inside Cambodia spilling over into Thai territory. Our resources along the
border are once again strained by the influx of Cambodians displaced by the
fighting. It is a state of affairs we thought our efforts and those of the
international community has banished, if not forever, then at least for many
more years.

The events in Cambodian compel us to ponder the broader question of what the
limits should be to Asean's principle of non-intervention in domestic
affairs. This is a question that must be carefully considered because it
could open up a Pandora's Box full of dilemmas. Asean has lasted as long as
it has partly
because of our respect for the sovereignty of fellow member countries and
policy of strict noninterference. But when domestic developments disrupt
regional peace, more and more-people in the region are saying perhaps it is
time to reconsider.

What sort of domestic development warrants intervention by Asean? What kinds
of intervention are permissible?

And what kind of coordination would  be necessary under such circumstances?
These are not easy questions, but if Asean is to live up ,to its promise as
a regional anchor of stability, they are questions we will eventually have
to come to grips with.

Another question that is often raised pertains to Asean's policy of
constructive engagement towards Myanmar. I realise that in the United States
in particular, emotions tend to run high over what should be done about
Myanmar. The two main options isolation and sanctions on the one hand, and
engagement and dialogue on the other - are often regarded as diametrically

Let me be clear about one thing: Asean and the United States share the same
objectives with regard to Myanmar. We both wish to see national
reconciliation take place. We both wish to see greater respect for human
rights and international norms of behaviour in the country.

Our approaches; however, differ. Due to our geographical proximity, the
Asean countries cannot afford to play the sanctions game. This applies
particularly to Thailand, which shares a border of over two thousand
kilometres with  Myanmar. Moreover, we do not believe that economic
sanctions work, as long
as there are countries elsewhere willing to do business with the government.
And we do not believe that the transgressions of the Slorc are so uniquely
egregious that the weight of United National sanctions will be brought to
bear as was the case in apartheid South Africa.

Constructive engagement may not be the perfect solution, but it is the most
workable under the circumstances. It provides us with a channel for
dialogue, not only with the government but with various other elements in
the country. Now that Myanmar is part of Asean, there will be many more
opportunities for us to communicate our concerns and to provide assistance
to the people
where it is needed.      


These two cases, Cambodia and Myanmar, show how much the boundaries between
the domestic and the international have blurred in the globalisation era.
Not all that long ago, it would have been unthinkable for countries to base
their foreign relations on another country's domestic behaviour.

Nowadays, it is expected to be at least a consideration. In previous times,
foreign policy decisions by city and state governments, let alone
non-governmental organisations, were unheard of. Nowadays, it seems everyone
is getting into the act. The state has become one actor among many in a
borderless world, and is finding itself overwhelmed by impersonal global forces
beyond its control. 

Southeast Asia's currency crisis is only one conspicuous example of this
aspect of globalisation. Despite a widely held belief that the region's
growth was nothing short of miraculous, our financial system proved to be
all too vulnerable to the vagaries of global market forces. While the
foreign money was flowing in, it was all to easy to ignore the weaknesses
in-our system. We had been warned that due to unsustainable current account
deficits, the region's economies would suffer a downturn, but still the
sheer rapidity with which regional currencies and stock markets tumbled came
as a shock.


I prefer to think of this crisis as a blessing in disguise, because it has
forced us to recognise just how fragile the foundations of our success are,
and to take steps to correct the shortcomings in our economic structure.

On Thailand's part, we believe that the globalisation of business and
finance compels us to become more competitive through greater openness and
transparency in general, and better supervision and regulation of our
banking sector in particular. Our economy is too deeply integrated into the
international economic system to do anything less. We cannot fight the
market; what we must do is ensure that the market works efficiently.

At the same time, we also need some coordinating mechanism at the regional
level to protect us from similar shocks in the future.

I believe that some sort of Asian fund, or perhaps a mechanism to monitor
the health of the region's financial system on an ongoing basis, might serve
as a useful adjunct to the IMF which is usually called in only as a last
resort. If the finance ministries and central banks of the Asia-Pacific
region deem such a region-wide preventive approach useful and practical,
then we might have one more instrument to guard against excessive volatility
in our currency and capital markets. An often overlooked area where a
mechanism for greater cooperation and coordination would also be useful is
the environment. Again, this is a policy area that is traditionally in the
exclusive domain of each government. But as the smoke from the forest fires
in Indonesia that has enveloped much of Southeast Asia demonstrates,
domestic environmental practices can have an impact on the region's
well-being as a whole. In such a case, there is naturally a reluctance to
intervene or offer assistance too early.

But this has happened before, and each time it has become worse. We should
begin to ask ourselves if we must wait for a domestic emergency to get out
of hand before a regional effort could be mustered to deal with the problem.

The examples I have cited suggest that, in this era where it is becoming
increasingly difficult to draw the line between the domestic and the
international, it is of critical importance for the states of Southeast Asia
to coordinate their efforts more closely on issues with spillover potential.
Asean has made significant progress in its 30-year history, but we still
have some way to go and much to learn. We are discovering the truth in the
Buddha's saying that the only certainty is uncertainty.
We are finding out first-hand that the market, which had brought us
undreamed-of rewards, can also be a harsh mistress. But if the past is any
indication, I believe we have the resiliency to come through with flying
I hope I have given you a fair, and not overly optimistic, assessment of the
road ahead for Thailand and Southeast Asia.


Kamol Sukin
September 26, 1997

The non-transparent nature of the Thai-Burmese timber business has allowed
illegal logging in the Salween conservation area to boom, reports Kamol
Sukin in the first of a two-part series.

For more than two years, there have been periodic reports about illegal
logging in Mae Hong Son's Salween Wildlife Sanctuary and Salween National
Park, two of the few remaining virgin rain forests in Thailand.

The actual amount of timber that has been illegally cut is difficult to
say the authorities, because only a small portion has been found. A local
stated that over 10,000logs were removed last month, only 300 of which were 

At the customs checkpoint on the border, all the logs - whether they come
from Burma or Thailand - look the same. They are stamped "exported from
Burma" as part of the quota of companies with Burmese timber concessions.

If there were no such concessions, it would be easy to track the illegal
logs, but under the current arrangement companies with concessions claim
ownership of the logs.

According to a local official, the illegal logging can be divided into four
stages: the trees are cut down and floated along the tributaries of the
Salween River; the logs are then tied together like a raft and pushed across
the Salween River by people swimming or in small boats; once in Burma, the
logs are stamped "exported from Burma" and brought back to the Thai side;
and finally officials inspect the so-called "imported" timber.

"The third step can be done overnight," said the course, adding that due to
the huge size of the conservation area it is difficult to patrol the Salween

"So most of the logs that are seized are found during the first two steps.
Each seizure takes a lot of time because the frontier police who find the
timber during their patrols must first file reports with forestry officials
and the police in town, before they can confiscate the logs," the source
said, adding the logs are normally found deep in the forest in areas that
are difficult to reach. When the police do come across an illegal haul, they
usually only find the timber, never the people involved in cutting it down. 

According to a reliable source, corruption can occur at any time'. If the
logs are found by police, some local mafia members will go to negotiate with
the relevant officials. If the negotiations fail, another attempt will be
made at higher levels in an effort to have the timber removed from the area
before it can be sent to an official warehouse where it is kept as material
evidence, the source explained.

Any timber that is confiscated is then auctioned off by the Forest Industry
Organisation, a state enterprise, which sells it off to logging companies
bidding on it.

There is of course no clear evidence documenting the corruption, but the
practice is well known among businessmen and relevant agencies.

Several Thai newspapers which have followed the Thai-Burmese logging
business closely, reported on March 20 that the local mafia tried to offer a
Bt3-million bribe to officials in a bid to stop them from seizing the
illegal logs they have found.

A report in Matichon stated that Anti-Deforestation Command (ADC) officials
had found the receipts of one logging company showing a huge amount of 
money had been paid to many officials at various levels.

"Officials not directly in charge are paid relatively small amounts, about
Bt100 per cubic metre of illegal timber, while those in charge such as
checkpoint officials and forestry officials - are paid as much as Bt90,000
per month. Another Bt400 per cubic metre will be paid to inspection teams.
Some high-ranking officials in Mae Hong Son town will also be paid about
Bt20,000 per month," reported the Thai-language newspaper.

Royal Forestry Department (RFD) Director General Sathit Sawinthara said at
the time that he knew nothing about the bribe scheme since he had not
received any official report and never visited the site. He said if there
was clear evidence of corruption, the officials must be punished.

However, also in March, the chief of the Salween National Park, Jen Thafong,
was transferred to Doi Suthep-Pui National Park amid allegations about his
involvement in the illegal logging. But Sathit later denied that the
transfer had anything to do with the scheme.

Because many officials seem to be involved in the illegal logging, it is
difficult to stop it by official means. A special team has been sent in to
inspect the situation and resolve it. But the chief of the ADC's
investigative team, Boonyian Yaibuathes, said that all his team can do is
stop the immediate problem.

Boonyian's operations face limits due to a lack of both funds and official
support. His authority simply allows him to bring together relevant
authorities to form a special team, which then reports everything to him,
after which he can make decisions on urgent cases.

"The budget is a major problem. Now we are asking officials to use their own
funds for each operation. We are also waiting for support from the RFD," he
said. "The real solution is to attack the local power structure which
controls the whole legal and illegal logging business." He also suggested
that budgetary support for rangers working in the conservation area must be

"The problem is complicated. The local power structure is very strong. If
officials stay in the area too long, they are more likely to become
corrupt," he said. "But if we replace them with new, honest officials, they
might be frightened by the gunmen in the area. Nobody likes to sleep at the
forestry office anymore."


September 29, 1997
Kamol Sukin

The local underworld has an unexpected role in the Thai-Burmese timber trade
and politicians are suspected of providing a loophole for them, KAMOL 
SUKIN reports in the second of a two-part series.

Logging companies should be the most important factor in the timber business, 
but, in fact, they are not. The real power is in the hands of underworld
a reliable official source in Mae Hong Son revealed.

For example, the source said, a former Border Patrol policeman in Mae
Sariang district acts like a broker on the stock market, taking care of both
cutting and distributing timber. Acting as an agent, he finds workers and
contacts sawmills or other logging companies for each lot of logs imported
from Burma.

Well-known as the contact for bribing all relevant officials in the area, he
knows who should be paid how much. "Seldom will a new company do business
without contacting him. The system is very strong," the source said.

Aphichit Angkhasirisub, Managing Director of Skabi Co, Ltd said that even
though his company was awarded a concession, in practice it is very
difficult to import timber. His workers live in fear that they will be
killed by mysterious gunmen if they accidentally come across illegal logging

To outsiders, the timber trade should have precise procedures for gaining a
concession and undertaking operations, especially since the trade is under
the control of both Thai and Burmese governments. But loopholes exist. 

Following official procedures, a source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
said, a company must contact the Myanmar Timber Enterprise under the
Ministry of Forestry for a logging contract. The company can then submit
MTE's guarantee of 'country of origin' of the timber to the Thai government
for approval so that Customs documentation can proceed.

On the Thai side, the company must contact the Interior Ministry for
approval so that the product can pass through the checkpoint at the proper
border. The ministry contacts the provincial authorities and the National
Security Council for security considerations.

These procedures should be enough, said a Foreign Ministry source, to
monitor and classify illegal and legal timber.

"We have a list of the companies awarded concessions, the size of their
concessions and the approved checkpoint for each company. So far, if the
timber is imported under all these conditions, it is legal timber," said the
ministry source. "Customs officials should function as the monitoring unit."

But he admitted that in practice, problems might occur. First, the size of
each concession is privileged information. Even in public announcements, the
size is always approximate because it is almost a tradition that the size
can be adjusted through an agreement between the company and MTE officials.

For example, if they find the area has more timber than expected, they might
agree to increase the quantity. In this case, the Customs office can do
nothing except admit the new number, he said.

In practice, said the Mae Hong Son source, the broker in Mae Hong Son can
manage everything, on both Thai and Burmese soil, because he has very good
connections with both.

He has no problem cutting down trees in Salween National Park and Wildlife
Sanctuary areas and processing them like imported timber from Burma since he
knows everything about the concession, said a local source.

"Not only can he put the timber under the concession, but he can also make
officials turn a blind eye to the removal of any illegal timber too," said
the source. 

According to another source in a logging company that failed to gain a
concession, since large trees in Burma that meet requirements are always
deep in the jungle and are difficult and expensive to remove, there is more
incentive for illegal logging in Thai forests.

One logging company source admitted not all imported timber is legal. A
company cannot be too interested in where its timber comes from under a
contract, she said.

"Investigating the source of timber is the responsibility of the
authorities, not 
us," she added. "If you follow honest practices in the timber business, you 
cannot survive. You have to find loopholes, for example, buying timber by the 
tonne from the Burmese government but registering the volume in cubic metres 
for Thai officials. We earn something from the difference."

At policy level, politicians also have another important role in the business. 
They should be suspected of dealing in both legal and illegal timber, said the 
same local official source.

The logging company source confirmed that no matter who the government is,
the timber trade will continue logging both legally and illegally. "We just
change who we contact," said the source.

The latest second set of log concessions started at the end of 1995 to clear
remaining old-cut logs from the forest. According to several Thai-language 
newspapers, one big political party is taking a role in this second

"Logging companies got concessions after the government team, headed by the
defence minister, visited Burma," reported Prachachart newspaper on Nov 9,
1995. "Thai Sawat Co received a concession of 20,000 tonnes and several
other companies will get the same later."

The report also mentioned the close connection between several leaders of
that party and key logging businessmen. The Manager Daily reported in last
October that more than 10,000 illegal pieces of cut wood were ready for
import along the border, before the election. The report raised suspicions
that money from the illegal trade would be used to support some party.

The Burmese government announced that the concessions would stop in 1993.
According to Ngo Kho Pau, the First Secretary of the Burmese embassy in
Bangkok, the Burmese government is treating the value-added timber industry
like wood products or processed wood rather than the export of raw logs.

However, lid admitted that the new value-added industries are still in the
start-up stage. Even though the value of the wood is increased, the income
was not clearly seen yet, he said.

In an attempt to solve the problem, stated a document issued by the
Anti-Deforestation Command, a measure to inspect all processes of importing
logs is necessary. It must be done by all relevant authorities with
transparency, it stated.


October 1, 1997
Environment Desk

KANCHANABURI villagers joined 14 non-governmental organisations yesterday to
urge Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh to order the Petroleum Authority
of Thailand (PTT) to halt construction of the controversial Yadana gas
pipeline in three villages. 

The groups submitted a letter to the premier yesterday morning at Government
House stating that residents of three villages in Kanchanaburi, through
which the pipeline will run, did not trust the PTT's claim that the project
was safe.

"Villagers in the areas - Baan Jorrakhe Phuak, Baan Phu Ongka and Baan Rai
Paa - also questioned the construction standards of the PTT and its
contractors," the letter stated. The groups said the PTT should not proceed
with construction without listening to villagers because they were the
owners of the land the authority needs for the project. "The project's
environmental impact
assessment (EIA) also states clearly that the project must not be carried
out without the consent of the villagers," the letter said. The letter also
urged the prime minister to order relevant authorities, especially the PTT,
to stop sending armed people into the area.

Early last month, the PTT sent five armed defence volunteers into the area
in order to intimidate villagers into not interfering with the project's
construction. However, villagers claim they are the owners of the land and
thus have the right to block construction. 
The villagers demanded that the government and PTT halt construction and
open discussions on all aspects of the project, especially its environmental
impact and safety, before resuming construction.

However, the project owner rejected the 'demand, saying the project must be
completed by the deadline of July next year.

Kanchanaburi MP Sornchai Montriwat, who received the letter  from the groups
on behalf of the prime minister, told them that the government would
consider their request, but made no promises. 
Sornchai said he would send a fact-finding team to the project site on
Saturday in response to the villagers' request.


October 1, 1997


                A news item appeared in the Bangkok post dated 1 October
under the heading "NLD delegate harassed." In this news item and in separate
other instances Ms. Jude Smith of New Zealand claimed that she was assaulted
and detained for hours by military officials before being deported. The
actual story has it that Ms. Jude Smith was picked up at about 5 pm on 28
September in the
restricted area and was taken to the immigration department for questioning
in downtown Yangon switching her to airport for deportation. She was put on
the Thai Airways which departed at 7:45 pm on the same day. Actually,
contrary to her accusation detaining her for a long time, after deducting all
the driving hours from downtown Yangon to the airport only about 45 minutes
of questioning time were left. She also claimed she had an invitation but the
invitation was not issued in her name. In fact she said she got it from
someone while on the way to Mrs. Aris's house.

                More importantly, when she applied for a tourist visa she
stated she was a festival entertainer but her activities last Sunday
indicated something quite different. The NLD in fact did not invite foreign
journalists from abroad.
Only the local foreign journalists  came and attended the event with valid

                A similar deportation took place on the 17 September when
James Mawdsley, a Westerner attempted to create a civil disorder in downtown
Yangon by pulling a stunt of chaining himself to the fence of one High
School and shouted slogans in handing out  anti-government pamphlets. This
week we have had Ms. Jude Smith entertaining us with a different kind of
stunt and who knows what kind of stunt man or stunt person may come in from
abroad in the coming weeks to rock our boat which is sailing smoothly.


October 1, 1997

MCAA (Mid-West Conference on Asian Affairs) is composed of over 70
Universities and Colleges in the Mid-West. Its head office is located at
Indiana University.  Last year MCAA held its annual conference in the city
of Chicago and this year's conference was hosted by Northern Illinois
University from September 26 to 28, 1997. Over 300 professors and scholars
around the country attended.

This year, a panel on the current situation on Burma was added at the
advice of Professor Ladd Thomas of NIU. Ye Myint (DBSO Special Committee on
Research and Publication) was selected by the department to act as the
Chairperson of the conference. He is a Ph.D. candidate at NIU.

The panel was titled as "Burma Under Siege" to reflect the current political
stalemate and general deterioration in the country. Four major research
papers were presented to the audience.  Mr. Stephen Marshall's paper on
"Foreign Investment in Burma under SLORC" made detailed analysis of the
state of foreign investment in Burma and reached  the conclusion that the
Burmese market is not sustainable, that there is no evidence that economic
benefits as brought about by foreign investment are being redistributed
among ordinary Burmese, and that SLORC has no long-term economic plan to
effectively guide foreign investment.

Wungram Shishak's paper assessed India-Burma Relations and their evolution.
His conclusion is that, though India initially supported Burmese democracy
movement, China's increasing influence over Burma has made India establish
ties with SLORC in order to counterbalance the Chinese influence. John
Varell's paper on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's Political Development looked on
how different sources of positive influences shaped her political notions
and convictions. 

 Ye Myint's research paper ( ASEAN-Burma Relations- Rationales and
Incentives) analyzed the current relationship ASEAN has with Burma and
presented what kind of rationales and incentives in forging closer ties.
Extending from that, the paper assessed constructive engagement policy as
adopted by ASEAN. The major conclusion is that such a policy is a facade to
cover up ASEAN's narrow-minded self-interests in Burma, such as
exploitation of Burma's natural resources. Trade and investment with Burma
just did not improve general living standards of Burmese people, thus
negating ASEAN's  argument that such a policy would improve socioeconomic
conditions of the people and lead to political liberalization.

One discussant was Mr. Osanka, who is currently operating a tour company
which arranges trips to Burma. He has established ties with SLORC ministers
such as deputy minister of education, Than Nyunt,  and plans to publish a
book by "Burmese Scholars inside Burma." Obviously, the scholars he refers
to are SLORC-controlled intellectuals from Burmese universities. In
addition, he is going to publish a book which Dr. Maung Maung wrote before
his death entitled "The 1988 Riots In Burma." Ye Myint made strong
objections to the
title because the 1988 popular uprising is not "riots."

Professor James Scott, a distinguished scholar on Southeast Asian politics
and  the Director of the Southeast Asian Council at Yale University, was the
guest of honor and feature speaker of the conference.  Along with other
academics, Professor James Scott criticized Mr. Osanka's for his unscholarly
repetition of SLORC propaganda.


September 29, 1997 [abridged]

Saturday, October 3

8:30-9:30 am    Registration & Breakfast
All conference events will be held in Ackerman Grand Ballroom unless 
otherwise specified.
9:30-9:45 am     Introduction to Conference:  Schedule & Logistics
9:45-11:00 am   Ethnicity & Diversity: How SLORC Rules
11:00-11:45 am  Keynote Speaker: U Kyaw Win
	            Introduction by Zarni 
11:45-12:30 pm  International Overview of the Free Burma movement
	Canada:  	Christine Harmston (CFOB)
	Australia: 	David Rettie 
	Thailand: 	Dr. Naing Aung (ABSDF)
	Burma: 	U Maung Maung (FTUB)
	U.S.: 	Patrick Pierce (FBC - American University)
		Linda Kwon (FBC Manual/Publication Project)
12:30-1:30 pm	Lunch
1:30-3:00 pm	BREAKOUT SESSION #1

Topic A: Burma's History & Culture rm.___
Topic B: Working with the Media rm.___
Topic C: Heroin (repeated)  rm.___
Topic D: Strategy for Oil Companies (repeated)   rm.___
Topic E: Lobbying DC (repeated) rm.___
Topic F: Selective Purchasing (repeated) rm. ___

3:15-4:45 pm	BREAKOUT SESSION #2

Topic A: Refugees & Visiting the Border rm.___
Topic B: Grassroots Fundraising & Grantwriting rm.___
Topic C: Coalition-Building rm.___
Topic D: Heroin (repeated) rm.___
Topic E: Strategy for Oil Companies (repeated) rm.___
Topic F: Corporate Research (repeated) rm.___
Topic G: Strategy for Campus-Based Work rm.___

5:00-6:00 pm     Reports from Break-Out Sessions or some closing

plenary for the day ( AGB ) 
6:00-7:00 pm     Dinner (Chinese food)
7:30-9:30p      	Burma Film Festival: "Burma Diary" + other short films
		( Dickson Auditorium )
9:30-10:30p     	Reception      ( Dickson Plaza )
Sunday, October 4

8:30-9:00 am 	Breakfast
9:00-9:30 am  	Keynote Speaker: Dr. Sein Win
        		Introduction by Aung Min (FBC - LA)
9:30-10:30 am	Plenary: Current Situation on Border & Inside

10:30-11:00 am  Ice Breaker, Schedule & Logistics     ( AGB )

11:00-12:30 pm	BREAKOUT SESSION #3

Topic A: New Internet Strategies rm.___
Topic B: Women's Issues rm.___
Topic C: Shareholder Organizing rm.___
Topic D: Corporate Research (repeated) rm.___
Topic E: Strategy for Campus-Based Work (repeated) rm.___
Topic F: Lobbying DC (repeated) rm.___
Topic G: Selective Purchasing (repeated) rm.___

12:30-1:30 pm	Lunch (sub sandwiches)   ( AGB )

1:30-3:00 pm 	BREAKOUT SESSIONS #4 Regional Meetings
		* California      		rm.___
		* Pacific Northwest       	rm.___
		* Midwest 		rm.___
		* Northeast       		rm.___
		* Washington DC   	                rm.___
		* International meetings 	rm.___

3:15-5:00 pm	Report Back & Discussion of Future Efforts (AGB)
5:00-6:00 pm	Dinner served (Indian food)    ( AGB )
6:00-8:00 pm	Entertainment   ( AGB )


September 28, 1997

Dear Free Burma Supporters,

Spread the word with eye-catching Free Burma T-shirts! They are red with
yellow-gold design: fighting peacock and star, the words FREE BURMA! in
Burmese and below that in English. Each shirt is $10-$15 (as you can
afford) the small profits go to FBC activities, plus $2.50 shipping in US. 

Please send check or m.o. to:
Laura Snow, 415 E. University Blvd #205, Tucson, AZ,85705. 
Or e-mail: lsnow@xxxxxxxxxxxxx                             Peace.