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IHT pro-investment article

As soon as I read the story 'Time for Compromise in Burma' (International 
Herald Tribune, 14.10.97) by James Finch, described as 'managing partner 
in an international law office in Rangoon', there seemed to have been
something very wrong with it. After a few days the story reappeared on Burmanet,
so it remained to find out why it seemed wrong. Of course, to any astute observer,
the reasons are obvious.

First of all, --  if James Finch is the authors real name--, 
his 'law office' is left unnamed, which is odd, rather. Perhaps
the IHT has the story on intelligence, or 'background', or whatever spies and
press do to cover up their dropping stories into the world press syndrome, as information
or disinformation, -- in this case an upper-scale reader with investments 
at stake in the global economy -- hoping it gets picked  up and carried up until it becomes
the fashionable way to think. That it appeared at all in Burmanet is also odd, rather, 
especially as it is more unlikely that Burmanet will reprint this letter. Nevertheless, 
we hope they do. 

First, to single out two recent events as major 
breakthroughs is hardly 'a pragmatic solution' to a way out of Slorc's illegal 
and fascist takeover of a democratic process. And no one really believes Slorc
will give over control of the army which protects it and is the instrument of its 
death-grip over the people and the democratic opposition. To call Slorc's proposed
offer to meet with Aung Shwe 'an olive branch' is charged with mystery of the
author's pro-Slorc bias. 

Further, the author goes so far as to declare that the NLD's "broad
base of support in the country is dependent on economic hardship". That used
to be the argument used against conditions that breed "communists", not 
democrats, thereby describing the people's choice for democracy merely
as a negative vote against a dim economic future.

Later in the pro-investment lobby article, the pro-Slorc author's bias becomes strikingly 
clear when he describes the advantages of foreign investment and "real
stability" without which Finch concludes, "Ordinary Burmese will be the losers."
Have not the Burmese people lost enough already without further calling upon
them to swallow their diginity and compromise with the fascist military narco
dictatorship? Of course, the international drug trade and dictators, in addition
to foreign investors, seek stability first, democracy later, if at all.

Then Finch calls upon ASEAN to end the stalemate providing "a faster track 
to reform, without revenge or reprisal against any party." Last July,ASEAN dictators 
have clearly declared their pro-Slorc acceptance.

One question that comes to mind, first, is what to do about the army in a deal
with the drug drug dealers. Nobody seems to want to talk about that. Its too
profitable to everyone to go away, especially the army, intelligence and
police services. Just ask Khun Sa? South America, and Mexico, come first
to mind when armed forces are left "intact"  under an "elected government".

Finch writes,"Heavily armed drug lords ply their trade in
some of the ethnic areas.  Without a trained, cohesive military, such
problems cannot be effectively controlled in the future". He does not
see Slorc as the source or control of the drug trade, but he does
see the drug problem "effectively controlled" by the army. That is sheer
nonsense and certainly sounds like something Slorc would say themselves.

The people of Burma will only be "victors" once they rid themselves of Slorc
and all the waste and destruction it that keeps it in power, and that includes
the sleaziness of the sort of the Finch sort of soft-selling pro-SLorc propaganda. 

Is Finch saying that Slorc is not going to just go away, or allow free and fair
elections? President Clinton's policy of sanctions to isolate Slorc should be
followed up with even tougher international sanctions at the highest government and inter-
governmental levels, to give back to the people of Burma what was stolen from them,
and to support the people of Burma against all usurpation of the democratic process,
before Slorc and their pro-investment propaganda pundits get their way 
with the help of the pro-business press and blur the line between real fascists and their victims.

Dawn Star
EuroBurmanet, Paris