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The BurmaNet News, November 3, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------          
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"          
The BurmaNet News: November 3, 1997             
Issue #859

Noted in Passing:

Opium production in Thailand and in Burma will increase by 20 percent
this year.

--anti-narcotics officer [see REUTERS: WA ARMY PROTECTS GOLDEN TRIANGLE


October 31, 1997

RANGOON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party on Friday
lashed out at the Burmese military government for preventing a political
meeting this week and arresting eight party members. 

The National League for Democracy (NLD) issued a seven-page statement
condemning the actions of the ruling State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC) which on Tuesday prevented an NLD meeting by setting up
barricades and trucking away party supporters. 

The statement said the SLORC arrested eight NLD members -- including the
relative of a powerful military leader -- connected with the meeting that
Suu Kyi was set to hold in Mayangone Township, about 11 km (seven miles)
outside Rangoon. The meeting was meant to organise the party's youth wing. 

According to the NLD, the SLORC detained several top NLD officials
including Dr Than Nyein, the brother-in-law of powerful SLORC Secretary
One, Khin Nyunt. 

Than Nyein was one of two elected members of parliament who were arrested,
the NLD said. Than Nyein was also arrested last year but later released. 

The SLORC issued a statement on Thursday saying it had detained four NLD
officials for questioning, without giving names or further details. No
officials were available for comment on Friday. 

But the SLORC's statements earlier this week said it stopped the meeting --
which was to be Suu Kyi's second political gathering outside the capital
since her release from house arrest in July 1995 -- because it was illegal.

The NLD won more than 80 percent of the seats in a 1990 election but the
result was never recognised by the SLORC. 

The government's statement said the NLD was repeatedly told not to hold the
meeting because it was not authorised. 

The NLD statement also said some local people who applauded Suu Kyi when
she arrived at the township NLD office were also warned by authorities not
to behave ``imprudently.'' 

Witnesses said dozens were taken away in trucks and dropped off several
miles away. 

``If the above actions of the authorities are examined, it is vividly clear
that they are treating the NLD, which was founded in accord with the law,
going against their own motto 'the rule of the law','' the statement said. 

``The NLD strongly condemns these actions of the authorities,'' it said.
``The NLD earnestly demands (the SLORC) grant the legally-founded NLD the
right to carry out organisational activities legally; to stop unlawful
arrests and to unconditionally release the detained NLD members.'' 

Suu Kyi has said more than 1,000 NLD members are currently detained by the

``The NLD openly declares that the political, economic and social problems
being faced in the country will be solved by 'meaningful genuine dialogue'
not by barring, restricting and arresting members of the NLD which is a
legally founded political party,'' the statement said. 

Suu Kyi has repeatedly called for dialogue with the SLORC. Top military
leaders met some NLD officials earlier this year but would not include Suu
Kyi. The NLD says there is no true dialogue between the two sides unless
Suu Kyi is included. 


October 31, 1997

EXTERNAL  AI Index: ASA 16/31/97
EXTRA 147/97   Fear of torture/ill-treatment /Possible prisoners of
               Daw San San (f)
               U Soe Myint
               Dr Than Nyein, NLD Member of Parliament-elect
               Win Win Htay alias Ma Po (f)
               Daw May Win Myint (f), NLD MP-elect
               Khin Maung Myint
               U Win Thaung
               U Mya Thaung
Eight people, arrested on the night of 28/29 October 1997, are feared to be
at risk of torture or ill-treatment, common during interrogation in Myanmar.
Seven of the detainees are leading members of the National League for
Democracy (NLD), the opposition party led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
On the morning of 28 October the NLD attempted to hold a meeting at its
Mayangone township office on the outskirts of  Yangon, the capital (see
below). However, the security forces set up barricades and blocked Aung San
Suu Kyi's supporters from meeting with her.  A number of them were rounded
up and
trucked several miles away where they were then released.  The seven NLD
leaders and one other, named above, are still believed to be in detention at
an unknown place.
Daw May Win Myint, NLD Divisional Organizer and Member of Parliament (MP)
elect from Mayagone, was arrested by Military Intelligence Officers at 10pm
on 28 October after they had taken documents from her.  Also at 10pm, Khin
Maung Myint, NLD Central Youth member and Secretary of Latha Township, was
arrested by a combined force of Military Intelligence and other security
personnel.  Daw San San, the NLD Seikkan Divisional Vice-Chairman and NLD
women's leader, was arrested at midnight after documents were taken from
her.  At the same time, Win Win Htay, a member of the Yangon NLD Youth
Division, was arrested after security forces seized documents from her.
U Soe Myint, the Chairman of the Thaketa NLD, was arrested at 1am on 29
October.  One and a half hours later, Dr Than Nyein, an MP-elect from
Kyauktan township, was arrested after a combined group of Military
Intelligence and other security forces had confiscated documents from his
home.  U Win Thaung, the Chairman of the Mayangone NLD, was arrested
sometime late in the evening of 28 October or in the early hours of 29
October.  U Mya Thaung, who is the landlord of the Mayangone NLD office, was
arrested at around the same time.
The State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), Myanmar's military
government, has subsequently accused the NLD of being "confrontational" and
of attempting to embarrass the SLORC in front of the international
community. On 30 October the SLORC stated that it had detained four NLD
members for questioning, but did not identify the four.  The authorities
further claimed that the four were breaking the law by holding the meeting. 
The 28 October meeting had been planned in order to reorganize the Mayangon
Township's NLD youth wing. The previous week, on 21 October, Aung San Suu
Kyi had travelled to Thaketa, outside of Yangon, in order to meet NLD youth
members there. The authorities did not prevent her from holding the meeting,
and they also allowed the NLD to hold a national party congress in
late September for the first time.  However, the latest crackdown on
peaceful political activity has diminished hopes that the SLORC is becoming
more tolerant of NLD activities.   
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/ faxes/
express/airmail letters in English or your own language:
- calling on the authorities to immediately make known the whereabouts of
the eight detainees and the charges against them, and to release all eight
immediately and unconditionally if they are being held solely for their
peaceful political activities;
- urging that the detainees be protected from any form of torture or
ill-treatment and granted immediate and continuing access to their lawyers,
doctors, and family members, in accordance with international standards. 
Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, Secretary 1
State Law and Order Restoration Council
c/o Director of Defence Services Intelligence (DDSI)
Ministry of Defence, Signal Pagoda Road
Dagon Post Office
Union of Myanmar
Telegrams: General Khin Nyunt, Yangon, Myanmar
Telexes: 21316
Faxes: +95 1 229 50
Salutation: Dear General
Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman
State Law and Order Restoration Council
c/o Director of Defence Services (DDSI)
Ministry of Defence, Signal Pagoda Road
Dagon Post Office
Union of Myanmar
Telegrams: General Than Shwe, Yangon, Myanmar
Telexes: 21316
Salutation: Dear General
COPIES TO:  diplomatic representatives of MYANMAR accredited
to your country.
Please note that one can send faxes through email as follows:
For SLORC the email address will be:

The Faxaway company will forward the email message as a fax. This is a lot
cheaper and quicker.

Also, the embassies can be reached this way. Just make the addresses:

I include the faxnumbers of the Burma embassies :


    Consulate Netherlands		  (+ 31(0)76 5209270)	
    Bangkok                    (+66-2) 236-6898
    Beijing                    (+86-1) 532-1344    
    Belgrade                   (+38-11) 235-1802
    Bonn                       (+49-228) 219-316
    Cairo                      (+202-43) 16793
    Canberra                   (+61-6) 273-4357
    Colombo                    (+94-1) 580-460
    Dhaka                      (+88-2) 883-740
    Geneva                     (+41-22) 738-4882
    Hanoi                      (+84-2) 52404
    Hong Kong                  (+852) 827-6597
    Islamabad                  (+92-51) 820-123
    Jakarta                    (+62-21) 327-204
    Kathmandu                  (+977-1) 523-402
    Kuala Lumpur               (+60-3) 456 8320
    London                     (+44-171) 629-4169
    Manila                     (+63-2) 817-5895
    Moscow                     (+7-095) 63186
    New Delhi                  (+91-11) 687-7942
    New York                   (+1-212) 737-2421
    Ottawa                     (+1-613) 232-6435
    Paris                      (+33-1) 4256-4941
    Rome                       (+39-6)841 3167
    Seoul                      (+82-2) 796-5570
    Singapore                  (+65) 235 5963
    Tel Aviv                   (+972-3) 549-3866
    Tokyo                      (+81-3) 3447-7394
    Washington, D.C.           (+1-202) 332-9046


September 17, 1997
Robert Karniol, Bangkok

The Myanmar (Burmese) Armed Forces have upgraded their nascent 
information warfare (IW) section, reflecting an increased technical 
sophistication spurred by external support. 

Known internally as the 'cyber-war centre', the information warfare section 
was formed two years ago at the defence ministry complex on Signal Pagoda 
Road in central Yangon (Rangoon).  Described by intelligence sources as "the 
largest computer facility in Burma", its primary mission is to process and 
analyse intercepted telecommunications.

International telecommunications transmitted over telephone lines are 
intercepted by Burma's Directorate of Defence Services Intelligence (DDSI) at 
the Thanlyn (or Syriam) ground station situated close to Rangoon.  This covers 
telephone calls, faxes, electronic mail and other types of computer data 

All international telecommunications with Burma pass through either of two 
"international gateway switches" connected to two SATCOM ground stations 
in Thanlyn.  One of these, a Standard-B terminal commissioned in 1979, 
handles traffic from seven countries and the second, a Standard-A terminal 
commissioned in 1984, handles traffic to around 13 other countries.

The DDSI monitors and records transmissions, with the results passed to the 
information warfare section for processing and analysis. 

More recently, perhaps last year, a new capability was introduced allowing the 
DDSI to monitor 'sat-phones' that bypass central exchanges by using 
INMARSAT and similar satellite telecommunication systems.  This, a technical 
source told Jane's Defence Weekly, is "quite a sophisticated capability"
by an unnamed Singapore-based company that is also providing on-site training 
still underway.

The new technology allows the DDSI to intercept data being downlinked in 
Burma, probably using a telecommunications dish installed for this purpose at 
Thanlyn, and perhaps also the data being uplinked from Burma.  This 
development was indirectly acknowledged by DDSI chief Lt Gen Khin Nyunt 
when he released intercepted telephone transcripts at a Rangoon press 
conference held on 27 June.  

A number of Burmese opposition groups are known to be using 'sat-phone' 
systems in an effort to avoid Burmese government monitoring of their 
international communications.  The DDSI intercepts using this new technology 
are thought to have led to the recent arrest of at least four dissidents in 
Rangoon and Mandalay.


October 31, 1997
By Sutin Wannabovorn 

BANGKOK, Oct 31 (Reuters) - A former Burmese rebel group, the United Wa
State Army (UWSA), has deployed thousands of troops in the Golden Triangle
to protect its opium fields and rising heroin output, anti-narcotics sources
said on Friday. 

``The Wa have deployed more than 7,000 guerrillas in only Mong Pan (in
Burma's northeastern Shan state bordering Thailand),'' a source at the Thai
narcotics police base in northern Chiang Mai told Reuters. 

Reports from Thailand's Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) and the
U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) say the UWSA produced about 350 kg (770
pounds) of heroin per month from its seven factories in Shan state opposite
Thailand's Chiang Mai province, he said. 

The DEA estimates that the Golden Triangle, the area where Burma, Laos and
Thailand meet, produces 70 percent of all heroin reaching the United States. 

The UWSA struck a ceasefire with Burma's ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC) in the early 1990s but has maintained uneasy
standoff with Burmese troops. 

It has controlled opium growing and heroin production in the area since its
main rival, drug warlord Khun Sa, surrendered to Burma's military
government in January 1996. 

Burmese troops had planned to crack down on opium production in Shan state
but abandoned the plan after the UWSA vowed to fight back, anti-narcotics
sources said. 

They quoted military intelligence sources as saying that two months ago,
UWSA troops killed 30 Burmese soldiers who tried to intercept heroin being
transported from northern Shan state to the Thai border. 

One source noted the UWSA was well established and was stronger after
forging an alliance with the remnants of Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army (MTA). 

Thousands of former MTA guerrillas still operate in Shan state and their
alliance with UWSA has forced Burmese troops to drop plans to battle opium
growing in Wa-controlled areas, the source said. 

The ONCB and DEA see opium production in Thailand and Burma rising this

``Opium production in Thailand and in Burma will increase by 20 percent
this year,'' another anti-narcotics officer based in Chiang Mai told

He estimated annual opium production at 2,500 tonnes in Burma and 20 tonnes
in northern Thailand. 


November 1, 1997
By Deborah Charles 

BANGKOK, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Burma's military government said on Saturday it
was trying to create conditions for the country to move toward democracy,
although it said it planned to be cautious with the country's main
opposition party. 

The government will be cautious in dealing with the National League for
Democracy party ``but at the same time encourage process(es) which are
necessary in building any democracy,'' said a statement issued by Burma's
ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) and received in

The statement came one day after NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi lashed out at
the SLORC for preventing a meeting and arresting eight party members. 


[slightly abridged]
November 1, 1997
Saritdet Marukatat

Talks with opponents cited for EU applause

Thailand has cited Burmese leaders' recent talks with opposition politicians
and condonement of their public speeches as signs of improvement within
Asean's new partner.

A Foreign Ministry assessment of Burma's performance since it joined the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) three months ago commended
the country's "strong cooperation" on social issues, including the fight
against illicit drugs.

The report, summarised to the press by acting ministry spokesman Thinnakorn
Kannasutr, spoke of a positive responses from Rangoon in efforts to solve
Thai-Burmese border problems since the country's integration into the
regional club in July.

Although still reluctant to let Burma take part in Asean-EU cooperation, the
EU has agreed to let Burma and Laos, both new Asean members, act as
observers at a forthcoming meeting of the two groupings in Bangkok.

Thailand, currently Asean's EU coordinator, "believes Burma has begun to
make some positive progress", said the report.

The report did not elaborate, but senior members of Burma's ruling State Law
and Order Restoration Council including chief secretary Khin Nyunt, in
recent weeks have met with most leaders of the opposition National League
for Democracy, with the exception of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Late last month, the report claimed, Ms Suu Kyi was allowed to address
supporters in Thakata Township, in what was her first political trip since
being released from house arrest two years ago.

As part of Asean cooperation, Burma has agreed to waive visa requirements
for Asean nationals by the end of 1998, and to open a separate Asean access
at Rangoon airport, Mr Thinnakorn said.

Agreement on both measures was reached during a meeting in Malaysia in late
August among immigration and consular chiefs of the nine Asean member
countries, he added.

Burma has also "actively cooperated" in the fight against illicit drugs, and
in health, education and cultural issues, the report said.


October 25, 1997

[BurmaNet Note: BurmaNet received this report, but it has not been
independently confirmed]

DATE: 25.10.97


On 16.10.97, a SLORC military column from IB 356 led by Major Zaw Lin Htun
entered the Kha-lae-saw and Na-Ain villages and forcibly took away all
cattle, animal husbandry and household commodities. Seven villagers were
also arrested and taken to their base. A ransom of 15000 Kyat per person was
demanded for their release.

On 18-10-97, a SLORC military column of Infantry Battalion 884 based at
Kya-in-seik-gyi, led by Captain Htun Htun Ohn, arrived at Kya-khat-gyaung
village. They arrested and took away 6 villagers; Saw Khae Doe, Saw Lay
Htoo, Saw Kyaw Kwae, Saw kwae Hmu, Saw Nay Gay, Saw Dae Mu to their
battalion base at Kya-in-seik-gyi. The commander told the villagers that
those arrested would be released only if a ransom of 48000 kyat per person
was paid.
The Karen villages in that township were accused by SLORC troops of
supporting KNU. Showing that excuse, these villagers have been under the
forced relocation, arbitrary arrests and extortion by SLORc troops.

To clear the 4th brigade area and also to build the Bone-ki to Tavoy
motor-road,  the following troops that were under the command of Tactical
Command 3 of LID No:66 were sent into the area. LIB 5, LIB 6, IB 14 arrived
at Ka-htee-hta village on 10.10.97, IB 205 troops led by Lt-Col Win Htein
arrived at Thu-kha border camp, IB 104 troops led by Lt-Col Thein Htay
arrived at Min-tha-mee, Ka-laud-don, Ah-moe border camps. Troops from LIB
202 and IB 280 under LID 22 also arrived in that area. 

The total strength of these troops was about 1000 and they were accompanied
by about 500 forced porters.

LIB means Light Infantry Battalion
IB means   Infantry Battalion
LID means Light Infantry Division


October 26, 1997

The Shan States join hands with all the democratic forces in Burma to
denounce the Rangoon military dictatorship known as Slorc :

1.  for not transferring power to the democratic forces in Burma led by the
National League for Democracy ( NLD ) and the democratic forces in the Shan
States led by the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy ( SNLD ) both of
which won the General Elections held in 1990

2. for horrendous human rights abuses countrywide particularly in the Shan
States where they have been employing ethnic cleansing tactics i.e. mass
rapes, mass killings, mass destructions and mass relocations; and

3. for leading Burma and particularly the Shan States into the largest
opium producing country in the world, both by its policies and actions; and 

4. demand that the Slorc bows to the wishes of the world and its peoples
to open a tripartite dialogue   among Slorc, the democratic forces of Burma
and the democratic forces of the non-Burman areas  for the sake of its
so-called sacred three causes - Non disintegration of the Union, Non
disintegration of the unity of   all the nationalities and the integrity of
the Union's sovereignty - if not for anything else. The people of Burma  
and the Shan States, under their respective elected leaderships, are ready
to open talks with the Slorc.

  The United Nationalities League for Democracy ( UNLD ) as the voice of
the non-Burmans have clearly   stated on 5 May to Mr. de Soto, the UN
envoy, about their stand : Democracy in Burma is meaningless   without the
recognition of the Equality and Right of Self Determination of the
non-Burman peoples, and vice   versa. We shall be firm on that stand.

  Once again, we appeal to the world to support the voice of our peoples
for the sake of peace, progress and   prosperity both in the region and the

  Executive Committee,
  Shan Democratic Union.
  Dated : 26 October 1997.


October 31, 1997

On November 1, 1997, the All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF) marks
nine years of  unrelenting struggle for democracy and human rights for the
people of Burma following the nationwide pro-democracy uprising of 1988.
At this time, we honour our many colleagues who have over the past nine
years sacrificed their lives in the jungle and in prisons throughout the
country for the restoration of democracy in Burma. To uphold the honour of
these colleagues, we will persist with our struggle until democracy in Burma
is achieved.
During the August Central Committee meeting of the ABSDF, we unanimously
decided to promote more political activities inside the country, which will
culminate in a nationwide "general strike" against the military. The ABSDF
firmly believes that a people's democratic movement has the strength to
overthrow the military dictatorship. 
Although ASEAN has admitted Burma as a member, it can be clearly seen that
their "constructive engagement" policy does not work. At the same time, the
SLORC military regime is under great pressure from the international
community which has expressed serious concerns about political repression
and human rights violations. 
The military regime has still refused to enter a meaningful dialogue with
the democratic forces, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and ethnic
representatives. The ABSDF fully supports the National League for Democracy
(NLD) and its leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for attempting to enter a
meaningful dialogue with the SLORC in order to solve the country's problems
The ABSDF continues its struggle with the following objectives:

1. to liberate all nationalities under military rule,
2. to restore democracy and human rights,
3. to restore internal peace,
4. to establish a Federal Union of Burma.
Central Committee
Headquarters (Dawn Gwin)


November 1, 1997
Anjira Assavanonda

A bout 15 Burmese students yesterday staged a protest in front of the
Chinese embassy in Bangkok to oppose Beijing's sale of armaments to and
support of the military regime in Burma.

The demonstrators represented three organisations including the Burma Basic
Education Students' Union, Overseas National Students' Organisation of
Burma, and the Burmese Students' Association.

In a statement read in front of the Chinese embassy, the protesters
denounced Peking's policy towards the regime, which calls itself the State
Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), and the close relationship
between the two.

The students accused China of building a military base in Burma without the
people's approval, selling weapons worth US$12 million to the Slorc, doing
business with the military leaders without regard for the real interest of
people and for democracy restoration and granting loans to Slorc which would
perpetuate its grip on power.
The protesters even strongly criticised the Chinese government for
cooperating with Slorc in drug trafficking and using Burma as a base and a
tool to expand their power throughout both Asia and Pacific regions.

Some of the protesters tried to post the banners at the front gate of the
embassy, but were stopped by security police.


November 2, 1997

Officials say more than 10 rai affected

TAK --More than 10 rai of land along the Moei River  in Mae Sot's Baan Tha
Art has been eroded away due to construction work on the river by the
Burmese, border officials claimed yesterday.

Piles of stalls erected by the Burmese opposite tambon Tha Sai Luad have
caused an erosion of the river bank covering more than 10 rai, said members
of the 4th Infantry Regiment Task Force

The operation force, led by Col Chaluay Yaempo, inspected the border area

Two sand dredging boats were also operating in the river, officials said.

Prayoon Luechai, headman of Tha Art village, said that Burmese authorities
in Myawaddy had ignored the local officials' request to stop construction
work which might have been an encroachment on land.

Similar construction work opposite Wat Prathat Khok Chang Phuak has worn
away about 50 rai of land on the river bank. This prompted Thai officials to
build an embankment, which was completed last month, to protect further soil

However, the village head said the embankment was supposed to protect the
damaged areas in question too.

Mr Prayoon said there are more than two sand dredging boats operating in the
river and it is impossible to find out if the boats have also crossed the
border line.

He said the activities would cause ecological problems, worsen soil erosion
and trigger severe flooding in Thai villages along the river.

"There are a lot of dredging activities going on. They will surely affect
the ecological system in the river damage the river banks and inundate the
riverside villages," he said.

He also asked the officials concerned to take action about the islet to
prevent another border dispute as Burma is likely to claim ownership over it.

He said the islet is about to connect to the Burmese land as the river is
drying up.

An officer at the 4th Infantry Regiment Task Force said yesterday that a
memo will be sent . to officials in Myawaddy under Thailand's Local
Thai-Burmese Border Committee to inform them of the conditions in the area.

However, the officer said the Thai and Burmese governments will decide what
action should be taken.


November 2, 1997
Ralph Bachoe

Interview: Burmese dissident and leader of the 1962 student uprising gives
his views on the current situation in Burma after it was accepted into the
Association of Southeast Asian nations. U Tin Maung Win is vice-president of
the Democratic Alliance of Burma and member of the presidium of the National
Council of the Union of Burma.

How do you assess the present situation in Burma?

To put it briefly I see the Slorc is facing resentment and opposition from
all directions. And I would say this is the worst year for them in this aspect.

Why do you call it the worst year for the military regime?

The answer to that question is although Slorc has gained legitimacy and has
improved its image in the eyes of the international community after its
acceptance as a member of Asean in July this year, the benefits for Asean,
however, in return, is meagre in the sense that it does not make up for the
criticisms and condemnations it has received from the world community in
general for allowing Burma to join the regional club.

Asean's constructive engagement and non-interference policies, now it seems,
would be hard to apply where Burma is concerned. Although Asean's latest
vocabulary of constructive intervention policy which it had adopted where
Cambodia is concerned, would not apply in the case of the hardheaded Burma
military regime.

Why is that not possible? 

It's because Asean basically is an economic and corporate club where
politics is not a priority. So now should Asean want to intervene
politically to solve the problems in the region and especially in Burma, it
might be too late. Because the foundation of Asean is built on economics
with a lack of a true political
essence. Asean's biggest mistake is to have ignored the fact that business
and politics is intertwined. So it's Slorc which has  got its priorities
misplaced believing that building the economy first and then solving the
political problems will be a remedy to the country's ills.

What do you think of the relations between Asean and Burma today? Where does
it stand?

It is the worst year not only for Slorc but also for Asean. First the
credibility of Asean as a regional grouping has been questioned by its
dialogue partners from the West because of its acceptance of the pariah
regime into its fold. Slorc is widely condemned by  these nations.

Second, the regional grouping is not in a position to bail out its members
in times of crisis, the Spratley's dispute for example where the
Philippines, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan are in conflict over
sovereignty of the chain of islands.

At the same time Asean countries, it seems, are vying for the number one
position in condemnation of the West like Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and
Malaysia's Mahathir Mohammad. They have accused the West of economic
colonisation and the current state of affairs for its currency crisis. An
American financier was singled out for sabotaging the Asian money market,
and much more. And yet they have to fall back on the western monetary
institutions like the IMF to bail them out of the financial woes plaguing
Asean. They should now realise that in times of crisis who the people are
that come to their rescue.

You mentioned that this is the worst year for Slorc because of the vast
discontentment shown by the Burmese populace. So do you foresee another
major upheaval in Burma like the 1988 uprising which ended in bloodshed for
more than 3,000 people?

Like the Burmese saying "Kaba Mee-laung, Tha-kaung cha nin" which means
while the world in on fire, the mother drops the cradled infant in her arms
onto the ground and steps on it to relieve her burning feet from the heat
emitted from the scorching earth.

But today there are no more infants or children for them [SLORC] to depend
or step upon because [of severe economic hardships] the younger generation
have either been sent abroad by the parents or have escaped to foreign lands
to engage in prostitution and slave labour. The majority of the Burmese
people are living at poverty level. The frequent closure of schools and
colleges are severely affecting the education of our youth. These are some
of the factors that would soon lead to a major unrest in the country and the
eventual downfall of the military junta. In short, the people have nothing
more to offer the country.

The major factor is the aspiration of the people, who had unanimously voted
for a democratic government in the 1990 election, has not been realised to
this day. This feeling of deep frustration and desperation will be the straw
that broke the
camel's back another major bloodbath, the demise of Slorc and the eventual
birth of a democratic  government in Burma. These are the dire consequences
Slorc will soon have to face.

Say should Slorc be overthrown do you people think you could offer the
Burmese populace a better government. If so, how do you intend to do this?

Like the people who don't underestimate the dictatorial rule of the military
regime, they should not as well where the democratic leadership is
concerned. If the Burmese people recall the history of the country since
post-independence when the nation prospered under democratic governments, in
comparison, now it is in complete shambles under military dictatorship after
it toppled the elected government of U Nu and took over the reins in running
the country. Of course they [the military] have never admitted that fact. So
I believe a democratic government elected by the people will without a doubt
again bring prosperity and political freedom to its people. I also believe
that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy be given the
chance to govern the
country to prove  itself.

How do you think the present stalemate between Aung San Suu Kyi, the Slorc
and the ethnic minorities to hold a tripartite dialogue could be resolved?

The ball is now in Slorc's court. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has always called for
dialogue without preconditions and has stressed that everything is
negotiable. Apart from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the United Nations, western
nations and even some Asean members have asked Slorc to talk with her. Even
the ethnic nationalities including groups which have entered into ceasefire
with Slorc have supported the dialogue. So do the Burmese people. This is
what the Burmese people want.

Where do you think the starting point should be to break this stalemate?

My personal opinion is this: Slorc must be sincere. They must change their
chauvinistic mentality. If they really believe in a genuine democratic
process then they must accept that sovereignty must derive from the people
and not the military institution. This also applies to the democratic
forces. This must be their precondition. This is the  starting point.

How would you go about this to bring them to the negotiating table?

They [Slorc] should not dictate who should be represented at the talks. They
should let the NLD executives decide the representatives. This is an
international practice when negotiations are held.

To begin with, to gain the confidence of the people and the international
community, they should release all political prisoners and cease all
military offensive against the ethnic minorities, and end the practice of
portering and
forced labour. They should halt the on-going National Convention and set up
a transitional government which would include Daw Aung San  Suu Kyi, the
Slorc and members of the ethnic minorities.

This government, once it is formed should declare a blanket amnesty,
compensation granted to families, who have lost their loved ones in the
uprisings between 1962 and 1988 and convene a national convention whereby
carefully-selected people from among the elected parliamentarians [of 1990
elections], the military, academics, politicians and the ethnic minorities
are represented.

Where do you think Ne Win stands today? How much political clout has he?
Does he still pull I the strings behind the  scenes?; 

And what do you think was the purpose of his visit to Indonesia after being
out of the political  limelight for so long? 
By visiting Indonesia and Singapore, U Ne Win is killing two birds with one
stone. He wanted to show the Slorc and the world that he  is very much in
charge. He definitely still has clout but not to the extent that he could
order his underlings about like before. So we should avoid wishful thinking
and view the
situation within Slorc realistically. U Ne Win is obsessed with the idea
that he has to accomplish an honourable deed that would make him eligible to
be remembered in the annals of Burma's history. I am confident that he could
right the wrongs he and his subordinates have inflicted on the  nation of 45
million people over a  period of 35 years of despotic rule.