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BurmaNet News November 24, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------           
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"           
The BurmaNet News: November 24, 1997              
Issue #875

November 24, 1997

A week and a half has passed since the formation of the SPDC, and no policies 
have been announced.  What has been happening instead is that some of the 
more  visibly corrupt senior generals have been called in for interrogations, 
and some of their family members and staff have been arrested.  The more 
powerful members of the junta are using the excuse of corruption to purge 
their rivals, and are hoping to improve their tarnished image at the same

Now the power struggles in the military have become more clear, and the 
younger regional commanders and zone commanders in the SPDC will 
be watching closely to see who's star is rising, and therefore with whom
they should align themselves.

The debate continues as to who really has the upper hand: Maung Aye or
Khin Nyunt.  Since 1962, no military intelligence chief has been able to 
achieve absolute control.  Will Khin Nyunt be the exception?  Clearly he has 
tried to make himself invaluable, and even though he does not have authority 
over troops, he is the chairman of almost every important national committee 
(health, education, etc) and he has intelligence information on all the
commands.  According to reports, he has stopped drinking and he gives the 
appearance of leading a modest lifestyle in comparison to the likes of Tun Kyi 
and Kyaw Ba.  Known as a tireless worker, every night, he is featured on 
television visiting schools, hospitals, and lately, satellite towns
(following in 
Aung San Suu Kyi's footsteps? - recently she attempted several meetings with 
NLD offices in satellite towns, where the residents are generally extremely
and many cannot find jobs) .

Burma today is not the same place it was in 1962. As the country moves toward
greater integration into regional and international political and economic 
groupings, military control on the ground is not enough.  Foreign policies, 
economic policies that can satisfy foreign investors, and development policies 
must be crafted and implemented.  Khin Nyunt seems to be able to handle the 
changed environment better than the other military generals, and therefore
perhaps can't be dispensed with.  However, he is not liked by many who have 
risen through the infantry, and the changes that have taken place seem, at 
this point, to have only exacerbated rather than resolved the conflicts within 
the military.


November 24, 1997

(note: English slightly corrected by BurmaNet)

- It is learnt that, at the gate of two monastries in Mandalay (Ma-Soe-Yein
Tide-thit and Ma-Soe-Yein Tide-hong), authorities have set up check-points for
each, and monks at these two compounds must get permission from the authorities
to go out from their compounds.  If monks are invited to come for meals by
in their houses, they must also get permission and give details about the
who invited them.

-  The authorities have not issued application forms for the Sanghas' (monks) 
exams to every monastery but only to a few selected monasteries. Especially, 
no monastery in Pegu township was given application forms .
A group of six monks must fill out the application form together. If one of the
monks does not meet the conditions set by the authorities, none of the 6
monks on 
the same application form will be allowed to enter this exam, said a reliable 

- On (23-11-97), at a dinner party held for the 33rd anniversary of the
founding of Institute of Economics, Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt admitted that the reason
the 1988 uprising occured was because of the country's economic crisis and
the difficult conditions for people's survival.  Politics is always
connected with 
the economic situation in a country so  the current economic crisis may lead
to political unstablity in Burma, said Secretary (1) of  the SPDC.


November 22, 1997  (abridged)

RANGOON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Burma's new ruling State Peace and Development
Council (SPDC) said its formation presented an opportunity to build a modern
and peaceful nation based on disciplined democracy, state newspapers reported
on Saturday. 

State media said on Saturday that former SLORC intelligence chief and now
SPDC Secretary One Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt told government workers at
Phaaggyi 100 Km (60 miles) north of Rangoon on Friday that they should work
with ``new conviction'' to help the SPDC build a modern, peaceful nation
built on ``disciplined democracy.'' 

``Now is the time for the entire people to work with all seriousness and
enthusiasm for peace and development of the nation,'' he said. 

``As demanded by the time and situation, the State Peace and Development
Council was formed to work with added momentum in the interests of the entire
people and for the emergence of a peaceful, modern and developed nation,'' he

In the first comments about the SLORC by an SPDC leader since the changes
were announced, Khin Nyunt said the SLORC, which was abolished when the new
ruling body was formed, had helped save the nation from disintegration, the
papers said. 


November 19, 1997
Rangoon: A high-ranking officer in  Burma's  influential military intelligence
agency said Wednesday that the armed forces' role is not only to defend the
country but also to serve national development. 
    At a symposium, Col. Thein Swe said the military ''made every effort to
develop its human resources and assist in nation building.'' 
    Thein Swe, who serves with the military's office of strategic studies,
also said the military was ''utilizing its defense budget appropriations to
reap the most benefit for the country as a whole.'' 
 (section cut)
(S)ince 1988 pro-democracy uprisings, the government has been under
strong international pressure to justify its role in politics, if not give it
    Many observers believe it will try to adopt the model of Indonesia, where
the military's role in national development is institutionalized by the
country's constitution. 
    ''Human resources development is of special importance in the area of
 defense, which will transform the armed forces into an organization that
will be able to contribute know-how and other forms of assistance for the
crucial task of nation building,'' Thein Swe said Wednesday. 
    He explained in detail the infrastructure projects that the armed forces
had undertaken and the sacrifices the armed forces had made to combat
narcotic drugs. 
    Thein Swe also said that with high-tech advances in weaponry, it is vital
to raise the capability and efficiency of the armed forces. 
    In today's world, he said, there were advocates of the view that
''maintaining a standing armed force in peacetime is an unjustifiable
expense'' so it was necessary to shrink the armed forces and cut defense
    But in  Burma,  he said, the armed forces not only take sole
responsibility for defense, but also have been ''structured as a productive
establishment and rendered services to the country.''


November 22, 1997

DICTATORSHIPS WITH image problems -- and what other kind is there these
days? -- generally have two choices. They can permit genuine reform and
risk losing their grip on power, or they can make cosmetic changes and
hope to get credit for them overseas. All things being equal, tyrants
tend to find the second alternative more appealing. Only internal and
international pressure can force them toward the first.

Take Burma, also known as Myanmar, where as unsavory a regime as you can
find holds sway. Until this week, its military junta was known by the
appropriately repellent acronym SLORC, for State Law and Order
Restoration Council. Now the 21-member SLORC has been replaced by a
19-member State Peace and Development Council; no doubt the Burmese
generals paid some image-shop handsomely for this brilliant move. But
while some SLORC generals have been replaced, the same four hard-liners
remain atop the government, and there's no apparent change in policy.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace laureate and (according to a nullified
1990 election) rightful leader of Burma, remains under virtual house
arrest, and many of her supporters are still in jail.

The Burmese generals are seeking to spruce up their reputation because
international sanctions against them are beginning to bite; the economy
in this nation of 45 million people is deteriorating. Now potential
investors should maintain the pressure until the junta changes in more
than name only. An appropriate first step would be to begin a dialogue
with Aung San Suu Kyi.

Cambodian dictator Hun Sen, who took over in a coup last July, offers a
second case. Hun Sen has promised to hold elections next May: The
question is whether he will hold a sham poll or truly allow people to
express their will. Again, international pressure is key; Cambodia
depends on outsiders for half of its budget. The United States, Japan,
Cambodia's neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and
others are pushing for the safe return of opposition politicians, for a
truly independent election commission and for other measures that could
ensure a free and fair election. Their pressure seems to be moving Hun
Sen and his regime slowly in the right direction, but nothing is sure
yet. When President Clinton, Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto
and other Asian leaders meet at a forthcoming Vancouver summit, they
should make clear to the dictators of both Burma and Cambodia that reform
isn't a matter of spin control.


November 28, 1997  (abridged)
By Jose Manuel Tesord and Dominic Faulder Bangkok

SLORC fixes its name - and purges some faces

Be still. Crouch. Be pressed down. Be flattened. If one translates each of
the words that make up the phrase "law and order" in Burmese, these are what
you get. Little wonder the name "State Law and Order Restoration Council,"
which the military junta that has ruled Myanmar since late 1988 calls
itself, has evoked such widespread dislike.

But as of Nov. 15, SLORC is no more. Its replacement is the sweeter sounding
"State Peace and Development Council." That is not the only change. The same
day Senior Gen. Than Shwe, SLORC's chairman, announced the dissolution of
the 21-member council, the government released the names of those in the new
19-man SPDC. Most are major and brigadier-generals, more junior than the old
soldiers who made up the now defunct SLORC. And gone are a number of
controversial personalities. 

Among those who survived is Brig. Gen. Win Tin, minister of finance. This
even though the free-market value of the country's currency, the kyat, has
almost halved in the past year and inflation is unofficially at about 40%.

The departure of Myo Nyunt has many observers scratching their heads. Of
humble origin and proud of his poor education, Myo Nyunt also chairs the
National Convention, the body created by SLORC to draft Myanmar's third
Constitution. Leading dissident Aung San Suu Kyi has often criticized the
body as being no more than a forum for reading papers. Myo Nyunt expelled
her National League for Democracy representatives from the Convention in
1995. His manifest lack of formal education has invited cynicism about the
Junta's sincerity in drafting a meaningful document.

His removal has raised questions over whether he will continue as the
Convention's chairman.

In place of the aged generals are a number of younger commanders. Tin Hla,
head of the new Ministry of Military Affairs, and Kyaw Than, who took over
trade, are both believed to be close to the relatively moderate Khin Nyunt,
whose position may now be stronger.

Khin Nyunt recently invited League members for talks that excluded Suu Kyi.
Criticism of her continues in government media. If there is one thing the
SPDC is likely to inherit from SLORC, it is the military's determination to
cling to power.


November 19, 1997
Commentary by Larry Jagan

The State Law and Order Restoration Council [SLORC] has been dissolved
in Burma and the State Peace and Development Council [SPDC] has been
formed.  The SLORC had ruled Burma since the 1988 events.  Burmese
newspapers have announced the names of new members of the cabinet and the
SPDC includes four former members of the SLORC.

Power in Burma is seen to remain concentrated  in the hands of few
generals.  Although Sr. Gen. Than Shwe formed the SPDC with himself as the
head, day-to-day work and decisions are handled by Gen. Maung Aye, 
commander in chief of the Army and Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt,  intelligence
chief.  The two other generals--Lt. Gen. Win Myint and Lt. Gen. Tin
Hla--are expected to closely oversee the implementation of decisions.
Only four  top generals have retained their posts in the newly formed
council.  Other members of the council are regional commanders.  They
continue to hold their positions as commanders and  are expected to come
down to Rangoon regularly for quarterly meetings.  Political analysts
believe the recent changes are aimed at strengthening the participation of
the Defense Services in politics, with the power remaining in the hands of
the five top generals.   Some members of the SLORC cabinet were shoved
aside or lost their power by being included in the Advisory Group.  The new
government's system of operations has already come into force throughout
the country with the formation of the peace and development councils at
divisional, state, township, and wards.

The major cabinet reshuffle includes new ministers.  Leaders of the
Union Solidarity and Development Association [USDA] formed by the  military
govenrment are included in the cabinet.  Observers believe this is expected
to ensure an increased role for USDA in future politics of Burma.
While the military leaders claimed that the changes are aimed at
ensuring the emergence of an  orderly democratic system, diplomatic circles
in Rangoon believe there is very little hope for the prospect of sudden
change.   The changes are aimed at making the leadership of the military
government more effective and corruption disappear.  The most important
point is to boost the prestige of the Defense Services.  The Burmese
Government has recently contacted an American public relations firm which
had once advised the Beijing government on its international image.

Many political observes note that the new changes were ordered by
former Burmese leader, Gen. Ne Win,  soon after his trip to Indonesia. 
They claimed that  Gen. Ne Win was believed to have discussed Burma's
problems during his trip.  The observers believe that the SPDC was formed
before the regional commanders were summoned to Rangoon--just like when
SLORC was formed.


November 16, 1997

The abolishment of the notorious State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC) was long over due. It was an entity synonymous with mass murder,
brutality and repression, and it was formed for the sole purpose of
perpetuating military rule. It should never have been there in the first place.

The replacement ruling body, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC),
made up of four senior SLORC members and a new crop of generals, has
declared that its objective was to bring "disciplined democracy" and
"peaceful development" to the people of Burma.

The change, which came after several months of investigation into the
corrupt practices and scandalous deals of the SLORC generals, only confirms
what we have known all along - that the generals are divided and only their
survival instinct is holding them together.

Now that a change has taken place, the SPDC has a good opportunity to
rectify the sociopolitical and economic conditions in the country.  The
generals must prove that the change is not in name only and show genuine
interest in resolving the nation's ills.  They would only be heading for
trouble if by "disciplined democracy" they mean, "guided democracy."  The
generals had a chance of becoming national heroes in 1988 when the people
were looking to the military to take the lead toward delivering them the
promised democracy.   The opportunity is here again.

A step in the right direction would be to initiate a dialogue without
preconditions with the National League for Democracy led by Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi.  The talks should be directed toward national reconciliation and
an eventual return to democracy.

Without taking into account the NLD, a party chosen by the people to lead
them, and without a sincere intention to build a democratic nation, where
rights of all the ethnic nationalities are guaranteed, the country will
continue to encounter the problems it faces today.  Under the conditions
today, peace and development will remain unattainable even if the generals
call themselves the State Peace and Development Council.


November 24, 1997

The SLORC started restructuring itself into the State Peace and
Development Council (SPDC) on November 15,1997,
announcing a series of notifications: No. 1/97, 2/97,
3/97. Burma watchers have offered different opinions about what
the changes really mean.

In fact, the military always makes superficial changes whenever
it faces a political crisis.  Over the past 35 years, the
military junta has changed the name of country three times,
changed the constitution twice and has adopted four different
names for its ruling body - the latest being the SPDC.
Now the military junta has again changed its name and changed
some positions, but there has been no move toward the much-needed
democratisation process.  

Also, the military junta could not yet come up with an
appropriate strategy in the areas of politics, economics, social
welfare and education. As there has yet been no clear policy
explanation in the notifications, the junta does not seem to have
considered or even recognized the current demanding issues in
Burma; in particular, national reconciliation, democracy, human
rights, and tri-partite dialogue. 

As the change is only one in name, the transformation from the
SLORC to the SPDC should be considered as the same as the
previous change from the BSPP to the SLORC. Like the Burmese
saying, no matter how many times a snake sloughs off its skin, it
is still the same (poisonous). Moreover, the change did not come
about as the result of a legal process and the SPDC has no more 
legitimacy than the SLORC did. Therefore, we are not pleased with
the latest transformation. 

Why did the SLORC change?
It is necessary to question why the SLORC changed its name to
the SPDC. The junta has been facing a serious crisis and the
possibility of a general uprising.

There are three main reasons for the change, namely:

1. Economic crisis in the country
2. Discrepancy among the military factions.
3. International pressure

Obviously, the current economic woes have an impact even on the
military itself as well as the general public. Prices of basic
necessary foodstuffs such as rice, cooking oil, chili, onion,
garlic, beans, etc... are skyrocketing. Also the price of meat,
including chicken, beef, pork has also increased incredibly up to
round about 500- 600 kyats per viss (1.53 Kg). One viss of prawns
is now 3000 kyats. Shortages of petrol and electricity in the
country have resulted in rising petrol prices. For example, a
gallon of gasoline now costs 180 kyat in Rangoon and Mandalay,
and it is not available as necessary in the rest of the country.
A normal truck can get only two gallons of petrol a week.
Consequently the transportation of commodities from one place to
another has decreased. 

The monthly salary of government employees is 1500 kyat per month
maximum.  Every month, they have to repay 500 kyats for the
government loans which they were forced to take last year. Also,
200 kyat is cut for rice rations. Moreover, other taxes are
deducted for so many reasons such as social welfare, electricity,
water supply, house rental, fire brigade, entertainment,
religious ceremonies, horse parades and boat racing ceremonies,
and finally they are usually left with only 6-7 kyats in hand.
They have no money for health care and education for their
children, and they are hardly surviving with rice in the amount
of 200 kyat. Unfortunately, the widespread destruction of rice
fields following the recent floods in Mon State, Irrawaddy
division, Arakan State, Karen State and Pegu division will lead
to the shortage of food in the very near future.   
The problem of currency inflation is also getting much worse, and
it is because of the military's unlimited printing of kyat notes,
laundering money from the drug trade, and the uncontrollable
circulation of counterfeit kyats. One dollar is now equivalent to
almost 300 kyat and the kyat is expected to drop even further in
the future. Because of the serious instability of the Kyat, 
business people have lost faith in it. As a result, the prices of
land, housing, and gold have risen dramatically. For example, the
price of land in Golden Valley in Rangoon is almost as high as
became almost similar to that of Mac Helton in US. Rental charges
for opening offices are now US $ 1000 to 2000 per room. 

As the 1996 Visit Myanmar Year campaign failed, hotels are left
with many empty rooms. In one recent check at the Traders Hotel,
only 10 rooms out of 400 were occupied. There were only a few
visitors at the Novotel as well. Two months ago, 500 employees,
including nine foreigners, from the hotel business were let go.
The unemployment rate has increased and almost one million
Burmese workers have crossed into Thailand to find jobs.

Universities have been shut down for one year already, causing
the anti-government sentiments of the students to grow more and
more. At the same time, the monks' anger toward the government
has also grown because the monks' examinations have been
postponed since April 1997, many monks continue to be detained in
prisons, and the military's theft of precious stones from the
abdomen of the Mahamyatmuni Buddha image in Mandalay. And these
issues are causing resentment to build not only amonng the
general public but also within in the military itself. With the
peoples' anger at the military elites growing, general strikes
could take place at any time for any reason. 

Secondly, rivalries among different military factions are also
becoming more obvious. It is mainly because of the corruption and
unequal opportunities for personal profit, particularly among the
Military Intelligence Units, Army, Navy and Air Force at
different levels. At the same time, there have been long-standing
power struggles between the OTS (Officer Training School) and the
DSA (Defense Service Academy) batches in the military. These
conditions are likely to lead to the collapse of the junta.   

Three major factions can be clearly identified in the military
since a long time ago. These are the Kyaw Ba-Tun Kyi-Myint Aung
faction, the Maung Aye-Tin Oo faction and Khin Nyunt's
intelligence faction.  As usual, in the military history of 
factional politics, two factions always become allied to beat the
other one. Here again, the Maung Aye- Tin Oo faction and the Khin
Nyunt faction made a  temporary alliance in order to defeat the
Kyaw Ba- Tun Kyi- Myint Aung faction. There have been reports
that the corrupted Lt. Generals faction (Kyaw Ba et al.) have
recently faced interrogation by other members of the SPDC. In
reality the issue of corruption was just an excuse to remove them
from power, and this should be seen as the result of a power
struggle among the military factions. Later, it is likely that a 
power struggle will emerge between Maung Aye and Khin Nyunt's

Thirdly, international pressure has been mounting. SLORC generals
become depressed when the US imposed economic sanctions on the
junta. It is still impossible for the junta to improve their bad
image for their appalling human rights abuses, their involvement
in the drug trade and their money laundering activities. ASEAN
governments and other governments which are friendly to the junta
such as Japan and other potential business partners have been
really worrying about the junta's worsening image and its
instability.  They have been quietly suggesting that the junta
make some superficial changes so that it looks more respectable.
Moreover, it is also obvious that U Ne Win played an important
role in this restructuring as it happened just after his trip to
Indonesia and Singapore.

The general scenario of the country is much worse than the
situation was in 1988. The junta also realises that the current
bad situation is likely to lead to a general strike. Therefore,
the junta has made some preparations in case there is a mass
movement, in particular, the emptying of Insein prison by
transferring prisoners to other prisons in order to arrest more
activists and even some critics in the military itself. 

My opinion on the current change
The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) 

(1)Rivalaries among the different military factions have become
more intense than ever before. In this current change, the Maung
Aye- Tin Oo faction got the upper hand over the Khin Nyunt
faction.  Most of the new faces in the SPDC, in particular Khin
Maung Than, Sit Maung, Ye Myint and Kyaw Win are Maung Aye's
absolute followers while the remaining members will not dare to
oppose him. But, both factions seem to share the same negative
opinion about the democracy movement. In fact, the only issue
which at times unites and at times divides them is their own
personal interest.

2. The SPDC is primarily a policy-making body, and it has much
more power than the other two branches: the Cabinet and the
Advisory Board. Basically, the SPDC consists of two main groups,
the four old top brass and the other 15 new faces who do not have
much experience yet. Than Shwe appears to have a symbolic post
but no power. He is getting old and is not in good health. Now 67
years old, he should retire, but the problem is that if Than Shwe
retires, Maung Aye who has the same seniority as many other
generals_ in particular, Kyaw Ba, Maung Hla, Ket Sein, Hla Myint
Swe and Tun Kyi who are still in the military_ would have to
replace him.  Maung Aye doesn't want to replace Than Shwe until
he can put his own supporter in his current position.

Maung Aye handled this move cleverly by kicking his rivals out of
influential roles through sending them to the newly formed
advisory board and cabinet posts. At the same time, he brought in
new faces and also young regional commanders to take over
economically profitable and influential posts in the SPDC.
Overall, what we can say is that Maung Aye now has relatively
more power than his rivals. But, as the new faces are not very
experienced, the new body will be not do much work and will not
last long. This new formation cannot last long and we expect
there will be more changes soon.

3. Regarding the rivalries between the factions of Maung Aye and
Khin Nyunt, Maung Aye's group has been getting the upper hand but
still cannot not absolutely beat Khin Nyunt's faction. Tension
between the factions and more private dissention are likely in
the days ahead.  There will be conflicts between the three
different branches and problems because of differences in seniority.

4. One unusual feature of this new structure is two newly-created
posts, Secretary 3, and the minister for Military Affairs.
Previously Tin Hla was supposed to  be promoted to Secretary 3,
but it didn't happen. Now, Win Myint has been appointed as
Secretary 3 instead. So, another new post had to be created for
Tin Hla so he wouldn't be disappointed. Win Myint was previously
the quartermaster general and before that the Western divisional
commander, an unpopular post because there are few opportunities
for financial gain in the western region.  (The military junta
usually appoints less capable individuals to this post.)

It is comprised of 40 members in 40 ministerial posts. Than Shwe
is still in the prime minister's post
together with two deputy prime ministers, Maung Maung Khin (Air
force) and Tin Htun (Navy). The Navy and Air Force have never had 
any real influence or power in the history of dictatorial rule in
Burma. It merely looks like the power of the Navy, Air Force and
Army are somewhat balanced in this structure. 

The Cabinet members have much more experience than most of the
SPDC members. Almost all of the Lt. Generals who were in
Ministerial posts under the SLORC have been transferred to the
powerless advisory board. 29 out of the 40 are old men while only
11 are new to the ministerial structure. The formation looks
inflated as some posts are really not needed but just created for
the appearance of power sharing, for example the newly created
military affairs ministry. Tin Hla, the minister for military
affairs, was once a former 22nd division commander, and is a
hardliner and one of Maung Aye's men.

The minister of cooperatives, U Than Aung (a former Lt. Col. and
also a Maung Aye man), is almost as corrupt as Tun Kyi, Kyaw Ba
and Myint Aung and is still in the same ministerial post.  The
railway minister, U Win Sein (former Lt. Col), who is considered
as having one of the most hardline policies against Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi, is also still left in the same ministerial post (U Win
Sein even told a SLORC meeting this year that DASSK should be
sentenced with the death penalty). These two examples show that
the newly formed SPDC might not change its policy on Aung San Suu
Kyi and the democratic forces, and that those with good support
from above are not removed, regardless of their activities and policies. 

Advisory board
This board is very unusual, and the military has never created
this kind of advisory board before. One thing for sure is
that this board was created for the Lt Generals; in particular,
Kyaw Ba, Phone Myint, Myint Aung, Tun Kyi. They will have no
power to influence the newly formed SPDC.

Will the SPDC resolve the current political problems or is it
committed to launch a real change?

The debate on whether the transformation of the SLORC to
the SPDC will lead to a real change or not will, in fact, be
proven very soon through the means it uses to tackle the
current political problems.

-How will they deal with the national convention?
- Will they try to solve the underlying political problems
following the agreements on mere ceasefires with the armed ethnic
-What will be the SPDC opinion on the KNU and the KNPP?
-What will be their opinion on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?
-What kind of relationship will the SPDC have with Ne Win, the
person who is most responsible for human rights violations in
Burma? (Because the relationship between the SLORC and Ne Win was
very close.) 

In conclusion, the new structure was formed not to resolve the
country's current political problems but just to resolve the
military's own internal conflicts. Maung Aye's group has gotten
the upper hand over Khin Nyunt. Their aim is also to fool the
people of Burma and the international community that some changes
are being made to handle the current political and economic woes.
They will probably issue an amnesty and start releasing some
political prisoners who have already finished their prison terms.
They will announce that they do not recognise the results of the
1990 general election, which was held under the SLORC. They will
put more pressure on the ceasefire groups in many ways, including
military pressure. They may launch a military offensive against
the United Wa State Party (UWSP) and some other ethnic groups 
under the pretext of an anti-drug campaign.
Our campaign against the SPDC

Instead of taking a wait-and-see approach toward the SPDC, we
should do the following campaigns.

1. Pressure the SPDC for tri-partite dialogue by public
mobilisation and international campaigns

2. Follow up on the US sanctions on Burma by organising other
potential countries such as Japan, Australia, ASEAN and EU countries.

3. Convince the Thai government, military, National Security
Council, Thai opposition parties, and Thai activists to support
the democratisation process in Burma.

4. Start a campaign against the SPDC members at the international
level because of their involvement in the drug trade, money
laundering and human rights violations. (For example- ban on
visa, raising the issues in an international court of justice)

Finally, as the SPDC cannot resolve the current political and
economic crisis, the people may well take to the streets again
like in 1988. As a result of this general strike, the SPDC will
be terminated and discarded like previous military led organisations. 

Anyway, I do believe that the latest military-led body, the SPDC,
will be the last one, and will be a stepping stone toward a
democratic future. Let's bravely move forward and achieve victory. 

November 21, 1997  (Democratic Alliance of Burma)

The SLORC, which was always just another name for the old BSPP dictatorship,
has now changed its name to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)
on November 15, 1997. Since 1962, there have been so many empty name changes
and promises made by the regime, but the essence of the dictatorship has
remained unchanged.  

In 1962, when Ne Win seized power from U Nu's civilian government, he called
his regime the Revolutionary Council. This Council pretended to hold "peace
talks," then changed its name to the Burmese Socialist Program Party; it
then held a so-called "referendum" and set up a "parliament." All these
fine-sounding terms were simply cloaking the fact that the regime was
entrenching itself firmly in power. 

The SLORC's attempt to legitimize itself with its name change after nine
years in power, is in fact depressingly similar to the BSPP's "referendum"
in 1973, ten years after the military coup that brought Ne Win to power. The
referendum was simply a charade rigged to prove that people throughout the
country supported BSPP rule.   

The DAB believes that the SLORC is seeking by its latest name change simply
to divert the attention of the peoples of Burma and the international
community, and to mend the rifts and rivalry within the SLORC inner clique.
If the SLORC and the SPDC were really different in essence, the SPDC should
have declared a new policy.

The people of Burma, with their long and painful experience under
dictatorial military rule, have no more trust in the military rulers. The
fundamental cause of this distrust is that the military rulers are not the
elected representatives of the people.

If the SPDC was really sincere in wanting to unify the peoples of Burma and
ensure the country's stability, it should be seeking to solve the political
problems of Burma by political means. If, according to its name, the SPDC
really aims to promote peace and development of the state, they should
abandon their tactics of solving political problems by means of force.
Moreover, the SPDC should immediately allow freedom of the press, freedom of
movement and association, and allow a multi-party system so that people can
develop their political consciousness. Only this will lead to the genuine
development of the nation.

The ruling elite of the army should realise that their days of using force
to control the people and exploiting the country's wealth for their own
benefit are numbered. It is time for them to start working  for the
betterment of the people as well as the nation. 

Unjust tactics, pretence, and the granting of favours to particular groups
or individuals are not the proper means to solve the prevailing political
problems. Instead, the military leaders are simply sowing the seeds of
further discord. 

We demand that the SPDC take the following actions immediately:

1. Establish a genuine multi-party system.
2. Release all political prisoners.
3. Stop the sham national convention.
4. Hold a tripartite dialogue in order to achieve national reconcilitation.
5. Allow freedom of the press and freedom of association.

Only if  the mistakes of the BSPP and SLORC are not repeated, will Burma be
able to enjoy peace prosperity and stability.

Work for the people.
Democracy is the basic means for development.

Central  Excutive  Committee, DAB
18. November. 1997.					


November 22, 1997
(The People's Liberation Front is an armed group fighting against the SLORC in
Eastern Burma)

SLORC changed their name to SPDC, the State Peace and Development Council,
on 15 November 1997. This is a clear attempt to distance themselves from the
wrongdoings they have committed under the name of  SLORC. However, it is
obvious that the military regime in Burma has undergone no fundamental
change. It is just another to attempt to trick the people of Burma and the

The regime has already changed its name several times in the past. When it
first seized power in 1962, it was the  Revolutionary Council, which became
the BSPP -- the Burmese Socialist Program Party --, then the SLORC in 1988,
and now the SDPC. Throughout this period they have continually played with
words to justify their rule. However, no real transitions of power have been
made, and there has no been representation of the people's wishes in any of
the regime's incarnations.

The regime is still a military dictatorship, and the new name is just
another attempt to pander to international criticism and deceive the
simple-minded. All that has changed is that the ruling elite have reshuffled
their ranks and invented some extra positions to provide an extra income for
some retired military officers. 

Burma is sinking deeper and deeper into political, economic and social
crisis, yet the regime continues to cling on to power, in contempt of the
people's wishes.  It is certain that the suffering of the peoples of Burma
will only increase while this handful of military officers remains in control.

Although SLORC uses words like multi-party systems and democracy,  in
practice there is only coercion and military force, no matter what name they
like to give themselves. It is the duty of our time to overthrow the
military dictatorship, wherever we are and with whatever means we have.
Although they claim to be moving to democracy, it is obvious that the SLORC
military dictatorship is aiming for a lifelong monopoly on control.

We strongly urge people not to be deluded by the mere name change. If the
renamed SLORC, or the SPDC, really wants to establish a peaceful and
developed state, they should:
1. abolish the  SLORC's sham National Convention
2. release all political prisoners immediately
3. announce a nationwide cease-fire
4. recognize the results of the 1990 elections
5. hold a nationwide multi-party conference 

Until these measures are taken, the PLF will continue to fight  for
democracy and against the military dictatorship by organizing people's
demonstrations and armed struggle to achieve democracy as our goal.

Overthrowing the military dictatorship is the duty of our time.
We cannot expect any compassion from the enemy
We will win democracy

17. November 1997                                  
Central Committee, People's Liberation Front


November 22, 1997

(BurmaNet Editor's note: These information sheets which are distributed
by e-mail are also sent by fax to journalists who cover Burma regularly.  
They originate in the DDSI [Directorate of Defense Services Intelligence], 
and the DDSI press liaison responds to journalists' questions based on these 
statements and other news.)

National Convention Convening Commission Meets
National Convention Convening Commission held a meeting at the commission
office on 21 November. Officials of National Convention Convening Work
Committee and National Convention Convening Management Committee submitted
reports on the National Convention. NCCC members gave suggestions on the