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SLORC to SPDC--- Gimick or real pol


(1)  Soon  after  the  unprecedented  brutal  crackdown  on
innocent  unarmed  students  and  civilians  protestors  in
1988,  the Burma Socialist Programmee Party, which military
ruled  the  country for  long  26 years  under  the fascist
command  of General Ne Win,  changed  its name to State Law
and order Restoration Council (SLORC).  People of Burma saw
a  ray of hope then  because SLORC promised holding general
elections  and  transfer  power  to  the  civilian  elected
government.   Inspite of  all its  Satanic calculations and
tactical  precautions,  SLORC  received a  big jolt  as the
National League for Democracy, under Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's
leadership,    swept  the  elections  and  baffled  by  the
elections results, power- addict SLORC lost no time in back
tracking from its pre-election commitment to transfer power
to  the elected NLD  an one pretext  or the other.  Rather,
SLORC  embarked on a well-planned programmee to consolidate
its  hold over the country  by restoring brutal and inhuman
oppression  of pro-democracy  forces which  led to killing,
arresting and torturing all political opponents,  including
children,  women, students, old people and ethnic minority.
With  the ready support  of China's huge  arms supply,  the
land  of  peace-loving people  of Burma  was turned  into a
killing  field,   in  total defiance  of  all international

(2)  Against this  painful,  living memory,   the change of
SLORC  to SPDC is look upon as another political gimmick by
the military junta, both inside and outside Burma. The SLORC
had  became synonymous with  evil-incarnate and hence there
might  have been a real need to change its name to generate
stronger  support within ASEAN and  improve its image for a
favorable deal in the European Union, U.S. and international
community. Explaining the formation of new outfit, the State
Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the junta has claimed
that  it meant a real move  towards democracy.  In the SPDC
notification  No 1/97,  signed by Senior General Than Shwe,
junta  has  claimed that  reconstitution was  undertaken to
ensure  the Development of an orderly and democratic system
and to establish a peaceful, modern state. Our living memory
and  experience is too heart-breaking  and nothing short of
real, substantive and open transfer of power to Aung San Suu
Kyi's led NLD can convince us of any chance. We do not even
feel  that  any  minor  or  major  concessions  are  in the
offering.   Political analysts over the  world also see the
change in name as tactical,  meaningless and even farcical.
But,  as committed soldiers of democracy and peace,  it our
duty  to analyse the internal permutations and combinations
within  the  Junta so  as to  more  clearly decide  our own
strategy to dethrone the Junta.  A cynical disregard of the
dynamics  and contradictions within the junta would be only
too  simplistic.  It  is  necessary  to  engage  in  deeper
political   analysis   to   strengthen   our  pro-democracy

(3)  The 18  members new SPDC  outfit has  been formed with
whole set of newly promoted Regional Commanders,  Chiefs of
Air  force and Navy,   though the top  four in the previous
outfit  remain at the helm  of officers.  These four,  Than
Shwe,   Maung Aye,  Khin Nyunt and  Tin Oo held the post or
Chairman, Vice-Chairman. Secretary (1) and Secretary (2) in
the  SLORC  respectedly.  But  certain  significant changes
caused  by the reconstitution into SPDC are worth noticing.
First,  in the new outfit, post of a Secretary (3) has been
created  and  Lt-General  Win Myint,   a  known  Khin Nyunt
loyalist has occupied the post. This Secretary (3) will look
after  and control  the ten most  powerful combatant forces
under  the name  of Light  Infantry Division  (LID).  These
forces  operate independently at  the Regional Commands and
they   constitute   the   major  tool   for   the  military
establishment   to  suppress  the  anti  fascist  movement.
Secondly,   while secretary  (1) Khin Nyunt  has taken over
change  of  the most  important  foreign and  home affairs,
secretary (2) Tin Oo has been allocated the less significant
affairs of Development, trade and commerce.

(4)  It  is  well  known that  all  the  senior  members of
government  and military  services of the  former SLORC had
ganged  up in full support of Maung Aye,  Tin Oo clique and
were  opposed to Khin Nyunt now do not figure at all in the
new  SPDC  outfit.  Even  Lt-  General Tin  Hla,   a strong
pro-Maung Aye-Tin Oo figure, considered to be a successor of
vice-Chairman of Maung Aye, has been denied any position in
SPDC; he has to satisfy himself with a ministerial post. In
fact,  many of the senior,  powerful members,  of SLORC had
been  kept out of SPDC. However, be inducting these members
into  newly formed Advisary Board,  the powers-that-be have
sought to kill two birds on the one hand,  by doing so they
have   seated  the  anger  of  these  disgrantted  military
officers,  and, on the other hand, it is an attempt to hide
from public attention the internal gang-war going in within
the military establishment.

(5)  It  is  important to  point  out that  at  least small
section  within  the  ruling  military  junta  is  strongly
"patriotic"  and self-  respecting,  in  terns of resisting
total subjugation of the country under China. For quite some
time, Lt-Gen Sein Aung and Lt- Gen Chit Swe have been angry
over  the increasing  Chinese influence  in Burma affairs..
they have have repeatedly and strongly criticised their own
outfit,   SLORC for  its over indulgence  with giant dragon

(6)  Another indication  of infighting within  SLORC is the
secret,   inofficial agreement  signed by  Lt-General Myint
Aung  after  the  SLORC  take  over  in  1988.  Though  the
contents of the agreement are yet to know,  this agreement,
signed  in the first commanders meeting  in 1989 and by the
four  prominent military officers who  had total control of
most  of  the  strategic  region  of  Burma,  is  of  great
important  to SPDC. Hence, according to recent reports, Tun
Kyi,   Kyaw  Ba and  Myint Aung  have been  intimidated and
interrogated  by  Khin  Nyunt's  MIS  (Military Intelligent
Service), apparently for reasons related to this agreement.
However, the widespread unofficial belief is that they were
interrogated  in connection with  corruption charge.  It is
difficult  to arrive at any  conclusion since virtually all
military   officials  from  top  to   bottom  are  deal  in
corruption and most of them have amassed huge wealth during
a short period.

(7)  Interestingly,  all  these changes  have occurred soon
after  the return of the infamous dictator Ne Win after his
visit  to Indonesia and Singapore.  Ne Win had met with his
old time friends- Indonesian dictator,  General Suharto and
Singaporean  strongman Lee Kuan Yew, Presumably, Ne Win had
detailed discussion about the political crisis within Burma
and they must have worked out certain strategic plans. It is
widely believed that the latest change of name from SLORC to
SPDC and the major reshuffling of officials,  including the
expulsion of many former strongmen are all part of Ne Win's
plan to strengthen the military junta's grip over power. It
is   also  indicative  of  the  fact  that  real  political
strategy   and  reigns   of  power  remain   with  Ne  Win.

(8)  What has  been analyzed above  is also borne  out by a
recounting  of events and incidents  during the last couple
of years. Since 1995, the Maung Aye-Tin Oo gang outnumbered
and dominated Khin Nyunt and the five of his confidants. The
former  gang successfully checkmated  the authority of Khin
Nyunt.   A clear example is that Than Shwe issued the order
for  release of Aung San Suu  Kyi (after six years of house
arrest) just the day after Khin Nyunt had announced through
the foreign media about the impossibility of her release in
near  future.  Further,   while Khin  Nyunt was  engaged in
negotiation  with the Karen National  Union (KNU,  the long
powerful  ethnic group which is continues its fight against
the   Rangoon  junta)  after   a  temporary  cease-fire  in
1996/1997,    then  commanders   of  Southeastern  Military
Command, Major General Ket Sein, a known loyal to the Maung
Aye-Tin  Oo gang,  violated the  cease-fire by launching an
offensive against the KNU,  bluntly declaring that the army
had  nothing to do with Intelligence  (MIS) and that he did
not care about what the MIS did. A according to a disclosure
by a MIS spy (Second Lieutenant rank arrested by democratic
forces  in India  last April),   the internal contradiction
between  the gangs of Khin Nyunt  and Maung Aye-Tin Oo gang
deployed  about  twenty  thousands  of  troops  under their
command  in  the Burmese  capital,  Rangoon,   without even
informing  Maj-Gen Khin  Maung Than,   commander of Rangoon
Regional  Military Command and trusted Khin Nyunt follower.
This  is perhaps  the most  consequential infighting within
SLORC  since its formation.   The two rival  group are thus
engaged in an open-secret power struggle.  One issue of the
infighting is the successor to Maung Aye..  presently Vice-
Chairman  and the projected successor to Chairman Than Shwe
who  is  scheduled to  step down  in  March 1997  after the
Resistance  Day (renamed  as Arm  Forces Day  by the junta)
celebrations.   Maung Aye-Tin Oo  gang have projected their
henchman Lt-General Tin Hla for Vice- Chairmanship. It seems
such infighting is the major cause dealing to confusion and
unpredictability  about  the  resignation  schedule  of the

(9)  In April 1997,  a parcel bomb blasted at the residence
of  secretary (2) Tin Oo causing the death of his daughter.
Secretary   9!)  and  MIS  chief  Khin  Nyunt  has  accused
pro-democracy activists from Japan for this incident, though
without  any prima  facile evidence.   Japanese authorities
denied  Khin Nyunt's false allegations.  As a result,  some
sections of SLORC officials lost confidence in Khin Nyunt's
MIS.   Several top  SLORC's officials  formed their private
intelligence corps for self-protection. Personal fear seems
to  have  overpowered  these officials  and  they  dare not
venture out without their own private security outfits. This
is  a direct affront to the  commanding position of the MIS
apparatus  which  constitutes  the  heart  of  the military
establishment.   It also amounts to a real challenge to the
unofficial  authority  of Ne  Win  and his  lieutenant Khin

(10) Ganging the seriousness of these developments,  Ne Win
came  out  of his  hybernation  in September  last  and has
jumped  into the fray  of infighting and  power struggle in
SLORC.   He  is  reported  to  have  called  his  erstwhile
lieutenant but now estranged Maung Aye and Tin Oo to his Ady
Road  compound and kept them under  close vigil for about a
month.   Ne Win  attempted to  persuade them  to bury their
differences  with Khin Nyunt unitedly face the "danger" and
"challenge" of the revitalised democratic forces.

(11)  It seems most major  developments in the recent past,
including  the change of SLORC  into SPDC,  are outcomes of
the  game plan of master brain Ne Win on the other hand and
factional infighting within SLORC on other.  At the moment,
it  seems  Khin  Nyunt  and co  has  emerged  victorious by
relegating  Maung Aye- Tin  Oo gang to  the backseat.  Khin
Nyunt  has successfully planted  his trusted lieutenants in
major,  important positions. The larger game plan of Ne Win
Khin Nyunt is to install a hand-packed "civilian government'
in  Rangoon by 2000,  while relaining the real power within
junta.   That involves a manipulated conclusion of the sham
Convention  and validating a constitution where in the Army
retains   a  prominent  place  in   affairs  of  state  and

(12)  While  the factional  infighting  by the  junta power
brothers is for all the democratic forces see,  the Vacuity
and  vulnerability of SLORC-turn SPDC in more than clear to
us.   First,   the  SPDC has  no  courage to  hold  an open
referendum  for  popular  approval  of  their  draft,   new
constitution.   Second,  if they have to install a civilian
government,  be it puppet or hand-packed, they have to hold
fresh   elections.   But  do  they  have  the  courage  and
confidence   to  hold   another  general   elections?   The
humiliation,   the pain,  the shock and helplessness of the
1990  verdict is too fresh in their memory!  The SPDC might
plan  to  declare  second highest  vote-setter  as declared
elected after expelling,  (forced) voluntary resignation or
(killed)  death of  the first-highest  vote- setter  by the
junta's  own Election Law of 1988.  If we the 1990 election
results,   we  find that  the junta-supported  the National
Unity Party (NUP) candidates got second position in most of
the constituencies. Now that a large number of 1990 elected
NLD's M.Ps have been expelled, forced to resign of flee the
country,   a  good  number of  NUP  candidates  with second
position  are ready to state their claims.  It these people
are allowed to manipulate the election verdict,  they would
not  only try to mange approval of the junta- constitution,
they  would also form a puppet government of SPEC.  Part of
the  game would be to retain Than Shwe as Chairman till the
"civilian  government"  is  installed.  Once  all  this  is
achieved,   Prime Ministerial red carpet  would be laid for
Khin  Nyunt.  None within the  junta dare to challenge Khin
Nyunt's   candidature  and  the  military  politics  of  Ne
Win-Khin Nyunt duo.

To  conclude,  our preliminary analysis of the situation in
Burma,  on the basis of very restricted information though,
indicates  that "Ne  Win is  in COMMAND".   Ne Win's choice
Khin  Nyunt seems  to have taken  over the  reigns of SPDC,
relegating  Maung Aye- Tin Oo gang to a secondary position.
No doubt, the newly promoted to regional commander posts and
inducted  members of SPDC,  will play a significant role in
the  future cause.   Both faction  within SPDC  will try to
pocket  these members as well as win the confidence of some
sections  of  the  general  public  (through  deception  or
coercion)  who wins in this game remains obscure.  But what
is  no obscurse for  us,  all democratic  forces within and
outside Burma, is that our struggle has reached a new phase
which is much more complex and critical than ever. Today, we
are  confronted with a highly  politicised junta.  The SPDC
has learnt its lessons apart from brute firce,  it will use
political,   economic,  cultural and  diplomatic tactics to
suppress  the  democratic  movement,  Bribery,  corruption,
deception,  lies,  mis-information, false  propaganda, drug
and  sex are the new weapons  in its arsenal.  We also have
grown  more delicated and committed  to our cause;  we have
matured politically to see through the SLORC-SPDC;  we will
fight the Junta on all fronts. We will not simply shout, we
will  do it we will overthrow  the usurpers of power and an
end to any form and brutal of military rule.  We will usher
in  an era  of peace and  justice,  of  democracy and human
rights. The sun is rising.

Central Committee
All Burma Students League.

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