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Dear Dr. U Ne Oo:

I would like to apologize for being so late in thanking you for your
support for the Massachusetts Burma law.

I would like to suggest a couple of ways in which people can help support
the Massachusetts Burma law.

- If you live in the United States, you can write your state Governor,
Attorney General and elected legislators. Just email me at
<sbillenness@xxxxxxxx> for sample letters.

- Wherever you live, you can support the Massachusetts Burma law by
enacting a similar law in your home town, state, county and/or province.
For information on how to do that, either contact me at
<sbillenness@xxxxxxxx> or Dan Orzech at <orzech@xxxxxxxx>

Let's support the rights of the Burmese people by asserting our own right
to direct how our cities and states spend our tax money!

Simon Billenness
Franklin Research & Development
711 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02111
(617) 423-6655 x 225
(617) 482-6179 fax

At 11:35 AM 5/8/98 +0930, Dr U Ne Oo wrote:
>/* Written Fri 8 May 11:00am 1998 by drunoo@xxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.burma */
>/* -------------" Time to rally behind Masschusetts "----------- */
>In the State of Massachusetts, USA, a corporate-funded body,
>National Foreign Trade Council(NTFC), has recently filed a Lawsuit
>against Burma selective purchasing law. The NTFC has been
>challenging the constitutional validity of the Massachusetts Burma
>Law, it has been reported.
>Regarding sanction for Burma, there are selective purchasing laws
>enacted by various States and Counties throughout United States. 
>In addition, there has been Burma Sanction Bill enacted by the federal 
>Government of the United States. As the present situation stands, 
>there has been a possibility of US Government lifting sanction 
>"on the condition" that the dialogues in Burma started. In this 
>context, we need to recognize that the political opportunism of 
>NTFC pressuring upon the Massachusetts Burma Law.
>In USA, selective purchasing laws in particular have been effective
>- much more than the federal sanction laws - in bringing about
>pressures on the businesses that dealing with dictatorial regimes.
>It also appears that, from activists point of view, such local
>sanction campaigns are more feasible and have a greater feeling of 
>impact because of the campaigns' local focus. For example, a local
>activist can simply walk into the Mayor or Govenor's office and
>then request to enact such legislation: there is no means to do such
>action at the federal level. It is also much easier to mobilise the
>grassroots support for such campaign. It is of no doubt that these
>campaigns have served to promote greater awareness about Burma
>amongst the local population.
>The question of constitutional validity for such law appears to be
>quite complex and the outcome of the Lawsuit may not be known for
>quite some times. However, from our part, a parallel legislative
>move can be made at the federal level to maintain pressure on
>Burmese regime.
>The current dispute is being portrayed as the contest for power
>between State and Federal legislatures. In my personal view, the
>activists have made initiatives at the local level because of the
>frustration about federal sanctions. It may be about the right time
>to revise(amend) the federal sanction bill in accordance with new
>developments in Burma. Such revision should also carefully balance
>between the business interests of the United States and the progress
>for democracy in Burma.
>Firstly, the legislation should prohibit the US companies dealing
>with illegal entities in Burma - specifically SLORC/SPDC. No
>prohibition should be made to companies if they go through the
>elected representatives, i.e. Executive Committee of National League 
>for Democracy. Such legislative measures on companies will be 
>consistent with the 1997 UN General Resolution on Burma.
>Secondly, the legislation should introduce the code of practice for
>US companies that may be operating in Burma. In particular, the
>greater scrutiny against the use of forced labour, monitoring about
>environmental guidelines, safeguards against corruption etc. must be
>included in the code of practice.
>I shall be supportive and most appreciative if any group or
>individuals in USA to begin lobbying to Senators/Representatives
>regarding the proposed revision(amendment) to the federal Burma
>sanction bill. Since I reside in Australia, I cannot lobby those US
>Senators/Representatives effectively -- though I could perhaps write
>letters to State Department and Senate Foreign Relation Committee.
>The initiative for such legislation has to come from our friends 
>who live in USA.
>More importantly, our friends in Massachusetts deserve our
>supports - lets continue focussing on the situation in
>With best regards, U Ne Oo.
>!                     drunoo@xxxxxxxxxxxx                         !
>!          http://www.physics.adelaide.edu.au/~uneoo              !
>!                    ***** NOW ALSO ON *****                      !
>! http://freeburma.org/ (A one stop homepage for all Burma info.) !
>/* Endreport */